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ContentinChrist Shares about Her Journey So Far

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From ContentinChrist:

I wish I could articulate in a way that shows the gratitude in my heart of all of the many things God has and is continuing to do and show me in my journey. I definitely had my husband’s love and his view of me as an idol in my life and God has used certain events in our marriage to bring me to a place of realizing that my husband will never be able to fulfill me totally and that only Christ can do that.

There are just so many different things that have been touched on along this journey:

  • finding my security in Christ
  • realizing that I was “enmeshed” with my husband in a negative way
  • understanding that being a submissive, respectful wife does not mean that I cannot state my opinions and speak my mind – it just means that the way I do it is much, much differently than the way I did it before (which was disrespectful, angry, and self-righteous a lot of the time)
  • realizing that God has made me to be a person of influence in my husband’s life
  • learning how to stand firm in a respectful way for things that were beginning to be detrimental to our marriage while still remaining vulnerable and open to my husband even though I was hurting because of some of his actions
  • understanding differences between men and women and how some of the things that I was being offended by didn’t need to be that big of a deal and that I could meet my husband in some of his needs by not getting so emotional or by giving him space
  • learning that love is not pretending that everything is perfect when it’s not
  • learning to love unconditionally and to bless when I’ve been wronged (however, I don’t think unconditional love means that a marital relationship will look like a marital relationship that is totally healthy – I think you can unconditionally love but still have boundaries).

God has truly been literally changing my perspective of what it means to respect my husband. It started out as acting respectfully, but He has been changing my heart to give me real, true respect for my husband. So, the actions that started out by faith are now coming more naturally and effortlessly as God is doing this work in me.

I really could probably go on and on, but these are just some of the things off the top of my head that are coming to mind.

So much of the good stuff that has come has been brought about by going through some really painful times these last few years and so, the grace that God gave me to trust Him during those times has been pivotal. And He has strengthened my faith even more to see how He works – how we are so safe in His hands, even when our circumstances can feel and appear to be so hopeless.

His love is unfailing and unfathomable and the biggest lesson through this all is that He is teaching me that He truly is enough for me.

RELATED:

A Fellow Wife’s Posts about being enmeshed, idolizing her husband, and overcoming bitterness over wanting to be his greatest priority

Blessed Out Shares a Bit about Her Journey

There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer!

A Wife’s First Year on This Journey

TO TRULY CHANGE, WE HAVE TO SHIFT FROM COMPLAINING OR JUST READING ABOUT GODLY WOMANHOOD AND BEGIN TO INVEST OURSELVES WHOLEHEARTEDLY IN OUR WALK WITH CHRIST…

 

544 thoughts on “ContentinChrist Shares about Her Journey So Far

  1. Beautiful post! I am rejoicing in your growth towards God and inspired. It helps to know that this narrow path is the true one, as evidenced by your peace and joy. I know things are far from perfect for you, but so wonderful that you have grown in strength and courage from this valley. Much love to you, CiC. Hugs.

    1. Hi, LMS! Was just thinking of you today and wondering how you were/are.

      Lots of twists and turns in my story, lately.There has been some very recent positive movement with my husband apologizing for something that has been a big issue in my ongoing struggle not to shut down, so that is good. I am realizing that it will take time for me to heal (I will need to re-read that post that April put up a couple months ago about that subject) and that also, since so much has changed in *me*, that going forward is almost like starting over for me. I feel very unsure and unsettled about some of it, but I am trusting that God will meet me where I am, as He always has. I know He will continue to guide me.

      I look forward to hearing how you’re doing when you feel up for it.

      Lots of love to you, too, LMS.

      1. I have been wondering how you both are LMS and CiC. I’m glad to hear some positives from you CiC 🙂 HH

      2. ContentinChrist,

        I praise God with you for the movement in a positive direction! That is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I pray that God will continue His good work in you, my sister. I’m always so thankful whenever you share what you are learning – when you believe God desires you to, of course.

        Much love to you!

  2. “understanding differences between men and women and how some of the things that I was being offended by didn’t need to be that big of a deal and that I could meet my husband in some of his needs by not getting so emotional or by giving him space”

    I am often offended by my husband and get very emotional … I would be curious to ask this writer if she could share some of these differences and things that don’t need to be made such a big deal etc. it would be very helpful! Thanks

    1. Hi, Anonome!

      You know, I don’t remember exactly when I wrote this comment or what particular things I was thinking of when I did….. 😉

      Offhand, here are some things that come to mind:

      I would say that just realizing that my husband is not going to be able to have very long, emotional talks with me. He is not wired like a woman in that way. Bob Grant talks about how a man feels very intensely when having talks like that and that he will be not able to engage in that kind of connection in a lengthy way like a woman would. So, when he seems to withdraw or need space after those kinds of talks, it can be normal, even though for a woman, it can feel very cold for him to need some space after what felt like a very “connecting” talk to us.

      My husband does not think about our relationship like I do. I am constantly analyzing it, dissecting it, ready to talk about it, etc. Most husbands are not like that, from what I can tell after reading this blog and other books. As April has said here, many men have said that in their mind, they always feel connected to their wives as long as the relationship is not in conflict. They don’t need to be constantly made to feel secure in the relationship. They feel secure even if there hasn’t been any “meaningful recent connection” with their wives.

      I think a wife’s tendency (and probably comes from some Christian literature, too) when learning about respect and submission can be to try to put the husband first in everything – as if she doesn’t have needs, desires and emotions, too. I think a husband may initially respond with a lot of positive feedback with this behavior, but in the end, I do not think this is what a godly wife’s role is in a marriage and I think the husband loses the wife he initially fell in love with and married because she is living to serve him. I say that to explain that I always noticed that my husband seemed to be more drawn to me when I was engaging in activities that weren’t all centered around him. I was getting my needs for relationships met with other girlfriends by going out occasionally with them, or just taking the time to honor my own self – through exercising, getting fellowship with other believers, using God-given gifts through hobbies, serving others, etc. So, I think a husband values a wife who isn’t placing all the demand on him to fill all of her needs and can find happiness and joy in, first and foremost, her relationship with God and then also with other things in her life.

      Also, a man’s need to be heard by his wife without her interrupting with her thoughts and opinions. Women can do this with each other and change subjects ten times in ten minutes, but when a man talks, he appreciates just a listening ear.

      Those are a few things that come immediately to mind. If I think of more, I’ll try to remember to comment again.

      Anonome, if you would like to share more about where you are so I or April or others can talk through things with you, please feel free to do that! I pray you will know that God alone can fulfill and meet all of your needs through Jesus Christ and that He alone will never fail you or forsake you. I pray also that He will give you wisdom on when to let things go in your marriage and when the right time is to express your hurt in a respectful way. I pray He will heal your hurts and bless your marriage!

      1. CIC,

        Wow! This is a super helpful comment. I would love to share it as a post, too, in the future, if that is okay with you. 🙂

        Thank you SO MUCH for sharing the treasures you are learning. What a blessing!

          1. That’s a great post you linked.

            One of the most significant things in it is the statement ” Every husband is unique and has his own particular preferences, his own leadership style, his own desires, his own personality, and his own needs. Respecting our husbands is not a one-size-fits-all thing.” I am sure it is the same with wives as well as all other relationships. I know I have to relate to my kids very differently.

            FWIW some men are wired to talk things through and like long, analytical, emotional talks and some women don’t seem to like them 🙂

            HH

          2. Yes! I remember reading that!

            This is something I’ve really thought a lot about lately – the idea that as a wife is learning to respect and submit to her husband, there can be a strong tendency to start centering all of life around pleasing her husband and kind of idolizing him and her marriage.

            I’ve said before, I think *a lot* of Christian writings even encourage this type of dynamic. But, really, when we look at God’s Word, nowhere do we get this sense that a woman is supposed to build her life around her husband. Respect, love and submit, yes. I really can’t find the words to express my thoughts behind it all, probably because I’m just starting to realize a lot of the twisted thinking I was buying into. And, I really think it can be dangerous to place this emphasis on the husband that I really don’t even see in the Bible….it feeds into egocentric and selfish behaviors of a man.

            I wonder, April, since your husband is a believer if that’s why he was able to state that he didn’t need you to do all those extra things for him. He knew that something was off-balance with that. But, for an unbelieving husband, someone who is still living from a “me-centered” ideology, he is probably more than willing to have his wife keep up with that and then begins to expect more and more or be very upset when his wife doesn’t agree with him about things or starts to be upset that his wife confronts his sin.

            Well, anyway….I know that was probably a lot of disjointed thoughts there, but it’s just something I’m thinking a lot about and trying to figure out for myself. I do see this dynamic playing out in other marriages here. Ultimately, the answer is always Jesus and finding our joy and contentment in Him alone. Everyone has their own journey to take to get to that point.

          3. I really can’t post a question I have on your website, but I was hoping I might be able to email you and ask. Would that be okay?

          4. Cic, don’t appologize here. I have been thinking alot about that “me-centered” approach a ton lately too! Your post made perfect sense to me. I feel like I am a married woman living with a man who acts single. Very selfish and me-centered as you say. The expectations that should be reasonable from a wife about her husband are constantly thrown out because he is not living as a married man would. He does, acts, thinks and talks as if he is single. Like it affects no one else.

            Now, I wanted to compare to see if I acted this way too. My mom does – after two failed marriages. She does not want to share her life with another and have to sacrifice or be accountable to another. Even the Bible warns about these sacrifices and says marriage is not for everyone. In some ways I did, because I didn’t have my husband in his proper place in my priorities. I either had him above God, or hobbies/kids/work/friends above my husband…which is acting single. I can’t be mad at him since I kind of did this as well when I was being disrespectful, but maybe not to the same degree. I was still being a married woman, but had wrong/too high of expectations and had my dh as a god. I wanted to please him as his wife, but wanted him to do things my way as my husband. I didn’t understand my part as a wife.

            I have done alot of reading into mid life crisis/transitions, also, and am being careful not to use it as a convenient excuse to not look at my own behavior, however, there is a whole psychology that lines up with God and biblical truth about this. It is kind of a manifestation of living for self that eventually implodes like a dying star, then blows up. Without God, there is no direction or real truth to follow.

            I feel like my dh is living behind his protective wall of self-preservation, progressively getting lonelier and lonelier the more I find joy in life even without him. He internalizes this and thinks I’m happier the more he stays away. I’ve tried to talk to him…even this morning and I was told “it’s hard to communicate with someone you can’t even look at.” Stab stab. But he thinks I’m not looking at him. I told him I’m trying to stay out of his way and give him space and time, but not sitting around wasting my life. I’m not cheating, bar hopping, or anything else…just taking care of house and kids. He feels progressively lonelier…I can see why. He has reverted back to long hours and empty promises.

            I’ve got God. My dh can chase after whatever he wants. I can’t help him if he doesn’t want help. Its up to God now. I’m focusing on obeying God, standing for this marriage and being patient. It’s hard as heck, everyone but a few people think I am a glutton for punishment and don’t understand why I won’t leave him. Probably even he wonders that. I have read some good stuff about MLC that is from Christians tying the term MLC to biblical truths.

            The subject of “married bachelor” has been strongly on my heart for about 1-2 weeks now. In fact, I’m sure God is leading me to some wisdom after seeing this subject for about the 8th time on this blog and other sources and conversations. Not as much a coincidence as one would think…it’s an obvious direction from God, to me, like “seeds and growth” were last month for me. I think He helps me understand what is going on with my husband so I can be patient in my waiting on Him and more forgiving.

            He has much work to do in both of us, but I get so impatient with the lack of progress in my husband. Just this morning he said he looks at me still and all he sees is someone who took advantage of his generosity and kindness. Wow. Then God spoke to me as a translator…”he still cannot forgive. He is still hurt. Bitterness has ahold on him. Be patient”. I cried in the shower because I was hoping we were farther along than we were. There is still so much work to be done…but God has taken me this far, it’s not for naught. I can’t understand what God is doing. It’s not my place, but I appreciate that He keeps me busy seeking wisdom about the psychology of all of this. I know God will use my trials for good one day.

            The fact is, my husband may never come out from behind his rock wall. He may choose to be a lonely single person the rest of his life. I’m not sure what to do then about bring married, but I want the joy God promises. I know I want to live a life for God. I will follow His direction. Even if it means I wait forever. Although that would make me sad, I know God wants me to be happy too. Only He can direct my life. Obeying Him is more important than having sex, being married, having lots of friends, or demanding my desires. It would make me sad without those things, but I love God more. Being willing to live without them seems to be the sacrifice He demands. The willingness. But it’s up to God to grant us out desires. That’s why I stand for my marriage. Until God ends it, I am married.

            I would like to develop this subject with you CiC and others. I pray for wisdom for us all. In His name we pray.

          5. Hi all,

            I very much feel the way that you are thinking is so right. Please keep on writing as the Lord leads you, it is helping me also and I’m sure others.

            “I feel like my dh is living behind his protective wall of self-preservation, progressively getting lonelier and lonelier the more I find joy in life even without him.” So true of my wife also. Three times in the last week she broke down crying when talking to me saying “Life isn’t supposed to be like this”. She has no purpose. Self preservation and self seeking does not fulfil us. She has what she ‘wanted’, money, freedom of decision, her own way. And she’s not happy.

            “It is kind of a manifestation of living for self that eventually implodes like a dying star, then blows up. Without God, there is no direction or real truth to follow.” SO good. SO true. SO right. Thank you. Life has no purpose unless what we do has an ETERNAL purpose.

            I’ve been wondering lately what is the purpose of marriage? I’ve been reflecting on Ephesians 5:31-32 ““For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Emphasis on ‘Christ and the church’.

            I have been thinking that the purpose of marriage is to display the unity that Christ and His church has. Jesus prayed for all who would believe on His name that we would be one, as He and the Father are one. Being one with Christ is our purpose (“I live, nevertheless not I but Christ lives in me”…..wow) and displaying that unity is the purpose of our marriages. Unity glorifies God (I want to underline that!)

            Christ gave himself FOR the church. Here is the pattern for a believing husband to follow. The church gave itself TO Christ. Here is the pattern for a believing wife to follow. There is a subtle difference here that stands out between the words FOR and TO. FOR implies a sacrificial serving. TO implies a surrender. Both reflect the distinct parts in the relationship between a believer and Christ IMO.

            Obviously this is not how my own marriage is working but to be fair I have never really patterned my life on the FOR either. I went from ultra controlling to ultra doormat. Neither are healthy. Having a king/slave type relationship is awful for both parties and totally unfulfilling. Having a queen/slave type relationship is also awful for both parties and totally unfulfilling. Both need an identity. We are both kings and priests in Christ.

            Hmmmmm…..please keep on pouring out your united wisdom!

            HH

          6. CIC,

            I agree that this can definitely be a way where we swing the pendulum too far toward being people pleasers with our husbands or idolizing them if we were controlling and disrespectful before and idolizing ourselves more. No, the husband is not Christ. And he is not deity. It is very dangerous to misunderstand this and it is destructive for everyone involved if a wife puts her husband on a pedestal and worships him rather than God. There are men who try to demand this, who say they have more authority than Christ for their wives, but this is not right!

            Yes, there are different responses depending on if a man is a believer or not and also what his personality is. My husband wanted to do ANYTHING to keep from looking controlling. He still doesn’t like to ask me to help him because he can’t stand the thought of being too overbearing, demanding, selfish, or controlling. He probably could ask me for a lot more than he does. But he is on his own journey, too. So I let him take his own pace and don’t pressure him about it.

            I’m sure there are some husbands who would love for their wives to become their slaves – at first. But this scenario and these dynamics of king/slave rather than king/queen are very destructive.

            If you think there is something we can do to better address this, I would be game for cowriting a post! 🙂

          7. LMS, hi, sister.

            God has given you a lot of strength and grace for your situation. So encouraging to see. I haven’t read much about midlife crisis, but I have thought about the concept a few times, probably when I’ve seen you mention it. Interesting thoughts that you wrote about.

            It makes sense, of course….and when I think of some of the phrases my husband has said to me over the past few years…”Maybe you feel like you have eternity after this life to be happy. I don’t know if there’s a heaven or not, so I’m running out of time for my happiness.”…..and recently saying that he feels like he has no purpose in life….and recognizing the numbing actions he chooses to escape from reality (drinking and mind-numbing television) …then it really does seem to fit with what is going on with my husband.

            He is recognizing that life is quickly passing by. He wants happiness, which for him means that there will never be conflict in life and he will have an easy life with enough money to play and have vacations and travel. The problem is there is a lot of conflict in our marriage now so that is greatly affecting his happiness. I believe God is leading us to this place in our marriage and leading me to information about boundaries because those ideas are, in essence, allowing me not to shoulder the responsibility for my husband’s happiness at all costs as I used to. The boundaries are basically forcing my husband to have to look at his actions and role in our relationship. Which, I would think would mean looking and reflecting on things you’ve done good and things that were wrong. Which, I think, could be a good thing….these are the things that force us to realize that maybe we aren’t as good as we think we are. Maybe we do need a Savior. But, I don’t know for sure…..this is just my theory. Only God knows for sure what’s going on in my husband’s heart.

            So, bringing up the idea of boundaries again, LMS. I was just wondering….have you considered the idea that your husband is kind of manipulating you with his ongoing statements like “All I see when I look at you is someone who took advantage of my kindness and generosity.”…..?? I ask this because I really do think there comes a time where you might need to take a stand against that type of thing. Of course, you can’t control your husband and what he says….but you can put up a boundary for your own well being and walk away. You can say something like “You’re right. I know I did that. I’ve confessed that to you, I’ve asked for forgiveness and I have received God’s forgiveness for that. I regret it, but there is nothing else I can do about it. Please know that I don’t feel condemnation or guilt anymore for that. I hope you will be able to forgive me, and I know that we won’t be able to move forward in our relationship until you do, but I know I can’t control that.” And walk away with your head held high.

            I know this advice might seem unsubmissive or disrespectful to some who haven’t experienced the dynamics of what you and I and others have experienced, but I have seen some positive change come from making staetments like that to my husband lately. There is nothing wrong with saying those things. They are truth. Truth is what is needed right now to dispel lies and darkness in your home. Yes, it will rock the boat. Yes, it might make your husband a little angry. If he starts to verbally attack you or to lure you into an argument after that, say “I’m sorry. I want to respect you and I need to respect myself also. If we can communicate in healthy ways, I would love to do that.” And walk away and go about your day.

            Just curious….have you had a chance to read any of Laura Doyle’s writings yet (blog or books)? I don’t know that I agree with everything she says, but I do especially like her ideas of being vulnerable, expressing desires and showing gratefulness (for us, I think this is really important when the marital relationship is where it is….continuing to say thank you to my husband for everything he does really changes the atmosphere around here and gives my husband joy, I think).

            Praying for ongoing wisdom for you and your situation, LMS. And fresh encouragement and hope from our Abba Father. I pray that you will feel His delight and love for you today.

          8. CIC,

            I actually really like the suggestion you shared. I don’t think it is unsubmissive or disrespectful to eventually say something like this. (Especially in a case, like with LMSdaily where the same thing has been going on and on and on and the wife is clearly changing and the husband continues harping on things from years ago and ignoring the good from the past year.)

            I don’t know that this would be the thing to do the very first time a husband says something about how he feels about his wife taking advantage of him. But when she has truly repented and dealt with her sin and has moved on and has been seeking to change and obey God and honor her husband over time, and he continues to stay stuck – then yes, I think something like this may be necessary.

            I love the concept of vulnerability. It is the key to authenticity and true intimacy.

            Thank you for sharing!

          9. Cic,
            When i think of saying something like that to my husband….i know he will either tune
            Me out or come back with things from the past that. I said to him and it will make me even more ashamed of myself and him more angry….i would rather say ouch per Laura Doyle but i am always too chicken to and end up saying nothing.
            Sometimes i start to doubt Laura Doyle lately in my situation. I hope im wrong though….

          10. NB,

            More important than what Laura Doyle would suggest – is to look at what your own motives are in speaking up or in saying nothing and to cling to Christ so that you are able to clearly hear His prompting, my sweet sister.

            Just because he gets angry, doesn’t necessarily mean you were wrong to tell him something. If he is involved in sin or very close to the cliff, he may get angry and defensive if you address what he is doing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be quiet. But it is important for your motives and your heart to be in the right place and for you to deal with any sin in your own life first for a time – so that you can approach your husband at the right time, humbly, respectfully, and with motives that honor Christ, yourself, your husband, and your marriage.

          11. I will share a small experience from the last couple of days that is related and may help.

            I had a situation where an agreed financial decision from our separation was not going to be honoured. I’m in a pretty tight spot and I have to be careful with money and it was a potentially significant change if the decision wasn’t honoured. I stood firm in the decision and was met with swearing, verbal abuse and so forth. But one of the statements that came out which interested me the most was the statement “I don’t know why people are banding together in support of you when you are the one in the wrong”. (Quite a few of my friends have been helping me out in a number of ways for which I am truly grateful).

            Hmmm………this tells me that she is still seeing me as 100% at fault. I knelt down to pray about my answer and had the scripture “Seek peace with all men as much as is possible with you” come into my heart. I looked up the reference and found some great principles for dealing with these situations! Like not returning evil for evil but instead blessing the person who is cursing you (which was literally happening lol), but also I saw that the statement ‘as much as is possible with you’ suggests there are times where you may have done all you can but the other party simply isn’t seeking peace.

            So I responded by saying “I’m not sure I can accept that I am the ‘one in the wrong’ as there is two sides to this and I have given my all to try and make good. But I have wronged you haven’t I. It is my lifes biggest regret and if I could find a way to take away the hurt I would immediately. But the reality is I am doing the best I can”. In this way I accepted my own faults, expressed a continued desire to make up for them but did not take ownership of her problems.

            So I guess sometimes you can still approach something completely the right way but still be met with anger and abuse. Main thing is that your own motives and heart is clear.

            CiC, interesting couple of the things you wrote just now. My wife said a few things that just clicked for me when I read your post, things like “If I hadn’t married you I would have ‘gone feral'” and “Boy when I turn XX old I’m going to break down so bad”. I think I am going to do some reading on MLC.

            In Christ, HH

          12. HH,

            I’m glad that you stood firm with the decision that had been agreed to. Something that becomes obvious as people feel pressured in some way (financially, physically, emotionally, etc…) is their character. What comes out of her mouth isn’t about you. It is about what is in her heart and who is in control of her heart and who is not.

            I think that the things she said are very telling and help you have a better snapshot of what she is believing about herself and about you. I praise God that He is changing your heart and helping you respond by overcoming evil with good. I love how you responded to her. I love that you didn’t own her part, but only yours and that you pointed out that you have tried to make things up to her and you didn’t want the separation.

            Absolutely! You can approach things in the most godly way and still be met with anger and abuse. Jesus sure was! So were all of the disciples and the persecuted church even today. Yes, our responsibility is to be sure our hearts and motives are right with God.

            I wonder when she said those things? Like she has been planning to rebel against the marriage and God’s ways for a while, maybe?

            Thank you for sharing, my brother. I pray God will reach her. He is the only one who can open her eyes – and I promise, that when He does – she will be completely mortified at her own sin. How I pray she will find the Life Jesus has to offer her here and in eternity.

          13. NB,

            Something I thought of today about your comment that your husband brings things up from the past and you feel more ashamed of yourself….

            I believe it might be helpful for you to consider the reality of what Christ did for you at the cross. He paid for every single one of yours sins, NB (of course it would be helpful for all of us to always consider, but you know what I mean, right?). All of them have been hurled to the depths of the sea. He says He will remember our sins no more. If you have His complete forgiveness, you are free. You may not feel it right now, you may not be living in it, but the reality is you are free. And once you understand that, you will not so easily let someone else take your freedom away from you.

            If you are feeling guilt and shame over your past sins, I believe it might be an indication that you haven’t been able to come to a place where you understand fully that your sin is totally, completely gone – as far as the east is to the west.

            Yes, there is a kind of regret. But, I think even with regret, when you understand God’s complete forgiveness and also His sovereignty, you come to a place where you can even get past that, knowing that He will redeem and use everything in your life…..I know April would testify to that (as she has multiple times on her blog) that even though she wishes she realized sooner her lack of respect, that she can see that God has taken those years of heartache and turned it into something beautiful.

            NB, another thing that stands out to me is that you have a lot of fear of how your husband will respond to you. It’s a work God will do in you….as He did for me – He got me to the place that I had to realize that my husband may very well leave our marriage as I was standing for truth. I lived a long time scared to say anything to my husband because his anger and reactions would silence me. I was so scared that he would walk out on me (I never felt physically threatened) and that I would lose his love. He subtly, and not so subtly at times, implied that he would walk away from our marriage whenever I was trying to bring up issues that were very important in our marriage. He had a few standard responses anytime I tried to express my hurt or heart to him. And they were very effective for a long time.

            God had to take me to the place where I wrestled that out and realized that if my husband left me, I had all I needed in Christ. He is enough and will always be enough for me. He will never leave or forsake me. It was as those truths started to take hold in my life that I was able to see more clearly that things in our marriage weren’t all my fault (as I had believed for a long time).

            I love the song by Bethel called No Longer Slaves – because I was a slave to fear for so long. When God sets you free from something, you realize how bound you really were.

            I’m also aware that you said your husband had been close to physically abusive or maybe had been in the past? Obviously, that is going to add to your fear of being able to be free to speak from your heart about how you feel and what you are seeing. I pray that God will give you wisdom and you will walk closely with Him so you are able to hear His voice about when to say something, when to be quiet, and also aware of whether you are safe physically or not.

            I know you are in a painful situation now. I understand the hurt. I pray you will keep your eyes on Christ and trust that He is leading you right now – even through this valley – He is leading you to spacious places and He has a plan in all of this. Trust Him in the darkness and you will soon see His light shining and making a way for you.

          14. Cic
            Im close to giving up. Im tired of being this suspicious failure of a wife. I made another mistake today and it so backfired. I understand my husbands hurt and pain
            That i caused him. It doesnt seem he will ever forgive me. He told me today ” you are not a wife”
            In his defense, i understand he is tired of mycsuspicions. I let something get the best of me and it backfired.
            My nerves are shot. I want to be numb. I feel that my husband deserves someone else. Im not going to be surprised if he leaves or does other things…
            Im so hurt, im hurt from the hatred he has for me. How can i stop messing up?!?

          15. CIc,
            You are right. I have fear of his responces to me. He also has a few standard insulting things he says to me that make want to crawl into a cave and never come out.
            I dont think i have a right to self defence so to say as i feel guilty for everything i said to him. Plus my fear and suspicions over the last month did erase all the good that i so painfully rebuilt over tge last 1.5 years.
            Im lost. He has so much hate for me…im tired….

          16. NB,
            I pray you will seek God and His Spirit to lead you and guide you in this situation to see where your responsibility ends and your husband’s responsibility begins. At some point, you have to realize that like CIC said, Your sins are forgiven, and your husband is not in control, neither are his emotions, or his accusations. Look past your husband and see the evil forces of this world behind it all. Your husband is not your enemy. He needs the mighty power of the Spirit of God to open his eyes to repent. But either way, all you can do is control yourself, and set your own boundaries to protect yourself. We are not to fear MEN, but God alone. You are not out to please your husband you are out to please GOD alone. If God is not in the proper place in your priorities, you will continue to experience these life-draining emotions of fear and shame, etc.

            Only God is in control. Not your husband.

            Praying for you in Jesus’ Name! Amen

            Love,
            Amanda

          17. Thank you for reaching out to NB, Amanda.

            I’m so thankful for the way God loves His children through you and the way He has empowered you to share so many of His treasures with all of us.

          18. Amanda,
            Dont have much time now but wanted to tell you thank you!!
            Cic, thank you for your help and prayers too…
            Thank you ladies you are such a tremendous help and encouragenent to me!

  3. April & CIC

    Thank you for this encouragement all around!!!!! I am so glad to see what God is doing in you, CIC! And thank you April for the very encouraging video. That is much needed today! Bless all of you!!

    Love,
    Amanda

    1. Hi, Amanda! I know you recently made a really hard decision – I read that comment of yours. I know that must have been very difficult. I’m so glad to see what God is doing in you, too! I pray that He will continue to give you His wisdom, peace and guidance as you go forward.

      1. April & CIC,
        I have an update about that major decision. God works in mysterious ways! After I came to the place of letting go in my heart to the Lord about my son moving, and after coming to peace in it, my husband changed his mind. He said he felt it was not the right choice afterall, and he told me his concerns.

        A few days later, one of my closest friends called and said that when I told her about the decision, and she prayed about it, God spoke to her heart and told her that my son would not be moving, and that God wanted my friend to focus on the *message* that I spoke to her when I told her about my decision. The message I spoke to her heart that God wanted to use in her life was that I was not going to base my decisions off of fear!

        Then I had 2 more confirmations. My son’s stepmother (who is also one of my closest friends) texted me the same day that my husband changed his mind, and told me about something she read earlier that day which said : “fear convinces us to reach for control, and then we forget what Jesus has already done for us and we try to do for ourselves”. That was exactly what God had been showing me throughout the whole time I was deciding! And then again, it was my husband who said to me “you can’t base your decisions off of fear!”

        I really feel that God allowed me to go through all of this not only to get me to truly let go in my heart about my son, but to also use that thing he showed me about not basing my decisions off of fear!

        Also, I had read April’s post from a long time ago about when she gave up her emailing, how anxiety swept over her. Everything you wrote in that post April is what I was going through in this decision. The main factor being I did not want to make a wrong decision and displease the Lord! That SO spoke to my heart!!!

        I’m still not sure what the Lord is wanting to do in our lives, but I am being taught to trust Him. 🙂

        Blessings,
        Amanda

        1. Wow, Amanda! That is amazing!!!! All of it, and I really love the part about your friend hearing from God that she was supposed to listen to the message behind your decision!

          So, I thought that you were the one that was going to be moving with your husband and that your son would be staying behind with his father, but I might have gotten some of the details mixed up. Did your husband get a job out of state that will cause you to move?

          Your story is touching my heart, too, because right now, I am really struggling with stepping forward and in faith in my relationship with my husband and I know that fear is behind it, now that I’m reading your comment. I’m scared of being hurt again, I’m scared of the fact that I still think there are things that haven’t been dealt…..lots of fear here. It is very hard to open yourself back up and take risk again when you’ve been hurt. But, at the same time, my husband has shown some humility by actually taking ownership for some things that have hurt me. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t broken repentance, but just the fact that he was willing to admit that he was wrong and simply apologize is a step for him.

          Love you, sister! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

          1. CIC,
            Yes, after all that God has brought my husband and I through, my husband ended up having to move out of state again, but this time he is so far away I can’t see him. That really broke my heart. After God revealed to me about how Jesus is the true source of all joy and contentment—–my life fell apart—and the Lord confirmed that I was being tested not on my faith, but BECAUSE of my faith! It opened my eyes to what I was really truly seriously trusting in, and what I was truly all about—-my husband, or Jesus. It was so painful having to let him go like that, after things were starting to get better and our family was really thriving. BUT—-God is in control. But still, my heart is broken. All I want is to be with my husband.

            And then my husband suggested my son go stay with his father very far away, so that he and I could be together. Then God brought me through that agony of letting go of my son in my heart. And then my husband changed his mind about that, thankfully. I am staying put, and I am really going to start praying about my husband and I being together again. I know I can’t manipulate and try to do things and try to control the situation, and that is hard.

            Ultimately, in the midst of all of this—– God is showing me what’s in my heart and He’s been focusing my heart on trusting Him, and looking off unto Jesus, and realizing that this life is not our home. We were made for eternity. And it really tries my heart when I am faced with the question about WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO ME?

            That is hard. I feel like ever since I started a blog about contentment in Christ, everything I’ve been writing about is literally what’s happening in my own life lol. It hurts!

            But as for your struggle, I can TOTALLY relate as well. That is where I was 3 months ago—-scared to move forward in faith in my relationship because I was very scared to get hurt again. And the thing that got me through was the Lord revealing Himself to me in that new, fresh way when He showed me He was the ONLY One who could ever meet my deepest needs.

            It is very scary—-but that is what the book captivating is all about—it’s about realizing that we are to put Christ first, and seek to please HIM, and when we have Him as first, we can offer our beauty and love to our husbands, even if they don’t notice, appreciate it, or respond. We must guard our hearts wisely, of course. That’s what I did, I pursued counseling to get my own life and heart right, and when I did that, I was able to stand firm in Christ and I was able to be led by the Spirit in each circumstance, and if things got too heated or emotional or anything with my husband, I would either end the convo, or walk away, or get away some how to avoid being hurt further if he was not being kind to me. I had to realize that it was not ok and I had to set up those boundaries for myself because I can only control myself, of course!

            I know how you feel right now, and it is so hard. I pray God will give us the faith to move forward, trusting wholly in Him! I think I am beginning to learn like you were saying about in some other comments that I can’t shape my life around my husband. I was doing that. I fell into that for sure!!!!! There are boundaries and lines and I think it is best for us in these types of difficult hurtful situations to make sure that we are seeking our own well-being in Christ and His word and godly friends, and setting our hearts on GOD instead of man. Man will disappoint us, but God never will!

            The rule of thumb for me has always been to follow peace. I can usually tell if God is putting something on my heart when there is peace about it.

            I am here with you sister!!! Thank you for sharing your story as well, I feel not so alone 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. Hey, Amanda! Thanks for your sweet reply. It’s so good for my soul to know that others understand. God has been so, so good to put people around me during this journey who can relate and help me to know that the emotions and struggles that I’ve gone through and am going through are normal. He has confirmed over and over that He is with me and I love what you said about the rule of thumb for you is to follow peace. I had just said to a friend today that I would never have stepped out and taken some of the steps I had in my marriage that I have in the last two months, except for the fact that God kept confirming it through godly mentors (April being one of them) and different books/Christian writings….and with His peace. I have felt a deep sense of peace that even through the pain we have been through, I was following God. The pain was there, but peace was right alongside.

            Tonight, I am realizing that there is a shift in how I’m to operate going forward now and I was really wrestling with feeling condemnation over the strong stance I had taken the last couple of months. But, again….God confirmed to me just a couple of hours ago that there is a reason for the period that we just went through and now I think the path has curved and I am just following the curve, following where God is leading me. I really can’t explain how amazed I am at how God is leading me through all of this.

            And, I know there is so much more for me to learn, too. To be honest, 24 years of frustration of my heart not being heard and cared for tenderly has been releasing the last few months. It hasn’t always been pretty. In some sense, I believe God gave me freedom to let that anger out (there were definitely times where my anger was sinful and I have had to apologize) and I believe He is telling me it’s time to let it go and to move forward living in His freedom and with healthy boundaries and a knowledge of who I am in Him, a knowledge of who He is for me.

            I know this situation must be very difficult for you, Amanda….and yet, I have a deep sense that God has this whole situation in His hands. You have a heart that is seeking after God and I know that He will be very near to you during this time and you will experience the fruit of another season of suffering. Don’t get condemned when your emotions overtake you. He understands. 🙂

            Praying for God’s comforting touch on your heart tonight.

        2. Amanda,
          I also ordered the book Captivating today. I need something like that. I hope it will help with my insecurities and idolizing my husband.
          Reacting in fear definitely makes you grasp for control…I’m a proof of that. I just hope it’s not too late and that I didn’t completely repel my husband while reacting out of fear in our situation…April warned me…
          Now no matter what my husband is doing regarding his coworkers and all his texting with one in particular, I refuse to let the fear cripple me. It completely crippled me in the last week or so. I’m choosing my faith instead of my fear and regardless what happens I’m following through with this this time.
          When God is with me who can be against me?

          1. NB,
            I went through a similar situation with my husband, but I don’t know if to the same degree. When I married my husband, his “best friend” was a girl. They had dated for like 3 weeks about 3 years before I met him. But they realized they were better off as friends, and their relationship was purely just as friends for the next 3 years. My husband was always working away, so they mostly kept in touch through phone.

            Well, when I met and married my husband, out of respect for me, he told her that they could no longer talk so much. I even met her, and became very close friends with her when we moved to my husband’s hometown for a summer. Her and I kept in touch over the phone for almost 2 years.

            Well, At some time or another, my husband started talking to her again. At first, I didn’t really care because I was always right there, and I would talk to her as well in the same convo, So it didn’t really bother me. Then, our friend got married as well, and thats when things changed.

            Not long after she married, all of a sudden, they started talking alot more, and I had listened to/read convos between them talking about ME AND HER HUSBAND and how we were both “the same attention seeking type people” who could never be alone!

            At first, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and thought this was ok?!?!?!?!?!?! (This is why I definitely needed counseling 🙁 )

            There came a point, however, when things got out of hand. The time before the last time my husband “left” me, my husband travelled to bring his children back to their mother, and apparently my husband spent a lot of time on the phone with our friend “venting” about our marriage problems.

            He “jokingly” told our friend that they should both get a divorce and marry each other.

            I found out about this 2 weeks later when I asked my husband to use his phone to tango with my mom, and a conversation between my husband and his older sister was there, talking about how my husbad should have married our friend and my sister-in-law was saying how my husband should have and they were going back and forth about it.

            This was about 2 weeks after God brought me to Aprils site and I had a major eye opening to all of my disrespect/sin, etc.

            When I found out what my husband had been saying/doing, sadly, I reacted very wrongly and I lost it. I flipped out and threatened to leave, and thank God it was actually a snowstorm that night so I didn’t get very far. My husband got very mad and fell into a rage and started blaming me about it, etc.

            The end result of that, however, was good. God opened my husband’s eyes to what he did wrong, he repented, and he hasn’t talked to her since. I confronted our friend about it and told her that I’d appreciate it if she no longer spoke to my husband. She respected that and I haven’t talk to her since.

            My husband has been cheated on in the past, and he is very sensitive about that, so when he realized he was doing that in a diferent form, he was very sorry.

            EITHER WAY—— it hurts and I understand where you are coming from.

            Also, if your husband is doing this willingly, you may have to set up some boundaries for yourself. Pretending it’s not happening isn’t going to do any good. I’ve known close friends who have dealt with this, and the end result is usually not good especially if the husband is NOT a believer.

            If your husband is a believer, (or even not), God is surely able to intervene. But you can only control yourself, and only you can decide what behavior you will expose yourself to or allow.

            I pray that God will open his eyes and reveal to him the truth and that he may repent and that God will restore your marriage.

            I pray that you will continue to submit to God, and resist the devil. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. I pray the Lord has mercy on us all!

            Love,
            Amanda

  4. I would like to ask for sincere prayer for my marriage. I have been actively working on respecting my husband, and tonight, I made a serious mistake. God has shown me many things about my own personal issues in the past few weeks, and I’m working to fix them. But I am not perfect and I made a huge mistake tonight. Please pray for us and our family.

    1. Praying for you tonight my sister—praying that you will be drawn so close to your Savior and strengthened for the journey. Remember that it’s not expected of you to fix… just to follow. HE is at work in your life — the Shepherd of our souls and the Healer of our wounded hearts. May He lift you up when you stumble and carry you and your family in His arms.

  5. I am so blessed with the video. God bless you April. Your write ups has been a revelation to me and my marriage I appreciate it all. Much more of God!

  6. LMS,
    I feel so similar to you. I also thought we were further along with my husband but nope. His whole texting ordeal put everything I worked so hard on this past 1.5 years to this incredibly painful test. My vulnerability with him about expressing my concern and my pain about it were turned against me. He brought up everything I’m not proud of saying or doing from the past again, he rehashed everything and more. He was getting so defensive I’m really thinking there is something up between him and her. I was made out to be this horrible monster who’s not letting him have friends, who has ruined his life. He even told me he should have divorced me the first time around ( he filed in 2009 because of my disrespect already. But promptly had a relationship with someone he worked with at the same time. We reconciled back then)
    I told him it was my greatest desire to prove to him that I can be different, I told him I would fight for our marriage. I told him how much I loved him, how I was blessed to have him….he said my words were hollow to him and that I was so fake to him.
    Is that because of my mistrust ( I’m really having hard time now. I’m in agony every day. April has been such a blessing to me in walking with me through this every day.) or is it because he’s trying to make himself feel better because he knows what he’s doing is wrong? Only God knows.
    Yesterday he accidentally sent a text to me instead of her. It said ( not in English so I established that his language skills are pretty good) ” I hope I didn’t stress you out on your vacation” smiley face and all. Wow. I got 3 texts from him in the last 2 years. Two being ok and yeah, and third one yesterday after my very vulnerable text to him saying that it was my greatest desire to prove to him I could be different and to give me one more chance was ” whatever we start new today” I ended up being a bad guy for being slightly upset about it when he came home.
    April, he didn’t show me anything. He went to bed with his precious phone by his side. I slept with the kids.
    Anyway…I wanted to sympathize with you. The hatred that he spit all over me in the last few days is unreal.
    I’m standing firm though. It hurts so much seeing how his face basically lights up when he texts her ” about work”. I don’t know what to think. I want to choose my faith instead of my fear. I’m accepting what I can’t control. I thought we were doing really good, until this woman made her way into our marriage ( about 2 months ago now, but lately their texting is really frequent).
    I feel like throwing up when I think about it all. I’m begging God every day to bring whatever is hidden to light. I am getting so emotionally beat up by being accused of being such a monster, especially after having a few months of at least illusion of success. I thought he was healing. It turned out to be not the case, I thought he started to trust me more. But I repelled him with my fear, and now he says he doesn’t trust me. Again.
    It seems like I’m just doomed. I feel like a failure every day. I know the Lord is with me. I have never prayed so hard in my life. I need to completely focus on the Him. When I do it is easier….when I start spinning what ifs in my head, i want to give up. When I share with my husband how I feel, I’m a monster who ruined his life.
    I praying for all of you….I pray the Lotd will use all of this for His glory….there has to be purpose in all of this….

    1. NB,

      This is April – haven’t gotten my user name changed yet, oops!

      You know what? I had an emotional affair/infatuation about 2 years into our marriage. 🙁 It was so stupid. I was not guarding my heart. I pridefully thought I was “above adultery” and that I could talk with men about anything and that they would respect that I was married, no big deal. I laughed and talked and joked a lot with this one guy. He wasn’t a believer. I told him I wouldn’t date him even if I weren’t married because of that. Didn’t realize that I issued a challenge to him to try to woo me with that little comment. He pursued me A TON. To prove to himself that he could have me if he wanted me, but I didn’t know what was going on. He gave me so many compliments, and talked with me for HOURS and HOURS each week. Greg was ignoring me at the time and almost not speaking to me. Eventually, my feelings really terrified me. I realized I was in trouble. I realized I could destroy my marriage and my life. But I didn’t know what to do. When I would try to pull away, he would get really controlling and upset.

      But you know what? I was praying, even in my messed up frame of mind. And God provided a way out. He was 27 but ran across a 17 year old girl he had to help who was very troubled (with his job). He started dating her and the attention was off of me. WHEW! I never kissed him or got physical at all, but I was definitely infatuated with him. 🙁 What a disaster that could have been.

      Since then, I have learned how important it is to guard my heart. And now, knowing what I know about men, I trust myself (my own flesh) even less than ever before. I go to every length I can to guard my heart and marriage because I know that Satan would love to destroy it.

      No, none of us are above having an emotional affair – or even a physical affair. Especially if we are not guarding our hearts. An emotional affair often does start out innocently as a friendship. But then we can get caught up in it without really intending to.

      I am not there, and I don’t know your husband’s heart. So it is difficult for me to tell if you are approaching him that disrespectfully or if he is just very defensive because he wants to hide this from you because he knows what he is doing is wrong and he is just trying to throw the blame on you to make you feel crazy. Or both things could be happening.

      Would you please remind me – is this woman single or married, or is she lesbian? I can’t remember.

      God can reach him. We get ourselves in such a mess and then we start justifying our sin to ourselves and blame-shifting to others. That is human nature.

      My prayer is that God will help you see very clearly what you own and what you don’t and how to walk in His power right now.

      Has he talked about separating?

      What do you believe God desires you to do at this point, as things maybe seem to be escalating but he is either in denial or is deceiving himself?

      1. NB,

        This is still April 🙂

        Remember that trusting other people is not a command. We are to trust God. But there are times we can’t trust people. Maybe neither of you can trust each other right now.

        What happens if you ask to go to counseling with him or by yourself? Or if you ask him if maybe you should talk with your mom because you feel like you need help?

        Is he still interacting with the kids?

    2. NB,
      I didn’t see this comment before replying to yours above— but now that I have a better knowledge of what you’re going through, I have this to say—-I had a friend that went through a very very very similar thing where her husband (not a believer) was doing this, and he constantly blamed her and made her to feel like if she didn’t change, she was this horrible person who didn’t deserve his attention. She truly believed it was her fault, and like she was the reason he went astray to other women in their marriage.

      I don’t want to tell you what to do, so I pray you seek God. But I will say this…IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT WHAT HE CHOOSES TO DO SISTER.

      It is no one’s fault what ANOTHER PERSON chooses to do. Sure, we can “provoke” people so to speak, but in terms of something like this, that is on the person and is no one else’s fault. The Bible says when we sin, it is because we are drawn away by OUR OWN LUSTS. If your husband is NOT a believer, then all you can do is 1 Peter 3, and if he chooses to walk away, let him go (1 cor 7).

      God is in control. He sees EVERYTHING. He knows.

      I pray you will seek to set up boundaries for yourself and that you will continue to put your hope and faith in God to work all of this for the good, whatever the end result.

      Blessings,
      Amanda

      1. Love this! Thank you for sharing with our sister, NB, Amanda,

        I agree with you and pray for God’s wisdom for NB. I don’t have the wisdom she needs, but I know He does!

      2. Amanda,
        If i were to put boundaries what would it look like?
        Because like i say, telling him how i felt this week ( very vulnerably, zero disrespect or lecturing…well i cried then so i dont know if that was wrong) was turned against me. He brought up everything from the past that i did or said and of course it gets me every time…i feel so ashamed of myself then.
        April,
        At times i really beleive he is confused/ deceived/ afraid that if he doesnt keep up being that friendly with her, the team at work will turn against him like it was a few months ago for him. His comment on Thursday where he said ” ok, i will quit being friendly with these people, maybe they will hate me again”….
        Then yesterday we were sitting together, and he got another text…he looked at me and said frustrated- ” dont get on me about this!!!”. Then he replied something back and said, to me ” that should done now. I dont feel like it tonight” hmmm…
        Im trying to be friendly and zip my lips. And not cold shoulder him…
        In Ed Wheats book ” Love life for every married couple” in chapter how to save your marriage alone, he advises people who go through infidelity by their spouse, to show them unconditional love. To make home a place where the straying spouse wants to be…And he also says that there is no reason to reason, etc with the spouse who is infatuated. they wont get it anyway….
        So i feel stuck. I think i can only do 1 Peter 3 and give this mess to God. Hoping he will bring justice to this….

        1. This morning unfortunately i made one more attempt sharing something with him ( mistake). I Asked him that it would make me feel so much better if he shared his work issues also with me instead of shutting me out and sharing it only with her. I said it softly and gently. He answered ” Well, you were shutting me out when…..” and brought something up from years ago that i did to him ( very disrespectful thing when i humiliated him in front of his coworker. So painful to even think i was capable of that back then).
          i need to really ” zip my lips” about this. Not only halfway. He is really not in a position to see/ hear anything…
          It hurts so much….im praying the Lord sees this and will intervene in his timing…

          1. NB,

            Actually, I think you could respond by saying, “You know what, you are so right. I really regret that I shut you out like that. I want to learn to be a welcoming, warm, safe place for you to share.”

          2. NB,
            It’s hard to say what it would look like in your situation. Has your husband ever actually cheated? Do you think there is a possibility?

            The fact that he keeps blaming you to justify what he is doing tells me that something is not right in all of it. If he were being honest, he would have no problem involving you and showing you the conversations, etc.

            That is just MY opinion of course. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about the details publicly, you could always email me manduhhh12@yahoo.com. I am not saying that I am a professional at any of this or that I have the answers to your life or situation, but I know sometimes there’s details that are left out on a public comment which is totally understandable. If you want to chat privately, let me know! Like I said, I have had a few friends who have gone through this and who I was able to lend a listening ear to through their painful trials.

            Hope to hear from you,
            Amanda

          3. LMS. I’ve read your comment several times. I want to let you know I read it and that I am going to pray about it a lot today. I believe the questions you are asking are fundamental. I am asking similar questions. I believe the questions are so fundamental that I don’t want to write anything without deeply thinking and praying about it. HH

        2. No, there was nothing wrong with you crying. Absolutely not.

          You can absolutely obey 1 Peter 3 by submitting to and respecting your husband (who is disrespecting you right now by blaming you, not caring for your heart, etc.)…….and at the same time put up boundaries. Remember, the boundary is for you – not something to be used to try to control your husband or get him to act differently or for revenge. It is simply…..will I allow someone to disrespect me and continue to act as if everything is normal in the relationship? If not, what will I do to protect myself during this time so I don’t get resentful giving or doing something even though the relationship is not healthy and good right now?

          I highly, highly recommend Boundaries In Marriage by Cloud and Townsend (LMS is right, this is a great book!). This is an interesting article on boundaries – talking more from the perspective of setting them if you are in ministry, but I think it’s still interesting to see how Jesus set boundaries. http://www.soulshepherding.org/1998/07/jesus-set-boundaries/

          NB, I am working on being vulnerable with my husband and sharing my desires while still setting boundaries even tonight with my husband. We have a long history of him not being able to see his part in conflict and not wanting to resolve conflict by moving toward me. It ends up with me apologizing a lot and him not so much. Tonight, I approached him (after making several attempts to “build a bridge”, after apologizing for a couple of different things, etc.) and said “I would love to feel that my heart was heard and tenderly cared for after we’ve had conflict…..just wanted you to know that.” …..and I walked away.

          I believe I cannot act like all is fine in our relationship until he has moved toward me in a tender way. After a few years of trying to act like the forgiving wife (at all costs), I know now that doesn’t work so well and that I can either set a boundary here or I can end up exploding after trying to pretend all is well. I’m just realizing that there is a way to remain respectful, submissive, etc. but still draw boundaries.

          Does all of that make sense? It is taking me a LLOOONNNG time to work through this and understand all of this as I try to deal with what has been some very unhealthy patterns in our marriage. I am also learning more and more about myself and things I still need to be working on.

          You’re on my heart, NB. Praying for you.

          1. APril, Amanda and CiC
            Thank you ladies for your support and prayers. It means the world to me.
            You all gave me much to think about and reflect on…
            Im staying in prayer and seeking and trusting the Lord…
            Im looking forward to receiving Captivating. Boundaries in marriage will be on my list to buy also.
            Thank you ladies…Im praying for all of you as well …This journey we are on is defintely not for the weak.

          2. I appreciate reading about healthy boundaries and how to set them. Thanks CiC. HH

          3. You’re welcome, HH. Once you learn the concept behind boundaries, it starts to affect all of your relationships – and it forces growth internally, as well, as you realize the importance of focusing on change in yourself – the only person you have control over.

            Hope you are doing well. Was happy to see that you enjoyed the book They Found the Secret.

          4. CiC, was it you who recommended They Found the Secret to me? I couldn’t remember who pointed it out. If so, thank you! It was fantastic 🙂 I’m just beginning The Normal Christian Life tonight (Watchman Nee). HH

          5. HH, yes, I recommended that book to you….just happy to know that it was encouraging for you!

          6. Content in Christ, April, HH, Bel, all my PW sisters and brothers….HELP!

            I have been reading the blog, but have had a pretty rough week. Busy with work and kids, but also praying and thinking for and about all of you. I really need some support and insight right now, though.

            Last weekend, my husband wanted to talk…finally. But it was not what I had hoped for. All I can say, is how thankful that I have a relationship with God! I have been on my respect journey for over 1.5 years now. My husband tried to justify why an affair from one spouse would really be the other spouses fault because they didn’t fill needs etc. He told me very bluntly and straight forward how there is absolutely nothing he wants to do with me…no concerts, movies, activities, not even going for a walk. He thinks I’m living in a fantasy land as if everything is going to be okay, and it is not……In short, he desperately is trying to shift blame, justify and validate his horrible behavior towards me. If he hasn’t already gotten involved in an affair, I highly expect one is seriously being considered due to his questions and other suspicious red flag behavior and comments over the last few months. Emotions flew, words were said..all in all, it was not pleasant.

            I have done all I could to be forgiving, understanding, respectful, and kind. However, I saw what this was and defended myself. I rebuked the attempt to blame someone else for an affair and put that sin back onto the cheating spouse right quick. I tried my very, very best to remain calm. I cried at the harsh comment of not wanting to do any thing with me….for a few minutes, while in the shower that morning. However, in the midst of that shower, I prayed. I asked God to just be with me and protect me from sinning, give me strength, courage and wisdom to deal with my husband. The tears stopped. I had a sense of power and resolve. I felt a door close inside me and a guard placed in front of it. This scares me a bit. I got out, got dressed and did laundry, ironed and cleaned like my life depended on it. I guess I needed the distraction. I even skam dunk style threw away our wedding picture that sat on my dresser in our bedroom into his garbage can. When he saw it that night, he asked me if I was just mad at him or done. I said mad at him, but well on my way to being done. I said those two people in the picture are dead. If things work out between us, II guess I’ll have a new picture to take with a new frame to put up. A sense of finality came over me and we haven’t talked since.

            There were 2 big discussions on this dsy. The first one was above, later the same day, he wanted to talk again while the kids played in the pool…this seems to be his favorite way to talk about big stuff, while the kids are full of giggles and fun. Heartbreaking. (He dropped the bomb to me about wanting a divorce 2 Novembers ago while on the first day of a family vaccation while kids where playing in a resort pool). So tacky. Anyway. I had a sense of calm, yet I felt like I was going to explode at the same time. I didn’t yell or scream, but I was very honest with my feelings. I know there were things said that probably were not as respectful, nice, etc as God would want me to be, I repented after, but I also had to give myself some respectful credit. I did soooo muuuuch better than I ever have under those circumstances than I did in the past or would have even a few months ago. I think the best part was that I really didn’t care if my husband wanted a divorce still or not…it is his choice. I felt like I opened his cage for him. The choice to leave was his if he wanted it. I was not standing in his way, begging him to stay, scared of angering him or making mistakes any more. I opened the gates and said “if you want to go, then go. I am not begging you to stay, I will be fine, the kids will be very hurt and we will most likely have to sell the house. We will need two houses each with 3 bedrooms. It will mess up their world for sure, but I’m not making you stay. I asked him to figure himself out before he gets remarried so that he doesn’t do this to another poor woman, make her angry, bitter and disrespectful. That way the kids won’t have to endure an evil stepmother like I had to….and I’ll make sure I do the same”. It may have been harsh. I know, I said it. Not sure if it was right or wrong, but it’s was said. I felt like a volcano, not explosive, but oozing and flowing over.

            My good moments were trying to make sure he understood that I realize I had a part in the fail of our marriage, recognized it finally and have been working on it. I told him I love him, I think he is a very smart man….but a giant fool. I confronted his sins of treating me very unloving and not at all respectful as a wife, the mother of his kids or even as a human being. I told him I don’t deserve it. I defended myself and my spiritual beliefs when he tried to attack them. I remained calm, but firm. I told him I’m not afraid of divorce anymore.

            My not so proud moments….I called him a fool, a hypocrite and felt very indifferent to whatever he decided to do. I felt that I may have been assuming on some things. I wonder if my expectations of him as a martied man are wrong, or righteous anger. I wonder if I should be able to expect certain things such as commitment, honesty, honorable and unselfish actions, cooperation, a goal to try to understand each other, support each other and keeping your word. Is it wrong to have THESE kinds of expectations from a spouse?

            I would not let him interrupt me, yet I would sometimes interrupt him. I did my best, but I know there was still sin. Towards the end, he went inside the house. I came in to appologize for my wrongs and say that I don’t want to fight every time we talk….he cut me off and said he never wanted to talk again. That was the most rude, hurtful and useless talk he ever experienced and he is ‘done’. I shrugged my shoulders and said “okay” , turned around and went back outside to watch the kids play. My motive was to accept his feelings, yet not accept his crappy behavior to me. I turned on some praise music and prayed for a long time asking God to please make beauty from the ashes of this volcanic erruption…for all of us.

            I left it all to God. It’s a mess. I am part of it. I asked for forgiveness. And I asked for God’s direction and teaching.

            The fallout:

            My husband went to his parents to help them with a task, called and demanded the kids and I come over. Then he took us all out for an ice cream with his parents. We came home. He did dishes (gasp…a super rare occurrence ), played with the kids, reached out to me in bed with his foot (our type of hand holding) and he said I don’t hate you. I told him I don’t hate you eitheir, I love you no matter what. I am utterly confused. Is he just grasping as straws because he knows I am mad? It L don’t want him to just try to appease me with begrudge acts of service. If it’s not genuine, I want nothing to do with it. Is he just afraid I’m on the verge of tossing him out of the house? I know he is battling with feeling like he let me and the family down and his own desperate feeling of wanting to flee. I am guessing he feels—trapped, stuck, imprisoned, guilty, shamed, confused, angry, bitter, mad, taken advantage of and probably much more.

            But I feel hardened now. I had to shut down some of the emotion in me in order to stand against his bad behavior to me and our family. I even re-read Dr. James Dobson’s book “Love Must be tough”. I know I read this early on, but wow, did it open my eyes this time. I don’t think I was anywhere near ready to understand this earlier on my journey. My thoughts go a bit like this.

            I know that for many women like April married to christian men who understand the love-respect principal, that becoming a respectful wife can sometimes turn a marriage around. I thought my marriage was in that category because I saw myself having that same disrespectful attitude. I changed it and am still changing it. But April’s husband was not being angry, aggressively rude, or searching for a divorce. He was not contemplating an affair. From what I can tell, he was not in a mid- life crisis, lashing out at everyone and blaming them. April, correct me if I’m wrong here. So. Of course each marriage is different, but I obviously was delusional to think that my changes were all that was needed to get us back on track. I was wrong to think it was going to be a simple fix. My husband has some serious flaws as well. I just understand I cannot control those now. In the process, I found God, myself, a love of life and people and most importanly, God. I have joy back. But incredible pain as well.

            I get stuck in the passive, loving, forgiving and understanding part. In Dr. Dobsons book, I literally stopped and meditated on a single line that floored me to the bone as I realized the truth in it. It said: “If I allow infidelity (or sin) to keep going, I am in essence giving my spouse a one way ticket to hell.” This was eye opening. If my purpose on earth is to help God expand His kingdom and bring people to Him with love and obedience to our maker, and I have agreed to join God in His quest to love my brothers and sisters (my spouse) as fellow children of God, then for me to simply sit back and allow my spouse to treat me in sinful ways is guaranteeing his spiritual death!!! I would not sit back and do nothing if my child was holing up in his room getting high on drugs, skipping school, and hurting himself. I would call in a crisis situation and show some tough love, get him help, and set boundaries. I would not keep making excuses that he just needs some “alone time to think things through” and that it’s been a hard year and he senses his parents maritial issues, so I understand and just need to be patient. NO! That would be disasterous and not done out of love, but rather done out of fear, cowardice and passiveness. It takes more strength and courage and love to stand up to that kind of behavior from someone you love deeply and care about. But how do I show tough love to a husband that I am NOT responsible FOR, but responsible TO. He is not my child, so I don’t want to mother him, but I know that I cannot accept this behavior any more from him. It feels wrong to just keep taking it. No matter how much I try to understand, give it to God, be patient, forgive and be nice, cooperative, try to bless him with things he likes…no amount of this seems like the tough love he may very well need me to show him!!!!! I cannot, in goid faith, let this blatant disrespect and neglect continue. It will just cause resentment, bitterness and show my kids unhealthy ways to interact with a spouse for their own marriages. It needs to stop! NOW! I cannot allow it to continue and feel good about it. I cannot just pawn it all on God, either. I feel he needs me to take some action as well. For the good of me, my husband, my kids, and His kingdom as well. I cannot just sit on my duff and hope it all away.

            I can forgive it all, but how do I encourage the good behavior while discouraging the bad? It feels very cold and unloving and selfish to not just keep being patient, waiting on God etc. I feel very strongly that God is trying to teach me how to give “tough love”, but I need to be very careful to not let the enemy tempt me into selfish, prideful sin. This feels very slippery and I really need some scriptures and godly advice to point me on to the narrow path for this. I feel I am in a highly critical place here. My goal is to obey God first. However, I see that I was not loving myself the way God loves us either. I was allowing disrespect, neglect, hurtful actions and words from my husband. I was allowing his sin even though i tried to conftont it…I did not enforce any consequences for his sin…is that something that I’m supposed to do? Or do I leave God to do that? I tried to tell him how I felt, but he doesn’t hear me. Ive kind of given up the words, and wanted to communicate in actions. So now, how do I instill the consequences of his behavior to me without being the judge, jury and executioner? I want to leave the judgement to God, but I still need to love myself in a good way, not an arrogant way, but rather as God loves me too. Dr. Dobsons book explains how sometimes appeasing and patience can be looked at by the other spouse as sickenly pathetic, desperate and clingy. Kind of like the offending spouse can do any kind of horrible thing and there is no consequence or discipline from it. It makes me look as if I don’t even respect myself, so how can I expect my husband to respect me? It is disgusting and ugly, really, when I see this behavior over the last 1.5 years in this light. Was I being this way? Not respecting myself even? Am I that far removed from respect that I canmot even respect myself ad Gid respects and loves me?

            Just as kids actually respect the parents who place boundaries and discipline on them, it’s out of love, the kids feel loved BECAUSE of this. They know they are valued and loved because of those boundaries and the enforcement of them. I think God is trying to grow this in me to make me more well rounded and mature and healthy…and I am excited about it, but I know I have the tendency to over shoot and I don’t want to become a crushing wrecking ball or sledge hammer either and totally snuff out any embers left of the fire, even if they are only luke warm at best. How do I FAN the flame instead of snuff it out? AND in all of this, not put my marriage, his feelings, my pride, the kids feelings, my expectations on the altar as idols. Whew, so much to think about! This feels tricky, a slippery slope, a very narrow path and I don’t want to mess this up. I need to follow God’s path here. I am ok with whatever He wills, even if it means the marriage is over. I can handle it with Him by my side. I know it will be tough, sad, heartbreaking and more than I can imagine, but if God is taking me there, I trust Him. It will be for my good, and my husband’s good as well.

            I feel like I’m watching a drunk driver weave and drive recklessly in front of me on the highway. I want to help get him safely off the road so he doesn’t hurt himself or others or me, but I feel powerless to do so. He is in a high speed chase running from the police and my babies are in the car with this out of control man! I am scared for my husband’s safety, spiritual life and health. I stopped providing the “booze” 1.5 years ago, but he’s been running from me, too. My fear is for my kids and my husband. I know I have a role to play, and trying to follow God’s direction, but have I been deaf to another aspect He is trying to teach me? Have I been TOO passive, understanding, forgiving, loving, caring and patient? Is there another side of being loving that i missed…this tough side? Is God trying to teach me some sort of righteous anger? Any feedback and discussion would be so valuable today to me. I welcome and need prayers for wisdom in this, strength and courage to do the right thing and stay strong against temptation and sin. Thank you.

            My love and blessing and gratefulness to all of my PW friends.-LMS Daily 125

          7. LMSdaily115,

            There is a very dicey balance for all of us in which we must be completely dependent on the Holy Spirit – focusing on allowing God to change us and focusing on our relationship with Christ, not being passive or dominating. Not being disrespectful or a doormat. We can influence our husbands but we can’t change them. We can respect God, ourselves, and our husbands all at the same time. There are times when a wife who is being sinned against needs to confront her husband and there are times when separation is necessary to begin healing on both sides. When a spouse has really serious sins, it can get even more complicated – which is why I refer wives whose husbands have uncontrolled mental health issues, are involved in active drug/alcohol addictions, are involved in unrepentant infidelity, or abuse to seek appropriate one-on-one counsel.

            A wife allowing God to change herself never “fixes everything.” Husbands also have their own sins and issues. Husbands have their own journey and need the power of God in their lives, too – whether they are passive or openly spewing hatred. Your changes are not all that is needed to get the marriage back on track. Your changes will get YOU back on track and can influence your husband so that he is more likely to want to get back on track, too. But your changes don’t automatically mean he will change. There are times when a wife absolutely needs to stand against her husband’s sin and disrespect of her. But again, this requires the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit because if we try to do this in our flesh, we can really make things worse.

            Greg’s passivity allowed me to continue on and on in sin for many years. That was not a gift to me or to our children or to himself or anyone. As believers, we do need to address sin at times – of course, if a spouse is an unbeliever, his greatest need is Christ. He doesn’t have the power to live in holiness on his own. But a wife may need to have boundaries or may need to set limits on what she will live with and prayerfully consider when it is time to separate if a husband refuses to change and continues to disrespect her. The key is not to try to control or change him yourself – but to control yourself.

            Again, it will take God’s wisdom about how/when to confront his sin and when to enforce consequences. You are right, it is important to watch our own motives – are we acting out of hatred, bitterness, fear, guilt, passivity, or a desire to take control? Those are important questions.

            My question will be the same as it has always been – what do you believe God is leading you to do? I will support what you believe He is prompting you to do as you seek Him and seek to walk in obedience to Him, my precious sister. There is a very delicate balance so that we are not passive and not aggressive. There are times love needs to be tough. I am praying for God’s wisdom for you today!

          8. LMSdaily115,

            Let me also let you know my approach with issues like this…

            I try to not ever tell a wife, “You should leave your husband now,” unless things are extremely bad. If there is obvious and severe abuse, or unrepentant infidelity, or major active drug/alcohol addictions, if a wife is not safe or the children are not safe – then I would often encourage a wife to leave if it is possible for her to safely do so.

            In less extreme situations, I believe that this decision is one a wife must wrestle with on her own in prayer with God. God knows the whole situation – I don’t. I don’t ever want to push a wife toward something against God’s will, and I sure don’t want to make major life decisions like this for people. I want each of us to seek God for ourselves and to listen to His voice ourselves and to make wise, godly, responsible decisions in light of God’s Word and with the help of His Spirit – knowing we are ultimately accountable to Him for the decisions we make. I don’t have the wisdom wives need in every situation – but God does. He is the one we need. I hope that makes sense.

          9. LMS,

            I don’t have a lot of time right now to respond, so I won’t be able to write everything I would like to say.

            First thing is that I would put aside any guilt or questionings of “Should I have acted this way for 1.5 years?” or any thoughts that you’ve missed something God has for you.

            I think you’ve been right where you should be and I think what is happening now is probably where God is leading you at this time.

            I know without a doubt that God allowed a season of “righteous anger” for me that was confirmed by various means (pastor, counselors, varying Christian books and writings…and even April’s responses to me helped me realize that some of the way I was looking at submission, etc. was not right). I can’t tell you the ways that I wrestled with that as it was happening. It went against everything I had thought of as to how I should operate as a godly wife in my marriage. I also know that I did, in fact, come to a time where I started shutting down and then that righteous anger started. I can look back and see that I was not trying to “shut down”….it just happened. I had warned my husband for several years that I felt I could, but I fought against it as much as I could. Then, one day, it just happened. For myself – and I can only speak for myself – I believe God was behind that. I had to get to that place so that I could stand strongly against the ongoing manipulation that I had been under and believing for so long.

            Trust God’s leading of you. Yes, you will make mistakes. I know I have and did and still do. If you wait for perfection from yourself, you can just go ahead and stay paralyzed in life because, from my own experience, we can always go back and say “Oh, I wish I had said this better or not said this.” Those experiences are valid, God will use them to continue teaching you in the midst of this new season of your life and marriage. But, don’t let your failure of being a perfect Christian paralyze you into taking no steps in your life and fighting for your marriage. God knows your heart.

            I pray God will continue to lead you. I know that He will. He will be very near to you during this time, LMS. Trust Him and trust Him to lead you even if you get off course.

            Here are a couple of blog articles that Gary Thomas wrote that God used to confirm the path He had me on…

            http://www.garythomas.com/why-men-dont-change/
            http://www.garythomas.com/what-you-need-to-change-when-your-spouse-doesnt/

            I’ll try to write more later….You’re safe in His hands.

          10. CIC. This was exactly what I needed. Those two links (in fact the whole blog) was wonderful and excellent. Thank you thank you. Again, thank you. I will be reading much on that blog. I’ve read the book, but maybe I need to re read it now.

            I think I am at a crucial stage of learning…the next level if you will. Understanding how to deal with the pain of setting boundaries and why God wants us to love others in this way. I know I need to listen carefully to God. I’m not looking for anyone to tell me what to do. But it hurts to see our loved ones suffer, be in emotional and spiritual pain etc, but it takes some kind of courage and strength to do what’s right. Like letting your adult child go to jail for stealing cars…they need that consequence to learn from. Thank you so much for the links…I am really getting much from them. It helps enormously to know others have come to that “place” of action as well. I know you have dealt with this quite a bit, so you came to mind when I was trying to think of who might have some good insight. Much love and blessings to you.

          11. LMS,
            I wanted to let you know that i also struggle with understanding of boundaries.
            I dont even know for my own situation ( my husband texting with his female coworkers. Granted it is from what i gather talking over issues at work but nonetheless it bothers me, seeing how responsive and friendly he is towards them. I actually expressed my desire Laura Doyle style of wanting to hear from him during the day via text or phone call but it fell on deaf ears so far) whether there are biundaries needed…I have better and not so good days about it all …
            But…for the most part i think if you are not sure about tough love and boundaries you can always stay on a safe side 1 Cor 13 Love and 1 Peter 3…Until things are clearer for you.
            On Aprils newest blog, the commenter Holly really spoke to me…She waited and prayed for her wayward husband for 8 YEARS!!!!! Her situation sounded so rough. But reading that her husband came to his senses and repented of his aerful behavior almost brought tears to my eyes.
            I thought, if she could do it so can i. Granted i wouldnt describe my husband as wayward…But mine is still really really wounded deep inside. My mistrust over his texting really brought that out again. He still doesnt trust me and i dont blame him really. It hurts though…sometimes i think, how long can he punish me for my mistakes? I wasnt a saint myself, i did say some really disrespectful, hurtful, emasculating things to him over the years… ( he always refers to 10. Years…which sounds about right. The first three years were awesome…then the controlling shrew in me took over. Sadly).
            So i cant blame him for being guarded with me and saying some things that he does.
            On our good days i think we came a long way in this 1.5 years…on bad days…well. what can i say?
            Praying for you LMS…..

          12. LMS,
            Sister, I know I’ve read and commented on your situation before in other posts, so let me just tell you that you are not alone in how you feel. What you described in length is a lot like what I went through a few months back. However, in my situtation, something dangerous did happen, and when it happened, I didn’t even seek appropriate help for about 2 weeks when I realized that what had happened in my marriage was absolutely NOT OK. And I had to set up some serious boundaries and that was the last time my husband travelled back to his hometown 1300 miles away because I basically let him know that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him coming home until he got help for what had happened. He apologized, blamed me, tried to justify, tried to guilt trip me, tried it all to change my mind about what I had decided. But I stood my ground and that was the time when I felt completely out of control (I think I told the story in the comments to Tina from the post about my husbands texts I believe)

            Yes, Here is part of the comment to Tina that I shared about this:
            —————————————————————————————-
            “But I will tell you this. The very last time my husband picked up and left (within the past 2 months), He really left again, and traveled 1300 miles away to stay with his family b/c he got laid off from his job and things were not ok between us. This time, though, he was telling me he wanted to divorce me and I honestly believed him.

            And I completely lost it. I was soooo devastated, like I was freaking out. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t control him. I couldn’t manipulate him to come home. He was finished. And just as the storms in the ocean cast up in the waves the mud a mire…this storm cast up alllllllll the filth that was truly living in my heart that remained hidden by the calmness of sunny days and no storms!

            At one point, I got a grip…well God got a grip on me, and I surrendered it all to Him.I decided that freaking out and trying to control/manipulate was not working, only driving him further and further and further away. So I just stopped. I told my husband I was sorry, and that I was leaving it in Gods hands. And it was his decision what he wanted to do (whether he was going to get help or not). If he wanted to stay away for a while, or come home, whatever he decided I couldn’t do anyting except trust God. And I sought God through that time and I found him. Yes I did.

            My husband didn’t even reach his destination before God SERIOUSLY convicted him…like my husband was crying, he saw alll the hurts he did to me, he felt so low, so vile. He was truly hurting at the sight of his own heart,life,behavior. And he apologized and sought forgiveness, counsel, etc.

            And he stayed to visit his family for a week, and he came back home. And ever since we have been seeking counseling and allowing God to work in us. My husband has been focusing on God and he has been truly changing. I had a few bumps but it was only because I put my husband back up as an idol, and just recently my husband has been pulling away because of it.”
            ——————————————————————————–
            I set up the boundary, and when he saw that I was not going to budge this time about it, that’s when he was saying he was going to divorce me, etc. and I honestly believed him. That was like the ultimate low of our marriage so far. But as I wrote, he didn’t even get to where he was going before God opened his eyes.

            Anyway, that it just a side note to what I am trying to say to you. When I set up the boundary, and even though I was scared and didn’t know if he would ever come back, it is what God used to truly grant my husband repentance, and lead us to true healing and dealing with our problems. We went to counseling, etc. and things have been SO much better. We were really at the lowest point. I was done, he was done, and I realized I was not going to continue going this way, even if it meant he left. I didn’t want him to leave, but I really had to let go of “control” and just let God be God.

            I’m not saying you should do this. However, I am saying that boundaries are sometimes necessary. But we can’t use them to try to make other people change. They can only help change our life. I’ve shared before too how there have been times when my husband would be unkind and I would literally walk away. I do this with my son, too. Like April has taught, silence and space speaks louder than anything else to men. It was only if and when I had the motive of seeking God and obeying God and doing what I did as I was led by the Spirit that things ever went in a good direction. There were still plenty of times when I feel I did the right thing by God, and my husband still didn’t change or do what was right, but that’s his choice and his life and he will stand before God.

            No one wants to be treated like crap, for lack of a better word. However, I believe God wants to use those times to grow us in Christ and teach us obedience by the things which we suffer. But we can’t claim we are suffering for Christ if we are not truly obeying God and seeking only to please Him in all things.

            I can hear in your comment how much you would like for your marriage to be restored and for true change to start taking place in your husband and in the marriage. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, trust me, I know how you feel.

            But what is God trying to speak to us in this? What is He trying to teach us?

            If we love those who love us, what good have we done?

            Just today I came across another blog post from a different blogger about how our children are used by God to show us what is in our hearts—mainly selfishness. How right this woman was about it. And now, I can’t help but think that our marriages are the same way. God is using our marriage relationships to sanctify us, and to show us what’s really in our hearts. I think it’s even safe to say that even if no one sinned against us, we would still be caught in moments of sin because that is what we do when we are walking after the flesh and not in the Spirit.

            When we are in the flesh, we mind the things of the flesh ( i.e. our OWN WILL, DESIRES, EMOTIONS).

            When we are walking in the Spirit, we mind the things of the Spirit!

            I truly believe that when we are walking in the Spirit by faith, God can empower us to love even when we are not being loved, and that we can still have joy in the midst of pain, and we can trust God to work things out according to His will, even if it means we set up some boundaries.

            The fact is that we can not control another person, and we can’t make other people love us. I believe there is a place for expectations in terms of what behavior we expose ourselves to. But if we are expecting another person to change or be different, etc. just because we think it will make us happier, that never works out 🙂

            Anything is possible, and what you are asking for, if with the right motive, is for a restored marriage. God can do this in HIS time.

            ONE MORE STORY OF ENCOURAGEMENT:

            My parents.
            Oh Lord where do I even begin. I love them, but it took a very long time to get to the place we are at as a family.

            Long long long story short—just a few years ago, I was ready to move away and never come back to where I’m from. I couldn’t wait to get married and never have to live with my parents again because honestly, they did not exactly model what marriage should be like according to the Bible.

            In particular, my dad has been hard to accept my whole life. He was abusive and very controlling.

            My mom was controlling and dominating, and she became the leader and my dad became passive. I grew up in the worst environment possible to learn submission. I honestly didn’t even know what that meant until finding April’s site. That is sad.

            Anyways, for the longest time my mom thought she was doing the right thing by preaching at my dad. On and on always telling my dad what to do, etc. when he wasn’t even saved or anything.

            After finding April’s site and seeing how wrong I was in my life and marriage…I immediately shared it with my mom and told her basically that she taught all of her kids how to live against the word. I didn’t say it in a condemning way but I just shared what I learned, and her eyes were opened as well!!!!!!!!!!!

            That was about 5 months ago.

            My mom over the past year alone has grown more spiritually than all the past 20 years of going to “church” and playing “religion”….it has been such a great thing for me and my mom to go through this together and grow together. ( i was not exactly an obedient child that loved her parents and listening, etc. 🙁 )

            Now, I am here visiting right now, and I can not tell you how much HEALING has taken place over these past 2 weeks.

            My mom STOPPED NAGGING AND PREACHING. SHE SUBMITS TO MY DAD!!!!! THEY HAVE NOT FOUGHT ONCE. I have never seen this happen in the 29 years of my life. They haven’t fought. I can’t believe it!! It is A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            My dad has been going to church and home group with my mom and enjoying it. HE IS CHANGING.

            IT IS A MIRACLE!

            My mom has been praying for 24 years. She has been trying to “change” my dad for 24 years. She has been doing what we all have done, praying for THEM to change, while totally being blind to what WE are doing wrong.

            And now, in just a matter of MONTHS…..their whole entire marriage and life is compltely different and changing.

            There is no perfection of marital honeymoon going on, but the fact that they are not fighting, and witnessing my mom ask my dad whatever he wants to do and going with what he decides, is truly a MIRACLE!

            I never thought I’d see the day, honestly.

            And the most precious thing of all that has happened….my dad told me I am beautiful.

            wow. That is a big change from hearing I’m “Stupid” my whole life.

            It’s amazing. GOD CAN DO WHAT EVER HE WANTS IN HIS OWN TIME!!!!!!!

            Don’t give up. Trust HIM!

            Love,
            Amanda

          13. Amanda,

            WOW.

            This brings such tears of joy to my eyes!!!!!!

            THANK YOU for sharing with our sisters and brothers. What an encouragement to hear your story and your parents’ story!

            PRAISE GOD!

  7. I wanted to mention a couple of books for those who are hurting in their relationships. Might have learned about one or both here at some point, can’t remember for sure.

    Broken Heart on Hold by Linda W. Rooks – this is a great book with short, encouraging chapters that don’t have to be read in order. Really good insights and very comforting.

    Also, 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing is very good.

    I just ordered a $2.99 kindle book called Self-Centered Spouse: Help for Chronically Broken Marriages…will read soon.

  8. Hi LMS,

    I have thought about this a lot today.

    Please know that I’m extremely hesitant to write anything that sounds like advice for your situation as it is clear that the situation is volatile and I truly don’t have the answers for you specifically. It would break my heart to write something that would effect your life in a negative way.

    I do want to share where my thoughts took me on this topic today and share some principles that I am convinced are true, and perhaps even a small experience today that was related to this, but I would humbly ask that you consider everything I write in the light of scripture and prayer and come to your own conclusions with the help of the Holy Spirit.

    And I really, really, really mean I don’t have the answers!! I am really battling this issue of boundaries/tough love versus passive, understanding etc. Your comment “Have I been TOO passive, understanding, forgiving, loving, caring and patient? Is there another side of being loving that i missed…this tough side? Is God trying to teach me some sort of righteous anger?” hit me right between the eyes. I have swung from one extreme to the other, from control to doormat, and the balance is HARD. I too have a tendency to overshoot both ways and I will pray fervently tonight for wisdom for you in this situation. I pray that there are glowing hot embers that can be fanned into flame for you both.

    Something that the Lord laid on my heart in big way last year was this. “HH, do not put up a boundary unless you are certain it is a right and good boundary and also certain that you are 100% able and committed to keeping that boundary in place.” If we put up a boundary and we are not fully committed and able to keep it there it effects the ability of others to respect us. Half hearted boundaries do more harm than good. I learned that the hard way.

    Are we stuck in the passive, loving, forgiving and understanding part? How does this reconcile with suffering for righteousness sake as outlined in 1 Peter 3:8-17? What does it mean to implement tough love? I want to share some details of a situation this week for me that I’m thrashing through at the moment.

    When we separated I gave my wife the nicer of our two cars and told her that I would keep it insured until she had a chance to put the registration in her name and insure it in her name (it was insured and registered in my name). She agreed to this and so I signed the registration over to her name. She has to pay a small fee (about $22) to transfer it to her name. But after 3 months she still hasn’t transferred it! I either face maintaining registration and insurance in my name, or I cancel the insurance and leave it registered in my name (this is a huge risk to me as if she has an accident the car is in my name and without insurance I am liable for all damages to the other party, all legal costs etc). The stupid part about the transfer is that I cannot transfer it into her name, she has to do the registration transfer herself and she just doesn’t get around to doing things. So I am hamstrung and faced with this situation!!

    I have battled with this for weeks thinking do I just take it on the chin Lord? Is this suffering for your names sake? I am trying to be understanding and she’s saying she doesn’t have time to do the transfer but she sits at home most of the day every day while I go to work to pay her child support! I eventually decided that it was not love to let it continue and I thought of a way to deal with it. I decided to cancel the insurance but take out a cheaper third party insurance which would only cover the damage to another vehicle if she hit them but would not cover the cost to her own car. This reduces my cost significantly, covers my risk factor but also puts her in a position where she is left vulnerable to having no car. I believe that this is a loving approach, because otherwise I am not letting her experience ‘real life consequences’. Once I decided this I told her last week I was going to cancel her insurance soon. I then told her again at the start of the week that I was going to cancel it. Yesterday I cancelled it. She got quite upset. I responded as follows;

    “I know you don’t want me to take care of you. I know you want to take care of yourself and be independent. I know you don’t want me and what I want to give.

    So I believe I made the right decision to cancel the insurance. I told you I would be when you left and I left it a LONG time before I did. I told you again last Wednesday and again this Monday. There has been ample time. You say you want your independence and part of that is not driving around in a car that is registered and insured in my name.

    I found it hard to cancel it as I knew it would leave you in a hard spot and I love you and I don’t want you to struggle at all! But looking after yourself is what you want. It’s what you have asked for. You were not asked or forced to leave. You chose to leave and in doing so you chose the situation you are in. I know you don’t want to answer to anybody else but that also means accepting the responsibilities that come with that.”

    LMS, I think that I have demonstrated tough love in this approach. I genuinely don’t want her to suffer, I genuinely don’t want to leave her in a hard spot but I know that she needs to experience the consequences of her decisions. I believe I have let her experience the consequences without making myself judge, jury and executioner. I am not ENFORCING consequences (I have not made anything bad happen to her) but I am ALLOWING consequences (she is now vulnerable to financial loss through her own negligence). I am not returning evil for evil (Romans 12:17) nor have I any judgement in my heart over her actions. My motive is love.

    I mentioned before about boundaries and being 100% committed to them. I have set boundaries before in weakness and experienced a subsequent lack of respect for me as I did not follow through on the boundary. I found this insurance boundary extremely difficult to set because I truly want to make her life easy, but when I did decide it was love to set this boundary I committed right to following through 100%!! And guess what response I got? After some emotional ‘discussion’ then a period of silence, I got one of the most mature acceptances of the situation I have ever received plus an APOLOGY for her anger and language shown earlier in the week. I have not had a genuine, unasked for apology from her in years. I believe this to be evidence that I made the right decision, but I tell you what, it was a rotten hard decision for me to make!!!!!

    I was thinking this week that Jesus was the ultimate expression of God’s love, but even He let people experience the consequences of their decisions. Take Peter for example. Jesus knew Peter was going to betray him but he didn’t stop it. He let Peter betray him and experience the grief and pain of seeing what was in his own heart. And look at where Peter ended up! A powerful witness of Christ. It was love that led Jesus to let Peter experience this.

    A scripture that I often think of is Hebrews 5:14 “but solid food is for the mature, who by CONSTANT USE have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil”. In my mind I combine this with Psalm 23:6 “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. I believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him and that the experiences I am going through are part of the ‘constant use’ that is training me to understand a good approach from a bad approach. Sometimes this approach is tough love but sometimes it is suffering for good. I rely HEAVILY on the mercies of God, I picture His mercy as ‘following’ me and picking up the pieces I knock over in my sincere efforts to walk in His ways. But oh, the tongue can set the whole course of life on fire that is for sure (James 3:2-8).

    There is one thing that you said that I want to share some scriptures on. You mentioned “Is God trying to teach me some sort of righteous anger?” James 1:19-20 says “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires”. James 3:17-18 says “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness”.

    I am sorry to say that I have a lot of experience with being angry. I haven’t felt angry in 7 years with the exception of some anger against sin while praying recently, but I learned long ago that my anger simply does not bring about the righteousness that God desires in myself or others. I would strongly encourage you to tread softly when it comes to expressing anger. Anger expressed is not a wrong thing in the right context, however in my humble experience it is often more destructive than beneficial. I personally believe one can show tough love without needing anger.

    LMS I know none of this addresses your specific situation with specific advice and that is deliberate! But I hope through my bumbling words there is something there that is helpful. I am praying for you tonight and I SO want to see you and your hubby glorify God through unity.

    In Christ, HH

    1. HH. Thank you for your thoughtful responses. It actually helped greatly. The scripture references were very valuable. Your insurance story really opened my eyes as well. I am suspecting that I need to be able how to learn this type of tough love. I have been putting down “soft boundaries” and I see his disrespect for me has grown. I am not looking for someone to tell me what tobdo, or anything. As April always advises, seek the leading of God…I am doing thst. I think I am more trying to understand what tough love looks like in action. It is painful to love someone “toughly”. We want, as christians, to bless and honor, but in the face of sin, it causes some type of pain for both parties. As you you said, it was really tough to follow through on your decision to cancelebrate the indurance, but you prayed, thought and decided for the best outcome, not just for yourself, but for her as well. Bravo. I hope to grow and learn to be strong and courageous in making tough but beneficial decisions like this. I kniw God always provides a right answer in all the choices we have in front of us. It’s seeking that right answer that is sonetimes challenging, and then recognizant it when we see it.

      I think I must have sounded pretty desperate in my first post, because I sense some tiptoeing going on. I assure I am not looking for others to help me decide what to do. I guess I was more looking to understand concepts, seeing if others came to this same “place” of being done and seeing the passivity as destructive rather than a form of waiting on God. I was feeling out of peace for the last few months and can’t figure out why. I kept praying for God to show me what I needed to learn.

      If I don’t learn this tough love concept, I could be at risk in other areas as well. I could end up letting my kids run amok over me, disrespecting me. Peopke as work taking advantage of me, on and on. Not just my marital issues. Loving oneself and respecting oneself seems like sonething God wants and Jesus exemplified for us. I know there is a balance.

      Your advice on treading carefully around anger was eye opening. I think that is exactly what I am afraid if inside myself. If I don’t figure out how to control it, I think it could be very volitile. Like a nuclear power plant….when controlled, it functions well, but needs to be respected and handled carefully, or else massive destruction occurs when allowed to heat up to much etc.

      Thank you again for your very thoughtful approach to this. I will be meditating greatly on this whole discussion to try and glean out God’s direction and wisdom about it. We are all growing in Him. I’m grateful for it.

      With gracious thanks and prayers for you and your family….LMS

      1. Hi LMS,

        I think I am definitely tip-toing around this issue! Not necessarily because you sounded desperate, but because I find the issue itself is so hard to understand and it is such a critical issue IMO.

        And trust me, even now I find myself swinging from one side to the other, firstly laying down and basically asking for disrespect then swinging back to being too firm and laying down boundaries that are not done in love. It is muchly hard.

        I personally find that discussions in person are much harder than written discussions. In person, when someone is reacting and firing back questions, retorts, anger and so on it is so incredibly easy to pull back into a protective shell or fire right back up with retorts and anger of my own. Guilty as charged! Whereas in written communication it is easier to think through my response and what motivates what I am saying and whether it is done in love.

        I am hopeful that as time progresses my verbal communication will become more automatically in line with the meekness and humility of Christ and I won’t have to think through every response.

        In Christ, HH

        1. HH, LMSdaily115, and all,

          This is a VERY tricky issue. It is hard because sometimes the best way for us to respond isn’t always the exact same in every situation. There is an extremely delicate balance here between being too passive or too controlling. Loving with tough love is painful, yes.

          I also agree that written conversations are much easier than in-person discussions. You have time to think through things and pray before responding when you are emailing – but when you are in person, things can get out of control quickly and it can be difficult to respond in a godly way on the spot.

          I pray God will continue to direct each one who is hurting and who is being sinned against about how exactly to approach their spouses.

          For some, http://www.leslievernick.com may be helpful when dealing with emotionally abusive relationships. But I have had a number of readers share that it may be best not to read the comments there. Some of the readers there are dealing with REALLY awful issues, and the comments may be too discouraging.

        2. I really struggled with what righteous anger meant a couple of months ago. Interestingly, I was already at that stage (early in this particular strange season I walked/am walking through) when I called a pastor who I have heard preach for years and whose love and service for others I have witnessed. One of the first things he said to me was that I needed to let my righteous anger motivate me to take steps to change things in my marriage. To be honest, that advice still stuns me because I was ready to hear “Submit more, respect more, just keep loving patiently and praying.” Really. I thought that is what he would say. To hear him tell me that boundaries were necessary and to hear him say those words about anger upturned everything I had believed. I had to wrestle that out – I looked up root words of anger in many verses. I wanted to be very careful that I wasn’t being deceived by the enemy. The more I read about anger, the more I was convinced that there does come times in a Christian’s life that righteous anger is needed. And, that there are different types of anger that are being talked about in various verses. In Ephesians 4:26-27, Christians are commanded to be angry and sin not. Of course, that’s the key. Being angry while not sinning. But, I don’t think this means anger is very soft and sweet and fuzzy looking like we would want to think.

          Think of the injustices that have been fought against – slavery, abortion, etc.- all because righteous anger motivates you. Some might say this is a different scenario – it is just one wife with a husband who is being selfish. I became convinced that God was angry right along with me and that He did not want to see me being oppressed in the ways that I was being oppressed. I realized in a new way that I was valuable in God’s eyes.

          Anyway, back to the anger issue….I think it’s interesting that even in James, he doesn’t say *not* to get angry. He just says we should be slow to anger. I think in my case and I believe in LMS’ case, also, there was slowness to anger. There was patience, there was hopeful waiting and praying, etc. There was a constant looking at our own selves, ready and willing to change what needed to be changed if we were the ones keeping the relationship in a difficult place. I began to see finally that no matter what I did, no matter how I said things, it was never a good time for my heart to be heard or understood and I was the one always to blame in any conflict – it was beginning to crush my spirit. No, it had crushed my spirit for a season.

          Must go for now – just some thoughts from what I went through. Prayers for all –

          1. CiC, I am VERY interested in how you discern the difference between righteous anger/how you express it and the anger of the flesh. HH

          2. Hi, HH –

            I know I’m not an expert here and can only speak from my experience. I know I didn’t get it right at all times and definitely crossed the line at times. But there were many times I showed a *lot* of passion and there were some intense exchanges and times I spoke hard things after which I did not feel convicted to apologize or repent. There were times I almost apologized and felt God hold me back from doing that when in the past I would have done so.

            There were other times I felt led to specifically apologize for a particular thing I said that probably crossed the line with respect… Or times I clearly had let my anger get the better of me.

            I don’t know of a way to differentiate for me other than to say I just trusted God to move in me. And, I felt His peace many times after time of heated exchanges and trusted that. And I knew when I needed to repent and apologize and ask for forgiveness.

            I know I probably sound weird, but I can only speak from my experience. I would never want anyone to read my comments and automatically assume that God was calling them to this kind of path. As April says, all of our situations are personal and unique and we need to be sensitive to what the Spirit is leadimg us to do. He may call me to something different than He would you because He knows the dynamics of how our spouses would react… Or for a hundred other reasons that only He knows of.

            I think the key is being willing to do whatever He asks. Once we’re there, we can trust He will move in us and guide us.

      2. LMSdaily115,

        I like that analogy of a nuclear power plant and anger. Yes, exactly! If we use anger properly and with the help of God’s Spirit, it may provide the power we need to do what God desires us to do in difficult situations. But if we allow it to become unrestrained by the Holy Spirit, we could have a catastrophic melt down.

        I think talking about concepts is a great idea! I just want to be really careful not to ever push anyone toward a certain action myself – I want to be sure they are hearing God.

    2. HH,

      Now THAT sure seems like godly tough love to me. You were gentle, respectful, honest, authentic, loving, and yet also enforced an important boundary. I love how God inspired you to talk to her about this decision. She decided she didn’t want your provision and protection. She has the independence she wanted. Part of that is not driving in a car registered in your name and insured by you.

      Thank you SO much for sharing this example. To me, it is powerful and a blessing. I believe it will be helpful for many others who are facing tough situations, too.

      Praying for God’s continued wisdom for you, my brother!!

  9. Hi CiC,

    Thank you for your reply. If I am understanding it correctly I would say that you are using your relationship with the Lord as a guide to whether it was or was not appropriate to express your anger. If you come to Him in prayer and feel convicted then you believed you had overstepped the boundary, but if you felt peace then you believed it was an appropriate expression of righteous anger.

    I will think on this. HH

    1. HH, I guess that would be right. And, also the fact that I literally came to a place in my life where I was just flat out angry. I was there and there was no “not being angry”. Just like that wall came up around my heart – it was there and there seemed to be no going back. During this, I also started to see things I had never seen about my marriage before – how my husband used certain phrases or ways of operating with me that kept me in fear or kept me feeling inferior to him. It’s hard to even type that out. It was a very painful thing to realize. I do not see my husband as the enemy (of course, that’s a temptation to fight against at various times of conflict!). I don’t think these were things he was doing on purpose to me. They were ways he learned to live that worked and served his purposes of not having to face his own sin and failures.

      I am convinced that God has been behind this all (the shutting down, the anger, etc.) because very soon after these things happened, He started revealing things that were coming from past years that I had never thought of before. It was like I was seeing with new eyes. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t really happy about that. I’ve been upset and somewhat angry at times that I did have to see these things. Wondering why God allowed me to see them. In some ways, it was easier to be living in the oblivious way I was before. But, I have to trust that God is allowing all of this at this time in my life and in our marriage for a reason. And, of course, I can see all the good He has done already through it. Setting me free from the idolatry of my husband, knowing that Christ alone is the only One who will never let me down, coming to the place of knowing that if I lost my marriage, I would be fine as long as I had Christ, more confident in who God has made me to be – I am definitely acting more and more myself and not worried what others think of me. Just free to be who God created me to be. And, my husband has been showing some positive changes in being able to hear my hurt and be able to emphathize with me – even when I am showing some obvious frustration, etc. That is HUGE for him. Saying he’s sorry for certain things. It’s good to see, but I’m also still very cautious and unsure (which I think and read is totally normal).

      I don’t think I would go about trying to be righteously angry (not saying you are doing this at all, HH – just typing this out for anyone else who will read this). I think, for me, it just happened. The anger was there and after I was convinced by God that it was o.k. through various means He used, I didn’t try to squelch it.

      It’s interesting because now, a couple of months after it all started, I do not feel that anger as much. It has quietened down a lot and now I am feeling led to reach back to my husband who has been showing some humility and effort and we have been having some good days.

      HH, I really appreciate the advice you were giving LMS and I don’t want you to think that I am being argumentative against you in any way. I did want to give my experience and things I have learned. But, I think you are very wise to advise that it’s good to be cautious as you go through this kind of thing. Obviously, the enemy would love to get a foothold here. This is a time where you need to be actively working on forgiving (while remembering that forgiveness does not mean a reconciled relationship) even while being angry at the sin. For me, it helped to constantly remember that my husband wasn’t the enemy, but that our real enemy is Satan and his angels. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” was a phrase that helped me to remember that Christ could forgive through me as he did those who were crucifying him and it helped me to keep some balance – knowing that my husband really is being used by the enemy and really wasn’t aware of what he was doing, wasn’t/isn’t aware of the darkness that he’s in. Also, keeping anger in balance by not looking for revenge or to do things out of spite – which I think is the kind of anger that we are told to put away before the sun goes down. If I recall correctly, in Ephesians we are told to be angry and sin not and then later on, to not let the sun go down on our anger….I think those are two different angers that are being talked about and that helped me to understand the difference between righteous anger and the kind of anger we’re to refrain from.

      1. CIC,

        I love what you are learning and what you are sharing. This is REAL stuff that we have to work through. What a blessing to get to walk beside you on this journey and to see the things God is showing you each step of the way. I think that after we deal with our own sin, we are better able to see what belongs to us and what belongs to others and then we are also better able, with God’s wisdom, to face the sin of others against us in a more productive way. Anger is a gift. It can be misused, but it is a gift and we don’t want to ignore anger – it is a warning light that something is going wrong. Sometimes, it is our own wrong thinking about God, ourselves, or others. Other times, we truly are being sinned against and need to address it in a godly way. Other times, it could be things like hormones or exhaustion or something medical.

        I wonder if HH, CIC, and LMSdaily115 might be willing to help me write a post about dealing with anger when we are being sinned against?

        Much love to you!

          1. HH,
            Thank you! I really love the way God inspired you to handle the insurance thing. I’m wondering if we can tweak your story a bit and maybe share part of it? I only want to share what you believe God would desire you to share. Maybe something to pray about?

          2. April, if you were to use that as a post would it be any more public than it is now? Would it be used on other online sites? I know a lot of people read this blog and I knew it would be anonymously ‘public’ when I wrote about it but for some reason it feels “different” at the thought lf having it as a stand alone blog post. HH

          3. HH,

            If you would rather it not be a post, I completely respect that. I am sure it would be read much more as a post than if it was just a comment. It is public now, but it would be more visible if it were in a post, yes.

            All,

            Here is something I shared on my FB this morning:

            There is such a thing as “righteous anger.” It is godly anger against sin, injustice, and evil. It is anger against people being hurt, mistreated, disrespected, or against people suffering.
            Some think that to be godly means that we never express anger. But Jesus sure did! He drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip and threw over their tables to protect the sacredness of His Father’s house. He also spoke powerfully against the self-righteousness and pride of the Pharisees.

            Sometimes we equate “godliness” with being “nice.” But godliness is not about trying not to ever upset anyone. It is about being holy and filled with the goodness of God and His Spirit. There are things God hates – we can and should hate those things, too.

            The key with godly anger is that we express it in the power of God and with right motives. We want to prayerfully check our motives to be sure that we aren’t lashing out from sinful desires. And we want to seek God’s wisdom about how to proceed. But godly anger can be a powerful motivation for us to seek to help those in great need or who are being mistreated. Or it can be a powerful motivation for us to speak up in our relationships against sin. First, though, we need to handle any sin in our own lives. Then, if we are filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit we can express godly anger as we are sensitive to His leading.

            A godly woman (or man) can and should express righteous anger appropriately when necessary. We can do this with love, respect, honor, and gentleness – yet with firmness, in a way that brings glory to God and that seeks to bring about God’s kingdom and His purposes.

          4. HH,

            We could use some of the bare bones of your approach and change the details to be a fictional example with some other issue – not the insurance one.

          5. April,

            I think I would prefer if it wasn’t in a post if that is ok. When I wrote it my motive was purely to share an example that I felt would be of benefit to LMS and although I knew a few others would read it I felt ok with that. For some reason something inside me feels a bit uncomfortable with it being in a post but I can’t put my finger on why.

            If the details were changed and it was fictional I’d be ok with that 🙂 I’m sorry if that is a pain.

            HH

          6. Thinking this morning about anger. Some thoughts below. Not conclusive, just discussion.

            Jesus was angry in the temple and with the Pharisee’s BUT He was perfect. Does that mean He has been the only one with the right to express that anger…….?

            Samson was an AWFUL example of humanity, it seems he was quite ok using prostitutes and murdering many people, he was basically a lust driven, violent man. Yet his anger was used to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines.

            If I think back over the course of my life every time I have felt angry it has been because I have felt wronged or I have felt someone else was being wronged. Some of the wrongs were perceived wrongs, some of the times I thought I was being wronged was really about me having unrealistic expectations of others, some of the wrongs were genuine wrongs to me. So there is much wisdom needed to discern which it is. If it is a genuine wrong, at what point does “love cover a multitude of sins” or “the truth is spoken in love”?

            It also seem to me that anger is an exception rather that the normal. There is MUCH in the new testament about gentleness, meekness, a peaceful spirit amd very few references to anger. It seems to me that love must be the overruling factor even in expressing anger.

            It also seems to me that there is anger and ‘anger’. I am specifically differentiating between the ‘uncontrolled rage’ as a work of the flesh and the ‘controlled anger’ of the Spirit. I am reading in James at the moment and thinking of the scripture about the Spirit within us being “jealous”. Jealousy over the sanctity of marriage is a form of righteous anger.

            Random thoughts.

            HH

        1. April. I’m in. I think this is an important topic. It may also help for those that are struggling with over correction and door mat syndrome. But I feel it is very important to learn how to submit, respect, understanding sin etc and everything we have learned before we can handle anger in a godly way. I can’t help but think God has a “lesson plan” of sorts that He uses to teach His children on this path. I have really been thinking alot on this stuff. I will gather my ideas, thoughts and scripture together and spend some time on it. I think this is very important and I apprecI ate the direction and insight, for sure.

          1. LMSdaily,

            Yay! Thank you for being willing to work on this with me. I do think there is a progression of learning. I think if we try to express anger appropriately before we deal with sin in our own lives and work on our own understanding of God, His design for marriage, for femininity/masculinity, and before we deal with lies we have absorbed from the world – we are probably not going to handle anger very well. We will tend to avoid expressing anger and avoid all conflict or we may lash out in sinful, hurtful ways that fracture unity and love rather than promoting unity, harmony, and healthy relationships.

          2. Thank you for reaching out. I’ll admit, I am at the end of my rope. But just this morning, my dh has said he is finally willing to let the past be in the past, he doesn’t want a divorce and he doesn’t want to hurt me. (One small breath in, LMS). Now, it’s time for me to forgive…seventy tines seven, right? I was rapidly shutting it all down this past week, like a roller coaster cart cresting the top of the hill. Then God stepped in with this response from my husband. I’m not sure if my anger this past week had any part of it, or my refusal to take his bait, but I know God gets all the credit.

            I don’t understand what He is doing, or see the reason behind His requests of me…I’m just trying to follow Him. Whatever He asks, I do it as quickly as I can with no more questions asked before I take action. Even though I am always inclined to question cause I want to understand, but then, so did Eve when she bit the apple, she wanted to know what God knew. The first sin.

            I have lots to meditate on and think through in the next few weeks, but I will look for Scripture to support what my next steps should be.

            I really would like to request prayers for my husband to be drawn to God first and foremost. He needs Him, and everything else is secondary compared to that. I pray for God to give me the grace and courage to lay down my anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and hurt. I need help understanding how to trust again and be vulnerable, but not slip back into doormat-itis. I pray that wisdom, patience, understanding and love come back into my soul. I want you all to know how much I appreciate your support and encouragement. It means so much more than you can possibly guess right now. Peace to you, April. Thank you for your service in God.

          3. LMSdaily115,

            WOW!

            That sounds like a big break through for him. I don’t recall him having this mindset at all in the last 19 months before that you have shared. PRAISING GOD WITH YOU, my dear sister! I know things are not magically all better. But what an amazing step! I’m thankful you are seeking God about how to approach your husband and about how to share righteous anger – even if you didn’t share it perfectly. I’m glad you are seeking that delicate balance in Christ of being assertive and respecting yourself but also seeking to respect and honor God and your husband. I am thankful you want to rebuild trust and you want to extend grace. I know that the actual doing of those things will be a work of God and will be painful.

            I LOVE LOVE LOVE your desire to obey God without question.

            Lord,
            We lift up LMSdaily115 and her husband to Your throne room in the highest heaven (along with all of the others and their spouses who are hurting so much). We lay them before Your feet. We entrust each one of them to You for You to bring about spiritual healing individually and then for each marriage. We pray for LMSdaily115’s husband’s salvation and regeneration. He needs Christ as desperately as we all do. We pray for Your Spirit’s wisdom, courage, strength, power, love, truth, and grace to direct LMSdaily115 as she seeks to respond in Your power and in Your Spirit alone. We ask for You to help her lay down her anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and hurt on the altar before You, trusting You with any revenge or with any punishment or payback that is needed – and trusting You to work in her husband’s heart for Your glory. We thank and praise You that he is not the enemy. Satan and sin are the real enemies here. Please help LMSdaily115 know how You would desire her to proceed. How to handle righteous anger without sin. How to begin to seek to rebuild trust slowly. How to balance respecting herself, respecting You, and respecting her husband. How to not become controlling, dominating, and disrespectful, but how not to be a mouse or a doormat acting in fear or guilt. Purify her motives. Continue to prune her for Your glory. Let her rest in Your peace, love, purpose, and sovereignty. Let her be still and know that You are God. Thank You for the amazing, beautiful, powerful things You have been accomplishing in her and that You will continue Your good work in her life until it is complete.
            Amen!

          4. Thank you, April. I will be checking back in with some insight and such in a bit. I’m trying to help my husband with a house project this holiday weekend and I want to take some time with God to seek His direction. Blessings and love to you.

          5. LMS. I am praying for you, really praying from a heart of faith. And for your husband also. I am glad to hear of this update. HH

        2. I will help any way I can. I do feel very unqualified….and am hoping that I am seeing things from a right perspective and not misleading others in any way.

          1. Maybe we can talk about some general questions about handling anger and some misconceptions about anger that may be destructive, as well as the benefits of godly anger, and the purpose of godly anger.

            I would also love to share some examples of people being respectful, authentic, loving, and expressing anger appropriately as God leads them to.

          2. Anger. Is it a curse, a blessing, or both? Jesus was angry at the money changers who defiled the house of the Lord. He flipped over tables and scattered their money and even made a whip out of lashes to chase them away! I did not know that story until this week while I was looking up scriptures about anger. The bible says it’s okay to be angry about sin. God was angry with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Israeli test for their lack of trust in the Lord…to the point where they were not to live to see the promised land, and Sodom and Gomorrah. .. Their unrepentant sin ended in the annihilation of the two cities.

            Another place in the bible, Numbers chapter 22 talks about Balaam. He was asked by King Balak to come curse the Israelites as they traveled through the area. Balaam knew enough about God that he couldn’t do what God did not allow. At first, Balaam was being obedient. But eventually, his greed of money and influence was revealed. God was angry and sent an angel in the path. The donkey that Balaam was riding saw the angel, stopped, went off the path, layed down etc, and each time Balaam whipped the loyal donkey. Finally, the Lord allowed the donkey to speak and it asked it’s master why he was whipping it, he has never given him reason to treat him so poorly in the past, can he not see the angel of the Lord? The passage goes on to show God’s anger at Balaam sin and his punishment. God hates sin. As we become more like Jesus, sin will become more and more intolerable to us as well. We can recognize it more as we learn God’s ways.

            Anger becomes destructive when we are perceiving sin, yet not accounting for our own sin. It becomes self righteous and more like the pharasees. Legalistic and fault finding. That kind of anger is more hippocritical, than righteous.

            I first realized a niblet of this when I realized that there is good jealousy and bad jealousy. In Deuteronomy 4:24, it explains how God is a jealous God…but I thought jealousy was bad too….do not covet your neighbors property etc. However, the footnotes cleared it up. It’s okay to be jealous if a spouse is treating another person like his or her spouse. Just like God is jealous if we are treating someone or something as our god and not respecting and honoring our True Lord as our God. It is okay to be jealous if my husband is treating another woman as his spouse. Affairs, either physical or emotional elicit this type of jealousy. Even my husband’s workaholism feels like an affair because I get neglected due to his misplaced attention and time. The trick is not to respond in sin out of anger and jealousy. It kind of lacks credentials when we do that. The pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.

            God was patient, and in fact, still is being patient with all of us, allowing time for more of His children to come home to him, repent, be drawn unto Him. But there will come a day when His patience is at its end and He will show His anger toward all the sin in this world.

            Until the sweet by and by comes, however, this is our proving ground. Living out righteous anger at sin that hurts others, is unjust, mistreat the innocent and flies in the face of God, is okay. But it is not our job to exact revenge, punishment or judgement on our brothers and sisters…that’s for God to do. Even David recognized that fact when he had the chance to kill king Saul in the desert as he snuck up on them while Saul was sleeping. He had his best chance to end Saul, but David knew this principal and left it for God to handle.

            I totally feel that God has a “lesson plan” of sorts that He takes each of us through as we learn about Him. I don’t think I could have understood righteous anger before now. Not what it was, how to deal with it or how it can be beneficial, or how to even control it. I had no right to be angry with my husband until I had dealt with my own sin and learned how to resist the temptations to sin. A kid does not sit down at the beginning of the school year and learn calculus in one day. It takes the whole year to master that subject. Lessons build upon each other and skills are learned to be able to tackle harder challenges. I think I would have been overwhelmed and failed miseraby. As it was, I have been so eager and relentless to want to “learn it all” right away, that God had to slow me down so I could take in the lesson, not just the task. How many of us have memorized the answers to questions for a test, only to pass the test, but not really to show competency of the subject matter? God wants us to show competency, not just pass the test and forget it all when the test is done.

            Anger can be helpful, but uncontrolled rage is destructive. Anger, like a nuclear power plant, needs to be very controlled to benefit from it. It can give us power, strength and courage to stand against sin, but if uncontrolled, it can become unstable and become catastrophic as it destroys everything around it. Just like words spoken in uncontrolled anger, the toxic radiation can continue to destroy for years after, as well. Only God can help us learn to control this emotion and use it in a way that honors God and not ourselves. Placing healthy boundaries and consequences for sin is a way to do this. If a parent does not place consequences for the bad behavior of a child, the child will not learn or have respect for the parent. God does this to us as well…we respect Him for it. On earth, as we learn to become more like Jesus, we cannot feel good about turning our back on sin. We know that allowing sin to go unchecked actually propels the sinner closer to death. If we love someone, we do not want to write them a one way ticket to hell by letting that sin go unopposed. That is not love, that is indifference. Because I love my husband, I called him out on his sinful treatment of me. His disrespect, bitterness, hate and contempt was hurting my kids, myself, as well as dooming him. I cannot stand by idly and allow that to happen. I can call it out, but then God gets to work handling his part, as well.

            This is what I have so far. April and others, please correct any faulty thought lines here. My prayer is to simply understand how anger can be both good and bad and the ways to use it fir God’s glory.

          3. CIC,

            We will refer people to Scripture for God’s wisdom. I believe you have a lot of helpful things to share about wrong ways to look at anger and also about that it is okay, and necessary even, to feel our anger and work through it, seeking God’s wisdom as we go, looking at our motives, and seeking to get rid of any bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, and yet to have healthy boundaries.

            Much love to you!

        3. April, thank you so much for walking with me and so many others. I love what you wrote here – that anger is a gift. I mean, how many Christians will you really hear that from? lol Not many. That’s one thing I love about you — I see a balance in your advice that seems very rare – especially for someone writing to an audience of primarily Christian women. I also love your advice to not ignore anger but to look at where it’s coming from – and also the truth that sometimes it’s our wrong thinking or even related to something going on with us physically. Really good wisdom here.

          I trust you and your heart and I trust that you will feel free to correct anything I say that is wrong or that would be misleading or harmful for others to read. I do know that you would do that for the sake of the gospel! But, I wanted you to know that it’s my desire to be open to any correction and have the humility to receive it well. The last couple of days of my comments, I have been kind of bracing for some opinions that I might not have seen things or handled things correctly. Even though your voice has been one of those voices of confirmation for me as I’ve gone along, I still wondered what you might say to these last comments of mine.

          I’m willing to, to use your term, “hash” through some of my own thoughts and responses that you are ever concerned about.

        4. April,
          I know I wasn’t asked in the former post for insight, and perhaps this is unsolicited advice, lol. But I feel it might be helpful in what you all are working through in writing something for all to read.

          When I had to set the boundary for my husband, the whole week prior, while he was working out of state, I felt led by God to search the internet about signs of abuse, etc. When I read some sites, of course being cautious to not just believe whatever it said, my eyes were opened to so many things that I was experiencing in my marriage that were considered “abusive”.

          I became “angry”. And I spent days researching, reaching out to online support for “victims”…and seeking God to truly see and understand what was going on in my marriage.

          Because up to that point, I truly believed all our marriage problems were MY fault. My husband had a way of blaming everything on me, always, including his attacks of rage, anger, poor decisions, sin, etc. I was so broken down to the point where I didn’t even question him. I took his word as truth, and I spent months and months in self-induced depression and guilt and total failure.

          And after having found your site and seeing and dealing with my own sin, and after truly seeking change and different ways of relating to my husband, and putting a lot into practice by the Spirit’s power, my eyes were opened for the first time to see how much it didn’t matter what I did, my husband was still being unkind, sinning against me, etc. And I would get “angry”.

          Now, after I researched all the things that one week, and I was angry, and after finding confirmation in the Word of God in Proverbs where it says: “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” 17:15, I confronted my husband about it while he was still working out of state. And having read up on all the different signs and tactics “abusers” use, reading the responses from my husband I could totally see how he was trying to control me by guilt, manipulation, blame, etc. And I kept calling him out on every last bit of it.

          And you know what? I felt like I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG by confronting the sin.

          But I knew that it was only because up to that point, I had so internalized all the blame and negativity, that it felt wrong to stand up for myself!!!!!!

          But I stood my ground, and I put the boundary up, and he left, and God convicted him as you know before he even got to his hometown.

          What would have been the outcome if I had silently accepted the mistreatment and passively accepted it as ok???

          Well I highly doubt anything would have changed, and things would have only gotten worse.

          Even if a brother or sister on here isn’t quite in any type of abusive situation, I think it is really important that we each individually know what we are responsible for and what we are not, and to see when we are truly being mistreated and passively allowing it and possibly justifying the wrong behavior of another toward us.

          I know we literally can’t control another person, but I really believe that it is unbiblical to passively sit by while being totally mistreated, especially by a “christian”. But I also believe we can be so blinded, perhaps from past abuse, and just wrong beliefs, that we accept and justify the behavior because we believe we are just doing the right thing by loving the person, when really we are justifying wickedness.

          And of course, we are only responsible for our own life, actions, responses, etc.—-but if we are sitting by, allowing the mistreatment and justifying wickedness, then we are not obeying clear biblical commands to confront sin personally to another brother/sister in Christ.

          I believe the Spirit of God will have to be the source of light that will have to shine in each person’s situation to determine what to do/when to confront, etc.

          But clear mistreatment and clear abuse I believe is definitely grounds for confrontation and boundaries set.

          Blessings,
          Amanda

          1. Amanda,

            I LOVE this and would love to share this in a post. There is such a critical, delicate balance here – where yes, we deal with our own sin. But then, there is an appropriate time to also deal with our husbands’ sin, too – in godly, productive, healthy ways. People don’t like being confronted about their sin. None of us enjoy that. But it is not a gift to act like sin is okay and not a problem. So this requires us to be as close to God as we can be and to allow Him to help us tear out the sin in our own lives, but then, at the right time, in the right way, with the right spirit, to also approach our husbands gently, humbly, lovingly, and firmly if there is unrepentant sin in their lives.

          2. April,

            Yes, Amen!

            I think it is really easy to take the blame for things that aren’t our fault, and to read the word of God to mean that we should just take whatever someone does to us and believe that it is suffering for Christ or whatnot. But the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, and there are commands to confront sin after we deal with our own.

            I think there is a time and place to have patience and forbearing in love towards those who don’t treat us right. No one is going to be perfect. But I’m talking about when you are being clearly mistreated or abused. That is not the time to passively sit by, in my opinion 🙂 I did that and it only got worse and worse, even the more I started changing, it got 100 times worse and escalated to the point that the boundary had to be made. Thank God He worked it all out for the good!

            And that truly was the turning point for me and my marriage as you know, when I really took a step back and looked at what was going on, and I sought counseling and requested that my husband get counseling in order to move forward in our marriage.

            Even to this day, I have to be careful not to internalize things that go against the word of God that come out of my husband’s mouth, which I believe is an attack indirectly from the enemy.

            Spiritual warfare is a topic that I am definitely not an expert in, but I have learned that one of the main ways the devil tries to get us is through our minds.

            He deceives us through the mind to gain access and grounds in us to try to capture our will. But we have been delivered from darkness and satan’s power, and we are free to exercise our wills for good and for God.

            ;Passivity is the devil’s playground. If we are passive in mind or will, then we are easily deceived. We must watch and pray, and take the thoughts captive, and replace everything that exalts itself with the truth in order to keep from believing and admitting into our minds what is suggested to us by the enemy.

            Blessings,
            Amanda

          3. Satisfied Wife,

            This is super helpful. I would love to share this, too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing what God has shown you with us! 🙂

          4. April,
            You are most welcome. I know there are a lot of hurting ladies out there that are facing similar situations, and it is very hard to decide where the line is to be drawn and what behavior is to be tolerated. I pray the Lord use it all for His Glory and all of our good!

            Love,
            Amanda

          5. LadDies,
            > I dont know whats going on…i feel like im going insane. I pray. I seek Christ. Why is it so hard to deal with my husbands need to communicate with this woman?
            > I spoke to him about it again. He told me i didnt have to worry about anything. However.
            > Why do you have a need to text with this woman when you are spending time with your wife? Talk about work when you have 3 days off and you just worked 13 days straight?!?
            > And then accuse me of having sour face? And that i need to seek medical help when i said i didnt think i had sour face?!
            > Am i repelling him and being unreasonable? I was looking firward to his days off but it looks like texting with her is stil a priority.
            > Then it continues when we are in bed? And he makes sure that he replies to every.single.one. of her texts.
            > And still tells me he diesnt do anything wrong?
            > I want so much to respond in godly way. I dont know any more. He obviously has a need in her that i cant fill no matter how supportive, affirming or whatever i am.
            > I feel like ny soul is bleeding.
            And it went on some more…She sent him the last text at 11.30 pm!! And he went and started replying .
            I couldnt take it any more.
            He says theres nothing to talk about his work,etc when i ask about his day yet the texts sure are flying with her.
            I told him last night he can either have a girlfriend or his wife and kids. I also said i didnt care what he called me any more or whatever he needed to break.
            I couldnt sleep all night. My body is getting covered in hives from this stress. I feel like my nerves are on fire everyvday.
            I pray. I pray in tge bathroom at work everyvtime i go to the bathroom. I read my bible.
            I just cant do it anymore. I get the righteous anger now.
            He kept getting up and saying can we forget about it.
            He says this every week.
            I cant take it. Any more.

          6. NB,

            Sister, what your husband is doing is wrong. Any woman would feel the way you are feeling. I don’t belive it is right what he is doing, but at the same time, you can’t control him. All you can do is control what YOU do. If you are fed up with it, then it is in your power to take a step and a stand and set up a boundary after seeking God for what you need to do in terms of it. He isn’t going to change because you are upset about it. He clearly doesn’t respect your wishes about it, and the more you nag, the more he will continue to do this unfortunately.

            Men respond to silence and space. If you are going to continue to expose yourself to this type of behavior, nothing is going to change.

            There is no guarantee that if you set up a boundary that your husband will change either. This is for YOU. This is for the protection and guarding of YOUR heart.

            Even if your husband really isn’t doing anything sketchy behind your back, he obviously doesn’t feel it is necessary to cut this communication off.

            However, you can set up a boundary that will keep YOU from being HURT by his disrespectful behavior.

            I pray you will really seek God about what to do here. Things are not changing by telling him it bothers you. There may be more action needed to get the point across that it is not ok to do this. I pray your eyes be opened to see what is needed here. praying for you.

            Love,
            Amanda

          7. Ladies,

            A note about men responding to space and distance. I do agree with this. However, the key is that before we give the space and distance, we are warm, receptive, friendly, pleasant, respectful, and honoring to them. When our men are used to basking in the glow of our admiration, joy, peace, and friendliness – then it is painful for them when we remove those good things from their lives. It is much more difficult to use space and distance when my husband has been feeling really disrespected by me for a long time, because at that point, space and distance from me may feel like more of a gift than my presence.

            But we can begin to rewrite our history and seek to provide positive experiences of being with us for our husbands over a long period of time as we seek to allow God to change us. Sometimes, however, a husband’s sin must be dealt with before he can completely trust his wife and feel safe with her again. That is where there is such a delicate balance required that can only be accomplished by the power of God working in us so that we are treating God, ourselves, our husbands, and our marriage covenants with respect. This is a Holy Spirit kind of big job.

            There are times when we do need to confront our husbands about their sin verbally. There are times to wait and pray and set a godly example without words about spiritual things (1 Peter 3:1-6). There are times to set boundaries if major unrepentant sin continues (1 Corinthians 7 allows wives to separate from their husbands if necessary, of course, this is not ideal, but can be necessary in certain situations).

            How can we tell what we need to do and when? It is ALL by the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit that we can hear God’s prompting.

          8. April,
            Thank you for clarifying this. You are right! Perhaps the only reason my husband seemed to respond to it, even after all my disrespect, is merely because we have only been married for such a short time, and he really did want to have a better marriage too so it wasn’t really like I was fighting for something impossible or that he didn’t want either.

            But I totally agree that it is different in situations like that and space might not be the best option. If anything, I would say space in terms of a boundary might be necessary and even still effective in a situation like NB’S becaus up til now, her husband is not taking what she is saying seriously, and she might need to guard her heart by creating some kind of space, if she feels led.

            But like you said, only God can show her and we all need more discernment in these difficult times!!
            Thanks Sister!

            Love,
            Amanda

          9. April and Amanda,
            Thank you for replying.
            Amanda, what boundary could look like in this situation?
            As far as space and silence, when I do that he accuses me of sour face, and asks what’s wrong ( in not a nice way). Or he asks, what did I do again? And gets irritated.
            I am praying for him, for us, for this woman non stop. I don’t know what else to do.
            Amanda, he says he believes in God, but he doesn’t pray, or doesn’t like talking about God or anything like that.
            I know I’m supposed to be loving, gracious, etc. I’m trying my hardest to be all those things. Maybe if he was loving, interested in me, thoughtful, sharing things with me it would be easier to deal with this situation.
            However, when all that’s on his mind is his work, when he’s detached, checked out , could care less about what I do and goes and texts this woman when he’s in bed or whatever – that Hurts!!!
            I feel like a housekeeper and a babysitter here.
            How do I go about this in a godly way? Ignore texts? Not talk about it? Act happy ( like Laura Doyle suggests for these situations?
            Yesterday he texted her that he was drinking ( he told me today) and she was asking how much, and what was he drinking, etc. At midnight. After telling me that he was too queasy to cuddle. As soon his phone buzzed, heHas to reply. HAS TO. He doesn’t ignore a single text from her. He ignores all of mine. where I sent him texts of thanking him, telling him I miss him, this kind of things.
            Honestly. I feel so betrayed. I feel so worthless and alone.

          10. NB,
            Right now I see that you are kind of blinded to what you need to do. I know April has a lot of posts that deal with the fact that even if we had perfect husbands, we would still act however we act. You can’t rely on your husband changing or being a certain way in order for things to be different.

            You can ONLY change YOUR decisions and how YOU act.

            I will give you my PERSONAL OPINION, but PLEASE do not just do what I would do, or think its what you should do in this situation. I’m not you, I don’t know the full story, and I can’t know it. Only you and God know was is going on and what might be best.

            However, if I were in your shoes NB, I would seek God, read a lot of April’s posts (maybe she can add some on the comment for you), I would evaluate MYSELF, what I am focusing on, what I am motivated by, any idols I am cherishing. I would seek to see clearly by writing down what exactly my husband is doing, how it is making me feel, and what the thing is I am really looking for.

            Here is an example of what I jsut wrote:

            My husband is texting other women.(what he is doing)

            It makes me feel unloved, worthless. (how it makes me feel)

            I want my husband to love’s to make my happy and satisfy me.
            (what I am looking for from my husband in stead of from Christ)

            If you really sort out what it is you are trying to get from your husband, you will see that the things you want are really only what CHRIST can give you.

            Only Christ can give you worth, real love, etc.

            Your husband surely has his issues and he is required by God to fulfill the commands of God, but you have absolutely no control over it at all.
            You can only control yourself.

            Even though my husband had that little incident with his “best friend” that I shared a few weeks ago, he will get really offended if I accuse him of talking to even his older sister more than me. Like, he would get rage-mad. Although his actions are totally unacceptable, I see why he gets so mad, it’s because in his mind, he does EVERYTHING he knows of to do to make me happy, and he seriously loves me and cares more about me than his sister, or whoever, and so for me to accuse him of talking to other people or his family more than he talks to me, it is insulting to his love for me and all that he does to make me happy.

            In your case, your husband is actually disrespecting you and talking to another female, and you have a right to be angry about this.

            HOWEVER, even if your husband doesn’t stop talking to this woman, YOU CAN STILL FIND PEACE AND JOY if you decide to go only to Christ to meet all of your deepest needs that right now your husband is not able to meet, and most likely NEVER will, because we are not meant to be fulfilled by other humans. Only Christ can fulfill these needs.

            After evaluting my heart, if I was you, I would seek to know clearly whether I need to place a boundary over my heart.

            It could go one or two ways….one being that you can realize you need to seek satisfaction in Christ alone, and you set your heart and mind on GOD, and you stop talking to your husband about it, and you ACTUALLY FIND JOY in Christ, and you are still respecting your husband, and you are giving him space like in the quiet phase, and over time, he may see that you are CONTENT and that you are no longer focusing on HIM and what HE is doing.

            OR—you can decide you don’t want to be around it, and you can confront your husband respectfully.

            If it was my husband, I would say this:

            “Matt, I love you, and I want you to know that I want our marriage to grow and I really want to work things out with you. However, you texting with this woman from work is not acceptable to me at all, and I have shared my feelings about it with you, and you have not chosen to cut the communication. I have decided I do not want to be in the same house as long as you continue to engage with this other woman. It is not healthy for our marriage or our children, and I will no longer expose myself to it.”

            Now, please please plase do not take it as you need to do that. BUT, that is what I mean by setting up a boundary with space and everything. But you can also check first to see if maybe you just need to focus on Christ alone, and find joy and peace whether or not your husband stops and maybe over time God will open his eyes and he will repent, as you keep praying for him!

            Hope this helps!

            Blessings,
            Amanda

          11. AManda,
            THANK YOU.
            For writing it out for me.You are right. .

            I am blinded. I have no clue in this situation. It has been going on since April now, although more drastic since June.
            What you wrote about your husband, and how he would get mad is almost identical i think to what my husband might be feeling/ thinking. From what he told me at various times when we were talking about this.
            He thinks, he is not doing anything wrong, because he is not interested in this woman..he thinks he is doing the best he can by working so hard. His issue at this workplace is that for a very long time he had alot of problems. We live in Europe now, and his language skills are nit the best. So he felt very disrespected at work, he works with all women and he felt taken advantage of. Now this one woman started there in april, and i guess she is being friendly to him. He is obsessed, for the lack of the better word, with fitting in with these people at work. He wants to feel like he belongs. And until this particular woman showed up, he was always so upset with that place, depressed over it, and eanted to quit many times.
            He insists that there is no way he is interested in her and gets angry/ upset with my lack of trust.
            He doesnt understand right now how texting late at night is not appropriate.
            So i think your approach is really speakingto me…i dont think there is a need for separation boundary yet. I think your first part is what God has been calling me to do for a long time. And i do good for a while and then i slip.
            What you suggested to say, i already said many times. Of course it hasnt helped, so maybe it is God telling me to get really quiet about it FINALLY.
            This morning prayed and asked God to reveal himself to me. I opened my Bible and got to Job 13:13 ” Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may”….

          12. NB,
            I am so glad you are seeing some of this to be helpful! I think you are on the right track more than you think. Maybe your husband really is not having wrong motives, but either way, he most likely won’t respond to the approach you have taken about it lately. I think there is definitely room for God to work in all of this, and for God to change YOU and work on You in the midst of it, and over time your husband to come around, one way or another.

            That is amazing that you were able to hear God today! You can trust in Him to lead you in the way you should go!!! He has His purposes, and most likely, His main goal is to get you, and all of us, to cry out to Him in desperation—for us to see that HE ALONE is the answer, and all we need! He wants all of us, and he will get it, no matter the cost!!

            Run to Him Sister, He is always waiting for us. 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          13. Amanda and CIC,

            THANK YOU for sharing with NB. I believe this is the kind of encouragement she (and many others) really need in some difficult situations.

          14. NB and CIC, I have been reading your comments back and forth and I just wanted you to know I am praying for you both.

            Lord, please come deeply into the lives of these women who are wholeheartedly desiring to serve you. Help them see your path clearly in love. Help them feel your life giving light. I pray that you draw their husbands unto you and open their eyes to their desperate need for you. Help them understand agape love and the unconditional type of love you have for your children. Lord, we are so grateful for your example of your only son Jesus that you gave to us as a gift on how to live on earth, in peace and love with each other. Only you can give us the grace to live in this way. Your mercy and forgiveness is such an enormous gift. We lift our hearts to you, oh Lord, the alpha and omega of our lives. When we put you, Lord as our first love in this world, everything else seems to fit back into place. Your ways are goid, holy and right. Thank you, Lord fir being our “true notth” and giving us direction in our lives. I pray that your will be done, not ours. You are the goid father, you know what is best for your children. It is not our place to discipline our husbands and wives, you will handle that. Lord, give us the strength, courage and discernment to fight evil, fear and bitterness. In your name we pray, Amen

          15. LMSdaily115,

            AMEN!!!! YES, LORD!!! 🙂

            NB and Bel,

            I think I had to come to a point where I acknowledged that I didn’t have control over my husband or my circumstances and where I realized I couldn’t keep my worst fears from coming true and that what I was doing was actually making things so much worse. At first, I was afraid to trust God completely. I had always trusted self, even though I really thought I was trusting God. When I looked at the deepest motives in my heart, it was SELF I really trusted. I had to decide consciously – and with a lot of fear at first – to purposely choose to trust God. Then there was a process of learning to truly lean all of my spiritual weight on Him. Eventually, I saw that it was very wise to trust God and that trusting myself was the most foolish thing I could possibly do. That God is sovereign, I am not. I think it is helpful to study the character of God and to address any wrong thinking in our hearts. I am going to be running a post about lies we believe about God, ourselves, and others this Monday that may be a good place to start.

            Often, as we are willing to expose the wrong thinking and any sin we are cherishing in our hearts and we invite God to shine the blazing light of His Word and truth into the darkest corners of our souls, we can begin to take the baby steps we need to take toward fully trusting Him.

            Another great resource other than Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray is Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

            For further study, also please search my home page for:

            – insecurity
            – discontentment
            – security
            – contentment
            – fear

            Much love!

          16. APril and LMS,
            Thank you both. You know April, i think i am ready to face my deepest fear.
            I know i will be ok. Maybe my husband does need to stumble and fall to see what he is actually doing. Right now he has so much pride. His desire to be “cool” at work has really blinded him.
            I am praying for his eyes to be opened andfor myself i am praying for strengh and faith to stand for this marriage no matter how bleak the circumstances might look.
            Lord has really amazing ways of working in our circumstances. I know it is in jis hands.
            Help me Jesus to face what i need to face.

          17. NB,

            As you stop trying to be your husband’s Holy Spirit and as you stop reacting in fear – your husband will be forced to look at his own motives and even possibly his own sin if he continues on this road. It is scary to face a fear like this. But it is AWESOME to realize we can rest in God’s peace and in His sovereignty in the midst of raging storms and trials and that we don’t have to freak out. We can fully trust Him even if our greatest fears materialize knowing that if He takes us through those things, He will be with us, He will use those trials to strengthen our faith, and He will produce something beautiful from those things as we fully yield in trust and faith to Him.

            I’m really glad that you are feeling that you are ready to face this fear. If you want to talk about it some more about how to hash through that, we are here!

            Much love to you!

          18. AmaNda,
            What hurts the most, is that prior to this woman entering the picture, i actually thought we were on the road to healing. Things were going pretty well. I thought i was doing so good. He was responding so well. And now it feels like it was all thrown under the bus.
            Why?
            Thats the reason i feel so much guilt, and sadness…there must be a reason for this right? For this situation in our lives, for this trial?
            This whole evening my husband was acting offended. He told me to find something else to complain about because he is not texting anyone now ( which i dont believe). He said thats what i always do. He wasnt hostile, just very distant and spewting hateful remarks here abf there.
            I tried my best to be sweet and give him space.
            It hurts so much…

          19. NB,
            You are literally describing what I wenth through 3 months ago. I was struggling so much with this. In January, after finding April’s site, it was like my marriage was new all over again and everything was going amazingly for a while. Then over time, as I continued to grow and find peace and true joy, I noticed my husband would still treat me wrongfully for no reason, and it forced me to evaluate my motives. After the “incident” i’ll just call it, I struggled it out with the help of April, and that is how God led me to the life changing revelation that Jesus was the only One who could EVER meet my needs, and I was forced to see that I was idolizing my husband and our marriage and it was the cause of all the failure and my husband pulling away–NO MATTER WHAT I DID! Because if we are trying to do this to get a better marriage or to change our husbands, God will not allow us to succeed. He wants us to do this our of obedience to HIM, and to please HIM alone!

            And that’s where I really struggled, NB. I would get SO upset that my husband was being to mean to me and not noticing all my changes, etc. And I really had to see that I was doing everything to please him and not God.

            It hurt!!!!!!!!

            I can see so clearly NB that God is calling you to seek HIM, and to allow Him to chagne YOU and you will find that you have more joy and peace than ever before, because you will not be relying on your husband to give you feelings of worth, love, etc.

            Jesus really is the answer, and He wants to reveal Himself to you through the spirit if you set your heart on Him alone!!! It is fulfilling, and it is a miracle when we seek Him and He opens our eyes to what who He is and what He is doing in our lives.

            And yes, there is a reason girlfriend!!!

            Your husband sounds like mine, lol. It’s not funny, but it’s so ironic that men are so similar.

            What he is trying to tell you is that he wants you to be HAPPY! He wants you to accept him, respect him, love him, and find your life and purpose and peace and joy and contentment in CHRIST (even if he doesn’t know thats what hes saying to you)!!!!!

            Stop trying to please your husband. He is not God. He is not in control.

            God is in control, and He wants YOU, ALL OF YOU!!

            I can see the sun breaking through the clouds in your heart NB, the time is coming, the sun is about to shine the light in your heart on all of this 🙂 Can’t wait to see what the Lord does in you!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          20. AManda,
            I read your reply and thought AMEN!!!
            And thank you.
            I have so much hope now…i dont know how the texting will unfold or what is in my husbands confused heart but i really feel i have a chance to peace!
            Thank you all, and thank you JESUS!!!!!

          21. NB,
            I am so glad for you!!! The Lord is sufficient!!!!! 🙂 Lay hold on Him and His Life and watch how He works wonders in you, sister!!!

          22. This is very helpful, welcomed and wanted. Thank you for this blessing. I am trying to understand my feelings in this. I get the meanings, the structure and the need for it….like a book scholar, can understand the theory, but canmot practice it in real life. I need to cross a bridge into taking action. I know it is some sort of fear and/or idolatry that is blocking me. But also the pain I cause myself by not doing things that would seem to bless my husband. I was really hoping “kill him with kindness” would work, but it seems that the “killing”him part leads to his spiritual death, not redemption. So tough love seems to be the preferred flavor instead. Just very unfamiliar with this whole concept in marriage. I can do it for my kids, but I’m responsible for them. I’m not responsible for my husband.

            Satisfied wife, I remember your story. How ugly did it get and how did it go down when he left…did you ask him to leave? What did you say? What was his response? I’m trying to study,prepare and be ready for the attacks with the truth. I’m not quick tongued and I stumble on words. In fact I feel like I should just text him, but it seems cowardly to do that. I very much value your input.

            Many thanks and blessing to you.

          23. LMSdaily115,,

            Having real time conflicts in person with someone who is hostile is DIFFICULT. Responding quickly in the power of the Spirit when someone is verbally attacking you and lashing out at you is something that can take quite a bit of time, prayer, and wisdom to be able to do. It is MUCH easier in writing when you have a lot of time to pray, think, edit, delete, rewrite, etc…

            Praying for God to equip, empower, and prepare you for what He is calling you to do, my precious sister!

          24. LMS,
            Thankfully, at the time I researched abuse and confronted my husband, he was working out of state, and was gone the whole week. That week I told him that what happened (I’ll spare the details just for his sake, but it involved something dangerous to me.) was not ok, and I didn’t feel comfortable for him to come home again until he sought counseling for his issues, and I would be doing the same. At first, he was apologizing and ttrying to just sweep it all under the rug. Then when I wouldn’t budge on the boundary, he started getting really angry, blaming me for what he did, telling me that I’m the abuser and that I need help and he ist he victim here. The more I held my ground the more mad he got and then he started threatening divorce (which is unfortunately too common in our relationship). He basically lost it because he wasn’t able to manipulate or guilt trip me or control ME and what I was trying to do. He doesn’t come off as a controlling man, but his ways are not the obvious kind.

            So anyways, By the time the weekend came, it just so happened that he had gotten laid off from his job that friday which was totally unexpected. So now it got really tough. I didn’t know what to do because he had no where to go. We are not from where we live, and I basically gave him the choice of seeking a specific type of counseling, or he needed to go somewhere else because I refused to ever go through what happened. He was very oppositional to this type of counseling and tried to convince me to just let him find his own counselor. He made his way back to where we live, and he stopped by and talked to the pastor of the one church we used to go to for advice. He advised my husband to do what I requested if I wanted to reconcile. My husband slept in his truck somewheres that night, and then the next day met up with another man from the church to talk about it. That man also advised him to seek the help I requested, and fianlly, my husband agreed.

            When my husband came back to our house, because I agreed he could come home if he chose to get the specific help, he was delirious from not sleeping. I did not handle mysel f well at all. I was so hurt, and angry. I wasn’t fighting with him or anything, but when he came back in the house, he started saying how he jsut wanted to find his own counseling and continued to oppose the specific counseling. I held my ground and told him to just get some rest. Then I went to the grocery store, and was gone not even an hour. When I got home, he had packed all his stuff and LEFT!!!!!!!

            THEN- on top of that—HE DIDN’T ANSWER HIS PHONE FOR HOURS AND HOURS!

            And that is when I LOST IT! I freaked out and started driving around town trying to find him. I called the men he talked to to see if they heard from him.

            I checked our bank acct to see if he got gas anywheres and he did, in a town nearby. Then he took our cash at an atm probably so I wouldn’t be able to trace his steps any further.

            After hours of trying to desperately get ahold of him, that is when I had to go in my room, and journal to God and let it all go. That was when I literally realized I couldn’t control him or anything, and I was leaving it in God’s hands. I texted my husband one last time to tell him that he could do whatever he chose and I would be waiting right there but I wasn’t going to try to talk to him or anything.

            Finally, that night, at like 9pm, he called. I asked where he was and he said he was on his way to his hometown which was 1300 miles away. I started crying and asking why he did that to me why he left when I thought he agreed to go to the counseling. He said he really didn’t want to do that and he had no choice but to leave because I told him he either had to stay away or get the counseling. And I meant that. But I was so hurt because I didn’t think he’d choose to leave.

            At that point he wasn’t even half way home, and I asked him, begged him, to just turn around and come home and get the counseling. He didn’t agree. So then I started thinking ok what do I have to do? let my boundary down now?? I never realized how stubborn my husband was until this happened. I felt so unloved. So uncared for. After what had happened, and after all the blaming and past year and half of taking in all his negativity that he spewed out at me…I was totally broken.

            Well, I told him the next day that it was his life, his choice, and I realized that God is in control and that he could do whatever he wanted. I let it go and stopped contacting him. And I prayed about it all. And that night is when God truly convicted him, and he had this like rush of memories of all he had done, and he confessed all of it to me through texts because it was at night and I was sleeping. He realized how much wrong he had done, etc. and apologized.

            When I woke up the next morning I was praising God because I knew God revealed to him and granted him true repentance.

            After that, my husband wanted to just turn around and come home, but I told him he was so close, he might as well go visit his family since he had time off anyways. And then he stayed there for a week, and while he was there set up and got counseling and continued it when he came home and I did the same.

            That is when things finally started changing in our marriage. And things have remained in growing.

            After he started counseling, he truly was being led of the spirit and I was the one who was not acting right at the time, and that’s where a lot of the posts April posted by me came from–me struggling to let go and trust God again and just forgive my husband for all the wrongs.

            And when I finally got to that point and realize about how Jesus is the only one who can satisfy, that’s when some more trials came and we are currently in them still. But God has been faithful. We are not in conflict anymore, it is more about some issues with his job and us being apart because of his job. But other than that, things are still moving in the right direction, all by the Grace of God alone!!!!

            When I confronted him about everything, all i told him was that I realized what he did was veyr wrong, and that I didn’t want to continue to expose myself to that kind of treatment and that if he wanted to come home, he would need to seek the type of counseling I had found that I believed he should do. Of course he was NOT happy and NOT going to have that at alll. But I wasn’t willing to let go of what happened and pretend things were ok between us because they weren’t!!! They had gotten compltely out of control. And that was a hard hit to my husband’s pride i think, but honestly, he needed to be confronted and it was time.

            Looking back, I believe God allowed all of it to happen to bring us to get true counseling and help and to move forward. If I had just sat by and continued to just let it be and take the blame, etc. nothing would have changed, no matter what I did or didnt do to be respectful, etc.

            Hope this helps! Please feel free to ask anymore questions! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          25. Whew, Amanda! Our stories are so, so similar in MANY ways! It’s almost weird to read your story and see how God took me down that same path. Realizing that what was going on in my marriage was considered emotionally abusive. Realizing my husband was using manipulative tactics, being controlling (and just like yours, my husband’s control and manipulation are not obvious, which is probably why it took me so long to understand what was happening). That was a super, super painful thing for me to come to terms with. I felt hopeless (and still fighting against that feeling) that things could ever change. When God started to show me these things, it came after a period where He had already been strengthening me in Christ and my husband was starting to feel the effects of that. I was no longer reacting in the overly jealous ways I had been (and he was telling me weird stories that I still wonder if they were really real or if he was looking to see how I would react because he was realizing things were changing in me).

            I totally related to your statement that you didn’t realize how stubborn your husband really was until you started laying boundaries. Yes! I get it, sister. I got to a point where I flat-out told my husband that his pride level was off the charts and was preventing him from being able to own his own sin and was affecting our marriage (this was at the height of the tension after I had started to speak up for myself and refused to be a peace-faker, as they say).

            As I’ve read your comments from yesterday and today, my spirit is saying “Amen!” to them. You said something about being free in Christ and that is the phrase I resonate most with! I truly feel like a different woman in this marriage. I’m not by any means saying that there isn’t more work to do in me to bring me into more and more reality of my freedom in Christ – and I know there is much more work for me as I’m still learning how to be more and more respectful and how certain mannerisms or ways I say things immediately put my husband’s defenses up – but what has happened in the last few months for me has been a dramatic shift. I truly feel a freedom to be me! With my personality, my weaknesses, my strengths. I feel free to be a Christian in this marriage and I’m no longer worried if that will repel my husband – and the fact is, it might. But, I’m not living in fear over that anymore! Free to be a woman with feelings, free to understand my influence in our marriage. Free to say when things are o.k. and to not feel obligated to go along with things that are not o.k. for me (for me, I’m finding that is including various little things like choosing to go into my room and remove myself from certain programs that are being watched that aren’t necessarily totally wrong….but that make me feel uncomfortable……or deciding that I will go to church because of the importance for me to meet corporately with the Body of believers rather than go to another one of my kid’s sporting events). It is wonderful and I am so, so thankful for all that God has done for me through all of this.

            The best thing about what God took me through is that fear is not crippling me from being able to share my hurts and feelings and from making decisions to protect myself (boundaries) if need be. I’ve faced the fear that my husband could leave me and I know that if he leaves me, God will take care of me.

            Last night, we had another conflict. Things weren’t looking good. It felt again my husband wasn’t taking responsibility for some things he was saying that were causing ongoing hurt. I totally believe that because of the boundaries I’ve implemented over the past couple of months and things God is continuing to show me about communication, we were able to work through that conflict in less than 24 hours. My husband is learning to listen to me and is making obvious changes. Not saying certain phrases that he used to always say and being more patient and listening better to me. That is HUGE. My husband owned his part from last night . I owned my part. We listened to each other. I am also learning a lot through all of this. I still need God’s grace to keep me from jumping into overreaction mode when I get hurt.

            The hardest part for me is that I really thought that maybe through this, my husband would come to somewhat of a breaking point and see his need for Christ. But, we had a discussion about where he was in that regard and it was not very fun. He has no questionings or inner wrestlings about God and very matter-of-factly states that he is not convinced nor does he see a need to even investigate or care. Painful to hear. And, another painful part of our marriage is that we do not relate on ANY kind of intimate level at all. It’s very surface kinds of conversations. It’s something I need to hear from God on and I need Him to help me work through letting go of this expectation and desire that may never be fulfilled in my marriage.

          26. CIC,

            With your permission, if you feel led to allow me to share, I might also like to share this excerpt:

            You said something about being free in Christ and that is the phrase I resonate most with! I truly feel like a different woman in this marriage. I’m not by any means saying that there isn’t more work to do in me to bring me into more and more reality of my freedom in Christ – and I know there is much more work for me as I’m still learning how to be more and more respectful and how certain mannerisms or ways I say things immediately put my husband’s defenses up – but what has happened in the last few months for me has been a dramatic shift. I truly feel a freedom to be me! With my personality, my weaknesses, my strengths. I feel free to be a Christian in this marriage and I’m no longer worried if that will repel my husband – and the fact is, it might. But, I’m not living in fear over that anymore! Free to be a woman with feelings, free to understand my influence in our marriage. Free to say when things are o.k. and to not feel obligated to go along with things that are not o.k. for me (for me, I’m finding that is including various little things like choosing to go into my room and remove myself from certain programs that are being watched that aren’t necessarily totally wrong….but that make me feel uncomfortable……or deciding that I will go to church because of the importance for me to meet corporately with the Body of believers rather than go to another one of my kid’s sporting events). It is wonderful and I am so, so thankful for all that God has done for me through all of this.

            The best thing about what God took me through is that fear is not crippling me from being able to share my hurts and feelings and from making decisions to protect myself (boundaries) if need be. I’ve faced the fear that my husband could leave me and I know that if he leaves me, God will take care of me.

            What God is doing in you is so beautiful! There are treasures you are learning and receiving from Him during this time of trial that you could never have received any other way. Your faith is growing so much. I love that you are not living in fear anymore. I know that this is not over and that there are hard days. But WOW! What a journey God has brought you on already. I can’t wait to see all He has in store!

            I pray for His continued work in your life and in your husband’s life – that He might bring your husband to Himself and regenerate his soul.

          27. From NB to CIC:

            Cic,
            How i wish to be in that place you are at. I dont know how, when and if can i get to this stage. Maybe its just not my timing for this in Gods eyes.

          28. NB,

            You CAN be where ContentinChrist is now. But it is not a place you can reach in a few hours or a week. It is a place you can only reach by MUCH intense wrestling with God, perseverance, seeking Him above all else, dying to self, and purposely choosing to trust Him when things really look bleak. If you want to be at this place with God and you seek Him wholeheartedly – and you lay down your other dreams and desires – He CAN take you to this place and beyond. 🙂

          29. CIC,
            WOW!Amen! I am so happy to hear that you understand this struggle, and that God has been pretty much working in the same ways for us both. I had to do the exact things you have had to, and I’ve had to see things the way you have had to as well. Thank you Lord for fellow sisters who understand!

            And even more, how great your faith has been tried and grown in that your husband is not a believer! God will use all of it to change you and conform you into His image, that is a fact!

            I also wanted to share too that as you said that you have been having to face that in your marriage you are not on any kind of intimate level at all of relating. I kid you not, I talked to my counselor about this very thing the otehr day.

            I feel that I may never have any kind of intimacy in that way either in my marriage. My husband is literally a man of few (no) words! He doesn’t feel the need to talk and he doesn’t feel the need to get to know me, my thoughts, ideas, etc.

            In the beginning of our marriage, we talked all the time, and mostly it was about God and how God was working in both our lives. But as soon as we got married, he disappeared it seemed.

            And then over time, we would talk because he was always away, so we kept text convos going all the time, but never about anything really meaningful.

            And then when I was heightened in the disrespect, and he was pulling away all the time, that is when I pulled away and stopped talking to him about anything because it seemed like anytime I tried to tell him how I truly felt, anything negative, or any hurt feelings, he would either say he was tired, he couldn’t fix my life, or what did I expect–an easy comfortable life?

            lol. Those are not exactly comforting reactions, so I stopped talking to him.

            Then last summer when God started showing me about being a godly wife I read Martha Peace’s book the Excellent Wife (I didn’t find April’s site til way later, I wish I had last summer), and I sought out an older woman to mentor me at the church I went to, and she basically told me that I need to just let it go and stop trying to talk to him if he really didn’t want to talk like that.

            At the time I was so hurt and really didn’t care what anyone said, I wanted what I wanted.

            But when that didn’t work out, and when months later I found Aprils site and got a much more indepth understnading of how to relate to men and why he was always backing away and stuff, I saw that I needed to stop because I couldn’t control him.

            And I had to learn to accept him for who he is, etc.

            So things have gotten better. Especially since counseling, because, like you, before that I totally lost myself. I was afraid to wear make up at one point. I didn’t go anywhere because I was scared he would accuse me of cheating on him. I didn’t talk to any of my best friends anymore because he didn’t approve. I started doubting my decision making abilities, I started thinking I was this crazy, horrible, psycho lady because I wanted to have an intimate relationship with my husband. It was bad. I am so thankful God allowed everything that happened to happen in order to push us along in getting help!

            Like you I have had to face the fear of making my husband upset. I had to realize that I am not responsible for his life or behavior.

            Also, even to this day, if he says anything manipulative or anything, I call him out and tell him I’m allowed to have my own feelings, ideas, etc.
            For example, He believes that submission means I agree with everything he says. He apparently doesn’t know me because I am not the type who just agrees with people. But I was broken into that woman, I allowed myself to be broken into that type of doormat in order to make sure he didn’t get mad, because it was my fault that he acted wrongly when he did.

            Now, if I disagree, I remind him that I am my own person and I can think differently than him and that doesn’t mean I don’t submit to him lol.

            My husband likes to play the martyr and I am starting to believe that God surely knew what he was doing putting us together, because I believe He is going to use me in my marriage to help my husband grow in whatever ways God wants to use me for His glory, and He has clearly already used my husband’s faults to grow me in Christ. So I am thankful!

            I have had to face lately that I might never have the marriage I want, and honestly, even if I did, it won’t make my life better. My husband is really not able to meet my needs like I think he can. That isn’t what any of us wants to hear but its painfully true!!!!

            I am so glad to see you growing too, and together, we can trust that God knows best and He will use ALL things for the good! And I am SO thankful for this community of believers to turn to for fellowship! we are blessed! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          30. Amanda,
            Crazy psycho lady…that is exactly how i feel in the last couple of months andvits getting worse.
            I truly felt that i was doing so good. Staying on my paper, listening to my husband, respecting him, accepting him forr he was.
            Until you guessed it. We got this woman in our marriage.
            Oh well. If he chooses to continue sharing with her instead of me, thats his choice.
            It saddens me but like you said, whatever ihave been doing hasnt been working so time to do something different.
            Thank you all for reaching out to me.

          31. I wanted to give my thoughts about the time and space issue…

            For my husband, as with Amanda’s, it was a critical component to him realizing finally that I was not going to re-enter and act like our relationship was just fine and dandy when there was unresolved conflict. Because for so long, I would let my husband disrespect and hurt me and he would not apologize or make it right….but I was so desperate for the relationship to be fine, I’d be a peace-faker and pretend things were o.k. Bob Grant says that men respond to time and space and, after what I’ve seen in my marriage, I have to attest that it is true.

            Time and space was given after it was pretty obvious what I was upset about. I don’t think it’s right to do this out of the blue to your husband without at least giving him the knowledge why you’re hurt and giving him a chance to respond. But mine was continuously responding with blame-shifting, rewriting history, and refusing to look at his own problems. And, I don’t think it would be effective to say what you are doing. Just move into that mode and trust God to speak to him in that silence and space, pray for your marriage remembering that this is spiritual battle, etc.

            The time and space I gave my husband looked like this:

            I stopped texting and reaching out to him at all. If he texted me, I responded appropriately and respectfully. Sometimes, that even meant I would say “I love you, too….or… “love you, too” in response to my husband’s texts. I kind of followed his lead and I didn’t add a bit more. I would text in necessary situations only like details with kids or schedules or asking for his help if I needed it.

            I still spoke to him but it was more like the courtesy and respect I would give a stranger. I smiled. I was friendly and did not shoot dirty looks at him or glare at him. I’d ask him basic kind questions but not to get into a major conversation, just to be respectful and generally kind. Those were very, very few, though. I was certainly not perfect in this process…there were times of greater conflict that my anger would get the best of me and I would disrespect him….and would apologize very quickly and specifically for those times, without making it a big issue.

            I brought him his breakfast beverage as I’d always done (most times….there were times I was too angry to do that with a good heart, so I didn’t).

            We still talked about some daily life stuff (things that had to be talked about), but it was way different than before.

            I did not reach out for physical touch or affection. Would read at night and say goodnight and go to bed. Wake up for another painful day of no communication and change for a while. :/

            After periods of times like these, I would feel led to go back to my husband and try again. The best I can say to this is that God would give me the desire to do it. If I didn’t have the desire to do it, I would just stay in that mode of respectful and kind, but very pulled back. When God started give me the grace to try again, I thought about the main thing to focus on that I needed to be heard on so that we could take a step forward. I would share that one thing (or sometimes two things) and see if there was any willingness to hear and take responsibility. And, I started to see that. And, we kept going through this process a few times. And, I don’t think it’s necessarily over. 😉

            I wish I could remember the longest period of time and space that we had to go through. I want to say that it might have been up to two weeks. That might have been the initial time where I was so hurt and shut down that it took me two weeks to have the desire to try to talk to him again. I really trusted that God was leading me through the way I was feeling. If I felt there was no way I could handle getting shut down again and I was still really upset at my husband, I trusted that God was in control of that and that the time and space needed to remain for both of us. If I felt more led to try again, I trusted that that also was from God.

            For me, those times were also very healing and necessary for me and I was able to think and gain clarity and get out of some of the confusion I had been living in.

          32. CIC,

            This is SUPER helpful. I love how you clarified that you gave time and space RESPECTFULLY and only after sharing what was upsetting you. I agree that simply suddenly giving a lot of space isn’t going to be super effective, necessarily. I love Bob Grant’s approach on this issue. It is good to hear that this approach was helpful for you – even in such a difficult situation. I think it is also important to note that it may take a long time to reach healing or to begin to move forward if there are a lot of issues going on. I love that you shared what this looked like for you and how you would reach back out to him at times as God led you to.

            THANK YOU so much for sharing these details with all of us! Would you consider allowing me to share any of this as an anonymous post, please?

            Much love to you!

          33. CIC,
            You are describing exactly what I had to do as well with the space and time!!! It really spoke loudly to my husband because he was so used to me being all right there for him all the time and always hangning on his every word that when I pulled back and focused on my own life, he all of a sudden missed me and wanted to know what happened. He came towards me immediately it seemed like and I naively thought I could just all of a sudden start sharing my heart anytime I wanted but apparently that wasn’t appropriate lol. I had to do this thing more than once too and I probably will have to again in the future if necessary. It seems to be the only way I can stay FOCUSED on Christ alone and focused on my own life and issues and let my husband live his life and be himself. If I start moving too close to my husband he pulls away it seems. It’s so weird. I just want a normal relationship. But it is what it is I guess 🙂

            Either way, God has worked with the time and space thing in my marriage much more than any other approach I took, so I know it’s worth it to try too!!!

            Thanks for sharing! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          34. Amanda and CIC,

            You know what is interesting, so much of what y’all had to do is so similar to what I had to do, as well – even though my situation with Greg was very different with him being totally shut down and unplugged. I had to learn to give space for a LONG, LONG time. I still give much more space than I used to – because he needs some space as a man with an introverted personality.

            I think this is the process of stopping a codependent or enmeshed relationship.

            This discussion is so important! I appreciate y’all sharing so much!

          35. April,
            And thank you! Your wisdom is MUCH appreciated on this topic especially.

            Have you had to accept that Greg was not really the talking type?? How do you handle it now if that is the case?
            Do you find other ways to let out all the things you want to talk about such as to girlfriends, the blog, etc because you have had to respect Greg’s not wanting to talk a lot??

            I’m curious to know how you handle these things, if they are applicable, and if you are willing to share!! 🙂

            Thanks!

            Love,
            Amanda

          36. Satisfied Wife,

            It was really hard for me to accept that we would not be sharing long, meaningful (to me), emotional, romantic emails and texts. Didn’t realize it at the time, but I already had a lot of blogger/author in me! Ha! And he didn’t have that in him. I remember telling him that “it would be easier for me to send you 87 emails a day than to send you nothing!” To me, no contact during the day meant “the absence of love.” But to him, no contact from me was a gift that I couldn’t understand. I was offended! “Space is not love!” Well, to me, space was not love. But to him, it is. I wanted to email him all throughout the day. I wanted him to want to email me back in the same way. But that is not him. Is it not his strength or personality. It takes him a LONG time to work up words about emotional things.

            I learned to accept that he was an introvert and needs lots of time to himself – and that it isn’t that he doesn’t love me. It is that his needs are different from mine. He feels smothered with too much attention, fawning over, talking, and emotional connection. He really just loves to enjoy me in his own way and to feel connected to me in his way. I have learned to appreciate feeling connected to him all the time, the way he always feels connected with me, even when we are not talking or able to be together a lot. I have learned to just savor sitting beside him and cuddling at night. We DO talk a lot more now these past 4 years or so than ever. But I try to be sensitive to his limits and not overwhelm him with too many words. He is more available to me and better able to hear me now than ever before in our marriage.

            It helped me to study introverted personalities to understand the strengths he has and his limits and how I could bless him rather than tax him.

            Now, I get a lot of my need for connection through my time with God, through the blog (which is quite time-consuming), through time with my children. I do get to have a good bit of time talking with him now – maybe 15-30 minutes (broken up in spurts) most days in the evenings while he is watching TV. Sometimes more – maybe even a few hours – but I try to do the talking in spurts, not continually. When we have evenings together without the kids, we talk in the car and at the restaurant, or at home. We talk about things I am learning, questions I have for him, the kids, plans, the blog, the ministry nuts and bolts, our jobs, house stuff.

            I try not to ask him some of my favorite old questions anymore – things about evaluating our marriage, evaluating how well I am doing as a wife and mom, carefully planning our spiritual future together, asking what I can do for him, asking what he would like me to change. He really does not like those kinds of conversations!

            Not sure if this is helpful. But maybe? 🙂
            Much love!
            April

          37. April,
            Thank you so much for sharing! After all I’ve read from your blog posts and book, I honestly thought that he was only quiet because of the disrespect for all the years, but once God changed you, he totally came around and was now talking to you like all the time! Thank you for clearing that up for me! 🙂

            Greg is SO similar to my husband. My husband actually told me before we got married that he’s introverted, doesn’t like hanging out with people, and he pretty much keeps to himself and doesn’t like to talk. “Oh thats NO problem!!!!!” was my response. Until it actually happened. I truly believed that because we talked ALL the time and spent a lot of time together before we got married that things would stay exactly like that because he loved me SO much!

            Lol I was way wrong. It turns out he had a totally different idea of how I was going to be as well. He told me overtime that he thought I was a “meek, quiet, gentle woman who loved God and was submissive and respectful”!

            WHAT?!?!?! I didn’t even know any such things EXISTED til after I got married and read marriage books! and I totally didn’t understand it until coming here! But apparently, my charm in the beginning gave that impression and it was totally destroyed after we got married when we both became who we really were and it didn’t mix!

            Wow, after reading this reply, I am starting to question whether my desires/hopes for an intimate communication pattern is really even necessary. Maybe I have been desiring and expecting something for a wrong reason. And my husband is brutally honest—he tells me that it won’t make my life better if we talk all the time. He’s right. He is very introverted and he doesn’t feel the need to talk all the time to feel close to me.

            He likes to just watch movies when we are together and relax because he works so hard. I took that advice to heart from you a while ago and it seems to be a great way to keep things steady. If I start wanting him to focus on me and not on other things, that’s when we have issues.

            My husband just wants to be left alone and he wants me to know he loves me by how much he works and by all the other efforts he makes in taking care of us and our family. I guess I thought it was “wrong” to be to open with my friends or anyone really except him, but apparently it is ok and I can be at peace knowing that we don’t have to have this intimate communication all the time. Of course we talk about life and daily things, and sometimes important things, and as you already know we deal with our issues through texts mostly and my husband clearly expresses his issues with me and our marriage directly, so maybe I am exaggerating and thinking that we never talk, but really we do.

            hmmmmm, THANK YOU LORD FOR THIS REALIZATION!!!! 🙂

            And thank you for sharing, it’s good to know that you have found peace and actually are so much more fulfilled in the way your marriage is now!

            Love,
            Amanda

          38. Satisfied Wife,

            He is talking MUCH, MUCH more with me than he did when I was so disrespectful. But it is not to the level that I would naturally gravitate towards if it were entirely up to me. I would be happy with talking practically nonstop – especially about deep theological issues. But now I am fine with the fact that Greg has a different personality and that he needs time to himself to recharge. I know now that I need some space, too – which I didn’t know earlier in my life. I need time with God. I need time to do ministry. I need time to listen to sermons and books and to do chores. I need downtime, too, and have become more introverted in the past 7.5 years than I ever was before, I would say.

            I savor my time alone now, but also know that we love each other deeply. We connect on a much deeper level than ever before. We still don’t pray together because he prefers private prayer and I respect that now. But we do talk about a lot of spiritual things and anything either of us wants to talk about. Now it is safe for both of us to talk or ask questions. Now he knows he has a voice. Now he knows I will respect and honor him. I give him grace about taking a lot longer to respond to some questions and to decide on plans than I would take.

            He gives me a ton of grace for my own shortcomings – seeing sometimes in very black/white or tending to rush into decisions. I also tend to be a bit ditzy at times. And I am not very good with electronics. At all. (He is my IT guy. I don’t think I would have any working electronics if it weren’t for Greg! He loves to be behind the scenes and gives me lots of support privately for my ministry that goes totally unnoticed by everyone but me. He doesn’t like the spotlight – and that is okay.)

            I used to expect him to be like a best girlfriend. But now I realize that some of my expectations were unrealistic 1. because he is a man not a woman and 2. because he is introverted not extroverted. Those are good things! If I am willing to see the good in them. 🙂 Which now, I am glad to do.

            I was floored when Greg explained to me that he feels connected to me all the time, whether we are talking or not. I had never imagined that possibility. To me, talking meant connection. Not talking meant no connection. He has expanded my mind and heart in so many ways to look at life from perspectives I had never been able to see before. Perspectives that lead to peace and joy. 🙂

            This arrangement is healthy for both of us, I think. It keeps me from losing myself too much in him. It helps me depend primarily on God for my needs. It makes me slow WAY down from my normal 100mph pace. It gives me the time I believe God desires me to have to minister to others. It gives Greg the time he needs to wind down. It helps me to keep from idolizing him because it causes me to have time to myself which helps me learn to be content when I am with Greg or when I am by myself.

            I’m so glad this was helpful. 🙂

            Much love to you!

          39. April,
            DING DING DING! The bells just rang and the blinders came off! WOW!

            “This arrangement is healthy for both of us, I think. It keeps me from losing myself too much in him. It helps me depend primarily on God for my needs. It makes me slow WAY down from my normal 100mph pace. It gives me the time I believe God desires me to have to minister to others. It gives Greg the time he needs to wind down. It helps me to keep from idolizing him because it causes me to have time to myself which helps me learn to be content when I am with Greg or when I am by myself”

            I just realized that God has been working this out in me these past 2 years as well! WOW.

            Before I got married, I was a country club dining room manager, involved in home groups and church, and one my ONE day off, I could be found either at my parents or my family’s house or a friends. Time alone to me meant I had to sit down and face the fact that I was alone, and I hated it.

            fast forward to now, I literally sit home all day, as you know, and I LOVE IT!!!! Just like you, I have become much more introverted in a sense that I would rather be home with my family, whether my husband is home or not, than anywhere else. I would rather be home reading, seeking God, reaching out on here to everyone, etc. than out and about. LOL. wow.

            It has given me the chance to slow totally down and focus my life and heart on God and if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t be here at all! Thank you Lord!

            And now that I have counseling, and now that I talk to my close friends again, I have more than enough opportunity to talk and connect, whether my husband talks to me or not.

            I DON’T NEED MY HUSBAND TO TALK TO ME ALL THE TIME ABOUT EVERYTHING HE’S THINKING AND EVERYTHING I’M THINKING! Christ, this blog, journaling, my own blog, friends, family, my son (he loves to talk talk talk lol), my counselor….MORE than enough!!!

            Even if I have no one at all—The Lord is ALWAYS there and I can run to him with anything anytime anywhere!

            who knew?!?!!?

            🙂 FREEDOM

            Love,
            Amanda

          40. April,
            I think it woul be an awesome idea to tackle this topic more! I think we as women so want this deep thing with our husbands that it becomes everything. It did for me and I didn’t even realize it! I was just talking about this to my counselor and I was going on and on about how I just wanted to talk to him and get to know him more, etc. etc.

            How quickly our focus gets turned onto things that can never satisfy. Wow.

            I think it all just goes straight back to wanting something from our husbands that they will never be able to give us. And it goes back to realizing that even if they were talkative and having deep convos and deep intimate connection on this level, it still wouldn’t be enough to compltely satisfy our hearts!

            There are so many things tied into this that you have wrote about as well, but perhaps it’s just one of those things that God needed to reveal to my heart, even thought I already “knew” it! 🙂

            Either way your wisdom is much appreciated all around!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          41. Satisfied Wife,
            And YES! We must always guard our hearts against thinking that our husbands can meet our deepest needs. That is always a temptation. So we must monitor our thoughts, feelings, and motives and shoot down any sinful thoughts as soon as we recognize them, then return our hearts and minds fully to Christ. Exactly! Even if our husbands had very deep conversations with us and prayed with us for hours – we would still not be satisfied if we were looking to them to meet the deepest needs of our hearts rather than to Christ.

          42. April,
            Yes I believe I have read them, and they definitely helped me realize that Jesus is our source of all things!! But the actual expectation of wanting my husband to have long convos with me all the time never clicked til now 🙂 But I so thank you for your support in all of this and for sharing your own experiences to help us see what we are doing as well!

            Love,
            Amanda

          43. P.S I am definitely going to study introverts lol, I never really did that, and I so should have!

          44. Wow, Cic, this is me right nOw. But we have been very shut down and not talking for many months. I have been thinking about my boundaries I have set. Here is where I am at. I don’t try to talk to him much except for “business” stuff, respecting his decisions about the kids, house chores, superficial work stuff. After the 2 big blow ups last week, I have been staying away from him. I refuse to iron his clothes, but I still wash them. I feel guilty about the iron thing, I will probably iron them still. I’m no longer offering to give back rubs, or foot massages or reaching out at night in bed to touch him.

            Short of asking him to leave the house (again), I don’t know how else to give time and space any more than this. I am being courteous and such, respectful and I help him only when he asks. But I am getting even less attention now. I used to get a kiss on the forehead or a fist bump goodbye in the morning. That left this past week.

            I struggle because when he did this to me a year ago, it was really painful. It hurt and I’m sure this is hurting him. His main complaint is the huge lack of connection. I have tried to connect and I get rejected over and over. Was my husband’s treatment to me a good boundary he laid out back then? Or intentional hurt? I guess it helped me grow in Christ and unmesh…so maybe even though it was incredibly painful, he needed to do that? I beleive my husband HAD to ask for a divorce, too. I would have continued with my disrespect and anger if he had not done that. Yet, the pain of that fateful day still burns in me. It feels like betrayal and that he lied to me on our wedding day. Have I been holding that pain like an idol? How do I let that kind of pain go? I feel I can never trust that he will love me again.

            I just wonder if I am putting up a boundary because of the pain I needed to feel for ME to change.

            Yes, I feel unheard, disrespected, unloved, no connection and not being treated as a wife….but didn’t I do that to him too in my disrespect? Am I rebelling against the boundary my husband placed? I fear I might be falling into the same hurtful behaviors he did to me? What is the difference? How do I know?

            To give some credit…I have been seeking God, he runs from anything about God. I have been reading, seen a counselor, praying, rearranged my priorities, threw out my idols, and seeking to bless others and him when I can. But my husband is no longer my god and i think he knows it. My kids have told me they see huge, good changes in me.

            I feel he has not done anything to help move our marriage forward. He read the 2 books I asked him to, but they did not seem to move him. Or else he used them against me. Although I ask, he says I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m just different and we are incompatable. He doesn’t hate me, he just has no interest in me anymore. Doesn’t feel romantically in love with me, but cares about me as a person. After 30 years of marriage, I can’t understand this kind of talk. He says he trusts me with everything but his feelings…I know I don’t trust him with mine either. I still suspect he is having some type of an affair, maybe not physically, but definitely emotional, but I have no proof except his constant texting and long work hours. Without proof, I don’t feel like I can lay down a boundary about it. I have told him how it hurts me, he chooses to text all hours of the night anyway and we are lucky for 1/2 a weekend day with him.

            There are repairs to the house that are desperately needed that I am not allowed to do, hire or touch. It’s been years…. he says he will do something then it takes months or never gets done. In the mean time, we are waiting on him.

            I leave his messes and his mail and seperate myself more and more…because of the pain. But how much more disconnection am I causing from this. How do I show him where he can step up if he won’t hear me? Am I causing more disconnection rather than giving the gift of space and time?

            This morning I asked if we keep our relationship talks to a text or in writing instead of verbal. I said I hope this helps keep the emotions down, arguing and such down. Plus, it gives us both time to think out what to say, reread if needed and be more careful with our words. He said “I guess, it’s better than nothing, at least it is communication”. I was lying right next to him in bed when he texted that…..okay, I guess I asked for it. Today, I texted him “what few things could I do/stop doing that would help you to feel better about us?” I guess we will see if we can make any progress in this way.

            Thank you for your insights and examples, they are a tremendous help.
            May God bless you all in His unending love and protection.–LMS DAILY 115.

          45. LMS,
            Idk if this is helpful at all but I just wanted to tell you one thing that popped out as I read your comment.

            I know for me, I used to get SO upset when my husband thought I wanted to leave him or wanted nothing to do with him, not because of saying anything like that to him, but because of my behavior. In my mind, I was giving him space, leaving him alone, not talking to him becaues he didn’t want to, just trying to live my own life and leave him alone—because he would express to me that is what he wanted—–but then he would get upset when I did that.

            For example—he likes to make music. He could spend HOURS..and entire day in our room, alone, working on a song.

            In my mind, when he would tell me that he needed time alone to do this, I thought I needed to leave the house and give him space that way. But he would immediately say, you don’t have to go anywhere, I just wanted to let you know I’m going to be in the room doing a song…you don’t have to leave or anything.

            Same with him not wanting to talk all the time, I thought it meant that he just wanted me to never come near him and never be involved with him or his life…so I would bitterly, resentfully, find other things to do while he was around, to show him I was “leaving him alone”….thinking this would draw him towards me.

            He didn’t want me to do any of this, is what I learned over time.

            He wanted me to RELAX AND BE PEACEFUL around him, not ignore him resentfully thinking I am doing him a favor, lol.

            He wanted me to be at peace whether he was in our room all day, or watching a moving with me. He wants me to just be content literally, and respect that he is his own person who doesn’t like to talk alot and who enjoys just watching movies and hanging around.

            He could always tell when i was bitterly, resentfully ignoring him or purposefully leaving him alone. He thought it meant that I didn’t want to be with him because i always seemed so unhappy around him. And I was, because I was bitterly, resentfully ignoring him, trying to show him i could leave him alone!

            I don’t know if this relates at all to your situation, but reading your comment made me wonder because your husband is saying he wants a connection, but every time you try to connect you get shot down.

            You mentioned something about how you might be doing to him what he did to do for boundaries….I did that. When my husband would tell me that he was “keeping to himself” (i had no idea what he was talking about then, i thought he meant done with our marriage and not going to ever talk to me about anything ever again), i would get even more bitter/disrespectful, and I would put up my own defense wall with the resentful ignoring. I think you are on to something there…it could be that you are boudary-ing due to his boundary-ing!

            I’m praying for clarification for you, and I pray that the eyes of your husband be opened! You are wise, LMS! 🙂 I can see in your words that you are in tune to the Spirit of God leading you…..He surely will as you continue to seek Him!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          46. YES! Satisfied Wife, that is exactly how Greg felt, too. He doesn’t mind me popping in and speaking to him now and then. He is happy for me to even sit beside him quietly when he is working. He doesn’t want me to leave the house. But he appreciates having some time to himself sometimes. He loves for me to be at peace and content.

            LOVE this!

          47. Amanda,
            I can so relate to this. When this whole texting started. I would get so offended and would try to leave him alone/ ignore him. Of course, with bitter and resentful attitude, showing him that “im leaving him alone”.
            He picks up immediately on this. He either gets irritated ( because in his mind, he isntdoing anything wrong. He told me this i dont know how many times, that he isnt attracted to this woman, she is not his type…even if she was interested, he has to be also interested and he is not. He also said, ” you are the only one who thinks about this stuff” meaning emotional affair, etc.) Or he asks ” what did i do??”…
            Poor guy. Of course he isnt all that innocent himself. But im starting to see his point if view…
            Anyway. Just wanted to share…Men are very similar. Sounds like ours definetely are 🙂

          48. NB,

            You mentioned something about your husband commenting about your sour face and about him not responding to your kind texts.

            My thoughts are:

            There’s nothing wrong with having a sad countenance. When my husband would try to make me feel guilty about things like this, I’d just agree with him. “Yes, you’re right. I’m sure I do have a sad face. I’m very sad about the way you’re treating me and how your actions are affecting our marriage.” Or….”yes, I am angry. There’s nothing wrong with anger. I’m angry about you continuing to refuse to listen to me about major problems in our marriage. I’m trying to decide what to do now that I am coming to terms with the fact that you don’t seem to want to have a real marital relationship with me.”

            My advice is to stop the texts. Just like if you had a “friend” and you were the only one putting effort into the relationship, you were the only one texting….after a while, you realize that this is a one-sided thing going on. Maybe they don’t even appreciate what you’re saying. Maybe they want you to stop, but don’t know how to tell you. It is respectful for both of you to stop the pursuing. My other thought (and please don’t hear me calling your husband a swine) is the phrase not throwing your pearls to the swine. If your kind texts are falling on deaf ears and your husband is finding the time to text another woman and he can’t respond to his wife’s texts…..well, I just think that those texts and your pursuing him might be causing more damage than actually helping your marriage right now. I truly believe that.

            You are allowing him to disrespect you and he will continue to do it as long as you don’t see your worth in Christ.

            Saying all of that, I understand your fear and hurt and the overwhelming feeling of letting go of trying to hold onto the relationship at all costs. It is a battle to get there. I pray God will give you His wisdom and guidance and that you will know that He loves you perfectly. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is your Source and a big part of what you’re going through is getting to the place of truly knowing that He is enough. Even if your marriage fails, even if your husband leaves. It is so, so painful to get to that place. I know. But, once you’re there, you will never want to go back. God is doing something in you and through this because He loves you and wants you to live free in Him. Love and peace to you today, NB.

          49. Cic,
            Thank you. I have been stopping the texts. But then when things are going good, i feel like telling him something nice and i do it again. I used to leave him notes too but it hurts too much this past month.
            I was really upset last night so i deleted his number out of my phone again .
            I dont know where God is leading me through this. Why do i fail so often? I try to respond in respectful and graceful way. But in situations like last night everxthing just boils o. ver. And thats after i give it to God! At least i think i do.
            I still cant beleive he is making it out for last night to be my fault for getting upset over responding to her texts at midnight. I dont want to sleep in the bedroom any more. I get anxiety over his phone buzzing any minute. Thankfully our 4 year old still sleeps with me. So ive been sleeping with the kids more often than in the bedroom

          50. April, yes, you may share anything you think will be helpful and with whatever additions you would like! Thank you for your love and encouragement. Thank you for being open to what Amanda and I are saying whereas some in a marriage ministry might feel threatened by some of what we are sharing or feel like it isn’t godly. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again….your voice and opinions held a LOT of weight for me as I was going through this. I knew God’s Spirit was strong in you. So, when you spoke and that other pastor spoke to me and God kept leading me to certain materials that went against everything I had thought submission and respect looked like……I couldn’t deny that God was leading me. I am so thankful that God spoke through you and had led me to your blog and allowed me to come to a place of trust in your advice prior to getting to this point. It is so amazing the way He orchestrates our lives. It takes my breath away!

            Amanda, our husbands are so similar. Mine wasn’t quite as controlling, but controlling in more subtle ways. And, so funny that you describe yourself as being opinionated, etc. Me, too!!! I am very confident in the things I believe and have quite a strong voice, so it’s interesting that both you and I, with these stronger personalities, lost a little bit of ourselves. Hey, you are blessed that you realized it so early!!! We have been married 24 years!!!!! But, God has his reasons for everything….timing, etc. I believe that with all of my heart. I love the way you encourage us here. It really does all become about finding our all in God alone. I agree with you. He will do whatever it takes to get us to that point. And, it’s for our good. It’s the only way to true JOY and contentment!

            NB, the things you are saying that your husband says to you….I’ve heard many of those same kinds of things, too. Whew! I see a major assault of the enemy happening in your home. And, I know you may not be able to relate to this right now, but I believe with my whole heart it is because God is doing a major work in you and your marriage. The enemy is on the attack because he doesn’t want to lose the ground he’s gained. It is an all-out war. Let that reality shape your prayers and you will see God move in mighty ways. You might feel confusion and despair today, thinking you are not changing, but NB, you *are* being an amazing witness to the love of God right now. Just because Amanda and I are trying to show you some shifts that you might need to make….please don’t let that make you feel condemned. Your heart for your husband – the way you are speaking of him even as he is mistreating you is a reflection of the heart of God. Only Christ in you can respond that way.

            Trust God to get you to a place of this strength that Amanda and I are talking about. If it’s not there, don’t force it or fake it. Just trust God’s timing. He will show you more and more your position in Christ. He will show you the things you need to see, specifically for you and your husband and your situation. Keep seeking Him. Trust that even when things look really bad, He can handle it and use it. Keep surrendering it all to Him as many times as you need to. It will absolutely look messy at times. You will fall at times. The key is to remember that you cannot fall out of the loving hands of God. You can trust in His ability to redeem even your mistakes and use them for good.

            Also, wanted to agree with Amanda’s comment that passivity is most likely not what is needed in your marriage, NB. You are a helpmeet to your husband, but what I thought was interesting as I was doing a lot of research about emotionally abusive marriages was that our traditional idea of a helpmeet is to do our husband’s laundry, cater to them at all costs, etc. However, the original root word gives the idea of a strong woman, pretty sure the term warrior is part of it. Do some of your own research on that, I think you will be surprised. The book Captivating also talks about this, too. And, when you realize the strong influence that women have, it is no wonder that the enemy would like to repress that strength by using our husbands to control or emotionally abuse us. The enemy doesn’t want you to influence your husband for good. And, he is trying everything he can to keep you in a state of confusion and weakness.

            Praying for you today!

          51. AMEN CIC! that is what I’m talking about! HALLELUJAH!!!

            There’s an army rising up here to break EVERY CHAIN!!!!! 🙂 Let it be in Jesus’ name!

            My spirit is truly refreshed by this fellowship! Thank you sisters!!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          52. CIC,
            Thank you for this.
            I am praying that God will use this mess for his glory. You are right. I’m not at that place yet that you and Amanda are describing. Maybe I will be when I can peacefully look at my husband texting? Or let go of my suspicions?
            Never in a million years did I think I had somethings to worry about regarding my husband and his need for this woman.
            It is very hurtful when he never replies to me but always to her. He explains it with that he doesn’t like texting, but since he’s not talking on the phone with them he has to text. And that it is about work. If you don’t like texting, why do you need to share with her that you have been drinking? ( that night 2 days ago). When you are laying in bed with your wife and son?
            And still not seeing it as wrong? And keeping grudge at me for overreacting?
            All I can say, he is so deceived. I told him that if I did that- texted with a man while in bed with my husband, or while spending time with my husband, or any time during the night- he would eat me alive.
            Sorry for venting again.
            I have been reading Captivating. It makes me so sad…
            I will definitely start implementing space and silence the way you are describing. We work opposite shifts again next week. So I won’t see him almost at all.
            Thank you for your encouraging reply. I printed out some of the replies from yesterday’s discussion and will meditate on them. They definitely help me to go through those bleak moments.

          53. My husband texts his female secretary and coworkers at work all the time. He also texts other men from work all the time. These people are work people AND his personal friends. This has been a very hurtful situation for me too. I have no evidence of any romantic feelings between my H and his female coworkers/friends, but it makes me very upset regardless that there is not a definite line of distinction there. It may be wrong. I have told him…Every time you text them, it hurts me, I feel like you care about them more than me, I would like it to stop. He has lessened it a bit, but not because he wants to. But, I have expressed my feelings, if he continues, then there are consequences, I feel less connected due to his not caring how it makes me feel. It’s one of the reasons for our marriage falling spart, I feel. But I also know I can’t control him. It is his choice to either want to help me feel secure in our marriage by stopping this behavior or to continue it and experience the consequence of broken connection because of the hurt. But I no longer nag at him for it, argue about it or react to it. I have spoken, he has to choose to hear me or not.

            I get where you are at, but you can only control your reactions and responses to this “sin against you”. Dont sin back because you are hurt. Otherwise, you are not responding any better than him. This is where God can show a different way.

            Much love to you.

          54. LMS,
            Amen to that!
            You know God is hearing me for sure. I was just thinking, i need to find that comment from Lms wherre she said her husbands texts all hours of the night, and ask her about it!!!
            Then i read this response from you!
            Yes. You are so right. That hurts. But after these past few days, after talking to you guys, after listening to Joyce Meyer, i am getting some things that i didnt understand before.
            What you said is totally where im getting to and it is Awesome feeling!!!
            I need to add. Despite what we are going through with my husband…He IS a GOOD man. He is an amazing dad, he works so hard for us ( always had, our whole 13 years of marriage). He is faithful.
            Joyce Meyer said this in one of her sermons i listened to today…When we go through trials, we can pray and if its Gods will, he will either remove our problem, OR he will give us enough strength, courage and faith to get through this problem.
            She also said this…” whatever it is that you want…Until you can be really happy without it, you probably wont get it”
            Talk about a lightbulb moment.
            Praying for you too LMS.

          55. LMS, I’m wondering… Would you say your husband has acted in the same ways that Amanda’s and my husband were acting before we started implementing boundaries?

            In other words, is he using blame and shame and twisting facts, etc?

            I almost feel like until you start standing against that, you’re not really going to see much change in your marriage.

            You said something about not even getting a kiss on the forehead from him, etc. now. It is hard. When you start refusing to fake peace until you’ve both owned your part, it will be very hard at first because you are now going to be facing the very thing you tried so hard to avoid for so long – at the least, I’d say you are going to face some real time of silence and some ongoing conflict for a season. It is not easy. That’s why anyone setting boundaries needs to be pretty clear in their minds that this is what God is calling them to do and trust Him to give you the strength for whatever you might face because of it. (***I feel compelled to say for anyone reading this comment that if you are in a physically abusive marriage that it is imperative to be very cautious if you start implenting boundaries in your marriage. I like Leslie Vernick’s plan she lays out in her book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. She recommends a letter read to your husband in a public place with friends nearby and a plan to be away from the home until repentance is real and change is sure. Please, please seek help from others.***)

            If you don’t think your husband has any issues with blame-shifting, lying to protect his innocence, twisting facts, rewriting history, etc….. (actually, one blogger simplified it like this: you are in an emotionally abusive marriage if your spouse consistently doesn’t take responsibility for their issues/sin in the marriage)… Then I do believe you might benefit from reading Laura Doyle’s book to help get the connection restarted and give you something to build on. I have had a sense for several months that you being or growing in being vulnerable could help soft things in your marriage. The hard part is trying to be vulnerable when you’ve been so hurt. Stating your desires “Laura Doyle style” might give a chance for your husband to start trying to fulfill them which would show you he really does care. And as you are grateful to him for those things and other things he does for you and the family, it could help soften both of your heart toward each other. BTW, one thing my husband never seems to get tired of is me thanking him for working so hard for our family.

            I’m a little concerned about you asking your husband what you can do in your marriage, what you can change. If you’re in an emotionally abusive marriage, you will always be the one to be changing and he will never be working on change himself. Personally, I think it’s your husband’s time to be stretched and to grow. Boundaries will help with that (like you were saying his ultimatum did for you). But, yes, they are scary to start implementing when we see they don’t work immediately and we have to face the possibility that the growth or change needed might not be worth it in their eyes. When /if your husband answers that question, I hope you will take it before the Lord and ask *Him* whether this is something you really need to change or continue working on. I know for my marriage, I very clearly heard God in my spirit tell me to stop working on our marriage. During that time of boundaries, that’s what happened. I stopped (actually, changes were happening in me, they were just different than what I had experienced or focused on before). And as I saw progress being made in the marriage, my heart shifted back and I started seeing things I need to continue working on.

            I know one of the things that really helped convince me to try something different in my marriage was that I became convinced I had prevented growth in my husband’s life by constantly smoothing things over, by constantly taking more responsibility in our marriage than I needed to and by not requiring him to really own his wrong behavior or actions before moving ahead in the relationship. I really did see that boundaries are loving and knew that it would be unloving for us to just continue status quo (which meant *me* doing all the work in the relational part of our marriage – and continuing to get hurt).

            I pray along with Amanda that God will speak very clearly to you about your marriage and what your next steps should be. A prayer I like for you:

            “Lord, I’m confused about my marriage. I don’t know what to do. But, I know You know what I need, what our marriage needs, what my husband needs. Lord, I’m willing to do whatever You ask of me, but I need to hear clearly from You and know I’m following you and not operating from fear or bitterness or control. This marriage is in Your hands to do whatever You like with. My husband is in your hands. I am in your hands. My children are in your hands. It’s all yours, God. I may not feel it right now, but I know if I have You, I have more than enough always for the rest of my life. Take it all and let me hear from You. I will follow wherever You lead. Take this confusion away that doesn’t come from you, but from the enemy who wants nothing more than to ruin our family. Bring your light, clarity, truth and peace to my heart. In Jesus name. ”

            Love you, sister!

          56. CiC. I DO see blame shifting, rewriting history and forgetting what was said or done. I am aware how hard my heart could become, so I am trying to be vigilant to still stick my neck out and be vulnerable, but I get so hurt every time…when will I stop? Should I stop? I reach out to try to do a peace offering when I feel “told” by God. Sometimes I say to God I don’t want to do this thing (e.g. reach over and give my H a hug), but I obey God anyway…because He knows what’s best for both of us.

            However, I think I agree that there is growth that is needed on my H side too. I just don’t know my place in all that. How can I help him grow, CAN I even help him grow?

            This past week I think I have let go of the pain of his words, and the initial bomb drop. He answered my question about what I’m doing, not doing that hurts….arguing…the pain of the padt rushes back in when we argue and re-opens his wounds, so he creates this distance. He’s right. I am still arguing. Not near as much in the past, or as viciously, but still arguing. I get fed up with the indifference and emotional neglect and not feeling heard or even have my feelings or thoughts considered…I have a hard time labling it “abuse”, but it definitely is neglect and indifference. I see him stuck in a mire and sinking in quicksand and just accepting his fate without trying. It’s infuriating. I’m trying to extend a hand, not point a finger.

            I hear “let go and let God” over and over. What does that REALLY mean? I don’t think passivity is right, I feel that God uses our mouth, body, and mind to help bless others. Maybe I have a wrong way in thinking about what “resting in God” means?

            I’m also disturbed at the way God “hardened” the heart of Pharoah when Moses was approaching him asking to let the Israelites leave Egypt. “God caused Pharoh’s heart to be hardened”. Didn’t God love Pharoh as His child, too? Why would he doom him in this way? Did Pharoh ever have a chance to repent and turn to God for forgiveness? Did God sacrifice Pharoh to show His glory in a bigger way? Is God “sacrificing” my husband by making his heart hard to show His glory in a bigger way? I don’t understand this action that God did to Pharoh? Did God know Pharoh would never repent anyway? I feel bad for Pharoh, like he never had a chance, once God decided his heart was to be hardened…almost like God hardened HIS heart toward Pharoh!? Seems circular in thinking.

            I guess I just wonder if God still does this “heart hardening” today and why? Could my husband be a victim in this way? Biblical insight is appreciated.

            I think I can always find reasons to be compassionate towards my husband with his conflicts and internal struggles. I try to not feel guilty for my padt distespect, but it doesnt mean that my husband will forgive me. He says he has forgiven me, but his actions prove otherwise…more he is just letting it go, but not really forgiving the offenses. It’s hard to stay mad at him because I love him. I also see it all as growing me in trust of God, “those who seek to save their lives will lose it, and those who give up their lives will find it”. I feel God is taking away the things I must idolize some how, unintentionally, so I can seek him first. Wanting a healed marriage must somehow be on that list. Wanting my husband’s happiness or health, thinking I have some power to help in this situation…idols? Pride? Perfectionism? Control? I try to be hypervigilant about these, but have I swung too far over on the pendulum?

          57. LMS,

            Interesting that you brought up the hardened heart element. I remember right after our whole conflict started, I felt God saying that my husband’s heart was going to be hardened. I didn’t know what that meant, how long or anything else….still don’t know really. But, I do know there was a period where it was very obvious his heart really hardened against me (actually, in retrospect, I think it already was because he had no capacity to hear my thoughts or feelings at all on issues that were really big for me and that had been going on for a long time).

            You are asking questions that no one really can break down perfectly for you. Personally, I don’t care if they’re a theologian who has spent their life at a seminary. 🙂 It’s part of the mystery of God.

            For me, it comes down to believing God’s Word – all of it – and trusting that somehow, the (what seem like) conflicting statements do fit together. When my mind starts going in circles with these kinds of things, I end up here everytime: Isaiah 55:8-9:

            “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
            Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
            “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
            So are My ways higher than your ways
            And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

            and 1 John 1:5:

            “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

            But, what I would say is not to put too much emotional or mental energy into trying to figure out if that is what is happening. I did a lot of that early on in the height of the “bad” and it started doing quite a number on my mind. I realized I needed to leave things alone that I didn’t really know and just trust God in it all. And, I think it’s always better to leave a thought alone that brings distress or hopelessness to your heart and those thoughts sound like they would. The enemy would love nothing more for you to feel hopeless and despairing and to give up the spiritual battle of praying and loving in effective ways for your husband, family, and marriage.

            Yesterday after I commented a lot on here and then today as I read your comment, I am struck by the fact that God is really in control of us and all of our specific situations. Just because He moved me a certain way in my marriage doesn’t necessarily mean He’s going to act in that same way in yours. I can only give you the perspective of what I went through. The fact is that if God takes you into a season where it looks a little more like the one I just came through, you will know it. He is your Shepherd and He is guiding you. In that sense, you really can “Let go and let God”. Trust Him to keep leading you and giving you the wisdom to know how to respond and how to pray and when to talk to your kids and for every detail of your life. This really is resting in God, just trusting that we don’t have to have it all figured out. We trust and rest in what He’s done for us, who He is for us and in us and we trust and rest in His future grace for every bit of our lives.

            I understand that you would like the author to write a new chapter. I think He understands that, too.

            Even though it may not feel like it to you, there is movement in your marriage – an improvement from a couple of months ago, right?? I agree with HH, something is happening here. So, let’s see what God will do. 🙂

          58. CIC & LMS,
            I just wanted to agree here with CIC about not allowing a bewildering thought distract you from focusing on Christ! That is a sure tactic of the enemy—he loves to draw the mind out into bewilderment to the point of mental exhaustion and to giving up and feeling left in the dark when like CIC said, there is only LIGHT with God! 🙂

            I also wanted to share something the Lord showed me this morning with all of you here that have been talking about our situations, etc.—–

            The thing He showed me is that in order for there to ever be any effectual workings of God in and thru us by His Spirit—is if we, by faith, ask and believe Him to fill our spirit with the Holy Spirit—-and when that happens—-we can know it is the Spirit of God because there will be UNITY—JOY—-Liberty to speak and power to WITNESS TO CHRIST—-and there will be effective and permanent results in our lives and the lives of others!!!

            So when I saw this—I thought of us all–and how that the most needful thing, and really the only thing we can “Control”, as April has always shared—is that we are the ones who enable the Spirit of God to flood our spirits—-and when we get DISTRACTED, or turned self-ward and start harping on selfish things or things of the flesh—we hinder the INFLOW AND OUTFLOW of the Spirit of God!

            Because that is what is going on here even on this site–the fellowship of the body of Christ in SPIRIT—we are joined in the same Spirit by the HOLY SPIRIT—-and when we are united in Spirit, we are open to be used by God to minister the Holy Spirit to each other’s spirits and it is then that we have “all things common” and there is joy and glorifying of God!

            And even further—past the fellowship onto our home life and families—- when we are filled with the Spirit—then we are able to be used by God in witnessing for Christ, and when we speak from the Spirit, our words are backed with the power of God and they are able to break through to the spirit of others and God is able to open their eyes to truth, convict them of sin, and draw them to Himself!!!

            But if we are caught in distraction, or in any kind of pride, sin, or any Galatians 5 things—that Spirit is hindered and we are useless in a sense of ministering to the body and to witness for Christ!

            Idk what this means for anyone, but I know it opened my eyes to the fact that like April says, our greatest power is in being filled with the Spirit of God! 🙂

            Blessings,
            Amanda

      2. CiC, no I do not think you are being argumentative at all 🙂 I appreciate very much what you are writing and I am prayerfully considering it all in the light of scripture.

        I love that you wrote the scripture “Father forgive them for they know not what you do” and linked that to the fact that our spouse is not our enemy.

        I do see that anger can be used to do God’s work. This is evidenced a lot in scripture and interestingly it was my wife’s justified anger at me 7 years ago that brought me to a place of repentence and ultimately brought me to Christ. But since that time I laid down and have let tremendous wrongs be done to myself and now I am starting to feel angry myself. But because I have experienced anger out of place (as a work of the flesh with destructive results) I am very hesitant to express it now. And yet I (and the children) are being sinned against BADLY.

        Your comment has just caused me to do something. I have just knelt down and committed my anger to the Lord and asked Him to reveal rightly to me whether this anger is something that He would have me use to further His purposes or whether it is driven by bitterness or something else.

        I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this my friends 🙂

        In Christ, HH

        1. HH,

          LOVE this. This is the purpose of anger – to motivate us to seek to make things right or to set up healthy boundaries for ourselves and our children. Godly anger, appropriately expressed with respect and love – yet with firmness, is a powerful tool and influence on others.

          And I love that you are seeking to see your underlying motives. That is REALLY key!

          Such an important discussion!!!!

        2. Definitely will pray for God’s leading for you, HH. And will pray for your wife and children, as well.

          I think spiritual warfare is quite appropriate in times like this. It is the enemy trying to destroy your family. I pray God will lead us all in more and more understanding of our spiritual authority in Christ and how to pray in effective ways especially in these kinds of situations.

  10. Thank you CiC.

    I had a difficult weekend. My daughter is starting to be emotional about the split and it’s tearing me up a bit. She asked me this morning could we bring some juice for mummy to church and I reminded her that mummy doesn’t come with us any more and she said “She should come. She is family. Families are supposed to be together”. Choked me up big time. She is a very perceptive three year old.

    Dropping them back off on a Sunday is flipping hard. Not getting any easier that’s for sure.

    HH

    1. HH,

      Goodness! This tears me up, too. 🙁 Your daughter is right! She knows how things are supposed to be. Perhaps she will share this with her Mommy. Sometimes God uses our young children to speak truth to us in powerful ways.

      Praying for God’s wisdom, strength, and peace for you, my brother!

    2. I’m so, so sorry, HH. Your daughter is precious. Oh, this life… It’s not easy.

      I pray God will give her the grace to go through this time and that He will protect her spirit, soul and body and comfort her with His love.

      Father, I lift up our children to you. Especially those who are feeling the effects of a broken or unhealthy marriage. God, they are vulnerable right now and hurting and even the older ones haven’t learned usually how to deal with their hurts and take them to you. Father, protect them, protect their hearts. We pray for your grace to strengthen them to make good choices and to not seek comforts that will bring more pain in their lives. Fight against the enemy, Lord. Defend us. Help us to fight with spiritual weapons and help us nor to despair. We need you so desperately, God. Comfort our children and come with power to heal our families. Take what the enemy means for evil and work a miracle for your glory, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  11. Had a long talk yesterday. Looks like a divorce will be pursued by her as soon as possible and I will have to sell our family home. Was told that the last ten years means nothing to her and she has never connected with me on any level and doesn’t know why she married me in the first place. Was told that she wants me to move on and find someone like me and that we have nothing in common whatsoever. Said she woke up one morning a year ago to the day and just realised that she simply didn’t love me. Few things for me to work through emotionally as a result of this conversation. To anyone who reads this blog and prays for the people here, I put my hand up and ask for consideration. HH

    1. Father, we are grateful for your Spirit that is right now interceding for our brother, HH. We know that you are holding him and will comfort him and we thank you in advance for that. Lord, we know that nothing is impossible with you. Even these words that seem so final are nothing to you, Lord. The greatest need is for you to work in HH’s wife’s heart and to bring her to the end of herself. We pray you will do that. We pray against the enemy at work in her heart and life. We pray that you will smash to pieces the plans he has for this family and that you will fight and battle for their family. You are our Defender, our Warrior, our mighty King. We pray that you will resurrect this marriage with new life – life that comes from you, working in both HH and his wife. We don’t know the future, the process of how this will all play out. But, I pray that you will continue to very specifically lead HH as he walks through this trial. We trust you for the wisdom, strength and grace for the journey ahead for HH and we thank you for the ways you are working in Him and assuring him that you are walking with him and carrying him through this. You are good, Lord. Your ways are good. There is no darkness in you at all. We trust you and we lay it all down at your feet.

      In the name of the One who knows suffering – in the powerful name of Jesus, the one who has made it possible for us to stand in faith and to fight against the enemy from a place of victory He bought with His own blood at the cross- Amen.

      1. HH. My heart goes out to you and the pain you are in right now. I know this was never what you thought life would be like. I pray that God will reveal His good plan for you in all of this storm. We may not understand what He is doing, but I pray we trust Him with all of it. I pray that God opens your wife’s eyes. I pray you find strength and peace today in God.

      2. HH,

        I do want to encourage you that these are the words of someone ensnared by the enemy who is being held hostage. When God wakes her up – she will have a completely different perspective. I am commuting out of town today for work – but will be holding you and others here who are hurting up to the Lord in fervent prayer as I travel.

  12. Lies. I feel like I have been fed lies by my husband all weekend. I just watched your video, April from this post. I understand the need to be doers of faith and not just readers of it. My question is how do I live with someone who insists on being stuck to the nth degree? I don’t want to complain, I’m just not sure how to minister to someone running fast from God. Even the “without a word” is irritating him to the point that he brings my new found faith in like I am betraying him with it. I’m so confused. I just want to follow God, and I will. But I am deflecting blow after blow. It makes me wonder what I am doing wrong?

    Big big blow up after a nice weekend. I have little faith today that it will work. I only have faith that God will work out all things for the good of His plan and not mine. I suspect I may have tried to explain how I was feeling to my husband, he didn’t like what I had to say and turned the blame back on me. I don’t know if I had some “me on the throne” agenda, or disrespect, or whatever multiuser of sin I committed now…never seems to end. “What did I do now, God? ” seems to be my mantra. I want to learn from it, repent and move on, but just when I think I was doing okay, I get my hand slapped again. It makes me very guarded to keep trying. I’m not sure what I’m missing…again.

    1. LMS. Maybe you are not doing anything wrong. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that someone will respond in a similar fashion to love or respect. HH

    2. Oh, Lms…how i feel your pain. I truly do.
      This whole past month i feel like a failure. God is so generous and good to me though. I keep giving it all to him daily…i guess God knows that i need to work on my trust muscles…trusting Him and trusting my husband is my theme for this month. Praying for you.

      1. NB,

        All of us start with really weak trust muscles. But these trials definitely create great strength in us where there was only weakness before. So thankful you are seeking Christ wholeheartedly, NB!

    3. Had a longish reply typed out to you earlier that I returned to hoping to finish and now it is gone.

      The first thing I thought of is that I feel you should be aware that as you are fighting for your marriage and standing on truth and not operating from fear, you are going to see the enemy’s tactics ramped up. As you start to speak truth boldly and not be moved from it, the darkness will be more evident and there will definitely be push-back. I had many different sources telling me to expect things to get worse before it got better. I didn’t like hearing that, but in many ways, they were right. I started to express my hurt and feelings and refused to pretend as if everything was fine until there had been some kind of willingness on my husband’s part to hear me and have a mature conversation without blaming me. My husband was not happy with that for quite some time.

      LMS, there is so much I could share about what I’ve been through the last couple of months.

      I don’t know if you would like to, but I wanted to offer that if you’d like to email me privately, I would be happy to do that. Just let April know and maybe she could share my email address. If you don’t want to, no problem, my feelings won’t be hurt. There’s just a lot I could share, but don’t know how appropriate it would all be to be laid out in this forum.

      But, either way – for now, know that just because you had a major blow-up doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. I agree with HH’s comment.

      You will learn to disengage from the heated arguments that become useless. And leave your husband to deal with the false thing he said or the blame he laid on you. You start to know when it’s time to walk away. A book I read recently illustrated it simply like this — when there’s humility and openness in working through something, you stay and talk. When it becomes about blame-shifting and excuses and lies, not much good is going to come out of a conversation like that. You can speak the truth boldly – a simple sentence – and walk away. And trust God to deal with his heart and defend you.

      Love and prayers for you

      1. Thank you, Cic, yes, I would really appreciate sone one on one help. April, can you set this up? Thank you so much. I am really interested in your insight about these issues. I know God is taking me through a fire, I’m willing to go, but I guess I just need some godly council. Thank you again.

      2. CIC & LMS,
        “The first thing I thought of is that I feel you should be aware that as you are fighting for your marriage and standing on truth and not operating from fear, you are going to see the enemy’s tactics ramped up. As you start to speak truth boldly and not be moved from it, the darkness will be more evident and there will definitely be push-back. I had many different sources telling me to expect things to get worse before it got better. I didn’t like hearing that, but in many ways, they were right. I started to express my hurt and feelings and refused to pretend as if everything was fine until there had been some kind of willingness on my husband’s part to hear me and have a mature conversation without blaming me. My husband was not happy with that for quite some time.”

        You said what I was thinking after reading LMS’s comment about the blow out.

        It is true and I totally second what CIC has said above!!!

        When a child of God sets their whole heart and mind on seeking and obeying God—they are targetted by evil forces because the devil knows that if we are walking in the righteousness of Christ and walking in the Spirit, totally dependent on God, then we are tools meet for the master’s use and God can use us in mighty ways that will impact the kingdom of darkness.

        Praying for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him for all of us, that we may be able to discern in the spirit was is right and what is wrong, and to expose the subtle tactics of the enemy that are set against us to bring us back into bondage and passivity of our will. We are free in Christ!!

        Blessings,
        Amanda

        1. Satisfied Wife,

          I also agree that when we set our hearts on seeking God fully, holding nothing back, there will DEFINITELY be pushback from the enemy. We need to expect that and be prepared for it by having our armor on and abiding in Christ. We need God’s discernment, because the enemy would love to have us not see things clearly.

          1. April,
            That is what I have been learning, and I pray that the Lord grant us all spiritual discernment in these days, for even the elect can be deceived!

        2. After last night we have talked again. Im not talking any more about it to him. I dont have anything else to say. I know i said it before but this time i will do my hatdest to follow through. Maybe i will seek a doctor about anti depressants.
          He got angry again, said he is not apologizing because he wasnt doing anyzhing wrong. He said he cant please anyone in this life. He said he does best he can in life….He doesnt get my feelings, my pain…
          He thinks that if he doesnt have any intentions to have sex with that woman then everything else is ok. He also said they are not talking inappropriately.
          I tried to explain that in womans eyes to talk to a man like that , texting him at midnight ( knowing he is married), she must be interested in him to a degree. He doesnt get it.
          All and all, im again a bad guy here.
          He is deaf to anything i have to say. If he goes, or does whatever i wont stop him…
          And he picked up to work this weekend…After working 13 days straight…
          He can never say no when they call him in.
          I am retreating ladies. It is in Gods hands.

          1. NB,
            Also sister, I can see that you are internalizing all the negative things he is saying about you. But please realize that he is trying to manipulate you and guilt trip you into believing this is all your fault. It is not your fault what HE chooses to do. You are not crazy, you are not anything he is saying. If you belong to Christ, then you are a child of God and you are co-heir with Christ who is Heir of all things in heaven and earth. Please consider comparing what he says to you against God’s word. It is SO easy to just accept what our husbands say instead of thinking about what they are actually trying to say to us and why they are saying it. Your husband is doing something that is wrong, and he wants to keep from taking responsibility for what he is doing to hurt you by blaming it on you and making you feel like you need to change and get help for something that HE is doing.

            Is your husband a christian?????

            Let me just say this to all of us here—– God is faithful and He hears the prayers of the rightoues. If we are dealing with our own sin, and we are checking our motives and praying for our husbands with the attitude that we want to see them restored and repenting, God hears our prayers, and it is His will for a child of God to be restored and repenting when they are caught in sin, so we can know that we can expect God to move in that particular situation, in His time of course. Even if God doesn’t bring that to happen, we can trust and believe His promises that He hears, and he answers the prayers according to His will, whethere we see it now or later.

            What our husbands need is prayer! We need to take our focus off of what they are doing, how we are hurting, and realize the bigger purposes in God’s kingdom and what God is trying to accomplish in all of us and our marriages and lives and the world around us. He is in control of ALL things, and He alone can change a heart.

            If your husband is not a believer at all, then he is simply a prisoner of satan in carrying out satan’s will. That is scary and a strong motivator to pray for our husbands if that is the case!!!! We all need JESUS!!! We need to lay down all the things we wnat, and realize that God is teaching us FAITH, TRUST, and WAITING! He knows what He is doing, and He will certainly have His way in all of it!!!

            We can rest in what God has said, and who He is, because He has promised to never leave us, and to work all things for the good of those who love God. But we might not see it happen the way WE think it will be.

            ALso, keep in mind that me n my husband have only been married for 2 years, so there was only about a year and a half of all the disrespect and his inappropriate behavior, so that might have made things easier to deal with for both of us since there wasn’t years and years of stuff built up. But even if it has beeen years and years in another’s case, just like April’s, we can see that God is faithful, and he is a rewarder of those who seek Him with their whole heart, and he can truly move mountains, just as we’ve seen in April’s life and her husband’s! There is hope!!!

            All you can do is seek for what God would have you do in this time, but sitting by passively, I do no reccomend in this situation.

            Blessings,
            Amanda

          2. NB,
            I agree with Amanda that this is a spiritual battle primarily. It is going to be critical for you to be as close to Christ as possible, to be walking in obedience to Him and filled with His power, wisdom, Spirit, and strength and to pray against the enemy’s attacks on your marriage and husband and family.

            The spiritual component here is THE MOST important thing, in my view!

          3. Thank you for this Amanda.
            I know my husband is not my enemy. My heart is hurting for him.
            He is again blaming me now. Asked ” why are you being so nice, after you f**d up my only night off?”
            I know he hates me now. I will continue to pray…

          4. NB,

            I think he is only thinking about that he is not having a physical affair or planning to have a physical affair. That is a good thing! But – maybe he doesn’t really there are other things that are not as huge but are still hurtful?

            Even if he is not romantically involved with this coworker, I think the issue is that it is still disrespectful to be texting her so excessively.

            Is he open to reading a book with you? Like Love and Respect or like For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn as you read For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn?

            If things have gotten to the point you feel you can’t take it – and you believe you need to set a bigger boundary, like separation – that would be something to weigh very carefully, prayerfully, and thoroughly with much sobriety and with fasting. I pray it will not come to that point. I pray for God’s wisdom for you about this important issue.

    4. LMSdaily115,

      If you have a husband who is running from God – He will hate Christ in you. It is not that you are necessarily doing anything wrong. It is that you carry the aroma of Christ. Darkness hates the light. It doesn’t want its deeds exposed. It doesn’t like the uncomfortable conviction it feels in the presence of light. Darkness persecutes light and tries to snuff it out.

      Let’s pray that God will help you have the wisdom and perspective and discernment you need to know if you really did something wrong or if your husband is just reacting in the flesh. Sometimes, it can be really tough to discern the difference. But it can make you seriously feel like you are going crazy.

      Your husband is in a really awful place spiritually. So – his response is not always going to be an accurate measure of whether you did the right thing in God’s sight. If he gets really upset – you can take that before God and ask Him to help you see if you did anything that He wants you to change. But it is not all your fault, my precious sister. He has a ton of issues, too. As he sees his sin more and more, he will probably not like that one bit, and many husbands in that situation do try to throw blame back on their wives. It is much more comfortable to blame a spouse than to take personal responsibility for a mountain of sin against that spouse. It is human nature – sinful nature – that we try to convince ourselves that we are the victim and that everything is the other person’s fault. Of course, that is almost never true.

      There are times when you can’t minister to certain people. You can do what you can to seek to bless them, but they won’t receive anything from you. I experienced that with a very close friend. She could not hear about God from me. At all. My prayer team and I prayed – a few months later, when I had been having almost no contact with her at all, but only praying – God surrounded her with the strongest prayer warriors I have ever met. He used them to reach her, deliver her from Satan’s snares, and bring spiritual healing to her. All completely without me.

      If the flesh is in control, and he is spiritually blind – what you are doing, what you stand for, your faith, your joy, your peace, your countenance will all offend him. That is not wrong of you. It is about that Jesus is offensive to those who are rebelling against Him.

      I don’t know the details of all that has been happening. But I know God knows. I pray for you to have the time you need to soak in His presence. And that He will empower you to handle this spiritual war with His strength. I pray for His Spirit to flow through you and to bless everyone around you. I pray for God to soften your husband’s heart to Himself. I pray for you to rest in His peace and love and to take good care of yourself spiritually and to not absorb anything that is not of God.

      Sending you the biggest hug!

      1. Thank you April. I will be reading this over many times. I guess when I feel unpeaceful, I am assuming I’m doing something wrong. I am afraid of my own feelings right now. I can’t even stand to be in the same room with my husband right now. If he comes in one room, I find a reason to be in another. I just can’t stand getting hurt anymore. I don’t want to talk to him or even look at him. It hurts too much. Then I think how much his actions like that hurt me when he did them and I feel I’m wrong. Jesus didn’t give the cold shoulder. But he also brushed the dust off of himself from the cities that rejected him and moved to where He was welcomed. I just don’t see the point in going back in and opening my arms wide to my husband and saying “more hurt please”. I can’t abuse myself like that anymore. I don’t see where God wants me to do that either. So I guess I’m trying to stay quiet. Very quiet. Anything I say is turned and twisted. All I can do is listen, and if I don’t respond enough, he thinks I’m just tolerating him….maybe I am, because I don’t feel like anything I say is heard and I don’t want to absorb his hurtful words into my spirit either. I try to look for truth in what he says, to respect him and admit any wrong doing of mine. It just never ends. The hippocracy is very heavy.

        I have read that people going through a midlife crisis will try to find anything and anyone to blame. Their spouse is the most evil person in their mind and they would just be so much happier without them. I see how the enemy weasels in here and takes up residence in the mind of an MLC-er. There are serious lies and blinders going on. I keep feeling that my husband needs time to go through this “tunnel” and figure things out. I try to be patient. But what if the whole mid life crisis thing is not even real? I just don’t know anyone who has gone through it, even successfully. Books say that you cannot talk about relationship or their sins or how you feel to a MLC-er…they cannot process it. They are the spiritually blind and dead. They are motivated by their own pain, not the pain of others. That is why the standing spouse needs to be patient, but firm in helping to lead them through their MLC tunnel. We cannot control them, we cannot get what we need from them, we cannot push our expectations…even good ones. No criticism, blame or pointing out sin will be received. We cannot travel the tunnel for them. They cannot skip over parts. It is a journey they need to take on their own. In our spiritual world, only God can be with them at this time. They need to be tempered by the fire and purified. When they come out the other end, they will have faced some fears, past hurts and such. But the healing can now begin.

        I have no way of knowing what is going on in my husband or what God is doing right now. All I know is that I want to do what God asks of me. I think I may be struggling with the courage to stand up against sin. I try to do it, but it seems too soft. Am I still idolizing something? I don’t want to hurt my husband and I’m afraid I will be too harsh and will be tempted by wanting to hurt him back. Yet, I feel very used and taken for granted as well. It’s all very confusing right now to me.

        I prayed alot today and tried to find the direction God wants me to take. A sermon about letting go of the past, walking away and leaving it struck me today. I reflected that maybe I AM still holding onto the past. Even though I can forgive my husband for the ways he has hurt me, I cannot trust him right now to not hurt me again…so because of his last 1.5 years of hurtful words and actions, I can’t seem to let it go in this way. I understand why he did what he did or said, I forgive him, it’s in the padt and done.. ready to start new and leave it behind, ..but I’m not commanded to trust him. How can connection grow if I can’t trust my husband. I’m trying to hug him, and I can’t because I’m too busy defending against his brutal attacking blows with my sheild as I try to get close to him.

        I’m angry and afraid of my own anger.

        I’m hurt and want to take care of my self so I can move past it, heal and find my joy again.

        I’m confused because I’m not sure how to handle confronting his sin and defending my self respect without sinning myself.

        All these things could be from God, and also from the enemy. I’m not sure how to discern them.

        If I can let the past be truly in the past, how can I still be vulnerable without being foolish? The simple pain of him asking for a divorce, telling me he is not in love with me, that it was a mistake to marry me, we are incompatable, I’m too different, he tolerates me and getting tired of it, hates the pj’s I wear, hates the pictures and criss in my craft room, is happy when he leaves the house…on and on. All hurtful, stabbing words. How does one just ignore that????

        I also don’t want to just brush his feelings off and not give any thought to them. He is trying to tell me something…I don’t want to be foolish myself and not listen. That would be prideful, wouldn’t it? I feel like I’m in a catch 22.

        I’m sorry for the rant. I thought things were going better. I guess I was unprepared to fight the enemy this hard again. I thought God and I were making some headway. I know I don’t see the whole picture…as much as it would help put me at ease to understand what is going on, I am not at liberty to have that privilage. Only God is.

        April, I’m so glad your husband was receptive to your spiritual journey and not so outwardly hurtful. That would have been really hard without the guidance and encouragement that you offer on this blog. I am grateful every day for your ministry and those on PW going through the different stages of this journey.

        God bless you and keep you. One and all.

        1. Dear CiC and LMS.

          I am learning and connecting so much through what you are both writing here. I read your responses through and through, in particular this one has struck right to the core.

          I hope you can both be of a help to each other discussing these things by private email, but may I please ask that if you have any particular gems to share may you please write them up here if you feel so led? It would be of great help to me and I am sure others.

          In Christ, HH

          1. I join with HH on this one.
            You both help me tremendously as well….Insights you both offer to all of us are of great help when we hit a rough patch with my husband.
            Thank you all!

        2. LMS,
          Laura Doyle has an article on her blog about a husbands in midlife crisis. It is one of the recent ones too. Maybe worth checking out…

          1. NB. Thank you. I will check it out. And I promise to share our gems. We just need yo clear off some dirt so the gems can shine through. Not wanting to keep anyone in the dark. Much love to you, my dear sister. I’m praying for you all who are trying to live in the light of God.

            This struck me the other day as I meditated on what God is to me….just a few points to ponder…

            There is no such thing as cold…but rather, a lack of heat.

            There really is no dark, but rather, a lack of light.

            No such thing as silence, but rather, a lack of sound waves.

            No hate, rather, a lack of love.

            No death, just a lack of life.

            In all these cases, and I’m sure there are more, God shows up to replace the lack. He is love, He is light, He gives the energy needed both physically and spiritually to grow in this world.

            I even thought about animals and plants that live in the dark…like a fungus, mold, or mushroom. Yet hey derive their energy from the decay of a living thing…which DID need light to live. The energy is transferred. Even people living in sin are feeding off the energy given by God to others who live for Him…but severely lacking the light and love of God. God gave them life to start with.

            God is the creator of all. Those who live in the dark have a lack of light in their life. It is exemplified by how bright a single flame is in the dark and how completely it can be seen and reaches every corner.

            As we learn more and more about God, how to live like Jesus, and are filled up by His overflowing love, we spill over and fill up those dark, empty, cold, silent and hateful places inside us with the “stuff” God is made of….love, warmth, beautiful sound, light and life.we then can share our extra with others.

            We are so blessed to have God, the light, energy and love in our lives. Without it, we simply….well……lack.

            Many blessings to you today. LMS DAILY 115

          2. NB, you asked what to say after your husband responds “You put me through ten years of this…and now you can’t take your own medicine?”

            First of all, is that true? Did you put him through ten years of what he’s doing to you? Just curious. Make sure that before you accept a statement like that and, as LMS said, absorb it into your spirit, that the words are truth. My gut feeling is that is not true. But, maybe I’m wrong and you were really horrible to him for ten years. ?

            Secondly, whether it’s true or not….what you say back is truth. Always truth. So that the darkness has to face the truth. Then, you do not have to argue about the truth or convince your husband of the truth (because you can’t, believe me, I’ve tried and still try at times and it doesn’t work, lol).

            This is where you have to figure out what the truth is so that you can state it and you have to face your fears. As you speak truth, you are going to get a reaction, most likely. Your husband might get angry, he might start to argue with you, shower you with verbal abuse, etc. He might get so frustrated with the fact that his wife is not backing down from the truth that he decides to leave. These are all possibilities.

            As far as figuring out the truth, I spent a lot of time thinking about our past and our current conflicts and the things my husband would say to me. I thought about specific things said and done and why they were wrong and started to see patterns. I analyzed a lot of it and I think God allowed me to do that so that I could come to what the truth was for our marriage and so that I could speak truthful things that counter-acted the lies and blame my husband would throw at me.

            You will be very tempted to start arguing back. Don’t do it. It will very quickly devolve and you’ll end up super angry and have to apologize for something. 🙂 (ask me how I know) If he is able to talk and listen and there is some humility in his words and spirit, stay in the conversation but never move from speaking truth. In those times, assurance of love and willingness to work through difficulties is good for you to express. I wouldn’t focus on ways you need to change. That’s not what’s needed in these kinds of situations. It will be used against you. Keep those things in your heart and between you and the Lord and work on changing them, but don’t worry about verbalizing a lot of that right now.

            Once you have stated the truth in a firm and assured way and if it’s met with hostility or pride, walk away. If you need to go outside or drive somewhere or get away – whatever you need to do to get calm and have some time to pray and give it to God and hear from Him His love for you and His concern for you. I’d advise not to leave an angry husband with your children, however.

            If your husband has verbally assaulted you, now you have a choice to make. Do I let someone disrespect me like that and continue the relationship as normal? Or is our relationship now very much affected because of the way I’ve been treated? Am I delaying the inevitable by sweeping his sin under the rug and not allowing him to feel the consequences of his sin toward me? How can I protect my heart during this time that my husband is spiritually blinded and sinning greatly against me? These are all good questions to start with and consider.

            Sorry for the long reply. Love you all and praying for God to give us all wisdom, strength and assurance of His love and concern for us.

          3. Cic,
            Thank you for your reply, i wasnt even sure
            If my comment posted, because the computer was acting up.
            To answer your question, no i dont think i was horrible but very, very disrespectful, critical, controlling. I took my husband for granted. I have emasculated him with my words. I am so ashamed of things that i have told him over the years. He took alot from me, im not going to lie. As Laura Doyle put it ” it was a death by a thousands little cuts” what i managed to do to him. He used to be so loving, so gentle…He told me he used to feel so proud he was married to me. Until i started on my disrespecful and destructive path.
            I think it started for me when he came back from his second deployment in Iraq and i got used to manage everything alone, i had everything under control…
            Anyway…
            Even still…until we moved here to Europe, things were fine between us. I think this move, where he is now away from his friends, his band triggered something and here we are now. I would have never in million years imagine that was how he felt inside…He doesnt complain about the move, he says he diesnt miss the States, only misses playing music.
            It is still a long road ahead of us…i just thought how long have i been on this journey…i should say a year. Our crisis did
            Start a 1.5 ago but i only really started moving in a right direction about last summer. Only found this blog in January this year..
            I do what you suggest whenever the situation arises, which is not often thankfully. With advice i have gathered on this blog, with Laura Doyle and the Bible i found that truly ” the soft answer turns away wrath”.
            Thank you for thinking of me…

          4. CIC,
            Don’t apologize for the long reply! I appreciate what you are sharing with NB and with LMSdaily115 and others.
            There is such a delicate balance in situations like this – a balance we can only reach by the power of the Spirit. And sometimes, we overshoot one way and then the other trying to find that balance. We will not do this journey perfectly. But if we continue to seek Christ first and allow Him to transform us and purify our thoughts, motives, desires, and hearts – He has such good things in store for us!

            Much love!

          5. NB, thanks for your reply and honesty. The tricky thing is that you are owning that you were very disrespectful to him for a long time and that you really wounded him. And, that is real and obviously has had an effect on your husband.

            However, I don’t believe it will be healthy to try to absorb your husband’s “payback”, for lack of a better term. I see that only escalating if you don’t set boundaries for yourself. He will not gain respect for you if you let him treat you like that and act as if it’s all o.k. (I’m not saying you’re doing that, just thinking out loud here). And, what he’s doing is wrong, regardless of your sin. I encourage you to lovingly and firmly stand against it so that it doesn’t get out of control. When he brings up your past, you might have to repeat more times than you want to…”You’re right, I did that and thankfully, that’s been dealt with at the cross. I can’t do anything more than what I’ve already done. Maybe you need to talk to someone about working through some issues with forgiving me so that our marriage can begin to heal.” (In other words, put the ball in his court).

            I would consider giving my husband a lot of space right now – like a lot. He needs to be alone with his thoughts and decide what’s important to him. Get strong in the Lord and His love for you. I don’t know what it is about men, but I’ve seen it in my own marriage and read enough to know lately that a woman who is looking a little desperate seems to repel them. And, I’m not saying you look desperate. I don’t know that, either! Just encouraging you to stay away from anything that looks like that and give him that space that will communicate that you are not desperate. (maybe a man will read this and give their thoughts about why they operate like this….I’d seriously love to know some of the thoughts behind it so I can understand better!)

            It seems like at some point in the marriage he is going to have to decide whether he’s going to forgive you, own up to his own sin and work on the marriage also….or if he’s going to continue to live in the past.

            I pray your husband is able to forgive you and see the changes that you are making and have made. I pray that he sees the respect that you are offering him in your daily lives and that he has eyes to see the value of his godly wife. I pray that it will soften his heart and he will be willing to hear your heart and hurts.

          6. Cic,
            Thank you for your prayer. I need it more than you know.
            I wish i knew whats going on with my husband. I havent seen him texting in 2 days but he is so distant. He shares zero with me about his work or anything for that matter. He is not cold or mean just very very detached.
            I choose to have faith and think that he is
            Just wore out from working 12 days straight but also other thoughts are creeping in that involve not so pretty things.
            I am praying everythibng will be brought to light in Gods timing, whatever that could be.
            I choose to extend grace to him regardless but im growing weary.
            I feel unneeded, unimportant….
            Sorry for the pity party post…

        3. LMSdaily115,

          Hurt is not sin. I think it is important to remember that. God, Himself, is grieved by our sin. Right now, you can’t trust your husband. He has proven untrustworthy. The key is what you will do with that hurt and whether he is willing to begin to rebuild trust. I don’t think you can ignore those kinds of hurtful words, especially if he has not repented of them or if he is still saying those things. Is that the situation at this time? I do think it is possible to see that those words are coming from where he is spiritually and may not be personal against you – if that makes sense.

          This is not a rant, in my view – this is a believing wife genuinely wrestling with some very tough situations and decisions.

          Greg was not very receptive to the changes I was making for a long time. He just responded in a very different way – totally shutting down. It was hurtful to me – but I think dealing with the constant open hostility would be much more challenging in a number of ways.

          If an unbelieving spouse wants to leave – 1 Corinthians 7 certainly allows for that – “let him leave, for we are called to live in peace.” It also allows for a believing wife to leave if necessary – and then to either remain separated or to be reconciled with her husband.

          I do believe there is a point where a believing spouse may have to prayerfully (under the leadership of God’s Spirit) say something like:

          “I want this marriage to work and am seeking to do all that I can to bless you and our marriage. I want to work together as a team so that this can be a win/win for both of us. I have tried to take responsibility for the wrongs I have committed against you. A year and a half ago, I finally saw the ways I had inadvertently hurt you for so many years and have been doing all that I can to correct my wrongs and to change to be more and more the wife I should be. I want to honor you and build this marriage and family into something much stronger than it has ever been.

          However, I can’t fix everything all by myself. I would like for both of us to seek to treat each other with respect – that is the only way we can move forward together. I would like for us to take steps to rebuild trust on both sides. You are a grown man who can make your own choices and I respect that. If you are determined to destroy the marriage, I can’t stop you. But I am not going to be able to stay and continue to be disrespected by you. If you cannot be on board with moving toward reconciliation and building a new, healthy marriage – or at the very least – stopping the disrespect against me, maybe it is time for us to talk about separating as peacefully as possible.”

          What are your thoughts about separation at the time?

          A midlife crisis is really a spiritual crisis and a time when someone indulges in doing all that his flesh entices him to do with no regard for God or for others. It is all about SELF.

          I pray that you will have the time you need with God to discern what He desires you to do. Do you need to just take a week or two away to have some time to hear God’s voice clearly? Do you need to spend more concentrated time in fasting and praying? Are you hearing God? Or do you need more time to just soak in His presence? Do you need to reach out to a godly counselor you trust in person?

          God is very much at work in you – Satan HATES that. Right now, Satan has a fortress set up in your husband’s heart and he is launching missiles and grenades and firing at you from your husband’s soul and from his mouth. This is a very intense spiritual war. You are going to need to continue to be as close to Christ as possible and armored up, ready for the battle.

          I don’t know exactly what God desires you to do at this moment, but I do know that He can show you each step of the way. I trust Him to give you the light you need for this next step as you fervently seek Him, my precious sister.

          Much love to you!

          1. All,

            I do not take separation lightly. It is a HUGE decision. One that would require utmost prayer, and in my view, fasting. It is not something to rush into – except under extreme circumstances. But sometimes, it is necessary and sometimes it is even a step toward healing.

          2. LMSdaily115,

            Or, there could even be times God may prompt a wife in certain situations to just say, “You know what? I think I need some time and space to myself to heal for awhile” without really any explanation – particularly if a husband is constantly twisting her words.

          3. What does one say when after saying what you suggested to your spouse he comes back at you with ” You put me through 10 years of this …..And now you cant take your own medicine?!” And then he doesnt want any further discussion?

          4. NB,

            It seems to me that praying about saying something along the order of this could be helpful, “I have repented for my disrespect and control. I HATE that I hurt you like that. I had no idea that you were hurting because of what I was doing and I have been seeking to ask God to change me. I want to continue to get better as a wife. I don’t think that 10 years of you sinning against me or being hateful to me will fix the 10 years you felt hurt by me – for you, for me, or for our children. I don’t believe that God will give either of us a free pass to knowingly or unknowingly sin against each other when we stand before Him. I’d really love for us to decide to work together as a team and both treat each other as well as we possibly can as we both seek to grow in Christ.”

          5. AprIl and Cic,
            The situations where he tells me all this dont arise very often any more. When they do happen then i say something along the lines of what you two suggested. Just without biblical terms because he is not there yet. He seems to understand somewhat.
            Like i said in reply to CiC, he is going through something right now that is very concerning to me. So distant. So detached. This morning went fine but then he just left for work without good bye, or at least his usual ” ok im leaving”…
            Im praying for the truth to be revealed whatever that maybe.
            Im ready for it. Im expecting the best though…hopefully he was just exhausted from working too much.

          6. NB,

            I’m glad that this isn’t happening as much. And yes, if he is not interested in God or in talking about God – then definitely you can leave those parts out. Or you can say something like, “I’d love to really pull together as a team and work on making our marriage the best it can be now for both of us. I don’t want us to destroy each other or our family anymore.”

            I don’t think he is in a good place emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Praying for God’s healing for him, my sister. And for God’s wisdom and for His Spirit to continue to guide, teach, transform, and empower you for His glory.

        4. Something came to mind as I read your comment “I also don’t want to just brush his feelings off and not give any thought to them. He is trying to tell me something….I don’t want to be foolish and not listen. That would be prideful, wouldn’t it? I feel like I’m in a catch 22.”

          My thoughts are:

          1). You are not in a healthy relationship. Your husband is not relating to you in a healthy way at all. If you were dealing with anyone else in another relationship – let’s say that person was an addict….and they were trying to blame you for their problem….would you feel so convinced that what they were saying about you was something that you really needed to consider at that time? I’m not saying your husband is an addict. But your husband is not speaking from a place of wholeness. Find other people to speak into your life and most importantly, trust the Holy Spirit to convict you of any needed change. The change that God worked in me was different than the change I had worked on before (submission, respect, etc.) and became more about setting boundaries, learning how to speak my thoughts and feelings and being set free from fear from the fallout of doing both of those. Those were important changes that needed to happen in me, but they certainly weren’t comfortable changes for my husband. You changing and growing in godliness will probably cause more conflict for a season – as April said, that does not necessarily mean you aren’t operating in a godly way.

          2). When you have a healthy relationship where BOTH of you are working on the marriage, both of you are willing to look inwardly and see areas that need to be improved on, etc., then you can listen to his constructive and LOVING criticism of you and take that to heart.

          3). You feel like you’re in a catch 22 because this is how you feel when you are dealing with someone who is using manipulation to keep the focus on you so they don’t have to face their own sin. There have been times in this journey that I have literally felt like I was going crazy, LMS. I’m not kidding. Like, on my face, sobbing in anguish because of the dynamics of this kind of relationship. I had to call those who were close to my situation and knew details for them to assure me that I was not seeing things wrongly in my relationship and that what was happening was not good. I would become convinced that I was the one wrong, that I was somehow seeing things that weren’t really there. I would convince myself that the things he had done weren’t really that bad or I would try to find ways of looking at them to minimize the impact on our relationship. I think I probably still do that, and I guess some of that can be good and healthy at some points in a marriage, but for me, it was out of balance. I really don’t know all of the details of your relationship or whether it kind of matches up with things I’ve been through. But, I’m starting to think that it’s pretty similar based on the phrases you are using and the way I can tell you’re feeling. It is not healthy. It is not good. It really makes you feel like you are going insane at times. I felt a lot less crazy as I started to read about these things and saw that it was totally normal to feel like this when your spouse is constantly blaming you or rewriting history or acting like they’re going to change and nothing really does.

          The enemy is the author of all of this confusion and chaos that you are feeling. He wants to deceive you and keep you so paralyzed that you do nothing – and especially so you don’t start to speak and stand in truth.

          Do not be afraid of your anger. LMS, what you are feeling is righteous anger. It is o.k. God can handle this. God has you, He can handle your anger and He can walk you right through it and He can use it for good. And, I can testify that He can lessen that anger when it is time, too. Oh, by the way, there is a section in the Boundaries for Marriage book that specifically talks about how someone who is going through what you’re going through absolutely has to go through this period. It’s just a part of it. Accept it and trust God. Your trust in His ability to live through you, right? We never put trust in ourselves to live the Christian life at any time – whether we’re angry or not…..so even in your anger, trust in Him to live through You during this season of your life.

          It is absolutely not wrong for you to want to heal. You need that. You desperately need that. God is going to do that for you, sister, and He is concerned about your heart and your hurt. He is for you. And, I’m with April — if you need time away to heal, then I pray God will make that clear to you and enable that to happen.

          I do hear a lot of fear that you are going to somehow mess this all up by sinning in your anger. As I told you in my email, I sure crossed the line at times. I think you need to let go of that fear. I think that’s where you hold onto the grace of God. You cannot grow or move forward in fear. But, you can grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). When we are 100% certain that we can’t sin ourselves out of the loving hand of God, we can relax and move forward. And yes, we will fall and fail at certain points. God knows your heart, LMS. He is not looking for perfection from you. He is looking for your heart. All of us here can testify that your heart is in a good place.

          You asked how to ignore all of the hurtful things he has said. There’s no way. Wouldn’t that be great? To wipe it all out of our memory. He has hurt you. He is sinning against you. The past and the present are all you have to make decisions on. Our counselor has told me that several times as he was trying to ease my guilt that I couldn’t just move on. My husband wanted to just “go forward from here with a clean slate”. The counselor tried to get him to see that that sounds all nice and pretty, but it’s just not real life. As my husband shows genuine change and as those changes show to be consistent for longer and longer periods of time, then trust will be rebuilt. But, we are at the very edge of just beginning and I can’t deny that my fear of trusting again catches me off guard at times. Today, it happened as I was looking back at texts with my husband – I was trying to find a phone number I’d sent him and I had to read through some exchanges. I’m scared to death that the changes I’m seeing even now in my husband aren’t real, aren’t genuine. And, the fact of the matter is, I really don’t know. I have to wait and see and trust that God is holding me.

          LMS, not sure if you’ve looked into counseling for yourself, but if you do (and I personally think you should strongly consider it), consider looking for a Christian who knows the dynamics of the relationship you are in (manipulative & ego-centric or self-centered spouse). The last thing you need is a Christian counselor that won’t help you establish boundaries or who will look for ways to put more responsibility on you for your marriage. That is not what you need.

  13. I love that story about your friend April.

    I pray that all of our prayers reach all of our spouses.

    Darkness running from light is so true. I have shed many tears knowing that if I were to accept particular standards life and marriage would be ‘easier’ per say, but how can I deny my saviour and the life to which He calls me? Even on Monday she was saying how much she enjoys perverted, sexual humour and films and giving it as a reason she cannot live with me.

    HH

    1. HH,

      I believe you have made the right decisions, my brother. You can’t agree to many of the things she wanted (which I know you have not shared here out of respect to her).

      I’m glad that story was a blessing to you.

      Thankful we have this place where we can find encouragement, prayer, support, and be pointed to Christ.

  14. I replied to NB and must have replied at the wrong place. It ended up showing up before her comment asking about what to do if her husband responded negatively….

  15. Hi April, Ladies, and HH,

    This will be short, and I hope to write more soon. I just wanted to check in and say hello. I’ve been around, but oh so busy, and I’ve started to slip. I’ve been getting consumed in the cares of the day, and not doing my heart work (and it’s taken a toll.) But God is so good, and I’ve been slowly getting back on track. I’ve been reading this post for three days. I’m trying to catch up and read all the comments, there is SO MUCH meat here! :o) I have gleaned so much good stuff and helpful reminders just from following your conversation in this comment section. God is using you all!!

    I am praying for you all.

    My MIL had a heart attack a few weeks ago. She is alive but her heart is not in great shape, and I don’t think she understands the gravity of her situation, which is sad. She is 65 years old. I took her to the doctor for extreme shortness of breath, and we ended up in the hospital. So lately I’ve been wrapped up in her care, but in the meantime I began slipping back into my old thought patterns. I’m not yet sure why. But the good news is I am getting back on track before veering too far off.

    I am lifting you all up in prayer and I will write again soon. I am looking forward to catching up on the rest of the comments in this post and the next.

    Love Becca

    1. Becca,

      I’m so glad to hear an update from you! I have been thinking of you and praying for you. 🙂 Goodness, you have had a lot going on. I’m so sorry to hear about your MIL – but grateful that you are able to help take care of her.

      Praising God that you realized you were slipping. It is REALLY EASY to do that when you are crazy busy and there are a lot of urgent matters to attend to, or if you are exhausted, deprived of time with God, sick, or in pain, etc… When the flesh is weak, it is easy to fall back into old thinking patterns. This is a HUGE improvement, though, that you see what is happening and that you know what to do to get back on track. THAT IS AWESOME! So thankful to God!

      Much love to you!

  16. There seems to be a common theme here, at my church and amongst my Christian friends of searching for wisdom. It is clear that we can make or break our relationships with the wrong knowledge just as much as with the wrong motives. I believe it is clear that we all have the right motives! I think this scripture sums up where we are at

    “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:1-11

    HH

    1. Wonderful scripture to exeplif this increasing of the spiritual mind that we are all going through. I remember feeling “smarter” after I understand living by God. It was so interesting and created a thirst in me. Very well said. Thinking and praying for you, HH. Thank you for taking this journey together with all of us!

    2. Love this, HH! Yes! God’s wisdom and understanding is the treasure we all need. And Yes! If we have the right motives but don’t have godly knowledge, we can still hurt our relationships. I pray for God to continue to refine our motives and for us to continue to seek His knowledge, wisdom, and discernment for His glory in our lives.

    3. There’s a new testament scripture similar that says “We have not received the spirit of fear but a spirit of love, power and a sound mind”. There’s a definite change in our minds after God’s truth. A friend at church said this week that she did not have the ability to think clearly until she experienced the regeneration of the holy spirit.

      I have a small question for you ladies. Despite all that’s going on DW constantly texts me or rings me to tell me things like “the dump truck is running early” so I can get my bin out in time or “don’t forget today we have to vote”. If a person has ‘let go’ why do this? Guilt?

      HH

      1. HH,

        ABSOLUTELY! We don’t think clearly until we experience regeneration from the Holy Spirit and begin to differentiate His voice from the enemy’s voice. SO true!

        My guesses – without knowing her heart:

        It is possible that she thinks she is being helpful by doing these things. Or she may feel compelled to try to give you advice because she may feel overly responsible for you in some way. Could be habit. Could be a way of reaching out to you to try to connect on some level. To some women, these kinds of comments can be a way they feel they are showing love. Or it could be about control and the feeling that she has to be sure that everything works out “right” for herself and others.

        1. Mmmmm….I thought through most of those too. I guess it could be any one of them and I’ll just go crazy trying to figure out which. HH

      2. My short answer…she probably still cares about you. Probably even still loves you. But has let go of trying to be heard, loved in the way she thinks she needs and is looking to you to fill all her needs instead of Christ. And because you have not and cannot do that (only Christ can), in her mind, she is dissapointed in you. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT, though. I want to emphasize this. She is where many of us started this journey understanding. But we had the help of April. I know that “the basics” of learning respect and unmeshing were : 1) my unrealistic expectations 2) being overly sensitive and easily offended 3) thinking my husband was responsible for my happiness, not me 4) feeling very hurt by the distance and stonewalling from my husbsnd.

        I know that for women, talking, texting, etc is HUGE as far as connection goes for us. She may be trying to keep some sort of connection between you and her, either out of deep feelings she us trying to reject or for the sake of the kids. Either way, it is a connection. Are you thanking her for the info? Showing any gratitude of any kind?

        I know for me, I had to “be done” caring if he still cared about me or not, because it was too painful to face that he may not. I am trying to be a married woman…he is acting like a single man. The pain was too much. Yet, I have kept trying to reach out to connect in any way I csn. Yesterday, I asked him if we could limit our relationship conversations to text only. I did this for a few reasons:1) trying to establish even the tiniest bit of connection…which we are both struggling deeply from the lack of it 2) to help keep the over emotion out of discusins 3) to not interrupt and argue as much 4) so I can re read and be able to remember what was said 5) to be more careful with our words. It gives a chance to think a bit longer on what I would say.

        The result: after a few hours (on his dsy off) I went for a walk then did sone yard work…he responded. My question was “what am I doing/not doing that is causing you the most pain?” He responded with many compliments about me, but short answer…arguing. when we end upbarguing, all the pain from the padt comes rushing back in…so he keeps his distance or renews it. That distance is more present pain for me and it irotates me and makes me angry.

        I truly felt that I was hearing some real feelings from him. Arguing. Yep. That’s me. Although I have made vast improvements ftom my past/before my renewal/ disrespectful srlf, I have alot of work in this area to do before my husband can trust me again with his feelings. However, the distance I put up lately in the padt has affected him too. He admitted he doesn’t want to be alone and he cannot complain about my attitude except for the arguing. He wouldn’t ask me to change much else. It has also brough out some conviction. He said he realizes there may be things that need fixing that I can’t fix. I think he is starting to “think” about looking elsewhere for answers. I pray he looks to God for them.

        Ok, so not the short answer I had in mind, but my gut feeling is she likes the changes in you, doesn’t really want to lose you, but doesn’t know how else to get her feeling across to you where she feels heard and respected for them….so she has pulled away, moved out, shown her free will muscle and basically screamed “you don’t own me. And I’ll show you you can’t control me” inset rebellious teenager type of thinking. I have thought this for so long, myself, but I resist it much better now that I have God as my compass.

        Does this seem plausible to you or the others here?

        Praying for your wisdom from Hid, my friend. LMS

        1. Hmmm…..it does kinda seems plausible, expecially the ‘insert rebellious teenager type thinking’, as that basically describes her behaviour since she left. Actually you made me think of something she said last year, she said “I want to do something really, really bad that I know you hate and see how you react so I can prove to myself that you are truly different now.”

          But can you still love someone you claim you never loved in the first place? Can you still love someone and tell them you want them to move on and find someone else? Can you still love someone you claim to have no connection with and claim you never did? Can you still love someone you claim you are completely opposite to in every way? If that is possible then I really don’t understand women lol!! 😆 I really think that media has a great effect on her perception of what ‘love’ is. There’s this kind of idea floating around in media that unless there is this magical ‘connection’ 24/7 you aren’t with your ‘soul mate’.

          Oh yes, I always thank her for the information and always put some kind words in the response. But it is a tricky balancing act to know just how much kindness to show and how much distance to show. I am thinking that maintaining a connection is probably for the kids sake as I know she feels tremendously guilty over the effect it is having on them (and rightly so IMO). Maybe she feels a little guilty over the effect on me, I’m not sure.

          Yesterday I took the kids to church as I always do on Sundays and my son got really sick on the way home. He vomited all through my car. I took him to the doctors as his symptoms came on so suddenly and it seemed similar to meningococcal (it wasn’t luckily). Anyway, it was a long hard day managing them both at the hospital, cleaning out the vomit from the car, driving back home trying to keep from vomiting myself due to the smell (ewwww), getting dinner ready, washing clothes with spew on, showering them both etc etc. She actually rang at the end of the day to ask if I was coping ok…..🤔

          Like you wrote, I am also trying to keep some emotional distance for my own mental health. I have tried to ‘be done’ caring but I simply can’t help wanting her to be happy. TBH with the treatment she has given me there is no earthly reason as to why I should love her (not that she would acknowledge her treatment of me). I was really moved yesterday by the scripture about Jesus desiring FERVENTLY to share the passover with His disciples and that he set His face like a flint towards the cross. He truly wants our love and company! I guess in a way I have the same fervent desire to share the things of Christ with her and in a way I feel like I am called to bear a cross for His names sake. I understand how Jesus must have felt looking over Jerusalem longing to take them under his wing and love them but they didn’t want Him.

          I do think your text communication is good. I personally like written communication at the moment for the exact same reason, being able to think through what I write. However, it must also be acknowledged that it can be difficult to understand ‘tone’ in written communication and what is written can be read in an entirely different tone which can confuse things.

          Oh that sounds like really good progress in your relationship! That encourages me for your sake 🙂 As I read your post the ‘crazy cycle’ from Eggerich’s book came to mind but I really am encouraged for you that your husband is communicating like this. Even to point out a list of things he likes about you before saying about arguing is good! From a blokes perspective it sounds to me like he is cautiously starting to consider opening up a little to you.

          HH

          1. HH, I love your male perspective! I’m so sorry about your bad day. It’s nice to see your wife start to show some compassion in small ways. I think sometimes our pride gets hurt. We don’t want to admit we made a mistake, or hurt someone else. It’s so much easier to just spew out some insult that she never loved you or had a connection to start with, rather than admit her own faults and sin…because then she would have to deal with it. If you moved on and found someon else, her guilt would be lessened. She could justify that she would not be expected to try to reconnect or do the hard self assessment and changes…My husband is saying the same thing to me. He says he wants me to be happy and if I need someon else in my life, then that’s okay. NO, IT’S NOT OKAY, I’M MARRiED TO YOU! I recognize the desperate measure to put blame and guilt anywhere else but where it belongs. Please see the enemy in all of this. She is feeling guilt, conviction and shame. She doesn’t like it. It’s uncomfortable, but the more godly you respond, the more she is left with her own mess. At some point, she may have to face her consequences and sin. She won’t have anyone else to blame. I pray that she comes to this end of herself and turns to God for help. I pray this for my husband too.

            I hope the texting think does works. I really need to understand how to use this tool in a way that works for men, though. I think I might have made a mistake today. I sent a rather long message trying to reach out to him and forgive, to say a bit how I feel etc. I wasnt bkaming, criticising or anything. Kind of a “let’s try to work together” kind of thing. He didn’t respond in writing, just told me at the end of the day that he doesn’t do well with the long messages. I know I can get wordy, this blog has sone of my most wordy thoughts in it. I just have so much I want to say. I appologized and said I would try to keep it much shorter in the future. He said he is not sure if he should be happy we are communicating or more upset that it has degraded to talking about the most important decisions of our lives over a text message. I see his point. What do you think, HH? I told him what I liked about it, and at least it is a start. I said if he has some other idea, I would be willing to try it. He has no ideas. He doesn’t know what to do, how to fix anything, etc. So, I try to come up with ideas. I’m grateful at being able to hear his heart in this way. He says I didn’t offend him. But I fear he still cannot or will not hear my heart. An example is that I respectfully didn’t agree that we have a compatability problem, i felt itvwas more accuratly labled a misunderstanding problem. He thinks we are two worlds apart because of this comment of mine. I’m not sure what God wants me to do at this point. I don’t feel as angry about things, boundaties, tough love, etc. I have decided to keep doing his laundry and pressing his shirts because I respect his willingness to work for us and provide for us financially. It’s the least I can do. I just wish he could find his happiness.

            Today, my daughter came to me and said things are weird between us two. Dad won’t hug me (talking about my husband not hugging myself) touch me or kiss me. He is always gone it feels he doesn’t love any of us any more. Oh how my heart broke! I have been trying to keep our adult problems away from my teenagers. I didn’t want them to worry. But I couldn’t lie to her. I admitted we have been going through a rough time for quite a whole now. I told her how much we both loved her and her brother, that I loved daddy, that we are trying to work things out, but I don’t know what will happen. It takes two and martiage is hard work. She thinks dad is only around because of the kids. I’m telling you, she knew it all. She saw it all, plain as day. My pain and hurt is now her pain and hurt. She sees the same things I do…ferls the same neglect, lack of love and distance that I do. And I fooled myself to think I was doing a good job keeping things as normal as possible. Kids know. She cried. She hugged me. I tried to stay positive, full of faith and let her know that I’m doing my best to make it work. I have been really trying to change. She thinks my spirituality is driving my husband away. I said dad can either accept tjis part of me, or not, but that I need God in my life. Im a better person with Him. But i dont fault anyone for not understanding God the wsy I do. I imagined that if the kids had to find out, that my husband and I would do it together, like adults. I guess I couldn’t make that happen either. She said she already knew from dad, anyways. That sucked to hear, too.

            Today was a sad Sunday, watching the security of my 14 year old daughter get shaken and shattered. I cant even fathom the fear she might start to experience. She has enough to worry about being a teen, her self image, how she fits into the world and her own roller coaster emotions…she doesn’t need to worry about midlife crisis and spiritual battles of her grown parents. I can only pray that my honesty will be seen and that God will protect her little heart. I don’t know what else I could’ve done. I hugged her, bought her tacos (her favorite) for dinner, dried her tears and held her. I prayed to God and went for a bike ride with her. I fixed what I could and left the rest to God. I wonder how I now check in with my son on this.

            I have no idea what the future will bring. Only God knows. He can make beauty from these ashes. I plan on being an example of God’s love, strength, kindness and light in this world. At least to my kids, even if my husband turns his back on me. I’m not a bad person. I love the Lord deeply, I love my family deeply, and the Lord loves us more. I can only be grateful for this chance to live out his design for us. The pain the joy, the good, the bad…I guess we can’t truly have good without knowing the bad. But I’m ready for a new chapter in this book. I pray our author can write the next chapter soon. But I hear one should never rush an author.

            Praying for healing to our hearts, HH, love is pretty complicated…blessings yo you.

          2. Oh I agree, I have no intention of ‘finding someone else’, I have a ring on my finger for a reason!!! Actually, I wear her wedding rings too, on a chain around my neck. She dumped them when she left.

            It can be very hard to respond to long text messages! I am a natural communicator but TBH I sometimes read your comments here and think hmmm…..there’s so much in what was written I don’t know where to start to respond! It is all good things but can be hard to take it all in. Perhaps if your husband isn’t a communicator he could very easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of words?

            My brother has a good way of describing himself and myself, we are ‘external processors’ meaning we process our thoughts verbally and hash through till we reach our conclusion. Often with the person we are trying to solve things with (this usually results in phone conversations 3 or more hours long with him lol). This is largely due to growing up in a healthy, loving family where we all had the freedom to express ourselves and we all communicated often. We both married what he calls ‘internal processors’ who don’t like talking things through but instead turn things around in their mind until they reach their conclusions. My wife and his wife both grew up in families where they simply did not talk and things built up and remained (amd still remain) unsolved. Perhaps you are an ‘external processor’ and your husband an ‘internal processor’? Neither are ‘wrong’ per se, just different 🙂 Just a thought!

            Oh that is hard for your daughter 🙁 The kids are the silent victims! I pray for my kids daily and when they are at my home I pray with and over them often. I lift up the scripture from Isaiah 54:13 & 17 that the heritage of the servants of the Lord is that their childrens peace will be great! I will pray for your children also.

            There are a few people on this blog whom I pray for and I really sense God’s presence when I intercede for them. Your family is one of them. I confess I don’t really know why the Lord is with me when I pray for some but not when I pray for others, but please be encouraged that in some way He is listening to your prayers.

            Who knows what the future holds! Have you spent any time on Rejoice Marriage Ministries? I have done a lot of reading on there. Some of their teachings are a little confusing IMO but they have a lot of good resources. But, nothing compares to time with the Lord Himself 🙂

            In Christ, HH

          3. HH. Oh wow, you are so right. I am definately an external processor and he is internal. What a great analogy! Thank you so much. I’m honored by your prsyers. There are a handful I pray for very specifically as well, you, Cic, Bel, NB, and a few more. I pray gor everyone here too, but there are connections with certain ones. They are growing. It is all of our ministry…domehow, not just April’s alone. It’s alot for her to handle, do I try to pitch in where I can.

            Yep, I am even feeling the weight of my many words…I am a detail person creative writer on the side too…poetry, short stories…it leaks out.

            Kids are the victims of divorce. Divorce is a selfish situation. Even when some divorces are needed, they have resulted from some sort of selfish action by one or both spouses. IMO.

            Ok. This is my short attempt.

            Peace, bro. Thx. Lol.

          4. HH,
            I personally am not convinced that all of your wife’s hurtful words are actually true about how she has felt in the past. She has admitted her goal to hurt you as much as possible. That could include lying to cause maximum hurt.

            Thank you for sharing these insights about Jesus and His desire to be with us and His pain when we reject Him.

            So sorry to hear about your son getting so sick! YIKES! And what a mess!!!!! 🙁 So thankful he is better, it sounds like?

          5. April,

            Yes she did say that, however I am not certain I believe that she is setting out to hurt me anymore.

            My son is well now thank you 🙂 It worked out awesome, I ended up having them for an extra night due to him falling asleep at my place and I had to take the day off due to bad weather and we had an awesome day together building tents out of the doona’s and kitchen chairs then snuggling in front of a cartoon 🙂 Win win!

            HH

          6. HH,
            This is an interesting story that reminds me – in some ways – of yours. It is from a local church in South Carolina. Maybe it might be a blessing.

            Much love in Christ!
            April

          7. https://newspring.cc/stories/jake-kristy-tilley

            This story will be inspiring to ANY of us – but especially to those whose spouses have been very distant or actually left. It is amazing to see both sides of the story and to find out what the wife didn’t know was happening at the time – but how God reached this wayward husband and transformed his life after they were divorced.

          8. Oh man, and I thought I was going to make it through today without crying!!

            That story is a testament to God’s perfect plan. I ache and rejoice with both Kristy and Jake.

            You are right, there are so many similarities. HH

          9. Wow. Powerful story. A little painful to watch because I have had the feeling for a while now that my husband is hiding something from me (and have felt God confirm that to me at different times)….even though he adamantly denies things, there is something about a certain look in his eyes….it haunts me.

            I read a comment from a man on a different blog that said that any man that is using blame-shifting tactics and reacting with anger if you just share your feelings or hurt – the kinds of things we’ve been talking about – is probably hiding something.

            I would love to hear a differing view. :/

            Sorry for the pessimism. The good thing is that God is writing a beautiful story (since we are talking author language today!) and I just need to stay surrendered and open to whatever it looks like and on the timing of the Author.

            HH, praying for you today. And so glad God gave you that extra night with your son and the fun connecting time with him. I look at all those things like little gifts that God gives me – especially when you are feeling beaten down by the circumstances of life. Another reminder of how much God loves and cares for you.

          10. It would be interesting to hear more details from the wife’s side of the process God took her through. You can see bits and snippets that speak to what God has been showing us all here….she didn’t grovel when he asked to leave the second time. She let him go. She tried everything in her power before that and was willing to take him back even when he made it clear he didn’t love her, thinking that she could just be good enough, but it didn’t matter. Yep, yep and yep.

            Ultimately, she had to find her self-worth and value in Christ and her contentment in Christ alone, I’m thinking.

            Very interesting this process – I think LMS mentioned that, too, that even though there may be differences in the details, the process and steps God takes us through are the same.

          11. CIC,

            I think it would be helpful to hear more from the wife’s perspective, too. But I think it is important to note – from the way they shared the story, at least – it seemed that she did everything she could. But he had his issues. They were major sin issues – and nothing she did or did not do could make him want to stay. It wasn’t about her. It was about his lack of relationship with Christ and the toxic sin that was filling up his life.

            This is why it is so important that we don’t change just to please a spouse. We don’t know what is going on with them or if the things they are saying are necessarily true. We change for God and to obey and please Him. But then, if a spouse decides to leave, we let them go. It sometimes takes hitting rock bottom alone for people to wake up – like with the prodigal son.

            This husband blamed his wife – but knew the secrets he was keeping. When someone is ensnared by Satan – he loves to use their mouths to attack others. We cannot absorb lies from others who act in anger toward us. We seek to follow and obey Christ and live in His power, and we pray for those who are imprisoned that God might set them free. If we believe the lies and attacks of the enemy coming through them, it will poison us, too. It can be really difficult to discern exactly what is going on in a situation like this when a spouse isn’t being forthcoming and is blame shifting. The truth usually eventually comes out in time. A sinning spouse’s greatest need is Christ. He can bring the healing and clarity that is needed. He can change a person’s heart, soul, and perspective. He can create a healthy godly marriage out of ashes. But it is often not in the timing we would prefer. Sometimes there is a long waiting period. And yet, in God’s mercy, He uses that waiting period to work in our hearts, as well, to strengthen us, to increase our faith, to draw us to Himself, to sanctify us. There are many treasures that can come from this time of trial if we are willing to receive them and trust Him.

          12. CiC,

            I can definitely give you another view on that! 🙂 I blame-shifted and reacted with anger for almost 3 years before I came to Christ and it was not because I was hiding anything specific (ie I was not using porn, having an affair or anything even remotely like that). It was simply because living in the relationship of a marriage I was realising for the first time ever that I was not the wonderful person I thought I was and I was desperate to try to protect my self image and one of the ways I tried to do that was make everyone else look bad! (Yuck HH)

            Please don’t read that as a guarantee your husband isn’t hiding something, but he might not necessarily be, if that makes sense?!

            But I get what you mean. Lots and lots of things have been said to me that have convinced me something is being hidden, but I guess we can’t really know until we know. I believe when we are seeking God He reveals these things as needed.

            HH

          13. HH,
            This is super helpful to hear about the motives behind blame-shifting and reacting in anger in your case. None of us want to have to face the fact that we are wretched sinners. It is so much easier to blame our spouse for everything that is wrong in the marriage. I did the same thing! I really believed that Greg was the whole problem. Couldn’t even see my own contribution.

            There are lots of sins that can trigger blame shifting. Some are things like porn addictions or affairs, but also pride, self-righteousness, selfishness, unbelief in God, bitterness, jealousy – all kinds of things can lead to blame-shifting. All sin leads to death. So it is not only one or two of these things that could be hidden.

          14. Thank you, HH! I’m so glad you said that. That helps a lot! Even with the lies he has told me, they have never been huge, huge ones but seem more to be rooted in the idea that he can’t face the fact that he did something wrong, so he lies to protect his self image. I’ve said that numerous times in this blog before. He definitely prides himself on being a great guy and has even made the comment in the past that Christianity is for weak people (I’ll admit that’s true! Hallelujah!)

            Maybe the event that happened a few years ago caught him off guard because he definitely had an attraction to a woman that he wasn’t able to hide from me. I could’ve easily gotten over it quickly but it was the ongoing denial through it all and then him blaming me for jealousy, etc. and never showing he cared about how it all made me feel.

            Well, like you said, only God really knows. But, I’m happy to sit with your other perspective until God shows me differently! 😀

          15. I had a blessing yesterday. A BIG one actually. Confirmed this morning. I have had circumstancial changes which have completely relieved financial pressure and mean I don’t have to sell my home. Praising God so, so much for this 🙂 HH

          16. That’s so wonderful. Little blessings…like a breath of air when you are swiming under water.

            Praise Jesus, my friend.

  17. Oh I forgot to share a most important praise!! My husband…. QUIT SMOKING!!!! PRAISE GOD!! We have been praying for this for oh so long! It has been just over two weeks. He smoked since he was 12, and he is in his early 40s, so that’s quite a long time. I am so thrilled! He actually feels really good about it. The first few days were rough, but with God’s help He got through it. He still has temptation now and again, but we are praying for him to remain a non-smoker. He really seems determined, and that is a HUGE blessing!

    This weekend my son told his best friend, who rushed over and gave my husband a huge hug! It was kinda silly – a 14 year old hugging my big, tough, gruff husband – but the friend was SO happy – for my husband and for my son. We have ALL been praying. :o)

    Honestly, my faith was weak. I didn’t think he’d quit, he seemed SO very attached to the cigarettes. It was a huge surprise and an incredible blessing and I am so thankful.

    1. So happy for you and your husband, Becca! That is awesome! Good to hear from you, too. Glad you are doing well.

  18. Hi satisfied wife. I’ve been I interested in your comments. We have different stories but all the advice still applies. Can I ask, if you can, to describe to me how it looked for you personally when you realized you were trying to do things for the wrong reasons and you began doing them for God, not to please your husband or make your marriage better. ? (Idol). I still struggle with this. And it’s been a long time for me. You said God will not fix things if He is not number one in our lives. I get all this. I just can’t do it right. I DO want my marriage to be better. Just can’t get over this and submit completely to God. Some days I feel stronger but always slide downhill again. Was it a lot of wrestling for you and a long time to get to this point or did up you just decide?
    I’m finding myself frustrated at all these comments of people just DECIDING to do it that way. I’m even feeling a bit jealous that it’s just not happening for me like it is to others. I’m failing. I’m sick of it.

    1. BeL,
      You are not alone. I am exactly in the same spot with this. In terms that i DO want my marriage to be restored, i DO want my husband to be interested in me and not this woman, hid coworker. I DO want my husband to see me as someone he cant wait to come home too.
      And i surrender this all to God daily. And i fail when i see him texting this woman, and being checked out with me.
      Maybe its not our timing to be in the stage that other are in Bel?
      CiC said not to force it or fake it. God knows what to do to get ud to this point. For me he is using this painful trial of my husbands relationship with his female coworker. I truly believe this is a test of some sort. Because it hurts so much. I have never felt so much agony and the feeling that my heart and soul are being stumped on every day. Sometimes its hard to breath even, from all this anxiety.
      I dont have much advice Bel. Im just at
      The same spot as you.

      1. NB,

        How is your time going with God, my precious sister? What do you want in your relationship with Him?

        Bel and NB,

        If y’all are interested, we can do a spiritual check up together. 🙂

      2. NB.
        Thank you. I rely on God getting me to this point because I can’t do it. I understand being in so much pain in your marriage it’s hard to breathe sometimes. I want Jesus to come back so this all ends and so my kids never have to experience pain like this. I’m doing better than I was but I miss my husband so much.
        I can imagine I would be just the same as you if my h was texting another woman. Have you asked him if he would feel ok if you were texting a male coworker all hours of the night? I can’t imagine any wife being ok with this. But he seems adamant you have nothing to worry about. Please hold onto and be thankful for that blessing. Mine regrets marrying me and said he will tell God that when he sees Him and God will forgive him. He sees no future for us and only feels pain when he thinks about a relationship with me. April once told me to be careful of not tearing down my house with my own hands. Do you know that bible verse?
        I too have not much advice for others but I can offer you my prayers. I will pray for your situation NB.
        Love Bel.

        1. Bel, my friend… If your husband has said these things to you and believes he means them, it is cruel of him to want to live with you and not let you move on in your life to bring closure and to heal.

          I know I’m being blunt and I know you are in so much pain, but the next time he said anything of the sort to me, I would make it supremely clear to him that you have no desire for him to stay with you if he doesn’t want to be married to you – nor do you want to be with a man who has so bluntly declared he made a mistake in marrying you. You need to show him you respect yourself regardless of whether he respects you. I would verbally release him and let him know he is free to go. Ask him when a good time to meet with him would be to talk details of a separation. And be ready to follow through on it. This step could shake him up to really face the issues in your marriage …. Or it could lead to separation and divorce. By doing these things, your are not yourself initiating these things. You are remaining at peace with all men as Jesus calls us to do and you are giving him what he’s been asking for. You can let him know it is not your desire for the marriage to end, but that you respect him enough to not stand in his way any longer. You would love to go to counseling together but if he’s not interest in going for the marriage, you will go for you to help find healing for yourself. Do not grovel. Be strong. Let him know God will take care of you.

          I don’t see much changing here by being passive and letting him treat you like this.

          At the same time, I understand God may call you to a different path. But, please don’t let your fear of losing your marriage be the motivator. Make sure it is really God’s leading to continue to stay when your husband has said these things.

          So sorry, this has to be incredibly painful.

          Bel, you are a woman of value. High value. I pray God shows you this truth.

        2. Oh Bel,
          Thank you for praying for me.
          I too, understand the pain when my husband says he regrets marrying me, mine says it too from time to time. Or that he should have followed through with divorce in 2009 ( yes, he filed and couple of months later withdrew it. Said it was because of my direspectful ways. But also had a relationship with the woman from his line of work going at the same time. THAT was THE worst pain in our marriage that i experienced).
          Yes. I know exactly the pain of these words. But i also know that he has pain and hurt behind these painful words he is telling me. I own my share, because things i have said to him were downright degrading, emasculating. Just wrong things, no woman should ever say to her man. He might never get over those words
          And i can understand that.
          Yes, he is VERY adamant there is nothing going on. He is TRULY upset over my suspicions and behavior so Im taking Amandas advice and stopping talking about it.
          Check out Joyce Meyer sermons that i mentioned. They were eye opening to me.
          These 3: 1. Choosing to trust God 2. Dont panic, this is just a test 3. Worry and anxiety.
          They all are from 2016.
          I need what she says there tattoed on my forehead lol.
          I will pray for you too, Bel. Hang in there. Like Joyce says in trials you have only 2 things that will help: Trust God and Do good. Even if you dont understand it….

          1. I went through very similar stuff with my husband for the past 9 months. Things are better now because he’s no longer working with this woman. (Prayers answered) But during the time that he was working with her he refused to stop texting her, car pooling with her. She was very needy and wanted lots of my husbands attention and he gave it to her. My husband is very kind and caring, it’s just his nature. He is like that with everyone…but, him texting her on weekends asking if she’s ok and texting her when she didn’t show up for work asking if she’s ok, etc. isn’t ok with me. He won’t admit to having feeling with this woman which is the hard part for me because it’s hard to just sweep it under the rug and move on, even now that he’s no longer working with her. Due to his story changing all the time and the fact that she won’t talk to me about it at all, makes me have thoughts that he did more with her than just “friends”. My mind thinks about all of the conversations and and texts every day. I’m not as emotional about it as I was but I think I’ll wonder my entire life, what really happened. It’s tough. I did find though that as I left it alone and started to be happy with my kids and finding joy with them, that he started to act more like my husband to me again.
            I wish you luck and I know exactly the craziness you feel and the constant mind wandering thoughts that go through your head. I’m sorry that you are having to go through this but I agree with others posts that God is doing something in us through this. I am still working on it but I’m finding my trust in God vs. my husband and I know I’ll be alright no matter what happens.

          2. Theresa,
            Thank you for sharing your experience. Wow, 9 months!!! For me it has been 4 months now…
            Mind wandering is the worst. I have better days and not so better days about it all.
            Im rejoicing with you for your answered prayers! It is a great feeling to see your husband acting himself again!
            Mine is also kind and caring man. He told me on multiple occasions he was just trying to be friendly with her and the other one that texts him sometimes.
            You know, the advice i receive is the same- to let it go and concrntrate on your own joy and life and on God. That is what i am also doing…i dont want to be a needy and naggy one in this whole ordeal.
            Thank you again for your encouraging words!

    2. Bel,

      I know Satisfied Wife will do an amazing job of explaining this. But maybe I can share something that may be helpful, too?

      You will be stuck as long as you are holding things back from God. You will be stuck as long as you hold on to fears and as long as you say, “God, I want to submit to You – but I am going to keep this one thing back. I will not lay it down.” There has to be a complete surrender to Him – where you don’t take your dream and the things you hold most dearly to your heart in this world back off of the altar.

      This is dying to self. It is taking up your cross. It means that you determine to find your contentment in Christ alone whether your dreams come true or whether your greatest fears come true. This requires great spiritual wrestling. I know it sure did for me. It is terrifying at first to lay down these dreams. It is terrifying to face your greatest fears. But you can choose to decide to trust God’s sovereignty even if your worst fears happen, deciding to trust God to bring good from the situation. This is not an easy thing. It can take time.

      It is fine to want a healthy marriage. That is a good thing. But many times, we basically say to God, “I want Jesus AND I want my marriage to be restored. I need both. I will not be satisfied unless I have Jesus and this other thing.” But what God wants us to do is to say, “I want Jesus alone. I will be satisfied in Him alone. I know that He is more than enough – but that I haven’t seen how He is more than enough yet. I want to understand this and live it, Lord. I would like for my marriage to be healed, too. But I leave that all in Your hands and trust it to Your sovereignty and timing. I will serve and love You with all my heart and find all of my security, peace, contentment, purpose, joy, and hope in You alone. I don’t know how to do this yet. I want to learn how to. I am determined to seek You far above everything else and to hold everything else very loosely. I lay it all down before You and I am not going to try to force my way anymore. I am not going to run ahead of You anymore. I want Your will, not mine. I want Your glory more than anything else, even if it means that I suffer or that I don’t have a healed marriage soon. I will trust You no matter what my husband does or does not do. If I have You, I have everything that matters. Help me to see this and to desire You far above all other things.”

      Some posts that may help:

      – Bitterness of Soul
      – Tearing out the Idols in Our Hearts
      – Dying to Self
      – Holding Things of This World Loosely
      – Lordship of Christ
      – There Is Much More to This Journey Than Just Prayer
      – husband idol
      – praying for our husbands so that God will hear
      – my secret idol
      – Please, God! Ask Me for Anything but This!

      God will not be a “means to an end.” We come to Christ to have God – as David Platt says – not all of the things He can do for us.

      Also, if you have read HH’s, CIC’s, LMSdaily’s, and Satisfied Wife’s comments here and in the past on the post “Encouragement for Those in the Trenches” and some other posts, you can see the intense wrestling they have gone through in this same process to be able to truly lay down their spouses and marriages before God and to trust Him and face their greatest fears and then how God began to change them, even in facing the most intense trials of their lives.

      These are really important questions and I am so glad you are asking them! The whole key is God’s Spirit working in us. It is His power, not ours. It is us abiding in Him and totally depending on Him. A great resource is Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

      Praying for God to give you the clarity you need, my dear sister – and also for you, NB!

      Much love!
      April

      1. All,

        Here is a story of a believer in the Ukraine (the father of a friend of a reader of mine) who was intensely persecuted for his faith in Christ and who trusted God through unspeakable trials. THIS is the kind of faith and obedience God asks of us as His disciples. To me, when we read stories of believers who are truly being tortured and martyred for Jesus, it helps to put things in proper perspective regarding what is most important. Are we willing to lay down EVERYTHING else but Jesus? He is worthy of our all!

        https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/june-2016/a-prisoner-for-christ-one-ukrainian-pastors-story/

        Much love!

      2. April
        You have been telling me all this for a long time. I get it I really do. And I do pray all these things you wrote. I want those things. I never say or feel that I’m bargaining with God. I think it all boils down to the fact that I’m scared that maybe it’s not Gods will that our marriage is restored and that our family breaks up. This thought is too much for me. But at the same time I know if it happens and I have God that I will be ok. I absolutely do know God is worthy of all this. Like you said I’m just not sure how to do this yet. It’s not completely clicking. I’m frustrated. I’ve spoken to you about Absolute Surrender. ( don’t worry I don’t expect you to remember every detail of everyone) I found it hard to follow. Too heavy for me or written way above my limited understanding. I will try and read it again. I read sacred influence. Any other suggestions?
        Yes. Spiritual check up please.
        Thank you, Bel.

        1. Bel,

          I think that we may begin praying these things very timidly – with fear. But then we have to hash through them and work through our beliefs, allowing God to refine us during the trials, as we begin to pray these things with greater and greater conviction, boldness, sincerity, and power. We begin to truly realize that Jesus is enough. At first, we are not very sure about that. But it is in the trials that we fear so much that we learn the truth of this treasure.

          This is a process, in many cases. It is often a slow progression of layers of understanding and small lightbulb moments here and there.

          I believe it is always God’s perfect will for marriages and families to stay together. However, I think there can be times that He allows divorce in His permissive will – because we have free will. BUT – just because a husband leaves and divorces his wife does not mean that it is the end or that God has failed.

          Okay! Let’s head over to this post – and if you would like, you are welcome to share your answers with me.

          Much love to you, my dear sister!

          1. That’s random…..I bought that album last week! It is a good song. Third Day “Forever Yours” I enjoyed this week also.

            I am quite low lately. Have had bad weather and not able to to work so have had to sit at home alone for a few days. Not good for my mind. It’s difficult to see an end to this trial.

            I had a text couple nights ago that made me so upset. Angry actually. I was so upset I turned my phone off for a few hours and went to pray about how to respond. Ended up reading through the bible and writing down a whole list of attitudes and responses before I responded. James 3 in particular stayed with me. I wanted to respond as Jesus would.

            Felt peace about my text response, gentle, not weak, meek, kind, easily entreated etc. I tried to look past the anger to see the reason behind the anger (as per Love and Respect’s suggestion), which wasn’t easy as it was a pretty hurtful text. Instead of a text reply I got a call. Ended up talking for a loooong time until we nearly fell asleep on the phone but I was able to see something inside her heart I hadn’t seen before. She felt I never “left and cleft” and always put my family first instead of creating our own family unit 🙁

            I can actually see why she would feel that. My family are extremely connected and I’ve never known anything but love from them and because we are all “external processors” we can (and do) talk for hours. They are a real part of my emotional support network, I go to church with my parents, I work in the family business etc. I pretty much see them daily.

            How would you feel about that as a women all of you? Am I too ‘connected’ to my family? Thoughts for this discouraged husband?

            HH

          2. HH. I am so sorry. I have been trying to respond to this post about your wife feeling cast aside because of your strong commitment to your family and it just wouldn’t load. Then you posted about the pastor. My jaw has dropped.

            The trumpet has sounded, my friend. I posted back to Satisfied wife today. I think you have been in basic training to get ready for when God calls you to action. This is sin. Raw sin. You are SUPPOSED to be angry about it. Righteous anger. God is angry about it. The trick is not to sin, yourself, in anger. I think it is in proverbs: “there is no greater desire to sin than when we are being sinned against”.

            For what it’s worth, my husband is very close to his parents. Always consulted them on ANY decision. I felt very second to them. I felt judged, criticized and never good enough. However, since I have been reborn in Christ, I don’t feel that way anymore. I value my in laws and urge my husband to have a relationship with them. I see wisdom in their experience. But, I am close with God now. Before I was jealous, now I am not. I can definitely understand why your wife would feel that way. At the time, you may not have been putting your wife in the proper priority either. God-spouse-kids-extended family, etc. As a wife, we want to feel needed, wanted and valuable. If you were going to family for that instead of her, she may have felt unworthy, not good enough or not trusted, valued or appreciated. In esscence-unloved.

            In light of her situation, I am wondering what her motives are, and the pastors. I think it would be dangerous to jump to conclusions, but also dangerous to ignore the shady actions. I think that if you feel compelled by God to confront her and him, then it’s time. At this point, what do you have to lose? As long as you are praying for wisdom, discernment and speaking God’s truth out of love, there is a chance you can keep two sinning souls from continuing on their fast track to hell. Isn’t this what God asks us to do? Isnt that an undeniable act of love? Within our power, in as much as we are able to? Everything I have read says to confront and expose this sin. You have talked with her privately, maybe this is what is needed. It may be painful, she may be angry with you and hate you, but you are bringing the darkness into the light.

            She may also wake up and see her folly. It is precisely BECAUSE you love her and care for her that you are exposing this. She may see you still care deeply for her and the marriage, willing to fight for her. You may turn a pastor back onto the right road and expose his sin so that he doesn’t lead any other vulnerable souls to the dark. Satan is very crafty and creative. He knows how to push our buttons. But you have God helping you, fighting right along side you.

            You are stronger now than you have ever been. You have been in training, growing closer to God. He has taught you, young grasshopper (lol). Now stand tall in the armour of God and go fight sin with God’s love.

            My prayers are fervent for your victory in this battle, my brother.

          3. Hi April
            For some reason my I pad won’t let me open the post you want me to answer questions from. I’m not tech savvy at all so don’t know what’s going on. In your July 11 comment to me you asked me to check out a post but when I click on it I can’t open it. Could you please tell me the name of the post and I will try find it a different way. I know you are busy so no rush.
            And thank you for the Matthew West video. I will check it out.
            Bel.

    3. Bel,
      April definitely explained it a lot better than me in her comment 🙂 But for my personal story, it was hard. I had been feeling really defeated in trying to be a godly wife at the time, and I wasn’t joyful at all. I had to realize that I was still holding onto a lot of bitterness at my husband, and I was trying to be perfect to please my husband instead of God. I didn’t realize it because I was blinded. I was blind because I was idolizing my husband at the time. But after talking to April about it all, and after speding a lot of time seeking God and reading a lot of April’s posts and her book, God started slowly opening my eyes again to what was giong on, and it came like lightning when I finally saw that I had been expecting my husband to make me happy and to be my god! I was expecting him to WANT to be with me, to WANT to share long conversations and just expecting him to be my Jesus. It wasn’t working ,and the more I idolized him, the faster he would pull away. If you read the post April did from one of my stories called “worthyoflove realizes what this journey is all about”, you will read exactly the moment God opened my eyes about all this. I saw that this journey is all about us and our relationship with Christ, not about me pleasing my husband or being a certain way to make him happy or make him love me a certain way!

      I think it takes TIME and it is a process to getting to any new point in this journey for sure! It was very hard for me, and I’m sure many other women to let go and trust God. That is always the lesson we are learning by God’s discipline. He wants us to trust Him!!!! Also, if you are interested, you can check out my blog http://www.satisfiedwife.com where the main thing I talk about is this very topic of letting go to God and trusting Him with everything and how it brings contentment when we trust Him and rest in Him! I am not an expert or anything, I just love sharing what God has done in my life and how awesome our God is! 🙂

      But I would definitely suggest you read a lot of April’s posts first because she really breaks it down and I know it was eye opening for me to read a lot of her posts before I saw what I needed to change!!!!

      You will get there in God’s time as you seek Him and sort through all of your fears and feelings 🙂

      Blessings,
      Amanda

    4. Bel, LMS and everyone hurting,
      I listened to another awesome sermon by Joyce Meyer that was definitely God speaking to me!
      It is called Don’t Panic, This is just a Test.

      It will bless you!!!

  19. Hi April.
    I have been offline for a while. I have a question for you and anyone else who can help. My latest challenge is jealousy. I’m extremely ashamed of myself, but I’m jealous of my teenage daughter. One in particular. My h and her are very close. It actually seems she is his favourite. They are interested in the same things and she is always hugging him and it’s starting to grate on me. He even made a comment to he that I don’t want to say on here. It’s not gross or anything but just proves she is his everything. I actually have to look away when they hug cause it hurts. He doesn’t need me, he has her. He’s even getting her to help him with things that he told me I can’t help him with after me asking him how I can help him more ( some time ago). It’s like he’s getting his needs net by her and I may as well not be here. I HATE feeling like this. I love my daughter and we have a great relationship. Has anyone else felt like this?
    It’s been 19 months his since he’s touched me at all or told he he loves me. I have made some progress in other ways that I hope to share soon but I need advice on this now. I’m guessing you will tell me I obviously still have him as an idol. Still struggling with that one I guess. I could do with a prayer or 2 please.

    1. Bel,
      I can imagine that is hard to deal with if you feel like your daughter is taking all of your husband’s attention. I know I struggled with jealousy with my husband not towards a child but just the fact that he was married and had children with someone else and we don’t have our own children. I never knew what filth was in my own heart until I married this man, and just how jealous I could get, until I married this man and realized I would never have what he had with his first wife.

      I remember I had to realize that I was so jealous because I was BITTER. It was BITTERNESS in my heart towards his ex-wife and her kids. I resented the fact that I could never have children with my husband, but this other woman did.

      It sounds silly in the light of eternity, though. I had to realize that even if my husband never had a first wife or kids with her, and even if we had our own child, it would still NOT make me happy. It all goes back to that for me usually.

      I had to realize that I have absolutely no control over what my husband did in his life before we met and married.

      So all in all, I had to realize the bitterness in my own heart towards his ex and kids and the whole situation, and confess it and repent, before I was freed from the jealousy of it all!

      If you like to read, and you get a chance and are able, I suggest the book “No Other Gods” by Kelly Minter. That is what God used to open my eyes about the jealousy and bitterness. It was eye opening!!!!!

      Blessings,
      Amanda

      1. I Wanted to share with everyone…Joyce Meyer has a great sermon from this year about this very thing that we have been discussing. It is called Choosing to trust God. I just watched it. She explains it really well.
        Amanda, i need to look into that book too.

        1. So glad you’re hearing from God, NB, and being encouraged and ready to face your fears.

          I think you mentioned something in another post about getting to a place where you won’t hurt when your husband texts this woman. I would not look at that as an indication of whether I had surrendered all to God. You can surrender and still hurt. No, let me take that back. You will still hurt. But, the hurt feels different, but is still very real. But please remember Jesus was hurt at Peter’s denial, he was hurt over His people rejecting Him. Remember the Garden of Gethsemane as you struggle through this. Jesus knows what you are experiencing and the wrestling you are going through to surrender it all to God, just like He did before He went to the cross.

          I remember saying something in my last counseling session about this idea of feeling like I was doing something wrong if I was still being affected by the state of my marriage. Like if I could just get to a place where I was able to operate at 100% regardless of what was going on, that would be good. But, I was assured that it’s normal to feel sadness and hurt over these things. Righteous jealousy is OK. Our emotions come from God. These are our spouses, these are our marriages. Of course we will feel sadness and pain when sin is affecting them. So does God. And He is hurting for you, too, NB.

    2. Hey Bel. I, too get jealous of my daughter and husbands relationship. He feels closer to her. They have similar personalities. She thinks he walks on water. Also, there is definitely a time, especially as teenagers when a daughter needs her daddy. It is where they learn what to expect from their future husbands, their first love, what loving affection and attention is supposed to be like, what they can look forward to, connection etc. . I want those things from my husband too, but can’t get them right now. I started to just let it be. I figured that God can and will use our children to speak to us as well. Maybe God is using this relationship between your husband and daughter to help teach HIM how to treat a lady. How to give love, affection and attention. Maybe, in time, he will look at you down the road and realize you need that too. I started to promote it and be happy that he is at least not so distant that he can’t even give the kids love. My poor son has suffered, though. He misses doing things with his dad and feels that dad has a favorite kid. So he has drawn closer to me in the process. Is this the edipus complex? Where opposite sex children are drawn to the respective parent (daughter to dad, son to mother)? Not sure. But I think it is healthy for daughters to spend this bonding time together and it helps dad’s to realize the “giving” part of relationship.

      Maybe he is trying to engage back in with a “safer option” trying out his new training wheels on a safer, more forgiving subject. I would try to be grateful for their interaction and be glad he is doing daddy things with her. Your job is to do the mommy things with her. Maybe he will be watching from afar and will be able to see your love and kindness. Just make sure in all things, your heart is set on pleasing God first, not “showing off your kindness” to your husband or competing for attention between your daughter and husband. The last thing you need is an affection/love triangle thing. She can have you both. So can he, but he has his own issues to work through. Maybe even thank him for spending time with your daughter. He may feel like he is on the right track to becoming back engaged as a provider, supporter and husband/dad. It’s a good thing. He is not treating his daughter like a wife, but you just miss the affection. Being jealous of that type of thing will give the enemy a foothold to your sinful nature. However, you are not the only woman in his life, so maybe you can learn to share his affection etc. He might not feel safe enough with sharing his emotions yet with you. Give it time. Seems he is practicing in small ways and building courage. Just my impression after having experienced it too. Much lover and prayers, my good friend.

    3. Interesting. In our times of greatest conflict, my husband definitely gravitated in an obvious way toward a closer relationship with our teenage daughter. I was never jealous, necessarily, but I did feel like something seemed “off” about it. It seemed he was more willing to say “yes” to whatever she was asking for (material kinds of things or just being able to do a certain activity) and he was connecting to and talking to her more.

      Actually, what is coming to mind right now is the truth that husbands are wired to please their wives. So, maybe since they are wired this way and during these intensely stressful times they know they aren’t pleasing us, they start fulfilling it in whatever way they can?

      That kind of makes sense to me. Something about all of that affirms their worth, too, I’m assuming.

      Hmmm…..

      Could be another motivation for us as wives – even if we are having to set boundaries to protect our hearts – to continue to be feminine in this way – by stating our desires or by asking for our husband’s help in certain things around the house? (Then being very sure to simply give a cheerful and genuine thank you). Actually, now that I’ve typed that out, I remember that I would still ask my husband to do certain things for me. It seemed like he was more than willing to do those things. Unless he was super ticked off at me during which times, I was probably super ticked off at him, too, and didn’t care if he helped me anyway……just trying to be honest and real so y’all know that I didn’t do it all perfectly.

      And now I am realizing another thing – that even when things seemed to be so tense with us, those exchanges meant a lot to me, too. I could see that he still cared enough to try to please me with his actions.

      Just for some examples: I noticed that one time, during conflict, I used the Laura Doyle desire language when emailing my husband trying to just get to a place where we were both willing to work through the conflict. I think I said something like “I would love to be at peace with you.” And, I remember being quite surprised at the softness of his email back to me.

      Some phrases to try could be

      “I would love to have peace in our marriage”
      “I would love to feel safe in our marriage and know that you want to be married to me”
      “I would love to spend some time together as a family this weekend”
      “I would love for the expectations that we have for each other in our marriage go both ways” (thinking of NB’s husband texting another woman….I’m not sure if I have good wording on this one, though!)

      What do you think, April? I’m just learning this new language. 🙂

  20. Hi Bel.

    I want to say that I did not just “decide” to lay down everything in God’s hands, I believe that God Himself brought me to a point through extremely difficult circumstances where I simply saw the truth. The truth that I had no control over anything other than myself and my own thoughts/actions and even then only through the help of the Holy Spirit.

    Romans 3:10-11 says “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” and I am convinced that without God’s calling I would not have sought His salvation and will.

    Psalm 119:73 says “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” and I truly believe this. If I had of continued as I was I would have destroyed much more than I have already. I believe that it has been God’s mercy to allow me to experience what I have when I have.

    That’s not to say it’s been easy. When Jesus asked the rich man to give up His wealth in order to have eternal life the man went away sad because he had great wealth. We want to trust in ourselves in some way.

    I wrestled mentally for a long, long time before I surrendered this to God and I am honest enough to acknowledge that I probably would not have surrendered my will to the Lord had life been ‘cruisy’. Hence, I definitely believe that it is a demonstration of God’s mercy that he afflicted me.

    If I may humbly say Bel, it appears to me that you only want to surrender everything to God on the ‘condition’ that he heals your marriage. For me, I had to come to the point that I surrendered everything to Him regardless of what happened to my marriage. And for me, that meant separation and as it currently stands a divorce and selling the family home. And there is a LOT more going on than I would share here and a LOT more going on than April or anyone here knows. Do I like this? No. My heart is broken. I only worked one day out of five this week. I want a happy, healthy marriage and family. But I KNOW that I am 100% surrendered to God’s plan regardless of the outcome.

    And know what? I have been able to share the gospel with two of my workmates this week in a very open and honest way. AND I caught up with one of the elders of my church this week to ask to talk and somehow started talking about his own relationship pain. AND another bloke at church who has been going through ‘something’ that he has not shared with anyone for over a year suddenly came to me and started talking about it and I was able to really connect with him and establish a good premise for future healing Somehow my pain and transparency has opened their hearts to receive God’s truth about a relationship with God in a way that I have never been able to share before and this is helping me tremendously to see a purpose in all of this. What if God wants me to remain separates forever in order for many people to come to know Him? If that is His plan then I accept it, despite how lonely I am.

    All this to say that it’s not just a decision. It is a revelation of truth to your heart. Please don’t think that you just have to somehow decide and it will be ok.

    Love in Christ, HH

    1. HH,

      This is so powerful! What God is doing in you is GLORIOUS. I know this has been such a painful road – but I praise God for His work in your life, my precious brother! Thank you, thank you for sharing these treasures with us!

    2. Don’t have a lot of time to reply longer….but I agree with HH’s comment, too. I did not just “decide”, either. God brought about events in my life that took me to the end of myself. And, April’s comment about it was what it came down to for me. I came to a place where I truly surrendered which meant for me that I was giving up my desire to have my marriage healed. I surrendered the final outcome to Him. That didn’t mean that I didn’t still take steps to try to save my marriage.

      April is right, Bel and NB, you are just in the spots we were a little bit before you. It’s not that we did something great for God and because we are so good. It’s because God is committed to bring this about in your lives. He is doing it now….He will finish the work. You will have to wrestle it out with God. But, He will show you more and more that He is the only One you can really put your faith and trust in and that He is enough.

    3. Hi HH
      Thank you for your advice on this. This is the frustrating part for me, I DO see the truth that I have no control over anything. I know I can’t do anything on my own to make anything better. I know it’s all in Gods very capable hands. I said last year sometime here that I don’t even WANT to be in control because I’ve made a huge mess of it all. I see how u would think I only want it done my way. I try hard to sort this out. I pray for it. I also know that like you, I would not have seeked God in my life as I am now had everything been wonderful. I see Gods hand in this. And of course, even though this is the most painful thing I’ve ever been through and there’s no end in site, I’m grateful that I’m learning and growing through this. Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe I’m expecting there won’t be pain and sadness when I get “there”. It will surely still be sad and painful if we do end up divorcing. You are feeling that now. But are you saying you have no fear at all? No fear of whether or not your marriage does end in divorce? No fear of the impact on your children? Is that how strong your faith, my faith, has to be? To have absolutely no fear, just complete contentment and confidence that it’s Gods will. It’s the battle of praying for my marriage and healing for us both ( which April has told me is a good thing) but at the same time praying for my faith to be strengthened so that Gods will, no matter what it be, is the most important thing. Again I get it. I want the latter. I just also remember my vows. For better or worse………
      Please pray that I can completely let this go. I have trouble putting my exact thoughts and struggles into words. I hope I don’t sound completely daft.
      Wow wow wow that you have been able to share the gospel and help so many people! You are a faithful servant HH. To help God in this way must feel amazing.
      I’m so sad when I read of your battles still, and your loneliness. Can I say that even though my h is still living here, I’ve never been so lonely either. I still add you to my prayers HH.
      Just on your wife’s feelings about your closeness with your family….. I can understand her feeling that way too. How blessed you are to have such a close relationship with your family. You dont give a lot of detail, but I think working with them and all the other things would definitely have me feeling a bit resentful IF it carried over to after work all the time plus weekends and especially if you didn’t include me in discussions etc. Your wife obviously felt like the balance was off. Balance in life is so hard to achieve though but so important. Is she close with her family? Did she have a good relationship with your family? If not that would be even harder. As a wife I would love to feel like our children and I were a priority over friends and even family. I still desire my husband to have a wonderful relationship with his family but not at the expense of our little family. I could be wrong in my desires but it’s just human nature I guess.

      1. Hi Bel.

        No, you don’t sound daft at all! You sound completely rational and sound like you understand where you are at and how you see it with perfect clarity. Very well articulated.

        I am not saying I have no fear. I would love it if I didn’t have any fear, but unfortunately I do. I don’t have fear about the outcome or the good intentions of God but I do have fear about the process and fear about what pain will occur to myself, herself and the children through it. This may well mean that I have very weak faith!!?? I am not sure. Maybe there is a point that we can be so full of God that we don’t even fear these things? I am not sure Bel! Perhaps someone further along this journey could help here?

        The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:9-11 that “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.”

        I think I feel a bit like this, under great pressure, far beyond my ability to endure but trusting God for the outcome. I know that I am surrendered to the outcome and have let go of all control. I am definitely not some super-spiritual fearless person though!!

        Thank you for your prayer Bel and your thoughts on family closeness. Yes, I am blessed to have my family but it is also a curse. It has probably made me overly dependent on them. No, she does not have a good relationship with her family. She spends a lot of time with them but often says she is sick of them and that they make her very frustrated. Thanks again. HH

        1. HH and Bel, I think what y’all are describing is normal. If you remember Christ in the garden – actually, just look at Christ’s life in general…. He was called Man of Sorrows. Jesus displayed the full realm of emotions – from visible joy to weeping to anger to intense dread. So, being submitted to the Father’s will and walking in the Spirit doesn’t mean you have no emotions of sadness, fear, anger, anguish.

          On this page, there is a list of sermons you can listen to. One series is called Settling Unsettled Souls. There are three parts to the series. I think they’d be helpful for those who are feeling any kind of condemnation from the enemy on this. I know they helped me understand that my feelings aren’t really my gauge to go by of what my spiritual reality is. http://stevepettitmessages.com

          Also consider David in the Psalms… Again, a range of emotions described in the Psalms… And he was called a man after God’s own heart.

          I think the enemy also loves to make us feel condemned any way he can.

          I think maybe the difference for me was that my emotions were still there but once I had truly surrendered the outcome to God, they were not ruling me and there was an underlying sense of peace that I definitely did not have before. I was able to find joy amidst the pain afterwards where before the pain was my only focus.

          HH, I think those were good verses you shared and do speak to this truth that our emotions don’t disappear when we’re walking with God.

          1. Thanks CiC.

            That is helpful. I definitely don’t feel any condemnation but most certainly the full gamut of emotions 🙂 The Psalms definitely make good prayers. HH

  21. This song by Audrey Assad keeps coming to mind this morning. “Everything is Yours”. The chorus:

    If everything is Yours
    Everything is Yours
    If everything is Yours
    I’m letting it go
    No it was never mine to hold

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PgJGyFR759Q

    God used her music to calm my soul on so many days these last few months. So beautiful and soothing – you can tell she is familiar with suffering.

  22. Amanda and April,

    Wanted to tell you that I was so blessed to read the conversation y’all were having the other day that touched on, at first, Greg’s quietness. So many good points and truths in that exchange!! I could relate to being more introverted lately and never wanting to be alone when I was younger and how I need that now myself (so much so, that I will travel somewhere alone for a couple or few nights… Never thought I would want to do something like that when I was younger!)

    It also made me think of a counselor that I saw a couple of times sometime in the past year or year and a half. I remember her saying something about marriage being two separate people who are kind of travelling down a parallel path, with a little bit of space between them. They are going forward but then at times, they reconnect and then keep moving forward in that parallel fashion. (She was using her hands to demonstrate). Honestly, at the time, I had no idea how to connect to that statement because I was so enmeshed with my husband.

    Then God used one of April’s posts about being enmeshed to really awaken me to this idea that I was…. I really thought my husband and I were healthy and it was others who didn’t have a good marriage before because they weren’t being super affectionate like we were or the wives seemed a little too independent to me. It’s kind of funny now that I think about it.

    And now here I am a year or so later feeling the freedom of it all.

    Amanda, you mentioned that you wanted to share all of your thoughts and feelings with your husband and felt like he should, too. Yes!! Oh, my goodness, I think God is just starting to deliver me from this ridiculous standard I had set in my mind for our marriage and I was very aware as I was reading your conversation to each other that He was using it to bring light and clarity to me.

    I will not deny that I do think God’s ultimate design for marriage is a very deep intimacy and so on one level, I think it is natural to want to have that. I think there ideally should be some vulnerability between both spouses and a real knowing of each other. But, I can see where some of what I was wanting wasn’t necessarily realistic or healthy. And it’s certainly not going to promote that kind of atmosphere in your marriage when you are constantly asking your husband for something he has no idea how to give and isn’t feeling safe to do even if he did.

    It’s encouraging to me that it seems there has been a lot of growth in this area in your marriage, April. After years of peace and safety, it makes sense that there would be positive change.

    I pray and hope for that in my marriage, too…

    I have learned to go more quickly to God to meet those needs when I’m feeling lonely in that area and I am also feeling the freedom, like Amanda, to enjoy friendships and get some of that need met there, too.

    Definitely think the ideas in that conversation should be in a future post!!

    1. CIC,

      So glad that conversation was helpful! YES! A healthy marriage does have deep intimacy. But sometimes I think that we expect deep intimacy with a human husband to look like the continual praying and connection we can have in our hearts with Christ. And, I just don’t think it is going to generally look like that. Yes, there is a healthy amount of space that helps to keep the intimacy going and prevents the relationship from being codependent.

      I really appreciate you sharing to let me know this was helpful. 🙂

    1. Thanks, HH! Yes, even the word “Idol” is used!

      I guess the process for a lot of us is…

      – Make your spouse an idol
      – Get angry or disappointed when they start to fail you (they withdraw or let you down in some way)
      – Either nag to control
      – Or try everything in your power to become the “perfect” spouse to get what you want out of the marriage (perfect respect, submission – to the point of losing your own voice and identity, altering physical looks in desperate attempt to keep your spouse, etc.)
      – You’re doing these things for your idol, not for God
      – Things keep unraveling and reach a breaking point
      – Heartbreak, devastation, etc.
      – Eventual wrestling with God
      – Surrender to God – giving Him everything and being willing to let go of your marriage and all of your dreams
      – Satisfaction and contentment and joy in Christ no matter what happens in your relationship (not to say that it’s not painful, but there is a deep sense of knowing that you will be o.k. and that with Christ, you have enough)

      Btw, so happy for the news on your home. God is just loving all over you, HH! 🙂

      1. CIC,

        I agree with your outline. Yes, we look to things other than God. Those things fail us. We get angry, often at God, about it. Eventually, we realize we don’t have the ability to change or fix things or to get what we want. Our cisterns are broken and don’t hold water. Then, hopefully, we turn fully to Christ. Then, in time, we experience His abundant life and many times lots of miracles. And eventually, He is glorified – which was the goal all along. 🙂

        1. All,

          I will try to respond to comments as I am able to – but from now until about August 9th, I am going to have a LOT on my plate and not nearly as much computer access as usual. If those who have been on this journey for awhile would be willing to reach out to those who are struggling, as you already do in such a wonderful way, that would be a blessing!

        2. Yes! And I wanted to say thank you for your thoughts /reply on July 11 when I said it would be good to hear the wife’s perspective. I’m so glad you clarified that, many times, it’s not about us at all. I can see how some could read my comment and think I was saying that if the wife could have gotten where she should be, then things would have been fine. That’s not what I was getting at all but I’m glad you clarified that.

      2. There is another path people take IMO, after the heartbreak/devestation phase instead of wrestling with God sometimes people conclude their spouse is the ‘wrong one’ and go looking for another. That’s certainly how my DW dealt with her disappointment. HH

  23. HH, I was wondering if you ever engaged in lying during your period of blame shifting (although, now that I think about it, blame shifting is lying to some extent, isn’t it?)

    As far as your question about your family… I would say just to take it before the Lord to see what He says. It could be that you prioritized your family at times over your marital relationship and family…. Or your wife could be feeling insecurity that is rooted in herself and has nothing to do with how you handled that part of your life. There’s nothing wrong with having a close relationship with your family. If there was inflexibility with regard to your time spent with your family, then maybe something was off.

    My husband isn’t necessarily super close with his family, but the things that consistently hurt me are his inability to stand up for me when his dad made (still makes) sarcastic comments about my faith… Or when his brother makes sarcastic comments to me (I am reevaluating what my part might be in these things now that I am learning boundaries, etc)…. Or when his brother and wife center the conversation around alcohol – especially with my kids there! Alcohol/drinking is a huge part of their life and the are always how being made about it, etc. It hurts that my husband will not stand up against that stuff. But, he is also a spirituality dead man so I don’t know how much to expect in this.

    Anyway, I shared what hurts me as a wife in case there are similar things that happen in your families. I think a wife always wants to know she will be defended and spoken respectfully of in front of her in-laws.

    1. CiC, I had always felt I was a truthful person and that if someone confronted me with something I was doing wrong I would face up to my wrong. However yes, at its core blame shifting is basically not accepting truth about yourself.

      Thanks for your thoughts about family. It is most interesting that you highlighted an insecurity as a possible basis for her feelings. HH

  24. All. I am in DESPERATE need of STRONG prayer right now. PLEASE!!!!!
    My wife has been seeing a counselor for a couple months. He is the pastor of a church and a counselor at a Christian school. He is married with three children. My wife has indicated strong feelings for him over the last few weeks.

    I was driving home last night at 11 PM and I came up behind his vehicle. I felt strong conviction in my heart that he was going to my wife’s house. I was correct. He stopped at my wife’s house and let himself into the dark front door. The only light on in the home was her bedroom light. He stayed for half an hour and the left through the darkened front door. I confronted him. He was extremely shaken, made all sorts of excuses as to why he was there. I dealt with it in completely the right manner I am absolutely certain of this but I have been up all night praying with how to deal with the next few days. I am in much need of the strength of the Lord to face today and the fallout from this. I want to deal with it in a way that glorifies God and I am in much need of strength brothers and sisters. Please, please pray for me now. HH

    1. Oh HH I’m in tears for you. I will be praying for you right now and through the day. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I know you will be fervently seeking God right now and I’m certain He will give you the strength you need. He will not fail you. Bel.

    2. Hh, that would explain why your wife is so conflicted. I’m praying hard for you and them tonight. What a hard thing to have to confront. But I know God will use this situation for the goid of you all. Maybe this will be the wake up call. May Hod direct you and help you with wisdom and discernment to follow the righteous path. Speaking the truth in love will set you all free. God bless you with peace, my brother.

    3. HH I’m sure this was bought to light now for very good reason. I’m glad you found this out now. Maybe it hasnt gone too far yet and now that it’s been exposed they will both see their sin and desperate need for God. LMS always uses the “beauty for ashes” verse and this is what I will be praying for you.
      I think I was bought to these verses for you.
      ” Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between Hos shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12
      The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18.
      Stay strong HH.

      1. Thank you for your prayers. I just received a text from the pastor. He has never contacted me before. I am praying about my response. I have been praying for the whole night through to this morning. It is a powder keg. Please lift me up to God. May His name be glorified! HH

        1. Praying for you, HH. Amazed how God is walking you right through all of this. Praying for His Spirit to continue being mighty in you.

          1. All. Only a short comment.

            MUCH prayer. I took a day off work to pray about it and took 5 hours to think before responding to the Pastor. I came to peace about the response I sent, it was non-accusative but directly confronting the inappropriateness of the situation and requesting to meet with the pastor and his wife.

            Resolution is: Pastor very humbled sending a flood of texts acknowledging the total wrongness of the visit (but claiming innocent purpose and nothing happened), pastor ceasing counselling of my wife and handing over counselling to his wife. Pastor wanting to open communication with me and his wife to confirm the sincere purpose of his actions despite the ‘stupid approach’.

            I cannot BEGIN to describe the emotions that were running through me as I was standing outside the home that night 🙁 Yet as soon as he walked out the door I was flooded with calmness and authority to confront him! I believe 100% this was a God ordained situation, if I had of been one minute earlier or later driving home I would not have seen his vehicle stop there! And that included a sudden urge for a chocolate milkshake on the way home which put me precisely in the right spot at the right time.

            This may be a situation where temptation was rising and God ordained this situation to stop a potential fall. I know after I confronted the pastor I felt strong conviction to WAIT on God before responding further. As though God was saying “HH, you have done your bit. Thank you. Now let my Spirit work on their consciences!”. I just spent the night praising Him for His Spirit’s work and asking for direction for the following day and asking Him for strong conviction for them both.

            Or, this may be a situation where temptation has already been given into and this was ordained to bring a stop to it. I do not know! God does. At this stage as always, everything is in His hands. May His plan be fulfilled in my life. Amen.

            I have not yet spoken to my wife about it. Still praying on this one. Thank you ALL for your prayers. I definitely knew God’s leading. I am EXHAUSTED and weary, but have complete internal peace about my approach. Praise God with me for His leading, guidance and wisdom!!!!! My brothers and sisters, God IS with us. God IS stronger than our enemy.

            In Christ Always and totally dependent on Him, much love, HH

          2. This is the stuff they make inspirational movies out of! Praise God for chocolate milk shakes and a loving husband. You are a warrior!

          3. HH,
            Praising God with you for His wisdom, His power, and His discernment in this situation. Such good fruit already in the pastor’s life! Yes, this may have kept him from a fall. Pastors are human, too. Satan wants to take them all down.

            Thank you so much for sharing. God is so good!

          4. I pray that she can see that love one day LMS! For me, home is not four walls, home is two legs and a heartbeat…..hers! HH

    4. HH,

      Just now seeing this… I am so thankful you confronted him – for his own sake if for no other reason! That would never be appropriate behavior for any pastor or godly counselor. It has the appearance of evil. I hope he will have a godly woman counsel your wife from this point on. That is just not a good situation at all.

      Praying for you, my brother!

  25. HH, Bel, LMS, CIC,

    This is just devastating. I have never been so upset over the state of marriages. I am torn as well for the right way here. As much as I agree with April in all the things she advocates in terms of respecting our husbands, and everything—- and even in the fact that we really can not find our true satisfaction in anything other than Christ—- I believe there is a real attack going on in all of our lives/marriages! And I can’t help but think that maybe I have been settling for so much less than could be in my own marriage.

    Do we just passively sit by while we watch our spouses being attacked and drawn away captive by the devil?!?! Do we give into our husband’s workaholism at the expense of our very marriage and family relationships? Do we just sit and watch as they totally abuse and mistreat us when all we are trying to do is have a healthy marriage?!?!

    I just do not believe God wants any of this destruction in our marriages, yet it is so prevalent!

    What are we to do?!?! If us being ‘perfect’ wives really doesn’t change a person—then what is the answer to all of our marriage problems?! Is there an answer?

    I am having a really hard time accepting the way my marriage is right now. I know my husband just wants to provide, but we literally live separate lives, and I don’t see how this glorifies God at all. I am watching him as he chooses to literally ruin his body and relationshp with God. I just don’t know what to do. I started reading ‘The power of a praying wife’ which so far has been a help—– but I can’t get all of you out of my mind either. It seems like we are all in the same situations…..and I really can’t stand to see the devastation all around us!

    I know that selfish interests can be a huge factor behind what I’m saying—in that we all want a good marriage and a relationship where we feel loved, etc. But I’m moving past that now, and I’m saying that our marriages are flat out being attacked, and it is time to RISE UP. I can not just passively sit by and watch as my marriage totally just becomes a miserable, lifeless, emotionless state of being. I have to believe that GOD wants us to have healthy marriages and marriages that are GLORIFYING HIM! There is no glorifying God in two married people claiming Christ who live in different places, who barely talk, and who never show any affection. What is this teaching my child? that God the Father is somewhere off in a distant place who can’t really be there for you because he has more important things to worry about.

    Yet I’m helpless. I have no power whatsoever to change this. I can’t make my husband change, or want to find a different job for a different type of lifestyle then what he’s used to. I can’t make him WANT to put God, me, and our family above a job. I can’t do anything except pray.

    Is anyone relating to this burden I feel for our marriages?

    It might be easy to find contentment in Christ alone when your husband is still actually there everyday, whether he talks to you or not—-but what about when your husband is not there? I am truly struggling to find peace in my life right now with my husband living a separate life. I feel like my heart is dying inside for lack of basic needs a human being.

    Someone please tell me I’m wrong if I am here—-maybe I just can’t see right now. Am I blinded??? Should I be ok with this?!?!

    Please help if you feel led. Thank you all for the fellowship and support here of one another.

    Blessings & love,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda,
      I TOTALLY relate. I dont know the answer unfortunately.
      But…Idolizing a job is what my husband is / was also going through. It is tough!!!
      I dont know if it goes in spurts for my husband or for men in general. But yes, my husband has also put his entire heart and mind in his job. It is lonely, even when he is home … I cant imagine having him being away. I dont know if i could do it long term. Mine did 2 tours in Iraq so i was alone then, but its a different story when its military.
      Prayers for you..i read the power of a praying wife. It is a good book. I still recommend Laura Doyle and her resources.
      Im worried about you sister. You are my ray of sunschine, im praying this test will bring great God glorifying results when youare through….

      1. NB,
        Thanks girl! I am just very disturbed at all the attacks happening in our marriages. I just feel it is so important that our marriages become healthy, yet I realize we have absolutely NO power whatsoever over anyone but our own self. It is disheartening at best. BUT thankfully, God is in control, and HE can do the impossible!

        After I shared my struggles this morning, my husband randomly called me (totally God working already in answer to prayer), and we discussed briefly our long term plan. He told me he really doesn’t want to continue doing this life-stealing job, and he doesn’t want to be away. He mentioned some goals for us to set in order to get out of this marriage stealing life draining situation. I am on board 100% for his plan, and I can only pray for it to be in Jesus’ name.

        As you already know we are on great terms, but I am going to be leaving him in a week, and I don’t really know when I’ll see him again 🙁 That is definitely hard.

        But what’s harder, living with a spouse or still being married to a spouse that is not committed or willing to work on things. That is harder, and that’s why I wrote, because I sense the attacks on all our marriages, and feel the Lord leading me to learn to pray about all of it. I want to see God work in all of our marriages His will, and to do the impossible, that He will get the glory!

        I know you all are on board for that 🙂

        Praying for us all!

        Love,
        Amanda

    2. Satisfied wife, HH, Bel, etc…I am right there with you. This is a good example of righteous anger. Anger against sin and evil and idolotry. Yes, we are supposed to stand up against these things. It’s a trick , though, to learn HOW to do that in a godly way that we do not sin ourselves. I, too, am in that lonely place where we are married in name only. It’s not right. But God can breath new life into dry bones. He can turn things around or bring something new into our lives. We need to trust God, but also allow Him to teach us what we need. I think there are quite a few of us that are ready to graduate from respect 101, waiting on God, changing our attitudes, ripping out idols and such. God had lots of work to do in us, but we may be getting ready to stand up against the sins and speak the truth in love. As we learn that God is first in our lives, the marriage, the fear, the desires of this earth are not as important. We may still want a good and God-glorifying marriages, but I can’t think God wants our sanity and well being to be compromised over the marriage . We had to learn long suffering in the name of Christ, but all of these lessons bring us into a new level. We are now (or close to) being ready to find our courage in God, stand up against sin and fear and trust God. He may be putting us into action now that we have been “trained”.

      I know I feel much more prepared to go up against the disrespect. Sin and hurt that my husband launches at me. I feel stronger, more resilient and able to fight back in the name of the Lord. Even if my marriage doesn’t make it, I know I will be okay. Even anger was a lesson. How to be angry, but not sin in anger. We should be angry at the attacks on marriage, our country’s sinful ways, the oppression of God’s children in this world. This is good. It should move us to action in the name of the Lord. However, earlier, we would have been crushed by the enemy. We were not trained. God has been preparing us like new infantry recruits. We are learning, training, honing our skills and abilities. We are better prapared to fight the enemy and take back our marriages, our relationships, our own lives. We now have the correct goal in mind and can see the bigger picture.

      I fully beleive that God allows sin…even though He hates it …in order to help us see why we must turn from it. It gives a taste of the spiritual death to come. As we learn and draw closer to God, we see the way out of that trap, dead end and doom. We discover the life, the love, the light and run towards it.

      I pray for you and all of us here to grow our courage strong, put on the armour of God and prepare our hearts to fight against this sin. Fight the enemy and serve our Lord by following His battle plan.

      Please read the book the highly destructive marriage by Leslie Vernick. It will help guide you on how to stand up against sin. Even if there is no abuse, addictions or sexual sins, it will still give some good ideas and help test yourself, your motives, and how to stand up for yourself as well.

      This is a really hard place, but I can’t help but think that God is lighting a fire in us. He has stacked the wood carefully, placed the tinder and delicate things, made sure we are full of oxygen and energy. He is striking a match in us and setting our bonfire ablaze with His light to shine into all the dark corners of our marriages and other relationships. There is a plan for all this, even if we do not yet understand it. I pray we can trust Him with our fire. God bless you all.

    3. Hi satisfied wife
      Thank you for your previous comments to me. They are much appreciated. I’m struggling to nut everything that’s going on out.
      This is how Ive been feeling for a long time too. I feel we are absolutely under attack. It is scary and I have to say that I am very concerned about my children and their future marriages. This is a big reason why I have said that I wish God would end this world now. I can’t bear the thought of my precioys children going through the pain I’ve been in for much of my marriage. And my husband and I are both Christian. It seems sometimes that people who don’t believe have better marriages. Is this because satan wouldn’t bother attacking people that he already has control over?? He’s zoning in on us because he knows he doesn’t have us yet. This is both comforting as well as scary to me. We have to stay strong and fight. But then I get so frustrated and wonder why God isn’t just helping us more. He loves us and grieves with us. He’s almighty and can change our spouses and make all this better. But it’s not that easy. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten everything Ive learned here. I understand the journey. I just hate the pain so many people are in. At the moment I’m really struggling with the fact that my children are not seeing a good example of marriage. They see nothing to Aspire to. Unless in their immaturity they can see that their mum is not giving up on their dad. That’s the only positive. My youngest will not ever remember seeing her dad kiss and hug her mum. She’s already commented on this fact. She has also been struggling with anxiety and sleep problems because of us I’m sure. She told me the other day that maybe I should have only had my older children and not her. This is devastating to me. I feel I’ve (we’ve) damaged her now. The damage is done. She will always have this with her. I dont want her to have a life of depression and anxiety like me. Sometimes I wonder why God allows this all to happen. Yes we have free will but God is almighty and sovereign. He can fix this. The battle now is to stay strong in the Lord. To accept that He us teaching us through this pain. It’s all I can hang onto.
      Yes I have changed. My H admits thus but says it’s too late. The damage is done. So the lesson is obviously that we need God more then our marriages. I know that to be true. Thus life is but a blink of the eye in the light of eternity. I want eternity with God. That is more important than my marriage for sure. But there’s still the problem of actually living this life each day. Being an example for our kids. Which is so hard to do. Easy to realize that’s what’s required, but hard to do. Sometimes the pain is so great that I can’t function properly, even with my faith. So that’s a lack of true faith then? AAAHHHHHHHHHHGGG It’s soooo hard.
      Then prayer. Yes its powerful. But we can pray all day long every day for good things like an end to terrorism, for an end to violence, for people to live in peace with each other etc, but even the bible points to the fact that it’s not going to happen. In this world there will be trouble……. ( I forget the verse). So is there any point in praying fir these things?? These are the battles in my head. The world will end and God will destroy all the evil so obviously it’s never going to get better. Sorry. My mind is racing and I’m typing it.
      My h is here. Not gone yet. But I’m lonelier than ever. I love him. I’ve changed and just feel love and forgiveness and the desire to live our marriage for Gods glory. But he can’t do it. I’ve hurt him too much. He’s hurt me too though. Deeply. Yet I can see what he can’t see. It’s frustrating. I just want to reach out and love him. But he doesn’t want it. Do I stay the distance? Learn MORE patience and perseverance? Is God really testing me to see that the minute He makes things better that I won’t revert back and forget about Him?? He sees and kmows all. Is this why the wait is so long? I’m not ready yet? I have resolved to not give up on my husbsnd. I will know even if it ends that I did my best. My husbsnd is being very nice, giving, more gentle, will even pause the tv and look at me if I say something so he can listen ( or not miss the show probably). I see small changes but they are most likely to make it easier on me to stay until the kids have grown up and leave.
      When we marry we are giving up living a separate life. Or why bother getting married. So stay single and do what you want if that’s what you want. It’s NOT OK. you’re not wrong to feel that way. Marriage isn’t supposed to be like this.
      I apologize for the rant. I’m very emotional at the moment. HH”s story has me both amazed and rattled at the same time. His faith in this trial is truly inspiring. He is so faithful to God and yet in so much pain. But he sees and feelsGods peace in this. AMAZING.
      I feel love and concern for everyone here even tho I wouldn’t know you all if we passed on the street. PLEASE HELP US ALL LORD.

    4. Amanda, I typed a long response, but it might have gotten lost somehow.

      I will pray for you. I totally agree that the enemy is on the attack against marriages and families. Everywhere really.

      Is the Christian’s answer to merely trust God, pray and sit back? I don’t think so.

      My shorter answer was that God showed me the other day the story of David and Goliath and reminded me that even though David’s trust was totally in God, David still took action. He fought. That is the story all through Scripture. Faith usually requires some action. I did feel like I was fighting for my marriage – that if I didn’t take the steps I was taking, things weren’t going to change and our marriage would probably end at some point or end with us two very lonely and separate people.

      My steps of faith (my sling and stones) were to become extremely honest with my husband about what I was feeling and what I was seeing in him and to no longer pretend things were fine in my marriage when they weren’t.

      I knew God was ultimately the One who would have to open my husband’s eyes to the possibility that he needed to do some changing….

      I hesitantly say that things are *much *better now. My husband is valuing me, my opinion, my freedom to have my own voice, he has apologized for shutting me down and pushing me to the place he did. I realized I had value and that shift in me became apparent. I was no longer willing to let my husband treat me as if I was lesser than he. I started to require him to treat me with the respect a wife should get from her husband. (I didn’t use words like that to him, but my boundaries showed it).

      But, I knew I was risking our marriage when it all started. I had come to a place that, for me, that was OK.

      I pray God will give you wisdom, comfort and peace. That you will follow the Spirit’s leading and hear from Him clearly.

    5. Hi Amanda.

      I suspect we all feel the attacks of the enemy on our lives. But I definitely don’t think we are supposed to be passive about it 🙂 It comes down to ‘how’ we choose to fight it IMO. Probably that will look a little different for each person but it has to begin on the right foundation 🙂 HH

    6. Amanda,

      We are always tempted to rush ahead of God and do things in our own strength – which makes a mess – or to be passive and lag behind and not do what God prompts us to do – which also makes a mess.

      Be sure you are abiding in Christ and acting on His prompting. Abiding in Him is about our walking in obedience and hearing His voice clearly and doing what He calls us to do – whether to wait at times or to charge ahead in His power and His wisdom.

      You can’t change your husband. True. And all you can do is pray. But if you know the power of God and the power of prayer – that is the most powerful thing there is!

      Yes, there is absolutely contentment in Christ alone in any circumstance – Phil. 4:12-13. If Paul can be content in a Roman prison, being shipwrecked, being mistreated and persecuted for the gospel, being stoned to death and raised back to life, being beaten many times for Christ, being abandoned by those who should have stood by him, being naked, starving, sleep-deprived, and hated… I am absolutely convinced we can be content even with a husband who is out of town. This is not too big for our God! And Jesus truly is more than enough!

      How is your prayer life and time with Christ going, my dear sister?

      1. April, where does scripture record Paul being stoned to death and raised again? I have not read that before. HH

        1. HH,

          First, the incident is recorded by Luke in Acts 14:19-20

          Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

          Paul, himself, describes it, as well – but in cryptic language so that he does not boast about the fact that he saw heaven.

          Here is the passage in 2 Corinthians 12:

          I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

          1. Thank you 🙂 I have read that….I had thought the way Paul wrote of that in Corinthians he was speaking of someone else’s experience and I have always read Acts as him being close to death not actually dead. Interesting! Thanks again. HH

  26. NB, CIC, AND BEL,
    Thank you for responding. I have been visiting my husband for the past 2 weeks, and I am leaving at the end of this week. And since he left, you know how I was struggling with how I can’t stand to be apart like this in our marriage all the time. I just see so much more for us. And after ALLLL we’ve been through, I just couldn’t stand to see it all fall apart again due to distance.

    But then I had no choice but to face the truth. I wanted my husband and family together more than I wanted Jesus. As much as I wish that wasn’t the case, that’s exactly what came out when it came down to it yesterday and this morning.

    And then I realized something. After my husband was home again for a few months and things were really starting to go in a great direction, and then he had to leave agian…..THAT WAS MY TEST. That was a test of MY FAITH. And it was a test to prove my own heart….whether I would trust God and cling to the hope and faith in Him that He still knows what is best, and that He had a reason for all of it happening…..but I failed. Instead, I felt betrayed, and my heart hardened against God again, and I sought to seek my life and satisfaction from my husband again. And then I sat this morning, and realized…….. is my husband really the answer to my life problems? Is he really what I need? am I seriously willing to trade Jesus in for my husband and family life I want??

    The answer was no.

    I’m still mad that the reason I am even in this situation is not because God orchestrated it, but because of the enemy attacking my husband leading him to quit the last job he had that allowed for us to be home in the same home. But God is sovereign…..so He obviously allowed it.

    I think I see what is going on here…….it is all a matter of FAITH. He wants us to trust Him no matter what.

    I’ve been reading the Bible a lot today, and I’m starting to see how much emphasis Paul actually put on the faith of the saints…..he was always mentioning it and rejoicing when he learned that their faith was growing and that their love for one another was abounding more and more.

    Be encouraged ladies! There is MORE TO LIFE THAN MARRIAGE! Thats not what we want to hear, but it is true! We will not have our husbands and family in heaven like we do here….it will all be about the Lord and worshipping him! We MUST set our hearts on things above and not on the earth. God make that a reality in all our hearts.

    Blessings,
    Amanda

  27. Hi, Bel, LMS, CiC, SW, NB, PW and ABCDEFG (lol!!!!)

    I want to write down some of the thoughts that have been rattling around my head coz I feel lead to this afternoon.
    It’s been a big week hey! For a lot of us, in a lot of different ways.

    We are under attack, this is clear and factual. The question is, who are we under attack from? Husband, wife, other people pulling at our covenant partner? No, the warfare is spiritual. Trusting God to work does not mean sitting passively by. We need to FIGHT, but it is important to use the right weapons. We don’t enter a sword fight with a pencil! We don’t enter a political debate with a sword! We need to know the enemy and use the appropriate weapon. Sure, I had to let my wife leave, that’s her choice and I respect that! But that doesn’t mean I sit passively by and proclaim “whatever will be, will be” or even put a spiritual slant on it and proclaim “Oh because it ‘happened’ it must be the Lord’s will for us to divorce”. NO! My kids need a mum and a dad who love God and each other. God is glorified through marital harmony and unity. I’m going to FIGHT but I’m going to fight the right way.

    Ephesians 6 tells us that “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

    Hah, the attacks are coming from the enemy. How does one fight these attacks? Firstly and fore-mostly, we don’t fight them in our own strength. Our job is to be a channel for God’s power. Are you exhausted? Totally beaten? Lost to know what to do? Good! Then you are in a position of dependence where you know you need to depend on God’s strength. Maybe you are still trying to fight in your own strength? I write this for myself as much as everyone, I’m no spiritual giant!! BUT, I knew peace this last weekend through one of the most difficult nights of my entire life. Actually, I think it probably was the most difficult night I have ever had…..but wow! I KNEW God’s strength in my heart, I was “strengthened in the inner man”, I had the ability to refrain from speaking until I knew that I was speaking God’s words and I had a strength that was not my own. It was spiritual warfare! (and I am seeing fruit from this warfare although the battle is not done yet).

    Where does spiritual warfare begin? Ephesians 6 continues “And PRAY in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of PRAYERS and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on PRAYING for all the Lord’s people.” PRAYER is the first part of our spiritual warfare! 1 John 6:16 says ” If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should PRAY and God WILL give them life.”…….does this sound like your husband or wife? Are they perhaps not actively against God but are sinning in their walk, perhaps particularly against you? Don’t judge them for it because you know in your heart that you too have sinned against them, probably many, many times, but look at the promise recorded here in 1st John…..you should PRAY and God WILL give them life! Have a look at the scripture a few verses back in the same chapter “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

    God’s hand is moved by our faith. Read that again. God’s hand is moved by our faith. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but in His sovereign mercy He acts on our faith and prayer. Fight like a man (or a woman depending on who is reading this), get on your knees and PRAY. Spend that time with God. Tell Him whatever is on your heart, even if you are praying prayers like “God, I simply don’t know what to do. I am weak and I know it. I struggle to understand where to go God”. Just be REAL with God and trust Him in your prayer. God will bring to you what you need to hear. If you are struggling to understand it, tell Him that! Trust His love to help you! Even Jesus disciples had to ask Him to “teach us to pray”. Sunday morning I was empty of self, hadn’t a clue what the night would bring. My prayer was literally one of “God, it’s another day. I have nothing left Lord, I’m empty and I don’t know how much longer this trial is going to continue. Please help me today”. Sunday night BAM! The battle stepped up……

    God is slowly teaching us spiritual warfare methinks. For me, this is largely based on my knees. I have been thinking a LOT about taming the tongue lately. But how? James 3 says “No man tames the tongue”. Jesus also said that “out of the heart comes the words we say”…….BINGO, the answer to taming the tongue is found in the STATE OF THE HEART…….if our heart is full of love, self control, righteous anger etc then that is what is going to come out of our mouth……if our heart is full of pride, self-righteous anger (big difference between this and righteous anger), self love, etc then that is what is going to come out of our mouth…….so controlling the tongue IMO means growing more and more in maturity in our heart….I think this is what Galatians 6 means by saying “If we sow unto the Spirit we will reap of the Spirit”……….

    One of the things that has been laid on my heart over the last few weeks is the scripture “Let every man be swift to hear, SLOW TO SPEAK and slow to wrath” plus further along in James “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” God is teaching WISDOM. And look at the fruit of wisdom “a harvest of righteousness”! Aha!!! I want that! So the order of warfare for me at the moment is………Listen………Pray……….Speak!

    Random thoughts…….hopefully they can string together and mean something to you as they do to me!

    In Christ, HH

    1. HH,
      Thank you for this post. So much wisdom here! Im saving it to read and absorb…
      Praying for you and your wife….You are in such a difficult season, yet your strenght is incredible.
      To God be the glory! He knows how to take care of us.
      Blessings,
      NB

      1. I am glad it is a blessing NB! 🙂 And THANK YOU for your prayers!!! I am truly, truly not strong of myself, when I try to stand on my own strength I crumble pretty much straight away!!! And I assure you I crumble often 🙁 I have to keep coming back to the truth of relying fully on God’s strength. I am now reminded of a quote from Francis Ridley Havergal. Please take the time to read it, it is WONDERFUL!!!!

        Miss Havergal held a sound scriptural basis for the victorious life into which she had entered. To a
        friend she wrote: “I have long wanted to explain to you and others in writing (which is easier to me to be clear in,
        than in conversation, with its natural interruptions) what I see as to the subject which to me was undoubtedly the
        portal into a happy life. As to ‘perfectionism’ or ‘sinlessness,’ I have all along, and over and over again, said I never
        did, and do not, hold either. ‘Sinlessness’ belongs only to Christ now, and to our glorified state in heaven. I
        believe it to be not merely an impossibility on earth, but an actual contradiction of our very being, which cannot be
        ‘sinless’ till the resurrection change has passed upon us. But being kept from falling, …kept from sins…, is quite
        another thing, and the Bible seems to teem with commands and promises about it.

        First, however, I would distinctly state, that it is only as, and while, kept by the
        power of God Himself that we are not sinning against Him; one instant of standing alone is certain fall! But
        (premising that) have we not been limiting the cleansing power of the precious blood when applied by the Holy Spirit, and also the keeping power of our God? Have we not been limiting 1 John 1:7, by practically making it refer
        only to ‘the remission of sins that are past,’ instead of taking the grand simplicity of what it actually says, ‘cleanses us
        from all sin?’

        ‘All’ is all: and just as we may trust Him to cleanse from the stain of past sins, so we may trust Him
        to cleanse from all present defilement, …yes, all! If not, we take away from this most precious promise. And, by
        refusing to take it in its fullness, we lose the fullness of its application and power. Then, we limit God’s power to
        ‘keep’. We look at our frailty more than at His omnipotence. Where is the line to be drawn, beyond which He is
        not ‘able?’ The very keeping implies total helplessness without it, and the very cleansing most distinctly implies defilement without it. That one word ‘cleanses’ opened the door of a very glory of hope and joy to me.

        I had never seen the force of the verb tense before,” Miss Havergal joyfully explained, “a continual
        present, …always a present tense, not a present which the next moment becomes a past. It goes on cleansing,
        …and I have no words to tell how my heart rejoices in that truth. Not a coming to be cleansed in the fountain only, but a remaining in the fountain, so that it may and can go on cleansing continually.'”

        How good does she explain it!!!!! HH

      1. It is a curious, curious season April. On the one hand I DREAD each new unfolding as for so long each new step has been one of deep pain. And yet with each step I REJOICE over the deep lessons I am learning and the fruit I see growing in my own heart. I LONG for this painful trial to be over yet BEG God to take me as DEEP into His love and will as I can possibly go knowing full well that may well mean many more difficult lessons…….as Alice in Wonderland would say “curiouser and curiouser”!!! HH

        1. HH,

          I totally relate to what you are describing here, my dear brother. I am so thankful that you (and each of us) are in God’s good hands and that He is with us, directing us each step of the way as we trust and yield ourselves to Him. Wherever He is, that is where I want to be. There is no better place, even if it is a place of pain. To be there with Him, makes it a place of growth, transformation, beauty, and power beyond our wildest imagination.

          Thank you so much for sharing so much of what God is doing in your heart. What a joy and inspiration to us all!

    2. HH. I woke up at 2 am today, felt strongly to check out a financial situation with a credit account I knew nothing about. Trust is shaken right now. Then I read this at 3:30 am. God is sending us all wisdom through each other. It is important to understand who the real enemy is. Thank you for sharing this tiday. I know your trials are great, but our God is greater. I feel so blessed to have everyone here to draw from and give to. This is working powerfully in all of us. Those who write and post as well as those who benefit from reading it all.

      I agree with God want g us to be active, not passive. Simply beleiving in God does not help increaset His kingdom. We are asked to be ministers of His ways. To help spread the truth. Sometimes that truth is hard to say knowing it may cause pain, sometimes it is hard to hear because of the conviction we feel from it…but it is still love and God IS love. I, too will be taking a more active stance against sin. I am derp in prayer to be closer to God and hear correctly what His will is and my part in it…or NOT in it, in some cases.

      Many blessings to you. I pray God imparts wisdom and discernment to us all. I pray we all can be courageous and confident in God to speak the truth in love. –LMS

      1. LMS, oh trust is so easily broken and so difficult to regain 🙁 I have been trying to earn my wifes trust for many, many years without success.

        I pray that you will be given the wisdom you need to deal with the situation in the way that best demonstrates love and glorifies God!

        HH

      2. LMSdaily115,

        Praying for God’s clear wisdom and direction for you, that you might act and respond in a way that honors God and that you might have His Spirit’s power about how to proceed.

  28. April,
    I can’t write too much now because I am running out of internet on my phone out here visiting my husband, but I will be back home after this weekend and I will love to catch up and write more! 🙂

    All,
    Ty for gathering round to build each other up, Llike I wrote April I can’t write too much, but I just had a startling revelation that I felt urgent to share with all of you since we have been talking about this very thing…….

    The enemy has been attacking our marriages. There has been a lot of trial and harship for us all——- and the enemy, we are certain, had evil intentions, intentions to break down our faith, steal our marriages, steal our joy, lead us away from Christ, etc. etc…………….. but in turn, all the attacks are serving the purposes of God in that God is forming a vessel—- a heavenly Church—-us—— and these attacks have only been used to bring us all closer together in the bond of the Spirit. We are all being knit together in the spirit—— as God is forming His Church—the bride of Christ.

    The attacks have driven us all closer—-we are all in different places geographically—yet in spirit, we are being knit together for a habitation of God.

    Talk to all of you soon! Praying for all of us!

    Blessings & love,
    Amanda

      1. April,
        I just watched your slow down video and I felt it was the perfect time to write more about my obvious issues I was having a few weeks ago 🙂

        And also I just wanted to confirm that message you sent out about slowing down because I literally just spent 3 weeks in the “wilderness” with my husband alone. He was at work 12+ hours everyday, and I was literally all alone(my son stayed with grandparents) in the middle of nowhere North Dakota. I got to spend some serious time alone with God and everything you said in your short video is exactly right. All distractions were gone—no tv, no unlimited internet. All I had was my phone really. But it was literally so relaxing and I was able to focus in on God and hear from Him.

        I ready Breaking Free while I was there because I saw it on your list in the lies we believe post, definitely was used by God to speak to me. And it was through reading that too that God opened my eyes to what was really going on for the past couple months with my husband leaving and everything. And as I wrote in another comment I saw that it was simply I wanted my husband and family more than God, but what death came in when I turned my heart from wanting GOD first. Wow. What a snare and a subtle trap.

        But this was necessary because during my wilderness time, I really was able to focus and let it all go. And I got to spend time with my husband alone and I was able to actually talk to him and wow I just can’t even beleive how amazing the Lord is and how He works things out.

        To top the whole trip off, my flight got delayed and I had to be put up in a hotel in detroit, but the Lord led me to a woman who I was able to stay along with and go through the process of getting new flights etc. The Lord worked miracle after miracle for us over those 2 days!! PRAISE GOD!

        And then, when I finally made it home, I realized it was the ultimate test of contentment. People all around us were freaking out about the flight delaying over night and just getting so mad about everything. We decided to roll with it, and I especially heard the Lord telling me to put into practice what I was reading for 3 weeks 12 hours a day 🙂

        Now, I’m home, and I get a call from my husband that HE GOT OFFERED ANOTHER JOB BACK HOME!!!

        HE IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        ?!?!?!?!? THE LORD IS GOOD!

        All that agony, heart wrestling, anguish, sadness, anger……letting go, moving forward…..and now it’s over. He’s coming home. I never thought this would happen!!!!!

        But I am thankful, and I see now more than ever that God is in control. He is working out in us all something bigger than just this earthly existence. He is molding us and He is allowing things because He has a character in mind that He is working out in all of us. Wow. Let it be!!!!

        I summed everything up in a very small nutshell, but I thought it might bless you to see how our God is working! 🙂

        I am blessed by your stories and I am glad you are enjoying your summer with your family!!!!

        And p.s. I so wish I could attend your conference…it is just no where near where I am 🙁 But hopefully one day if you make it around my parts I will be there!

        Blessings and Love,
        Amanda

        1. Amanda!!!!
          IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!
          This is the greatest news i received today!!!!
          God is so GOOD!!!!
          You are so absolutely right- we need to put our everything in Christ alone.
          As you know, im learning this daily…It is absolute truth!
          Love,
          NB

          1. NB, LMS, & HH & all here at PW–
            I praise God with you all and am so glad to have all of you and April here to rejoice with me in this time! God is good—-and I want to encourage all of you to cling to Him and seek Him alone—— because whether or not things worked out the way they did for me, I came back to rest in Christ and I was at peace—this was just a surprise miracle on top of everything!!! 🙂

            I can see clearly where I became distracted and I can trace the attacks of the enemy on my mind and in my life to get my eyes off of Christ—but Jesus knows and He already sees the end—what the enemy intends to destroy us only brings all of us closer and it purifies our hearts!!! HALLELUJAH!!

            Keeping us all in prayers b/c I know now that anything can happen at any moment and things can fall apart over night—-but thankfully, it can also be put back together in a moments time 🙂 Keep believing—- God is looking to refine us in these times and He is conforming us to the image of Christ! LET IT BE!!!!

            Love and Blessings,
            Amanda

          2. Amanda,

            LOVE this!

            I have been struggling a bit this week with some fear about work. Thankful for the opportunity to hash through these fears and recognize them. I hope to have some serious time in the morning before work again to really lay things down. I want to be just as empowered by Christ in the pharmacy as I am anywhere else. If God wants me there, He will empower me to minister in His Name and He will equip me. I want to let go of every fear and doubt and every wrong way of thinking in every area and allow Him total control.

            Yes, the enemy would love to distract us and is always working to do that in any way he can. He will try new areas if we stop allowing him to distract us in old ones. But God can give us victory!

            Much love!

        2. What a wonderful testament to trusting in God and His glory and love. Thank you for sharing. I’m so happy your husband is coming back home, but more happy about the time you spent searching out God and communing with Him. What a gift He has given. Praise be to our Lord!

        3. Wow!!!! So awesome, Amanda! I love it!!!

          If and only if you are comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear more about the things God was speaking to you and also what the conversation looked like with your husband. Specifically, I’m wondering whether the conversation was before or after the time of freshly realizing that you could be content without him.

          But, also understand that those are intimate details, so forgive me if I have crossed a line!

          Love to you, sister!

          1. CIC,
            throughout the 3 weeks I was out there, I used all that time to write posts for my blog about contentment so I would def. encourage you to follow those as I put them out each day, I incorporated all I learned there into the posts about contentment!! It mostly centered around loving the Lord 1st and foremost, and letting go of personal interests, dreams, desires, etc. and spiritual warfare! But the things God showed me about my own life and relationships is definitely priceless. I left there with so much peace…I was telling my counselor all about it today it is just so amazing how much you can hear God with no distractions at all. I would definitely encourage everyone to take that time alone with God and if at all possible, take some serious time alone like a weekend or something or even just a day with no distractions—it is seriously refreshing and it is the one necessity as Jesus taught with the example of mary and martha!

            I had a conversation with my husband the second day I was out there with him and I wrote down all he said lol.

            I basically asked him what he needed as a man—and his answers were very straight to the point: food, love (respect), affection (sex), God, and sleep.

            I asked him what he wanted me to stop doing if there was anything I needed to stop and he said : stop assuming he puts other people before me, stop telling him what to do, and stop getting jealous about who he talks to and to stop idolizing him!!!!
            (I was already working on these lol 🙁 )

            I asked him what he wanted me to do in general and he said : He wants me to be peaceful and happy and not starting any kind of “crap” with him.

            I asked him what affection means to him and he said: sex, not flopping all over him or lots of hugging and kissing…he’s not into all that (I already knew this obviously, but he never flat out said any of this unti now).

            I asked him what he wanted to see me do in life and he said : He wants me to be peaceful in life.

            I asked him if he likes to be verbally affirmed and he said he doesn’t care about verbal affirmation—-and I asked him what “supporting” him means then, and he said : supporting him means I say ” Yes, Matt, your doing [whatever he decides] for the right reasons!”—so basically he just wants me to affirm his decisions and tell him he’s doing the right thing when he does it and that to him is supporting him!

            He said we aren’t married to entertain each other and that just being home with him is all he needs–we don’t need to be doing something together all the time.

            I asked him what “helping” him looks like to him and he said: I can help him by feeding him and giving him a drink when he needs it (which I already do but I didn’t know that’s what helping him meant to him!)

            He told me to just be at peace when he has to travel for work and that’s all he asks and wants from me!

            We talked a lot during the time there too and we talked about how different our perspectives were about different things!

            After we had a disagreement one day while I was there, I noticed how fast he pulled away from me again. And I talked to him about it, and he said that it was because of how I acted about something that happened with his ex-wife. He said it makes him not want to be around me when I freak out about anything and it makes him not really attracted to me when he thinks I am mad at him.—so imagine if I freak out on him about something, he thinks I’m mad at him—and then he doesn’t feel attracted to me, he feels like he can’t approach me at all because he thinks I am mad at him…..that makes sense!

            He helped me see a lot of things clearly and I left there feeling such peace in our marriage!

            When I left, he texted me and told me he just wants me to focus on being content in life! lol that was God just speaking it to me over and over through my husband the whole time I was there!!!!

            I never imagined that he would be coming home so soon!

            I told my counselor today that I feel like my whole marriage so far has just been a huge misunderstanding…like I’ve misunderstood a lot of my husbands actions to mean bad things when really it is his way of being loving. For example, his way of showing affection is throwing socks at me…..not exacctly what speaks love to me, but to him that’s his way of being loving!!!!!!! He knows that he can’t just do things like that if I don’t like it, but maybe I can stop being so serious all the time and see how much he tries when I haven’t even realized it!

            It was definietly a much needed time with God and my husband. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything!!!! 🙂

            Blessings,
            Amanda

          2. Amanda,
            Awesome!!! Im so happy for you..
            Wow, your husband and mine are totally similar. Mine never said so much ( wish he did though!) But over time i see the similarities in what he said with what your husband said…
            Once we were talking a week or so ago, i did ask if he felt disrespected when i assumed things and acted suspicious when he was texting. He said ” sometimes”…but when i ask what would he like me to do that spoke the most respect to him, he said he didnt know…Go figure…
            But i can figure that out easily myself based on what he said before…
            Pretty much, the same things that your husband shared- not assuming the worstof him, be content,etc…
            Thank you for all your help and for this super helpful post!!!

          3. NB
            I used to beg Greg to tell me what he needed from me. He would go silent. I got so mad! Or he would say “I don’t know.” I got really mad at that, too! How could he not know what he needed! He told me later, he knew he needed my respect, but he couldn’t ask for that. He felt he had to earn it and could never earn it. And sometimes, men have a hard time articulating what they need, even if they do know.

            But I love what he has shared with you before. I am sure those things still apply!

          4. SW, I love all that you have discovered about your husband 🙂 May I please ask you, if he is doing something that ISN’T for the right reasons, how would you confront that when he wants you to affirm it? HH

          5. HH,
            I have asked him that before, and he has told me that if I see him about to do something really unwise that he wants me to speak up about it! I didn’t say anything the last time he quit his job, and he later told me that he wished I had. But I was practicing being quiet and letting him make his own choices at the time. And also before that in the past, I would ALWAYS say something about everything he was doing, and he obviously didn’t like that, so when the quitting his job thing came around, I just didn’t say anything and he made his own decision. But now I know that if that was the case again or anything that is not wise, I need to say something, but eitehr way, it is his decision!!

            I will not affirm sin, that is for sure 🙂 But I will let him make his own decisions and not try to force him to do anything because I used to do that and all it did was drive him further away from me!!!!

          6. Love this, Amanda! So many important things were shared. I love what God is doing in your life!

            What your husband shared is so similar to what Greg said to me – about what he wanted most for me – to be content and at peace. Very interesting!

            I think most of us have experienced something very similar about our marriages being a series of big misunderstandings. I know ours was. The more I understand Greg’s perspective, the more unity we have. Often, I just didn’t know his perspective and made assumptions about evil motives that were just not true. So helpful to actually be able to hear what our spouse’s perspective is.

            Awesome!

          7. April,
            I honestly was shocked when I realized that’s all he wanted from me. I had created all these ideas in my own mind about what I thought he needed/wanted from me. I feel as though it was all the work of the enemy against my mind because I was believing lies, things I made up, or perhaps were placed in my mind by the enemy that I blindly admitted into my mind, and it caused a lot of misunderstandings and issues! But thanks be to God alone for showing me the truth and leading me to this experience in talking to my husband about everything! I am grateful!!!

            In Christ there is freedom—and simplicity—- anything else, I need to be watchful about and question it !

            God is So good! 🙂

          8. Satisfied Wife,

            I felt the exact same way when I realized this about a year and a half ago – that Greg really just wanted me to be at peace and content. That was truly all he wanted. For the first 6 years of my journey I did so many things to try to show him respect – that – for him, really didn’t matter.

            Yes those lies can cause TONS of problems and misunderstandings!

            How I praise God for what He has shown you! WOOHOO!

    1. Satisfied wife: Genesis 50:30 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for Good.” He can make beauty from ashes. Amen

    1. Good to “hear” from you guys. 🙂 Bel, will be praying for you….it is neat to hear your “voice” becoming stronger, if that makes sense. HH, I am sincerely so thankful for what God is doing in you through all of this. It is a testimony that God’s grace is truly sufficient for us and that *He* is enough for whatever He takes us through!

      I’m doing o.k. We had a long family vacation together which was….different and good at times and weird and not good at times. lol Just different because I know God has changed me and my thinking. Different because it was a lot of focused time together with me trying to learn how to operate with all that God is showing me. Sometimes, it looks good, sometimes, I’m swinging too far in one direction. It’s messy.

      I am struggling with balancing how to show respect to my husband without crossing the line of losing myself. It gets strange very quickly and that happened again on vacation at times. I guess it is the old pattern of being enmeshed that happens. Right now, I feel like I either have to be enmeshed or I have to emotionally separate a little more than I want to, but enmeshment is not an option for me, so I’m going the other way until God shows me the next step in this journey.

      The last day or so, I was feeling off and then this morning, God reminded me that I am not responsible for my husband and I can be fulfilled and happy without him. It was like all of the things He taught me came flooding back and I realized this morning that this journey is going to be a process. I guess somewhere inside, once we got on vacation together, I was thinking that maybe we could just move right into a healthy marriage and all would be great. But, I can see that this is going to be a process.

      I found myself reverting back to overly apologizing for things that I don’t need to apologize for the last few days. This was a habit/weakness of mine….apologizing for things I didn’t need to apologize for and I think I start doing it again when I am feeling overly responsible for my husband and his thoughts/reactions, etc or when I am pulling too much weight in the relationship (or putting too much priority on the relationship).

      Also, I am realizing that I have a lot of frustrations that I need to learn how to respectfully share. Instead of waiting until I’m past frustrated. This is a battle for me and I really need prayer in this. It is very hard for me to be vulnerable right now and share my heart. I need prayer that when I express my hurt or anger or whatever, that I will slow down and really let God lead and guide me in those moments.

      I also keep being reminded that I have lost myself. I am giving myself permission to do things for me and not feel guilty for what seems like the first time in a loonnnggg time. (Thanks, Laura Doyle, lol!) I don’t know why we Christians think that our life should hold no pleasure, but I can see that it is a lie of the enemy. We fall for it and pretty soon, we are miserable Christians. How attractive that must be for the world. LOL

      For a while now, I have felt like God is asking me to dream again….and I have been trying to focus in on the things that bring me joy, the things that I am drawn to, the way God has made me…ways that He might want to use me in a more focused way. I don’t know what that looks like, but I do know the things I’m drawn to. I am enjoying quiet moments in nature, have been spending more time reading which I have always loved to do, but haven’t done as much the last few years, am really enjoying listening to music and singing freely and obnoxiously loudly with dancing sometimes – just for the sake of my kids’ embarrassment. OK, not really just for their embarassment, that’s just an added bonus, haha. I am having fun kind of rediscovering the things that make me “me”. I would love to be a counselor of some sort, but yet, I don’t have the desire to go to college for years and spend the money, time, energy, etc.

      Anyway, I’m just rambling with different things going through my head. I’m an open book. (Another way God made me!)

      That’s my long and detailed update for you guys. I’d love to hear from you all, but I also know that there are times in this journey that you just pull back and need to be quiet and do some thinking before you can even figure out how to express it.

      And since I love music, I have to share my new latest favorite. 🙂

      1. CiC, haha, I’m an open book too. It’s something I am learning I need to close sometimes!

        That’s an awesome song BTW. I am enjoying JJ Hellers music this week.

        I find it interesting that you struggle to show respect without ‘losing yourself’. FWIW I struggle to show love without ‘losing myself’ also. I don’t have the answer for this, just sharing that I feel the same. My thoughts are (in no particular order and with no particular answer or direction)
        – In order to love sacrificially I give up my life for my family
        – What does giving up my life actually mean? For Jesus it meant actual death. Is that the extent God calls me to give up my life?
        – Practically, does that mean things like finding a job that is not family based to ensure DW feels like she is coming first? If my hobbies (such as camping and fishing) take me away for a weekend does that mean giving those up to make sure time is spent with her instead?
        – How many of the things she says I got ‘wrong’ did I actually get ‘wrong’ and how many of them are based in her own selfishness?
        – The scripture talks about Christians falling away from God and being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. Does chasing things for ‘me’ (including my hobbies) fall in this category?
        – I totally relate to the concept of Christians seeing pleasure as ‘wrong’ particularly given my church background, but there is a definite pattern in scripture where believers seem to suffer for doing good. How does that fit with enjoying the things here?
        – I have a LOT of pain and frustrations over aspects of our marriage (past and present) that I have no freedom to talk about with DW as she is obviously of the opinion that the relationship is terminated. Some of these frustrations are directly impacting the kids now…..do I speak up for the kids sake when the person has no interest in pursuing any sort of relationship?
        – Obviously I am carrying the entire weight of the “relationship” as I’m the only one who wants it to continue…..that’s a big strain.
        – What does it mean PRACTICALLY to ‘lose your life for Christ’s sake”

        I am glad that what I write is helpful to you and others. Please know that I still have many times of deep pain, uncertainty and fear. I am longing for either an end to this painful time or a deeper faith and understanding to carry me through it.

        HH

        1. HH,

          That is interesting that husbands and wives can “lose themselves” when they are seeking to love and respect their spouses. Greg and I were just talking about this as I read your words. It seems to me, that if we put our spouse first, and trying to please them above everything else and trying to have their approval above God’s – that seems to be when we lose ourselves. Any thoughts on that?

          The goal has to be to have Jesus’ approval far above all else.

          I believe it takes the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit to find the right balance in these areas. The balance that is required can be very delicate – impossible with human wisdom, even.

          There are verses about enjoying the life God has given us. I actually did a word study this week on “joy” and “rejoicing” but you can also do one on “enjoy.” That may be a good study, too!

          My prayer is that we would ALL allow God to do the heavy lifting in our relationships – whether things are going well or are really way off in a deep ditch. Let’s let God hold the spiritual weight that is much too heavy for our shoulders! It is always tempting to take some of that weight on ourselves. But I pray we will lay it all before Jesus at His feet.

          Losing my life for Christ’s sake – wow, that could be a book! To me, it is about giving up my will for His. Seeking His glory above all.

          Praying for God’s continued revelation, healing, power, wisdom, and beauty in your life!

          1. April,

            I think that sounds about right about seeking our spouses approval above God’s being a factor in losing ourselves and I suspect it also ties in strongly with what we see “ourselves” as. It seems strongly tied in to what we see our identity as. It seems we often find our identity in our job, our friends, our appearance, our wealth or any number of things.

            A scripture that rattles around in my head all the time is “if we seek to save our lives we will lose it but if we lose our lives for his sake we will find it”.

            There seems to actually be a thought that losing ourselves is a good thing, but if we lose ourselves for our spouse we end up bitter and disappointed. It seems to be when we lose ourselves for Christ (absolute surrender) we actually find ourselves and find fulfillment and purpose. And I say this as one who isn’t quite there yet in all aspects but I want to be.

            Regarding letting God do the heavy lifting….that sounds very good! How does one get there more? I seem to be carrying to much still!

            HH

          2. HH,

            To me, regarding letting God to the heavy lifting – it seems to be primarily a matter of realizing where our responsibilities end and His begin. To me, it is about not trying to carry weight that doesn’t belong to me. Not being “overly responsible” as I am prone to do.

            It is very much how I described months ago that I don’t try to take on the weight of people’s problems here – I would be crushed! I think of myself as one of the friends who carried the paralytic to Jesus on a mat. I don’t think of myself as the one who needs to fix things. I think of myself as someone who takes broken people and situations to Jesus and then sits beside the hurting person at His feet and waits for Him to heal them. Not sure if that makes sense?

          3. Yes, this makes sense. And guess what? A brother shared the exact same thought about the paralytic in our morning worship this morning…..fluke? I think not 🙂 HH

        2. HH and April,

          Enjoyed the exchange y’all had on not losing yourselves when loving or respecting their spouse.

          I think the verses I think about when it comes to enjoying life are in Ecclesiastes….

          I was thinking of the things I find pleasure in and realized that most of them are things created by God… nature, music, art, even watching a really good movie (don’t we almost always see spiritual truths in the stories that we read our watch now as believers?). When I truly take the time to be in the moment and enjoy the gifts as they present themselves (or should I say, as God gives them), there is a real pleasure in that and a real shift in my spirit. For instance, I love watching storm clouds roll in, especially in the afternoon or early evening. I’m trying to just be conscious of things like that and take a few minutes to go and enjoy that spectacular view… which leads to a few minutes of spontaneous worship.

          Even hobbies at their root are coming from a part of the way God made you and your personality. He is the One who has designed every part of you, your likes and dislikes, etc. Like everything, it’s not putting that hobby above your relationship with God or letting it get out of balance.

          As far as losing yourself for the sake of Christ… I think we have to remember we don’t go around looking for those opportunities. God is the One in control. As we can all attest to, our faith is and will be continued to be refined…. It is in the moments of more intense heat where our faith is being put to the test…. “Are you willing to give this up for Me?” . And for those who are truly new creations in Christ, the answer will always be a humble and broken “Yes, Lord.” It might take different amounts of time for each of those surrenders, but God is the One who is committed to finishing the work He began in us and will assure that the answer, for our good and His glory, will eventually be “Yes, I want You more than this thing or person.”

          And, HH, in that very real sense, you are already living the verse of giving up your life for the sake of Christ. Christ is in you and He is your life and His life is a sacrificial life.

          But, Christ’s sacrifice was for the good for us. He didn’t sacrifice His life so we could remain unconfronted or living in our sin. I think that’s where the enemy likes to mess with our heads with this idea of sacrificing for others.

          1. Cic , JJ Hellers song the well is like the theme song for my life lol 🙂 LOVE THAT SONG!!

          2. I have all her albums. Her “Loved” album was particularly responsible for helping me feel the love of God in the begonning of my journey. If you listen to the songs over and over, listen to them from different oerspectives. AS God talking to you, to your spouse, as you to spouse, spouse to you. Hearing the songs from many different perspectives helps open your heart to feEl more deeply. Lauren Daigle is awesome too…she sounds a bit like Adele.

          3. Hah, I bought one of Lauren’s album’s yesterday, the album “How Can It Be”. I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones)” on the radio and loved it. Awesome words. She has a very distinctive voice. HH

      2. CIC,
        I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you are seeing and learning! THIS IS AWESOME! I would actually love to share this as a post sometime, if you believe God would like to use this.

        I learn so much from y’all. What an honor to get to walk this road together and learn together at Jesus’ feet.

        Praying for God’s continued healing, strengthening, and discernment for you and for the others here, my dear sister.
        Much love!!!!!!!

        1. Yes, of course, April… share away. Love you so much, so good to have you back with us. I’ll be praying for you about the conference and the other things you’ve been vulnerable about and shared with us and asked prayer for (thank you for that!)

  29. Hi HH. I’ve been really wanting to hear from you and how you are. Have been praying for you, as always. Have you spoken to your wife about the pastor yet? How are your little ones? I know you are in so much pain but knowing how strong your faith is, i feel a kind of peace and confidence for you. You continue to inspire me.
    I’ve been struggling. I would like your male perspective. My h has been kind and considerate and is talking to me sbout stuff, including me, teasing me, we can joke and laugh. I keep looking for signs that he may be softening. These all seem like it to me and they make it hard for me to not reach out to him. But then at night it’s a stern “night” and gets in bed back to me as far on his side as possible. Could this be softening or just him being nice to make it easier on me? Could s husbsnd who has said the things mine has said to me really be this way if he didn’t deep down love me and hold a sliver of hope? I gues he could if he loves his kids enough hey.
    Don’t worry, I’m working hard to keep my priorities right, motives right and holding him and my marrisge loosely but I’m human. I’m so sick of the pain and loneliness every single day. It’s a daily battle. My thoughts get me crazy. But God definitely gives me, us all, enough to get through each day and try again.
    Thank you for your comment on July 21. It was very helpful.
    Sending you love and prayers HH.

    1. Hi Bel.

      Yes, we’ve spoken. Going to leave it at that and in Gods hands 🙂 The little ones are good thanks. I took them away for a few days to a friends beach shack and just had some quality time with them. Walks on the beach, board games in front of the fire, collecting driftwood etc. Very relaxing time 🙂

      I don’t think I can really know what is going on in your husbands heart sorry!! It would be nice to think he is starting to reach out but there is no way that I can possibly understand why he is behaving like that. There could be SO many reasons. He could be wounded and not wanting intimacy? He could be fearful of being hurt? He could be holding something against you? Or it could be 100 other reasons. I’m sorry I can’t help more!

      I understand the questions you have though. I ask the same questions! Even this last week I drop the kids off and end up staying for a couple hours, chatting about the kids, mutual friends, church experiences etc. We have a coffee together, she makes me a plate of snacks, I tuck the kids into bed and sit with them laughing about the day, she comes in and sits down with us and talks about her weekend…….then I go home to my separate house!!! Very confusing isn’t it 🙂

      But I had the same sort of friendly conversations with her right up to the day she walked out!!! Literally the morning before she left we were chatting happily about some mutual church friends. So I personally don’t read too much into positives or negatives (which is very hard sometimes), I leave it in God’s hands and just try to focus on my walk with Him and ask for His guidance and leading on what to do. I’m not trying to scare you or suggest your husband is leaving, all I’m saying is that we have no idea what is going on in someone else’s mind!! Which is why I believe Proverbs says that it is better to put your trust in God than in princes 🙂

      I have been thinking lately that even if we work things out I can’t go back to being enmeshed or relying on her to meet the needs that only Christ can. So I have been praying and asking God to give me as much of Him as I can possibly have so that whatever comes I can be right where He wants me to be. It’s a very slow process though 🙂

      In Christ, HH

      1. Hi HH
        Thanks for your reply. I completely understand and agree with you. I have this habit of asking questions that I already know the answer to. 😏 It would almost be easier if he was still mean in a way. At least id know for sure where I stand. Yes. I must forget the positives and negatives and just trust God. A great reminder for me.
        Your holiday with your kids sounds just lovely.
        I’m feeling on the edge of a breakthrough. Nervous to say that but……. I just have to really spend some time nutting out some things. I re read the chapter in absolute surrender called Absolute Surrender and it hit me harder this time. Please pray that I can do this with Gods help. I’m scared. But I need to.
        Bel

        1. Hi Bel, that’s awesome!!! I have just spent half an hour praying for my wife and got up to see this, I will spend some time praying for you right now 🙂 HH

        2. Bel,
          So excited about what God is doing in your heart and that things are reaching you in Absolute Surrender. Praying for that breakthrough to be soon!
          Much love to you!