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Even Once My Marriage Is Healed – I Still Can't Go Back to My Old Ways

Greg and April - May 28, 1994
Greg and April – May 28, 1994

Even now, almost 7.5 years into this journey, I know I can’t possibly revert back to the way I used to interact and think about Greg, myself, and God.  I can’t cling to Greg in an unhealthy way. I must be sure I don’t idolize him. I need to continually take every thought captive for Christ as His power abides, fills, and strengthens me. I must look to Christ to meet the deepest needs of my heart and soul – not Greg or anyone or anything else – even when things are going really well.

I have a new way of looking at things:

  • I acknowledge and reverence God’s sovereignty over everything and acknowledge I am not the Holy Spirit and I am not sovereign. God is sovereign over circumstances and He will accomplish His purposes and at the same time He gives people free will. What a wonderful mystery – the way God’s sovereignty and the gift He has given us to make our own choices work together!
  • I acknowledge that my husband has the responsibility and right to control the things that are rightfully his (himself, his personal decisions, his personal convictions, his emotions, his spirituality, his leadership).
  • I retain control and responsibility over the things that belong to me (myself, my personal decisions, my personal convictions, my emotions, my spirituality, my biblical submission).
  • I seek to bless my husband, yes, but my ultimate goal is not to please him or “do everything he wants” as if he is my absolute lord. I am not to be enmeshed with my husband and lose myself in him. My ultimate goal is to please Christ alone. Jesus is my absolute Lord.

Sometimes wives think to themselves, “Once my husband and I reconcile, I can go right back to all of my old ways of relating to him and make myself, my desires, or my husband the most important thing again.”


God has to be the main thing. My main source of everything.

A wife asked me – when I shared this one time – “So I have to be content with nothing?”

NO!!!!! NO, NOT AT ALL!!!!!! We must be content with Jesus. He is not nothing!

He is EVERYTHING that matters!

This is a new way of relating and thinking where my feelings aren’t the most important thing, my husband is not the most important thing, romance and happiness are not the most important thing, the marriage isn’t the most important thing.

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. Lord, I seek Your will, Your whole will, and nothing but Your will today and every day in my life, in my marriage and my husband’s life. I am fully  Yours! I trust You to work things out for the best in my life regardless of what I see right now with my eyes. I will live by faith. Increase my faith!”

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! The healed marriage is icing on the cake. It is kind of a “side effect” that often happens because of a spouse’s healed relationship with Jesus. It is not the primary goal.

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.… Luke 14:26-27

Compared to my love for Christ, my love for my husband and family will look like “hate” – of course, God commands me to love others, not to hate them. So the point is that no one can come before Jesus in my life by a long shot!

In Christ, I want my marriage to be healed if it is broken so that God will receive much glory – but I can be content with or without the marriage being healed. What I can’t be content without is JESUS!

It’s not wrong to desire my marriage to be healed if it is broken. God loves marriage – He designed it and it is to be a good thing and a blessing to all involved. But most of all, He wants our hearts.


Why Do I Have to Change First?

Totally Change Your Reality

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – a Peacefulwife VIDEO!

“There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer!”

Am I Doing This in My Strength or God’s?

I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually

I Am Responsible for My Emotions

Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Happiness?

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

Resting in Christ

25 Ways to Respect Myself

21 thoughts on “Even Once My Marriage Is Healed – I Still Can't Go Back to My Old Ways

  1. This is so well said! I have never heard this truth said in such a simple yet straightforward way. Praise God for your obedience in sharing this wisdom!

  2. Thank you for sharing this from the “other side”! I’m SO blessed to be under preaching that emphasizes the importance of Jesus Christ as a person, and knowing him, and seeing who he is in scripture. That’s what the entire point of being a believer is about, and that is what the entire bible is about. All my hope and all my everything is to be in a person which is Jesus. I think it can be hard to understand this if one is being taught that being a Christian is about doing well and being well. Those things only happen as a result of Gods mercy and grace, and though some may not know God and be kind by Gods grace he bestows on all people, the believer will always end up in a battle because we are called to a higher calling to set aside all things we think give us life, and cling to our Saviour, thereby glorifying him. It’s all about him.
    I’m in a stage of going back and forth with my respect for my husband.

    I wanted to ask how pivotal other human relationships were for you to get out of your “God complex ” (where even without realizing it, I put my needs first ). Was it important to connect w others? Or can God bring me to himself in this season of somewhat isolation ; caring for little ones and managing the home.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for continuing to bless with your ministry April! -Rach

    1. Rach,

      Love this! Thank you for sharing!

      I had a 2 year old and 7 year old when God woke me up to my sin. Yes, I had self on the throne – and a lot of other things, too. 🙁 I withdrew socially from a lot of adults around me. I couldn’t withdraw from my children. But I did repent to them, to my husband, to all of my extended family, and my coworkers for my pride, control, disrespect, gossip, bitterness, and self-righteousness. I didn’t have a mentor – except for one woman I got to talk with about 2 hours or so per year. If I had a class of women or a teacher or godly wife mentor, it may have helped to connect with them. But for me, it was more of a desert experience where it was mostly just God and me for a really long time. I saw people at work, too, of course, but I got pretty quiet for awhile when I was trying to figure things out.

  3. April, your comments are something that should be remembered each and every day. Thank you very much for taking the time to communicate how we should not go back to our old ways. I have learned that love is about discipline. And when I think I’m going to return to my old ways, I remind myself that Christ is first and he truly wants us to have availability, desire and obedience. Worshipping Jesus and staying connected to HIs Vine and doing His Will is paramount but of course, the human part of me wants to make my own definition of Love. Blessings to you and this awesome Blog

    1. Jennifer Thomas,

      We could all take a quick detour back to our old sinful self and old ways of thinking VERY quickly. When that happens, it’s time to get out the hammer and nail that old nasty self back to the cross where it belongs!

      I love what God is showing you. That is awesome!

      Our desiring a healed marriage and connection and intimacy with our husbands is a good thing – if we keep it in proper perspective. But I think the kind of love God can teach us to have is so much more powerful than our old ideas of love. He is very good. 🙂

  4. All,
    Let’s lift up Callie and her husband to God in our prayers together and surround her with His love! This situation is not beyond His ability to heal.

  5. This is exactly what I want for my marriage and I. It isn’t the greatest. We are two people on the opposite sides of having a relationship with God. I know that God is the answer but it is as if I can’t let go of fear and anxiety towards what the future holds for us as a family. I go back and forward. I grew up in a home that taught works oriented and so sometimes I do things just to please my husband out of fear. This frustrates me because I know this is a problem for me but it is as if I can’t let go of something and it prevents me from surrendering completely to God. Thank you for this good post though.

    1. aprogressor,

      It is wonderful to hear from you. 🙂 I can certainly relate to the fear you are talking about. I lived in fear, anxiety, worry, and frustration for well over 14 years in our marriage.
      About 15 years ago or so, I heard Dr. Phil say, “What I fear, I create.” You know, that is so true. When my motive is fear, I will be driven to make fear-based choices. Unfortunately, fear motivates me to do things that are ultimately destructive to my relationships. One thing fear motivated me to do was to try to control my husband. I have a post about that here – Fear Fuels Our “Need” to Control.

      You are right that total submission and surrender to God is key. As we do that and as we trust Him fully and rest in His love and sovereignty and allow His Spirit to be our power and our motivator – He heals and transforms us. We can be overflowing with His peace and joy. Even in the trials. Even when things are not what we want them to be.

      But to get to that point, we have to deal with fear, unbelief, and lack of faith and trust in Christ. We have to face our idols and tear them all out by the root. We have to face our bitterness and any other sin that is entangling us. And we must be willing to learn to yield in trust to God.

      I invite you to search my home page for:

      – fear
      – control
      – anxiety
      – worry
      – godly femininity
      – resting in Christ
      – how to stay filled with the Holy Spirit
      – security
      – hold things of this world loosely
      – fully trusting God with my husband

      You may also want to check out my video about Taking Our Thoughts Captive.

      I am excited about what God is about to show you and how He is able to heal your soul and transform your thinking and empower you to live wholeheartedly for Him!

      Much love!

  6. “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
    by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

    1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    1. YAS!!!!!!!!!

      It is so great to hear from you! 🙂

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. When I am facing something difficult, I often sing this hymn over and over at the top of my voice. It helps me to remember that the only One who deserves my full trust is Jesus.

  7. I enjoyed reading this, April. Well said. I too had to learn how to put Christ first. I really struggled with Luke 14:26-27. I got caught up in, “what kind of a God would make me chose Him over my own husband, my own children?” Thankfully He was patient and persistent and I finally understood.

    There is great wisdom there too, it is a teaching that can be very valuable for women. God first, all else second. It is like being on an airplane and putting your oxygen mask on first thing. That can be counter intuitive, we can want to fix everything else around us, take care of everyone else first, but God must come first, God is our source. He is our oxygen mask. If we don’t put Him first, we won’t be of any use to anyone else.

    This is it exactly, “I can be content with or without the marriage being healed. What I can’t be content without is JESUS!” When you are basking in His love for us, when you are allowing Him to fill you up, everything else becomes secondary, not desperate, or needing to be fixed, not something you must control or save. All is well with my soul,and that is a place of great strength. Often that alone, with His help of course, is enough to change those around you, to allow Him to bless you with whatever it is you seek.

  8. Hi April

    Thank you so much for this blog,only married for 4years,I am so greatful for these teachings they are helping a lot and my spiritual life has improved.I want to be a godly wife,i messed a lot in my marriage with my tongue,was too much self righteous,I started reading on your site last month…
    I’m struggling to keep my mouth shut,when can I make it right? I want my husband to see Christ in me,the amazing thing is that I have peace in my heart and I dont have fear anymore.

    Thank you

    1. Anathi,

      It is so wonderful to hear from you! Praise God you are getting to learn these things so much earlier in your marriage than a lot of us did. That is awesome! How I praise God for the way He is already working in your heart and the peace He is giving you and your desire to know Christ more and to bless your husband and to shine for Jesus in your marriage. WOOHOO!

      I have a LOT of posts that may be helpful on this issue.

      You may search my home page for these words:

      – challenge (there are 3 challenge posts, one about smiling, one about tone of voice, one about not complaining and arguing)
      – words
      – space
      – the frustrating quiet phase
      – to speak or not to speak
      – ungodly woman
      – godly femininity
      – how to stay filled with the Holy Spirit

      And please check out my video “taking our thoughts captive.

      Let me know what God shows you and if you need to talk about anything.

      Much love!

  9. More great stuff April!
    My process the last couple of weeks has been refreshing, thank you Jesus and thank you April for sharing your wisdom. I came here VERY hard hearted. I would read and some of the words were like tiny pebbles being thrown at my heart. I could almost hear the “clinking” of them hitting and bouncing off. Each “pebble” that I read would chip away at the stone of my heart slowly but very steadily as I kept going forward. I looked at the words like pride, control, disrespect and self righteous and knew I had a problem but the remorse wasn’t there…. Obviously, this is because I have a problem with all of these things and it’s prevented my heart from feeling and instead turned to stone. Thank God for this website and your book. Those “pebbles” have broken through to the tenderness of my heart and I’m beginning to feel again. No, they aren’t pleasant feelings because I’m aware of my sin BUT I am so joyful because it’s progress. I’m finally at a point where I feel like I need to repent to my husband as I’ve already repented to God.
    Baby steps but definitely progress. I can feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me again. Hallelujah for that!!!
    Tons of love to you sister!!

    1. Cara,

      WOOHOO!!!! THIS IS AWESOME! Tears of joy with you today, my precious sister!

      I love how you described this process. I wonder if you might allow me to anonymously share this on my Peaceful Wife Blog FB page? SO POWERFUL. 🙂

      Much love to you!

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