The Surprising Root of All Marriage Problems



We can justify anything if we believe we know better than God does. Pride births every other wrong in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Pride is hideously ugly when we see it in other people – and yet, it can be so insidious in our own lives. We can have it – a lot of it – and not even see it. Pride tends to blind us to our own sin.


Let’s take a peak into a prideful spouse’s heart…

  • I’m always right.
  • I deserve to be waited on and served.
  • Other people, including my spouse, are here to do what I want them to do.
  • I’m better than my wife/husband is.
  • Everyone should cater to me.
  • My will and my comfort are what is important.
  • It’s my way or the highway.
  • Do what I say.
  • If you sin against me, I will leave you and try to hurt you as much as possible.
  • If you don’t meet my needs, I’ll find someone who will and I don’t care if it hurts God, you, or our family.
  • I will not forgive anyone. I deserve to hold grudges and be bitter.
  • If you hurt me, I am justified in retaliating in any way I see fit.
  • I want X, so you better make it happen.
  • People need me much more than they need God. I am the essential ingredient to the success of anything.
  • I have the wisdom that everyone else needs.
  • God is holding out on me. If I do things His way, I will miss what is best in life.
  • I want things for myself in this lifetime – treasure, fame, power, glory, attention, etc…
  • Change my spouse, Lord! He/she is not who I want him/her to be and that is inconvenient to me.

Let’s look at false humility in a spouse (which is also pride)

  • I’m not worthy of being loved by you (but I expect myself to be worthy and good in and of myself apart from Christ).
  • I’m so awful (and I expect myself to be perfect and good in my own strength, I am focused on self not God).
  • No one loves me (I will use guilt and pity to try to make people love me more but I will not look to God for my source of love, acceptance, life, peace, purpose, and help. I will try to handle it on my own. I will not receive love from God or anyone else.).
  • I’m ugly and useless (I don’t accept my identity, value, and worth in Christ because I know better than God does).
  • I shouldn’t have needs or ask for help. I should be able to handle everything totally on my own.
  • I believe that I have to hate myself, put myself down, and be totally self-sufficient to have value.
  • I am obsessed with thinking negatively about myself and do not allow God to fill me. I reject and refuse what Christ wants to do for me and offer to me.
  • If you hurt me, I will sink down into depression and self-harm. I put the approval of others before approval of God.

Pride and false humility repel those around us. They are toxic and off-putting. It is very difficult to love someone who is filled with self and prickly pride. It is equally difficult to love someone who won’t receive love and who hates themselves and are obsessed with self in a negative way.

Believers and non-believers alike are quick to see pride and false humility in others and to be disgusted by it.

Let’s look at a humble spouse’s heart…

  • Not my will, but God’s will be done and His glory be accomplished in this.
  • How may I be a blessing to my spouse and family?
  • What would most please Christ?
  • Other people, including my spouse, are here for me to learn to demonstrate the love of Christ and to learn spiritual maturity.
  • Lord, I’m totally dependent on Your wisdom and Your power every moment.
  • There is no good in me, but I no longer live – I have been crucified with Christ, now Christ lives in me and through me. Jesus gives me the power to walk in holiness and obedience so that my life might bring great glory to God alone.
  • I can put my needs on the back burner if God prompts me to so that I can be part of pouring healing into my spouse’s life.
  • People need Christ, not me. He must greatly increase and I must greatly decrease!
  • I have received unspeakable love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy from Jesus – so I have plenty of that to give to others.
  • No one can meet my deepest needs but Jesus. I need Him alone!
  • I don’t have to be right all the time. I don’t have to defend myself and win every argument.
  • My way is not always best. God’s way is.
  • If you don’t meet my needs, I will be content in Christ and trust Him to lead me and to heal our marriage. I trust Him to use times of pain and suffering to help me grow.
  • If you are involved in great unrepentant sin or I am in danger with you, I may separate but I will continue to pray for you to come to Christ and for God to heal and restore our marriage for His glory.
  • I see myself as God sees me and I receive who I am according to Scripture. I respect God, myself, and others.
  • My spouse has wisdom to offer that may be very valuable.
  • I want to store up treasures in heaven, the things of this world aren’t that important. What will matter most in eternity?
  • If you hurt me, I will respectfully confront you about it, but if you won’t repent, I will trust vengeance to God’s hands and I will seek to repay evil with good. I may also have to remove myself from the situation if you continue on in unrepentant sin and in violation of our marriage covenant (Matt. 18:15-17, I Corinthians 7).
  • I only want God to be pleased with me. I want to make the decisions that would most bring Him joy.
  • Change me, Lord! Make me more like Jesus!


What is the greatest sin? Ultimately any singular sin separates us from God for eternity unless it is “atoned” for – that is, that blood is shed to pay for that sin. We wouldn’t think that eating a piece of forbidden fruit was a “big sin,” but look at the consequences of that one “small” sin.

Any rebellion against God is a big deal. But what comes before rebellion?

A spirit of pride.

I believe that pride is the greatest danger to marriage (for both the husband and wife). How did Satan tempt Eve? He appealed to her pride and that she would be as wise or wiser than God. Wasn’t that the same temptation that caused him to fall? The desire to be equal to or greater than God?



  1. I can imitate Satan. Pride was his primary character trait. He wanted to be equal to God. From pride came all other sins. If I enthrone Self in my life, I am serving Satan and living as his child. I believe I know best. I believe God is holding out on me and that my wisdom is greater than God’s. From this mindset of scorn toward God and His wisdom, I can justify any other sin – unforgiveness, bitterness, lust, adultery, rage, hatred, envy, jealousy, idolatry, unbelief in God, disobedience to God, stealing, sexual perversion, disrespecting God, trying to control others, greed, flirting with someone else, addictions, desiring power/fame/luxury/comfort, violence, abuse, divisions, gossip, self-righteousness, false teaching, etc…
  2. I can imitate Jesus. Humility was His primary character trait. He was God and was already equal to God but set aside His glory and heaven and entered our world humbly, considering equality with God not something He wanted to try to grasp. He made Himself in the form of a Servant. He came to serve not to be served. When I yield to Him as LORD of all in my life, I am God’s child. When I am willing to receive my death to my old self and sin and allow His Spirit to fill me, He gives me His Spirit of humility, from which all other virtues spring.


  • God will humble the proud and arrogant by punishment in His timing.
  • God will exalt those who humble themselves before Him in His timing.

verses about pride

verses about humility

Quotes from Andrew Murray, “Humility”

  • “Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”
  • “Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue. And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil.”
  • “The truth is this: Pride must die in you or nothing of heaven can live in you. Under the banner of the truth, give yourself up to the meek and humble spirit of the holy Jesus. Humility must sow the seed or there can be no reaping in heaven. Look not at pride only as an unbecoming temper, nor at humility only as a decent virtue: for the one is death and the other is life; the one is hell and the other is heaven. So much as you have of pride within you, you have of the fallen angel alive in you; so much as you have of true humility, so much you have of the Lamb of God within you.”


Free download of Andrew Murray’s book Humility

But, I’m Right!

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Totally Change Your Reality

Meekness and Humility – a Peacefulwife Video


If you are suffering from mental health issues, please get a check up with a trusted medical doctor and get a spiritual check up with a trusted biblical counselor. If you are interested in a spiritual check up, you may also see this post.

428 thoughts on “The Surprising Root of All Marriage Problems

    1. Aliene Thompson,

      I’m glad this was a blessing. Andrew Murray’s writing really helps to make things “pop” into clarity for me. So wonderful that we can all be on this journey together as the Body and we can edify and bless each other. 🙂

      Much love!

      1. Thank you for your wisdom. I am a controlling, verbally/emotionally abusive, prideful, insecure wife. I deserve hell when I think of the ways I have spoken such hateful things to my husband. Afterwards the fear and guilt build up in me until I am hysterical at the thought of losing my husband due to my actions or worse damaging my children when I do this in front of them. For 2.5 years I have been this way. Reading your blog has been like looking into a mirror at all of my sin and ugliness. At times I don’t want to believe how sinful I am, but then I have an episode where the “monster” inside of me gets out as I bereate my husband because he has hurt me and I cannot deny the truth. This is who I am when I am in control.
        My husband though sinful loves Jesus. I mean really loves Jesus and is so much healthier than I am in so many ways. He doesn’t allow me to take leadership and this weekend I finally agreed to let him make decisions because when I do I become the worst possible version of myself.
        This is the first time I am making a comment (though I tried to earlier and I’m not sure it went through) and I realize I need to join this online community for support and accountability.
        I have committed to Jesus to praying over my pride, anger, lack of self control, insecurities, idolotry of my husband everyday for 40 days. Not just a 5 minute prayer but fervent on my knees praying asking Jesus to change me and be the Lord of my life.
        Thank you for leading us April. May God bless you and your marriage and ministry.

        1. Jennifer,

          I am so glad to hear from you! 🙂 And, obviously, I can completely relate to where you have been and where you are. PRAISE GOD that He has opened your eyes and that you want to change and are seeking Him! THAT IS AWESOME!

          Is there anything you would like to talk through together? I’m here if you want to hash through something or have a spiritual check up with me.

          Praying for God’s continued good work in your heart and His greatest glory in your life, marriage, and family, my precious sister!

          If you need any resources about specific issues, I would be glad to share anything I can.

          Much love and the biggest hug to you!


          1. Thank you so much for your response. How encouraging to hear from someone who has struggled in the same ways and has had victory. It was a gift for you to call me precious sister, to remind me Jesus is working on me by opening my eyes to my sin, to offer more support, and finally for your prayers.
            Everyday I fail! I can have an amazing time with Jesus while my 16month old naps and I can fail that same day like last night. I become so discouraged at times. As I reflected this morning on my disrespectful manner towards my husband and my lack of visible change I sense Jesus saying to me He is showing me how pervasive my sin is so He can change me completely. In the heat of the moment I want to blame my husband because his response to disrespect is anger. But if I wasn’t disrespectful then he wouldn’t get angry.
            This blog post about pride speaks so strongly to me.
            I would like to ask for wisdom on how to continue not to make my husband an idol. And how to disagree without being disrespectful. How to bless someone when they have worked you and not seek revenge, and how to get and maintain self control.
            Thank you April!

            1. Jennifer,

              The fact that you are committing to such fervent prayer tells me that God is already working powerfully and that He will continue His good work. So I am already praising and thanking Him for all of the victory that is yours!

              We do sometimes have to get to the place where we truly see how filthy and wretched we are on our own. I know I did! That was mortifying!!!!!

              To start with, I would suggest searching my home page for the following terms and reading the posts and we can discuss things as you read. I know you can’t absorb everything at once. It is just not possible. So, take a bite and digest it for awhile. Work on things deeply and slowly. Allow God to have total access to the darkest corners of your heart and mind and be willing to tear out anything He says has to go and the work to rebuild your life and your fixed beliefs on Jesus, God’s Word, and His truth alone.

              – husband idol
              – overcome idolatry
              – tearing out the idols
              – bitterness
              – fear
              – conflict
              – what is respect in marriage
              – what is disrespectful to husbands
              – fear fuels our need to control
              – why do I have to change first?
              – the idol of control
              – control
              – insecurity
              – security

              What is your husband’s general personality? Would you like to talk about an example of a disagreement and we could go through some examples of how to handle in a godly way?

              Would you be interested in a spiritual check up with me?

              Much love to you! I am praying for God’s Spirit to move mightily in you and for you to be able to fully yield to Him as LORD of everything.

          2. April,

            Yes a spiritual check up would be wonderful! To clarify I have been reading your blog for about a year now but had never commented. The list you have given me is very helpful and I find that reading the blog posts just once isn’t enough. I have to read and re-read them over and over. I also have your book and I am reading that as well.
            My husbands general personality is an enthusiast, he loves life but also tends to run from suffering or sadness. He also is an officer in the military and he his perception is from the lens of a soldier often. He is very verbally loving towards me and affectionate. He also tends to say exactly what he is thinking.
            I would like to share with you more in detail however I am wary to do that here as I want to be honoring to him and I know he would feel dishonnor with specifics being so publicly shared. In general if I am upset or stressed about something he wants to fix it. I think his way of fixing it is wrong. I treat him that way. He feels disrespected and gets angry. I am already angry and retaliate with very hurtful words. He wants to walk away and I won’t let him. I am currently working on allowing my him space to walk away but my controlling vengeful spirit takes over and I don’t always do this. Yet I always regret not doing it. Thank you for responding. I am off to spend time with Jesus now and pray for clarity and self control and conviction to stop sinning. Any wisdom is appreciated!

            1. Jennifer,

              I remember re-reading Laura Doyle’s book, The Surrendered Wife, over and over for 3 months 2.5 years into my journey. That was what finally helped me “get it” but it was a bit frustrating because I kept having to filter out so much that wasn’t really Scriptural and put in things in my mind that were Scriptural. To me, this is the kind of thing that a lot of wives may have to spend time on every day for years. And honestly, I am so thankful that God has me teaching these things every day so that it all stays fresh in my mind all the time. I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t focusing on these truths daily.

              I can certainly understand that you want to honor your husband. The spiritual check up isn’t really about him at all, so I don’t think it will be an issue, but you can look at the questions and see what you think. 🙂

              It is really disrespectful to try to force a man to stay if he wants to leave. He may be leaving to try to cool down and keep from doing something he would later regret. Do you know why he is feeling disrespected? And would you like to talk about ways you can share your heart without lashing out with hurtful words?

              1. What is your relationship with Christ like at this time? What do you pray about? How much time do you spend? What is God showing you lately?

              2. How do you believe people can be right with God?

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

              4. What are your greatest dreams?

              5. What are your biggest fears?

              6. What was your parents’ marriage like in general? (Was one spouse more passive or the other more controlling? Was there a lot of fighting or tension? Divorce?)

              7. What was your husband’s parents’ marriage like in general?

              Much love to you!

          3. April,
            I’m feeling very defeated this morning as once again I failed. I need help knowing how to be respectful toward my husband when he is being unkind or is brining up something he is frustrated about in an unkind way. Yesterday this happened and although I had planned and followed through on other places of contention where he feels disrespected by me (being late leaving the house, not doing what he asked of me in relation to our toddler) and felt I had done well even though it was hard something else came up and boom! Arguing andnin front of my toddler which just put me over the edge and i became more and more angry and disrespectful. Afterward I felt so overwhelmed with guilt about arguing in front of our toddler and overwhelmed by how I keep failing even though I am seeking God and trying to change I just emotionally broke down. My husband was trying to give me advice and telling me its time to move on and let this go but Im really struggling. I have done some thinking and realized I felt entitled to “my time” to get rowdy to go out since I had done everything earlier and we were going to be on time. When that time was interrupted I was angry and just wanted some peace and quiet as I was tired and worn down. I read the above blog about pride and I see the false pride and blatant pride in my heart and Im just so tired from this struggle. But I really could use help with the above.
            I tried to answer your last message with the questions but when I tried to post, it failed. I need more time to answer the questions again. But I will in the next day or 2.

            Please pray for me. Thank you! Jennifer

            1. Jennifer,

              My site was down almost all weekend. My apologies! I’m so glad you were able to get through today. 🙂

              Would you be able to walk me through your thinking as you became more and more angry and disrespectful? Let’s go through detail by detail if you want to. 🙂

              Also, you will have to allow yourself some grace. When you stumble and fall, repent to God and your husband and child. Get back up. Press into Jesus even more. Ask Him to show you the areas where you were thinking with wrong motives or where you had embraced lies or sin. Invite Him to empower you. Then keep going. There is a LOT of stumbling at first. I know that the first 2.5 years of my journey, I stumbled almost constantly. It seriously took me until about 3-3.5 years into this before I felt like “I get it” and the new ways felt so much more natural and normal and it wasn’t constant spiritual and emotional contortion to try to do the godly thing. There is so much to unlearn and trash and so much to absorb and learn. You won’t be perfect today or next week or next month. And, even when you have been at this for many years, there is still tons to learn and we can still stumble, especially when we look to circumstances or allow the flesh to rise up and take control.

              I hate being late, too. I used to lash out at my husband and children when we were late. I felt like we were being so disrespectful to the people we were supposed to meet – for dinner or at church, or wherever. I HATED being late. I still don’t like being late. But – God has changed my perspective.

              I know now that I am not justified in lashing out in disrespect and contempt just because we are late. Yes, it would be ideal if we were on time. I can certainly try to get us out the door on time and take care of my part to be sure that happens. But if my husband or children end up causing us to be late, I have learned to look at it like this:

              1. God is not going to judge me because my husband or children made us late to church or to school or wherever sometimes.

              2. God IS concerned about how I treat other people. If I lash out with sinful motives, attitudes, words, and actions – now I am sinning. God hates sin.

              What ultimately matters in light of eternity here? That we were perfectly on time or how I loved and cared for my family? Is God most interested that we don’t miss 5 minutes of Sunday School or that I obey Him and operate in the power of the Holy Spirit with self-control, respect, kindness, and gentleness?

              If I pitch a fit and act in sinful anger and contempt toward my family but we are on time – what have I gained? What have they gained? What will they remember? Will my family be excited that we were on time? Or will they remember that I was a screaming shrew? Will they be drawn to the Christ in me or repelled by my desire to control?

              Praying for God to make all things clear to you, my precious sister.

              Much love!

        2. April,

          Yes I would appreciate your help.
          Actually it’s my husband who hates to be late and it’s me that tends to make us late. It matters to me that I have some time to do my hair and apply makeup on sundays so I look nice at least once a week. Instead of waiting until the last minute after getting everyone else ready I got everything done early and my husband agreed to take over while I got ready so we would be on time. And it was looking really good that this would happen.

          My 16 month old had thrown a tantrum earlier and my nerves were a bit shot. So i was really looking forward to “me time”. A few minutes into me getting ready my 22 year old special needs daughter come in and wants me to help her with something. A few minutes later my husband come see in wanting to discuss my daughter’s spending habits. As we are talking about this he seemed frustrated to me which put me more on edge and then to top it off my 16 month old and 12 year old stepdaughter come charging through the door.

          I lost it and started yelling at my husband…. and because I reacted the way I did, he got angry and yelled back at me saying I was being disrespectful…. (which I was) and we proceeded to argue in front of my toddler. He tried to walk away but I was so angry at that moment at myself and him for once again fighting in front of my daughter I so immaturely and sinfully followed him to continue the fight.

          I look back and I could kick myself for not staying right where I was and cooling down. I have a real problem with this as I think I have mentioned before. He ended up leaving for church with the girls then I called him and he came back for me. And once again I was angry and just sat there in stony silence. I was so angry at both of us for fighting. Once I get angry it takes me a long time to cool off… unfortunately. And I have noticed that when I get angry I keep chasing after the situation or thing that has made me angry which keeps me angry. It’s really shameful to see this in black and white print.

          My husband graciously forgave me later that afternoon and as I said I had an emotional breakdown over feeling so overwhelmed about sinning again in this way. Your email was encouraging and I am trying to get back up and asking Jesus to help change me. I know I am acting entitled and acting out of my flesh and it saddens me to think the girls will remember going to church as being a time of strife and conflict not happiness and preparation of heart to worship Jesus.

          I want this to change. Starting this Sunday.

          Thank you for your help!

          1. Jennifer,

            Sunday mornings are always challenging, especially for moms. And of course, that is when some of the most difficult spiritual opposition often comes, too. It sounds to me like it was so generous of your husband to offer to help get the kids ready. But it also sounds like the two of you may want to talk about some boundaries for Sunday mornings. Maybe things like:

            1. This is not the time for an in-depth serious discussion if possible.
            2. Is it possible for the 22 year old and 12 year old, at least, to understand that you need 20 minutes to yourself to get ready and that unless there is an actual emergency, they need to take care of themselves during that time?
            3. Something else to consider, could it be worth it not to be as dolled up on Sundays? If this is a continual source of lateness, something I would wonder might be, “Would it be better for me to be content, calm, and on time with no makeup and a ponytail? How important is it to me to and to my husband for me to spend a lot of extra time getting ready? And if it is super important, what changes do we need to make in our Sunday mornings in order for this to happen more seamlessly?”
            4. The enemy wants to create strife and division in my home, especially before church. He wants us to be filled with contempt, contention, bitterness, and division. I know his strategy now. I don’t have to play into his hands. I can pray ahead of time and allow God’s Spirit to have control. I don’t have to cave into my sinful flesh. I can get out a hammer and nail that thing right back to the cross and allow God’s power to allow my new self in Christ to shine. I have a choice. I am not a slave to my feelings and emotions.
            5. If my husband leaves, I need to respect him and realize he is trying to cool down and calm the conflict and give me an opportunity to get myself composed. I will not follow him in anger like that again. I will stop and pray and ask God to help me calm down next time.

            Be prepared for spiritual battle first thing Sunday morning. Armor on. Praise in your heart. Ready to discern the enemy’s strategies and his voice. Ready to listen to God and resist the devil so he will flee. Another thing I try to do – is when I am tempted to yell,sometimes if I whisper or sing instead to my children, it really helps keep me from losing control.

            Much love! Praying for God’s continued beautiful work in your life!

          2. April,

            Thank you for your wisdom. I am going to apply the 4 steps you gave me by talking with my husband about Sunday mornings (he already pointed out to me it was the enemy working), having the girls prepared to give me time without interruption barring an emergency, considering each Sunday if my desire to look nice outweighs my desire to be filled with peace and act like Jesus, and to pray on Saturday nights and before I get out of the bed Sunday mornings against attacks and for His holy spirit to fill me.

            As far as the spiritual check up the answer to your first question about my relationship with Jesus….

            I feel this is a desert time in my life. I have more alone time than I ever have before. Before I got married 2.5 years ago I lived with 9 friends and their kids and adopted my 22 year old daughter so I always had people around me. Now I live across town from all of my friends and rarely see them, attend a different church than I used to (my husband’s church), and have started to rebuild friendships with people in my neighborhood primarily through a weekly bible study my husband and I host in our home. I also use to work full time as a nurse manager and went from a high stress job (which I enjoyed until I got married) to being a stay at home mom with comparatively very little interaction with other adults.

            I have struggled with boredom, depresssion, and anxiety. Jesus has brought me a long way as I use to have fear in my heart daily about my husband leaving me for another woman (coming from my past hurts and some insensitive comments and actions from him in the first year of our marriage) but I have spent time trying to weed out the idol I made my husband (which initially led me to your blog) and he has really repented of a lot of the insensitive things and I feel more secure now. In this desert time I have had to seek Jesus on my own without having my friends to help me (I have realized I saw them and their approval for me as an idol too) and to be the voice of God and I have been pushed into a new level with Him.

            I am used to doing ministry almost as a part time job on top of work (I was single for a long time) and since getting married I have not had a lot of fruit born in my life which has also been depressing to me. But again I sense Jesus is trying to do so something new in my heart that cannot be seen by everyone and until I get these sins more under the lordship of Jesus I am not going to see a lot of fruit. I usually spend 4 days during the week for about an hour reading the bible, reading your blog or book or another book you have recommended like “The Respect Dare”, listening to a sermon on One Place or worship music and trying to pray. The weekends I am less consistent due to family being around more. Funny I just realized it’s on the weekends I struggle most with giving into my flesh and the schemes of the enemy. So I need to find time to spend with Jesus on the weekends too. I really desperately need Him. I will post the answer to the 2nd and 3rd questions tomorrow.

            Thank you for your support and leadership in this area. It helps to have someone who has struggled with the same issues speak into my life. I pray Jesus would bless me with victory so I too can help other women too.

            God bless you!

            1. Jennifer,

              Hmmm…. I wonder if it may be possible that God has you alone to Himself for specific reasons in this season? I know I had a time “in the wilderness” with God for the first 3.5 years of this journey where I barely socialized with anyone. I was mostly just hunkered down focusing on God and what He wanted to do in my life and heart and on becoming the woman He called me to be. I needed that time desperately! I still need as much time with God as possible.

              I’m glad you realized that on the weekends when you don’t have as much time with God – those are the more problematic times. That is an important realization!

              Yes! I pray with you for Jesus to transform your heart, mind, and thinking and that He might use you to bless and edify other women in the future who are struggling with similar issues. 🙂

              Much love!

        3. April,
          Yesterday I really sinned all day towards my husband. I called him names, threatened to leave him for someone else, and told him I hated him. Today I am so ashamed. It was because he wanted to go on a trip without his family to see his friends in New York for a barmitzvah. I told him I didn’t want him to go without us and not to go at all because it would be too much for our 17 month old. But really I didn’t want him to go because I’m afraid if he’s away from us without any Christians around he will fall into temptations including my biggest fear which is he will cheat on me. I told him I didn’t trust him and he exploded. So I exploded and the whole day was horrible. I was so full of anger and rage I just wanted to hurt him. I don’t know what to do when my emotions take over like that. I can’t stop myself. I know he feels disrespected and hurt and from what I said he shouldn’t trust me…. I have once again ruined intimacy. Reflecting on my mindset I realize I was already feeling fearful… I had been having nightmares about him cheating through the week. He was working late and doing soccer after work and my thoughts turned to wondering of him cheating. He did do somethings 2 years ago that were not trustworthy. But he hasn’t for a long time and I can’t seem to shake that mistrust. My dad cheated on my mom and left her and a friend got into an emotional infidelity and I have these scars because of that. I just need help to know what to do when I am angry and the best thing to do is to be quiet… but my heart is so dark it rules my mouth and I lose self control. I needed to also confess all of this as well. I have apologized but it doesn’t mean much to my husband. He is very forgiving but I wonder how many times he will put up with this until he wants to leave. I’m also tempted to look to him for security …. ask him if he wants to leave me, start crying. I know this will drive him further away but I still am tempted. It’s the usual patterns with me… be mean and then be insecure because who could blame someone for not wanting to be around me.

          1. Jennifer,

            Yikes. That did not go well. 🙁

            First let’s talk about this – what is it that you want in your relationship with Christ? Do you WANT to have God’s power over sin and to be able to have God’s power to stop yourself when you face these kinds of temptations instead of yielding to your flesh? Do you want to be able to put Jesus first? Are you willing to challenge some of your thinking and fixed beliefs that are toxic and to work on your end of things to find God’s healing for you personally no matter what your husband does or does not do?

            Much love!

          2. Yes I do want that power that I am so lacking. I want the fruits of the spirit. I want to walk with Jesus in a new way… I just feel lost at these moments.

            1. Jennifer,

              Would you please remind me where you are in your relationship with Christ at this time? Have you read the post about identifying the lies we have embraced?

              Are you able to see the sinful motives and attitudes in your own heart?

              What do you believe God wants you to do with them?

              I’d be glad to walk beside you on this road.
              Much love!

              1. Right now I am in a desert time with Jesus. My life has slowed down considerably and I have much more time to myself that ever before. A lot of my friends have disappeared because I moved across town and started attending my husbands church. This has been hard but in some ways good because I was using their voices as a substitute for Jesus voice and now that I’m on my own and struggling and I have had to find Jesus on my own. I want to obey Him but in the places where I find idols like my husbands’ attention, love, and time, being in control, always needing to feel loved, always needing to be first, amongst others my emotions take over and I am the worst possible version of myself. I have to take vengeance on my husband if he hurts me or how he has hurt me in the last and I have to stop him if I think he might put himself in a situation where he will be vulnerable with a woman. I keep trying to give them to Jesus and there are periods of time I do but I take it back. My husband is very forgiving and is already being affectionate towards me even after all the horrible things I said to him and when I read what other women are going through with their husbands I know that is the biggest gift he gives me and I so blessed. I am slowly realizing that when my husband forgives me and moves on (he generally wants to move on quickly) I tend to get lazy in fighting the battle and although I spend at least 10 hours a week on reading or studying scripture and listening to sermons I don’t do the harder work which is writing down lies the enemy speaks to me like “he is going to cheat on you” “right now he is flirting or lusting after another woman” “he’s not really working late, he’s out with another woman” and replacing them with truth like “my husband loves Jesus, and Jesus will convict Him if he wrongs me in that way” or “my husband loves me and is trustworthy” or “this is the enemies way of using me as a tool to destroy my marriage”. So I will read your post and write out lies I believe. Today I have already had to fight the thoughts above and ask Jesus to help me not think those thoughts. I want to obey Jesus and make Him the reason why I bless my husband and children, not to be loved in return. This is also a weakness, an idol. I am listening to a short sermon by john piper on vengeance and will be asking Jesus to convict my heart. Yes I need someone to help me all through this. Thank you for your help April!

              2. Jennifer,

                I’m glad you are recognizing the lies. That is the first step. It helps me to write down all of my negative or tempting thoughts and then to purposely evaluate each one under the light of God’s Word. Who wants me to believe this? God or Satan? What fruit will this thought bring? Fruit of the Spirit or of the flesh? And if the thought is not of God, I can replace it with His truth. It sounds like you are learning to do that already.

                Another helpful tool is my video, “Taking Our Thoughts Captive for Christ” on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy.

                Much love to you!

              3. April,

                Yesterday my husband brought home chocolates and flowers for me which he rarely does. I was so amazed and excited. Later that night he tells me there is a party we have been invited to but it’s 1.5 hours away and during rush hour traffic. He thinks I shouldn’t go because of our toddler and he should go alone. I agree with him logistically but once again he is making plans that don’t include us. Also I had a fear attack related to if he met an attractive woman there and acted inappropriately. And the insecurity that he wants to get away from me. I think he got me the flowers and candy because he knew bringing this up would be difficult. I didn’t say much. I woke up extra early this morning and woke him up asking him if he was going to go to the party by himself. He was angry about my asking. Later that morning I was wrestling with it all again and the blog about taking your thoughts captive came to my mind. I decided that my thoughts were not from God and that I should just tell my husband to go without us if he thought that was best, which I did. He agreed to that without even a “thank you” later that morning I called him to ask if he would be home in time that night to pick up our daughter from work and before I could ask him he exploded on me saying I had to stop obsessing over this party. After I asked him he said that he has PTSD from all the times I have been upset with him going somewhere that he is sensitive. I wanted to fire back at him the reason I was always upset is because he had not proven himself trustworthy in the beginning of our marriage and I have PTSD myself from all of it. But I keep my mouth shut… somehow. I know he has a right to feel that way but it conjured up in my insecurity and anger. I snapped at my daughter and I’ve been angry ever since. I’m trying to be a better wife but it’s hard, so hard. And I am already being tormented with thoughts he will be inappropriate with another woman (he’s done this multiple times before). But I also recognize that I don’t trust God and that I am once again idolizing my husband’s faithfulness to me and his attention. I’m trying to give this to God, but it’s so hard. I feel so beat up. Please pray with me that I won’t react out of fear and anger anymore about this situation towards anyone, that I will take captive my thoughts when the enemy brings them, and that I will learn to trust God. Any further insight or wisdom would be appreciated.

                Thank you!


              4. Jennifer,

                Do you believe that your husband is pretty trustworthy? Or do you feel that he still is seriously not?

                Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be on the receiving end of your insecurity?

                Do you have a controlling woman in your life – a mom, a mother-in-law, a sister, a coworker – who criticizes most of the things you do, who is negative toward you, who freaks out if you don’t do things exactly the way she wants you to do them?

                It is not wrong to want your husband to be faithful. That is a reasonable desire and expectation. The question is – how can you contribute to helping achieve this goal as a teammate instead of an adversary?

                How do you believe you can share your concerns in a respectful way without repelling your husband? Any ideas?

                Much love to you!

              5. April,

                There was a time I did not think he was trustworthy but now I do think he has acted in a way that I should trust him….. for over a year now. The enemy convinces me that his behavior a long time ago is how he is now but actually he has changed a lot. For example I can’t tell if he finds a woman attractive anymore where before he made it very obvious with flirting and making comments. So I need to trust him and fight the enemy when he is trying to convince me he isn’t.

                I haven’t had a woman like that but I have had a male friend who was my pastor. He was very controlling, very critical, always telling me what I was doing wrong, and I didn’t enjoy being around him most of the time. If I didn’t want to do something he was manipulative and it was a fight. Or I was afraid of being rejected if I said no. So I can imagine that this is what it feels like to be around me when I am in my critical, insecure, controlling mode. No one wants to be around me…..

                I think your question is a good one… how can I contribute to my husband being faithful to me? Being respectful and extending trust and not smothering him and controlling him would be some of the ways I can.

                i think I can say I trust him and say it without expectation and without pressure to do something or anger when he doesn’t. This might help. But also I recognize I need to not react to something right away. I need to pray over it and seek Jesus then share concerns. I react and it’s always over reacting.

                I know these next few days will be a battle in my mind and I think it’s best to keep it between Jesus and myself.thankbyou for helping me think through all of this and giving me Godly advice.

                May God bless you and your family!


              6. Jennifer,

                Ultimately, your trust will need to be in Christ. But, if you believe your husband has been trustworthy and is now trustworthy, I vote to do things that will inspire and encourage him for doing such a good job.

                Here are two posts about destructive jealousy that may be a blessing:

                First post
                Second post

                Check out the comments on those posts, too, please. 🙂

                And here is a post about righteous jealousy and anger.

                The post about healthy vs unhealthy relationships may be a great place to focus as you figure out where your responsibilities end and his begin. If you try to be responsible for things that are really his responsibility, he will feel smothered and controlled. He needs the freedom to make his own choices. You can influence him. You can encourage and bless him and praise him when he does a great job. You can share you feel hurt if he does something wrong. You can set boundaries if he sins against you and refuses to repent. And God’s Spirit can give you the wisdom and strength you need and the discernment you need no matter what happens.

                Yes, if you can stop and go off and pray instead of reacting immediately – that would help.

                Also, the Youtube video I have about Taking Our Thoughts Captive (channel April Cassidy), may be very helpful, too.

                Praying for you to yield to Jesus and His truth and healing and to resist the enemy. God can give you victory!

                Much love!

              7. April,

                Thank you for the posts and YouTube video! I have watched the video twice now. The question you pose,”is this thought from God?” is something I have never thought to ask myself. So when I start to think,” my husband is running late, or he is working a lot lately, or he is playing soccer…. maybe he really isn’t doing that. Maybe he is with someone else….” I can ask myself your question.

                I also read the blog posts about jealousy. In reading them I believe I had righteous jealousy that turned into negative jealousy. This has also been a bit of a revelation because I felt like I was right to be angry and hurt, and I was. But the way I handled it then and still carry it in my heart now is wrong. The other thing that struck me was reading some of the comments ( I have not finished them all yet) from other wives who are being so wronged by their husbands. It was so sad to me, and here I am complaining in my heart about my husband who treats me 1000 times better. It was very sobering.

                I am looking too much to my husband for my happiness. The blog post about fear you wrote and he prayer you had to get to a place where you could pray that Jesus was number one in your heart was very helpful to me. I’m reading that blog post often. I want to get to the place where everything I do is to please Jesus. I’m so far, even this weekend complaining in my heart and out loud about what I do not have to my husband as if he is somehow responsible for that and I am somehow justified to believe that’s ok.

                I have peace in my heart today that I did not have last week. I’m thinking a lot about when peter walks on water… and I’m asking Jesus to help me walk on water in terms of treating my husband with respect no matter what he does or does not do. And I hear Him saying to me” keep your eyes on me,not the storm.”

                Hoping to fall more in love with Jesus than ever before.

                I will keep you posted on my progress and thoughts. Thank you for your leadership. Praying for your family as your grandma is on hospice. I was a hospice nurse before I became a stay at home mom. Please let me know if you need anything.


          3. I did want to add Jesus helped me not to break down emotionally in tears today and ask my husband for security or assurance of his love for me. My husband remarked to me already today I was being very agreeable which I am grateful for. I want to focus on Jesus and my husband and his wants/needs especially since I have been the perpetrator against him. It’s a microscopic victory but I’ll take it. Thank you for your leadership. I loo forward to any wisdom you might have for me.

            1. Jennifer,

              I think I mentioned looking up the terms “insecurity” and “Security” on my home page. If you are Clingy and Needy , expecting your husband to meet the deepest needs of your soul for security – you will repel him and destroy the intimacy you most desire with him. But if you find your security, peace, identity, purpose, and strength in Christ – then you can approach your husband from a position of great spiritual strength and joy no matter what he does. Then you aren’t dependent on his actions for your peace of mind. You are taking responsibility for yourself by getting your deepest needs met in Jesus – who is the only one who really can meet your deepest needs.

              Some other posts that may be helpful:

              – I am responsible for my emotions
              – I am responsible for my spiritual well-being
              – how to make your husband an idol
              – I never thought I would make my husband an idol
              – the idol of happiness
              – responsible for spouse’s happiness

              Much love!

          4. April,

            I wanted to give you an update on my progress. The party I mentioned my husband was going to that I was worried about… well the enemy kept attacking me and I kept asking my self,”is this thought from God?” And it was maybe the most helpful piece of advice I have ever gotten. It really helped me to take control of my thoughts and give them back to Jesus. And when he got home that night I wasn’t a sack of insecurity and a mess. I was filled with the peace of God.
            There are other challenges that are coming up like buying a new house together and learning to let go of the control with that and expectations. Also I am asking Jesus to reveal to me when I am saying something disrespectfully even if it’s as a joke towards him and He has been! It’s a little overwhelming because I have so much to work on. I find on the days I am focused on Jesus and pleasing Him everything else is better.
            I read your blog posts and re read them and I am about to start re reading your book as well.
            Thank you for your leadership!

            1. Jennifer,

              Aw! This put a huge smile on my face and has joy spilling from my heart. 🙂 I’m so glad that question was a helpful tool to help you take your thoughts captive for Christ. WOOHOO! If we can recognize where the thought is coming from and reject the ones that are from the enemy – life is INFINITELY BETTER!

              I love the to you are asking Jesus to show you things and that you are hearing His prompting. THAT is what I want each of us to be able to do!!! So exciting! And I love that you are focusing on letting go of control and expectations about the house buying thing. This is the path to peace and joy, my dear sister. What God is doing in you is so beautiful. Yielding to Him is the best place to be in the universe!

              So thankful that God allows me to be part of His work in your heart. What an incredible honor and blessing!

              Sending you a huge hug! And I have to give all the credit for anything good here being from God.


  1. Your last two blogs have hit home with me. I have been feeling very rejected and alone this week in my marriage. I continued I look for validation from my husband who told me 2 weeks ago there was no hope for reconciliation and he was done. He wished me well. Yet he comes to bed and is affectionate.

    I am really a mess today.

    1. Betsy,

      Oh goodness, my dear sister! That is such a PAINFUL situation! I can’t even begin to count how many wives I have heard from in the past few months who are in the same scenario. 🙁 BREAKS MY HEART!

      I don’t really get why he is affectionate in bed if he said there is no hope for reconciliation and that he is done. That seems to be a very mixed message.

      How is your time with God going?

      What do you want in your walk with Christ?

      What do you want in your marriage?

      Have you seen the post, “When Your Husband Says, ‘I’m Done'”?

      I believe that our God is able to heal. He is sovereign, thankfully, not a husband’s feelings at the moment. My prayer is that you will seek to grow spiritually and allow God to radically change you – and that you might be able to lay your husband down on the altar before Jesus – trusting Him with the ultimate outcome.

      The post from last Thursday could certainly be modified to fit this situation – and when you are able to truly lay down everything you desire and all of your fears before God, that is the pathway to knowing Him more deeply and to experiencing His power and presence more in your life and living in His peace. I believe God has many spiritual riches for you to experience with Him on this difficult path and that this could be a time of intense spiritual growth in Christ like nothing you have ever experienced.

      Praying for you to look to Christ and to entrust your husband and your marriage and future to Him, my dear sister. I’m glad to talk with you some more.

      Ladies, let’s lift up Betsy in prayer together today!

      Much love!

  2. Ouch..this is very pertinent and true to me, and yes I am disgusting to my husband. So, why do I have the need to hate myself, put myself down and be totally self sufficient? This is one thing I am struggling with particularly (along with nearly every thing else mentioned in the post) and am trying hard to change and challenge. Prayer about accept god’s love, having my identity fully dependent on Him would be awesome.

  3. This is a beautiful and profound post. It is true that pride and self-centeredness are at the root of not only most marriage problems, but (I believe) problems in the world at large. That exaltation of self is, I think, the core of the “dark side” of human nature – it’s like our animal instinct for self-preservation. From God we learn a higher way of humility and love for others. Left to our own devices, we are bound to go wrong.

    1. Laura,

      I agree – pride is the root of all sin – not just in marriage, but everywhere. I applied this principle to marriage so we could see it more clearly, but this is an issue in every facet of our lives and it is the root of our enmity with God.

      Thank you for sharing your insights! 🙂

  4. Good Morning! Betsy and Liz, I am praying for you both.

    Another great post, April! When I first started reading, and I was reading the pride list, I thought, “yikes! Nobody actually acts this way. This is just awful? Who would actually think like this?” I think because of the way I think I have a hard time believing anyone could actually be that prideful, that proud of themselves. And then, “what about negative pride? That’s more like me.” And then, I kept reading, and there it was! False humility.. That’s me! Or, I’d prefer to say that WAS me. I am really, REALLY trying to change and grow past this.

    A couple years ago, when Robert pointed out my pride issue, I thought he was nuts! I honestly thought prideful people were super pleased with themselves. False humility IS a form of pride, but calling it false humility makes a lot more sense to me.

    LIZ, I am praying for you. I am also trying to accept God’s love, stop any self-hate, and find my true worth in Christ. I’ve come a long way, but I’m still on the journey. I have to start over a LOT. But trust me, sister, if I can make progress, ANYONE can make progress! I will keep you in my prayers.

    April, yesterday we watched the movie, War Room. It was awesome! I felt like you had been a consultant to the writers, so much of it paralleled things you’ve been telling me forever. It was very good for me to see.

    I thought I prayed enough, but I need to spend a LOT more time with God. I am getting better at understanding my worth in Christ, but I need to start over a lot. And I need to also focus on finding my contentment and joy in Christ. My husband is great, but I cannot look for my peace and joy in him. That is not the right way.

    Okay, this is weird and personal, but here goes. So I almost never go to bed when my husband does (he goes to bed pretty early). Often I fall asleep on the couch. Sometimes on purpose (in a snit), sometimes I just fall asleep. My husband says this bothers him, that I don’t sleep in bed. But in my pride, or false humility, I think – why does it matter? If I go to bed hoping something will happen, and it usually doesn’t, I just feel upset, and worthless, and he doesn’t need me here for anything, so why bother? But for some absurd reason, he always says how he wishes I would sleep in bed with him. So last night I was feeling very loving and repentant. So I got ready for bed really early, and went to bed when he did. Of course, I was hoping he would feel affectionate, so when I heard him snoring I started to tell myself how ugly, and worthless, and what is the point of my being here, and so on and so on. And then I caught myself.

    I prayed. I thought about how my worth needs to be in Jesus and what He did for me and how He loves me, and not in my husbands libido or lack thereof. It’s hard! So often, SO often, I feel like our relationship is backwards, and that I must not be woman enough. I NEED to get out of this mindset. I have the opposite problem of some of the other ladies. My husband will go on and on about how much he loves me, but there is less physical intimacy than I would like. His love language is words. Mine is NOT.

    I got up once to get some water, and I did think about going to the couch. But I didnt. I went back to bed, and prayed. I woke up this morning thinking, “well, this was pointless…” I tell you, I can argue with myself ENDLESSLY. But it wasn’t pointless. Hard doesn’t mean pointless. I wouldn’t want my husband to judge his own worthiness as a human on my emotions or feelings of any given day. So why do I do it to myself?

    I was going to keep this short, but I’m me! 🙂

    So my husband called me this morning and he thanked me for sleeping in bed. He said it meant so much to him. Huh? I don’t really get it, and I don’t really understand it, and I have my own thoughts, but if it blesses him, then I’m going to do my best to do it. I do want to bless my husband.

    Thanks April, for everything you do and share. You are changing lives. Some of us take longer than others (like me!) but God is using you and your ministry.

    1. Becca,

      This brings me tears of joy, my precious sister! I can hear God’s Spirit in your words. I can see the growth. I can see the progress. IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! It’s okay if you fall down and have to get back up again. We ALL have to do that!

      We all tend to be on one side or the other of either pride or false humility – or sometimes we do both at the same time! I’m so thankful that when we come to Christ, He is able to empower us to empty ourselves of Self. He crucified our old selves on the cross and that old self is now dead in God’s sight. We have a new self in Christ! PRAISE GOD FOR THAT! We didn’t need to just be improved a little bit or have a makeover – the old self was only fit for crucifying. But now, the new self! WOOHOO! The key is for us to learn to understand and receive what Jesus did so that we can truly live it more and more each day. Such an exciting journey!

      I watched The War Room last year. I cried a lot! It was so amazing to see my ministry on screen in a movie like that – although, instead of me talking with one wife, it is thousands. But yes, that is the ministry God has given me! SUCH a blessing to see that movie and how God is using it for His glory! I’m super excited you got to see it and pray God will use it to continue to bring to mind His ways and His truth. 🙂

      You are beginning to really “get it” my dear sister! YES! We all need lots of time to soak in God’s presence, His love, His power, His truth… and for Him to transform us.

      I LOVE that you decided to go to bed with your husband just to bless him, even if it didn’t result in intimacy. And what a wonderful thing that he thanked you for that gift. This is a way you can show honor and respect to him. Just being with him in bed. Pretty easy, right? But a very meaningful gift to him. 🙂 THAT IS AWESOME!

      I love that you are seeing that “hard doesn’t mean pointless” necessarily and that you have the power to bless your husband in ways that may not be a big deal to you, but may profoundly impact him and bring growth and healing to your marriage.

      I see God empowering you to take your thoughts captive for Christ more and more. THAT IS AWESOME!

      I’m so thankful you shared. Such a blessing to my soul! I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you, my sister!

      Much love!

    2. I sleep on the sofa a lot, too. I had serious struggles when I went to bed with him and nothing happened, and after struggling horribly (morally, spiritually), I finally went to the sofa where I usually fall asleep reading. He never has mentioned it, but he does often complain that if I turn around in bed I disturb his sleep. THAT hurt. I acknowledged it, and sort of fell apart (alone, would never, ever do it around him, as it would annoy him big-time) and finally came to grips with the reality that that wasn’t the end of the world, that I could live a rich and full life without my husband’s physical affection, etc. I still struggle horribly, but staying on the sofa seems to keep the problems at bay. I have a lot of activities now that I look forward to each evening, so now it’s not a problem the way it used to be. I took up my embroidery again and have a reading series that I am really enjoying now.

      Praying for you, Becca. ((((((())))))))

      1. zbexrel, it’s possible that you and your husband (or anyone in this situation) might be interested in a German bed. Germans are all about practicality 😛 a German king-size bed is actually made up of two twin-size mattresses, and each can be done up with its own twin sheets. That way, one person rolling around or pulling on their sheets doesn’t disturb the other.

        I love how you are focusing on other things and that you are giving yourself things to look forward to in the evening 🙂

        1. Not a bad idea. It would be just as well anyway, because we would never touch each other. 🙂

          In fairness, though, at this point I am too defeated and too hardened. I simply no longer care anymore. It’s easier to no longer care. There are days I barely sleep three hours at night because I am just wakeful and can’t get him out of my head. I manage to always say, “Fine”, when he asks how I slept. I manage to get up, make breakfast and pack his lunch, and keep my mouth shut. I just pray every day that I can continue to do it at least until the kids are all grown and it doesn’t matter anymore. After that I really don’t care what we do, if we split up or stay together. I have reached the point of “done”.

          1. I’m to that point too. Yet, something tells me Jesus would not act “done”. So I keep on keeping on…for the only reason of honoring God. Not sinking to the level of unattatchment. I realized at the beginning of my journey we all have the monster and angel inside of us….sin and pureness. It’s so easy to just give up, treat others with disdain, apathy or indifference. But that really isn’t being the example of what we need. If I want to have a friend…I need to be a friend. If I want someone to touch me, I need to be willing to touch. Loving someone in an agape or sacrificial and unconditional way takes real maturity and self control. You give without expectation of getting back. It’s theirs, even if they don’t deserve it or return the love. Only this kind of love is real and lasting and pure…the kind of love God gives to us. We denounce Him, turn from Him, disobey and pull away, yet He still loves us enough to send His only son to us to die a horrible death on the cross to save us ungrateful, hateful, sinners from eternal death! We are not really worth it in the logical sense. What would God have to gain? He already owns and controls it all. Yet He offers His mercy and grace solely because He loves us…agape style. Our duty as beleivers is to thank God for His gifts by trying to live in His image…as Jesus did. Jesus is the perfect example to emulate. When we don’t know how to respond..just look to what Jesus did in similar situations. It keeps our moral compass going in the true direction.

            In the same way, shutting down emotionally and treating people unloving because THEY are treating us unloving creates a vicious circle that never ends. I’ve learned the better person is the one who is willing to break that cycle first and seek to bless others. Build them up, never tear them down. As we LIVE the example of love, the Holy Spirit can convict the other person (and also ourselves) of sin and guilt starts to set in. How many people can continue to be a jerk to someone who is nice and caring? It’s easy to be a jerk back to someone hurting us, but then we are really no better than them, right?

            We are called to love others as ourselves. It hurts to be hurt, but then we need to look at where we are looking for our approval from…our spouse? Friends, kids, boss, parents? We only need God’s approval. Are we living in a way God would be proud of??? Not if we are doing cold shoulder stuff and sinning back to those who are sinning to us.

            Healthy boundaries are still needed. Appropriate consequences are also called for. But it is ultimately up to God to dole out punishment…not us. We are not to judge others or take revenge. God will exact the payment of all sin…either with His Blood or with eternal death…those are our choices. ALL sin must be payed for…even the sins we make in anger, frustration, and hurt. They are still sin.

            It’s not easy to set our hurts down and not keep them center focus, but we need to learn to do this and seperate our reactions to hurt and a better response filled with grace and mercy and most of all Love. Remember…hurting people hurt others. We may not be able to make someone stop sinning or hurting us, but we have total control over our own reactions and don’t need to return the same sin. We can at least stop the attack and bleeding. God does the healing.

            I will be praying for healing in your marriage and for God to help guide you both into ways to be a blessing and not enemies to each other.

            In encouragement, I have been persisting in reaching to my husband at night. Hand massage, rub his legs, feet etc. Sometimes I hear God telling me to hug him or kiss him even though it won’t be acknowledged, returned or even appreciated, but to do it anyway. God and I argue on this because I don’t want to do it. But when I decide to follow what God asks, good things have resulted. We still don’t have sex, but the relationship has 1) stopped bleeding 2) started to heal…but slowly (too slowly for me, but God’s timing is not my timing) and 3) is healthier and more solid than it has ever been in 19 years of marriage.

            I really beleive that God had to fix me first before I could be a lantern or beacon of light into the darkness residing in my husband. God loves my husband as much as He loves me. He is His child too. I need to love my husband as my brother in Christ also. I truly beleive God is breathing life into the dry bones of this marriage, but it is the hardest thing I have ever endured. The way I saw it is that I could treat my unloving, uncaring, shut down husband in the same way and guarantee a divorce, or I could try it God’s way and have a 5% (or better, who really knows) chance of making my marriage work and it being better than it ever was. I took the better odds because I truly beleive God hates divorce. Especially when there is no abuse, addictions or other physically harmful situations. We simply fell out of love cause we let life and the enemy steal our joy. We gave into the desires of the flesh and didn’t really know how to love with an agape love. We forgot to put God first, then each other. Other things were our idols…our marriage, each other, kids, hobbies, work, pta, friends, money…..it goes on. There is hope. There is a light. But we need to surrender to God to make it work. We are mere humans and cannot control what God xan. We need Him in our lives to do what we canmot. We need to be at peace with the promise that He will provide and is sovereign over EVERYTHING. Without giving it to God, we are still trying to be in control. We are totally unfit to do that.

            I pray we all look to God to help us take the log out of our own eye first. I pray we ask Gid to change US, not our situation. Pray for God to show us and guide us in ways that truly honors God in gratitude for saving us from death. Our quest is to be sinless. He knows we are not perfect, but He is not demanding perfection. Simply seeking Him, having a heart that wants to honor Him, and realizing each day is another chance to do our best us blesses us immensely. My heart goes out to all who hurt in rejection, loneliness and discouragement. I’m there with you, but God is too. Kerp the faith, my dear sisters.

            1. Well, that’s why I continue to offer a back rub each evening, why I get up and juice carrots for him each morning and why I pack his lunch each morning — because I am making the decision to love him as he wants to be loved. I offer the touching, even though I know 90% of the time he will decline (it interrupts his reading) because that is something I want. If you want something, offer it to the other. Be sure you continue to offer it, even if they decline it.

              In my situation, detachment was crucial to being able to stay somewhat sane. It was the only way I could be a mother to the children and keep myself going each day.

              1. zbexrel,

                I do think it is important to spiritually and emotionally separate ourselves from our husbands if we were enmeshed. That is necessary for sanity. I am very glad you seek to show love and continue to seek to love your husband even though you are not seeing much a response. I know God knows your heart and that He rewards our obedience and our seeking Him above all else and desiring to please Him.

                Praying for continued healing and strength and wisdom for you and for healing in Christ for your husband, as well. 🙂

            2. Wow. Your comment (and the original article) encouraged me immensely in the midst of my similar situation. Thank you.

              1. Jenzabenz, I’m so glad that you found some wisdom for you and your situation. I will pray for you and raise you up to find peace with God.

    3. Wow. This was great. I have sunk into feeling that “pointlessness”as well. Sometimes I need a break from the constant daily rejection. But when I pray, draw closer under God’s wing of protection and lay my hurt and pain at His feet, I can lay in bed with my husband too. Yesterday, when my husband went to give me a peck on the forehead (his attempt at a kiss goodbye), I tipped up and caught him on the lips instead. I giggled. I knew I wouldn’t receive anything back, but I did what I felt asked to do….put some fun, life and surprise back into the everyday. This morning, he kissed me on the lips…no tricks. I was floored. This was equal to your husband calling and thanking you.

      It seems that if we insist on being loved according to our own love language, we miss the love in other ways that people are offering. It goes in reverse as well. Maybe you being in bed with him makes him feel accepted, worth being next to and comforting. If we are left with our own thoughts, we tend to drift into negativity and criticism. Sounds like Satan’s job description at work. I think that is why scripture constantly warns us to guard our hearts, and take every thought captive.

      Each of us have the ability to be a monster or an angel. Especially when we are hurting, it is easy to hurt others in our pain.

      I pray that your husband continues to feel blessed by your willingness to sleep in bed with him. What a wonderful obedience to our Lord as you were led to this! I pray that your husbands heart can heal and he begins to want to love you in a way that speaks to you as well.

      Thank you for sharing this. I can see a light shining from your words and you becoming more healthy and whole. You have come so very far and it is exciting to see you healing as well. God bless you, becca!

      1. LMSdaily115,

        WOW! That was such a gift that your husband kissed you on the lips this morning! Praise God for that precious blessing and surprise.

        Thank you so much for sharing with Becca and for encouraging other sisters here.

        You are so precious to me. What God is doing in you brings me tears of joy!
        Much love,

    4. hey becca

      thanks for your prayers 🙂 much appreciated.

      It sounds as though your husband just likes knowing you’re there, perhaps that is reassuring and loving to him even though you are not intimate. I wonder if you were to try going to bed at the same time as him regularly for a couple of weeks (maybe longer!!) his sexual desire for you would increase? I wonder if he feels rejected by you sleeping on the couch? Just a thought. 🙂 and as April says, great that you are choosing to bless him, even though you don’t get it. That’s agape love, keep going!


    5. Dear Becca! Oh, it’s amazing. I was in the same situation, but on the opposite site! When I fell asleep alone I felt lonely and not needed by my husband and thought he only needs sex from me because he would go to bed early with me only for that reason.

    1. The FaithBook,

      Yes, how carefully we must be on guard against pride – it is very sneaky and insidious. I pray God will expose any pride in us so that we might immediately see it and repent.

  5. Pride is something that we need to struggle with because it is so easy for Satan to use it to make us feel so much better than others.

    Thank you, sister.

    Can I ask to look at my blog and let me know what you think.

      1. Thank you sister, at the moment I am not sure. I feel as if I need to share my love for Our Savior. I am Nigel Harrison on YouTube. I want to tell the whole world that we must turn to Jesus.

      2. Peacefulwife, Thank you, I think, that I simply wish to share my love for Jesus and let the world know that all can turn their life to our Savior and Lord.

        He is most humble and gracious and is our only example.

        Thank you,
        Brother in Christ

      3. Hello Peacefulwife, I have replied a couple of time and I am not sure if they are going through. I suppose that is technology. If you get this message and the other two please let me know so that I don’t bother.

        At the moment I simply wish to share my love and devotion for our Savior, He is Our Lord and the whole world could be redeemed if only they turned their life to him.

        1. Jesuscentreoflife,

          I have had to fish your comments out of the spam and trash – but I think I have received them all. 🙂

          I long to see the whole world turn to Christ and experience His love and Life, too, my brother!

  6. Oh my. I was just thinking this morning how prideful I have been as of late and how it has been negatively affecting my marriage. And here you are! Thank you, April!

  7. Thank you for this article! My incredibly awesome husband bought the book for me after I told him i would like to read something about humility. Glad to know it’s a good one 🙂

  8. This is a good one April, and worth returning to for meditation on. The quote ” Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.” actually gives me hope for having humilty. Somehow, I always think that humility is about my being able to wrestle myself into a place where I have no pride, or about being able to feel totally surrendered but if its about enthroning God in your life then even our own inner defenses and mountains of justification, resistant streaks, etc, can be moved out of the way by the choice to seek God and humilty can be arrived at after all. That is good news for a person who struggles mightily with pride and self righteousness, etc. I am weary of myself and here seems to be the way of escape.

    1. Patricia,

      So glad this was a blessing. 🙂 I am VERY thankful for Murray’s book Humility. Check it out if you get a chance. I believe this resource will help us all to grow in our faith by leaps and bounds.

  9. April,
    Thank you for this post. It is very helpful & brought me some peace.

    My husband has a lot of the characteristics & views that you mention under “false humility”.

    I saw a lot of pride in myself when I first read your blog. I had no idea that some of my husbands behaviors also fall under pride.

    My hubby enlisted in the Marines straight out of high school. He went to Mogadishu Somalia in 1994 or 1995.(Perhaps both years? I don’t know)

    He told me things were over when he was there.(No fighting going on)

    I believe their mission was to make sure the U.N. Troops made a safe & successful withdraw from Somalia. He has always given the impression that he wasn’t involved in any combat.

    The kids have been asking about it again. Last night he told me that he actually was involved in combat in Somalia. He said they were taking sniper fire, that people were shooting at him & that he & the other Marines were shooting back. He saw people on both sides get hit with gunshots & said that he saw “Marines get killed”.

    He said he did not want to talk about it anymore & not to bring it up in the future.

    This breaks my heart. We have watched movies together about that & I had no clue what he had gone through.

    No experience justifies any behavior. It does however point to reasons for behavior & shed light on some areas that need God’s healing hand.

    I feel honored & thank God that my husband was able to put his trust in me & tell me.

    This gives an example of the fact that God knows things we don’t.
    God does not like or condone any hurtful or sinful actions. He does not like rebellion.

    But, God knows what pain each of us have & He longs for us to turn to Him.

    My heart is breaking for my husband today. I believe God is allowing me this morning to experience some of the sadness, pain & love that He himself has for my husband
    God wants His son back as much as I want my husband & family back. His heart also breaks for all who have turned from Him. I’m guessing God’s heart hurts even more then ours when people rebel. You get that idea from Jesus when you read the new Testament.

    God’s grace,love,peace & blessings to all of us. ; )

    1. In Christ Alone,

      Our husbands can absolutely battle pride and false humility, as well. I’m glad this was helpful.

      What a shock to find out after so long that he actually was involved in combat. That explains a LOT! The poor man probably has PTSD after what he experienced. I can’t imagine what that would do to a man (or woman).

      No, even very traumatic experiences don’t justify sin. But I am thankful you are able to see that he is battling some really difficult demons and nightmares – it does make it easier for us to understand why someone may lash out or be so harsh. We all have reasons for why we sin. They are not justified before God. But sometimes when we understand the reasons in another person’s life, we can more easily extend grace. So true. God knows things that we don’t. This is why I believe God commands us not to judge. We don’t know what trauma someone may have had that they haven’t shared, or if they have some kind of medical issue or spiritual oppression… God alone knows.

      Praying for God’s continued healing for your husband, for you, and for your family, my precious sister. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. April,

    Now that I am almost 1.5 years into this journey, I realized today that in order for me to keep learning about what respect means to my husband, he ends up getting hurt. How do we avoid this? I’ve been doing really good since the beginning of the year…and then yesterday I did something that I wish I could take back. We had made plans to go to the movies that afternoon and we met up with friends for lunch. After lunch, they showed us how to get to a mechanic that had moved location and my friend walked over to me while still in the car and said she wanted to go the movies at 4:30pm and it would be a good time since the baby would be fed and if I wanted to go. It would have been so easy to say, “ Oh…another day , I already have plans with my husband to go to the movies” but NO! I said “Ummm…let me talk to Alex” Well he heard as he was talking to her husband and then before I had a chance to say anything he said “Oh, but the girls are going to the movies, right?” Why did I freeze? Why didn’t I say no to my friend and say I already had plans? So when I asked him if he was going home, he said yes. Then I said if he wanted me to bring him something, he said no. And before I got out of the car he said “Just remember you and I had plans to go to the movies…” When I tried to explain myself (as if I had any excuse) he said to just get out of the car. I am so mad at myself! And I really didn’t even want to go with her…I mean I would have much rather spent the time with my husband. So of course this morning he’s still angry and doesn’t want to talk and says that on his day off he wants to spend time with me and not have me going off with someone else. How do I fix this? I know blew it…and I don’t know. It was just the pressure of having my friend ask me right there….why couldn’t I just say No! And why does it take him hurting for me to learn about respect? I’d like to say that if my friends husband would have said let’s go to the movies, and my husband told me let’s go later, I would have been okay…but he wouldn’t accept because he and I already had plans…and here I go and do that. So mad at myself! Any advice?

    1. Hi Mrs. R,

      I’ve prayed you and your husband have already worked this situation out while April is on break. I thought I might try to encourage you, Sister.

      I think it’s great that your husband and you enjoy each other’s company and he loves to spend his time away from work with you! You’re blessed!!!

      I don’t think there’s a way to be on this journey without still hurting our husbands at times while we’re figuring things out. But each time we feel we’ve blown it, we can learn from that experience and move forward again. There will be times your husband will unintentionally hurt you, too. We’re all works in progress!

      You don’t say in your comment whether you apologized to your husband for hurting him. When you said you tried to explain yourself, I thought, “Uh, oh. Been there and done that and had it backfire on me, too!” I’ve had to train myself to simply admit when I blew it and not try to explain myself the way I would with my girlfriends. I think when my husband is still feeling the sting of disrespect, an explanation can feel to him like I’m excusing my actions, which is not the same as acknowledging his pain and my regret over it. I also often find at a later time when things are good between us again, I can tell him bruefly that I wish I’d handled myself differently, and then explain what I was thinking at the time if I still feel like that might help him to understand where my head was at and my intentions weren’t to disrespect him.

      Praying for you….

    2. Mrs. R.,

      Did you apologize for putting your friend above your husband in your priorities? Did God show you a way to attempt to make amends? Perhaps you can be sure not to do this again in the future. How are things going now?

      Much love!!

  11. I know April is away but if anyone can help me I’m feeling like I’m having a breakdown. My husband spent Easter Sunday drinking a lot and all he talked about all afternoon with his family was buying our local pub and how he was going to improve it and make money. Most of his conversation all day was alcohol related. I sat there getting more upset and angry by the minute. I was embarrassed and sad as he sounded stupid to me and angry that he spent this special day like this. I ended up going into another part of the house we were at and crying. By night he was a bit drunk and obnoxious. He holds his alcohol well though as he has been a big drinker must of his life. He’s also doing some other things which are going to cost a lot for his future and retirement and he talks to everyone about it all the time. None of this involves me at all and it’s making me feel like I may as well just leave and leave him to it. April has suggested I contact AA and I’ve done some research and it’s very disheartening and scary and it really has to be HIS realization and decision to change. This will not happen as he’s told me he just LOVES alcohol and if I tell him to quit we may as well end our marriage. I’ve researched mid life crisis and I’m sure he’s in this. He’s got all the signs. I feel like there’s no hope and I’m fading quickly. I know what I’m supposed to do. Concentrate on me and God. I’m trying so hard. I’m just struggling waiting for Gods help and don’t know if it’s going to happen. I’ve been staring at times but I’m teary all the time again now. I would really appreciate prayers please.

    1. Bel, I just want to hug you and let you cry it out in a warm embrace. Thank you for reaching out for help. It really seems your husband may very well be going through a life transition. Mid life crisis, maturation process…call it what you will. Alcohol is a drug. It messes up logical thoughts and actions. This is difficult, but realize AA for families of alcoholics is for the family. You are not responsible for how he acts, what he days etc. It would be no different if your dad smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, you begged him to stop and he refuses. At some point, you have to give him to God. Your husband is a grown adult, but surely not acting like one. I have done alot of research on MLC and all I read suggests the spouse not over react, take care of herself, and focus on what you can control…your RE-actions to this seemingly man-child kind of attitude. I liken it to a bull in a China shop. The bull needs wide open spaces, not confinement. He’s dangerous when trying to be controlled. You can even open the door to the China shop. But the bull needs to find his way out. This is where you need to draw as close to God as you can, use your support group…or form one. Seek out others who have been through this type of thing and learn from them, but be cautious, take all advice and compare it to God’s word. People will tell you to walk away, fight fire with fire, throw him out or divorce him. Likely, he feels tremendous guilt and shame and deep down knows he isn’t being a good husband/father/man. Yet he thinks he can fix it on his own. He may even feel that if he can make you leave him, he can sit in his misery by himself and not feel as guilty knowing you are free to find happiness. It’s a martyr type of thinking.

      How wonderful could it be if you became the strong one here, the mature thinker, the one who can help show a great example of what unconditional love really is? That is what Jesus was for us…the example to follow. Kids need this example, especially teenagers. What does his actions resemble…a teenager? They need to see another way to respondylitis instead of criticism, screaming, nagging complaining etc. Maybe he just doesn’t know how his actions are hurting.

      Has he always been like this when you first dated, or early in the marriage?

      Has something specific started his MLC?

      How have you been handling his increasingly upsetting behavior?

      He very well may self destruct. How will you not get ducked into his whirlpool of destruction?

      Asking Gid to help does not guarantee he will change, wake up or even stay martied to you. But God does not want to see you suffer. Remember, God also loves his sons, your husband, and it hurts Him to see your husband this way. Sometimes God uses beleivers to be the light in a dark place. Sometimes we feel like a single candle in a rainstorm in the middle of the night, but God can kerp us lit. It is that light (our loving, mercy and grace God gives us and we give to others) that lights a path to Him for those lost in the dark (living in sin, doubt, discouragement and hurtful ways).

      At the worst moments. I found that I had to stop focusing on my awful martiage and my husband. I started seeking out others that were grateful for help. I visited older people, opened doors for others, smiled at strangers, volunteered, sought out friends that needed encouragement or a lift. This gave me SO MUCH JOY. I felt appreciated and valuable. It also makes God proud of me and encourages His blessings and answering if prayers.

      At one point, I had to realize I could make it without my husband. I was not going to let his self destruction pull me from my joy. Life is far ftom perfect, but I found an attitude of gratitude.

      Start looking at what you DO have. The Good things in your husband..Even if only 1 thing today. Cling to that good thing. Thank God for it. Thank your husband for it. Encourage him when he does the right thing, and let go of the bad…Every. Single. Day. Wake up each day and pray to God for strength for this one day. Pray for wisdom to make the right and good choices for each situation. Pray for patience and pray for courage to set healthy boundaries.

      I have not dealt with an alcoholic situation and my heart breaks for you and him. Alcohol is letting him escape from dealing with the fact that he is not happy and he may be responsible for it. It just numbs the pain, but does not get rid of it. He may struggle with this for a long time….maybe even forever.

      There is an excellent book called Boundaries in Marriage by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend. It takes you through why and how to set healthy relationship boundaries. It talks about enabling…doing things for people that they are perfectly able to do themselves. How to communicate your feelings in a respectful way, but also explaining why you will not accept certain situations and laying down consequences…and following through. They are Christian and their advice is sound and backed up biblically.

      It may take extreme patience and strength to make it through this with your marriage intact. But I beleive it can be done. Live as if you are single as far as taking care of kids and self. But a cold shoulder will not help.

      If you have already been living respectfully to him etc, then boundaries are going to be what you need to help seperate what your responsibilities are vs what his are. It’s not your job to fix him, heal him, bring him to God.

      You didn’t CAUSE it, you can’t CONTROL it and you can’t CURE it. 3 C’s. Use this mantra and give your husband and his hot mess to God to handle. In the mean time, start taking care of YOU. Learn how to seperate his actions, words and anger from you and stop reacting to it. Face it. He can’t give you what you need right now. So stop expecting it or demanding it. He may not be trust worthy, reliable or even able to love anyone. He probably isn’t even loving himself right niw. There is alot of work God has to do with him…life, himself and God are the only things that can change him. Certainly not you..not your job anyway…it’s God’s. Let the bull buck and break the China shop, but get out of the China shop emotionally yourself! He needs lots of space to make mistakes, yet still be loved, even if it has to be from afar.

      I pray that as you respond in a healthy, God way, that your husband will see your example and learn from you. That He will be able to soften his heart and allow your husband to face his own sins and come to Gid fir forgiveness and experience the Holy Spirit conviction.

      I pray that you can find joy and peace in all you have in this world aside from your husband and ficus on the good, the beautiful and be thankful for it all. I pray you find strength in serving others and get that feeling of worth from giving without expectations. I pray you can lay your husband and his big bag of stuff at the feet of God and then get out of God’s way, trusting with all your heart that God is a good father and shepherd and will work all things for your good. Only God can bring you beauty for ashes. He can make a way when you can’t see a way. I pray that God can guide you to run your own race and let your husband run his. I will pray for you each night, my sweet sister for deliverance from this dry season in your life. I would be willing to email personally if you would like. All my love and hugs. <3

      1. Hi LMS. Your thoughtful and detailed comments to me are always so appreciated and I’m so thankful for you.

        I actually am leaving this all to God as much as I know how. Im Quiet and don’t say anything to my husband much. He would have no knowledge of the extent of how I’m feeling. I’m respectful as I can be and just do my thing. I try to support him while holding him and our marriage loosely, as April says. He’s very busy so not home much.

        This is the issue he told me years ago when I used to voice my concern and disgust with his drinking. He said it doesn’t affect the family as he can still work long hours and doesn’t hurt us. Which is true. He said if it’s just my opinion or feelings I should keep them to myself and he will end the marriage if I say he has to stop. A can of beer is more important to him than me and keeping our family together. 😥 How do I get over that?

        I have a few people I talk to and I’m so thankful for their support. Or I’m in my room on my own. I’m waiting on God. I know only He can change things.

        If he feels shame or guilt he doesn’t show it. I think he thinks he’s pretty impressive with what he does really.

        Even our teenager asking to go out with friends to a pub for dinner turned bad for me. I told her I wanted to talk to her dad before making a decision. It’s like he wanted me to be the one responsible for letting her down. He got mad and things turned bad. I thought I was doing the right and respectful thing. I’m sure if I’d let her go I would have been berated.

        I do feel I’m the more mature and stronger one. I have to be. But I have no confidence in myself. Most of my marriage I’ve been wrong, or its my fault, and he’s made me feel small and stupid.

        Yes he’s always loved to drink, socialize and been very driven to succeed and prove himself. The MLC seemed to hit suddenly and hard. We’d just been on a trip on our own and had a great time. Then a couple months later at Christmas, he THREW a card at me and said ‘here you go’. It was a voucher for $1500 to get my ring fixed and upgraded. So he’d obviously felt good about me when he bought the voucher but by Christmas things were bad and he threw it at me from across the room and has never asked about or looked at the ring since.

        It meant nothing to me after that. And now I think of that every time I wear it and it’s very upsetting. That’s where it all started. I asked what happened and he said we’ve always had a crap marriage and he’s getting older and had had enough of fighting etc…

        I’ve been handling these changes by this blog, my relationship with God and by learning respect and being quiet and and giving him space. I’ve been trying to do things for myself but still be there for him. I concentrate on the kids, volunteer at school, but as I’ve said before, I have no job or money of my own. We live out in the country so it’s not easy to find work with the hours I need for my kids.

        He controls everything. He thinks all this is my fault as far as I know. I caused it with my anxiety and depression and trying to control his drinking. I’m not expecting or demanding anything from him at all. He’s been quite mean at times over this past year. People were noticing and my sister told him I didn’t deserve to be treated with such contempt. He said he didn’t want to be nice to me or I might start think things are going to be ok. That’s just horrible.

        God and my faith and my kids are the only things that keep me going. Sometimes I think there are glimmers of hope but they are soon shot down. I don’t want to leave a legacy of divorce for my children and I don’t believe the “grass is greener” somewhere else, so with God’s help I will not give up.

        I was SO excited when I read that your husband kissed you. It was so nice to think of you having a positive experience after your long difficult journey. I know this isn’t the end of your journey by any means, but you kept the faith and I believe God has rewarded you. I will be praying that this is just the start of something beautiful and healing for your marriage. Your husband is surely seeing the gentle and peaceful spirit that is so beautiful to God and I’m truly so happy for you.

        I would love to hug you and cry with you. I think of you all the time. xx

        1. Bel. It is so interesting how much our situations are mirrored. I, too am at the same place in my thoughts. Waiting on God, dealing with the hurt by giving it to God, but sometimes overwhelmed by frustration. We seem to even handle it the same way…sitting quietly in a room with God, lol. I’m right there with you,

          It is very scary to see our husbands get so involved in alcohol. Mine did the same thing until he got his buddy from work sent to jail with a DUI. Every night he would go drinking after work. But he still got up, went to work and was productive…at work…but not at home. There is something called a functional alcoholic or even functional depression. These people do their activities of daily living and can even be successful, but relationship wise, they are a mess. Spiritually, they are a HOT mess. Eventually, the three parts start to be effected. Physical. Spiritual. Emotional. In my husband’s case, he only felt in control on anything when he worked. People did what he told them, he hot his check list of tasks done and life was good, till he got home. But as my husband relied on ADD meds (they are like speed) and alcohol to numb the emotional and spiritual parts of him, he started to fail physically. He was getting 1-2 hours of sleep a night for months. He was soooo iritable and strung out. It was so scary to see him live in danger to others and himself. I finally got help from my in laws to beg him off of the ADD meds and he started to get more sleep. As he got more sleep, he mellowed. But he was resentful to me because he felt I took his coping mechanisms away. Eventually, he realized that alcohol was ruining him too and he could lose his job over it. He quit drinking then too after his wake up call. That was a really bad time to remember as I write this out. Whew.

          There was nothing I could do or say that would convince my husband that he was self-destructing. I half expected him to lose his job, get in a horrible accident or kill someone in a drunk driving accident and be put in jail. My fear level was through the roof. How did I cope? I went to God and prayed for Him to be in control. To keep people safe and to convict him. It worked. I also prayed for help in giving my husband space. I told him my concerns, but it was up to him at this point. I had to learn to accept that there was a real possibility that I would lose my husband to death, jail or sickness. That he may lose his job. That I may have to pick up more work, or another job to support the family. Or I may have to leave my husband out of safety and protection of the kids. I needed to understand that while it was so very painful to watch him self destruct, I was not responsible for him. This was HIS choice. He is a grown man. He needed to experience the consequences of his actions. He could not blame me for this…even if he was raging mad at how disrespectful I had been for so long. This was HIS sin, not mine. I had to seperate from him emotionally and stop feeling responsible for his sin, actions and reactions.

          I dealt with his hateful, angry words in the same way. Same goes. My husband has gone through periods if mean, nasty and hateful words. Hurtful, crushing and debilitating to hear them. BUT. I took it to God. I renewed myself with words of the bible instead that affirm that I am His first. I am a child of God. I am loved, valued and precious to him. I don’t need the approval of any human to have that validated, only the approval of God. As I thank Him every day for sacrificing His only son on the cross to save ME from eternal death, I could let my husband’s hateful words run off me like water off a ducks back. I didn’t beleive them. I didnt let them infect me or get inside my heart. I could hear the ugliness from satan in his words. That prompted me to pray for my husband. To ask God for help to fight for my husband’s soul and rebuke Satan’s hold on my husband. I literally prayed over my husband at night and walked through the house (when I was home alone) rebuking satan and kicking him out in the name of Jesus. Sounds silly, but it lit something in me. I could see more clearly the spiritual warfare between God and the enemy and that my husband was not the real enemy. He was a pawn trapped and overtaken. He needed rescue..and I knew God could help. And he did.

          Today, my husband has a Fit bit that tracks his sleep as well as exercise. So he is getting more sleep. He won’t touch alcohol (so he says) and I have seen that truth. He no longer goes partying after work and no longer takes that ADD med. He is calmer, mellowed, no more hateful words (for the most part). I feel God and I won that part of the battle, but the war is far from over. I thank Him daily for fighting along side me. Although my husband isn’t yet seeking God on his own, I know God is proud of my part in the fight to bring my husband…his child….back to Him. I feel waves of God’s love when I see my husband spend time with the kids, resist yelling or swearing when he is frustrated or irritated. I see my husband as an unanchored buoy, or a boat with no engine in the rough seas. Not a victim, but more like he is lost. He is looking for something to save him, but won’t open his eyes. With God’s help, I see me as a lighthose…shining God’s love toward him, looking for him, calling him home. Without God, I could very easily turn off the light and give up, but that is not love, is it? God will help my husband find an oar, or send a timely wave. He can help open eyes I cannot reach. My job is to keep shining. Not only for my husband, but for others as well. A coworker, my children, a store clerk, etc.

          Ok, got a bit poetic there, sorry. The point is, don’t give up. Your husband may be going through huge spiritual warfare. He has lots he needs to face and work through. I would bet he is more angry at himself for the way he is treating you than how angry he really is at you. The more you respond in love, grace and respect, the more his guilt is apparent. He ends up surrounded by his own sin mess. He is feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He knows his responses are not appropriate but hasn’t learned a different way yet. He may need to try and try again until it clicks. The longer he resists, the harder God will work. Eventally, he may start to open his eyes and see that he is in control of himself. That he is not really a victim. He will start to see your peacefulness and goodness and wonder how he can get what you have. That’s a huge corner to turn, indeed! He will need to go through this self awareness tunnel on his own. There are no shortcuts, he cannot go around it and no one can carry him through it. He may even stop and sit there for some time, alone, in the dark, wondering if he should keep moving forward. He may try to go backwards at times. It’s his self discovery. It’s his journey.

          He is far out to sea right now, but he will start to look for land one day. Will you be the lighthouse? Will you be on the beach? If you stay in God, He will keep your beacon lit.

          Bel. I pray that God keeps filling you up with His peace. You are on the right path, my sweet sister. I pray for your husband to move swiftly through this journey, but not too swiftly to miss important things he must learn. I pray that you keep trusting God with him and seek to honor God. I pray for the conviction of your husband and for the restoration of your marriage if it is God’s will. Much love to you. Keep on shining, my fellow lighthouse!

            1. HH. I’m glad it was a blessing to you. It astonished me how many marriages are ended and do not need to be. We all mature at different times. Sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally and of course, spiritually. Living a life God can be proud of is that best way I know to mature all around. Many prayers being sent your way for healing and continued wisdom.

              1. She’s gone.
                Left today with kids.
                I’m broken.

                Daughter said last night “Daddy my favorite people is Daddy, Mummy and (her brothers name)”.
                She’s only 3. She’s never known hurt or separation.
                I wish my wife could see what she is doing.

              2. Humbled Husband,

                What she wanted you to do was so clearly not of God. I believe you are doing the right thing. But I can’t begin to imagine how much pain you are experiencing. 🙁 let’s pray for God to open her eyes. Perhaps she can hear from her family or mentor. God is able to get His message to her. We will pray for Him to show her the truth about what she is doing and that she might turn fully to Him as Lord. That is my first prayer. We will ask Him to protect your children and that He might frustrate the enemy’s plans for your family and use all of this ultimately for all of your good and His glory.

                Let’s lift up this family in prayer together, and so many others here who are deeply hurting and dealing with similar pain.

                Thank you!

              3. Humbled Husband, I am praying for you and your family today. May God bring bring light and understanding to your wife, so that she can clearly see what harm she is doing, and all the good she is leaving behind….may the Lord send messengers to minster to her and help her understand.

                I pray for your children, that God will keep them safe and protect their hearts from anguish during this time.

                I pray that God will also open your eyes so that you can clearly see and understand what you are to do now, how to remain a strong, dignified, godly man through such a time of pain and despair.

                My heart goes out to you, HH. I know what it is like to be rejected by a spouse. Stay strong! Sometimes a family needs to be torn apart before God can build it back up again stronger than ever.

              4. Thank you Laura. Thank you April.
                I did not get home to an empty house tonight, God met me at the door with a covering of His love. Praise Him.

                There is a sense of unreality about it still though. It is staggering just how much support and help for mum’s to leave their partners in this country. It’s one of the most supported processes here.

                I was crying by the side of the road today and a lady saw me crying and asked me home for a cup of tea. She gave me a couple of hours of her time and some chocolate. I never met her before and probably won’t again but God gave me this support when I needed it.

                I’m lifting all of you up in prayer tonight, you are all my body in Christ and I know your support and pray for you in your own specific trials. May God be glorified.

              5. How wonderful, HH, that that lady was there to offer you some friendship when you needed that comfort. God is certainly at work in your life! I am going to add to my prayer that God will bring you many more moments of comfort, peace and even joy over the coming weeks. May he comfort your soul and ease your sufferings.

              6. Humbled Husband,

                So thankful that you knew God was with you in such a tangible way – and for the blessing of the woman who invited you to have tea. 🙂

                I am praying for you today, our brother.

                In Him,

              7. HH, my heart is crying for you today. This is such a hard thing, especially to see what it does to your kids. I pray today that God will work on your wife and bring beauty from these ashes, but also that He will help heal you. This is raw. It does not have to be permanent. Maybe your wife stepping away will help her realize all she had. Sometimes it gets worse before it can better. This is where you need God as close to you as you can. I will be praying for you both and your little ones with all my might.

              8. Thank you LMS. My heart aches for my kids so much. I am their rock in so many ways, especially for my son! I have put him to bed almost every night for 6 years and he will crumble without me.

                I hope the separation is not permanent or long but I also cannot change it. Only God can. She is committed to a long term separation then divorce.

                I am committed to whatever God has planned for me, painful or not. As long as He is with me I will be ok.

          1. LMS, goodness you have really been through some very painful and challenging times. I know you have times of frustration and helplessness and feel like giving up but the more I learn about you, I’m inspired and amazed by you. You are such a wonderful example of dedication to living for your Lord. You would be a fantastic counsellor. You have a very poetic and inspired way of writing. Your husband and children are very blessed to have you in their lives.
            The ugly and demoralizing names my husband has called me are very hard to forget. They have often just run through my head like a tape recorder over the years. I think that’s why I have no confidence in myself. I’ve always been told I’m a charismatic person and I make people laugh a lot but I thought as my husband is the one who lives with me and knows the real me that I must be all the things he told me. I’m working on not taking all that on board so much and reading myself of my worth in Gods eyes.
            I’m reading Sacred Influence at the moment and am really enjoying it. Have you read it?
            On a different subject, I’m not sure I mentioned to you that about 6 months ago in all this turmoil and hurt, my husband told me out of the blue that he had people coming out to measure up for a new kitchen and in the planning phase of this he has mentioned a few times to research and make sure I get what I want because this has to last for another 20 plus years. This along with him telling me that he’s sorry but he doesn’t see a future for us as we are too different and have always had a bad marriage and he’s sick of fighting etc. I can’t work out these mixed messages. Do I try to work out a future for myself or not? There’s still no touching at all. I still feel like he might self combust if he touches me. But the new kitchen….. Then my mind goes into overdrive. Is he doing this as a last gift for me to make me feel better when he goes? Is it for a new partner if he asks me to leave? Is it his way of showing me he does still love me and actually does have hope for a future? My mind has always been my worst enemy. But no, I won’t give up. I said my vows and meant them. It won’t be me who breaks them.
            Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. You’re such a blessing to me.

            1. Bel,

              This video about taking our thoughts captive may be a powerful tool to help you learn how to reject any lies the enemy may desire to use to contaminate your mind (i.e.: the names your husband has called you). Every thought either comes from God or from Satan. We have to purposely and consciously reject the lies of Satan and not allow them access into our hearts, and we must purposely choose to believe God’s truth and His Word, allowing it to fill our hearts.



              Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom and healing for you and your husband – and that you will allow God to radically change you and use this time as a time of great learning, growth, and blessing in Christ even in the painful parts.

            2. Oh Bel, we are such twins! Thank you for the compliment, I have been wondering if God is leading me into some type of direction, as I feel so blessed when I can reach out to others. Helped a lady today that was in so much pain. She is so interested in how to save her marriage. All others tell her to leave her husband after 26 years. It tore me up. I have such great hope for her and her husbsnd. But it will be God’s work and hand in it for sure!

              I have read Sacred Influence. What parts are connecting with you right now?

              I have a hard time un hearing the mean and nasty words my husband has said to me. Even from 20 years ago! My husband also feels we are too different and has said we have no future! I tried to explain how are differences are strengths and not a bad thing, but he doesn’t get it. Are you arguing with him still? I came to realize that I wanted do much to be heard and understood tgat I refused to listen to him. And he did the same.

              So one day, I decided to take my “agenda” and set it aside…for now. I truly shut up and focused on listening to what he said. I nodded, agreed to some things, asked a question for clarification etc. It unnerved him that I didn’t carry the burden of conversation. When he asked why I wasn’t talking, I told him, “I learn a lot more about you when my mouth isn’t flapping.” Even wrote a poem about it called “I can’t hear you over me”. I was amazed at how in control I felt, how much I learned about my husband and how much it stopped the arguments…he felt much more respected. I guess this was a big disrespect thing for him because he then finally came back to sleep in our bed after 2 months of couch dwelling. I realized he wasn’t hearing me anyway, so why was I wasting my breath? He couldn’t give me what I needed because he couldn’t get through to me. I took the first step. It made a huge fifference. I also had to learn, though, to speak up when I needed to, but in a totally different way. April has great posts on that.

              Ok. The kitchen, crazy, but mine is a car. January, the lease was up. He got me a nice upgrade, and is paying the payments, but it’s in my name, not “ours or his” I was so upset, felt that he was setting me up for property splitting for a divorce. I was gripped with fear. He keeps saying when the kids are out of the house in 5-6 years, we will probably get a divorce then. Yikes! Can you say ticking time bomb? But I don’t put much weight on that threat anymore. In just one year, things are way different and I know God is working in us both. Alot can change between now and then. But also, if he does leave, I know I will be okay. I will know that I have done all I could to try to save my marriage, but that God must have something better for me up ahead. It puts me at such peace. I’ll either have a better-than-ever marriage or more than I can imagine, but God-willed for me in something else. If only I keep my trust in Him!

              It seems that our husbands want to still do nice things, plan a future, and carry out “normal” life, but get scared, don’t know how to fix things, can’t trust the changes in us. I have a new game room too…done over this last Christmas, and he, too, talked about being in the house for the next 20 years! Really, thought it was over in 5?!? Mixed messages. I can only suggest that we cling to the positive ones and not dwell on the negative ones. We need to keep our focus on the good things, let the bad slide off. I’m sure the enemy is tossing our husbands around in a storm of emotions. Fear, anxiety, confusion, etc. What was your response to your husband about the kitchen? I made sure I was very thankful and boasted about his generosity to his and my parents. I wanted him to know how much I loved the car, it was so thoughtful etc. In reality, he didn’t have to do that. I really DO need to be grateful.

              Remember, our husbands really do want to please us, but they need to feel like it’s possible and not a pointless effort. I was very bad at this before. So I got a car! No valentine’s card, gift, birthday card or gift, Easter card…but I am okay with that. I don’t need his gifts, his proving of love to me. If he decides to do something, I want it to be his desire, not filling a demand from me.

              I pray that we can learn to celebrate our husbands efforts in a way that encourages them to pour in some love, however they want to express it, and that we can receive it and show true respectful thanks and honor back. I pray that we can expect good motives and not bad from our husbands actions and words. I pray we can keep our fears at bay by trusting that God has everything in control and will not let any weapon formed against us prosper. I pray that we can un-hear the hurtful and stinging words from our past, forgive the offense and give them up. We need to let them go and not hold onto them anymore. They are lies, anyways. Why would we want to hold onto lies?

              God never says those things about us. He says we are loved, cherished, valuable, beautiful and written on the palm of His hand. We are crested in His image and his greatest creation. We are so loved, He gave His only Son for us! Not a one of us are an accident, a mistake or unwanted! Take THOSE words deep into your heart and know the truth in them. Know whose you are and learn to be proud of the unique and wonderful woman you are and also have become spiritually! As your husband sees this God-given confidence in you growing and shining, you will start to get his attention and he will wonder what’s going on? Why are you not phased by his hurtful words? He may wonder what you know that he doesn’t.

              I pray that you can be lifted into this joyful confidence, my sweet, beautiful Bel!

    2. Hi Bel,
      Just read your post and I’m sorry things are so tough for you at the moment. I am praying for you in the certain hope that God loves you and has the answers that you need. Sounds as though things are pretty overwhelming at the moment. Do you have a friend that you can talk to? Are you in the UK? If so Al-anon has a phone help line for families of people who are drinkers 10-10 daily and also your GP can help if you are struggling to cope and feeling hopeless. (Apologies if you are not in UK).
      Look after yourself Bel.
      With love and hugs

      1. Hi Cariad,
        Thank you so much again for replying to me. Your prayers for us are so appreciated. I don’t know how people cope with tough situations without God. I’m so glad He is with me through this. I have a couple people I speak to so I’m very blessed. I’m not in the UK but I have AA here. I’m hoping to contact them soon or go in for a visit. This is such a sad and tough situation but thanks to April I don’t feel so alone. It’s helpful to get on here and read and hear from others in similar situations.
        Love to you

    3. Bel,

      What do you believe God desires you to do? Do you believe it is time to leave your husband or is God calling you to stay and wait a bit longer, my sweet sister?

      Yes, rest in God. Rest in Christ. Abide in Him. Be filled to overflowing with Him. Seek to hear and obey His voice in everything. Lay all of yourself and your husband and marriage on the altar before Him. Yield all control to Him. Cling to Christ and hold everything else loosely, being willing to let God move things in and out of your life, or being willing to obey God even if it is something you don’t want to do at the time.

      You can’t control your husband’s alcoholism. But you can control you. 🙂 That is the great news! This doesn’t have to be scary. You can accept that he will make his decision, perhaps he has. But you can make your decisions. Your husband cannot control you. You can respect and honor him, but you do not have to cater to alcoholism or any addiction or sin. You don’t have to stay if the alcoholism is out of control. You have the ability to say, “I love you and want this marriage to flourish and be strong and vibrant. But I cannot share you with alcohol. The choice is totally yours.”

      What are your greatest fears, my dear sister?

      Are you afraid to trust God with anything?

      What would happen if you did separate from him? What if God uses that time to open his eyes to his sin and bring him to repentance?

      Are you familiar with codependency?

      How are things going with God at this point?

      Much love!

      1. April I just wrote a long reply to you and when I clicked on post comment it said unable to post comment. Then I lost it. Not sure what happened but I will gave to rewrite later on.

        1. Bel,

          I couldn’t find that one, but I found a new one. I am not sure why some comments are going directly to the “trash” or “spam.” I will fish them out when I see them! My apologies!

      2. April, I’m so thankful God kept you and your family safe on your holidays. Just shows that no matter who we are or how strong our faith we just don’t know what tmrw may bring and we must remain faithful. It’s been crazy busy here and I still feel like my brain is overloaded and shuts down from too much thinking.
        I still feel like God is keeping me quiet and respectful even in these frustrating and hurtful times and that He wants me to wait. Every time I want to say something to him my plans seem to be thwarted or I just can’t speak. This is not like me at all.
        My husband is still a very hard worker with long hours. He’s a loving and fun father mostly and is a brilliant provider. He’s generous with his money and allows me to buy anything I want/need with really no questions asked. It’s mainly the fact that he doesn’t want to be married and all the horrible things he’s said to me about that, the fact he isn’t interested in me, how I am, how my doctor appointment went etc, and how he hasn’t touched me in 16 months, and his drinking. I don’t think his drinking is out of control but it’s too much and really grates on me and actually turns me off. It’s too important in his life, hence telling me that he will end the marriage if I tell him he has to give up. The kids see this and I feel it’s a very bad example to teens that it’s a normal part of everyday to him. I did a quiz from AA and he drinks at LEAST 35 mid strength beers a week. That puts him in the highest risk category and that was not even counting the large glass of bourbon he usually ends the night with. Apparently 14 drinks in a week is enough. So this is scary. He won’t hear anything negative though and it always ends very badly if i try. So I haven’t in over a year. He holds the alcohol well though. I guess practice makes perfect. He doesn’t hurt or abuse us. He still gets up very early and works hard. That’s why he arrogantly tell he to tell him exactly how it’s affecting anything. And I can’t really. If I say his health, he’ll say at least he will die happy, or you have to die of something. I believe it’s going to have to be himself realizing or God convicting him and nothing else. Even his older sister said he’s always been obsessed with alcohol.
        I wish I could spend more quality time with God. I do try. I’m doing devotions with the kids at night and he’s usually with us. He doesn’t lead in this way so I feel I have to for my kids. I hope he listens and hears something that helps him. Though I have to be careful as I find myself trying to find messages in everything that might change him. I know this is wrong.
        My fears are still divorce, sharing the kids, another woman possibly sharing my kids lives and mothering them, the shame……..
        I’m not afraid to trust God with anything. He’s almighty I get that this short life is just a moment in the big picture and that God and heaven are the goal.
        If we separated, I don’t know, it just scares me and is too sad. Mainly what it would do to our kids. My husband had been being very nasty and hurtful to me for a long time in this last year. This has improved lately. He talks to me more, can smile and joke with me, but has a very short temper and still isn’t interested in me. It hurts when I was having medical problems recently and he didn’t even ask his my ultrasound went. I thought that if he doesn’t care enough to ask why bother telling him. It hasn’t been bought up. Now he’s having issues and wants me to know all about it and ask me questions etc. Frustrating.
        I read your post on Codependency a while back. I will read again. I don’t depend or expect anything from him except money for our needs. I don’t work. It’s less painful to have no expectations. It does still hurt when he kisses all the kids goodnight and I’m right next to them and I get nothing.
        How are things going with God? He is my comforter, my hope, my friend. I love my time with him. It makes me feel better. This whole thing has definitely bought me closer to God which is so amazing and I am thankful for that.
        Thank you again. I will reply to LMS soon but please feel free to comment on that too as I’m trying to answer to each message.

  12. April, LMS, and Cariad, I’m not sure why but your comments did not come through my email. So I only just stumbled upon them today by chance. I can’t string my thoughts together to reply. I’m in tears. I need to re-read all your replies and gather my thoughts. Just know that I’m so very very grateful that you all reached out. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I hope to reply soon.

  13. My friends, I need to reach out to you and be encouraged and apparently, this is the thread to do just that.

    God has done things in our marriage and we are in a place where we’ve never been before. I’ve had to set a boundary about lying and the outcome hasn’t been what I wanted. Of course, I wanted a husband who would respond and feel conviction, etc., but I am getting more of the same of what I’ve gotten anytime I bring anything to him – blame, denials, etc. But, God has made my situation very clear to me and there is no turning back now. I feel like I am waking up to what the reality of my marriage has been for 24 years and I really wish I could just go back and be in denial. There are so many details I could share, but it doesn’t really matter.

    I have never been in so much pain in my life. My children are in pain, although they’re not expressing it. I’ve talked with them and tried to explain in age-appropriate ways what is going on. I could walk this road much easier, but to see their sadness and not be able to take it away is heart-wrenching. I’m barely holding it together in public….well, actually, I’m not sometimes.

    My husband responded with anger and escalating drinking for a few days after the boundary. God has enabled me to respond with love, grace and compassion – and yes, sometimes a little passion….as much as I was able each step of the way as I am still processing all of this.

    I’ve gone from a physically affectionate marriage with my husband to us hardly talking — in a very short time. I’m in shock and we’re all in shock. But, I know that God has told me that it is not loving to allow someone to stay in their sin and He has brought us to this place. I have no guarantees – I’m scared to death we’ll end up divorced. My husband is not my idol anymore and that has been shaking our marriage up a little bit. I am trying to lay it all down; I was there a few days ago, not so much the last 24 hours.

    I will pray for those hurting here – Bel, LMS, Humbled Husband.

    Love to you all –

    1. Hi Jennifer. I’m going to sit down and pray for you right now.

      I am also going to share some thoughts on boundaries. I read the book called Boundaries last year and have implemented a few boundaries in my marriage. I have learned a few things along the way.

      Firstly, if a boundary is erected as a protective mechanism for yourself to escape pain and/or fear then the person to whom that boundary is erected will see through this and it will have little effect. I tried to implement a boundary on something last year because I feared what my wife was doing would result in hurt to me. This boundary was all about MY fear not her sin and the implementation of it resulted in a lot of pain and conflict. A boundary must be implemented with a genuine desire for good.

      Secondly, if a boundary is needed and implemented the boundary consequences must be stuck to consistently. It is damaging to say that there will be a particular consequence but not stick to that consequence. It creates a sense of weakness.

      Thirdly, when a boundary is implemented with the right spirit I feel a sense of peace, even though the consequences of that boundary may be hurtful.

      Finally, boundaries are a hard thing to think through. For me personally a boundary can very easily become a way to control the other person. I personally struggle to see when a boundary is good and needed and when we should just turn the other cheek and accept some mistreatment as Christ did.

      These are not comprehensive thoughts and may not be particularly helpful but I hope there is something in them that helps.

      Again, I am going to pray for you right now.

      1. HH- I, too read that book. It is meaty, but excellent. There is also Boundaries in Marriage, by the same author (Cloud & Townsend). This is my struggle right niw. I am feeling drawn to set a hard boundary, and I am struggling to do it. I feel it is unloving. I keep turning the other check and I am allowing this disrespect to go on and on. It is now being emulated by my 12 and 14 year old kids. I’m still trying to come to grips of being able to accept either choice he makes. I want to ask him to seek counciling or leave our home. It seems so rash and final. I feel I will just put up with it more, be stronger, go to God more, love him more, have more patience. To what end? Not my will, timing plan, etc. goes through my mind over and over. I know God is trying to teach me something here, and I am willing to do whatever he asks. I just want it to be with the MOST love, respect and kindness that I can possess.

        I really appreciate your succinct summary of how to lay a healthy boundary. I never thought of the first one about laying down a boundary out of my own fear. I will be thinking that out heavily this week. Thank you for a new perspective.

        I pray that you are finding peace tonight. I was crying yesterday when I read your post and feeling your pain. But I also praised God out loud that He sent you a stranger to comfort you. An angel. God works in great and wonderful ways. That woman was God’s own hands, love and comfort. I pray that you find quiet time to mourn and feel it all. But then that God gives you the strength and courage to stand up from the ashes and rebuild. This life rarely turns out like our pretty picture in our head, but with Gid, it will turn out better. Listen to the song “It is well with my soul” may it grant you some comfort and rest today. Peace and much love to you.

        1. Thank you LMS. Your tears are precious to me as they show the love of Christ. There have been many tears for me this last year and I am sure more to come. I was praying for you last night and felt truly in my Spirit that God was hearing my prayers for you.

          I understand COMPLETELY the battles you are thinking through about healthy boundaries versus turning the other cheek. I have wrestled with this in prayer so much. A lot of the Boundaries book could be interpreted as a way to control those around you (in fact the cover says to take control of your life) and to be honest some of the scriptures used to support some positions in the book seem at odds with Jesus teachings.

          I have been wondering lately if boundaries are different in the context of our relationship with believers or unbelievers? 1 Corinthians 5 talks about judging those in the church but not those out of the church and I have been wondering if the same principle applies to a marriage? For example it may be healthy to set a particular with your partner of they truly know Christ but you would not set the same boundary if they did not know Him.

          I know that a particular boundary I set that was done in fear had DEVASTATING consequences in our relationship, my wife was actually beginning to trust me the tiniest bit but that boundary completely emasculated her and destroyed that trust because it was about me. This lesson will stay with me for life but it had made me cautious about any boundaries I may implement in the future.

          I wrestle lot with the difficulty of maintaining righteousness before God as a leader of my home and what I do/don’t accept as ok and how that relates to control. But on the same line of thinking when someone is deliberately pursuing wrong then any boundary is seen as control due to their guilt.

          In Christ,

          1. HH and LMSdaily115,

            It takes great sensitivity to God’s Spirit, in my view, to know when and how to set boundaries. Our motives are really important. God’s prompting is really important. But sometimes, we can set a good boundary that pleases God, and our spouse may still respond in a destructive way. That doesn’t necessarily mean we were wrong.

            I pray for God’s wisdom for you both and for others who are hurting and seeking to please God and wrestling with healthy, godly boundaries vs. turning the other cheek. A post that might be helpful is this one, When My Spouse Is Wrong – it addresses a bit of this issue with a Chrisian vs. a non-Christian spouse.

            I think it is important to remember that God set boundaries with His people, Israel, and they didn’t always respond by repenting and returning to Him. Sometimes people choose what is wrong. We are not responsible for that. I want to be sure we don’t take on responsibility that doesn’t belong to us. But I do want us to be responsible for what does belong to us. I hope that makes sense!

            It is very difficult – requiring great spiritual discernment and God’s power – to get that balance just right between not being passive and afraid and not being controlling or dominating. This can look different in similar situations, too. So there isn’t always a “rule book” for every circumstance. Books and blog posts can be helpful – but ultimately, we need God’s wisdom alone.

          2. HH, may I share a few thoughts I have on boundaries? I agree with April that a spouse reacting very negatively to a boundary does not mean the boundary was wrong. I have no idea what boundary you set with your wife, or if it was unloving in any way, but I wouldn’t want you to be afraid to have boundaries in your life simply because she reacted badly last time you did that.

            I am currently working through an online course through the Respect Dare blog which is for women who are in difficult, abusive marriages. The course teaches us to have respect for ourselves as well as our husbands, and how to have healthy boundaries. One thing which all of us are learning is that often when we start to have self-respect and boundaries – even little ones like leaving a conversation where we are getting yelled at in a demeaning way – our husbands are often reacting by stepping up the bad behaviour and getting even angrier.

            The thing is, that the spouse who is sinning against the other is likely acting out of fear and defensiveness, a desire to make themselves feel better by putting down others, or a desire to control. They are not trying to hurt their spouse on purpose, but they can’t seem to help it because their emotions and fears are out of control. If the wounded spouse sets a boundary (such as not participating in a conversation where they are being yelled at) they other spouse is going to feel frightened and anxious because they are losing control of the situation. They are losing control of the other person. So, they step up the anger and manipulation in an effort to regain control over their spouse, which sadly is the only way they feel comfortable. In this case, the very worst thing the sinned-against spouse could do is back down and remove the boundary. They need to show loving consistency.

            There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries to protect yourself from harm. That is healthy self respect. It is good, HH, for you to make boundaries that are about YOU. That is what you’re supposed to do – to have some control over your own life and how what others do affects YOU. That is not trying to control your spouse’s life, it is trying to have control over your own. And it is entirely normal for out-of-control spouses to react very badly to having the other set boundaries on what they are willing to tolerate in their life.

            I don’t know what sort of boundary you made in the past but I thought I would share these thoughts in case they were helpful to you. I may be wrong, but I sense in your words that you have backed down under the strain of your wife’s rage and are now doubting yourself. Since I am in a similar kind of marriage, I hate to see others back down for this reason. I have done it myself so many times and it does not yield fruit. The courage to do what we know is right, is what we need. It is possible to do that and have compassion and mercy at the same time.

            1. Hi Laura, thank you for this perspective! The boundary that I set was telling my wife that I did not like the violent and sexually explicit movies she brings into the home. I do know that it is a good boundary but I also know that I was gripped with fear when I said it and it didn’t come out right. I haven’t backed down on the boundary but I have apologised for the way I handled it. As stupid as it sounds, one of the main reasons she left is because she wants to watch these things and feels like she can’t if she’s married to me.

              I am doubting myself sometimes Laura. You see initially in our marriage I was an aggressive controller and my wife was passive and I did great damage with my fear and control. So when I implement boundaries now they are always seen as control and it’s super hard for me to know if it is or not.

              1. HH, I feel for you! My husband also watches a lot of violent and explicit shows and movies. It’s upsetting to me and I wish that stuff wasn’t in our house at all. I totally understand why you wanted to lay down that boundary.

                What I do in my house is that I have a very firm boundary that I personally will not watch anything violent or crude. I don’t feel like I have the right to tell my husband what to watch – and if I did, he certainly wouldn’t listen anyway! But he knows he has to watch that stuff away from the rest of the family, and keep the volume down.

                And then, when I know he’s watching something really violent or vulgar, I often pray about it and lay the problem at God’s feet.

                So I let him do what he wants in this area, but I don’t let it affect me or the children. He also smokes weed, and although I haven’t yet laid a boundary about his smoking, I do have a boundary that I don’t want any of the rest of us to have to smell the smoke. So he smokes next to a fan in the basement window, or goes outside. This is an imperfect solution because he is still smoking, but at least it minimizes the impact on the children and I and keeps the peace. And my husband doesn’t feel like he’s being controlled. He is still doing what he wants to do.

                It must be really hard for you to figure out which boundaries to set when you had problems with control in the past. That would definitely make it trickier. Only God knows what you need to do now, what might soften your wife’s heart. I will pray for you, HH, for God’s divine wisdom in this and in all things right now.

              2. Hi Laura,

                Thanks for your post. There are a lot of similarities, my wife also smokes and I am sad about the effect it has on her health and on the kids.

                It is super hard to figure out appropriate boundaries. I wanted to please God with my whole heart when we married and I had super legalistic boundaries that were unrealistic and not at all good. Good intention yes, but wrong implementation.

                Now ANY boundary I set is viewed as control and it makes me second guess myself all the time. Not that it matters anymore as she’s gone now.

                I need God’s wisdom Laura. I don’t want to control but I do want to please Him. I have cried in prayer many a time trying to figure out how to live as a righteous head of my home without trying to control my family. It is tremendously challenging.

                In a way (and this might be a silly ‘man thought’) I feel as though it would be easier to be a woman as then I could let my husband be the leader. I have a tremendous responsibility.

                Much, much pain.

              3. I’m so sorry for your pain, HH, and my heart goes out to you. It’s true that you have a tremendous responsibility as the head of the household, but then, God’s design is for the wife to be encouraging and supportive of that role. You have not had that, so it’s quite understandable that you have found that role so difficult. Just as those of us women who have abusive spouses find it a lot more difficult to be a respectful and trusting wife.

                I see a lot in your posts that you seem to be beating yourself up and blaming yourself for what has happened. I would be very happy to see you extend more grace to yourself. You saw the mistakes of your past, and corrected them, which is a lot more than many people ever do! You have done everything you could to save your marriage. You may have made a few small mistakes along the way, but hey, no one is perfect. Your wife is not perfect either, and you still love her, right? Maybe in order to bring peace to your heart, you need to love yourself more, and give yourself the same compassion and care you offer her.

                You remain in my prayers! 🙂

              4. I’m not sure Laura. You see I DID have the support of my wife when we married, she gave herself to me entirely! But I was the abusive husband you speak of so you see I am responsible for what has happened. I haven’t made small mistakes I’ve made big ones. And yes she is an abusive spouse also but it wasn’t always like that.

              5. HH,

                You did take responsibility for your sin. God opened your eyes. You repented – from what you have shared here. You are seeking Christ. He is changing you and healing you. He can change and heal her, too. Your marriage is not beyond His reach. 🙂 Right now, I believe you are doing a lot of things right. She is currently making wrong choices, from what you have described. But God can reach her. We will all pray together for that. It may take her being on her own for God to open her eyes to a lot of things. Then you can rebuild the marriage, not on control, but on trust and her willingness to be there voluntarily.

                But it will be a live-one-day-at-a-time kind of thing, which truly, is all any of us can do – and it is what Jesus calls us each to do.

              6. Yes this is true April. I most certainly have taken responsibility and repented tenfold.

              7. HH,

                You know something? When God showed me my sin, I was absolutely mortified. I wanted to erase those first 14.5 years of sin in my marriage where I hurt Greg so much. I was confused about why God let me go on and on in my sin for so long. I wanted Him to have opened my eyes the first summer we got married. I wanted to make things up to Greg and was so afraid one of us would die before I would be able to make things up to him, at first.

                I think I have shared this with you before – but now – I understand. I understand that I couldn’t open my own eyes. I am thankful that God opened my eyes and didn’t leave me in my sin and filth. I am even thankful about the timing of when He opened my eyes in His sovereignty. I could never have had this ministry if God opened my eyes immediately when we were first married. God had much bigger things in mind than I did. I just wanted to heal our marriage and to be a godly woman and wife. God wanted to transform thousands of lives and marriages and families around the world. His ways are good. His timing is perfect. His plans are better than our own.

                I don’t know His plans for you – but I know He is going to use you in mighty ways in His kingdom for His glory and I know He is going to heal you. I pray He will heal your wife, too. I believe He will – in His timing. Who knows, maybe one day you and your wife will have a joint ministry to others who are hurting in some of the same ways y’all did.

                What is happening today is one snapshot in time. It is not the end. Not even the last chapter. 🙂

              8. April,

                I was literally just saying to my friend right now that I wish I had the experience, understanding and Holy Spirit ten years ago and could have avoided all of this terrible terrible pain! I wish I had understood the truth of dying to self, of walking in the Spirit, of sacrificial love, of cherishing my bride, of Godly headship, of letting go of all control in faith and so on. His reply was that without my experiences and seeing God in me he would not have known salvation or the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Wow. I didn’t realise it had helped him so much.

                In truth I am scared of having a ministry to others. Terrified actually. I don’t want to be a ‘somebody’ I want to be a quiet little nobody with a healed marriage and a godly family!

                I’m not ready in even the smallest way to help others, I have more to learn than anybody on the planet!

                I’m still scared of the pain of unfaithfulness if I’m honest. I know in my heart that I’ve let go of control over this but if a separation hurts so much how much more will unfaithfulness hurt? I feel the Lord is calling me to bear so much more than I am able to. And yet I shouldn’t live it before it happens. One day at a time. In my weakness I still want to know the whole story.


              9. HH,

                You may not be ready to have a ministry now – although God does speak powerfully through you and ministers here so many times. And apparently to others in your life, too. But it is often from our deepest, most painful trials that God births the most powerful, Spirit-filled ministries. Of course, you don’t have to focus on that right now. Right now, today is the main thing – as it always is. 🙂

                God will direct your steps. I don’t know if He will have you in obscurity or what – I was for a long time. Not so much now! But my prayer is for His will and His greatest glory to be done. No matter what the cost to me. But what I hope to help you see is that one day, as you look back, it will all make sense. You will see God’s hand in everything and the timing, even. And you will probably even be very thankful for this time – even though it is a crucible. It is a pivotal time in your faith and maturation spiritually. And in the healing of your marriage. There are countless priceless treasures of God to discover in this valley if you are open to it as you begin to allow God to heal your heart, mind, and soul.

                I don’t want your wife to choose unfaithfulness. I pray God will wake her up before that and that she will see what she is doing and stop and rebuild trust and a strong, godly marriage with you. God will be with you. He will give you the power to do whatever you face each day. We do want to know the whole story in advance, but then we wouldn’t have to learn to walk by faith. 🙂

                You are deeply loved by God. You are not alone. You are loved and supported by the Body of Christ. You are prayed for.

                I know you will have to deal with grief and all of the emotions you are facing. I know this part will be extremely painful. I pray for God’s wisdom, comfort, and healing – and then for Him to help you begin to find a new, amazing, beautiful direction in Him.

              10. So last night I respectfully asked my husband to move out of our home. I respectfully explained my hurt and feelings. He said he didn’t care. I felt at peace about it. Why am I not scared, upset and panicking at what I just did? So THAT happened.

              11. LMSdaily115,

                Wow! Didn’t see that coming. I pray for God’s continued wisdom for you, my sister. I know it has been a grueling year and 3 months or so. I pray for God’s healing for your husband and His continued work in your life and His greatest glory in your lives and in your marriage. How can we best support you and pray for you?

              12. I felt very unqualified to minister anyone at first too. And I am very new to understanding what God is about. Since January 2015 only! Yet, as I focused on “being a blessing ” to others, I just started small. A genuine ear to a stranger, helping a friend, showing a kindness to someone at work…all of it without expecting anything back. Random acts of kindness. I was healing more from it as well! Then God sends someone across your path that needs to hear words of encouragement and understanding from someone who has been in their shoes. Guess what, you just might have experience there. Watch the movie “War Room”, great example of this. Just in your actions you can minister to others. In your commitment to excellence, your positive and encouraging attitude or teamwork. God gives you all you need. If you need more, He will give it to you.

              13. Thank you April.

                I am struggling to lay hold of His peace today. I think the realitty of the separation sinks in a bit more over time.

                Lord please bring your word to me in this time of trial, please bring your word to all of your children who are suffering for your names sake. Amen.

              14. Humbled Husband,

                I pray God will help you just be still at His feet with all of your pain, your sorrow, your grief, and your questions. That you might be able to lay it all down and receive the showers of abundant life He has for you and His presence, love, goodness, strength, joy, and power.

        2. Not It is Well With My Soul…..but still really, really good. Haven’t heard this hymn in a long time, but the words are amazing and I like Kari Jobe’s rendition here.

      2. Excellent advice and wisdom here, HH. Don’t have a lot of time to respond, but in essence, yes, I feel the peace of God with this boundary. I have set it and there is no going back. Can’t say I haven’t regretted setting it at this point because it has brought a lot of pain this last week….but I’m trusting that God has set all of this in motion. I wish I knew what the future held, but I don’t. But, I know that I know that He has led us to this place.

        The boundary was not out of fear or even anger at the time (I did have anger as I saw how badly he treated me after the boundary was set). And it was implemented after I cried out to God to make sure that I was seeing things correctly. God confirmed that I was within 24 hours in a very clear way to me and the boundary was spoken. My trusted pastor gave me permission to have righteous anger and even said to let it motivate me to take godly action. He also said to make sure that the compelling love of God was behind every action I chose.

        Tough stuff we are all talking about here.

        May God lead us and guide us. May He be gracious to our spouses and rescue them from the darkness. May we never forget that we are only in the light because He has had mercy on us. Father, sustain us! Help us as we walk this road to not be a stumbling block at all to our spouses, but also remind us that it is good to walk in truth unashamedly. May we find our all in Christ alone!!! Hold our children’s hearts, Lord…..it’s hard to be in this position and see our children hurt. Give us hope and speak words of encouragement for this specific area that is so hard right now. We are surrendered to You, Lord – to Your will and ways. Let our hearts feel the conviction of the words I just typed, God. We love you.

        1. For anyone who would like to read more about righteous anger and jealousy, here is a post on that. 🙂 YES! Righteous anger should motivate us to move against evil and sin and to seek God’s will and healing. It can also lead us to respectfully confront sin, or to set important boundaries, or even sometimes to separate from an unrepentant spouse if necessary.

    2. Jennifer, thank you so much for including me in your prayers. How blessed we are to have this supportive caring and understanding site. It’s a therapy session without having to leave home! Love to you, Bel.

  14. ContentinChrist,

    My heart breaks for you, but if you felt that God led you to place this boundary down, then He can make good come from it. This is where the struggle is real with keeping your faith. Dig deep and stay the course as you feel God is leading you. Of course your husband does not want to hear how he is sinning. Maybe in the past, his bad behavior subdued you out of fear. Please take it deep into your heart that God is who you need approval from, not your husband. The fact that you could still respond in love and kindness speaks volumes to what God is doing in you! I praise God at your spiritual maturing!

    It may very well get worse with your husband before it gets better, but as he starts to see that his “temper tantrums” are not affecting you, he will not know what to do, how to handle it. The enemy warfare within your husband is afraid of God. As it sees God’s influence within you, it will try everything to stop you. Don’t take the bait. Proceed on the narrow path that God lights for you.

    It may feel so hard to NOT retort back when he says hurtful things, but this is what Satan expects, then you can bear the blame and your husband won’t have to look at his own behavior because you become the scape goat. That us what scripture teaches, not to sin back when we are sinned against. “If one strikes your cheek, offer the other one” Luke 6:29. This will confuse him he may ask himself…”how can she still be nice to me when I am being so awful to her? Why does this not work? What is she up to? Maybe she knows something I don’t! ”

    Stay the course. Get close to God, study His truth. Let your husband be the bull in the China shop. He may thrash and yell..but he needs space. You can watch, but YOU are not responsible for his behavior and sin. It is important to stay respectful, but firm in the boundary. The goal is to repair the relationship, right? Not punish, get revenge, or mother him. You are precious to God, but so is your husband. He wants you both to be closer to Him. But if you are already there, God may be using you as the light shining in the darkness of your husband’s spirit. You have an assignment…treat others as Jesus did.

    In order to not be consumed about your marriage and what your husband is thinking, doing, your hurt from it all, etc., I encourage you to reach out to others to help them. Visit an elderly person in a nursing home. Help out at church, volunteer, pour yourself into your kids. Offer a kind, listening ear to a friend…you will be amazed how much joy you get out of this simple act of service. Your husband CAN be another person to bless, but be careful not to feel “guilted” into it. Do it because you are honoring God.

    I am praying for you. You’ve got skin in the game…you are now fighting for your husband’s soul. You and God against Satan. Your husband is the tug of war rope. “But if God is with me, who dare be against me?”

    I pray that your husband begins to travel through his tunnel of self discovery and that you find strength, courage and peace in God today. Don’t lose hope. You will be better no matter what happens.

    I don’t want to dismiss the thought that you still may lose your marriage. Your husband may choose to leave anyway. You cannot control your husband’s choices. But God will bring you out of this.

    Much love!

  15. LMS, you sweet thing. I have been feeling more hope after writing that comment and your comment is beautiful and just what I needed. All the things you said are things I’m already feeling in my spirit. The last 24 hours, I think I just started buying into the enemy’s lies of despair and trying to imagine things that are going on that I have no idea about. It’s just when you are lied to, nothing feels secure at all and you don’t know what to believe. I have to let that go and trust God to keep revealing and shedding light in His timing.

    My prayer for a long time is that my husband would start to look inside himself. It’s hard to hear from God at all when you are pushing everything down that causes any kind of emotion. I know there is hurt somewhere there. His friends called him the Tin Man when he was younger (before he met me). His friends were all amazed when they saw him showing affection to me when we got together because he had that reputation.

    We have a counseling session tomorrow at 3 (yes, he’s willing to go, but I’m worried he wants to turn things back on me instead of face his stuff, too). I sent him an email basically saying that I felt like he had been hurt somewhere, that I felt like I’ve never really known him and that I knew that it would be hard to face those things inside. It was a caring email. I told him I hoped that he would be willing to do that and that it probably wouldn’t be easy at first, etc. He thanked me for the email and thanked me for still caring. There has been softening the last day or so, but I have to be honest and say some of the things that I’m reading worry me and cause fear. I think some of it was helpful to see some of the dynamics in our relationship, but now it’s producing fear in me and that can’t be from God. (I noticed that you said to bless, but not to do it out of guilt — I think I know what you’re talking about there, but can you expound some more on what you were thinking there? I know for the last week or so, God stopped me from doing some things that I normally would have done after a conflict…which was try to pursue reconciliation. And, it hurts to know that, for the most part, you have been the one who has done that over and over for your marriage. He has not pursued reconciliation with me, he has not reached out to me (but has responded with kindness the last day or so). Yes, he definitely is seeing a difference in the way I’m responding to him blaming me, etc. It’s all Jesus, that’s for sure! I read an entry I wrote back at the beginning of the year and said that I sensed that a new season was coming upon us where I would be learning and living in a new way the commands in 1 Peter about not reviling, not retaliating, but blessing, etc. God prepares us in advance.

    Yes, definitely my goal is to repair our relationship. If it were up to me right now, I’d go quickly back to my husband and reconcile — and he’d take me back and everything could go back to “normal”. The problem is….I’ve been pursuing reconciliation and rushing reconciliation without him having to own up to his own sin. For a long time, I’ve been doing that. And, I am preventing opportunities for growth. Same with my kids, I realized. I let them be disrespectful, and I talk to them about it, but then I try to be a peacemaker and restore fellowship without them repenting/confessing what they’ve done.

    Thank you for the encouragement to bless others. I tell you what, hurting the way I do has already caused me to feel much more compassion for others in their pain. God has revealed that I have been proud in my views of thinking that I was some perfect wife (not perfect in the sense that I don’t have flaws, but perfect because I work really hard on my part and have tried) and that was why our marriage was so good. Hahahahahaha. Oh, my goodness. Even if we do as much as we can and work on ourselves, a marriage held together and thriving is only a work of God.

    I have to tell you, everyone is telling me things might get worse before they get better. It is not what I want to hear. But, no one is sugar coating things for me.

    I pray God gives us all the strength and courage to face each day and that He will hold our children safe in His loving, protective arms. That He will use this for good in their lives and that we will look back and know one day that it had to be this way, that He does all things well.

    I pray that we will not feel despair and hopelessness and that we will have the joy of Christ even in these dark days.

    1. A short thought about the fact that things might get worse before they can get better.

      I was thinking this morning about Jesus saying that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it cannot bring forth fruit. I think in the same way unless we fall and die to ourselves we cannot being forth fruit. The dying is painful, extremely so. It is dying to everything that we have seen as normal and “us”. It likely that things will get worse before they get better, but they may not get better in the ways we think they should.

      Often we hold up a plan to God and say “implement this plan God” but He is working to do something completely different. Rest is resting in His work and not ours, and yet also resting in the knowledge that He cares deeply about our needs and hurt. I was asking the Lord last night is it ok that I’m hurting so much at having an empty home tonight? The thought came to me of Jesus crying over Lazarus death and his families pain. We have a high priest who is touched by the feelings of our weaknesses, He knows our frame that we are dust. I was able to weep deeply in pain and yet know the love of God with me.

      I too have become deeply aware that I was proud of being the “good” one and at how hard I was working to keep us together. But in truth when one finger points at our partner there are four pointing back at us. Romans 2 teaches us that whatever we judge another for we do ourselves, and God desires mercy not judgement. How we judge is how we will be judged. I think of the comments my wife made that she’s tired of being seen as “the bad one” and grieve how I must have made her feel like that.

      Just a few thoughts on this, may be helpful.
      Love in Christ, HH

    2. Content in Christ,
      I really love the email message you sent your husband. That sounds like such a God-inspired thing. Wow.

      Praying for God to bring healing to you both and for the counselor to have God’s wisdom and Spirit tomorrow. So thankful you are seeking Christ wholeheartedly even in this very painful time. I want to see deep healing happen here.

      Much love!

    3. Okay, CiC, I wanted to pray over night about your response. I even took some notes! Haha. You are exactly right. Fear is not from God. It is a tactic the enemy uses to stop you from following God. If you trust God, and know He is in control, what do you have to fear? When I start to feel fear, I start to look at what is it that I am afraid to lose?

      For example..If I neglect to confront my husband for lying to me because I fear he may get mad and leave me…what is it I truly value? My lying husband and his sin, or doing what God commands and confronting sin in an effort to restore a relationship. Boil it down. Do I value my husband over God? If so, I have effectively made my husband an idol. “Love the Lord your God above all else…he is a jealous god”. Many women turn their children, marriage, husbands, hobbies and friends into idols. I have done ALL of these. Our priorities should be to honor God first, then spouse, kids, family…..

      I feared my husband was cheating on me one time. Legit fear, right? But if I accused my husband and I was wrong, how damaging would that have been to him? I wasn’t convinced he WAS having one, or WASN’T having one.. and I couldn’t control it anyway. I trusted God that it would be revealed in time. Turns out he wasn’t having a physical affair, but he was having an emotional affair..to his work friends, males, they respected him more than me. He was right. I did the same with PTA. I felt needed and valued by a group of parents more than my husband made me feel. I had an emotional affair on him. We all have that monster inside…seeking what we want. God says seek Him, because “I Am”. God IS all we need, a counsellor, a friend, a great love, a healer, a redeemer. A guide, a teacher. He can do it all. Let the fear go and let God do His thing. Then you can be free from the enemy.

      Counselling today. I pray you go in with an open mind. Not to have someone point out your husband’s faults, but to have yours pointed out as well. It may hurt, but if you have a wrong thinking going on, wouldn’t you want to know about it so you can do something about it? I would. I can’t fix it if I don’t know about it. I pray that you can set your pride down and go with humility and humbleness. Go in to learn about what YOU can do to change, help, improve…none of us are perfect and we all have room for improvement, right? Welcome a bit of constructive criticism and especially from a counsellor…they are unbiased. Go in with the attitude that you want your husband to have. Be the example of open-mindedness you hope he has..even if he doesn’t. Be willing to learn and grow, too, my luv.

      You asked for clarification on blessing your husband, but not out of guilt. Boy, It took me a painfully long time with this. Saw a counsellor on my own for it too. I am a doer. I do stuff. It is how I show my love. I get it in my head that the more I do, the more my family will know how much I love them, right? Wrong. Instead, I became an enabler. I did for them what they should be doing themselves. Cleaning up after them, making kids beds, all sorts of individual tasks as my own. It was explained to me that I was robbing others of the chance to participate in the family…I was stealing their opportunities to have some pride in themselves. They can’t look in the mirror and feel valuable cause I did it all. Ugh. NOT my intention.

      So back to clarifying. If you want to bless your husband, expect nothing in return. Do it out of the kindness of your heart and even if you don’t get a response, thank you or return blessing, don’t think twice. You did it to bless. You did what God asked you to do. You lived, unconditionally and in a genuine way…even if you don’t think they deserved it, you did it anyway. THAT is how you bless. I may iron his shirts. Not cause I have to prove my love to him, show how much I do and he doesn’t, expect a thank you or hope he brings me flowers. I do it because I am thankful for his hard work, I want him to feel and look good at work. I want to build up my husband and help him rise higher. I don’t need a thank you..I don’t get it anyway, but I know God smiles when I am loving on one of His children. If you find you are feeling taken advantage of, resentful, exhausted or bitter as you do things, you may need to take some time to figure out what your motive is. Are you trying to bless? Or manipulate? Hope that clarifies.

      I, too have been led to not be the first to appologize. But it grates on me. What I found was that I was apologizing for someone else’s behavior, or that they took me wrong. I was taking on the responsibility of someone else’s reactions, thoughts, assumptions and sins. NOT MY JOB! However, if you KNOW you sinned, hurt someone with YOUR reactions, words, behavior, go right away and humbly appologize. Don’t qualify it with a “I’m sorry I did this, but you did that….” that cancels out any appology. Know what you are responsible for….and also what you are not. Let him or your kids feel the consequence of their sin. If you appologize for them, then they have no need to change. You enabling them to continue the bad behavior. They made the mess and you are cleaning it up for them. How do they learn to clean or not make messes?

      It seems men have a harder time putting any weight on words. They may not SAY an appology, but they may go put gas in the car or pick up milk and eggs on the way home. THAT is a man-type of appology. Learn to recognize the heart meaning of their actions and stop waiting for the kind of appology YOU want…the world rarely is set up exactly the way WE want it. In the same thought, your actions mean so much more to him than your words. You can say you respect him, but when you give him a back rub after a long day at work, you are showing respect, love and that you value him in ways words will never do.

      I used to wish that I could wake up from this nightmare and go back to the way we used to be, too…normal. But today, I never want to see that again. I was an ugly attitude person. That person has died inside. A new, God loving and joyful person came out of the cocoon. I now have the chance, as the new me, to love and respect my husband in ways I never could as that ugly, angry person. I want my husband to fall in love with the new me…she is soooo much better. But he can’t trust that right now. My husband doesn’t understand being born again. Seems made up and artsy to him. Not logical or real. But if you have ever experienced a spiritual regeneration, being born again, an epiphany, especially in Christ, it changes you at the core and you are never the same again. I pray you can look at this time as a positive maturity. When life gets tough as an adult, have you ever wanted to go back to being a kid again? Yet, we come to grips with the unhealthy and immature repercussions that would cause, so we realize we just need to keep moving forward. Same thing. Don’t wish for that old, broken marriage, create a new, healthy and strong one instead.

      I have 3 areas I struggle with. They were the most painful to deal with and I have found they are so very common.

      1)pride…I think I am right, mostly because my motives are good and I care so much, so my way is best. Wrong. I bet every single person thinks like I do. Who is right and who judges that? God does.
      2) perfection. I am AWESOME at pointing out what is wrong, not perfect, out of place, could be improved. I have a hard time letting some things “be” because they don’t fit my perfect cookie cutter type of image in my head. But they might just be perfect to someone else. I get lost trying to achieve the impossible. I will never be perfect, so I need to stop setting myself up for failure.
      3) control– because I have it all worked out in my mind, I try to MAKE everything go according to my plan and I get upset if my dominoes don’t fall in the right order. Life is not that structured. I need to enjoy the carnival ride and not try to force it off the track all the time. I need to realize what I truly am in control of…and that is not much, really. I control my mouth, my thoughts, my actions, my emotions and my behavior. I do not control those things for another person on this planet. I had no idea these were so rampant in me as I started this journey 1.5 years ago. I was horrified at how bad it was. But I saw it plain as day in my husband. I was blind to it in me.

      I pray that God can help reveal your struggle zones and although you may never fully conquer them, they can certainly be tamed. Maybe it is impatience, expectations, superiority, or like mine. In any case, search your heart and pray for guidance.

      I pray for you and also rejoice in all God is doing in your life today! You have so much to be thankful for, don’t miss out on the joy that is all around because of a few things not going quite right. The journey is the gift. You are on my mind today with love and prayers!

      1. Lmsdaily, this comment is wonderful – so filled with good wisdom. Thank you very much for sharing these thoughts with everyone. You are a blessing to all of April’s readers! 🙂

      2. Thank you, HH, April and LMS –

        HH, some of what you said reminded me of a phrase in a song I heard this morning….”I am not skilled to understand, what God has willed/what God has planned, I only know at His right hand, is One who is my Savior.”

        I’m so sorry for your pain. Oh, cry it out brother! I think one of the worst things we could do in a time like this is to hold our emotions in, to bottle them up, compartmentalize them. No, you be true to where you are right now. Psalm 56:8: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
        You have recorded each one in your book.”

        David was a man after God’s own heart and look at the way he poured his heart out to God. He expressed frustration, anger, sadness, grief, joy, you name it….he cast his burdens on God because he knew that God cared for him. I’m so glad God spoke so clearly to you in your pain and comforted you with the assurance that it was o.k. and good and normal to weep.

        My husband has expressed the same things to me at times (about the fact that I make him feel he will never be good enough) — but only after I’ve come to him because I was hurt by something he said or after I confront him about something he did that was wrong. Now, I don’t know the details of your situation, but I know that, for me, God showed me that the way my husband was perceiving my words wasn’t matching up to reality. God showed me that I was not nagging my husband or belittling him or looking for faults in him. I had worked on respect and knew that I was approaching things as best I could. The things that I have approached my husband about are really important things for our marriage and so, while I feel sad that my husband feels that way, I also know that it is not truth.

        And, quite honestly, I believe he might be trying to shift blame back onto me so that we can get off the original subject of something that is important and needs to be dealt with. When God showed me this, I could see that yes, this has been a pattern in all of our marriage. And, that blame-shifting has contributed to me going to him and apologizing and making amends…but to the detriment of him facing his sin and having to deal with it. I say that carefully and only you know the real truth, but just make sure that you aren’t being falsely guilted or shamed for something that isn’t real. In addition to the blame-shifting, I think my husband is very insecure so if I bring up something – even little – to him, his natural first reaction is to proclaim that I have called him a bad father and husband. I would never say something like that to him and I walk on eggshells trying to say things perfectly to get him to hear me, but I feel like God has given me a clean conscience to know that I have tried to the best of my ability as a human to change, to grow, to pursue, to be vulnerable and honest. Are there still things to work on? Yes, absolutely, but those things aren’t the reasons why my husband sins.

        I actually had a godly pastor that I highly respect and trust tell me that I needed to stop stroking my husband’s bruised ego. That totally lined up with some of the things that God had been showing me and it really confirmed that I was in God’s will and hearing His voice. I also shared a lot of detail of my story with him about my drawing a boundary, etc. and he said the only thing he was concerned about was that I had gone back in and apologized to my husband at some point. I realized later that there was no need to apologize at all, but I’ve been doing that for 24 years, trying to hold our marriage together and trying to own up to my own stuff. But, sometimes, I had nothing to apologize for at all (this became apparent in a texting conversation we had where I really was letting him know some of my feelings…I later apologized!! I look back and can’t even see why I did that!. Basically, it’s ok to let someone be in pain while they are suffering the consequences of their sin. It is not our job to rescue them out of it – as a matter of fact, that is probably the worse thing possible. We need to let God deal with that person and trust Him to use the pain in their lives for good and for freedom for that person.

        LMS, thank you for all of your thoughts and advice and encouragement. I will definitely go in with an open mind, but I do have to say that I believe God is guiding me to go in with some boldness and not let this be turned into a “what I’m still doing wrong and how I can be better” kind of thing. I know that might sound prideful in some ways, but I can only go by what God has led me to at this point. I did say to my husband in the email that I knew that there were things I needed to work on, too – probably things I need to address from my own childhood and past. However, I think the main problem here is that I have a husband who is lying to me and I cannot be the wife that he would desire and has known me to be for 24 years any longer while I know that. I told my husband several months ago that I felt like I had been pursuing him and our marriage more than what was my share. I told him that I was submitting to him in our marriage. For me, that means that if he is operating in dishonesty, then I submit to where he is leading our marriage and I will now be letting natural consequences of those choices happen rather than trying to control or sweep under the rug. (It’s a whole other idea of submission, but it’s something I heard God say to me several months ago). If his desire is to never have heart to heart conversations with me about anything at all, well, I submit to that, too.

        I love what you said about our actions – whether they’re truly blessing or is there manipulation behind them? That pastor mentioned the same thing. I am amazed as God has given me peace and enabled me to bless my husband in many different ways the last week. Whenever I begin to get angry at my husband’s actions, God is quick to remind me that it is the enemy that has blinded him. That helps me quickly be able to say “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does” and to look for ways to overcome evil with good (by blessing, praying for him,….and yes, sometimes holding fast to my boundary because that is best for him right now).

        Apologies….hmmm….I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that. 🙂 I think in some instances, yes an action is definitely enough. There are other times that much more needs to be done to restore a relationship and I think that is evident in God’s Word. Our words wound deeply and we need to use them to heal as well. I think pride gets in the way of people truly repenting and apologizing with words and I think I’ve come to a place where I’m realizing that allowing our relationship to be restored without discussing things through in a healthy way has been really, really detrimental in many ways to our marriage. It does not work in the long run and it’s a temporary bandaid solution. But, I do know what you’re saying here. Again, little things that offend us and we need to move past easily….yes, I think you’re right. A man will show he’s sorry by an action. But, I trust you know what I’m saying as well.

        Feeling much more at peace today and I’m so thankful for that.

        Thank you for all your support and advice.

        1. Thank you for sharing this, ContentinChrist,

          I think there are times when trust has been majorly broken that things must be dealt with in depth, torn down, examined thoroughly, and then rebuilt together with total transparency and integrity to restore trust. There are some things we can gloss over and simply extend grace about. There are other things that must be dealt with on the deepest level before a marriage or relationship can be rebuilt.

          I don’t want to see anyone apologizing when they haven’t done wrong or haven’t sinned. We are not responsible to repent for sins we didn’t commit!

          Sometimes when we do begin to set healthy, godly boundaries, yes, others will get VERY upset and may try to blame shift. I believe http://www.leslievernick.com may have some posts about this.

          And I actually agree with you, ContentinChrist, that there can be times to allow our husbands to lead and to make mistakes. Usually, we can speak respectfully about what we believe is right and we can seek to use our influence in a godly way. But there are times when God may prompt us to just let our husbands fail because it will take that for them to learn and wake up and grow. There are times when biblical submission means a wife is along for a rough ride for awhile. But sometimes it is in those times of failure that God speaks most powerfully to husbands and that they learn to become godly men and leaders. Again, this takes incredible sensitivity to God’s Spirit on the part of the wife. But I am glad you are hearing God’s voice clearly on this.

          I love that you are able to see that your husband is blinded by the enemy right now. That is so important and a powerful way to be able to extend grace as you see his spiritual condition and that he can’t see clearly and is in darkness.

          Praying for God’s continued wisdom for you – and for His Spirit to lead and direct you each step of the way. I pray for healing for your husband, for you, and for your marriage, my dear sister!

          1. I have read on Leslie Vernick’s site. Definitely helped me see some of the things being played out in my marriage. I want to caution anyone who reads there to be mindful of some of the comments. Some want to rush you right into a divorce, I think. It is not the same atmosphere as here, although there are some good and wisdom-filled comments. My friend has her book and I think that is what I’ll do – get her book and maybe if I read her blog, try to limit myself to only reading Leslie’s actual blog post.

            I don’t know, just where I am. It can feel hopeless reading over there sometimes.

            1. ContentinChrist,

              I think this is wise. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 Keep in mind, that site attracts people with sometimes very severe problems. There are times when separation is certainly necessary. But I agree that it may be wise to just read the book or just read the posts. Great point!

        2. Thank you Jennifer.

          I can’t write much this morning.
          It’s getting lonelier and lonelier waking up in an empty house and not having sleepy little heads poking around the bedroom door to greet me.

          1. HH,

            What is your plan today? Do you plan to work on the house, or meet with a friend, or exercise, meet with a prayer partner?

            How may we pray for you today?

            Please remember that with God, He can change things up at any time. I pray you will focus only on today right now, and that you might be able to leave tomorrow in God’s hands.

            Praying for you now, for this to be a time of incredible growth, blessing, strengthening, pruning, and closeness with God. Praying for protection for your children and for God to work in your wife’s life and your children’s lives. Praying for God’s wisdom for you!

            1. Hi April.

              My plan is just to work. I have to work as I have no savings or holiday pay and need to keep my financial head above water each week.

              Thank you for praying.

              1. I can visit my parents. They know what’s going on.

                I haven’t shared anything with my church as I want to leave the door open for her to return if she so chooses.
                I haven’t told anyone at work either as I don’t know how to.

                Truth is it just hurts more each day.

              2. HH,

                I can understand that it could be wise to not tell everyone at work and church so that it is easier on your wife when she comes back. That is very thoughtful of you toward her.

                Will you get to visit with your children often?

                I know you have support here, I just want to be sure you have the support you need “in real life,” too. Of course, I know you have God, that is the most important thing. I hope you will reach out here or with your mentor or parents any time you need encouragement, prayer, or support, our brother.

                Are you familiar with some closed online forums for spouses in this situation? There are a few, I believe, and they offer strong support for spouses who are standing for their marriage in spite of the other spouse leaving.

              3. I do have support in real life but the truth is that no matter how much people care the pain is still there.

                I am not aware of these forums, no.

                I am not able to think of “when” she comes back. The relationship would have to look so different for it to work.

              4. Humbled Husband,

                My heart breaks for your pain. 🙁

                Yes, the relationship would have to look very different – but how I pray you will be able to look past this dark valley to see that there are bright days in the future and that God will not leave you and He can change your wife and heal her.


                So many are hurting right now. The pain is closing in and all they can see is the darkness, the trial, the hurt – and they feel overwhelmed, discouraged, maybe even hopeless. Speak into each heart tonight who is hurting. Lift up their eyes to look to see You are there and that You love them and their wayward spouses and their precious children. Help them to cling to You in these times of loneliness and pain – turn these times of grief and mourning into joy and beauty as only You can do. You are an Expert at making beauty from ashes and joy from grief. We trust our hurting brothers and sisters to Your arms. Show us how to love them with your love in the time of such incredible pain. We anticipate the good things You have in store for those who are weeping for a night. Let them know Your love in more tangible ways than ever before. Let them learn to trust You fully and completely. Help them to release their fears to You and rest in Your love.


              5. For those who are experiencing a spouse who is separating from them,

                I checked with one wife I know who has been in contact with some of these forums for spouses who are standing for their marriages, she said the names are Rejoice Marriage Ministries and Mend Our Marriage. I haven’t joined either of these ministries. So please use your discernment about whether they are a good fit and whether they promote biblical principles. But perhaps they may be helpful for some who are in this tough situation as another means of support and encouragement. 🙂

              6. HH,
                I think that ministry may be such an encouragement to any believer in a situation where a spouse leaves. Glad it was a blessing. 🙂 You are not alone!

              7. One of the difficult things reading through the Rejoice ministries website is how LONG the prodigal spouses took to return to their covenant partner.

              8. HH,

                This journey can be a long one. Even if there isn’t a separation – I know I have shared a number of times before – it was 3.5 years into my journey before Greg felt safe with me again. Of course, it took over 2.5 years before I had ANY clue what I was doing with respect and biblical submission – and another half a year or year before I began to feel “fluent.” And I was spending a good 3-4 hours per day (or or more) almost every day of the week praying, reading, studying, journalling, and seeking to understand. It was a lot like I was studying for a college degree.

                This sanctification thing is not a instant thing. It is a maturation process. Broken relationship take time to heal. It takes time to unlearn old, destructive ways, and time to learn new ways. Sometimes a separation makes it possible to really “reset” everything in a relationship and to have time apart to focus on Christ so that the people can be more empowered and filled by God’s Spirit when they do interact. It is much harder to be godly all the time when you are living with each other than when you only see each other a few times a week. But so many times, that time of separation is a time of learning and growth – and many lightbulb moments – that lead to healing and lead to the ability to begin to restore the marriage in a healthy, godly way.

              9. April, yes I understand. I really do.
                I was just praying for teaching this morning. I don’t really understand how to live true godliness. It’s easy to see the external christian teachings but walking in the Spirit is a new thing.

                A lot of people acknowledge the truth of walking in the Spirit but don’t live it. They honour the truth with their mouths but in their hearts they are not truly surrendered to Him. The way to life is narrow and few there be that find it. I’m looking hard.

              10. Humbled Husband,

                I personally needed a TON of time to myself to study and pray and to allow God to change me. I became a bit of a recluse – pulled away from everyone in my life as much as I could – and just focused on God and praying for Him to teach and change me for well over 3 years. Not saying that is what everyone needs to do – but I needed that time.

                If Greg had changed immediately and softened, I would not have grown. I would not be where I am spiritually today – which I am only here by God’s grace. But I would have gone right back to my old ways of thinking, my old motives, my old idolizing Greg and myself. I needed that time to have to be in the desert by myself with God and to wrestle through all of these things and to learn to depend on Him alone.

                Greg stayed VERY shut down for years. I was not physically alone. Well, he didn’t want to touch me much, look at me, talk to me, or be near me. So it kind of felt like being physically alone in a lot of ways. Eventually, he did let me quietly sit beside him while I read and studied. But I was emotionally and spiritually alone. When that loneliness would begin to hurt, I learned to go to God in prayer and in my journal. I learned when I wanted to be close to Greg but he was not receptive at the time – to go study about godly femininity or to study about how men think and how they deal with emotions – it prepared me to be the godly wife God wanted me to be. That was my main concern – that I be the woman and wife God called me to be.

                I stumbled a LOT. Messed up daily for a long, long time – and just kept getting back up, brushing myself off, going back to God, begging Him to show me more of Himself, more of His wisdom, more of His design… It was REALLY PAINFUL. And it was lonely in the sense that I didn’t have human contact much at all – only at work, at work, and with my very young children, basically. The contact I had with other adults was pretty superficial. I couldn’t talk about what was going on. Most people would have thought I was crazy. But I also knew I couldn’t talk about Greg without being disrespectful for a long time, at first.

                But that time alone with God was critical. It was life changing. I needed that time – and it turns out, Greg needed that time. God is so good.

                When I see someone searching like you are – I know God is going to do amazing things in their lives. He has already done so much in your heart! He will be faithful to complete His good work. 🙂

              11. That’s about as accurate a description of where I am as I’ve ever read April.

                Please pray that God teaches me gently and well.

                Please pray that I can find Him in everything.

              12. HH,

                Of course I will pray these things for you, my brother. 🙂

                I know this analogy may be a stretch for a guy – but – here is one way I think of my ministry to wives (and to some of my brothers, too):

                I kind of think of myself as a “spiritual doula.” When someone is in the midst of a spiritual crisis of faith or a crisis in his/her marriage, I can’t take on that person’s pain myself. I can’t go through the contractions and the labor. I can’t birth the baby. I can’t take the crisis away. But I can be beside the hurting spouse. I can sit with her (or him) and offer ice chips, encouragement, a spiritual “neck rub,” prayer, and affirmation. I can see that the pain is going to lead to something good. I can remind her that a great blessing from God is on the way. I can remember the agony of being in labor myself and empathize. I can look ahead to see that God is going to bring something beautiful and amazing from the pain. Actually, for a believer, what is being formed in us is Christ!

                So I can stay calm, even though the person who is hurting may not be able to be calm all the time, because I know God has this. I know He is birthing something amazing in His timing. So I just continue to seek Him, pray for the hurting ones, sit beside them, love them, encourage them, support them, and point them to Christ – knowing that I will get the joy of watching God bring something incredibly stunning into this person’s life – and I get a “front row virtual seat.” I can’t begin to describe the joy that comes when someone I have been on this journey with for years has light bulb moments, or deepens in his/her faith, or when we see the answers to things we have long been praying for. I get to hear about miracles every day. There was one shared on the post today in the comments, actually. A little miracle – a little bundle of joy for us all to share together in a sister’s life.

                I am already praising and thanking God for the moments we will share when we rejoice over His answers to our prayers for you and your wife, and for LMSdaily115 and her husband, and for ContentinChrist and so many others for whom we are interceding and in whom God is working powerfully.

              13. April,

                Heh, please consider me feeling suitably condescended to 😉 It’s not a stretch for this guy in any way, I know what a doula is (called midwife here) and I’ve sat through two births of my own children 🙂

                And I also know that we don’t know how long labour takes in each case. Some of my friends have given birth in twenty minutes, others have been in labour for 3 days (poor girls). Such is the case with spiritual birth. I want to know everything now but as I pray I sense that God will keep the trials on for as long as I need but not a moment more. He is a good God.

                These scripures are a comfort to me. God does not cause labour without bringing forth a child.
                Isaiah 66:7-11
                “Before she goes into labor,
                    she gives birth;
                before the pains come upon her,
                    she delivers a son.
                Who has ever heard of such things?
                    Who has ever seen things like this?
                Can a country be born in a day?
                    or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
                Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
                    than she gives birth to her children.
                Do I bring to the moment of birth
                    and not give delivery?” says theLord.
                “Do I close up the womb
                    when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
                “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
                    all you who love her;
                rejoice greatly with her,
                    all you who mourn over her.
                For you will nurse and be satisfied
                    at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply
                    and delight in her overflowing abundance.”

              14. Humbled Husband,

                I hoped it wouldn’t offend you. I’m sure there are accurate analogies that relate to war and a battle scene – maybe with a comrade being injured and his friends dragging him off the battle field and taking care of his wounds.

                This analogy is just very striking to me – maybe because I have experienced this. If you sat through the births of your children, you are very familiar with this.

                Love that! We don’t know how long the labor will be. “God will keep the trills on for as long as I need but not a moment more. He is a good God.” YES!

                Thank you for that passage. So powerful! 🙂

              15. April, your comments are a blessing to me tonight. I’ve heard your story a lot of times, but for some reason, tonight, it is encouraging me. Remembering that the painful time is part of the journey and that God has something good on the other end. And, your analogy about being a spiritual doula.

                It’s good to hear from someone who’s walked through the pain and come out on the other side – seeing the good parts to it for all involved.

                Thanks for your love and prayers and for being one of the ones who is walking alongside us.

              16. ContentinChrist,

                I am so glad that my story encouraged you tonight. God is good. And He is birthing Christ in you more and more. Even in this time of fiery trial.

                I’m honored to get to walk beside you and to pray for you and love you, my sweet sister. I’m so glad we can share the tears and I can’t wait to share the joy that is to come.

                Much love!

              17. I should say tonight your story is encouraging me in a different way. 🙂 It always has, but it’s a little more real now.

              18. How can someone just walk away with my children? How can the law even allow or support that to happen?
                How can a person justify leaving because they don’t ‘feel’ happy?

              19. HH, if you are going to work, work to your best ability. Work in a way that is excellent and would make God proud. Work with integrity and to be proud of yourself. Idle hands are a playground for the enemy. But grow, learn, accept what you cannot control and enjoy learning about what you can control. Your thoughts, actions, words and behavior. Much love.

          2. HH. You are at a crossroads right now. You can either sit in the ashes, or use the time to plant new seeds of faith. Ashes are great soil for new life. God has you here for a reason. Maybe there is some forgiveness you need to give yourself. Maybe you need to really draw into God to feel His love, approval, and value in you…a child of the Most High God!

            Yes, you are staring at a mess, a broken relationship, a heartbreaking picture. But those are living things…of the spirit. And like a broken bone, with the proper setting, they can heal. They may never be original or like new, but even healed broken bones are built up and stronger than before.

            Maybe your wife needs some space to think. Maybe God needed to get her alone for Him to work on her heart. He has been working so hard in you. She needs that kind of attention too.

            I pray you take this time to grow inside and pick yoursrlf up after an appropriate time of greif. You have options. You can stay in a lonely, dark place in your mind, discouraged and lacking hope and faith, or you can choose to trust that God is still in control and even though you can’t see a way, God can make a way. Maybe He is giving you some time to discover the real you, the person you were designed to be, not a victim. But a victor. Your life does not solely consist of your marriage. There are good things too. I know they may seem small in comparison, but you have to start somewhere. Seek out someone to bless. It could be a neigbor, a friend, a clerk at the store. By helping someone with no expectations back, you will find strength. You will start to find value in yourself.

            I don’t know your story, but I am assuming you feel responsible for the break in your relationship. Maybe it is a reaction to your boundary setting, right or wrong…but okay, things did not go well. It does not mean that it will always be that way, and remember, emotions can change. Feelings can change. Time can heal, but I pray you can use this alone time to get to know yourself better. The loved, valued and cherished child of God. Many Prayers to Heal YOUR heart.

            1. LMS, I am most definitely partly responsible for the break in our relationship but not entirely responsible either. My story is a shameful story that I don’t like talking about. I was a person that I abhor now and she’s never forgiven me but she is also choosing to respond in a deliberately sinful way.

              You wrote further up that you were proud, perfectionistic and controlling. That was me exactly.
              And now that I’ve let go of all of that (and I most definitely have) I am struggling to know who I am. It’s almost a bit of an identity crisis?

              I’m not sure today. Sometimes through all of this I have a lot of peace and joy. Today is just a hard day. Mornings are lonely and silent. Where there once was little feet and voices now there is nothing.

              The whole separation has been so surreal though. There’s no anger either way, she wants me to see the kids as much as I can and has said that I’m a brilliant father. In fact she said that she knows I only want good for her and she couldn’t find another man like me in the world and yet she still left. She still has access to our joint bank accounts but I know she won’t use them. She texts me updates on their school activities and lets me know if there’s something on that I could go to.

              1. HH. I can’t stand the ugly, hurtful and scary monster I was. I really didn’t know that was in me. It’s in my husband too, but it wasn’t at first. He suffers from “the deadly 3” as well. (Pride, perfection and control). We fed off each other. My awakening with God really knocked it out of me, but it wasn’t till he asked for a divorce that it woke me up.

                He had humbly talked with me about something needing to change every few years. But I didn’t get it. I thought I knew what to do because my motives were for our good. It is humbling to realize a scared child and a monster can live in the same person, but it can. You, me, our spouses. That is sin. We are sinful creatures. But – every day, we each have a new chance to do better than before. And we also have the chance to ask for forgiveness as we learn to recognize our sin, repent and truly turn away from it. God knows it would overwhelm us to be shown every one of our sins at once. It would be crushing. But we need an attitude of desire to become better from it, not resentful that we are called out on it. We cannot fix it if we don’t know about it, right?

                I now enjoy finding out how I was disrespectful, cause then I can noodle it, turn it over and over looking at it from different perspectives. I have greater empathy for others and freedom from the pressure of needing to perfect things out of my control. When we learn to control only our own stuff, and not everyone else’s, we are freed from that crushing responsibility.

                You said in an earlier post it would be easier to be a woman…please realise that to give up control to a man can be very scary, especially knowing they are not perfect. But we are commanded to. Men are the head and have the responsibility for the family, but each person still is responsible for their own sin. God expects mistakes. Its okay if as the head of the family you flub up every once in a while. You learn from it. Do you expect your kids to make mistakes? That’s how children learn, right? If we expect imperfection, we aren’t so flipped out about it.

                It’s kind of good you learned about your control and perfection now, before it really started to be turned toward your kids as they grow older. As teenagers, that attitude would crush them cause they are naturally insecure and trying to find where they fit in the world. Be glad you are fixing it now. It’s never too late to learn! That’s why it is so important to study how Jesus responded and what He did. He is the gift of a living, tangible example for what God wanted us to do. We can never be as perfect as Jesus, but just in the attempt, we are blessed. “Seek and you shall find” We only have to seek. He doesn’t require us to find…He gives us the reward just for seeking! What mercy and grace!

                I am actually very happy to hear that your wife recognizes you being a great dad! That she is encouraging your relationship there. Maybe as she can observe the new you with the kids and hear you honor their mother to them, she may soften and start to see you in a new light.

                So you blew it with your “stinking thinking” in the past. Okay, so learn from it. Your past does not have to define you. A windshield is way bigger than a rear view mirror for a reason. What lies before you is more important than what is behind you. Guess what, you just discovered how imperfect you really are. How much you need God. How you could never have succeeded without Him. So now you are on a solid foundation where before you were not. Your best days are ahead, not behind you. You are a better person now. You may always struggle with those 3 sins, but you can see them, recognize them and control them. I pray you can get your approval from God, and not your wife, or any human.

                She may have needed a break too. It’s hard to know what end is up in a storm. Give her the gift of space, but maybe see if God wants you to let her know you would like to start talking when she is ready. Listen to the Holy Spirit and be willing to dig deep inside yourself to remove those sins revealed. But forgive yourself as well. Forgive yourself that you made a mistake, that you chose a wrong attitude. Your wife will have to answer for HER sins, you run your own race right now. Learn about you. She probably has a lot to learn about herself too.

                Tomorrow will be a better day. It may not be what you think it will or should be, but trust that God will give you today what you need for today. And tomorrow he will give you the strength or whatever for the next day. It’s in you, you just need to dig it up. Now is your chance to become the real you. God bless you and hold you under His wing and give you peace tonight.

              2. Oh wow. Double wow. That’s like reading my biography. I really didn’t know that I could be the horrible monster that I was too. It scared me. And it scared me because I realised that same monster was in my wife and she had the same capacity to hurt me too. So I tried to control the monster in me and in her. It didn’t work. Then God saved me 7 years ago and it woke me up big time and I changed so much of who I was, but it wasn’t until this separation was brought up last year that I have woken up to the big 3. This sentence “I thought I knew what to do because my motives were good” is EXACTLY me. I am reminded of Moses sitting on a well alone after killing an Egyptian thinking “But I just wanted to free my people”.

                YES!!! It is a CRUSHING responsibility to make oneself responsible for controlling others. And so liberating to give that up! I tried to explain that to my wife just before she left that I felt so free now that I didn’t feel responsible for her actions but she said that I’m only saying it because she’s leaving.

                But still so many questions and confusion in me! April does a brilliant job of explaining godly submission but I haven’t found as clear an understanding of godly headship. How on earth does a man be the head of his home without some form of control???? Do you have any answers to that? I don’t. But I want the answers.

                In some ways the new me is attractive to her, she said once last year that she is “being drawn in by my love and is confused” but as soon as she is drawn in she hardens herself off again and becomes more resolved to leave. Now she has. She says that as soon as she starts to trust I do something else that shows her I’m still the same horrible person. And I have made mistakes! And I still will. Aaargh! It’s like I have to be perfect before she will trust me.

                And yet reading through your post I feel HOPE! Not hope in a brilliant reconciliation but hope that God is still in control. Hope that somehow He can use this for our good. Hope that my horrible mistakes can be overturned.

                Thank you LMS. Jesus has spoken through you today.

              3. HH,

                I love the insights God is giving you – the thing about Moses – I can relate to so much!

                I am not a husband, obviously. But I do have authority over my children. I have had to wrestle with how to exercise loving, humble, godly authority but not be controlling or harsh, and not be passive, either. There is this balance thing – and it is difficult! I do not claim to have it all figured out. It is easier for me to relate to my husband without control because I have influence authority with him, not positional authority. It is much harder not to veer over into too much control with my children for me. It truly does require the Holy Spirit.

                Our son is 14 now, he is responding more and more to respect. He is becoming increasingly independent. I want him to be independent and to make wise choices for himself. But he is not fully grown yet. He still needs discipline at times and guidance and provision. I am learning how to ask him for things in a respectful way, with a pleasant tone of voice. I have learned that when I come down hard on him, he shuts me out more and more as he gets older. I am transitioning with him from being in charge and having positional authority toward having more influence authority. So it is an interesting time of flux as he continues to become more and more almost an adult. I grapple with that balance of having authority but not being too controlling or too passive – so I feel like I know some of what you are describing.

                Have you checked out Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem? In my view, that is one of the best resources on this issue that I have found so far.

              4. HH. It can be very scary to be responsible for a whole family, but realize that you are not meant to do it perfectly. You can’t control it anyway. God does that for you…if you let him. You are to guide, make your best judgement after careful thinking, ask for godly advice and seek to please God with the decisions. Sometimes you may feel you made a mistake or things got in the way (like a headstrong spouse), but trust that God can still bring good out of any situation. What are you REALLY in control of anyway? Only these things: your behavior, thoughts, words, actions and responses. That’s it. You can’t control those things in a single human being, even children. You can’t control the stock market, who gets voted in or the weather either. So you adapt. You can influence, and guide. But it may not always be the way you think it’s going to turn out…God’s way is always best “not my will, Lord, but yours”…whose will did you demand to be followed?

                Control is based in fear. Fear of failure, of being seen as a fraud. Also pride.. I know what’s best because my motives are good and I love my family and only want what’s best. It’s still control and pride. Sins. So if you can truly trust that God is in control, and He desires all good for us, then accept His guidance and go with the way you are being led. Maybe it’s in the thoughtful suggestions of a wife, or the advice of a coworker. The Holy Spirit is our compass. It feels like throwing yourself off a cliff to give up control and give it to God, but that is when true and pure faith gets developed!

                About your wife’s mixed messages…she is scared and distrustful. Period. My husband is doing this right now too. I’m sitting in the boat next to you. But think. For all the time she has known you, you have been one way, then “bam!” You changed your whole attitude. If someone has not gone through that type of awakening, they don’t understand it. What is your wife’s view on God? Mine is far away from Him. He is waiting for the other shoe to fall he thinks he can wait out this temporary “me” and if he waits long enough, it will change again. That is my history, I don’t blame him for it.

                I don’t know if I would trust a complete 180 change in my husband either. Only time and consistency in your behavior will prove it to her. But she is like a Hawkeye on you right niw. Looking for cracks in the armor. She wants to beleive it is a real and true change, but can’t trust it yet. She is done being let down, controlled, held to the same levels of perfection you hold yourself to. She can’t do it. She feels she can’t ever be good enough for you. So she doesn’t want to ever feel that dissapointment, rejection and unworthiness again. So she is kind of gun shy. At the slightest dissaproval, she she gets skittish, afraid the monster is back.

                I actually think you have a good chance she will figure stuff out from what you said. But it will take time. You have learned so much. Now it is her turn. She has things to figure out, how to not be so easily offended, how to not look for her own approval from you. She may have treated you as her god. I did that to my husband, and vice versa. We are commanded to forgive, but not to trust (people). That will take much time and healing. Give her that gift and stay in the pocket. Keep working on your perfection, control and pride. But learn how to make mistakes and be okay with it. Forgive yourself. In Jesus’ name.


              5. Thanks LMS.

                Her view on God is “Who is He?” and “What if He doesn’t even exist and doesn’t care what I do?”
                Yep, she treated me as her god.

              6. I guess I had boundaries to lay down too. Last night I asked my husband to leave our home. I tried to talk to him about how much hurt I am in. That I feel not listened to. I asked him if he wanted to work on this marriage. I need him to pick himself up and try, just try. I promised that I knew better, was much more able to be a better wife and person. I feel I have been living that truth. I know I have. I was respectful, loving, of course not 100%, but vastly improved. I just needed some kind of communication. The deafening silence had become intolerable. I was praying God could deliver my words to his heart.

                I was told “I am not interested. I don’t want a relationship with you. Only here for the kids. I don’t care about your pain…it’s always about you.” I explained that I care very much about how I made him feel and that I never want to be that ugly person again. He said he cannot forgive and he is unwilling to move forward. Then it came out. I told him I think it’s time he leaves then. I told him my desire is to mend our relationship and move foward in love and respect and create a stronger marriage than we have ever had.” I slept on the couch…if you call that slept. But I went into my prayer room first to talk with God about it.

                I was not upset, not feeling convicted. Not panicky. There was no fear…but peace. I feel like this was coming for a long time. But I cannot be around the blatant sin and disrespectful and unloving hatefulness toward me anymore. I am not a ghost. I am not the hired help. God values me, it’s all I need. I will be okay in all of this with God’s help. I know we need his help still. I need prayers for my husband to open his heart and for God to remove the scales from his eyes and ears to hear my cry for resolution to our marriage if it is still in God’s will. I am more than willing to work on this, but I just can’t do it alone, and even God grants him his free will. It takes 3 for a marriage to work. I am willing to meet him where he can, but I just pray that my husband can simply stand up…it would be a move forward.

                I cannot say that there was no fear, but I felt strength from God. I cannot say that doubt and worry is not trying to creep in and imprison me again. I laid down a boundary. I’m not trying to end my marriage, I’m trying to reconcile it. I love my husband so much it hurts. I want him to feel the joy of life again. I would love for him to find God, but that seems so far away at this point. I won’t give up hope, but I had to love myself and also my husband enough to confront this sin.

                I just need prayers and strength for today. I know God can make something beautiful out of all of this. God, please take me and my husband under your wing of protection and guide me in my ways todsy. Please be with my husband and soften his heart. Amen.

              7. LMSdaily115,

                I know that you have been seeking to obey and follow Christ since January of 2015. I know how much He has transformed your heart. I know how you abide in Him and love Him more than anything and how you have been so willing to die to self in order to breathe hope, healing, and life into your marriage just to please God and to bless your husband. I know that you have not made this decision lightly. Your husband has been extremely difficult to love and respect, contentious, hateful, unforgiving…

                I support whatever you believe God desires you to do, my dear sister. Sometimes, it can take setting a boundary or confronting sin – for healing to begin. God used his threat of divorce to wake you up. I pray for God’s wisdom for you that you might approach this with His Spirit and with pure motives. I pray for God to work in your husband’s heart to decide to forgive and to rebuild together and that he might find hope in Christ.

                I am praying for you to have the time you need to be still before God and to hear His voice clearly and that you might act in obedience – that is all that matters. Sending you the biggest hug, my precious sister!

              8. LMS,

                I’m so sorry. I know the answer wasn’t what you wanted to hear. I’ve experienced the same thing in some ways (although without the separation). Hearing those words cuts deep. I am praying for you today. I also understand the sense of peace and the idea that God values you. Those are both things I have sensed greatly during this time. (and yes, grief like I’ve never known before, as well).

                Oh, Lord – please be with our sister and comfort her today. I pray your peace would wash over her and that she would be still and know that you are God. Father, the worries and what-ifs will be knocking at the door. I pray that you will take away confusion and help her to know the next step to take. That you will give her and her children the strength they need to face the days ahead. Lord, we pray that you would also mercifully turn the heart of her husband to see what he might lose if he stays in this place of unforgiveness. Set him free, Father, and help him to release his hurts to You. God, our spouses need to be set free! They are in bondage in different ways. You are the only One that can do it! Our eyes are on You, Lord, nothing else will do. No other solution will work, no temporary healing will do. We need You to come in power and set our spouses free and set us freer still in areas in our own lives.

                God protect us from bitterness, anger, unforgiveness and help us to bless our spouses even as we are being treated unfairly and wrongly.

                We love You, we thank You for what You will do in the days ahead. You know the plans You have for us – plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future. We claim that promise and stand on it today, Father.

                In the powerful name of Jesus, the name above all other names – Amen.

              9. CiC. Thank you so much for your insight and support in this last few weeks. You have been a rock of advice and a balm. I have read every post here, but have been praying on what to respond. I just want you to know I appreciate all your help. Also, Bel, Humbled Husband and all the others…of course April too. I cannot say enough how glad I am to have this group for support. It is a lifeline and an honor to be a part of it. The God we read about 2000 years ago used to talk to us in clouds of smoke, fire, burning bushes and bright lights…now He talks through blogs, emails and whatever is available…but He ALWAYS talks through His people. God is good, always, and always, God is good!

              10. Oh LMS 🙁 I did not enjoy reading this. You have grown so much and seem to be so wise, I truly thought your husband would have softened.

                My best friend was shocked beyond words when my wife moved out. He thought for sure that she would soften.

                I will pray for you today. I can only pray from a broken heart myself but I will pray.

              11. HH. Thank you for your prayers. I knew posting this might be hard for some to read. I especially prayed for you. I really did not think I would be having that conversation last night. I am still in shock. But all day, God kept confirming I did right. He sent my aunt, who watched how her mother dealt with an alcoholic, cheating husband…and reconciled. Even my aunt herself had to have her controling and prideful husband move out, but he came back and made it work. Both my grandmother and aunt are devout and God-loving Christians. Her advice was “let go, and let God”. I had been praying that I find the courage to call her and ask advice…and today of all days, I ran into her in public. She sat right there with me. Such a God-sent miracle today!!!!

                I didn’t want to do this..boundaries. But if my child kept stealing a candy bar when we went shopping and I ignored it and never confronted and addressed it…then I’m being a bad mother by allowing my child to break the law. In the same way, I needed to address the every day, punch-in-the-stomach ways he was hurting me. I have turned the other cheek, prayed, asked God to show me what I was doing wrong, etc. But He revealed that I am not letting my husband experience the consequences of his actions. I kerp enabling this treatment by ignoring and hiding my feelings from him. He needed to hear how this way of life is not helping our relationship.

                My ultimate goal is to go where God wants me. I laid this boundary down in love. My husband needs to go find himself and it is too much hurt for me right now. I need a break, a rest. I told him when he is ready to work on us, the door will be open. But he needs to do this journey, and I can’t help him anymore with this part. He tried to twist it to make me look like I’m trying to make him do it MY way, or in MY timeline… that I am still being controlling and can’t accept him the way he is. I can accept him, and have. I still love him. But I have to be able to look myself in the mirror, face God, and know I with His assurance that I did what He asked of me. I put God first. Not my marriage, my husband, myself or even my kids. I chose God. And He is still on the throne in control.

                I pray that I can give you my marriage, my husband, my pain and hurt and fear. I lay it all at your feet today. I don’t see a way, but Lord, I know and trust you can make a way. I am setting my butterfly free. If he returns, true love was meant to be. If not, I will joyfully await what new, wonderful thing you have laid out for me. I pray for all of us out there hurting, standing for reconciled marriages, even through the tough choices and sacrifices of what we hold so tightly. I cling only to God, now. I pray we all can trust God with everything.

              12. LMS,

                I do understand where you are coming from. I really do. How can two walk together unless they be agreed? When one wants to serve God and the other is questioning if God exists there can not be harmony. In my heart, I know that my own separation is actually necessary and that my wife felt caged and trapped living with me. She was really only staying for the kids and for sex. I can see that she is driven by sin and self but I can also see that she cannot truly understand the freedom I enjoy in Christ. She hates it when I say that I feel free in Him. I understand what you mean about setting a butterfly free and letting it fly.

                If my wife reaches and end of herself and turns to Christ it will be HER turning, not mine. This is one of the first times she has really made her own decisions and whilst they are not really good decisions they are her own. And if she returns it will also be her own decision. In a way we have actually been separated for a year and a half already in Spirit.

                The hard thing for both you and I is how to deal with the waiting. I felt peace and joy leading right into the separation but on the day I completely lost it. Totally unable to do anything but cry. There is tremendous pain in not being wanted by your spouse.

                I also understand the thought of enabling their sin. I have struggled with that immensely, I have done almost all the housework for years and I struggled with whether I was enabling her sin or turning the other cheek in love. These are hard questions.

                I was praying this morning, “Lord how can our relationship ever work if she returns and is still the same person?” And the truth is, it couldn’t. It can only work if she returns to Christ. So there is peace in the thought that it had to be but also the pain. A peaceful pain if you will.

                I will pray for you right now LMS. I will pray that God will give you HIS wisdom and HIS peace in the days to come. It will not be easy.

              13. HH, I’m so sad for your situation. April and LMS and CIC all have such wise, and helpful things to say. I can’t seem to express myself that well but I jyst want you to know that I also am praying for you each day. I ask God to give you comfort, strength and guidance in all your thoughts words and deeds. I wanted to write down a couple of my favourite bible verses. I love to repeat these over and over and I can’t help but smile and thank God.
                “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23.
                The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in who I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalms 18:2.
                For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. Psalms 22:24.
                For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:5.
                Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:14.
                The next two bring me much hope and comfort.
                For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33
                Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16,17.
                This last one in particular is great when those inevitable days of complete despair and hopelessness hit. This life is such a short time when we look at eternity. That is the ultimate goal. Take one day at a time. Yesterday is a day you never have to repeat again and tomorrow brings us closer to paradise. He will not give you more than you can handle. All advice probably seems easier said than done but stay close to God and He will give you strength. Will pray for you each day.

              14. Bel, thank you so much for these scriptures. They are beautiful and just what we need to hear right now.

                I agree with your comment to me about coming here to this site! What a blessing.

                ((((Hugs)))) to you today. I pray God encourages you with something so specific for you that you will know it is Him loving on you.

              15. Bel thank you for your prayers and scripture support. It does not matter that you don’t feel eloquent or clever with words, I thank God for your heart of care.

                In Christ, HH

          3. I am so sorry, Humbled Husband.

            Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            Take comfort knowing the Lord is near.

            Psalm 23 is very precious to me right now. The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want – (we have Him, what else do we really need?) He makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, He will restore our hurting souls. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake!!! (this is all about Him!) Even though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death of our marriages, we will fear no evil. For He is with us, His rod and His staff, they comfort us. He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies (to me, this means that He gives us all that we need and we can still live abundantly even in the midst of circumstances where others seem against us); He anoints our heads with oil, our cups overflow. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us (the original word really means pursue more than follow!!!!) all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


            Oh, Father, we lift our brother up to you today. I pray that You will remind him that he is seated in the heavenlies with you even now. That he has every spiritual blessing in Christ. Father, supernaturally flood him with your peace as he continues to pray, cast his burdens on you and, yes, thank you in the midst of his circumstances. You are an awesome God!!! You are able to do far above what we ask and think. Your ways are so much higher than ours, Lord! Be lifted up and glorified in our lives. Set our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…..who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. You have called us all to suffering for Your name’s sake and this is what our brother is going through even now. Yes, it looks differently than what we think of as persecution, but it still is. Praise you, God, that HH is called by your name and has been counted worthy of suffering for Your name. Take away confusion and doubt and remind HH that even when he fails and missteps at times, You will use it all for good and no one can thwart Your plans.

            In Jesus’ name, Amen!

        3. I really, really recommend Leslie Vernick’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, for those of us in these situations. Really good so far (haven’t finished all of it, but it is solid!).

          Please pray for me as I need to hear God’s voice very clearly as to how to proceed with my husband and our relationship. He wants to “fresh start/clean slate”. I considered that for a few hours, but God seems to be saying that’s not an option. That is pretending and not dealing with issues. That’s what he’s wanted me to do for our entire marriage and it doesn’t work. I need wisdom on how to speak to him about my thoughts about this in a respectful way…..or wisdom if it’s best just to not bring it up at all until we go to counseling again next Thursday. God has stopped me from speaking many times to him as He has shown me that the conversation will probably go nowhere good (as evidenced by many past conversations of this nature).

          It is so strange to be in this place with my husband. Right now, I’m grateful that we are being civil and friendly to each other and the kids are not feeling the high tension of where we were a week or so ago. At that time, my husband was extremely angry about the boundary I had set and was responding with more anger as I responded with grace to him. I was actually scared for a short period of time because of the anger in him and drinking combined. I think God is asking me to show him as much love and assurance that I can that I do want this marriage to work (I feel he is afraid of being abandoned, this is something I sense in my spirit). Yet, I know God has told me I need to protect and guard my heart and emotions. I do not feel safe at all sharing my heart with him. I also feel like God has said that I can let go of some of my boundary if/when God leads. So far, it hasn’t been an issue, but it might be. I want to remain submissive but respect myself at the same time.

          Thanks for prayers and I am praying for those who are hurting today.

          1. ContentinChrist,

            Thank you for sharing this resource. I have read a number of her posts on her site http://www.leslievernick.com that deal with how to handle an emotionally abusive spouse in a godly way – and I have been impressed with what I have read. I would encourage everyone to compare anything that any author says against Scripture and to use discernment with the Holy Spirit when reading anything. Follow God far more than any human!

            I pray for God to give you His wisdom and for you to be very sensitive to His voice and that you might abide in Him and be filled to overflowing with His Spirit so that you can hear clearly and obey what God prompts you to do. This is a difficult balance – that absolutely requires total dependence on God’s wisdom and His Spirit. I’m glad you are showing grace, love, and respect for your husband and that you are seeking to respect God and yourself, as well.

            Let us know how we can support and pray for you, precious sister!

  16. Love Psalm 27, perhaps it will be a blessing to y’all today. David faced physical human enemies. We face spiritual enemies. But the truths of this psalm still apply.

    I pray we will each take time when we are in the valley and feeling alone – to use that opportunity to press into God and to pray, praise Him, study, seek Him, thank Him, and worship Him. Then the times of fiery trial will also be times of great growth and strengthening. Much love to each of you!

    1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
    2 When the wicked advance against me
    to devour[a] me,
    it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
    3 Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
    though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.
    4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
    that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
    to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

    5 For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
    he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.
    6 Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
    at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.
    7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
    8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
    9 Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
    Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.
    10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
    11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
    12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
    13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
    14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC4kbteMLCg?rel=0&w=560&h=315%5D

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MybjSe_WWn4?rel=0&w=420&h=315%5D

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

    1. I love that Psalm. That plus Psalm 25 have been a rock to me. I like that God gives us the promise that we will see His work “in the land of the living”.

  17. Love this quote from “The Complete Collection of E. M. Bounds on Prayer” by E. M. Bounds and wanted to share this quote with you. (It applies to women, too, of course!)

    “We put it as our most sober judgment that the great need of the Church in this and all ages is men of such commanding faith, of such unsullied holiness, of such marked spiritual vigor and consuming zeal, that their prayers, faith, lives, and ministry will be of such a radical and aggressive form as to work spiritual revolutions which will form eras in individual and Church life. We do not mean men who get up sensational stirs by novel devices, nor those who attract by a pleasing entertainment; but men who can stir things, and work revolutions by the preaching of God’s Word and by the power of the Holy Ghost, revolutions which change the whole current of things. Natural ability and educational advantages do not figure as factors in this matter; but capacity for faith, the ability to pray, the power of thorough consecration, the ability of self-littleness, an absolute losing of one’s self in God’s glory, and an ever-present and insatiable yearning and seeking after all the fullness of God—men who can set the Church ablaze for God; not in a noisy, showy way, but with an intense and quiet heat that melts and moves everything for God. God can work wonders if he can get a suitable man. Men can work wonders if they can get God to lead them. The full endowment of the spirit that turned the world upside down would be eminently useful in these latter days. Men who can stir things mightily for God, whose spiritual revolutions change the whole aspect of things, are the universal need of the Church.”

    Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/1NaeZDf

  18. Might be helpful for all,

    Even now, I don’t revert back to the way I used to interact and think about Greg. I don’t cling to him. I have to be sure I don’t idolize him. There is a certain amount of separation that is necessary emotionally and spiritually – so that we have healthy closeness and I don’t go back to being enmeshed. There is healthy space there now that wasn’t there before – that I actually fought before.

    Sometimes wives think, “Once my husband and I reconcile, I can go right back to all of my old ways of relating to him and make him the biggest thing in my heart again.”


    Really that won’t work. God has to be the main thing. My main source of everything. Even when the marriage is healed. I can’t look to my husband to meet those needs that only God can meet. So even when the marriage is healed and is better than ever – it is not what I used to dream of before God changed me. It is not a Hollywood movie. The closeness and intimacy are different from what I used to picture as being “ideal.” It is awesome, and better than it ever was before. I thank and praise God for what He has done in our marriage. But it is a new way of relating where my feelings aren’t the most important thing, Greg is not the most important thing, romance and happiness are not the most important thing. The marriage isn’t the most important thing. Even when the marriage is healed, God must be the most important thing – by far – and I still must hold everything else very loosely all the time.

    I’m not sure how to explain this well. But I think it may be helpful to know this ahead of time:

    – It is not “I’ll really trust God right now in the crisis, and then I’ll go back to trusting my husband and myself again.”
    – It’s “I’m going to really trust God with everything today, and every day for the rest of my life no matter what else happens. Nothing is coming between God and me. Nothing is more important than He is. The only thing that matters is His glory and His pleasure with me.”

    That is a permanent change – and even when the marriage is healed, that change must stay in place. Jesus is not a “means to an end.” He IS the goal. He IS the prize. He IS the end. I hope that makes some sense! God must become infinitely more important than anything or anyone else in our lives. The healed marriage is icing on the cake. In Christ, I can be content with or without the marriage being healed and my husband being changed. What I can’t be content without is Christ!

    1. This is great, April. God-inspired. This is what I’m sensing in my spirit. I know that even if we are reconciled fully and healthily, things are going to look different. Everything has shifted in me and there is no turning back. Part of that shifting has rocked the boat here because my husband isn’t my idol anymore while for so long, he was.

      Thank you for this comment. You’re explaining it very well. And, it helps clarify and confirm to me the things I’m sensing and hearing from God.

      You know jealousy has been a thing for me in the past. For the past several months, I can see that God has really been setting me free there. I had a feeling my husband was staring at someone today — think I even saw some eye contact going on. But, my habits are starting to change so that now I am just going straight to Jesus. Just giving it to Him, knowing that I can’t control that, that I just need to surrender my husband to Him to let Him work that out. I am loved perfectly by my God and He is faithful. I can also see my husband is in bondage and blinded by the enemy and those actions aren’t hitting me as personally as they were before. Is it ideal? No, of course not. Yes, it still hurts. But, it’s different now.

      Thanks, April. Love you!

      1. ContentinChrist,

        I am so glad about what God has changed in you. Those are GOOD changes. It is hard for husbands who don’t know Christ to relate or to understand what is happening sometimes when things shift so dramatically. But these are good changes. I’m glad this made sense. I wasn’t completely sure it would! But I felt impressed that God wanted me to share that message – to attempt to, at least.

        I love the perspective God is giving you on your husband. And on Himself! I know God will direct you as you continue to seek Him, my precious sister. Sending you a huge hug!

        Much love!

    2. April,

      I think this is a wonderful post. I’m not sure I understand it FULLY but I grasp the basic concept. It’s walking by faith not by sight. It’s dying to self and living in and through Christ.

      I am grappling with this question myself in a lot of ways. Questions like “How do I walk righteously before God and live in this marriage” and “How does marriage actually work” and “I don’t really know how marriage works” are ALL related to this concept. And I don’t have the answers…..yet.

      Grapple, read, pray, trust, fall, learn, praise, grapple, read, pray etc etc

      At least I’ve got plenty of time to do this being alone!! And if the change and walking with God is what HEALS the marriage (and ourselves) then it makes perfect sense that continuing walking with God in this way is what will bring continued blessing and healing in other ways.

      1. HH,

        THAT IS EXACTLY your assignment. You will need to understand God’s design in marriage before there is any chance. Even if your wife does not know how either, it just takes one of you to understand and be a living example to her as well. My husbsnd works 16-18 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. I have had nothing but time over this last year and a half to do just that. And it is the night and day difference to your soul. As you realize why the old ways did not work, you ask for forgiveness of them, receive that forgiveness inside yourself. Let it go and dedicate to learning a new, right way. Even if she is not around to practice with. You will have opportunities to just let your love for God and others shine through to every one around you. Kids, coworkers, grocery store clerks, etc. Even your friends and other relatives. You will be busy in this. You will hunger for more to learn. Become a scholar in the subjuect. Then live it. Make it your mantra and legitimize it by living the type of life God can be proud of you for.

        My mantra is the scripture I long to hear at the end of this life as I am face to face with my Lord in Heaven…” well done by good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:21). I also find comfort in “For me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

        You will find where you need to go as you listen to the Holy Spirit.

        I am excited for you to embark on this journey. There is so much good advice and teachings and support from this blog. I would really consider many of the books on April’s book list. Have you read “Love and Respect” yet? I would start there. Much love.

        1. Crikey!!! And my wife thinks I work t0o much doing 10 hours a day 5 days a week!

          I am STARVING to learn this new way. I can sense the peace and the Spirit when I move according to His guidance and also when I do not. It is slowly becoming more obvious when I am living in the power of the flesh and when it is in the power of the Spirit. I am super dumb though!! I am regularly praying the prayer of 2 Corinthians 3:16 “When anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away” and trusting God to remove the scales from my spiritual eyes.

          Yes I have read love and respect quite a few times lately. It is a good book! I totally understand the CHAIRS acronym and definitely think that the author is on the money about the way I am designed to operate, but after pouring over the whole book a few times I have concluded that we are one of the rare cases included in the Appendix D (Exceptions to the love and respect rule). She has always been a stonewaller who never spoke on how she felt, it was always me who said can we please talk and resolve this and she’d say no let’s just drop it and forget it. I can accept that she is still designed to operate according to the COUPLE principle but for some reason she doesn’t operate like the book says and never has. I’ve sat down with her many a time over the past ten years and asked her if there is anything she’d like to talk about and she’s said no I’m fine. And then bang, she left. I am confusicated!

          I’m reading a book called “With Christ in the school of prayer” at the moment. It’s great 🙂

          Oh and I have the kids home for the weekend!!!!! My daughter is running around the house yelling “I love my daddy and my teddy and I am home and I am so excited” at the top of her little 3yo voice. Such a blessing 🙂 Tonight is a good night.

          1. HH,

            When someone hungers and thirsts for God and His ways – He will fill that person up in His time! 🙂 Love that.

            Some wives who are more introverted or who tend to be more passive may not operate under the general principles of COUPLE. Praying for God’s wisdom for you about how to understand her in particular.

            I LOVE hearing about the kids being home and how excited they are! WOOHOO!!! What a blessing. 🙂 ENJOY them!

            1. Yep, thanks God! Instead of turning to a well written book on normal women to understand my wife I got a unique one I have to figure it out on my own!!

          2. HH, I’m so happy you have your kids as a blessing with you today! GOD is giving you a hug through them.

            Here is something that might help. I was a complainer, yeller, arguer. I talked and talked. I never felt heard by my husband. He would tune me out, then manupulate and guilt me until we did things his way. He can also sell ice in Alaska. I hated this. It made be be MORE disrespectful and argumentative because I am not a doormat type. But as I was on this journey and literally going through each item on the list of ways men feel disrespected (btw, she has a list of how women feel unloved, too), I came across how arguing was disrespectful to men. I was working on each item to stop my destructive begavior. Hmmm, how do I get heard then, though? I deserve a voice as well. But going into a discussion, it occurred to me that I am not being heard anyway. My husband cannot hear me because he has the same desire. And all we were doing was putting our own desire to be heard AHEAD of desiring to hear…the other! At that moment, I decided to package up my gripes, and wanting to get through to him, because it was like throwing stones at a brick wall anyway and I saved my breath. I, instead, focused on hearing HIM and meeting his needs, today. It was a start. I would deal table my hurt for a different time. But today is about his needs. I listened to how he felt and acknowledged it. I eould respond “wow, when I did X , it must have really made you feel Y. Or simply acknowledging how he felt or saw the situation. I didn’t have to agree, I didn’t try to change his thinking. I just accepted this was where he was. I didn’t try to make him see the other side of things or ignore how he felt. He wasn’t wrong, or missing it. This was his perceptions for him. This was HIS reality, even if it wasn’t mine or even if I disagreed.

            He couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t doing the debate. He realized he was talking alot and it made him uncomfortable. He asked why i wasnt talking. I told him ive done enough of that and that i am learning a whole bunch by listening instead of talking. I envouraged him. But the whole time, I was at peace, learned alot about where he was at on his own journey and he finally felt “heard”. It became a turning point. He started to say that the whole house felt safer, not a war zone. All because I stopped expecting him to put my agenda first and I listened. Women need this really bad. We don’t need our men to run around fixing all our problems, but I know that feels like a loving thing for men to do. We just want to be heard and have our feelings validated. Not dismissed. If someone who is controlling, like both me and my husband, and you were, then it is pretty pointless to try to state your case to them or have your opinions or thoughrs even considered, because we are too busy manipulating to make it all go our way.

            Now, the drawback is I was hoping my husband would start to feel safe to open up. But he remained stonewalled. I got impatient. I still grapple with timing…I want immediate resolve of problems. He enjoyed the silence and I longed for communication. But in order to honor God, I kept my own agenda on the side and felt I will deal with that when my husband reciprocated and asks me for my thoughts and wants to listen. He never did. He got me to shut up and didn’t want to deal with “an emotional woman”. N o communication was happening and we drifted farther away, he dI’d nothing about it. I was trying to give him space to heal and think. I was working on my impatience. But this broiled inside me. I would try every few weeks to open up the lines of communication, talk things out. He continued to stonewall and argue. He didn’t understand that my sudden quietness was because I put him ahead of me, but he was kind of abusing it all. So I began to ferl too vulnerable when I shared my feelings. It hurt more and more. I stopped sharing. I didn’t want to stonewall also, but my feelings were not safe with him. He was still in attack, blame and control mode. I’m not a natural stonewalker, I’m just in self preservation mode now. I tried 2 nights ago to not stonewall and I got the big cement door slammed in my face with my heart in the door jamb.

            My point is, maybe your wife felt it was useless to talk to you because she never felt heard, respected or valued anyway. If all ended up being your way, she may be feeling like a ghost, like I did, and just the hired help, like I do. She craves to be considered, heard and validated. Not always right, but allowed some open space to try, maybe fail, but maybe succeed. I did a pendulum swing and am trying to settle. I think God has been nudging me now to speak up and not just be a doormat, but not to go back to the screaming mimi I once was either. I needed to learn how to confront my husbands sin in a respectful and loving way, for the greater good of the relationship, not just my own agenda. I am also re-addressing the idol of my husband’s ferlings over doing what God asks me to do. I was not honoring my Lord by allowing his child (me) to be treated in such a disrespectful and unloving way. I have stuck up for my husband for so long, I forgot to stick up for myself. I just had to learn how to do that in a way that honors God, not satan.

            Today, I realized my husband and I did things “my” way for many years, but it hurt him too much. He asked for a divorce. Then for this last year and a half, we did things “his” way and it hurt me too much and I asked him to move out (I would have left and taken the kids with me, but he desired his kids to stay in their home and I am the primary caregiver due to his work schedule, plus he didn’t want to think of what kind of junky apartment I could afford on my own and having his kids live in less than what they are used to because of our problems, not theirs, so I submitted to him to stay in the house. I wanted to leave, though). The reality is we need to work on our marriage in “our” way. As a team. Not as competitors. No one wins in a “my way or the highway” type of plan. I asked him if he would work with me. He simply said no. Control. Pride. Perfectionism. What was I supposed to do with that? Say “ok, then let’s keep going back and forth like we have for 19 years and see if it gets better.” It’s not going to work, that’s chaos and madness. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. A marriage is 2 becoming 1. Not 2 competing to see whi wins today and who loses. I missed that point the first time around. My husband was more mature on this than I was. But he has given up and become very self centered and thints this way now. I learned, bUT lost my teammate. I pray he comes out of it. If God can do it for bullheaded me, He can do it for our spouses too.

            I pray your wife can soften and start to feel safe to open up to you. I pray that you can simply receive her words and accept them and validate her feelings. I pray that God will work on both of you to remove the scales and unplug the ears.

            I don’t really know if you and your wife “don’t fit the mold”. Maybe they are rebound pendulum swings instead. It might be that in her mind she tried and tried and now feels it’s pointless. She needs to feel safe again. My husband has been told that I dont feel safe sharing my emotions with him anymore. So he thinks I’m stonewalling him. But he doesn’t understand how God has healed me and how hurtful some of his words or actions have been. He doesn’t want to take on ownership of his sins, because then he will have to face that he was wrong and be forced to see that ugliness inside himself as well. It is so much easier to just blame the ugliness on others. Until we look at our own monster in the eye and acknowledge it, we are fighting against the wrong enemy. God can help you fight that monster (which is satan, the source of sin). He has already overcome evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee”. Face the enemy, don’t let him be in the copilot seat next to you. God is right there beside you ready for battle and will never leave you.

            As you learn to understand women and your wife in general, you might start to see why she reacted the way she did. It might not have been good reactions or righteous, but you can understand them. I totally get why my husband is so shut down, bitter, angry and hurt…now, but I didn’t before. I only saw my own hurt and was reacting to it with my own set of sin. Until I gave my hurt to God, I couldn’t stop the damage I was inflicting on my husband. He said the bleeding stopped. For him, he was healing. But it was costing me. I was bleeding. We need to try to heal each other. Not only one.

            You will be in my prayers today rejoicing in your hug from God. I pray for our spouses to be released from their spiritual prison and learn to open their heart with compassion and love. I pray that seeds be planted to start to forgive and hopefully trust again. Lord, I pray that healing all around can happen and I know you can restore these marriages if it is your will. You can breathe life into dry bones. Lord, I know your timing is perfect, not ours. I just pray that you guide us and discipline us and help us learn and grow. You are a good, good father and love us all completely. Thank you Lord for your mercy and patience. In your name we pray, amen.

            1. LMSdaily115 (and April, if you care to respond),

              I’m so saddened by all the pain you and your family are going through. It’s heartbreaking all around and I wiped tears as I read your story this week. I wish you weren’t all going through this, and I pray God works in all your hearts for His greatest glory and for your good.

              As someone who doesn’t know your full story, I am curious about your thought process after reading some of the things you wrote. I was told some similar things by my husband during our painful years that you describe your husband telling you this week. I translated his words at the time very differently then, than I have come to understand them years later. My filters kept me from hearing his heart.

              Is it possible that your husband was just telling you his honest perspective of your actions rather than twisting your words to manipulate you this week? I mean, I could see how he might feel like you backed him into a corner when he was still very hurt and distrusting of you from the many years you didn’t get it right, by your own admission. But now that you have new insight and have given it a year and a half of your very best, you took the lead and forced his hand, in a sense. Am I wrong?

              It seems important to note that your husband was trying to do what he thought was best for the kids under the current excrutiating circumstances. No, he doesn’t seem to have been treating you well AT ALL in the last year, but I just wondered if there was another option other than asking him to talk it out at that moment, or leave.

              I truly don’t want to add to your pain, which I’m sure is quite real and intense (I’m so so sorry), but I think of how some others may be reading this thread and now entertaining the idea of giving their spouses a similar ultimatum when there may be a way to avoid that.

              I hope this doesn’t read as an attack. I say it with significant concern for others, and also with a big dose of awareness that I really messed up my marriage for many years. It was only by God’s enormous undeserved grace that my marriage was restored.

              Love to you…

              1. J. My story can be found in the blog here called “a husband wanted a divorce”. Basically, for 18 years my husband and I took turns with wanting our marriage done in our own way. We are both controlling, prideful and perfectionists. My reaction to his overworking was very angry and loud and bristley. I was demanding to do this marriage my way. After a few years, it was too much pain for him. He asked for a divorce. Then I realise my part in all of it. I asked God and my husband for forgiveness. God gave me forgiveness, my husband still has not. I did a 180 in my attitude and have unmeshed, grown a new self respect and have become very loving. However, I swung too far the other way. I gave my husband space, time, understanding. Basically, we did ms triage his way more. However, he increased his hurt and anger. It’s toward the kids, his parents and friends as well. I have been fighting and delaying putting down this boundary because I was so concerned about not wanting to hurt my husband or the kids at all. However, this past 1.5 years has left me empty and raw. It is too much pain. I can’t just keep turning the other cheek forever. I need a break. The kids need a break. They are learning a horrible example of what marriage should be from us. We tried it his way, it was too painful for me. I asked him to please start meeting me somewhere, anywhere to start working on restoring our marriage. He said he didn’t want yo and didn’t care about my feelings. I basically wanted us to do marriage OUR way. He’s not interested. So I had to ask him to leave. His wishes are for the kuds to stay in the home they know. I submitted to that. I am doing this out of love for him. To let him go find himself. Love go my kuds, and also love for myself. God does not want me to be a doormat either. I wish there was a better option, but I had reached my limit. The choice is his at this moment. I am simply laying down a healthy boundary for once in my life. I am no longer afraid of his feelings being hurt or how he might react. I still feel sad, but also very hopeful. My goal is reconcilliation. I did what I feel God has been nudging me to do and I refused for too long. I was giving myself 2 years before I was going to ask him these questiobs. I guess God’s timing is always best. Maybe I was more ready than i thought. Maybe God is doing something we don’t understand.

                You may be right about filters, but no one can be told they shouldn’t ferl what they feel. I am way stronger now from my walk with God and I sure did not make this decision lightly or on my own. I’m not saying all hurt women need to kick their husbands out at all. It is something that takes very careful listening to the Holy Spirit and being very close to God. I am there. Not all marriages will make it. I still want mine yo work, but I want God’s will more. I had to sacrifice the idol of my marriage and the idol of my families feelings to serve God first. I do care very much for them. My husband is not a beleiver and doesn’t understand how I could change my attitude seemingly over a few days, but it did just that. I can’t talk about the Holy Spirit to him. Maybe I did put him in a corner, thrown an ultimatum. But realise I was in a corner being emotionally punched in the stomach daily. We both need a break from the daily hurt so we can heal a bit and think more rationally.

                If my kid kerp stealing a candy bar celery time at the store and I knew about it and ignored it, I would not be doing my job as a parent. In the same way, I cannot kerp letting my husband sin and hurt me without addressing it. I simply explained how I felt in a loving, respectful and kind way. I had done all I could.

                Hope that explains some. I ferl so at peace about it all, it’s really incredible. And my husband said he’s coming home. So. We will see….

              2. Hi LMS. I hadn’t even replied to your last comments to me and then I read about you asking your husband to leave. I’ve been in a bit of shock I guess. I really didn’t expect that. My mind is all over the place but I have been praying for you as always. I know you are a very God fearing lady who would seek God and His will above all so I support and will continue to pray for your family.
                I’d been thinking lately you should change your ‘name’ to GITdaily. Got it together daily. Or GMST. Got my stuff together. (A bit of lightheartedness😉). To me you have so much strength and faith and courage. I’m not that far ahead in my journey and we’ve been on it the same amount of time. I have also been a Christian my whole life. So again, you’re an inspiration.
                I’m wondering, if you don’t mind, how he reacted when you asked him to move out? Did he leave straight away? Where is he? Is he in touch with you? Is he angrier at you? Are you truly not anxious about what he does? And I guess I thought from your recent comments that things seemed to be improving if only slightly……. The kiss on the lips, the telling you that he’s not just here for the kids anymore…….. I truly thought the ice had broken a bit. What does he mean when he says he will be back? that sounds like he still does want the marriage. Is he going to work on himself? I’m sorry to bombard with questions. I just feel like you are a friend that I care about and want to understand. Are your children ok? What have they communicated to you? If this is all too much to answer I understand.
                April can I ask you if LMS’s husband was doing what’s called malicious abandonment? You touched on it to me months ago in a comment but I didn’t look into it further. (I think that’s what it’s called) As her story is so similar to mine I would like to know this. Can you explain more of this to me please? My pastor said if they continue in this treatment of wives we do have a right to move on with someone else because they have already left the marriage in their hearts. Do you agree? I just struggle with it when I remember my vows and read Gods feelings on divorce and adultery.
                I know we all want reconciliation for our marriages, but I do not want to spend the rest of my life alone if my marriage isn’t restored. I want to share my life with someone. I want it to be my husband so much…..
                LMS. I don’t know what it is with you but I think about saving up and flying over to meet you and hug you one day. Maybe we will only all meet in heaven but for now, I’m going to keep praying for you and all our friends on this site.
                Thank you again April for starting this ministry that every day is such a blessing to us all.

              3. Bel. Where do I start. I thought things were getting better, but nothing was consistant. I would get a kiss on the lips, then nothing again. He would say things, but not follow up with action. Empty promises. But here is the thing. I realize that I may very much shaken some thinking up on this site, but I need to make it very clear that I put alot of thought and prayer into this decision. I really don’t want him out. But I cannot let myself bleed to death either. I went for a long walk this morning in the sunshine. I was listening to praise music and I truly feel like a chain has been broken. But a line ina song says “I broke the chains of sin and shame…” I had broke the chains of sin 1.5 years ago when I can to Jesus. Asked for forgiveness. I grew in love because I knew God forgave me and that thankfulness has strengthened me. But I also slowed my husband to become increasingly unloving to me over this time period.

                About 6 months ago I kept hearing a still small voice telling me I had to speak up and stop staying silent. But I was afraid of who I used to be. I was afraid of hurting my husband’s feelings, hurting the kids. I just kept taking the bad bheavier figuring i deserved it. I knew God forgave me, but I also knew my husband didn’t. I thought things would get better, that he would see the changes and his heart would soften. He says he has done much healing, but it has drained me. So the word shame stood out in that song to me today. I have been allowing his sinful behavior because of my shame of my own. I felt I caused all his pain and anger and I understood his bad behavior…so I turned the other cheek. Over and over.

                The reality is I had God’s forgiveness, but did not forgive myself. My sins are forgiven. The price is paid. I can’t help that my husband cannot forgive me. My prayer and true hope is that he wakes up and realizes how much he is losing, that trying to do everything in his own power is not working. I pray he finds himself and God and comes home again. Even in 1 Corinthians, Paul urges the church to confront sin and not ignore it. He gives instructions on how to deal with a sinner. If all his ways fail, the sinner is to be shunned, or put out. But also, if the sinner repents, he is to be welcomed back. For the true goal is a restoration of the relationship. This is my goal.

                I truly feel that God does not want me to just keep accepting unrepentant sin from my husband. It was starting to feel like emotional neglect. He was here, but I was a ghost. I was rejected and unrespected. I can deal with that, but the kids see this relationship and are learning. They think this is how women and men are supposed to treat each other. This makes me wildly upset and I cannot stand for this. I vowed to raise my kids to serve the Lord. My husband is not a believer and is very lost. I’m doing this out of love for him. It’s kind of a tough love thing, but I am not trying to control anything. I am simply laying down a boundary of what I can accept and what I cannot. I asked for my husband to work with me. Not do it my way, or his way. I’m asking for OUR way. He said no. It hurts too much right now. I need a break, the kids need a break.

                Although the kids have not really been told about any of this stuff, they sense it. They emulate us. My son is very demanding argumentative and disrespectful, and my daughter is just like I was, controlling, prideful, and a perfectionist. It’s not right. We either need to come together and do the work of responsible parents and as a married couple, or it falls apart. I am not sure what will hapoen. God knows my desire. But it is His will, not mine. At this point I am in peace. I totally trust that God will make something beautiful out of this. I don’t know why those words came out of my mouth that night, I didn’t think I was ready. But God must have. I see signs of encouragement all around since then. Like God is saying “good job, now I can get to work”.

                Also, I think it was the last hanging thread of putting my marriage or husband before God. I didn’t want it to end, I didn’t want to hurt my husband more. But in the end, I love God far above any one or anything. I know there is a chance that he may leave and not come back. But I don’t feel that will happen, for some reason. I’m not sure why I am not anxious, full of fear or freaking out, I can just say that I let go, and let God.

                How did he react? Well, there was lots of sarcasm. He tried to turn things around to look like I’m still being controlling. Mind you. I didn’t demand he leave. I gave him a choice. Agree to try to work together to repair our marriage or he needs to move out. It’s his choice now. He keeps saying I am kicking him out, but I am not. It just so happened he needed an overnight for work, came back last night and will leave Sunday again. Not sure how much thinking he will do or if he gets mad. But my healthy, personal boundary will mean nothing if I cave into a temper tantrum, anger, shouting, screaming or blame. I’m sure I didn’t say all the righteous things perfectly and could have done better and analyzed my part and what should I could I have done different. But God knows my heart. He knows I am not perfect. I did the best I could to be loving, respectful, gentle and kind. To him, but also to myself. I need to love others as myself. Which means I needed to learn how to love myself before I could love him.

                I love my husband deeply. I want him to be healthy in his mind. I want him to know how much he is loved. But right now he sees nothing but fault and negative. My better attitude makes him look like a jerk and he resents me for it. He told me he will never forgive me. But he really needs to ask God for forgiveness and then forgive himself too.

                I’m not afraid of my husband. There is no abandonment. I am not looking to find love from someone else. I am to be a mother right now and a loving wife. If God has someone else in my future, then that’s His plan. I am not seeking that right now. Even if he separates, I will remain single. I will wait. I am keeping faith that God will open and shut the doors.

                I hope this helps. I know this was a shock. But I have been in much pain for as long as I could handle. I met my limit of accepting my shame. I didn’t need to. It was already paid for. I only got this far with God’s help, or it all would have been demolished 1.5 years ago. I am not suggesting all hurting wives ask their husbands to leave. Only God can direct each of you. I looked for answers for a long time to see if there was any way that this cup could pass from me. God knows what he is doing. I trust in him fully. Peace to all, I will kerp you all informed.

              4. LMS

                I can absolutely relate to everything you said. I hope I didn’t come across as judgmental or that I disagree with you at all. I didnt mean to. I guess as we are so similar I think of my own situation and have been wondering for some time if I should leave and let God work on us both separately. I feel I’m to stay but hope it’s not just my fear telling me that. I mentioned to my pastor how our lives are here. (No interest in me, my feelings, no sex for 16 months now, not even a hug, and him telling me he sees no future and not wanting to be nice to me in case I think there’s hope for us.) He told me he believed it was malicious desertion and that he has obviously already ended the marriage in his own heart. This is why I asked April about this as I know you husband has not touched you in this long either.

                April, at the time you just said that my pastor was probably talking about the Corinthians verse.

                It’s wrong. The bible says only to abstain for a period of time and to use this time in prayer and not to let it go for long so as not to cause temptation etc. I do feel like my husband has abandoned me in some ways. I think once our youngest leaves home he will too. I’ve used my time to get closer to God and learn how to be a respectful submissive wife. But my husband has done nothing.
                I know you are not looking for anyone else and desire to be reunited with your husband. There’s no confusion on that from me. I’m just interested in your thoughts and the strong and confident stand you took I guess.

                I also believe I caused all the pain to my husband and so deserve this treatment. He’s even told me I should be scared and only have myself to blame. I didn’t trust my husband, I questioned everything he did and thought. I had the noose so tight around his neck because I thought it was the only way to stop him hurting me again.

                I feel rejected too. I worry too that my kids are learning from us and it’s not a good example. Just as you. Our children are thankfully beautiful, sweet, caring, and understanding. We have no real behavioral issues. But I know the best gift we can give them is for their parents to love and respect each other. I constantly worry about the effect on them.

                I know I haven’t given as much time to God as I need or want to lately. I’m not as strong as you as I still fear what I will find out, what I may be asked to do. I go back and forth. Feeling like that but then feeling strong and like I will do anything God asks of me. Your story is interesting to me as lately I’ve been wanting to try talking to him about us again. I feel so much love for him I just want to reach out and hug him but I know it won’t be received well. I feel like my limits are being reached too. But something always stops me. Is it God or my fears??

                Anyway. Thank you for your reply. I think you have done the right thing for you and I will pray everyday for you.


              5. Hi Bel,

                I just wanted to say for your encouragement that 1 Corinthians 7 also speaks of the children in a difficult marriage saying that they are sanctified by the believing partner even if the unbelieving partner isn’t living for Christ.
                I don’t necessarily understand the full meaning of this sanctification but I have observed MANY children of friends who have grown into lovely young men and women despite one partner not knowing Christ. Please be encouraged about the positive effect that YOU can have 🙂


              6. Bel,

                I Corinthians 7 does talk about if an unbelieving spouse leaves, the spouse is not bound in such a situation. But there is not a clear answer about whether that means the spouse is simply free to be single or is free to remarry. It is really difficult to find a lot of detail about remarriage when a spouse is still living. I have a post about divorce that shares all of the Scripture I could find about divorce (and remarriage) here.

                If a wife believes she must separate – she is not sinning if she remains alone or if she eventually reconciles with her husband (1 Cor. 7). There is debate about whether a spouse who was abandoned or where there was adultery can remarry. I have studied this at length – but I feel like I have more questions than answers about remarriage.

                I don’t recall talking about “malicious abandonment” and can’t find that term in any previous comments. Not sure I am familiar with that term, my apologies!

                I’m so thankful God has allowed me to be here and has brought us all together.

                Much love to you!

              7. Thank you April.

                From memory I wrote to tell you about what my pastor had said back in My husband wanted a divorce or Healthy v Unhealthy relationships. You didn’t say much only that you believed my pastor must have been talking about the verse in Corinthians. (Sorry I should have looked it up again). It seems like not being “bound” might mean to the marriage and would therefore mean the spouse would be free to remarry but I wouldn’t want to get this wrong! Im not looking at that either but I know I don’t want to be on my own. I feel like I need companionship and mutual love so I pray my husband reunites with me one day.

                I am careful not to read too much into anything but I sense a kind of improvement in his attitude towards me. He hasn’t been mean and nasty. He smiles and talks to me. We joke between each other. Could just be for the kids’ sake though. He found a great deal on a fancy holiday place we have been to before. It was a real special treat for us all to go there a couple years ago. The kids LOVED it. He said we should book it again but it’s only for 4 people so we would have to book 2 adjoining rooms which would cancel out the great deal straight away. I thought back to our last holiday together where he made it clear he didn’t really want me there and I was only there because it would upset the kids if I wasn’t. So after a day of thinking about it I said I thought it would be nice if he had a Daddy kids weekend with them and to just book the one room. He scoffed and asked why and I said why not and he said no. Again, I guess that could be just for the kids I guess. They wouldn’t like to leave me home.

                I dont know whether it’s just to make it easier on the kids though as it was really affecting them seeing him being mean to me. But even my teenager said things seemed a bit better in our home but still ‘weird’. I’m worried that if this truly is a softening towards me, that if I bring up our relationship again it may set him back again. He had commented a while back that he was just enjoying not being “married” and all the drama that went with it.

                All so confusing. More time with God needed.

              8. Bel,

                No problem! I just couldn’t remember ever talking about that concept or hearing about it before. 🙂

                Some people do interpret that passage in 1 Corinthians 7 to mean the believer is free to remarry. I don’t really know. There are no instructions about how to handle step-relationships and exes and “co-parenting.” The main verses about remarriage talk about that it is adultery (but it is possible there could be the two exceptions of adultery – although some believe that exception is actually fornication before marriage – and abandonment. Of course, if someone committed adultery in the Old or New Testament, they were generally stoned to death. Or they were supposed to be. So I suppose then the other spouse would be free to remarry.) This is such an important topic. And one about which I just don’t feel I have all the answers. There obviously were those who were remarried – like the woman at the well – but there are no specific directions given to those in that situation. I would love a passage specifically about if/when it is acceptable to remarry, personally. And I would like a passage about what those who remarried against God’s Word are supposed to do once they realize they have done that. There aren’t a lot of details about these issues.

                Obviously, I don’t know your husband’s heart. And I don’t know what God may be prompting you to do. It is wrong for a spouse to withhold sex purposely – especially for such a prolonged period of time. I pray God will give you wisdom about whether to continue to wait and pray and “win him without a word” about spiritual things, or when/how/if to say something. Most of all I pray for God’s greatest glory and His power in your life and in your husband’s life and for your children.

                There are some spouses who soften over time as they see the changes in the believing spouse. I pray your husband might come to know Christ as Lord. I pray for God’s wisdom for you and that you would continue to abide in Him and be very sensitive to His voice!

                Much love!

              9. I’m currently struggling with the boundary I laid down in my marriage and wondering if I can even keep it at this point. The temptation is to think….”Oh, I messed up! This is going to really hurt our marriage”, etc. But, you know what? I know when I laid that boundary, I had the peace of God. Same as you, LMS. I know that God is telling me without a doubt that He values me and that I have allowed myself to be a doormat, I have disrespected myself and allowed my husband to control me. I have lost myself in a sense.

                So, back to the point about me not holding to this boundary – at least in the way I originally thought it would be in my mind. I’ve read a lot of things saying you shouldn’t go back on one once you’ve set it. But, I’m not worried about that. I am letting the Holy Spirit lead me and actually, the boundary I laid was that I wasn’t going to be the wife that he was used to if he didn’t open up and tell me the truth about his lies to me currently and in the past. At the time, I was thinking….no sex, no nothing.

                But, God has shown me that I can still be a wife to my husband, but that in reality, I won’t be the wife I was. I can’t be. Things have changed. I know God has shown me that my husband has lied to me (He has shown this to me in a few ways over the last few years) and yet, I don’t have something in black and white to whip out and back my story up. But, I know what God has shown me. I also know that God is calling me to offer grace and forgiveness, to bless even when I’ve been wronged – to remember that we are in a spiritual battle and that my husband has been taken captive by Satan. I also know that as a wife, I am called to be mindful of the fact that my husband will be more tempted if I am withholding sex. I don’t want that on my conscience – if he were to go elsewhere. I could make the argument that it’s my husband’s actions that led us here – and I could find lots of Christian teaching to back me up on that – but I don’t feel that’s where God is leading me at this time.

                I think we need to be flexible and let the Holy Spirit lead us and trust that He is. I am becoming more and more convinced that the Lord is my Shepherd. He really is guiding and leading me. It’s o.k. if I make some mistakes along the way, it is not messing up His plan. There’s a difference between willful disobedience and walking in His Spirit and seeking Him in the daily-ness fo your life. I can tell where I am because I have the peace of God. I know the frustration and turmoil that comes from walking in the flesh and that is not what I’m experiencing. It sounds like this is where you are also, LMS.

                Our situations are different as I have a husband who is very involved with his children’s lives and with me. He just wants, as Leslie Vernick says, a blow-up wife who remains happy all the time, never confronts his sin or brings it up, who he can punch (for me not literally, but definitely emotionally) and who will get back up again and take it over and over. He’s a great guy in many ways, he just doesn’t really want to deal with me as an individual person with desires and needs….and he doesn’t understand what his dishonesty has done to my trust in him. He seems to have no understanding whatsoever that it’s wrong and I think he can convince himself that he hasn’t even lied. I’m really just putting this in God’s hands and I feel that something bigger might be on the horizon unless God is merciful to him and he sees the error of his ways.

                I think God is asking me to hang tight and to keep loving, blessing, etc., but to keep working on respecting myself and laying down smaller boundaries as we go along like saying respectfully when he is being ugly to me while in conflict “I’m sorry, could you please not speak to me that way?” If he doesn’t want to listen, then I can walk away. God is telling me that He loves and values me and cares for me and wants me to do this. That means so much to me!!!!! I feel so cared for and loved to know that He is hurting for me. It is setting me free! He’s also showing me that I need to just stop already with thinking any of my emotional needs are going to get met at this time. But, it’s just so hard to remember. And, I don’t think it’s God’s design for marriage.

                Anyway, just wanted to kind of respond to J’s and LMS’s comments here. I think God just works in everyone’s relationships in different ways and I wholeheartedly believe He can and will use a spouse who is committed to speaking the truth boldly in love to wake up a spouse who seems to stay stuck and proud in his ways. I pray that is the case with your husband, LMS. I also pray that you are cautious as you navigate the next steps and that you will allow God to work on His timetable – whether that be waiting a little more time to make sure there is true change or vice-versa, that you are willing to welcome him back with open arms if he is really ready to work on the marriage.

                Love to you all and I trust that God is comforting you and very near to you and your children during this time.

              10. ContentinChrist,

                Things are definitely getting shaken up! That’s for sure. 🙂

                I love what I am hearing in your heart for Christ and for your marriage and your husband. I love the vulnerability and flexibility and the desire to obey God and bless your husband – but also the desire to rebuild trust and have honesty in the marriage – to build a godly marriage.

                I like that you are planning to respectfully, gently say something during conflict requesting that your husband treat you more respectfully.

                I believe we ARE supposed to meet some of our spouse’s emotional needs in marriage, yes. We can’t meet all of their spiritual and emotional needs. But yes, there is supposed to be reciprocity and mutual love, honor, and respect given.

                There is always a temptation to become either a doormat or to become a controlling shrew. But God calls us to something higher – healthy relationships, vulnerability, authenticity, respecting Him, ourselves, and our spouse. He calls us to respond without sin when we are sinned against – but there are times to confront sin and to stand against sin, certainly. All of this requires the power of the Holy Spirit as we totally submit to Him.

                Much love and the biggest hug to you. 🙂

              11. Thank you, April. I agree – no way my husband could meet all of my emotional needs…but also agree that there should be mutual honor, love, respect and reciprocity.

                It’s impossible to have a healthy, vibrant marriage without these things.

                Love you

              12. ContentinChrist,

                Yes, this is God’s design for these things to flow freely between both spouses. Sometimes there are seasons where it is not like this and God calls us to continue our obedience in spite of our spouse’s lack of obedience to Him. But that is not a healthy marriage, true.

              13. LMS,

                Thank you for replying to my comment so graciously. I’m praying for God’s ongoing wisdom for you…

            2. Hi LMS,

              Oh wow don’t we make a hash of things. There is so much to learn I feel like I’ll never get there 🙁 I put SO much thought into things that I struggle to see another person’s perspective, and when they share it I’ve usually already worked through the thought process they are currently at and just want to get on with the job/task etc. For example I did 24 landscaping plans for my home before I even turned any dirt and I thought about EVERYTHING, from directing water runoff from the roof and driveway to particular planting areas in order to minimise water use, grouping species with specific pH requirements, matching mature heights and flower colours etc. So when someone suggests something for the garden I’m like “Yeah I dealt with that like this already”. I see something and immediately visualise all of the possible and likely outcomes of a particular decision and try to minimise the impacts of any negative decisions. Which is great from a work perspective but obviously not so good from a marriage perspective.

              I can see how transferring this process to a marriage has made an already introverted person feel like her opinion is totally worthless. The question is, how does one change a fundamental way in which we think????

              From what you wrote I think you basically “died to self” in your interactions with your husband. You shelved your own needs and focused entirely on his. And it worked by making him feel safe and listened to!

              Now I have a question for you LMS (and it is a QUESTION not a criticism, I’m just thinking through the process 🙂 ). If dying to self helped him begin the healing process is starting to speak about your own needs going to stop the healing process? Have you started living for self again? I ask because my wife said she started to feel ‘loved’ last year but if I EVER said “Hey honey when you said this it hurt my feelings” she would laugh, or pull away or say yeah so what. When I shelved my needs she was drawn close, when I expressed my needs she walked away. This seems very similar to what you are experiencing. My question is, have we started to try to take from our partner again? Is it a case of lying in the dust and waiting for God’s work in their heart? Is it possible they are still not ready to give and need more time? Do we still lie here bleeding and wait on God? In a way you are actually NOT doing the same thing you have for the last 19 years.

              I think you are right about my wife. She felt like a ghost and like the hired help. And I do think I understand why she has given up, I really do. I actually apologised to her before she left as I felt led to and I genuinely do understand why she has given up. I just don’t understand how to fix it!

              One of my personal struggles has been with lust and this only became a real issue a few years after I married and my wife brought a TV and her movies into the home. The movies she watches are quite violent and sexual and my own personal walk with the Lord has been effected greatly through these. She’s been brought up being told these are ok to watch. So there’s this massive tension where she’ll watch something and if I watch it with her I just feel sick and disturbed in my spirit, but if I go to another room then she feels controlled and unable to be herself (her words). Through God’s grace I have won my own personal battle with lust a couple of years ago, but a part of that strategy means that I am unwilling to watch these films (make no provision to fulfill the lust of the flesh). To me this is an unsolvable problem!!! HOW does a husband maintain his own purity in thought, deal with these films and ALSO validate his wife’s opinions and feelings????????????????? This is only one example but it’s definitely the biggest.

              I’m praying for you by name today LMS.
              In Christ, HH

              1. HH. So I tried to respond back 3 times and kept losing it. Maybe I needed to pray about my responses and I think I may have helpful thoughts. I even took down notes.

                1) How to change fundamental thinking… I would take little cliches as a 12 year old girl going through my parents divorce and make them my life mottos. “If you want something done right, then do it yourself. ” or ” if you have time to lean, you have time to clean” ” sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” ” I am woman, hear me roar”…get the picture? So of course I was an independant, controling, mouthy word slinger. It was all bad advice and I didn’t understand how to use the word of God to weigh things out. So when I was unhappy or hurt, I roared. When I wanted something done, I did it my way, etc. I found I had to go way back on my childhood to figure out why I did this. April talks about this in a post where she felt responsible for her sister at 5 years old. It’s immature thinking applied to grown up situations. It might help to really think about why you feel the need to control so much, or what validation you are looking for thst causes you to seek perfection. I know I missed my dad cause he was a workaholic and I just wanted to be noticed and told I did a good job. I got that from teachers, my grandparents and sometimes bosses. When I got martied, I sought after it from my husband…and didn’t get as much as I thought I would due to his own perfection-seeking. I really thought we would be 2 perfect parents with the perfect marriages and perfect life. I set myself up to try to achieve an impossible goal and was let down. It was doomed from the beginning. Only recently have I been freed by the acceptance of my imperfection and it’s glorious. I also thought because by motives were for the best outcomes and everyone’s hood, I didn’t think anyone had better ideas than me, including my husband. He was gracious enough to try my ideas, but they were not always the right answer. My husband probably had some better solutions, but I demanded my way, then he had to clean up the mess after. Ugh. How stubborn and yucky acting I was.

                The way you described how you approach a project was pretty micromanaging. Noone wants to be micromanaged. If you trust your wife, let her actually do it. She would not try if she was going to be told it’s wrong anywsy. Sometimes we need to give people wide open spaces to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. Life is a way better teacher than any person. I tend to look at each situation now and evaluate if my insistence on control will help or hurt our relationship. Does folding towels a certain way more important than the fact my kids helped with laundry? I dare not regold them, or they will feel like they are not good enough and they will not be able to feel proud of themselves for contributing to the home. I would yell about my husband not making the bed if he was the last one in it. To the point that he stopped sleeping in it with me. I should have just shut up and made the stupid bed, but I felt I had yo drive my lesson hone like I was his mom. It was repulsive to be around. I could have also asked in a polite way, but accepted if he said no. He now knew my preference and had the option of making it because he wanted to please me instead of submitting to a demand. What is easier to swallow?

                2) Shelving my needs to make others feel loved…this is a big struggle. I saw this too. I saw my husband heal as long as I shut up. To the point that I was screaming inside and really not being fair to him either. We reversed roles with the stonewalling. However, once I allowed my husband to express his feelings, it was Cracatoa volcano time. It all came out. I let him vent. I didn’t ferl like I had the right to complain or tell my ferlings cause I was feeling intense shame fir all the hurt I caused. I let trying to give time, hoping he would come around. Instead, he wallowed in his hurt. That is why this past week I asked him to leave. He was not moving forward. I tried to give time, wait, and be patient, but the rejection and neglect and not talking at all was stabbing me daily. When I told him how I felt and he said he didn’t care, I turkey timer went off in my head and I heard a still small voice say “tell him now. Tell him his choice” so I said if you feel this way, then I need to know if you want to try to work this marriage out. If not, we are done here and I need you to move out. I have been plagued by the thought of saying that to him for 6 months. But he needed to understand how hurt I was. He may still not care. He may say okay. I really didn’t know if he even had any compassion left in him. But I could not just lay in the dust and allow myself to be mistreated that way. God wanted me to stand up for myself, but I had to learn respect, love and how to get control over my emotions first so I didn’t just respond in more hurt, anger and rage back. If your wife chooses not to respect your feelings, then that’s on her, but you have a voice too. She may be too consumed in her own hurt to realize that hurtful monster lives inside herself, also. And then, she may even try to compare them as hers isn’t as bad as yours…anything to shift blame and not have to face it, otherwise she has to accept her own sin and do something about it…that is painful to face, as you know. Maybe she does need some time. Even today, my husband said he’s looking for consistant in me. He still doesn’t trust the change is real or lasting. He thinks if he let’s his guard down and starts to trust me, that I will just go back to my old ways. So I really need to know that this is me…with, or without him in my life. He doesn’t understand how God fits in my life. He thinks it’s a big man made book by King James that is used to control the poor people so they didn’t overthrow the king during hard times. He is resentful of how “religeous” people are self righteous and legalistic and judgemental of people always pointing out the flaws of others and ignoring their own. I guess that’s been his experience. I pray that I can show him a different view with my actions.

                3) the disturbing movies….I am so sorry that your wife is insensitive to your feelings on the movies. But I think you also said she left over this boundary. It’s too bad she could not honor you with this, however, trying to put myself as a controlled wife into her shoes, I wonder if this was her last straw, that if you felt you had to dictate what she watched was just the ultimate insult. She is a grown woman and makes her own choices. I don’t like everything my husband watches, but I sure don’t tell him he can or cannot watch it. It could be boring car fix shows to something with lots of swearing in it to porn, but I don’t watch those with him. He hates Horton shows or anything with “stupid gore” like zombies in it. He puts me down for watching them, but I have a hard time submitting to him on this in some ways. I like watching vampire shows and psychological thrillers. He does not. Maybe I will change my mind if I feel the Holy Spirit leads me there, I have censored a few things that I would watch out of respect for him and I don’t watch them when he’s home. I also don’t try to make him watch them with me. He has said…”if you want to watch them, go ahead, but I won’t be in the same room with you then”. So I have to decide if I want to watch this movie more than have his company. If my husband is home, I never watch them. I even watch boring car fix shows with him, just to be with him. He knows I watch them away from him. But in this way, I don’t feel restricted and controlled like a little kid, and he doesn’t have to be around shows that bother him. It’s not a perfect thing, but we agree to disagree and overlook those personal irritations for the sake of unity. I could have demanded to watch them in his presence, but that would be pretty disrespectful and uncaring of his feelings.

                Each of us are grown adults and can make our own choices. Love helps us put the needs and feelings of the other before our own. If each of us do that, then we have the right heiarchy….God….spouse….kids….family…etc. self is in there to be taken care of in an unselfish way to be able to serve those around us. Like putting on the oxygen mask in a depressurized plane first so you can help the kids. Your no good to others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

                On a recent note…my husband and I had a good long talk finally today. I think we may have turned a corner and learned to understand sone things about each other and ourselves. I think he finally understood the depth of pain I am in, and I understood his feeling unaccepted by me just the way he is. He thinks I’m still trying to perfect him and he needs to see some consistant in me…might just need more time. He is realizing some of the things he does…like his silence and ignoring me that is hurting me. We discussed a concept of acceptance. He agreed that if he cannot give me what I need and I try lly need it, he understands if I want out of our marriage to peruse that. However, I know that God provides all I need and that I still have some work of getting rid of my “perfect or better” husband ideal in my head. He is working at forgiveness and also not assuming my motives. We have alot of work to do, but I heard what I needed to hear. He wants to work on this marriage and he agrees that communication is important. If I’m not trying to change him, he can work with me. So I need to work on acceptance, but also communicate my needs so he can see if he can meet them or if they are off the table and are deal breakers. I wish he didn’t feel a marriage is so easily thrown away, but he does. I do not. We will see how things go. God worked his plan from all of this. I was respectful, not emotionally out of control, and he saw my pain and acknowledged it for once. There is always hope in God. I am letting go and letting God. What else do I really have control over anyway? Just me. The rest is God’s to control. And that is so freeing to not be responsible for the universe and every thing it.

                I hope you had a great weekend with the kids. I pray that your wife can get a break in her mistrust and God can open her heart and eyes to give you a chance. I hope she can express her needs in a way that you can bless her. I pray that you both find some solid ground to start to rebuild as a team, not as competitors or parent-child relationships. It’s so great that she expresses feeling loved again. She needs that feeling, but she may need to feel free as well to make her own choices about herself. I pray she heals and you heal, but both of you learn things about yourselves that will help you both grow towards God’s plans for your life.

                Sorry so long, I pray for you by name today as well. Thank you for the very cognitive discussions and questions. I hope my reply bless you in some way. God is so very GOOD!

              2. Hi LMS,

                Thanks for praying. I’m travelling ok at the moment mostly 🙂 Some moments of loneliness and sorrow. There is a lot against me at the moment. Some is consequences of my actions but some is suffering for righteousness sake. Definitely a time of faith being purified. I am using my free time to learn lots. The situation is very much looking like a long term separation then divorce.

                I’ve thought a lot about what you’ve written. I don’t really have a lot to write. Mainly been thinking!

                1) I am thinking through my own childhood as to why I feel the need for perfection and control. I’m jealous that you feel free to accept your imperfection!!!! See I don’t understand that. As I see it God doesn’t accept me the way I am. He loves me as I am but wants to change me to reflect Christ. So “me” is never really accepted by God. Christ in me is accepted yes, but not me. Loved yes, accepted no. Maybe that’s linked to why I pursue perfection? If I expect it from myself I expect it from others, particularly those close. I feel that accepting someone as they are means accepting their sin. I can love people as they are though.

                Using your folding clothes example I do EXACTLY the same thing with my kids. When they help me with the washing I just accept their way of doing it. Much to think on. I don’t expect perfection from my kids so why do I from myself. Hmmm.

                2) Lots of similarities between your husband and my wife I think! Needing to see consistency. Fear of it going back to what it always was.

                3) I did intimate that she left over that boundary, although I set that boundary months ago and she left only recently. But I DO need to clarify that I do not and did not dictate what she watched. The boundary wasn’t that I asked her not to watch them, the boundary was only me expressing how they made me feel and asking her to consider that. I guess it was a boundary but the only consequence of the boundary was “it makes me feel like this”.

                I am so glad that you were able to talk to your husband! Yay, I was praying for that 🙂 I will thank God for that tonight. Solid ground to rebuild as a team is exactly what I think we all need. Building from the ground up. Weekend with the kids was good. Sending them back was hard though.

                Praying always, HH

              3. To all. Much has been revealed to me over the last few days about my husband to me since I asked him to leave. I’ll try to be brief, but I am in awe about how creative our Lord is and how he maneuvers just the right things in such complex ways.

                1) I have allowed my husband’s bad behavior towards me because I felt I “deserved” it due to my previous disrespect. But God needed to help me find my voice. But before I could do that, I needed to learn to be quiet. In finding my voice, God may have used my boundary setting to open up my husband’s eyes in much the same way He used my husband asking for a divorce to open my eyes and bring me home to God.

                2) I think my husband is afraid of his own emotions and ferlings. Even with death, he doesn’t attend funerals because he hates the hurt that he feels from the lOSS and greif, so he avoids and stuffs his hurt away…never to be opened again.

                3) My husband is an extremely loyal friend and invests 100% into relationships, but as the relationship stales, or the other person let’s him down in some way, he cuts his losses and walks away before he gets too hurt. The drama and lack of desire able outcome isn’t enough return on investment for the effort he ferl he invested, do he cuts his losses and bolts. However in a marriage with kids, he can’t leave as easily as he can with a friend, coworker or even a girlfriend and he doesn’t know how to deal with the conflict in a healthy way.

                4) I truly believe that pressure from work, friends, parents, family, wife, kids, etc… built up to a point that “broke” him. He wanted to help everyone, but came to the end of himself and didn’t know how to say “no”, do he shut it all down…except work…cause he still wanted to take care of the kids.

                5)I feel that this is a very selfish and narcissistic “stage” in his life. This isn’t how he was in the past. He doesn’t like being this way, but desperately needs to find out if he is still loved even at his worst. Can he still be accepted and good enough when he fails? This is where loving him even when he “doesn’t deserve it” is what God asks of me. To show the kind of mercy and grace that God shows to us. In this way, I can draw my husband out of his tunnel and this time period, although a huge test of faith for me is creating a foundation of trust that will come into play later down the road when my husband is at the end of himself and has nowhere left to escape.

                6) I really feel my husband has no idea what a woman needs and how his actions and words affect us differently than men…he is a three legged stool with only one leg right now (he doesn’t understand God’s design for his life or how to relate to women…so he is missing 2 legs of the stool). If he can let go of his pride a bit and accept to learn and understand what speaks to women and how God can help, he will become way more balanced.

                7) My husband was convinced that I was holding onto the past because he was, and that I can’t accept him for who he is..which is exactly the same thing he is doing. In reality, he can’t see the everyday NOW hurt that he is causing and he doesn’t understand that I have forgiven him daily for hurting me because he cannot forgive…me, others or even himself. “One who has been forgiven much can forgive others. ..”

                8) I had specific steps of learning I had to go through on God’s path and timing. I am in no way done. But when I asked God to help me understand what is going on in my husband’s head, He always came through so that I could find deeper and deeper levels of forgiveness, patience, and strength for each moment. But when it was time to get rid of the training wheels and let go, God knew I was ready and equipped and set it in motion. He loves me so much, he didn’t want to see me live in shame for a sin He gas already given His blood to redeem. I just needed to value myself as worthy and valuable in God’s eyes…which is all that matters.

                By the way. My husband and I had a long talk on Sunday. I missed church, bug it was where God was anyway, right next to me – coaching me. And he decided to stay!! I am cautiously optomistic about the future and if there will be any understsnding, but I know that God is working hard behind the scenes. I am just going to wait on God. I am going to speak up when something he does hurts me, but I’ll do it respectfully and in love and kindness…to my husband as well as myself. God is so good. I knew I had something important to learn, but didn’t fully understand it at the time. I listened to the Holy Spirit and He was true. I resisted my fears and trusted God knew what He was doing. I feel deep down that all will be well. I praise our good Father for his loving lessons in my life and all who seek Him.

              4. LMS I have happy tears for you right now (see blokes can be emotional too 🙂 ).

                I’m so encouraged by the insight that God is giving you into your husband. I think if he knew what you were seeing he would be thrilled! Happy moment and confirmation that the boundary you initiated was the right one.

                May I please ask for prayer for this Sunday? My wife has asked if we can go to church together and out to some friends house after for lunch as she “still wants to do family stuff together for the kids as long as I’m not sad as it makes her feel guilty”. I will need a lot of wisdom and guidance to know how to handle this.

              5. You know what’s crazy, LMS? I think God is revealing something new to me the last few days…..I think a lot of where we are is due to a horrible sin I committed in our early marriage….years and years ago (17 years ago)…..my husband said he forgave me, but I really don’t think he has. I think there is deep resentment which also leads him to believe that anything he does isn’t as bad as what I did. There have been a few comments in the past few years that God has highlighted to me that show me this is an issue. I begged for us to go to counseling at that time, but he didn’t want to.

                I know that what I did was so damaging and hurtful to him….yes, it was the worst thing that a spouse could ever do to another. It was that. 🙁 I haven’t spoken of it because he has asked me not to. But, I can’t hide this part of my story any longer. The truth needs to be known and brought out into the light. I feel like God has given me permission to share this while being sensitive to who I am sharing with and I believe that sharing with you all, my friends who don’t see me and will probably never see us face to face on this earth, is o.k. and good. It is part of my story. As you said, LMS, it will help others. God uses all of it. Redeems every bit.

                I confessed to him within a week. We grieved together and it was a long painful process. I truly thought I had been forgiven. But, I don’t know now. I don’t think so.

                Pray that God will use our counselor to help these things come to the light, that God will be able to heal my husband of the hurt that I caused him. And that my husband will see his part in our marriage, as well. Because the truth is, that some of his issues were present long before I committed adultery.

                I wasn’t a believer when I committed adultery. It’s no excuse. It changed our marriage forever. I’m seeing the repercussions and how sin ripples and ripples in a new way lately.

                On the other hand, I have tried to live my life honestly with my husband since then – confessing, being vulnerable….sharing things that are hard to admit in an effort to live in the light. To know and to be known. I hit a brick wall every time.

                Anyway, something in reading this comment again from you triggered all of this…..the idea that you don’t have to live in shame for a sin that He’s given His blood to redeem. I didn’t think I was living in shame. I knew I was forgiven and free. But, I can see that maybe, I was allowing myself to keep paying the price because I felt less than my husband…over and over. And he has reminded me….over and over….anytime I bring up anything that is valid and needs to be addressed in our marriage.

                LMS, I am so thankful for what God is doing in you and your marriage. Thankful to have sisters and brothers in Christ who understand and can relate (and others like Bel and HH and Betsy who commented much earlier in this thread and so many others who aren’t even commenting right now).

                “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!”

              6. CiC, I was thinking about shame last night. I was remembering some of the horrible things I have said and done to my wife 10 years ago and the shame that washes over me when I think of them. I have begged forgiveness many, many times but it has not been given.

                I think as long as a person refuses to forgive then we feel some shame. Forgiveness releases a person from their shame. Forgiveness from God releases us from shame with him, but I suspect that without forgiveness from the person we have wronged we may always carry a sense of shame? I am happy to be proven wrong on this as I have carried shame for a long time and would like to see it go!

                Usually what happens when a person refuses to forgive is that they begin to justify their own sin. Exactly what you feel your husband is doing “I think there is deep resentment which also leads him to believe that anything he does isn’t as bad as what I did”. And yet the sad thing is that unforgiveness means the person will carry bitterness to the grave with them. So unforgiveness means one person carrying bitterness and another carrying shame.

                God forgives us much quicker and easier than our fellow humans do. Reconciliation with God is instantaneous, reconciliation with other people is not. And yet forgiveness is what is needed for true reconciliation.

                Forgiveness in Christ is Christ saying “I am willing to bear pain in order to release you from your shame” and is rooted in sacrificial love. I suspect that true forgiveness from a fellow human is exactly the same “I am willing to bear the pain you have caused me in order to release you from your shame”. I also suspect that true forgiveness cannot be given unless a person understands true Agape love.

                I know that to hear the words “I forgive you” from my own wife’s mouth would be overwhelming. He who is forgiven much loves much!

              7. HH,

                I agree with you that unforgiveness (which is rooted in pride) helps us justify our own sin. I did exactly that with Greg for so many years.

                However, I disagree that we have to be held captive by shame as believers if a person does not forgive us. We are completely forgiven and made new and clean in Christ. He bore our shame. That old shameful, sinful self is now dead and buried. We are now a new creation and we are not dependent on a person’s forgiveness – we are dependent on Christ alone to lay down our shame.

                I do agree that a human’s forgiveness is necessary for reconciliation and healing of a relationship. And I agree that real forgiveness cannot be given by a person until they have received God’s grace, mercy, truth, and forgiveness. When God opened my eyes to my sin and to the price Jesus paid for all the wrong I had done in God’s eyes, and as His Spirit began to change me and fill me – THEN and only then did I begin to have the power to forgive other people. Before that, I felt that I hadn’t really done “anything wrong” and that I “shouldn’t have to forgive” as if I was above God somehow. And I thought to myself, “I guess I can’t love God as much as ‘those people who have sinned a lot’ do because He hasn’t had to forgive me of very much.” Wow. My pride!!!!?!?!!? Then when I really saw my sin, I realized “I have been forgiven MUCH!” And now I am free to love much.

                Your wife’s forgiveness would be great. But she is not capable of giving that right now with her spiritual condition. Thankfully, you have God’s forgiveness which is infinitely more important than hers. As God heals her and draws her to Himself, she will begin to have the power to see things rightly and to forgive.

              8. HH.

                First, I have been praying for you for this weekend with your wife and kids. I am very happy to hear she is still willing to spend time with you and allow the kuds to be with you. These are first steps of trust with her. I would imagine she will be watching you closely to see if you have truly changed, but doing so from a safe distance. The only thing you can do is stay close to God and listen to the Holy Spirit with your responses and actions. It may take some time to find the “sweet spot” between controlling and doormat. You have a voice, and can use it, but you are learning how to use it with respect, love, kindness and caring.

                * Forgiveness – at one point I thought I deserved it, but never got it.
                * Then I thought I never deserved it and definitely lived in shame until last week.

                Forgiveness IS a gift. We cannot demand it or expect it from anyone. But unforgiveness is the poison you drink thinking it will hurt someone else. Unforgiveness eventually destroys the unforgiver. At some point, God’s forgiveness needs to be enough for you. You cannot control if someone else will ever forgive you, but you can sure wish they would. However, even if they never do, don’t let it stop you from moving forward, or being the best you can. Unforgiveness drags you down into the ashes. At some point, like David, you need to stand up ftom the ashes and know that even if you never get forgiveness from your wife, you know you have it from God.

                I had made getting my husband’s forgiveness an idol for 1.5 years. Last week, I traded that in and accepted God’s forgiveness as a better deal. And I’m more than okay with that. It feels awesome.

                You can always regret your past, but it is just that. Your past. It’s time to make TODAY a better day and you have lots of control over that. The windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror for a reason…where you are going is so much more important than where you have been.

                It is good to analyze the past to see where we went wrong, understand it so we don’t make the same mistakes, but then close the books and live the life you have today. It can turn into analysis paralysis if you don’t. You can become trapped in shame.

                Most people have a hard time forgiving because they don’t understand the reasons why the other did or didn’t do what they wanted. Once you can put yourself in the other pair of shoes, understanding and wisdom grows. For example, I could never forgive my husband before for the controlling, uncaring attitude, but once I saw my disrespect and why he reacted the way he did – I gave up my right to feel wronged and could forgive him. Even today, I get why he is so hurtful to me and I truly forgive it every day, but I don’t have to accept his punishing, shaming of me. That’s not his job, but he thinks it is. He doesn’t trust anybody, let alone me….THAT takes time to earn.

                I would imagine your wife wants to study you, maybe try to trust with benign, small things. Trust you with the kids…she knows you’re a great dad, and then in time, can trust you again. But she is pretty gun-shy right now. Vulnerability breaks the chains of shame and unfirgiveness. Women need to see the “human” and imperfect parts in order to trust a man. We need to know that we are also okay and accepted if we are imperfect. As you learn to get rid of the perfection expectations, then the quirks and imperfections start to become more charming. They can still drive you batty at times, but it’s part of the package, it’s what makes each of us unique.

                You can grieve your past for a season, but be careful of making it a habit or a lifestyle. God still loves you, even though…..

                I pray you stay positive and focus on the good things this weekend. It will help you not be gloomy and sad. An attitude of gratitude will be very attractive. But not just with your wife and kids, also with the public and other people in your life. It keeps you looking up, at life, God and your future – not down at the enemy, your shame and your past. I know you are becoming the man, husband and father that God has intended for you to be. I pray you be filled with joy and excitement for your future and for all God is doing in your life and in your wife’s heart. I pray that you continue to grow and learn about yourself and God’s ways and learn to accept His love and mercy and forgiveness above that of humans.

                May God bless you greatly today and this weekend.

      2. HH,

        Yes, it is walking closely with God and allowing Him to radically change us – our thinking, our understanding, our motives, our perspective, our hearts – that heals us and empower us to help pour His healing and life into our marriage relationship. If we use that alone time to study and think of it as a time to really dig in with God and grow closer to Him than ever – it will be a time of much spiritual and emotional healing for us. There is no better use of time, in my view! Then we will be prepared to spend more time with our spouse as they become more receptive.

        I had the same questions. I would just beg God, “Help me understand! Help me wrap my head around Your design. What does it mean to be a godly woman? What is biblical marriage? What is submission by Your definition? What does respecting my husband look like? Show me! Change me. Teach me. I want to absorb all I possibly can from You. I want to live Your design for me as a woman and a wife. I want to be the follower of Christ You call me to be. No matter what the cost.”

        For me, it was an agonizingly slow process of learning. But I wanted to learn and dig deeply. I didn’t want to learn on a surface level. I wanted to truly tear out all of the ungodly thoughts and fixed beliefs in my mind that were dysfunctional and sinful and rebuild completely on God’s truth and God’s Word – with everything in my life. It takes a lot of time, soul-searching, prayer, being still before God, and pressing into Him to do this. Not many people will try it. But He is SO worth it!

    3. I’m going to print this and put it in my Bible. I think I will need to re-read this over and over. This is truth. I know I already commented once, but I just love that God prompted you to write this.

      Father, help us not to make idols out of our desire for reconciliation, healed marriages, united families, saved spouses. We come before You and lay it all down. Every day, over and over. Help us to keep giving it all to You.

      1. This comment was in response to your comment, April, that starts with “Might be helpful for all…” on April 14 at 9:59 p.m. about how our marriage will look different if reconciliation ever comes. How it has to look different.

  19. April, are you getting a sense that God is doing something different and new these last few weeks? So many I talk to seem to be going through major suffering….and that’s hard and so many of us going through it here, too….but with that suffering, I feel God is doing something big!

    Just wondering. I’m vacillating between feeling hopeless when I’m believing the enemy’s lies….to great faith in the work our mighty God is up to!

    Really liking this song right now….

  20. All,

    Y’all are just so precious to me. It is SUCH an honor to get to talk with road with each of you. I love seeing God work in your hearts. I love being able to celebrate and rejoice with each victory and to be able to pray together in the dark times of trial.

    As far as if/when a Christian wife should leave her husband – that is a TOUGH, TOUGH issue. Of course, I would love it if no spouse ever felt the need or desire to leave. And I would love it even more if no spouse ever sinned against his/her spouse. Or at least, if there was sin, that there would be repentance and restoration, as well as a rebuilding of trust.

    I have walked beside enough hurting people who are seeking Christ wholeheartedly to know that I don’t know what each spouse should do in any given situation. There are some things that are very black and white. There are other things – particularly when one spouse continues on in unrepentant sin – where it can get more dicey. Sometimes a spouse may very strongly believe God is calling them to stay. Sometimes, a spouse may believe that God is calling them to set healthy boundaries and to separate peacefully if the other spouse refuses to repent.

    I haven’t been in this situation myself. So I don’t have personal experience to share – Greg was always physically there. He was emotionally and spiritually not there for a long time. But leaving was never something God prompted me to do. My experience was very different from LMSdaily115’s and ContentinChrist’s. Greg was shut down and very quiet and distant. He was not verbally or emotionally abusive. I felt abandoned, ignored, and neglected, yes. But he was not screaming and hateful.

    When I talk with a wife who believes God desires her to separate – my concern is her walk with Christ, her motives, and whether she is hearing God clearly or not. There are many times when leaving is not necessary – or God may clearly impress upon a wife to stay (if she is not in danger). But there are times when separation can be a step toward healing. There is a husband who commented often last fall whose wife separated from him and it was the wake up call he needed – that decision caused him to turn to Christ. But each situation is different. I don’t know what is best for each wife (or husband) in every scenario.

    I am going to pray for God to direct LMSdaily115, and ContentinChrist, and others who are hurting. According to I Corinthians 7, I don’t believe that leaving in such a case would be sin – IF the wife’s motives are pure. What LMSdaily115 is describing sounds to me like her heart is in the right place. The way she is ready to give grace to her husband if he repents, the way she desires to see the marriage healed. And a number of other things she has said cause me to believe that she seems to be seeking God in this and seeking His wisdom and His direction.

    She and I have had many discussions in the past where she wanted to leave. I would ask her what she believed God wanted her to do – and she always said before, “I believe God is saying I should stay.” Well, if God is clearly prompting a wife to stay – and she is in her right mind – I want to support what she believes God is calling her to do. There is a very difficult balance to avoid being too passive or too controlling. It requires God’s Spirit, for sure. There are times we need to stand up respectfully against sin. There are times we wait and pray quietly.

    My prayer for each hurting spouse is that God might direct you and that you might hear His voice clearly and do what He desires you to do. Some situations are so clear – if a spouse is involved in extreme unrepentant sin (adultery, criminal activity, physical abuse, severe spiritual/emotional abuse) – it can be obvious that the other spouse needs to leave until the unrepentant spouse repents and is willing to change in very real, long-term ways.

    Other situations are more foggy. What I know is that we must each be totally dependent on God’s Spirit and His Word.

    Let’s lift up these hurting spouses together and ask God to make things clear to them. Some may be called to stay and patiently endure. Some may be called to set some healthy boundaries. My goal is that each of us might seek Christ far above all else and be sensitive to His voice.

    Much love to each of you!

    “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
    How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

    1. April,

      I wanted to thank you for addressing the separation thing so well, and for the teaching opportunity that I needed from you. I typed a thank you earlier but it went into thin air. 🙂 I think it was my internet connection this time.

      One of the things that draws me here to the comments is it challenges me to think through my personal convictions and understanding of Scripture as others share. Because you all are so generous with your stories, it helps me grow. So thanks to all of you.

      I think there are many, many silent readers who pray their hearts out for those of you hurting these days. I am among the less quiet, but you are all in my prayers, even with tears, many times. Much love to each of you.

        1. ContentinChrist,

          I’m so glad that’s meaningful to you to read…I have a special affection for you, dear sister. You are most definitely prayed for very earnestly.

          1. Hi, J. I’m just seeing this tonight. And I have a special affection for you and love to see your comments pop up. You have reached out to me in the past and God has used you. Thank you so much for praying for me. It’s humbling to know that people who don’t even know me are praying for me in that way. Thank you so much.

      1. J,
        You are most welcome. I’m thankful God has given us this place to share. Thank you so much for praying for those who are hurting and struggling – those who have shared and those who have not.

  21. Just read this tonight from a friend of mine – Here’s an interesting excerpt from a Focus on the Family broadcast I heard the other day, interviewing Gary Thomas – Sacred Marriage:

    Jim: Gary, I appreciate that ballast, to look at our spouse in a way that isn’t negative, but positive even if he or she is causing us pain. That takes a mature person. In fact, some people feel like their spouse may be holding them back from achieving something greater in their life, that it’s if I had a better spouse, we’d be in a different place in this life. And in the book, I think you use Abraham Lincoln as an example and I love that. We’re often thinking of Abraham Lincoln purely in a political context, keeping the country together and you know, getting through the Civil War and the leadership that he provided. But you kinda peel that back and talk about his relationship with his wife. What did you see there that gave you a different perspective?

    Gary: There was a poll on CSPAN that ranked our nation’s most effective presidents and in that poll, Abraham was chosen as our most effective president ever. But what caught my eye is, I’d seen a different poll that ranked the First Ladies and guess who was at the very bottom.

    Jim: Mary Todd.

    Gary: Mary Todd Lincoln. She was by all accounts an extremely contentious woman, reckless with their spending. During one stretch, she bought 200 pairs of gloves. You know, and presidents weren’t wealthy men back in those days, certainly Lincoln wasn’t, but she was sort of the Imelda Marcos of hands. If people remember that period, where she was just reckless and a vicious temper.

    She’d had an argument with Lincoln. She just couldn’t let it go. She could come in and he’d be talking to heads of state. She would throw a drink in his face and just walk out and he’s trying to do these delicate negotiations and he’s got this wife who ultimately literally was confined to an insane asylum at the end of her life. So, she was flipping.

    And yet, Lincoln was as committed to her as a husband could be. And then I look back and see how in providence, God might have presented this marriage to Lincoln to help him get ready, because we often look at Lincoln now with the understanding of hindsight.

    But when Lincoln was negotiating the Civil War, he was about as unpopular a politician as there had ever been. They found in his papers after he’d been assassinated, where he had made plans. This was in 1864 when he had the re-election coming up and he admitted in his journal, “I don’t see any way that I’m going to be re-elected as president.”

    But Lincoln had this mystical sense that God had created him with this mission, to preserve the experiment called “democracy.” It was being tested. There was by no means guaranteed. And so, I look back and I could see God’s providence. How does a man keep persevering, saying we’re gonna fight this war to an end. It’s gonna cost me re-election. People ridicule me. They call me a murderer, a butcher, all of this. Where does a man get that tenacity, that commitment, that perseverance to keep fighting a war that’s made him so unpopular?

    And it’s my theory that a man who would quit on a difficult marriage would probably quit on a difficult vocational challenge. In fact, I could almost see God looking ahead in His providence saying, “How do I get Abraham Lincoln ready? I know he’s gonna be President. I know the country’s gonna go through a Civil War. How do I give him that character?”

    Hello, Mary. You know, he brings this very contentious woman that any man would want to leave and yet, Lincoln was faithfully married to her. And the point is often that, well, God has a mission for every one of us. Sometimes our most difficult relationships are the very tools He uses to give us the character so we can succeed in that mission.

  22. Hi HH.
    I think of you each day and pray for you. I hope you are doing ok. I can’t imagine. I hope you are just taking each day at a time and that you can feel Gods love.
    Thank you for your message. My husband is actually A believer. We met at church. He holds a couple positions at our church. I know he loves God and prays before he sleeps but I can also see the huge battle he is in. Years ago before I knew about this site, when my husband was being quite nasty,I told my husband that I think Satan really has him in his clutches. I know it was wrong to say that. Anyway he just scoffed at me like I was being ridiculous. He only sees MY sins and faults and he’s been quite self righteous at times. So it makes it even harder and sadder and more frustrating that I feel he shoukd know better. I get in trouble for things he thinks I do wrong regarding the kids but yet he can drink every singe day, let them see him drunk, swear, treat me badly…. Seems hypocritical to me.
    So as he is a believer himself, he is responsible for himself. I can only pray.
    I’m trying to be a good example to my kids. Probably not doing a great job of it but I’m trying.
    Thank you again for your thoughts even whilst in your own turmoil.

    1. Hi Bel,

      Thank you for your prayers 🙂 I am certain that the prayers we all share are a big part of the reason that we are all growing and learning so much. I have had a few knocks today and feel a bit dejected.

      I am glad your husband is a believer. It is very confusing to understand why a believer behaves a certain way. But then if I look at myself I see behaviour that was awful even as a believer.

      May I pray for you about anything specifically? I have a lot of time to pray 🙂

      In Christ, HH

      1. HH,

        I know circumstances look discouraging and daunting right now. I am praying for you! Keep your eyes on Jesus, my dear brother, and all that He wants to do in your heart and life. God is sovereign over the circumstances. I”m glad you are embracing this time to focus on growing, learning, and praying. That is the best place to be!

        1. Yes circumstances are almost as bad as they can be April.

          Do you think God gives us specific promises? I find a lot of general principles and promises to a believer in scripture but I also hear of people saying that God “wrote a verse on their heart” for a particular situation or circumstance. What are your thoughts? Does God speak like that?

          1. HH,

            God does give specific verses or promises to believers sometimes, yes. This comes, at times, when we are listening closely and are abiding in Him. It doesn’t happen all the time or in every difficulty – but I know of many times when believers have felt very strongly that God promised them something specific.

            In my case, I didn’t know what would happen and wasn’t aware of a specific promise that my marriage would be healed. I just wanted God to change me and to give me the opportunity to try to make things right with Greg from that point on. But I have heard from quite a few wives who believe God has spoken to them that their marriage would be restored and healed in time.

            1. I haven’t had any specific verses or promises, but I do believe God has specifically encouraged me to keep praying at different times through our marriage when I was ready to give up. Just when I would be at a low point, He would bring something very specific to me that related directly to my circumstance (wife of unbelieving husband) and it would encourage me. After a while, my faith grew to see that He would not do that if He weren’t up to something.

              So I’ve become convinced that God will save my husband. I’ve also had many more people reaching out to me in the last year saying that they are praying for my husband. This seems to be something new God is doing – laying him on others’ hearts – that I don’t remember happening before. Those stories of prayer were coming before we even got to where we are now, so they weren’t praying in response to our crisis, necessarily.

              I do not feel guarantees that He will save him while we are married or even before I die. I wish I could say differently. It might be that he leaves me and finds someone else. I don’t know. But, I believe this new place God has us in is part of it all. God very specifically kept leading me to information that showed me that it was not loving to not be bold and confront my husband’s sin. There is a lot of pride there. My husband has never really had to answer to anything in his life. His parents didn’t give him consequences, as far as I know and pretty much let their children do what they wanted to do.

              I realized several months ago that my husband has no idea of authority or what it means and no respect of it whatsoever. He bends his work rules, he bends every rule that he doesn’t want to follow and justifies it. That’s a dangerous combo, I think – the pride and refusal to submit to something or anyone that is in a position of authority over you.

              I think God has allowed me to come to a place in our marriage where I am aware that I know my husband best and since he has specifically lied and sinned against me, God is allowing me to stand up and say, “This is not right. This needs to change.” So far, the reaction hasn’t been positive at all.

              I think God leads us all in so many different ways. For some, it’s just a strong sense or conviction deep down, for others, it could be a verse that God just keeps highlighting in your life everywhere you look. I believe God speaks in dreams and visions for some or an actual hearing of His voice.

              However He talks to us and whatever He says, though….the main thing to remember is that He is enough and always will be.

              HH, I saw in one of your other comments about not believing you are accepted with God. The thought I had was to remind you that you – the old you – is dead and gone. Truly, the old sinful you – well, there was nothing there to hold onto. Nothing at all good in us apart from Christ. The new you is raised to new life in Christ. So Christ is in you, but you are still made and fashioned with your own God-given unique personality, looks, gifts, talents, etc. Along with the specific gifts of the Holy Spirit that were poured out on you when you became a believer. Romans 5:1 says “By faith, we have been made acceptable to God.” (maybe look up the root word there, different versions say different things).

              But, we are totally accepted in the Beloved. That is the good news of the gospel! It will totally set you free when you start to really believe it. There is no condemnation for you at all in Christ Jesus. None. Zero. Ain’t happening. Even the mistake you made yesterday. Yes, that thing you said to your wife that you shouldn’t have. Or that temptation you gave into.

              You have to believe what Christ has said about you so that your reality will match up to His words. This does not mean that you get a free pass to sin. No one is saying that. But, it does mean that you can relax and rest in Christ and who He is in you, for you and through you. As you do that, you will see the reality of Christ’s words as the power of sin will be lessened and lessened and broken in your life.

              Trusting that God will reveal more and more of these truths to you in His time and way!

              1. Hi CiC,

                I think more what I am referring to is that God doesn’t accept the “old” me. Yes in Christ we are all totally accepted and there is no condemnation. However before I was in Christ there was nothing about me that was beautiful. Why is this important?

                Because people cry “you don’t accept me for who I am” but seem to mean “I want you to accept all my sin and wrong as being ok”. At least that’s how I’ve seen it. What do you think?

              2. Ahhhh, o.k. I see. Hmmm, that’s a good question. I would love to unpack this more because I see the same thing – definitely in my son and husband (who only seem to bring this idea up when I’ve been bold enough to confront major sin). And, I’m sure I’ve done the same thing — please accept that the house is just messy even though I’ve had plenty of time to do more….because it’s just who I am, I’m disorganized, etc., etc. So, I’m sure we all do that to some degree.

                To me, the difference is between someone willing to say “Yep, I’ve been lazy lately, I really need to work on that. Will you hold me accountable in some way? Encourage me when you see that I’ve made progress? Gently point it out to me when you see me slipping back again?” ….or “No, I refuse to look at this issue in my life and accept that it’s a problem or sin. And even if I do see it, somehow it’s someone else’s fault and that’s why I did it.”

                I don’t know, HH. We are all so broken. So, so broken apart from Christ. I think until we have eyes to see, until we have the Spirit of God living in us, we just can’t see our sin. So, those who are apart from Christ will do anything to justify their sin, to stay in it. Because, ultimately, the desire for that sin (whatever it is) is greater than desire for God and His ways and will. And, also, they have no other choice but to sin. We are just dead, dead, dead in our sins until we are made alive in Christ.

                I don’t think I’ve answered your question at all. 😀

                One thing I did think of as I was reading your comment and thinking was this….Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth. He never shied away from speaking the truth out of worry of hurting others’ feelings. But, He was also full of grace. There is a perfect balance that Christ is to us and also will be through us as we deal with those around us -whether brothers and sisters in Christ or unbelievers that God has put in our lives for us to influence and reach for His glory. I’m struggling with finding that balance even now, but trusting that God will do it in me. I’m sure you feel the same way. One thing I can tell you is I am way, way bolder with speaking truth than I was even a few weeks ago. With my husband, it is not coming in Christian “terms” as he specifically asked me not to speak that way to him recently….but with my son and other kids, yes. I see how I have shied away from presenting the hard truths that we all need to hear so that we are confronted with the reality of the true condition of our hearts and how desperate we are in need of a Savior. I’ve been way too grace-oriented at times to the detriment of the truth side! I think God is working in me a better balance in this.

                How can I pray for you specifically today, HH?

              3. CiC, wow what a great post!!! You have actually answered my question because I only asked for your thoughts on it and you gave your thoughts 🙂

                You understand exactly what I am getting at and that is a wonderful thought about grace and truth. I must think about that. I struggle with that balance a lot. For years I spoke truth without love. Then for years I bit my tongue and said very little to confront sin but it was out of fear I think (fear of her leaving) not grace. I was a pendulum and the balance is still very hard to find.

                When do we show grace. When do we speak truth. Truth in love or love covers a multitude of sins? But I think you inadvertently gave the answer anyway, it’s about relying on the Spirit’s guidance for our individual situations and acknowledging that both grace and truth are necessary.

                I would very much value prayer for wisdom, CIC. It’s 4:30AM here and I’ve been awake for a couple of hours praying. It is most difficult getting phone calls from people saying “your ex-wife”. I had felt until yesterday that God was working on bringing us back together and allowing me to make things right with my wife but particular circumstances yesterday have shown me that this is not at all likely and the separation is going to be long term and possibly permanent. So now I am thinking through what to say to work mates, the church we attended together and to my friends. I’m trying to find that balance of grace and truth I guess! I want to share the information in a way that lets them know what is going on, lets them know that I’m hurting but doesn’t portray my wife in a negative light.

                In Christ, HH

              4. HH, Check this out – article by Leslie Vernick on love covering over a multitude of sins. It makes so much sense when you see it presented this way!


                As far as love or grace, yes, just walking with the Spirit, He will lead and guide you. You might find that He has you being more firm and resolute with your words at some times or that He is leading your heart more to focus on blessing your wife in practical ways at other times. I have learned to trust that He is leading my emotions and thoughts and that He has a purpose for it all. I was angry the other night after a particular incident in our home. I think God has already used that anger for good as the anger motivated me again to say something that my husband needed to hear. He wasn’t happy about it last night, but I have learned that his happiness isn’t a good indicator of whether I’ve followed the Spirit or not. (This I got wrong for a lot of years, I think). Even after expressing this to him, I reached out to touch him last night – and got no response. This morning, I sent a text telling him that I loved him and thanking him for working for us and other things that he does for us around here. But, I’m not apologizing anymore for speaking truth….unless I have done it in a disrespectful way (even that will look differently — we are emotional humans and I don’t think respect necessarily means that we will have no emotion in our words or faces as we deal with each other through the conflicts of life. Christ was a human with emotions and righteous anger at times). So, to me, that is Christ living through me – truth and grace at the same time.

                I will pray for you for wisdom. That seems to be my biggest cry, too. Wisdom, discernment. Same for a friend locally who is going through similar circumstances. I believe God will honor that cry of your heart, HH. And we know that He promises us that if we ask for wisdom, we have it as long as we don’t doubt! So, know that He is leading you, that you have the mind of Christ and that His promises are true and you will be given wisdom for each step as you trust in Him.

                I’m sure that’s very painful to hear those words coming from others (ex-wife). One thing that I’ve had to remind myself over and over the last couple of weeks is that we walk by faith, not by sight. It doesn’t really matter what people are saying, what things look like, or what my feelings of despair are telling me. I think God is glorified when we believe Him for big things against all odds and appearances.

                I have asked for more prayer from others than I ever have in our life. I kind of got to this point that I didn’t care who knew our marriage was crumbling. We desperately need the Body of Christ to lift us up in prayer. So, I hope you will feel free to ask for that and remember that you do not have to share any specific details with anyone – and shouldn’t – unless you know that God has given you the green light that this is a person you can trust to love both you and your wife equally through this trial. I hope you do have someone like that in your life who can support you and listen to you, point you in the right direction, gently rebuke you when your motives are wrong or encourage you to let go of bitterness, etc.

              5. HH. She is still your wife…until she is not. You can go ahead and accept defeat because it “isn’t likely”. But even though you don’t see a way…the very definition of faith is trusting that God can make a way. If God wants your marriage restored and it is His will, you need to quit trying to figure out how God is going to do it and just trust that He will. We are not worthy enough to understand all God’s plans until we are at his side in Heaven. THIS IS THE VERY TEST OF WHAT YOUR FAITH IS MADE OF!!!! Sorry, just really want you to see that this is EXACTLY what the enemy wants you to think. He wants you to be discouraged, down, defeated and give up. He wins with that kind of attitude. You need to resist the devil and he will flee. You need to look at the positives and have faith, hope and look up to Hod, not down at your feet where the enemy is. Even if only one of you is trusting in God, He can make it happen. I know it looks bleak and pointless, but you have no idea what is going on in her heart or mind…or how things might change in her heart and mind. Don’t go off of what you see, hear or feel…go off of what you know….that God is in control. I will be praying fervently that you can trust our sovereign Lord to show you the next step you need to take and for you to completely trust in God during this trying time. Even when dry bones are dead, God can breath new life into them. You cannot tell what tomorrow will bring, so stop accepting defeat that isn’t here yet!!!!!!!! Only ask God for what you need just for today. You might not have what you need for tomorrow yet, but when tomorrow cones. HE will give you what you need. You are a VICTOR, not a VICTIM! Please stay encouraged and just run your race. Cling to God and trust Him. I am on my face with my hands on my bible praying for you to have courage, strength and faith and trust in Almighty God to handle this battle for your good!

              6. LMS, the circumstances are BIG and BAD. Completely unchangeable except by God’s power.

              7. HH,

                Two things that I have seen are helpful to people in the midst of a crisis like this:

                1. Focus on today. Don’t get caught up in what is “probably going to happen” weeks, months, or years from now. Jesus was so good to tell us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. None of us know what will happen in the next 5 minutes. The rapture could happen for all we know. Or a national disaster. Or a major miracle. Or a series of small miracles. We don’t know what is coming in the future. But God is already there – totally unlimited by time. He knows the way. He has your hand. If you are abiding in Him, there is no better place to be, my precious brother.

                2. Realize that this level of woundedness takes time to heal. Like maybe many months or even longer. I think it is good to think of it in terms of this is a long-term healing thing, most likely. It is probably not going to be all tied up in a nice bow next week. But that doesn’t mean that things won’t get better or that God isn’t at work. This requires MUCH patience. The kind that only the Spirit of God can give.

                Praying for you and for all who are deeply hurting tonight.

              8. Thank you April. This is good advice on both counts.

                Do you mean my woundedness will take time to heal or hers? Or both? Probably both. HH

              9. HH,
                BOTH! 🙂 Both of you have much healing to do. The relationship was so dysfunctional. She has to find her bearings. That takes time. You have to find your bearings. You will need to be able to become whole, healthy, strong, and Spirit-filled individually. Then there will be a very slow process of rebuilding a NEW marriage on new footings. Right now, she has a lot to wrestle with and to try to figure out – like who is she? Who does she want to be? What does she want in life? How does she make her own choices now? And you have a lot to wrestle with too. Many times the healing can be faster if you are separated. I don’t mean it will be “fast” as in next week. Or next month. But living together adds a lot more tension, friction, and stress. Sometimes being away gives you time to regroup and heal before you attempt to rebuild. Sometimes everything old has to be torn down completely before you can start building a new building on the same land. Even the foundation has to go and be relaid. That takes time, intentionality, and the power and wisdom of God.

              10. Thank you April.

                Patience is not a characteristic that is natural to me. Nor anyone I guess. Fruit of the Spirit.


              11. Oh wow, that’s a great journey. So good. Someone write me a man’s version to read and meditate on!!!

              12. I have thought a lot on the Waiting Becomes Sweet blog post! It is so good! The patience. The trusting God. The letting go of control into His hands.

                But it is also confusing at the same time!

                This sentence from the post “I LOVE NOT BEING IN CONTROL!!!!!!!! I LOVE GOD AND MY HUSBAND BEING IN CONTROL!” is confusing.

                I’m gonna pull out the New Testament again tonight and start a study on exactly how Jesus was head of the church.

              13. HH,

                I was REALLY stressed, afraid, anxious, and worried when I was trying to bear the weight of God’s sovereignty and trying to be responsible for my husband’s decisions and his spirituality. It was awful. I am still in control of myself – actually I have real self-control because of the Holy Spirit that I did not have before. Maybe I should reword that sentence? But I have God’s peace. I have Jesus’ light yoke instead of the heavy weight of the universe on my shoulders that I tried to carry before.


              14. It makes sense in the context of humility and letting go and letting God. The confusion comes because you let your husband “have control”. That’s what destroyed my marriage, me having control. The confusion is about what is godly headship not confused about what you let go of. If that makes sense!?

              15. HH,

                I do need to redefine that. I allowed him his proper place of leadership instead of my trying to control him and trying to lead is what I intend to communicate. 🙂 There is balance. Greg is the farthest thing from being controlling. It is difficult for me to even find out things I can do for him. He doesn’t like to ask for my help and he sure doesn’t want to tell me what to do. So I am not dealing with a husband who is micromanaging me or making demands. Greg is super easy-going and gives me the freedom to make a lot of choices for myself. But having him in his position of leadership and knowing God is leading me through him is comforting to me, it brings me peace now. I am thankful that the heavy burden of feeling that I had to make all of the decisions totally on my own and that I had to carry all of the responsibility for our family is no longer crushing my soul. But I do have responsibility for myself and my decisions and my obedience to God. I would not appreciate Greg (or anyone) attempting to take away my free will.

              16. HH,

                I was thinking about headship – much of it would be about motives, too. About acting in the power of God’s love, humility, and wisdom – not out of selfishness, fear, guilt, sinful anger, resentment, or any other sinful motive.

              17. HH,

                I let Greg have the control that was rightfully his. I kept control that was rightfully mine. And I acknowledged God’s control over what is rightfully His and stopped trying to control Him and all circumstances and people around me.

              18. There is a balance with headship, in my view. As a wife, if my husband were to give me a lot of criticism every day and lots of orders – I could feel more like his employee. Or my spirit could be crushed if all he had to share with me was negativity and how I am not doing anything right. But if a husband doesn’t give any direction or feedback, that is confusing and disconcerting. It makes me feel like I am trying to figure things out on my own or I am having to guess a lot – and I am not very good at guessing what direction we are going. It makes me feel like I am walking in front of him but don’t know where it is we are going.

                Balance is so key.

              19. HH.

                Here is a thought. So God IS in control of everything, yet he is not “controlling.”

                We all have free will, given by God. He doesn’t want us to just be slaves with no choices over our own lives. He allows us to choose Him or not. He doesn’t want us to be forced to love Him, obey Him or honor Him. He wants us to WANT to do those things, but has chosen not to force it. In the same way, us controllers tend to try to force the issues we think are noble, but it still isn’t real and we know it if people are feeling forced to do what we want. If my husband demands I do his laundry and respect him, I really don’t feel that because he demanded it. It isn’t really something I WANT to do. But if he were to show me love, respect, and kindness, like we see Jesus did, then that true respect, love and willingness to follow comes into play.

                It is more a matter of loving and accepting someone, EVEN IF they never change. So being responsible for the headship of the family is putting the needs of others above (not instead of) your own. For the betterment of the whole family. If your daughter was having a tantrum and your wife said, “Don’t stop her, because then she won’t snuggle with me tonight,” would that be a good choice? No. It is for the betterment of the family to correct the temper tantrum because there is discipline that needs to hapoen so your daughter doesn’t grow into a demanding, insolent person. Caving into your wife’s concern would not be the best choice. Even if she is mad that you chose not to listen to her, you, as the head, have to evaluate all sides.

                Now, your wife brings lots of good views of a situation as well. She could suggest that you go in and just hug your daughter and be calm and quiet, yet you are angry and upset and may want to yell and demand her to stop. In this case, taking your wife’s advice instead of doing it your way may be the best all the way around. It requires you to take some time to turn each situation over and view from all sides, and admitting your way may not always be the best way.

                For me, to submit to my husband, I ask a few questions…

                1) is he adding me to sin, to break the law or physically or mentally hurt someone? If not, then
                2)what will it hurt to try it his way instead of mine?
                3) is being right or having it my way more important than the our relationship or what the ultimate goal is?

                In this way, I can release my wanting to control and I can suit to my husband. I may even be totally sure something is going to fail. But I know that he needs to see that for himself. If life can teach him, then I’m not the bad guy. But that can be reversed, too.

                If you know that your wife watching horror movies with your 4 year old is going to cause nightmares for her, then you can advise your wife and give her your views, but when the kid is up crying – she gets to deal with getting up and comforting her. She will realize that you may be right and she should have listened to you. I’m sure there are times where you have to put your foot down because it may cause physical harm or damage. And at that point, you can’t be swayed by if your wife is mad at you or not, but you can explain what your deciding factor was without blaming or controlling.

                Often it is not your motive or what you are saying that is so offensive, it is HOW you say it that kills it. If is sounds demanding, controlling, no choices, no reasoning, because I want it this way, or especially not considering any other viewpoint or feelings, then it will be met with resistance..especially from someone who doesn’t understand Christian living or submitting to their husband. You can demand me to take out the garbage, and I may resist, but if you ask me with courtesy on a kind way, I won’t have a problem with it.

                In the same way, not many people would follow God if he was always brimstone and fire, killing people left and right for disobeying Him. We would not want to follow an always angry god. But we are lucky we have a loving, merciful God who guides with love, forgiveness and grace. So we are drawn to that loving way and want to honor that. It doesn’t mean God does not punish and discipline, but we are warned of the consequences of our sin…so it is our choice. When we turn to God, it is truly because we want to out of love and reverence and gratitude for His sacrifice and love to us, not because he demanded, forced and screamed at us to do it.

                Hope that makes some sense for you.

              20. LMS, hopefully this responds in line.

                You wrote “In the same way, not many people would follow God if he was always brimstone and fire, killing people left and right for disobeying him, we would not want to follow an always angry god.”

                I often still see God like this. I read the bible and see hundreds and hundreds of times where sin was punished brutally and violently. It is very difficult for me to see God as loving. I think I follow Him a lot out of fear. I turn to him in repentence when things go wrong but my relationship with Him very much feels like an OT relationship. I believe this effects me greatly.

                I was thinking through my childhood and trying to work out why I am a perfectionistic controller and so full of fear. I remember an incident at church where a visiting preacher came in, shook his head and said “There a major spiritual problems at this church, a lot of the guys don’t have suits on”. I had 22 years in that church and it has shaped the way I think, feel, act and so on. There was always a sense that I will never be good enough for God, but I always wanted to be!!!!! And honestly when I read the scripture that’s still often only what I see, that I’m not good enough for God. And my wife leaving confirms to me that I’m not good enough for her either.

                These are jumbled and quite personal thoughts. Hopefully they make sense. I feel as though everything about me from the ground up is being broken and rebuilt and I don’t know what into.

              21. HH, I totally get it. I started in a very strict Catholic church. I am now in a non denominational missionary church and I feel so much love and acceptance. Nothing against catholic church, but it just didn’t speak to me as this new church does. Sometimes “religion” messes up spirituality. The comment about the suits…it sounds very man made. God ministered to prostitutes, he didn’t care about what we wore, he cares about our hearts. Religeon in the past has very much turned people away with the legalism and staunch adherence to rules that are not supported in the bible. Read Deuteronomy 4:2.

                Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

                Also, think about how much God must love us to sacrifice His only Son. Could you do that? In the old testament, yes, there was lots of that type of “angry” type of God, but they also did not have the Holy Spirit living inside us. Instead, God would “come upon” them. Now that the ultimate perfect sacrifice was given through Jesus Christ, we no longer have to sacrifice the animals etc. But God always warned His people, they had very visual ways to see God (pillars of clouds or fire, burning bush, angels etc.)

                Maybe this is something to really explore and learn to get to know the charachter of God and His design and plan for his people. Understanding what the true meaning of love and unconditional love is. As you learn what God’s design is, you will see how much of a gift God sending Jesus to us on earth was. God loved us so much and knew how hard it was for us humans to honor an “unseen” God, so He gave us a visible, living example of how to live. Our way of life should be to act like Jesus, but know that we will never be perfect like Him, however, everyday we have a new chance to give it our best shot. By understanding God’s design for life, you may be able to let some of the perfectionism go. I will pray for you by name that you can learn to see the love that God has for you and the mercy and grace He gives you out of pure love. God IS love. The purest form. I pray that you can let go of the “wrong” things that you have been told by yet another imperfect person (all humans are), and learn to take all of it to the bible to compare to the word of God. Hope it helps.

              22. HH,

                A lot of times warped views and misunderstandings of God develop in our minds when we are children and we take those ideas and build our faith and our lives on them. Eventually, God brings us to a point where we can’t continue building our lives on the wrong, unbiblical ideas because they are destructive. Then we have a time of tearing out everything that is not of Him – which is really painful! And then we slowly begin to rebuild on His truth and goodness. This is the only way to complete spiritual healing.

              23. April, those two things you commented on are right on. I was totally despondent for a couple of days last week and God showed me that I needed to stop thinking about and trying to figure out what the future was going to look like. Just one day at a time. It makes a world of difference in my attitude and daily living.

                Thanks for the reminder that the woundedness will take time to heal. That will be helpful to remember as I walk forward. A realistic view.

                I think the Spirit is leading me to be a living sacrifice to Him in this marriage for now. I have no idea what that means for my future. It’s painful because nothing has changed on the other end. One thing already happening is this idea that I am doing it all for the Lord now. It is no longer about doing it for my husband or even our marriage. It’s just about pleasing my Heavenly Father and knowing that He has me and that I can entrust myself to Him. I thought I was in that place before, but this seems different.

                Thank you!

              24. ContentinChrist,

                I am glad you are hearing God and seeking Him and that you desire to walk in obedience and in the power of His Spirit – whatever that may bring. I love where your heart is right now and how God is using this to help you grow in spiritual maturity and in your faith.

                Thanks for letting me know those two points were helpful. Hmmm… maybe I should share them in a post. 🙂

                Much love to you!

              25. April,

                You said: “I let Greg have the control that was rightfully his. I kept control that was rightfully mine. And I acknowledged God’s control over what is rightfully His and stopped trying to control Him and all circumstances and people around me.”

                There have been times in my marriage where I have been too controlling and also a doormat….although I think I leaned more toward doormat.

                I am 43 years old and realize that I don’t know who *I* am apart from my husband! 🙂 I have a lot to learn here. And, there are questions forming in my thoughts about what things could/should look like as I go forward.

                For instance, I realized that my idea of submission was to try to figure out all the things that my husband would like and do life his way all the time. I don’t think that’s so healthy. Some of those times, he wouldn’t even necessarily ask me to do a certain thing, but I believed if that’s how I knew he would like things, then submission meant I would do it that way all the time. I remember one day, though, my husband was in the kitchen and wanting to rearrange dishes and such. I just felt like I had no say in anything at that point in my marriage (this was several years ago) and I actually did speak up and say something to the effect of “Could I please keep things my way here since I’m the one who’s mostly in the kitchen doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning?” He obliged and was fine with that.

                I remember a comment you made one time in response to someone else – have no idea what the title of the blog post was that you made the comment under. But, basically, I think the husband was trying to control a wife with taking medication or something. And you mentioned that she could just say something to the effect of, ‘I can handle this on my own, thanks!” That comment stood out to me because I had given up control on so many of these little things to my husband. I think it was both of us. I had a wrong idea of submission and it fed into his natural tendency to control. And, then I read how we should make our husbands feel like kings and well….my husband liked that a lot, but it fed into something that wasn’t good and right in him.

                Anyway, I feel like I need to re-calibrate some of these behaviors, but I really feel lost since it was such a part of me for so long. I mean, what does submit “in everything” mean? I feel like I either have to obey God in this, but that means I lose my sense of self and sense of just being a person with my own thoughts and ways of doing things…..or I “push back” a little with my husband….but I want to honor God. I’m confused on this issue, for sure and could use some godly advice and wisdom.

                I would love to hear practical examples from you and others about how to keep control that is rightfully yours. For instance, do you ask Greg before you make any decision? I have almost always asked my husband if it’s o.k. if I go out with my friends on a certain night, for instance, even though I knew there were no other plans. Some of that just seems like kindness, though….but maybe I have gone too far. I remember I used to be interested in possibly getting a job in massage therapy and my husband basically said no, he wouldn’t want me touching other people because it grosses him out. I quickly thought, “O.k., guess that’s not an option for me, then.”

                Anyway, just processing some out loud and would love to hear some feedback. Thanks

              26. Jennifer,

                This struggle you are describing is intrinsic to this journey, I believe. There is a tendency for us to overshoot one way then the other and back and forth trying to find the “sweet spot” where the balance is right for us, for our husbands, for our families, and in God’s eyes.

                Just in case you missed these posts, I would recommend:

                25 Ways to Respect Myself
                Does Being a Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?
                The Pendulum Effect
                I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, and Emotions – by Radiant

                With the big things, it is easy to see that if we both share what we think, feel, and need and we both share our concerns and can’t come to an agreement – I will defer to my husband’s leadership as I pray for God to give him wisdom (unless he is asking me to condone or commit sin or my husband is not in his right mind, etc…). To me the best summary of submission and headship is found in the Danvers Statement from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

                But there are smaller things that are more gray. This is where there is not really a formula – it is a matter of spiritual discernment and our hearing and responding to God’s voice. The specifics will look different in different marriages and it will look different over time in each marriage. These are things we negotiate.

                In our marriage – I check with Greg before:

                – spending much over about $200-$300. (with grocery shopping, I often check in to ask him if he needs anything – but he trusts me to spend wisely and I don’t have a set budget. I get what I think we need.)
                – agreeing to add something to our family’s schedule (which considerate spouses would probably all try to do)
                – giving away something that belongs to him (his electronics, his clothes, his tools)
                – organizing his stuff
                – agreeing to let the kids go to a friend’s house
                – doing something I have a feeling he may not like
                – buying glasses for the kids or taking them to the doctor (largely just to let him know what is going on)
                – agreeing to a new job or significant responsibility for myself
                – significant discipline issues with the kids if I am not sure what is best or think that he may have a different take on things so that we can present a united front
                – agreeing to work extra as a pharmacist
                – if there are big decisions or difficult situations with the blogs or ministry stuff
                – computer problems (only because I don’t know nearly as much as he does about that!)
                – if I want to do something when we are all normally home together

                I always copy Greg on my emails to men so he knows what I am doing – for accountability and transparency’s sake.

                But there are many more things I do without consulting Greg. We have an understanding of what I handle on my own and what I bring to him that we have hammered out over the past 7 years. I used to handle almost everything without consulting him at all. Then he felt like he had no say. That wasn’t good. I want him to know I am on his team and that I am sharing important things with him so that he gets to have a voice and he can slow me down or give me direction if he feels it is necessary.

                You do get to have a voice, feelings, desires, and opinions. I have a number of posts about respectful ways we can express these things. It is about balance.

                Lots of things I do without checking with him at all:

                – shopping
                – cooking
                – taking care of the kids in most situations
                – my spiritual growth and time with God
                – handling the blogs and ministry
                – what I wear
                – how I do my hair – although I know he likes it really long and prefers for it to be down (but he hasn’t mentioned that in many years and doesn’t pressure me about it)
                – whether I wear make up
                – my personal convictions
                – my health issues (which there are many) – I do let him know when things are not going well so that he can be aware
                – going to visit my grandmothers or my parents for lunch
                – visiting or walking with a friend during the day

                There are more, but I need to pick up my kids from school! 🙂

                The comment you are referring to was a husband who reminded his wife to change her tampons and pads during her period. Yeah. I can definitely handle that on my own! 🙂

                I think it comes down largely to motives.

                Are you seeking mostly to honor Christ and bless your husband? Or are you putting pleasing your husband before pleasing God? What is your understanding of respecting your new self in Christ?

                I can understand a husband not being comfortable with his wife doing massage therapy. That is a bit different from most jobs.

                Much love!

              27. Jennifer,
                Some other posts that may be helpful:

                Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships
                To Speak or Not to Speak?
                “Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity”

                Also, you may want to search “Command Man” on my search bar on my home page.

                If you feel that you have lost yourself in your husband and are only focusing on his preferences, feelings, desires, and needs and that you can’t even discern your own feelings, preferences, desires, and needs – you may be too close to him emotionally. Sometimes that is called being enmeshed or codependent.

                These posts may help:

                The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox
                Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected
                Oneness in Marriage – Not Too Close but Not Too Far Away

                Also, Nina Roesner’s e-course “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity” may be helpful. http://www.ninaroesner.com

                The biggest thing that will help is for you to abide in Christ and be filled to overflowing with His Spirit – He can teach you and prompt you all along the way. 🙂

              28. Thank you, April, for your responses. I will take a look at those links and resources tomorrow. And watch your video.

                Oh, yes, I was definitely enmeshed. One of your blog posts in particular God really used to show me that. Oh, if it were only as simple as reading a blog post and then the work was done. 😀

                Thanks again for taking the time to respond so specifically and thoroughly!

              29. April, yes motives are important but only a part of it. Moses had the right motives with the Israelites but acted in his own strength and killed an Egyptian in an effort to help. We know he had a shepherd heart because even when he was driven into the wilderness and was sitting on a well he helped water the animals that came. But He did not have the direction of God nor the power of God and so acted wrongly.

                I can honestly say that I had the right motives in headship but I am seeing that I did not have God’s leading or His strength. Moses had to learn to wait on God. HH is also learning to wait on God.

              30. HH,

                I know you talked a lot about fear in your interactions with your wife. I know that when fear motivates me, I do not make the best decisions or interact with others in healthy ways. This is a great time to allow God to shed His light on all of those things and to rebuild without the fear, guilt, shame, etc…

                I’m glad that you are learning to wait on God. Moses had a REALLY LONG waiting period as God prepared him to be the leader He wanted him to be. 40 years in Egypt and 40 years in the desert.

              31. I think, too, that we can still see the good in others, whether believer or unbeliever. We can see their gifts, talents and parts of their personality and speak to those things. So, if my daughter is very head-strong and stubborn, I can choose to look at the negative of that or I can confirm that God has made her to be a strong woman and point her to using that part of her God-given personality for good and not bad. If my husband is generous, I can confirm and tell him that I love that about him.

                Speaking of all of that, I have to say as a woman….we really, really want to be validated and honored by our husbands. Not sure if that’s something you’ve been able to do for your wife, but I know, for me, I have often wondered if there is anything at all my husband likes about me other than that I am beautiful/pretty (he tells me this thing, but I have very rarely – if ever – heard comments from him on what he enjoys or finds appealing about my personality, gifts or talents). I don’t know, just thought I’d throw that out there as you might be wondering how you can bless your wife even as you are holding hard truth out at the same time. Even hearing “You’re a good mother” is not really speaking about me. I am more than a mother, I am more than a wife. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate that compliment, but I just think we all long to be valued by our significant other for reasons other than our “roles” in life.

              32. HH. God accepts us as we are. Aftervall, He made each of us “I knew you when you were still in the womb”…, but he doesn’t have to accept out BEHAVIOR. There is a difference. I can accept that my husband isn’t perfect, may not be the romantic type or kiss me passionately when he comes home. I can accept that he doesn’t do things the way I do or think like me or even agree with my views. But I DO NOT need to accept him cutting me down, calling me names, yelling or screaming or ignoring me in a room. I do not need to accept h ok m talking to others about me disrespectfully or lying to me.

                Just like with children, they can do bad THINGS, but it doesn’t mean they are BAD.

                God did not make a mistake when He made you. You are a masterpiece to Him. But you also are not His slave. You make choices to either obey and honor Hkm, or live your life as if YOU are your own god.; in your own power, ways and ideas. “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done “…Too often we live more lije, “your will is fine,Lord, as long as you do it my way with my expectations. ..”

                I struggle with what having “the fear of God” means too, maybe April can dhed some light here. But even though God is so powerful, almighty and controls the universe, I feel His love, just for me and the special one on one connection I have with him like personal WiFi connection with the Holy Spirit, straight to God. And every single one of us has this. Just not everyone has turned on their WiFi connection.

              33. I found a wonderful scripture on this last night.

                Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, JUST AS CHRIST ACCEPTED YOU, in order to bring praise to God.”

              34. L,
                If we have a godly father when we are growing up – I think it helps us to understand the balance of God’s characteristics well. My Daddy was big, strong, powerful, and could give me the discipline I needed – so I did have healthy fear of his authority. But he was also so loving, attentive, playful sometimes, cuddled with me, talked with me for hours many times, listened to me, and would do anything to help me.

                No dad is perfect, however, so we may need to examine our relationship with our dads and our thoughts from childhood about God and tear out anything that does not line up with Scripture and then rebuild on God’s Word alone – using ALL of the character qualities and attributes about God that He presents to us in the Bible, not just some.

          2. This may sound silly, but for me, God speaks to me in well placed songs, signs, a common theme in conversations (yesterday I had about 8 different regency to eagles, from scripture, to songs, to prominent window displays) all while I wondered if I was on the right track with my husband. All these things were like a giant billboard saying YES! One day, I was feeling so down and discouraged and a car pulled out in front of me with a bumper sticker tgat said HOPE COLLEGE on it. That said to me that I am in the process of learning how yo keep hope, faith and my eyes on God…and I had alot to learn.

            I know every person is different, but just the other dsy, I ran into my aunt who I had been wanting to talk to for about 3 months to ask advice on how she got through a very difficult marriage and succeeded….the day after I asked my husband to leave and needed support the most. We happened to bump into each other in public and we talked right then and there. God knows how to bring the right people across your path. It could be a cashier or clerk, it could be a child or radio announcer. But you can tell if it’s God-ordained by the feeling of peace and calm you get when it happens…there is nothing like it and it is highly addictive.

            However, it takes us making the effort to calm down, be quiet and still and opening up out heart, mind and soul to listen deep inside…that still, small voice that speaks a truth that you feel is true right when you hear it or feel it. The “gut feeling”, the “hunch”. It’s kind of unexplainable, but it is God. It takes a bit of practice to learn to “hear” thst which makes no sound. Like an idea or thought that comes from nowhere. Hope it helps.

      2. HH. Thank you for offering to pray for me specifically. I feel so blessed. I’ve been sitting here wondering what I will say. I guess it’s mainly for increased faith and patience and that I am able to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit. I am staying very quiet and I think it’s out of fear. I’m missing my husband so much. He hasn’t even touched me for 16 months. The loneliness and rejection are almost too much to stand sometimes. Please pray that my husbands eyes are also opened and that he hears Gods voice. He’s a very stubborn man and good at justufying his actions and words.
        I will also continue to pray for wisdom and strenth and patience and increased faith for you. I keep trying to think of something profound to say that will “click” for you and help you, but I love LMS’s msg to you beginning ‘she is still your wife…..’ Those comments have given me comfort and strength to keep going today.
        I’m not sure if God is speaking to me but I keep hearing in my head the verse from James 1 : 2- 8 about the trials we will endure.
        Stay strong HH.

        1. Bel, I pray you will rest in your Father’s love for you. Know that He will lead and guide you in His timing. Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week, but just listen for His voice today.

          He is the Good Shepherd. It’s not up to you to figure it out….even though sometimes it feels like it. He will reveal things to you in His perfect time and way and if He ever calls you to take a step of faith that seems like something you could never do now…..you will be ready. But, He will not ask you to until He has given you the grace to begin the journey.

          Trials….hard….but a reminder that we are really one of His! And that’s the ultimate, right??!!! One day, we will be face to face with Him, no more of this pain, no more tears.

          The joy of the Lord be your strength today and forever, Bel! 🙂 Love you

          1. Hi CIC,
            I just came home from a day out and had my youngest child with me (10). I saw my husband ( he works at home) and said to my child “let’s go say hi to dad”. We walked over there and he hadn’t seen us coming. He had a worker with him and my h was swearing really badly. I covered my child’s ears and then my husband saw us. All he did was yell at me asking what I wanted and didn’t wait for an answer just said to go away and that he was having #%*¥£>*# dramas. All this in front of my child and this other man. I felt embarrassed and hurt. We just wanted to go say hi. So I left feeling a bit sick. He tried to ring a few minutes ago and I didn’t answer because I was disgusted in him and had nothing good to say. I came straight to my iPad and opened up to see a msg just for me from you. I’m in tears because I needed it today. Thank you. I certainly need the joy and strength of God right now. I don’t know how I’ll react when he comes home tonight. Should I just stay quiet and let God show him his sin or do I tell him calmly that it was not acceptable to speak to me that way in front of a man and our child and that his swearing is disgusting? I don’t know. I already know how it will pan out if I confront him. He will justify himself because of the huge stress he is under (which is true) Anyway. Feeling down and thankful for your encouraging msg. A pre-organized blessing from God as he knew what was coming? A big hug and love to you.

            1. Bel,

              I vote to let your husband speak first and to see if he apologizes. Surely he realizes his sin already.

              Praying for God to empower you with His wisdom! And sending you a huge hug, my dear sister!!

              1. Thank you April. I guess I don’t believe he will apologize. I know him. If he does, a “but” will follow. What should i do if he doesn’t apologize. I would like to thank him for working so hard for us and acknowledge his stress but at the same time tell him I need an apology for the very rude way he spoke to me in front of the man and our daughter. I would also like to ask him to apologize to our girl for the way he spoke to her mother. I’m sure she will never forget what she heard. It was absolutely despicable. If he apologizes and then justifies it, can I say why bother apologizing if you are going to justify it? Or is that disrespectful? How long do I wait for an apology? And what if he doesn’t say the words but is just nice to me? Do I leave it at that? I’m sorry. I hope God guides me. I’m thinking of the time you wrote about being very careful to deal with the logs in our own eyes before confronting our husbands with theirs. And as I’m not free of sin myself and never will be, do I actually have the right to say anything? I’ve been trying to avoid him now he’s home as I’m scared of doing the wrong thing. This is probably the first time in a long time I’ve felt the desire to confront his sin and I’m scared. I don’t want to stuff up.

              2. Bel,

                This is where we need the wisdom of God’s Spirit to know exactly what to say, when, how to say it, etc…

                But if he does not apologize, you can certainly think about bringing it up – maybe in a day or two – but listen to God’s prompting… Perhaps God may lead you to address it in a non-threatening, respectful way. “X and I were just stopping by to tell you, ‘hello,’ at work the other day. I guess we came at a bad time?” Perhaps he will share how stressed he is or was. Maybe he will apologize? Maybe not. Then God may lead you to share something like, “I’m so sorry you are under a lot of stress. How could I help?” And then perhaps there will be a moment to say, “You know, Honey, I don’t think our daughter and I deserved the way you spoke to us. That really hurt.” Or, “The way you spoke to us hurt our daughter and me a lot.”

                And then if he apologizes or if he doesn’t and if he justifies himself or not – you have shared your pain. You have given him an opportunity to make things right. I don’t think it is necessary to lecture him about how to properly apologize. If he does something nice for you – check out the post about when a husband extends an olive branch. Perhaps your daughter would like to let her Daddy know that she is sad and feels hurt herself?

                We do need to deal with our own sin first, but that doesn’t mean we can never address sin.

                Please search my home page for:

                – confronting our husbands about their sin
                – when a husband is hurtful
                – when my spouse hurts me

                Praying for God’s wisdom for you so that you don’t hang on to bitterness and for healing for you, your husband, and your daughter, my dear sister!

              3. April,
                Ok thank you. I have read those posts but I guess it’s always good to read again.
                I’m amazed at how God has changed me. I actually don’t really feel bitter. Just very sad and concerned for my daughter. I would have usually been so angry and probably have stewed on it until he arrived home so I could say something. I feel kinda calm though and more understanding of him and just want to act how God would want me to. It’s weird in a very nice way. Your prayers and guidance and advice have helped make that possible. It’s late here so I came to bed and read a bit more of Sacred Influence and the part I read related right to what I’m going through right now.
                Thank you for doing all the hard work on your own (and with God) all those years ago so you can teach and guide us all as you are now. God bless.

              4. Bel,

                Sin is destructive and hurtful. It does grieve God and it grieves us. I’m so glad you are not bitter – but I totally understand you being sad and also concerned for your daughter. How is she doing?

                I’m so glad that God is working in your heart and that you want to act the way God wants you to. He is so good! His ways are beautiful and Life-giving!

                I’m honored that God allows me to share His treasures – I pray He will pour them through me into your life and the lives of many others to bring healing, blessing, Life, joy, hope, and the peace of Christ that passes all understanding. Much love to you! 🙂

              5. April,
                Thank you for asking about my daughter. She seems fine. But I’m sure she’s not. Unfortunately my kids have all been witness to a lit this last year and a half. One of my teens told me a few months ago that she said to her that mummy and daddy don’t love each other anymore because they don’t kiss and hug anymore and daddy is always mean to mummy. This same one has been having terrible trouble at night. Has been on the floor in our room for about 6 months now. Just won’t or can’t sleep by herself. It’s very tiring and frustrating.
                My husband has been normal to me since yesterday. No apology as yet. I’m finding it hard to want to look at him.

              6. Bel,

                This is so heartbreaking! 🙁

                I pray for God’s wisdom for you about what to say, how to say it, what not to say, and how to approach things, my precious sister. Does your husband realize why she is having so much trouble? That the tension in the house is creating a lot of anxiety for her?

                Do you believe God desires you to say something to him? If you do – it is okay to say it when you believe the timing is right. I am praying for all of you!

              7. April I don’t think he realizes the effect on the kids and if he does he is in denial that it’s anything to do with him. He said a while back that if the kids are affected it’s only because I am upset and cry all the time and o need to control myself. Again my fault. But he was right in a way so I have been trying to keep my emotions in check more. But there’s an unspoken pain in my teenagers, as when things happen or are said that upset me they come and hug me or tell me they love me or offer to cook tea etc and one time they went shopping and bought me a beautiful gift for no reason. But without acknowledging what’s going on. They aren’t silly. They know.
                I did say to him that I was worried that our little girls’ sleeping issues were because of our issues and he scoffed and said its just a stage and that our older one had sleeping trouble too. Trust me. This is different. She’s a very anxious little one and will ask if an insect bite might make her die and lots of things like this.
                Husband just came in for lunch and I was busy cleaning. He came into the bedroom where I was working and asked what I was doing and then asked if I got any results back yet from the ultrasound I had. That was 2 weeks ago and I found it interesting that he bought it up now. He showed no interest or concern while it was all happening. I told him all was well now and he stood there for a few seconds then said ok see you later. So still no apology. We are home alone and he had the opportunity to bring it up. This makes me sad. I’m sick of being sad.
                I’m not sure what, if anything God is saying to me. This is always my trouble. I’m thinking of sending him a msg instead of confronting but am waiting for God to direct me if I should or not. I do t think leaving this go for days is a good idea as I may get resentful.

              8. Bel,

                It sounds like it is possible that him asking about the ultrasound may have been an attempt by him to be kind and to “extend an olive branch.” That is a GOOD thing!

                It is okay – and even important – to share if something he does was hurtful or grieves your heart. You may not do it perfectly. But learning to speak up is important in many circumstances. (To Speak or Not to Speak?) (Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin)

                Sometimes, an approach that gives him the benefit of the doubt can be helpful. Something to prayerfully consider might be…

                I know you work so hard to provide for us. I appreciate that very much. I also know that you really do care about our children and want what is best for them. I am thankful for that about you. Our daughter and I stopped by just to say, “Hi,” when you were working the other day. I know you have been under a ton of stress. I don’t want to add to that. But we didn’t deserve to be cussed at. That really hurt us both. I will be sure not to stop by work if you would prefer. But I would love for us to treat each other with respect. Thanks.”

                Praying for God’s wisdom for you! And for God to soften your husband’s heart. And I pray for you to be able to abide in Christ and to be the wife, mom, and woman He calls you to be even in this fiery trial.

                Much love!

                I think I may have already shared this, but I am not totally sure – but Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas has some real life examples of godly wives dealing with angry husbands that may be a blessing.

  23. Beautiful poem that speaks to many of us right now.
    Rose From Brier ~ By Amy Carmichael

    Thou hast not that, My child, but thou hast Me,
    And am not I alone enough for thee?
    I know it all, know how thy heart was set
    Upon this joy which is not given yet.

    And well I know how through the wistful days
    Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways,
    As unregarded as a breath of air,
    But there in love and longing, always there!

    I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow
    A rose for others. If it were not so
    I would have told thee. Come then, say to Me:
    My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.

    1. That is a beautiful poem thank you CiC.

      Thank you CiC, LMS, Bel, April and all of you for lifting me up in prayer. I am also lifting you up individually and by name.

      CiC that you will be filled with wisdom and peace and know the guidance of the Spirit.
      LMS that you would know God’s peace and wisdom with your decisions and that the boundaries you implement will be according to His plan and your families blessing.
      Bel for your husband and for God to speak to him.
      April for this ministry you are doing that you would be filled with the Spirit and have God’s strength and wisdom in what you write.

      In fact, wisdom and the Spirit is what we all need in increasing measure.

      CiC, I do have a counsellor who is objective and can give me counsel but he is expensive and I cannot afford to talk to him often. Once a month at best. I do have support from family but family are not always objective.

      I get a lot of objectivity on this forum which is why I write so much here. It helps me think through things and gives me a much needed female perspective without putting me in the dangerous situation of sharing my struggles with an understanding woman in person. I am aware that I am emotionally vulnerable and so avoid sharing hurt with women I know.

      Love in Christ, HH

  24. LMS, are you married to my husband’s twin, haha? I read your comment above about where you are now and some things God has revealed to you and those are all things that I feel God has shown me, too. Wow. Like every single one. I love what you said in another comment, too, about loving someone and accepting them even if they never change. Whew. That’s a hard one. I know I keep throwing out songs and poems, etc., but those are things God really uses in my life, so here’s another one that talks about loving someone just the way they are – by Sara Groves. The words are amazing.

    It seems God is doing a similar work in our marriages and ourselves except that God is sending me into the super quiet phase, I think, but has still told me to speak up respectfully for myself, draw some boundaries, etc. (whereas you’ve done the quiet phase part already).

    Thanks for sharing where you are and what God’s been showing you. Love ya, sister!

  25. LMS and April, I’m gonna respond down the bottom as it’s getting really tricky to navigate all of the discussion on my phone! It squeezes it all into a single line when the responses get on.

    April, I’m going to have a good hard think about the shame aspect. I don’t feel any guilt anymore but I still feel shame.

    How do scriptures like Romans 6:20 fit? “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” Isn’t it only natural to feel ashamed around a person you have hurt?

    As I said, if I can legitimately come to a point where I don’t feel ashamed of who I was then that’s a place I want to be! And just because I haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean it can’t be true too!

    And yes, fear has coloured almost all of my decisions for a long time. But guess what!? I didn’t realise until I read what you wrote then that I haven’t felt the same fear in a long time! I have felt discouraged, lack of hope but I just realised that I am not making decisions in fear since I truly laid down that idol. Wow 🙂 That’s really exciting!

    I also came to a point this afternoon of accepting that I need to wait on God. I actually wrote out a “Waiting Prayer” in my diary. Yay! I am hopeful that I dont have to wait as long as Moses!! But it’ll be as long as needed.

    And YES God has truly brought me to a point where I have nothing but Him and need to rely totally on Him and tear out anything that is not of Him.

    LMS, thank you for praying for me this weekend! She actually wants me to spend as much time with the kids as I can (which I LOVE). She totally trusts me with the kids. She has often said that I love the kids so much but not her! Although I’m not sure that she’s watching me from afar to make sure I’ve changed. The separation is permanent in her mind to the point that she said you can have the house I’m going irrelevant.

    Finding that sweet spot is hard! I’m debating this weekend as to whether I show that it makes me sad that she is gone or whether I don’t express that. She’s trying to control how I feel in an effort to minimise her guilt but the Lord may want to use me to show her something. I truly don’t know but I’m seeking God’s wisdom on it. If I speak I’ll mess up, if He speaks through me it’ll be right.

    Hmmm someone’s forgiveness as an idol. I’ll have to think about that.

    Analysis paralysis!!!! Love it!!!!! Thank you for the apt word and the chuckle 🙂

    Can you please expand on this sentence? “Women need to see the “human” and imperfect parts in order to trust a man.” I think it’s important I understand that. It reminded me of something she said a couple of years ago when I confessed that I’d spent too much on something. I felt really guilty and came to her to confess it and she said “Yay, finally I can see you are human. That makes me feel better about my mistakes”. I think this could be linked and something I need to understand.

    Wow, so much in this thread!!

    Love to all in Jesus name. HH

    1. HH,

      There is shame about sin in the past, yes. But shame is no longer our identity now. We can and should hate our sin – absolutely. And we can humbly admit that without Christ, we can do nothing but sin. But the full price has been paid for it. Now let’s press on to the high calling we have in Christ Jesus -forgetting what is behind… Paul had murdered many believers and persecuted them and put them in jail. He hated what he did but talks about that he received grace and mercy because he acted in ignorance- which I believe we all did before we came to Christ. Our identity is not in what is behind, but what is ahead and in what God is doing in us now.

      Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.… Philippians 3:12-14

      Of course we want to make things right with someone you have hurt and you can grieve over your sin and we grieve over their pain. But rather than stay in the past and what you did in the past, we can focus on rebuilding a new history now. I think we will all be ashamed of our old sinful selves. But that self is now dead and gone where it belongs. And now we have a new self of which we have no need to be ashamed.

      I love that you wrote a waiting prayer. That is awesome!

      Here is a post I am sharing on my other blog today by Radiant about which self we are to respect that may be a blessing.

    2. Excited for you, HH! With the things God is showing and doing in you….

      As far as how to act when you’re around her, I think you trust God to lead that. Don’t fake something either way. Be authentic to what you’re feeling (while letting the Spirit control whatever those emotions are, of course!)

      Take off the mask and just be you. God can work it out either way whether you’re happy or sad…..I would say don’t try to adjust your feelings and how you’re acting based on how you think she will react. God can use the way you’re feeling that day to speak to her. Let go of every detail of it, even things as little as that.

      (Anyway, that’s my opinion…and as believers in Christ, we can still have real joy in times of sadness which shows, as well!)

      I sense freedom from shame in the very near future for you, HH!!!!! Excited for you – excited for all of us.

      How He loves us….

      1. How does one know when the Spirit is leading your emotions?

        I’m very lonely every morning and often have to cry a bit when I wake up. Does that mean I’m not walking in the Spirit?

        1. HH,
          I think you are grieving right now and working through the emotions. This is normal. I don’t think the intensity of the pain will be this severe forever. But there is a grief process during a separation. It is hard. It is painful. It is sad. This isn’t how marriage is meant to be.

          1. It is a hard journey.

            When you laid down your idols and started waiting on God you said “I waited. Bad things didn’t happen. God started to work”.

            When I laid down my idols IMMEDIATELY the fears and idols that I gave God happened. Why?

            1. HH,

              Well, I THOUGHT that a lot of bad things were going to happen when I began to try to trust God to lead me through Greg. I was sure Greg was going to make me work full time again and that he didn’t care if I was ever home with our children. This isn’t the same as a separation, I do understand. But one of my biggest fears was that God would force me to work full time in a very, very stressful job (at Walgreens) that I hated where we were extremely understaffed and I got cussed at all day long and that I would miss most of my children’s younger years. Every month for 4-5 months after I decided to submit to God and to Greg’s leadership, I got a new job offer out of the blue that I hadn’t asked for that was a lot more hours and a lot more money. I was so terrified that Greg would just want the money. I thought that was all he was interested in at the time – thankfully, I was wrong. Every month for months I would have about 2 weeks of not knowing what would happen. I shared about the offer with Greg and he would quietly think about it for 2 weeks or so and say nothing. Then eventually, he would say I could do what I thought was best. By the last 2 months this happened, I learned to trust God and to trust Greg and to rest in God’s sovereignty and love whether I had to work more or whether I could be home more. I wanted so much to quit pharmacy and just be home all the time. But Greg felt that wouldn’t work. Even though I was just working 8 hours/week at the time, I was bringing in well over 1/3 of our income.

              So, when I say my fears didn’t happen… they ultimately didn’t – although I am still working part time in the pharmacy even though I would rather we radically downsize our lives and spending personally. I didn’t end up having to work more hours – but there were a lot of unknowns and there were many times I thought Greg may decide I should work a lot more even though I didn’t want to and I would have to cooperate with his leadership about it. So, I was tested a lot.

              I don’t know all of God’s heart and all of His providence, but I would guess that this step may be necessary to bring healing to you both.

              1. HH,
                OH! And my other fear was that Greg would stay shut down and unloving and unplugged. He did stay that way for a really long time – several years. He had already been like that for a long time. But he didn’t leave or threaten divorce. And things didn’t get worse. He wasn’t hostile. But it did take a long time for healing to very slowly take place.

                Another fear I had was of not doing anything for God and having to sit still for the rest of my life doing nothing. I did have to sit still for a REALLY long time. But – not for the rest of my life! It was 4 years and one month after God opened my eyes before I started ministry.

                I was also afraid of being lonely in my marriage, having no romance, and not feeling loved. That did continue for a long time. But I learned to be content even in that situation.

              2. April,

                Thank you. There are a few things that comfort me from this!

                Firstly, it is almost as though God was testing the genuineness of your faith by bringing along the job offers. Does April REALLY trust me or not? Makes me think of 1 Peter 1:7 “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

                Secondly, even after making the DECISION to trust God you still experienced some fear and nervousness about the practicality of it, yes? “I was so terrified Greg would just want the money”.

                Thinking. Praying. Trusting. Learning. Hurting. Growing.

              3. HH,

                Oh absolutely! I do believe God was testing me. I had never had those kinds of offers out of the blue. And I have never had them since. It was from that January through April or May right after I determined to submit fully to God and to Greg that December 2.5 years into my journey. I knew it was a test at the time. And I hated it! I was convinced that Greg wouldn’t care one bit about my feelings. At the time, I thought he didn’t love me very much. I thought he only wanted me around for my paycheck. I told him things like that for years – and he didn’t argue with my theories – so I assumed I was right. If I worked full time, I could make more than twice what he made per year. I figured he would happily get me out of the house more to be able to have so much more money. Then he would have two wins – he wouldn’t have to deal with me and he would have tons more money. That was my thinking at the time. I know now that I completely misunderstood his heart. But I didn’t understand his perspective or motives then.

                Oh, yes, I was a wreck the first two months or so. I was determined to honor Greg’s leadership – but I was truly afraid of what that would mean for me, my priorities, my dreams, and what I believed God was calling me to do.

                Yep. That sounds like the process. 🙂

              4. Wow, I have some tears over this comment. I think I kinda got the impression that once you handed over the reigns to God this crazy peace flooded you instantaneously and it was all good since.

                I’m so certain that I’ve “let go and let God” and I am so determined to let my wife go on her own journey and be the man I need to be but am still so scared of what that actually means. So comforting to see that part of your journey.

                You also showed me something else just now. Greg WANTED you to accept his love. I WANT my wife to accept my love. So much of our early struggles was because she would NOT accept that I loved her. It is in a bloke to want to give love. Interesting.

              5. HH,

                I began to have a lot of peace 4-6 weeks after my initial jolt and seeing my sin and repenting. But it took 2.5 years of studying, praying, stumbling, falling, repenting, getting back up, reading, begging God to show me and teach me… before I STARTED to feel like I was almost about to understand respect and biblical submission. Then I started really trying to put it into practice – one I began to understand what it meant – that is where things got quite terrifying for awhile for me for a few months of testing. But then I began to learn to live in God’s peace even in the midst of the unknown and facing my fears.

                Of course, I may face a new trial tonight that would test me greatly and stretch me more than I have been stretched before – and I will need to wrestle with that issue and then settle on trusting God and yielding fully to Him.

                Yes, Greg did love me. He tells me that he never stopped loving me. But he was so quiet, so aloof, so unwilling to talk with me, look at me, and often he didn’t even want to touch me for a long time at first – that it was easy for me to assume that he really did not love me. It seemed like he rejected any moves I made to come toward him – I think because I had burned him so many times for so long. It looked, from my perspective, like he didn’t love me. Then I realized he was very wounded. I know now that he stayed aloof and skeptical because he wasn’t sure he could trust me yet and I had NO CLUE what I was doing and was still being pretty disrespectful without realizing it – probably most of the time until 2.5 years into the journey when I read The Surrendered Wife. That is the same time he began to realize I was serious about learning this stuff.

                I read that book every day for 3 months straight to try to help me completely change my thinking habits – but it wasn’t a Christian book, so I had to consciously filter out a lot of it and add Scripture into it. But God used that book to really help me begin to feel fluent in “respect” and in understanding Greg.

                There are layers and stages. There are new insights and new levels of understanding and challenge where we must wrestle with new things and new trials and lay everything down before God. It is not a one time thing. It is a daily thing in some ways – but then there are bigger tests that come that really stretch us and grow us. But they prepare us to better handle future challenges with greater strength. But sometimes we must wrestle first with our human emotions and fear and then make the decision to trust God not knowing what lies ahead.

                I’m glad this was helpful. 🙂

              6. It is most helpful 🙂

                It has started a train of thought in me that I’m possibly only at the beginning of my journey to understand biblical servant love and headship (gulp…..I was hoping I was nearing the end of my testing and trials).

                Do you know of any books specifically for men? I’ve read Love and Respect, the 5 love languages, Understanding People (Larry Crabb), Boundaries, If Only He Knew, Humility, Absolute Surrender and so on. I want to study something really meaty about servant leadership!

              7. HH,

                I think this is the beginning of a new chapter of training and testing for you. Kind of like that time of testing for me. It was the following April when Greg said to me one evening when he came home from work that he felt safe with me again and he said, “I think you need to share what God has shown you with other wives.”

                We want the testing to be over in 5 minutes. That is not how it usually goes. And there will be many more times of testing in our lives. But it is these trials, these refining fires, the spiritual pruning that causes us to grow, to mature, to deepen in our faith, to learn perseverance, to be prepared to be able to handle bigger trials. It actually can get to the point where you think, “Hmmm… a new trial. Wow! I wonder what treasures God has for me in this!?!? I can’t wait to find out! I need to go pray and just let God know I am open to whatever He wants to do and whatever He wants to show me. I’m so glad He is with me and He is working. I know I’ll be so much stronger in Him after this. I wonder if He has some miracles in store? This is going to be amazing.”

                We really can learn to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1) Not that the trials are joyful. They are painful. But as we are humbled and tested and tried, we grow in ways we could never grow when things are going “well.”

                I’ll ask Greg about books about servant leadership. I know he has read quite a few in the last couple of years.

        2. No way! That means you’re human and healthy and able to express emotions. We are made in the image of God, He is an emotional being. God never admonishes people for being emotional – it’s when we cross over into sin with our emotions (righteous anger turning to bitterness and unforgiveness…..sorrow turning into self-pity and failing to trust in God’s sovereignty and reign….fear that consumes and paralyzes when we’re again not trusting God). Emotions, in and of themselves, are never wrong. I think healing will come much, much quicker for you when you allow what you’re feeling to just happen, when you acknowledge it, take it to the Father and pour it all out to Him. It’s what He wants from us. And then He gives us His perspective, while comforting us and reminding us that He understands.

          Personally, I have experienced the greatest sorrow and grief I’ve ever had in my life with where I am currently — but also the greatest joy in Christ. Two days ago, I went from unbelievable heart-wrenching grief to laughing with joy in a matter of two hours. (Maybe some would think that’s crazy!) This has happened many times for me over the last month, but that day in particular was the quickest turn-around from one extreme emotion to the other that I’ve experienced.

          You sound like you’re in a really good place, HH, considering your circumstances.

          1. Ha! This comment, I thought, would sit right under HH’s question if him grieving mean the wasn’t walking in the Spirit.

          2. I have experienced that same turnaround also in these trials CiC.

            I am on my face in prayer about this weekend!

            1. So tonight (yep it’s night where I am) I really brought tomorrow before God in faith asking Him to show me His will as to how I will handle the day. I came before Him with no preconceptions as to how I would act, letting go of all of my desires and trusting Him to show me what would bring Him the most glory. I told him that if it was a time to show grief to my wife then I would, if it was a time to show joy I would, whatever He showed me I would trust as good.

              I got up from my prayer time to find my phone flashing with an email from a Christian friend who does not know my situation. He does not know that my wife has left but he knows I am facing trials. He sent me an email telling me he had been praying for me today and with some particular scripture that he felt the Lord was showing him. He wrote “”In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
              I just want to highlight the principle of coping in times of trouble – return to what the Lord is asking you to, rest in His promises and goodness – he will not let harm come your way and he is sufficient for you in your crisis, rest!
              Now again more hard practical teaching – ” in quietness and confidence shall be your strength!”

              I read his email and I know how I will deal with tomorrow! I will deal with tomorrow with confidence in the Lord’s goodness, with a quiet gentle spirit and by resting in the promises of God towards me His son. I am certain that this is an answer to my prayer and I have complete peace that this is the attitude that God would have me approach the day.

              Many thanks for your prayers my fellow sisters!

              In Christ, HH

              1. Humbled Husband,

                WOOHOO!!! Praising God for the place to which He has led you – His perfect peace and rest. This is AWESOME! Praying for God to shine through you to accomplish His glory on Sunday. And for His Spirit to bring about healing to your heart and for your wife individually. Then there will be a strong foundation for God’s will and His purposes to be accomplished in both of your lives.

                Love the encouragement from your brother in Christ. God is able to reach us. He is able to meet our needs. He is able to answer prayer in ways we can’t begin to fathom. This is an exciting adventure each day with Him!

              2. That was a hard day. She apologised for the pain she is causing and said that she doesn’t intend me any harm. Yet it looks like she is dating already. Truly it is painful to be unwanted. No words.

                I’ll be silent for some time I think.

              3. Oh, HH. I am so sorry. I won’t try to find words to help. I will pray for you right now, that your Father will comfort you and hold your heart.

                It’s possible she could have been trying to get a reaction from you. I don’t know for sure, that’s true, but just thinking….

              4. HH,


                This breaks my heart, my brother. 🙁 We are here if you want to talk or want to ask for prayer any time.

                I will continue to lift up this situation to the Lord.

                In Him,

              5. Wow! That’s amazing. I’m sitting here smiling a huge smile with that testimony. God is good. You definitely heard from the Shepherd. 🙂

      2. Actually further to that comment, is it possible to move past the pain and be joyful ALL the time? Or is the pain still going to be there even with the peace?

        The sense of rejection is tremendously big. I went to a parenting workshop last night and one of the things that stood out to me was that children are always asking through their behaviour (good or bad) “Do you still love me?” It struck me that even as adults we are still asking the same thing of those around us! And to have someone leave confirms to us that we are not loved (by that person anyway).

        1. HH,
          I do think that you can experience God’s joy even in the midst of grief and pain and hurt. And I am thankful that no one can take away the peace and joy Christ gives to us, not even Satan, or our spouses, or our trials. We will have normal human emotions to deal with – but we can still tap into God’s power and have His Spirit fill us. Not that the pain isn’t real. It is! But there can be a way to look past the current pain to the future glory and the fulfillment of God’s will and His good purposes.

  26. All,

    I can’t wait to read (or listen to) this book which is available online for free, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs from the 1600s. Check out some powerful quotes from this book here about finding contentment in Christ alone.


    Here are a few:

    “In a clock, stop but one wheel and you stop every wheel, because they are dependent upon one other. So when God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus, how do you know how many things depend upon this thing? God may have some work to do twenty years hence that depends on this passage of providence that falls out this day or this week.”
    ― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

    God’s wisdom is so much higher than ours! Let’s follow Him even when we don’t understand. He knows exactly what needs to happen and when. Let’s patiently wait to see His plan unfold and His purposes be accomplished in our lives, in our marriages, in our families, in our churches, in our culture, and in our world.

    “A godly man in the midst of the waves and storms that he meets with can see the glory of heaven before him and so contents himself. One drop of the sweetness of heaven is enough to take away all the sourness and bitterness of all the afflictions in the world. We know that one drop of sourness, or one drop of gall will make bitter a great deal of it; but if you put a spoonful of gall into a cup of sugar, it will embitter that. Now it is otherwise in heaven: one drop of sweetness will sweeten a great deal of sour affliction, but a great deal of sourness and gall will not embitter a soul who sees the glory of heaven that is to come.”
    ― Jeremiah Burroughs

    “Oh, that we could but convince men and women that murmuring spirit is a greater evil than any affliction, whatever the affliction!”
    ― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

    “If I become content by having my desire satisfied, that is only self-love; but when I am contented with the hand of God and am willing to be at His disposal, that comes from my love to God.”
    ― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

    “Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such an affliction. Though you cannot tell how to bear it with your own strength, yet how can you tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it? But if Christ could bear it why may you not come to bear it? You will say, Can I have the strength of Christ? Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength, and Christ is our strength. There are many Scriptures to that effect, that Christ’s strength is yours, made over to you, so that you may be able to bear whatever lies upon you,”
    ― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

    1. That sounds like great reading, April!! How did you find him?? How were you introduced to Andrew Murray, too? Same source? Is there a big list of these great writers from the past somewhere?? 🙂

      1. J,
        One of my readers shared about that book with me today. I think a reader may have shared about Andrew Murray, too. 🙂

        http://www.ccel.org has a lot of classic Christian literature and quite a few free downloads of things. I know they have many of Andrew Murray’s things and some of E. M. Bounds who wrote so powerfully about prayer. 🙂

        1. Just to let you know, the CCEL version of the book Absolute Surrender that you use isn’t the whole book!

          I bought the paperback copy and there are a number of chapters in the paperback version that aren’t in the electronic version. The electronic version joins in halfway through. I’m not sure why.

          1. Humble Husband,

            You were asking about books earlier. You might want to check out a classic called “The Measure of a Man” by Gene Getz. My husband says it’s a very good book for men wanting to learn Christian leadership. 🙂

  27. April,
    I have been really wanting to talk to my husband about what happened with my daughter and I but I felt like I couldn’t hear God. It did seem that it was never the right time to bring it up though.(by the way, it was much worse than it sounds when I read it back)

    I thought it might just be because I was scared but now maybe it was God keeping me from speaking.

    Yesterday my husband came inside and showered and changed into casual clothes and said he was going into town to do work jobs. I had a funny feeling in my tummy that he was going to see someone else as he usually just goes in his work clothes. Anyway. He was gone for hours and he called me to ask me something so I asked if he got his jobs done and he said no. I asked what have you been doing then. He tried to lie but must have felt bad and admitted that he went to see our pastor then just said he had to go.

    I am not getting my hopes up too much but surely this is a positive thing. I’m wondering if after how he treated my girl and I that he saw how bad he’s been and realized he needed help. Then I felt like God kept me quiet because this was in His plan. Do you agree? I have asked no questions but I still feel like I want to tell him we were just coming over to see him that day to tell him some news and didn’t deserve to be treated like that. Do you think I should just let it go now??

    I prayed that whatever our pastor said to my husband that he heard God speaking through him and that he comes back to God firstly for himself but also for our marriage if it is God’s will.
    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    1. Bel,

      It is possible that God may have kept you from speaking and that your husband may realize what a “jerk” he was being and wants to change. I’m glad he told you he talked with the pastor. Sounds like he doesn’t want to discuss details. But that sure sounds encouraging to me. 🙂 Praising God for this!!!!!

      I don’t know what God desires you to do – but I do pray that you will continue to seek His prompting and His will and that you will be sensitive to anything God wants you to do – whether it is to continue to wait and pray and respond with godliness yourself, or whether to also gently, respectfully confront him.

      Sometimes we get stuck on thinking we need to confront our husbands – but that is not always the case.

      Have you read the post about one of my readers whose husbands was SUPER harsh to her about how she disciplined the children and she said nothing. He got even more angry that she didn’t respond, and she gently said, “I was just thinking about what you said.” He took a shower. She hadn’t confronted him at all even though he was VERY harsh and mean to her in front of her young children. He came out from the shower and said, “God told me when I was in the shower that I need to apologize to you.”


      So keep listening. Keep praying. Keep praising Him and trusting Him. He can give you the wisdom you need about whether to speak up, when, and what to say, or when to keep waiting and be still and let Him do the work.

      Much love!

  28. Thank you April. I’m so tempted to call my pastor and ask questions as he didn’t think my husband would ever go to him on his own. But I guess that’s wrong. It just feels like this is the first positive thing that has happened in almost a year and a half and I can’t help but feel encouraged.

  29. April
    I feel like vomiting. I’m already having my usual anxious diarrhea. (Sorry). I texted my pastor and just asked if he could tell me if it was positive that my husband went to see him. He texted me back that my husband sees no future for the marriage but stops short of wanting a divorce. He doesn’t see him changing anytime soon. He said he told him scripture from Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7. And told him to take time out to pray. He warned him of the implications to our kids.
    A hot flush then sickness washed over me as I read pastors text. I actually let myself believe that this was a positive sign that he went to see him and I was thanking God for his goodness. I can barely stand up right now and my kids just got home from school.
    I know what you will pribably say but I’m so very scared right now. Why are all these prayers from everyone not working. Not wanting divorce is surely a good thing in Gods eyes. I HAVE turned to God more than ever. I just can’t believe this is happening. Please please pray for my husbands heart to change.

    1. Oh Bel. I feel your pain, I really do. I feel your sickness, your fear, your anxiety, everything. I’ve lost 14kg this year and I don’t have it to lose. Our bodies respond to intense stress in a physical way, definitely.

      It is still a positive sign that he went to see a pastor. There are many other sources of advice that he could have gone to. It’s not over yet. It’s not even over if he leaves. Yes, it’s hard to hear that. Very. But it’s not over.

      I can’t change anything for you but I want to share this thought. I connected two verses today in a way I haven’t seen them before. “God is love”. “Love seeks not it’s own”. That means the author of love is seeking your good.

      I’m going to pray for you again. HH

      1. Dear HH,
        Thank you. I skipped dinner, took a sleeping pill (I rely on those these days) and told my family I was sick ( which I am) and came to bed. I’m getting drowsy but was so thankful to get your msg before I sleep. It’s weird how our bodies react. I actually felt like I was going to be sick any minute. This is just so painful. I’m asking how long I have to put up with this pain.
        I haven’t stopped praying for you either. Just wish we could get a morsel of positive to keep going hey. Thank you again. I very much appreciate your words and prayers.

    2. Bel,

      Yuck. 🙁 I wish I could give you a big hug!

      I’m glad that you have this information. It is a GOOD thing that he doesn’t want a divorce. It is a GOOD thing that he went to the pastor and got this godly advice. But I am sure this hurts so much!

      How do you know that prayers are not working? God is always working in ways we can’t necessarily see, my precious sister.

      How is your time with God going?

      What do you believe He wants you to do at this point?

      It seems that you are reacting in fear – which of course, is not of God. I want to see you be able to lay your fears at the feet of Christ and then act in the power of God with His wisdom. Fear will repel your husband. And fear makes it impossible for you to be filled with the Spirit. The fear will have to be hashed through and you will need to kick it out as you replace it with trust in Christ.

      Please read Quinn’s comment and let me know what God speaks to your heart.

      Much love!


      1. Bel, HH and any one trying to find out how to fix their marriage. Obviously, God is in charge. He knows what is best. However, He led me to a book, written by Christian authors called “His needs, Her needs”. It is so eye opening. My husband even agreed to read it with me. I’d like to know if anyone has anything to say about this book.

        1. Thanks LMS. I just bought it on ebay at your recommendation.

          There is a question on the trenches thread I would value your opinion on about my anniversary tomorrow if you have time 🙂

  30. April
    I read Quinn’s comment. It is sad and amazing and I had tears reading it too. I thought “lucky her” and that this is probably a rare experience and that just because it happened to her it probably won’t happen to me. Sorry, im just in so much pain. I’m wary of letting others experiences get my hopes up.
    I just spoke with my pastor about his visit from my husband. He said my h said he wishes he never married me in the first place. I guess I knew that deep down but I got a pang of pain when I heard that. He got the feeling my h was done with the marriage but is maybe just staying and keeping the peace while our kids are still in the house. What happens when they’ve all left then? I can’t live like this. Without love. He doesn’t want to divorce but wants to live in our house with the kids but us living separate lives.
    He apparently said he was willing to go to a counsellor again. But why? If he feels this way why bother? Is he confused? We’ve tried counseling for years but it obviously hasn’t helped so why do it again? His heart is so hard that I don’t think it will be much use. I’m in despair. This pain is too much. I woke up this morning and for that split second was enjoying my cash bed, then it hit me. Reality. Instant pain in my belly. I wish He would come again and end all our pain.

    1. Bel.

      I have been really praying for you and about what to write to this and I believe God has given me something to say specifically for you.

      I definitely understand the pain you are in. Definitely. I’ve had the same words said to me exactly and more. Words like “I have wasted so many years of my life on you” and “It’s time I lived for me” and so on. It hurts. Deeply. And you feel like you can never move again. I wake in the morning and have exactly the same experience sometimes. Sleepy happiness. Waking up. Reality hits. Instant pain. Observing a hard heart getting harder and harder. Counselling ineffective. Wishing I could die. Oh yes I understand where you are at.

      I understand what you mean when you say you are wary of letting others experiences get your hopes up! When I let go of my marriage into God’s hands and decided to trust God with ALL I half expectantly began looking forward to seeing a healing process begin! Instead, on almost exactly the same day that I let go she decided to leave. Wow. Almost as though God said “Right, that’s what you’ve said you will commit to, now I’m going to test it!”

      No-one’s story is going to be exactly the same as yours or mine. But we do have the same God watching over us all and He knows what we need as individuals!

      Please know that I’m not super spiritual or pretending to have a brilliant answer or have reached an ‘end point’ when I write this, but I have realised that I have actually been brought to a place where I have NOTHING but Jesus.
      -I have significant financial pressure as a result of the separation.
      -I do not have a wife at home.
      -I do not see my children often.
      -etc etc

      I. Can. Do. Nothing…….except trust God to see me through. I have not healed. Yet. I may not heal for a long time.

      Now I may be a harder case than most people but I suspect that God had to take everything away before I would fully trust Him. We have a tendency to lean on anything but Him. But in His love He is trying to teach us to lean ONLY on Him. He is the only thing that is totally dependable anyway. His love. And as I start to rely on that love hope glimmers in my heart.

      I also want to tell you something from my life that may help. 8.5 years ago I had a massive argument with my wife and threw my wedding ring out the car window and said “I hate you, why did I ever marry you”. I never found that ring and those words have burned themselves into my wife’s heart. She’s never forgiven me for them (and other words). However, I could not feel more differently about her now (and for the last 7 years too). I love her dearly! The words we say do not mean that things are always going to be that way.

      Praying for you. HH

      1. HH,

        Love this! Thanks for sharing with our hurting sister. Your words have so much more weight because of the fiery trial you are going through right now. What a blessing to hear you minister to Bel and encourage her because it is so obvious that you do know the kind of pain she is going through.

      2. Thank you HH
        I’m really in despair at the moment. I don’t want to wake up in the morning. I AM so scared of what God may do here. I know that’s shameful. He loves me and knows what’s best. I just seem to have trouble with this. I can and have said to God that I trust Him and that I give Him my husband and my marriage as He knows what’s best. But the fear I have makes it seem like I don’t mean it. I want to mean it. I just can’t seem to get it right. I know for certain that God is the only source of healing and strength etc. so why can’t I seem to mean my words 100%?
        I pray for you and everyone here too. I’m so glad to hear you have days of peace and can rest in God. You are doing so well in such a painful time.
        I’m sorry to hear about the ring. That surely would have been hard for your wife. I just wish she knew your heart now. I so wish we could all visit and hug in real life. I’m so thankful for you all here. It means so much that you sent me a personal comment.

        1. Bel. You are going to be okay…no matter whst. I know you are scared, feel betrayed and discouraged. Deep the faith. Pull under God’s wing of rest right now. He will give you much needed rest. This fear seems like a huge control issue. If you step back and look at it, you are trying to control your husbands feelings and actions by predicting the future, and that prediction just got rocked.

          It’s time for you to work on YOU very hard. Not worry about how your husband feels, thinks, what he said to anyone. You can’t control if he stays or not, and how he feels. But if you continue to react and bounce all over, the whole house will be filled with confusion and panic. Concentrate on other things beside the martiage and the problems. Seek wisdom from God about your motives, expectations and what you are afraid to lose and why. Are these things you value above God? If so, God will find a way to remove them from you in order for you to trust in Him only. This is painful, but needed. Until you put God in His proper priority…as first in your heart, then God will keep testing you in this way. There is much to learn right now. He also knows how much you can handle and doesn’t give you more than that. So trust in Him…and give all your fears to God. He will make it all work for your good. It may not be the way you think or predict, but trust in God’s ways and timing. Be strong for the kids, realize that one person in your life should not make or break you. What would you do if your h suddenly died? How do you pick up the pieces and carry on in life as God wants for you?

          I understand how scary this is…I have done the same thing and been in the same situstion. Your husband is wrestling with so much as well. I’ll bet he is scared, but God keeps asking him to stay too. Praise Gid and thank Him for that small blessing. But don’t live for it. Let go. And let God.

          I am praying hard for you and Content in Christ and HH right now. I pray you find shelter under God’s wing and weather thus storm in His peace and Love. Look to Him as your healer and protectir. Cry on His shoulder, let it all out to God. He will bring beauty from these ashes. Much love and hugs, my friend.

    2. Bel,

      If you are feeling suicidal or you need to reach out for godly help – please do reach out some more to your pastor or a trusted, godly counselor, my precious sister! Reach out to a doctor if you need to.

      Your hope cannot be in your husband. Your contentment and fulfillment can’t come from him. Not now – and not even if God heals your marriage.

      Can you have the same exact kind of peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment, and overflowing spiritual goodness of God in your life that I have and that Quinn has – even in your trials? YES! ABSOLUTELY! It is all about your trust and faith in God and letting go of all of your other fears and expectations.

      What I hear in your words these past few days, especially – is a ton of fear. And while that fear and your pain is completely understandable – it is poisoning you. It is even making you very sick physically. Your anxiety and tummy issues are all tied to your spiritual thinking.

      If you are willing to hash through your fears and you want to learn to get rid of them and trust Christ fully and submit to Him completely – knowing He will bring you through this and create great beauty and good from it – even if we don’t know how and we don’t know the end results yet – I am glad to help you work through your fears. I can’t do the hard work for you. But what you are feeling right now and the pain you are in can be a launching pad to a much deeper relationship with Christ Jesus and to spiritual healing for yourself regardless of what your husband does or does not do.

      If you are willing to do things God’s way – He WILL heal you. I have seen Him do it hundreds of times. 🙂 He may even heal your marriage.

      If you continue to cling to fear and try to get your husband to be your primary source of security and peace and love – you will continue to repel him, and you will continue to be miserable because you are not allowing God’s goodness to fill you up. Real contentment, joy, and peace are only found in Christ.

      What God is going to ask you to do right now will be painful – it is very similar to what God has asked HH to do recently – to lay everything on the altar before Him and to be content in Christ alone no matter what your spouse does – but it is the path to spiritual healing for you. It is also the only path to potential healing for your marriage.

      You have a lot of people beside you on this journey who are experiencing very similar situations who are glad to encourage and love you here.

      I’m greatly encouraged that your husband doesn’t plan to divorce. That is really good news. You are both hurting. Yes. But God is able to heal!

      I want to see you find healing in Christ first. I believe that is the first step for spiritual healing for you both. We will pray together for healing for your husband individually, as well. And we will pray for God’s healing for the marriage in His timing.

      Right now, your heart seems to be full of unbelief in God, doubt, fear, and pain. The awesome news is you don’t have to stay in this place. You can turn from your unbelief, you can lay your fears down before God, you can choose to trust Him with all of this stuff. You can’t control your husband. You can’t change him. But God can.

      Are you willing to not zoom ahead into the future with worry and what-ifs? (Check out this very post – if you haven’t read it yet, where this thread is, I think it may be helpful and a blessing to you right now.) Are you willing to decide to completely trust God and to absolutely surrender the outcome of everything to Him? I am glad to walk beside you on this journey if you are.

      You do not have to live without love. God’s love is sufficient. It is greater than anything else! You can be content in Him alone. And when you are content in Him alone, you will be amazed at the things He will do in your life for His glory. 🙂 This is what He calls each of us to do – to be completely content in Christ.

      If you want to talk about why you feel you can’t trust God with what is happening, let’s talk about it together.

      Sending you a huge hug, my dear sister!

      1. Yes! Bel this statement “You do not have to live without love” is TRUE!!!!!

        A separation was one of my greatest fears ever! Not being wanted. Not being loved. And it HURTS!!!!!!!!! But now it’s happened in the weirdest “has to be God way” I am sometimes wrapped in more love now than I have ever been. Really truly!!!

        I’m not there every moment, no that’s true. I have moments of great fear, great pain and great loss. I move between the sickness you feel and peace. Tomorrow is going to be hard I’m sure. Which is probably an unavoidable part of the process given the situation. But I also have a lot of time of great rest and love from God. Almost a physical presence sometimes!

        I consciously choose to trust in the goodness of God and when I do I actually know His presence and love. I haven’t ever rested in God like this before. And it is good. I want to be there 24/7. Whatever it costs.

        In fact Bel, something I have been realising lately is how many of my own motives even towards my friends, wife and my own children are actually grounded in an effort to improve my own self image. Yuck! How completely un-Christ like. It horrifies me. And yet I have an opportunity to understand that, turn from it and learn of Jesus heart of selflessness. Wow. I wouldn’t have known that unless my wife left. God knew I needed that. My dad is a giant spiritually and is one of the most selfless people I know. His love draws me to him and God. I want to be like that, how much will my children be blessed by that!!!!! Basically what I am saying is that more and more I am seeing that I didn’t really understand or have love anyway. I had fear, control and counterfeit love. I’m throwing that away for real love. The love of God. Eternal love.

        You don’t have to live without love. It’s just different (and better) than what you knew.


      2. Dear April
        I’m not suicidal but do wish God would come and end ell this pain in the world.
        I spoke with my husband today. Not good. He said he still loves me but that we just are not suited. He says we are too different and don’t agree on anything. I tried to tell him a bit about what I’ve been learning and how I’ve changed and he said it doesn’t matter what I try and tell him, it’s too late in his eyes and that he told me for years to get myself sorted out and I took too long and now it’s too late. He said even the way I coped with bad situations in our lives (not to do with us) turned him off me.

        He said he doesn’t want to divorce but can separate once the kids are gone and go our different ways. He’s not 100% sure yet but can’t see a future. He’s still blaming everything on me even though he caused it all to start with when he developed very obvious feelings for my best friend. He doesn’t want sex or even a hug because it might give me false hope. I think it’s not normal for a guy to have no interest in sex. I think he has depression but he just says “well why wouldn’t I?” Ok, I just had to get all that out.

        As I said to HH, I do trust God and have prayed that I want Him to take my husband and marriage into His hands. To take my anxiety and fears. It’s like I say the right words, then nothing. I honestly don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I do have fears but I confess them as sin. Yes I am willing for you to help me with this. Please. Show me. I’m so sad that you see unbelief in my heart. I understand why. But I DO believe. I really do. I am scared but I want to surrender the outcomes to God. But again, I say it, but do I mean it. I want to mean it.

        I can’t help but be scared that it may not be in Gods plans to restore our marriage. That’s my biggest fear. I don’t want to have alternate Christmases etc with our kids and grandkids one day. God says in the Bible that whatever we ask for in His name is ours if we believe. I do. So why isn’t my marriage healed? It’s been over 10 years of me praying and pleading. That’s a long time. Please help me.

        1. Bel,

          I would LOVE to help you!!!! This is the place where we all start. What you are experiencing is part of this journey – where you realize that you believe in your head, but not in your heart and you have to face your deepest motives and ideas about God, self, your husband, marriage, and where your real hope is.

          I want so much to answer fully right now. But I am extremely pressed for time – BUT please hang on! Thank you LMSdaily for responding to Bel!!!! I know others will share throughout the day, too. I will respond at length when I am able to tonight – God-willing!

          I am praying for you, my precious sister!

          In the meantime, you are welcome to search these terms on my home page for posts that I believe will bless you:

          – fear
          – submission means we hold things of this world loosely
          – idol/idolatry
          – worry
          – anxiety
          – discontentment
          – insecurity
          – security
          – contentment
          – more to this journey than just prayer
          – lordship of Christ

          I praise God your husband is communicating honestly and clearly about this. THAT IS AWESOME!!! You don’t have to guess where he is or what he is thinking. Give your husband time. Focus on allowing God to transform you by the power of His Spirit, and as your sin becomes less and less – your husband will begin to see his sin more. It is not too late. Your husband may feel it is too late right now. He has waited a long time for you to change. But God can change you. And God can change him. Let’s get you into spiritual surgery. This is like having gangrene – the dead, rotting, filthy stuff has to be amputated and scrubbed out. This is REALLY painful – but it is life-saving – and it is the first step toward healing.

          Much love!

        2. Bel. Your last lines are very telling of your heart. It says this to me: “if I do all these things on this check list, I am guaranteed to get what I want”. And you seem confused that your “dominoes” are not falling in perfect order. Where does YOUR control end and God’s control take over. I ferl like you beleive in God, but don’t trust Him unless He does it YOUR way. Think about this. Trust. Control. Fear.

        3. What your husband is saying is EXACTLY what my wife is saying. Word for word. Not suited. Too different. Too late. Me explaining my changes. Even before she left saying no hugs, holding hands or sex as she doesn’t want me to have any hope. Exactly mirrored in my life. Wow.

          When I was asked by God to lay down everything it took me a long time to actually do it. I wrestled with it for ages and probably drove April and Greg CRAZY with my questions. I had so much fear and even when I truly laid it down I still had fear.

          I have an example that may help. It may be different for different people but this is how it was for me. It was like I was standing on an iceberg that was sinking. I didn’t realise it was sinking until i got my feet wet. I slowly woke up to the fact that it was sinking and realised I needed to get off it! And wow, there is a boat right next to it. But the iceberg has been my comfort zone for so long! How do I get off it and trust the boat? The boat might have holes in it! Eventually I realised this iceberg IS going down and I need another option. I made a deliberate choice to get onto the boat. But I was still scared of the boat because I had never been on a boat before. It was a new experience for me. I rested one foot on the boat in faith. Hey, it didn’t sink! Slowly I put more weight onto it. It still didn’t sink. Then I lowered my whole body onto it and wow, it’s still holding me up. I begin to realise that my faith in the boat isn’t in vain! I trust it more. I look back at the iceberg and it’s sinking. Everything I have known is gradually going underwater. The it is gone. It hurts. My home, everything I knew had sunk underwater. Ow. But I’m in the boat. And as it’s floating I’m learning to trust it more and more. I’m RESTING in the ability of the boat to hold me up.

          The iceberg is my old way of thinking, my old beliefs and SELF. The boat is Christ, my security in Him, His love. The transition from one to the other (for me) was and is a slow process and I still look at the disappearing iceberg and feel fear. But then I can look at the boat and feel it’s strength. And it’s sailing me who knows where? But it’s holding me up.

          And it will hold you up also.

          None that hope in the Lord shall be ashamed. None.


        4. Hi, sweet Bel.

          My heart aches for you today. I’m so sorry for your pain. Oh, girl….life is hard. And I totally understand that feeling of wanting to be with Jesus. Hey, I think Paul did, too – he was ready to go – knew that it would be far better to be with Christ – but also knew that there was more for him to do at that time.

          I first wanted to just speak to the guilt you are having about where you are. I have found guilt and shame to not be very helpful at all in my life – or anyone’s! So, yes, you aren’t where you want to be right now as far as resting and trusting in Christ. But that’s where you are, right? This is where you say to God, “Father, I can’t do this…but You can.” And you start right there. With the simple admittance that you can’t do it. Now, God has something to start with. Because until we realize we have no power to do anything – not even rest and trust in Christ like we should – we will be miserable. Know that He is not frowning upon your lack of trust, know that He is tenderly looking at you with loving eyes, know that He is hurting for and with you, Bel. He really is. I promise. Any lie you are listening to from the enemy that is condemning you right now…..well, it’s a lie. You are holy and righteous right now in Christ Jesus. Your lack of perfect trust in Him right now does not change what Jesus has done for you. Period. So, stand in that truth, sister.

          Keep coming back to that truth and the fact that God is so for you and loves you so much. That is truth. His Word is truth – not the enemy’s whispers of your inadequacies, fears of the future or anything else that is causing fear in your life.

          You are so valued by God. He is for you. He is your Defender and your Protector and He will guide you through this storm. No, we don’t have guarantees. He told us this world was full of trouble – but He has overcome! I know, sometimes that doesn’t seem helpful, but you will delight in that promise one day soon, even if you can’t right now.

          Pour your heart out to God and tell him all of your doubts, questions, etc. Do it directly with Him and know that He can handle it. His love is unchanging and unfailing for you in Christ. You’re not going to say something wrong in your pain that makes Him abandon you. He will never leave or forsake you. But be honest with Him and He will speak to you and comfort you and pull you through to a new level of trusting Him that you’ve never had before.

          As far as the words your husband spoke….I have heard words like those many times also. And, knowing much, much better, I spoke some very hurtful words to my husband the other day (and apologized). Things get messy. We’re not going to be at 100% all the time. God will use that mistake I made the other day to do a deeper work in me to remind me to stay quiet when I’m being attacked and to be very careful of what I say so that I can stand at the end of it above reproach and bring glory to God. Deep down, I do believe my husband loves me – at least a worldly love. For him, it’s the simple fact that he is just not going to be happy until he surrenders his life to Christ. Of course, he wants to blame me for all of his unhappiness, but God released me from the false guilt of thinking that my marriage’s success relied solely on me and my performance in the marriage.

          I bet you can think of some things your husband does that proves his love for you – even though his words aren’t matching up right now? My husband serves in many ways and that is his primary way to show me his love. Try to focus on those things for a little to get your mind off the words. Understand, also, that your husband is most likely feeling guilty about his behavior and by going to the pastor and telling him these things about you and how he feels about your marriage, it helps him to look past his own sin.

          The best thing you could do is to put your eyes on Christ and let Him fill you with His strength and love and to stand tall. Because the reality is that your husband has some stuff to deal with, just like mine. They’re just not ready to face it yet. But, God has put you, Bel, in this man’s life for such a time as this. He knew that you were the perfect woman to walk through this storm with your husband.

          Hmmm….God’s speaking to me here, too. (Love when He does that!)

          Praying for you that God will fill you with His strength. That you will rest in His plan for you and your marriage, for your husband and family. I pray that He will reveal something to your heart straight from His mouth that will fill you with hope and put a song in your mouth even in the middle of this pain. I pray that you will be able to respect and bless your husband even in your hurt. That you will show him the love of Christ in an appropriate way with regard to your specific circumstances. I pray that you will not feel false guilt or shame to take steps that God isn’t necessarily asking you to do, that you won’t force something that’s not there, but that you will be willing for God to change and move your heart as He sees fit to do things that maybe you weren’t ready to do a day or two ago. Trust Him to guide you. When you don’t have an answer, be still and wait patiently for Him.

          Love, prayers and a big virtual hug to you.

          1. CIC, you see into my heart so clearly. I am in a real state. Crying, not sleeping, not eating for 2 days. Your msg was beautiful. Thank you doesn’t feel enough. I’m so missing the physical touch of even a hug I feel like I’m going crazy and he said he just can’t hug me. My kids hugs are sweet but not the same. I know Gods love is supposed to be enough for me to be content but it doesn’t seem the same. If only He would come down from heaven and sit on my bed and hold me while I cry. I feel so alone.
            HH thank you also. And LMS. I have a huge headache and can’t write more now. But thank you.

          2. Hi CIC.
            I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how you are. Ive been reading over a lot of comments again and I read this one and just want you to know it’s helping me again right now. Thank you and I hope you are ok. Xx

        5. Bel,

          Let’s hash through this a bit…

          As of today, I have had 41,611 comments on this blog alone. That doesn’t count all of the comments on my Youtube channel, my other blog, or my FB pages. So – having walked beside so many women (and quite a few men) on this journey, I have made some observations:

          1. Your husband feels this marriage won’t work right now. I understand why considering the history y’all have shared. I know he is frustrated. You are, too. I know you have both been hurting a lot. I’m sure he feels like he can’t make you happy. And really, he can’t. Joy comes from Jesus. It doesn’t come from a human. MANY, MANY people have been in this situation. MANY spouses have heard these words. At this moment in time, your husband’s feelings are that it is hopeless. But he doesn’t know what God can do. He doesn’t know how God can change you and he doesn’t know how God can change him. So, don’t put tons of weight on his words right now. Yes, respect his feelings. But don’t imagine that these feelings are carved in stone. They aren’t. God is MUCH bigger than a man’s feelings.

          2. Talking to him about what you are learning will mean nothing to him right now (God gives us some help with this in I Peter 3:1-6). Check out the post, “When Your Husband Says, ‘I’m Done'” for a lot more about a healthy way a wife can respond.

          3. Godly beauty is about having a peaceful, gentle spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear. God can absolutely give you this kind of beauty as you seek Him far above anything else. That kind of beauty is more precious than the most rare jewel to God and to husbands. But the main thing is that it is beautiful to God. 🙂

          4. This will take time. There will be a long time where you don’t talk about what you are learning, you live it. Actions and attitudes are MUCH more meaningful to men than empty words.

          5. He has issues, too. And sin. You can’t change him. You can influence him and set a godly example. Your godly example (without words about God and what you are learning) may impact him in time. But you may have to pray about healthy boundaries and wisdom about when to speak and when not to. There are resources for emotionally abusive relationships at http://www.leslievernick.com.

          6. As you take care of any sin in your life (Matt. 7:1-5) – he will have less and less room to blame you for the problems in the marriage. Eventually, he will have to take a hard look at his own sin.

          7. He is right that he can’t be 100% sure. If God radically changes you – and then God radically changes him – that will bring healing to the marriage in God’s time. But it is pointless to waste time fretting about years from now. Let’s focus on what God wants you to do today.

          My husband didn’t want to look at me, listen to me, talk to me, touch me, or be in the same room with me when I started my journey. It took 3.5 years for him to feel safe with me again. I had no guarantees. But now, we have the intimacy I always wanted – but better than what I wanted. I don’t know if that makes sense. Because I don’t idolize him and am not enmeshed with him. So it is SO much better than my old dreams used to be.

          This fiery trial is bringing the “dross” to the surface. It reveals the hidden motives of the heart and shows areas where faith is weak. Acknowledge where you are afraid to trust God and ask Him to help you. Ask Him to help you get to the place where you can lay it all at His feet and trust your husband, your marriage, your family, and all of your dreams totally to Him – and where you can choose to be content in Him whether you have your dreams or not.

          Your fears reveal your greatest desires – and idols.

          If God were to heal your marriage today – your heart would stay stuck in unbelief in God and in wrong thinking that is very destructive to you spiritually. You wouldn’t have to see your need and desperation for Him. You could continue on not fully trusting and not living by faith. There are greater treasures to be had here than a healed marriage. Jesus is the main one!

          Jesus says if you abide in Him and He abides in you, ask whatever you will, and it will be done for you. That is for those who fully trust Him and who are united with Christ and He has changed their desires to match His own. So what we pray for is His will and His glory. We have no more selfish motives. Check out James 4 for why prayers are sometimes not answered – because of our wrong motives.

          We will walk this road together slowly. 🙂

          You have a TON of support here!

          MUCH LOVE, my precious sister. I am praying for God to give you direction and clarity. If you need some time to process and get alone with God, I pray He will provide a way.

          1. Great comment and advice, April.

            I am in shock at the amount of comments from one day!!!! Are you serious??!?! Wowzers!!!!!

          2. I’m sitting here in so much pain. I’m crying I’m rereading all these comments to me and pleading with God to take my fears and pain from me. I’m pleading with Him to change me. I just realized that I even fear that if God does radically change me and gives me peace and joy through this, that my husband will only feel better about leaving. He won’t have to feel so guilty about it if he knows I’m fine. I realize this is very wrong of me but I can’t help it. If I’m begging God to even change that way of thinking about me, when will He do it? How long will it take? I’m too weak to do it. He has to so why isn’t it happening? All I can do is confess my fears anxieties doubts unbelief etc to Him. I’ve done it. I’m waiting now. I want a flood of peace and renewed and strengthened faith.

            1. Bel,

              This first part is very painful, my dear sister. But – it is a lot like being in labor – and what God is going to birth in you is Jesus. It will be worth it!!! Right now it can be hard to see and appreciate what will come and how beautiful it will be. I pray God might be able to give you a glimpse of His goodness and His plan for you. 🙂

              You know what? You don’t want your husband to stay out of guilt. You being upset and sad hasn’t done much to draw your husband to you before. In fact, if I remember correctly, that is a big part of why he may be feeling repelled. Men like to stay where they feel that they are the hero. When a husband has a wife who is always sad, depressed, discouraged, negative, and upset – over time, he eventually stops trying to please her because he determines that is impossible.

              Greg told me that several times. Eventually, he stopped trying to do things for me because I was insatiable. It was never enough. I was always negative and upset. I do remember he told me, “You like being upset.” I was so offended! “I do not!” But then I thought about it, and I was always focused on what was wrong and what he needed to change in my eyes.

              Husbands like to stay where they feel good about themselves. They like to stay when there is peace, joy, and harmony. They truly do want their wives to be happy. If a wife can never be happy – a husband tends to feel like a failure. But the thing is, he can’t make you be happy. Only you are in control of your emotions – and you can only find real joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment, and purpose in Jesus. When a wife is filled up and overflowing with Christ – she is much more attractive to God and to her husband. Then a husband WANTS to stay because he enjoys being around his wife. That is what we want. For him to enjoy being with you. But much more than that – I want to see you filled with Jesus. That has to happen first.

              But even if he does choose to leave – you will be okay as long as you are abiding in Jesus and yielded to Him. He will be with you and will never leave you or forsake you. He is the only one who can meet your deepest needs!

              What God is asking you to do is to take the path toward healing. It is counterintuitive, yes. It flies against our human wisdom, yes. But when you are filled up to overflowing with Christ, you can seriously be strong, content, peaceful, and joyful whether your husband leaves or stays. And it is when you are in that place that you are the most attractive and he is most likely to stay. But don’t do this to try to make your husband stay. Do this to be closer to God and to receive the healing of God and the presence and blessing of knowing Christ. The other things – like a healed marriage – may be a side effect of your own personal healing. But first, you need healing.

              You get to decide if you will think this way or not. You get to decide to kick the wrong, unbiblical, ungodly lies out of your life. (Check out my videos “Taking Our Thoughts Captive” and “Why Do I Want to Change?” ) You get to decide to embrace God’s truth and His Word and to rebuild on His promises and His truth. As you ask Him to empower you to do this – with the motive of wanting Him and wanting to know and please Him more – He will give you the power for each baby step.

              You do have to choose to trust Him and turn from your old idols and old ways of thinking. And this is a process. Be patient. Give yourself totally over to God, being willing to lay down everything you desire before Him. Determine to want nothing but Him and His will – all of His will and nothing but His will. If you are still clinging to sinful thoughts or cherishing idols, those things have to go first.

              The peace and strength and greater faith come later as a result of your decision to lay down everything and fully surrender to Christ. You make the first move. 🙂 Trust God’s timing. Allow for “however long it takes” to be spiritually healed yourself and trust your husband to God’s care and your marriage to His will and His timing.

              As you allow God to help you purge the sin from your life and the wrong thinking, lies, and impure motives – your husband will see his own sin more and more. He has issues to deal with before God, as well. But God may want to change you first – then your husband may better be able to see and hear from Him.

              Check out my single friend’s post about laying down her dearest dreams of being married and having children. This is the place we have to get to before God begins to work in us.

              Also, please check out my video, “Jesus Is the Love of My Life!”

              Much love!

              1. For anyone who needs a resource to help you identify wrong thinking, lies, and idols in your heart, Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free is really powerful! Especially the parts about the lies we believe about God, ourselves, our emotions, marriage, etc…

                It can help you recognize wrong thinking that you have been clinging to for decades and didn’t even realize you had – and then she gives the truth of Scripture with which we can replace the lies and rebuild on God’s Word and truth – the Solid Rock!

            2. Bel, this sounds exactly like where I was the week before I truly surrendered. Acknowledging your weakness is a good thing! I was shown my pride, weakness and unbelief in a BIG way before I surrendered. And guess what? You are weak! We all are without Christ. I was actually really shocked when I realised how much I didn’t really believe in God’s goodness 🙁

              I personally did not have a flood of supernatural peace when I surrendered. In fact I have literally never looked or felt so broken or awful. But the surrender to God was real.

              Please don’t be discouraged by that because peace did come and is with me now in increasing measure. One of the helpful things that was said to me (I think by April?) is that we can’t make peace the goal. It doesn’t work like that. Peace is one of the fruits of true surrender but surrender must be the goal. That was hard to hear at the time because all I wanted was to float on wings of happiness over my problems. But it is true.

              I truly think you are in a GOOD place right now. But that is hard to accept I know. I can see genuineness in what you are writing. I also believe that you truly love your husband but your love is being limited so much by your fear! I realised a while back that my wife is the only woman in the world that I love enough to be broken over losing so it is actually a show of God’s love to use her to teach me real love found in Him. He IS good Bel. You CAN trust God.


              1. HH,
                I was hoping you would write to Bel. You are just a few weeks ahead of her on this journey, I think. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and encouragement!

              2. Yes it does seem that way doesn’t it April. I hope I can be a help.

                Bel, I am awake for another couple of hours and will be praying for you.

                I am currently working on a Mother’s Day gift that I made with the children this weekend while I had them over. For a woman who is no longer here. It is my birthday next weekend and that will be lonely also. But I have some Francesca Battistelli playing and I have peace in my heart 🙂 I can testify that God is enough in all situations Bel.


              3. HH. Thank you for your prayers. I’m sending some your way too. I’m not very “talkative” at the moment. I’m so tired and my head is full of things…..
                I think making a Mother’s Day gift with your children is a beautiful idea.
                I’ve struggled a lot today but I read our children a devotion tonight. Our book had no marker in it so I opened up and read. It was about listening for Gods voice and how He is sovereign and works in ways we do not expect and understand. Could this have been God speaking right to me? It seemed like it to me. I smiled up at Him and thanked Him. I’m still begging and pleading to Him to change me and purify my motives and strengthen my faith and to take away my fears and unbelief in Him. I’m still fearful though and scared my husband WILL decide to leave soon, so guess I have to keep pleading. Waiting for the magic……

              4. Bel, it is certainly possible that was a message from God to you 🙂 It is certainly true that God is sovereign and works in ways we don’t expect.

                Here’s my thoughts on your fear and how to deal with it. It sounds very much like you want God to tell you directly “your husband won’t leave you”. Whilst I have read of people receiving a message from God like that I have never experienced it. I have asked God for Him to tell me! But He hasn’t.

                What I have come to see is that even if I don’t have a specific promise from God or a vision or something, I do have many, many promises about the way in which God works. Psalm 1 for example says that the man who walks in God’s ways WILL be blessed. How? I don’t know! But it is certain that it will happen. Jesus said that any who give up their family for Him would receive a hundred fold more with persecutions. Does that mean I will have a brilliant reconciliation with my wife? Nope. But it does mean that I can confidently expect God to work for my good in some way. (It also doesn’t mean I’ll have a hundred wives thank goodness!!!)

                So whilst we don’t and maybe won’t know the future with our partners, we can confidently trust the promises given in scripture about God’s character. And God will work according to His character.

                There’s not really anything magic about faith displacing fear. It’s simply realising the truth. That you can do nothing but God can do everything.


              5. Bel,

                I love your devotion – sounds like God was speaking directly to you. 😉 I love that you smiled up at Him and thanked Him – SO precious!

                I love what you are praying. That is awesome. There will be a lot of fears and thoughts and emotions to hash through. This will be a new way of learning to deal with your thoughts and you will be questioning a lot of your old ways of thinking and believing – tearing them out- and replacing them with new, healthy, godly ways that will feel strange at first. But as you learn to lean your weight on them – they hold you up. 🙂

                I would love for you to see that your husband determining to stay is a GOOD thing.

                I know for me, one of the first things I felt God prompting me to do was to write down a list of all of the good things about Greg and the situation. When I started thinking of the what-ifs or the bad things, God helped me remember to shoot those thoughts down and focus on what was good.

                I heard a story of one wife who couldn’t think of anything good about her husband. Then she realized, he was still there. So she started just thanking him every once in a while for being there. “You know, I’m so glad you’re here.” “It sure is nice to have you around.” And – in time, she found more good things to think about. But if you can just start with even one thing, as you focus on it, the good things in your sight range will begin to grow and eventually, as you learn to focus on the things for which to be thankful and things you like – eventually – the bad things seem to begin to melt away. Not that they all totally go away, but it is amazing how what we focus on grows.

                Praying for you to rest in the love of Jesus for you as you would want your children to rest in your love. 🙂

                This isn’t about magic – but as you let go of things that you were clinging to – and lay down your desires – and learn to more and more fully trust God – you will experience God. And that can’t help but bring about spiritual healing for you. 🙂

                Sending you the biggest hug!

            3. My sweet sister, I am praying for you so much right now. I remember having the uneasy feeling that things were going to get much worse before they got better, but God assured me I would get through it with Him right beside me. I felt like God and I linked arms to fight the enemy trying to overcome my husband. I agreed to not give up on my husband and that I would prepare to battle for the soul of the man loved.

              But I assure you, it was not and IS not easy. In fact, when I was where you are now, making the choice to give my husband space and choose not to live in fear, I began to feel great strength. There was peace, but that was slippery to hold onto in the storm. Strength came as I learned to take hold of fear and trust that the fear is not from God, that it was a tactic thst the enemy used. He also uses hopelessness, anxiety and panic and discouragement.

              You know my story, Bel.

              Just this morning my husband gave me a back rub and it felt genuine for the first time in years. But I, too heard those hopeles