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"I Will Not Be a 'Second Class Citizen'" – by The Restored Wife

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A guest post by The Restored Wife:

I remember scoffing at the idea that my husband would EVER “rule over me” or control me in any way! I didn’t like the idea of being what I thought of as a second class citizen in my marriage.

I had a post recently here on April’s blog where I shared how that worked out for me. My husband felt so emasculated and discouraged, he completely gave up. We both made many mistakes, eventually leading to divorce. We were actually remarried March 1st, 2016 (praise God) but only after a long, painful journey in which I learned the importance of submission – not in the horrifying way I always thought it would be, but in the way God intended.

Here is an example of a situation where my husband’s leadership works when we disagree:

Our living room furniture is in awful condition, so we decided to shop for new furniture last month. We have VERY different taste so I was dreading the idea of ending up with couches I don’t even like! We sat down and planned out a budget for new furniture, and my husband asked me what color I wanted. I told him I thought gray would look best with the existing walls and decorations, and he actually agreed with me on that part. However, when we went shopping the first day, he was drawn toward couches that didn’t match my taste at all. I asked what he thought about taking some photos that day, then going home and looking over them before we made any decisions, and he agreed.

In the past, I would have demanded this instead of asking him. It makes a big difference to him that I ask respectfully, and generally he goes along with my suggestions when I do this.

That night we looked through the photos both of us had taken with our phones. I told him I didn’t like the overstuffed/oversized look of most of the furniture he picked. I didn’t yell or attack him; I just let him know that the style wasn’t what I had in mind. I asked him what features he liked most about those particular couches, and he actually didn’t care at all that they were the overstuffed kind – he was more worried about the fabric (we have pets) and how easy it would be to clean! Once I realized where his mind was, we got online and found some options that had:

(1) the gray color

(2) the same type of fabric

(3) a more streamlined look.

He was still worried that the couches I liked would be uncomfortable, so we went back to the store the next week to sit on them and try them out. We were able to find a set of couches that met both our requirements, and even though he made the final choice, he was very concerned about making sure I was happy as well.

That’s a small thing, but in the past it would have been a huge fight. I would have insisted we get the furniture I wanted without even understanding (or caring) why he was picking something else. I would have refused to even hear his opinion… I might have even insulted him by saying something like “Furniture is something the woman picks out, not the man.” None of these things would have made him feel respected and it would have driven a larger wedge between us as neither would have felt heard.

Instead, as he has become secure that I trust him to make the best decisions for our family, he seeks my input MORE than he ever did before. He wants me to be happy and is careful to make wise choices.

Not because I’ll make life awful for him if he doesn’t, but because we’ll get along so much better if he does. Before I submitted to him as the leader of our family, I would have never known he was trying to make my life easier by selecting a fabric that was easy to clean – I would have yelled and screamed to get my way and he never would have mentioned WHY he wanted the couches I didn’t like.

Submitting was so foreign to me at first. I had no idea how to be happy in a situation where I thought I would never get to voice my opinions or make decisions. But the only thing that really changed is “how” I share what I think and how my husband reacts to it. He thinks of things that never even cross my mind and I learn so much from him now that I allow him the space to share without feeling like I’ll dismiss or attack him. It’s a difficult mindset shift but I have received nothing but blessings since I allowed myself to trust God’s plan for our marriage.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

In God’s design, the husband and wife have equal value and worth. Both have an important voice. Both feel listened to. Both contribute all of themselves. Both feel loved, honored, and respected. We are not the same, but it is our differences in body, mind, and spirit that attract us to each other. It is our differences that allow us to function as a team and as one. We have different roles, but we have the same goal and we are equally valued and precious in the kingdom of Christ. We both have equal access to God and we are both co-heirs with Christ.

A godly husband and wife would both seek to be selfless, humble, generous, thoughtful, considerate, understanding, and compassionate when they are making decisions because of the Holy Spirit working in them. They would want to attempt to reach a win/win solution. There should be teamwork, calm discussion, and collaboration. It is only after such steps are taken for each spouse to understand the other and to honor the other and to try to reach a solution both husband and wife would like – that if they still can’t agree, the wife would then choose to honor her husband’s leadership and trust God to lead her through him. Sometimes decisions may have to be made quickly, without time for discussion – if there is an emergency. Some situations don’t have compromises.  But both spouses ideally would be seeking to do what is best for the family and seeking to be selfless and should desire to do what is ultimately best in God’s eyes for everyone in the family.

Many times, the actual decision isn’t as important as how we treat each other during the decision-making process. 

RELATED:

Biblical Submission

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

Biblical Submission Does Not Mean the Husband Is Always Right

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Can a Wife Overdo Submission?

Do You Have to Lose Yourself or Be Fake to Be a Godly Wife?

Does Being Biblically Submissive Mean I Can’t Share My Feelings and What I Need

The Pendulum Effect (avoiding the sinful extremes of being too passive and too controlling)

25 Ways to Respect Myself

What Is Godly Leadership?

Isn’t It Demeaning to Me If I Respect My Husband?

 

87 thoughts on “"I Will Not Be a 'Second Class Citizen'" – by The Restored Wife

  1. A lot of living with a man is reminding yourself that he is an individual with a completely different neural set and brain hormone profile, and that he probably isn’t thinking anything we are thinking. It’s easy to get angry when we assume he knows full well what we want and is being difficult, or that he knows what we want and is putting himself first. It’s much harder to get angry when we accept that we have different and /compatible/ concerns and interests.

    Even in more unusual couples, where one partner has less typical interests or one partner is not typically masculine or feminine, the same issues can arise. Using the furniture point: I care very much about function or funiture and making big empty spaces in the middle of the room; Jon has a keen eye for antique and rustic styles and likes a little bit of decoration in certain colours. Although it may not be a “typical” disagreement, if I did not understand his perspective we would still have something to argue about. Instead, it’s important to consider our differences and reach a peaceful agreement.

    1. This really resonates with me, especially the part about feeling your husband knows what you want and still puts himself first. My husband definitely doesn’t make perfect decisions all the time; there are times he has made a choice that was completely the opposite of what I wanted to do. He is such a big picture thinker, though, while I get bogged down in the small details – often even when I think he’s putting himself first, he is actually thinking long-term about what is best for our family. Some of the choices I’ve seen as selfish in the past have actually been huge blessings for us in the long run. And even the choices that didn’t turn out so well have been okay in the end, because my husband is willing to take responsibility when he does or says something that could have been done better. Remembering that we are both sinners saved by grace and both prone to make mistakes goes a long way for me!

  2. I love this story, practical, every day working things out. I hate interior design, he would like me to be good at it and I don’t care for it much, we don’t work well as a team and our house is in a state of disrepair because of it!!
    We are no way near at that stage that restored wife has reached…how do I stop ‘reacting’ when he makes an often reasonable comment You mention stopping the haemorrhaging in one of your other posts April-it is so hard! After a normal week we had a massive bust up because I reacted initially (it then escalated as he reacted to my reaction that I reacted to blah blah blah). It is so hard. We teach our kids to stop and think when they automatically start screaming when they hear ‘no’, to do this to yourself in your head as an adult with 38yrs worth of practice feels almost impossible!

    1. Liz,

      This takes the power of the Holy Spirit in us to be able to do this. How is your walk with Christ going? 🙂 What are the things you are telling yourself to justify your reaction when you react in an ungodly way? How are you doing with taking your thoughts captive for Christ? Do you have a plan in place about how to remove yourself and take some time to pray or calm down before you react?

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi-

        Over the past 34 years I have always wanted my way. We have had many arguments and even separated for a year. It was in that year God showed me and I began to see my control. 17 yrs later we are still struggling though not as much.

        I have recently realized that I have not been sensitive to my husbands leading at all. My dear mother-in-law passed away last Friday. The Wednesday before – my husband and I were heading up to the hospital to see her. the weather was horrible. Ice storm- we were heading into a snow belt. it was an 11/2 drive. We left home and turned back. I was very fearful – I never used to be but recently we had a winter drive that scared me. Anyways- we came home. He said he didnt want to push it.

        When I asked him if I wasn’t fearful, would he push thru (we heard the weather was not that bad where we were going at that time). He replied yes he would but he did not want me to be fearful (he had not seen his mom in a while). I realized I was not trusting God needed to honour my husband (God showed this to me). So we headed out again – we arrived safe and we had the most blessed wonderful visit with mom.

        She was alert and her and I had a very special private time while dad and my husband went to get coffee. That was my last time with my mom-in-law here on earth. She went to be with Jesus two days later. I have years of stories where I did not listen to God or my husband because I have always thought I knew best because I was not sensitive to my husband’s comments – quiet and gentle as they were – or even his anger when it all built up in him. Financial mistakes – me wanting something then and there.

        My eyes are opening to my mountain of sin of disrespect and self-centeredness and trusting me more than God or my husband. My heart is forever grateful to God for our last time with mom and also for allowing me to begin to see my mountain of sin that only He can remove in my life by changing me. my mom in law favorite hymn is “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. I can sing that from my heart with a deeper understanding of Him.

        Thank you for allowing me to share this.

        1. Deb,

          I am so thankful that you asked your husband about if he would want to try to go see his parents if you weren’t fearful. Praise God you had that time to share with your mother-in-law and that your husband got to visit with her that last time. I’m so thankful you don’t have to live with the regret of not going because of fear. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your husband’s mom, my sister. I’m so thankful she knew Jesus and that you known you will get to see her again in heaven. Praise God for that reassurance!

          Thank you so much for sharing your story. I believe it will be a blessing to many other wives here.

          I pray that God might continue to work in your heart for His glory. Praying for God to empower you to walk in victory over these sins and to live in the power of His Spirit more and more – and that you might be a great blessing to your husband and family as God transforms you and conforms you to the image of Christ so that you might shine like a star in the universe as you hold out the Word of Life.

          Much love to you!

      2. So why do I not have the power of the holy spirit to do it yet? He has given me so much power and strength to persevere in really difficult circumstances why not remove this block? I don’t know His greater plan I guess and it is all for His glory, that I do know so I guess there is a reason.

        My walk with christ is poor at the moment, I am emotionally exhausted and at times have been a broken women (which is good I know and heading in the right direction). I feel far from God most of the time and subsequently feel His truths don’t apply to me. Again there is some sort of block to me reaching out and receiving his love, I am stopping myself. I think there is a part of me that is holding onto being furious with my mum ( and subsequently my husband) for not loving me. There is also a big part of me that hates myself, is fearful and majorly self critical and this is refueled by my husbands often cruel words.

        I think when I react in an ungodly way, if I really strip it back I am screaming ‘ stop being mean to me and love me, you are meant to love me, you promised to love me’ and that instantaneous reaction stops anything helpful coming out of my mouth, my poor husband doesn’t know whats hit him as hes only trying to express a grievance in a normal way. I don’t have a plan yet, I tried a rubber band on my wrist one time, didn’t particuarly help. I’m not sure what to do other than just be quiet and reassure myself that he loves me when he raises something I find uncomfortable but I know in the tiredness and business of life I shall probably forget that.
        I guess part of my plan is that I have just started to take an antidepressant :(, not something I wanted to do at all but I am exhausted, come all who are weary for my yoke is light. I think this but am struggling to know it.

        I’m not sure what you mean by taking my thoughts captive for christ? Do you mean evaluating my thoughts in light of scripture? (Hehe christian speak -it still baffles me at times :)) I do by writing unsent letters, self dialogue (its like having a conversation with yourself, just helps your brain think more rationally). that identifies sinful motives and false beliefs and I find that very helpful and a good way to calm down at times. But it requires energy and time. Writing this out has been really helpful as well, so thank you for taking the time to reply and for being interested. Anyway, sorry to go on so much!
        Liz x

        1. Liz,

          Any time we are cherishing sin in our hearts, we grieve God’s Spirit and we can’t have His power at full blast. For me, the things that most blocked His power in my life earlier on – and that I still have to watch for vigilantly – are things like bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, gossip, unbelief, idolatry (setting my heart on something other than Christ), etc…

          Yes, if you are holding on to hatred, unforgiveness, resentment, or you are living in unbelief- you won’t be able to have God’s power.

          I believe you will need to deal with any sin completely first. A rubber band can’t do what the Holy Spirit can do!

          Check out this post about taking our thoughts captive.

          And How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

          And Finding Victory over Rage, Hatred, and Violence

          Also, you are welcome to search my home page for:

          – bitterness
          – fear
          respect myself
          – identity in Christ
          – security in Christ
          – forgiveness
          – humility

          Growing in Christ does require investment, time, and energy. He has to be our primary focus and goal. When He is in the right place and is central and His approval is all we want – He heals all the other areas of our life in His timing.

          Much love!

          1. Thanks April, you’re right, I am holding onto anger, I just didn’t want to admit it. And its the anger that I’ve not been loved and have been rejected by significant others.
            I still believe in Jesus, that hasn’t gone thank God. When I put my trust in Jesus just 6yrs ago that was the real rescue and I owe my life to that but I still have a long way to go.

            Thank you so much April and restored wife. I feel verbally hugged 🙂

          2. The Holy Spirit will guide you along the way. It’s our job to cooperate with it, however. He gives us the freedom to live in his Grace, but he doesn’t take over and turn us into puppets. It’s a beautiful dance when we open ourselves and fully surrender to God.

            Are you baptized? This outward sign of Grace is the moment when the Holy Spirit is welcomed into our hearts as Christians.

          3. I am,. I was baptised in 2010 which was a wonderful step and I hold on to that if I am ever doubting my faith.

          4. Liz – thank you for sharing. If you are in your 40’s, please see read the blogs on perimenopause too and research that – it’s very real, and hardly ever talked about (ie: change of life)

          5. Lord-is-my-rock,

            So true! Our hormones being out of whack can really throw us off. Ladies are welcome to search my home page for “PMS,” “hormones,” and “emotions.” But there are definitely times when we may need medical help or supplements with this. Sometimes a trusted holistic Dr can also be a great help. 🙂

    2. Hi Liz,

      When I started this journey, I had no idea how to be respectful or submissive – our biggest issue at that time was the way both of us reacted any time there was a disagreement or conflict. Things had been the same for so long, neither of us knew how to imagine a world where we didn’t argue.

      What really stopped me in my tracks was a term from my previous career as a therapist – “unconditional positive regard.” That means I treated my therapy clients in a positive manner no matter what I might think about them personally (or their actions). I was very ashamed one day to realize I did that for complete strangers with no problem, but didn’t do the same for my husband! I was failing at the Golden Rule, the most simple way to treat other people, and it really upset me that a small child could do better than I had done.

      I started thinking about the things my husband and I argued about – almost always the tiny, insignificant day-to-day things – and how I’d react if a guest in our home did the same things my husband did. For instance, my husband seems to have an “allergy” when it comes to replacing the toilet paper on the roll. It used to drive me crazy! When I asked myself what I would do if a guest used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t replace the roll, I thought, “I’d just replace it and not say anything at all.” So that’s what I did! I had to go back to basics and consciously treat my husband the way I would treat someone else, because my disrespect for him had seeped into every part of my brain and I didn’t know another way to stop it.

      Doing this actually made things worse for awhile because I found that, when I wasn’t nagging or pushing to get my way, I really didn’t have a lot to say about anything! It was very eye-opening. My husband had no idea how to react. Often he would go out of his way to do things he knew would upset me – he says now he was in total disbelief that I had changed, so he put me in situations where he thought the “real me” would come out. He knew how to deal with the arguments but not with the silence.

      I remember many, many moments when I shut the bathroom door, cried quietly for a few minutes while I prayed, then wiped my eyes and went about my day. It was HARD to sit back and remain silent while my husband was angry and seemed determined to push all my buttons. Sometimes I would get so emotional I couldn’t think about the mission I was on; I would bite back and a fight would follow. This was good for me in a way because I began to see how MY reactions fueled his – the only way to make it stop was for me to control my own reactions and words.

      We spent the better part of a year doing this dance… I would try to treat him like I would treat an acquaintance to force myself to be polite and respectful. He was angry, sometimes downright rude, and sarcastic. In the moments I lost control of myself and acted like I did in the past, he seemed almost triumphant, like he was saying “See, I told you nothing has changed!” I would retreat and pray and read my Bible. Rinse and repeat. I thought it would be that way forever and I had to make peace with it – I told God, “If this is as good as things ever get, I’ll keep going. Not my way but yours!”

      Slowly, my husband began to soften toward me. I can’t emphasize how slowly this change took place – I thought I would lose my mind. It became more natural for me to respect and I didn’t have to pretend my husband was a guest in our home anymore. He stopped trying to provoke me as he realized it seldom worked. He had to learn to deal with the “new me” and respond to my respect instead of my disrespect. It was a learning process for both of us!

      As April mentioned, doing this alone is impossible. I leaned heavily on God to give me wisdom, patience, and to remind me why I was going through this valley in my marriage. I prayed to be reminded of my own sins against my husband when I was tempted to focus on his sins against me, and it worked! Every time my mind would think, “Look what he did. He doesn’t even care about you,” I would be flooded by memories of moments when I didn’t act like I cared about him. It was very humbling and refining to finally see all the things I had done wrong.

      Stopping the cycle is so difficult but it’s possible! I’m the last person I ever expected to be posting on a site like this, talking about learning to submit to my husband, but our lives have been changed for the better. I pray the same for you and your marriage!

      1. The Restored Wife,

        This is AWESOME! It took a very long time for us to reach a “new normal,” too. Husbands tend to go through a very skeptical phase as wives begin to change. Some of them do actively test their wives to try to prove to themselves and to their wives that the change is not real.

        I praise God you turned to Him for strength and that eventually your husband saw that the change was lasting as you continued to seek Christ first. THAT IS WONDERFUL!!!!!

        Thank you so much for sharing! I may have to share this as a post, too. 🙂 SO POWERFUL!

      2. Oh wow. Restored wife, reading your post is like looking in a mirror.

        Going to the bathroom, crying, praying, recommitting to love, being tested to see if I will react.

        I like the phrase “unconditional positive regard”. I will use that myself.

      3. thank you so much restored wife This all sounds very familiar and I know that is what I need to do. I am very capable of having normal, rational discussions with other people. I have had much counselling and my counsellor has also suggested trying to distance myself and imagine my husband as a work colleague when we are in discussion but of course I forget and slip into familiar habits. How strange that I revert to a near infant when talking with my husband with all the unresolved pain and grief..it is ridiculous, I am a competent fully grown professional woman, and I am ashamed to say my first reaction was why doesn’t he give me unconditional positive regard. That says it all really doesn’t it 🙁 I will continue to weed out my anger, I hate it and am so tired of it.

        Thank you so much, your reply has been so encouraging and helpful for me.

        1. Liz,

          I shared this with another wife who is struggling with rage and anger on 25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband this morning. I also shared some practical applications that may be helpful to other wives, as well. But perhaps this perspective may be a blessing:

          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, “Anyone 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

          This post about getting rid of rage, hatred, and sinful anger may also be a blessing. And part 2 is here.

          I’m so glad you are seeing the anger now. That is the first step!!!!! 🙂

          Much love to you! And a huge hug!

          1. I often use this scripture to help me “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”

            In fact, last night I was cleaning the house for the eleventy-billionth time, picking up my 3YO daughter’s clothes that my wife had spread out over the floor for the eleventy-billionth time – for some reason EVERY single item of clothing gets removed from the cupboard to find one outfit and then left on the floor and mixed with dirty clothes, shoes etc! Same as my wife’s clothes too. Not kidding, sometimes I can’t even get into my walk in closet because my wife’s clothes are over a foot high on the floor 🙁 – anyway, I had a moment of “Aargh, I’ve been picking up her clothes for ten years and now my daughters clothes for three years, when is she going to take responsibility for herself”, then I thought of this scripture. I stopped and prayed “Lord, I’m picking these clothes up for you, and I know that you appreciate this. Please help me do this with sacrificial love” and BAM, I picked them all up with a peaceful heart.

          2. Humbled Husband,

            LOVE this! Thank you for sharing!!!! I do want to see them picking up their own clothes, at some point. That would be awesome. But I love the way you were able to have a servant’s heart about it!

          3. Thanks April, they are helpful reminders. I’ve always thought I do all that especially through my work with vulnerable, often undesirable, needy people and that somehow means that I’m automatically great a loving my family. I’m slowly beginning to see I’m not. How can I love if I am angry. Mmmm, will keep you posted. Thanks for being there X

        2. Liz – I have to say, I laughed out loud this morning when I read your comment in my email. I mean no disrespect at all; I just cracked up when you said “why doesn’t he give me unconditional positive regard” because it sounds exactly like what I would have said a few very short years ago. I had a list of things my husband could do (easy things!) that would make our marriage better and didn’t understand why he couldn’t just do those things so we could get along.

          As I drew closer to God, I realized that’s how He must think about all of us. We have a simple list of things we should do (love God first, and love our neighbors as ourselves), yet we fail daily at following that list. Despite that, God never pulls away from us, never yells or threatens or blames us for not being good enough. If He can do that for me, surely I can strive to do the same for my husband. Not that I’ll ever be perfect at it, but I can try my best. I had to learn to forgive him, not because he deserved it, but because it’s what Jesus would want me to do.

          It took me a long time to let go of that feeling of “Why do I have to do all this stuff and my husband is still acting like he always has?” I couldn’t dwell on what he was doing because I couldn’t make him do anything – I could only control myself. I decided I wanted to be the type of wife anyone would be proud to be married to, whether or not my husband ever appreciated it. And the more I’ve focused on that, the more my husband has responded. These days he *does* give me unconditional positive regard because I was willing to humble myself and give the same to him first. It didn’t happen overnight but Christ WILL change you if you ask Him to. When I stopped praying for my husband to change and started asking for MY heart to be changed, things got so much better.

          I’m continuing to pray for both you and your husband. April has sooo many wonderful resources here and I have faith that you’ll get there – it just takes time!

          1. TheRestoredWife,

            I just have to thank God for what He has done in your life and in your thinking and your heart. It is SO BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing with our sisters. God’s Spirit, His wisdom, love, and compassion are so evident in your life. It is obviously a God thing – and I give Him praise for it all!

          2. Hehe, I don’t take offense easily 🙂 thank you for your prayers. I love having sisters in Christ across the globe 🙂 🙂

  3. I appreciated the mature reasoning this wife used. The same principle, of asking gently what the other person is thinking and the reasons for it, makes teaching so much more effective, too. When students say or do something upsetting, it’s much better to realize we probably don’t really know the whole story. I learned to talk to that person first (preferably in the hallway where it is one-on-one) to get all the facts, before doing anything else. It has kept me from acting foolishly many times! When a high school junior in the inner city school where I was teaching was uncharacteristically disrespectful about completing a poetry assignment, I asked if I could speak with him a moment in the hallway. He broke into tears and told me his girlfriend had gone against his wishes and had an abortion that morning, and he just couldn’t handle the emotion in poetry. My students have taught me so much, far more than I taught them, it seems, but I learned one thing: always listen first, then you will know how to love and reach them. Insisting that they respect your authority and do what you have the positional right to make them do NEVER WORKS.

    In the case of our spouses, I think this is doubly true. If the focus is on understanding and respecting what our husbands think instead of our “right” to choose furniture because decorating is usually the woman’s domain, it is a WIN WIN situation! Even when our husband is not responsive to respect, love, and a spirit of collaboration and compromise, it’s part of the behavior that may eventually win his heart to God and to us.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Wow! What a powerful and heartbreaking story about your student. 🙁 I’m so thankful you took him aside privately and talked with him. No wonder he was so upset.

      I agree about that when we are in a position of authority and we try to demand respect and force our way by “lording our authority over” others, it doesn’t work. Treating others with honor, love, respect, and humility is so much more effective!

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights! And I agree with you about that God may use our attitude of seeking to have a spirit of respect, collaboration, compromise, understanding, and compassion to bless our husbands and to help draw them to us and to Himself.

  4. April. I love reading your post daily..My husband and I started 2 years ago changing our marriage with Gods help..Making God #1 focusing oh him and listening to his word…We started with Love and Respect ..this is a great book..We feel every couple should get this when they are married…I have read your Book (CONGRATS) so Inspiring, easy to read…I recommend every one to read it..I have told the women at church about your blog even the single ladies in my life…PEACEFUL WIFE BOOK
    I believe God showed my husband your blog because what we were doing was not working, so Thank you for being a Child of God.. and wanting to do his work.
    What a true blessing it is having a Sister in Christ on line that helps us women in our daily lives,encouraging us to always always pray to God, take our problems to God before anything else..Foremost, put God first above all..
    Thank you April

  5. Such a great testimony, thank you Restored Wife for sharing it!

    I am finding it’s almost always the small things that need the most attention – small day-to-day choices or comments, that have to change. I used to just override things he suggested (often in front of the kids) and never gave it a thought! I would’ve said “oh, it was only a little thing. It wasn’t important” but God opened my eyes and showed me these ‘small things’ are actually really important. As you say, just a small thing like changing the toilet roll – you wouldn’t be annoyed with a guest. And as I struggled with this, what helped me was not just imagining a guest when I responded to my husband, but imagining Jesus and how I would treat Him! That often stopped me in my tracks, needless to say!

    I am gradually learning to respond differently, but I do have phases where I wonder, like you alluded to, if I have become ‘boring’ to him because I don’t have as much to say anymore! You said in your comment that when you weren’t ‘nagging or pushing you didn’t really have much to say’. I feel like that quite alot now! 🙁

    1. Your comment reminded me of one night in particular… We went out to dinner and a movie, but we couldn’t eat at the restaurant we wanted because the wait time was too long (we would have been late for the movie). So things were already tense as we ended up at a restaurant neither of us really liked. As we were eating, I couldn’t think of a single thing to say that wasn’t a complaint about how the night was going. We were basically eating in silence and I burst into tears because I felt totally hopeless, like we would never have anything to talk about again!

      Needless to say, I ruined the evening out and my husband was incredibly embarrassed! We do have wonderful conversations now and they come naturally – it just took me awhile to figure out how to talk to him in a respectful way. He honestly didn’t even notice how quiet I was for a long time; he said he was just glad I wasn’t nagging him or yelling! It really made me think about how much negativity was coming out of my mouth and how that might affect others.

      1. theRestoredWife,

        I had almost nothing to talk about for a really long time, too. It turns out that almost every word out of my mouth before was a complaint, nagging, arguing, something prideful, something controlling, gossip, or something self-righteous. That was humbling! We had very little conversation for quite awhile. The first step in learning to use our mouths for good is to learn to not use them for evil.

        Thankfully, God does eventually show us how to begin to speak life as we allow Him to have more and more control. We do have lots to talk about now. And it is all good things! I love it!

    2. Sunshine,

      Love this!

      In my experience, most men don’t bond with words – and would prefer silence to nagging, lecturing, negativity, bossing, preaching, and condemning. They are often very content just to be in the same room together with their wives, or to cuddle together, even without words.

      But God can help us learn to find good things to talk about, thankfully! Don’t despair! There are lots of Philippians 4:8 things in the world.

  6. For those of you who are submissive wives this question comes out of complete curiousity not judgement.

    If God forbid something happens to your husband how will that impact your decision making? With you putting so much trust in your husband for the final say doesn’t that leave your confidence shaken? I saw this happen with one of my grandmothers. Of course she was not as educated as probably many of you are. And my grandfather wasn’t as diplomatic in asking her opinions as your spouses are. But when he died she really struggled with everything. Finances were the most difficult. My brother basically took over her checkbook writing all bills etc. with her approval and her watching over him.

    1. Tiffany,

      For me, that isn’t really a concern or fear. I did handle the finances for the first 17 years of our marriage. I am comfortable making decisions. I have a pharmacy degree. I still do make lots of decisions, but now, the only difference is that I also know how to be a team and how to honor my husband’s leadership – which I didn’t know how to do before. But this does not mean I am incapable or afraid to make decisions on my own if the need should arise.

      My goal would be to seek God’s wisdom and guidance if something happened to Greg. God would never abandon or forsake me. 🙂

      Great question!

      Much love!
      April

    2. I think of this kind of like how the vice president of a company would feel if the president died and s/he had to take over. You know what to do in theory, and you’re prepared, but you’d definitely need some time to adjust. I don’t consult my husband for every single decision I make (what to wear, what to eat, etc.) but more just the decisions that affect our entire family. That said, I’m still involved in those decisions and I usually know what choices I’d make if it were only up to me.

      In a lot of cases, my husband defers to me – I ask him what he thinks and he’ll say something like “What did you have in mind?” More often than not, he agrees with me and that’s what we do. When we don’t agree, though, that’s when he knows he has the final say in what we decide and I’ll support his choice. That doesn’t mean he deliberately chooses the opposite of what I want, but that his perspective is different and he may be considering things I didn’t look at.

    3. Tiffany,

      I have walked alongside godly christian widows (two close friends, plus my mom) and one of the really cool things I’ve gotten to witness is how confidence has been gained over time with each of them in decision making. It’s been a huge faith builder for me! They each have had to do very scary things they weren’t used to initially. But proficiency cones with practice. And too, God has at times provided assistance through the service and kindness of others–which has also been inspiring to see how the body of Christ helps and builds up one another.

      One friend has shared that it’s very humbling at times to need to accept help or assistance, and she misses the days when she was the one serving others, but now she has so much on her plate with her husband’s passing that she cannot give. But oh, she has gives me so much by her example!! She is such a godly role model of receiving graciously, humbly, and with an enormous amount of expressed humble appreciation! That is a god given skill that not many demonstrate! My joy in Christ is doubled when I offer anything to her. What a gift she is to me.

      (I tear up thinking about each of these ladies and the blessings I’ve gained by their examples.)

      My mom was especially inspiring. She yielded to my dad’s financial decisions when they couldn’t agree. Sometimes her choices were better ones and they suffered losses because of his decisions, at times. But, from the sidelines, what a blessing to watch how a godly wife responds! She didn’t wag her finger at him or say “I told you so,” but she put her faith and confidence in God’s sovereignty, provision, and goodness! God was her provider.

      My mom lived less than 5 years after my dad’s homegoing, and she was amazing in her last years!! She found her greatest joy in her her time with Christ, devouring books with christian meaty substance, reading her Bible, listening to sermons online, serving others, just generally modeling a beautiful reflection of the qualities of God! Oh, that all of us leave such a legacy to those watching our lives.

      The thing is, I would encourage all of us, my own hear included, to be far more motivated to chase after knowng the beauty and worth of Christ–completely sold out to Him, whatever He asks of us–than to to get hung up on our fears, or the things we think we need to feel safe and pain free. Our submission is to Christ when we submit to our husbands with a willing heart. That’s a gift we give our husbands, and to those watching us. This life has pain, but even in the midst of it there is deep, gratifying joy in Christ available to us. We will never regret being obedient and sold out to Him in every area of our lives if He is our gain.

      Sorry, this was a long ramble. But I’m so passionate about the things God continues to teach me about widowhood. My husband has a deadly illness so it is something I think about a lot.

      Much love to you!

      1. J,

        LOVE this!!!! Both of my grandmothers are in their mid 90s. Both of my grandfathers died in their early 50s. They have both been widows for over 40 years, longer than I have been alive. Both were able to figure things out, get things in order, even mow their own yards for decades, get jobs to provide for themselves, and make the decisions they needed to. They never dated again or remarried. They have both been joyful as widows.

        I have another friend whose husband died in his early 50s. She was submissive to Christ and to her husband. But because she had Christ, she was SO STRONG. She was equipped and prepared to handle the things that have come since her husband’s death. Her faith has grown by leaps and bounds and is the most beautiful thing to see!

        Thank you so much for sharing! YES! The main thing is that we seek Christ wholeheartedly and completely yield to Him. He is able to provide for us through our husbands or in the absence of our husbands.

        I pray for God’s peace and wisdom for you as you face the challenges of your husband’s illness, my precious sister!

        Much love!

    4. Tiffany,

      April is right that God will never leave or forsake us if we lose our husbands. I am remarried now, but lost my deceased husband seven years ago after an extended illness that lasted eight years. During that time his ability to handle responsibilities diminished and then he suffered a catastrophic stroke two years before he died, after which he didn’t recognize me. I am thankful that during our marriage, even though he handled the finances, I knew and understand how he paid bills–from which accounts, the days each bill was due, etc. Each month, after he paid bills, I filed them and kept all the relevant paperwork organized, including reports about our investments, etc., so that when he became incapacitated, it was easy to step in and do what he couldn’t. We also discussed all major decisions about spending and investments first, and even when we disagreed, we kept talking until we reached a consensus.

      Because a family’s financial assets also belong to the wife, she should keep informed about what is happening and have a voice in that process. Godly submission does not mean ignorance about our financial well-being and lack of a voice in financial decisions. It means that after all is discussed, the husband makes the final decision, AFTER a wife has given her opinion and wisdom (her power of influence) in a respectful way. Example: several years before he died, our metal roof began to leak in one small spot. My husband was by nature thrifty and wanted to simply sand and repair some rusty spots on our historic roof and repaint the entire thing, which would have saved a lot of money. However, the roof was very old and was rusty in so many spots, I believed that would only be a very short-term solution. I persuaded him it would be wise to put that same amount of money he wanted to spend on repairs into a new roof instead. He agreed to do that, and said afterwards how glad he was we had chosen to install a new roof, because he realized he was getting sicker and didn’t want me to have to deal with a leaky roof in addition to all the other responsibilities I was shouldering. This was truly wisdom and love on his part, which only increased my love and respect for him.

      In conclusion, I often meditate on the capable wife described in Proverbs chapter 31. She girded her hips with strength and bought fields, then invested her profits in vineyards. This is not an ignorant woman, but one of intelligence, who understands and makes financial investments to add to her family’s financial security. Nowhere in the Bible does it command a wife to relinquish all knowledge of or influence over a family’s finances to her husband–just the opposite. She should understand them and have an active part in advancing her family’s welfare, both by thrifty practices and, when possible, other ventures that may help financially. Each couple should decide together what is best for their family, and that will look very different, depending on the situation. Hope this helps a little. 🙂

        1. Thanks April, Elizabeth, J and restored wife. 😃 I know a lot about our finances. That wasn’t really the main point of my post but I appreciate all the insight. 😃
          It just seems to me that if/when husbands die the submissive wife would have her confidence shaken because she has put so much trust in her husband to have to final say in the decisions. Sort of like thinking what do I do now? How do I make decisions that my husband used to make? Or maybe there’s freedom in it where finally you can decide for yourself? I don’t know. Just rambling thoughts in my head.

          1. Tiffany,

            We would do what we have been doing – trust God to lead us. 🙂 We have confidence in Him and His ability to lead us – that is what submission in a Christian’s life is all about really, anyway – submitting to Christ. It is not ultimately about our husband’s leadership. The goal would be the same – honor Christ, obey Him, seek His greatest glory.

            Much love! 🙂

    5. I feel the same as April does about this…I feel comfortable with how I would handle financial decisions as I already have my own ideas as to what I’d do. I trust that God will give me the grace I need as the need arises if there came a point where I was on my own. He always has and He always will – and we have a very clear promise in Scripture that we can ask with total confidence for His wisdom and expect that He will give it to us.

  7. bHi April!
    Been a long time, hasn’t it? Well, as you know, I’m not married (yet) but I did get something out of what I read. I think what I’m taking with me is that I thrive on being independent and self sufficient but God would like me to let him help. I’ve been having lots of difficulties lately and I’ve found it hard to pray but I do want to try because so far, I haven’t been able to solve any of my problems

    1. Mia,

      God wants us to realize we are 100% dependent on Him – men and women, married and single. A spirit of independence is something He wants to work on in us all. I would love to suggest that you read Andrew Murray’s books: Humility and Absolute Surrender. There are free downloads available on line. You can search “free download” and the book title and author name. There are also recordings of these books available for free at LibriVox.

      Check out this quote from Humility:

      Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility.
      In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy an only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”
      But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self… The presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing.
      – Andrew Murray “Humility” 1895

  8. *by fretting or worrying. Thanks for helping me realise that maybe I should let go of control sometimes(I am a control freak if you haven’t noticed). I would love to hear from you.
    Love,
    Mia

    1. Mia,

      I have lots of posts about giving up control. You are welcome to search my home page for:

      – fear
      – control
      – idol
      – idolatry
      – submission means we hold the things of this world loosely
      – lordship of Christ

      Much love to you!

  9. Sisters, today I’m struggling with suicidal thoughts again. I thought I had overcome these but the rejection is so much. The closer I draw near to the saviour the more opposition and rejection I experience. Can I humbly ask those of you who know the saviour to bear me up with a small prayer today?

    1. Humbled Husband,

      Our dear brother! Of course we will lift you and your wife up in prayer!

      Lord,

      Thank You for Your great love for HH and his wife. Thank You for Your good plans for them. Open his eyes to see where these thoughts are coming from. Help him to see his fears and motives. Help him to see anything that is not of you and to resist it and to yield fully in total trust to Your Spirit, Your Lordship, Your truth. Let him not live in a spirit of fear, but let him claim and experience Your Spirit of power, love, and a sound-mind that You have already provided for him and it is fully his because of Christ’s finished work on his behalf. Help him to see that this trial is temporary. Help him to trust You even in the time of difficulty as his wife wrestles with not wanting to come to You in submission and repentance. Perhaps she is taking out her fear and anger on him but maybe she is really fighting You? Give him the spiritual support, comfort, wisdom, and power he needs. Let him take his eyes off of the waves and the circumstances and keep them on You. Let him abide in You and take the time he needs to be restored by Your Spirit and to allow Your Spirit to fill him to overflowing. Expose any unbelief in his heart, every worry, and doubt, and fear – and let him confess those and forsake them, trusting in You with renewed vigor and deepening faith. Let him look to You to use this time to teach and refine him in powerful ways. We pray against the plans of the enemy for this couple, this wife, this husband, and their children. We pray for Your victory over sin and for Your Spirit to reign as Lord in this home. Let our brother shoot down those thoughts of suicide, embracing Your thoughts, Your truth, his identity in Christ, and Your promises.

      in the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      1. Thank you sister. It breaks me to hear her say do not show me any intimacy ever, no hugs, kisses, no loving words, no touching, nothing.

        1. HH,

          Her feelings are changeable. Please don’t think that they are written in stone! God is sovereign, not your wife’s feelings. She is lashing out in pain right now. God can deliver her! And, sometimes women say things like this and don’t even mean them. So I pray for God’s discernment for you to know whether you should gently pursue her or whether to give her space at this time.

        2. HH,

          That is a place where many of us begin this journey. It is very painful. BUT – I pray that we will not find our contentment or security in the affection, feelings, or attention of our spouse – but that we might find our contentment, security, purpose, identity, joy, peace, and strength in Christ alone no matter what our spouses do or do not do. It is very easy to make our spouse’s affection or intimacy or our spouse into something we want more than we want Christ. Or I know it sure was for me.

          How are you doing today? Have you had some time to pray and seek God?

          Much love in Christ!
          April

          1. April, I am not doing so well. It is very hard not to make our spouses love important.

            I had yesterday off work and spent hours praying, I am seeking SO hard for Christ to be my all but it just isn’t happening for me yet. I read a lot of Absolute Surrender yesterday and poured out my desire to God for him to be my all, I begged him to take my wife and for him to have his rightful place in my heart and to pour out his holy spirits presence on me but it’s just not happening 🙁

            And practicality it is so hard to know whether i gently pursue, give space, confront sin or any other approach. It all feels so hard and I truly don’t understand why God is not blessing me with His presence when I am begging Him to with all of me. I have sometimes had a few weeks when I was filled with His Spirit and I don’t understand why He is withholding that now. I need Him more than life 🙁

          2. HH,

            This place where you are feels very familiar to me. I know your circumstances are a bit different – but God used times like this (over and over again in those first years of my journey) to refine my motives and purify my desires. I don’t know your motives. I don’t know your heart. I seem to see a lot of fear in you – fear that she will leave, fear of her rejection, fear of her not approving you. As if – if those things happen, it is not okay. You would not be okay. That maybe in order for you to feel safe and content, you need her approval and you need her there with you. That if she were to leave or disapprove and withhold herself from you – Christ might not be sufficient? This is PAINFUL stuff to hash through. VERY PAINFUL. But it is a critical part of our growth and healing on this journey. It is a necessary step in us deciding to really trust God as our All in All.

            For me, fear is often a signal that the opposite of my fear is something I am cherishing more than Christ in my heart. When I see a lot of fear, I know I need to lay things before God on the altar. I also need to check my heart of unbelief. Again, I don’t know your heart. I do know the journey God brought me through. And I know I will have many similar tests, maybe even harder ones, in the future.

            I had to personally get to the place where I could genuinely say:

            Lord,
            I am so afraid Greg will never want to interact with me again. I am afraid he will be unplugged, unloving, and passive for the rest of our lives. I am afraid he doesn’t love me. I am afraid he doesn’t want me in his life. I am afraid he wouldn’t even notice or care if I were to die. I want his love. I want his affection. I want his attention. I want to feel secure in our marriage. I want reassurance from him. I want him to be interested in me physically. But I can’t make him do these things.

            God, even if Greg never changes, even if he never loves me, even if I feel alone in this marriage – I am going to trust You. I am going to depend totally on You for my security. No matter what Greg does. I have You and I want You more than I want him and his love. He can’t satisfy me. He can’t meet the deepest needs of my heart – even if you heal him – I am insatiable. Only You can meet the deepest needs of my life. I can’t put my trust and hope in Greg and his actions or inactions. I can’t put my hope and trust and faith in his affirmation of me or his affection toward me. I am going to put 100% of my faith in You from now on – even if Greg doesn’t change.

            I want to live in the sufficiency of Christ no matter what Greg does. I want to be stable and unshakable in You whether Greg lives or dies, whether he goes into a coma, whether he gets cancer, whether he has an affair, whether he leaves me, whether he ever cares one iota about me or not… this is about You and me. It isn’t about him.

            I lay down my fears. I acknowledge that I put these desires above You in my heart and that is sin. I don’t want to put anything above You in my heart any more. Help me tear out these idols. Help me build on Christ and His truth and Your Word alone. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – even if it means I am unloved, unappreciated, unwanted, and ignored in my marriage. If Paul can be content in plenty or in poverty physically – I can be content in You whether I have lots of love and attention from Greg or no attention and love from Greg. Greg is not my provider and my source. You are. If I have You – I have everything that really matters. I lay Greg on the altar before You. Do what You believe is best with him. I lay everything I am and all that I have and my children before You. I want Your will, even if I don’t understand it. Bring the most hour to Yourself in our family. Whatever it takes. Whatever it costs.

            Show me every sin. I want to repent of it all. Show me anything ungodly I am clinging to and cherishing in my heart that grieves You. It all has to go. I want Your Spirit. I have to have You. I have to have Your presence. I have to have Your fellowship. You are the only Source of Real Love and Real Life. If I have Greg’s love but don’t have You, I would be just as empty as I am right now.

            I yield fully to You. I give You total control. I trust Your sovereignty, not Greg’s feelings, not my feelings, not my circumstances. You change people. You change hearts. You change circumstances. You are sovereign, I am not. But even if You don’t change Greg’s heart toward me ever, I will trust You completely from this moment on. You are my Lord. You will use all of this for my ultimate good and Your glory. That is what I want. I want Your will, even if it is painful. I want Your greatest glory in my life. Change me! Fill me. Make me more like Jesus.

            Amen!

          3. April, YES, there is a LOT of fear. What you wrote is EXACTLY how I feel! That is EXACTLY the feelings in my heart, I could rewrite it with my own words

            “I am so afraid she will never want to interact with me again. I am afraid she will be unplugged, unloving, and passive for the rest of our lives. I am afraid she doesn’t love me (actually I know she doesn’t). I am afraid she doesn’t want me in her life (she says so often). I am afraid she wouldn’t even notice or care if I were to die. I want her love. I want her affection. I want her attention. I want to feel secure in our marriage. I want reassurance from her. I want her to be interested in me physically. But I can’t make her do these things.”

            And this bit is exactly how I feel too

            “I want to live in the sufficiency of Christ no matter what she does. I want to be stable and unshakable in You whether she lives or dies, whether she goes into a coma, whether she gets cancer, whether she has an affair (another?), whether she leaves me, whether she ever cares one iota about me or not… this is about You and me. It isn’t about her.”

            I wrote down a list of my fears over the last two weeks as I have been struggling through the process of whether I am making my marriage an idol. I came up with things like
            – What if God lets awful things happen to me like an affair?
            – What if God wants me to go through a divorce?
            – What if the moral guidelines I am trying to set for my family are rejected?
            – What if the media that is being brought into my home from my wife influences my kids greatly?
            – What if God wants her to go to the DEPTHS of sin before she really breaks and comes to Him?

            But I just CAN’T get to the next part of your prayer. I have prayed the WORDS that I lay her down on the alter but I know in my heart that I am not really. But I really, really want to! I really do. I want that joy and peace back that the Lord has given me on so many occasions but eludes me now.

            I read in Absolute Surrender that God can help us with the surrendering journey and I beg Him to help me let go, I pray “Lord I surrender her, please help me surrender”. How do I get to that point? How? I don’t understand, I’m trying to let go but I just can’t. Some days I am able to but some days I can’t.

          4. Humbled Husband,

            This part is the really icky part, my dear brother. There is not an “easy” way through it. This is kind of the “laying your Isaac on the altar” – not knowing if you will receive him back alive or not, but learning to trust God with whatever the results may be.

            I don’t think this can be rushed. I think that you have to deliberately go through each fear and purposely and consciously decide, “Even if I face my deepest fear, I am going to trust God with this. If He takes me through it, He will be with me. I will be hurt, yes. But if He is with me, that is the most important thing.” It takes wrestling to get to this point. It takes really examining God’s character and His Word and really hashing through, “Do I truly trust God or not? Is His Word true or not? Are my fears greater than God and His promises? Do I want to trust self/Satan or God? God, I want to learn to believe more and to trust You with these huge fears. This is terrifying! But I want to be able to trust You. Show me the way.”

            I am not sure that she actually means all those things she says about that she doesn’t love you, doesn’t want you, isn’t attracted to you, etc… She has shared that her motives are to hurt you as much as she felt hurt. Someone who wants to really hurt you may just say these things to inflict pain. If she seriously cared nothing about you, I don’t really understand why she would still be there, myself. I think it is possible she may want to love you and doesn’t know how. And I think she is fighting God. She is being held captive by the enemy. Even all that stuff about that she doesn’t want any affection, sex, attention, kisses, etc… could be just an attempt to hurt you as deeply as possible. They may not even be her true feelings. And yet, even if they are – God is enough. It is easy for me to say that. But it is hard to grasp when you are in the middle of this pain.

            The truth is – one day, she will see her sin. I think she sees it now. I think she is fighting God more than she is fighting you. I believe God can love her through you and that He is drawing her to Himself and toward you even now. I don’t know that she means all that awful stuff. I think she may respond to you gently pursuing her in time. I believe she will repent to you and to God eventually. She is held captive by hatred, bitterness, sin, and the enemy. She can’t love you with a godly love now. But the story is not over. God is not done.

            However – even if she continues on saying these awful things. Even if she really means all of it – God is enough to carry you through these darkest fears.

            Here is something interesting – if she were to say all of the things you want her to say right now today, and if she were to do all of the things you want her to do in the next 10 minutes – you would not have security. You would not have peace. Real security and real peace are not found in your wife. Not even if God heals her and she becomes the most godly wife ever. I don’t look to Greg for security and reassurance now. He seeks to give me those things now, but if I depend totally on him for that stuff, I would feel just as insecure as you do at this moment. He can’t meet those deepest needs of my soul. Not even when he is the most godly man.

            Jesus meets the deepest needs of my soul. Jesus alone.

            Now, God has healed me and Greg and our marriage. But Greg’s attention, affection, interest, affirmation, love, etc… would never be enough for me if I weren’t filled up to overflowing with Jesus. Now, I am able to enjoy all that he gives me. It is wonderful. But it is not the main thing in my life. Not by a long shot. Jesus is the main thing. He is the reason I can be unshakable. Not Greg.

            God doesn’t “want” you to go through a divorce. That is not His perfect will for us. But – could your wife decide to do that? And could He allow it? Yes. Possibly. But could He use it for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory? Absolutely! I think you read The Restored Wife’s first post, right?

            If God uses something awful and we end up having Him because of it – it is worth it in the end.

            If the moral guidelines you set for your family are rejected, and you are filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit, God will give you wisdom about how to handle that in a way that honors Him, and your wife will be accountable for her unwillingness to cooperate with your leadership. Either she will pay for her sin or Jesus will pay for it.

            You can pray against Satan’s plans for your family. You can seek to lead them away from the world’s enticing, destructive ways. You can pray for God to change their hearts. You can also depend on God’s sovereignty and rest in His sovereignty knowing He is ultimately in charge.

            If she has to go to greater depths to come to Christ – that would be excruciatingly painful. But if she comes to Christ – that would be worth it. I don’t know that she has to go through a lot more sin to come to Him. We will pray that He will bring her to Himself before she goes to any more destructive lengths. But ultimately, her salvation is even more important than anything that happens in the marriage. It takes a very long view to see that. I don’t want her to go any farther. I pray she won’t. I pray God will wake her up ASAP.

            BUT – I also know that you will need to be able to genuinely lay her down. You may have to grieve over your dreams and your fears. I did. You may have to grieve as if your fears took place and then decide to trust God anyway. But you will need to be able to lay her totally on the altar with no strings attached.

            The way to do this, I believe, is to realize the consequences of not laying her on the altar and the consequences of unbelief and trusting self rather than trusting God fully. You are already experiencing some of those things. Laying her down completely is painful for a while. Yes. But not nearly as painful as continuing on in fear and unbelief.

            We’re here if you want to talk through things and hash through them if that is helpful.

            We will all have a number of times like this in our lives – pivotal moments where we must lay all on the altar, pick up our cross, and follow Christ, even though it means we give up everything most dear to us. Really, we do this every day as believers – but there are certain times that are particularly difficult and painful. That is the path to peace and to abundant life in Christ. Not an easy path. No. But it is so worth it!

            Much love in Christ!

          5. Everything you say is so right. I know it. I don’t know if you can SAY anything else that will help me SEE it for myself. Or TAKE it for myself. Please ask God to help me and give me His revelation. I want to lay it all down.

            “Here is something interesting – if she were to say all of the things you want her to say right now today, and if she were to do all of the things you want her to do in the next 10 minutes – you would not have security. You would not have peace. Real security and real peace are not found in your wife. Not even if God heals her and she becomes the most godly wife ever.”

            This is so true. She has said many times that she has not had a physical affair but no matter how many times she says it I still have no security and struggle to believe it.

          6. Humbled Husband,

            I know I can’t say anything else to make anything click, probably, at this point. But I do think you can see what you need to do. Now there is the wrestling – that only you can do. But please know, every believer must go through this – often multiple times. You are not alone. This is not unusual. We all have to face our deepest fears and decide if we will really trust God or not. We all have to decide that we want Him even if we have to let go of everything else in this world. That is what discipleship means to Jesus.

            Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 22:25-27

            There is SO MUCH healing and freedom that comes from laying it all down. It is terrifying at first, yes. But then it is the path to Life. Not necessarily to everything we think we want – but it is the pathway to Christ!

            I am praying for you today!

          7. I love this response, April, I just wanted to say that….and also, I really related to the part where you said you might need to grieve. I definitely went through that stage in my journey and it was so painful. It was like I was opening my eyes to the reality of what was and the reality that I couldn’t control it and couldn’t get a guarantee from God about how things would change in the future.

            I really felt a peace from God that it was o.k. to grieve during that period….like I really felt Him confirming that in different messages.

            And, if nothing else, HH, I hope you can feel that peace from Him, too. That He’s o.k. with you grieving and hurting and needing that time. He is the best friend you could ever have. Not the kind of friend that says “C’mon, suck it up, bud! You should already be up and have figured this out by now.” (like Job’s friends). He is the kind of friend that just sits and grieves with you. Maybe you haven’t felt that “lifting up” from Him because He knows you need to grieve this to be able to walk forward.

            Praying for you today.

            And, thanks, April for your honesty about the struggle in the journey.

          8. ContentinChrist,

            I have walked beside some wives who have grieved over giving up control or giving up bitterness. We all have certain desires we don’t want to surrender to God. One wife said, “No!!! Don’t ask me to give up my bitterness! That is all I have left!” She was devastated and seriously grieved for days over having to give up bitterness. Now – 3 years later, her marriage is stronger than ever and she can laugh about what seemed like such a great “sacrifice.” Now, she can see that what God was asking her to give up was the poison that was destroying her and her marriage. Now, she is so thankful!

            It does seem like a sacrifice at first, to give up all to God, to give up our greatest dreams – I was terrified. I pictured myself being unloved by my husband until I was an old woman. But God’s plans are not evil. They are good. They are infinitely better than anything we could plan. I gave up my dreams, my will, my desires, my needs in my marriage, my wisdom, my way… And look what God has done in my life since. I told God, “Whatever you want to do with me and my life – I am fully Yours. Use me however You will. I don’t care about anything but knowing You, being close to You, and being in the center of Your will even if it is painful.”

            I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelmed I am at what God has done for me. His plans were infinitely better than mine were! I NEVER pictured having the opportunity to share the love, grace, truth, healing, and power of God into thousands of lives and marriages around the world. I never could have imagined my own marriage being where it is. I am SO THANKFUL for that painful time and the wrestling I went through. I praise God that He gave me the power and ability and faith to be able to trust Him even though I was terrified. I do not EVER want to go back to trusting myself. I see where Self took me. I know where I would be if Self was on the throne right now.

            I don’t know what God’s plans are for HH or for anyone else. But I do know that they are GOOD and that choosing His narrow path is worth it, even if there is sacrifice. The treasures He gives us in place of the things that seem to be such a great sacrifice make us think in hindsight, “What sacrifice? This was no sacrifice!”

            Much love!

          9. Praying for you, HH (just didn’t get a chance to comment last night). Similar to what April said, when I feel stuck or like I’m not getting a response to my prayers, that usually tells me there is something left for me to learn. I believe God allows me to stay in difficult circumstances sometimes when I’m not understanding what I should take away from the situation or how I should act in light of it. There have also been times that my motives weren’t what they should have been, as she also discussed. If that is the case for you, I pray that God will reveal what you need to move forward. Most of all, I’m praying for comfort for you. I don’t know your whole situation but I know you’ve been struggling quite a bit.

          10. HumbledHusband,

            Please know that God loves you so much and you can rest in His love and care for you right now. He is hurting with you. Even though there might be lessons to learn, the last thing that will help you is to try to “figure it out”. (I don’t say that disrespectfully to peacefulwife or therestoredwife). I say that knowing that when you are in such a low place, the enemy will use any and everything he can to make you feel even more condemned and hopeless.

            God is so committed to you that He will show you Himself and in such gentle ways the things that need to be refined and the things that you need to let go of. In the meantime, I will just share something that has helped me in times of intense pain and struggle. Instead of driving myself crazy with all of my thoughts and wrestling of the whys and hows and what-ifs of the situation, I literally just as soon as I catch myself doing that in my mind and thoughts, just envision myself in my Father’s caring and loving arms. That’s it. I have found more peace and been able to hear His voice much better by doing that in those situations than the alternative.

            HumbledHusband, don’t forget – you *are* filled up with God’s Spirit. God says that we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). If the Spirit of God is in you, then the way to experience the fullness of His Spirit is to begin to believe that you are complete in Christ, lacking nothing because of Him. That’s always the way with God. Simply believe that all of Christ is in all of you (Colossians 2:9….or read all of Colossians – will help you get your thoughts focused on Christ and that is what we all need most!) Trust that God has all of this under control and that He is perfectly loving you right now. He will bring you to the place where you are wanting to be. Even your desire is from Him and He will give you the desire of your heart in His perfect time and way.

            I pray that you will find rest in His arms today – that He will hide you in the shadow of His wings. That you will know that He is compassionate toward you and your circumstances. He is your refuge and hiding place. Just rest in Him. He is your Good Shepherd and He will lead and guide you and you will hear His voice.

          11. ContentinChrist,

            I love this! There are some times when the pain is so bad, we can’t even begin to process thoughts or learn anything at the moment. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement for HH, to remind him how loved he is by Christ and to rest in Christ.

            Thank you for sharing what you have been learning and for supporting and lifting up our brother and his family! 🙂

          12. Does He? Does He REALLY love ME? Oh some days I can believe it, some days I am filled with that certainty and other days I do not understand why He would not lift this pain from me? If He truly loved me would He not? He is ABLE to do more than I ask or think, I am born of Him through HIS desire, I do not doubt His love given to me through His salvation! But why is He not lifting me up?

          13. Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility.
            In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy an only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”
            But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self… The presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing.
            – Andrew Murray “Humility” 1895

          14. HH,

            A few more thoughts, if they are helpful…

            I personally had to see that I could have my fears or I could have Jesus. I could not have both.

            And, I had to realize that if I idolized my husband and was living in fear and trying to control things myself, the only thing I could do would be to destroy my marriage. When we idolize others, we repel them. When we live in fear, we tend to create the things we fear. When we idolize a relationship, we destroy it. But when we truly let go of control and let go of our fears and trust Christ completely, then we have His power and we have Him, we can be content no matter what happens, but also, His power pours into our relationships.

          15. Yes, He really loves you. More than you can imagine.

            Father, I pray for our brother, HumbledHusband, and I thank you that right now, *You* are interceding for Him. You are our perfect high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses and temptations because You were made like us in every way. You have walked and know well this path of rejection HumbledHusband is on. During this time of suffering, I pray that he will not be swayed by the enemy’s loud lies that are claiming that Your love is not real. I pray that he will, against all of his feelings and everything he sees with his human eyes, be able to cling to Your promises and Your word in faith. Father, lift him up and bring him quickly to the other side where he can say with confidence that You do *all* things well. Father, we know that You have a purpose in this season. You are always bringing us to greater knowledge of Yourself and to greater freedom – refining us so that Your life and love are more and more evident in our lives. What looks like bondage right now to HumbledHusband will soon feel like more freedom than he has ever experienced.

            Father, we pray for an outpouring of peace and rest for our brother today. So unusual that he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that You met him in this place of pain.

            We look forward to the fruit that absolutely will come from this time of suffering.

            I pray that You will bless HumbledHusband’s family – his wife and his children and that you will protect them from the enemy and his ways. Shield them, God, and hold them together during this time. Bring them all closer and closer to You.

            Be glorified in this, Father –

            We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

          16. My sisters, I am truly humbled by the love of Christ showing in you. I can see the truth in what you are saying and I am wrestling with God in prayer over these things. May God be with all of us today.

          17. Only a short post.

            I have completely released my wife to God this month.
            I have let go of control and I am trusting God.
            I have seen that I am destroying my life and marriage by holding onto this idol and I have TRULY let go.

            I do not know where this is taking me but I know that God is free to work. I want Him more than anything.
            I’m not going to pretend I have some sort of supernatural wisdom or knowledge as a result of this release, it was actually the hardest thing I have done in my life.

            I don’t know what else to write. Actually I’m not saying much at all lately, here or in real life.

            God bless all of you.

          18. HH,

            This is the most painful step of this whole process, in my view. But I am SO excited to see what God is doing in your heart, my brother!!! Praying for you and your family!

          19. Humbled Husband,

            I didn’t get the feeling that you were seriously considering those awful thoughts of harming yourself – but if those thoughts are really strong – please, please reach out to your mentor or a Christian brother or your pastor or someone you trust who can be with you or talk with you on the phone, or even get to the ER if necessary!

            I don’t want anyone to make a decision to harm themselves!

            Something that I believe can be helpful is listening to and singing praise music at the top of your lungs, and reading Psalms and the promises of God.

            Much love in Christ!

          20. I Am Not Alone – Kari Jobe

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA?rel=0&w=560&h=315%5D

            Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – Total Praise

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCsJyzm83W0?rel=0&w=420&h=315%5D

            The Gettys – The Power of the Cross

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGCISQQ7Zo?rel=0&w=420&h=315%5D

            The Gettys – In Christ Alone

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLy8ksqGf9w?rel=0&w=420&h=315%5D

            Hillsong – It Is Well with My Soul

            [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv5V3bY6qlI?rel=0&w=560&h=315%5D

          21. I “LOVE” all of your selection of praise songs “It is well with my soul” is a big favorite of mine and that version was GREAT…just what I needed !!!

          22. iowasc,

            I love that song, too! I like to sing it at the top of my voice sometimes when things aren’t going well – such a reminder of God’s presence and His purposes being accomplished, as well as His sovereignty even in the midst of great suffering.

            Much love!

  10. With my husband being so ill it brings a “whole” new level of respect for my spouse & all the things that bought on “heated disagreements” just doesn’t matter, Harrison is very hard-headed and at times I have to remind myself that I doing this for Christ, he is always very respectful to me, its just how I interrupt it, its the “devil” talking to me…..just remember “you get what you give” and be like Jesus in all situations

    1. iowasc,

      Yes, this is a time of great testing for you both, my beautiful sister. I pray that God will empower you to respond with His Spirit, even when it is so hard. I know you want to do all you can to help him heal. It is hard when the “patient” doesn’t cooperate. I pray for God’s wisdom for you, that you might be a great blessing to each other and enjoy these precious moments together. Thank you for sharing about the wisdom and perspective God is giving you. What a treasure!

      Much love to you!

  11. From a 30 something single sister in Christ – I love this!!!!!

    ———-

    I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.

    He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.

    I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.

    At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.

    I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.

    He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.

    – First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
    – Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

    Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.

    I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.

    My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.

  12. …I go to alot of different sites & this fits….(kinda) the article is talking of Joni Tada Erickson & ,you can apply it to a marriage, After so many years of being severely disabled, Joni’s body has deteriorated to the point of extreme chronic pain. It is an excruciating new chapter in her life of suffering. She shares her struggles openly in her book A Place of Healing: Wrestling With The Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.

    “Every day of our short lives—even every hour—has eternal consequences for good or ill. Eternity—and the way we’ll live in it—is somehow being shaped by our moment-by-moment responses to the life we have before us to live right now. And so it is only fitting that God should give us some sense of the stakes involved. I’m so grateful that life for us is not an easy road. If it were, if the Lord did not occasionally give us a taste of hell’s splashover, you and I would soon forget that this world is not our home. I’m also grateful that He opens our eyes from time to time to the magnitude of this spiritual war we are in. He does this by giving us wonderful foretastes of glory divine in the joys we experience, and He does it by allowing us foretastes of hell in our suffering. Whatever we are experiencing today, we can be reminded of the eternal stakes involved. That, too, keeps me going. It’s not easy “going on” right now in my life—but I must go on and I will go on, until He calls me home.”

    There it is! Did you catch that? One reason for suffering. A taste of “hell’s splash over” reminds us not to make this world our home. Reminds us not to forget the spiritual warfare we are in. The stakes are high. Keep pressing on in faith, dear reader..

    Citation (MLA): Tada, Joni Erickson. A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.

    1. iowasc,
      I love Joni Erickson Tada and didn’t realize she is having more pain recently. Thank you so much for sharing these powerful truths and insights. WOW!

      Much love, my beautiful sister!

    2. iowasc,

      Thank you so much for sharing this quote from Joni. She has such a special place in my heart. This was such a timely thing for me to read right now. What a blessing!

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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