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photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography
photo credit Maral Rabbit Photography

 

ADMIN NOTE:

If anyone has some Valentine’s Day disappointment you would like to hash through together with me, let me know. We can talk about it. Also, please check out Valentine’s Day Expectations.

BOOK NEWS:

My book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, is on sale on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play (the Kindle version) for $1.99 through next Monday! Please check it out, and do an honest review if you get a chance. That would be awesome!

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Every husband has his own list. What matters most is not this particular list, but what most speaks honor and real respect to your particular husband. πŸ™‚

 

25 WAYS TO RESPECT YOUR HUSBAND

  1. Be sure to have your time with God in His Word and in prayer daily. It is impossible to be a godly wife and to honor our husbands from the heart if we are spiritually starving.
  2. Care about his feelings, words, and opinions the way you would like him to care about yours.
  3. Treat him like a grown adult and a person of equal worth in the eyes of God.
  4. Approach him with humility realizing that his perspective and wisdom have worth just like yours do.
  5. If he has a higher drive sexually, seek to be joyfully available to him and to enjoy him whenever you can.Β If he has a lower drive sexually, seek to extend grace, patience, understanding, and selflessness to him rather than pressuring him or condemning him.
  6. Don’t interrupt him whenever possible.
  7. Treat him well especially in front of others. This includes social media.
  8. Bless him with that radiant smile of yours that lights up the room just because you love him when you see him after work (and lots of other times, too).
  9. When he mentions something that is important to him, try to put that high up on your to-do list.
  10. Communicate directly, concisely, and in a straightforward way rather than giving hints and expecting him to read your mind.
  11. Share your concerns, ideas, wisdom, perspective, and feelings calmly, with a pleasant tone of voice whenever appropriate, using good manners.
  12. Use a friendly tone of voice and facial expressions as a general habit.
  13. Focus on his strengths and the good things you see in him.
  14. Appreciate the ways he shows you love and tries to make your life better even if there are other ways you would like him to show love to you.
  15. Honor his parenting and seek to support his decisions as much as possible. If you disagree, share that respectfully and humbly in private. (If he is sinning against your children, you may need to confront him)
  16. Speak highly of his family.
  17. Do things that you enjoy for yourself.
  18. Give him time to process difficult emotions and tough decisions without pressuring him to talk if he is not ready.
  19. Keep vulnerable and sensitive information confidential (unless there are severe problems and you are speaking to a counselor/appropriate mentor/the police).
  20. Be flexible and able to roll with changes and challenges that inevitably come up in life. Your stress level greatly impacts everyone in the family, including your husband. When you are stressed, he is much more stressed. Β If you are able to have an adventurous, joyful, calm spirit, everyone else will weather trials more easily, too.
  21. Believe in him.
  22. Don’t compare him to other men, even in your heart.
  23. Accept him and let him know you appreciate the man he is and that you are not trying to change him. He is not your “project.”
  24. Receive compliments, love, acts of service, and gifts from him graciously.
  25. Relax with him and be his friend.

 

NOTE:

It is so critical that before we attempt to honor our husbands, we put God way above our husbands in our hearts so that we are filled to overflowing with Christ. Then we approach the marriage from a position of spiritual and emotional abundance. We find our security and identity in Christ. We are already fulfilled and content in Jesus. Only He can meet the deepest needs of our hearts, minds, and souls – no human can do that. When we understand that our husbands can’t be God to us, and that they are mere mortals just like we are, we can see them as fellow travelers rather than having expectations of them and of marriage that are unrealistic.

We can take responsibility for our own spiritual well-being in God and our own emotions. We can be sure we are treating God and ourselves with respect. We can be filled up with God’s Spirit, spilling over with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then we are ready to learn to respect our husbands.

(Wives would appreciate many of these things, as well – and wives each have their own list of things that feel loving to them, too. Everyone appreciates being treated with honor, godly love, and respect.)

(If a husband is involved in unrepentant sin, a wife does have a responsibility to respectfully confront him in many situations.)

SHARE:

Ladies,

If you would like to share the things you have learned that your husband appreciates most we’d love for you to share!

Gentlemen,

If you would like to share the things that most speak respect and honor to you as a husband, you are welcome to share.

 

161 thoughts on “25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

  1. * sigh * Okay, before I comment, keep in mind I am a work in progress…

    First of all, how funny you knew there were going to be Valentines issues today! πŸ™‚ lets just say, last night as I was tossing in another load of laundry I thought, “I’d better go on PeacefulWife and read, I know she’s got posts on expectations…”

    Anyhow, I hate all holidays. Trying to have a better attitude, but they usually bring such pressure along with added feelings of worthlessness. But since I’m working on finding my worth in Christ, not holidays, I tried to focus on the positive things in my life, including Jesus, instead of the negativity of the holidays.

    We had a pretty good weekend. I tried to do something for him romantically that I thought was a big flop. He claims he really enjoyed it but I thought it was a fail. But I’m not going to focus on that. I’m trying to believe him that he was happy. I have tried being positive and he seems to be in a much better mood. I also noticed when my attitude starts to edge towards negative, my husband begins to get edgy. It’s so weird.

    On Saturday, We had a nice brunch and we stopped at our jewelry store and I got a charm to add to my bracelet. Actually we were exchanging the one he got me for Christmas. I felt so badly that I really didn’t like it on Christmas, and I tried to act like I did, but the man can read me like a book. I should have just kept it and worn it, but I think he knew I’d have a hard time wearing it, and he wanted me to have one I liked. So we exchanged it. He seemed happier about it, but deep down I still feel bad. Work in progress…

    This was all on Saturday. Sunday we just went to church. He did buy me coffee which was nice. My only disappointment is, no flower. All I really wanted was one lousy flower. We have flower issues. πŸ™‚ I kinda like them. They don’t have to be expensive. They could be $5.99 from the grocery store. But he never gets them for me. Like, ever. Now, in his defense, if I mention it, then he is just wasting his time if he gets them, because I don’t want them if I have to ask. Where’s the romance in that? If I have to ask, then there’s no thought involved, you are just fulfilling the request of a greedy woman. No thank you. But wait!…

    In an effort to have a better attitude, I started buying flowers from the grocery for myself. I’d give them to him when he came home and say, “look what you got for me!” he actually seemed to enjoy this. He’d then give them to me and I’d act all surprised and we’d laugh and I’d have fresh flowers to enjoy. Did he ever catch on? Once. He bought me flowers himself once after that. And then, nothing. My value to him dropped rapidly. πŸ™ And the trouble is, I can’t remind him because then if he buys them I will know it is just because I had to beg, and who wants that. And yet I realize in the grand scheme of things, flowers should be a non- issue. Our life together is so much more important than a lousy flower. But for someone who always says “I just want you to be happy…” You’d think he’d catch on and spend the five bucks.

    So I have been praying a lot and yesterday had a pretty good attitude. There was only once I got a little sad. We were in the church parking lot waiting for our son. A young couple (early 20s?) met up and got into a car. He then gave her roses, and candy, and a card. She was delighted! It was so sweet to see the true love they shared. Of course, she was beautiful. So obviously her boyfriend felt she was worth the effort. In that moment all my insecurities about my ugliness and worthlessness came flooding back. I mean – logic. Pretty girl gets roses, ugly worthless wife isn’t worth a carnation from the grocery store. Part of me was so happy for the young lady and even I enjoyed the joy on her face. but I’d be lying if I said I wasnt a little envious.

    And here’s what drives me crazy!!! My wonderful husband, cannot get a hint after 15,000 times that one lousy daisy would mean the world to his wife – but let disappointment flicker across my face and he catches it every time? How is that possible??? I do not yell or scream or even whine. In fact, I usually get really quiet, so I don’t complain.

    But anyhow, we had a nice weekend. I know he loves me. He wouldn’t be outside working in 15 degrees so I can homeschool if he didn’t love us. I need to be thankful for the ways he does show love, even if they’re not the ways I feel love.

    Whew! I was planning on commenting on the list in your post but I got sidetracked. πŸ™‚ I did have a lot on my mind, but one big comment at a time. πŸ™‚

    1. Becca,

      I can see that you are making some baby steps toward progress! That is awesome. πŸ™‚

      Here are my suggestions, my beautiful sister in Christ…

      1. If you desire flowers for Valentine’s Day, please ask for them in a pleasant way. “Honey, I would really love some flowers this year. That would just make my day.” (It is okay to ask for what you want. You are not demanding them. This is not being greedy. When you ask specifically for what you want, it gives your husband the opportunity to delight you. And it is a blessing to him that you do not expect him to read your mind. Most husbands are really bad at ESP.)

      2. If he doesn’t give you flowers for Valentine’s Day – it is REALLY important to remind yourself that a lack of flowers does not mean that you are worthless, ugly, or not deserving of flowers. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It is awesome to focus on all the ways he does show love for you. Most men don’t care much about flowers. They die in about 2 days. Most men try to show their love in much more concrete ways, like providing income, and making sure your car is working, and being with you whenever they can be… things like that. Honestly, if he got you flowers, but was not doing those other things, it wouldn’t mean much, would it? I actually prefer the ways my husband shows me love – now that I realize what he is doing – over flowers any day! πŸ™‚

      I know you are still battling a lot of ideas in your mind. But I am so proud of you for not allowing this to completely get you down and for not believing the lies about you being worthless. I really love the idea you had of getting flowers for yourself and then how he gave them to you. That is so cute!

      I’m glad that you are resting in your wonderful husband’s love for you. I’m hopeful you will reject the “logic” that the enemy is trying to cram down your throat. That is not logic, that is a lie. I’m glad that you were able to be happy for the young woman and that you were able to be honest about feeling envious.

      I personally asked Greg not to get me anything this year. He would have gotten me anything I asked for, I am sure, if I had wanted something. But I am seriously just content with where our marriage is and his love for me. I am content and delighted if we go out. I am content and delighted if we stay home. I don’t need flowers or gifts for a special day to feel loved. That is where I am now. I am not at all resentful or bitter. I am just overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving at all that God has done in our lives and in our marriage.

      How has your time with God been going, my dear sister? Thanks so much for sharing an update!

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi April,

        My time with God is going better than usual, but not as good as it should. Too easily I get caught up in my day to day life, or my own thoughts, that I let my time with God get cut short. I’ve only recently started praying for myself, so I need to be reminded to do that. I’m glad you asked, because I needed the reminder.

        Now to my original comment, regarding the list. I’m actually blessed to see that I do respect my husband in many ways, but there are a lot of ways in which I need to improve. A few on this list jumped out at me.

        #5 – thank you for including wives who struggle with having a lower drive husband. This is one of the most painful areas of my life. My Valentines “gift” that I felt was a fail was in this arena. He thinks he loved it, I think he was just being kind. I think he’s just too used to me and I’m boring to him. I’m working on this. But it’s still my most painful issue… I don’t think it’s as bad as I make it sound, but it bothers me that much. It’s probably what I need to pray about the most.

        #8 – again, my issue. I don’t like to smile. Well, I do, I laugh a lot, but when I see a picture of myself I’m horrified. It’s vain. I think my smile makes my face look obese, and my teeth and lips are too small. It seems like big teeth and lips are a hallmark of beauty these days, and another area in which I don’t measure up. So I try not to smile too much or too big. It’s vain. It’s another issue I need to pray about.

        #10 – ha! Working on it. No need to rehash that one right now… πŸ™‚

        #14 – well, this plays right into my Valentine’s comment. It’s almost like my husband doesn’t get me at all. He doesn’t do any of the things men are “supposed” to do, and our love languages are WAY different. His is definitely words, words, words and more words, and I have such issues with words. But I’m really trying to believe in his love, even though I still struggle. This is what I’m focusing on right now. I’m trying so hard not to give up, even when it all feels so wrong. Again, more praying needed…

        #17 – not gonna happen πŸ™‚

        #18 – Argh! This one is a BIG struggle. How can it take a man who is so intelligent and discerning so long to think? I am done processing my next three thoughts in mere seconds. For years I was certain his constant pausing was simply done to irritate the day lights out of me. Or walking away during an argument??? Talk about inciting fury! Thankfully I have learned that this is a difference between men and women, although it is still a struggle for me. I have learned to breath deeply and fill in the loooong pauses with silent prayers rather than saying “would you hurry up and answer me already!” But it still sends my blood pressure up in a hurry!!

        #24 – Receive. Aha. We’re working on that one. I have found that learning to find my worth and value in Christ makes receiving far easier. But again, I’m still struggling and it’s still a work in progress. But at least I’m moving in the right direction. If only I’d listened to you years ago….

        Thanks for the great post!

        1. Becca,

          We do have to guard our time with God. It so easily slips away. I need to go have my time with Him right now! πŸ™‚

          #5 – you are welcome. There are many, many couples in this boat. I do hope you will begin to receive from him in this area more and not assume you know what he thinks about you or that “he is bored” but rather, maybe he is just exhausted and has a lower drive. Those things aren’t about you. But you can enjoy him when he is available and receive his love for you in those moments and cherish that. πŸ™‚

          #8 – I hope you will realize your smile is a wonderful blessing and gift to those around you and that you will seek to bless others with your beautiful smile and not be so critical of it. My son feels that way about his smile, too, that it is not “good enough” – but it is a beautiful smile that brightens my heart so much. I never want him to hide his wonderful smile.

          #10 – YAY! I’m so proud of you. I know that one is a challenge.

          #14 – you and your husband are VERY different. Even if he doesn’t show love in the ways you want him to, you can learn to appreciate the ways he shows love and feel loved when he does those things for you. πŸ™‚ Your husband also needs you to say what you want directly because he is not good at picking up on all those little hints. πŸ™‚

          #17 – why is that? πŸ™‚

          #18 – men’s brains are wired differently from ours. They don’t have nearly as many neurons connecting the two hemispheres. So it takes time for them to think through things. And, if I were your husband, I would also be trying to figure out how to say things JUST RIGHT so that you would take it right. πŸ™‚ I’m sure that is stressful for our men, too. If they say things and we take it wrong – then there is a lot of work to do to try to correct a misunderstanding.

          #24 – YAY! I’m glad you are working on that. Makes me smile. πŸ™‚

          Much love to you! So glad this was a blessing.

        2. Becca –

          While we don’t have the same struggles with regard to our husbands (some – BOY can I relate to the slow thinking and long pauses!), we could be twins in other ways. I struggle deeply with my self-perceived ugliness. Constantly. I can’t express how much I despise my face and how disgusted I am about most everything about myself. So I don’t have any sage advice for you, but I can offer you understanding.

          Hugs,
          Julie

          1. Julie,

            My precious sister! I am so sad to hear about what a terrible struggle you have with this, too. Do you have any ideas where it may have originated? Were there people speaking these kinds of things into your life when you were younger?

            Much love to you!

    2. Hi Becca! πŸ™‚

      I can totally relate to you about the flower thing – I love them too and I always end up hoping for them on special days, but my boyfriend buys them maybe once a year if that. Here’s something that helps me, maybe it will help you too: my boyfriend is an EXTREMELY practical man. He likes showing his love in things that last longer than flowers. To me, the week I can enjoy a bouquet of flowers gives me so much joy that I don’t even mind throwing them away when they die, but to him, it was something that didn’t last. So he’ll get me things for special days that last forever – either an object or an experience. I noticed your husband bought you jewelry, maybe he thinks along the same lines? This past year, I’ve tried to focus hard on the things my boyfriend does do to show his love for me and I’ve definitely noticed myself get more appreciative of those things (as well as happier because I’m more appreciative). I love how you focused on how he goes to work when it’s cold out so you can homeschool the kids. πŸ™‚

      Much love,
      Flower

  2. So I have accepted the fact I have been disrespectful, I have forgiven him for the emotional affair he has been having with another woman (who I have to interact with weekly). I even forgave her. However the affair didn’t stop and he went from apologizing to me to being totally consumed by this woman and then saying it wasn’t an affair.

    My loving actions and new treatment of him confused and conflicted him and he shut down towards me and then became very defensive around me. I heard every intimate detail of his feelings for this woman, who is married with two children. I kept trying and believing and hoping, but his actions and mean spirit towards me have been killing me. I have sought the help of good friends and a professional counselor. I am focusing my energy on being a Godly person and making myself whole. I can identify strategies that caused problems in our marriage and fully recognize that I did not show him the respect he needed.

    But I also see things in him now that I can’t overlook and realize I can not fix him or hold him up anymore. I want to be respectful to him even though he is not with me. I am not angry or bitter. I just feel like I can’t sit on the porch waiting, while he clearly has made his choice. I know he is broken and still searching for something and still wants affirmation from me, but each time I let him in it hurts. I am scared of him because he took my security away and scattered my entire sense of reality. He says he wants space.

    I want to distance myself from him for my own sanity and safety. We have been living separately for one month now. He has taking trip after trip looking to find a way to make himself happy, he has been rallying his friends and family against me. He shares nothing with me about his plans or actions, but makes sure to tell me he is having fun. He keeps telling me it is over, but he keeps calling, texting and showing up. I know he wants me to be the one to make the final decision, because again I can be the scape goat.

    I have been reading your blogs for the past two months and have found they calm me and keep me focused and give me direction, but at this stage I do not know where to go. I feel like the writing is on the wall and I don’t want to be on the rollar coaster anymore. I feel like he is trying to punish me and I just want to grieve the loss and move forward. Maybe down the road things could be different, but he needs to do some real soul searching and study as I have and he needs to learn to love himself before he can truly love anyone else.

    What say you?

    1. Sara,

      It is wonderful to hear from you, my dear sister! But what a painful situation. πŸ™

      How long ago did you realize you had been disrespectful?

      If he is unrepentant and involved in an emotional affair, I understand why you need to keep distance. Until he repents, you can’t really trust him or begin to rebuild trust or the marriage. What is his relationship with Christ?

      If he is unwilling to repent and wants a divorce, I would really love for him to have to be the one to make the decision to divorce so that he can’t blame you for divorcing him. But I pray for God’s wisdom for you about that.

      He needs Christ and he needs repentance, yes.

      What is your counselor suggesting you do at this point? How is your walk with Christ going? What do you believe God desires you to do?

      Much love to you!

  3. I have a burning question regarding #15 on the list regarding honoring and supporting your husband’s parenting:

    What would you do if a Christian husband allows your children to do things that, beyond a shadow of doubt, affect them salvation-wise, but he doesn’t see the connection in spite of your pointing it out? What would you do if your husband continues to feel that it is okay for your teens, who are far from being rooted and grounded, to mingle, according to him, as Jesus would, with a teen who has defiant, ungodly ways and as a result, because of the verbal and physical disrespect he has shown towards his mother and the profanity and smut that comes from his mouth, your teens have beheld and have become grossly changed into his likeness?

    What would you do If you discovered, when you returned home from shopping and wondered where your young teens were, that your husband gave them permission to go into the “unchurched” home of this teen that owns every violent XBox game ever created and spends day in and day out playing these games instead of playing outside?

    What would you do about this, know that neither you or your huband has been in this teen’s home and the teen’s damaging influence is so widely known that the neighborhood mothers keep their children away from him?

    Would you consider yourself being disrespectful or not being biblically submissive to your husband or not honoring his parenting, if you did not allow your children to mingle with this teen when your husband’s not home or even if you discovered, upon your return home that your husband allowed them to visit this teen in your absence, and you went to retrieve them?

    I have prayed for the scales to fall off my husband’s eyes and for this teen and his family, and even took the teen to our VBS for a whole week. And yes, I have asked God to show me if there is any wicked way in me and to change my heart. However, do I sit back, while I wait for God to move mountains, and allow my children to be the sacrificial lambs in order to save a soul and to keep peace in my home, where I am viewed by my children as not being the submissive wife because I have chosen not to allow them to visit the “lion’s den?”

    1. Ann,

      If a husband is sinning, a wife does have a responsibility to respectfully confront him about it.

      Have you discussed your concerns about the situation with your husband in private? If so, how did you share and what was his response? Is it possible that you have different perspectives and convictions on this issue?

      What do you believe God desires you to do at this point?

      Much love to you!

      Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 1
      Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 2

  4. Sara, sweet sister, I have been right where you are….my story is too long to write here, but I will say just continue to seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom on what to do…..He is faithful and He will show you, as He did me. He will bring beauty from the ashes…..I am living proof of that! Your story may unfold differently than mine (I am remarried to an amazing and godly man), but it will be a story that tells of His grace, mercy, and love.

  5. Thank you for this list and for your faithful, steadfast and enduring work on this blog. This is a wonderful and refined list; so much of your earlier work is honed and perfectly aligned in this one, and I will come back to it many times as I continue to grow. I pray the Spirit uses this list to inspire and transform!

  6. I’m struck by how many of the recommendations are things that we would do very easily for friends or others in our lives but we have to be reminded to treat our husbands with just the basic respect that we offer to those others without a thought!

    1. Jennifer,

      I think it is easier to respect those who are not as close to us and to treat them with common courtesy. Yes, these are all things we would almost all gladly do for friends and acquaintances. Interesting, isn’t it?

  7. April, thank you for posting this list. It’s nice to see respectful behaviour summed up so concisely. I appreciate this, because (as you know) although I am currently trying to work on respecting myself, standing up for myself, and speaking the truth in love, I also want to ensure that I remain respectful to my husband at all times, too. This is challenging sometimes. So this list is a good reminder for me right now.

    I would also like to comment on Valentine’s Day – you have mentioned it more than once, so I am guessing that this really is an issue for a lot of women. This is surprising to me. I haven’t gotten a blessed thing for Valentine’s Day for at least 10 years. Nor for my birthday, nor for Christmas. I stopped expecting my husband to ever give me anything in the way of gifts a long time ago. I am not sure why, but he just doesn’t do that. What I do to make the holidays more enjoyable for myself, is that I buy myself something, rather than waiting for him to do it. I buy myself something I’ve been wanting on my birthday and on Christmas, and on Valentine’s, I bake something decadent and chocolate, and I enjoy it. πŸ™‚

    (Granted, it took me a while to get to that point. I did used to feel very dejected in years past over this issue. I was so much happier once I stopped having any expectations whatsoever, and took my happiness into my own hands.)

    I mention this to perhaps encourage women who might be feeling bad that their husband’s didn’t do enough on Valentine’s Day – because if any husband out there does *something*, that is a lot more than many other husbands. And besides, there are ways for us to enjoy any holiday without our husband’s input. (And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that God’s love is always there and never fails us, ever – and that is something we can celebrate each and every day.)

    This year on Valentine’s Day, I decided to get something small for my husband – some candy I knew he would like, and a card that was cute but not too mushy. He appeared pretty angry at first that I got him something, but after all was said and done I think he liked the gift, and I am glad that I did it. That, added to the deliciousness of the big batch of chocolate cupcakes I made for everyone to share, and I think it was a successful Valentine’s Day. I think having no expectations, and just enjoying things are they are, is the key.

    Anyhow, thank you once again for this list, April. I am going to print it out and read now and then as a reminder when I’m having a difficult day. πŸ™‚

    1. Laura,

      Ah! You learned a powerful secret to contentment – to lay down expectations of your husband and to do things you enjoy for yourself and to be content with what you have. That is awesome!

      I’m really glad you are learning to respect yourself and to stand up for yourself – in the situation you are in, I am sure that is not easy at all. I know you are experiencing some extremely difficult trials. I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister. You are certainly never called to respect sin or to feed addictions.

      Thank you for encouraging our sisters who may be feeling depressed after disappointments yesterday. I love how you set the thermostat for your family and did things to make the day special without resentment or bitterness – just with a spirit of joy and generosity. That is awesome!

      I’m glad this was a blessing. Much love to you!

  8. i am still working my way through this journey.. im to the point i feel drained and like i will never get there and my husband will never change… im trying to hang in there and stay faithful but its so hard at times. at times its easy! which keeps me going, but times when i may be tired, hormonal, hungry, need rest, which unfortunately happens through out the month, my husband is not full of grace.

    so i feel whenever i am “off” or not 100% he is different and unhappy if i show even the littlest amount of disrespect, or am not super sweet, he seems mad or distant. He loves when im “sweet” he says that often, like i just want you to be sweet to me. & i feel i am most of the time. the other day in an argument about my attitude i said im sorry im not being how i am 99.9 percent of the time and he laughed at that, insinuating that thats not true so i was kind of confused. because he has no idea how much i hold in to stay respectful for him. because im not sure why but i disagree with so much he says and does. it really is draining. especially since my husband is selfish mostly, and not very humble at all, (which my family likes to remind me of a lot) yet claims to have a great relationship with God.

    i wish this was easy for me. i wish i was raised in a respectful household, and that my personality was meek and quiet and i wish i didnt have so much opinion. i feel my husband would have liked to have married that woman a lot more.

    1. Emma S,

      This is not easy for any of us – and, actually, it is impossible in our own strength. The only way any of us have the power to be respectful genuinely and to be godly wives is to have God’s Spirit flowing abundantly through us. I can relate very much to what you are describing. That is how I felt at the beginning of my journey, so often.

      How is your walk with Christ going, my precious sister? It sounds like you may be spiritually running on empty. Let’s start there. That is your power source. And let’s keep in mind – the ultimate goal here is to please Christ and to honor Him. Husbands may not always be pleased. Our goal is not to “make them happy all the time.” Our goal is to walk in obedience to God and to be the women He calls us to be. Your husband is responsible for his emotions and his spiritual well-being. You are responsible for yours. But none of us can do anything good apart from Christ working in us. We change for God. We do not change to become people pleasers. I hope that makes sense.

      This is not easy – and that is part of the blessing of this journey. We have to realize our complete dependence on Christ. We have to realize we can’t do this ourselves. That drives us to Jesus. This is ultimately all about our relationship with Him, not really about our husbands at all. It is the difficulty of this journey that God uses to refine, mature, and grow us. Let’s talk about this a bit more, my dear sister!

      Much love to you!

  9. it’s just kind of hard to take my husband completely out of the equation. he is supposed to be my other half in representing christ and the church but maybe i need to just stop focusing on him and making him happy. i think that is a big priority for me.
    i think i have a lot of resentment towards him that may surface in my actions… for example i feel i was mislead about a few things from his past that have now come to light and instead of talking with him about it, because he is a terrible talker, gets angry easily and makes me feel my concerns are really unimportant. i hold it in and it makes it so much harder to respect him.

    im not sure if i am supposed to bring things up, or just let eveything go.
    also sometimes i feel like i would feel so much better to tell him how i feel he is sometimes?! selfish and prideful etc, but i guess i am not supposed to do that either?

    its just so hard figuring out what is disrespectful and what isnt and figuring out what is right to do in these marriage situations and what isnt and because i get so confused i get frusterated easily with him

    1. Emma S,

      What I would like to do is a bit of a spiritual check up – and then we can begin to address these frustrations you are facing once I have a handle on where you are with Christ. πŸ™‚

      1. What is your relationship with Christ?

      2. What do you desire in your walk with Christ? What things do you pray for?

      3. How much time are you spending with God? What have you been reading?

      4. Are you spending time in praise, thanksgiving, and praying about things other than your husband, too?

      5. What issues is God speaking to you about things He wants to change in your life?

      Much love to you! πŸ™‚

      1. well my relationship with Christ i believe is good. I spend time with him and love him and know he loves me. also i feel safe with him, knowing that even on my bad days he loves me for who i am and forgives me, and his love is unconditional, not like my husband.

        i desire i strong connection between me and god, stronger than now. not that i dont have a strong connection but i will always desire more. i pray a lot for my husband and my marriage. i find it hard to focus on other things bc i feel i have so much to do with how my husband turns out, i have seen it happen when i am not praying for him or when i do something specific and he ends up sinning so i feel i have a large bit of control over his actions.. i know this is probably wrong.

        i spend time with god every morning… sometimes i feel my time with him is mostly trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why certain things with my marriage are so hard and why i have weird thoughts and feelings sometimes regaurding my husband and why i married him etc.

        i do spend time in praise and thanksgiving and praying for other things but mostly for my husband and marriage…. sometimes that is all its about.

        but like i said i think this is because so many things have been suppressed for so long

        1. also i should add that recently my husband did come to me and say that how i have been towards him is affecting him negatively and he wants to know whats going on, i would like to talk to him but i feel like there are SO many things that i couldnt stick to one topic and he would be very overwhelmed

        2. Emma S,

          Do you think it could be possible that you might be “enmeshed” with your husband? Or that you could be pinning your worth and value on him, expecting him to meet some of your deepest needs that only Christ can meet?

          What do you believe you need to be content and happy in life?

          What are your greatest fears?

          Thanks for going through this check up with me. It helps me to see where you are and then I will do my best to point you to the healing that is in Christ! πŸ™‚

          1. Emma S,

            I used to be enmeshed with Greg, too. I idolized Greg and expected him to make me happy and depended on him meeting all of my expectations or I was a mess. I have LOTS of posts about finding freedom from this destructive mindset. I would like to invite you to read a few of them and let me know what God may be speaking to your heart, my precious sister:

            Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His First Priority – by A Fellow Wife
            A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness
            A Fellow Wife Thinks about Giving Space
            Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife
            Not Too Close and Not Too Far Away – by Peacefulwife (about not being enmeshed)
            The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox
            Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships
            The Snare of People Pleasing

            There is healing available for you in Christ today! I’m honored to walk beside you for each baby step. πŸ™‚

            Much love!

          2. I will research these.. i do want to change but what about the things my husband needs to change? What about his selfishness and the things he does that hurt me, do you think i should bring those up and ask him to change?

          3. Emma S,
            Let’s focus on you first, then God will give you the wisdom, power, and insight you need about how to approach your husband. The first step is always to allow God to transform us. πŸ™‚ After you read some of the posts I suggested, let’s talk about what God is showing you. We will talk about how to address your husband in a bit, okay? πŸ™‚

          4. Hi emma s. I’m still learning a lot and have a long way to go but I can relate to a lot of what you are saying too. I feel I don’t have much to offer to comments yet for others, but I also found the post called ‘I’m going to stop pursuing my husband in the wrong ways’ very helpful. Something just kinda clicked when I read that. I have also been extremely enmeshed with my husband and only now after over a year, am I starting to see the rewards for myself of stepping back from expectations from my husband and giving him space. Don’t give up. I believe the peace for you too will come as it has started to for me. Just in Gods timing not ours. That’s been the hardest part. Waiting on God. Concentrate on you, and as April says, leave your husband to God. He is able where we are not. Praying for you.

          5. bel,
            this one was EXTREMELY helpful for me too. thanks for sending to me, thanks for the encouragement! It has really helped! Praying for you too πŸ™‚ & all marriages this afternoon.
            Thanks to you too April! Thanks for clearing up “pursue” on the other post. You all are really helpful and i am thankful.

          6. Emma S,

            You are most welcome. The things I present can be tough to wrap your mind around at first when you are used to thinking a certain way for decades. I’m glad to talk with you about anything any time!

            Much love! I am praying for God’s healing for you, my sweet sister!

  10. My dear sisters,

    As a bit of comic relief, perhaps you’d enjoy knowing how Valentine’s Day went for us this year. Alas, the best-laid plans often go awry.

    I had planned on making a delicious roast beef dinner for my husband (his favorite meal) with candlelight, a thoughtful card, and a long neck rub (perhaps more?). Except than on Friday, things started going downhill. We drove my granddaughter home, did a little shopping, and I fell asleep on the way home, with a sore throat and throbbing head. On Saturday morning I couldn’t breathe, had no energy to even sit up for more than a few minutes. Soon I had a fever, racing heart, and was wheezing with bronchitis. My husband brought me vitamins, immune sprays (too late for these?), medicine, and kept our woodstove going. He propped pillows, tried to tempt me with food, bought a box of Puff’s Plus tissues, and stayed with me.

    At some point on Saturday I confessed that I hadn’t bought him a card yet, at which he confessed he hadn’t bought me one yet either (we live miles from a card store). On Sunday morning I braved a look in the mirror. It was a face only a husband with the reddest and rosiest of rose-colored glasses could love: swollen nose, hair orbiting my head full of static electricity, colorless, watering eyes, and parched lips. My body was wrapped in the warmest fleece robe we had, the old one with white polar bears on a black background, and my legs in black leggings were sticking out below that. I thanked my husband for his TLC, and told him it was the best Valentine of all. I didn’t miss the card–or anything else he might have purchased (the Puff Plus tissues were great, however).

    My sisters, why let the world dictate how our husbands should “love” us? Why be disappointed if they don’t guess at gifts perfectly, or resent having to “jump” when the world says they should? I have purchased things for myself that I really desired, and enjoyed them just the same. Can’t we rest in the knowledge of our husband’s love without the seeming “validation” of their love that the world says holiday gifts provide? Isn’t that allowing our culture to define the state of our marriage?

    Why not assess that for ourselves, in other, more authentic ways? Such freedom exists in not being slaves to the system of things that promotes these ideas, primarily to fuel the commercialism of this world. We are free to see our husbands as whole men, across all time, not puppets that “perform”–or not–on just the designated days. Having said that, I still enjoy Valentine’s Day, and so does my husband. The difference is, we can take it or leave it, and we don’t allow in to define who we are.

    1. Elizabeth,

      We have had anniversaries like that! Ha!

      Thank you for sharing your story. I sure hope you feel better today!

      But what a powerful message you have to share. Yes, let’s not hold our husband to these expectations that are driven by commercialism or card companies or worldly holidays. Let’s rest in their love and savor the ways they show love for us on a daily basis and be content and delighted in what we have.

      I love that you don’t use Valentine’s Day to measure your husband’s love for you or let it define your marriage. That is beautiful!

  11. I think one way that my husband feels more respected is when I don’t automatically try to defend myself, or explain his feelings away as unreasonable, when he is upset.

    Granted, there are many times when he gets upset about something truly insignificant, or he misunderstands something and gets angry without seeking to learn the true thoughts or motives. In those moments, I respect him by giving him space and allowing God to speak truth to him. He can’t often hear truth from me when he is being deceived.

    And the last time this happened, he took it upon himself to see a doctor about his reactions. All because I decided to keep my mouth closed. πŸ™‚

    1. Victorious Wife,

      It is so awesome to hear from you and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new name!

      I like this – you give him time to process his feelings, especially when he is being unreasonable and isn’t able to hear you. How wonderful that as you stayed silent, he realized he was overreacting and that he needed help. He didn’t have any sin on your part to blame for his overreaction and was able to see that he was in the wrong. That is amazing!!!

      Are things going any better?

      How may we pray for you?

      So great to hear from you, my dear sister!

      1. Things have been going much better. He saw his primary care doctor, who prescribed him Lexapro. I’m not necessarily certain that it’s the best medication, but he has been SO MUCH more calm and relaxed lately. Still himself, still with the same energy, the same humor, the same affection (maybe more), the same drive, but he doesn’t get as irritable as he used to. There have been two times since he began the medication that he overreacted about something, or believed a lie, but I didn’t attempt to correct his thinking.

        One of those times, I did apologize for something I had done innocently, not realizing it would upset him, but telling him I understood why it did. The apology was not well received and he was still angry for a while. But I had to rest in the fact that I learned and although he says he’s tired of dealing with “the same stuff over and over,” I realize I’m not going to be perfect instantly. I might make the same mistakes again. But the point is that I’m trying not to. I’m not overlooking them or excusing them. I still have a long ways to go in not berating myself when he gets upset over a mistake I make, but I am learning to give myself grace even if he does not. That’s huge for me.

        The second time, I could tell he was upset over a lie he was telling himself and believing, but I didn’t ask about it, I didn’t bring light to it, I just ignored it and went about my business. The next morning, it blew over and when the topic was brought up again, it was as though he’d never been upset about it to begin with.

        I am reading the Word daily, praying, studying the Bible more, reading devotions, listening to worship music, and growing so much every day. I am grateful that God is drawing me closer to Him through this. I am grateful that I am being allowed to minister to other wives and encourage them towards submission as well! I am truly looking forward to seeing what God does in my husband’s heart and mind and life!

        Please continue to pray that God convicts my husband of his own sin. Please pray that God will open my husband’s eyes to the TRUTH, to satan’s tactics, that he will recognize them for what they are. Please pray that God will release my husband from any shame that he is chained to, so that he can walk in the freedom that Christ purchased for him!

        Thank you!!!

        1. Victorious Wife,
          This is awesome! Thank you so much for the update. πŸ™‚

          I’m so glad to hear about your walk with Christ and about what God is doing. I pray that God will continue His work in both of your hearts. Yes! I pray with you for victory in your husband’s life over the enemy and sin. And I pray for healing and freedom from all shame for him in Christ!

          Much love to you!!! WOOHOO!

  12. Hello Peaceful Wife. I only discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I’ve been really encouraged through your words. God is using you to speak to me! Thank you!

    A week before Christmas, my husband came in and said he had seen a divorce attorney. This was completely out of the blue for me. We had some divorce talk previously, but I didn’t realize he was back to that place. I grew up in an abusive home, but I did grow up with a strong Christian faith. My husband and I have been married 12 years.

    We’ve had a pretty rough time. He is very passive and introverted and struggles to succeed in life. I am intelligent and capable and I tend to succeed at just about anything I try. Except marriage. We also have infertility. We were not able to conceive after four years trying. We have no known medical issues after testing. We were planning to start treatment in November and he was seemingly on board until the night before and he stopped it. I was devastated and spiraled back into a depressed and disrespectful mood.

    After he said he wanted a divorce I immediately apologized and began praying more and trying to change my behavior. I pray in my closet almost every day and this all has helped me a lot. Things improved slightly. I found your blog and was totally awakened to what it was exactly that I was doing wrong. The first list I read was “I’m not going to pursue my husband anymore”. I had really been struggling with the complete lack of affection after the divorce threat. So, I made my own list of goals and began fighting back at Satan and God has given me so much encouragement. He now hugs me a lot more, says I love you here and there, helps me around the house, and even tells me I’m pretty. This all in the last two months. We had gone from complete cold shoulder to a much more open attitude.

    The main thing now is sex. It’s always been a super huge problem for us. He never initiates. I see now that my attitudes and actions are what led to that. He’s responsible too of course but I don’t have any control over what his choices are. I really really really need our sex life to come back. I’m waiting and not saying anything because I feel God is telling me to wait on Him to work this out.

    So then Valentine’s Day came. I decided to get him something nice that he would like to have. I got a blank card and wrote some things I love about him. I really agonized over whether I should do this because I’m taking the “no pursuing” route. In the end I decided to give it to him. He got me a cookie and gas station candy which was totally fine. I made him feel bad tho because he didn’t do more. I apologized and told him my only intention was to make him feel special and give him something he would love. I asked him if I shouldn’t have done that. He said it was ok and a really nice gift. But I couldn’t stop feeling I listened to my flesh and my God.

    I just don’t know what the balance is between being romantic for him and not pursuing him. And men think we are confusing. Sheesh. I told him that I would be happy to give up Valentine’s Day. I know men hate it and it’s contrived and insincere. I said I love getting gifts but it could be any time and not v day.

    Sorry for the novel. Thoughts?

    1. Michelle,

      It is so wonderful to meet you, my precious sister! I am excited about what God is doing in your heart already. And what you are seeing in your marriage – the healing that is slowly taking place.

      I have walked beside a number of women during infertility issues as a pharmacist and on the blog, as well as at my church. If you are open to it, I have some suggestions and observations that may be helpful for you as you seek to honor Christ and heal your marriage. πŸ™‚

      Men are very confusing to us. We are very confusing to them. We are so different. But as we study and learn to understand each other – we can learn to communicate, and God often makes us much more holy in the process. πŸ™‚

      Has your husband shared his reasons for wanting a divorce? Has he said specifically what he needed or what hurt him? Has he talked about the infertility issue and how he felt about treatment?

      Are either of you dealing with any mental health issues or addictions, to your knowledge?

      Much love to you!!!! πŸ™‚ And a huge hug!

      1. I am so open to anything an everything you have for me! He would not talk to me about what made him want a divorce except that I was never happy and he didn’t have any romantic love left for me. He was really angry so I didn’t push for much. I could tell the time for talking was past. He also feels like I talk him in circles because and turn everything around on him which I’ve stopped. He has an insanely good memory for all things committed against him. After a couple weeks he was bringing up little conversations from 10 years ago that I couldn’t even recall. God gave me the grace to just say I’m sorry even though I wanted to defend myself. I know he sees a difference in me.
        He’s incredibly bad at expressing any thought or feeling he has. He’s been seemingly just fine with everything. Until he’s not. It’s very stressful. I think it’s possible he could have add or even aspbergers but I’m just guessing. He’s very frequently in his head to the point that it can be hours before he thinks to engage me. Also though I have to say that it is somewhat better since I gave up trying to force him. The issue for me has always been feeling like i have to carry all the weight of a husband because he doesn’t lead and regretting that I can’t focus on being a wife. So I’m giving up all that I can reclaiming my wifehood! I want to be a good wife. He will not tell me anything he wants me to do so it’s all guess work. I’m just trying to live by what god says I should be as a wife and christian and hoping that’s enough.

        1. I have struggled with depression some which is exacerbated by the infertility. He has had issues with porn in the past. I used to police him on this, but I quit. He says he doesn’t have this problem now and I hope that is true. No other addictions.

          1. Michelle,

            Okay, that is good – that the porn issue is in the past and that you are no longer trying to be his Holy Spirit or thought police.

            What are your greatest fears, my sister?

            What do you believe you need in marriage to be happy?

            What was your parent’s marriage like?

            What was your husband’s parents’ marriage like?

            Much love to you!

          2. My parents marriage was/is very unhealthy. My dad was abused (emotional/verbal/sexual) and he became the abuser (emotional/verbal) My mom is extremely passive. She is just now starting to stand up for herself to him after a lot of prayer and encouragement from me. I didn’t know my husband’s parents. They passed by the time he was 25. They were Catholic and he was an unexpected child when his mom was in her 40s and dad in 50s. His siblings have some issues, but I didn’t know them and my husband doesn’t have much insight about that. To him it was fine. In my marriage I want to be lead well by a husband who seeks and loves the Lord. I’m exhausted of leading. I wasn’t made for it. I also don’t want to be poor, sexless, and without children forever which is why I have always fought submitting. Those are my deepest fears I suppose. Being alone or being miserable and regretting my whole life. I’ve always been afraid that my life would mean nothing. I’m at that special age (33) when I have the feeling that this cannot be my life forever? I want to be a wife. I wasn’t made to be a husband.

          3. Michelle,

            It sounds like you are going to have some serious work to do to comb through the examples you saw and your expectations about marriage, just like I had to – and we all have to – and then reject everything that is not of God and rebuild from scratch on God’s wisdom and His Word.

            I relate very much to your fears. I thought I had to lead in my marriage, too. Turns out, I was wrong. If I was willing to step back and patiently wait – Greg was willing to step up and lead, but he was not going to fight me for that position. I had to do a LOT of waiting at first. And his timing is not my timing. He does things a lot more slowly than I do. He leads in a different way than I would. But God does lead me through him now that I don’t run ahead of God and Greg anymore and I patiently wait.

            The crazy thing is, the things we fear the most are the very things we create when we take over and try to do things our way. Our greatest fears are often the opposite of our idols. I had no idea I had idols. I never bowed down to a statue, but then God showed me that I put so many things above Christ in my heart. Those were the things I really wanted most in life. They were the things I was willing to do almost anything to have. And they were not Jesus.

            I know the path from where you are to spiritual healing for you and for your marriage and to how your husband can become a godly leader. The things I am going to ask you to do will be completely counterintuitive and probably pretty scary at first, but they will lead to healing, peace, rest, and probably to the intimacy you have always longed for in your marriage. But it is going to have to be God’s way, not Michelle’s way.

            After you have read some of those posts and you believe you are ready to jump in, we’ll start tackling each step together. πŸ™‚

            A note about dealing with infertility – here is what I have seen as a pharmacist and as a mentor:

            1. Having children tends to become an idol for the wife when a couple deals with infertility.
            2. Sex becomes a time of great pressure, stress, and anxiety for husbands.
            3. Some husbands really don’t want to go through with treatment because of the invasiveness, the risks, and the expense, but they feel forced into it at times. This can create resentment and bitterness.
            4. Some husbands feel very emasculated by the infertility thing to start with, but then even more so by the treatment process and sometimes also by their wives’ controlling behavior about the subject.

            A wife who has having children as an idol can repel her husband from herself and from the idea of having children.

            When you are ready, it will be time to lay your biggest fears before God and decide if you can trust Him and His Word and promises or if you will choose to continue trusting self. At first, it is terrifying to begin to choose God. But eventually, you realize that the terrifying place to be is trusting self. We don’t have power over much. We are not sovereign. But God is. The best place to be in the world is trusting Him. πŸ™‚

            Yes, we do have to lay down our biggest dreams (well, really, ALL of our dreams, but the biggest ones are the hardest) at the altar before God – all of us do that. We must all be willing to hold the things of this world loosely and cling to Christ alone. But if He does say no to our dreams, we can know that He still has good plans for us. Being in the center of His will is the only place I want to be now. It is the BEST place to be. There may be disappointment, hardship, struggle, and suffering – but if I have Christ, I have everything that matters! Now that I have tasted how good He is, I know He is truly the Greatest Treasure there is in the universe, nothing and no one can compare with Him. I want Him – more and more of Him. The other details, I trust to His wisdom.

            We will talk more about this when you are ready!

            Much love!

    2. Michelle,

      I would love to walk beside you on this road. πŸ™‚

      Here are a few things to get you started…

      Please search my home page for “Grace Alone” – her posts are about a very similar struggle with infertility and personalities in the marriage. I am hoping she might have a moment to comment here, as well. I believe she may have some very helpful wisdom to share from her own journey. πŸ™‚

      Also, please check out:

      When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

      And search – “lead” and “leader”

      Also, “passive husband,” “unplugged husband,” “emotionally distant husband.”

      And please search, “idol,” and “control.”

      Let’s talk about what God is speaking to you any time. After you have read some of these posts, I would like to share what I have seen with the dynamics during a struggle with infertility in marriage. πŸ™‚

      Much love!

      1. I’m on it! I can already say I am on board. I’ve already got a few weeks of change under my belt, as God has been speaking to me through a Bible study (The Armor of God, Pricilla Shirer) even before he led me to you (which is a neat story I’ll tell you sometime). Should I meet you back here or can I email you?

          1. What I’m struggling with right now is not talking about it. Everyone keeps telling me I should tell him how I feel and talk about our issues. I really feel like God is calling me to be silent right now. Talking has not worked in the past. But I don’t know how far to take that. Should I try to ask him about how I can try to meet his expectations? He has never been able to tell me what his expectations are, and we literally have not talked about things since the divorce threat occurred. I don’t really feel that I especially need to. I just don’t know how to handle things going forward. Should I just take it one day at a time as particular situations arise? Do I pretend nothing bothers me and pray for God to make that true inside? I know it will take a lot of time before he believes my sincerity. I’m a fixer and I’ve been trying very hard to lay all of that at Jesus feet. And he has been faithful to give me encouragement when I ask for it. I have gone exactly two months without saying anything negative or talking to him about how I feel. It is getting easier, but he’s been asking me if I’m mad or asking if he shouldn’t do this or that. So it’s kind of feeling like a trap. I feel that what he wants is not just for me not to express my feeling negatively but not even to have them. Which honestly that would be great but I’m not there yet.

          2. Michelle,

            If you are hearing clearly from God to wait and be silent, I vote to go with what He is prompting you to do, my dear sister! I pray for you to be very sensitive to His voice and His desire for you. πŸ™‚

            People will often try to give us advice – and they are well-meaning. They love us. We can prayerfully consider what they suggest. But ultimately, we must do what we believe God desires us to do in a specific situation. We will answer to Him, not to anyone else, in the end.

            I went through a Frustrating Quiet Phase myself – even though my husband was just very shut down and unplugged when God woke me up, and he hadn’t threatened divorce. I don’t think this should be a permanent thing, but it can be necessary temporarily at first when we don’t know yet how to stop disrespect and how to speak respectfully – particularly if we have been quite controlling or disrespectful.

            Check out To Speak or Not to Speak, perhaps that may be helpful?

            There may be times when you do need to share your feelings, concerns, ideas, and perspective. I don’t want you to permanently not share your feelings. I don’t think your husband doesn’t want you to have feelings, actually, most likely, he just wants you to be able to express yourself respectfully and to not try to pressure or control him or to override his feelings. Does that make sense?

            Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom and healing for you both. πŸ™‚

          3. Michelle,

            Awesome! That is such a great place to start.

            How is your walk with Christ going?

            What are you praying about?

            Are you spending time asking God to change you? Are you also focusing on lots of praise and thanksgiving?

            Much love!

          4. My walk is the best it’s ever been right now. I’ve always had strong faith, and I read my Bible 5-6 days a week, but like a lot of ladies on here I struggle with trusting God to work things out. I look at people all over the world, who things never get better for and I kind of freak.

            I have been prayer journaling for several weeks now and that has really been a blessing. Although I did tear them all out today because I felt like a lot of my prayers for my marriage were coming from a fleshly part of me. I realized all my prayers for my husband have been about me. I’ve been focusing on the armor of God lately and also what God says about being a wife.

            Being abused has left me with major trust issues and a serious fear of letting anyone else control anything about my life. I can see now how Satan had dug his heals in. I’ve been casting him out and trying to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with God’s truth. I self speak the gospel a lot.

            Last night I was being attacked with dreams and so I got up and meditated on each of the items of the armor of God. My goal is to please God and not create an environment of invitation for the enemy. I know that if that’s my focus then things will change. I’m trying not to focus on making my husband happy because I know that’s impossible. I’m just trying to step back and allow him the space he needs. And things are definitely better. Not as fast as I want but it did take twelve years to get here after all.

            I’m struggling with a lot of irrational anger. I always have. For example, I watch kids in my home. (I know, not smart to do with infertility) The youngest is a precious little girl and my husband absolutely adores her although he pretty much ignores the other kids. And that makes me insanely angry to the point that I’ve asked God to make her not like him which I know isn’t right. He knows it hurts when he chooses giving her attention and affection over me but he still does it. I’ve been trying to pray when it happens and busy myself until the feeling passes.

            I also struggle with not trusting him. Anytime he isn’t in my presence I assume he’s doing something wrong. I’ve been telling myself that love always trusts. I clearly have a mountain of issues. I believe God can redeem this marriage though!

          5. Michelle,

            Have you worked through healing from the scars of the abuse you suffered with a godly counselor? If not, I would strongly encourage you to work with someone you trust who can help walk you through that healing. πŸ™‚

            I’m really glad to hear how you are speaking the gospel and God’s Word to yourself and are replacing the negative thoughts with God’s truth. THAT IS AWESOME! That will help you heal so much. πŸ™‚ I also love how you meditated on the items of the armor of God. I love your heart for Christ. I love that you are focusing on seeking to please Him.

            So you feel really jealous if your husband gives this little girl more attention than he gives to you? Can you think of some healthy ways you could both enjoy this sweet little girl together where you could cherish that he loves that little girl and admire and respect that he gives her attention? I assume that if you were to have a baby together, you would want your husband to be involved and to give the child affection and attention? Is the real issue that he is giving her affection and attention – or that you feel he has been withholding affection and attention from you?

            If your husband is untrustworthy, trust will need to be rebuilt. But do you believe he is truly untrustworthy at this time? Are you willing to rebuild trust? Ultimately, your trust will be primarily in God, not your husband. But as he proves himself to be trustworthy, you can begin to trust him more. I would guess that he knows you condemn him and look down on him and this may contribute to why he has shut down and feels disrespected.

            These are pretty normal issues that many, many wives have to work through. You and your husband are not beyond the reach of Christ! I know God can redeem this marriage. I have seen Him do it hundreds of times before. Sometimes in worse situations than this. πŸ™‚

            Much love to you!

          6. I have worked through the abuse. The problem is that my brain is hardwired to react a certain way because of that. That is something I pray about and try to work on, but I think only God can fix a broken brain. The problem with the little girl is two-fold. First, Inman because he diets on her and ignores me. Second,I’m mad that he’s sending the message to the other kids that they are not as valuable. That is clearly something I’ve felt as a child and it makes me mad. They all have to follow the rules and he’s constantly pulling her out of the group and letting her do other things with him. I guess I also feel pain because he would be a great dad and she’s not ours and I blame him for the fact we don’t have kids. He refused for ten years and now we don’t have much sex and I’m getting older. I realize rationally he had a right to feel that way, but I still blame him. The trust issue is partly the way I was raised not to trust and partly that he has done some things in the past in secret that hurt me.

          7. I think other response was lost. I can’t remember what I said.

            My walk with Christ is better than its ever been right now. I’ve been prayer journaling and doing an awesome study on the armor of God and reading what the bible says about being a wife. I’ve been praying a lot about the armor of God and each individual peace, praying for God to change my heart. I’m trying to better understand what God’s character is. I’ve also just realized all my prayers about my husband were really about me so I ripped them all out. I don’t actually think I know how to pray for him.

            I do try to thank God for everything that seems to be better. I developed a habit a couple years ago of thanking God for the bad and difficult things. I try to remember to do that but sometimes my emotions just go crazy. I struggle with trust issues from abuse and I am afraid of letting someone else hold control over my life because of that. I struggle with anger. I always have.

            Honestly. I don’t think my husband even wanted to marry me after he saw how broken I was. He was just afraid of me. That makes me sad. I do believe that God can redeem our marriage though. I was hurt tonight when I saw the Valentine card (I had written a list of things I love about him) in the trash. I guess my words don’t really mean anything right now. I tried to see it from his point of view, and managed not to say anything. I suppose that’s a win.

            But then I broke my rule and told him about a tough kid I had today and I felt bad. I don’t think I should be venting to him at all because it makes him see me in a bad way. I don’t like to fail. And I’m a horrible secret keeper so it’s tough for me to zip it.
            Ps I’m reading every one of the posts you send me. I’m afraid we’ve opened a can of worms with me. I’m very thankful for you and your resources.

          8. Michelle, I just wanted to say that I relate to so many things you’ve spoken about – feeling like your husband doesn’t want to hear your feelings and that you’d rather get to a place where you don’t have them….feeling like you shouldn’t vent to him at all because he sees you in a bad light, the jealousy when he’s away from you and thoughts of what he could be doing. I totally get you. Just wanted to know that you are not alone in feeling those things (sometimes it just helps to know that there are others out there like you!)

            God has done a lot of work on me in those areas, and there is still a lot of work to do. I wanted to encourage you that He will complete the good work He has begun in you. You and He can deal with all of those questions together (should I talk about my feelings, etc.) – He is your best friend and He is not condemning you, but longing to set you free. He will lead and guide you (and through His children like April)

            I pray that you will be able to know and understand the depth of God’s love for you, a love that is so amazing that nothing at all will ever separate you from Him. (Ephesians 3:14-21) He is the solution for our lonely, hurting hearts. Praying for you today and rejoicing in Him and His work!

          9. Jennifer, thank you so much for lifting me up! I sometimes feel that I’m a total nut job for feeling these things. Wow, this community right here. I wish I would have found it sooner. God is so good!

      2. I had some victories and eye opening moments yesterday I wanted to share.

        My husband kissed me on the mouth for the first time since December. That’s may seem small, but I’ve been asking God for that and I felt so thankful and encouraged. I feel so full of hope for the first time in a very long time.

        Second, I was able to tell my husband gently that I didn’t want to watch the tv show we had just started because it was too vulgar and I was feeling upset in my spirit about it. I offered to go in the other room and watch something else so that he could watch it if he wanted. He said he agreed with me. And I didn’t say another word about it!

        We have been going for walks this week and he said yesterday how much he’s enjoying them. As we have been walking I’ve been making a conscious effort to stay a half step behind him and let him set the pace. He’s always walked behind me in the past. I did ask him gently if he minded if we walked a little faster so I could get more exercise and he did but only for a minute until we were going at a crawl again. As I started to feel frustrated, it was then I realized that my husband forgot how to set the pace in not only walking but in our life together. I have been pushing ahead for so long that he doesn’t trust his own ability to go at the right speed. Wow. I realized this is going to take some time for him to step out and find his pace and for me to naturally fall in step.

        I also had a wonderful prayer time last night. Confessing my sins and crying for how much I’ve hurt my husband and my God was painful but when I came out I felt a new peace. I’m quite sure I’ll be attacked today, but I’m going to be chasing that peace let me tell you!

        Lastly, as I was trying to write a list of things I like about my husband I realized that Satan has been in my head and hardening my heart to the point that I could hardly think of anything about him that I like. I felt pretty sad about that. Almost every physical, spiritual, and intellectual trait he possesses feels repulsive to me. I can’t believe I’m admitting that. Do you have any thoughts on this? I’ve been asking God to restore my likes and love for him. Is this something you think will change as I pursue being a godly wife?

        1. Michelle,

          WOW! This puts so much joy in my heart and the biggest smile on my face! I LOVE hearing what you are learning already! WOOHOO! SUCH a blessing for your husband to kiss you again! Praise God for that! And I love how you handled the TV thing. Beautiful! I also think it is extremely insightful what God showed you as you and your husband were on a walk and that you have been allowing him to set the pace. The implications for that spiritually and emotionally are already being felt by your husband. What a powerful concept. So excited about your time with God last night and the breakthrough you had!!! πŸ™‚ THIS IS AWESOME!

          I was in the same boat when I started this journey. It was difficult for me to think of good things about Greg at first. But as you start with even just 2-3 things, God will begin to show you more and more as you focus on the good. Now, my list of good things for Greg is really long, and it is hard for me to think of bad things! πŸ™‚ I like your prayer. That is the kind of heart God will respond to – a heart that is broken, contrite, humble, and seeking God above all else. πŸ™‚

          Much love to you!

          1. How do I handle him not making choices. My friend was getting rid of her washer and dryer and I said maybe we could take them and give them to someone in need instead of melting them down. He kind of thought that was going to be too big if a deal. I said that I would leave it up to him. I asked him if he wanted to think about it. He said yes. So later I said I needed to give my friend an answer. He never gave me one. He just refused to make a choice. So that night I asked if I had approached this wrong or if I was disrespectful and he said no I was fine. He just thought it might be too hard to move the washer and dryer. So I asked him if he wanted to just tell her to go ahead and dump them. He said yes. He wouldn’t make the choice. I don’t know how to submit if he won’t make a choice. How do I handle this?

          2. Michelle,

            This makes me smile. I have been in your shoes many times! I think you discovered that he actually did make a choice, it is just that he didn’t volunteer the information in the time frame you wanted him to. If your friend needs an answer, you can let your husband know, “Hey Honey, she needs an answer by this time, please.” If he doesn’t answer by that time, assume the answer is no. Yes, it would be ideal if he would actually tell you. But when a husband has been so passive and a wife has been running things for a long time, husbands have a learning curve, too. It will take some time, but as you are patient and supportive of his decisions, and as you continue to respect and honor him, he will feel more confident in his ability to share his decisions, especially as he sees you are not going to argue with him or condemn him for his decisions.

            It sounds like y’all discussed things and he did share his choice. So – he did make a choice. And he did eventually communicate it to you. That is awesome. πŸ™‚

            There were times in the beginning of my journey, when Greg wouldn’t give me an answer. I resolved to just turn things down if Greg didn’t give me an answer by the time I told him I needed an answer. I did that quite often. Then he began to see that I was going to honor his decisions and that it was safe for him to disagree and make decisions.

          3. That is a really good idea. I didn’t know if I should just not answer her. That felt wrong. I will try this. Thank you so much! I’m sure I’ll have another question soon!

          4. Michelle,

            I think you can just say something like, “I don’t think my husband is excited about doing that.” Or, “It looks like it isn’t something my husband wants to do.”

            Ask anytime. I will share anything useful I can – of course, prayerfully consider any of my suggestions and do what you believe God desires you to do. πŸ™‚

          5. May I just interject another point of view? My husband tends to find it very disrespectful and feel blamed if I tell someone that he is the one who doesn’t want to do something. I find it is usually better if I say, “I don’t think we’re going to be able to join you this time,” or “That’s not something we’re able to do right now.”

        2. Michelle
          I am praying for you! Your story is very different to mine but we can learn so much from each other’s struggles and I praise God for what He is doing in your life. This blog is such a blessing to me and I have learnt so much, having been on this ‘respectful wife’ journey for just over a year now.
          Anyway I just wanted to encourage you and send you love. Thank you for being so honest and sharing things God is doing, and things you are struggling with. I am sure many people on here are praying for you too, so be encouraged! One day we will all meet in heaven! Yay!

          1. Hi Michelle
            OK so “my journey after a year”! This might be hard to be brief – I do apologise, and will try not to waffle!
            I am unequally yoked (I became a Christian after 10 yrs of marriage and thought he would jump straight on board with me! It was a shock when he didn’t and still to this day refuses to hear about God and maintains an atheistic viewpoint)
            My main area of disrespect has been about this. I secretly (and often not so secretly) resented him for not believing and have been extremely angry towards him and bitter in my heart about his stubbornness. I had no clue about my own disrespect because after all it was ALL his fault…he needed to change not me, he wouldn’t listen to the Truth, he was being stubborn…it couldn’t be my fault, right? When God woke me up to my disrespect and the fact that perhaps I wasn’t a perfect wife after all, I was mortified, devastated, ashamed and repentant. What a controlling, self-righteous, prideful, awful person I was! Yuck!
            Anyway, the bottom line is, we hardly argue at all anymore! I have let go of my resentment over his unbelief, and truly accept in my heart now that even if he never gets saved, I will still choose to honour and respect him because I want most of all to honour and respect God – and I feel like my marriage mirrors my heart towards God if this makes sense?
            So, yes I believe those verses that my husband may “be won over without words” 1 Peter 3:1-6, by my new attitude BUT if he doesn’t, then I trust God anyway and will choose to live for Him and leave my husband to Him. I have learnt from this blog that I am not responsible for my husband’s heart or attitude, and I am not his Holy Spirit! God needs to reach him, not me. So I’ve stopped nagging and trying to control him.
            I also forgive him quickly now, where before I would carry things on for ages, and I also pay attention to small requests he makes (like, suggestions for food I could cook) where before I would just override his opinion or suggestion with my own decision of what was easiest to cook, or where we should go. I always felt like these small decisions didn’t matter anyway, and basically I think I just despised his viewpoint (I’m so ashamed!) so I just never gave him any respect or opportunity to lead our family, even on little things like where to go for the family dog walk on a Sunday afternoon! Gradually, as I’ve allowed him to take the lead, he has! At first, he continued to back off, as if waiting for me to take over, but now he will take the lead far more. I also say jokey things (but of course I mean it, in a nice way) like, ‘it’s up to you, you’re the boss’ or to the kids I’ll say, ‘ask Dad he’s in charge’ and although I say it teasingly, I know he has started to actually believe it! (If I said it in a serious way, he would feel under pressure and would hate it, and not want me to say it)
            Also, with the children, I was so disrespectful behind his back, and didn’t support him at all, but now I do. This has been hard – undoing all the damage I have possibly done to the kids’ relationship with him, and any bad role modelling they may have taken on, in how to be, in their own marriages one day. I have cried many tears over this area of my disrespect, but I am trusting God that He can restore any damage I have done, in His sovereignty. Thankfully my children have always had a good relationship with their dad, but it’s no thanks to me and some of the things I have said about him behind his back! Moaning when he hasn’t done something in a particular way, and worst of all, creating a kind of ‘three against one’ atmosphere – because of his atheistic views against our shared Christian views. Of course, this will always be a huge area of potential conflict, BUT there ARE ways to handle differing view points respectfully and I have learnt that God really CAN lead our family through a non-Christian husband. I have commented about this before on other posts, but it has been a revelation to me.
            The other massive thing has been all the idols that I realised I had in my life! I had made an idol out of:- having children, my children’s salvation, my relationship with them and my need to be a ‘perfect mother’ and to be the opposite from my own mother and give them a ‘perfect childhood’ the opposite of my own terrible one. I had also made an idol out of getting my husband saved, having the perfect marriage, and many other things. I literally had NO IDEA I had done this! I thought I was a mature, ‘switched on’, spirit-filled Christian!!! I had to repent of so much. But there is an incredible amount of peace and happiness to be found in giving up all your idols! The fears I had surrounding all these areas have completely gone. I praise God for what He has done and is doing in my life. I also praise God for April and this blog and the many, many honest and heart-warming and helpful stories people share on here.
            I am sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps you Michelle, or someone else in a difficult situation. I realise my situation is very different to yours. Sorry for waffling!

          2. Sunshine,

            I would LOVE to use this as an anonymous post, if you believe that would be honoring to God. Thank you SO much for sharing! πŸ™‚

            May God continue His good work in your life and in your family’s life. πŸ™‚

          3. Hi April, you are MORE than welcome to use my comment, if you feel it would be helpful to others πŸ™‚
            I was praying for you and your family this morning whilst out walking my dog. May God continue to bless you and keep you all safe from the enemy’s attacks!
            Much love to you

          4. Sunshine,

            YAY! Thank you so much! I am excited to share your comment. I know God will use it to bless many other wives, my precious sister. Thank you for praying for me! There is no better gift you could give to me than that!

            Much love!
            April

        3. New victories this week: We went to a sweetheart banquet for church and got all dressed up. MY HUSBAND actually told me no less than ten times how beautiful I was! I’ve been trying to encourage the things he does that fill my love bank so I said “Thank you! I feel so loved when you say that!” We went to the banquet and had a table with friends. They chose a few couples to play the Newlywed Game. They asked the men “Your wife is a natural born _____?” I made the mistake of asking what he would answer. He said worrier. Everyone else was saying nice things and I felt so hurt that he would say that in front of everyone true or not. I tried to let it go reminding myself that he a right to his opinion and he asked what I would say. I said I wasn’t sure exactly but it would have been nicer. After a while I couldn’t shake it and was on the verge of tears listening to every other man say nice things and so I excused myself to the bathroom. I bawled and prayed in there, pulled my big girl panties on and went back out. He apologized and I said it was ok. When we left he sincerely apologized and said he should have said I am a caregiver. I accepted and admitted it was partially my fault for asking and let it go. I NEVER let things go. It still hurt, but I was able to move forward in grace. Later that night he rubbed my back and I said “Thank you so much. I feel so filled up when you touch me. It’s my favorite.” I asked what I can do that fills him and he couldn’t really answer but that’s ok. He has been giving me way more affection since then! I think he might actually feel like he can do something to please me for once.
          Issues this week that I need help with: I’ve been trying to choose to serve him whenever I can. This is really hard for me. My spirit absolutely rebels when I serve my husband. My mom and my sibblings and I had to constantly serve my dad and he was not a Godly husband or father and did not lead well, so I know it stems from that. I just don’t know how to conquer the anger I feel inside when I rub his back or bring him his plate. Second, I’m still struggling massively with the attention he gives one of my daycare kids. In the morning he acts like he can’t function and doesn’t want to talk or anything so I try to respect that, but as soon as he sees her he comes alive and kisses and hugs her constantly. It makes me so angry I can barely breathe. I want that for me. I want that for little child me. I just don’t know what to do with this. I pray about it of course. It’s jealousy I know. But it stinks that he knows it hurts me deeply and he keeps choosing to do it. So any thoughts about these things would be appreciated.

          1. Michelle,

            I can definitely relate! There is a story I will not share here – but, I can so relate to your feelings at the banquet!

            I’m glad you were able to compose yourself and pray. That is awesome!

            So awesome that he is giving you compliments and doing so many sweet things for you. What a blessing! What a wonderful man you have. πŸ™‚

            Does it help to think about how loved you feel when he was serving you and rubbing your back and giving you compliments? What if you think about that you are blessing him and watering his masculine soul? Another good study for your quiet time would be to do a study on the word servant in Scripture, particularly the New Testament. See how many times Jesus talks about the greatest in His kingdom being the servants of all.

            Do you believe he is purposely trying to upset you by giving this little girl so much attention? Is it beyond what is appropriate? Are you willing to be content in life in Christ whether you have all of your husband’s attention and affection or not or if he shares some of himself with this little girl in appropriate ways?

            Have you complained about this a lot to him? How have you approached him?

            Have you been able to truly forgive your husband about the worrier thing? And – have you thought about if there was any truth to that statement and if there is anything in that word “worrier” that God may want to address in your heart and life?

            Much love to you! I’m so excited about all that God is doing in your heart!

          2. I truly feel that I want to serve him. I don’t mind cleaning up after him. It’s just my spirit rebels when I dig in and do it. It’s the strangest thing. I try to think positive things like you said. It’s almost just a physiological response in my brain and body. The little girl thing is hard. My dad was sexually abused so he really drove it into us that any man giving affection to any child especially one not his own must have bad intentions. Do I think my husband has inappropriate intentions? Not at all. But again the physiological response happens and I feel revolted and angry.

            I’ve tried talking calmly to him about this in the past and tried being upset. I guess I have to accept that he’s not going to stop. I actually don’t think he does it to hurt me. I think he loves that she adores him unconditionally and he’s addicted to that. He just really loves her which is sweet but hard for me. It’s not even that I can’t share. it’s just my insides.

            I totally know I’m guilty of worrying. That’s something I’ve been working through in my prayer time. He has a right to feel that way. I was just really hurt he said it out loud. He should be protecting me. But it’s ok. I forgave him. I don’t think his intention was to hurt me but probably to be funny. I will do some more studying on servant. I’m trying to understand how to conquer these things are so intense.

          3. Celebrating the victories with you Michelle, that you handled the banquet/worrier thing so well!! Yay! And have let go, and forgiven! That’s so fab! My husband would’ve done the same as yours if it’s any consolation. πŸ™‚ But it’s lovely that he gave you compliments and thinks you’re beautiful though. That’s a blessing that I know some wives would really love to have!
            The thing with the little girl must hurt SO much, and I feel your pain, Try to focus on Jesus. Perhaps it’s worse because of your fertility problems too? πŸ™ I am praying for you!
            I have no specific experience in this area, but I have had massive issues with jealousy in a different way and I only overcame it by focussing on Jesus and my worth in Him.
            Also, it’s great that you recognise triggers from your childhood because that is more than half the battle in overcoming! Working out why you feel the things you feel is so so important, I find. Then you can pray into these areas and ask Jesus to take them and heal you. Easier said than done, of course!
            About the children/child-minding/having your own: check about any idols you might have over this area, if you don’t mind me saying. Ditto with the ‘worrier’ label. All my own idols were linked to fears and worries that I had, and when I laid down my idols and said “I accept whatever you bring on me, Lord, for my good and Your glory” that’s when my fears and worries went away! (I’m not saying it magically happened overnight, or that I don’t still get them!! It’s an ongoing battle!!)
            Maybe worrying does not help your fertility problems? Sorry if this is wrong, I am just writing as I process the different things you’ve shared. I hope that’s ok and doesn’t offend you.
            There’s a song we sing in church, here in the UK, which has these words:
            “..When all things that surround become shadows in the light of You…” It reminds me that when we look at Jesus, all the other stuff in our lives just fades into the shadows.
            Hope this blesses you
            Much love and prayers!

          4. Sunshine thank you so much for the encouragement and advice. So when you focused on your worth in Jesus did you stop desiring to feel worthy to your husband? I don’t know how to reconcile my hope to rest in God and my need for physical affection. I’m getting better with worry but God has really protected me during the last two months from any serious worrisome things while I heal. I’m sure I will be tested soon.β€œI accept whatever you bring on me, Lord, for my good and Your glory” that’s when my fears and worries went away!” This is something I need to work more at. Thank u Soooo much girl!!!!

          5. Michelle,

            The awesome thing about dying to self is that we can lay our needs and desires on the altar before God and leave them there. We can learn to be content in much or in want. We can learn to find all of our contentment in Christ whether our husbands are meeting our needs or not. This way, we are no longer victims. We are victors in Jesus. If they do give us affection, it is a blessing. If they don’t, we are unshakeable because we are completely filled up to overflowing with Jesus.

            I don’t have to be a slave to “my needs” and “my desires” and “my feelings.” I can lay them down and allow God’s Spirit to empower me. Then I can come from a place of being completely filled up in Jesus to my marriage and I can bless my husband without strings attached because my husband isn’t my source of fulfillment. Jesus is.

            It is not that you don’t want your husband’s affection, it is that you can be content without it and that you realize that his affection is not the most important thing, Jesus is. You realize that if you have Christ, you have everything that truly matters.

            As we die to self, we become calm, content, joyful, and peaceful in Christ. Ironically, that is really attractive to our husbands. But even if our husbands don’t change and don’t do what we want them to do, life is not about us getting everything we want anymore. It is about bringing glory to God and waiting in anticipation of all that He desires to do and what He wants to happen and the incredible treasures He has in store for each of us in the times of testing and trials. It is not about my will, it is about God’s will. As I seek Him and His kingdom first, our true needs will fall into place according to His provision. Not our wants, necessarily, but our needs.

            I do best if I focus on Christ, not on “my needs.” Then He more than meets all of my needs.

          6. This is such a new concept to me. I clearly need to dig deeper here. My heart is just not in line with this yet. I can say all day long that God is enough but it would be a lie. I’m going to have to keep working in obedience until He brings my heart in line. I actually struggle with accepting love I’ve realized. I don’t really feel God’s love on a day to day basis. I’ve been asking Him to remove that wall. I guess that’s why the Bible says We have to DAILY put off our old self and put on the new. I have to keep getting up and getting dressed in God’s clothes. I really relate to the woman on your post yesterday. I’ve laid my dreams on the alter but my hands are still on them. He is helping me remove one finger at a time. I realized last night that I had laid my desire for children at his feet but not my desire for sex with my husband. I worked on that last night. Today I realized part if the problem with the little girl is that I’m angry he’s not submitting to my demands. Ouch. I didn’t even realize that was my intention. I’m going to have some heavy prayer work today.

          7. Michelle,

            This requires a lot of wrestling and allowing God to help us see our true motives from His perspective. Dying to self is super painful. And it is scary – because we don’t know if we will get the things we want the most. God calls us to lay everything on the altar and to be content in Him alone. If He gives our “Isaac” back is up to Him. He gives us salvation and grace freely – but following Christ does cost us everything. Until we realize that He is the ultimate Treasure and Reward, we don’t “get” sometimes that He is worthy of all of our sacrifice.

            Please do keep wrestling with this. It is very possible to make all of these things we want idols in our heart. I had the same idols you have had. The exact same ones. And the same struggles with worry and with wanting to measure my husband’s love for me in specific ways and with wanting reassurance from him and focusing on my needs.

            Have you had a chance to read Radiant’s post about receiving God’s love and our husband’s love. Here is the link. Could be interesting to think about.

            When we are filled with worry or we have other things higher in our heart than God, we have a really hard time hearing His voice and receiving His love. What He is doing right now is helping you to see some things that He wants you to tear out of your heart so that you can find healing in Him and find the wholeness that is yours in Christ. πŸ™‚

            Desiring sex with your husband or children or intimacy in marriage emotionally are good things – but the question is, where are they in your priorities? If they are your purpose for life or you cannot be content without them, there may be a problem. When God is in His proper place, and we are able to hold everything else loosely, there is so much freedom, contentment, peace, joy, and overflowing spiritual richness. Because only God can really meet the deepest needs of our soul. Contentment is found in nothing and no one else.

            This part is really painful – but it is so worth it! I’m here if you want to talk more about it.

            I can relate to that, I didn’t think that I was demanding Greg submit to me – but that is exactly what I expected for so long in our marriage. πŸ™

            Take all the time you need to go as deeply as possible with these important issues. Don’t rush or skim over them.

            Much love!

          8. Michelle,

            With what your dad said about men giving affection to children that aren’t their own, that helps me understand your reaction a lot better to your husband. And with what you experienced with your dad growing up – your feelings about serving him – it seems to me that you have some possibly destructive ways of thinking about serving others that developed when you were young that need to be hashed through so you can expose what you are truly believing to the Light of God’s Word and reject any unbiblical thinking and embrace God’s ways.

            The things your husband sees in that little girl – the adoration, the feeling of being her hero, the unconditional love and respect – those are the things that light up a man’s spirit. Thankfully, you can learn to give him those things in beautiful, powerful, godly ways – and it will likely draw him to you, as well.

            I do think that some of your reaction could be due to the struggles with infertility and wishing to see your husband love your own child like that. But also, I think that even if you had your own child, you may feel jealous if your husband gives your child attention like that and is still shut down with you.

            I believe that as you continue to allow God to heal and transform your thinking and your spirit to conform to the image of Christ and as you have more and more of His Spirit, God will pour healing into both of you. I don’t think things will stay as strained as they have been when he was feeling so disrespected and controlled.

            I have a number of posts that may be helpful about the subject of worrying. Women who tend to try to control are worriers. There is no way around that. If I believe I am responsible for situations and for other people, I will worry because I feel that the weight of the outcome rests on my shoulders and I am responsible for things turning out “right.” As I learn to understand God’s sovereignty and were my responsibilities end, I can rest in His love and sovereignty and peace. I don’t have to worry any more. At all. Because my faith is in God, not in myself. I don’t have to carry the weight of the sovereignty of God anymore. It is SO freeing!

            You may want to search:

            – control
            – fear
            – worry
            – anxiety
            – forgiveness

            Much love to you!!! And the biggest hug!

          9. Peaceful Wife, thank you for the encouragement and advice. I’m going to work on what you suggested. More to come I’m sure. 😘

          10. I’m back.

            I’m still struggling with this situation with the little girl. A couple nights ago he told me about a bunch of customers leaving a mess for him at work and I told him that’s how I feel when my rules and structure for the daycare kids isn’t respected by others who come in the house. He asked if he ruins my day and I said no that he’s the best part of my day. But I do feel like I have to deal with the problems when he doesn’t back me up with rules and structure for the kids. He said he understood.

            Today, I tried to respect the fact that he enjoys being around this little girl and tried to give him moments with her. Like helping her put her shoes on. We went outside and I asked him to keep an eye on all five kids while I went to the bathroom. I came back to him playing on the trampoline with just her while all the other kids were running wild unsupervised. He played with pretty much only her for the next two hours. Then he went to get ready to leave and she started melting down. He asked what was wrong with her and I said that she had too much attention this morning and no play time with friends so now that she’s not getting that she’s acting out. I tried to be very gentle about it. I said that I know he loves her and I want him to have time that he clearly needs with her, but that I was really struggling with this situation. I feel that I have to deal with her behavior after he leaves. I also am struggling with feeling that I don’t exist when she’s around. He said he understood.

            I asked if there was a way we could compromise on this issue and if I could offer suggestions. He said yes. I said I know that I shouldn’t need attention all the time and I’m working through that but it definitely would help me personally if he would give me his time first before her. Then I said it would help if he would check if it’s an ok time to give her attention since this is my job and I’m responsible for five kids that aren’t my own. He said he would and that he wanted to do what’s best for me and the kids.

            I asked if I had disrespected him at all by saying that. He said no. I said I’ve been working on that and I don’t want to disrespect him. He thanked me. But now I’m struggling with worry. He never tells me the truth about how he feels about things and I’m afraid bringing this up is going to make him want to leave me again. I tried to just drop it. I’m just feeling bad inside though. Was I wrong to say this? And am I totally messed up for feeling this way about this situation? Am I just supposed to be miserably angry about and not share that he’s hurting me? It seems like a small thing but in my mind it’s huge.

          11. Michelle,

            It sounds to me like y’all had some really productive conversations. πŸ™‚ I’m proud of how you handled those issues.

            How is your time with God going, my sweet sister?

            Much love!
            April

          12. My time with God is going well. I’m trying to lay down more of my hopes and dreams. Does that mean I can’t want those things at all anymore? If so, I’m not there yet. I’m still struggling with feeling His love. I realized this week that I don’t actually know what love feels like. I hope that as God removes all the bad feelings that he will show me how to receive love. When other people talk about feeling loved I don’t understand. Like I get it intellectually but I don’t feel it emotionally or physically in any way.

          13. Michelle,

            It means that you decide to be content in Christ whether you have those things or not – that you leave the results in God’s hands about whether you have your hopes and dreams and the only thing you MUST have is Christ. πŸ™‚

            Well that is an important realization! Have you read any of Radiant’s posts about receiving love?

            I Can’t Ask for Things… or Have Needs

            Cinderella and the Gospel

            And my post about The Essence of Femininity

            Do you believe that you know who you are in Christ? Do you realize all the things that belong to Jesus are also yours if you are in Him? Have you been open to receiving all that He has done for you and all that He wants to give you?

            Much love! This is important stuff you are digging into! Good job!

          14. I’m working on trying to be content with everything even if nothing I wanted ever happens. I’m trying to believe that God will bring good somehow. My identity in Christ. That’s a deep question. I truly want to do what God wants me to do. I know intellectually that if I’m obeying Him that he will take care of me. I know I’m going to heaven. And I know that heaven isn’t all that salvation accomplishes. It’s supposed to free us in this life too. There’s just a big difference between knowing and feeling it. I know God loves me. I struggle because I look at my mom who loves the Lord and served and submitted to her husband her whole life. And He didn’t rescue her. She placed her trust in God and she’s still in pain and uncared for in this life. It seems like a huge waste of a beautiful godly woman. But I also know that He knows better than I. He knows her heart. So, I guess my trust is tentative because I know what unanswered prayers look like. That’s no surprise to God. He knows I’m struggling with that.

          15. Michelle,

            This is very deep stuff. It goes to the core of your fixed beliefs about God, yourself, your life, your purpose, your marriage, your femininity, your identity. It takes time to wrestle and dig and really allow the light of God’s Word to shine into these darkest areas of our minds and souls where we have build our lives on lies and worldly ideas – often from childhood – and have never questioned our most cherished fixed beliefs.

            There is a big difference between knowing what God’s Word says and trusting Him enough to live it out. Yes. I will say, obedience comes first. Feelings follow. But we don’t do things just for the feelings. I hope that makes sense.

            There are a lot of things we don’t understand as humans. One of those things is that this life – even if we live to be 80 years old – is a blink of an eye compared to the billions and billions of eons of eternity. God will reward your mom for her love and obedience to Him in heaven. It is worth it to suffer for doing good briefly in this life in order to be honored and rewarded by Christ in heaven. Of course, I don’t know your mom’s situation, I don’t know what she should do. I don’t know if she should have left or what is happening or why. So I can’t speak to her situation – but I can understand that it upsets you and you don’t want to see your mom suffer in any way.

            I do know that God is able to use suffering and does use suffering for all believers to discipline us and to help us to grow. That does not mean anyone should abuse us. If someone is being truly abused, I believe he/she should try to get somewhere safe. But we do all face suffering of various kinds. Our culture hates suffering. We like comfort and luxury and health. Who wouldn’t!?!? But when we get what we want, we end up flabby, shallow, weak, and spiritually completely unable to handle any kind of trial. God uses suffering to build us up, to refine us, to prune us.

            There are a number of reasons for unanswered prayers:

            1. Sometimes God says, “wait.” Sometimes the waiting is the most important part of the prayer. πŸ™‚ Because it causes our faith to grow.
            2. Sometimes God says, “no,” because He has something better (in the light of eternity) for us than what we asked for.
            3. Sometimes we are cherishing sin in our hearts and that causes God not to hear or not to answer. (That was the case with me for so many years earlier in our marriage.)

            Sometimes God answers in ways we don’t understand. Sometimes there are treasures to be found and greater intimacy with Him in the suffering and trials.

            Check out this post on Spiritual Pruning. πŸ™‚

            Much love!

          16. I appreciate the time you took to think about how to answer me. It means a lot to me. I did make it through that day and I even finally got the opportunity to apologize to my husband which is something I’ve been asking God to show me the timing for. I also realized that I’m holding my mom as an idol. I love her so much and I have loved her more than God. I’m working on letting that one go.

            I wrote a bunch my dreams (including my mom’s happiness) on the top of a piece of paper and tore the top half away from the bottom half. I prayed over letting go of these things and then tore them up. I looked at the bottom half of this paper. It was empty and I felt sad. Then I felt God whispering to me to write Jesus on there.

            So, now in my prayer closet I have a tiny pile of torn up dreams and a half sheet of paper that says Jesus. And I’m trying every day to look at that and remember to choose Jesus and to not try to put my dreams back together but trust God to rebuild what he sees fit. One day at a time. This is very heavy stuff indeed.

          17. Michelle,

            I know it is so tempting to try to rush ahead through this journey to get to “the finish line” where your marriage is totally healed. But the work you are doing right now, the hard, painful wrestling and digging into the deep motives of your soul and the deep issues you have spiritually is so critical. Unless we really unearth these things in the Light of God’s Word and by the power of His Spirit, unless we ask Him to help us see our hidden motives and thoughts and sins – we will gloss over them and then build our lives on a faulty foundation.

            It is AWESOME that you are taking time to carefully sort through these things and you are seeing idols. I love what you did – writing down your dreams and how you tore them up. And then what God whispered to you. WOW!!!! What an incredible moment!

            This brings me tears of joy, my precious sister! It is what Jesus talks about that He requires of His disciples that we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him, that we must “hate” our family members and our own lives. Meaning – that in comparison to our love for Jesus, our love for everything and everyone else looks like hate. He commands us to love all people, so it is not that we are not to love others, but we can’t truly love others until we truly love Him way more than anything or anyone else!

  13. I discovered your blog a few months ago, and it is spot on. Your descriptions and insights capture my struggles so well.
    We celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary this year, have five children (20-14), and relocated two and-a-half years ago.
    I read this list and it appears impossible. I know all things are possible through Christ, yet I don’t have faith our situation will change.
    I also saw your note regarding the importance of our daily, personal time with the Lord.
    My heart is hard and I have resentment toward my husband.
    Can our marriage drastically change? If I’m not to look to him to meet my needs, then what’s the purpose?
    My husband says I don’t see the good things and his efforts are quickly forgotten. I have explained he may think differently if his primary need was not being met.
    I am rereading this and realize you may not share it because it’s not encouraging. I would so value a response as I’ve read your story and you did change! Maybe I can also.

    1. Pattie,

      This place is kind of a spiritual ER for those who are hurting. Of course it is fine to leave a comment about your struggles. That is where we all start! And we all have struggles from time to time. πŸ™‚ You are most welcome here. In fact, I believe God has brought you here to provide healing for you in Christ.

      If it is okay with you, I’d like to do a spiritual check up to get a gauge about where you are right now, so that I can meet you where you are and we can take these baby steps together. πŸ™‚

      What is your relationship with Jesus at this time?

      What do you want it to be?

      What are the dynamics like in your marriage at this time?

      Are you ready to trash your resentment and learn to do things God’s way, even if it doesn’t make sense at first?

      What are your primary needs that you feel are not being met in your marriage?

      What are your greatest fears?

      What do you believe you need to be happy and content in life in general and in your marriage?

      Is it possible that you may be expecting your husband to meet the deepest needs in your heart and soul that maybe only God can really meet?

      Do you believe your husband is responsible to make you happy? Or do you take full responsibility for your emotional well-being yourself and seek to find your contentment in Christ alone?

      I’m excited you are here. YES! God can absolutely change and heal you and your marriage. But first, He is going to want to work on just you, if you are willing.

      Much love to you!

      1. I have known Jesus over twenty years. I believe I’ve been in the desert which directly affects my relationship with my husband. I want to be overflowing with him, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not sure what you mean about the dynamics of you our marriage- I am the discontent one. My husband thinks we’ve come a long way ( I agree) and that I look at the negatives (also true).
        Yes, I’m ready to repent of resentment. I so want us to connect, love and appreciate each other. My need for emotional connection is what I desire- for my hubby to be interested in me , my thoughts, feelings; not only as his sexual partner. My greatest fears are missing opportunities to share the love and hope of Jesus. In my marriage, my fear is it won’t get getter- we will live parallel lives. I honestly do not know if my expectations are unreasonable. My question would be- what needs are we to meet in each other and which can only be filled by Jesus? Unfortunately, my mo is to take a negative attitude and think, “fine, I’m not to look to him to meet my emotional needs;then what are we about?” I want us to encourage each other, share laughter and thoughts.
        Thank you

        1. Pattie,

          Is your husband more passive and laid back or more controlling or more outgoing? What are your personality types? πŸ™‚

          I’m SUPER excited that you are ready to repent of resentment. I held on to resentment for so many years earlier in our marriage. That is some toxic stuff. It destroys our fellowship with God and grieves His heart so that we cannot be filled with His Spirit. It is poison to any relationship.

          I have heard from a lot of men here in the past 4 years. Very few of them feel a drive to “emotionally connect” with their wives with words. Men tend to bond without words by just being together and doing a shared activity. For a lot of husbands, sex is the ultimate bonding emotionally and spiritually with their wives. But as we learn to approach our husbands with honor and genuine respect and cooperation, they will tend to be much more willing to try to meet our needs, too, even if they don’t have the same needs.

          When I first began this journey after God opened my eyes to all of my sin (which was a huge shock), Greg was very shut down, passive, unplugged, and uncaring about my feelings, needs, and desires. I had no idea I had hurt him so much. He never told me I had been disrespectful or controlling. He never confronted my pride. I didn’t know how wounded he was. At that point, he felt that I was insatiable and un-pleasable. He felt looked down-upon by me, condemned by me, criticized, and disrespected by me – and he didn’t respond when I would ask for things most of the time. He was very uninvolved with our children. He mostly retreated to work on the house renovations or to watch TV. He was far from God at that time – at least in part because my voice was so overpowering he could barely even hear God’s voice anymore.

          God’s ways seem very counterintuitive to us at first. It feels to us, as women, that if we do what God commands us to do, we will “lose power” and “lose our voice” and that we won’t get what we want. Interestingly, God knows how He designed the male psyche and the female psyche. He has wisdom that is much higher than our own. A remotely decent man will eventually respond positively to genuine honor and respect. It will attract him – once he gets over his skepticism about whether this could be real change or not. My old ways of taking over, making demands, telling my husband what to do, and trying to force him to do what I thought he should do repelled him from me and from God. As I learned to stop the negativity, the perfectionism, the disrespect, the control, the condemnation, the critical spirit and began to genuinely respect, affirm, encourage, and honor him – he began to become the man I always knew he could be. It was a slow process. But as God changed me, eventually, He began to heal Greg, too. And then, He eventually began to heal our marriage. It was 3.5 years into this journey before Greg felt safe with me again. Of course, it took me 2.5 years to feel like I was beginning to understand respect and biblical submission. So, it was a very slow process, even though I spent hours every day praying and studying and begging God to change me.

          Even if our husbands don’t change, that is okay. The goal here is that we would become the women God calls us to be and that we would be faithful and obedient to Him. That is going to be a reward in itself that is greater than anything else we could imagine. πŸ™‚

          I want to point you to the healing you are looking for. So I am going to give you a few assignments to get you started, if that is okay with you. πŸ™‚

          Please search my home page and read the posts about:

          – bitterness
          – forgiveness
          – fear
          – control
          – disrespect
          – respect
          – expectations
          – idol/idolatry
          – people pleasing

          Let’s talk some more as you read these posts and see what God may be speaking to your heart, my precious sister! I’m so honored to be on this journey with you!

          Much love!
          April

          1. April, I will begin reading. Thank you so much for investing in this blog and us wives. I am hopeful. My hubby is passive, laid back, introverted, wise, emotionally level. I am outgoing, controlling (triple driver personality he says), energetic.

          2. Pattie,

            This blog is tailor made for you, my sister! Those were the exact dynamics we had as I began this journey. πŸ™‚ Praying for God to give you lots of light bulb moments and much healing for you, your husband, and your marriage – that He might gain great glory!

            You are most welcome, I can’t keep these treasures of God to myself!

          3. I ordered your book and am starting it tomorrow. I shared your story with my husband. He said it was like you had a camera in our home. I’ve read a few posts and gave started memorizing scripture. I realize this is a long, slow process and to not expect my husband to see changes (or comment on them at least) right away. I’m praying and asking the Lord to renew my heart. Pattie

          4. April,
            I read “Dying to Self” and it accurately described me. Can you direct me to what you studied? I also desire to have pure motives- changing to truly honor Jesus and not because I want a better marriage. Pattie

          5. Pattie,
            I have tons and tons of posts about purifying our motives and how to die to self in this process. But some books that may be helpful would be:

            Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray (free download available at http://www.ccel.org)

            The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

            David Platt’s sermons on the cost of discipleship

            John Piper’s site http://www.desiringgod.org (search discipleship, taking up cross, dying to self)

            You may also search my home page for:

            – control
            – idol/idolatry
            – motives
            – godly femininity
            – filled with the Holy Spirit
            – why do I have to change first
            – I want my husband to change too
            – But I’m right
            – contentment
            – security

            Much love to you!

          6. April,
            I wanted to check-in and let you know how it’s going. God is so amazingly faithful. My husband and I are meeting with a group of couples and discussing Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage”; the chapter on roles and headship reared its head last week πŸ™‚ Our church is studying the book of Ephesians and last week was chapter five and today was six.
            Our pastor spoke on the difference between Jesus being our Savior and him being our Lord. This spoke to me so deeply. I think this gets to the root of some of my struggles with my husband.
            Also, I thought I had dealt with family of origin issues. I realize that even if I have in my mind, having it settled in my heart is a whole other thing. My sperm donor took off when my mom learned she was pregnant with me. My mom was going to give me up for adoption, but could nt do it once I was born. She then married who i refer to as my “dad” (strained for sure). I learned at eight years old about my birth and that was a defining moment in my life. All that to say, I have an independent spirit and came to not trust men because they take off or hurt you. My long-suffering husband has given me no reason to ever doubt his commitment and love for me. Yet, I bevel I keep a wall up, choosing to not love and encourage him; instead, I criticize and nag him.
            Back to my journey of the past few weeks. I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan on the cost of discipleship. I know the Lord is working in me. Please continue to pray and direct me.
            Seeing my pride and yucky heart is so awful, but I know the Lord wants me to cross the river to the other side.
            Pattie

          7. Pattie,

            Goodness, I can see why you have some trust issues with men considering your history. But how I praise God for what He is showing you and the resources He is providing, as well as His Spirit and His Word! WOOHOO! I pray for His continued good work in your heart, my dear sister!

            Much love to you!

  14. I’ve been walking on this journey of trying to be more respectful for almost a year. And now I feel like i’m struggling worse than ever. Not really sure what to do. Recently , he took a big step backwards for a variety of reasons. He is so laidback– very tentative, very unsure of himself, always wanting my approval- then he snowballs into being irritated by everything, but not really able to talk about it, just seething silently. I really struggle to respect him in his tentative mode, when he just seems scared of everything. His angry mode, just seems to trigger my angry mode. I”ve asked him what I can do to be more respectful– it’s a pretty short list with basic things like , Don’t be sarcastic. That should be easy – but it’s not. I think the thing that bugs him most is when my “tone” is off– but this is one of the things I find most hard to control and often am not even aware are off. How do I behave respectfully towards someone I really don’t respect? It feels like a big fake act.

    1. JillBeth,
      I went through this stage, too, where I tried to be respectFUL of Greg but I truly didn’t respect him! So I am very familiar with it.

      That doesn’t work. Husbands and God can see when our respect is fake.

      Here’s the thing. This whole journey is about complete heart change. It is not about being fake. Learning to have a respectful tone and to act respectful – won’t cut it. God’s command is that we must actually respect our husbands. I know that may seem impossible at this point. There are things you won’t be able to respect. You won’t be able to respect sin or unloving actions. That is for sure. But there is good there if you are willing to focus on it and find it. Whatever you pay attention to in his life will grow. If you focus on the good things, you will find that you see more and more good. If you focus on the bad, you will find that you see more and more bad.

      I suggest to repent to God for your disrespect. And to your husband if you need to. And start a list of ALL the good things about him and all the good things he has done that you can remember – ever. And write down every time he does something you truly do admire and respect.

      When you pray. Thank God for your husband and for him being your husband and for his strengths. And pray about your sins and weaknesses and ask God to change you. Ask God to give you His eyes for His precious son, this man who is hurting, wounded, afraid, and struggling – who needs the healing of Christ. Think about that God is your “Father-in-law” if your husband is a believer. How would God as a Dad desire His son to be treated? Are you treating your husband in a way that is worthy of Christ? God counts how you treat your husband as if you are treating Him that way. If your husband doesn’t deserve respect, God does, right? Do it because God deserves it.

      Please check out this video “My Husband DOesn’t Deserve My Respect.”

      And “Why Do I Have to Change First?”

      Totally Change Your Reality

      Search my Youtube channel April Cassidy for “Non-verbal Disrespect” and “Tone of Voice”

      What are your motives in wanting to change?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      What do you want in your relationship with God?

      What do you want in your marriage?

      Much love to you!

      1. Hmmm- my motives in wanting to change are several. When I was struggling to change and become more gentle and less harsh ( in general with everyone) , I was wanting to get closer to God, and I began praying to God about what was getting in the way of being transformed in the way I desired, since it seemed a pretty godly desire– I began to get the answer that this issue of being non-submissive to my husband was a huge stumbling block in the way of me being changed.

        So I made some very big changes in my life in an effort to become more submissive, and respectful– which is not at ALL my natural self– I am very strong-willed, powerful woman who works as a teacher and this year is often working as the acting principal. I find it REALLY challenging to go from being responsible for 20 staff and a school full of kids, then come home and mince around asking his opinion on everything– especially when he so often doesn’t seem to HAVE an opinion on anything.

        Anyways– initially the changes seem to have some effects on me and he seemed more comfortable speaking up and making decisions. But recently, our son began having severe problems at school, and becoming very aggressive- for a variety of reasons, we decided to homeschool him. We looked at the finances and felt that I would need to keep on working and he would quit his job and homeschool him. I make about 4 times what he does and would have to break my contract to quit and he felt strongly that God was against that.

        I didn’t mention that I was really burnt out from work– we had a lot of issues regarding attempted suicides and kids cutting themselves, and just a lot of stressful stuff that kept falling to me to “fix” as acting principal– I hit the point where I was just crying every day. I hoped to take some time off after Christmas, but we realized we just couldn’t afford it. So now I am working– and he’s at home— and I feel resentful– and he feels like the most important thing in the world is to please me– which does NOT bring out the best in him– or me.

        My relationship with Christ— I’ve been struggling– some of the changes I made were pretty different and alienated my pastor’s wife, who ironically enough, viewed me as rebellious in making them. I have felt very trapped between obeying my husband and obeying her– each one seems to feel they have God on their side and that they are the “rightful” spiritual authority over me. I have felt very frustrated with God for putting me in this difficult situation and very confused about whether it is okay for me to keep working– but it is what my husband wants me to do, and honestly I dont’ know how we could survive financially if I didn’t.

        What do I want from my relationship with God? Honestly, could he just make me a nicer person? more loving , more kind? I’m so tired of constantly biting down the nasty words, the nasty thoughts– seeing peoples sins comes really easily– seeing their virtues, very hard.

        What do I want in my marriage? Uhm– more sex, less fighting, a desire to lay down this burden of constantly making all the decisions, and doing all the organizing, and just making sure everything happens– or else it just doesn’t– I’m not sure how to put it into words. this is probably too long, but I live in a very small community– and there isn’t really anyone to talk to here .

        1. JillBeth,

          Thank you so much for answering my questions. πŸ™‚ This helps me figure out much better where you are right now.

          It is very difficult to go from being the authority at work to not dictating and not giving directives at home. But – I do want to encourage you that respecting your husband doesn’t mean you have to “mince around” or that you have to “ask for his opinion on everything.” It takes time to figure out what is disrespectful and what is respectful, particularly to your own husband. And it takes time to hash through your motives with God. But as you learn and grow and as you yield to Christ as Lord in humility and are willing to stop taking over – God can empower you to do this! And He can also empower you to change your tone of voice and facial expressions. πŸ™‚ So it won’t be fake as God continues to truly transform you. But there is a time where it feels very much like emotional and spiritual contortion as you are first learning, much like learning a new language.

          The dynamics in a marriage are often very adversely affected when the wife is the sole breadwinner and the husband is at home. A wife in that position will have to guard even more against disrespect and against her tendency to take over and to feel prideful or controlling about the money.

          Goodness, that is a lot of stress at work! πŸ™ I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister! You will need His Spirit’s power, as we all do, or you will not be able to do any of this. Our own strength is just nowhere near enough. We are all completely dependent on His Spirit and His power to do anything good at all.

          What does your pastor’s wife believe you should do? And why does she believe she is a spiritual authority over you, do you know?

          I am not aware of a pastor’s wife having spiritual authority over others. I do know that God has given your husband and your pastor and your boss and the government authority in your life – but ultimately, God is the absolute authority, no human is. The goal is to please Him completely regardless of the approval of others. Many women are not supportive, even in the church, if a wife seeks to honor her own husband. I have more posts about that if it would be helpful. πŸ™‚

          God can completely transform your heart, mind, and soul – it is a matter of our willingness to totally yield control and surrender to Him. That seems super terrifying at first, or, it did for me. But I would love to walk beside you for each baby step if you would like. πŸ™‚

          I believe as you continue to learn and do things more and more in line with God’s design, that He can and will heal you, your husband, and your marriage. It is a slow process at times. But if you are ready to get started, I’m ready to do this with you, just let me know!
          Much love to you, my dear sister!

          1. Well, the pastor and his wife seem to be moving to a co pastoring model. So she does feel like she is a pastor over me. This is not backed up by any credentials that i know of and seems to be entirely a recent thing of the last few months. I’m not entirely comfortable with it to be honest but due to the current strained relationship between us ( we used to be best friends) I don’t think I can say anything and have it heard as anything other than rebellion. I think the visible point of contention was me choosing to wear a head scarf as per my husband’s request. This was initially treated with amusement, but then she felt called to try it herself and become very unhappy over the week or two she tried it. She felt like it made her mean spirited and judgemental. She feels it is a sign of legalism and is part of a “religious spirit”. She seemed to feel it is a sign of disunity that I am choosing to wear it, when no one else is.

            I assume that underneath this is a discomfort with the view of womanhood it represents. I think one of the last good conversations we had, was when we discussing our confusion over that part of the Corinthians where Paul talks about women keeping silent in church and not having authority over men. She was worried about whether that might mean it was inappropriate for her to have done the preaching recently when her husband> I said that I had also worried about that a bit. ( I was actually a bit surprised she was bringing it up.) I should tell you we are in kind of a remote area where they are very definitely in a missionary position, so I don’t know if that applies in this situation. I have actually struggled with this a fair bit too– what about leaders such as Joyce Meyers? Is that okay? Are they anointed by God ? Or is it usurping men’s place?

            It seems like this should be off-topic, but her anger and disapproval over this has been terribly hard to bear, especially considering the “pastoral” level of unhappiness with it. There is no other church here— we are the church!!

            I have found myself hating this, desperately wanting to give it up, hating God and my husband for it, but feeling rebellious and “wrong” when I actually walk around without it. Then I am hating myself for not just sticking with my decision, and being at peace with it. I think I have felt very caught in a no -win situation— am I supposed to obey my husband ? Or my pastor? ( Or really , my pastor’s wife? Which one is God supporting? If God is really behind this all- shouldn’t they all be in agreement? Heavy sigh!! I feel like no matter what, someone feels I am rebellious– but I know my heart in this was honestly to honour my husband and I felt I needed a visible reminder of the choice I had made ( to submit to him) Otherwise, honestly– I decide it and have broken it the first moment I talk to him in the morning. !!

            My husband is a wonderful man– but he really struggles to handle any criticism– it just throws him into a storm of self-hatred. And sometimes very full of resentment. But I am a pretty critical person. But there are times when it feels like everything I say either hurts him or angers him, and I just want to give up in despair. I really am not the silent type.

            And yet today, we had a wonderful day and he kept beaming at me for no reason—- and yet instead of feeling happy, I just feel suspicious— I’m not even sure what I am suspicious of!

          2. JillBeth,

            Yikes.

            I don’t see a model for a pastor’s wife to be a “co-pastor” in Scripture. And I don’t see where she is in a position of authority to dictate anything to you. Perhaps her motives were not pure when she wore a headscarf and it may not have been a personal conviction she prayed through and studied through. We can make anything legalistic – including praying, reading the Bible, dressing modestly, not wearing make up, etc… but that doesn’t mean that we should disregard the teaching of Scripture in order to not be legalistic. Does that make sense?

            I was teaching men early in my blogging ministry. Then I came to those passages about women not having authority over men and I repented to my audience on my blog and to God and took down all of my posts where I was teaching men. I can encourage them. I can pray for them and seek to bless them. I can share about how wives think and what we need. I can share a feminine perspective, but I do not believe I need to be “telling men” what to do or in an authoritative teaching position over them. There were a lot of problems that arose because I was trying to teach them. I also have a friend who was a female pastor, co-pastoring with her husband, then God convicted her – she has a post about what God showed her here.

            I believe women can teach women – Titus 2:3-5. I believe women can teach children. But Scripture is pretty clear about women not having positions of authority and leadership over men in the church. We have ignored that in most of our churches today, thanks to feminism. Here is a summary of what I believe Scripture teaches about this. But for more info, please check out Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Or watch David Platt’s Secret Church series on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood on Youtube.

            What does your husband think about her responses? And about what would be the best approach?

            Also, please check the post Spiritual Authority.

            Positions of God-given authority include:
            – parents for underage children
            – husbands
            – teachers
            – bosses
            – pastors/deacons/elders
            – government leaders

            The pastor’s wife is not a position of authority. She may be a godly wife mentor. But you do not answer to her. You can seek to treat her with honor and respect. But you are not required to obey her. And, please keep in mind, that if someone in a position of God-given authority ever asks a believer to go against God’s Word, “we are to obey God rather than men” Acts 5:28. Humans are not an absolute authority, God is the absolute authority. What I hear is that this woman is introducing greater confusion and contention to your life. Please do keep in mind that the enemy is the author of division, contention, factions, resentment, and power-struggles. This may be a spiritual warfare kind of battle going on.

            Would you like to talk about ways you can approach concerns you have that your husband might be better able to receive? And also, do keep in mind that as you heal and you learn how to avoid disrespect and how to speak “respect” fluently, and as he feels more safe with you, he will be better able to hear your feelings without feeling disrespected and emasculated. This is a slow process.

            Would you say you are a perfectionist? I have some posts and videos about that. I used to be a perfectionist and a people pleaser – turns out, God showed me that both of those things were idolatry. Idolatry of perfection (which made me very difficult to live with and very negative and critical) and idolatry of other people’s approval instead of seeking God’s approval primarily.

            What if you just enjoy that your husband is enjoying being with you. πŸ™‚ I think that is awesome!

            Much love!

          3. My husband has been very frustrated with her disapproval of the head scarf , as he is not a very bossy man, and it really is one of the few things he has ever taken a “hard” line on. She has also kind of gradually taken over the children’s ministry at the church ( which my husband used to run) – at first he was kind of grateful because we were so stressed out trying to help our son to calm down.

            My husband really hates conflict. Neither of us feels that her husband is going to want to hear anything regarding her as a pastor being possibly unbiblical. Denominationally it’s a Pentecostal church ( not the Oneness kind– the charismatic kind) and they do allow female pastors– so it’s not really like there is someone we could protest too- it would just be considered weird and old-fashioned. Like I said, we live in a really remote Northern area ( fly – in only) so it’s not like we can just go to the church down the street– these people have also been our best friends, which is what is making this all so painful! We are just kind of going in different directions. But if it’s a choice of people not begin saved at all or being saved in a somewhat off-doctrine church — isn’t it better that they be saved at least?

            I am definitely a perfectionist!! My dad always used to say you were allowed one mistake– but only one. I am aware of the stress this puts my husband and son under– but i find it very hard to stop— I find it really stressful to let things go if I feel they are “wrong”. Like I can hold my tongue for a while , but then it will just burst out of me later.

            I would also say I am a people pleaser– actually I think this is one of the things God is kind of combating with the head scarf— as people have had a hard time with it– my mom was like, ” Are you submitting to your husband– I didn’t raise you to do that!” ( she has since softened and actually bought me a head scarf for christmas, which I really appreciate)

            I would love to find ways to talk to my husband that he will better receive—but part of it is how to get it out of my mouth– if i feel the least bit frustrated or upset, it won’t matter how respectful the words are– all he hears is the emotion. I really struggle with how it makes me feel when I speak too respectfully– I feel like a kid asking my dad for permission to do something— and then I feel really frustrated and humiliated, if he has no opinion on it at all–or just looks scared at the thought of making a decision

          4. JillBeth,

            Let’s take this stuff to God in prayer. πŸ™‚

            When you do your quiet time this week, I would encourage you to read James 4.

            Lord,
            You are the sovereign Lord of the universe. You are the Creator. You sustain us all and You know where every galaxy is and where every single subatomic particle is at all times. Nothing can happen apart from Your knowledge and Your permission. You are close to the humble. You oppose the proud. You hate divisions in the Body. Jesus prayed for the Spirit of love and unity among believers. You alone are God. We share One Lord, One Baptism, One communion. You know the enemy’s plans to bring division, to steal, kill, and destroy. Open JillBeth’s eyes to the spiritual warfare that is going on. Help her to put on her armor (Eph. 6). Let her trust these issues to You. We pray for You to destroy the work of the enemy in this church. We stand against the spirit of division, contention, and control that is not of You. We yield fully to Your Word, Your truth, Your Spirit, Your love, and Your grace. Transform JillBeth’s heart to be more and more in line with Your own. Let Your Spirit fall on this church and let Your conviction bring about godly sorrow and repentance over any sin. Let this church be a shining light and let it live out the truth of Your Word. Use it for Your glory to bring many into the Kingdom! Accomplish Your purposes and Your will here!

            Wow, that is amazing how your mom has become supportive after being so hostile. Praise God for that! Yes, tone of voice is important when we communicate, that is an important part of respect. Sometimes it may help to think how you would say something to your boss, or to the president of your country. You could communicate your needs, but you would make sure to seek to have self-control, dignity, and respect. This takes practice. It takes the Holy Spirit. But it is possible! What is helpful, to me, is to understand that emotions tend to overwhelm men and makes it harder for them to hear our message. You are not being a little kid. You are learning to speak in a way that is the best way for your husband to hear your heart and the best way for him to care about your feelings.

            Let me know what God continues to speak to you and if you are feeling stuck. We can talk more if you would like!

            Much love!

        2. JillBeth,

          Also, keep in mind, if you believe God wants you to be home and you to homeschool – you can certainly pray about that and ask God to make a way for you to be home and for your husband to work. God is able to open doors that we can’t begin to imagine when we are walking in obedience to Him and seeking Him and His will above all else. I’m not saying it would happen tomorrow. But it is something you can lay before God if it is a desire in your heart. πŸ™‚ And, when you believe the timing is right, it may be something you can talk about with your husband respectfully, too. πŸ™‚

          Much love!

          1. Well, my husband definitely knows my wishes in the manner– he just doesn’t think we can afford it ( he’s right– we couldn’t have done it on his wages– despite the fact that he was a teaching assistant, he was only making minimum wage . We live on a reservation and there is not a lot of work here and unfortunately it is very expensive to live here. We can’t easily leave –on one level, because despite many prayers on the subject, I don’t think we have God’s permission to leave– on an earthly level, we are fostering a Native Canadian child, and chief and council have final say on all arrangements– his grandmother is deputy chief, and I can’t see her every letting us leave here with him. He’s 9 now and we’ve had him since he was 19 months, he thinks of us as his parents– so I can’t just give him up. ( He knows his real mother, but her problems are pretty severe, I don’t think he can live there.)

            I think this is the real problem– I feel trapped , like there is no way out, I feel worn out with the needs of the school, constantly behind in my work, the house always needs cleaning, so often my son cries when I leave and begs me to stay home with him. It’s so hard– I feel like I”m not being a good teacher or a good mom.

            I keep wishing my husband was a different kind of man – with the limited employment options here ( nurse, cop, teacher or minimum wage) how can it ever be any different– I just need to bite down what I want and give up on ever staying home – This must be what God wants right– to minister to all these children– but what about my little guy at home? What message am I sending him? He ‘s so volatile and insecure. Then all this submission thing just seems like a farce— wearing a skirt and a head scarf–and I’m the main breadwinner– it doesn’t make any sense. I”m so confused about what God wants— some people seem to interpret that Titus 2 line very strictly and imply it is a sin for a woman to ever work out of the house. Is that what God means? How do I ever know for sure?

          2. JillBeth,

            As your husband feels more respect and honored, his confidence will increase dramatically over time. He may eventually begin to believe that he can find a job that could support the family. Let’s trust God with the circumstances and whether y’all should leave or not. God is able to open doors we can’t begin to imagine. I pray you might leave all of these concerns and dreams at the altar and let’s trust God together to direct you and your family according to His will as you seek Him first and allow Him free reign to lead and direct you through your husband and through His Spirit and His sovereignty.

            I can totally relate to feeling trapped. When I began this journey, I was in a very stressful retail pharmacy job. It was part time, but I HATED it and wanted to quit and be home with our young children. I believed Greg would ask me to work more hours when I began to honor his leadership. I was terrified that he would say I had to work full time because I could make so much more money than him. I made about 3 times as much as he did per hour. Every month for the first 5 months after I began to submit to Greg, I got new job offers for more hours that I didn’t ask for and didn’t want. I would tell Greg about it and wait while he thought about it and I would cry and be in turmoil for weeks. Every time, he eventually said for me to do what I thought was best. Then, God made a way for me to take a part time job at an independent pharmacy with a former pharmacy school classmate. I have been there now almost 5 years. It is the perfect fit for me. I am working, which I would rather not. But Greg has asked me to work part time to help support the family because his state job has great benefits and hours but not the best pay. It has been a good balance and not stressful. I am so thankful!

            God is sovereign. He can change your situation. He can change your outlook. He can change your husband. He can change the job opportunities. He can inspire you both to move if it is His will. He can bring new things to your area. He is SO MUCH BIGGER than most of us ever realize!

            What if you talk with your husband about what you can take off of your plate and about how you can have the time you need with God. Are there any expectations you can let go of or any things you can stop doing that are consuming too much time and energy – good things, but maybe things that are not things God really wants you to focus on right now?

            You can learn to be content even if you have to work – but you can also trust that God is able to change the situation. You can share your dream with Him and ask Him to make a way if it is His will for you to be home and for you to homeschool your children if that is your dream. πŸ™‚ That is not too hard for God!

            I wanted to homeschool our kids. Talked with Greg about it 5 years ago. I shared all of my concerns about public school. He thought about it for awhile and shared his concerns about private school and homeschooling. Because he had such strong feelings against me homeschooling and against private school, I honored his leadership on that. I see now that God was in his decision. I see where my children are where they need to be at this time.

            I don’t know if God wants you to be home or to be working full time right now. I do know that as we yield everything to Him completely and trust Him to lead us – He can make a way for us to do His will. He can change our hearts and desires to match His own, and He can move mountains.

            What is your husband’s relationship like with your son? What if God wants to use this time to build a bond between your husband and son and what if God knows this is going to be a good thing for him?

            There were women in Scripture who worked outside the home. I don’t see where that was condemned. Women were usually not the main breadwinner then. That was not usually possible. But the Proverbs 31 woman sold things she made and bought a field with her earnings. Lydia in the New Testament was a “seller of purple.” A number of women supported Jesus financially during His ministry. I don’t see where there is a Scriptural prohibition against women working outside of the home. I think the important thing is that we are doing what God calls us to do and that we are fulfilling our responsibilities as wives and moms in ways that please God. The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn may be a helpful book as you seek to hash through those things.

            How is your walk with Christ going? Where do you feel like you are spiritually at this point?

            Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom and clarity for you and for your husband!

          3. I stumbled upon this old post of yours that I think answers some of my questions— “Now I also know that if I fight my husband’s decisions, I am likely fighting God. So I don’t fight anymore. I share what i want and desire with my husband and God, and then I trust them to lead me. Even if it looks β€œwrong” to me. Even if I don’t like the direction. That is ok. I know that God has infinitely more wisdom than I do now. So I trust Him. And I know that I CAN’T LOSE. If my husband sins – my God is big enough to use that for His glory. If my husband makes β€œmistakes” – my God is big enough to use that for His glory, too. If my husband follows God, we both win. If he makes mistakes, God will use it. I have no fear anymore because God is working all things for my good and for His glory – and I know that I don’t know how to get there, only He does.”

            This has given me something to think about– I think I have definitely ascribed to the idea of — there is God’s best plan for me and I have to discern it, and if we miss that we are doomed forever– so many of the kids fall into REALLY destructive behaviours here at SUCH a young age— I have really wanted to make sure we make the absolute “BEST” decision for our foster son, in case anything else means a life of drunken addiction, and jail-time—( a fair number of our Grade 8’s have been to jail at least briefly). His birth mom seems to run away at least one a month and live on the street just drinking. She keeps coming back more and more hurt each time, as various people fight her while she is out here. The stakes seem so high for our little guy- I don’t want to get this wrong.

            Thank you for your encouragement that it is not wrong for me to work– that fear was really getting to me. I”ve really been placed in a position of so much greater responsibility this year at work– it has been a real struggle for me– and I think maybe a big point of pride too, with so many new teachers turning to me for advice–I’ve been a little puffed up, and then a real struggle at home to turn around and be the person “under authority” ( my boss is very laid back and hands off– at this point in my career, she pretty much lets me do what i want with my job and just trusts that I know what I am doing)

          4. JillBeth,

            It is important that we don’t think too highly of ourselves, as if everything totally depends on us. That is what I used to think – and it is a destructive, warped way of thinking that makes me really big and powerful and God very small and impotent. That is not reality! I am small, weak, and impotent on my own. God is HUGE and powerful! I have to understand that.

            We can seek God’s wisdom and seek to make the best decisions. We are accountable to Him as parents. But we are also not sovereign. And we can’t stop all bad things from happening. We can’t take a child’s free will away, particularly as they get older and older. We can seek to discipline them in a godly way and love them and seek to make the best decisions in God’s sight. But even if we make the best decisions, we can’t have a guarantee that the child will turn out the way we want them to.

            It sounds like things are really difficult in your area. I have had students in the pharmacy who did rotations in Alaska and they told me about all of the depression and alcoholism. I also believe there is a great amount of spiritual warfare going on in some of those remote areas, as well. Of course, drugs, addictions, alcohol, and those kinds of things go along with spiritual warfare. They open the door for demonic oppression many times.

            It may be that God has you working because your foster son needs a father figure with him all the time right now to help direct him. I don’t know – but God is able to do things like that – set up circumstances so that He directs us even when we don’t realize it. We will see it in hindsight.

            What your foster son and his mom need most is Christ – and fervent prayer against the plans of the enemy and prayer that the Spirit of God might reach them for His kingdom. As you and your husband model godly marriage, faith in God, prayer, agape love, honor, respect, godly discipline… God can and will use you both in his life. πŸ™‚

            It is easy to get prideful when we have authority at work. I’m glad you are seeing that, it is important to focus on humility and studying about pride and humility and consciously lowering ourselves in our thoughts and exalting Christ alone. I have to be careful with that in pharmacy and in ministry. It can’t be about me being so necessary or about my wisdom. It has to be all about exalting Jesus and about His will and His power. I am just a clay pipe through which His Spirit flows to others. I am not His Spirit.

            As a working woman, especially a full-time professional working woman, it will be important to turn off “work mode” and turn on “home mode” as you go home from work. πŸ™‚

            I’m so glad to get to meet you and to know you a bit better. I pray for God’s wisdom and healing for you, your husband, your foster son and his mom. I pray for your church and your community for the Spirit of God to fall there and to bring a Great Awakening. I pray for you to see more and more clearly how HUGE God is and the depths of His love for you. πŸ™‚

            Much love!
            April

          5. Thanks April, I really needed the encouragement– I had begun to feel like this was so hard, I should really just give up trying. I’m picking up that sword of the
            Spirit and continuing to fight again.

          6. JillBeth,

            YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m right here beside you. And much more importantly, Jesus and His Spirit are right there with you every moment. You are never alone!!! Allow Him to be your power source. That is the only way this works. Much love!

      2. Hey April,

        I’m looking for any practical suggestions you have here—a situation happened tonight that is a pretty typical fight for us– I want to handle it differently but don’t know how. I’m home making supper– my husband is out with my son, but it’s getting late and I’m getting worried that my son is misbehaving -praying and cooking. My son walks in crying– I feel like all my fears are realized, at first as he often cries when he tantrums, then find out he fell ( very slippery and icy here right now) I notice he is still wearing his ice skates– I literally cover my mouth and turn away to keep myself from saying anything, but what I am thinking is, Why on earth did you let him wear his skates off the ice, of course he fell getting in and out of the truck .

        After several exchanges back and forth on what happened, I can’t seem to help myself and burst out angrily about the skates— apparently a bunch of kids got off the ice and wanted a ride at the same time, so he didn’t notice that he never took off his skates. Now I’m fuming that he is paying more attention to the other kids than his son. My son is still crying and holding me, I’m still trying to make supper, husband is angry because he wants to share his part of the story where our son went into his cousin’s house and initially refused to leave. I’m baffled as to why he let him go into the house if the cousin was being dropped off– didn’t he know he would try to stay– Inside I”m thinking, why on earth did you let him go inside, the whole reason he went is was to try and stay, that’s the kind of thing he always does, why is it a surprise– . I don’t say all this, but my frustration that he doesn’t know how to outsmart our son is huge. More explanation of how this was actually the second time they were at cousin’s , because Son insisted they stop to talk to cousin. I’m furious and contemptuous that he gave in to our son’s demands and mutter something like, It’s important to know how is in charge. This is aimed (mostly) at son, but husband feels it is aimed at him. .

        Husband gets irritated and announces that he is leaving, muttering that no one appreciates him or feels happy to see him ( he just got back from being out of town for an overnight) I’m still trying to make dinner He takes his time putting his coat on— I’m thinking if you are waiting for me to beg you to stay, it’ll be a long wait, and thinking what a coward he is. He leaves. I finish making supper and put plates together for us. Our son asks where dad is and I explain that dad is upset and went for a walk to calm down. Dad walks back in part way through dinner. He’s in an odd mood– half apologetic, half angry– I hate this particular mood, as really anything I say will be wrong. I’m still furious, but saying nothing, because I know there is no way I can control my tone, and no matter how encouraging the words I might choose, I am so angry and filled with contempt for him right now, that I just better not speak. He interprets my silence badly. He is on the edge of tears. I feel at a loss for what to do and feel like he is overacting badly. How is this leadership? I’m supposed to comfort him like the mom, but he is supposed to be the leader? I just keep eating and hoping things will get better. Gradually normality seems to be restored– he no longer seems on the edge of tears or angry.

        I look this over and can tell I”m not explaining this well. I can’t quite get across the horrible spiral of one thing from me, leading to quite drastic things on the other side, and the level of contempt and hatred I have for him in the middle of one of these fights. He just seems so incompetent. No matter what I say, he can tell perfectly well what I feel– but how do I FEEL something different in the middle of one of these horrible fights? Is there anything I can say that won’t make it all worse? I get that I”m doing it all wrong— but I don’t feel like I have any control over my emotions in the middle of these things, and no matter how much I control my words, he always responds to my emotions. I come across as horrible even to myself when I read this back.

        I don’t know how to convey the horribleness that occurs inside me when he seems incompetent, It’s like this red rage sweeps over me, It’s like oh no, how can I ever trust him, will he ever get anything right, why do I always have to be the strong one, why do I always have to figure everything out, when do I get to just trust him to take care of things, why do we have to live in this chaos all the time, is it always going to be my son rules or I rule, but never he steps forward and rules?

        So this is the ugly little part of my marriage, that desperately needs to change, but I don’t know how— I keep asking God to change me– but it seems like still we end up back here. How do I get rid of the anger? Will he ever become competent and trustworthy or will he just always be this way, and I just have to get used to it? I don’t think I can. I don’t know how— I can’t get used to not feeling safe. And feeling like my son is not safe with him either, because he just is not a detail guy and neither is my son, so details like take off your skates just don’t get noticed. If it’s not this it’s something else. I feel like I have to be hyper alert because he is just NOT, he really struggles to remember things, even if he writes them down, he doesn’t remember to read his notes, etc. I’m tired of feeling so scared.

        1. JillBeth,

          Thank you so much for sharing this. I believe that we can work through this scenario together and that this could be a critical turning point in your life spiritually if you are ready to look at things from an entirely different perspective. I really appreciate you sharing what you were thinking and all of your emotions. This kind of information is super helpful as we seek to invite God to shine His light into the darkest places of our hearts and we seek to see things the way He does.

          First of all, I completely understand that you were right that your son should have not had his skates on once he was off the ice. He shouldn’t have been trying to get in and out of the truck or going into people’s houses with skates on – that is a recipe for a fall. And, you were also right that it was probably unwise (if the goal was to get home on time) to let him go into his cousin’s house – because he would want to try to stay.

          Now let’s look at God’s big perspective on our lives for a moment:

          1. He calls us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
          2. He calls us to love others as ourselves.

          Some sobering thoughts…

          – In fact, God counts what we do for others and how we treat them as if we are doing those things for or to Him “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me…. whatever you did not do for the least of these… you did not do for Me.” Matthew 25:40,44

          We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21

          – This is the kind of love with which God commands us to love all other people, including our husbands: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

          – How we respond to people, even when they are wrong, is about our character. God commands us to be filled with His Spirit so that we always respond in His power and we always have the fruit of His Spirit in the way we respond toward others, including our husbands: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24

          – God commands us as wives to respect our husbands. It is an unconditional command just like the commands for husbands to love their wives: the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33b

          – Jesus measures our love for Him by our obedience to Him: Jesus replied, β€œAnyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24

          PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

          I was very much in the same boat you are in when I began this journey. I held my husband in contempt. I looked down on him. I thought I knew best about everything and that if he did anything differently from how I would do it, that he was “wrong.” I criticized him often. I focused on all the things I wanted to change about him. He was not at all plugged in as a dad when I began this journey. He barely would look at me, talk with me, or touch me. He didn’t care about my feelings. I didn’t think he was capable of leading. I didn’t think he was capable of being a good dad. I thought I had to take over. I didn’t think he was close to God. I let him know all of these things, of course, in no uncertain terms. Makes me cry even today to think about the way I used to treat him. πŸ™

          I took these little issues, things similar to the ice skates being left on, or him stopping by the cousin’s house, and made those the most important things in the world. I cut him down for not doing things the way I would have done them. I humiliated him. I berated him. I held on to bitterness. I tried to control him. I took charge because I didn’t trust him to be competent to lead.

          I missed the big picture in the process. πŸ™

          I was so focused on the little issue (which, if I really looked at it – the things I was usually upset about weren’t even sins according to the Bible.) That I couldn’t see the bigger picture. I didn’t see that in my determination to be “right” about things like ice skates being left on, or a visit to a cousin’s house, I was sinning greatly against God and against my husband. My contempt, pride, self-righteousness, disrespect, hatred, and explosions of sinful anger were big time sins. My bitterness was big time sin. My unforgiveness was sin – and Jesus said, in Matthew 6 after the Lord’s Prayer, that if I don’t forgive others, God will not forgive me. That is how big of a deal my unforgiveness is.

          Not only was I full of sin in my response to things my husband did that weren’t actually sin – but I was willing to sacrifice the unity, harmony, and strength of our marriage in order to force my way. I was willing to crush my husband’s soul. I was willing to set an ungodly example in front of my children. Was “my way” so “right” that I was justified to disobey the commands of God for me as a believer and as a wife? Did God give me a free pass to sin against my husband, my children, and Himself because I was “so right” about the little issue?

          I realized that I was the “foolish woman” who was tearing down my house with my own hands. God showed me that my pride, disrespect, contempt, bitterness, control, and self-righteousness destroyed my husband and deeply wounded our marriage. That is why he had shut down on me. That is why he was so uninvolved with our children. That is why he was distant. That is why he could barely hear God’s voice. That is why he was living in fear of me and trying to avoid me. That is why he wasn’t leading like I wanted him to and he wasn’t the godly man I wanted to be. (I was not responsible for his sin. But I was responsible for putting many stumbling blocks in his way and for trying to destroy him, even though I didn’t realize what I was doing.)

          Are the details like skates being taken off important? Yes. It would be great if your husband or your son had realized that the skates needed to be taken off. Could he fall and get bruised up if he had his skates on? Sure.

          But what are the consequences of a wife acting in hatred, contempt, rage, self-righteousness, pride, and unholy anger?
          – potentially a very wounded husband spiritually/emotionally
          – ultimately, if this is a regular way of responding, a destroyed marriage
          – a husband who leaves for much longer than half of supper
          – a poor example for your son
          – instability in the home
          – a foothold for the enemy in your life and in your home
          – grieving God’s Spirit so that you don’t have His power to respond in His holiness and His love and His ways

          A possible alternative response when your son and husband got home:

          – Welcome them home.
          – Stop what you were doing and smile at your husband, hug him, tell him you are glad to see him. (Do this every day.)
          – Hug and comfort your son. Say, “Oops! Looks like y’all forgot to change his skates.” Ask him to take off his skates. Check to be sure he is okay. Smile at you son. Ask him about the fun he had.
          – Smile at your husband. Thank him for taking your son skating and for being such an involved Dad.
          – Listen to your husband talk about taking your son to his cousin’s. Realize that your husband will eventually figure out that it is going to be a battle for your son to want to stay if he takes him there. You may even say, “Oh, he would definitely want to try to stay if he gets to go to his cousin’s house. He would never want to leave! That is one of his favorite places. I bet it was really hard to get him to leave.” πŸ™‚
          – Extend grace to your husband and realize that sometimes when he does things that are different from the way you would do them, he is not necessarily “wrong.” But even if he makes a few mistakes here or there, you can extend grace to him the way that God extends grace to you – especially when it is not even something sinful. If he sinned against your son, you may have to address that respectfully and lovingly and gently, being careful not to sin in your own heart (with pride, self-righteousness, rage, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, etc…).
          – Make supper.
          – Eat supper together as a family with your husband feeling respected, you not having any sin to regret, your heart filled with the Holy Spirit, with joy, with peace, with love, with real respect and honor for your husband, and with love for your son.
          – Enjoy your family and your time together.

          This is going to take some time to digest. And it will take some time to get to this new place. But in the power of Christ, if you are willing to trash your old ways of thinking and embrace His ways – He can empower you to do this. I’m glad to walk beside you each step of the way.

          God can completely transform your thinking. He can heal you. He can heal your husband. He can heal your marriage. That is what He did for me! Now, my husband is the involved dad I always wanted him to be. Now he is a godly leader. He is not perfect. Neither am I! But I have nothing but respect for Greg now. Now he can listen to and hear God’s voice now that I am no longer stomping on his soul. Now he is growing spiritually and maturing as a leader and as a father. Now we have genuine peace and harmony in our marriage. That is what I want for you!

          Much love to you!!!! And the BIGGEST hug! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad we can walk this road together. I am praying for God to make things clear to you and for you to allow Him to empower you and to change you for His glory!

          1. Thank you for taking the time to answer in detail and not just condemning me. The verse I had in mind last night as I was writing was in 1John where it talks about walking in the light and coming out of the darkness. I’ve known my thoughts were full of darkness and all wrong. Thank you for giving me some concrete steps to take to try to do this differently next time, and not just shrinking away in horror at the darkness. I want to change so much, I can see I’m killing my husband’s courage and spirit.

            I”m realizing part of the problem is this because he is a foster son and not adopted, I get so terrified if we make too many mistakes, they might take him away from us. This has been such a huge fear all year as our little guy has had a lot of struggles this year. I keep wanting my husband to be the perfect Dad, so they have no excuse to take him back. We had his little sister part of last year, and even though mom was drinking, they were unwilling to let him stay with us, as summer was coming and we go off the island then– so she went back to mom. That hasn’t lasted of course due to mom drinking, so now she has ended up at her auntie’s. Our son misses her terribly and she reaches out to hug me when I see her at school.

            Oops, my husband has suddenly appeared and we are reconciiiaing– gotta go!

          2. JillBeth,

            You are most welcome. I had no one to turn to when I was beginning this journey. I was in the same place you are spiritually, I believe. So I can’t condemn you. I completely recognize those thought patterns and the mindset of being so focused on control because of fear. No one I knew 7 years ago could explain the baby steps to me. There were people who would say, “just don’t worry.” “You worry too much.” But that was no help! I needed to see the underlying deep core beliefs upon which I had built my life that needed to be unearthed and thrown out and things needed to be rebuilt from scratch. I didn’t realize I had self on the throne instead of God. That I had tons of unbelief in God. That I didn’t really trust Him. That I believed I should be in control and that I was sovereign over things that really aren’t my responsibility. I didn’t see all of my pride and all the sin. And when I did, I was totally overwhelmed and mortified and wasn’t sure what to do at first.

            The fact that you want to change and are willing to face these things tells me that God is already at work and that He is about to do some amazing things in your life! THAT IS SO EXCITING!!!! WOOHOO!

            I pray that you might lay your fear before God and trust Him to lead your son and your husband and trust His sovereignty and His ability to do what is ultimately best for all of you – including your foster son and his sister.

            Looking forward to talking some more, my dear sister!

            Much love to you!

          3. JillBeth,

            We always have reasons to fear if we are looking at our circumstances or other imperfect people. But when our eyes and our faith are totally on Christ and in Him – all of our fears melt away. We are no longer fueled by fear, but by His Spirit, His love, His vision, His mind, and His power. The obstacles look tiny when we see how big and powerful Jesus is!

          4. Okay, not sure if you are going to want to print this. So we reconciled the other day. My husband confessed that on days like the other night, he feels like he is always going to keep making mistakes, and I am never going to be able to respect him. I explained I really am trying to respect him. I talked a little bit about dealing with the fear that if we don’t do this foster parent thing perfectly, they might take him back. So thing were back on an even keel. I tried to implement at least one practical tip you mentioned: hug him when he walks in the door ( or when I walk in the door).

            It has been unexpectedly successful. He has been very affectionate. Sometimes I find this oddly hard to handle, but I’ve been trying to relax and not pull away. I realized I’ve put up some walls of protection to deal with the fact that we just don’t have sex very often. It’s not that he refusesβ€”it’s just that he doesn’t initiate very often ( almost never), and I have found this so discouraging and felt so undesirable that I don’t usually bother to initiate unless I’m desperate for it ( which generally happens about once a month).

            I tried one time to wait until he initiated and we went about 4 or 5 months until I felt like I was going to go crazy and I was just furious with him all the time, and finally just begged him to have sex with me which felt seriously humiliating.

            So I just really don’t want that sexual side of myself to wake up too much, because then I just get very angry and resentful that he doesn’t want it as much as I do, then I feel really horrible about myself that this seems to be such a priority for me, when so many other women could care less about it. I’ve always just felt like this part of me was in β€œoverdrive”.

            Here’s the other part of this. Doing this submission thing tends to turn me on, which is kind of enjoyable but also kind of embarrassing. I start to get to this point where having sex is kind of all I can think about. Then we have sex, and I’m sort of mortified by how much I like it, and how dark my fantasies get ( I used to have a pretty serious S+M porn addiction pre-marriage, which has been over a long time, but I can struggle to keep my thoughts β€œclean” during sex.) Then after we have sex I’m sort of overwhelmed and embarrassedβ€”I desperately want more sex the next day, where he is usually satisfied and could go a long time without needing it again. Then I feel a little humiliated by my response and pull away from him and really get kind of edgy, witchy and non-submissive in reaction. I really hate this cycle.

            I’ve also been trying hard to submit on the β€œlittle things” , the times where he says things like, honey you’re tired, why don’t you let me handle this ( whatever this is) and you go grab a nap. This is the kind of thing I would often argue about, but that he really, really likes if I just do what he suggests. He doesn’t get mad if I don’t, he just sort of gets discouraged. He is definitely growing in confidence as he sees me listening to his suggestions, and is feeling more and more comfortable giving me more direction. (It’s funny as I’m thinking about this, I’m realizing this has happened before, but I’ve been frustrated and resentful by it, because I’ve interpreted it as β€œbossy” rather than β€œleadership” . Apparently they are two different categories in my mind, which strikes me as hilarious right now!!)

            The problem is, I LOVE it— but I don’t’ WANT to love it. I can also feel my body responding and feeling slightly embarrassed by this. And I keep thinking I don’t want to fall into this cycle again— but how do I stop it?

            I could try not submitting, but that is what I have been doing and pretty much makes us both miserable. Ditto with just not being affectionate. I can’t really seem to stop my body from responding at a pretty visceral level. The truth is I really do like and respond to him when he is more confident. I don’t really know how to stop the β€œbacklash” effect after we have sex. I’m writing to you now, because based on how things are going I think there’s a good chance that will be happening soon, and I can’t figure out what to do different, so we don’t end up back in that spot again. Any ideas?

          5. JB,

            Well, it sounds like things are actually going WELL. That is awesome! I’m so glad y’all had the discussion about how you were both feeling the other night. Beautiful!

            And yes, it is normal that when the wife honors and respects her husband, he feels more loving and affectionate and interested in sex – and so does she! But that is a bit of a twist that you have a history with a S+M porn addiction from before marriage – so that is going to complicate things a bit. Is he aware of this issue? He may be able to help you try to manage things and balance things a bit?

            Is there a reason why you could not initiate sex? If he doesn’t refuse you – it seems that you could initiate and enjoy each other without waiting for him to initiate?

            I have seen MANY, MANY situations where a husband who is feeling really disrespected has a lower drive. I think that sometimes when a man feels really disrespected, it is emasculating – and it is my understanding that his thoughts about himself affect his testosterone levels to a degree – a significant degree. Often, as the husband feels more and more respected, his desire kicks up a good bit more – unless there is an underlying medical issue, or side effect of a medication, or something else like exhaustion and stress going on.

            I am familiar with a husband not being very interested. I even have a post with a number of wives’ stories about some of these things, if you are interested.

            I love that you are allowing him to provide for you, take care of you, and bless you. WOOHOO! That is awesome! Part of godly femininity is that we receive love, care, nurturing, provision, and leadership from our husbands graciously.

            What do you think?

            Much love!

          6. JB,
            Oh! And OneSoLoved wrote a post about healing from BDSM and CDD here. I wonder if her post or insights may be helpful? I would love for you to enjoy sex and not go into anything that you believe is sinful or dark – but that it might be a wonderful, holy time for you and your husband to enjoy together. Praying for you to be able to take your thoughts captive for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!

          7. Thanks, actually those posts on BDSM are actually what led me to take your blog more seriously than others that dealt with the same topic of submission– because you looked at exactly how it could be taken wrong, and were willing to outline why that was not what you were talking about. They were what led me to have an honest talk with my husband about what fears were standing in the way of my submitting to him- the fear that he might take advantage ( even though realistically I know the thought of that is horrifying to him.) That was last February.

            As to now– I had a blunt talk with my husband about some of the struggles I had still been having ( sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit this is still a problem.) He just spent some time in prayer for me, binding and praying against any spirit of perversity attacking me. I kept thinking about the phrase “holy” I had definitely fallen back into thinking I could either be sexual and dirty or clean and non-sexual. It’s hard to put holy and sexual together in my head. But something really changed after my husband prayed for me, and it was a completely different experience.

            Thanks for being willing to tackle the hard topics! This is definitely not the kind of thing I can talk to just anyone about!

          8. JB,

            I’m glad those posts were helpful. There are always ways to pervert God’s wisdom and his design if we veer too far to the right or to the left of it. God’s design for us seems to always involve this delicate balance and tension that can only be achieved with the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.

            I’m so thankful that you talked with your husband and that he prayed for you so powerfully. WOW! Please thank him for that!!!!!! PRAISE GOD!

            Sex in marriage is beautiful, holy, clean, and good. It is a gift from God. A glue to hold us together in bonds of unity and love. It is a picture of the spiritual unity and oneness we are to have with Christ.

            You are most welcome. I’m so thankful and honored that God has allowed me to be here and that we can talk about these important topics. Praying for continued healing for you, your husband, and your marriage, my dear sister – for Christ to be greatly exalted in your lives! πŸ™‚

            Much love!

          9. JillBeth,

            I received your new message and unapproved it as soon as I saw it, per your request.

            Would it be okay if we go through a spiritual check up and a bit of a physical check up on you (a few questions about your sleep and health) together?

            I am really glad you reached out for help!

  15. I’m struggling today. We had a disagreement last night that he actually admitted (for once!) was a big misunderstanding on his part.

    I tried the believing thing. I tried the receiving thing. I thought we were making progress. But he still reacts to everything as if I’m not believing him, or I’m trying to be negative. (Oh if he only knew the thousands and thousands of things I don’t say in a sincere effort to be more respectful).

    So anyway, I was sharing a genuine concern and he went totally in the wrong direction, thinking I was being unhappy. But I wasn’t! Thankfully I think he did realize that, but in the process, he made me realize that trying is pointless.

    I kind of feel like, I made my bed, now I have to lie in it. Why would he not think I’m being negative when my thoughts have been so negative in the past. I guess it just kind of shocked me, because he acted happy this past weekend that I was trying to be positive and believe in his love, but last night he got so frustrated.

    So today I feel like, why try? I tried, I failed, believing in his love was a stupid idea that backfired like I knew it would. I should never have begun to tear down my walls, I was much safer behind them. I feel like we are back at square one.

    I understand why he feels the way he does. But why make the effort to change if he obviously wants me to stay unhappy and negative?

    What’s worse is he will probably come home from work acting all normal and then wondering why I’m not in a good mood and then getting upset about that.

    I tried praying about all of this, but it just feels hopeless. At least I tried. Oh well.

    1. Becca,

      ALL of us go through these times. Please be patient with your husband. You have been married for how long and had these negative, awful ideas in your head for how many years now? And you have been working on changing in earnest for maybe a week or two? Husbands have their own journey. At first, they will be skeptical when we have been a certain way for decades and we begin to try to change. I actually have a few posts about that, if you are interested.

      This doesn’t mean that he will never see that you are really changing. It means he is scared to get his hopes up and scared that you are not really going to change. And maybe that he doesn’t know what to do when you respond positively. He is used to the old dance that was awful. It was painful – but familiar. Some men get really nervous about change. “What if the change ends up being even worse than the way things were?”

      This is a totally normal and practically universal stage in this journey.

      You both will need patience, grace, practice, prayer, and time. Kind of like all of us do. πŸ™‚

      You weren’t safer before. You were in pain every single day. Yes, this part may hurt a bit at times, but it is worth it. I promise! And – when you find yourself disappointed because of your husband’s reaction, I will share what God taught me to do in those times. (And there were lots of them!) He taught me to take my pain to Him and He would remind me, “April, why are you changing to become a godly wife? Are you doing it so that Greg will change? Or are you doing it just to please Me?” God used that LONG period of years where Greg stayed skeptical and shut down to refine my motives. I NEEDED that time. If Greg had immediately accepted the changes in me, I would not be where I am spiritually today. I would have gone right back to idolizing him and my messed up ways of thinking.

      Make the effort to change because God wants to heal you – not for your husband. πŸ™‚

      You get to have joy in Christ whether your husband was unloving or supportive or not. He can’t take that from you. I pray you will get some good time with God to soak in His presence and to let Him minister and speak to your heart. And then enjoy tonight with your husband and even more importantly – with your Lord.

      PS – the fact that your husband admitted to some misunderstanding on his part is a BIG step in the right direction. You ARE both making progress!

      Much love to you!

      1. Thank you, April. I guess I’ve heard you give this advice to other ladies before, but I never paid much attention. I never thought I’d get this far. Well, that’s not true, I guess I didn’t think I had the same kind of problems they did. I spent most of my time complaining and not actually trying to change.

        I needed the reminder of “why am I trying to change to become a godly wife?” I need to do it for God. It is so hard to change my entire way of thinking.

        I guess I’ve never really tried for real before, or at least not for the right reasons. We’ve come this far, so I guess I shouldn’t give up now. (Though sometimes I really want to!)

        Thank you for the encouragement.

        1. Becca,

          You are most welcome. πŸ™‚ There is a big difference between complaining about our problems and actually allowing God to help us tear out the wrong thinking and rebuild on His truth and live it out. Yep.

          It feels like spiritual and emotional contortion to do this at first. Yes. It is hard! Actually, it is impossible without God’s Spirit’s power. πŸ™‚

          This is not going to be a light switch kind of thing. You won’t be “all done” in 2 weeks. It is a journey that will last a lifetime.

          I’m honored to get to walk this road with you!

          Much love!

        2. Yes keep going!! There will be some bumps and confusion and misunderstandings along the way. It will take time. Deep ruts and habits take time to heal and get out of and that’s ok! You guys are doing great!! Hug!!!! So happy for you moving this direction. Don’t let satan steal the good God wants to do by giving up now!

  16. I just want to encourage everyone here on this journey to stick with it. April is amazing and the Holy Spirit speaks through her to women. I started on this whole journey about three years ago and I recognize all these feelings and the days of hard-heartedness and times of being in a black cloud.

    April is so right…God is not after your exterior, or your acting respectful by following rules of behavior (although it is a good place to begin to learn self-control), He is after total transformation and that takes more time than we imagine it could.

    After a few years of this I FINALLY am beginning to experience freedom from the bitterness and cynicism that I had allowed to dominate me. I have read all the posts on this blog many, many times! I LOVE how I was nurtured and mentored here through such loving and patient wisdom. I had to learn how to give my heart to Christ first and examine myself first and extend Jesus’ love without expecting return.

    One story sticks out for me when I knew I had turned the corner, this was just over Christmas holiday a few months ago. My husband had painted our walls three years ago but I came home and noticed that spots were thin, showing the old color through, and the trim was messy, including color on the corners of the white ceiling. For these two years I have had the “ugh” factor when I look at my walls, it interrupted my enjoyment of my home, I stopped having friends over, etc etc. I demanded, I pointed out the flaws, I asked politely, I stayed quiet for long periods of time hoping he would get around to fixing it, but of course he felt criticized by my pointing out the flaws and never did it.

    Well, this Christmas I was going to have time off and I asked him to get out all the paints for me and the ladder. I painted all the trim and fixed the thin spots over about three days morning till night.

    The amazing thing was that the whole thing became a prayer. I was motivated to do it from love, because my prayers had led me to release my resentment and think about my husband as a little boy being criticized by his mother. I had gone through my own process of repentance and I was so clear-headed and light-hearted that it was easy to start the work.

    While I painted, I noticed that different times of day made the light change and it was really hard to tell whether I had really painted enough layers over the old color. It kept changing. My husband had painted while he was in his busy season of work before (while I was out of town for six weeks). I realized that it was not so easy to see what you had done while you were painting. I forgave him more deeply. While I worked I had fun! I sang, carefully moved the ladder, kept a good spirit, because my work had become a prayer of healing for my family.

    When I worked on the trim, I realized that it was the perfect thing for me to do and that my husband was the type of person who was not cut out for the detail work. But I was so thankful that I didn’t have to do the big strokes of the whole wall, which would have exhausted me totally. So God showed me we were a perfect team — man to do the big muscle work and woman to fill in details and make the whole thing more pretty. I allowed myself to receive my husband’s gifts even if they weren’t my fantasy picture — to see what was in his heart.

    He was pretty defensive the whole time expecting me to fall into resentment and complaining, but God kept my heart lifted up as He showed me so many ways I had to look at myself and repent. This was a test and I was thankful for it, because it showed me that I had actually found transformation. I wasn’t just boiling inside and keeping my mouth shut. I was joyful and thankful that my husband had done what he could and that I could step in and help (even though it took a very long while). I was so thankful to be working on our home together (which I always wanted) but in this different way (him first then me following). I have always had an idolatrous fantasy of us working side by side on our home, but he needed space for his work and I for mine. I felt we were working together as one, though, more than any other time in our marriage except for the births of our children.

    I was so happy to share this with my husband and I could tell it was a milestone for him, too. Since that time he has been so much more open and calm, we have been able to talk more freely without falling into old patterns. We are still working on it all, but there was some kind of a shift. The shift happened in my heart, and its fruit was my being able to paint and learn more amazing things God showed me. The shift came first. During these other years it definitely started as me learning to be quiet, say things in different ways, etc,etc, but now I see with new eyes, which is a gift of that outside-in time I had to go through first.

    I would never have known how this felt unless I had a guide, a Titus woman I could trust. Thank you April for what you do here. Christ is saving families through you. Bless you and your family.

    1. Tunecedemails,

      WOW! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m ecstatic to hear how God has been changing your heart. πŸ™‚ WOOHHOO! How I praise God for His goodness!

      I wonder if you might allow me to anonymously share your story as a post sometime?

      Never get tired of hearing about God’s work in people’s lives. πŸ™‚

      Much love to you!

      1. Yes, share away but edit me so everything says three years! Not sure how that happened, I was emotional lol. I wish we could go out for tea but sharing here will have to do:) All Praise to God, but thank you for your work!!

        1. Tu ne cede malis,

          I love that!!!!! Thank you for allowing me to share. I can’t wait to hear more of your story in the future. If we ever get a chance to go out for tea, I would jump at the opportunity. Let me know if you are ever in the neighborhood, I am in South Carolina. πŸ™‚

          And yes, all praise to God. πŸ™‚ I’m so honored I get to be part of His work in your life.

          Much love!

          April

  17. Also my sign on name should be tu ne cede malis, (not mails): Latin for do not give in to evil.

    Romans 12:21, Do not yield to evil, but overcome evil with good:)

  18. Thanks for the list. #16 is very hard for me when you have 21 years of issues with them. And also I have trouble with feeling the stress/dynamic of the family rests on my shoulders. That’s a lot of pressure. I can’t remember which number that was. πŸ˜ƒ

    My husband said to me last week after an argument that he doesn’t think either one of us respect each other. And I don’t disagree. I have read your blog off and on. And honestly it’s very hard to swallow at times. I can’t help but feel I will lose so much by being a peaceful submissive wife. I know you don’t agree April and I could probably guess what you would tell me. I’m just being honest. I did download your book on my kindle yesterday. It was in the free bestseller list in religion and spirituality. I look forward to reading it. I’ve also subscribed to Nina Roser’s email list. Maybe with those things and lots of prayer I can have a breakthrough. God bless you April. I truly see your heart and mission to help wives in every post you answer.

    1. Tiffany,

      Yes, I do understand that many of these are not easy – especially if there is a lot of tension or bitterness from the past. I fact, I believe most of these things are impossible without God changing our hearts as wives. I believe we need the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to do the whole godly wife thing at all. I know I do! I can’t do it in my own power one bit.

      You will lose a lot when you become a peacefulwife, but if only you could see what you gain! You will lose the power of your sinful nature that destroys your marriage and relationships. You will lose your sinful self. But you will gain the power of heaven and all of the spiritual riches of Christ and His healing for yourself. You gain your new self in Christ! And then God will pour the spiritual blessings of heaven through you into your marriage, too.

      It does seem very counterintuitive when you are thinking about doing this before you actually do it. I totally agree. It is terrifying to stop trusting self at first – in order to do things God’s way. I remember feeling like I was flinging myself off of a spiritual cliff when I decided to trust God with all of this and all of my fears and worries. It takes much prayer and wrestling to get to the point where we can trust God.

      But then, our entire perspective changes. We begin to realize that the scariest place in the world is to be somewhere not trusting God completely, but trusting self. We begin to see the truth about dying to self and though it is so very painful, it brings new life in our relationships – with God and with others, including our husbands. And we get to experience godly power in our marriages that we can use to build up and bless our husbands and marriages.

      I wish I could let you experience what is in my mind and heart for an hour or two. I wish you could “try it on” before you commit. But God, in His wisdom, didn’t create things that way for us as believers. We take the leap of faith first, then we get to experience the blessings of obedience later.

      I love for women to be honest. That is where we have to start. You are most welcome here. πŸ™‚

      Take your time. Read. Pray. Wrestle. Study. Talk with me any time you want to. I am honored to walk beside you on this journey. I am praying for God’s healing for you, your husband, and your marriage, my dear sister!

      Much love!

  19. This was well said! I think something about taking care of yourself fits in there. One way to show respect for a hubby is to invest in yourself, exercise, take a walk, get your hair done, dress up, whatever makes you feel healthy, alive, attractive. It’s very easy to get caught up in emotional stuff and chores and to forget ourselves in the process.

    1. insanitybytes22,
      Yes! We can do things we enjoy and take responsibility for our own mental, physical, spiritual health. πŸ™‚ Then we are filled up when we come into the marriage rather than expecting our husband to meet needs that only we can meet for ourselves.

  20. There are a loooooooot of comments and I didn’t read them all, but something I’d add as a husband and father – Respect his provisions for your family. He is probably doing his best, and already feels like he could “do more” for your family, and he’s probably already trying to balance work and family life, and do his best on both counts.

    Letting a husband know that you’re chronically unsatisfied will destroy him.

  21. Ok, now that I have finally reached the bottom of the comments… πŸ™‚

    My husband and I have just reached our 2nd anniversary a few weeks ago. We got married later in life, in mid to late 30s. We met in college and it all began there.

    Like Becca, I love my flowers too! I will ask my husband for a few dollars go to the store, and sometimes he is with me, pick out the flowers and sometimes ask if he has a preference, normally he does not. He has smiled when he sees I’m happy with even wild flowers daisies from a field. But, I have learned we don’t need things to show us our value or our worth. Because we have been created by God, isn’t that worthy enough? We don’t need things or even flowers for us to view ourselves are beautiful. And we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be discouraged because someone is getting something we are not or because our husband hasn’t been picking up on hints. As mentioned in the post, be direct. My husband is so far from a mind reader, I have to be careful not to hint things to him, otherwise everything becomes twisted. But, I must give him credit. Even when I am being direct, he still tries to read my mind. Lol.

    I am still learning on respecting him as I should. I am learning to keep peace when something isn’t worth my fussing about. I’m learning to, pick my battles.

    Thank you April. πŸ˜†

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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