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Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

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1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

This journey is a process. There are stages. If there is major woundedness in an individual or in a marriage, it often takes a long time to heal. Expect that it will be many months or maybe even a year or years before anything close to “total healing” takes place.

I think of this healing process as if a couple crashed their marriage “car” down in a steep ravine. The further off course they went, the longer it takes to tow it back up to the road and the worse the spiritual injuries they sustain. There may be a time when one or both spouses are in the “spiritual ICU.” At that point, making demands – or even requests – of the other person could be rather pointless. If my husband had been in a physical wreck and was in the ICU in a coma on a ventilator – I would not resent him because he was not helping me even if I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I would extend grace and understanding knowing that he CAN’T get up and help me right now.

People who are severely spiritually wounded or who don’t know Christ and are spiritually dead can’t act like Christ toward us. They are incapable of loving God or others as they should. They need to be raised to new life by Jesus or they need spiritual healing from God. Nothing we can do will make them be able to give us what we want when they are that injured. They need major healing themselves.

There are things we can do to encourage spiritual healing for our husbands. But then we are going to have to be REALLY patient. More patient than we have ever been in our lives as we wait for God to work.

God wants to use this time of waiting to strengthen my flabby faith muscles and to get me to focus on Him and allowing Him to transform my own soul, mind, and life by His power. This will involve me learning to savor the journey and even the waiting.

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

My sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the enemy’s snare of what “might happen” weeks, months, or years from now. We tend to take one situation and zoom ahead with it in our minds to all of the “what-ifs” that may happen and try to plan what we are going to do in all of the worse case scenarios. Our plans may all come to nothing. God’s plans are what matter. When we get stuck in “what-if land” we usually don’t count God’s influence and power in our worrying scenarios.

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 following Christ.

3. A PERSON’S CURRENT FEELINGS,  SINS, WORDS, OR PLANS DO NOT DICTATE WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING

A husband’s feelings are important – so are a wife’s feelings.  But let’s keep the big perspective in mind. If he says he doesn’t love you, he wants a divorce, or he wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written! While we can respect what our husbands say, and how they are feeling – and while we can respectfully, graciously let them go (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) if they insist on leaving – we can also remember that ultimately our trust is in God and that He is able to change hearts, circumstances, mindsets, desires, and plans.

  • In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Yes, people make decisions with their free will. But then, at the same time, God is sovereign and He will use all things to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and for His kingdom as we love and trust Him. So we can’t lose.

We can’t lose, my dear sisters (and brothers)!

  • If something bad happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good, to strengthen my faith, to draw me closer to Him, to make me more like Jesus, and to accomplish His good purposes.
  • If something good happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good and to accomplish His good purposes in the end, as well.

I can always stand on my spiritual tiptoes and look beyond the current circumstances in eager anticipation to see all that God will accomplish. I can expect Him to move mountains, change situations, transform my own heart/mind/soul, change others in His timing, and work constantly for His glory and His will to be done. I can wait patiently knowing that God is in control and His timing and wisdom is much higher than my own.

I can hurt when my husband is distant or if he is talking about divorce or if he leaves. I can grieve over that. But then, I can also look to Christ for help and hope, that He will use even this ultimately for good as I trust Him completely. I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things. I can focus on praising God and on thanksgiving. I can face my emotions and feel them. Emotions are a gift from God but I am also responsible for how I handle them and I can learn – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to handle them rightly and without sin. I can allow myself to experience hurt, sadness, anger, fear… but then I can hash through my difficult emotions and lay them before God and entrust them to Him. I don’t have to be ruled by my emotions. My marriage is not to be built on my emotions, but on Christ and His truth. I am not a slave to feelings. I can take my thoughts captive as I process my emotions and feelings. I can even experience God’s supernatural peace and joy as I trust everything to Him and focus on God’s goodness, sovereignty, love, and Lordship in my life! Even in the trials.

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life if you are living for Him and you love Him and you are yielding to Christ as Lord. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom. There is a much larger picture going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

I had no idea that God would use my most painful trials to reach thousands of people around the world for Christ. But as we walk through these times of testing and suffering, and as God refines our faith and causes us to grow strong in our walk with Him – He uses our stories and our testimony to build the faith of others, to encourage others, and to teach others – and set an example.

What you are experiencing now that is so painful – may well be the very thing that convinces many people in the future to trust in Christ in the midst of their painful trials – because they see that your faith was tested and that God was victorious. God may use your story to inspire many others to walk in obedience and faith, trusting Him and yielding fully to Him as Lord.

What a joy!

 

 

539 thoughts on “Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

  1. I’m torn between living a joyful moment, taking a spontaneous one week away with a girlfriend. I have never done anything like this, and it feels like doing so would be living and loving my life. Or do I stay at home and do the same thing I have done for the last many many years. I can already tell that my husband doesn’t like the thought of it. But I really feel alive and joyful at the thought of it. What do I do ?

    1. Mara,

      What if you consider praying about it – and seeking God’s will? And then maybe if you still believe you would like to go, share with your husband respectfully that you would like to go with your friend. If he is not okay with it, you can say, “I really would like to go, but I will honor your feelings about this and stay if you think it is not a good idea. I trust you.”

      Much love!

    1. mrsbal84,

      I am praying for God’s Spirit to strengthen you and to help you put your eyes on Christ Jesus alone right now in this storm, my precious sister. I pray for His healing, wisdom, comfort, strength, and love. I pray for Him to use this difficult time to create something very beautiful in your life that we cannot begin to imagine right now. I pray you will have some time to just rest in His love and sing praises to God today and allow Him to restore your soul with His goodness.

      Much love to you!

  2. Bam. Bullets flying overhead. In the trenches with gangrene and trenchfoot. About to turn my rusty rifle on myself and surrender to the peaceful silence of death. In walks the Red Cross avoiding all the bullets and hands me some medicine. Some of the pain recedes as I realise that this is a battle in a war already won. Sporting many wounds yes, but stands up again to face the enemy once more.

    It’s my 10 year wedding anniversary this week….or would be if not apart. 10 years! Hard day. Much tears. Much much pain. Then this sentence “If she says she doesn’t love you, she wants a divorce, or she wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written!” Hope glimmers briefly. There is always more to be written. Thinks of the song “It’s not over yet” by King and Country. Plays it. LOUDLY.

    I have a question. James 4 talks about praying and receiving not because we ask with the wrong motives to consume on our lusts. Is praying for reconciliation selfish? If I am totally honest I am very aware that I want reconciliation as much for my own benefit as for hers and the kids…..

    HH

    1. HH,

      Yes! You are in the trenches with the bullets flying fiercely right now – but YES! The battle and the whole war is already won. Your Savior has defeated your enemy! Be encouraged greatly, my brother!

      I’m sure this week is especially tough with it being your anniversary. I pray for God to bring a lot of extra encouragement and blessings to you this week in the midst of this fiery trial.

      This is the part of the “movie” where the plot thickens. It is not the resolution. It is the part that God will use to greatly refine you and to teach you – if you are willing. And it is the part He will use to grab the attention of many people in the future when you tell your story – as you minister to others who are suffering and they realize you can relate to them and they see that your message and faith has substance and weight and has been well-tested. After all, untested faith may not be genuine faith.

      Praying for reconciliation can be a selfish prayer or it can be a godly prayer. It depends largely on our motives. Just like the wife in My Secret Idol made her husband’s salvation into an idol, it is entirely possible to make healing of the marriage or a spouse’s acceptance and love into idols, as well.

      I know my situation was a bit different. But there was a stage of this journey where God prompted me not to pray anything for Greg other than “God, bless him.” I wanted to use prayer to control Greg and to make him do what I wanted him to do so that he would give me what I wanted from him. God gently showed me that prayer is not a means of me controlling other people. That God wanted me to use prayer to draw near to Him and to allow Him to change me and then to pray for His will. It is even possible to make prayer an idol. Which I think I did. Here is a post about avoiding that – “Can You Pray Too Much for Your Marriage?”

      This is a time of intense spiritual pruning – and at first, it seems like the most awful thing. In that article, I just linked, I talk about an unpruned apple tree in my neighborhood. It is the most pitiful tree I have ever seen. (If you haven’t read that post, I invite you to read it – all who are going through trials and suffering right now.) Then you begin to see the results and then you begin to realize where you would have been if God hadn’t pruned you. And then you begin to embrace the pruning process as joy because God is doing something BIG and powerful in your life in spite of the possibly sinful intentions of others. This pruning process has important purposes behind it. It makes it possible for you to bear much fruit for God without your branches all breaking and snapping under the weight of the fruit. It makes your life much more fruitful in the Kingdom.

      This is a time of great refining. It IS PAINFUL. Yes. The fire is hot and the dross is coming to the top – things like your hidden motives will be revealed and hidden wrong beliefs. God can use this time of refining fire to skim the dross off of your life and to purify you for His glory.

      Some of the people with the deepest faith that I have seen and walked beside on this journey have gone through some similar refining fires. I am hoping some of them might share a bit of their stories with those who are discouraged today.

      Praying for you!

      1. I am willing. I know that much.

        I am halfway through the book “With Christ in the School of Prayer” and I’ve stopped reading to reflect on motives. I am aware of these motives;

        1) I deeply want forgiveness and reconciliation.
        2) I want my wife to know the peace of knowing Christ.
        3) I want my children to have a joy filled life full of God’s love and teaching.

        They are all good desires! But, I am questioning whether my own needs are sometimes more importance in my prayers than is God’s glory or purposes. Quite often I pray for His glory and will even if it means much more pruning. And I genuinely mean it! But occasionally (such as last night) I get home to an empty home and my own pain overrides the desire for His plan. So my prayer today is that God will further sanctify my heart to create a real and constant Spirit of sacrificial love. I am asking God to further create Christ in me. I don’t know if my prayers are full of self but I do know that I am open before God for my motives to be revealed, understood and changed if needed to reflect Him.

        I have a horticultural background and I prune my fruit trees each year. Last year I had so much fruit a large branch broke from the sheer weight of the fruit. It needed thinning that I did not have the time to give it. I feel like that branch today. I have been pruned and am bringing forth more and more fruit until I will snap!

        HH

        1. HH,

          You know what? It sounds like you are in the right place and that you are open to what God wants to do. That is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! There is no better place to be!

          The apple tree in our neighborhood at the elementary school gets tons of fruit each year and has so many broken branches from the weight. It makes me sad!!!! Not that I have any clue how to fix it – and it is not on my property. But it is a reminder to me every day when I go for a walk around the mile loop past the school that I need to be thankful for and joyfully embrace God’s pruning in my life. He knows what to do so that I can be the most fruitful and not break.

          Hmm.. you could probably explain all of the benefits of pruning much better than I did in that post. If I am not explaining anything right, please let me know! 🙂

          Thank you so much for sharing. I am praying for you and your wife – for her salvation – that is the biggest thing. Her salvation and sanctification and your sanctification. When those things are being done – the rest becomes “easy.”

          In Him

          April

          1. It does not feel like a good place April. It feels like the worst place I’ve ever been in. I only wish that my wife were unplugged and passive instead of gone and actively pursuing sin.

            I asked her yesterday if she is viewing the separation as long term and leading to divorce. She said “I don’t know but you are better off without me anyway as I am a wreck. I am bad, really really bad”.

            I said regardless of what you are doing or how much of a wreck you are I love you. I am not better off without you I am only half a person without you. When she says these things my mind picture the worst. Hard to take thoughts captive.

            HH

          2. HH,
            Yes, the circumstances feel like the worst storm of your life. But spiritually, the place you are choosing to be is the BEST place there is. You will never regret choosing this path, my brother.

            Your wife is very broken, wounded, and held captive by the enemy. But she is not beyond the reach of Christ. We will all pray together for God to open her eyes and set her free. My guess is that it may be someone else other than you who God uses to reach her. it is my prayer that He will reach her soon. But I know His timing is perfect. And I am glad you are willing to allow God to do what He wants to do in your own heart and mind and life. When I see that attitude, it fills me with joy because I know amazing things are coming.

          3. HH. Thank you for inviting me to read your comments here. I have not stopped praying for you. This is a tough week. I had a hard time with my 19th anniversary last year. I bought him a gift, made dinner, bought a card. Got nothing from him. However…I have learned to expect nothing and be okay about it because I feel I was doing what God wsnted. Not manipulating, just trying to be a blessing to people around me. Sometimes that also includes my husband. This is the hardest part, but I totally understand your wife right now, beleive it or not, I have felt like her. I felt that my husband and kids were better off without me after I saw how horrible I was to them and all the sin I was in. Because I try lly wanted what was best forvthem, I was willing to let them go. As I look back, it might have been a martyr move, but it was my way of learning unconditional love. That I would put their needs before my own. Thankfully, I haven’t had to do that…and my husband is still here as well. But as I have been reading His needs, Her needs book, I realize just how much we have both totally missed what a marriage is all about….right from the beginning. It has me really down this week to come face yo face with living 20 years putting so much energy into doing something so important the wrong way. Utter fail. Quite depressing if I let myself dwell on it. When I feel this way, I give myself time to greive, feel it, hurt from it. But I have to seriously wrench my mind ftom it and stand up ftom the ashes like David did snd choise to move forward. I know know how to do things better, how to choise wiser and have been able to help others and have grown tremendously from all of this “pruning”. Your wife probably feels much the same as you have…a failure, a sinner, discouraged, hopeless…she probably feels like a home wrecker too. I’ll bet the kids remind her daily about not being with daddy. This is how the Holy Spirit convicts people. She won’t have peace and rest while she is choosing sin. It makes her confused, anxious, irritable, fearful, out of control …all of those things that are not of God. She kind of has to go through it. No one can walk this journey for her. All you can do is love her like God loves His children, like God lives her, and you, and me, and April etc.

            You seem to be finding the right path. I’m so grateful to God for that. But think of this, even if you and your wife never rectify your martiage, you will need to be able to communicate with her to share the kids. You will need to learn these lessons to show a better way to the kids. You will be a better person for you and possibly someone else if it is God’s will for you in the future. You sure wouldn’t want to go through this all over again 15 years from now snd never grown or learned anything or been “pruned” for your own good.

            Surgery to remove a cancer is not pleasant. It hurts, it is uncomfortable, it leaves scars. But the cancer needs to go, for your own good. In the same way, your wrong thought patterns, enmeshing with your wife and sin needs to go.

            I found I had to learn how to pick up the pieces and stand up, be okay with me, life, my sad situation and move on, even if my husband never came back. I needed to be who God wanted me to be. Sitting in a corner in a puddle of self pity was not going to do me, the kids, or my husband or anyone else any good. Strength grows from learning this. Confidence grows in accepting God’s love for us. Wisdom cones from owning our mistakes and learning from them and learning what God’s plan for us is. It’s very cerebral, more than I ever expected. Not many people understand it to these levels either.

            You have an advantage over your wife right now with God at your side. You can help God and He helps you. But I have realized that I have made mere wishes and desires an idol over God…and He worked in ME nit my wife to rip them out. I idled rectification of my marriage, my husband’s forgiveness of me, my husband understanding me, my own pain, my husband’s feelings and even my kids’feelings…all over God. All good things to want, but not to be desired over honoring and obeying God.

            It’s a slippery blind slope sometimes and often you don’t recognize it until God does an unexpected work in you or a situation. You look back and go “Ahh, I see it now, thanks, God, I needed to know that”.

            I am actually quite positive about your wife’s comment on her sadness and the marriage. Remember. Emotions are just snapshots, not the whole film. God promises that all will end well, so if it is not well yet, then it is not the end. We are all just very impatient creatures, especially when we are the controlling type, we want it fixed asap. But it behooves us to remember it is God’s timing, not ours, that is perfect…brings us full circle bavk to trusting our Lord with it all.

            I pray that you can learn to be a lighthouse for your wife and others. Ghandi once said “be the change you want to see in the world”. So, be the example of love, affection, patience accepting and forgiveness for your wife to see. Why do you think God sent Jesus down from Heaven fir us as a gift?…so we had an example, a lighthouse to show us the way in the storm of life, a real, flesh and blood model to emulate. We are to live like Jesus did…now I know we will never perfect that, but each day, we need to be humble and serve others as Jesus did, be kind, caring, compassionate and show love.

            On your anniversary, you are still martied, although seperated, you are still married. She is still your wife….until she isnt. Do. Not. Lose. That. Fact. It will kerp your hope and faith going. Learn her needs, her pain, heresies and see how you can meet a few. It may not be ideal due to the seperation, but find a way, even a small one.

            My guess is she feels the need for communication that is not angry, hurt, controling or demanding…just to be heard and acknowledged. She needs to have her FEELINGS be understood, even if you don’t understand why she feels them, or thinks she is wrong. Affection is so key to a woman, but most men miss the point. We women miss the point on men’s needs too. That book will shine a light.

            I pray that God continues to give you wisdom, discernment snd a level of peace knowing you are fib ally on the right path. Though it is narrow and many thorns scrape you and cut you from the edges, you are still on the right path. I pray your wife gets drawn to God by His plan. I pray someone comes across her path to help her. I pray you continue yo shine your light for her…she is far out to sea, and she learns about herself snd grows and matures as well. I pray for your little ones that they ferl the love for them from both you and your wife and that Gid keeps their little hearts full of joy during this storm of life. I pray that although today feels like Friday, remember that Sunday is coming!

          4. I understand about how hard it is to take thoughts captive. My husband has left for the second time. It is very hard to take my thoughts captive and not wonder what he is doing. I love him still and just want him to come home. I sometimes wonder, is God trying to save me from a man riddled a sinful heart? Is he trying to do what’s best for me by keeping him away from me and my children that are not his children by birth? It’s so hard to think that would be the case because when I married him, I knew I had married a Christian. But he has changed. He’s not Christlike at all. I have something for you to think about that other people keep saying to me and I dismiss. This is also something that was said to me when I prayed with a prayer team in my church. If you convince him to come back too soon, you will be bringing back more of the same heart ache you had in the first place. If he comes back, you want him to come back a changed man. You are not his Savior. You cannot save him. Only God can save him. If he is not listening to God, he’s not doing what’s right. Maybe you have already thought about this and maybe you haven’t. But it’s possible that God is still working in our spouses hearts to get them where they need to be before entering back into the union of 3. Because remember, God’s in this too. If I think of it like a team, me, my husband and God. If I am following God, then we are a team. He may not want my husband on our team until he straightens up his act. When my husband who calls himself a christian left, he was heavily intoxicated. I worried that entire night and went to work with zero sleep. Hardest day at work ever…….Need I say more…….

          5. Heartbroken.

            That advice is good advice and I believe should not be dismissed. If the father of the prodigal son went after his son the son would not have come to an end of himself. He would have still felt as though he wasn’t making his own decisions and his resentment would have increased.

            That is not to say it is easy. I’m willing to bet the father of the prodigal had a heart that aches in the same way mine does. In the same way that our heavenly Father’s heart aches when He see’s his children here walking a prodigals path. If a prodigal is convinced to come back under duress or if it is not a genuine turning then they will likely just leave again.

            God is not interested in bandaids for severe wounds. He is interested in dealing with the root cause of the problem, whatever that may be in our individual cases.

            HH

          6. Amen…..bless you on your journey. Prayers that your wife will return with a repentant servants heart. Keep us posted. I’d love to know the day it happens. 🙂

          7. Thank you for your prayers 🙂

            It is unlikely that we will move forward in any way. I will not place constraints on God but there will have to be mountains moved before any reconciliation is possible. In Christ, HH

      2. I do not understand how praying for reconciliation is idolatry. The bible clearly states that God hates divorce. I want reconcilliation with my husband because, the bond between my husband, my Lord and myself is broken, he is my husband, I love him, I worry about him since he has left. And the only way we can glorify God through our marriage is to be married. Some people are more passionate than others about helping their spouses. Wanting salvation for a spouse and being passionate about it to me does not necessarily make it an idol. After all, all a person is wanting is salvation which translate into an eternity in heaven for that person. How is that idolatry? There are some things that are spelled out in the bible. So praying for our spouses to do those things are not just what I am wanting and being selfish. I pray for my spouse to do what I want, which happens to be in the bible, so that we can have a peaceful home, so that my children will have Godly examples to follow. So that they can have a mom and a dad who loves and cares for them. So that we can glorify God through our marriage. Why must prunings in our life include us being apart. I’m sorry, but I am a realist. I am straight forward and to the point. I am, “if you get knocked down,” get back up and keep going. Don’t waller around on the ground crying and being all dramatic like a kindergartener that just skin his knee. If my husband wants divorce, I refuse to participate. There are 2 things in the bible God says he hates. The first one is Esau, and the second one is divorce. That’s a pretty narrow list of hate in my opinion. I really don’t want to be apart of either. So if he wants divorce, he can go and get it all by himself in this state. We don’t share children or property. This divorce is wrong and I refuse to participate in it.

        1. heartbroken,

          I’m so very sorry to hear about what a painful situation you are in. 🙁 That breaks my heart for you and everyone in your family.

          Praying for reconciliation and your spouse’s salvation are GOOD things. They are God’s will. But where we can get messed up sometimes is when we want those things much more than we want God. Does that make sense? God wants us to do the right things for the right reasons. Praying for these things is good. But praying for them with selfish motives rather than godly motives is not good. So it is good for us to ask God to help us examine our motives on a daily basis – all of us, no matter what our situation. We can sometimes deceive ourselves about our motives – but God can help us see our true motives when we allow Him total access to the darkest places of our hearts and we give Him complete freedom to change anything He wants to change in us.

          You don’t have to participate in the divorce. That is awesome if you don’t want to. God does hate divorce. He loves marriages to be healed. But first – it is important that we make sure we are right with God and our motives are pure. He can help us identify idols and wrong motives if we are willing to let Him. We can be content in Him alone, no matter what our spouse does or does not do. Of course, sin would still grieve our hearts – like it grieves God’s heart. We would still feel pain. But we can also live in God’s peace and joy when we are filled to overflowing with Him. When we are filled up with God and our motives are right and we are walking in the power of the Spirit and in obedience – our prayers are very powerful and effective – James 5. But if we are praying out of selfish motives, our prayers will not be answered (James 4) or if we are cherishing sin in our own hearts, our prayers will not be heard (Psalm 66:18).

          I have a number of posts about idols and idolatry that you are welcome to search on my home page – please search idol, idolatry, control, contentment. Most of us have idols, even in the church today – but we don’t realize it. It’s not something we really talk about. We tend to think our motives are always pure. I know I thought that. Then God opened my eyes to how many things I had as idols in my heart that I truly desired above Christ – my husband, control, romance, happiness, luxury, children, my way, my bitterness, etc… Some posts specifically about these issues are:

          – One about a husband’s salvation being an idol is called My Secret Idol
          – “Can You Pray Too Much for Your Marriage?”

          I can’t judge the motives of others, of course. Your motives may be totally fine. I share about these things because sometimes we do need to look at our motives. That is something that is just between you and God.

          Not all pruning involves a husband and wife separating – but sometimes it does. Here is a wife’s story about that and then how God brought her and her husband back together in a much more healthy, godly way.

          God hates a lot more things than that! There are many other verses, too. He hates pride, idolatry, lying lips, haughty eyes, violence, and really – all sin.

          I’m glad you want to see the marriage healed and your husband saved. I’m glad you want a godly family. That is VERY good. I pray for God’s healing for all of you, my precious sister – individually first, and then for your marriage and family!

          1. Hello Peaceful Wife, I read your article on praying too much. So basically don’t repeat yourself all day long. If something happens with him and I feel the holy spirit coming over me to pray I pray. But that may be several or even 10 times a day. I guess I’m not supposed to do that. Sitting here in limbo in his house though is honestly driving me crazy. I am not a free-loader. If I can’t rest in the hope of being able to pray and I am not getting an answer and he is not returning, and I am sitting in his house, then it seems clear to me it is just time to move me and my children. I wondered if the time would come that I need to focus on that and it looks like this is it. Everyone tells me to stay put. Staying put makes him angry. That could be putting us in danger. So I’m not listening to that advice anymore. He has asked me multiple times in an ugly way to move out of his house. So I will. Thank you for your advice. God bless

          2. heartbroken,

            I used to pray “worry prayers” where I wasn’t really trusting God, but rather trusting my act of praying to do the changing of the situation and of other people. Does that make sense? It is fine to pray several times per day or 10 times per day (or however many times you feel led) if you are praying with great faith in God, not faith in yourself or in your prayers. I know that I used to subconsciously think my prayers were the most important thing instead of God being the most important thing. That is what I am trying to encourage people to avoid. I want our faith to be in GOD not in ourselves or what we do. If our motives are right and our hearts are right – then we may pray whenever we desire to. But I also believe that we will not just pray the same thing 20,000 times per day – but that we will continue to praise God, thank God, glorify Him, and pray for other things and people, as well.

            Of course you may pray and trust in God’s timing – which may not be the same as our timing. I pray for God’s wisdom for you, my precious sister. I don’t want you or your children to be in danger. I pray that God will use this awful situation to bring about great good in your life and great glory for His Name. I pray for Him to draw your husband to Himself and for healing for your marriage.

            Much love to you! If you need to reach out for godly counsel at your church or from a trusted Christian counselor who can meet with you face-to-face, please do.

          3. Thank you for your words. Hopefully I’m handling the praying part right. It’s hard to find counseling. It’s really expensive. I understand. People have to make money. I’ve been a few times and it was helpful but pricey. If the Lord leads me to more counseling I’ll go. At this point, I really am just trying to take care of all my kids, go to work, and figure out where to move, if I can move, etc……it’s a long list. I’m becoming exhausted……

          4. He was a christian counselor, and after several sessions he gave me the number of an attorney. This counselor has counseled him in the past before I even knew him. He has counseled us together and the first time my husband left I went to him. So he has a file on him and knows him well. The result was, “here’s an attorney.” Ugh…..

          5. heartbroken,

            Yikes about what the counselor said. I assume that this counselor does not make this kind of suggestion and recommendation lightly?

            It sounds like there are pretty serious issues going on, my sister. 🙁 I can help you with your walk with Christ, if you are interested. But it seems to me that you may need help from someone one-on-one about how to handle things with your husband. It may be that things are too toxic right now to try to make them work. I don’t know. My prayer is that you will hear God clearly and that He will provide the resources you need and wisdom you need to make the best decisions you can for yourself and your children. The goal is to respect Christ first, and our husbands, children, and ourselves.

            If he seriously does want you to leave and he is sober when he says it, too – it may be wise to respect that for your safety and the safety of your children.

            Have you checked out http://www.leslievernick.com? What do you think about some of her posts? Celebrate Recovery may also have some helpful resources.

            Much love to you!

          6. You are right. This counselor does not make suggestions like that lightly. Yes, things are too toxic. Thank you for your help. I have started looking at the website you suggested. Thank you for all your help. God bless you!

        2. Hi Heartbroken.

          God hates divorce. Yes.
          Reconciliation is a good desire. Yes.
          You worry about your husband leaving. Yes.
          You love Him. Yes.
          God is glorified through a Godly marriage. Yes.
          Praying for your husbands salvation and reconciliation is good. Yes.

          But all of these things can still be something that we have in your heart before God. I did.

          Personally I have been praying for my wife for a long time. But I realised slowly that I was praying for her with the motivation for her to be saved and reconciled for ME and MY happiness. God brought me to a point that I am able to see her sin and feel hurt for her more than I hurt for me. This is love. God brought me to a point where I am praying for her with a heart of love for His glory and her blessing. This is the point that I had to reach in praying in a Spirit that was not idolatrous. And I am certain that God has heard and will answer my prayers for her now.

          For me, our separation was necessary for me to fully appreciate that God wants all of me all the time. Living in a marriage relationship is not the only way that God can be glorified. God was glorified through Hosea’s tempestuous marriage to a prostitute and involved serious sin and adultery. God was glorified through the expression of His grace and forgiveness in this situation.

          Some thoughts.

          HH

          1. HH, I do not worry about my husband leaving. He has already left 2 weeks ago. I don’t really pray for his salvation. He’s already a Christian. He’s just making wrong choices. It’s like a friend of mine prayed for me at church. “He’s dancing with the devil and rollin’ with the hogs.” It’s just a southern way of saying he a Christian who has lost his way. He has made it clear he does not want me, does not love me, and he wants me to move out. He was not nice about it either. I guess some men feel the need to make sure you know what they are saying by being as cruel as humanly possible with their words. That’s fine. I get it. I have learned through my conversation with you and with April that I am praying too much for this situation. So I am going to back off of God and him and do as my husband asked and take my boys and move out. He asked me to move out multiple times. Times in between he changed his mind. He is wishy washy. He admits it. Me and my children need stability. I hate to say it, but maybe feeling the sting of us actually gone and he comes home to an empty house day in and day out will make him see what he is doing. Or maybe it will make him really happy. But me moving out will be a very difficult thing to reverse. My mother always taught me, “never go backwards with a man.” I realize if he comes to me with a truly repentant heart and we are still married, I have the option of going backwards. But real life reality is this. If I move all our stuff, lease a house, relocate my kids settle into a new life away from him, I know myself. It’s going to take a lot to convince me to reverse all that. My teenagers would have alot to say about it too. They’ve been through a ton with their step dad. I got alot going on in my life. I work 12 hour shifts, I have teenagers, house to take care of, bills, etc…….I don’t have time to play around. I’m not a weakling. I am loyal and faithful to the core. No, I have not been perfect. Sometimes I let my mouth run…..I’m learning. But I really do not feel I’ve done anything to warrant divorce.
            I think it’s wonderful that you are praying for your wife like that. She is very blessed. I really hope y’all end up reconciling and that beautiful woman of God inside of her comes shining through. It hurts me that my husband thinks what he is doing is right. I can’t say anything or he thinks I’m trying to manipulate him. I see what you mean about God being glorified in negative situations like Hosea. But like I said, he is gone, and wants me out of his house. So, I’m just leaving it all alone and moving on with life. I’ve cried and prayed til my tears are all gone and I’m exhausted and passed out. I can’t do that anymore. I just want to serve my Lord, go to work, take care of my kids and get on with life. Blessings to you and your wife, Heartbroken

          2. Heartbroken.

            I am glad he knows the Lord 🙂 Maybe you could pray for his blessing in Christ? I read the other day a powerful explanation of how praying for someone’s blessing actually has benefits for us (although that is not the motive). You see, the ultimate blessing a person can have is to know Christ deeply and intimately, to meet Him in prayer and worship and to reflect His love to other people. And love for others wants this blessing for them with a whole heart and with an unselfish motive. But the really cool thing is that when someone is blessed by the presence of Christ then an unavoidable outcome is a conviction of their own sin and this often leads to a change in their relationship with us. How good are God’s ways 🙂

            Yes, it is often the way that we lash out in anger and manipulation when we are in these situations. Your husbands words have no doubt wounded you deeply! I was depressed to the point of suicide at one point and had scratched my arms at work. My wife said “You know if you’re trying to commit suicide you are supposed to cut your wrists not your arms”. The rejection in those words is immense. Words carry powerful pain with them unfortunately and it can take a lot of healing to get over them. I pray that you are able to look past the words to see the pain underneath them. That is something that had helped me a lot.

            Yes. Once you have moved out it will be much harder to work things out. But not impossible. The important thing is to know Christ deeply and intimately 🙂 Then you can heal yourself first.

            In Christ, HH

          3. HH, I believe the conviction is there already with him. He told me that “he feels guilty that he does not want to take care of my children.” He’s stepdad. Part of that is we come from two different backgrounds. He also said in that same breath that he feels sorry for me. Oh, okay. Not sure why since there was no rational explaination as to why he feels sorry for me but that’s not necessary. I definitely don’t need pity. But the conviction was exposed when he used the words, “I feel guilty”. So I guess we will see…….and Hey, no suicide talk. We all got way to much work to do for the Kingdom of God. No person is worth killing yourself for…..sounds like you are past that though. But just in case it comes creeping back in……no suicide. You have an awesome God who loves you. Don’t forget that Humble Husband!

          4. Thank you Heartbroken. Yes, I am past that point 🙂 My Father loved me before the foundation of the world….I have purpose 🙂 HH

          5. Peaceful wife, today I have stood for Christ alone today. In my broken marriage, in front of family members and in my work place. All in one day. It’s been a tough day. Having a heart for Christ and for our brothers and sisters is definitely not for the wimpy. It is harder some days. Today was really hard. But I made it through the day with God’s help. I’m thankful simply for rest in this moment…..

          6. heartbroken,

            My dear sister! I hurt with you. 🙁 I hate that today was so hard. Praying for God to continue His good work in you and that He might empower you to be faithful to Him.

            Sending you a huge hug!

          7. Hugs back to you Peaceful wife. Today is our 2nd Anniversary. I have not heard from him. Not that I expected him to all the sudden. It’s just hard. It’s only our 2nd and he is done. What’s weird is when he left he removed me as “Married to me” on his facebook profile. Then I noticed today it’s back on there. I have no idea when that changed back. Facebook statuses are nothing to base anything off of anyway. His last interaction with me so was painful for me so it is what it is. Thanks for all the support April!

          8. heartbroken,

            You know, I do have to wonder if he was super drunk when he left and when he said some of the things he did – if he really meant them. I wonder if he even remembers what he did and said?

            How would you describe his general personality?

            And how would you describe yours?

            What do you usually do when he is very harsh?

            How often does he get drunk, would you say?

            How long has the verbal harshness to you and the children been going on?

            I wonder if the posts at http://www.leslievernick.com may be helpful – they are specifically for those in emotionally abusive relationships.

            Praying you will rest in God’s 8000 promises to you tonight and curl up in His love, sovereignty, peace, and protection over you. Praying for His wisdom and provision for you and that you might find spiritual healing and wholeness like you have never imagined possible for yourself and for your children, my dear sister!

            Much love to you!

          9. yes he was super drunk. The hurtful things he said, he reiterated in his letter, sober, the next day. His handwriting was very legible, complete sentences and all words spelled correctly. He get’s drunk everytime he is off work. He says he USED to be an alcoholic but is not one anymore. I disagree. His general personality is type A, he’s very generous but expects recognition and praise for anything he does for others, he is moody, demanding, self centered, critical, harsh, and seems to love pointing out everything he sees wrong in any given moment about me, my kids, coworkers, other drivers on the road, and family. He does work hard at work and is a good provider but he is very proud of that. He is not too spontaneous when it comes to money. Verbal harshness started a few weeks after we got married. It comes in waves. Now he is just giving me a massive silent treatment. My personality is, I am a strong woman, I can be opinionated and independent, submission is something that does not come natural to me. I see every inconsistency and can only bite my tongue for so long before I end up saying something. He does not like when I point out that he is doing the very thing that he is persecuting me or others for. I try to say it nicely. But he does not like being held accountable at all. I know you have an article about how to do this. I’ve tried. I am a “survivor” type. I depend heavily on God. I do not have a strong father figure as my father rejects everyone accept his current wife. I can be hypervigilant at times because I am just so tired of all the verbal thrashings. I am a hard worker at work and try very hard to take good care of my kids, my husband and my home. I fall behind sometimes on housework though because of my schedule. I am a very outgoing person around people but at the same time cherish my alone time and can turn very introverted then. After a long day of doing everything for everyone, if I have reached my maxed and someone wants something else from me I get easily overwhelmed. My husband sees this as I cannot handle life. I see it as, “I’m just tired, leave me alone.” I am very spiritual and have been told in a spiritual gifts class that I have the spiritual gift of discernment. I do notice things others do not. Sometimes other people don’t like that about me. My husband does not like this about me unless I am using it ti discern something that has nothing to do with him. Then he puts me on a pedastal as if I was the most wonderful woman alive. I’m either all bad or all good with him. I have been faithful to him through all this. Praying and trying to do what’s right. Never going out and partying and drinking for a “girls night out.” That’s just not my idea of fun. I hope all this information helps

          10. HH,

            So heartbreaking to hear about the despair you were feeling and your wife’s response. 🙁 But how I praise God for the healing He is accomplishing in your life, my brother! Thank you for sharing this powerful wisdom with our dear sister.

          11. 🙂 I am starting to see tiny genuine responses to true love and meekness……….HH

          12. Heartbroken,

            Would you like to talk about why your husband wants you to leave? Has he shared why he desires a divorce? Or is he talking about divorce? Divorce and separation are two different things. I’m glad to hash through things with you if you think that may be helpful. 🙂

            I would encourage you not to back off of God! Press more into God. But focus on allowing Him to continue to transform you, ask Him what He desires you to change, praise Him, thank Him, sing to Him, ask Him to help you grow in this time of suffering and to use it to refine you and to purify your faith. I do think that generally, if a husband is demanding that his wife should leave, it may be wise to consider leaving respectfully. But this may be something to have a conversation about, if possible, and to share what you shared here – that if you leave and set up a new household, it will take a lot of changing and healing and trust-building for you to come back.

            If a husband is truly repentant and is being changed by God and is proving himself over time – I have no problem with a wife moving back in with her husband and reconciling. I believe that is biblical and honoring to God if there is genuine fruit of repentance (1 Corinthians 7).

            Much love to you!

          13. First of all he is a step dad to my children. I have tried to teach my children to respect him as head of the house. But as you know, step parenting can be a challenge. He knew this going in. He’s been a step parent before. He does not feel he gets the respect, recognition, and honor he deserves from them. They do not really verbally say much to him. They pretty much ignore him unless he speaks to them. He is very critical and harsh with them everyday when he comes home. Negativity just flows out of him the second he hits the door. It even sends me hiding sometimes.

            He says I do not do enough to teach them to respect him. I can only do so much. I can teach them, give them consequences for disobedience, but I cannot force them to do anything. One of my children told me the reason why he doesn’t have respect for him is because of how he treats me. He doesn’t like seeing his mom verbally attacked and treated as if she can never do anything right. He doesn’t like hearing him say things to me like, “What? Are you dumb?” I get belittled by him a lot in front of my children. There have been times I have decided to speak up for myself and he gets very angry and says I am being a disrespectful wife and teaching them disrespect.

            It really is not my intention, I just get put on the defensive daily. He’s so harsh. There seems to be no way to please him. My best efforts at being respectful are not good enough ever. The thing is, he left very intoxicated which was scary. I was trying to go to sleep and he was so intoxicated. I kept asking him to please let me sleep. He just wouldn’t listen. I needed to get rest for another hard day at work coming up. I wasn’t interested in participating in his verbal shenanigans at that moment. I’m sorry. I just wanted him to be quiet. Then he left me a letter the next day saying horrible things I don’t want to repeat here. But he said he wants me to move out of his house.

            Then a week later he started having second thoughts and started talking to me. But he did get loud with me a few times. One of those times I was walking in a parking lot to my car with my kids. I had them get in and turned on the car. I stood outside of the car for 20 minutes listening to him yell at me about all kinds of things that were from out of the blue. He likes to resurrect absolutely everything from the past in every single conversation. It really is not fair. I was sweating and crying and thinking, “why does it have to be like this?”

            A few days later, he came over to fix something at the house, and was being cordial so I gave him a letter I had written him apologizing for my wrongs. It was an itemized list of wrongs. It was from the Respect Dare book. I can’t remember what day that is in the book. But I was sincere and I read it to him and I was crying. I meant every word. His response was so angry and horrible. I haven’t heard from him since. He took the letter with him. I am leaning on God, I am just not praying as much like you said. I am not making his return my idol.

            Moving out is going to be a difficult task. I have only been employed 2 months. Several places have told me I haven’t been employed long enough to sign a lease. I feel so stuck with no where to go. You mention having conversations with him. There is no, “call him and have a conversation.” Everything is on his terms. He told me, “when I am being silent it’s because I do not want to talk so you need to be quiet.” So me contacting him in anyway would make him angry April. So if you want to advise me on all this go ahead. It’s a mess.

            He has not used the word Divorce. But he has said, he doesn’t love me anymore, my disrespect has erased his love for me, he feels sorry for me, he feels guilty for not wanting to take care of my children, he wants to move on and find happiness. He is gone, I don’t know where he is, what he is doing or who he is with. Doesn’t that state divorce? By the way, he claims to be a Christian.

          14. heartbroken,
            This sounds like a very wounded man in desperate need of the healing power of Jesus – like we all are. If he is not talking about divorce, I vote not to jump ahead and try to figure all of that out right now.

            Later when he had second thoughts – what kinds of things did he share? I would assume he was more rational and in his right mind at that time?

            What did he say about you apology?

            Please DO pray to God – but not obsessively just about your husband and that situation – about lots of other things, too. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

            Was there ever a time in your relationship when you were able to share concerns and suggestions with him and he was receptive?

            Has he ever apologized or tried to make amends when he was harsh or did something hurtful to you or your children?

            Being a stepdad is MUCH harder than being a biological dad in a first marriage. Yes. The challenges can be incredible – as I know you are well aware. Do you know what his definition of “respect” for you and for the kids would be?

            Much love to you!

          15. Hi April, Yes, he is in need of the healing power of Jesus. He was angry about what I said in my apology letter. His first response was, “I don’t have anything to say yet.” Then he immediately followed it with, “your apology is not doing what you wish it would do. It is not making me want to come back to you.” And then he repeated it several more times while I stood there and listened and he got himself madder and madder and all worked up. I just stood there with tears in my eyes. That’s also when he said he feels sorry for me and feels guilty because he does not care about my children. Then he just rambled on with more hate. I stood there silent. He asked me, “do you want me to come back out of pity? Is that what you want?” I said, “no”. Then he just kept talking and hating. When he get’s like that nobody else is allowed to talk. He also said he realizes that when he came back the last time he left he had a “we’ll see attitude” and that he didn’t come back with a heart of changing himself and he said, “I admit that was a little bit unfair.” It’s almost like a manic behavior. A few days before this he was being nice and talking to me like I mentioned but also yelling at times. I brought up to him in this apology conversation that I am confused because a few days before he was acting like he was feeling better about me. Now all the sudden without warning or argument, he’s back to hating me. He said, “I know, it’s just how I feel. I know I’m being wishy washy. I don’t like being alone, but I just don’t want to be with you.” I shouldn’t be surprised but I was just so stunned. I was just trying to have a calm conversation and all this hateful stuff comes out of him and he admits there wasn’t a reason. The only thing I can think of is, during his few days of being nice and giving me attention he was also wanting sex and he wasn’t even living with us. I told him sex with reconciliation sounds like a great plan. He said, he just wanted sex and no reconciliation. So I nicely declined sex. I’m sorry, but I did not want to do something that made me closer to him and then he just leave. He also has me confused because at first he wanted me to take over mine and my kids cell phone bill and put it on my own bill, then told me not to since it was going to cost money to switch it over, now says he feels the way he did in his original letter. In that letter he wants me to move out and take over those cell phones. I’m not sure if he remembers everything in his letter. I really think he says whatever he is feeling in the moment and then forgets what he felt. And then remembers. He panics for no reason. He’s just so unstable.
            He has apologized in the past, but that was over a year ago. And when he does, it’s always minimized and circumstances always made him do it. I don’t buy the whole, “the devil made me do it” routine. I have no idea what his definition of respect for me and the kids would be. Our whole existence is about everyone respecting him as he struts around like a rooster making demands. His arrogance, self righteousness and inability to see himself for who he is is extremely unattractive. I’m sorry if all this sounds disrespectful. I’m just so tired of the hippocracy. Do as I say , not as I do routine. So there you go.

          16. By the way, facebook just made this wedding video wishing me a happy anniversary with a bunch of our pictures together. That really is the last thing I needed to see. It says I’m the only one who can see it. I can’t share that. I’m sure he’s getting the same video. I really just want this day to be over. Why does facebook have to do things like that? Sometimes I just want to turn off all my social media……

          17. heartbroken,

            Ouch! That was painful! You know, sometimes it can be a blessing to turn off social media – especially when the pain is very fresh. I’m so terribly sorry about that happening. 🙁

    1. NB,

      It is hard to see this perspective when everything seems to be falling apart around us. The temptation is always to focus on how awful things are right now and to be overwhelmed and to miss what God is doing and miss trusting in Him in the trial. I pray for God to continue His good work in you and to give you more encouragement, wisdom, and strength, my dear sister!

      1. April,
        I feel like God is testing me right now. My husbands behavior is so strange and yet I feel like many on here..I feel like God is really calling me to extend
        Grace and just let him make mistakes, give him space ..See, the texting with the 19 year old coworker has stopped from what he is telling me. However, he developed some kind of friendship with another woman at work. There is some texting too and on top of that he started meeting up with her and another woman ( so he says ) after work for drinks. Today is supposed to be the second time. They meet up from what he tells me at the work premises. I handled it well last time, he was gone about 2 hours and when he came home I was welcoming and we made love. I couldn’t believe myself. Just a few years ago I would have threw fit, berated him, you get the picture.
        He does act a little off but that maybe still because of his new anti depressants.
        I had a feeling that something was cooking up all week. Then this morning before I left for work he tells me he is meeting up with those two for drinks again. I just knew it. It hurt. He noticed that and started to get defensive. I asked if he could put himself in my shoes. If I just told him that I would just go out with some men and assure him they are just coworkers and there is nothing. He didn’t like that. He assured me that he is not attracted to them and it would be only one drink. I asked how do I know if it is not just him and the one woman he talks too. He said that I just had to trust him.
        We were intimate twice last night. So he said, we just had sex twice last night why would I be interested in sex with someone else ..he doesn’t get my worries about emotional affair. He keeps saying I just have to trust him.
        When I got home from work just now, I found the receipts for alcohol that he bought and it looked like he ought it for all of them, not just himself and surely it didn’t look like it was just one drink pro person.
        What do I do April?
        Surprisingly I’m not freaking out as much as I would before.
        What is it that he is looking for then meeting up with these women? He doesn’t speak the language really good so it’s not like they are having fluent conversations, from what I gather they don’t talk to him in English.
        He told me that he has this void ever since we moved here and nothing can fill it. Not his hobbies, nothing. He has this need to have friends, and since he doesn’t know anyone besides his coworkers who are all women I’m guessing that why?! In the States he never had friendships with women. He had his buddies from high school and his brothers that he hung out with. He also played in a band there which he told me he misses here.
        So this whole hanging out/ texting with female coworkers is new to me.
        I just have this feeling that I need to let him be. Just to let him get through this phase. No matter what happens. I learned so much reading comments from this blog, and somehow I feel ok. I prayed about this. I feel the answer I’m getting is to trust. Just like the message was in another post of yours- do nothing but trust. Be there for him and love him regardless. Let him stumble and fall if that’s what needs to happen. Let him see the new me in action so to speak. I berated him and pouted every time he was out to band practice or whatever in the States he still remembers it. So I feel like I have a chance now to really show the new me- not judging, graceful, loving, welcoming when he returns. I learned through his texting with the earlier coworker, remember the 19 year old, that pouting, crying, pleading, trying to control in any way did not work. Only cost us a broken cell phone and a huge fight. Or two.
        Please pray for him April….I so hope he finds himself sooner rather than later…..

        1. NB,

          This will require you to be tuned in to and filled up with God’s Spirit so you can hear His prompting clearly. I don’t like that he is doing this. I don’t think it is wise. I can understand he feels lonely and needs friends and only works with women and is in a country where he can’t understand the language well. I wouldn’t like that myself! I love that you see that the way you responded before repelled him and that you don’t want to do that again.

          As you work on yourself and becoming the woman God desires you to be and you focus on Christ, I do believe He will give you the wisdom and direction you need to honor Him. I also think as your husband sees you not freaking out and being welcoming, attentive, respectful, etc… that he will feel more interested in being around you.

          My main concern is that you trust God. I don’t know if you can trust your husband. But I do know you can trust Christ. 🙂 I pray God will open your eyes to anything you need to see and if you need to set healthy boundaries in a respectful way. But in the meantime, I pray for God’s healing to pour into you and through you into the marriage to reach this broken, wounded man. I pray God will use you to bless him and to pray for him diligently and that He might give you His eyes and His love and heart for His son.

          Sounds like you are in a much better place now. Continue to cling to Jesus, my precious sister.
          Much love!

          1. Thank you, April.

            I reached for one of my books yesterday “Love Life for Every Married Couple” by Ed Wheat. It gives really good biblical advice on how to deal with the spouse who is having an affair. I don’t think my husband has one but general advice really cleared my head.

            He came home pretty quickly last night and we had a few drinks together ;-). We talked about those ladies too. He assured me over and over that there’s nothing for me to worry about. He compared one to his buddy in the States. What concerns me a little is that he says they have some things in common. Like music and scary movies. When I said that I can’t compete in that area he said that I had nothing to worry about and said “and I don’t have kids with her and I’m not attracted to her”. Then he also said I could come next time if the do it again… I said I would love to meet them and be friends. So we will see. They all know he is married at his work, I met quite a few people there and his bosses.

            I feel the calling to trust. To give him freedom to make his own decisions and to accept them. To be the woman he can’t wait to come home to. To accept him and to love him the way he is right now.

            You know it is like he puts everything into wanting to be accepted at his workplace. It’s going on a year that he is there and we went through so much turmoil with him because of this workplace. Never in his life his job affected him so much. I have no idea why. He says they all are disrespectful and unappreciative of his hard work. It is a nursing home. So I don’t know. It’s like he can’t separate himself and his self worth from being accepted there. I’m sure cultural differences play a big part too.

            Thank you for being there for me April. As busy as you are you always take your time to talk to me. It means so much to me! In real life no one knows about any of this. That’s why I feel so blessed to have found you! Thank you!

          2. NB,

            That sounds like a great idea that you read that book. Thank you for sharing about it. 🙂

            I love that you talked with him and that he said you could come next time. That is awesome!

            I also love the direction you are going right now spiritually for yourself and in the marriage. It sounds like you are listening to God – that is what matters most!

            Men thrive on respect. Maybe he feels that if he does this with his coworkers, they will eventually respect him more. It is a very deep masculine drive.

            You are most welcome. I pray for God’s continued healing for you both and for His wisdom. I pray for you to abide in Christ and focus on Him and allow Him to continue to transform You. I pray for God to speak powerfully to your husband and for him to begin to hear His voice more clearly and for God’s wisdom for your husband about whether to move back or not and how to handle things at work. I pray God will empower him to become the man He desires him to be for His glory.

            Much love to you!

          3. April, you nailed it. I think he even said something to that effect a while ago. That maybe if he does all that, he will get respected and will be accepted as a part of the team. He even told me today that maybe I was right and he has this need of acceptance among his coworkers.

            I also feel more secure knowing how God is leading me in this. It is hard. I almost blew it again today by getting emotional about it and crying. I can’t believe myself sometimes. He keeps assuring me that there is nothing for me to worry about and since we are intimate why would he look elsewhere?

            Thank you for praying for us. I am working on myself and trusting. I know Lord is with me through this.
            I am also praying for all of us here…the stories of all whos commenting are so moving. I’m praying for healing for all who are hurting right now…

          4. NB,

            It sounds like he is realizing a lot of really good things as you are backing off a bit. And it sounds like you are feeling a greater understanding of the situation. 🙂 That is awesome!

            I pray for God’s continued wisdom, power, and direction.

            If you believe he is trustworthy – trust him and take his words and actions at face value. Continue to become the woman God calls you to be.

            Thank you for praying for everyone and for healing for all who are hurting here right now. 🙂

            You are a blessing to me!

          5. NB, I read that book a couple of years ago and loved it! I had checked it out from the library and then returned it and could never remember the title to look into it again! As soon as I read the title of it in your comment, I knew that was the book!

            Thanks for your prayers for us and I will be praying for you, too. It sounds like God is leading you very beautifully (well, of course, He always does, right?!) and you are following Him very beautifully even when it’s going against all of your emotions and feelings. And you are seeing the blessing of following Him. I’m really happy for you! I think it’s great that your husband offered for you to go with him next time and that you are being a safe place for him to share with you. Praying for God’s continued blessing and healing in your marriage.

          6. Thank you, CiC.
            The last chapter of that book did help me clarify my thoughts. I still struggle though.i need to really take my thoughts captive by the hour it seems like or else my mind does wonder where it’s not supposed to.
            For some reason there’s always suspicion in the back of my mind. That he planned something with her and will tell me last minute. That’s how he does it normally.
            I don’t want to be that person. I really feel like extending grace is what I’m supposed to do. It is so hard though. I don’t want to be repelling to him. I have done enough of this in the last 13 years.
            I need to really work on holding him loosely. Every time I’m not doing it I mess up. Like this morning. But to my defense I apologized immediately and told him I am working on myself in this area. He seemed to understand, but it did leave a bitter aftertaste for sure.
            And definitely taking his words at face value. Laura Doyle’s books really help me in a lot of areas too. But boy I always have to keep myself in check. If not I just slide into this jealousy and suspicions and that is not good.
            I’m praying for all of us.nit is heartbreaking to read everyone’s stories. Last year was a crazy roller coaster for us too…thank you for reaching out to me…

          7. NB,

            Could you and your husband learn the language using “Rosetta Stone” or another program? Why can’t YOU be his best girlfriend in this country?

          8. LmsDaily,
            Thats what I’m wondering myself. I speak the language fluently but he started to learn from scratch in 2014.Thats why it hurts so much, not that I think he will go and cheat on me but that he has this need of affirmation from another wonan. He gets it plenty from me. With the help of this blog and also Laura Doyle’s resources we made much progress from last year when we had this difficult and awful time. But yes, I’m asking myself this question as well. He doesn’t seem to have very clear answer except he told me he wants to fit in there.

          9. This is correct April. His only communication is with me and the kids or he is at work. This one woman has either a boyfriend or other friend that plays music and my husband is hoping that one day he can get together with that guy to play music with him.
            But to answer your question , he doesn’t have anyone else besides work and us he ineracts with…

          10. NB,

            Perhaps we can pray for some godly guy friends? It sounds like right now he doesn’t have many options at all. That would be neat if he could find a good friend who enjoys playing music and they could play together. 🙂

          11. Good morning April.
            I’m in need of advice today. I have very strange feeling all week about my husband. He says he was very tired from work all week. He also doesn’t complain at all about work any more. Says that things are going well. To me that is unusual, because just a month or so ago it was daily struggle for him at that place. I have noticed it became like that after he got to know that one particular coworker with whom he had drinks together. To my understanding she is new there and in leadership position. So I understand I have no control over what he will choose to do. I pray for him daily and also for the Lord to reveal to me what I need to know in his timing.
            I want to ask you if he announces again that he will go out again with her and the other one, what can my response be? So that doesn’t repel him and send him into a defensive mode. So that is loving.
            I usually get so hurt and shut down when that happened last two times. Which sends him over the edge into a defensive mode and into blaming me for not trusting him. He told me after one of those episodes, ” if you don’t trust me after all these years then I don’t know”
            I prepare myself that it will happen again. I just don’t have peace lately and struggle daily with doubt and mistrust. I pray April…I ask God to guide me. It just so strange with him lately. Maybe he really is tired after work. What would you suggest I say if something like that happens next time?
            Thank youApril!

          12. NB,

            Well… I don’t know your husband, his heart, his motives, or what he may be doing. It would be a lot easier to know what to do if you had all of the information – but that is often not how life works. What I do know is that God has all of the information and that He has all of the wisdom you need.

            Maybe he is feeling more respected there?

            I would prefer that husbands not go out for drinks with other women myself. Or, if possible, that you might be able to go, too. What would happen if he says he plans to go again and you said in a friendly, positive way, “Oh, okay… I would love to come, too.” Or, “Oh, maybe they would like to bring their husbands/boyfriends and maybe I could come, too? That could be fun to get to know all of them better!” Or, “What would you think about us having them and their boyfriends/husbands over here for supper? I’d be glad to cook something and we could all enjoy getting to know each other.”

            If he doesn’t like that idea, perhaps you can respond calmly. He already knows you don’t like the idea of him going out with his female coworkers. I think that is understandable for a wife to be concerned.

            It also seems to me that he is in a tough situation of being in a different country with a different language and only female coworkers and no male friends. It is possible that he is trustworthy. If he truly is trustworthy and you treat him like he is not, that can be destructive to your marriage. Look for anything you can trust him about and focus on that.

            I think the key at this point, is probably to avoid freaking out. That approach does not draw our husbands to us. Focus on becoming the wife and woman God calls you to be and making home a warm, welcoming, safe, friendly place. Seek God. Listen to Him. He has so much more wisdom than I do and He can prompt you about just what to do and say. 🙂

            If you know he is doing something inappropriate, then your approach may have to change a bit.

            Praying for God’s wisdom for you and His healing for you both!

          13. NB,

            Or, you might pray about it and say before this issue comes up again, “Honey, what can I do to help you feel respected, honored, and supported here? I want you to know that I am on your team. What would help you really feel that I have your back?”

            And then just listen. And pray about what he says.

          14. April, thank you.

            I think things are actually good between us right now. As far as feeling respected at home for him. He even said last week, “Don’t you think our family life is better now?” We have made good progress since I first started writing to you a few months ago and definitely things improved dramatically compared to a year ago. He does some things that tell me he trusts me again and feel safer around me.
            So thats that. Plus remember he started a new anti depressant last month. I know he increased his dose himself. I have noticed he is calmer now..in better spirits.

            I will try your advice. I know realistically I won’t be able to go with him . Mainly because he tells me with barely any notice and both times their gatherings were after 9 pm, and my parents wouldn’t be able to watch our both kids that late in the night. So the kids are always on me.

            I’m struggling this week. He’s been so quiet and kind of shut down all week. We are doing well otherwise and I pray and try not to assume anything. But it has been hard on me.

          15. NB,

            If your husband started a new anti-depressant last month, the pharmacist in me wants to share – it may change his personality in several ways. Sometimes there are good effects and sometimes side effects. It takes about 3-4 weeks for most of those meds to kick in. So right now, it is possible the changes you are seeing in him not complaining about work and how he is handling things differently and even that he is exhausted or quiet – could possibly all be related to the new medication. I don’t know for sure. But that is something to consider. If he is on too high of a dose, that can cause specific issues, too.

            I pray for God to give you His wisdom about how to handle this if the situation arises again, my precious sister. He knows what is best and He will show you!

            Much love to you!

          16. April, I want to believe that it is all new medicine. But it’s been about 8 weeks that he switched. And this odd behavior has only been going on for about two weeks or so. Ever since I have heard about this new co worker really. Maybe I’m just imagining it. I had a very graphic and detailed dream last night about him cheating on me. It was so awful that I woke up. I feel like devil really is playing with my thoughts. I can’t shake off a feeling that something is not right with him.
            But this morning when I read my bible, a verse jumped out at me in Proverbs 3:30 ” do not accuse anyone for no reason for they have not done you any harm”.
            Please pray for us April…..I feel awful for not being able to get rid of those suspicions….

          17. NB,
            I don’t know what is going on with your husband. So I don’t know if your suspicions are unfounded or if it is just the medicine.

            I love the verse you came across this morning. I would hate for you to jump on your husband and accuse him of something if he didn’t do anything wrong. That would be really destructive. I pray for God’s wisdom and that you will seek His voice and reject any lies of the enemy. I pray God will give you the light you need for each step, my dear sister!

  3. I really need prayer today for those who are willing. My heart is broken. I seem to vacillate between strong moments of faith to very weak moments. Today my strength and faith are weak. I’m not feeling condemnation for that, as the Lord will strengthen me again, I know.

    I am having a hard time surrendering my dream for my marriage and intact family to God. I do it one minute and take it back up the next.

    April (and any others who have walked this journey), how long did that part of your struggle last? Does God really bring you to a place where it’s always surrendered and you never have to go back and do it again or is it an ongoing part of the process? Did you really get to a place where you knew that your marriage might never look different and you had accepted that?

    I don’t know how to treat my husband during this painful time. The facts are that he has lied and is currently lying to me about things. Yet, he wants to act as if all is fine. He wants me to not see him as some bad guy. I gave him an anniversary card on our 24th last week which listed at least 15 different positive traits and strengths I see in him. Yet, he tries to make me feel guilty for not praising and affirming him more during a season where he is breaking my heart. I feel conflicted. Like if I could love him enough and the best, then this would all go away. I am blessing him by God’s grace, but there’s only so far I can go with that without it being fake. I feel like he wants me to treat him as if everything is perfectly normal – he wants me to thank, praise and admire him but it’s o.k. for him not to repent for lying, look at his own sin, etc. I am actively thanking him for the things he is doing around here (cutting grass, if he does something sweet or helps with the kids). But, at what point does something like he’s looking for cross the line into enabling and not really loving someone…..

    Thanks for listening.

    1. ContentinChrist,

      Thank you for sharing your struggle! This is a normal part of this process, I believe. Thankfully, we can turn to Christ and ask Him to strengthen our faith. We all need that!

      I went back and forth sometimes, too. Laying it down, then taking it back up again. Laying it down… over and over. I had to continue to wrestle until I could seriously lay my dreams and desires down. They were good desires – a desire for the marriage to be restored and whole. It is not wrong for us to want healthy, godly marriages. But if we are looking to a marriage for contentment, security, purpose, joy, etc… if we have the marriage above Christ in our hearts, that is a big problem.

      Yes, I had to get to the place where I said, “God, I trust You with Greg and this marriage and I will accept it even if I don’t get what I want, even if Greg never changes, even if he never loves me (I thought he didn’t love me at the time), even if he never plugs back in, even if he never leads me, even if he doesn’t want to talk with me or be around me.. I will accept it even if none of it ever changes. And if I have to sit here until I am 80 years old and do nothing for You (which was another one of my fears), I will just sit here and do nothing. You say You want to lead me through Greg. Okay. I will stop running ahead of you and Greg. I will wait until You lead me through this man. I don’t think he can hear You right now. I don’t know if he can lead. But I will wait. If You want me to spend my life doing nothing of any significance for Your kingdom, I will accept that. I want Your will no matter what it is.”

      Yes, I did get to a place where I accepted it. But there would be some days when I would get discouraged, and talk with God about that Greg wasn’t changing. Then God would remind me, “Why are you doing this? Are you doing it to get what you want or just for me no matter what may happen?”

      I don’t think that a wife’s love can change a husband’s unrepentant sin. You can influence him, yes. But you are not responsible to make him change. Does that make sense? And you certainly don’t have to praise or respect sin. Please do not praise or respect sin!

      With a husband who has this long and severe of an issue with compulsive lying, I think there can be times when a wife may need a godly, experienced counselor to help her navigate this kind of thing.

      My prayer is that you will continue to cling to Christ and that you will hear His prompting and wisdom about what He desires you to do. It would be very difficult living with someone who is extremely manipulative and dishonest. A compulsive lying addiction is a tough situation. I would love to see you have some godly resources about dealing with this – does Leslie Vernick’s site talk about this at all?

      You are going to need God’s wisdom. There are times to set boundaries. There are times to give grace. It is possible to be enabling of someone’s sin habit. And I know you don’t want to do that.

      Much love to you!

      Lord,
      We pray for Your wisdom, power, vision, strength, discernment, and resources for CIC. She is in a tough position with a husbands who wants to continue lying and who is unrepentant. We know You hate lying. It grieves Your heart. We know You want her husband to repent. We know You hurt with CIC over this sin in her husband’s life and how it has hurt her. Direct her steps. Let her cling to You. Let her see with Your eyes and hear Your voice clearly. Help her to see what direction she needs to take. Help her rest in You and be totally filled up with Your Spirit so that she can honor You no matter what her husband is doing. Increase her faith. Use this trial for Your glory in her life. Draw her husband to Yourself and to repentance and brokenness over his sin.

      In the Name and power of Christ!
      Amen!

      1. I had kind of come to this place in the last few days that I was thinking I could just stay and be a good wife, keep forgiving him, keep giving grace….and then this other lie happened. And I haven’t even confronted him with it because I know how the conversation will go (it will be my fault somehow and somehow I will have misinterpreted him or something). There’s no point in talking about these things anymore. So then that leaves me with wondering….how much lying are we talking about here? What else is he lying about? Am I safe sexually with him?

        Two things I’ve wanted are: if God wants a separation in this marriage, that my husband will initiate it; otherwise, I think if I do, there is going to be some major pay-back for me. Just a sense I get.

        I guess the other part of that two things is that I don’t want to be the one that does this to my kids. I’m afraid of being seen as the bad guy. Husband is a nice guy overall – very loving and attentive to them in many ways (maybe worldly ways).

        I really need wisdom on this. I’m struggling with 1 Peter and the verses that talk about how Christ suffered without retaliating, threatening, etc. and then the verses following to wives. Maybe they mean I’m supposed to stay and just take it. Yes, that’s what I really believe, I guess, deep down. But, that crucifixion could take the rest of my life.

        As you can see, the enemy is doing a number with me in my thinking and with confusion.

        Thanks for hashing this through with me. I will be talking to a godly pastor again tomorrow and I am considering going to our counselor alone. However, I value your opinion and thoughts as much as theirs, April. I don’t think you need a license to administer godly wisdom (I know you know that, too!)

        Yes, I’ve read on the leslievernick site. I know what the advice would be there. Maybe God is pointing me to the direction I don’t want to go – initiating a separation on my own at the expense of my kids’ happiness and security…and maybe at the expense of me losing relationship with them temporarily if they are turned against me.

        I feel lost.

        1. ContentinChrist,

          Those are important questions you have to come to grips with. 🙁 I’m so sorry that the lying is continuing. I would expect that it would take something pretty significant for that to stop. Although I don’t have experience with dealing with a husband who is ensnared in this kind of addiction.

          I don’t see where a wife separating from her husband is a sin – particularly if there is major unrepentant sin on his part and she has gone through the biblical process of confronting him.

          I am really thankful you are seeking help from a godly pastor you trust and that you are going to your counselor. I don’t know how severe the lies are. I don’t know what they are about. I don’t know what else he may be covering up. If the lies are severe or you truly believe he may be lying about sexual things or that he is involved in adultery – I would want to pray about separating from my husband if it were me. But if the lies are more about minor things, it may be a situation where you may be able to stay.

          Christ did suffer without retaliating and threatening those who crucified Him because it was God’s will for Him to be crucified in order to save millions of people. But how did He respond when the people tried to throw Him off a cliff earlier and that was not God’s will? How did He respond to the sin of the Pharisees, His disciples, and others? Did He ignore it? Did He pretend it was okay?

          What does Leslie Vernick suggest when there is a husband who is a compulsive liar? Does she always suggest separation? Does she talk about a process of working through this issue together?

          How is your walk with Christ going?

          I’m glad you are seeing your motives. I long for your motives to be simply to honor and please Christ in all things. There are times godly wives do have to leave. I don’t know if that is what God wants you to do. But if He does want you to leave, I don’t want you to be afraid to do what He calls you to do as you pray for spiritual healing for your husband and for healing for the marriage and a rebuilding of a healthy marriage. So I think it depends how severe the lying is and what God is prompting you to do.

          But don’t do things out of fear. Or guilt.

          Do what you know God desires you to do with love.

          Much love! I am praying for God’s wisdom for you!

          1. Thank you for your response. It is definitely interesting to me that every godly person that I speak to that I really trust to give solid advice is saying the same thing to me.

            I think if I stayed, it would be out of fear – of losing the marriage and tearing our family apart for good. Because, so far, he has never showed that he is willing to pursue me when I’ve pulled away. It’s always been me pursuing him.

            If I left, I know that I might be closing the door on this marriage forever. Well, I know in reality it wouldn’t be me, but still…..I think you know what I’m saying.

            I have a lot of thinking and praying to do, but in the meantime, I’m just going to rest in God and wait patiently for Him to show me next steps.

            Things I’m praying for: That God will do what He’s going to do quickly – whether that means an inevitable separation or what. I’m weary — I feel like these things have been going on for so long and I’m just ready to get God’s show on the road. I know, His timing….but this is still a prayer I feel comfortable praying right now.

            That things will keep being brought into the light (interesting how much has been brought into the light since God laid it on my heart to start praying that prayer about two months ago or so).

            That if separation is on the horizon, that God will somehow move my husband to be the one who instigates it. This would be much easier than having to do it myself (yeah, I know the motives are probably bad on that one….and I know it would still be ultra painful to know that he is really rejecting me….but it would take me out of the equation and lessen any guilt I would feel over the pain our children are going to have to go through).

            Praying for God to speak through this pastor/brother tomorrow.

            Thank you so much for your prayer, April, and for your advice. I really appreciate it. Love and blessings to you and your family. May God protect you and your family and hold you safe in His care.

          2. CIC,

            It would be one thing if he was lying about that he was smoking cigarettes or that he was reading his Bible but he wasn’t. But if there are really big and serious lies and he won’t stop and you can’t trust him – ignoring that level of sin is not a gift.

            Greg didn’t confront my pride, disrespect, control, self-righteousness, and lack of biblical submission. We both suffered because of the hurtful, painful effects of my sin for a decade and a half. I actually did love him. I believe if he had confronted me and told me I had hurt him that I would have wanted to change. Godly love gently, respectfully, humbly, lovingly, and firmly confronts sin after it has dealt with sin in its own life. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)

            I know of a number of people involved in serious sin who did wake up after a spouse left them because of their sin. Some don’t, of course. But some do.

            God did not tolerate the sin of Israel forever. He was not afraid to leave them if necessary in the Old Testament if they were repeatedly unfaithful and refused to repent after decades of warning. He is slow to anger. But He does have righteous anger and holy wrath that He pours out when the timing is right after much warning and much patience. It grieved His heart. He wanted them to return. But He did not force them. But when a spouse is living in serious unrepentant sin, there do need to be consequences at times.

            Of course, your husband’s greatest need is Jesus. That is the ultimate goal, his salvation – that goal is much more important than the marriage being healed.

            Yea, there are times a godly wife will quietly set a godly, respectful example. But there is s point at which it is too toxic to stay.

            I pray for God’s wisdom for you on this. I don’t have the answer – but I know He does.

            Godly wives do initiate separation at times. Sometimes it is necessary. I understand you would rather he do it. We will pray for God’s direction and clarity that you do what is most honoring to Christ in this and that you hear His voice and obey.

            I know when I just got my pharmacy license, an older pharmacist was sexually harassing me for a week while he trained me. I was mortified. But I didn’t want to “get him in trouble” because he had been with the company 20 years or something and was my dad’s age. So I said nothing until 2 years later when I left the company. My boss told me then it was too late to do anything. Not sure if that was true or not. But, he did go on to do the same thing to others. Would it have been my fault that he was disciplined if I had reported him? No. He was the one in the wrong. Did I do him or the other women who worked with him any favors by ignoring what he did to me? No. I left other women vulnerable to the same inappropriate behavior.

            There are some times we will quietly wait and pray, and there are other times we need to take a firm stand for what is right and against what is very wrong.

            May God help you see what you need to see to have clarity and to act in His power, holiness, and love. Not out of fear, guilt, pride, idolatry, or any other motive.

            Much love!
            April

          3. Thank you. His lies are about big and small things. He cannot take responsibility for his sin pretty much (which includes lust issues). I think God is showing me that there is a major problem going on. God has also protected me physically, I believe, in a certain way this last week which has enabled me not to be intimate with my husband right now (even though I was willing for that). I feel like God is preparing me for something big. 🙁 I’ve been feeling like that for several years now, to be honest.

            I know you’re right. I think God is calling me to lay another boundary. And I think I need to start looking for a job. Laying a boundary last time led to some scary kind of anger (no physical stuff, but just a scary kind of seething anger as his drinking was escalating that I have never seen in him before). I will be prepared for that and will not stay if I’m starting to see those same dynamics.

            We need prayer. Father, please give grace in abundance to my children as we walk through the next steps of this journey. Help my husband to face his sin so that he can find You.

          4. ContentinChrist,

            I pray that God will expose anything that is big, especially, but that everything will come to light and you will have God’s clarity about exactly what to do. I don’t know if he is hiding a lot or if he is not. But I know God knows. I don’t want you to freak out if there is nothing really going on. But if there is something major, I want to see that come to light. Then you will know better what you are dealing with and what direction would most honor God.

            I pray against the enemy’s plans for you, your husband, your marriage, and your family. May God give you His perspective, love, power, strength, wisdom, joy, and peace and may He direct your every foot step. I pray you won’t run ahead of God or lag behind Him but walk faithfully and in obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit right beside Him. I pray He will open your husband’s eyes and bring him to repentance and healing spiritually. I pray for God’s will and His glory in the midst of all of this.

            Much love!

          5. CiC. I just went through this exact thing. Ugh, I feel your pain. For 6 months I wrestled with this and i, too wanted my husband to make the first move. But, one day, I was moved to ask for a separation. You bet I prayed hard on it. I thought I would do it 6 more months from now, but God felt I was ready earlier than I thought I was.

            Here is what God showed me, but I strongly encourage you to listen very carefully to where your Holy Spirit/God is asking you to go….

            I was allowing my husband’s horrible behavior to me out of shame. I felt I had to put my “time in” to pay for my sin and disrespect. I thought in time he would get over it and start to move TOWARD me. Instead, I realized I was enabling this behavior by NOT putting a boundary down for respecting myself. God wanted me to confront this by loving myself. Not in a selfish way. But in a way knowing that God wants what is best for me too. Just like we don’t let our kids get away with back talking or stealing, we confront it. I was too scared to do it because I cared more about my husband’s feelings, kids’ feelings, and being looked at as the breaker of the marriage (other people’s opinions) over doing what God wanted me to do. He wanted my husband to see the consequences of HIS actions and behavior and I kept taking those consequences from my husband. I was saving him from his own lessons he had to learn.

            I gave him a choice, either start working with me TOWARD this marriage or leave. It is too painful to me to put up with XYZ behavior….so far he has chosen to stay, but the weight of the world and incredible peace came over me at that point. I felt chains and shackles breaking. But it took me 6 months of resisting this…thinking it was the enemy talking, to finally obey God, all because of my fear. At that point, I realized that if the marriage didn’t work out, I could go to sleep at night knowing I did all I could and followed God’s commands to do all I could to keep the marriage together. Ultimately it takes 2 people, but God does great work even with only 1 believer.

            I pray that you can quietly listen to what God wants you to do and find wisdom in His leading. I pray that you ask for God to reveal each step at a time in His timing. I pray that you can learn to trust that God can bring beauty from ashes. Even if you don’t do things quite right, or make a mistake, God knows how to make things turn out for the good. He loves you, sweet sister, and God is in control. He has plans A through ZZZZ! You are on my heart tonight, my dear.

          6. Oh, I forgot to answer some of your questions. I think my walk with Christ is going very well. I am finding more and more that He is enough — even though I obviously am still struggling with the idea of losing my marriage. He is speaking to me, comforting me, bringing me peace once I put my eyes back on Him, confirming a lot of what He’s telling me through godly counselors/friends. I feel He is carrying me each step. I know that He has a plan and purpose in this. I know He is good.

            I know what you’re saying about Christ and his attitudes towards sin. You’re right. But, as a wife, is that my place? That’s what I wrestle with. Isn’t my place just to keep submitting to this husband who is disobedient to the word? Just submit, have a gentle and quiet spirit and don’t retaliate. That’s what I see. Then again, I feel like God showed me many months back that, in essence, I am submitting to where my husband is leading our marriage as I walk this road of drawing boundaries, etc. I also know that God showed me a couple months back that I’m the only one who really sees what I’m seeing. No one else will be able to confront the sin and stand for truth and righteousness other than me.

            Leslie would say if there is no willingness on my husband’s part to admit he has a problem, then nothing will be changing at all unless a strong boundary is enforced. And there’s certainly no willingness. His heart has only gotten harder as we’ve gone along. I think the lying has even increased – although it could just be that I’m just now being made aware of it. But it makes sense to me that if he is refusing to humble himself, God will allow his heart to harden and the sin will increase.

          7. CIC,

            Are you familiar with the story of Abigail and Nabal, as well as Esther and the King in the Old Testament and Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5?

            How about read those stories and then let me know what you believe God is saying about a wife’s responsibilities when a husband is in sin.

            Yes, Sarah cooperated with Abraham when he asked her to lie and God protected her. But there are times when a wife is responsible not to cooperate or submit.

            Two very helpful resources on my blog by a minister at my church that you may search:

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

            Much love!

  4. Just a reminder,

    I am going to add this into the post, as well…

    God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom.

    There is a much grander scale going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

    Much love to each of you!

  5. Hi April,

    I’m glad to read this today. I feel like each time I take a step forward I take three steps back.

    Then I read these comments, and I feel so badly for even caring about my issues. Really, my situation is not nearly as severe as some of the folks here, and it makes me feel guilty for even thinking I have a problem. Like I’m being bad for feeling bad, does that make sense?

    I know I’m not praying enough. I have a hard time getting past that. I don’t want to bother God with my stupid, self-created problems. I know that’s dumb, that God knows what I’m feeling anyway, but it still feels like I’m trying to get His attention when my issues aren’t all that important. I have food, clean water, a roof over my head. My husband loves me. Do I really have a right to complain about my own bad attitude?

    My husband and I are still slogging through these issues. I have started believing he loves me and that makes him happy. I don’t argue with him verbally anymore if he says I’m beautiful, but no, I don’t believe him. What’s the big deal?? I don’t see why that even matters. I thought looks were supposed to be not that important. Isn’t it vanity to see yourself as beautiful? I’m even starting to believe he thinks I’m okay looking, but now he wants me to feel beautiful. Why? It’s like he always wants to take this one step further. Who cares if I feel beautiful as long as I’m not complaining? Isn’t not complaining a huge step?

    Another big issue he has is when I don’t sleep in bed. Why does that even matter to him? I actually feel like an intruder in my own bed. He not upset that I’m not there because he wants intimacy because – well – that’s an issue for another day. But anyway, if he doesn’t “need” me for anything, why does he care if I’m there? I think he sleeps better when I’m on the couch. I don’t sleep well in bed because I really feel I don’t belong there.

    I’m the opposite of a lot of folks. I actually feel like my husband is too good for me. For some reason I can’t figure out, this bugs him. A few years ago my husband went through a few years of what was probably depression. I stood by him and loved him through it, and he appreciates that. But in the process, I feel like I was slowly lowered into an abyss. Now he has metaphorically climbed out, and I feel like he left me at the bottom. He keeps acting like, the bad times are over, so just climb out and let’s move on. And I start to climb out and I slip back in. And instead of giving me a hand, he just gets mad and acts like “why can’t you just climb out?”

    I feel badly for him that he’s stuck with me. He gets really mad if I say that. He says my being insecure is a turn off. So I’m supposed to run around acting all proud and like something I’m not? I’m supposed to stick my nose in the air and pretend I’m beautiful and important when I feel the exact opposite? I thought being humble was more attractive than being a snob. I don’t get it.

    Why do I struggle with this so much? Why can’t he appreciate that I realize my own limitations? Why can’t I be a good person or a good wife without pretending to be beautiful when I REALLY CAN NOT feel that way? Why is this so infuriatingly difficult and why can’t I seem to pray about it? I think praying about it would just be greedy of me, and I’ll be totally honest right now, there is a big part of me that just keeps telling myself “do not pray about this – you are making a big deal out of nothing – this issue – and you – are not worth praying about.” Then I feel more conflicted because I KNOW what the problem is. It is this stupid false humility and negative thinking and there is part of me that wants to let it all go, but a stronger part feels like I don’t deserve to let it all go. It just feels wrong.

    So this part of your post really jumped out at me:

    “Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord.”

    I know I need to somehow find a way to understand this and live it.

    I apologize for the long comment. You do not need to reply, and if I were you I’d be getting sick of me by now. I am sick of me. I know the answer. I need to pray about it. What I don’t know is why I can’t seem to do that, and why every time I take one step forward, I allow myself to take three steps backwards.

    Thanks for listening. Just typing it out helps.

    1. Becca,

      My sister, I invite you to consider for a moment… is God concerned with your attitudes, your beliefs, your heart, your motives, your priorities, and what you put on the throne of your heart?

      If you don’t know… here are two links to lists of verses about attitudes and motives how important these things are to God. 🙂

      https://www.openbible.info/topics/attitude

      https://www.openbible.info/topics/motives

      It is not a matter of complaining about your bad attitude. A bad attitude is sin. That is a BIG DEAL to God. This isn’t about complaining – I agree that just complaining to God about our sin isn’t productive – but what we do need to do is to repent of sin and getting rid of all of the sin in our thoughts and hearts so that we can live the holy lives that God desires us to live.

      If you are not praying and not abiding in Christ. You won’t have the power to do anything for God. This is your power source – prayer, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. If you decide to neglect any of these things, you will fall – like any of us would.

      How about spend about 30 minutes (preferably more) with God praying about any sin He shows you in your thoughts – even in what you have shared here. Maybe you can read some of the verses in the links I shared and ask God to help you absorb them and apply them and to think with His perspective.

      You are struggling because you are not taking your thoughts captive and you are spiritually depleted and starving. When we do not nourish our souls with God’s presence and His good things – we fill our souls with sinful thoughts and warped, destructive thinking and we don’t have the power to change our thoughts.

      The truth on these matters are:

      1. You actually are physically beautiful. (I know because you have shown me a picture.) It is your wrong and destructive thinking that won’t allow you to accept this.
      2. Your husband loves to be with you. Being close to you and having you in bed with him probably helps him feel connected (check out the husband’s comment on the survey for husbands from this weekend about just being in the same room together being very bonding for him.)
      3. Your definition of humility is not accurate, my dear sister. Your understanding of having security in Christ and being confident in your new self in Christ will come as you spend serious time in prayer and in God’s Word and as you allow His Spirit to teach and transform you and to have control.
      4. Your understanding of the purpose of prayer is warped and toxic.

      Check out my new video about taking our thoughts captive.

      https://youtu.be/m6VYomSD2us

      I’m glad that part of the post stood out to you. That is awesome!

      I love you. 🙂 I know God will continue to work in you to accomplish His good purposes. Don’t fight Him. Resist the Devil and he will flee. Submit yourself to God and He will draw near to you. 🙂

      Much love!

      April

      1. Thank you. I will try to spend 30 minutes with God praying about sin. Oh how my mind wanders, but I’ll try.

        I do understand that I do not understand prayer very well. Perhaps spending time, intentional time, with God will help me to gain a clearer understanding. Thank you for the verses and the video.

        Truth – I don’t like facing my own “stuff” – attitudes, shortcomings, things I don’t understand. But I can see that I need to.

        Things are getting better, I don’t want to sound like all hope is lost. But I’m not growing or getting better because I am not putting in enough effort here. I know that, and I want to, but I feel like I’m holding myself back. My focus has been in all the wrong places. I need to really try to pray sincerely. I have done so, but never for very many days. I give up too soon. It’d be like if someone lost five pounds and so they then ate five pastries a day, because hey, they lost five pounds so the problem temporarily went away. But then the five pounds comes back and the situation gets worse. I need to stay on track and not keep giving up.

        Thank you for your love and guidance.

        1. Becca,

          Here is something to think about. I had a lot of wrong thinking in my heart and TONS of sin when God opened my eyes. I spent about 4 hours per day studying the Bible, reading about becoming a godly woman and trying to absorb it, and praying BEGGING God every day to help me see my sin, to change me, to teach me His ways, to help me see what was wrong and trash it. I didn’t like it either. Still don’t. No one likes dealing with his/her own sin. But it is necessary. And with all of that journalling, reading, praying, seeking God, confessing my sin, and desiring to understand – it took about 2.5 YEARS before I felt like I was beginning to understand respect, biblical submission, Greg, masculinity, femininity, and marriage. And it was another 6 months or longer before I began to really feel like this new way was “normal.”

          If you really want to know God and you really want Him to change you – you have to make it priority number 1. I still can’t skip my time with God. I desperately need Him every moment. I will crash and burn if I decide I don’t need to pray or feed myself spiritually. It is like eating food. We have to do it every day. Maybe more than once. Or we will be weaker and weaker until we go into a coma.

          Much love!

        2. Becca, I struggle with this too, falling into negative thinking really quickly. I have been trying to make it a priority to spend time with God every morning before I even start the day because if I don’t start the day with God it is WAY TOO EASY for the enemy to attack my mind and then I find it harder to get into prayer with God and His word later. But if I make that priority at the beginning of the day I find myself desiring to spend time with Him throughout the day and my mind and emotions are much more in line with God and His word. April is right we need to make it our number 1 priority. I’ve only just started to see this as a spiritual battle and how we have to be really active in fighting for righteousness. Passivity won’t do. Hang in there.x

    2. Becca, only a small thing. If your husband tells you that you are beautiful then he means it. If you don’t accept it then he will likely see it as a rejection of his love. HH

      1. Thanks HH. This is interesting. My husband says the very same thing often. He will say things like, “just accept my love.” I don’t really understand this. I think I do accept it. I don’t see how disagreeing on what is beautiful is a rejection of love. Because you have pointed out this very same thing, maybe there is something to it – maybe I’m missing something. I feel like he’s lying to try to make me feel better – and he feels like I’m rejecting his love. It’s all very confusing. I’m hoping if I follow April’s advice and start seeking God about this, it will become more clear. Thank you for commenting.

        1. Becca,

          I think that the issues we tend to have with our husbands are also the same issues we all (men and women) tend to have with God.

          We wives sometimes are not very good at receiving our husbands’ genuine love for us. We are skeptical. We are reluctant to believe they really could love us the way they say they do.

          Isn’t that what we do with God, too? We tend to reject His love and not believe Him.

          I think it gives us a lot to really think about – and to pray for God to soften our hearts to help us to receive His love and our husbands’ love.

          I know God will make this more clear – but you will have to put in the time and really seek Him. And you will have to be willing to trash these old destructive ways of thinking that “feel right” because they are toxic.

          Many, many husbands have shared this same message with their wives – “Just receive my love.” “I do love you. Please accept my love.” And we resist. And what is the essence of femininity? It is receiving love. Our husband’s love, yes. But we also portray the way the Church is to openly, warmly, joyfully receive the love of Christ.

          Much love!

          1. I am sure you have said all this before, probably even posted on it. But it’s like I’m hearing it all anew. Or I heard it but didn’t actually listen to it. Thank you for your patience and perseverance with me!

          2. Becca,

            I love that you are hearing things like they are brand new. That is a VERY good sign that God is bringing some healing into your heart and that you are beginning to be able to hear the Holy Spirit’s prompting. WOOHOO!

            You may want to read the post again about the essence of femininity.

            Sending you a huge hug!

            I have never doubted this, Becca, God has big plans for you. I have never given up because I can already see an amazing glimpse of some of the things He wants to do in your heart. It is a joy and an honor to walk beside you. Thank you for your willingness to plug in and to begin really seeking Him. That is the only way there is to growth and progress.

            Much love!

        2. I’m not very good at explaining sorry Becca. I know that my wife had the same issue. I would tell her that she is beautiful (and I truly look at her and see a beautiful woman) and she would say “I know you think I am but you’re biased. I don’t think I am and that’s what matters”. I can’t really put into words why that made me feel sad, I only know that it did.

          Husbands want to give. It’s in us to want to (and yes, we are selfish also). One of the things that hurts the most about the separation I am experiencing is that it’s a rejection of everything I want to give to her.

          I want to provide for her needs. That is rejected.
          I want to give to her sexually. That is rejected.
          I want to give to her emotionally. That is rejected.

          All of these desires to give are tempered by my own selfishness and sin, yes. And I have never and probably will never give perfectly. But the desires are still there. And when that giving is rejected it is somehow a rejection of me as a person including when I say “You are beautiful” and it’s not accepted. I can’t really explain it though.

          1. HH,

            I think you are explaining it really well. Thank you for giving the ladies such a beautiful insight into the heart of a husband – and – I think – into the very heart of Christ and His pain when we reject all that He wants to give to us.

        3. Becca,

          I’ve struggled with this all my life (accepting compliments, especially from my husband), and I never really “got it” until I read this somewhere– that when I disagree with my husband’s declaration of what he thinks about me, I’m essentially calling him a liar. I mean think about it, if it was anything else that he said (like “Honey, I’m paying the electric bill”) and you told him, “that’s all well and good, but I think you’re just saying that to make me feel better”, wouldn’t he be offended? After all, you’re saying he’s nothing more than a manipulator or a con artist – just trying to do or say something to make you feel better.

          (Most) men are super visual, so yes, beauty does play a very big part in their perception of you. ” Beautiful” means something different to every individual, though– it’s not just a “cookie cutter” thing. What your man finds attractive in you might not even be what you consider attractive. But we need to acknowledge that his perception of beauty is just as valid as ours!

          So please, even if you’re not to the point where you can agree with your husband yet when he compliments you, at least just say something like, ” Thank you! That makes my day to know that you think that!” Because you may think it’s humble to “deflect” (really it’s rejecting) a compliment, but he hears “I don’t believe you”. And for a husband, believing him and believing IN him are very closely tied…. And he may just give up trying to get you to trust him.

          (Sorry if I come across as harsh… Trust me, I’ve learned this too late, and now I only wish I could go back and accept all the compliments I’ve “squashed” over the years, so that maybe he’d start giving them again…)

          1. kesieqwart,

            Thank you so much for sharing this. I pray many other women will listen and choose to learn from you what you learned the hard way, my sister!

  6. My husband says that gods Ideal is everywhere except the hears and minds of men and women. He points out he has been from the deapths of the ocean to the highs of mountain tops. in times when you had to be silent for months, to when he saw the parts he made and sent to assembly that where shiny and mirror bright, to when he goes up to the rim of the place we live now on cold clear nights and he can imagine the folds of gods hand all around home in the depths of the sky.

    My husband doesn’t look for the works of god in religion or church. He does not like the idea that this or that denomination or religion has all the answers to what god wants of our lives.

    As for myself I think I am starting to see his point, God never wanted him to see to the needs of everyone else and give up his life in the process like I tried helping his father and others to force for many years.

    I always thought that those that were in church every Sunday like his father and our friends, since my husband never thought of any of them as living in gods light, just because they went to their knees every Sunday and mouth the words out of a King James Bible, Then through the week them and their wives went out drinking, smoking pot, using cocain. Then ending up in beds with other wives and husbands than their own,

    Then they would come to work and tell him that they hoped the since he was for not going to church he was going to burn forever in the depths then they would walk away laughing.

    I had seen my husband come home burnt from flying hot metal chips and acids, to think that 90 degrees was almost cold. after spending the last 12 to 16 hours in heats of 125 degrees or higher, I saw were he worked in the plant His machine set was between 2 heat treats. Every time the doors opened to admit another basket or pallet of parts the flames would shoot out 20 to thirty feet. The humidity was so high mixed with oil and tool coolant stench you could practically swim through it.

    Now his father claims he does not see what he had to complain about working every day from 1985 to November 6th 2001, Says he had a roof over his head. warmth, a place to lay his head down every day and the means to fill his belly. He says sex should not have been considered in my husbands life he should never thought he should be allowed the same as others, just been satisfied with what he was allowed.

    I had hoped when he came home from the navy in 1985 that we could somehow have a life and family in peace and love after the first 3 and a half years of our marriage with everytime the rest of the crew was getting a chance at R and R and leave I seemed to be always be approached by his CO and XO told they were sorry but the needs of the navy came first. My husband either had to go back out on patrol with another boat or school scheduals were so tight they had to fly him someplace else straight from Jaxsonville and always the schools were in such secret conditions my husband was not even allowed to contact me to come meet him.

    When he came home it seemed his father and everyone else in the area felt that he should be kept as much apart from me as possible. I was sick. Never was so scared as I was the next ten years trying to just get things to a point I did not have his father or any of his friends telling me that I just could not let my husband have what he wanted in either our marriage or in his life, I always had somebody coming and telling me if my husband was to take what his seniority allowed how badly it disrupted other lives.

    I would be threatened with my own exclusion if I did not help keep my husband in his place. I would ask every year when we could let up on him, tell those that were family and coworkers that they were having the things my husband enabled. Finally after a brain surgery in 2001 a month before 911. my husband was sent home the day after with orders to take 60 days for recovery, Six days latter I answered the door to his father and several of the people in his department, His father slapped me to the floor and told me to keep my stinking mouth shut, Several others told me that if I did not help out they would make things even worse, my husband was messing with their plans being sick, production was going pear shaped. they went to my husbands room and yanked him up dressed him. He wasn’t even strong enough for that and told me if he could stand he could work. His father came pas and I said this was wrong and I was pasted on to the floor again as the were getting him into the car. One of the wives came over a bit latter and said it was best that I did not make waves about a simple set of slaps.

    I will say there was only one time 11 years latter when I was hit by my husband, It was a day that emotions were very high, I had been seeing an old boyfriend for the last year. Before my husband came home from the hardest three years of his life from rehab learning to walk, He had again become ill. A MRSA abscess ate the disks up in his spine causing a lot of spinal cord damage.

    When my husband discovered this he was willing to let me go, even had my bags packed and the assumption of the Guardianship ready to sign by my boyfriend.

    Things did not remain peaceful when he swept my husbands cane putting him on the floor. When my husband hit me I was trying to stop him from damaging my boyfriend any farther, I had grabbed his arm and was begging no more and her just whipped his arm I was hold shaking me off. to let him hit the other man again.

    Peaceful wife I never knew of any way I could get my husbands rights or help him without getting hurt myself.
    I have found out the main problem in the society we lived in was a woman my husband was going to marry years before we even meet, His father is a racial purity nut A white supremist and most of his friends and neighbors were also, The woman my husband was going to marry in 1974 was not a white girl, she was half Hawiian native. half oriental that was in my husbands Army unit at the time, The were planning to marry at their next assignment in England. When his mother and father showed up in Texas and decided they wanted to be introduced too their future daughter in law his father was furious saying if my husband married this girl he could never show his face in public again, I guess the insults thrown at her broke the engagement They changed duty choices. and separated.

    I have seen pictures of her in a old footlocker my husband keeps. My husband never opens it. I think the memories in it hurt. But I think that this was the goddess I followed, smart unafraid of life, confidant to stand up and be counted, when all I feel I can do now is cower in a corner. Trying to think of why couldn’t I be that woman.

    Unaffraid to stand for myself and my husband, she was smart enough to realize that the culture and family my husband came from was going to make his life one of a servant.

    I have written her and she said my husband stood for himself that night and her, but she said she knew there was something sort of nuts in his father. She listened to everything that Myself and others did to my husband. I have found out recently her husband died of a massive coronary seven months ago. at age 63.She said the hardest thing she ever did was walk away from my husband knowing the life his father was going to force on my husband. She said that she knew it was not going to be a good life.

    She said when she married her Ranger husband the lived as much as they could not knowing the next day she had two daughters and a son that followed in his fathers wake. Her daughters are married but she says that she was sorry for the killing of two lives in my marriage.

    She said that I have some small chance to live a little of that life now, recommends that I do.

    1. Callie,

      My heart really breaks over what has happened in this marriage and family. 🙁 The dysfunction here is through the roof. What you are describing sounds like such an abusive relationship your FIL has had with your husband and maybe with you, too. And the efforts of yourself and your FIL to keep your husband from having a day off ever for 16 years – I really can’t wrap my mind around how y’all could have that much power over him and why any family member would do that.

      My heart also breaks for your husband being refused sex by you for so many years and for him having to see you with a boyfriend when he was so sick and weak. And for his dad forcing him back to work when he was not anywhere near ready.

      I can understand why he is extremely angry. His human rights have been violated and his rights as a husband have been violated.

      But at this point, I fear for your safety. I don’t want to see either of you abused or mistreated by each other or anyone else.

      Who has guardianship of you now, my friend? Would you be able to share the reason behind why you need to have someone have guardianship over you?

      What spiritual and mental support do you have at this time?

      What would you like to have in your relationship with Christ and your husband?

      Much love!
      April

  7. Hi April,
    Thank you so much for this post and for your blog. God used your website and book to convict me of a lot of sin I was never aware of. So much of your “before” description of yourself resonates with me, especially the endless thoughts/worry and the ensuing barrage of words for your husband. I like how you describe this as a journey with phases; I feel like I am constantly taking two steps forward, one step back. I am really struggling with two things right now that I would love your perspective on:

    1. I have two young kids and have tried a part-time schedule at my job since the first was born. It has never worked well (they always give me more work than I am supposed to have and 20 hours turns into 35 quite often). I don’t handle stress well and am prone to depression so this is a recipe for disaster. My husband agrees he would rather have me quit completely than continue with the status quo. My supervisor is now offering me a different role that he promises will be 20 hours (I would take a lower level position with less responsibility to make this happen). I am really struggling with quitting completely or trying this position. My husband is leaving the decision to me but I know he does not want to be the sole breadwinner (even though we would be okay financially; he makes just enough to support us and we have adequate savings). This has always been an area where I am prone to disrespect as I always made more money than him. I also felt like he cared more about me making money than my sanity/desire to be at home (I know this isn’t true but it is the go-to lie I tell myself ). I seek God in this decision but all I hear is silence and my mind changes by the hour. How do you balance work/home and did you ever have to make a similar decision or have a similar struggle with your part-time work?

    2. I think my husband is a believer but it’s not clear to me. I wasn’t walking closely with God when we married. We go to church but not regularly and God isn’t a huge priority in where our time/money goes. I want this to change so badly. I’ve expressed my desire for us to start to tithe (we give but not nearly what we should). My husband is willing to go to church and we’ve even tried reading the bible together but it always takes a back seat to our hectic life (which is why I’m wondering if quitting my job completely is the best way to go). I’m trying really hard not to be pushy but how do I strike a balance? How do I make sure God is in our home without taking over my husband’s role as spiritual leader? A few examples:
    a. I’ve expressed my desire a few times to give 10% of our income but my husband does not initiate or follow through on it. Do I keep asking or respectfully let it go after I’ve expressed my desire?
    b. I really want to pray before meals and do devotions with my kids. Do I initiate this or is that taking over the spiritual leader role my husband is supposed to assume? He isn’t opposed to me doing it; he just doesn’t take the lead.

    I know I am not where I need to be yet as a submissive, respectful wife. I still struggle with crazy emotions due to stress/lack of self care. I continue to work on this and hope my husband will be more responsive to my requests if he is able to have more trust in me. I understand you get lots of questions/comments so no worries if you can’t answer. Thank you again for your blog and sharing your wisdom!

    1. Melissa L,

      Wow. It is kind of crazy how much we share in common!

      1. When God opened my eyes to my disrespect and sin against Himself and Greg, we had two young children. I was working part time as a pharmacist in a job that completely overwhelmed and stressed me. Our tech hours had been cut in half because of the economy, and I was trying to do the work of 2-3 people in an 8 hour shift totally by myself for at least half of that time. I would come home after a day of being screamed at and cussed at and rushing constantly and just cry. Then I couldn’t sleep for hours and kept waking up at all hours of the night remembering details of problems and calling the voice mail for the pharmacy to leave messages for the next day’s shift. I was so afraid I was going to hurt someone because I was rushing so much and so understaffed. I did not handle that stress well at all.

      At the time, I begged Greg to let me quit pharmacy and stay home. But I was making over twice per hour what he was making. He didn’t want me to quit. He felt that we would have no savings, no heat in the winter, no AC in the summer, no vacations, no eating out, no fun things… and he didn’t want to live that way. He also didn’t want to sell our house and downsize. I did eventually find a much less stressful job that was a really good fit for me – even though I would have still rather been home with our children. I trusted God to lead me through Greg about this and was thankful that he didn’t force me to work more hours – even though I got a new job offer for more hours every month for the first 4-5 months after I first began to really understand how to honor Greg’s leadership 2.5 years into my journey. I was terrified he would say I needed to work more. I thought that he loved the money more than he loved me. I thought he would rather I not be home and that he didn’t value motherhood. It turns out, I didn’t understand his heart very well. That was a lie I told myself OFTEN. 🙁 Such a destructive lie.

      Greg did let me decide for myself if I wanted to work more hours. I did not – so I turned them all down.

      I had also been very prideful and felt justified in being controlling because I made more money than Greg for the first 18 years or so of our marriage, too. 🙁 Makes me so sad now! But I think this is a decision you will have to make for yourself. That way you can’t resent anyone else for what you decide to do. You could even try the 20 hours per week job and if that is still too much, you could quit at that point, right? Thankfully, this decision isn’t necessarily for the rest of your life. But I would suggest reading The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti FEldhahn if you have time as you make this decision. It may be helpful. Focus on what do you truly believe God desires you to do? What would most honor Him? I don’t think either decision is necessarily “wrong” but I do think God can give you wisdom as you seek Him. It may take a bit of time and prayer. It would be awesome if you could take a day or two off and just really focus on prayer, maybe even fasting, over this issue. And have some strong prayer warriors pray with you.

      2. I thought the same thing about Greg when I first started this journey. He wasn’t hearing God clearly at the time – but he told me as God changed me, and I stopped controlling and disrespecting him, he began to hear God more and more clearly. I hope you will check out the posts I have written on these issues:

      tithing

      I wish my husband would pray with me

      – search “lead” and “leader” and check out those posts about how to encourage your husband to lead and Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

      a. You have shared that you want to tithe, now it is on his shoulders to handle it or bring it up.

      b. My husband just started doing devotions with our kids this year – 7 years into my journey. Give him some time. How about you pray with them privately and do devotions privately – that is what I chose to do, at least. You can pray about this. But you have asked him about it – that is great. If he wants to do it, he will.

      Check out

      “What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?”
      Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice

      Much love to you!!! I’m praying for balance and rest for you and for God’s wisdom, my precious sister!

      1. Thank you so much for sharing and for the links to relevant posts! It is so nice that you take the time to respond to comments. I feel like we have a lot in common, too 🙂 Your blog has been such a blessing to me. Reading it gives me a lot of mental peace (something which I rarely have as I tend to worry, worry, worry).

        Wow, your job was stressful! I had to give an answer yesterday and took the 20 hour/week position. You are right , I can always leave if it doesn’t work. I have a few days off scheduled soon and I will spend that time fasting (never tried it before!) and praying.

        Regarding tithing, it feels freeing to know that my responsibility is to state my desire and then leave it up to him after that. I feel so guilty for all the things I am not doing for God (like tithing) but it sounds like your thought is it is more important for me to respect my husband and not push further than it is for me to push the subject further and end up giving to God without my husband’s full commitment.

        Thank you again!

        1. Melissa L,

          You are most welcome. Yes, we are cut from the same cloth, I think! 🙂 I’m so glad that you are beginning to experience more of God’s peace. Time to kick all that worry totally out of your head and learn to trust in God and understand what things are your responsibilities, what belong to others, and what belong to God so that you don’t try to carry weight that is not yours to carry. That will make you very anxious and sick!

          Congratulations on your new position! That sounds like a step in the direction of sanity and greater peace and purpose in your life. 🙂

          God doesn’t need our money. All we have is supposed to be His. Yes, it would be AWESOME to tithe. And really, I think it would be even better to give way more than that. I know of one man who began by tithing, and God blessed him financially, and he decided to give a greater and greater percentage until he was keeping 10% and giving 90% away to the Kingdom’s work!!!

          But – God desires Christians who are cheerful givers, who voluntarily give with joy – not out of duty or drudgery – or because a wife nagged them into it. God can change your husband’s heart. You have shared your desire. Now let’s see what God will do. Your husband will answer for his decision whether to tithe or not – he is the head of the home. You can share with God that you are totally willing to do this and that you want to be a godly steward of all that you have – time, money, stuff, priorities, and everything! It is ALL His! How does He want you to be a godly steward as you follow Him through your husband’s leadership? That would be my prayer. And you can pray for God to change your husband’s heart and make a way for you to be able to give money in a way that is a blessing to God and to the kingdom by giving with your husband’s blessing and his cooperation and leadership.

          Much love!

  8. April, you saw on Facebook that I’ve been going through a trial this week. I feel like I’ve grown so much closer to Christ, I hit little tests and I am able to respond in the Spirit with grace and peace…and then a larger test hits, or comes at a time when I am hormonal or tired, and I FAIL.

    I have to find a way to not allow my husband’s angry words and disappointment in me to wreak so much havoc on my responses. I desperately want God’s wisdom and the power of His Spirit to continually fill me! Each day I pray and I am in His Word and I seek Him, yet I continue to fail. Satan has no power over Him, but he does have power over me, and I must be doing something wrong.

    I am asking God to reveal any hidden sins to me. I’m asking forgiveness for the ones I am aware of, when I do harbor resentment, when I have behaved selfishly, when I’ve made idols out of things. I receive His forgiveness, I am grateful for it, and I want to walk in His Spirit, but I just keep falling.

    1. Victorious Wife,

      The test you have had this week was pretty big. And scary. And very painful. You are stuck in a “no win” situation. 🙁 It seems to me that what your husband is demanding is quite unreasonable.

      My prayer for you is that you will be close to God, filled up with Him, hearing His voice clearly, walking in obedience and willing to follow Him whatever the outcome may be. I pray for His wisdom, peace, power, direction, perspective, and joy for you, my precious sister.

      Perhaps your husband will cool down in a few days? But if he does what he has threatened to do – we will pray for God’s will and His purposes to be accomplished and for His wisdom about how you can best respond in a way that honors Christ and all of the responsibilities you have.

      Praying for you!!!!!

      Much love!

  9. And God will not only work things out for our ultimate good, but our current good! In the midst of our deepest pain we can be assured as believers that He will never leave us. He sustains our salvation. He is proving that our faith is the saving kind as we don’t turn away when the battle is raging full throttle! He is calling us to lean into Him, which too, is our current good. Such assurance when we long to have Him above all else here on earth!

    I frequently have to remind myself when heartbreaks come that these are all temporary, no matter what my suffering is. I have a tendency to think it will always feel this way. But this life excelerates the older I get and I find it good to remember what it will feel like in that first moment I am in the presense of God. Oh! It will have been worth it all! And He will wipe away my tears. Pain is not eternal. Joy is eternal. May we not waste a moment of our pain but offer it up to Christ where we find our soul’s comfort.

  10. Haleluyah for this post. As usual, this is just what I need. I’ve hurt many husband so deeply over the years with my insolence that he has gone from the sweetest, most patient man to an easily set off fussser. Now that I’m trying to change, he’s allout of patience, which is very discouraging. I just need some encouragement.

    1. Patrice,

      I’m so sorry to hear about the pain you are both in right now. How long have you been working on changing at this point? Would you like to talk a bit about his responses and how you may be able to react?

      This is a pretty normal phase for most of us, unfortunately. Actually, I have a few posts here that may be helpful.

      “I’m Trying to Respect and Submit but My Husband Is Being More Unloving Than Ever – What Is Going On?”

      “Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive As I Try to Change?”

      23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

      Lord,
      We lift up Patrice and her husband to You. I pray that Your Spirit will empower her to allow You to transform her to be the woman You call her to be. Refine her motives. Cleanse her soul. Renew her mind by the power of Your Word and Your Spirit. Let her bring joy to you and blessing to her husband – no matter how he responds. He is deeply wounded. Help her to know how to bless and pray for him. We pray for him to be able to get to a place where he can hear you and where Your Spirit can heal him. We praise and thank You for all You are about to do in this family.

      In the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      1. It’s been about a year, but my disrespect lasted 7 years 🙁 He is Very short with me and will fuss for hours if I do something wrong. I understand where he’s coming from but it is very difficult to endure that almost daily.

        1. Patrice,

          Wow. For hours? That sounds awful!

          What kind of spiritual support do you both have? Any godly mentors?

          How are you doing spiritually in your walk with Christ?

          Would you be able to share what kinds of things you do that triggers him and some of the things he says? How do you respond?

          What is his relationship with Christ?

          Also, please check out http://www.leslievernick.com for help with emotionally abusive relationships.

          Much love to you and the biggest hug!

          1. It’s usually my facial expressions, tone, and questioning his instructions instead of following them- I know I’m in the wrong but that doesn’t make it easy to deal with the consequences. He tells me that he doesn’t deserve it and that he shouldn’t have to tell me the same things over and over again. That he has shown me mercy and kindness and I have always taken it for granted. How in this time I have gotten two degrees but still don’t do the basic things he asks of me. My husband has a very straight an intimate spiritual walk. He seeks our Father on EVERYTHING, even what to buy at the store. I’m trying to get on his level, but I have harbored a rebellious spirit, which I rebuke right now! Honestly, I was the emotionally abusive one for years, now I’m having to deal with the consequences.

          2. Patrice,

            So is he trying to teach you for hours, or is he yelling and calling you names for hours? I just want to be sure I understand exactly what is going on.

            What kinds of things is he having to tell you over and over?

            How is your walk with Christ going?

            What do you want in your relationship with Jesus?

            What do you want in your marriage?

            How many times per week is this happening, would you say?

            Do you feel that you can ask legitimate questions respectfully and share your perspective, concerns, needs, feelings, and ideas when it is appropriate?

            Much love!

  11. I am separated from my husband of 16 years. He talks out of both sides of his mouth first wanting counseling, then saying theres no future. I have endured many years of emotional, verbal and mental abuse and mind games. Tomorrow, we were supposed to meet with the counselor for the first time to lay out the “ground rules”…After a horrible lonely weekend, I called it off. I am not ready to sit across the room from someone who apparently hates me and re-hash all the wrongs that he keeps track of on my part, most of which are totally blown out of proportion. Please pray for me. I am a Christian, he is not. I continuously pray that God will speak to his heart and things will change. Sometimes I just don’t know which way to turn. Thank you.

    1. Deborah, I’m so sorry. I just wanted to reach out and let you know you are not alone. I think you probably did the right thing with deciding not to go to counseling with him. I hope you will consider counseling for yourself, though, for healing and support.

      As April suggests a lot in these kinds of situations, leslievernick.com would be a great place to go to read. I really like her book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. I pray God will lead you and guide you as you begin to read about the dynamics of your marriage and steps you can take to start disrupting the cycle that keeps it all going.

      I pray that through this trial, you will come to a place where you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your Father loves you unfailingly, that He is with and for you. I pray that you will find your security and worth in Christ alone. I pray that as you gain that knowledge of who you are in Christ, you will operate in the power of His Spirit – Christ in you. Your actions will begin to line up more with who Christ is in you rather than reactions from the pain of your situation. God will use this for good in your life!!!! I pray He will give you hope today and a word specifically to you to get you up on your feet, ready to take the next step of faith. God has a good plan for all of this in your life The enemy will shout to you He doesn’t. Believe God, believe His promises for you, believe and rest in His love for you today. Know that you are infinitely precious to God and that He is hurting and wants to set you free.

      Will pray for you today.

    2. Deborah,

      Yes, http://www.leslievernick.com may be a very helpful site.

      I’m so very sorry for your pain. Sin hurts everyone – the one who sins, God, the others who are sinned against. 🙁 SO HEARTBREAKING!

      I do pray you will seek trusted, wise, godly counsel. And I pray you will seek Christ wholeheartedly and experience all of the healing, wholeness, contentment, joy, and spiritual treasures that await you in Him. I pray God will draw your husband to Himself for His glory. And I pray for God’s wisdom for you to be able to be the woman He calls you to be no matter what your husband does or does not do. I pray you will hear God’s voice clearly and walk in the very center of His will.

      If you need some encouragement in your walk with Christ, please let me know!

      Much love!

      CIC,
      Thank you so much for reaching out to our dear sister!

  12. April,
    Hi : )
    More of the same has been going on. In my frustration & pain I went back to some disrespect. (Arguing, lecturing, trying to convict him, not watching my tongue)
    Last Monday I was upset & wanted to talk about our living situation, etc. My husband said he was tired from work & from yard work & didn’t want to talk about it.
    But he never wants to discuss it so I used that as rationale to keep talking about it.
    There was no yelling, name calling or anything ugly. He said he is tired of me bringing it up. He said he would not be over that night & was hanging up.
    Since then he won’t call me on the phone & refuses to see me. He keeps texting “I can’t. I’m sorry” when I ask him to come over. He does send 1-3 short texts a day.
    I was having a hard time with him only being here part time, but now my everyday calls after work & having my husband next to me in bed 5-7 days a week have ended.
    So unexpected & I don’t have any idea what is going on. I have just tried to leave loving messages with no anger or finger pointing but I have said that I’m hurting & confused about what is going on.
    Is quite a blow so this particular post is & will be helpful.
    Thanks April for being open to God to minister to all of us.
    Gods blessings, grace, peace & love to you & your family & to all of us. : )

  13. All,

    For those who have my book – if you haven’t read the Appendix – there are several stories of God working miracles in people’s marriages in tough situations – they may be an encouragement. These stories involve a believing wife with an unbelieving husband, generally.

  14. From a wife on my Peaceful Wife Blog FB page today who has allowed me to share her comment on this post:

    It may be helpful for other wives in this position to read up on the use of the phrase “hard-hearted” in the Bible. It is specifically used to indicate a person that doesn’t pay attention, doesn’t put knowledge into practice, doesn’t get it, doesn’t remember. I have come to understand that if my spouse has a hard heart, when I try to pull his actions apart and try to get him to change his insensitive or unwise or unfair behaviors, all I’m accomplishing is providing him with a cheat sheet called “How to get along with me while maintaining your spiritually hardened heart”. I’m actually enabling him to keep on going as he is. A delicate balance of not pretending to like the behaviors, while not treating the behaviors as the illness– (they are only a symptom), can eventually help to point a spouse to GOD. And that’s my true goal.

    You can think of this dynamic as treating someone with a heart defect who needs heart surgery. The surgery will repair the entire problem. Can you imagine deciding to spend all your time and effort and resources on giving them oxygen, meds, rest, constant doctor visits, etc etc for a lifetime rather than have the surgery that could solve the entire problem? Yet that’s what we are doing when we fix our eyes on the daily annoyances that spring from a spouse whose heart is hard. I encourage everyone in this position to push deeper and go for the only permanent cure.

    1. I like this comment, but I’m left wondering what she really means here….and I don’t have a facebook account, so I can’t reply to her there or ask her. Could you, April, clarify what she means – maybe my brain is just on overload right now – or could you ask her to expound on what she means by her last sentence?

      Thank you.

      1. CIC,

        I think she is talking about that our spouse finding Christ is the most important thing. Addressing sin with an unbeliever can be necessary – but ultimately, their greatest need is Christ and there is no other cure. 🙂

  15. Our lives will not always be calm and peaceful. When Jesus told his disciples to join Him in the boat to cross to the other side, they had no idea that they’d be plunged into the biggest storm they had ever known. Sometimes the Lord is going to purposefully place us in a difficult situation. We simply need to trust God’s integrity during it. In the end, He will calm the storm. He’s got it all under control.
    (Luke 8:23-25)

  16. April, thanks so much for this post !!

    I read it yesterday in a very difficult moment. And I wanted to know that I received your post as a love, which is truly a God’s love for His people.

    I also listened to Jason Meyer’s “The Gift of Suffering: The Purpose and Pleasure of God in Persecution” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP4kvsrAj2g. This sermon helped me understand my suffering a lot; and it helped me to see that I didn’t deserve a better treatment than Jesus.

    Today, I feel much better, thanks to God. I’m so grateful that He cares about us and doesn’t allow us to go our way.

    My desire is to do good works and to obey Him. I know that this is the way to show honor to God. It may seem so obvious, but is just so difficult to obey when your heart is not in the right place. And it is really All His grace !

    Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    I know that that there will be difficult days in front of me. My point here is to show that God is good when we desire to obey Him and serve Him with pure hearts.

    Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

    To God be the Glory !!

    1. Ev,

      Yes! This post is all about God’s love for us. 🙂 I’m so glad you were able to receive it that way. Thank you for sharing this sermon. David Platt has some sermons about suffering that may be a blessing, as well.

      The Cross and Suffering

      The Gospel, God’s Sufficiency, and Suffering

      I love your heart to want to obey. It is impossible to obey when our hearts are not in the right place. Because if our hearts are not in the right place, we are grieving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our fuel and power source. If we don’t have His power, we can’t walk in obedience. It is all His power living and streaming through us as we trust Him, yield to Him, seek Him, and allow Him to fill us. He does the work in and through us. On our own, we can do nothing. Just like that branch Jesus talked about that was cut off from the vine can do nothing. But if we abide in Him – that is the KEY! Then His power will flow through us and His power in us will produce much fruit.

      I realize you are in a very dark valley right now – and that things are probably not going to be tied up in a nice neat bow in a few days. This is going to be a long haul. But how I praise God for what He is doing in you!!!! And for your sacrifice of praise in the midst of the storm.

      Praying with you and praising and thanking God with you for all He is about to do!

      Much love!
      April

  17. For those who are discouraged, please read this precious passage out loud, maybe several times slowly – and just let the Spirit open your eyes and show you what God has done for you!

    Much love!

    His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

    For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

    Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

    1. Thank you, April !

      It’s like going to school every day with our teacher and Lord Jesus ! I iike this picture !

      … I have just erased my first comment because I felt that it was not right… I opened the Bible and read this :

      Luke 6 : 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[a] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

      I thank the Lord ! He really wants to teach me what a real obedience means. When He says that I have to do this or do that I have to obey even if it is painful.
      I will try to observe few commandments every day and pray God to change me.

        1. Oh, I feel such a joy, April !

          Satan doesn’t want we believe every word of God. So he tempt us and makes us believe that obeying God in everything is a chore ! And that the love of your husband is what you need for you to live. Now, how amazing is that ! But it’s only God who can open our eyes.

          This verse popped up to me today :

          Matthew 4 : 4 …“It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

          Thank you Jesus.

          1. Love this, Ev. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your joy!

            There is no greater joy for me than to see my brothers and sisters filled to overflowing with the Spirit, love, joy, peace, and hope of Christ!

  18. All,

    Here is another interesting thought…

    We learn in marriage not to assume the worst about our spouses. Most spouses have good-will toward the other. It is easy to assume that my husband has evil motives if I don’t understand what he is doing or he is not doing things the way I would do them or I don’t feel loved because he is not showing love in the way I prefer. But we learn that having a healthy marriage involves not assuming evil motives of our spouses automatically. (Of course there are some situations that may be exceptions for those who don’t know Christ or are in the middle of major unrepentant sin, mental illness, spiritual bondage, or infidelity.)

    But what about God? Don’t we tend to assume He has the worst motives toward us when we don’t like what is happening in our lives?

    What if we began to assume the best about God. What if we began to believe His Word even in the storms? We can’t see His plan in the moment – it is always revealed much later. But what blessed peace we could experience if we always assumed the best about God’s intentions and motives toward us!

  19. This is by far the single most touching post I have read on your blog in the last year. And after you read what I am about to share you will see that is saying a LOT. So many things you said here are like personal touches of my life in the last year. 2015 was the worst year of my entire life.

    I started reading your blog April 13, 2015. I know the exact date because that was the day my husband and I had a major blowout fight to end all fights. We concluded the conversation with the words…I’m done.

    But God.

    As we said the words to each other our 24 years together seemed to race before our eyes. There was still something there beneath all the pain. When we got up the next morning we both were drained and sad. We got into another spat and that lead to a two-day long conversation. We talked about everything. Anything. It all came bubbling out. And by the end we said the words…I’m not done…I want to fix this.

    I looked for help online and found your website.

    – Let me say the first thing I did not understand was how important sex was to men. That it was how some feel loved, which definitely was my husband. I was always turning him down. He has a high drive and I was a once a month-er. I even told him if I never had sex again it wouldn’t matter to me. (I deeply regretted that comment when I learned differently and apologized to him.) I just didn’t know it was different for men. Sadly, I viewed it as another thing on my to-do list. And it wasn’t that the sex was bad. Quite the opposite. I was just always too busy and tired.

    – The next thing I learned was what a shrew I had been to my husband. I didn’t realize the way I spoke to him was disrespecting him. It was how the women I grew up with spoke to men. I only saw his anger problems and blamed everything on him. (he gets verbally angry…he has NEVER been physical…I have and still am completely safe with him…he just learned verbal abuse in his family and that was communication to him… much like shrew was a language to me)

    I started reading everything I could on your site and implementing it. I asked him to start praying at night with me…something we had never done together before. I made more effort to keep time aside for him and our sex life too. He started to notice the differences in me, he relaxed and I was feeling better too. About six weeks later I decided to apologize to him for my past behavior. It was cathartic. And then he looked in my eyes and said God is prompting me to also apologize and come clean too. Then he admitted to having an online emotional affair from Jan to May. He said it was over and that he had ended it because we were getting to a better place.

    To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I laid in my bed and sobbed. After about an hour I heard God so clearly say, “Go forgive him. You two have had enough pain it is time for healing.” It was the hardest thing to do but I did.

    We had a long talk and decided to work more on our marriage and for the next several months, I thought we were. I know I was. It seemed he was. He was better at being calm and we talked more things out. We still had arguments but no blowouts which were the regular before. Then one night in October I just felt something was off. I can’t explain it but I knew I needed to check our phone records. I firmly believe what I found was God’s prompting to fix the mess of our marriage once and for all. Because what I found was from July to October two phone numbers had a ton of calls to them. Numbers I didn’t know in a town about two hours away. When I confronted him I found out he was having emotional affairs with two different new women online. He was viewing porn with one of the women and his relationship with her was sexting. She lived in another country. The other woman…sigh….this still hurts to say….the other woman lived two hours away and he told me he fell in love with her and was going to tell me the next day he was leaving me for her. Then he said I will always love you but I am not IN love with you anymore. (for clarity he never met any of these women in person…it was all online/phone…not that it made it hurt any less)

    I was blindsided. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I thought we were working things out. He prayed nightly with me! How could a praying man do this to his wife?! His level of deception was so deep. I didn’t know who this man was. The man I knew would never…I…it…huge sigh…

    I cried and screamed for a good few hours at him. I have never felt that kind of hurt in my life.

    But God.

    Remember how I said I felt the feeling I had to look up the phone records was God’s prompting to fix the mess we called a marriage once and for all? Well, I can say without a doubt it WAS indeed God’s hand of intervention. April, I think when I sought out your site in April (I don’t think that is an ironic coincidence either!) that God was preparing me then for what He knew I was going to have to endure in the months ahead. By reading your site I started to pray, really pray for my marriage and my husband. Remember my husband and I were praying nightly together, too. How you pray to God while cheating I still don’t understand but that is between him and God. I do think though God used it as a chance to be in my husband’s heart. It was an opening. And my prayers gave God more room to work as well.

    The next part I am about to explain no one around me understands. I am hoping as I share it here that in this atmosphere it will be understood. Less than 48 hours after I was leveled by my husband…God settled on me in a way I could never begin to put into words. He gave me complete peace. He healed all that pain in an instant. It was gone. What I was left with was this deep, unabiding love that God spoke to me was how He felt for my husband. I still can’t say that without crying. God let me feel, truly feel, the love He feels for my husband. His deeply wounded and abused child. He then spoke to me and said, “I want you to have the same compassion for him that I do. He is hurting from the lifetime of abuse inflicted on him by his family. He needs to come back to me and I am going to use you to (help him) do that. I want you to go to him and forgive him.”

    Now remember I had been asked to do this back in May too when I learned of the first affair. I remembered how confused I was to be asked to do that but I saw God work through it then so I chose to trust God again. I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when I said, “I don’t like what you did and you hurt me beyond comprehension but I forgive you. God has given me a deep compassion for you and I see the pain in you differently now. I still love you. I see the man God knows you can be and I think your leaving would be a huge mistake. I think God has so much better for us. But if you don’t love me anymore that is your choice but God loves me and I him so I will be okay.”

    His eyes got as big as saucers and his hard shell exterior melted into sobs. I’ve never seen my husband cry like that. He started to say, “Dear God what have I done?! What have I done to this woman I love so much?! What happened to me?!” over and over. It was like a literal blindfold was taken off of him and he saw me again. Then he saw his sin. He was so distraught. I kid you not when I say I think I heard some demons screaming for cover as the Holy Spirit descended on us.

    Fortunately, our pastor was coming over within the hour to pray and talk with us. When he walked in the door he said to my husband, “Well brother, long time no see…it is good to see YOU again.” Our pastor and my husband are walking partners. And the day I felt the prompting to look for the phone records was the day my husband admitted to our pastor on their walk that he didn’t love me anymore and that two days later he was going to tell me that and leave me. He didn’t tell our pastor about the affairs on the walk though. But God told our pastor. Our pastor started praying after their walk fervently for our marriage. He stormed the gates of heaven on our behalf and I think that is why I felt the urging to look for the records and that was how it all came tumbling down.

    PRAYER CHANGED EVERYTHING.

    So on the day the enemy had planned for my husband to leave and to destroy our marriage for good…ended up being our day of redemption. PRAISE BE TO GOD! It was instead the day I forgave him and the day my husband was freed from demonic oppression. If you ask my husband now he will tell you, he felt like he was literally blinded. He still can’t fathom how it got so bad. How he did what he did. But that is the enemy’s game…little here, little there until you are so deep in the pit you don’t see the light of day anymore and you somehow don’t think you need to ever again.

    So how has it been since then?

    My husband and I have spent the last six months going through some DEEP healing. We have done counseling and continue each day to understand our “new” marriage, the new ways of coping with life and ourselves as individuals. We had to learn how to talk to each other, be real and love again. We went through a honeymoon period where we couldn’t keep our hands off each other and wanted to be with each other every moment we could. Then we were tested with a lengthy time of not being able to have sex (read below) and we had to level up again in our emotional relationship and friendship.

    We still have times when we have to crush the enemy all over again and realize he is still trying to take us down. We have gotten better though at seeing it now and we act on crushing him together. We still pray nightly together and we see how He continues to work through those prayers. We both know we will always have this pain in our past but it does not define our present. It is part of our story that we use to now help others. I often get asked if I really was delivered of the pain that fast. Yes, I truly was. God did a miracle for me. Do I feel sadness that we had to go through this? Yes, I sure do. Do the things I wish I didn’t know pop in my head at times? Yes, they do. So no it is not all sunshine and rainbows but without the dark clouds and storms we wouldn’t appreciate the sun (Son) as much now would we? 😉 I choose to remember that God has a plan for us. And whatever that plan is required me to trust God quickly. He had a reason for needing us to work through this all so fast. Whatever that reason is only God knows but I sure am not going to get in the way of whatever it is by holding on to past hurts. It serves me no good in my present day or my future.

    What really makes the biggest difference, and always will, is handing the reins over to God. Doing things His way and not ours. Dig deep into your relationship with God and let nothing and no one interfere with that. Even your spouse. If I had accepted my husband saying he didn’t love me, if I had let the enemy keep whispering to me, if I had not read April’s words and taken them to heart, if I had not allowed God to change ME first…NONE of this would have happened the way it did. I am 100% sure of that. I would be divorced right now. Even if that worst case scenario had happened I still would have been okay though because I have my God and I need nothing else. *tears of joy* I didn’t know that before April 13, 2015. I was raised with God from birth but I never truly knew Him until this last year.

    And I needed Him this last year like I never have before. While I was going through all this I had many other horrific life events going on as well. Illness in my body, deaths of parents, the beginning of our empty nest, and we ended the year with my husband recovering from a very serious car accident.

    April, when you used the analogy of marriage being like a car accident down a deep ravine…that is what hit my heart the most.

    Six weeks after the betrayal and reconciliation, my husband’s car hydroplaned on a wet road, spun into a pole and went down the ravine toward the river. If he hadn’t hit the pole the fire chief said he would have gone IN the river. Our 18-year-old son watched the whole accident happen as he was in the car behind my husband. It took 10 firemen to secure the car as it hung on the ravine to keep from sliding down the wet, muddy ground into the river. It was downpouring and there was a power line that he took down went he hit the pole. The first man on the scene and my son both stepped on this line without knowing it was there as they tried to get to my husband before first responders got there. Thank God the line was not live. It took them almost two hours to extricate my husband from the car.

    The passenger side door was resting next to his right side because it was the side that hit the pole. The passenger seat was demolished. The passenger seat I would have been sitting in if not for a stomachache that kept me from going with that night. They had to use the jaws of life to remove the roof and take him out that way. With both lungs collapsed, eight broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder. Miraculously, that was all of his injuries. He didn’t hit his head, he had no cuts or bleeding, no broken limbs… unreal considering what the car looked like. When you looked at him he looked normal. He was in ICU for three days and I never left his side. I spent the next four weeks nursing him back to health at home and then he slowly returned to work. That time together while he healed was precious. So many conversations and so much love shared. My husband has now made a full recovery.

    Just like our marriage.

    We were down that ravine. Deep down there with the rain pouring on us and the mud keeping our marriage “car” stuck. We were refusing to see how the other was hurt because we were so focused on ourselves at the time. And we both had very little focus on what God wanted for us despite calling ourselves Christians. I could have wallowed in the pain my husband caused me but the truth is I hurt him too. I know what I did to him was not the betrayal of affairs but the way God worded it to me was like this…

    “His sin is no worse than yours. Sin is sin. You both have been deeply hurt by life and by each other. Enough is enough. It is time for you both to heal and get onto the plans I have for you.” It took the true First Responder to deliver us out of it but we had to reach up for His hand first before He could get a good grip and pull us out of the mud.

    We realize that on that dark, rainy night things could have gone so much differently. If I had been with, if he had gone in the river, if our son had stepped on a live wire…so much could have changed. Before my husband left the house that night I had a sinking feeling something wasn’t right. (Being an intercessor I get these feelings often.) I went to God in prayer and asked him to watch over my boys and give them safe travel… to send his angels of protection with them… I have no doubt those very angels are why my husband and son sit with me still today. It is the power of prayer that changes lives.

    I had someone say to me, “Well if God really answered your prayers then He would have kept your husband from getting in the accident at all.” Oh, this reaction always makes me so sad. It is the refusal to see that life can’t be all good. It is from hurt souls who think following God means everything will be good and if it’s not then God failed. Oh sweet sister or brother we live in a fallen world. Bad stuff happens unfortunately. God is the one that helps us endure those things though! And He uses them for good! So much good came from the accident.

    Of course I wish it hadn’t happened!! But that accident pushed us closer together as a family. It healed a broken relationship that I can’t mention here. It gave ME a renewed zest for life because nothing makes you appreciate life more than seeing a mangled car in a junkyard that could have been where you took your last breath. Honestly, there are too many things to mention. That is not even mentioning the ways it helped others that we don’t know about. The same goes for the affairs. Much good came from that mess coming to light. I have a strong, healthy and happy marriage now. We have a very active sex life and we both speak respectfully to each other now. We are able to help others now who are going through what we did. GOOD came from it all…because of God.

    If I can encourage anyone else who is going through the trenches (so appropriate you named it that, April, because it is exactly the word I always use) with something it would be this… pray, trust God and don’t ever be afraid to do what God asks of you… even the REALLY hard, unimaginable things… pray through them if it is only way you can get through it. If He is asking it of you then there is a good reason you need to do it. And remember that thing you are praying for may only happen if you do that hard thing He is asking first.

    Sometimes we truly hold the answer to our prayers in our own hands and until we act we won’t see it happen. If I had argued with God about how “entitled” I am to my pain or refused to see my husband with God’s eyes of compassion… I WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT. I would still be wallowing in that trench full of bitterness, pain, and misery. And I would have denied myself, my husband, our children, our pastor, family, and anyone who hears our story from seeing God’s amazing power at work! If I had not forgiven, as brutally hard as that was, I wouldn’t be able to share this amazing testimony today and maybe touch more lives.

    God is always waiting it the wings to get to work. He isn’t the problem. We are. Our life is completely different now and IT ALL STARTED WITH ONE PERSON… ME. I laid down my idols and dreams… and found God had bigger, better, and more amazing things for me than I ever could’ve imagined. But none of it could happen until I gave him the reins and did as He asked. Even when it made no sense whatsoever to me. And for the record I’m working through another trench currently. It is a deeply painful one. It likely won’t go the way I am praying and I may have to be okay with that. Here is where past trenches can help you… you know you will survive… you know there are better days ahead….and you know where to look for help. UP.

    You are all in my prayers. May God fill you with peace, understanding and love.

    And April, girl, I can’t wait to hug on you one day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a mentor to me. You truly changed my life. Words can never express what you, my sweet sister, mean to me.

    **I am sorry this is so long. It is just a very long story. 🙂

    1. Quinn,

      WOW!

      I can’t hardly see to type for all the tears of amazement over the pain y’all have experienced, but then what God has done in your life!!!! WHAT JOY to get to hear your story! And how crazy that you have literally experienced the car wreck down in the deep ravine. This all just blows my mind and makes me just have to PRAISE AND THANK GOD!!! HE IS SO GOOD!

      My sister!!!!!! THANK YOU for sharing your story! I am totally overwhelmed with God’s goodness and the work He has done in your heart, your husband’s heart, your marriage, and in your family!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Your faith is the faith of one who has been through the fire and has been severely tested and has been purified and refined – it is SO BEAUTIFUL AND HONORING TO CHRIST!

      I pray for God’s continued glory and for His strength for you both, that your faith might increase, that you might walk in obedience and in the power of God’s Spirit, and that God might use this new mess to bring incredible beauty and honor to Himself and blessing to you and your family, my sweet sister.

      What an honor that God has allowed me to get to participate in the way He has poured into your life. I feel like the most blessed woman on the planet that God allows me to see miracles like this! WOW!!!!!!

      I can’t wait to hug you, too!!!! And to hear all about every detail of what God has done and how He has used your story to touch many others.

      You know I have to ask you – would you consider praying about whether God might desire me to share your story with our sisters here? What an incredible blessing to get to hear all that you have shared.

      Much love to you!!!!!!

      April

      1. I’m not even sure how to begin to reply to all of these truly beautiful comments. I sat in tears reading them as well. God is amazing. Even with all I’ve experienced in life, and it has been a rough one, I never cease to be amazed by God. He always knocks my socks off and dazzles me. I anxiously await seeing what He has in store for me, for us, next.

        I don’t typically comment on blogs but last night it was a burning desire in my heart that I needed to share our story. Now I see why. I am deeply humbled that God touched so many people through those words. And yes, please share the story with my full approval. If it helps more people then God will be glorified! Praise be!

        Yes, I indeed have been put through the refining fire, so very many times. This was only one story of one fire. My life is one that when I share it people don’t believe me that one person could experience so much. It has been amazingly difficult and I take great strength from the book of Job. I wish I could say I never decided to walk away from God but I did once, after a miscarriage, I shook my hands at God in anger and refused to acknowledge Him for about two months. And even though I was ready to claim atheism…He NEVER left my side. He pursued me and gave me so many signs He was there waiting for me to turn back to Him. He knew I was in deep pain and I didn’t mean what I was saying. When I went through that fire I came out with a strength in my faith that I have never let go of no matter what gets thrown at me now. I will NOT give up my Lord, my Savior, my Reedemer or MY faith…no one and nothing can take that from me….it is MINE.

        Thank you for your prayers. I do appreciate them so very much. I will be okay. I will walk through this current trench/fire/mess and come out the other side too. And there will be another fire after that one. It is the human experience. And it was what I referred to before. It makes me sad when people blame it on God. It is this fallen world to blame. So when we dismiss God, the one who saves us from it, we guarantee nothing will change. That breaks my heart to watch. Yes, my life has, pardon my french, sucked in many ways. BUT GOD. Even the worst of it was made better by Him walking with me through it. He covers me through the fires so I don’t walk out with even one cinged hair. Not one! That amazes me! Yet when we fight through on our own strength, we reek of smoke, our throats burn from screaming, our body is weak from clawing at the mud and that only makes the trench deeper. Plus when the next fire approaches, which it assuredly will, you haven’t recovered from the first. It is an awful struggle to try to do anything in our own power. It is a losing battle. I find it better to kneel right there in the mud in prayer, keep my eyes up and always looking at the light above me. And yes, it is painful, to sit in a muddy pit alone, scared and cold but I know it won’t last forever. (plus I’m not really alone…He is there) There is something to learn in that trench/fire time. And whoever the person is that God uses to pull me up from the pit…they needed to learn something too. Our fires are not always about us alone. Sometimes we go through things to help another along their journey. I’ve seen it so many times I know it to be true. The comments here being proof yet again. Let us praise His name!

        After re-reading that I think I need to add…I am by no means “perfect”…my word how I hate that word. Perfection is best left to God. I still sit in that mud sometimes praying, “Lord, why?! Why! Why! Why!” in a most annoying, whiny voice. The thing I have chosen to do differently is I only allow myself five minutes of whining and then I have to get on with His way. Most of the time I hear myself and stop well before five minutes. I do believe I have even heard God laughing under His breath at how ridiculous I sound. lol That usually wakes me up pretty quick too. Much like my dear children, who sometimes earned a laugh during a temper tantrum too, I didn’t let them get away with poor behavior. I loved them through it, taught them better coping mechanisms, and I know God does the same for me.

        I want to add a scripture that helps me and I pray will help others here…my prayers are with you all…my heart is full of the potential God has for each of you…I FEEL IT…believe in yourself…build on your faith…let NO ONE take it from you…trust the Lord…tell doubt, self hatred and all other negatives to get packing…God has SO MUCH better for you. I’m no more important than any of you…He loves us all equally and is ready and waiting to bless your socks off too! Just hand Him the reins.

        Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)

        1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
        and he turned to me and heard my cry.
        2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
        out of the mud and the mire.
        He set my feet on solid ground
        and steadied me as I walked along.
        3 He has given me a new song to sing,
        a hymn of praise to our God.
        Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
        They will put their trust in the Lord.

        Verse 3…He has given me a new song to sing. God speaks to me through music. He soothes my mind and fills my heart. It is an instant way to change the atmosphere in our home too. God inhabits the praises of His people! Sing to your Lord if you don’t know what to pray. He will meet you there.

        Here are a few that have really helped me. I pray they will bless others as well.
        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/plumb/songs/i-cant-do-this-lyrics.aspx

        http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/francescabattistelli/choosetolove.html

        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/sanctus-real/songs/pray-lyrics.aspx

        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/third-day/songs/cry-out-to-jesus-lyrics.aspx

        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/mercyme/songs/word-of-god-speak-

        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/for-king-country/songs/shoulders-lyrics.aspx

        http://www.lyricsbox.com/travis-cottrell-in-christ-alone-lyrics-k9wkz3z.html

        These three are the most meaningful to me…these are songs that still bring me to tears. God is good.
        http://www.klove.com/music/artists/among-the-thirsty/songs/i'd-need-a-savior-lyrics.aspxlyrics.aspxhttp://www.klove.com/music/artists/third-day/songs/i-need-a-miracle-lyrics.aspxhttp://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/thirdday/revelation.html

        Goodness! I promise all my comments won’t be so long. lol This is just a topic that hits my heart so deeply. I hate to see anyone hurting and if I can help in some small way to lessen the pain…I want to do that. I lift you all in prayer and ask God to pour abundant blessings down on you, to lift you out of your pits and let you feel His love surround you.

        April, I look forward to the hugs and long talk my sweet sister. *smile* Much love to you as well!

        1. Quinn,

          I’m so glad you obeyed God’s prompting and shared your story. 🙂 THANK YOU SO MUCH for allowing me to share! I can post it anonymously – and if there are things you or your husband would like me to remove, I can do that, also. I will try to remove any identifying details, if you would like. OOH! I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS!!!!!!!

          Thank you for allowing God to pour these heavenly treasures through you and splatter them all over all of us – drenching us with His goodness as if we were standing under Niagra Falls. 🙂

          Much love, my dear sister!!!!!

          Please let us know how we may pray for you and encourage you. 🙂

          1. April,

            I am glad I obeyed and shared as well. I can’t begin to tell you how talking with everyone here has lifted me the last couple days. To give back. To be an understanding ear. To pray…oh my prayer time has been so sweet. The worship I feel in my heart for the hurting here has drawn me closer to my Lord. I have chronic illnesses and they cause me a lot of insomnia. I don’t sleep longer than 3 hours at a time. But last night I slept for almost 8 hours. *tears* God is good.

            As far as re-posting…when I wrote it I was careful to what I said and how I worded things. I knew I was sharing with the world when I hit publish. It is all right here so I don’t see much difference when it goes to post. 🙂 So I am going to leave the editing between you and God. I believe He will direct you to anything that needs to be adjusted. As far as posting anonymously Quinn is already a pseudonym so it is fine if you use it or not. I trust God will give you the right way it should be shared.

            I absolutely ADORE the beautiful way you described God pouring out heavenly treasures as if we are standing under Niagara Falls! What an awesome visual picture that gave me!! I wish I had that as an actual painting to hang here in my office. LOVE IT!!!

            You may pray for me by asking God to help me with three situations I am struggling with. One I can’t mention here and it is the deeply painful trench I referenced before. The second is my chronic illnesses. The third is I am trying to figure out what is my act two. My youngest is graduating college in June. We will be empty nesters very soon. I am okay with this next stage in life but I don’t know what I am going to do with myself now. I have been a SAHM for 22 years. I homeschooled. My world has been completely centered on my family for so many years I am not sure what to do next. I have some ideas but nothing jumps out as “it”. I so desperately want to figure it out so I can start pursuing it. I feel like I need this. I need some purpose again. Something to get excited about getting up for and accomplishing each day. I’m a very organized person so my house maintains itself. No big projects to accomplish around here. I’d love to do something that makes a bit of money so my husband and I can travel together. It is something we couldn’t do as a one income family. I have to find something I can do from home though because of my chronic illnesses. I can’t seem to figure this out and prayers would mean so much. Thank you for asking and offering!

            Much love and hugs to you too!!!

    2. Wow.

      Very humbling. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      I will pray for your current situation. I once heard a sermon on prayer, and I remember the Pastor saying “remember past victories.” Just as you said here.

      You are in my prayers.

      1. Thank you for your prayers, Becca. They mean so much to me.

        Yes, pulling on past victories is definitely powerful. It is where testimonies come from and God is glorified. Isn’t it amazing how life works? Our stories connect and intertwine us. What helps one of us get through helps all of us in a vast number of ways as God uses it for His good. And ours!

        You are in my prayers as well.

    3. I have to write again.

      Quinn your story has touched me like nothing else I’ve ever read. Your story is used by God today to encourage me in a deep, deep way.

      My own story begins in April 2015 also.
      My own story involves emotional affairs from my wife and still does.
      I understand your pain implicitly.
      I glorify God for your forgiveness with my whole heart.

      I can’t put into words the worship in my heart at the moment. I am praying that God’s Spirit will take that worship and show you just how much your story means to me at the moment. The encouragement it has given me today to look again to God in trust for all that is still to come.

      Romans 8 speaks of being unable to say the words in our heart but the Spirit says them for us. May He speak to you today in thanksgiving for what He has shared through you.

      You really have no idea what it means to me.
      Really. I want to write a million words at the moment but I don’t know what to write.

      Oh Lord you are awesome. Awesome. Praise you.

      Oh wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

      1. HH,
        It brings more tears of joy to my eyes to watch your response to Quinn. God is SO good! And He allows us to walk this journey together as a Body to encourage, bless, exhort, pray for, love, and help each other. Now His goodness pours and overflows from Quinn’s life into all of ours – increasing our faith, wonder, and awe at God – increasing our ability to trust Him in our own trenches. The Body is built up! God’s kingdom reigns more powerfully in each of our hearts. Our passion for Him grows. We long to walk in obedience more ourselves. We see the beauty of holiness and abiding in Christ and obeying God when we don’t understand. We each want to hear His voice more clearly.

        I can see the faith glowing and burning brighter in your heart already – as you catch a glimpse of the powerful ways God can turn a nightmare into a beautiful, powerful, God-glorifying testimony.

        Lord,
        I just praise and thank you and rejoice with ALL my heart tonight and can’t wait to see – with eager anticipation – all that You have in store for everyone here.

        Amen!

      2. HH ~

        **I want to be very careful how I respond here. I take great care in speaking with a fellow brother in Christ. Having gone through what I have I am extra careful when speaking to all men. I do not want to ever cross any lines or appear to be preaching to you. I do pray the words that come to me next would be Holy Spirit inspired, edifying to the Lord and not give either of us any pause to discomfort. I hope that makes sense and is viewed with right lense/heart.

        I am not sure how to even begin responding. I completely understand what you meant about wanting to write a lot but not knowing what to write. I’m not one to being prone to speechlessness either. Clearly, if you made it through my comment you know that too! haha

        Your comments have brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. When I felt the burning need to comment last night God clearly had you specifically in mind. I love to see how He will touch a life so individually that way. What an amazing God we serve!

        I am so sorry to hear that our lives were both following such a dark path at the same time. The pain of affairs is devastating. I think to some degree emotional affairs hurt even more because the person you pledged your life to gave their heart to another. The heart that was vowed to belong only to you.

        My dear brother, I am deeply saddened that it is still going on for you. How that breaks my heart.

        May I ask does she know you know about the affairs? If you don’t want to answer that I understand. I also apologize if this is something that has been discussed in other comment threads. I don’t always have time to read them all. I want to be sure I know how to pray for you. If she is aware, and still continues in that sin, that that needs to be prayed for specifically.

        I’m not sure how to word this but yes the Spirit most assuredly gave me a song of thanksgiving and a burst of joy today. These comments from everyone were simply amazing. There is so much feeling jumping off the screen at me. So many wows and hearts touched. I am left with the undeniable feeling that although there is work to be done yet God has some BIG testimonies He is working on in all your lives. That my words could be a small part of that…it is my turn to say…WOW.

        Ahh brother, yes I do know what it meant to you. I know because six months ago I was in your shoes. I found posts online of others who knew my pain. That helped me soooo much. I read blogs that were other couple’s who went through what we have who found healing, victory, and redemption. Yes, I understand and I am deeply humbled that God used my words to help you so dramatically.

        HH I pray that this is just the beginning of YOUR redemption story. That God would give you clarity to know what His next steps are for you. That He would give you peace in your heart and mind. That He would allow you to see your wife as I saw my husband…thru God’s eyes. That He would also give you the compassion He gave me to forgive. I also pray that He would awaken your wife. That she would see the man who she vowed to love is still standing beside her and loves her. That she would have her blinders taken from her and see her sin before it is too late. I pray healing, redemption and the fire of the Holy Spirit to descend down upon both of you right now in the name of Jesus.

        What the devil meant for destruction is going to be your greatest triumph. Keep your eyes UP brother. And remember God is in control. What God has joined together let no one separate.

        1. Quinn, thank you for your reply.

          I read through your post many times last night. I cried over your husbands softening. I laughed with joy over your pain healing. I read the words “My husband has now made a full recovery. Just like my marriage” and PRAISED Him for His work in your lives and felt hope in God’s work for mine.

          It is our 10 year wedding anniversary tomorrow. But she left me 3 weeks ago with our young children. It is a most difficult fire. Most trying. Lots of pain.

          I have shared some of our issues here. Not all. She knows I know some things. Others are hidden. I initially tried to find out and change things. Now I am leaving to God to reveal what is needed. Waiting is very hard but it is the only place I can be in. I am deeply aware of my own flaws and failures as a husband and am seeking God whole heartedly to help me grow. She does not like spending time with me as it makes her feel guilty (her words). She is pursuing sin yes, but she is also conflicted.

          One of my prayers to God is to create in me His heart for her and other people. I wrote down this prayer 25th April and pleaded with God for His heart in me. To love without hypocrisy and with Christ’s selflessness. Then you posted your experience of the same thing. It was amazing to read of how God did this for you. Amazing. I want Him to do that in me. I know I can’t forgive completely unless I have His strength and enablement.

          I don’t know what my next steps are. I don’t know one day from the next. I have clarity about past actions and can see where living in my own strength destroyed and surrendering to Christ built up. But walking in that is a slow process for me.

          Your prayer is deeply valued Quinn. Very much. HH

          1. Oh, my. She left with the children. I’m so sorry to hear that. And right before your anniversary…that is very painful timing.

            Yes, waiting is so difficult. That is wonderful though that you are using that time to grow yourself and seek the Lord. Great good will come of that time no matter what happens with your marriage. Ultimately, your relationship with God is what matters most.

            That is interesting that you said she doesn’t like spending time with you because it makes her feel guilty and that she is conflicted. My husband said the exact same thing to me. He was spending SO much time on his phone and he felt so distant. I asked him why and he said it was easier than dealing with me. (this was before I learned how I was disrespecting him) That we fought so much he just didn’t want to talk to me at all so it would just avoid the fights that way. He said the fights made him feel guilty for being such a lousy husband that he couldn’t even get his anger in check. (his anger has been a 20+ year problem) He said I love you but I feel so conflicted. I asked him many times before I found out about the first affair what that meant. I even asked him if that meant there was someone else…he denied it. He was so DEEP in his lies by then nothing out of his mouth made sense to him or me. He later told me he was so wracked with pain and self-hatred the only way he knew to deal was to escape. It was the only place he felt “good”. For us, his escape was games on his phone, tv and the affairs. I get the sense your wife is in the same boat. She is so deep in her self-hatred and lies she doesn’t know how to get out of it without feeling even worse about herself. So she continues because it is the easier way in her mind. I don’t know this for fact but it seems her leaving was just another way to escape facing what she has done. She is running hoping it will make things better. The fact that she is conflicted says to me…she still loves you and there is hope. Oh, this sweet soul needs so much help. She needs to know that there is another way. And that if she cries out to Jesus (the Third Day song Cry Out to Jesus is perfect here) that he will meet her and help her. Does she know the Lord?

            The heart you are praying for God will give you. I have no doubt of that. It may be through the highest heat of this fire but it will be yours. I wish I could give you a formula for how to make it happen for you too but honestly, I received mine by pure miracle. I was uncontrollably sobbing over my husband saying to me, I don’t love you anymore, and the Holy Spirit came over me. I felt a righteous anger well up in me and I WENT TO WAR with the enemy. I stood up from my bed and started saying, “NO! NO! NO! YOU CAN’T HAVE MY MARRIAGE, MY HUSBAND OR ME!”. I let the Holy Spirit pray through me in utterances I couldn’t speak and then my miracle came. I felt the darkness leave me and I heard God speak to me to go forgive him. It was singlehandedly the MOST POWERFUL moment I have ever had in my life. I felt God standing right beside me. And it gave me the power to fight like I never had before.

            I truly believe you will get your moment like that too. So much of what you say speaks of the great faith you have and the power God has already given you. You are already in the battle. He has prepared you to handle this. It is already in you. If you don’t see it then dig deep in yourself and find it. IT IS THERE. I feel it when I pray for you. Don’t let fear grip you. Pray for your wife like you never have before. Put your armor on and go to war for her! Men were designed by God to battle in a different way than women. You have a strength she doesn’t have. A strength she needs. Show her that strength. (You mentioned you did things in your own strength before and that it didn’t work. I am referring to God’s strength IN you here.) Let her know you are praying for her. That there is healing to be done but it is worth the fight. Not knowing your situation completely it may be you have already done this. If not, though, then maybe it is just what she needs to hear. Women want to know their man is that white knight that will come to their rescue. Who will fight alongside them and win their heart again. I know you said you are trying to respect her wish to leave so this may not be something you want to do but prayerfully see if it is what God wants you to do. It may be that even small ways you can show her the love of God that get through to her battered heart. Like the text you wanted to send. Little things can sometimes make the biggest impact.

            Please read this website too if you haven’t seen it already. I found so much help, healing, and peace within their story. http://www.intentionallyyours.org/scott-sherry/

            I have you on my War Room wall too. God is working in your lives and hearts. Big things are ahead for you brother! Hang in there and feel God standing beside you!! Stand tall warrior!!!

          2. Oh wow Quinn. This is like reading my story. Yes, you are absolutely correct on all counts and my wife is dealing with things exactly the same way. Exactly the same. TV and movies constantly (all with graphic and high sexual content), on her phone all day and hiding the screen when I come into the room, even sneaking out of bed at night regularly to use her phone in the loungeroom, internet use through the roof, plugged into repulsive sexual music and always denying there is anyone else. Escaping. And I absolutely believe that her leaving is an ecsape, yes.

            Does she know the Lord? I don’t know. She has attended church all her life and breaks bread with us however I haven’t seen any signs of life in her. She may be a believer trapped in sin or she may not know the Lord. I am not willing to make a call on this.

            I don’t know why but it bothers her immensely that I have peace with God. She is always saying “Don’t bible bash me” and “I HATE it that you are peaceful” whenever I mention anything of God or say that God has given me a love for her.

            Your victory and forgiveness is so powerful to me. If I am honest I feel a twinge of fear at the thought of actually finding out what I suspect is true 🙁 I have had SO much pain that it is hard to think of having any more! And yet the signs are all very much there. Especially the phone use.

            I am going to send her the text today. And I told her often before she left that even though I am giving her the space to leave I am doing so because I love her and that I will always love her.

            It is almost morning here, the morning of our anniversary. This is a big day!

            Quinn thank you for your prayers. HH

          3. My word. Yes, so similar. So much deep pain.

            I understand not making a judgment call on her knowing the Lord. I know now how to pray for her, though.

            Maybe she doesn’t like seeing your peace with God because she can’t figure out how to attain it for herself. Her frustration comes out as anger toward you because she doesn’t know how to express her confusion. Maybe. I have a person in my life like this. She expects God to do ALL good for her but she doesn’t want to do any of the work God asks of her. So when her prayers aren’t answered in the way SHE wants…she gets angry at me for having faith…and angrier at God for not fixing everything to her liking. I don’t know if that is the case but it is what comes to mind.

            That song you mentioned IS significant. Those lyrics are powerful and say a lot about where her state of mind might be. Of course, only God can know for sure. We can pray for her, though! We can pray God puts someone in her path that shows her his love. That speaks to her heart and breaks down the walls she has built. She sounds like she has many deep pains and she is so desperately lost she can’t see any way but escape. My heart breaks for both of you.

            I understand your fear. I can’t say it won’t be hard to face but remember fear is not of God. (2 Timothy 1:7) The enemy wants to keep you in the fear. Yes, knowing the truth is so painful but for me it was more painful playing all the imaginative scenarios in my head. When I knew the real truth I was able to act on it. I was able to shine God’s light in the situation. I was able to pray specifically for it. My pastor too.

            I pray that your text is well received. That it will reach a part of her heart that needs healing. That she will see the love in it and accept that love. That it will be a step in the right direction for you both. And I pray that you are able to walk through today confidently with the Lord. Building on that relationship and finding what your heart needs today. Remember, above all else, no matter what she does HE is always where our eyes need to be focused first and foremost.

            Lord, be with HH and his wife. Only you know the whole story here. Only you can shine light into the darkest parts of their marriage and hearts. Only you can bring about the powerful healing that needs to take place here. You word says what you have joined together let no one separate. Well, the enemy is working overtime here to separate a marriage you created and we aren’t going to stand for that. We bind and rebuke in the name of Jesus the enemy’s schemes from HH and his wife. Remove the bonds and blinders the enemy has placed on this precious woman. Bring someone into her life that will show her the love you have for her. Let her feel right now in this very moment a flash of your deep love so undeniable she will have to ask someone about you. That it will start a burning desire in her for you. A thirst so deep it can only be quenched in you. If she is engaging in sin, if she is committing adultery, let her see that it is the wrong way and stop her sin now. Let her see that you are the way out and escaping won’t solve her pains. Let her see the heart of her husband and the love he has for her. Be with your daughter and guide her to you. Ultimately, we want her to be walking with you above all else. Lord, be with HH and help him to cope with the deep, devastating pain that affairs cause. Heal his heart. Gird up his strength in you and give him the tools he needs to get through this battle. Be His rock. Bring someone also along to walk with HH in his daily life. Give them compassion for each other and the ability to see each other’s hearts again. Give them love renewed. And for their children Lord protect their precious hearts. Let them not be harmed in all of this any further. Wrap your loving arms so tightly around them that they feel nothing but your love. Do not let fear grip them or cause them any life long scars. Lord, I hand this family to you in the name of Jesus. Let this family have a victory story that glorifies your name so brightly that it draws people to you and sends ripples into many, many lives. Amen.

          4. I have a friend who has been a great support through my trial and she has said a couple of times to me that God will reveal things slowly as we are ready. She said He did that for her (went through some crazy things in her marriage!) and that if God had revealed everything to her at one time, she would never have been able to stand up under it. God will give us the grace we need for the next step. He will prepare us for the next step. And, thinking too far into the future or trying to figure it out on our own will usually bring fear or despair. If it doesn’t, it could be that God is preparing you for something. If it does bring fear, just don’t go there anymore and put your eyes back on Christ.

            HH, you are fighting the good fight!!! Keep it up, brother!!!

          5. CIC,
            YES! This is so true! God’s wisdom is much higher than our own. And He already knows what needs to happen and will guide us through it – we don’t have to figure it all out. We can just rest in Him and enjoy the journey and the process with Him as He draws us nearer to Himself and continues to work in our own lives.

          6. I just had another thought. There is one Christian song I have heard her listen to this last year. Lauren Daigle – How Can It Be. I think that is significant.

    4. I am feeling the same as HH. Something is happening here with this comment. Already tonight, before I read this, I feel like God was stopping me from laying a boundary I was about to lay down. Like He just wants me to step back and just to mention to my husband that I know he lied to me again…to not force conversation over it, but just to merely say “I know you lied to me, I’ve known for a few days and I hope you can see that I love you, I’m committed to you and I forgive you. I hope you can see that my heart is for you by my actions these last few days.” To just let God take control. We’ve also been married 24 years. I also have an 18 year old son. I feel like God has been preparing me for this time in our marriage for years. This website being a huge part of it. Plus a lot more along the way.

      I have so much more to say, so many things swirling in my brain, but I can’t find words, either. I just want to go to sleep and pray on these things and let God sing over me while I sleep and see what He wants to do tomorrow.

      I so want to honor my Father on this hard journey. I want His will to be my food.

      1. CIC,

        More tears of joy over here from me. 🙂 I trust that God will direct your steps, my dear sister – and that He will create something so stunningly beautiful. I am praying for you and filled with thankfulness for all that God has done in your life, all He is doing right this very moment, and all He will do. 🙂

        WOOHOO!

        1. O.K. You all are going to think I’m off my rocker, but I have been waiting on God to show me what my next step is. Thought about Quinn’s story last night and this morning. I realized that part of the difference is that Quinn’s husband seems sorrowful and repentant when he is confronted with his sin. I have not gotten that from my husband. 🙁 I woke up this morning, knowing that I needed to do something (because he had lied to me again, but I hadn’t brought it up yet…was waiting on what to do), but not knowing what to do.

          Read Proverbs 16 and a Psalm. Proverbs 16 reminded me with a few verses that we can plan, but God orders our steps in the end. I felt peace reading that and just realized that whatever was going to happen would come naturally and I could trust God with it. Still didn’t know what that meant. Later this morning, I realized I wanted to tell him face to face (I had considered emailing him). I felt that if I told him face to face, I would have a clearer indication of his heart.

          All of a sudden, I realized I wanted to do this now. I walked into our room and calmly told him that I knew that he had lied about this thing that had happened the other day. I got what I always get – blame, denial, him trying to make me seem like I am totally crazy….I can say that I was clear-headed, peaceful (yes, shaky as this was going on), gentle with my voice. I told him I was so sorry that things were like this. He got uglier and uglier – even cursed God with the worst curse word. 🙁 And said that my God had done wonders for me (sarcastically). I said gently and firmly “Yes, He has!”

          I asked for a separation. He is going out of town this weekend and I asked him to take that time to consider how we could do this in the best way for our children. I asked him to please consider allowing me to stay in our home as I thought it would be best. (He had indicated a couple of weeks ago that he wouldn’t leave the house). I also said that if he were to get away and be able to think and wanted to really work on our marriage, that when he came back, we could go to our scheduled counseling appointment but that he would have to be willing to let the counselor know that he has been dishonest in our marriage. That that would be a step we could work with to start healing our marriage. He scoffed and said what he always says to me during these kinds of conversations, “You’re unbelievable” with a lot of disdain…..

          So, here we are. I have no idea where to start. I’ve been at stay-at-home mom for 18 years. I haven’t worked for pay all that time.

          Please pray for all of us. Things have not even hit me yet. Maybe God is allowing me to be strong so that I can step forward in boldness to take next steps. I need His provision, guidance, wisdom. How to talk to the kids, what to say….so much.

          Providentially — oh, God is so amazing….I had called the counselor this morning (before I even knew that I was going to have this conversation with my husband this morning) to see if they by chance had an appointment today and they didn’t. They ended up calling me back about 30 minutes after all of this came out and said they had a cancellation. I took it. I see that as a gift from God to me right now.

          Thank you for prayers for us

          1. CIC,

            I want you to do what you believe God is prompting you to do. There are times boundaries need to be set. There are times grace needs to be given. There are times to wait. There are times to speak up and stand firm. I trust that God will show you what He wants you to do. I want to see your husband be repentant and willing to change and willing to get the help he needs from what you have been describing.

            I’m glad that you want to go to counseling with him if he is willing to change.

            What did the counselor say today?

            I pray for God’s clear direction and wisdom for you, my dear sister. And that HE will show you what to do and that He might open your husband’s eyes and bring him to repentance and to Christ. I pray for individually healing for you both, and then the power to rebuild the marriage God’s way.

            Much love!

          2. Thanks, April. The counselor had been talking to us in the two sessions that we went to about healthy communication, starting with confession. However, confession not in just the traditional sense that we think of it, but confession of your thoughts, feelings, things going on in your own heart. He talks about how when we say “You” statements “You did this to me, etc.” that it immediately causes defensiveness and you can’t get anywhere in the conversation. I’ve known for a long time that we have major trouble communicating with each other. So….we talked about how even this morning, even though I was calm and patient, I should have rephrased what I told my husband. Instead of saying “I know you lied”….I should have said “I feel hurt, confused, scared, etc. – whatever I’m feeling – when you did this thing”. So, I asked how to do that now that I’d already done it wrong. He suggested that I email him and just say basically that since our counselor was telling us to work on these things, I realized that I needed to rephrase and start over. The counselor also said that what’s really telling of someone’s personality is when you tell someone your feelings and they show by their actions or words back that they don’t care how you’re feeling and are not willing to enter into a healthy conversation to get through it.

            So, I came home and started an email and realized that I just wanted to do it in person. I simply went in and said that I had approached the conversation wrong and that I should have said “I feel this….etc.” Which I did, again calmly and gently and with no emotion in my voice. Things still didn’t go well. Excuses and blame back on me. Thankfully, that was a short conversation since we had to go somewhere.

            So, he left tonight to go out of state – said goodbye to the kids but not to me. I called him because I needed to make another thing right with him that I’d said and I apologized for that. I told him I loved him. But, from past experience, my apologies are not usually enough and he will probably not talk to me for days. If we have ever reconciled in the past, it’s usually me going to him, pursuing reconciliation and pleading with him to listen to me.

            I can truly say that my conscience is clean at this point. Even with what the counselor said to me, I still feel peace about the way things went this morning and how I handled it – well, except for the one thing that I said to him that I probably shouldn’t have said after he had gotten progressively uglier to me. Which is what I called to apologize to him for. I told him that I only respected him because he was my husband, that I didn’t respect anything else about him. I know that that was a low blow and when I called him, I told him I was sorry for saying that and that I didn’t really feel that way. That there were many things I respected him for. It wasn’t the time to get into the details of those things as he wasn’t ready to talk….plus these are things I have to always keep reminding him of everytime something comes up. If I express hurt over the fact that I feel alone in parenting our children, that turns into how I have told him what an awful father he is. From that point on, he is angry at me and won’t even talk to me until I convince him over and over that I never said that and never came close to thinking that, either.

            I have learned that no matter how I do or don’t approach something with him, no matter what time of day, if I waited until what I thought was the perfect time, etc., that for the most part, if I express a concern about something he has done or not done, things are not going to easy.

            I just don’t know what else to do at this point.

            This is just surreal and like a bad dream. I never thought I would walk down this road. I never thought my family would face this kind of crisis. I knew we would face a crisis – I just never thought it would be of this nature.

            Tonight, I’m asking God to let me know that I haven’t made the biggest mistake of my life. But, in the end, I know He has led me to this place step by step. I have to trust that He is guiding and leading me. I trust that He can get me back on the right path if for some reason I’ve taken the wrong one. I have to trust that He is going to use this for good. I pray it is for my husband’s good as well. For our whole family’s good.

          3. Thank you, HH. I’ll pray for you right now while my mind is clear enough to remember that I should. 🙂 I’m thankful for how God is meeting you and speaking to you right now.

      2. I pray that you received the clarity you needed in speaking to your husband. I know the pain of constant lies. If I can share something with you that helped me it would be this…don’t let HIS lies consume YOU. I tried to reason, fix and figure out why my husband lied. The truth of the matter is I will never be able to do that. I can’t be in his head. Even 24 years with this man will never allow me to completely get him. But God can do that. He can speak to a husband’s heart and mind in ways we wives could never even begin to do. So my sweet sister, let God lead you in what to say or not say. Then say no more. Let God do the hard work on him. And I know letting God have control and holding your tongue is H.A.R.D. work. Remember though ultimately it is immeasurably rewarding.

        I hope He gave you a beautiful song last night and joy for today.

        I’m not sure why but I feel Him saying I should end this with this phrase: You CAN do this.

        I hope that means something to you.

        Love to you sister!

        1. Thanks, Quinn. Yes, I’ve gotten to a point where I just don’t even go places in my mind most times. Not to say that sometimes I don’t slip, but it really is fruitless. Only God knows what’s in a man’s heart, only God can help him, too. I try to think the best of him even when it would be really easy to jump to conclusions.

          Thanks for the reminder to hold my tongue. God’s done a lot of work in me with that this last month, but obviously more to do as I said something this morning I wish I hadn’t. But, definitely He keeps reminding me of the passages in 1 Peter about Christ not retaliating, threatening, and even defending yourself. God is telling me He will be my Defender and Protector and to entrust myself to Him and let Him handle my husband.

          Your phrase does mean something to me. Quite honestly, I want someone to say that I’ve done wrong so that I can find an excuse to beg my husband back. Your phrase confirms what God is telling me. God has confirmed it over and over through all of my trusted advisors right now. I just don’t want to accept it as it being the way (me having to draw these boundaries).

          Thanks for sharing it, though. I do need to hear it. Love to you and thank you for sharing your amazing story and for encouraging us here.

          1. CIC…I have to tell you when I read this comment my heart literally leaped for joy. I think you are exactly where God wants you to be sweet sister. There is no doubt pain where you are but I believe it is the start of healing. Just as I had to walk through a deep pain when I discovered all the phone calls and had to confront him. That pain was necessary. It HAD to happen in order for our healing to start. God may very well be doing the same for you. Oh, I really wish I was there to hug you! I can’t describe in a comment the joy bubbling up for you right now in my heart! I mentioned before my calling is to intercession and I often feel what God wants me to pray about. And right now that is feeling is JOY…pure JOY for you. I know that has to sound so conflicting considering what you are going through right now but I believe it is HOPE God wants you to see in it. I don’t know what His plan is for you but I do know it will be GOOD. It will bring you to a place where life feels satisfying again. Hang on tight to the Lord and let Him carry you through this.

            I’m glad that phrase meant something to you. Oh, how I understand how hard it is to be the one to draw the boundaries. I didn’t want to confront my husband when I discovered his affairs. I was so angry, so devastated, I just wanted someone else to wallop him because I had no strength left. But it wasn’t what God called me to do. I also have been a SAHM for 22 years and was terrified of what I would do if my confronting him lead to divorce. My mind raced with the whats, hows and whys. None of it made sense to me. How could I be in this situation? How could he do this to me? What I finally realized was my husband is a very flawed human being. And so am I. As God said to me, “sin is sin”. I had committed countless sins in my life like we all do. And God forgave me both with discipline and with love. I could do no less for my husband. So I followed the leading to confront, to forgive and to let my husband go to the other woman if that was his decision. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Hands down. I completely understand the emotions you are experiencing right now. Don’t turn back. Trust in God to lead you through this. Lean on your trusted advisors and know I AM praying for you. And that is no cliche…I truly am. I added you to my War Room wall last night. (among many others here too)

            You said He told you He will be your Defender and Protector…that is POWERFUL! He is speaking his plan to you! We wouldn’t need a Defender or Protector unless we were about to walk through a battle. Don’t let the enemy scare you with that though!! Some battles are necessary and they bring about enormous harvests of blessings. And with God leading the way through you already know the victory is yours…whatever that may be. Don’t live in the fear. Suit up in your armor and stand tall sister!! Operative word being STAND. Don’t slouch back, don’t hide your face, fight for what is yours! You have the right to the abundant life God promises us! YOU CAN DO THIS!!

            I can’t wait to hear YOUR victory story!! Much love to you!!

          2. Wow, Quinn. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you.

            Don’t have a lot of time to respond right now, but interestingly, I am going to re-watch War Room sometime this weekend. Feel led to do that.

            Also, I have a couple of friends, one in particular, who is adamant that my husband will come to Christ, that this is for his salvation. She says she sees pictures of him with the joy of Christ, worshiping God. I tell her at times, I’m glad you can see it, because right now, I cannot! And yet, in many ways, God has been preparing me for this time in my marriage for years. For years, I’ve had a sense that something wasn’t right in our marriage. For years, I’ve had a sense that it would take something big for my husband to be humbled to be able to see his need for Jesus. Last year, I had the thought that I was one of his idols and that God was going to somehow have to remove me from his life for a time to get his attention. I had no idea what that meant or what it would look like, but it seems God is walking us down that path. I also had a sense that when this all started, that my husband’s heart would have to be hardened for a time. The main goal here for me is his salvation. I feel like God has even asked me if it meant the salvation of my husband’s soul, would I be willing to lay down our marriage and our family.

            Anyway, a lot more detail to all of that….but thank you for your words and for your prayers and to know that you mean it, too! 🙂 Grateful and tucking those words of hope you have given me in my back pocket. I will think of them many times in the days ahead to remind me that God is speaking to others in definite ways that He is doing something big and good!!!!!!

            Love you!!!!

          3. You’re welcome my sweet sister. You don’t know this but you have been a help to me too these few days. *hugs*

            I loved War Room. Such a powerful movie. I think I will watch it again this weekend with you! 🙂

            Oh, when you said your friend sees pictures of your husband with the joy of Christ…that gave me shivers! Praise our Lord in Heaven!! Do you see the common word there? JOY!! It was what I felt for you! Lord, you are awesome and I praise your name! Bring your JOY ABUNDANTLY down on CiC and her husband!! Bring the visions and feelings to fruition! Give them a testimony so vivid and bright that people will clamor to hear it again!

            What you have been sensing God leading you to is no doubt a fiery trial but it does sound like something God would do to bring His will to a tough situation. I know being asked to lay down your marriage is painful. With your goal being his salvation though you know the end result is eternal. And can I say, GOOD FOR YOU! The fact that you see the real battle here means you are much further ahead in this than you realize. Your heart shines through in your words. Your love for your husband’s salvation is quite beautiful.

            You are in the thick of it. Keeping looking UP. Keep seeking His face and let Him lead the way. I am sending you so much love!

          4. God reminded me of a verse that He gave me a couple of weeks ago….

            Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of the faith, ***who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross***, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

            Also, today I listened to a great message from Francis Chan (Holiness Above Comfort) that a friend recommended and he brought up the verses in James: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

            Thank you again so much for reaching out to me and showing the love of Christ through your encouragement. It has bolstered my faith and hope and helped me to again have faith in the things God has shown me about my marriage. It’s easy to doubt, wondering if the senses I’ve had are real or if I’m making it up in my head, but it’s harder to doubt when He seems to be giving others a similar message. I seriously was considering that our marriage was coming to an end (and had many godly counselors even almost preparing me for the same) but I feel like God is changing my heart on this issue and to have faith in what He is doing. That is a much more hopeful place to be than where I was last week!

          5. Those verses are so appropriate for you. And they both mention joy. 😉 God’s Word is such a comfort. Thank you for sharing those with me. I find comfort and joy in them as well.

            I am so thankful God placed me here to talk with you. To hear you kicking doubt to the curb and digging in your heels is amazing to witness. To see how God is building you up and bringing your faith to a deeper place…it is beautiful. I am so happy to hear you are more hopeful! God is good! Hang in there sweet sister. God is going to be glorified in this situation in so many ways!!

            Love to you!

      1. Quinn, thank you so much for your story !
        I love how God gives you compassion for your husband. And I love your obedient heart !

  20. This is wonderful. I am so glad that I read it. I am a newly wed. We got married February and I am so glad that I have this blog as an additional resource to encourage, sharpen, provoke and inspire me. Thank you so much for this blog and Godo bless you! You’ll be seeing my commentson pop up quite frequently on your posts! 🙂
    Xx

  21. This passage from the book Waiting on God blessed me today.

    “Our souls are so little accustomed to hold fellowship with God; the God on whom we wait so often appears to hide Himself. We who have to wait are often tempted to fear that we do not wait aright, that our faith is too feeble, that our desire is not as upright or as earnest as it should be, that our surrender is not complete. Amid all these causes of fear or doubt, how blessed to hear the voice of God, “Wait on the Lord! Be strong, and let thine heart take courage! YEA, WAIT THOU ON THE LORD!” Let nothing in heaven or earth or hell – let nothing keep thee from waiting on thy God in full assurance that it cannot be in vain.

    If you say that you are afraid of deceiving yourself with vain hope, because you do not see or feel any warrant in your present state for such special expectations, my answer is, it is God, who is the warrant for your expecting great things. Oh, do learn the lesson. You are not going to wait on yourself to see what you feel and what changes come to you. You are going to WAIT ON GOD, to know first, WHAT HE IS, and then, after that, what He will do. The whole duty and blessedness of waiting on God has its root in this, that He is such a blessed Being, full, to overflowing, of goodness and power and life and joy, that we, however wretched, cannot for any time come into contact with Him, without that life and power secretly, silently beginning to enter into him and blessing him. God is Love! That is the one only and all-sufficient warrant of your expectation. Love does not seek its own: God’s love is just His delight to impart Himself and His blessedness to His children.”

    I was particularly struck by the thought that God is love and love seeks not its own. That means God is seeking YOUR blessing. YOUR fulfilment. YOUR joy.

    May it bless you also. HH

  22. April, you have often mentioned that you remained very quiet when God showed you your sins, in terms of your marriage. I imagine this could be a post by itself, but what are a few practical examples of specific situations in which you remained “quiet?” Since saying you remained quiet, doesn’t mean you did not speak at all, how did you determine when you would speak and when you wouldn’t? (I guess this would be where spiritual discernment comes in). What were some things you told yourself that allowed you to maintain silence when there were things you really wanted to address? How did time sensitive issues work out when your husband didn’t act on them while you remained quiet and you knew that it was getting “too late” to deal with those issues?

    I’ve been thinking about the term “surrendering to God,” and although the meaning of the term is evident, I’d love to hear from you (and anyone else who wants to share!), some specific ways in which you surrendered in different situations… Especially in tough situations when surrender becomes a “difficult word.”

    1. PrayinglikeHannah,

      I talk about that phase in this post The Frustrating Quiet Phase.

      I personally got very quiet, period. I realized that almost everything I had been saying before was sin or had sinful motives – motives to control, pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, gossip, jealousy of others, disrespect, etc… So I got VERY quiet altogether because I was afraid to talk. I knew at first that I would probably sin if I did much talking. I did talk about some things, things I had to talk about. But I really limited my conversation to things I was SURE I wouldn’t sin about in my speech.

      As far as decisions we had to make, I began to share with my husband that we had a decision to make and just leave it with him and tell him the time constraints. Then it was totally up to him. I said nothing else and if he didn’t do anything, then nothing got done.

      Now, I don’t have to restrict myself nearly so much. I will bring up a friendly reminder, at times.

  23. Thanks April! I liked this article and your blog has been a blessing! Have you had any experience with narcisstic husbands? I believe mine is narcisstic but not extremely so… Mostly he is never wrong, he lies, he usually turns everything to be my fault, he rarely confesses or apologizes for what he does, and if he does apologize, it’s not for anything specific it’s more like “I’m a total failure…. I’m sorry for ruining your life”. He recently got extremely depressed when I confronted with some dishonesty . It is very hard to trust him since during our 27 years of marriage he was really dishonest. It just came out recently that he had a porn addiction/public oogling/lust most of our married life that I never knew about .he is kind and gentle unlike the typical controlling and demanding narcissist. He just takes any little confrontation/criticism so very hard…. I desire to be a godly wife but it feels like I cannot have any question about his honesty, or bring out any inconsistency. Our relationship will not go deep at all bec anything that feels to him like he’d be a failure or would make me think badly of him, is lied about or just not at all discussed. Do you have any posts or videoes on this? Will you consider writing about how to handle it,? Please email me if you do. Thx!!

    1. Melinda,

      Hmmm… Why do you believe he is “narcissistic”? Is it possible that he is simply drowning in shame because of the addictions and lust issues? Check out that linked post and see what you think?

      Also, please search my home page for “porn” for some resources.

      How recently have you discovered this? My heart breaks for the pain this has caused in your heart, in your husband’s life, and in God’s heart, too. 🙁

      Has he been willing to be accountable and transparent? Do you believe he has fully repented?

      What resources are y’all using to work through this together?

      What is your relationship with Christ? 🙂

      What is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

      Much love to you! Thank you so much for reaching out for help and encouragement! 🙂

      1. thank you for the resources. He might be drowning in shame some. We both are Christians…. I feel like he is struggling some but does want to do what is right; I am struggling a little. Your site has been such a blessing it has really helped me to learn to be more respectful… I liked some of your articles on distance… Lately he has really been struggling and it seems like the more I tried to help the worse it got. So I just pulled back a little bit and give him space. Last night it was really good because he moved toward me…. We talked and I was able to share my heart some about him being able to take responsibility for his part of our disagreements. He said he’s going to pray about it 😊. And I am endeavoring to try to only bring up the big things. I was convicted by”Love covers a multitude of sins”. Also I didn’t listen to God’s voice when we had this past argument. I Clearly felt like I should wait to talk to him, but then I got a sudden urge that I had to go talk to him NOW! (Satan!!) Ended up in a huge explosion and with my husband has been very depressed for a few days.. I feel like a marriage is on shaky ground. I feel like the devil really wants to drive a wedge between us and draw my husband away! 😕. Complete transparency has definitely been a problem… It feels like it’s starting to get better but I’m not sure if he’s even still yet totally honest about some things. I am definitely wanting to be a safe place for him and I think he knows that I am. For some reason, there is something in him that wont allow him to completely be free to share with me honestly. (he will lie about things that I see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears ) Because most of our marriage has been lies, I’m craving the super honesty really badly. Until then, I just want to keep working on myself, to grow in my relationship with God and to Be respectful. Thanks!

        >

        1. Hi Mendy, I am wondering if words are a strong part of your husband’s love language. His anger and self-loathing when you confront him about something remind me of how I react whenever I am confronted by my mother about something. If my mom is not actively giving me positive reassurance about the things I do “right,” I find it very hard to hear about the things I do “wrong” and I tend to take any rebuke as proof that she doesn’t think highly of me. (This is not true; she just doesn’t give compliments often.) With me and my mom, her positive words (and not other demonstrations of love) tend to reassure me that there’s more to the story than just her negative words. (I am trying to work more on my side of this and not take anything personally.) I wonder if increasing your verbal appreciation to your husband about the good things he does will help him realize that you see his positive qualities too.

          Much love! 🙂
          Flower

        2. Mendy,

          Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you talked last night.

          So, when do you believe the lying started? Did he do this in other relationships, too? What was his parents’ marriage like? What was your parents’ marriage like?

          Do y’all have any godly mentors, godly counselors?

          Much love!

  24. Hi people. It’s our 10 year wedding anniversary tomorrow and I’m debating whether to send a text. I’ve prayed about it heaps but can’t find an answer. I haven’t had any contact since she left apart from required texts to sort out child support payments etc as I have been respecting her decision to leave.

    So I’ve written down all the pros and cons and realised that all the pros relate to my motives in sending it (such as esteeming highly, praising the work of her hands, expressing love etc) and all of the cons relate to how she will receive it (will she feel guilty, feel like I’m just sucking up etc). Hmm still unsure.

    Any thoughts that may help me? HH

      1. It is most definitely a loving text with no expectations. I can’t let such a significant date go past with no acknowledgement.

        1. Well. Fun day? No. Very hard day.

          But! I had breakfast with a good friend from church and we talked for three hours. I thought he was there to minister to me on this hard day (and he was), but it turns out I was being called to minister to him as well! He began sharing how much my journey was effecting his walk with the Lord and how encouraged he was to see the steps of walking in the Spirit and how much that was challenging him.

          It broke me to tears because I said to the Lord months ago that if He wanted to use my pain to draw others closer to Him then I would gladly let that happen and I would be poured out as a drink offering in His name. It turns out that my pain and the peace and strength the Lord is slowly showing me has spoken to my friend far more than any words I have ever said. I am praising God for this tonight.

          My loneliness on this night is being used to further the Lord’s purposes in ways that I have not realised 🙂 It doesn’t make it easy spending what should be a special night together alone but it does help me see a purpose.

          HH

          1. HH,

            Thank you for sharing, our dear brother. I know this was a tough day emotionally for you. But I am so encouraged to see what all is going on!

            God is using you here, as well, already. What He is doing in you – the way He is empowering you and giving you His strength and increasing your faith and peace in the midst of this howling storm is blessing so many people and building the faith of others around the world.

            I love that you prayed to be a drink offering to draw others closer to Him. SO BEAUTIFUL!

            Praying for you and your wife tonight – for continued healing for you, for God to open her eyes and bring her to repentance and spiritual healing in Christ – and for God to be greatly glorified in your lives in ways we can’t begin to fathom!

          2. Amen, agreeing with those prayers of April! Thank you for sharing, HH! So encouraging!

            One thing I’ve noticed through this trial is that I seem to be deeply aware and grateful of God’s gifts and blessings in ways I wasn’t before. Those moments are truly like gifts to me during this time and I receive them as such. Even the wildflowers on the side of the road bring a deeper pleasure and speak to me of God’s love right now. He is so good!!! So thankful that you got to have this fellowship with a brother in Christ and how God will continue to use you in his life. It brings tears to my eyes.

            And yes, you are already being used here like April said.

          3. CiC, I think it was John Bunyan (author of pilgrims progress) who wrote that he almost wished his trials were always present so sweet was the presence of God through them. It is definitely true that these experiences of God’s love are all the more precious due to the darkness. HH

          4. I am glad to hear you were able to fellowship with a good friend on such a hard day. That you were able to minister to each other is so encouraging and full of purpose. God is doing a great work in you brother!

    1. My vote is definitely yes. Just try not to have expectations on getting a certain response back from her. Your pros are full of love, your cons are just fears. You can’t control what she’ll think, how she’ll receive it. If you don’t send something, she could be offended and hurt by that, too. Go with that pure desire of your heart to honor your marriage by acknowledging it and praising her.

    1. CIC…thank you for sharing this…it brought me to tears…some of the lines hit so deeply to the trench I’m walking through…thank you, my sweet sister…

      You have been on my mind all day…in my prayers…hugs and love to you.

      1. Thank you so much. Such a great song, isn’t it? And Psalm 23 is the main passage God started comforting me with as this painful trial really began. I’ve heard the song on the radio without that last part, but as I listened to it on YouTube and heard the ending with part of the Psalm quoted, I felt God’s personal comfort again to me today.

        Thanks for praying for me. That means a lot to me. And I’ll pray for you, as well, as God guides you through another valley.

        I am feeling a lot more peace tonight that I am in God’s will and that the boundaries I’ve drawn are necessary and that God will use them for good. I was really wrestling with that – going back and forth until just a few hours ago.

        I do have hope for our marriage. I do think things are going to get worse before they get better as that seems to be a message I keep getting from the Lord (as much as I don’t want to necessarily hear it). But, I also know that God can do things in a split second, so I’m praying for Him to do His work quickly! I’m aware that He might want to use this time in my life, though, to teach me many things (already is) and I want to be surrendered to that – not only surrendered to it, but grateful and ready as it would be His best plan for me.

        Tonight, I’m feeling strong. This morning, not so much. Seems to be my new normal for now. 🙂

        1. Yes, it is beautiful. Oh, I love to hear stories of how God touches the hearts of his children so personally.

          It is my honor to pray for you. Thank you for your prayers! They mean so much to me.

          I am glad to hear you are more at peace with the path God is leading you down. And I am very happy to hear you still have hope for your marriage. I think you have good reason to do so. I just feel such JOY every time I think of you and your husband.

          Yes, sometimes they have to get worse first, unfortunately. I know it did for us. There is much to be learned in the hard times though too. Things we simply do not learn any other way. CiC, I am seeing a strength come out of you though in your posts. It was gradual but now I see it building. I am seeing you start to see that God has already prepared you. That He wrapped you in His armor and He was just waiting, standing next to you saying, “You ready? Let’s go fight this battle!”. I think you see Him standing there now. You are finding the strength of Christ within you. Although, yes still painful, I think you are ready. And you are already learning new lessons about yourself in this time. I have a feeling you are finding new strengths in yourself you didn’t even realize were there all along. This is a time of growth for both of you. And it is going to make your marriage so strong when you both come back together it is going to be breathtaking to those who witness it. Glory to God!

          Yes, God can indeed do things in a split second! I will pray this is one of those times. 😉 Mostly, let’s pray that His will be done in your marriage and that you have an amazing testimony to share one day! That you will be the one on here sharing of His amazing love!!!

          Love to you!!

  25. Hello April,
    This post and the discussion really touched my heart. You know my story a little bit and the issues I have with my husband and texting with his female coworker. I can’t shake off the jealousy. I pray about it, i try Laura Doyle’s principals as of staying on my own paper about it but I really don’t have a good coping strategy with this yet.

    The thing is that I don’t get a single text from him. I try to send him encouraging things once in a while or tell him I miss him etc. He tells me he doesn’t like to text. However he sure takes his time to write out nice replies to this coworker of his. He tells me if I don’t trust him after the 13 years that we are married then he doesn’t know what to tell me.

    Yesterday he was writing with her about a shift they were trading at work. Of course it was pretty innocent but the fact that he was trying so hard to be polite, etc, and she kept writing back – got to me again and I couldn’t keep it on my paper any more.

    Then he got defensive of course and said he quit texting me after I called him a loser 10 years ago. I just feel so much hurt. I decided I will never text him again about anything. I don’t know if I just work myself up for nothing over this but knowing I will never get anything from him as far as calling me to see how I’m doing or texting me just hurts.

    He surely takes his time to be nice to his coworkers. (That’s why he keeps up communication with her he says. It is really important to him to feel accepted at his job, it’s been a struggle for him ever since he started there.)

    Thanks for listening April.

    1. NB,

      I can completely understand that you don’t like to see him texting other women – especially when he is not texting you at all. At this point, what you have described so far, sounds fairly innocent. Of course, it could turn into something not as innocent. But – if you try to be his “texting police” or you try to demand that he give you more attention and his coworkers less attention, if you try to force him to do what you want… that is probably not going to work.

      How is your relationship going with God?

      What do you believe you need to be content?

      What are your greatest fears?

      What he shared with you about why he doesn’t text you is important. That is a really critical piece of information. I’m not saying he should respond that way – but now you have your information about why he doesn’t text you, it sounds like.

      Instead of deciding to never text him… what do you believe God may want you to do to bless him, to be a warm, welcoming place, to be the godly wife God calls you to be, to pour healing instead of more resentment and destruction into this relationship?

      How are you showing him genuine respect and honor?

      He probably does have to have some communication with his coworkers, is my guess. Is it possible that he isn’t doing anything specifically wrong at this point? Being polite and talking with a coworker about a traded shift is not a sin, right?

      The issue is more that you want more of his attention, maybe?

      What do you predict will happen if you continue to accuse him and react with jealousy?

      If he truly was having an emotional affair, what do you predict would best draw him back to you?

      What are the ways that your husband most likes to bond with you? Are there any things he enjoys doing with you?

      How do you try to get him to give you more attention?

      Much love to you!

      Have you seen the post, “Bitterness of Soul, I Want to Be My Husband’s FIRST Priority!”

      1. NB,

        Here are a few posts that may be helpful:

        Roots of Insecurity, Low Self Esteem, Sinful Jealousy, and a Desire to Control

        My Security Is in Christ Alone

        He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Finding Victory over Feelings of Insecurity

        If I Am Being Needy or Clingy – I Will Probably Repel My Husband

        Righteous Jealousy and Anger

        Could it be possible that you are trying to measure his love for you by whether he texts you or not, or by whether he texts his coworkers or not?

        Or, could it be that you may expect him to have your exact same convictions – that maybe you expect his personal conviction to be to never ever text a female coworker? Where is the line, in your mind?

        What things make you feel loved and secure with your husband?

      2. April, Thank you again for replying to me. You are so right. Now I feel even more like a fool. I was working so hard on being content, peaceful, being soft place to fall for him. I know all of that. Thats why i feel even more like a fool right now.Because I know better.

        I know I can’t be his text police, his thought police-anything like that. Yesterday though was hard.

        We are working through our issues, with my 10 year unbeknowntst to me disrespect towards him being one of them. You are right that I want more of his attention, I know I’m not supposed to make him my idol, I know all of that, and I’m doing way better. I hate having setbacks like that.

        The thing is he has 0 affection towards me. None. We have sex (thankfully! I’m so grateful for what I get, however little it is) but that’s it for attention. I know we still have ways to go, he has not forgotten the disrespect. It is getting better but he has a long way to healing and accepting that i have been changing.

        You are also right, I dont like that he takes time out to reply to his coworker like that where he doesn’t take time for me whatsoever. I believe he still feels he can’t trust me and I understand. It hurts.

        I read through all these responses here and my problem seem so menial compared to what some of these people go through.

        As far as emotional affair. I do have issues with this. As we had problem like that before, He had a fling with a coworker in 2009. He even filed for divorce (saying that he did that because he couldn’t stand my ways any more). I moved to my parents’ back to Europe with our daughter. We reconciled but never worked out our issues. He relapsed with her 6 months after I moved back. So yes. I have those fears…..
        Thank You April. You are such a blesssing to me. I will read the links you mentioned. I need them.

        1. NB,

          Could you please remind me… is he a believer in Christ?

          I don’t know if either of you would be willing to read Grace Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel – but it is SO powerful! Even if only you read it, I think it could help to pour so much healing into the marriage. I understand your husband feeling very disrespected when you called him a loser 10 years ago. But I also think that it is possible to move past that and forgive. Of course, you can’t make him forgive you. But you can focus on being the woman and wife God desires you to be. And you can extend grace to him and be a godly example – even if he is not spiritually healthy enough to be able to do that in return right now. A wife filled with God’s Spirit has an incredible amount of influence, even if she doesn’t talk about spiritual things. Just her joy, her contentment in Christ, her demeanor, her gentleness, the light radiating in her… VERY powerful for a husband to experience that on a consistent basis. It will tend to draw him toward his wife and toward Christ in time.

          If you have had these kinds of issues before in the marriage, I understand your fears. I wonder – is he willing to go to a godly counselor with you that he trusts? Do you feel like that would help?

          Has he said what he believes he needs from you?

          Was he ever affectionate with you before in your relationship?

          Did he repent of the emotional affairs and was he willing to be transparent and rebuild trust?

          What issues made him want to leave before?

          What is his general personality?

          What is your general personality?

          Much love to you!

          1. April, my husband says he believes but he doesnt read the bible or goes to church. When we met he was very shy, i was his first. He was very affectionate. At the top of my controlling days i rejected him in public couple of times. Since then he shut down his affection towards me.

            Today when i got home after work, we talked some more. He was very defensive and told me that I put negativity on everything he has ever done in our whole marriage. That I always assume the worst of him and he is sick of it. I apologized again and told him that he willl never hear from me about the texting ever again. He says that if I have to read a book (referring to the marriage books i have bern studying since our problems started.)

          2. Ok, had to leave and didn’t finish my comment. He says if I have to read a book in order to accept him for who he is then my natural personality is what matters- disrespectful and controlling.
            Then he said something that tells me he is conflicted himself about the whole texting issue. He said he was afraid that girl will assume he was trying to flirt with her because he was trying too hard to be nice. Sometimes they get into gossiping about work via texting.
            But I made the decision. I will not be mentioning this with him ever again. I told him i will always be there for him. You know every slip up I have he reacts extremely sensitive to it. He then goes into accusing me of all my past sins which were disrespect and control. It seems like he will never forgive me.
            But you are so right April. Right now he is still so wounded, and going through disrespect at work doesn’t make it easier for him either. I will extend grace to him and not expect something he can not give right now. Like affection. As of texting. It’s his issue to deal with. I know if something is going on he will eventually confess. So far when something bothers him about work or about this particular girl he comes to me about it. He told me once that he wasn’t happy to be in a situation where his only friend was a 19 year old girl. We don’t have friends here since we moved here to Europe. So besides me he only communicates with his coworkers…
            April, thank you for helping me through this. I shall persevere.

          3. NB,

            Your natural personality is your sinful nature. Jesus crucified that on the cross and buried it. You can walk in victory over sin as you allow God’s Spirit to change you. 🙂 And wives don’t automatically know how to respect and honor their husbands, that is why older wives are to teach the younger about this important skill (Titus 2:3-5).

            It seems that when men have felt really disrespected for a long, long time, they get kind of a “disrespect sunburn.” They become extremely sensitive to any hint of disrespect. But as you get rid of the unintentional and intentional disrespect, he will slowly begin to heal, most likely. It will take a long time. You can tell him, “I’m glad you are trying to do what is right and that you have good intentions.” Or, God may prompt you to say nothing because he may take anything you say wrong about the texting thing since you have gotten so upset about it so often.

            As you work on you and your walk with Christ, your sin will fade more and more into the background – and his sin will become more evident to himself. Without you even having to say anything.

            I do think you have the right to expect him not to flirt and not to get emotionally involved or to have an affair. But right now, you coming down on him with a sledgehammer when – in his mind – he isn’t specifically sinning and doesn’t have the same convictions you do – is obviously not being productive. It is repelling him from you. That’s not what we want!

            Praying for God’s wisdom and healing for you both, my dear sister! His greatest need is Christ. God may want to change you before your husband’s eyes in order to create a desire in your husband for Jesus. You can’t change your husband. But you can let God change you! That is the best place to be in the world.

            Much love!

          4. Thank you April for walking me through this and clarifying it for me.

            I checked out the links you gave me and I can’t believe that I recognized myself in a needy woman and insecure woman posts. I would never thought of myself this way. But, yes I would love if my husband would spend every second that he is home with me. I also resented him for going to band practice when we lived in the states. Anything he would do for his fun – I surely put a damper on and he still remembers it all.

            Also I read you post on convictions and sure enough I do expect him to have same convictions about this communication with his coworkers as me. I really have lots of work to do still on giving him space and not smothering him. It sure goes back to relinquishing control.

            Thank you for your pointers, April. I know its not going to be eady to ignore the texting thing if it continues but I need to really try it. As you said – controlling him about it is only going to repel him and I don’t want that. I want him to want to be with me. I have noticed that when I “stay on my own paper about things” and give him space, he seems to open up and soften towards me more. Assuming the worst is also something I need to work on. He says I’ve been doing it to him our whole marriage and it was painful to hear as I really thought I was doing the best I thought there was to do.

          5. Well April. My gut feeling was right. There is something going on between my husband andthat girl. I think he feels its not right but the fact that therr is something going on between them is there. We talked a little bit and i told him what i have noticed lately and the fact that he is so eatchful over his phone lately. Plus this evening he was saying he was tired and couple of times when i walked n the bedroom he was texting. He said he wouldnt cheat on me and his other thingd he would.stop. i dont believe it. I let him be. I sad i promised im nit saying anything about it anymore but i said he knows it is wrong. So i dont know. Im so tired of it. I knew there wad something i just knew it. It id hid problem though. It hurts but im also tired of being a bad guy in everything. I decided enough of this wallowing. If he eants to gossip and share things with someone else it is his problem if he ends up in an emotional involvment. I think at this point i cant help anything. Im going to pray tonite. For the Lord to shoe me a clear path to walk on.

          6. NB,

            🙁

            Do you know what he is texting about?

            I, too, pray for God’s wisdom for you. I want to see God’s healing for you both and for your marriage. I’m not sure what the extent is of what he is doing. I pray God will bring it to light and help you see what you need to do to honor Him. I pray for God’s power for you to respond in His Spirit not in sin. I pray for His wisdom about what to say and what not to say and at what point to set a boundary and when/if to confront. I pray for you to seek to grow in Christ yourself. I pray for God to reach your husband. I pray for God’s Spirit to fill you so that you are an instrument of God’s blessing in your husband’s life. And that God gives you His perspective and His eyes for your husband.

            Much love and a huge hug!

            April

  26. One more thing- when I told him yesterday that the texting hurts me he got defensive and said “I’m not doing anything”.

    I told myself many times that I’m not going to let myself be bothered by it, I can’t control it, and I dont want this to ruin our intimacy. I was doing really good and we were quite open about it all, he says he just wants to be nice to people he works with, which are all women.

    Of course I blew it yrsterday. However I went back and apologized to him for being disrespectful about the texting. I really need to let it go I understand that. Before I totally repelled him and before he started to sneak around about it…..

  27. I know there are prayer warriors on April’s team and people that just read here that are probably already doing this….but, I was just wondering if there might be some that would like to come together in prayer and fasting on a specific day in the near future? (Come together in spirit, that is!)

    Saturday or Sunday or…..???

    Just a thought that hit me. I know that for me, personally, I can see the spiritual battle in a way I never could before and it is intense! We all know the enemy seems to be on a rampage against marriages. Everywhere I turn in my own community, there are more stories of hurting marriages that are on the brink of separation or divorce.

    1. Im in! I will join in from Europe. Im 6 hours aheaf of Eadtern time ig that matters.

      I also feel the Satans.attacks. just when i think im making progress i feel him attacking us mightily. so yes, im interested.

    2. I see that spiritual battle too CiC. There are many here in our community that are ending marriages in the range you and I are both in. That 20-25 year mark. It is so striking to me that it is always in that range. I think that is significant. There must be a reason the enemy is targeting that specifically.

      I would gladly join in. Just let me know when!

      1. Sure. What is the plan specifically so I can meditate and prepare for putting my heart right and joining in warrior type prayer?

        1. How about we all discuss ways that we think God might be leading us to pray?

          I want to specifically pray that God will take what Satan intends for evil in all of these marriages….all around the world….and that God will in fact, allow these marriages in a sense to “die” to what they were and be rebuilt on a solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Satan wants the marriage and family to totally be destroyed, but God will use it in the most opposite beautiful way….to bring the individuals and the children in those families to Christ and that they will be sold out for Christ – non-compromising believers and followers of Jesus Christ that will be part of the mighty work God is doing in these days.

          I want to pray for unbelieving spouses to come to Christ in a powerful way and that their spouses and others in their lives will be simply shocked with the transformation that occurs when Christ gets a hold of their hearts.

          I want to pray for those who are “waiting” or “standing” for their marriages to also be willing to see what God is wanting to change in them, to be humble enough to work on strongholds or areas in their lives that God points out to them in the waiting time.

          I also do not think it’s important to get hung up on praying a “perfect” way to get results. We come to God in faith, we pray what He lays on our hearts, we know that He has said fasting is good and needed for certain circumstances of intense spiritual warfare. We are humbling ourselves coming before Him saying “Oh, God…we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” We aren’t trying to force His hand, but we are desperate for His work and healing and to see His strong arm of salvation. And, we come with expectant faith that He will answer our prayers and act. We don’t come hoping He will hear or hoping He will do something. We come believing He will.

          I’m sure I have more, but that’s enough for now. 🙂

          Would love to hear from others….

          1. Wow CiC. So many things here that I will pray for with you all.

            I especially like the thought of the old marriage dying to be remade new. I have been thinking about the scripture “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it cannot bring forth fruit” and whilst it is probably written in the context of Christ dying it is relevant to marriage as well.

            Do you all want to pray at the same time? If so how are you going to organise it with different time zones? It is already Sunday morning here.

            HH

          2. I personally want to fast for the day and sing praise music. I want to pray prone and pray proverbs 3:5-6.

            Trust in the Lord with all your heart
            and lean not on your own understanding;
            6 in all your ways submit to him,
            and he will make your paths straight.[a]

            I want to ask my prayer partners to pray the subjects that CiC talked about. However, we all have a relationship with God and I’m sure He can guide us by the Holy Spirit to show us how we can best please him.

          3. I am really humbled and aware that I feel my own pain more than others. I hope this doesn’t limit God’s working but I will be praying today for you all. HH

          4. Me, too — I totally understand what you’re saying. I feel like God is showing me in my pain, as others are so compassionately reaching out to me and praying for me, that I have been woefully lacking in doing the same for others in their trials.

            Til Christ is formed in us —

          5. I think I have come to an understanding on this this morning. I spent some prayer time and ended up along the following thought train.

            In me, love for others is lacking sorely. Love for others from the heart would allow me to deal with their sins against me in the right way and show them genuine acceptance and humility.

            1 Corinthians 13 says that “Love doesn’t seek it’s own”. I’m wrestling with this thinking how does one come to a point where others are more important? Where I truly seek others blessing from the heart?

            Philippians 2 says that Christ “being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage”. Hmmm….something here.

            Galatians 5 says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love”. Picture becoming clearer.

            Luke 11 gives the example of a father giving his child food when the child asks and says “if you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”.

            Bingo! Here is the answer.

            Love for others is a direct result of the infilling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. So my specific and faith filled prayer today is that God would give me an ever increasing outpouring of His Holy Spirit.

          6. Ok. Well I was absolutely certain that I would be filled to overflowing with the Spirit after this prayer! I saw the truth of it and knew God would give me His Spirit. I waited in joyful anticipation all day but didn’t receive it. Went to sleep a bit down and woke up the next day really down and struggling to work. Hmmm.

            I read through the post How to be filled with the Spirit and noticed this written in the comments.

            I had to repent to my husband, of course, but also to his parents, my parents, my brother, my sister and my sister’s husband. I had been controlling toward all of them, and disrespectful toward all of them. I was prideful and self-righteous. I tried to tell them all what to do. I was resentful, bitter, and unforgiving. I went to each of them and humbled myself and said basically, “I realize now that I have been very disrespectful to you. I have also been prideful, self-righteous, controlling, and unforgiving. I have participated in gossip against you. I thought I knew best what you should do in your life. I was very wrong. I hope you can forgive me.” 

            How do you know if you need to repent to someone of specifics? Could that limit the Spirit from filling me? Searching for answers here. I want to love like Christ!

            HH

          7. HH, there is no secret “checklist” of things you need to do to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s more of what you are drawn to do. Just noticing this comment and contemplating on it might just be that type of drawing. God can and will send the right people across your path at just the right time. An idea can come out of nowhere and you just “feel” a need for action or to talk to someone, or to meditate on a certain subject to learn.

            For me. It feels a bit like letting the breeze blow me to whete I need to be. Being willing to follow the subtle signed and smallish directions. We tend to want to follow the large, obvious and flashy things, but that is usually the “wide path that leads to destruction”. The narrow path is less obvious.

            I, too, repented to my in laws, my mom, dad, brother, and many friends. I felt I needed to come clean about me recognizing my sin and repenting for it. Hope it helps. It is a process, there is no “instant” learning. It took 12 years of school before graduation, right?

          8. HH,

            You already have the Holy Spirit. God has given it to you. 🙂 We have all of the spiritual treasures and riches of heaven in Christ the moment we receive Him. Of course, we can block the Spirit or grieve Him if we are cherishing sin in our hearts. I pray God will help you learn to access what He has already provided and generously given.

            God can prompt you if there is sin in your life you need to repent of to others.

          9. I have a burning question. It has plagued me for a long time and I am not sure if it is a fiery dart from the enemy or if it is a solemn message from God.

            Bear with me for a moment. It’s a longish post. I most definitely, categorically, undoubtedly and implicitly entered a living relationship with Christ February 2009. It is clear as crystal the overwhelming conviction of the Spirit and then the flooding and overwhelming peace when I heard the words “this is why I gave Jesus”. There is not a single doubt that I was forgiven and made clean then, not a doubt.

            BUT. The natural cares of life, financial pressure, relationship struggles and so forth drained me and I slowly walked away from this life over 6 years. I always maintained church fellowship but I did not spend the time I needed with God. I slipped into several bad habits such as watching TV every night instead of spending the time with God or family. I struggled with lust, pride and self a lot. I wasn’t walking in the Spirit.

            Skip to 2014 and a major health crisis made me sit up and start dealing with these things. I turned back to God in a big way. Then a failed business venture April 2015. Then the same month my wife’s issues came to light and since then I have fallen on my face to seek God and walk with Him daily.

            My question. Is it possible that my wife leaving is a punishment for walking in sin from 2009 to 2015 after my salvation? I have repented of every single sin that I am aware of and asked God to show me all that I am not aware of. I am fully aware of my own inability to walk in purity without the power of His Spirit. Is God hiding His face from me and refusing to pour out His Spirit upon me because of these years?

            Hebrews 10:26-31 states “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

            Ananias and Saphira were killed for lying about their property sale.

            What thoughts can y’all give me? HH

          10. HH,

            What your wife is doing – it seems to me – has to do with her own lack of faith in God, her lack of knowing Christ. It seems to me that it is about her own choices and sin issues. God doesn’t tempt anyone to sin. He hates divorce. I believe she has been dragged away by her own evil desires and enticed (James 1). She is responsible for that before God.

            I see no evidence that God hides his face from those who repent and who no longer have any condemnation before Him because they are in Christ. When God sees you, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.

            God disciplines believers, but I don’t believe that He punishes us. There is a difference!

            I believe this is a time of spiritual pruning and refining for you. I believe God will bring great good from this trial. But I want to be careful that we don’t try to take responsibility for other people’s sinful choices.

          11. “God disciplines believers, but I don’t believe that He punishes us. There is a difference!” Interesting… April can you elaborate on what the difference is? Thanks

          12. PrayinglikeHannah,

            Sure!

            God disciplines His children for our good. To create Christ more and more in us. To heal us. To make us more holy. To prune us and purify us. To cleanse us of remaining sin.

            Jesus endured God’s punishment and wrath against sin on our behalf on the cross. When God punishes a nation, He often destroys them entirely. Not always. Sometimes He leaves a remnant to accomplish His purposes, as He did with Israel and also with Egypt. But punishment is often more about justice and destruction.

            Here are some posts about this:

            at gotquestions.org

            John Piper explains how God disciplines believers but that Jesus took our punishment.

          13. HH. I’m smiling right now, because I have been in the same place and struggled in the same way. 1 John :1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.”
            My thoughts here are that when we ask for forgiveness from God, then it is done. However, it doesn’t mean we have forgiveness from PEOPLE. Forgiveness is a gift. It also helps the forgive more than the forgive so that they don’t fall into bitterness and contempt. But also, if God just gave us all our desires as soon as we said sorry, we would not really experience the consequences of our sin. God forgives us so we don’t have to have eternal death. We have life. But it does not save us from the consequences of our injustice, hurtful actions, and other wrongs towards other people…it is up to those individuals to forgive you…or not. But even the heart that seeks to please God is blessed. You may not do it right, every day, but He knows your motives. Your hearts desire to please Him is seen.

            If your child swings a toy around and you have told him to stop and he refuses, then hits another child in the head with it and makes him bleed, you can forgive the child for his disobedience, but you cannot make the other kid forgive your child for the injury your child caused, right? God gives us all free will. The other child could choose to forgive and agree to kerp playing with your child, OR the other child could never want to play with your child again. It’s his choice. Your child still is dealing with the consequences of his actions, but his father has forgiven his disobedience.

            I don’t think you are being “punished” for your hiatus from living a cording to God’s plan, I think you have been forgiven, but it is a constant, daily battle to resist the enemy. I felt shame to myself for my sins fir so long. I knew that God forgave me, but I never forgave myself. Could that be your struggle? Have you been able to look at yourself in the mirror and truly let yourself accept that you are imperfect, have daily capability to sin, will not always choose the right thing? It’s humbling. But it’s who we are as humans. This is our inescapable truth. Yet, only with God can we overcome this. It won’t ever be complete until we leave thus earth and go be with God in heaven. But daily, God is our goid father teaching us. We are his children. How do you guide your children? Learning and growing is an ongoing process. In 20 years, you will look back and think about how little you knewvthen, yet right now, you realize how little you knew just 7 years ago!!! Praise God for his patience, mercy and grace for us!

            I pray that you are learning to accept the forgiveness God has given you and forgive yourself as well. I pray that forgiveness from others does not become an idol in your heart. God’s forgiveness is supreme, all else is just sprinkles on the cake. Ou cannot change or force others to feel forgiveness towards you. Can you still live a life that honors God without it? You may have to get used to the idea that your wife may never forgive you and you will never have that. Will it change how you live your life? Will it make you discouragesd, bitter or distrusting? I pray it does not. God asks us to forgive others to honor Him, but also to not give a foothold to the devil. We cannot be the source of salvation for our spouses. That is their own journey…we can’t bring them to God on our own. We can be living testimony by living a life that honors God and shows how to respond and act that is not sinful, but we won’t always get it right. Sometimes we can only do our best, but constantly be willing to improve.

            God says that if you simply seek Him, you will be rewarded. You don’t even have to FIND Him, only search for Him…yet the reward will come. What a loving God!!!

            I am happy to see you searching for these answers…very healthy! I will pray for wisdom to you from God on His gifts and love for you. I pray you can love yourself as God loves you. I pray you can understand the free will that God gives all His children…including you, your spouse and others. I pray that you continue to ask for discernment and seek time with God daily to stay following our gift of the Holy Spirit inside us so that we have our direct orders and connection from God Himself.

            I’m glad you are here with us all, HH. Your insights and questions help solidify my own faith!

            I hope this helps to

          14. Oh man. No words again.

            LMS your post spoke to me in the biggest way. I am sobbing on the ground.

            No I hadn’t been able to forgive myself. I have still been beating myself up for seven years. Your words reminded me of the peace that filled me seven years when I knew I was forgiven of God but I never forgave myself!

            Oh wow. So much freedom. Wow.

          15. This came to me today from Joel Osteen and I thought of you, HH.

            Today’s Scripture “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
            (Romans 8:28 SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS For Your Good

            Every person goes through disappointments and things that don’t seem to make sense. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “Why did this happen to me?” “Why did my loved one not make it?” “Why did this person treat me wrong?” “Why did I get laid off?” A man recently told us how he lost his job after many years. He just didn’t understand it. He said, “I gave that company my best. I was always there on time. I was loyal. It’s just not right.”

            We have to understand that even though life is not always fair, God is fair. He promises that He will work all things together for our good. The key word in today’s verse is “together.” In other words, don’t just isolate one part of your life and say, “Well, this is not good.” “It’s not good that I got laid off.” “It’s not good that my child got sick.” “It’s not good that my relationship didn’t work out.” Yes, that’s true, but that’s just one part of your life. God can see the big picture. That disappointment is not the end. Your life doesn’t stop because of one setback. That is simply one piece of your puzzle. There is another piece coming to connect it all because God promises to work all things together for your good!

            A Prayer for Today “Father, thank You for working all things together for my good. I choose to release any doubt, frustration or confusion over my past, and I choose to trust in You. Help me to see the big picture as I keep my mind stayed on You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

          16. HH, I’m so glad that this reply was a blessing to you! You are loved and cherished deeply by God, the good father. I pray you find that peace in knowing and accepting it. Read the story of the prodigal son for a picture of how a father feels when His son returns to Him. Bless you, brother

          17. Whatever you wish to do, HH, whatever God lays on your heart. You could fast on your Sunday or you can wait and fast with us. It is 6:40 p.m Saturday evening where I am right now. 🙂

          18. Well I started praying this afternoon after the kids left and I will continue into the night.

            I started praying for all of you by name and I began to feel angry. This confused me. I haven’t felt anger in 7 years and it made me nervous. I started thinking through the anger and I realised that I am angry at the injustice of sin. Angry at the enemy for the lies and pain that He is inflicting on so many of us. Angry at the lies that I believed. Angry at the lies my wife believes. Angry that the enemy is still fighting against the reconciliation that God is working towards. So I am praying with an anger against sin tonight.

          19. I love this CIC ! I will pray for what you proposed too.
            I would like to pray that God allows us to forgive our husbands or wives from our heart.

          20. Yes, I agree with that prayer. That is a great prayer. Because, sometimes, I think we can fool ourselves to think we’ve forgiven when maybe we really haven’t.

          21. Ev,

            If our anger is against SIN and Satan, not against people – our anger is appropriate. God hates sin and He has righteous anger against injustice and the pain sin causes and against all evil. But yes, if we are angry or unforgiving toward people, that is a big problem. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post.

          22. Thank you for clarifying April. You are right.
            My question is : is it appropriate to pray to God in anger ? Thanks.

          23. Ev,

            It would not be appropriate to pray with anger toward God – but it is appropriate to pray with anger toward unrighteousness. God, Himself, is angry toward sin and injustice.

            We are at war against spiritual powers, principalities and demons – we are to have holy anger against them and against sin.

            Verses about God’s wrath toward sin:

            https://www.openbible.info/topics/wrath_of_god

            5 Truths about the Wrath of God – John Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-the-wrath-of-god

          24. That reminds me of what happened to the wife in War Room as she started praying seriously. I agree….I think that’s some warfare type prayer right there that motivates you to pray in a different way. Interesting to see how God moved you, HH, to pray in that way.

            For myself, I just came through a couple of hours of intense fear and confusion which I realized after a friend prayed over me was definitely from the enemy.

          25. HH this is the righteous anger I spoke of in another comment that came over me too. It welled up in me in a way I had never experienced either. It was a time of powerful prayer that at the end was when I received my heart’s healing and the compassion for my husband. I pray God is going to do that same healing work in you and this righteous anger you feel will lead to powerful prayers that bring glory to God.

          26. I did not receive any healing through this prayer.

            I have entered a serious battle with doubt today. Sending the kids back home each weekend is getting harder and harder. I even began looking up painless ways to end life 🙁 I am writing this because I read that acknowledging this is a good way to make sure you don’t follow through.

            Then my mind thinks “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ” and “Abraham died not having received the things promised” and I waver and struggle.

          27. HH,

            God used your post on FB to reach over 1500 people with hope and such a powerful illustration of how we can trust Him and how good He is. The enemy may be speaking to you and whispering terrible temptations, but this story is not over. You are in the “plot thickening” part right now – not the conclusion. Don’t give up, our brother! Continue to allow God to fill you to overflowing. He is good!

            Abraham did receive some things that God promised – Isaac, for example. And his descendants have received many of GOd’s promises and many are still being fulfilled today and will be fulfilled in the coming years. I know you know – God is faithful and He keeps His promises. 🙂

            And YES! God will supply all of your needs!!!

            The enemy wants to shot you down. He wants to destroy your faith and all that God desires to do in and through you and your family. But God is much greater!

            Lift your eyes to Christ!!! Check out these songs…

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

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

          28. Father, I lift up HH right now to you. In the name of Jesus, I pray that You will wash over Him with your peace and comfort. I pray that You will give him eyes to see that he is under spiritual attack and that You are not the author of fear and confusion and despair. I pray that as he comes through this bump in the road, he would come out on the other side with increased faith, increased boldness, increased power in You, God. Take what the enemy means for evil in Your son’s life and use it for good!

            We put our eyes back on you, Jesus. From You and through You and to You are all things! All!! You are carrying HH in Your arms, You will never leave or forsake Him. You know the good plans You have for him….Help him to be still and know that You are God. This is a time of surrender again – of which there will be many more to come in our life on this earth.

            Thank you, Jesus!

            Amen

          29. Brother, do NOT listen to the enemy’s lies! Your children need you HERE. I know the pain of losing a parent to suicide. You do not want to leave your children with that kind of pain. It changes a child, leaves unspeakable scars and lasts a lifetime.

            Please seek help immediately if you are feeling suicidal.

            Lord, we lift HH to you and ask you to bring help to him right now. We bind and rebuke the evil plan satan is trying to unleash upon his mind. Give HH peace in his mind, his heart and renewed hope that all will be well. Amen.

            Remember HH the enemy fights us the hardest when we have a huge victory ahead. He is throwing all his tricks at you to get you to quit so the glorious plan God has won’t come to fruition. Don’t fall for his lying schemes.

            Stay in the Word and speak the Word out anytime the enemy tries to whisper in your ear. Use the Word against him. Find your favorites verses and say them LOUD and STRONG. Let the enemy know who you belong to! Remind him who already defeated him!

          30. On a lighter note….wow, HH….you haven’t felt anger in 7 years!!!??? I think you may have something to teach us here. 🙂 Lord, give me some of that!!! lol

          31. CiC. You do not want to go on the journey I have walked to overcome anger!! 🙂 HH

          32. I like this idea! 🙂

            I would also like to add a prayer that those of us that may not be prayer warrior types yet will learn and grow in this area so that we can be more helpful to each other and to our own situations.

            In Christ,
            Flower

          33. Yes!! Amen. God will show you that spiritual weapons are best. There are so many promises regarding prayer in His Word that I wonder how many things we don’t have simply because we didn’t ask (as James says, I think!) It is a mystery that God would allow us to come boldly before His throne and that He would change events and move mountains simply because we come, in faith, believing in His power and goodness. Praying for you right now, Flower, that God will do a mighty work in you in this area! I need lots more work in this area myself!!!

          34. I should clarify for my conscience’s sake! My friends counseled me with God’s wisdom and spoke words of blessing over me rather than pray.

          35. I don’t think I could add much more to what you so beautifully stated! I am praying today with you for all these things! God be praised and may marriages be saved in His glory!

          36. My prayers today surprised me with anger as well. I was brought to sobbing tears with grief over the sin on Earth and how overwhelming that grief is for one person, yet God handles it with 7.4 billion of us sinners!!!! I was moved to share my learned wisdom about the bleeding lady in Mark 5:25. I shared it in April’s Blog about trusting God.

            We are so reluctant to seek God first, we exhaust ourselves trying to live in our own power. I prayed thst we all seek God first and for Him to orchestrate His perfect will and timing in our lives.

  28. Christ is risen !
    The Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter today !

    So, I’m in too ! I will be praying today with you and for you all !
    Thanks.

    1. Truly He is risen!!!
      I am Orthodox too! Did you hear the wonderful Paschal sermon by St. John Chrysostom last night in your church? I was thinking of everyone here during it.

      “If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

      And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

      Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

      O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.”

  29. Ok I have to share some things that have happened today and in the past couple of days. No, it’s not related to marriage healing but it is God at work I’m sure.

    This morning I received a text from a friend who doesn’t know our situation saying that he woke up thinking of me and wanted to let me know that.

    This evening I received a text from my wife’s cousin who also doesn’t know our situation and wanted to say that he’d been thinking of me and that I was a great husband and father.

    On the weekend I received a text from a friend saying that I am the one friend apart from Jesus who he can trust implicitly (wow and scary).

    Yesterday some friends said that the changes in me over the last two years have been phenomenal and encouraged them to seek the Lord much more.

    Sunday a friend at church said to me that he has been humbled by how much I am searching for Christ and by the reality of my faith in this crisis and he was moved to tears by my desire and commitment to seek God’s will.

    Last night the elders of the church met with me (they were notified of the separation this week) and talked through the situation and confirmed that I have been a blessing to the church in the last two years and encouraged me to continue as I am.

    Last Friday a friend met with me and said that He has been challenged deeply in his faith by the way I am seeking the Lord through the pain.

    I have had so many people confirming to me that I am on the right path! I do not boast in anything save the cross of Christ but these things have been such an encouragement to me 🙂 HH

    1. HH, so tell me again how you are NOT feeling the spirit upon you???!!! This just screams to me that He hears you and is working on your behalf! He is greatly pleased by your righteous living. You have finally found what being a Christian is all about! ” what you do unto the least of my people, you do unto me”. So your wife may not be among the list gere, but look how many other of God’s children (don’t forget PW blog people) you have helped to come back to Him. Your wife is not your only sister in Christ! Alleluia for God’s ways working through you! Do not be discouraged, He is communicating with you and telling you “well done, my good and faithful servant”. Seems to me you are on the right track. You are a beacon of God’s love for others to see. Praise Him!

      1. HH, I haven’t chimed in much but I’ve been reading all of the comments on this post, and just wanted to remind you that our feelings are not absolute truth. They are gauges to warn us at times, and God does give us emotions, but we are not to use our feelings as determinations and say that because we don’t “feel” God or the Holy Spirit, He must not be filling us or present with us.

        You are displaying the fruits of the Spirit, and He is with you, because He promised He would be when you seek Him! You are seeking Him earnestly. Trust the truth of Scripture, and rest in His promises. 🙂

    2. I guess I think I don’t feel the Holy Spirit as I have so many times where I think of myself over others (not love), feel really sad and lonely in the mornings (not joy), have a lot of heartache (not peace).

      I kind of imagined it to be a massive flow like Quinn wrote where I would all of a sudden be able to love people with no thought for my own welfare, be able to see my wife’s sins and not be personally hurt by them and so on.

      1. HH,

        Having the Holy Spirit does not make us immune from pain. It makes us immune from sinful thinking and the pain of sinful and wrong thinking. But not from the pain of sin. Sin hurts. It grieves God, Himself. There will be sadness and difficult emotions to wade through when we have the Holy Spirit and at the same time, there is joy in Christ. And we can worship and praise Him and rejoice in Him even in our sorrow and grief and pain. We can take our pain to Him and He can help us.

        If God is hurt by sin, surely we will be, too!

  30. Another encouraging article – Thank you. I’ve been “in the trenches” for several months now. God has used your book/website in a wonderful way in my life. Thank you for your faithfulness in reminding women to put Christ first and to find true meaning/fulfillment in Him. I can’t tell you what a sincere encouragement and help you’ve been. I’m going through the most painful time I’ve ever known, but God is near and is giving me comfort (and even joy) through the many tears.

  31. I shared this on my Peaceful Wife Blog FB page this morning:

    Mother’s Day is a tough day for so many people for a variety of reasons:

    – those who don’t have a good relationship with their mom or children right now
    – those who have lost their mom to death
    – those who are unable to have children (for whatever reason) and those who are struggling with infertility
    – those who are not married but long for children
    – those who have lost a baby or child
    – those who feel unappreciated as wives/moms
    – husbands who are separated/divorced from their wives
    – wives who are separated/divorced from their husbands
    – those with dysfunctional family dynamics
    – those who are separated from family and loved ones by distance
    – those who are sick or in the hospital
    – those who feel their expectations about this day haven’t been met
    – those with mothers who are suffering from dementia or other chronic or terminal diseases

    Let’s pray for those who are hurting today,

    Lord,
    We thank You for marriage, for families, and for Your beautiful design. We praise You for the wisdom You had in creating families and human relationships that are the bedrock of our lives and our societies. There are many for whom Mother’s Day is a very difficult day.

    Wrap Your arms around each one who is hurting today. Lift their heads to look into Your eyes blazing with love for them. Help them to cling to You alone. You have promised, “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” and we rejoice in this amazing promise and the 8000 other promises in Your Word for us! We hold You dear to our hearts as the Greatest Treasure there is. Pour Your comfort, healing, rest, and hope into hurting hearts around the world today. Fill our minds, hearts, and mouths with thanksgiving and praise to You. Help us to focus on Philippians 4:8 things (whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy).

    Help us to take our thoughts captive for Christ and shoot down the destructive thoughts from the flaming arrows of the enemy on which he would like us to meditate. Let us be still before You and know that You alone are God. Let us allow You to fill us to overflowing with Your Spirit and Your goodness. Shine brightly through us today. Use us in mighty ways for Your kingdom to bless others. Turn this day into something that brings glory to You in our lives even in the midst of our pain.

    In the Name and power of Christ,
    Amen!

    1. Thank you for your prayer April.

      Mothers Day this year also happens to be my birthday.

      It was a lonely day.

      May God bring this season to an end soon.

      1. HH,

        Happy birthday our dear brother!!!! I have been praying for you and others here who are hurting deeply. I know that God is creating something so beautiful and powerful in you in this fierce storm.

        In Him,
        April

          1. Thank you 🙂

            I am finding that my faith is being challenged very much. Each new ‘stage’ of the separation brings new pain. For example seeing them move into their own home, birthdays, mothers day etc.

            I went away for the weekend to see my siblings… (edited out by PW for privacy)

            And then she comes around with the kids this morning to borrow some groceries and sits on the couch with her head in her hands. Says she’s doing terrible.

            It’s creating situations that are frankly difficult for me to deal with.

            My faith must be in God alone, not my pastors words, my parents words, your words etc. I am struggling a bit in my little boat.

            HH

          2. Humbled Husband,

            I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this would be. I pray for God’s wisdom, strength, direction, and power for you!

            Yes, I agree – this has to be all you and God. It is a very personal journey. There is a lot of private wrestling to be done.

          3. I think it is good that she is struggling in a way yes. Much as I don’t WANT her to hurt it is probably good that she is facing some of the consequences of her decisions.

          4. I’m battling to know how to handle it. I’m taking the approach of 1 Corinthians 6 of “letting myself be wronged” and trusting God to provide. I think she knows that she is not handling it rightly and my grace may well be a good thing. But I am definitely struggling to know the best approach. HH

          5. Hi HH, CIC, LMS, April and all.. I’ve been a bit quiet lately but have been feeling really bad as I only just read this whole thread a couple days ago. I had been concentrating on The Surprising Root of Marriage Problems and reading my books and hadn’t even looked at this one. You’ve all been going through so much over here. The strength and advice you’ve all given me is amazing whilst going through your own pain. There’s too much I want to say but I just don’t have it in me.

            HH I agree with others. Your wife speaking to you and playing music etc is very positive and I know this doesnt mean it’s all gonna be better soon but still, I was VERY happy to read this. CIC you’re the sweetest lady. So encouraging to me and I’m praying for you. LMS it feels like your husband may have jumped a huge hurdle hugging you but I know there’s a long way to go. All I can say is that my prayers are for you all as well each day.

            I would like to ask for specific prayers for my husbands eyes to be opened to the effects his alcohol addiction is having. I’ve learned the amount he drinks would be causing depression and depleting his male hormones which could be contributing to his lack of desire and good feelings towards me. He’s in a fog of alcohol and I can’t see things changing until he can think clearly It’s going to have to be prayer that changes this. He will not hear it from me or anyone. He said he will end the marriage if I ask him to stop drinking. I’m starting to get angry at the fact that he is controlling my life and future. He’s willing to devastate me and our 3 children for his own selfishness. He’s so blind. Thank you and my thoughts are always with you all. Xx

          6. Bel,

            Yes, alcohol is a depressant and can definitely impact testosterone levels significantly.

            Have you been reaching out for help from anyone – like Celebrate Recovery, Al-Anon or a godly counselor who is familiar with alcoholism?

            You would rather have the marriage “as is” with the alcoholism than to say that this is not okay and set a boundary? If so, why is that?

            Yes, someone addicted to alcohol is completely blind. Alcohol is all that matters. They don’t make sound decisions or think about the needs of others. Alcohol is the master and they are the slave.

            Praying for the resources and wisdom you need to make the best decisions for you and your children.

            Much love, my dear sister!!!

          7. Happy Birthday, HH. 🙂 I’m so sorry it was a painful one. I will pray for you tonight.

            I understand not knowing how to handle these things. I’m in that similar circumstance of being wronged and having a few options, but God seems to be leading me to do more of the “turning the other cheek” thing and blessing. I feel like if I get out of the way, God will be able to deal one on one with my husband, rather than my husband hearing my voice and words or seeing the hard-drawn boundaries. I also feel like there is something to overcoming this evil with grace and blessing. It certainly makes the contrast more apparent, I think.

            All that to say, that doesn’t mean that I think boundaries are wrong or that God can’t and won’t lead you a different way. I pray that you will clearly hear His voice and know which way to go.

            I also hope that your wife will reach the end of herself sooner rather than later. And, that you will be strong and resist the urge to “save” her from coming to that end. I’d imagine that could be very hard to do, but if God is taking her there, then that is the best thing that could happen,

            I pray that God surprises you (and others as they see you!) with unexplainable strength, confidence and joy in Him this week!!

          8. HH, what did you do or say when your wife had her head in her hands and said she wasn’t doing well? I’m curious on how or if you responded.

          9. HH. I hope I’m not prying, but there is something niggling at me here. I know it has been hard for you, your wife, myself and my husband. After a huge blow out this past week, I woke up one morning with my husband wrapped around me in a hug. I thought he hated me. I was at my end, last frayed nerve. I was ready to throw in the towel…then the hug. I melted, I forgave, I found strength again. 1 hug. I may not totally trust it, but I allowed and received it.

            I don’t know what place you are in, if you would be in a place to hug or hold her just to acknowledge her pain with her. Let her cry or be held. To a woman, it is powerful medicine, to know that your husband cares about your feelings even through it all. Even through all you have been through. It feels like love, forgiveness, and mercy…the things God gives when He takes us under the Eagles wing. Even though it is quite a vulnerable place to put yourself, could you offer your wife that kind of unconditional love even though she has hurt you?

            I know I would rub my husband’s feet, the whole time telling God that “I don’t want to do this, I don’t think he deserves this, why do I have to do this, God? It’s not fair!!” I literally argued with God about what He was asking me to do. I didn’t want to “stoop” to being vulnerable to this man who hurt me over and over, but I couldn’t escape the feeling of what God wanted me to do….and I wanted to obey God more than I wanted to sit in my self pity. What I found is that it has been a seed planted in the soil of a new garden of our marriage. It has kept a thread of attachment between my husband and I. I see hope. He is not purusing a divorce anymore. But it has taken 1.5 years. We are in no way out of the woods, but, hope is a tiny seedling, growing in a garden.

            My prayers are with you.

          10. LMS, I am very glad to hear that your husband is not pursuing a divorce anymore 🙂 I am praising God for that now.

            Regarding your thoughts, I would HAPPILY offer her a hug and often have to refrain myself from giving her a hug! She is very huggable to me 🙂 The unconditional love being shown towards her is something I am very ready to give. The tricky part is knowing how and when to show that love and at the moment I am CERTAIN that she is not ready for a hug. I don’t know if she ever will be.

            I have offered a hug in the past couple of weeks when she was struggling a bit and she teared up and said no. But she knows I am ready to give it. Maybe that is enough at this stage?

            I also want to share something positive with you and y’all 🙂 It’s only minor but it’s helped me today. I’ve been battling to come to faith a bit lately, not really sure what God wants me to believe and struggling to find answers. This morning I simply prayed “Lord I’m struggling. I’m struggling to find answers, struggling to know what to do, struggling with loneliness, struggling to pray in faith, struggling to know where you want me to read and what you want to say to me. I’m just plain old struggling Lord. So I’m just going to lie here struggling until you pick me up and tell me what to do. That’s just where I am at Lord!”

            Went through the day and did what I needed to do. THEN she called me tonight and asks me if I could come over so we could talk about something (no details needed). I got down on my knees again and said “Lord I have no idea what to say. I’m leaving this with you! I’m just going to go, sit and listen!”

            So I trundled over and we started talking about what she needed to discuss. Ended up talking over an hour and it was proper communication! She put some music on halfway through (love songs too!?) and we had a drink together. And as I was leaving she was actually mildly flirtatious. Mildly only I emphasise.

            This is no brilliant reconciliation and to be frank I have no idea if one will happen anytime soon or ever. But what was very encouraging to me regardless of where it goes was that we were both communicating properly. That is good whatever happens. HH

          11. Oh my, HH, this is WONDERFUL news! I am praising God right now on a bus full of middle schoolers on my way to Mackinaw island with my daughter. I am smiling big! That is such a good start sign. I pray for many more of these discussions. Hopefully she sees that communication can happen and she can start to trust again. Our God is always Good!

          12. April, we had a lengthy conversation about things tonight and I have come away believing she was honorable in what she took despite how it seemed at face value. I don’t want to reflect her unfairly on here 🙂

        1. April, thank you for praying for us. I really can’t tell you what it means to know that you are – I know you are so busy and I know you must get overwhelmed with the stories you hear daily of hurting spouses. Thanks again for your prayers and support.

          1. ContentinChrist,

            You are most welcome. I am honored to get to walk this path with each of you. 🙂 And I am very grateful to get to pray for you. I actually don’t get overwhelmed by people’s trials. I hurt and grieve with each one who is hurting. I rejoice and cry tears of joy as I hear stories of victory and God’s miracles and provision. But I don’t allow myself to carry any of the weight of people’s burdens.

            If I catch myself starting to feel overly burdened, I know I need to go before God in prayer and lay all of the weight down before Him in His throne room in the highest heavens where He reigns in total sovereignty. I don’t know how to fix things. I can’t fix anyone’s problems or heal anyone. I know that I would be crushed by the weight if I tried to carry these heavy burdens. I used to live like that and even with just my own burdens – it was awful! Now, I lay everyone gently at the feet of Jesus. I don’t feel overwhelmed because I trust Him. I know Him. I know what He has done. I know what He can do. I can’t wait to see what He will do in each situation.

            I know my place. I get to walk beside people, pray with them, encourage them, love them, and try to help them see the vision of all that God can do and wants to do. I get to watch people taste and see that God is good. That never gets old. Jesus is the Healer – I am just one of the friends who helps to carry the hurting ones to Him on a mat and watch in awe as His miracles and power unfold in people’s lives. 🙂

            What a blessing that God has given us this place to share together as the Body. It is my greatest joy to watch God work in the lives of my sisters and brothers around the world and then to see Him pour through them into countless other lives. I can’t believe God lets me be part of this!!?!?!? I seriously feel like the most blessed woman on the planet. May Jesus be greatly exalted here! WOOHOO!!!!! 🙂

          2. I’m glad you don’t get overwhelmed! Yes, this site is a blessing and an encouragement.

            Love you, sister! 🙂

        1. HH,
          I love that song!

          I pray God will help you find the balance between giving grace and unconditional love and also not being enmeshed/codependent or promoting/ignoring sin. I know He has the wisdom you need in each situation. 🙂

          1. April, that could be a post by itself, right?!

            You make an important point. It can be a real “balancing act!” I think finding that balance can be rather difficult (understatement!), even for the most spiritually matured among us. Especially since there might be seasons/special circumstances/ certain times when we need to be “imbalanced,” and lean on one side more than the other. Then it gets confusing when that season/circumstance changes and one needs to go on the other side of the fence. It can sometimes be so fluid. However, even for those who need to be consistently “balanced,” it is a huge learning curve. Of course we need to constantly seek God’s wisdom and pray for his leading… but that still doesn’t make it easy. Thankfully though, nothing is impossible with God.

            Also, thanks for praying for us. It is such a joy to pray for each other. I trust that God will continue to strengthen and use you.

          2. Prayinglikehannah,

            I have a post about The Pendulum Effect that talks about this balancing mystery and also a post called, “Other People Don’t Know What Is Best for You” on my blog for single women that talks about this, too. It truly requires the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit flowing through us to get the balance right in each situation.

            On our own, I don’t believe any of us can do this. But as we yield to Christ as LORD and allow His Spirit to have control more and more – He directs our steps and prompts us, helping us know when to be silent, helping us know when to give grace, when to set boundaries, when to confront gently and respectfully, when to stand against sin, when to leave, when to move toward someone…

            Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

            Please pray I will be faithful and that God will empower me to be a big wide open pipe, totally devoted to Him through which His power, His truth, His love, and His Spirit can pour out and drench everyone who comes here. Pray with me that God will prepare the hearts of those who read and open their eyes and ears to Himself, that they might turn to Him in faith and live for Him as LORD.

            Much love!

          3. “On our own, I don’t believe any of us can do this.” That is definitely true.

            The challenge is that it is still so difficult even those of us who seek God earnestly. Yet, I know God’s power ultimately prevails. Thanks for the link…. I remember that title now. I’ll refresh my memory :).

            Definitely praying for you.

  32. Hello, Everyone…

    I wanted you to know I am still praying for all of you. I haven’t had much time lately to be on here but I have been reading the comments as I get them by email. It sounds like God is on the move for many of you! It is uplifting to see and I continue to believe there are going to be many victory stories in the future!

    Much love and blessings to you all!

    1. Thank you, Quinn!!! I just re-read most of your story. I’m going to print it out now before I forget where it is.

      God is moving and working in me. Last night, my husband and I had a hard conversation where I realized that he is still not able to be honest with me….and yet, God is giving me compassion for this man that I know is from Him. I was able to reach out to him and snuggle next to him and we were intimate – even after knowing that he is still not being able to be honest with me.

      Your story and the stories of other wives that are similar that I’ve read over the years are the stories that grip my heart and God uses to draw me deeper into this plan He has for me.

      I still don’t know the ending and the hidden things, and that is hard for me at times. Yesterday, especially, was hard, but I was reminded again that I am putting my eyes on my marriage and husband again, rather than keeping them on Jesus!

      Praying for you right now, sister, for you in your trial that God will embolden you with courage and give you peace.

      1. CiC…(((hugs))) I’m humbled that you would print my story out. God be praised that it is helping you so much!

        Oh, yes I see quite clearly in your posts that God is doing a mighty work in you!! I’m so excited to see your strength of character coming up in you. You are finding yourself and your way in Christ. It is beautiful.

        I’m sorry to hear your husband is still not being honest. I know that pain and heartache well. Keep your eyes looking up though. Don’t focus on his lies. That became an idol for me and I pray doesn’t happen to you. The lies were my husband’s problem to deal with between Him and God. I wanted to fix him though and get him to see his wrongs. So wrong of me. It was never my job to do. Yes, the lies hurt me deeply but I was never going to fix that part of him that felt the need to be deceitful. Only God could fix that. Thank God, He lead me here to April’s site. I learned what a huge mistake I was making in how I related to my husband. When I started to do things differently I started to see my husband for the wounded man he was. Not just the man who was hurting me. Wow, imagine that! When I took my eyes off myself and my need to control suddenly I saw the real man beside me. As God told me, sin is sin. I was no better. And God was dealing with me so I had to believe at some point He would also deal with my husband. And you’ve read the story…God sure did. I truly think I had to be out of the way though first. So God dealt with me first. Ironic, isn’t it? I was praying God fix him! And God said, OK you first! I do love our Lord’s sense of humor.

        To see God move in you and give you compassion for your husband, in spite of the dishonesty, oh that is simply wonderful! Isn’t that feeling the most amazing but hard to describe feeling ever?! You are so filled with love that you become so aware of God’s view of this person next to you. The pain doesn’t disappear it is transformed. You see it differently and you feel for your husband in a different way. It changes you as a wife and gives you a view of God that is simply priceless. I am PRAISING GOD that He gave you that experience!!!! I pray it for everyone!! And what a sweet gift that you also had intimacy together. I do believe God used our marriage bed to heal us after everything came to light. Our time together took the world away. There was no stress, bills or other opinions. Our focus was only on each other. We experienced a longing for each other that had long been gone. I truly believe God used that intimacy to bring oneness back to what He joined together. To heal our hearts, minds and spirits. I pray you have more moments of intimacy that bring that same healing to your marriage.

        Yes, reading others stories helped me so much too. Sharing our stories is how we help each other through life. It is painful to do at times. To be so vulnerable but if it helps others it is more than worth it. 🙂

        You sound like me. I have a hard time not knowing what is ahead too. I like to to plan things out. God likes to remind me my ways are not His and to relax…He’s got this covered. He does this in a creative way. He ALWAYS responds to me with Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. Like I get this in the oddest places. Places you don’t expect scripture. I really think it is how He reminds me to keep looking to Him first and always. Like you said it is easy to put your eyes back on the idols. With this verse reminder though it is how I pull focus back. I bet you have a verse reminder too. Maybe you haven’t seen it yet or maybe you have. If you haven’t seen it yet…pay attention…it’ll stop popping out at you. If you know what it is then hang on tight to it whenever you feel the pull to idols. This verse reminder is so precious to me that it almost feels like this fun game I get to play with my Father above. It is like He is leading me on a scavenger hunt. Always looking for the next, “Hey, Quinn! Be. Still. Child. I got this.” And then we get to laugh together at what joy it brings me to see where He left it that time!

        Thank you for your prayers. It is still a painful, troubling trial to be going through. I did see a glimmer of hope this past week that gave me a lift. God is working in it. As I said when I first mentioned it though I don’t think this is going to go the way I want it to go. I am having a very hard time with what that means going forward. It involves another person I love very, very much. Which is why I can’t mention it here. The choice they are making is ripping my heart out. And I am trying very hard to leave that pain and burden at His feet. I am failing miserably, though. I so desperately want Him to change this situation. And my feeling is He is going to but not for several years and after some painful lessons for this beloved person. Again I am reminded His plans are not mine and this is when I need to trust Him most.

        Anyway…thank you for your prayers. You remain in my daily prayers as well. I extend many hugs and so much love to you, my sweet sister.

  33. April, I don’t have celebrate recovery in my state. There is Alcoholics Anon in my closest city. I live out on a farm so nothing is close but I’ve been researching. I’m planning on making an appt when I can make it.
    Yes I’m afraid of even bringing it up let alone setting a boundary. I just know it will be over then. As he’s able to work hard and isn’t abusive I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do. I’m relying on prayer and God to see us through this.
    At the moment my husband is trying to decide if there’s a future for us. He’s leaning more towards no. Im very scared and it’s so painful. I had a few days of not being able to function. Lost weight. Huge fear. God is helping me hugely now as most days the pain in my belly is ok and I’m up and functioning. I’ve got so much support so I’m very blessed. It’s just so hard when I feel love and forgiveness for him and just want to tell him that. But I think anything i say will push him away more. I just can’t get over that he wants to end this because we are too different and want different things. ( as well as all our history of course) I don’t see this as a good enough reason to change and devastate the lives of me and his kids. It’s selfish. He’s supposed to give his life up for me. But I’m having to do it for him. I know God can change this. That’s what I’m praying for.

    1. Bel. I’m praying for you, my dear. God’s way may not quite be showing itself to you right now, but be certain he’s cooking something up behind the scenes. I understand how you feel about not devestating the lives of the kids. If you feel you are all safe and no abuse or toxic stuff, then maybe God wants you to stay. As hard as it is to face, I pray that you can see the fear of your husband leaving as from the enemy. Fear is from the enemy. He uses that fear to keep you from following God’s plan. I wonder if you can pray and meditate on how you would pick yourself up, and continue following God’s plan for you if your husband DOES decide to go? Can you still be the daughter God wants you to be? Can you be strong for your kids and do what you need to do to take care of them? Would you be able to do the hard things because they are right? Your husband will one day have to answer for his sins here. The trick is to not follow him in sin. To do what is right even when the wrong things happen. He very well might leave…so then what? Do you give up? Do you shut down and sit in the ashes while life continues on around you? Do you wallow in self pity while your kids, friends family watch you crumble? How will that help anyone…especially you? David stood up from the ashes after a time of grieving. He had lost everything. But he rose above it and followed God’s plan for him. He was victorious. I pray you can stop handing your joy and strength over to this mere human sinner who you allow to have this control over you. I pray you see that EVERY person on earth, even your kids, have the ability to disappoint you in life. It’s why we can only hold them loosely, but we can trust God and can hold Him tightly. I pray that you can look up and know your strength and future now lies in God. If your husband leaves, you can still be a victor, not a victim! It may not be the dream you had for your life and marriage, but it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have something better. Your husband may NOT leave, but he may. But I don’t care if he does or not. I care about your following God and trusting Him more than anything. I see you having these idols…and I had them too: you want your marriage over God, your husbands feelings or avoiding his anger/conflict over God. Avoiding him leaving and fear of how this will affect your kids. I have and am in those stages back and forth too. I get crippled with fear when I think my kids are emotionally and mentally affected by this situation. It crushes me.

      So I pray that you can truly put God ABOVE your marriage….meaning you would be willing to give it up if God asked you to. Once you don’t need it, you are freed from that prison. Then you can live the life God wants you to. However, it doesn’t mean God wants your marriage to end…unless He is saving you from something you don’t even know about. Maybe God is trying to get you into a safe mental place first, so then He can work on your husband. But as long as your marriage is your priority, then God cannot work on your H. We may not ever understand His ultimate plan for us, bit we can be certain that He will work all things for our good. Please hold that truth close to you and let your husband experience the consequences God has for his sins. You NEED to run YOUR race, seperate from your husband. It’s not a 3 legged race…for salvation. It’s a personal one. I had to place my marriage on the sacrificial altar before I could find peace and freedom from the pain of losing my dream. I pray you can ask God for the courage to do this. To offer it up and walk away from trying to keep it. Then God can work on it for you. You will feel lightened and free. He can fix it and hand it back to you better than ever, or scrap it and give you something better. Either way, you dont want that old, destructive misguided marriage. You dont want the past. You dont want that broken, dishonoring thing, do you? Dont you want something better? Don’t you want what Gdo wants for you…His will, His plan.. which is always better than our own plans? You can feel that rest you need right now. Then, your husband and God can get to work. I’m not saying to end the marriage, I’m saying end the idol of your marriage. Resolve to live for God…even IF it ends. You want something from your husband that he just cannot give you. So stop expecting it. Stop seeking it in him. Get it from God. Get your approval from God, get your worth and live and acceptance from God.

      You are so loved. I pray all the time for you. I pray you grow strong, yet graceful. I pray you learn how to rise above all of this and be courageous along side God. You will be okay, but please “let go…and let God”, my dear sister. You may not be able to see a way through all this right now, but know deep in your heart that God can make a way. You are going to be okay, sweetheart, I just feel it. This is tough. It’s not easy, but you are SO much stronger than you think you are!!! Please trust in God. Please step out from hiding from God. Raise your arms up to Him to give it all to Him.

      1. LMS.
        I love hearing from you. That you think of me everyday and pray for me means so very much. Thank you.
        I love that God is “cooking something up”. I feel terrible but I find myself wishing He’d just start on my husband. Cook something up in HIM. Open HIS eyes. Make him get sick from the alcohol so he would realize its effects. Just something. But it seems my husband is just getting it all his way. He’s got me scared to speak, move, feel. Holding me prisoner in a way, as he knows I’m hurting and don’t want our marriage to end. It’s like he holds all the cards and I hold none. I’ve got God though. Most of the time I feel that I don’t want my marriage MORE than God. I just want both. I’ve made a covenant with God over my marriage. It feel counterproductive to pray to NOT have it as so important. I get it. But I don’t. I want to honor my marriage vows. I know that I must do this though. I pray to be able to let go of this idol. To want it but not too much. I tell God I’m weak and ask for forgiveness and ask him to change me. I’m emotional when I do. So why isn’t it working?
        We are definitely safe. He’s a very loving dad. They adore him. They have been afraid of his moods and anger but it’s not at them. I’m not feeling like I should be leaving. But am I hearing? Listening? Ive always struggled knowing when/if Gods speaking to me.
        I know my fear is bad and wrong. It’s showing lack of faith. All I can pray is ‘Lord I believe, forgive my unbelief’. That the only prayer that makes sense. I do believe. But I’m weak.
        My mind goes to life without my husband. How I’d cope. What I’d do. I’ve been with him since 17. It’s an old fashioned marriage. He’s always been the head. The decision maker. He takes care of everything. Finances, vehicles, etc. I don’t have confidence in how I’d live on my own. I know nothing else but the security he has given me in life. I’m very blessed in many ways. I can’t bear to imagine him with someone else. We’ve only ever slept with each other. This is special to me. We are rare and I’ve always felt so lucky in that.
        I think about God all through every day. I’m always thinking of Him, talking to Him. I want to do what He wants me to. I’m obviously very weak. I try so hard but keep coming up short. So frustrating. I’m jealous of people who hear Him clearly. Like they have His favour and a direct line to Him. I want one. I want to hear and be confident He’s guiding me.
        My prayer for you is that you don’t lose your faith or hope in any way. You’ve worked so hard and come so far. I hate to read you’re still struggling too. We are only human though hey. Do you think the hug was a one off for the moment? Do you think your husband is softening at all? Oh I pray for it for you.
        Thank you again for your loveliness. You are an inspiration to me.

        1. Hi Bel.

          I am certain that it is a good thing to want to honor your marriage. I am also certain that God is hearing your prayers. The tears and emotions of His children are precious and His heart grieves over our pain, even when we cause it ourselves!! How amazing is that love!

          Jesus heart is moved by the feelings of our weakness. He cried when he saw Mary and Martha’s pain over the loss of Lazarus. He understands our human relationships and the desires we have for good relationships. I am certain of this. The tricky bit is to have these relationships in their healthy sphere.

          I am a spiritual baby so please take the words I am going to write and pray about them as to whether they are true. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction if they are not true words.

          I think that you can make a decision to move forward in faith and still feel some fear. I know that I feel some fear. Fear at what else God may call me to go through, fear at what else my wife may do that is hurtful and damaging to me and my children. But I am resolved to move forward in faith, trusting that God can and will help me deal with whatever happens and trusting that it will be for my good.

          I realised again yesterday that these trials are actually an expression of God’s love for me! We often think of God’s love as only being there if we experience only ‘happy’ things. But this is not true. We love our children enough to tell them when something is not good for them. If God did not love me then He would just give me over to a reprobate mind and let me go on in my unhealthy way of thinking amd relating (Romans 1). The fact that He is calling me to Him and bringing this trial to me is evidence of His love. He knows what I need to grow in Him.

          I may be in a position of weak faith but I understand your cry of “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”. Even that cry is faith Bel!

          I don’t know if you read my example of the iceberg and the boat? My boat is a place that I am LEARNING to trust. When my kids were learning to walk they were sometimes really scared! My daughter would let go of the couch and cry sometimes, but she was letting go! I think our walk by faith can be a bit like that, even when we have let go of the iceberg and stepped into the boat we can bring some of our fear with us. Please don’t beat yourself up over your fear. Recognise it as fear and tell God you are scared! But keep stepping out in faith.

          I would LOVE to be one of those people that hear God’s voice constantly and know what way to go. I don’t hear it like that. I don’t hear it much at all actually. Only a few specific occasions that I definitely knew His direction.

          Praying for you again. HH

          1. Hi HH,
            Thank you. You are such a caring thoughtful guy. I so appreciate and feel blessed to have you writing to me with your thoughts and advice. For a ‘baby’ Christian, you are amazing. I’ve been a Christian and been bought up in the church from birth. I’m 40 and don’t feel as wise as you are, and LMS too. I feel like I’ve floated through the years with no real substance or something. Thinking I was a Christian but missing so much depth (can’t think of the right words).
            It certainly is mind boggling how much God loves us undeserving people. Again I’m ashamed when I think it’s been over 10 years of often debilitating pain in our marriage, and I’ve been praying for help for that long too, so why hasn’t he helped me yet? Obviously my motives and priorities have been all wrong. I just wish it didn’t have to take so long.
            I do believe I fully realize that God is the only goal that truly matters. If I have my husband and a happy marriage but don’t have God, I have nothing. I know this. I do. Again- FEAR. I’m glad a bit of fear is normal. Like you, it’s the fear of what we may have yet to walk through. And for me it’s that I was 17. He taught me to drive. We’ve only had each other. I know no other way but with him. I have no real skills. I’m not the brainiest person. So I’m scared of a possible life without him.
            I do get comfort from the Bible where we are to rejoice over our trials as we are being taught precious lessons. I try so hard to look at it that way.
            I love your iceberg and boat story. You wrote that to me a couple weeks ago. And I love how you likened fear and letting go to your daughter learning to walk. Beautiful. It’s really does help. Thank you HH. God bless you. You are in my prayers.

          2. I am glad it was a help. We all need help! I sure do!

            It’s to my shame that I am a spiritual baby Bel, I was brought up in a Christian home also and I could probably quote large portions of the bible to you! But I didn’t ‘get’ it until 7 years ago and even then didn’t ‘live’ it until this marriage shakeup. That’s what has really focused me and I’m actually glad of it despite the pain. It’s making me ‘real’. I am definitely in the best place I have been spiritually in all my years!

            I appreciate your prayers Bel. May God be glorified through us all.

          3. HH
            Yes, we are all being shaken up. It’s causing us to turn to God like never before. I cannot be devastated when I truly think of it this way. Again, that verse about trials comes to mind.
            I wish you didn’t feel shame. The criminal on the cross was saved at the last minute of his life. And that’s the most important thing. At least we have realized before it was too late.
            Praying for God to bless you and guide you.

          4. Bel. I have a very dark and shameful past. At the moment, in her own pain, my wife is sharing that past with everybody I know. Although this past is many years ago it is difficult to walk down the street without seeing looks of disgust directed towards me. My shame is very very strong. Without Christ I would have ended life long ago. HH

          5. HH,
            Oh – this breaks my heart! 🙁 How I pray God will intervene soon in her life. And I pray for God’s wisdom and strength for you – that God might take this information which is shameful and use it for His glory the way He has done with my life. Perhaps God may lead you to speak about how He has changed you and to share it publicly yourself? I don’t know – thinking “out loud” here as I try to process this. But I know that He can use even this somehow for His kingdom. So I am praying for that and for you and your wife. May He open her eyes to what she is doing and bring her to Himself. May He continue to transform your heart and mind and heal you for His glory!

          6. April. Thank you. I know you can understand some of what I am going through.

            I have shared some of it publicly and am waiting on God’s leading to know the next step. It is possible that the Lord wants this brought out to be used as an example of His changing grace but it does not make the shame any less.

            I suspect a lot of my doormat actions over the past seven years were an effort to make up for shame. I also suspect that my perfectionism has been increased by these experiences as a way of trying to make good.

            I have a lot of thoughts rattling around in my head.

            On a positive note, there is no pride left in me since these last few weeks and days.

            I lie in dust, life’s glory dead.
            I wait for God to lift my head.

          7. HH,

            What helps, in my view, with shame – is to realize that God’s power can take us from the filthy, sinful, wretched, hopeless creatures that we were – and transform us to be more and more like Christ. It is all Him! Saul’s previous life as a persecutor of the church was later used by God to bring Him glory. It was obvious who changed Saul! It wasn’t him or his strength. Mary Magdalene’s past sins were forgiven and used for God’s glory. She met Jesus and His power changed her. The disciples who were afraid for their lives and hiding became dynamic, bold, courageous preachers who risked their lives once the Holy Spirit came and transformed them. My forest of sin – way more than just a plank in my eyes – my pride, self-righteousness, control, idols, bitterness, unforgiveness, gossip, hatred, contention, and foolish destruction in my marriage – God changed that in me. I couldn’t do it.

            I wanted, at first, to go live in a cave and never talk to anyone again when God opened my eyes. I thought I had been practically perfect! I didn’t want anyone to know about all of my shameful sin. I threw away all of my journals from the early part of this journey because I never wanted anyone to see the awful motives and sin with which I wrestled. And now God uses the very things of which I was most ashamed to draw many to Himself. If He can change me, “the chief of sinners,” He can change others! Not because I am good now. There is no good in me on my own. Any goodness is all Jesus’ doing in me.

            Your story, I believe, will impact many for Christ as God leads you about how and when to share it. “Yes, this was the man I was. Yes, look at the terrible sin in my life before. But God has changed me! God changed my heart, mind, desires, motives, and nature! And God can do that for any of us!”

            I am sure that you swung too far the other way to try to make up for what you had done earlier. But thankfully, we don’t have to erase our shame. Jesus can do that! We can acknowledge that we were spiritually blind before and that we didn’t understand what we were doing or how to stop. But God opened our eyes and showed us His ways.

            This experience is being used by God and will continue to be used by Him to refine and purify you and to prepare and equip you for what He has in store in the future. The good He has in store for your future. 🙂

            God will lift your head in His timing as you have humbled yourself. I am excited to see all that He will do in and through you!

          8. Dear HH
            Ok so you have a dark and shameful past. I’m so sad and sorry that you are going through this. None of this makes me feel any different towards you. We are all sinners. And sin is sin to God. He has wiped your slate clean and does every day. Your sins have been paid for. They are no more to Him. I know many do, but we are not to judge anyway. I will pray for you to receive strenth every day to be able to hold your head up. I’m not good at this but surely your wife is doing this to justify her own actions. Ease her own guilt. She must be overflowing with shame to want to do this. You are the father of her children. She is not thinking clearly and this is hard for me to think of you going through this. And I don’t even know you. Actually. I know enough. We do better when we know better. You’re a good man. Praise God you found Him! Like April said, if it is Gods will, this can be used to help so many and for His glory. I pray also that you can hear God clearly on what to do. ( I know you and I have trouble with that). I’ve heard of this many times. You can make a difference in someone’s life with your story. Even ONE lost sheep. It will be worth it. You deserve a new story. A positive one with our Lords help and guidance. Please stay strong HH. We are all here to support you.

          9. Bel, that is what my counselor thinks. That she is dragging this up to justify her own actions. Doesn’t make it much easier for me though unfortunately.

            I told her I am committed to bearing the shame of people knowing who I was if it is needed as a part of her finding peace and happiness.
            It is my prayer and hope that she is able to come to a place where she is deeply secure and content in who and where she is.
            I truly hope that in sharing her pain with who she feels she needs to share it with that she is able to deal with it and move forward!

            Thanks for your prayer on hearing God’s voice. I have been thinking a lot through my perfectionism and finding contentment and something written here is staying with me, specifically some of the lies that perfectionism is based on. I feel that there is a deeper level of contentment that I can find somehow. Letting go of my idols has been done as much as I am aware of but I feel there is more. I don’t have 100% contentment.

            Christ’s love. HH

          10. HH,

            I also have a very shameful past. I felt guilt and shame for many years over it. Several things helped me.

            One was the realization that scripture never tells us to forgive ourselves. It’s not commanded, it’s not even suggested, because forgiveness of ourselves is meaningless in light of God’s forgiveness.

            Another was a comment someone wrote on another one of April’s posts. She said that our sense of justice is NOT higher than God’s. If God says we are forgiven and free, who are we to continue to say, “But look what I did!”?

            Lastly, by that same commenter, she pointed out that when we are given new life, that is Christ in us. We must treat our new selves with respect, because that is CHRIST we are disrespecting otherwise.

            I hope these things will bless you as they did me! I haven’t participated in the conversations much, but you are all in my thoughts and prayers. God is already victorious; He has already won! We must live in that truth and not in the “what ifs”!

          11. Victorious Wife, thank you. This is very much worth me reading and thinking on. HH

          12. Bel. I’m a baby christian too, but I was a “religious” person since birth to 12 years. Big difference. I was raised in church, did communion, confirmation, classes etc. But when my parents divorced at 12, I threw on the brakes. I felt it all a lie. So, for the next 30 years, I did not follow God.

            Am I being punished now for me turning from Him? Yes, but no. I am forgiven. I understood in a matter of minutes what God was about…yet for 42 years, I couldn’t “get” it. I’m shamed it took me so long, but I don’t dwell on it.

            I am more full of joy that I have finally arrived! The past is in the past. New baby Christian or not, we only know what we know and we act on it. The trick is to keep seeking wisdom and never be away from our Teacher. Much love, Bel and HH.

          13. LMSdaily115,

            Let’s praise God He didn’t leave us where we were but that He opened our eyes!

            He is even able to use the timing of when He opens our eyes for His glory – as He is doing with my life. He is using those years of sin and rebellion against Him and His transformation of me by His power alone to draw thousands to Himself now. I can’t be upset about that. I have to just praise God. 🙂

          14. You know what, Bel? I also got married very young – 19 – and also, like you, my husband manages everything. Finances, cars, major decisions…..everything. During this period of estrangement that we’ve had this last month, I started realizing that I might have to start making all these decisions on my own. I also have felt like you before – like I’m not so smart and my husband is oh, so genius that I must not be able to make good decisions without him.

            Um, no. That is from the enemy. I can’t remember the different things that I had to do during this past month, but there seemed to be several incidents where I felt I was having to do things or make decisions that I would normally have called my husband about. And, I was realizing that I can do this!

            If my husband walks away from our marriage because he’s not happy that I’m starting to set some healthy boundaries, then I can do this!! I am smart – I have the mind of Christ! and He is my Provider and Protector. Ultimately, He’s the one who takes care of us. Yes, God allows our husbands to meet that need for us, but if the husband is removed, God is not removed! He will lead and guide you.

            You are a strong woman of God, Bel!

            Love you –

          15. Hi CIC
            Wow, I’m so happy that you are so strong. You are inspiring to me too. Thank you. Yes God will never leave me. How amazing. I’m trying to be strong and positive. I’m doing pretty well at the moment actually. Just when I dwell on what my husband told our pastor 2 weeks ago, I still feel physically sick. He told him he regrets ever marrying me. That is just way to painful. Our marriage was a mistake to him. It kills me. And it wasn’t just a random comment. He thought about what he was going to speak to our pastor about. It’s really how he feels and has for a long time. I’m not sure there’s any hope after that comment. However I’m not giving up. God is certainly sustaining me each day.
            Love to you CIC.

          16. I thought I had responded to this the other day –

            Anyway, Bel, know that I am not the strong one, but God is! Those incidents just showed me that God will give me the strength and wisdom I need to make decisions about things I haven’t really had to think about for years….if that’s what He calls me to.

            His grace is more than sufficient for us for whatever He calls us to walk through.

            Don’t forget the truth that so many of us have learned here and that April reminds us of often – that a husband’s feelings can change and just because they say one thing, doesn’t necessarily mean that is the whole story. 😉 Don’t forget the enemy would love to keep you in fear over things like this.

            We can laugh at the days to come (Proverbs 31) with God on our side, Bel! He has all of this in His hands and He is writing a beautiful story through us.

            Love to you, too, Bel! Thank you so much for praying for me and others here, too. I will keep praying for you & others in the trenches.

        2. Bel, when I “hear” God speaking to me, it ferl a bit like a string of coincidences. I just choise to hear Hod in them. For me, it’s the song that “hapoens” to be on the radio just then, or a bumper sticker that says “Hope College ” (that one still blows me away), or an article, a conversation. A big one is a specific phrase that pops up many times over the course of a day or two. Things like that. Sometimes I test it and just open the bible at random. I pray for God to show me what’s next. And it never fails…I get drawn to some passage and an “aha” moment comes to me. I choise to beleive it is how Gid talks to me. I pay close attention to that “gut” feeling. I thought many times I needed to leave my husband, but I never felt it was right…so against everything I felt inside..I stayed. I didn’t want to, but I DID want to obey God more.

          I want my martiage to be restored too. It’s my second greatest desire, though. My first is that I desire what God wants for my life first. I just don’t know what that is…He only tells me one day at a time. So, todsy, I am to stay, forgive my husband when he is angry, upset or grumpy. Forgive him when he isn’t the husband I want him to be. I am to laugh and be full of joy in God’s gifts. I am to be a mother…an attentive one. I am to respect this difficult man, even if I don’t think he deserves it right niw. I am to give him lots of space and room to make his mistakes and figure out himself. I am to wait patiently, but to continue to live a life. I am to take care of myself and treat myself with respect, love and care. I am to search out people who need help, encouragement and love. Sometimes that is an elderly person at the nursing homes I work with, sonetimes it’s my adult roomates on my kids field trip who is struggling with fear and just needed to hear encouragement. Many times it’s you, my dear, or another PW blogger, or April herself. It’s all over. God is love. Others, besides your h could use it too. The best thing, it helps the giver more. It will get you away from obsessing about your cruddy marriage. Life will not be 100% perfect. So, you and i, our life is not perfect in this area. But other areas are great, right? Let’s dwell on THAT for a bit. Let some of our husbands “fallout” settle. Let the emotional pendulums of our husbands swing without interferance, but control our own as much as we know how right now. Time can heal this, but we need to quit picking at the scab.

          Your h is wrestling. He is all over emotionally. Mine started drinking too, but he stopped on his own. He bumbed into God (who used the police and guilt and embarrassment at work) to do His will. I am thankful to God for it. I couldn’t have changed him. It is most likely your husbands coping mechanism. Not a goid one, but there all the same. Some people do drugs, get promiscuous, do other crimes or self mutilate. Some seek God. I see only one way out, one way to cope with life’s dissapointments. ..God, and, side benefit, it’s not destructive! (bonus!!!) I pray you can settle down a bit, set your fear and control down and just give it up. Say to Him “God, I’m tired. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do, but I am giving it to you, God. You know what’s best. I’m not going to think about it right niw. I’m going to rest under your wing and let my soul rest. I will seek to be an example of your love and live like Jesus. I will go where you lead me and say the words you place in my mouth. I am yours to do with as you please, Lord. I trust you with my life. I don’t want to be in control of this plane anymore. I will gladly be your copilot, but you are in charge, Lord”

          In this way, you can release the responsibility to make things happen. This is not to give permission to be foolish, but rather, to truly give up your sinful control and release fear.

          All of us have this “fairytale” picture of a happily ever after life with our husbands. Honey, it just got the page ripped out by satan, the wicked witch, whatever. Scratch the record…your dominoes didn’t fall as planned. Ugh. So now what? So. Now. What???? Might as well walk away from that unrealistic, imposdible, burdomsome expectation you placed upon your husband who is drinking heavily to numb the pain of the dissapointment he knows he has caused you by not being able to be the perfect prince. Can you love him even if he drinks the rest of his life? Can you accept the 80% of him that IS good? Can you love him through this hard time and through his own self disvovery? Or will you flee cause you can’t get what you think you need only ftom him? Will you abandond him during HIS time of need? Maybe he is looking to see if you can live him in spite of his glaws. He knows he can never be perfect enough for you. As we are living more godly, it might be making him ferl even more inferior. But that is his own isdue to wrestle with. Just be careful not to be self-righteous. He is struggling, too. He needs love and might not understand how to go to God yet for it. He may never know.

          The hugs ftom my husband are not a regular thing. I got one. But it was more than one. I realized this past weekend I had put my martiage BACK on the throne. I thought I was done with that. But that one hug was a huge trigger for me. I’d almost wish he hadn’t done that, but I admit it felt good at the time. Reading the book “His needs, Her needs” was a trigger. I felt hopeless after it, but I did learn lots. Yet God had me read that so I could understand how easy it is to sin, to misunderstand, how much work a martiage takes and to not take a marriage for granted. My failing was that I wanted my needs looked at too. I’m not denying them, I just felt fair was fair. I asked my husband to read the book. He surprised me and did. Hiwever, some heated discussion came from it. I felt it was just more for him to argue about and I sometimes wished I had never brought it up. Then, he plants a surprise kuds on my cheek. A week or two later, he mellows a bit. I try not to get all worked up over the small things I am starting to see. But I quietly thank God. I stay focused on my goal. I stay the path. I know my husband is testing to see my every reaction. He is where I was…trying to do the things I want to be accepted by me…just like we have done.”if I do what God wants, then my husband will like me again”. It soooo doesn’t work that way, does it?!? So, God is giving private lessons to my husband too.

          Much love to you, my sweet bel!

          1. LMS
            How do I reply to you? What a beautiful gift you have. The way you think and write and give advice is just amazing. I’m so blessed to have you in my life. I’m so glad we “met”. And April and HH and CIC and everyone. I get so teary when you all write to me.
            Thank you for sharing a bit of your grandmothers life with me. Wow. What a strong, faithful woman. Oh to sit and talk and learn more from people like this….. I think you have your Grandmothers strength.
            And I love that it’s possible that I’m planting seeds in my husband or others. I don’t feel I’ve got much to offer, but the thought makes me happy and inspired to keep going.
            And then another beautiful msg for me from you today. I open my iPad and smile and want to soak it all up.
            I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’ve been asking God to lead me, open up a door or something. Do I look for a job? Volunteer? Study? I dint have a clear feeling. I do want to live a bit for me. Take my mind off this marriage. Grow in other areas. I don’t respect myself much at all though. I look back at my mistakes and how I let depression and anxiety take over and am disgusted. He reminded me of a bad one in passing conversation today. No wonder he put a wall up. Don’t blame him. Maybe a job will help. I worry it takes me away from being his help here though. Farming wives should support their husbands. It’s how it’s done. But he doesn’t want a bar of me anyway.
            He’s certainly all over the place. Buying new things left right and centre. He’s like a kid. Reckless almost. I pray he has a wake up call about his drinking like your husband. He definitely uses it to relax but I don’t think he’s ashamed of it. I really don’t. He told me he just LOVES it and that there’s nothing wrong with it and that he could stop whenever he wants to. He just doesn’t want to. But yes I can and will love him through his issues. He loved me through mine. For better or worse……
            I SO want to rest under Gods wings as you say. I AM tired and scared. And I’m TIRED of being tired and scared. Stewing over it all achieves nothing. Only makes my head hurt. I DO trust God and I don’t WANT to be the pilot.
            I hope I never come across as self righteous to him or anyone. I’m too ashamed of myself and fully aware of my faults and that any good in me is only because of the love and mercy of God.
            It seems your marriage has turned a corner even if only in a small way. A kiss on the cheek, reading a book you asked him to??? Wow. Yes obviously he’s seeing something in himself. I understand how you feel though about kinda wishing it didn’t happen.
            Maybe I’ll read His Needs Her Needs too. Do you recommend it for me? I’m nearly done Sacred Influence. Loving it. Just praying I get the chance to show him what I’ve learned.
            I’m going to pray that your strength and faith doesn’t wane and that you continue to trust God even when you are struggling because YOU are planting seeds everywhere! And it’s such a blessing to so many. God must surely be proud of you.
            Love to you, LMS.

    2. Bel,

      Okay, I will pray for God’s wisdom for you about how to approach him. If he is “high functioning” – perhaps God will prompt you to try to stay. I don’t know. I pray that you will continue to allow God to heal, fill, direct, and bless you and help you to grow in your faith by leaps and bounds. 🙂 I pray you will put all your trust in God, not in your husband. Like the hymn, “I dare not trust the sweetest frame (person), but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name…. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…”

      I’m so glad to hear you have a lot of support.

      As disciples of Christ, we all are called to die to self. It can be tricky to figure out how to best honor Christ and love and honor your husband without being codependent or enabling him. I pray for God’s Spirit’s power and wisdom for you!

      1. April,
        Thank you. Your prayers are so needed and appreciated. The support I get from all my friends here gives me so much to smile about and be very very thankful for.
        He IS very high functioning. He’s amazing really. I don’t know how he does it all. But he’s definitely showing me I can’t control him and that my feelings don’t matter as he’s back on full strength beer and just last night bought home 2 big bottles of bourbon. I’m more and more thinking oh well this is his problem. Not mine. But I get so frustrated and angry inside.
        I guess I’m still having trouble fully and completely leaving this all to God. It’s not that I think he’s not capable or anything, just that i know it’s possible my marriage may not be restored. I want to share our life, our future grandchildren etc. not have to make our kids choose which parent they will visit and spend time with. I see a happy and exciting future. He doesn’t. I will continue to pray for courage and faith.

        1. Bel, as I read this perticular post of yours, I felt the need to share the story of my grandmother with you. She was a devoted christian, but I didn’t understand this until I started my journey. She passed about 8 years ago and I miss her so much..especially now. But I hope this story gives you hope. She was the mother of 5 kids, the oldest was 16. Her husband (my grandfather) drove the beer delivery trucks. He started drinking. He became an alcoholic. My grandmother worked at as a butcher for the market. My grandfather became more and more unreliable, drunk and unpredictable. He started cheating on my grandmother and eventually “took off”. He had many affairs and was gone for about 8 months. My grandmother prayed everyday. She was even tested by a man who fell in love with her and wanted to marry her and adopt all 5 kuds. Yet she didn’t feel right about it and declared she was a Christian woman and wanted to serve God. She asked this man to never see her again. He left and moved to Arizona. My grandfather came back, begged forgiveness from my grandmother. She forgave him and they worked things out. They stayed married and had a better than ever marriage, but she remained in love with God first…and grandpa knew it. He passed away at 74. She lived beyond him and after grandpa died, the Lord sent the man from Arizona to my blind grandmother to care for her. However, they were never physically intimate. They just cared for each other. She outlived this man too, but was very thankful for his friendship. When my grandmother was dying, she described the most amazing scenes and was eager to come to be with her Lord. I spoke her eulogy about how grandma tough us what life was about..about love, forgiveness and family.

          I don’t know how she remained faithful, strong and solid during those many years of heartbreak and discouragement, but know that I know the same God she dies, I know He was always with her and rewarded her richly. I saw a godly example in my own family, but at the time didn’t understand it. I do now. Every day, she planted seeds of love in everyone she met.

          My point is, my grandpa became a heavy drinker and did much worse. He was riddled with shame, felt less than and not worthy. Until he went out and “found himsrlf” or, more accurately, came to the end of himself, he didn’t realize the gift he had in his wife and kids. I’m sure grandma wasn’t the perfect wife, I’m sure she had things to work through as well, but she kept her faith. She followed where the Holy Spirit led her. Today, she is my own personal living example, much like Jesus was 2000 years ago. Without a word, she was able to be a beacon to her own husband. She taught 5 children and many more grandchildren a legacy of faith. I can only hope to do the same for my own family. I imagine it was the hardest thing for her to do, yet she was full of joy. She sang, she celebrated God’s gifts and she hugged like a wrestler. I miss her, but I am thankful for all those planted seeds.

          Even in our own husbands, we are planting seeds. They may not germinate fir a while, but when the light hits them, they will grow. Have faith that every time you respond as Jesus would, you, too are planting a seed. The great thing is there is more soil than just your own back yard (husband) everyone around you can be fertile ground.

          God bless you today, my dear.

  34. Ok here is a question that may seem random but has meaning at the moment for me. It does have relevance to being in a trench I assure you.

    Is it possible to entirely separate oneself from the emotional side of sex and view it entirely as a physical thing or is there always some sort of emotional connection?

      1. Do you think it can be damaging to healing and true intimacy if physical intimacy continues when one person is claiming it is “just sex”? I guess it is pretty obvious what I am trying to ask in a bumbling way.

        1. HH,

          I am not an experienced counselor in this area – but I have a number of friends who went through adultery and then reconciled with the help of Christian counselors. I know that many of those counselors told the couples not to “play house.” If you are separated and need time to heal, be separated. Don’t have sex until you are willing to be all in and live together again in a healthy way and trust has been rebuilt.
          But – I don’t know of any Scripture with which to back this up.

          I guess, my question would be – would this lead toward healing, trust, and unity for the marriage – or is it just a convenient release for her that makes it easier for her to continue in her sin (i.e.: is she just using you – or is she sincerely wanting to restore the marriage)?

          I pray for God’s wisdom for you on this difficult issue!

          1. HH,
            I was thinking… if it were me.

            I can’t imagine the disrespect of a spouse saying, “This is just sex” and wanting to use me for a physical need like that all the while not wanting to be married. To me, that is incredibly selfish.

            I can see where the other spouse could say, “I really want to be able to be intimate with you physically, but I want to wait until you are not just using me for my body, but you are willing to honor our marriage covenant and sex is meaningful to both of us as a way to connect on every level. That would honor the marriage bed.”

            Not sure how helpful these thoughts are. Will continue to pray for God to give you wisdom.

          2. It seems to me that sex should be about respecting God, respecting the marriage covenant, respecting myself, and respecting my spouse. And about oneness and unity – affirming the marriage covenant.

          3. I agree on all levels at face value April. It is the height of disrespect to say “It’s just sex”, the selfishness etc. Trust me I feel the rejection.

            She says “You might be hurt if we have sex coz you still have feelings, I won’t be hurt because I don’t have feelings for you. I care about you but that’s as far as my feelings go.”

            I am fine with saying no and I have the strength to. But I have this thought rattling around in the back of my mind “What if intimacy is exactly what she needs”? What if she is trying to convince herself of these thoughts and a tender reaching out is actually what she really wants? Kind of like the dog growling at a person when it’s hurt and scared but all it really wants is love. Does that make sense? That’s why I asked is it truly possible to separate oneself emotionally from the physical.

          4. HH,

            I don’t personally think it is possible to entirely separate oneself emotionally from the physical. I think that is why those who are involved in premarital sex and the hookup culture have so many issues.

            I pray that God will give you His wisdom and prompting about what will be best in this situation. He knows exactly what would most be healing – much more than I do!

          5. I agree and thank you for the prayer. He is the only one who can give the right guidance. I’ve just left it at His feet and told Him I won’t make a decision until I am sure I know His leading. It’s too critical an issue to get wrong. HH

          6. My immediate thought is that part of treating others like adults and helping them to grow up, if you will, is taking their words at face value. If she really is needing intimacy from you, then it’s up to her as an adult to voice her thoughts and needs in a clear way. It seems like it would be enabling her to stay in her emotional immaturity at expressing herself with vulnerability and honesty if you are trying to read into what she’s saying – if in fact, she is not being honest and really is wanting an emotional connection with you and not just the physical act of sex.

            I’ve noticed this dynamic in my marriage for many months now. I used to try to read through what my husband meant when he said a particular thing or acted in certain ways. Especially if he expressed a negative emotion without really saying what he needs or wants – I used to try to figure out what he needed or wanted from me and think it was my responsibility to make him happy. My husband does not share from his heart and I’ve realized I cannot make him do that. But, it doesn’t mean that I have to put an unnecessary burden on myself to try to figure out what is going on inside of him and try to fix his problem for him. I can listen and be understanding, but not have to take ownership for where he is.

          7. CIC,

            It is important, I think, for us to treat people like grown adults and to take what they say at face value and respond accordingly. It is up to them to say what they need and want. I agree that we don’t need to try to be mind readers. I used to do that when I was very enmeshed with people. One thing I loved from Laura Doyle’s book was how she described just taking your husband’s words at face value, believing him, and acting on what he said, not all of the possible things he could have meant secretly.

            I have shared with Greg, “If you need or want something, please let me know. I am not good at mind reading. But if you tell me what you really think and need, I will be glad to help.”

            Others do have a responsibility to speak their needs and desires clearly. If they don’t get what they need from us because they won’t ask – that is something they can learn to do.

          8. I’m so glad to hear your thoughts – I almost asked you to please let me know if I was on track or way off base! Thank you so much for this! I love how you articulated that to Greg. Wow! O.K., so I’ve noticed that the last two times I’ve sent loving and encouraging texts to my husband, I end up getting a text back that is very negative and I have no idea how to respond to it. In the last instance, his response was “I love you so much. I feel like I’m dying inside. Like I have no purpose, it makes it hard to work.”

            I really didn’t know how to respond to this, because the fact is our marriage is definitely not going well because of his ongoing dishonesty and refusal to own his own sin. We’re in counseling. I am being respectful and kind to him, but I am not pursuing him anymore at all like I used to (well, I do send a text every so often, but compared to how I used to be, I am very, very pulled back and there isn’t a ton of communication between us). So, his response felt, to me, like “I’m miserable and you’re making me miserable because you haven’t begun to act like everything is totally fine in our marriage like you normally have in the past.”

            I just don’t know how to respond to a text like this when the true facts are that he’s miserable because of his choices. I ended up replying “That doesn’t sound fun to feel that way and have to work feeling that way. I love you.” To which he didn’t really respond at all. I chose that response after speaking to some very godly friends/counselors. We hashed through a bunch of responses and talked about how people want to be heard in their pain, etc. I felt like God was asking me to let him know I heard what he was saying but to not take responsibility or ownership by apologizing in any way for his pain.

            Oh, and by the way, I do thank him a lot for working so hard for us and for the fact that I can stay at home. (As a matter of fact, that was the other encouraging text I sent him before this last incident where I received a negative sounding text back from him).

            What do you think? Do you think it would have been appropriate to say something like you have said to Greg in the past at that moment? Can you give me an example of when you would have said that to Greg? I really love that!

            Thanks so much, April!

          9. CIC,

            What I am hearing in your husband’s response is a man who is in great need of Christ. The things he has tried to find satisfaction in haven’t brought him any satisfaction. I don’t think that what he is saying is necessarily about you. I think it is about where he is. I don’t know him. But he sounds very depressed and discouraged.

            I think your text back was very appropriate. It’s totally fine that he didn’t respond back. I think he has a lot of his own demons to deal with right now. I think he is having to face some of them. You can’t make that magically go away. As he feels convicted about his sin – it is painful. REALLY painful. But you don’t own that pain. Does that make sense? You own your walk with Christ and how you treat him.

            Has he ever talked like this before?

            You could say, “I’m so sad that you are feeling that you have no purpose and that you are in so much pain emotionally/spiritually. Is there anything I can do to help?”

            Much love!

          10. CIC,

            If my husband does not ask for what he needs from me – that is on him. That is his responsibility. We each have a responsibility to vocalize what we need from others, including our spouses. It is not reasonable to expect others to “just know” what we need.

            My husband rarely asks me to do anything for him. He doesn’t like for me to offer to do a lot of things for him. He doesn’t want to burden me. Of course, to me, doing things for him is not a burden. But if he chooses not to ask for my help – that is his choice. He knows I will respect that. I am not going to force myself on him to do things for him unless he asks. I am not going to try to figure out and guess what he is thinking and what he might need or assume that I know what he needs and do it when he hasn’t verbalized a need.

            I respect him enough now – that I expect him to be a grown adult and share his concerns and needs with me. If he sees I am doing something wrong, I expect him to let me know. If there is something I could improve on in our marriage, I expect him to tell me or to realize that I will not know if he doesn’t tell me.

            Passivity is sin, too. Our husbands have their own issues to work through. Your husband has a lot of issues to work through at the moment. It is hard for someone who has been very quiet and passive to learn to speak up. I try to have a warm, welcoming atmosphere for Greg. But then I leave it up to him to communicate his needs.

            Not sure if that was helpful? I know our situations were different in some ways.

            Much love!

          11. April, yes, he is in need of Christ. Those words were not lost on me, trust me! 🙂 If it were anyone else, I would have pointed them right to the One who can give them purpose, but I knew that wasn’t the appropriate thing to do with my unbelieving husband (who has specifically asked me not to speak to him in Christian terms!)

            In one way, I feel hopeful because this is where we all need to go to realize our need for Christ. In another way, those words can scare me because I know that God is showing me I can’t fix his pain right now and that his pain will probably increase as I don’t try to rush in and alleviate it by pretending things are fine between us. I know in some way that I need to be prepared for the fact that he might try to numb his pain or bring temporary happiness in other ways. Of course, he’s already engaging in some of those things – drinking and lots of sleeping/naps. I know what those other possibilities are and could be.

            I posted a song last week about no longer being slaves to fear so when my mind starts going there, I remember that God has definitely done a work in me where I am able to let go of the fear of the choices my husband might make and God is enabling me to not act out of fear – which in this case would definitely mean acting as if all is well so that I could feel he was at least happy with things at home. He is very depressed and discouraged. Which is why I’m trying to encourage him when it’s appropriate. He’s never expressed his depression to this extent.

            I thought about saying “I’m so sad that you’re feeling that way….” but then I thought that I didn’t want to turn it into my sadness and him then have to worry about me being sad. And, I wanted to just let him know that I heard him (kind of like Laura Doyle’s phrase “I hear you”, but I was trying to make it a little more text-friendly since a curt “I hear you” might not sound very nice after a confession of those kinds of feelings!) I’m probably way over-thinking everything. 😀

            Is asking him how I can help taking on too much responsibility or just being a good friend like we all need?

            Also, and I know you are so busy so I’m sorry to ask again….do you remember any examples of when you invited Greg to share what he was thinking or needing with you so you could help him?

          12. CIC,

            I agree that you can’t verbalize to him right now, most likely, about God. He is going to have to see that need for himself, and I think as he sees your stability, peace, and joy in Christ – no matter what he does – how unshakeable you are… he will get really curious and maybe he will eventually ask you about God.

            You can’t fix his pain. That is true. But it could be a really good thing that he is expressing how low he is feeling – it often takes us getting to this place before we receive Christ. We will pray for God to reach him in His timing and His way for His glory!

            So glad that you are focusing on God and not on fear.

            The text you sent was awesome!

            You can ask how you can help. But then you can evaluate what he asks for in light of God’s Word. You don’t need to take on responsibilities that are actually his. You don’t need to respect deceit or lying. You don’t need to act like everything is awesome if there are major issues. But you can ask if there is a way you could bless him and see what he says.

            I did invite Greg to share many times – I still do! 🙂 The first few years, he often didn’t respond much. I left that decision with him. I offer that I am willing to hear his heart and his needs. I make sure I am a safe place for him to share. Whether he shares or not is up to him. Now, he shares more with me than ever before. I love that!

          13. Thank you so much, April, for all of your time in responding to me in this. I very much appreciate it! Thanks for the advice that, after asking how I could help him, I can evaluate it in the light of God’s Word and that I don’t have to take responsibility for things that I shouldn’t, don’t have to condone sin, etc.

            I love how you invite your husband to share with you. That’s an interesting concept! A very vulnerable thing to do, as well. I don’t think I could have done something like this a year ago because I would have put too much attachment to the outcome I wanted (which is for him to share from his heart, obviously!) and then been extremely disappointed and hurt if he didn’t respond the way I wanted. But, I think I could see myself doing something like this in the near future as God is definitely working with me regarding letting go of expectations and desired outcomes.

            I also thought about how this concept of saying what we need or how we are feeling goes both ways. I probably need to be more vulnerable in sharing my desires and feelings and realize that he also cannot read my mind. Although, there have been times that I have told him what I was feeling/thinking and got shut down so it can start to feel emotionally unsafe. That said, I think there is something to this concept of sharing without expecting certain outcomes from what you’re sharing. Then, you’re not feeling “unsafe” regardless of the reaction or outcome because you have let go of those expectations that things will look a certain way. You’ve put all your hope in Christ and aren’t hanging it on your husband and his perfectly responding to you in that moment. You’re just putting the information out there as a gift (I don’t know if that’s the right word or how to articulate what I’m thinking right now – where is LMS, she could handle this, lol!). Maybe it has something to do with being more of your true authentic self, I don’t know. I told you in another comment that I was thinking about the intimacy skill from Laura Doyle’s book of expressing your desires without having an expectation attached to it, so this conversation is all fitting in together with that nicely – love how God leads us like that! 🙂

          14. CIC,

            YES! I think you are getting it!!!! 🙂 This is a big step. 🙂 You are explaining it well, from my perspective. I know what you are saying. I think this is a much healthier way to look at things. WOOHOO!

          15. Cic, I heard a “ping” for me in that comment! Lol. We are all able to bring something to the table, right! I agree. It’s very hard to be vulnerable with our feelings when we attach an expectation to the results. For example. I run over a concern in my head over and over to try to “prep” myself when I have something important to discuss with my husband. He has a habit of assuming and not listening and cutting me off. It is very difficult to talk with my husband. He also assumes all sorts of evil and bad motives from me. He exhibits a paranoid and fearful/angry response to just about anything I say. I know he is super sensitive to ANYTHING he sees as criticism. So I feel alot of pressure to “get it right”. I rehearse and pray and almost go crazy imagining the scenarios of how this discussion could go. In the end, I have to give it to God and stop my crazy supposing. I let go of any expectations that he will understand me, and instead, focus on trying to understand him….not always agree….but at least understand. I try to be the example that I wish he could be. I concentrate on saying things that build up and never cut down.

            In my mind, it’s easy for me to have a picture in my head that I will say some magic phrase or piece of scripture that will unlock the doors inside my husband, he will have a look on his face of surprise and understanding and will be filled with the Holy Spirit, see all his sin and go to God and me for forgiveness. I will graciously accept his appology and forgive it all, we will make passionate live, the past will melt away, he will go to church with me and learn all about God and we will fall back in love and he will be the best dad and husband ever. It will end in “all is well” or in today’s words…happily ever after.

            Guess what. …BIG expectation!

            When I lay all that dreamy stuff aside and simply say to God…please help me say what I need to say with respect and love and nothing else, then the outcome is left to God, not me. His way is always best. What I think should happen is kind of a pride thing. It is saying that I know better than God. My scripture right now is matt 9:23 “everything is possible or one who beleives….help me overcome my unbelief”. I also say out loud.”Lord, I may not see a way, but I know you can make a way.”

            I don’t expect my husband to beleive as I do or see things my way. I don’t expect him to know what needs cleaning, what the kids need, how I am feeling or what I need anymore. Sure, it would be nice, but I want something that my husband just cannot give me. I’m not sure if he ever will be able to, and if not, what then? That is why God HAS to be enough. No person ever will fill that sucking black hole of need in me. It’s too much for one person. Only God can handle it. Hope that helps. Much love and prayers, my friend.

          16. CiC that is a really helpful post, thank you!! I can see that there would be a certain liberation at not trying to read into what is going on in her mind.

            As I read your comment I had a thought about how to deal with it spring into my mind that I want to think about. Thanks CiC. HH

          17. I’m glad it helped, HH. You’re welcome and I pray for God’s continued leading and guidance in your life. Thank you for the ways you encourage us with what you share here, whether it’s just your honesty or humility about where you are or advice and encouragement for someone else in their circumstance.

          18. CIC, oh wow! This just struck a bell in me!! ” allowing our spouse to stay in emotional immaturity….taking their words at face value….not our job to read between the lines and figure out what they do not say” Through your words, I realized I have been struggling with this with my husband our entire marriage!!!!!

            It made me feel crazy because I tried so hard to understand him. I responded to his anger, his lack of words, his actions, his Sugarbush ingredients and inuendos. It drove me crazy. As I was seeking truth 1.5 years ago and at the end of myself, I focused on the only real truth I could find…the word of God through the Bible. I started to dismiss my “assumptions” about my husband through the exercise of looking for GOOD motives and not assuming BAD motives from him. It helped me not feel all over the place playing the “what if” game. I noticed that he would get wildly frustrated, but finally, if he needed something, he would have to come out and be straight forward with me. I stopped exhausting myself trying to hit on the right answer and I let him be responsible for his own communications.

            I guess I didn’t realize I was doing this until your words explained it, but now, I can hone in on that. I think it is part of good boundaries and understanding what is our own responsibilities, but maybe more importantly, what is NOT. Thank you so much CiC, you woke up a wonderful, healthy truth for me. I pray that HH and Bel can look into this as well and see the freedom of letting our spouses be responsible for communicating in a healthy way and “growing up” as well. I pray God can help all of us and our spouses here as well.

          19. It is not my job to figure out all of my husband’s deepest hidden needs and thoughts. I can be interested and ask questions in a friendly way. I can study to seek to understand men better, in general. I can desire to know my husband more and to be available to him and willing to be responsive to his needs that he shares with me. But it is his job to share himself with me. Then I can receive what he shares. I hope that makes sense.

            God is clear with us about communicating who He is and what He desires from us. I believe we can and should be clear with others about who we are and what we need.

          20. I agree. I think many women try so hard to “please” their spouse but kind of end up becoming an annoyance and then feel unworthy and exhausted trying to second guess or read between the lines. Then they don’t understand why their spouse is not happy and end up feeling used and unappreciated.

          21. LMSdaily115,
            YES! I think many of us do this and then resent our husbands for not appreciating all of our “love.” We do tons of things that our husbands never asked for to try to please them – and we try to read into their minds and motives so much that we ignore what they actually say. Then we resent them for the thoughts and motives we think they have and for how hard we are working and how unappreciated we are.

            Everything is much more simple if we take what they say at face value – unless there are major dishonesty issues – and if we find out what our husbands actually like and appreciate and let go of the other things that leave us exhausted. 🙂

          22. April. I would love to see a post on this. I know that your post on” just trusting him” was helpful to me at the beginning. It helped me realize how much assuming and filling in the blanks I was doing. I was basically making stuff up in my head snd believing my own lies because I would try to read into stuff. This got worse the more he shut down and stonewall ed because I had even less information to respond with. Then pride hits. I didn’t feel like I should have to beg him to talk to me, so I did the same back.

            Part of unmeshing is being able to respond, not react. To expect grown ups to communicate and not try to do it for them thus enabling bad communication skills. To create a sense of trust when communicating and a safe place to do it. I’m still struggling with this so your thoughts wit a post on it would be welcomed. Maybe I can help in some way here. I ferl like I know what to do on my end, but not sure how to deal with my husband when he does it.

            For example. He actually read the book “His needs, Her needs” good book, but somehow he took it as justification to demand I fill his needs. He wants me to tell him anytime I make a mistake, weather it has been handled, fixed or in the past. He feels I am sneaky and hiding stuff from him. I’m quite shocked at this,because I make a pretty strong effort to communicate stuff all the time. But, I wanted to listen to him and I wanted to honor his need. So one day, I was late picking up my daughter ftom her after school activity….lost track of dsys. No isdue from it. But I made sure to “tattle” on myself and told my husband. He was gracious about it and I thanked him. The next issue, a door got slightly broken while kids were playing. My brother and I fixed it with sone glue and it was no big deal, but I still told my husband. He went nuts!!! He complained and accused and berated me. Over a door! I told him this does not motivate me to be straight forward with him. I thought I was doing the right thing! I know he is overwhelmed and I thought I could handle the simple repair. Now, he says he will never fix it because I don’t see it as a big deal like he does. It makes me afraid to live in this house because something might break, or need general repair. He has left things in need of repair for YEARS! It is so frustrating. But I’m not allowed to fix it, even though I am quite capable nor call a repairman. He wants to fix it, but wint. He can’t acknowledge things wear out, need maintenance etc, but it is always my fault if it breaks.

            So, I’m trying to be as open, staight forward and transparent as I can be, but I kerp getting my head chopped off in the process. I feel very unsafe emotionally with him. And on top of it, he is very private and uncommunicative with information. I always find out through the kids or his parents or from friends on plans being made or even where he is. I ask questions about money in/out and he gets very defensive. I’m really being very respectful here, I don’t make a big deal about the very suspicious actions he is doing. He spends loads of money at grocery stores for things not fir our home and lunches always show up where it is obvious he is paying for more than his own lunch. Everyone thinks he is having an affair. I have asked him. He denies it. I have no concrete proof. If he is, I can’t control it anyway. I wonder if it is why we have not been intimate in 1.5 years. But until I know, I am left to just trust him when he says he isnt???? All I can do is trust that God will bring to light what I need to know when it is time. If I accuse him anymore, I feel it will only do more damage. Not sure how to fight this in a godly way.

          23. LMSdaily115,

            Yikes.

            In the absence of valid reasons not to trust – I think it is wise for us as wives to assume the best and seek to trust our spouses. Sometimes wives are very suspicious when a husband is truly doing everything right and being transparent. I don’t want to see that happen.

            However, God doesn’t command us to trust people. He commands us to ultimately only trust Him.

            Trust in a person is something that can be broken and then has to be painstakingly rebuilt and earned.

            If there are signs that a spouse is being really secretive, is not being open, not being transparent, is hiding a lot of things, is acting very suspiciously, blows up over any questions about his actions that may not be above board, etc… That may not be a time to completely trust a spouse. Does that make sense?

            I do think you can totally trust God. I like the idea of praying that God will bring anything to light that you need to know. I believe you can respect your husband as far as it depends on you and considering the circumstances. But trust has to be rebuilt and transparency has to be rebuilt before you can feel safe and you can trust him.

          24. LMS, I’m so glad God has already worked this truth into you. Looking back, can you tell if there has been significant change in your husband being able to express his needs/desires better or is it still a struggle for him? Can you elaborate more on your statement “I started to dismiss my “assumptions” about my husband through the exercise of looking for GOOD motives and not assuming BAD motives from him. It helped me not feel all over the place playing the “what if” game”? Do you remember some specific examples? (I guess I’m getting some intensive counseling in today with you guys, lol!)

            Oh, definitely boundaries is something that God is speaking to me about right now! It’s all so new to me that I didn’t even realize that what I’m doing would be considered boundaries!!! 🙂

            Here’s a recent experience with boundaries in my marriage (that I actually did recognize was a boundary situation). My daughter wanted to do a travel team for this summer and I have always been against doing extra stuff in the summer. In the past, I would make it pretty clear that I was against it and really would have controlled the situation in a way to get my husband to say no. This time, I told my husband that if he wanted to do it (I could tell both he and my daughter wanted to), that that was fine, but I would not be attending all of the tournaments as I felt it wouldn’t be right to drag our other younger daughter to these events to sit in the hot southern sun for most of her weekend. And said that maybe sometimes, we could take turns going – one of us staying home with our younger daughter and the other going, etc. Another great thing about that whole situation is that because of my fears and jealousy, in the past, I would have insisted on going with my husband so I could make sure he wasn’t going to find a beautiful woman to ogle at/flirt with. Now, God has done a big work there in me and I am able to let go and trust God! It is certainly not because I think my husband won’t engage in the same behavior. I can’t tell you how freeing that is after being in bondage for so long to jealousy! Even typing this is filling me with joy to know what God has done in me in this. I had another incident last night where I would normally have been filled with fear/jealousy, but was able to go to an event and not have that hanging over me. I woke up in the morning a little anxious but within a very short time, God had reminded me of all He has taught me and I was able to enjoy my day and not be anxious about the evening. Thank you, Lord!!!! You are enough!!!!

          25. CIC,
            THIS IS AWESOME! How I praise God for what He is doing in your life and the peace and freedom and joy you are already beginning to experience in Jesus! 🙂

            I like how you handled this and let them make their decisions but shared what you would like to do for your younger daughter. That sounds great!

          26. Ok here’s a thought that came to me whilst I was meditating on the issue of not taking responsibility for our spouses emotional immaturity. What if your spouse has been so wounded that they don’t have the capacity to verbalise their needs and thoughts?

            On another unrelated note, there are SO many similarities between our spouses here. It strikes me very strongly how so many of the spouses of the regular posters are trying to “escape” through various ways. Each person trying their own ways to escape but all trying to escape. HH

          27. HH,

            Greg was not able to verbalize his needs and thoughts to me for a very long time in the beginning – a few years. It was an extremely slow process of him feeling safe enough and beginning to be able to hear his own thoughts and process them and be able to express them. In the beginning, I did make assumptions about what might bless him and what his needs might be based on books I read because he couldn’t tell me what he needed. I was doing a lot of stuff to try to bless him – that, it turns out – didn’t really matter to him. As he was able to share more and more, I made adjustments with the new knowledge I had. But I did have to step away from trying to be “responsible for” him. Instead, I realized I am responsible to him and to God for how I treat him. BIG difference!

            This is a process for both people. We can be sensitive to them and caring – but we do have to be careful not to be codependent, enmeshed, or idolizing them or their approval or happiness.

          28. HH,

            Definitely, I think my husband is a very wounded man. His friends called him the “Tin Man” when he was young (because he didn’t have a heart – from the Wizard of Oz movie). And, sadly, I contributed to his woundedness in the worst way before I became a Christian. Plus years of disrespecting him. Plus not being a safe place for him to share in our marriage due to my emotional reactions, etc. Mix that all in with his sin, too, over the years of our marriage and we are both wounded. Has your wife ever been emotionally vulnerable or has there always seemed to be a wall up where you couldn’t get to her?

            I sent an email to my husband a few weeks ago telling him that I hoped that he would be willing to face some things going on inside him and that I would think it would be very scary to do that and face things after not doing so for so many years. More was said in the email and he seemed to be appreciative of it. Our counselor has been very good at addressing this issue in our sessions. He has told him that men are taught to not be emotionally vulnerable (I can’t remember what his exact term he uses for this is right now), and that my husband is not alone in this but it’s not an excuse to stay there. He told him it is like learning to read and he will have to learn how to do this in our marriage. He pretty much bluntly told him in our last session together that if my husband wanted to save our marriage, that he needed to commit to this work and that if he wasn’t going to do it, that he needed to do the right thing and let me know so I could move on with my life. Well, at least we aren’t waiting years to get to the hard issues – this counselor seems to get right to the heart of the matter and it seems my husband is willing to listen to him. And, he is talking a lot about our communication skills with each other which is something we both still need help with. He’s affirming that I do not need to trust my husband, which is also good and helpful for my husband to hear as in his mind, I am supposed to forgive everything and move on, even when there’s no recognition or repentance for what he’s done that’s caused the lack of trust.

            But, yes, I agree that we all have similar dynamics in our marriages which is probably why we have all been getting a lot of encouragement from each other. It’s nice not to be alone in the journey (of course, we have the Lord, but you know what I mean!) – nice to be able to talk with others who understand and receive prayer, encouragement and advice.

          29. Thanks April. That makes sense.

            CiC. She’s always had a bit of a wall up. Actually she has always been a stonewaller not a communicator, but I made it much worse through my actions. HH

          30. LMS, hopefully this responds in line 🙂

            Getting rid of expectations is GOOD! And I am learning it can be done without letting go of our desire. We can desire something without expecting it.

            I laughed out loud at this comment “In my mind, it’s easy for me to have a picture in my head……………through to………happily ever after.”

            Oh how often I have had the same picture for me!!!! But it may not work like that. It ‘may’ work like that and you ‘may’ have a big ‘moment’ like that, but you ‘may’ not either. Laying aside the ‘dreamy’ stuff and letting God do what God does is the answer.

            I don’t know if this is significant or not but on two occasions in the last week or so I’ve laid on my face before God and said “I’m struggling and I don’t know what to do and I’m just gonna lie here until you pick me up. Just tell me where to go Lord.” In my heart I was truly ‘letting go’.

            BOTH times after praying this I received a text while praying or shortly after asking if I could come over to talk about the kids and BOTH times we’ve ended up talking for a long time with real communication. Last night for nearly two hours. These are honestly the first ‘real’ times of communication I think we’ve had in many, many years. Hmmmm….something significant here I think.

            And guess what? I’m finding out that I actually really like the person my wife is MORE than the person I tried to make her. Wow. This is humbling and GOOD. Through these conversations I am seeing things about her that I’ve never seen before. Certain fears are being slowly dealt with. My respect for her is increasing. I can see the good intent in her heart and I can empathise with her struggle with sin.

            Brilliant repentance, forgiveness and healing? Nope. Maybe never, I don’t know. But there is SOMETHING God is doing and come what may I’m going along for the ride in His boat!

            I spent quite some time in prayer for you LMS yesterday, and also Bel, CiC and Becca. I really felt that I laid hold of God in faith for you all individually in a real way.

            In Christ, HH

          31. HH,
            THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PRAISING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS IN THE STORMS! I love what He is doing and it is very obvious it is His work in your heart! Only He can do this kind of transformation. Yes, it is slow. That is usually how this process goes. It usually has to be slow. But these baby steps are so beautiful.

          32. It is waaaaaaay too slow for my liking heh!! But I guess totally renovating a heart and beliefs takes time to do properly. No point having a bandaid on an artery. HH

          33. HH,

            When we are having to excavate everything in our souls and rebuild from the foundation up – it does take time. But it is worth it do to this slowly and rightly. 🙂

          34. Hh, thank you so much for your prayers. I too have had extraordinary responses when I have literally laid on my face in prayer. One time was the day my husband hugged me, one time was when a lady friend of mine was in the hospital and we all thought she was going to die…man she did not. It puts me in awe at the power of prayer. The power of our Lord.

            I pray for all of you as well. It warms my heart to see you looking at your wife in a new light. There are true foundations being built here. I’m sure she sees you differently too! Have you ever tried to grab a bird in a cage? They peck and bite and fly all over trying to escape the grabbing hand. But if you leave your hand still and let the bird step to the hand when it’s ready, after it can learn to trust the hand is not an enemy, then you can successfully remove the bird from the cage peacefully. I think our hurting spouses are like the caged bird. They peck and bite out of fear, yet, when we rest in God and keep our presence in a calm and loving way, the trust starts to build back up until the bird feels safe to take the first step. It’s hard to resist grabbing at them.

            I feel a bit lost in a quiet, dark woods right now. Trying to just rest in God. I’m trying to let my husband have some even more space (I wonder how much is too much). I am working on keeping my personal grumbling about his behaviour out of my thought bank and just letting God do the convicting. So stubborn. So unforgiving. But I love him. I guess I am trapped by my love at this point. Scary things all around and not sure where to go. So I’ll just curl up next to this tree for the night and keep faith that the sun will rise. Bless you, my brother. Thank you from my heart for the needed prayers.

          35. LMSdaily115,

            I hear you, my dear sister. I am praying for God’s clear wisdom and direction for you! I am so thankful that you are “yoked” with Jesus and that He will lead you, empower you, never leave you, encourage you, and give you the insights and prompting you need to navigate this fiery trial. Sending the biggest hug to you, my dear sister!

          36. Hi LMS
            I too love your caged bird thoughts. My sister says something similar about not prodding the caged lion! It also reminds me of a little verse of inspiration I kept for a long time-
            Let us be like a little bird for a moment,
            Sitting on a frail branch
            Though he feels it bend yet he sings his song
            Knowing that he has wings.
            I’m not sure it was Christian based but I always used to read this imagining God as my wings catching me as I fell.
            Can I ask you, when your husband did hug you and the time he kissed your lips, how did you react, if at all? Did you try NOT to react? Did you ask questions? I hope you don’t mind me asking. Just the whole talk about sex got me thinking about IF something were to happen……. How would I react? It would be hard not to push for more I think. Hard to just let it be that little morsel. Anyway.
            Can I ask your opinion on something? And maybe HH as a male viewpoint. Anyone who has a thought on it…. You know how bad things are for us, the things my h told me. The new kitchen, now car. But then no change in the rekationship. ( not that I expected it ) But yesterday I had a bit of a disagreement with our teen and I was upset. I went to my room and closed the door. H came in and asked what was wrong. I told him “lots of things” through tears. ( the disagreement with teen along with all our stuff made me hit a low point) He left saying ok I will leave you here to ponder your thoughts. Then about an hour later (by then I was getting my “therapy” on this blog!) he came in with a beautiful smile on his face and he had cupped in his hands our tiny baby chicken and he said in a cute voice Do you want to play with the chicken for a while it’s so cute “. Well, HE was so cute it nearly killed me. I was floored by this sweet gesture. He left it with me and said to bring it out when I was ready. (Btw we don’t usually have animals in the house let alone our bedroom).
            I’m trying not to read anything into it and trying to ‘hold him loosely’ but why do this? Then I tell myself he’s just trying to keep the peace till the kids are gone so don’t get ahead of yourself. Then today a friendly phone call and we talked for a while about kids, work etc. He’s away working at the mo and called tonight to say goidnight to the kids. I could talk at that time but he called me back to say goodnight. Surely he wouldn’t bother if he didn’t care.
            Anyway. I understand you feeling lost in the dark. I see that this journey is not a constant incline of positiviness. I was worried I wasn’t progressing. I see its normal to be up and down. We all say the same thing. Imagine if we had to go through these trials without God and all His promises and love? Can’t bear to even think about it. I’m feeling strong in God more and more. Think I’m still battling idols and fear but it’s definitely improving. I’m not allowing my thoughts to dwell on his “no future” comments. Well it’s God doing the work. Wow. This is not like me at all. But just now as I write I’m thinking oh no, I’m feeling positive, it’s gonna hurt even more if it comes crashing down. What a tug of war. Think I need to go focus on God. I read Psalms out loud the other day and it felt great. LMS don’t give up. You’ve inspired so many of us. I know God will give you another burst of strength. I the Lord your God am a jealous God just popped into my head. He’s certainly bringing us constantly back to Himself isn’t He. He will never leave us or forsake us. I wish I could visit you and give you a hug. My love and my prayers to you all again tonight.

          37. Bel, oh what a roller coated life really is, isn’t it! I wonder sometimes how I had thought life would always be so great as it was before that fateful day in November, 2014. At church yesterday, my pastor said that life is made up of lots of chapters, like a book. If you are in a good chapter, great, but get ready, a bad chapter is coming. If your in a bad chapter, hold on, a good chapter is coming. So true. It gave me much hope as I sat in the pew with tears in my eyes. God will never leave us. Those of us who truly know Him can never turn back. We may get depressed or sad, but we have the way out in our hearts. We know we just need to look to God and He will prevail. I am no way giving up. It’s just that I sense a dark, quiet forest. Not full of scary noises, just a place where I can’t see my way out. I could wander aimlessly, I could hollar out, but I don’t think that would help. Maybe God needs me to trust in Him, which I do. I am at the end of myself with my stubborn husband. He can’t see what I see. He doesn’t know how to have God in his heart. I leave that to our Lord. I have thrown out so many life preservers, so many ropes. Tried to help, tried to wake him up. It’s up to him to look for the answers he needs. I can only take him so far, and he doesn’t want to go where I am going.

            Funny about the kitchen and the car. My husband got me a car and put it in my name and was very uncommunicative about it. Inside, I was sure he was setting me up to pay for this car on my limited income on my own. We had always put the cars in his name. But I had balked about having credit of my own 3 years ago, so he was making sure I had that chance. However, I could care less about that now. He is still reacting to my old, sinful self. I also had a craft room that we decided to move from downstairs to upstairs. Then he bomb dropped. The room sat for over a year. The day he built my tables and painted it, I thought we had turned a corner. He wouldn’t have put all that effort into the room if he planned to leave. Then he crushed me with the sentence”it needs to look good if we ever sell it anyway”. Ugh. Not the “sign” I was looking for. I think he just wanted to do something nice because he knows i am a good person and he didnt want to be a total jerk. He saw a chance for me to be grateful to him and took it. To him, it was low hanging fruit. So, i appreciated and thanked him. But “stuff” isnt really what i wanted. He will have to dig derper to find the real meaning of life. But i appreciated his efgorts, nonetheless.

            The hug and kiss. There have only been those 2. Nothing more. My reaction was to stay the path. I wanted more, but didn’t want him to be overwhelmed. I thanked him for the hug very sincerely, but this week, there is zero contact. But he will mow. Clean up after himself. He is quiet. I am quiet. I feel the need to just let him sit in his own self. He is irritable at the kids, his mother, life. I cannot save him from that. Although I would be sad if he left, I am no longer afraid of it. Some days I hope for it, but then admit that I’m just frustrated and I recognize the enemy is trying to needle into my thoughts. I still feel this unnatural hope that we will get through this. But, like HH says, it happens waayyyy too slow for my liking. I used to want to live like every day could be my last, so I wanted problems solved right away. Not a moment to waste. But, waiting on God has made me appreciate how time heals wounds. My husband complains that I am in too much of a hurry and he says if he is not moving (along this journey) fast enough for me, then too bad, I can go then. That seems to be him putting the brakes on me so he can do it his way and not feel like I am leading him by the nose. I guess I get it. He doesn’t see the way out like I do. He can’t trust people in general, and he doesn’t trust me because I led him wrong for so many years. He doesn’t know how to trust God or find the truth in Him yet. I’m not sure what God wants me to from here, yet. I pray that God uses me how he sees fit, or sends someone godly to my husband, but not sure if that has happened yet. I guess my actions and words are all my H has right now. I may be the only flicker of light he has right now. God assures me it’s enough, but on the days my faith wavers, I fear the light fading away. Then something happens like a comment on this blog, or befriending a little old lady with Alzheimers disease who is sad cause her parents don’t come and visit her (she is 90, her parents have passed, but she doesn’t remember). And I share the pictures of Mackinac Island trip with her and we talk about the island from the good old days that she does remember. She asks me to forgive her for crying over her parents, and thanks me for being her friend. Then my light gets a new energy and I see why I am here on earth again.

            I may not be able to draw my husband from his sin, but I am trying. I’m doing what God asks of me. Even though it is hard and painful at times. I am rewarded by the glorious sunrise, the laughter in my children, a story of a 3 year olds prayers and a new baby chicken . They are all blessings from God, Bel, can you see that God reached out to you through the smile and excitement of your husband to bring you some joy in your time of pain? God reached out to HH with his daughter and his talks with his wife. I guess it’s more important to see how GOD is talking to us and reaching out, rather than how our SPOUSES are reaching out or talking. All I saw was God in the gesture of your h. It seems to me, you still have your husband on the throne. You are close, but God needs to come first. I pray you can look around you and see the gifts He has given you. Not the gifts your husband has given you. God only has our voices, our hands, our kind actions to work with. He needs those who shine for Him to shine on his children in the dark. We are a team. His army.

            Sex. I know I would cry deeply if we had sex again. It would be so flipping emotional. But I still want it. I want to help heal my husband. I’m not convinced he is ready for it, though. I pray for God to tell me if and when. I “brushed” him at one point and froze. I was terrified. I was Scared. To. Death. I cried because I want something so badly and can’t have it. Not sex. I want to help him heal and to be able to open up and conbe t again, and I am not allowed to try to do that. He tells me he would understand if I needed to find someone else to “satisfy” me. Stab. Stab. My husband said he was staying till the kids left too. All I hear is a ticking time bomb now. I have had to accept that day just may cone….yet….it may not. I can ask God to disarm that bomb, and he is. Yet, he has changed his motto now and he doesn’t want to leave. Some days he says I have changed so much, other times he says not a thing has changed. I guess our spouses have their own roller coaster rides too. My advice, Bel, it to not hold so tight to how your h feels and what he says right now. He is going through his own struggles too. His feelings can and will change too. Think of how much yours have changed? Actually, I was kind of mad that your pastor shared your husbands thoughts with you. It felt like a bit of a betrayal to me if I was your husband. But, I don’t really know the dynamic there either. I guess God is really savvy at making beauty from ashes. Maybe God needed you to know that info so you could truly leave your husband at the altar and start truly putting “our jealous God” first in your heart. He is so goid at His ways. We will never understand it all. Let go, and let God.

            I am so encouraged that your husband has decided to stay, even for now. That he is willing to look outside himself for answers. That God can work on you WHILE He is doing great works in all of us also.

            I have 2 teenagers and the “teen” thing really hit me in stereo about 6 months ago. I firmly beleive that if God had not helped me change into a better, more godly person, I would be a totally toxic person to my kids. I would have stayed totally out of control emotionally. Because I had to learn my sins, my own bad behavior and how to relate differently with my husband, it has helped me be much more safe and approachable to my kids. Probably to my husband, too, but he is much more jaded by life than my innocent teenagers. I praise God for “fixing me” first. I needed to shore up before the teen stuff hit in full force. It has derailed my husband for sure, but he DOES seem to be trusting me with them and my leadership there. As I tell him it’s okay and we will get through it, he seems to relax a bit. I don’t like how he is with the kids, but he needs to work on his relationship with them on his own. I have chosen a new path with the kids and have a MUCH closer relationship with them. I was on the verge of losing my daughter to a huge stonewall with my “freaking out at everything” (as she stated it). I now recognize how controlling and perfectionistic I was being. I didn’t know how to get what I wanted and I was totally repelling my kids too. I was unsafe to talk to. So she just didn’t. Today, we bond over getting ready together each morning. I pray with my son at night. God is reaching out and patting me on the back saying “your on the right track, child, keep on keeping on, it is working. ”

            So, even though I might not see much progress in my husband, I see loads of work in my kids, my friends, my appreciation of nature and all the gifts from God. Even complete strangers who won’t remember me the next day, felt touched by God through the love I gave her the other day when she was feeling abandoned. THAT makes this journey so worth it. THAT is living for God, not for one person on this planet who is just as sinful as I am. My verse is “well done, my good and faithful servant”. I hope I hear that from my creator one day.

            Much love, my sister. Hang in there, a better chapter is coming in your book!

          38. LMS, there were a couple of statements you made that I wondered if I might just touch on briefly, in hopes of encouraging you a little.

            You said, “I am at the end of myself with my stubborn husband. He can’t see what I see. He doesn’t know how to have God in his heart. I leave that to our Lord. I have thrown out so many life preservers, so many ropes. Tried to help, tried to wake him up. It’s up to him to look for the answers he needs. I can only take him so far, and he doesn’t want to go where I am going.”

            I think that is AWESOME. Getting to the point where you leave it up to our Lord to show your husband how to have Him in his heart. YES!

            You also said, “My husband complains that I am in too much of a hurry and he says if he is not moving (along this journey) fast enough for me, then too bad, I can go then. That seems to be him putting the brakes on me so he can do it his way and not feel like I am leading him by the nose. I guess I get it. He doesn’t see the way out like I do. He can’t trust people in general, and he doesn’t trust me because I led him wrong for so many years. He doesn’t know how to trust God or find the truth in Him yet. I’m not sure what God wants me to from here, yet. I pray that God uses me how he sees fit, or sends someone godly to my husband, but not sure if that has happened yet. I guess my actions and words are all my H has right now.”

            So it sounds as though you have tried to be your husband’s Holy Spirit in the past, but you’re realizing now that isn’t possible? You said that you guess your actions and words are all your husband has right now. I would like to encourage you to focus ONLY on your actions, not your words.

            1 Peter 3:1 gives us instructions, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”

            This is something I have been having to learn, the hard way. My husband claims to be a Christian, we go to church, he is a man of prayer, but he will also tell me that I’m not living in the “real world” when I claim the promises of God during seasons of turmoil or trials. This shows me that he doesn’t truly believe the Word of God, and I can see that in many areas he doesn’t obey it. However, because he is a believer in Christ’s redemption on the cross, I would try to throw out scripture to him, or I would post things on Facebook to the general public, in hopes that those things would convict him.

            However, God has stirred my heart more and more in the past few months to realize that while my motivation might be considered worthy and good (to see my husband come to true repentance and obedience to Christ), I myself was in direct disobedience to God’s instruction that I am to win him without a word. OUCH!

            I just wanted to encourage you, in as much as you’re able, to not speak of God at all – unless your husband himself brings the Lord up in conversation, or asks you something specifically for which you have to admit is God. Otherwise, do not speak of scripture, do not speak of what God is showing you, do not speak of what you have learned – instead, show your husband these things through your behavior.

            I have not read all of the comments, so this may be something you’re already doing, but as I read your most recent comment, those few paragraphs nudged me and I felt impressed to speak these words and share a little about my recent experience with you.

            Let me also share that my husband tends to self-medicate with alcohol, and he freely admits this. He asks me how I can stay so calm, and says he doesn’t know how to handle it when things get thrown at him (which seems to be a LOT – I think God is trying to speak to him but I can’t say that). I prayed during my walk this morning, as I pray often for my husband, that He would open his eyes and give him the strength to depend on Him and not alcohol. A few hours later, my husband called me about something that happened, and he sounded…calm. I was concerned he might head to the bar later, but he said that he wasn’t going to allow himself to get upset about it, he knew that we would work through this situation and would be fine whether it worked itself out next month or in several months. I simply agreed – didn’t get overly excited or show much emotion, just said absolutely, I believe that. And then I’ve been praying joyously and full of thanksgiving for how God allowed me to see Him working in my husband’s heart!

            I hope this has somehow encouraged you today!

          39. Hi Victorious Wife.
            I just wanted to tell you that your comment to LMS encouraged me also. Thank you.
            My husband is a believer too but seems a bit lost right now. He’s certainly not turning to God through our marriage issues like I am. I’ve had to really wAtch my motivation too. I realize I try to influence things in a quiet way. Like waiting to read our devotions with the kids until he’s here so something might wake him up. Or sitting in church hoping he’s really taking in the sermon today. And similar things. I see its manupulating behaviour no matter how I try justify it.
            Anyway. Thank you.

          40. Hi Bel!

            Yes, I’ve done that too…and then God basically woke me up and said, “Maybe this sermon is being preached because YOU need to hear it more than your husband!”

            WOW. What pride on my part to think *I* needed to wake him up, or that I even could! God might use me, but He will only use me when I’m being humble and obedient, not when I’m sitting in church thinking, “My husband seriously needs to hear this.” Oh, the regret I felt when I realized what I’d been doing.

            And it’s still a temptation to do this. Very much so! I read things on Facebook that I want to share because I think about how he needs to hear it, but I have to hold myself back because I’m instructed to win him without a word, not by passive aggressively or manipulatively throwing scriptures at him.

            God is giving me more and more wisdom and peace, and I am seeing teeny tiny fruits of this. Not even necessarily in my husband every time, but sometimes in myself. Last night, for example, he got a little upset with me about something and instead of focusing on how I wish he would have responded, or how I think he should have responded, instead I focused on praying for God to bless him and keep him safe, and I was at peace all night. Even when he came home and was cold towards me, I was warm towards him, and eventually he warmed up to me and held me as we slept.

            Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

          41. Victorious wife. Thank you for your kind words. I have to say I was very cautious about becoming my husband’s Holy Spirit. I never really went that far, I just wanted to explain what I was feeling and another way to him. He probably thought I was crazy. I was trying to explain how different I felt, but i, too, focused of “win him without a word”. April set me straight there early on.

            I do pray for his salvation, but I just see my husband hurting and so full of pride and depressed. He needs a counselor, but refuses adamantly to go. So, I don’t bring it up anymore. I am watching the man I love self destruct and don’t know how else to help him. I may lose him. I may never see him break free from his self-imposed prison.

            I have to be able to not be dragged down with him. I heard a saying “You may not want to go to heaven with me, but I’m not going to hell with you”. A little crass, but it keeps me focused on my own journey and not trying to control his. I just feel sad, mostly about how much turmoil he is in and won’t get help. I almost understand why he doesn’t want it from me…to him I am his enemy right now. I pray that one day he can wake up and realize I am a safe place, a person he can trust, someone who loved him even through his complete and blatant sin. One day, I pray God will wake him up. I know I can’t. I wish he would just stop and think. Consider something besides his own knowledge. But, that is the sin of pride.

            Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. I hope this clears up my intent and motives.

          42. Hi LMS!

            Although I do understand your intent and motives better (and I agree with them! 🙂 ), I certainly have no right to question them as that is between you and God.

            My husband has many demons from his past as well. He is still feeling the effects of them. Severed relationships with children who refuse to forgive him. A mother who is essentially evil and calls him a loser with no potential. My husband is a selfless, generous, dependable man, who made mistakes, and at times still continues to react destructively to situations, but he is a GOOD man.

            I am unsure how to respond when he says things to me like, “I feel like I’m drowning. I don’t know what to do. And don’t give me the cliché ‘God will take care of everything’ answer because I get that. I pray and pray but nothing changes. I am nothing and deserve everything I get.”

            Oh how my heart aches for him! I get angry sometimes, feeling as though he is wallowing in self-pity that is unnecessary and satanic, simply because he is refusing to believe the promises of God.

            BUT – I know that my instruction is to win him without a word, I am learning that much better now, so I no longer give him any “cliché” answers. I simply listen, tell him I love him and that I don’t believe those lies about him, and then I pray for him silently.

            When he gets angry with me, I used to sit and rehash everything and get angry that he responded so poorly, that he didn’t respond the way I would or the way I thought he should. Oh, how prideful. And I still do that sometimes! It’s awful! But I am learning lately how to focus on Christ in those moments – taking every thought captive – and praying for my husband’s heart, for him to see truth, and I rest in God’s ability to handle the situation.

            I don’t know if any of this applies to your situation, but I hope that some of it might be helpful. 🙂

          43. Hi LMS.
            Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I have to admit I was frustrated that I’m still not getting this right though. It seems almost like we have to switch our feelings off and I’m not sure that’s possible. His gesture made me feel so much love for him. It was adorable. It felt like he cared again for just a moment. I’m not sure how to not wonder about things when I felt such a rush of love. To just have no reaction and only see God through it seems near impossible when it’s been 17 months since anything so nice. I will certainly need lots more prayer and work to be done on me.
            I also understand how you felt about my pastor speaking to me. I think he’s seen me in absolute despair and I’ve called him randomly totally freaking out and I think he’s at the point that maybe it’s best I prepare myself. He did say that he asked my husband how he felt about people knowing and my h said he doesn’t care who knows. I admitted to him straight away and apologized for texting my pastor and asking. He didn’t seem to mind though. My pastor us going to speak to the elders.
            I also have 2 teens and a younger one so I’m with you on all that! It’s challenging but beautiful. My h is away a bit and works long hours so I’m the one who deals with everything. He just seems to get the fun dad stuff as when he is with them which is not often I guess he doesn’t want to be disciplinarian. So it’s hard sometimes and it hurts to get comments that I’m doing things wrong or not his he’d do it. Sorry but there’s not much I can do about that. I do my best.
            Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I’m continuing prayers for you all. Yesterday I was up. Today I’m down. See what tomorrow brings.

          44. LMS, that illustration of the bird in the cage is awesome!!! I really, really like that 🙂

            It made me think of something I said yesterday and the response I got. I said whilst I was committed to our marriage for life I’m not crawling at her doorstep in desperation for her to come back immediately either. If we move forward I want to move forward in a positive and healthy way. She responded with a very enthusiastic oh I’m so glad you feel like that. I think she sensed the freedom in what I said, that I am not trying to hold her captive.

            I have an illustration that may help you 🙂 Think of the journey as an international flight. You are flying a long way and about halfway through the flight you see that everyone is asleep. Suddenly you have a fear that maybe the pilot is asleep too! You ask the stewardess if she could check to make sure he is awake. She is gracious enough to check a couple hours later the same fear strikes and you again ask the stewardess. She again obliges. Then a third time you feel the need to ask her. This time she turns to you and says “I’m sorry but no. The pilot is awake and we will reach the intended destination. Please just trust that He knows what He is doing.”

            HH

          45. Hi HH
            I felt so blessed and I really teared up when I read that you prayed in earnest for LMS CIC Becca and myself. I know you have been for a while and I just can’t think of a strong enough way to thank you.
            I feel so encouraged about your wife and your communication at the moment. I don’t want to jump ahead, but surely this is progress. I think as a wife, for me to want to call and talk for that long and reply the way she did to you, I must be feeling something. I’m sorry I’m not good with words about this and I hope it’s ok to say what I’m thinking. Maybe this separation IS what was needed as much as it hurts. She’s having to live with your children probably talking about you all the time. She must be in such turmoil. So amazing that you feel empathy for her struggle now and see the good in her. Stay strong and she will surely see the blessing she has in you as her husband. I will constantly be praying for whatever healing needs to be done in her and for your faith to never waiver.

          46. Hi Bel 🙂 My thoughts are that it isn’t really possible to know exactly what your husband meant by those actions but I encourage you to find your hope in christ and just enjoy what your husband gives when he gives it. I know how you feel, that when there is a small sign of something positive we are so quick to want to grab it and hope that it means a change! But even if it does I know we can’t go back to the iceberg. It sunk for a reason. HH

          47. Bel, the thought I had as I read your comment about your husband showing his softer side was that he was responding to your emotional vulnerable side. Bob Grant (an author that April recommends, I think) talks about the importance of a woman showing her vulnerable side and that men actually need this part of us.

            The tricky part, I’m finding, is how to remain vulnerable and soft in front of your husband when you are wounded. :/ However, since this is a part of our true selves, I believe as God heals us and sets us free in all the ways He’s doing through our trials, we will be more and more ourselves and this side of us will show naturally at appropriate times, we will be authentic and real and that can (no guarantees!) be attractive to your husband.

            HH (and all of you), thank you so much for your prayers. It really does mean so much when someone makes a point to say that they prayed. And, I have been praying for all of you much more the last few days. I was thinking earlier today that it will be really interesting to see what God has done in our lives say a year from now….two years from now. For that matter, God works so beautifully, even two months from now. There is much to be hopeful about for our futures!

            HH, that’s very encouraging to hear that you had another good time of communication with your wife. I’m glad you are able to enjoy that and at the same time, not to pin too much of your hope on that. (Such a weird place to be, right?….but we all know that a big part of what God is doing with all of us in our trials is taking us to a place where He is our all in all and so that is always in the back of our minds when something positive happens, I think! None of us wants to go back to the place of idolizing. We’ve come this far, who wants to go backwards and then have to re-live some of the really painful stuff again when we remember that our idols don’t really satisfy us totally!?!?)

            LMS, I can so relate to that feeling of wanting your husband to just “get it”, to “see the light”! I’ve been a believer now for 12 years, so 12 years together both non-believers and now 12 years together with me being born again. I think I kind of know that place you’re in right now. I remember thinking right after I became a Christian that my husband would certainly see like I had. I had so much hope for so long and was certain that he would be saved quickly after. Obviously, God had other plans. 🙂 I think it’s possible you might be coming to that part of your journey where you are having to accept that that particular part of the journey might be longer than you thought. I don’t know for sure this is how you’re feeling, but I do know that I went through a similar season. After that, I had longer and longer seasons of being truly fine that my husband was not a believer. But, always there were more difficult seasons where it hit me harder and I felt an aching emptiness inside over it. I can honestly say that the majority of the 12 years, though, God has enabled me to be at peace with it. And God will do the same for you if that’s what He calls you to. I’m sorry for the season you’re in and I wish I could hug you. Because I really do understand. There aren’t a lot of believers who could meet me in understanding in that as I’ve walked through this, so I hope it means something to know that I really do get where you’re at. I wouldn’t beat myself up at all over grieving that. Just grieve, be sad, mourn it. It’s o.k. God will bring you through to the other side and maybe part of getting to the other side is truly feeling the sadness and weight of it for a little bit. I’m glad He’s o.k. with our sadness.

            Love all of you guys! God’s peace to all of you tonight/today! 🙂

          48. April, I have also wondered about HH’s question. My h isn’t interested at all and hasn’t touched me in 17 months, but I’ve wondered if there was ever a moment of weakness on his part, would I? Doesn’t sex bring out the feelings of love for a man? I’ve wondered if this would work, but I see your point that it should be about respecting the marriage covenant and God. And seeing as he regrets marrying me and seems to be hanging out till the kids leave home, I now feel it would be wrong to. But then I think if it would stop him from straying…..anyway, I don’t think I need to be giving this too much thought. Sorry, it’s very late here and I’m waiting for my sleeping pill to kick in and feeling a bit lonely and emotional. I just crave even a hug so much.

          49. Well, now. I didn’t think I could chime into this question until Bel’s response. I am in the same boat. 18 months and nothing. My husband says that he can’t have sex with someone he doesn’t love. But knowing what I know now about how important sex is to men and the emotional connection it gives men, I wonder if sex would help bring us back together. At one point he said he eould feel “raped” if I tried to have sex with him now. Ugh, the pain of that comment is still do crushing. Ltjough I want yo express my love to him and take care of his needs, there is nothing in return. I can give him his space, but I feel like the longer this abstinence continues, then the chances of getting back together seem to dwindle.

            I’m not sure what HH’s situation is, but I guess I feel that sex is supposed to be an expression of trust, love, connection, Caring and closeness. I think sex could become a weapon or a way to manipulate if it is not from the heart for a good cause. Therefore, I am respecting my husband’s wish for no sex. But it feels like a punishment to me.

          50. LMS,

            I agree. It feels to me the longer we aren’t intimate for I think it’s getting less likely it will ever be able to be bought back. He told me 2 weeks ago that the last time we did it he felt like it was just “duty” and he felt nothing. This cut me like a hot knife. I can’t bear it. I truly think that’s just his mind or Satan telling him that as I remember it clearly, where it was, and it was amazing. I really feel he’s just telling himself this.

            After your comment I thought about that Bible verse where we are told not to keep ourselves from one another so that we don’t give the devil a foothold and so we are not tempted. Any abstinence is to be for an agreed time and then we are to come back together.

            My pastor says as my h is not willing to do this he is making a mockery of our marriage and has obviously left me already in his heart. I think at the moment the alcohol is giving him all he needs. It keeps him happy. It’s his mistress.

            Remember I told you how he is spending up big? The new kitchen, a new garage, a new shed, now it’s a new car. And he’s making it seem like it’s for me. He wants me to be happy with it, pick the colour, the model etc. MY MIND IS BOGGLED. why is he doing all these nice things but “can’t see a future” with me? We even all went together today for a test drive. He’s discussing with me what I would like. I don’t know what to think.

            As he’s told me terrible things about us, I am assuming he’s setting me up well for when he leaves me. (He is actually a very generous caring man and I know he would never leave me with nothing). This is so very painful. I just want to jump on him 😉 and tell him how much I appreciate everything. Oh well. The shine has been taken off the new kitchen and car etc because of our situation. I cannot fully enjoy all this. A huge part is missing…

          51. Bel and LMSdaily115,

            If a spouse is still there and hasn’t left – and is not involved in unrepentant infidelity – I can see the value in following 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and not withholding ourselves if they want to be intimate. It may draw them back to us in some ways. To me, it is a very different situation if a spouse insists on leaving. I think the approach may have to be different in that case. But – this will take the wisdom of God’s Spirit, in my view.

          52. Bel,

            My heart aches for you and this situation. Alcoholism destroys so many homes. 🙁

            I can definitely understand why all of this is confusing to you. Maybe he thinks all the stuff will distract you from the alcoholism? Or that it will make you happy? I can appreciate that you would rather have a healed marriage than a bunch of new things.

            Praying for God’s intervention and healing for you both!

          53. April
            ThAnk you so much. I really appreciate your thoughts and advice. It really is so confusing. My sister I’m close with thinks he realizes he’s been a jerk and that this is his roundabout way of trying to make me happy. I Just constantly remember your brilliant advice to hold him loosely. Which I’m trying to do.

            This rejection of me for almost a year and a half makes me feel truly sorry and sick about the many times I rejected him when I wasn’t in the mood. Oh to have the chance to make up for my mistakes. Do you think it could be a negative thing that may turn him further off me if I try to at least give a hug and thank him for my new kitchen when it comes etc? Or as he has said he feels nothing and doesnt want to even hug me in case I get the wrong idea, that I should just tell him I’m thankful and appreciative? Don’t want to push him further away. I would absolutely give up my beautiful home, jewels, and anything else to have a successful marriage.

          54. Bel, I really think that it is a case of really getting to grips with what the leading of the Holy Spirit is in individual situations. There are times when a hug would have repelled me and times where it was what I would have really wanted. Only God knows what is on your husbands heart and only God can give you the right direction here. I will pray for you, LMS and all of us for God’s specific guidance on this.

            From a man’s perspective to not want to initiate intimacy for that long he’d have to be pretty wounded. HH

          55. Hi HH
            Yes. He is very wounded indeed. You are prob not aware of my background story. I started back in October last year writing to April. It’s on the posts healthy verses unhealthy relationships and My husband wanted a divorce mainly. But I’ve suffered anxiety and depression since I was a teen. I’ve let this dictate the way I related to, and trusted (or rather not trusted) my husband. Long story short. It wore him down. I see pretty clearly now. He is not 100% blameless either though. He started having feelings for my best friend. I noticed. He admitted. I lost my best friend. I just never got over it. Never felt pretty enough of good enough. Anyway. He says that yes I’ve changed but it’s too late.
            I will be praying for all of us about this. Though I do t think I really need to as he doesn’t want to touch me.
            I’m praying for your wife too. Love to you HH.

          56. Bel,

            I think it will be critical to be sensitive to God’s prompting. I think He can show you when to give your husband a hug and when to just be verbally appreciative. I also think as he sees the peace and joy of Christ radiating in you – that will reach him more than anything else. I’m so thankful you are willing to hold him loosely now, trusting him to God.

            Sending you a huge hug!

          57. Thank you April. I’ve always had trouble with hearing God. With knowing for sure it’s His voice and not my own desires. I’m praying for all of us in this area.

          58. Bel, How long have you been changing the tide as far as respecting your husband? (I’m sorry if you’ve said that a lot and I should remember, but I don’t!) 🙂 Is it possible that some of his escalated drinking and him saying the things he said to your pastor were part of him “acting out” – like many husbands do once their wives start finding freedom in Christ? Or has he been acting like this all along? Maybe he is conflicted and is testing you on the one hand, trying to push your buttons and get reactions while at the same also trying to truly please you with these other things (even though you would far rather have him than these things, of course!) because he doesn’t really want to lose you?

            Was he the one who brought up the last time you were intimate with each other?

            It does sound like he is giving you very conflicting messages!

            It sounds like you’re in a better place than you were a week ago, based on your comments. I know things are far from perfect, but I pray your journey toward healing and contentment in Christ alone continues. I pray God will give you direction on whether you should be vulnerable and initiate any physical affection at this time or whether you should wait.