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“I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked…
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…   Psalm 1:1-3

From a sister in Christ who is fairly new on this journey to become a more godly woman – I’m so thankful for her willingness to share:

I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way. One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago.

I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability.

I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me, to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh.
I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm.

It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again.

I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in His grace.
I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road.

I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His Word, and myself from Scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife.” That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light.

These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family.

When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.

I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it…

Trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms.

God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart.

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey Part 1

Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches

Things Got Worse When I First Started to Change by The Restored Wife

If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me? by Content in Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey  Than Just Prayer

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

If I Trust and Obey God, I Will Be Fake and Lose Myself – a Guest Post

How Can I Tell if I Belong to Christ?

Even Once My Marriage Is Healed, I Can’t Go Back to My Old Ways

163 thoughts on ““I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

  1. “I finally realised that my process was slow because of me”……..so good and so true!

    April, did you find that opposition increased dramatically when you started seeking God with your whole heart? I seem to be having more and more and more and more opposition the more I walk with the Lord.

    I have been considering baptism lately. I was baptised 14 years ago but it was because it was the ‘done thing’ and it really meant nothing to me. Someone asked me a few weeks ago if I had been baptised after I truly knew Christ and I have been thinking a lot about it…..and now I really, really want to identify with Christ through baptism. Is it weird to be baptised 7 years after salvation???? HH

    1. HH,

      Until we moved away we attended a very large church that had baptisms every Sunday evening where those being baptized first gave their testimonies. There were many times testimonies included being baptized a second time because they were not true Christ followers the first time. I think it’s a beautiful desire you have!

    2. This is a fantastic desire and one I highly recommend based on personal experience of doing just the same. A baptism with meaning is a recommitment to the Lord, a renewal of vows, a day you will cherish for the rest of your llife, just as I have with my “conscious” baptism.

    3. HH,

      My process was definitely slower because of my own unbelief, confusion, pride, fear, etc… yes – because of me!

      When we are not close to God, the enemy doesn’t see us as much of a threat. But as we grow stronger in Christ and in our faith, absolutely the opposition increases. I personally believe God has a really important role for you in the kingdom, my brother. In His timing. I know the enemy wants to destroy you. He wants to destroy all of us. But when he sees faith growing and submission to the Lordship of Christ, he wants to do anything he can to squash that.

      I love the idea of being baptized again when you know what you are doing and why. Lovely idea!

      1. Thank you for that perspective. I have much opposition lately in many new ways. Perhaps we may see a breakthrough in some way soon.

        I hope I can understand what my role is soon! I would like to see great things happen. I would like to see God’s Spirit poured out by the bucketload!!! In the meantime, my daughters eye injury has helped me a lot in waiting until I understand what God wants me to do…..I was struck by her trust in me, that she was willing to have her eyes closed all day and let me lead her because she knew I would do her no wrong. This is the sort of faith we can have in our heavenly father 🙂 HH

    4. Hi Humbled!

      It’s great that your commitment to Christ is growing and that you are taking the faith more seriously now. I would strongly recommend against re-baptism, however.

      To put it in historical context, if you would have asked *anyone* in the first 1700 years of the church about re-baptism the resounding answer would have been no for two reasons. First, they would have cited Ephesians 4

      There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

      Secondly, at the Council of Nicea, Fathers throughout the empire codified the formula of one baptism,

      We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.

      I know we may want to move to emphasizing whether or not baptism removes sins–a legitimate discussion in its own rite, but one that will distract us about the question of rebaptism–but it is important to notice that the emphasis is on the *oneness* of the baptism.

      Later, in the time of the Reformation, there were groups who objected to the baptism of infants. Instead, a profession of faith was necessary to receive this one baptism, they claimed. As a Presbyterian, I don’t concur here, but it’s important to note that even for some of these early groups, they claimed that it was important that the one baptism be occasioned upon a profession of faith.

      The historical reflection of a multiplicity of church traditions is wise for many reasons, but I will point out two. First, how do you know you are *really* sincere now? Isn’t it possible that in 10 years you will realize that you did not fully appreciate God’s grace? The way a pastor asked me the question is this way: When was Peter a Christian? Was it when he professed Jesus as Messiah (but then he denied Jesus)? Was it when he ran to the tomb(but then he didn’t want to eat unclean foods)? Was it when he realized God created all things good (but then he didn’t eat with Gentiles)? Was it when he repented after being confronted by Paul (Gal 1)? Judging the validity of our baptism by the sincerity of our faith is problematic because our faith and it’s depth is *viciously inconsistent.*

      This ties into the second reason. In my tradition, where we baptize infants, baptism is seen largely as a promise not of our fidelity to God, but of God’s fidelity to us. This perspective is not merely confined to churches who baptize infants, however. Baptism can be an expression of faith in God, but it is also an expression that we cling to Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of sins. The way John Calvin expressed it, when we feel weak in faith, we need to lay claim of the promises given to us in our baptism–forgiveness is found in Christ. We don’t need to turn to be re-baptized, we need to accept what God has done for us in the one baptism we are taught in Scripture.

      Blessings to you in your growth in the Lord!

      Brandon

      1. Hi Brandon.

        Thanks for your view on this. I appreciate your recommendation and your thorough comment.

        Regarding Ephesians 4, it is my view that the one baptism recorded by Paul is not referring to a single immersion/sprinkling of water but instead referring to our once off baptism into Christ in a spiritual sense. It is referring to our new birth. It is my view that this is the only baptism that actually cleanses us from our sins and that the water baptism is merely an outward declaration of the inward baptism. The thief on the cross had no ability to be water baptised but is clearly going to be a part of the Lord’s kingdom.

        I do see from scripture many people having multiple water baptisms as they identified with different things, for example many people were baptised as a sign of repentance through John the Baptist and then rebaptised upon their acceptance of Christ as saviour.

        I hear what you are saying about Peter and asking the question when did he become a Christian. I have not read the scriptures with this question in mind and without reading through Peter’s experiences and thinking a lot about it with this question in mind I would hesitate to put a specific incidence on his conversion. However, it is clear from Acts that there were many, many people who met Christ at a specific time and this is recorded in detail.

        For me personally, whilst I am certain that as time goes on I will understand God’s grace more and in a much deeper way, I am equally certain that I was born again February 2009 and that it was the occasion of my spiritual birth.

        Thank you so much for your comment!
        HH

        1. HH,

          Thanks so much for your response. I wanted to leave a final response.

          I think you may be importing your theological opinions about baptism into your interpretation of Ephesians 4. If I’ve understood correct your interpretation of Paul is something like this, “There is one spiritual baptism that cleanses you from your sins.” I believe “one water baptism” makes much better sense of the passage.

          I’d also point out that you seem to believe baptism is a symbol of our commitment to God, while I believe it is the exact opposite. I believe baptism is God’s commitment to us. For many Baptist (a person who thinks only people professing faith should be baptized–not infants) friends, they often claim that those who should receive this sign of commitment from God are people who have professed faith in Jesus. Yet, they would agree that baptism is not about our promise to God, but about his promise to us. I believe this is a *much* richer theology of the sacraments and makes a second baptism superfluous. God’s commitment to you has already marked you with the promises of God. Rest in that assurance! You don’t need to be re-baptized, you need to cling to the promises of God that were given to you in your “one baptism.”

          I do see from scripture many people having multiple water baptisms as they identified with different things, for example many people were baptised as a sign of repentance through John the Baptist and then rebaptised upon their acceptance of Christ as saviour.

          This takes a deeper understanding of the differences between the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus. The baptism of John was in preparation from the baptism of Jesus, as John himself states. In Acts, when we read of John’s disciples being re-baptized it is not because they received Trinitarian baptism into Jesus. In Acts 19 we read,

          And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

          They had never received Christian baptism. They were not “re-baptized” into Christian baptism, as you are attempting to do. As a matter of fact, you will be unable to find any examples of a person with Christian baptism being re-baptized.

          Regarding my comments on Peter, I want to make sure my point is clear. My point is, in Peter’s life, his commitment waxed and waned. Should Peter have been re-baptized every time he came to a deeper realization of God’s grace? There is no record of a re-baptism and I think this makes good pastoral sense. If we allow the level of our sincerity to validate our baptism this means our baptism is subjected to frailty of our convictions. We waiver, we grow, we stumble. That is the pattern of the Christian life. Our baptism is a concrete reminder to us of God’s commitment to us in the midst of our journey.

          I praise God for your experience in 2009 and pray that you continue to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. I pray, though, that you realize that God’s promises to you in your baptism have not changed. This is ultimately why re-baptism is unnecessary–and I would add springs from a confusion of the priority of grace in your life.

          Grace and peace to you, HH!

          If you want to chat anymore about this offline let me know.

    5. HH, I was baptized as an infant (brought up in the Presbyterian church), but after I was born again, I felt a strong desire to be baptized by immersion and as an act of obedience. My mom didn’t think I needed to. 😉 But God thought I did, so I went with what His Spirit was leading me to do.

      Because I was saved while reading a book that spoke of our identity and union with Christ, I think I really understood that baptism is an outward sign of the spiritual reality of our being united with Christ — in his death, burial and resurrection – and it was important for me to proclaim my faith in that public way.

      I was attending a Presbyterian church at the time and had to kind of convince my pastor that yes, I really did want to get baptized and was following the Spirit (he didn’t really give me a hard time, but I did hear the same general things from him as my mom). He had to get in touch with a nearby pastor of a Baptist church so that we could use their baptismal pool and we scheduled it for a time when my friends and family could come. Looking back, I would have just suggested whatever water was deep enough to be immersed in!

      No, it’s not weird to be baptized 7 years after salvation. Well, I guess some people will think so, but you will have the peace of God if He’s calling you to do it and it won’t matter much. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing. God is so patient with all of us. I’m so thankful for His faithfulness, too, in spite of myself. Praying that you will stay encouraged as you continue to lean upon the Lord.
    Liz

  3. Thank you for sharing this; i am feeling a lot of the same things right now. I have come so far in my journey with the Lord and I LOVE it. He has proven faithful time and time again and it just brings me so much joy to see the Lord working in my life and I feel beyond blessed to get to be a part of what He’s doing. That’s the good news…

    The bad news is that my husband refuses to see any of it. He is purposely and intentionally holding me in a place in his mind that I no longer relate to. The devil is feeding him lie after lie and he is believing all of them. I won’t draw this out but what it comes down to is that I have chosen to believe Gods promise that there’s hope for our marriage and he has chosen to believe what the devil is telling him because “he is so hurt” by what I’ve done to him in the past (belittled him, made him feel unworthy, greatly disrespected him, and I’m sure the list goes on but you get the idea… I have finally had to move past those things myself so as not to continue to guilt myself for things that God has long since forgiven me for, when I first repented of them. I have owned up to all of it and still try to do that every time I mess up.) so you get the idea. But I struggle sometimes (often) because he is just so obviously miserable. I keep praying and I just feel like the wait is so long. Sometimes there isn’t a sign of progress for days and when I say a sign, I’m looking for very small signs like he allows me to hug him or he doesn’t say something bitter when I say good morning or something like that. The big signs haven’t been around for weeks or even months. There really has been no forward progress since he moved back in after we were separated 2 years ago.

    All that to say that if you have any encouragement or practical advice about what I can do, even if it’s just to keep praying, I would love to hear it. I feel like my prayers are growing stale and I’m trying to pray boldly but it’s so exhausting sometimes to not SEE any of what God is doing.

    1. Nicole Martinez,
      I read your comment and I just wanted to let you know I know how you feel, and I know a lot of others in this community do too. This is hard! But I just wanted to give you a suggestion that I have been learning as well lately. I was right where you were. Stuck. But slowly I’ve realized that it really is not my fault if my husband chooses to treat me in an unkind way, or if he is bitter, etc. That is HIS choice, and the more I tried to be perfect and do all the right things for him in order to show him that I was really trying, the worse things got, and the more I felt into self-blame and condemnation—all things of the devil.

      You can’t control your husband and you can’t make him change, which I’m sure you already know that.

      But also, check to see where your motives are too, April has taught a lot of us this—- what are we REALLY doing all of this respect and submission stuff for? Is it to please God, or is it to make our husbands love us and give us what we want, which is their time, attention, affection, etc?

      Only God can open his eyes, and honestly, I’m right here with you in this position. If our husbands are stuck in their own pride and sin, we really can’t expect them to do anything or be any kind of way. Only God can open their eyes and show them what they are doing to us, etc. All I’ve been doing lately as I’ve come back out of a fog from being under that type of treatment is I’ve just separated myself emotionally and I’m no longer allowing any lies into my thoughts or beliefs. If he tells me something that i know is a lie, I’m not going to believe it anymore, whereas before, I would believe him when he said things about me (Ex- you havent changed at all, etc.)—— and then fall into selfcondemnation and feel really guilty etc. and it all led to spiritual death.

      But thankfully, God did not allow that to go on for too long, and I am on my way out of that cloud and back into the place where I know who I am in Christ, and if my husband has a problem with that, or if he is holding bitterness or he is just plain miserable in his own life and choices, that is HIS problem, and whatever I do is my choice, and I can choose to be kind and loving and respectful still, but I no longer hang on his every word, he is not my god!

      I don’t want to go overboard, but I honestly believe in my case atleast that my husband only stays stuck in this in order to keep from having to take responsibility for his own sins. It’s easy for him to get whatever he wants when all the blame is directed at me.

      Boundaries might be appropriate for you, but that’s your call. I know for me it is. I have to speak the truth, and tell my husband what I will and will not tolerate any longer. If he can’t speak kindly to me, then I don’t want to talk to him. If he is going to be angry or anything like that, I don’t want to be around him.

      I’m sure April will answer too, but either way, I think theres a point like you said where if all you are hearing is condemnation, it might be time to step back and evaluate what is true in that situation and what is not, and see if there might be any room for some personal boundaries to guard your own heart, sanity, and faith! 🙂

      Love,
      Amanda

      1. Yes! That is the place I am getting to and it’s been very freeing but sometimes it just seems like he could care less and it pushes us further apart because we don’t engage AT ALL. I complement him or express gratitude for something he does and just horrible bitterness comes out of him. For the most part I am able to deflect it because I know it’s not true what he says but other times it just makes me so sad for him. It can also be quite shocking at times because the things he says are so unexpectedly cold. I mean literally he can’t even be near me at all, he doesn’t sleep in our bed, he won’t stay in the same room with me after the kids go to bed, sometimes he won’t even stay in the house and goes on really long walks till after I go to bed. Last night he told me he doesn’t trust anything I say and that he knows I just see him as a piece of a trash that I can mold into whatever I want. As horrible as that is, I was just glad he said something to me so I know what to pray for. Usually I get repeated phrases ( like “don’t worry about it,” or “I’ll take care of it”) and no actual information when I try to talk to him about anything that doesn’t go exactly like he wanted it to go. It’s seriously so awful because I just look at him and feel immense love and attraction, which is a testament of Gods grace because it would be so easy to be resentful and bitter towards him. I do sometimes have to walk away and separate myself from him so I can pray and process what he’s just said to me but then God is always faithful and speaks truth to my heart and I’m usually ok after a bit.

        Thank you so much for sharing your story so I know it’s not just me! That helps so much!!

        1. Nicole Martinez,
          That must be really hard, sister. I can feel the pain with you. It is so frustrating. I am glad you have the right attitude though, and I think that if your husband is that hurt, then really all you can do is keep your end of the marriage right before God, and keep pleasing God while waiting. God can do anything He wants, and surely He can intervene in your husband’s heart as well. I know for me, when I started out this journey, my husband actually responded right away, and when I would be happy even when he wasn’t he started noticing how negative and rude he was being all the time because it was such a huge contrast to the way I was acting towards him. When I am bitter and hurt and just angry, even if he doesn’t know, if I am not joyful and happy and genuinely acting right, all he sees is my miserableness and anger and bitterness, even if he is being the most bitter person in the world. It seems like the only time he sees what HE’S doing is when I am right with God, focusing on God, and totally happy no matter what my husband is doing!

          If your husband won’t even talk to you or discuss your situation, I wouldn’t even try anymore. I would just leave him be and let him choose what he wants to do and you enjoy your life and relationship with God and be filled with His Spirit every day and even join in on this site we all are here for each other and it seriously helps to have other people to connect with that know exactly what you are going through! If you ever want to talk privately, you can always email me at manduhhh12@yahoo.com!

          Also, the fact that he is still there, there is hope! Is your husband a believer?

          I have found that it is much easier for people to hold onto their right to be angry and bitter, instead of forgiving and moving forward.

          But you don’t have to be that way, which it seems like you are not! Praise God!

          You are DEFINITELY not alone 🙂

          Love,
          Amanda

          1. Amanda, Your words help so much and although I have a pretty good support system of a couple friends who have really been amazing through this very long journey, they don’t truly understand what it’s like. It’s helpful to have someone that just KNOWS. So thank you!!

            It’s hard to do nothing because I’m such a DOer. I am always moving and it’s hard for me to rest but maybe that’s the next step… God wants me to learn to sit back and relax and let HIM do all the work. I have a very hard time with that a lot of times!

            The other challenge that I didn’t mention is that even if my husband will talk to me, he is so skeptical that he will just refute everything I say by saying that it’s not true, “you don’t love me”, “you’re just saying that to control me”, “you were angry when you said that”, or he’ll use things that I told him (foolishly) in confidence that I had been hoping would help him see my sincerity with changing (by being completely honest about earlier intentions which were not good). I figured if I was honest in everything he would know that I’m holding nothing back and he can trust me but… It backfired and he uses those words against me.

            I’m definitely not saying that I’m doing all of this right but I have come a LONG way from where I used to be. I am still working on checking my motivations for why I’m doing things, making sure I’m being honest about how I’m really feeling, making sure that I’m truly forgiving him each time he “attacks” and not letting things sit in my heart that will start getting bitter.

            My husband is not walking with God but he does believe in God. Speaking from experience though, it’s one thing to be raised in a Christian home and SAY you believe and a whole other thing to truly LIVE your belief in God. I, for the first time in the 25 years of my Christian life, now know what that means and it’s completely transforming. It’s why I can say that I am actually grateful for this trial that God is allowing me to walk through. I am constantly praying for my husbands heart to be transformed in the same way.

          2. Nicole Martinez,

            Oh I definitely can relate to how your husband is skeptical of all you say and uses thing against you that you honestly told him. It probably feels like your defending yourself all the time and that’s draining.

            That’s why I would suggest that you step back and focus on pleasing God and continuing to grow in Him and become the woman He wants you to be. You won’t be able to please your husband and earn anything.He is not God. He is not your judge, God is.

            In that situation in the past, I feel like I became a slave to my husband and the more I tried the more I messed up and it was a constant struggle with guilt and shame. That’s not from God. That is from hell.

            I bet April will relate to being a “do-er”, as much as I can lol. God has taken me down so many notches from that in the past 2 years, its like total night and day from what I was. I used to be like that, and I guess to some degree I still am, because I want to proactively work on things in my life. But there comes a point where we need to realize that only GOD can do certain things like open husbands eyes and change our hearts.

            I like to take all that energy now and focus on God and seeking Him, and not getting emotionally drained by my lack of marriage relationship, and drained physically from striving to be something I can’t be. I’ll never be what my husband wants if that’s what he’s looking for to feel better in life. I can’t make him happy.

            All I can do is trust God, and focus on pleasing God, and respecting and loving my husband because that is what God wants me to do.

            But that doesn’t mean I listen to the negative criticism or tolerate being treated unkindly! There is a balance!

            Love,
            Amanda

          3. Nichole Martinez,

            This makes me smile. I have always been a doer, too. God showed me He wanted me to WAIT. A lot. Indefinitely.

            I invite you to search my home page for “waiting becomes sweet” and for “healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.”

            How long ago did you share about your earlier not-good intentions? How long has he had to process this information?

            Praying for God to work in your husband’s heart to draw him to Himself. Sometimes – husbands don’t do well when we share EVERYTHING we were thinking. It can be hard for them to trust that our motives have changed, especially if they haven’t experienced God’s power yet. I have some posts about why keeping respect a secret at first may be wise.

            Still, even though you have shared so much – I believe God can work with this. It is possible your husband may be drowning in shame. He may have latched onto the things you used to think and assume that those motives cannot change. He may feel so disrespected that he thinks there is no hope. I am guessing – because I don’t know his heart. It is going to take time for him to heal. Most likely, he doesn’t realize that a lot of what you probably used to think is pretty common among lots of wives. He may be taking all of this really personally. He may not believe people can change. Almost all husbands are skeptical at first. Greg was. It took 3.5 years into my journey before he felt safe with me again. But as you continue to allow God to change you – he will see the changes. And we will pray together for God’s healing for you both.

            It depends on what God prompts you to do and say. Sometimes it is best to say nothing. But sometimes He may prompt you to say, “Honey, my motives used to be to control and change you. But God showed me how wrong I was. I don’t want to do that anymore. I still have a lot to learn, but I am seeking to change and grow. I want to be a safe place for you. I want you to know you are accepted here. I want to change for God. And I want to be the wife you need. Is there something I can do to help show you that I am serious about changing? I know it will take time for things to heal. That is okay. I understand why you are feeling skeptical. I’m sure I would, too, if I were in your shoes. But just know I am trying to be on your team now. And I don’t ever want to be the same woman I used to be.”

            Praying for God’s wisdom and leadership for you, my dear sister!

        2. Nichole Martinez,

          What comes out of a person is about what is inside of that person. It reveals whether the sinful flesh (and the enemy) is in control, or whether the Spirit of God is in control.

          What you have there is a man who seems to be held captive by the enemy. I’m so glad that you are not holding bitterness against him. Right now, he may not be able to hear your words about God or even about the marriage. But he is carefully watching. It seems maybe he has assumed a lot of evil motives about you. But as he continues to see you treat him with goodness, kindness, respect, gentleness, honor, and love – he will see his own treatment of you and eventually – something will usually click. But this can take time. There is no guarantee he will change. But you can continue to focus on being the wife God calls you to be. I pray for God’s wisdom for you as you seek to engage in a godly way with a man who is hurting and so very deeply spiritually wounded.

          Do you know if he is a believer?

          The post “When Your Husband Says, ‘I’m Done,'” may be helpful as you try to decide how to approach your husband – even if he hasn’t said he is done.

          I’m actually really glad he said what he did last night, too. My husband said almost nothing to me about what was wrong, what he was thinking, or feeling for so long that I had to try to guess many times. And I wasn’t very accurate with that!

          I wonder if you can try to respectfully and gently ask him some time, as God prompts you to, what he feels would be the path forward to healing and restoring trust at this point?

          Do you know if you are dealing with any mental health issues or addictions with him?

          What spiritual support do you have at this time?

          Much love to you!

    2. Nichole Martinez,

      It is so wonderful to meet you, my precious sister! PRAISE GOD for what He is doing in your life!

      How long have you been seeking to allow God to change you?

      There are a number of wives (and some husbands, too) in very similar situations on this blog. You are certainly not at all alone and I believe you will find much encouragement here. One post where a lot of people have been sharing is on Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches.

      Thank God that you are believing God’s Word and His promises! How I praise God that you have repented of your sin with godly sorrow and that you are allowing God to change you!

      Your husband has his own journey. Only God can open his eyes. Your job is actually pretty much the same whether your husband changes or not – and that is to abide in Christ, to allow Him to transform you to be more like Him, to obey Him in His power, and to be the woman and wife He calls you to be each day. It would be awesome if your husband changed, too. I would like to see that. I pray God will heal him in Christ, too.

      But what I can tell you – is that when there is a long period of waiting and your spouse is not changing – THAT is the time that God uses to refine your own faith and to help you grow by leaps and bounds spiritually if you are willing. I know that has been true for me and for many others here, as well.

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

      I also have many posts that may be a blessing here. You are welcome to search things like:

      Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change
      When a Husband Doesn’t Buy His Wife’s Changes
      Why Do I Have to Change First?
      Why Doesn’t My Husband Support Me More As I Try to Change?
      I Really Want Him to Change Too!
      Is Biblical Submission Really Just Manipulation on the Wife’s Part?
      23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

      Much love to you!

      1. Amanda and April, It is quite clear to me that God has found another way to encourage and strengthen my resolve! You guys have spoken so much truth and it is just what I needed to hear. You both seem to know us because literally everything you said hits the nail on the head about me and my husband! I love seeing how God brings his people together even when we were strangers moments ago!

        April, I will work through all of those links. Since I am a Doer I like to research the dickens out of things. 🙂 But it helps me even if it does drive others crazy sometimes.

        I have been on this journey since a couple of days after my husband left when we separated in May 2014. It was like a defibrillator shocked my heart and all of a sudden I saw who I was, what I was doing and what I had to do to change. I had been a Christian since I was a child but I’ve gone through “phases” in my walk with God and I suppose as it should, I’ve matured as I’ve gotten older in that walk with God. I’ve always been in the Word in that I know what it says but I spent the first 2 months or so reading the New Testament from start to finish and was struck by how real it had become. It was such an awakening to see it through eyes that wanted to learn and with a heart that desperately wanted to be transformed. But I’m a stubborn proud person and there have been many setbacks so although my husband moved back in December 2014, he’s been discouraged by my failings and his heart has now grown even harder then it has ever been before. He goes to sleep thinking about how wrong I am in everything I do and he wakes up sour, bitter and ready to remind me just how wrong I am once again.

        I told him honestly once a few months ago about why I would behave in certain ways. Honestly I can’t even remember the details because I’ve worked so hard NOT to think that way that I can’t even remember why but he’ll now say things like “you want to control me” or something like that so I literally can’t suggest, recommend or bring up anything that could be even slightly emotional without him automatically shutting down and assuming that I’m out to get him.

        The hardest part for me is living normally when I am in love with someone that wishes I didn’t exist and living under the same roof with that person that I’m basically having to treat like a respected guest. Don’t get me wrong, I want to respect, honor, encourage, etc him but when all I get in return is resentment, apathetic glance and bitter responses, it all gets to be very emotionally taxing and I start wanting to DO something. Like talk… Which is probably the worst thing I can do to him right now. He is so Sick of hearing me talk. So I HAVE stopped but I’m in that place right now where it just seems really hard to trust that Gods got it and I’ve done enough. 🙂

        April, what is a spiritual check up? Also your website has been an encouragement since almost the beginning of this journey. I found you once when I googled “how to show respect to my husband” because I was SO CLUELESS of what I was doing wrong and he told me that I disrespected him so bad all the time. I shared your site with my Biblical counselor and he found it to be very good as well!

        1. Nichole, Martinez,

          WOOHOO! I’m so glad God brought you here! 🙂 What a blessing and answer to my prayers, as well.

          I totally get that researching and studying is a way for you to DO something. That is what I did. I decided that if I didn’t control my husband, but I did control myself, then I would do everything in my power to allow God to change me and to learn what it means for me to be the woman God calls me to be no matter what Greg decided to do. I was excited to find out I got to control SOMETHING! 🙂

          Do you know if there are certain things that are triggers for your husband? Are there things that maybe still feel disrespectful to him that you may not be aware of? Or do you feel like you have a pretty good understanding of what things are respectful and disrespectful to him at this point?

          I am assuming you are sharing how bad things are. I am assuming you would tell us if you were not safe or if there was abuse.

          Yes, that would be extremely emotionally taxing. Greg didn’t lash out at me. He just ignored and avoided me and didn’t respond to me much for a really long time. It is hard to continue on doing what is right when you are not getting much support or encouragement, and things seem even worse than before.

          What is his general personality?

          I’m so glad this site has been a blessing to you, my dear sister! Praise God for that!

          1. April, Those are great questions in your spiritual check-up! I will spend some time thinking about them tonight when I have more time.

            First off my husband is not physically violent and really not even verbally abusive. The “abuse” is emotional if that’s even a thing. It’s probably incorrect to call it abuse but it’s definitely an assault on my state of mind whenever I’m around him. He is extremely passive which is a 180 degree turn from my personality. Actually regarding personalities we both have taken the Myers Briggs test (he finally did it 3 years after I took mine) and we are literally different on every “type” so yeah, we are working uphill on this one.

            My husband has admitted that he’s lost all confidence in himself as a result of what I put him through. I’ve talked to him about my fear that he’s having an affair and he said he doesnt have the confidence in himself to even consider that. To be fair, because I know what it’s like to have him say NOTHING, he has opened up a teeny tiny bit so I know a little bit more about his state of mind then I used to. Which is helpful and it’s not. I like knowing but it doesn’t mean I can do anything about it which I mistakenly thought knowing would help me “fix him”. Mistake!! :-/

            As for how he feels disrespected, I’d say mainly when it comes to the kids and how I’ve reacted when he disciplines, instructs, or anything really to them. I won’t make excuses but basically I’ve stopped saying anything when he’s interacting with the kids and just tried to support him in his decisions about when to discipline, etc. But the disrespect is also related to any choices he makes and the fact that I’ve always felt the need to offer my input on his decisions. This has led him to believe that I feel I’m always right and his choices are always wrong. Definitely not what I was going for but that’s what happened.

          2. Nichole Martinez,

            It is very difficult to have very opposite personalities and to be a more assertive, driven wife with a passive husband. Yep! I am familiar with that!

            My husband felt the same way – he lost all confidence in himself and his relationship with God.

            Please also – when you have time, ha! – search my home page for:

            interview husband (all of those posts may be helpful as you seek to better understand your more passive husband’s mindset)

            Have you had a chance to read any of my posts about disrespect and respect? And about respecting our husbands as fathers? If not, I can direct you to them if that would be interesting.

            Do you need any help with how to approach him on some of these difficult issues? We can hash through things together if you would like.

            Much love to you!

          3. “I totally get that researching and studying is a way for you to DO something. That is what I did. I decided that if I didn’t control my husband, but I did control myself, then I would do everything in my power to allow God to change me and to learn what it means for me to be the woman God calls me to be no matter what Greg decided to do. I was excited to find out I got to control SOMETHING! 🙂”

            HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I just saw this. That cheered up a rotten day lol 😂 HH

          4. HH,
            I was just praying for you – and God gave me something about Joseph – from the Old Testament. I think about God’s promises and plans for Joseph – but what a crazy path to get to be the second in command in Egypt. Slavery. Prison. FOURTEEN YEARS of that! But God was with Joseph – and God is with you, and each of us. Amazingly, God used slavery and imprisonment to prepare Joseph for the ultimate role He had for him. And God used 40 years in Egypt and then 40 in the desert for Moses (when he fled Egypt and lived as a shepherd) to prepare him for 40 years of leading His people through the wilderness. God used many years of struggle and battles in David’s life, times when King Saul was persecuting him and trying to kill him, to prepare him to be the greatest king of Israel. God instituted an incredible covenant with David later. But what dark times he endured for so very long before he finally became king. And yet, God used all of that to deepen David’s faith and to provide many of the Psalms for us now. God used the imprisonment of Paul to provide time for him to write half of the New Testament and to get him to be able to speak before various government officials!

            God sees and knows your pain, our brother (and all of our sisters who are hurting, too). I can’t wait to see all that He has in store for you. I believe this is a time of training and testing to prepare you for the roles that lie ahead. Be strong and of good courage! God is at work for your good and the good of your family. I pray for Him to bring your wife to Himself. I pray for His greatest glory in your life and in each of our lives.

          5. Humbled Husband,

            As you are well aware – there really isn’t a “male equivalent” ministry for men that is similar to this ministry for women. I have believed since I first “met” you and I still believe it now – that God may have a ministry in mind for you in the future that is similar to this one. That is my sense. I know God will lead you – and His timing and direction will be perfect. I know He will direct your every step and that right now is not that time yet. But I am so thankful for the way God has poured through you to bless all of us here as you share the things you are learning and as we get to watch your faith grow in the midst of such a difficult trial. What a joy!

          6. Ah, Joseph is on my mind a lot! He strengthens me to perservere, when I remember the injustice he suffered had a purpose…..even being accused of an affair with Potiphar’s wife!!!! Many things he suffered. I was thinking about him yesterday when he was crying with love for his brothers before he showed them who he was after their meal together in Egypt. He bore no malice towards them. I can sense how he must have felt towards them, I feel the same towards my wife and I suspect I will cry buckets of joyful tears when she meets Christ.

            I value your prayer so much! Please accept this compliment as praise for the Lord in you and don’t get a big head from it (lol!!!), but I really respect you and your advice and I believe 100% that God brought you into my life to teach me many things. I pray often for you and Greg, that God would strengthen you both and your marriage. I feel that my respect for women in general has greatly increased through this blog, seeing so many of you walking with the Lord and seeking to bless your husbands.

            It is a difficult time indeed though April. Tears started flowing just now as I read your comment to be strong and of good courage. It is Father’s Day tomorrow….that will be a difficult time. And many other things are occurring that I do not write about! Particularly with the children.

            Yes, I have picked up that you feel God may have a ministry like this in mind for me 🙂 I do not know how I am supposed to serve Him but I know that I want to and I agree that now is not the time…..I have too much to learn and carry too much pain to be able to properly yet. And yet, in a way I am working for the Lord already! I met with a dear friend from church a couple nights ago and talked a few hours, he texted me on the way home how encouraged he was by me and my heart thrilled at being able to minister to him…..a mutual ministry that night I think 🙂

            HH

          7. HH,

            Such an incredible example Joseph leaves for us. I can’t fathom being in his position. But how I long to respond with the grace, humility, and love that God gave him!

            I greatly appreciate your prayers, too. There is no greater gift, in my view! So thankful that God uses this place to be a blessing to the Body.

            I didn’t realize Father’s Day is tomorrow for you. I pray for God’s Spirit to fill you to overflowing that you might continue to abide in Him and live wholeheartedly for Him. I know your children see Christ in you and am so thankful for your influence in their lives.

            I know God will lead you in His timing. It is certainly not for me to decide! But yes, you are still in the training phase right now, I think – not time yet for a big ministry. And yet, God is flowing through you to bless so many lives already.

            Praying for God to provide some extra tangible reminders of His goodness and love for you this weekend!

          8. Oh can I just!!!!!

            The prayer that I find the Lord’s presence most these last few weeks is “Lord change ALL of me so that every molecule of me reflects you”…..my perfectionist nature has been directed totally towards my walk with God.

            I want to be ALL for Jesus, not just a little bit, I’m all in…….

            HH

  4. April,

    I read your post this morning that you had put up from the past on your Struggles – Part 2. I wanted to comment on something you mentioned, but I didn’t know if you would see it if I commented on that post. So, sorry to be way off topic here. You mentioned that you do not sleep well. I don’t know if you still struggle with this (I believe that post was a couple of years old) or not. I also have had sleeping issues since my thirties and I have tried everything. This has gone on for nearly twenty years now. The Lord really rather miraculously opened the door for me to receive something that has helped me tremendously. I now sleep through the night nearly every night. I have some health issues that sometimes interfere, but I really do sleep great now. It is very natural compared to many things out there, so you may want to consider it. I now take 50 mg of magnesium glycinate right before bed. It works pretty quickly, so you really have to get right in bed when you take it. It has worked wonders for me. I had tried taking magnesium citrate before, but this form can give you intestinal issues. The magnesium glycinate does not do that. Anyway, I hope it was ok for me to post this. If not, please remove my comment. If you want to know the brand I use, you can email me. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention a specific brand here. I try to tell everyone I come across with this same problem because it was such a struggle for me for so long. I know how difficult it can be to not sleep well.

    Blessings,
    Eliza

    1. That is awesome, Eliza! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      Most of my issues are my husband’s snoring at times or our cat. And if I put the cat as far away in the house as possible, he still meows and carries on a lot. He tends to wake me up at 5am. I need some much better earplugs, maybe! 🙂

      1. April,

        I am a super light sleeper. My husband says all he has to do is think of a noise and that will wake me. One of the things that has really helped is a white noise machine I found at Bed Bath and Beyond 3 years ago. It’s one that, to me, sounds like a fan but it doesn’t blow allergens around like a fan does. There are 4 various fan like sounds. It has adjustable volume and my fave part is adjustable bass and treble to mask out the tone of whatever noise I’m hearing. It can run on batteries but also electricity. I love it and it travels anywhere we go overnight. You may have considered or tried this but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case.

        1. Also, it can turn off with the timer setting or run indefinitely until manually turned off. It’s made by Homedics and is model HDS-1000.

        1. Eliza,
          I usually get to sleep by midnight or so. But having my kitty wake me up between 5am and 5:30am every day makes things challenging. I usually can’t go back to sleep after that.

          1. April,
            God’s Spirit must seriously quicken your mortal body on that much sleep all the time. I feel for you sister. That is so hard!!!! I turn into a grouchy crazy lady if I don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. It is not pleasant. I also sleep with “white noise” and I use a regular old box fan! I have used it since I was really young, it’s the only way I can sleep now. It’s like my “pacifier” lol I bet it would really help if you had that white noise, I strongly highly definitely recommend it!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. Satisfied Wife,

            I have had chronic sleep deprivation for so many years now. There were other medical issues before the cat. Those finally got resolved, and then we got a kitty who started waking me up. Bummer! Thanks so much for the great suggestions. 🙂

  5. Thanks for this, I can relate to this so well! I am only a few months in on this journey with Christ as well, and in learning to be the wife that God wants me to be. I feel exactly your struggles, I feel so secure one day, and then failing miserably in my own will the next. I feel lately I have let my motives slip and become more self serving again and I am starting to understand that as soon as I take my eyes off of God things spiral downhill quickly. Your words have been very encouraging to me today as the last few days I have really been struggling…thanks so much for sharing.

  6. All,
    I hope to get to respond either later tonight or tomorrow. Had a 9 year old girl home with me today who was sick. But I am really excited to get involved in the discussion ASAP!

    Much love!

  7. I love the tree image: steady, peaceful, still – not chasing sunshine and water. That’s what I want to be! I want to have deep roots that are rooted in Christ Jesus.

  8. Great post 🙂 Thank you for sharing. It is true that we have to be like a tree, firm and peaceful and let God’s nourishment come into us from underneath. Don’t worry about stumbling in this journey to become a godly wife… we stumble but we stumble upwards because of God’s unrelenting love and grace.

  9. Thanks for sharing! This is pretty much me right now. I have been trying to learn what it means to become a respectful and submissive wife for about a year now and I too have fluctuated. I’ll be handling everything so well, depending on God solely to get me through everything and than it seems I forget sometimes about God and try to rely on my own strength and power and than I fall and go back to the same ways as before where I am led about by my emotions.

    As the ladies mentioned above, it can be difficult because when I do fall my husband is skeptical when I get back up and try again. He doesn’t believe that I am really trying to change because so many times I’ve told him I am serious about wanting to be more loving and respectful as a wife but than have handled situations wrong, etc. I can imagine this is very confusing for him and probably discouraging for him to get his hopes up and than crashed back down when I go back to doing things by my old ways.

    I’ve realized recently that often times I too try to go through this journey in my own strength and in my own power, in the times where I’m not relying solely on God alone. I’ve also realized that at first my motives for wanting to change was so my husband would be happy and I’d be a better and happier mother, etc. Even though those things are great, they should not be our motivation as our motivation should be because we love the Lord and want to please Him and love others as He has loved us.

    Thanks for all the wonderful posts from all the ladies who share on here. It really strengthens me and reminds me that there are other women out there going through the same things.

    God bless you all.

    1. Ashley,

      I think we all have to go through these stages to realize just how desperately we need Jesus. It is ALL about Him and His power flowing through us. We can’t be godly wives in our own strength. I sure can’t be! I can’t skimp on my time with Him or get my eyes off of Him – or I will crash and burn!

      Thank you so much for sharing. What a blessing that we can have this place to gather together from all over the world to bless, encourage, love, edify, and pray for each other.

      Much love!

    2. Ashley I can so relate to what you said about failing, your husband being skeptical after you try to apologize and making sure your motivations are correct! That sounds just like my story and it’s actually encouraging to hear that I’m not an “oddity” when it comes to those things. Sometimes I seriously wonder why I can’t just get it right already and I start believing the devil’s lies that maybe my husband is right… But God is faithful and I recognize those lies for what they are and mentally replace them with Gods truths. It’s taking me a long time (2 years so far…) to get to this point though. Although I guess in the grand scheme of things, 2 years isn’t so bad and that’s actually something I hold onto for hope. We are still young, our kids are young and I’m grateful that God has changed my heart so I can hopefully help my kids in their relationships with God!

      1. Nichole Martinez,

        This journey takes time. It is the process of sanctification. Really, it is a lifelong journey. We will not be completely sinless and perfect until we reach heaven. However, as we learn to live in the power of God’s Spirit, we allow Him to radically transform us and empower us so that we can live in victory over sin! What great news!

        But it is a long journey of thousands of miles. Your husband has the same journey to make, too. He may not see his sin yet. He may still be blind to it and spiritually dead. But God can and will show him his sin in His timing, as well. It is much easier to see the sins of others against us or to make evil assumptions of others than it is to look at the sin in our own hearts and repent of those.

        You cannot change yourself. That is true. But God CAN change you and obviously is at work in your soul! PRAISING GOD WITH YOU FOR THAT!

        It was seriously 2.5 years into my journey before things began to “click” and I began to have any clue what it even meant to respect Greg and to honor his leadership. And I still was pretty awful at it and had so much to learn. I am still learning. Always will be. I have been learning things even this week. 🙂

        Your hope is in Christ alone, my sweet sister. Not in your husband’s response. It is very hard when a husband is so skeptical and thinks the absolute worst of us, things that are not even true anymore. That hurts! I pray for God’s wisdom for you about when to wait and pray and when to act. He can direct your steps. He alone has all the wisdom you need.

        A spiritual check up coming right up!

        1. What do you desire in your walk with Christ?

        2. What are your greatest fears?

        3. What do you believe you need to be content?

        4. What do you do with the bitterness that would be tempting to hold on to now?

        5. What do you pray for? What are you reading lately in the Bible? What does your quiet time look like?

        6. What negative feelings do you struggle with?

        7. How do you respond to your husband when he misunderstands you so much and mistreats you?

        Much love to you!

      2. I just read both Nicoles and April’s comments to my previous one.

        Yes April I am constantly making the mistake of leaving God out of the equation and trying to do it all in my own strength. Thankfully God is showing me that when I try to take it into my own hands, I will fail every single time! I need Him, I need His spirit within me to lead the way! I’ve been blessed to come across this blog so early in my walk as a wife learning respect. I’ve only been married for two years and found this blog a few months into my marriage and it’s been such a blessing to read these stories. God has greatly used all the wonderful testimonies on here to edify me.

        1. Ashley,

          I think we all learn this the hard way. I’m super glad you are already seeing these important truths. What a blessing! Such an answer to my prayers that God has brought you here and that you are finding encouragement and godly wisdom here.

          Much love, my precious sister!

  10. April, Nicole, & Ashley,

    I am right here with you. It’s only been 7 months, and it was only 2 months into the journey before I realized that I definitely wasn’t on a one way perfect streak, and every time I messed up, my husband would get more down, and start saying how I’ll never change, etc. etc. which led to me seriously questioning myself and my salvation and a bunch of other unpleasant things from hell.

    Honestly, I feel like now that I know it is not about what I do that will make my husband happy or love me or anything, I am free to be me and free to grow in Christ at God’s pace. Only the Holy Spirit can open my eyes and show me what I need to change. And the more I leave my husband alone in his own life, the better things get. That might not be right or healthy or intimate and loving, but it’s the truth lol. The more I just don’t say anything about *his* choices, even though they affect me in some way or another, the better it gets. The more I just forget about spending time, talking to him, or being engaged or involved at all with him when he is home, the better it is.

    It’s almost like the only time he wants to be involved with me and my life is when I’m not trying to be involved in his. That is so strange and SO not what I had in mind when I got married.

    I know for a fact like April mentioned above that my husband seriously just avoids me probably sometimes because he thinks I’m going to go off on a tirade about his choices or what he’s doing wrong, etc.

    Why would I want to keep handing my heart on a silver platter for him to just rip apart any time I ask him a question, try to tell him what to do, try to make him talk to me or spend time, etc. etc. Thankfully, Greg did not lash out at you, April, but I’m not sure that being ignored is much better. They are both devastating and they drain the life out of me, atleast.

    The more I back away from my husband, the more life I have. The closer I try to move towards him, the more drained I get!!!

    1. Amanda,

      Being ignored hurt a lot, too. BUT – what you are describing, I can completely relate to. My husband is also introverted – so for him – space is often a gift. I did NOT get that for so long in our marriage. Space isn’t a gift to me. Emotional connection is a gift to me. But my husband needs time to himself to recharge. And, he had a long period where he still didn’t feel safe with me, too. But even after he felt safe with me again – he still is introverted and still needs time to himself to recharge. And I still need to be able to be content on my own.

      To me, my type of husband reminds me a lot of a cat. Cats are drawn more to people who don’t run at them and rush to pick them up and make a big fuss over them. That kind of direct attention can feel like an attack and can feel smothering to a cat. Cats tend to come to people when THEY are ready on their timetable and when they don’t feel pressured. I enjoy my cat, Silver, when he comes to me – and I have time to give him attention. I pretty much leave him alone the rest of the time. Interestingly, he comes to me way more than to anyone else in our family. My husband is similar. He is more likely to come to me when I give him space and respect that he needs some time to himself and I don’t force myself on him or pressure him.

      I love that you are focusing on Christ and that you are growing in Him and keeping “your eyes on your own paper” as Laura Doyle likes to say.

      Your husband may want you to come toward him eventually – as he heals more himself. My husband is fine with me approaching him now, most of the time, unless he is tied up with something or not feeling well or something. Now, I feel free to plop down on the bed beside him and ask if he has a minute and I can talk about just about any topic I want to – that is respectful. And he will answer – or do his best to answer. 🙂

      I don’t like other people commenting on my choices. I used to get REALLY offended when people did that! I can definitely understand why husbands would appreciate us not giving them unsolicited advice. It helps me to think about how I feel if a relative feels that he/she needs to interject her opinion into my clothing choices, my parenting, my diet, my health, etc…

      – “Why are you eating that?”

      – “You really should’t be nursing your baby. You obviously don’t have enough milk. Your baby is starving.”
      (This was spoken about my son when he was a baby and he was in the 95th percentile for height and weight and at 4 months had already outgrown his infant seat because he was already 20 lbs.)

      – “Why haven’t you had a baby yet?”

      – “You really need to lose weight.”

      – “Why don’t you wear more makeup?”

      – “Why do you have to do your hair that way? I think you should do it like this…”

      – “You need to…”

      – “You should…”

      Those kinds of comments get on almost any grown adult’s nerves. It helps for me to think about how I feel when someone is overbearing and controlling toward me – and how it makes me not really want to be around that person.

      At first, we may go through a “frustrating quiet phase” where we stop saying almost anything. I know I did. But then, eventually, as things heal – you learn where the boundaries for a healthy relationship are with your husband and with others. You learn what is respectful and disrespectful to him. And you learn how to share things that truly are important to share in ways that your husband can best hear.

      To me, it is kind of like a lot of husbands have a “sunburn” at first. They are super sensitive to any disrespect after years of disrespect from their wives. But as they heal and we learn and grow and figure things out with God’s wisdom and help, we can come to more of a middle ground about so many things.

      Also, if you have ever had someone idolize you, and they were really needy and wanted all of your time and attention – you can get a bit of a feeling for what it is like to be a husband who wants peace and quiet with a wife who is demanding his attention, time, and affection. That approach repels anyone. But especially men.

      Thankfully – God can use all of this to point us to our great need for Him and how much He wants our attention, affection, adoration, and oneness. We NEED to be “codependent” and “enmeshed” with Christ. Not with other people. I hope that makes sense.

      Much love and thank you so much for sharing, Amanda!

      It is pretty easy to feel offended when someone else blurts out their opinions into my personal choices. I’m sure men feel the same way.

      1. Phew! So much to learn from this post! I know this wasn’t directed at me but I just have to say that I just learned a lot of great new helpful tips!!

        1. Nichole Martinez,

          This is what I love about having a community like this – being part of the Body of Christ. We get to all learn and share together. Such a blessing to walk this road arm in arm and to encourage one another. 🙂

      2. April & all the girls in the discussion,

        I love the cat illustration, I was seriously laughing, I can’t believe how true this is!!! My husband is definitely a cat!!!!!! And if he’s a cat, then I’m a hyper dog that loves to get petted and lick people’s faces 🙂

        I need to keep that picture in my mind when I’m around him. I had a cat like this at my parents house, and she is still to this day like this. She does NOT like when people come to her, she will scratch and leave marks! She will come to you though, when you pay no attention to her whatsoever lol. But she comes and gets what she wants—to rub on ur leg, get a quick pet—then she’ll leave on her own terms!

        And I can understand how it feels when someone tries to control me, etc. That is not ok, and I can imagine how my husband might feel. But honestly, I feel like the reason I ever try to control anything is out of fear and not out of wanting power over him. Instead of trusting God and my husband, I don’t, and then I try to control what’s happening, decisions, etc. because I want to make sure I’m safe and we don’t make bad choices with bad consequences. I have grown in the fact that I don’t try to control his every waking moment anymore….. I feel like if he doesn’t want to spend time with me, then that’s his choice. The things I try to control are things that I’m scared about that we might make a wrong decision. But that goes past my husband and to trusting God, so I need to focus more on that again!

        Men are so different. lol

        I really need to get out and find some girl friends around where I live….. you all here are the closest thing I have to friends in my life.

        Anyone have any suggestions of where to actually meet people and develop friendships????

        I’d be open to suggestions! And also suggestions about how you have your own life apart from your husband!

        Thanks!! 🙂

        Love,
        Amanda

        1. Amanda, your comment about needing to find some girl friends around where you live… And the comment about how to have your own life apart from your husband… I have been really feeling the need for expanding my friend circle too… I am not in a position where I really want to separate all my activities from my husband, but I really feel like I need to start thinking about pursuing some of my own interests lately too… Just for more balance and not to be relying on my husband for everything. And I moved a few years ago and haven’t been able to build up much in the way of close friendships since I left my old friends… I don’t like to mix work with friendships and between kids and work and home it’s hard to figure out how to build up my friend circle again! And it’s important to me to have friends with my same interests and values of course… I’m not attending a church right now as I dropped the issue with my husband as it was coming between us when things were very rocky. I have remained silent to him about even what God has done for me… I am really anxious to find a church home, and I really hope eventually to find a good circle of believer friends. I am very hopeful as my husband suggested maybe going to a church this Sunday that we used to casually go to… I’m just holding my breath and praying it will happen! Praying you will find that circle of friends that you need, I am right there with you!

          1. Melanie,
            You are describing my life! I moved to where I live 2 years ago, and I have been to just about every church around here, and the only place I did find a few girl friends is in a totally different town. We have play dates once in a while, but it’s not like we call each other every week or actually get like really close. I don’t attend church either because of issues my husband has with the one I was going to where I met my friend. I want to find a real circle of believers where I live too. And I also want to get into my own things as well, just not sure what to do or where to start. I used to like going to the gym, but that isn’t really a priority for me anymore, and I would rather go for a walk or bike ride now, but I don’t meet people on the road 🙂 I’ve tried women’s groups at different churches, but nothing seemed to click there for me either. The only person I see on a regular basis is my counselor, which is better than no one I guess!

            I don’t mind really being alone and at home anymore, but I see how much I need to get out and have my own life, because like you said, I tend to look to my husband for everything and it’s jut not happening, which is fine.

            Before I got married, I was a single mother, I had a good job where I had one good believer friend, and I has a church home and went to them every week and developed friendships there, and I was active with exercising and trying new hobbies, etc. I had a best friend back home too so that was good.

            But now all of that is gone, and it can be very draining when you have no friends and no life apart from home and husband and child.

            My son will be starting cubscouts this week, so hopefully I’ll meet a new mom friend there! 🙂

            Do you have any other ideas? I am so glad to have someone who is in the same boat as me! Hopefully we can get some ideas together 🙂

            Thanks!

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. Satisfied Wife and Melanie,

            I don’t really have a lot of friends I get together with either. We do see our parents fairly often. This past year, we have developed some friends at church and go out together as families sometimes – or visit one of our houses together and let the kids hang out while all the grownups talk. I almost never do stuff by myself with just a girl friend. I used to have my twin sister in town, but she moved away. Then when God showed me all of my sin almost 8 years ago – I became a bit of a hermit and recluse (except for work and church) – focusing only on my walk with God for a long time. The past 4.5 years of blogging ministry – y’all have become my primary social circle. 🙂 And I love it!

            It’s great to have friends – but I really love time alone at home with just God more than anything these days. That is a big change from how I used to be.

            Last year, I met up with some prayer partner women in my church – one who is in her 60s and the other in her 70s. We were meeting every 2 weeks for a few hours for prayer. LOVED THAT! But then since April, my schedule has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to get together with them. But it is awesome to get to meet with women who have godly wisdom to share and who love to pray together. 🙂

            Much love!

          3. Amanda, I am going to be volunteering on the parent council for our son’s air cadets so I’m hoping that will occupy some time with something new, our middle child is in cub scouts too! but our group is quite small. Our youngest is in brownies. I was always involved in girl guides so I might get involved with that someday too. Is your husband a hunter by any chance? We are big on it and it’s an activity we enjoy together, for the most part we have our kids involved too. I never thought when I was younger I would be a hunter but I enjoy the outdoors and my husband has welcomed me into that part of his world so I’m grateful 🙂 I don’t shoot very well and I’ve asked him to help me learn to shoot better in hopes of another opportunity to help strengthen our relationship plus learn a new skill 🙂 I spend a lot of our hunting time shooting with the camera lol but this year I hope to change that some 🙂 I would really love a women’s bible study group but they always run in the mornings on weekdays in every church it seems, not convenient for those of us who work full time! What sort of interests do you have? Do you like animals? How about some shelter volunteering? Or are there volunteer opportunities at your child’s school? I used to do the gym thing too but not since I moved and left my friends. I do workouts at home now the Piyo beachbody is my favourite but from spring to late fall I walk the dogs or run outside. Biggest problem though is its on my own so not an opportunity for making friends really!

          4. April,

            I feel that my life is a lot like yours in those aspects about staying home and wanting time alone. I would rather be home alone more than anything, that is when I have the most sanity in my life:) I really focus on God and am able to hear Him and see so much clearer when there are no other distractions!

            I also really only ever get together with a mom for playdates, I never like go out with a girl friend or anything, even when I was single because when you have kids that just doesn’t happen lol.

            And with “meeting” all of you here and I’ve been able to develop friendships through email just from people I met on your blog, which is a definite answer to my prayers for friends that I can fellowship with, even if I never meet them in person! 🙂 I am thankful for all of this for sure!!

            More than anything, I would want to meet up with believers like you said and do that sort of thing, too. I get that with visiting my mom now, and her friend!

            I want to dig deeper into why I feel I need a life apart from my husband now.

            Any thoughts?! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          5. Amanda,

            I am not sure about all that has been happening lately with you. Sounds like some major shake-ups have been going on. I think you have faced some pretty major tests of facing fear this past year. Maybe you are going through a new one now? And if your husband is not very receptive to wanting to spend time, it can certainly make sense to begin spending your time doing other things you enjoy.

            What do you discern to be your motives in wanting to be more separate from your husband?

            How is your time with God going?

            How may we pray with you?

            Do keep in mind, some tests are much more difficult than others. We will all face tests that will reveal the depth of our faith in God. I see some of the trials some people endure and am in awe at the way they respond in such great faith. I want to be able to do that, too! I pray God will continue to purify and refine each of us and empower us to respond in faith in any test that may come our way.

            Sending the biggest hug to you!

          6. April,
            Well, I definitely agree I have faced some trials of my faith this year, and it has definitely been hard.

            The things I’m facing now are major things that really only God can change/do.

            I really thinkg my motives for wanting to separate my life from his is more out of fear than anything else. I feel the need to create my own life and support network —in case— my husband decides to make a decision that effects me negatively again.

            My time with God has not been the best lately, but it is coming around now that I am alone again at home. I think I was really going off the deep end with control again and fear….that def caused a stand still in my rel with God!

            I feel I have been failing all my faith trials :/

            (I will reply to each comment individually that you wrote to me so I don’t get lost/confused in replying lol.)

            Thank you for your support here April!

            Love,
            Amanda

          7. Melanie,
            Hunting sounds like an awesome idea! I don’t actually hunt, but I like to play BB gun with my son outside. We have a big back yard and we used to spend so much time outside chopping wood and making camp fires and my son liked to dig in his “gold mining” hole lol. I like to cut the grass and keep things neat outside. We go to the park here too when it’s nice out, and we also spent some days at the community pool which gives my son the oppportunity to play all day and swim and get all his energy out and I get to relax in the shade all day. But I’m always by my self. My husband doesn’t like going around other people really. He doesn’t like to go swimming and he doesn’t like to go outside when he doesn’t have to because he works outside 6 day a week, so I understand. He’s taken us to the zoo before, and on a couple other little family outings, but for the most part, we like to just be at home, watch a movie together, and eat food 🙂 He’s taken me on his trips home to Louisianna and when we are there we like to go crabbing and boil crawfish and we usually get together with his whole family which is nice!

            When we first moved here, I volunteered at my son’s school and that lasted for about 2 weeks because everytime I was in his class, he would act up, so I stopped doing that! I have volunteered at some of the churches we went to around here too, but that also ended.

            After a while, I came to terms with the fact that maybe I just needed to stay home, and I’m honestly ok with that. I got used to it and have come to like it. But I do think it would be beneficial to have soome kind of support system where I live, as my husband usually travels a lot for work!

            But now I’m questioning my motivations for why I want to get my own life in the first place, lol.

            Love,
            Amanda

        2. Amanda, I have really started to see my friendships blossom which I love because it’s been since college 10 years ago that I could say I had any actual friends that lived in my same town! One close friend is from church and another I met through my child (the mom of one of her preschool friends). I have to say that in both instances it feels like divine intervention because (1) the way we met was somewhat random, i.e. Out of all the people at the church and school which are both quite large, we were brought together and (2) we all separately knew each other and now all spend time together and a fairly regularly basis. Every time I leave them I just feel like my soul has been fed and praise God for their friendship. I do recall praying for a good friend and I believe these two women are Gods amazing answer to that prayer. So I would recommend praying for one really good friend that you relate to and can confide in and try to get involved in an activity where you would share an interest with the people that are there.

          As for finding other interests, this one has been a hard one for me because it took me awhile to get comfortable with doing things on my own, separate from my husband. I felt like people would only get to know “half” of me and I didn’t like that they wouldn’t also know my husband. But now that it’s happened it’s actually ok. They know who my husband is and we’ve hung out as couples (my husband actually really likes the spouses of both women which I find incredible; they also share similar interests which never seems to happen) but mainly it’s just my opportunity to have some girl time. I’ve also been blessed with an amazing church that just accepts me for who I am with or without my husband present. I never feel left out or ostracized because he doesn’t go with me. (He’s Catholic and I’m not so since he’s not a regular church goer and I felt completely lost with out a church to get involved in, I was able to find my own church where my children and I attend almost every Sunday. I don’t know if it will always be this way and I’m prepared for husband to ask us to attend with him one day but in the mean time I praise God every Sunday for this church God brought me to 3 years ago.)

          One thing that is still hard is the feeling that I’m leaving my husband in the dust. I feel like I get busy doing my own thing whether it’s just learning how to do it all by myself around the house or scheduling activities with the kids outside the house but I just feel like it’s a constant pull that I’m not quite sure what to do about. I sometimes ask him if he wants to do whatever it is and his response is usually “do whatever you want, you don’t care about me anyway”… It’s very hard because then I’m not sure what the right answer is so that’s the only thing that is a challenge with “doing my own thing”. Otherwise I’m independent by nature so it’s been great in every other sense of the situation.

          1. Nicole Martinez,

            When you said:

            “One thing that is still hard is the feeling that I’m leaving my husband in the dust. I feel like I get busy doing my own thing whether it’s just learning how to do it all by myself around the house or scheduling activities with the kids outside the house but I just feel like it’s a constant pull that I’m not quite sure what to do about. ”

            I can TOTALLY RELATE! I almost feel guilty when I’ve wanted to do things and my husband didn’t want to! And I’ve always just given in to that and not done anything and instead just stuck around at home because I didn’t want to leave him out. On top of that, he has accused me of picking the one church we went to for a little while over him because he had some issues and I didn’t really agree with him about it and I kept going there. But I gave that up too.

            My husband tells me I do whatever I want to and honestly, it is not true, so I’ve stopped listening to it when he says that. I do nothing. I gave up everything I was interested in since I’ve gotten married. And all because he menitoned something about it. First it was the gym, saying I just wanted attention from men if I go there, and that he doesn’t like athletic type women, so I stopped going because I did not want my husband to think I was looking for male attention anywhere!

            I’ve given up on the church stuff and I feel as though I’ve given up all of my freedom for him, yet he doesn’t even live here half the time. It’s something I’m working with my counselor about.

            Everytime I’ve gone home to visit my family and he didn’t want to come or he couldn’t because of work, I also got some sort of guilt trip/accusation about it. I’ve let those go as well because I know it is not true.

            I always ask him what he thinks before I commit to anything (cubscouts, women’s bible study, etc. etc.) and I usually always choose what he would want me to do because I believe that God can lead me through my husband,

            But sometimes, I wonder…… if he doesn’t want me to bother him at home, and he’s a cat, lol, then what am I doing? Should I just sit at home all the time because HE might get mad or say something or whatever if I decide I want to get involved in something? Does it really matter if I do something, since he’s not really home that much and when he is he isn’t interested in playful puppy behaviors? lol

            I am wondering about these and I anticipate April’s response to some of these questions! 🙂

            I think it’s great that you have stepped out and done some things!

            Just the other day, I found myself scared, trying to control my life, when the breaks on our truck were still not working after my husband poured money and time into fixing them—- And I realized I had a few things I had to do this week while he was at work that could not be rescheduled—- I practically demanded a rental car from him out of fear of not having a vehicle—-he questioned why I needed a vehicle and when I told him, he said, “are those things really that important that you need to rent a car?” By then I was flabergasted at his lack of understanding of how important it was for me to have a vehicle. He thinks I should just be home and that if I am doing anything other than being at home— he feels offended or something. I haven’t figured it out yet—-hopefully April can help us out on that one! 🙂

            Thanks for your input!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. Amanda,

            Hmm… what does your counselor suggest for you to do about this issue?

            Also, just because he doesn’t like something you are doing – doesn’t automatically mean you can’t do it. It could mean that you may want to have some conversation about it. What exactly does he not like? Is there something similar that wouldn’t be a problem? Does he seriously not want you to go to church at all? If not, then do you know why?

            Is this something you can talk about with him? Maybe after much prayer? I don’t think it is healthy for a puppy to try to turn into a cat. 🙂 Let the cat be a cat. But surely he would not want you to feel squashed either, right?

            Maybe he loves being at home and maybe he would feel most content never leaving. So maybe he thinks that you should feel the same way?

          3. Amanda,

            Does your husband think he is giving suggestions on these issues? Or is he giving directives?

            Does he insist on you not doing any of the things you like? Or do you just give them up if he mentions he doesn’t like them?

          4. April,
            My counselor and I have been working on separating my behaviors from my husbands, and seeing what is really going on in my marriage. For a long time I have taken the blame on myself for things that do not belong to me. I have been working on setting appropriate boundaries in my own life and marriage to protect my own mind and choices, etc.

            Without getting into major detail, lets just say I’ve realized a lot of underlying manipulation tactics that my husband may unknowingly or knowingly use in order to send the message to me about what he wants me to do or not do.

            He will tell anyone that asks that he never told me I couldn’t go anywhere, talk to whoever I wanted, etc. etc…..but what you will have found is that he made a subtle comment/suggestion that seemed harmless, but left me feeling bad and as though I should no longer do that/talk to them/go there, etc.

            My husband is very skeptical about a lot of churches and we agree on some of those things, but the one that I wanted to keep going to he didn’t want to simply because 2 summers ago, the older woman that was mentoring me about being a godly wife and her husband came over for dinner and they were sort of a “witness” I brought to confront my husband about his ongoing sin towards me, and my husband blew a fuse and basically told them to mind their own business and he had a grown up tantrum. Needless to say, I kept some friends from there but haven’t been back, as I don’t feel comfortable after all that those poor people witnessed—What I’m trying to say is he embarassed me.

            I think he has a lot of his own issues/insecurities and that for me, the best thing right now, is to step back and get me own boundaries firmly grounded and stop falling for the subtle manipulation!

          5. April,

            They are like subtle suggestive directives lol. That is how I would describe it!

            It’s almost like he tries to shame me into not doing things anymore, for example, going to the gym, or working out— he thinks because HE used to do it for attention, that that would be why I would work out, but really it has nothing to do with that I just genuinely like exercising! But he will constantly accuse me of having a “boyfriend” if I go to the gym or care about how I look in that sense.

            Somethings like seeing my best friends from home he has insisted I don’t see them/talk to them anymore.

            He even tried to talk me out of going to the counselor I go to.

          6. Amanda,

            Sometimes, it seems like as a wife works on her end of things – it can kind of expose things that may be going on with the husband and make them more obvious. Does that make sense? But it can also be confusing as you are making adjustments to figure out what is your issue and what is his issue. Are you being too sensitive? Is he being controlling and manipulative? Are your expectations too high? Or is he being unreasonable?

            Often, at the beginning, we swing way too far over and become doormats. We give up our ideas, needs, desires, and personalities – trying not to rock the boat. But that is not going to work. I can’t just treat any words out of my husband’s mouth as Law that is written in stone. Does that make sense? Hopefully there will be some room for respectful dialogue – especially as we grow and learn to approach our husbands respectfully.

            Just because my husband doesn’t like a certain thing or doesn’t agree doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t do that thing. I need to be very alert and vigilant if there is something he doesn’t like. I need to really pray about those issues. But if he is not leading me and truly has no problem with me doing something, he just wants to express his opinion – it may not be a problem for me to go ahead with something. Other things may be a really big deal and he may truly believe it is not wise for me to do something. So there is also the issue of learning to read our husbands’ signals and to discern suggestions from leading. I know that was hard for me because I heard Greg making suggestions, but he thought he was leading. Still, if I seriously want to do something and it is important to me, I know that Greg wants me to feel free to talk with him about it.

            The things you wanted to go to that week do not sound like things that were unimportant. I think I am confused. Do you know what he expected you to do without a car? Did he expect you not to go to the doctor or to school?

            Husbands do have their own journey. So sometimes when they aren’t doing well on their end – it can make us feel like we are going crazy because it can be so hard to discern – is he having an issue or am I having an issue?

            I understand that your husband is not doing well spiritually at the moment, correct?

            What is your counselor suggesting you do at this time?

            Sending you a huge hug!

          7. April,
            Yes! Yes! Yes! And Yes!!!

            You have desribed to a T what I have been experiencing. I just let out a sigh of relief! Thank you!

            Without bashing my husband or giving too many details, I will say that yes, my counselor and I have discovered some troubling things coming from my husband’s end. I am committed to my end, and realize so many of the things I have need to repent of and work on and continue to grow in those things!

            Spiritually, he is not doing the best, but he is also not trying to lose me in any sense. He knows I’m serious now that I’ve addressed some major issues. I know I can’t control him, only myself, so that is why I addressed the things I would like to see in order to trust him again, and he has agreed to them, and has apologized for some things that I’ve pointed out. He and I have been through this before, though, so this time around, I am committed to sticking to my boundaries and not allowing what he thinks/does/says to affect my own heart and life.

            Talking with all of you ladies has helped me SO much in realizing my side and his, and what I need to focus on and do too!

            I wasn’t going to school, but my son started school the other day and I needed to bring him!

            I’m not sure what he expected. He expected me to not have anything to do this week I guess, lol.

            I got the rental car either way, and he didn’t say anything else about it after I explained how he was not validating anything I was saying to him about it and how he was just focusing on what HE thought I needed to do, etc.

            Pointing out when he is manipulating/invalidating feelings, subtly controlling, etc has helped MAJORLY lately. When I point it out and call it out when it is happening, he has no where to run but the truth in those moments, and I try not to do it in a nasty way, just a truthful, “this is what I see going on” way—and so far he has been receptive and acknowledging it and apologizing.

            There were a few times I had to say on the phone, “Im sorry, but if you can’t speak in a kind way right now, then I need to get off the phone” and i got off the phone and he took some time and then apologized.

            I think when I first realized my side and the disrespect, etc, when I apologized for my own stuff and everything, I think he felt validated in the way HE treated me for so long, as if it was my fault. He has repeatedly blamed me for his choices, and until I started counseling, I never noticed or really called him out on that. But now I do, and I see he responds to that as well in a good way.

            I know I could just not say anything at all, but I’ve tried that approach too, and that only made things worse. I think pointing out and speaking up for what I see as wrong has been helping lately for us, atleast. He is free to call me out anytime he feels like it, and I appreciate when he does especially if I am unknowingly complaining or something, he reminds me of how blessed we are, and I always thank him for reminding me of the truth!

            My counselor also is suggesting that I just keep the times that I have been given the sight to see what is going on in my marriage (by reading old texts, journals, etc.) and evaluating the situation for what it is, so that whenever I am faced with anything, I will still have the truth fresh in my mind and I will be able to discern if what he is saying is true or if he is manipulating or controlling inadvertently, etc.

            This will be a journey, for sure, because he and I both grew up in that type of environment, but I am not going to settle for it! I know I am free in Christ, and I refuse to keep falling into bowing before my husband instead of God!

            And I am SO thankful to have you all to speak truth as well! THANK YOU!

            Love,
            Amanda

          8. Amanda,

            You are in some deep waters with this that are a good bit different from my experience and I want to be very sensitive to that. Yes, there can be a time in the beginning when most of us get pretty quiet if we had been really disrespectful, controlling, prideful, and self-righteous. That is an important time where we begin to learn God’s wisdom. We begin to discern what is respectful to share and what is sinful to share. We begin to monitor our thoughts and motives. We start to have a filter on our words instead of just spewing every thought that enters our minds no matter how destructive it may be. It takes time. At first, the best we can do is be very quiet. Then, we slowly begin to learn to add some positive, respectful things.

            If a husband is not in too terrible shape himself spiritually and emotionally – he may be able to help his wife as she learns. He may actually be able to talk through things with her and help her revamp her thought processes and even pray with her. That doesn’t happen very often in my experience. But it is amazing when it does!

            If a husband is very wounded, passive, and shut down – like Greg was – a wife is pretty much on her own to try to figure things out. Her husband may not be able to articulate what he needs or what is disrespectful. He may not confront her about her sin. She may have to do a lot of prayer and research to try to figure things out and the progress can be really slow.

            If a husband is very wounded but more aggressive, critical, or dominating – things can get a bit more dicey, from what I have observed. Not only does the wife have to navigate the enemy’s lies to her and deal with taking her own thoughts captive and she has her own battles and struggles, but sometimes the enemy speaks through her husband to attack her, too. Other times, God may be speaking through her husband. It can be really hard for a wife to get a handle on her own issues and untangle her husband’s input, too, especially if there is emotional abuse or spiritual abuse going on. It takes prayer, time, practice, and godly counsel to discern how a wife should handle things if her husband is mistreating her and sinning against her. There are also different stages. There can be times when God prompts a wife to wait and pray and be silent. And then suddenly, a new point is reached in the husband’s behavior and God helps a wife to see that she needs to speak up about certain things.

            Men tend to respect women who respect themselves and their husbands. Or – as we had a big discussion about how some people didn’t like that terminology – women who “think rightly about themselves.” If a husband begins to mistreat his wife and she says nothing or just goes totally passive – sometimes that seems to bring on more verbal and emotional abuse.

            Thanks for sharing that resource with us. 🙂

            I know there is a lot of work still ahead. But I praise God for what He has done and is doing in you and for what He has done and is doing in your husband. I know He will finish the good work He has started.

            How may we pray for you?

            Much love!

          9. April,

            Your wisdom is very real and it answers to so much of the need we have today in our marriages, even in all our different dynamics of our marriages and things we are facing. It is comforting to know that you have seen all types and have been able to steer just about anyone in the right direction because the foundation of it all is Christ, and He alone is the starting point and the finishing touch! What blessedness is found here, Thank you!!!!

            The scary part about having to figure things out in this type of situation is being faced with the worldly view of it all and so many resources and information out there that steers women to leave the relationship in order to protect themselves. In serious physical abuse, I believe that is necessary.

            However, what you described in the last few paragraphs is what I was much more in tune with in my own situation, and I am beginning to see it as an opportunity for the Lord to come in and do a mighty thing among us for His glory and Kingdom!

            I was tried in my faith—– But today, I sing a new song, as God has shown me once more that there is the Rest of Faith available to the people of God—– and when we are in that rest—we WILL face appalling difficulties, and we will be tried on our position of faith—– Because God is desiring in us a steadfast spirit—one that does what is right and does not give way to fear! Even up against the most troubling situation—- we must believe God!

            I forgot. I failed. I did not believe God! I believed my circumstances, and I believed my own feelings. That is a slippery slope. I slid all the way down it, it is not pleasant!!!

            From fear to faith–that is God’s specialty!

            It exposes what we are holding onto so tightly—-the things we are gripping that are NOT Christ—- and we must choose to either let go in faith—or we can try to hold onto it in fear and we end up losing more than just that thing that we think we are still able to control or hold onto.

            I want to encourage any of the ladies here who related to my issues going on that they stand on the very fact that Jesus is the Lord of Lords—- and He is ruling over ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH—-even our very marriages—our very lives—all things He is Lord over—- And He is aiming at getting our spirits steadfast in faith and rest in Who He is!—-and when the faith in Him is a settled matter—– we will see His Mighty Arm and power on our behalf—– whether now or later!

            He delights in those who hope in His mercy!!!!!!

            Thank you ALL so much for being here—- I am so grateful! So thankful!

            Please, let us ALL pray for each other—that God would strengthen our innerman by His Might! That we may all become steadfast in spirit, not giving way to fear!!!! And that we all might be transformed into His image—- and give Him the place of Lord in our lives, that He might draw all men unto Himself through us!

            Love to all,
            Amanda

          10. April & CIC,

            I just wanted to add ONE thing to your brainstorming about the respect/submission thing from a perspective of one like me and CIC’s situations—

            The reason it was EASY for ME to take the respect/submission thing wrong and become a total doormat and I felt enslaved is because I truly believed I was the one to blame in my marriage BECAUSE MY HUSBAND WAS BLAMING ME!

            I took the blame for 2 years of our problems, without even questioning it. This is an issue we see in manipulation/controlling marriages. It is a tactic of control that is ever so subtle—-and it takes just the right person, such as one like me, who is caring and empathetic and I already had grown up in that type of atmosphere and was already not “respecting myself” so to speak in life—so it was easy for me to take all the blame and think that I HAD TO CHANGE IN ORDER TO MAKE MY HUSBAND HAPPY and make my marriage work.

            But what ended up happening is—-I changed my ways to some extent, and the more I focused on God and obeyed God myself–the more I saw my husband’s issues and sin—- but because control/manipulation is so subtle in my type of situation, slowly I would become blinded again and start inhaling all of his negative criticisms and not even question whehter or not he was wrong BECAUSE—— at one point or another, I lost my cool, and we argued—all because I was being sinned against but DID NOT RECOGNIZE IT AS SUCH—-and when I would get mad and out of control, then my husband had “PROOF” that it was all me and it was hard to deny that—-but I never even considered til I ended up in counseling that maybe it was NOT all me—-

            If you remember April I was really struggling with wanting to chanege and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t changing—it was all because my husband was constantly feeding me this life “you will never change”!

            But I moved passed that, by God’s grace and you and all the ladies here and all your posts and counseling—- and even then, I still fell into it recently—but now I’ve read more on the control/manipulation and through counseling have been stepping back like I mentioned and things are working out much better now that I am able to call things out as I see them!

            I took submitting to an extreme because I just thought well if he’s in charge then he should make all the decisions— And he wasn’t hesitant to take that role one bit—he actually demands it. and that’s where the invalidating and all that comes in, when I am not even allowed to share my feelings about anything—- now I know that that is not healthy and I explained that to him and he is willing to work on all that!

            Hopefully that makes sense!

            Love,
            Amanda

          11. Amanda,

            Ok, so – here is what I am thinking… tell me if this is helpful, everyone.

            For wives in my former position, they are basically on their own. There is no feedback from their husbands. It is just them, God, the Bible, some books, their journals, and maybe some blogs. It can feel a lot like learning a new language without a teacher and without someone to practice speaking the language with. Or it can feel like walking through a minefield blindfolded, not ever receiving feedback on where the mines are but trying to learn where they are somehow.

            But for wives in positions with a husband who is giving a lot of feedback, especially negative feedback – a wife has to learn to navigate her own walk with Christ and becoming a godly wife while getting tons of feedback from her husband. But she can’t trust all of his feedback. She must learn to discern when he is sinning and when to absorb his words vs. when to not absorb his words. His criticism can cause her to lose her own spiritual balance and to have a hard time regaining it, it sounds like. It makes everything kind of seem like a moving target, perhaps? And it can be difficult to discern the difference between his sin and her sin?

          12. April,

            Yes, I can see how it would be very different for you since Greg did not give any feedback even negative or anything while you were disrespectful. My husband told me I was like that right when we got married, but strangely, I never thought it was wrong, nor did I know ANYTHING about the fear behind it, etc. until I found your site! But now that I have seen myself in the light of your blog, I definitely repented and you know all the stories along the way so far about how things changed and how my husband responded.

            HOWEVER—-And I know this happens to a lot of women on here— anytime I did mess up AFTER apologizing and after changing certain things, and say I was on a good streak where I was “not messing up”—– and then if I did something that appeared controlling or if I was disrespectful in any way —- that’s when my husband would start with the negativity about how I’ll ever change, etc. It was like he totally missed ALL the good things and only saw that ONE slip up—and when I would mess up, and let’s say he sinned against me in some way during that time, all eyes were on ME only, and I would take all the blame and apologize to him, and it would be all about me changing, and NEVER about his part in the situation—-and that’s where the whole self-blame, condemnation, etc. comes in for me, and then I start focusing on winning my husband’s love and affection back and the more I would focus on pleasing my husband and not God, the more things got worse b/c at that point, I’m definitely operating out of my flesh and not the Spirit!

            Now that I’ve been through this cycle about 5 times atleast, I am beginning to see what’s really going on and it is now easier to discern when I am wrong, when what he is saying to me is not true, etc. etc.

            It does get tricky for me atleast to see when I am in the wrong or if he is, or if we both are. I think most times we both are—- but somehow my sin is the only thing that we focus on or talk about,etc.

            All in all—in my situation atleast, it seems a lot of times like no matter what I do, it doesn’t matter if I mess up even one time. That’s a really hight standard to live up to and that’s when things get depressing for me and draining b/c I feel like I have to be perfect in order to keep my husband’s love and attention, etc.

          13. Amanda,

            What resources have you found that have been most helpful about when a husband demands to have control and lords it over you in an unhealthy way? Are there specific points that have really jumped out at you about dealing with controlling behavior in a godly way? You talk about calling him out on it – how do you do that respectfully, if you feel free to share?

          14. April,

            The very most helpful resource so far has been that book I mentioned: “when love goes wrong: what to do when you can’t do anything right”—- it’s not really a christian book but it thouroughly breaks down how to identify when a husband is subtly controlling, and manipulating to keep control—it explains why he does it, and it just gives you a lot of things to evaluate to see where the problem really is.

            Also, “Boundaries” and “Boundaries in Marriage” by Townsend and Cloud were very helpful not only for that but just likfe in general in how to keep your own boundaries. These books I needed desperately in my life lol

            I mostly have used the Boundaries books in order to learn how to actually deal with the controlling behavior.

            When I keep the information fresh in my mind—- and let’s say for example, my husband calls me that night.

            The conversation is not serious, just talking about our days, etc.

            I tell him I had a hard time with my son that day, and then tell him what happened.

            I tell him I wish he were home to help me with that situation.

            He responds by telling me, “You should be grateful you get to have your son in your life, I don’t have mine and I wish I did. You don’t know how good you have it. It’s not that bad, if you want him to behave, then you need to do something about it and change first, otherwise he’ll never change. He treats you how you treat me, like a needy baby who constantly wants your attention.”

            (That is hypothetical, but I’ve heard all of those things from my husband in that situation before)

            So now, if I DON’T have the information in my mind—at this piont, I would have absorbed ALL of that negative stuff, and started thinking, “wow, I am such a horrible mom. I can’t even control my own kid. I obviously can’t do anything. I need to change, I’m the problem.”

            What my husband has just done is completely invalidated my feelings, was not supportive at all, and was critical in a totally unhealthy way.

            If I had the information fresh in my mind—I would call him out in this way: “Matt, I’m allowed to have my own feelings and my own experiences. This is not about you and your sons, this is about me, and what I’m dealing with and I’m just sharing it with you. I’m just telling you what happened and how I feel about it. I’m not you and I don’t feel how you do or think exactly like you, I’m my own person.”

            Then he will most likely apologize and say he understands.

            And that would be it.

            See how drastic a difference it is when you don’t know what’s healthy and unhealthy in the way someone treats you??

            If my husband would have continued to be negative after that, I would just tell him, “I’m sorry, but if you can’t talk to my kindly and in a supportive way, then I need to get off the phone”, and I would get off the phone.

            You have to be aware of what’s healthy and what’s not in order to see how someone is treating you!

          15. Satisfied Wife,

            Thank you for sharing this. I am going to be mulling over all of the things you and CIC and LMSdaily115 have shared. Please pray God will help us come up with some posts that will address this issue clearly, concisely, and biblically for our sisters who are hurting.

            Much love to you!

          16. April,
            I have been thinking much about it too, and I will keep it in mind 🙂 I believe this topic will be able to address a lot of things that some women deal with and I pray it will bless them greatly!! Thank you for being willing to address these things!!!

            Lots of love,
            Amanda

          17. Amanda,

            I would hope that all of us would realize that one person is very rarely 100% to blame for ALL of the problems in a marriage. We are usually dealing with sinful issues on both sides. When one person believes that the other person is completely to blame – that is a pretty big red flag to me. That is what I believed – that all of the problems in our marriage were totally Greg’s issue. Wow, was I wrong!

            I would also hope that wives would see that just because someone is “in charge” doesn’t mean that the other person is unnecessary or useless. We are still a team! There is a reason for both spouses to be there. If the wife was unnecessary, the husband might as well be by himself.

            Oh! Would you allow me to use the comment about the idol of happiness in my book, possibly, my sister?

            Much love to you!

          18. April,

            You may use anything 🙂 Let God’s will be done!

            I sadly didn’t know it wasn’t all me, and I sadly did think he was in charge completely. That only lead to me getting really really mad, but then being judged and told I was the crazy, sinning, out of control, controlling woman. Not good.

            I think it has more to do with my husbands view of women more than anything else! He doesn’t see me as having anything to really add to the equation, since God made *him* the leader and the one who gets to make the final decisions. Therefore, my opinion and feelings mean nothing, because he will do whatever he wants and decides, either way. :/

            But now that I have addresed those things to him, I think he is beginning to maybe see how that is wrong! Of course he was happy when i wasn’t saying a word about anything, because he thought thats how it should be and if I do share a disagreement, I am then labeled as a rebellious wife 🙂 and I actually believed him! (There were times for sure that I was out of line and being controlling, for example in the text convos that I shared with you on here, those times I really was being disrespectful and selfish and not even seeing it at all!) Now, I know my place more and I see how it is not ok to just be quiet about everything and never share what I think of feel about the matter especially if it involves me!

            See how confusing this can be when we don’t know what the truth is in this situation? It is deadly!!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          19. Amanda,

            Here is a post that I hoped would address this issue, but I don’t know if you have seen it. It was back in January.

            http://peacefulwife.com/2016/01/25/do-you-think-women-are-always-to-blame-for-problems-in-marriage/

            It is very confusing when we don’t see the truth. How I long to represent God’s truth accurately for every wife to hear.

            I know I have talked a lot about not becoming completely passive and quiet and how wives need to share their concerns, feelings, ideas, etc… in respectful ways. And how it is necessary to confront our husbands at times. I have talked about going too far into control or too far into passivity are both destructive.

            I want to be able to communicate this clearly.

            Thank you for your help!

          20. April,
            Yes! I have read and I also know you definitely address all of that! I never intended to mean that you haven’t addressed anything!!! You are very open about those things!! 🙂

            It is because you have addressed those things, especially confronting the husbands sin, that I personally have taken that route and was able to clearly see when it was time to say something! You have a lot of valuable information on your blog about a situation like mine in terms of confronting sin, biblical submission, etc.!

            In my last comment, I think what I meant was that the control/manipulation in a situation like mine is so blinding that I believed my husband over the truth! It was that blinding! I took all the blame because the control/manipulation was so slyly done, that I truly believed it was all me! That is the sad part :/

            Your blog is very helpful in terms of addressing not being passive, etc. I think it depends on the woman, and how blinded she is, and to what extent she is under any kind of control or manipulation—b/c if we are under it, it doesn’t matter what we read or anything, the situation seems more real than the truth, and that brings so much confusion and despair! That is why I think it is so great that you will be talking more about these things!

            You represent the truth sister! I am not doubting that at all! Thank you for speaking the truth in these tough situations!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          21. Satisfied Wife,

            My goal is to try to understand the perspectives of all of the wives who read here – as much as I possibly can. So that I can address things they need to hear. I also want to know how they hear my message and anything they may hear wrongly. I can’t always keep people from misunderstanding, but I want to do my best to present God’s truth accurately, clearly, and with love.

            🙂

            Much love!
            April

          22. Amanda, I was just catching up on a lot of these posts and I wanted to say how inspiring it is to see how God has shown you about boundaries, and what is healthy and unhealthy in your relationship with your husband, and how you have been able to identify what is unhealthy control/manipulation by your husband. I think it’s a big challenge for all of us women to understand what healthy submission is, and how to balance what is right and what is going to the other end of things and being too passive to the point that the husband feels a wife has to be a doormat. It’s amazing to read what God has taught you and how you are growing and learning to balance being too controlling vs not sharing your feelings and opinions at all. God definitely doesn’t want us to feel that we are worthless in our marriage and I think what you have shared is important to all of us wives who are trying to understand what God wants us to do in our relationships. This has been such an interesting discussion and so glad that so many people have been sharing their perspective. It’s been a great help to me.

          23. Melanie,
            Praise God that He is working in your heart as well in these things! It really is hard sometimes to get the right balance! I totally understand that. And keep in mind, I am just starting to understand this. I’m at the point of just realizing what it is, calling a chicken a chicken, and trying to figure out what I need to do. I truly believe the Spirit of God is able to lead me in every situation. I know when I am wrong when I get that check in my spirit after saying something that wasn’t right, or thinking something that is contrary to the Word of God when interacting with my husband, or when thinking about what I need to do in the situation.

            I know for me, I was thinking for a long time that I needed to just not say anything and whatever my husband wanted to do, that’s what we did, and I didn’t really have a say in that. But I had April’s posts in the back of my mind the whole time about how we are supposed to share our perspectives, opinions, desires, etc. too, and also in the Boundaries book, it says that even if it causes a conflict, we should not feel we need to never input anything just to avoid that. Yet, I didn’t know how to address anything, and I wasn’t seeing what my husband was doing either, so I was confused, and we know that is not of God!!!!

            Please share anything that you feel led to share about this type of thing, I learn so much from the other wives here too about this stuff!! 🙂 Thanks!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          24. Amanda and April –

            Amanda, you know that I understand your situation!!! I see so much of myself and my situation in yours. I see you wrestling with what is true and what is false – with what is right and what is wrong…because our situations don’t “fit” what the “ideal” is, I guess. I know I had to have several godly people counseling me (April was one of those voices) and I had to hear some very, very specific things from God spoken directly to me before I could move ahead with what seemed to be some things that were very counter at times to what I read here and other traditional teaching about how a wife operates in her marriage. And, I still questioned myself at times — and I feel even now the enemy tries to attack me with the way I used to think and tries to get me to think that I “messed up” by drawing boundaries and confronting my husband’s sin in a pretty overt way. It was not a pretty process and yes, I made mistakes. But, I KNOW that God led me to do the things I did. And, our marriage has been sooooo much better. It is honestly amazing to see how different things are. My husband is sensitive to my feelings, he is listening to me, he is valuing my opinions….things are really different around here. I am a free woman in a different way than I was before. I am free to be me and I am relishing it! God was continuing to teach me more and more as I went through that, too, and I am learning to choose my faith over my fear (when it comes to questioning my husband and his motives due to our past), to remember that my joy is not dependent on my husband and his moods, and to refine the way I express my desires and concerns to him.

            But, honestly, now that I’ve been awakened to this, I see it everywhere! And, I’m growing increasingly concerned about the way many women have learned about what respect and submission means. April, I’ve been thinking a lot about this the last week or so and I know you mentioned collaborating on a post about how we could explain things better. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that – or if I ever will be – but it’s definitely something that’s been coming to mind. I am starting to be convinced that some of the distorted teaching about submission and respect has done A LOT of damage in marriages and that Satan is using it in a major way. It breaks my heart, but at the same time, I believe God’s kindgom is advancing and the gates of hell will not preveal against it!

            Because of my distorted views on what submission and respect meant, and because of what God has brought me through and the way He spoke to me, I am seeking Him in learning His heart on this and coming to a better balance.

            April, thank you, thank you, thank you for being sensitive to those who are in these kinds of situations. Thank you for not increasing the burden on those who are already placing a lot of the burden on themselves for the state of their marriages. I know for myself that it wouldn’t have mattered how respectful and submissive I became, it was only increasing the problems in my marriage. I really like what you said about how God can call you to a time of silence then speaking truth depending on how circumstances change. That was very true for me. And a reminder that we have to keep our eyes on Christ and fight this in the Spirit and not the flesh. I also agree with your statement that men tend to respect women who respect themselves and their husbands. Yes! I can relate to that as I’ve now been on both sides (being too passive and things getting unbalanced while I “took” it and now being in a place where I am not afraid of my husband, but stand and speak from the truth and experiencing much greater respect from my husband and a more intimate relationship, as well).

            A couple of key things that God taught me was that I should NOT submit to my husband when he was using authority in an ungodly way against me. Authority is not making basic decisions for me or micromanaging me or not letting me pursue friendships or not letting me be myself. Christ modeled authority by showing that true authority serves and sacrifices for the other for their well-being. It was not for my well being when my husband did some of these things. And if I submitted to those things, then by doing that, I was permitting him to continue in sin and it wasn’t healthy for him or me or our family. (And, like Amanda, my husband was subtle about his control….it’s very confusing and hard to sort out, but God is able!) Also, to stop pretending that our relationship was good when he had hurt me by dismissing my feelings (again and again) and to stop accepting the blame he would put on me in instances where he was the one in the wrong.

            April, this looks like a really long document to get through, but the read was fairly interesting and quick…. I thought it was very balanced and I felt agreement in my spirit with what his conclusions are on “submitting in everything.” I know you are crunched on time, but I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this if you feel God leads you to read it.

            http://www.cbe.org.au/media/docs/SubmitinEverythingTJ.pdf

            Amanda, I am thankful your husband is responding in healthy ways right now! Truth is one of our most powerful spiritual weapons and the darkness will respond one way or another when it is wielded. It can feel scary being in our position because we don’t know which way it will go — and God does not offer guarantees….but we step forward in faith and trust and obedience and let God take care of the giant!

            Love y’all!

          25. CiC, April, I would love to see a detailed post on this. Very much. It’s a super hard balance.

            I am going to be realistic and say that I’m not going to be in a marriage again for a long time yet, whether it’s with DW or someone else, but they are awesome principles I’d love to read more about. HH

          26. CIC,

            I am very concerned about this, too! I have heard from so many women who say, “I have been submissive to my husband,” in a case where a husband is very harsh and controlling. I ask, “What is your definition of submission?” And they invariably say, “I do whatever he says and whatever he wants and I don’t say anything.” ACK! No! That is not biblical submission!

            I have so many posts where I try to explain this. And yet, the misunderstandings still abound.

            For those who haven’t seen my posts on this topic, please search my home page for:

            – conflict
            – confronting our husbands about their sin
            – doormat
            – the pendulum effect
            – biblical submission is not passivity
            – biblical submission does not = the husband is always right
            – spiritual authority
            – harsh husband
            – command man
            – 25 ways to respect myself
            – fake
            – godly femininity

            I think maybe women get confused about how to witness to their husbands without a word (1 Peter 3:1-6) and think that also means they can never confront their husbands about sin? I think the point is that we are not to lecture, nag, or preach about God to our men. Not that we can’t address sin against us. Of course, if I have been really dominating and controlling and disrespectful – there may be a “wash out time” where I do stop forcing my opinions and my words down my husband’s throat about a lot of things while I regroup and begin to hear God’s voice more clearly. But I don’t want women to stay there. I don’t want women to flip flop over toward being doormats who give up their personhood, influence, and personalities.

            I try to talk about that we ultimately submit to Christ as Lord. Husbands are not above Christ. If we have to choose between pleasing Jesus and pleasing our husbands, we must choose Jesus.

            Yes, distorted teaching always does damage. And it is difficult to get the balance just right in ways that everyone can understand as they read with their own history, filters, personalities, and current spiritual maturity level.

            I would LOVE to share more about this. This issue is something I pray about often. I so long for women to only receive truth here and to not go away thinking, “So I just have to do anything my husband says and I can’t say a word.” That is slavery, not biblical submission. Real biblical submission requires incredible strength in Christ and the filling of His Spirit and great spiritual maturity and godly wisdom, in my view.

            Thanks for this document. I hope to get to read it in a bit.

          27. CIC,
            I read the whole thing – and I am really glad you shared this with me. I think that I address all of the issues that Tracy does about when wives should not submit to their husbands, too. Although, I also talk about mental illness and addictions – times a husband is not in his right mind – and I don’t recall Tracy saying that.

            I want to hear how I can make the balance more clear for wives. I don’t want to promote swinging to the right or left of God’s truth and His design. Either way is dangerous and destructive.

            Much love!

          28. CIC,

            I have to get ready for work – but wanted to mention, I think that some of the problems in talking about limits of a husband’s authority and when a wife should not submit is that it can be difficult to qualify things. For example, Tracy talks about a wife not submitting when her husband will put the children in danger. I actually agree with this. If a husband is truly endangering the children, I think a wife needs to protect the children. However, if you had talked with me earlier in our marriage, any time Greg didn’t want to do what I thought was best for our children, I would have said “he is endangering them.” Of course, he was not having them ride in the car without a seatbelt or throwing them into deep water when they didn’t know how to swim. But I was so afraid of everything back then. Any disagreement with me would have seemed dangerous.

            I will be praying about all of this and how God might want us to discuss it!

          29. Ultimately – my belief is that wives are to submit intelligently, knowing we are accountable to Christ and that He is the Audience of One we need to please in the end. I must do what I believe will most honor Him in every circumstance. In order to do this, I have to be abiding in Him and filled to overflowing with His Spirit so that I can hear His voice and prompting.

            It can be tempting to want to have a specific formula and list of rules of exactly what wives should do in every possible scenario. Sometimes I can give suggestions. But we can’t really get around needing to be in fellowship with God and needing to hear and obey His prompting.

            I will continue to pray about this throughout the day!

            Amanda,

            I can’t wait to get to respond later to you, my sweet sister!

          30. CiC, I have read that link through many times today and made many notes on it. It helped me clarify a lot of my thinking and is helping me think through what teaching I received in my younger years and how that effected my own marriage.

            What I found interesting is some of the views that acclaimed philosophers such as Plutarch and Aristotle held on marital roles!! They were beasts!

            Thanks for that resource. HH

          31. CIC,
            Would you consider allowing me to use part of this comment in a post, or would you prefer to write something specifically about this issue for wives in similar situations to yours about the lightbulb moments God has given you and how He has changed your thinking about respect and submission?

            This issue does get so tricky because every marriage is different and there are so many different cultures, personalities, and different dynamics in each marriage.

            For example – a husband may be right to ask his wife not to pursue certain ungodly friendships that are an evil influence on his wife. He may be right to say it is time to stop communication with his parents or his wife’s parents sometimes if things are very toxic, even if the wife does not agree at the time. He may be hearing God’s voice on these issues.

            But there are other situations where a husband refuses to allow his wife to speak with ANYONE at all. That is very concerning. Or where he seeks to alienate and isolate her from everyone else in the world and doesn’t allow her to read anything but the Bible or things he has written. That is very concerning to me.

            I don’t want wives to respect sin or pretend that sin is okay. I don’t think God expects that or asks that of us.

            I may need to do a post about this article, too. SO MANY THINGS that we need to discuss!

            One of my greatest concerns is that women will mishear me in dangerous ways and swing toward thinking that respect and submission means they just have to do whatever their husband says, they have no voice, they can’t share their feelings, they can’t share their concerns, they have zero influence. That is just as sinfully distorted and destructive as a wife who is disrespectful and usurping her husband’s position of God-given authority. Passivity and control are both destructive and toxic.

            Pray that God will help me explain all of this clearly and that His Spirit will work in the women’s hearts (and men’s hearts) who read and that I will handle His Word rightly about these critical concepts.

          32. I’m still reading that document CiC, making lots of notes on it!

            It strikes me that the Christian teaching of headship and submission is probably one of the most appealing teachings to what we refer to as a ‘fleshly’ mindset. As I watch children play I often hear the words “but I want to” or “but I don’t want to” and these words often precede a disagreement!! We seem to be born with a desire for ‘our way’, often even if it is at the expense of others 🙁 James 4 at work!!! Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards! Proverbs something something……

            So along comes this teaching that at face value almost says “hey guys, if you follow the ‘Christian’ teaching your wives have to do what you say”. Woah, all of a sudden those playground interactions of doing things ‘my way’ have ‘God’s’ seal of approval (please don’t miss the sarcasm here and think I am serious).

            The document in that link has shown me in a way I have never seen before the ease with which a man could totally misuse the christian teaching of headship and submission to justify his ‘fleshly’ desires at the expense of a woman he is supposed to serve. It has also shown me the vital necessity of a man having his heart totally surrendered to Christ and ensuring that his decisions are made in a true spirit of love.

            Thank you again for sharing it. HH

          33. HH,

            This perspective is very helpful as we are talking about some of the wives’ scenarios with their husbands. Interestingly, Greg had the opposite reaction to this teaching. He was so concerned someone would think he was abusive or controlling, that he hates to even ask me to do things. He still often avoids asking me for help. And he really doesn’t like me to even ask what I could do to bless him.

            This teaching, just like every other teaching in Scripture, is about proper balance. It is difficult to only be able to teach wives and for husbands not to also be receiving sound instruction on this critical subject. They need sound teaching just as much as we wives do.

            Thank you so much for sharing!

          34. April,

            That is interesting! Greg sounds like a great guy. I wish I was more like him in many ways, it would have probably saved me a lot of pain.

            I am writing lots of notes on what I am learning. Maybe it will be used one day. Who knows.

            HH

          35. HH,

            There is that balance issue where we don’t swing into control and domination but we don’t swing into passivity and giving up the responsibilities God has given to us. It is a delicate balance.

            Some resources that have been helpful for me:

            Two classes by a minister at my church that he has allowed me to share as posts have been very fundamental in my understanding of the issue of spiritual authority and biblical submission:
            Spiritual Authority
            A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

            And these resources have been very helpful to me, as well:
            The Danvers Statement which is a summary of what I understand to be correct about how to teach male/female roles in marriage and the church

            Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem – especially chapter 1

          36. HH,
            Greg is a great guy. 🙂 It has been such an honor to watch God work in his life and to help him grow in his understanding of godly masculinity and godly leadership. He is so gentle and patient. Never judgmental. He doesn’t have a critical spirit against me. He truly tries to do what is best for our family. He doesn’t rush into hasty decisions but likes to carefully and thoroughly evaluate things.

            I know that I am his teammate. He treats me as an equal. He cares about my thoughts, feelings, and needs. He tries to understand me and gives me so much grace and mercy.

            I am truly blessed to get to be his wife.

          37. Oh!

            HH,
            Greg never orders me around. We have discussions. We collaborate. If we can’t agree, I defer to him voluntarily. But he never raises his voice or makes demands. He gives me a lot of freedom to do what I think is best in most situations. He trusts me. We both know we have a voice and that our feelings and ideas matter. I love that!

          38. HH,

            Please don’t allow worldly grief to destroy you, my brother! Greg is not perfect. He has his own issues, too. We all do. My prayer is that you will allow God to continue to mold and fill you to become the man He calls you to be. 🙂

          39. HH,

            The not-yelling thing has always been Greg’s temperament. Some of the other things are part of the healing God has brought to his life in recent years. God has changed us both a lot since I began this journey almost 8 years ago. It was a LONG time in the beginning when things didn’t seem to be changing. But God was at work even when I couldn’t see it. 🙂

          40. Hi Ladies,
            I love this discussion. It is very helpful to me!

            Amanda, you said that out of fear you want to develop your own circle of friends, etc., so that you will be okay even if you and your husband separate.

            I have read that it is not a good idea to have a “plan B” for your marriage. It actually is destructive. When we have a “plan B,” we can tempt ourselves into being okay with the idea that marriage is temporary and that we can get out if it starts not to feel good.

            We know that Jesus said God does not like divorce, apart from certain extreme circumstances. I think accepting the idea of marriage as a lifelong commitment brings a sense of peace, even if things aren’t going too well at times. Just a thought…

            Much love to you. ♡

          41. April, thank you for wanting to understand more and be willing to address this more specifically. I wanted to clarify something I just re-read in a comment of mine. I said something about not submitting if my husband was using his authority in a wrong way. In my case, I never felt like I had to necessarily “not submit” in an area like this. When I wrote that, I was thinking in more extreme cases where a man is REALLY using his authority to control a woman and not letting her have the freedom to just be a PERSON with her own thoughts, desires, freedom to pursue healthy female relationships, freedom to invest in her relationships with God, etc.

            But, there were subtle things that my husband would say or ways he would act that would cause me to feel guilt so that I would choose his way. At the moment, I don’t know how to describe it better than that, but those who have experienced it will know good and well what I’m talking about. In my mind, I thought that to be submissive, I had to give into what he wanted, but now I’m realizing that in a lot of cases, he didn’t necessarily tell me I *couldn’t* do something or tell me clearly *to do* something, but I would hear his voice or a phrase he used or a look in his eye and think “He’s going to be upset if I don’t do it his way” and so I would think submission was to cater to everything that he wanted. I hope that makes some sense!

            My situation was more about my husband rarely taking responsibility for his own sin, blaming me for all the problems in our marriage (even when he would lie or with a history of ogling, and a bunch of other things over the history of our marriage that definitely caused me to feel insecure in our marriage) a history with lying, subtly shaming me, and being very strong in his own opinions of how something should be handled or done that I felt like I had no right to voice my opinion (even if I did, he always felt he was *right* and I was made to feel lesser around him, so what was the point in adding my opinion anyway?) Also, a major issue with us was raising our children together with me being very concerned about character issues (I tried not to make it a “spiritual” matter) and him not so much.

            Here are some things God taught me during this time:

            I am a person of value. I have the Spirit of God in me and the mind of Christ. I bring something to this marriage and what I think and sense and perceive and say does matter. It doesn’t mean I rule or am entitled to get my way or have authority, but there is something wrong in a marriage where one person’s thoughts and ideas are held above the others as if the other person is incapable of thinking things through or seeing something that the other spouse isn’t seeing. A healthy marriage is both people coming together in unity. Not one lording their authority over another or using their authority to satisfy all of their wants, desires and needs. I also remember a very strong and real sense of God’s care and concern for what I was going through that I have never experienced before. To know that He cared for me in that way and was letting me know that I had value…..well, I can’t really explain how that felt to me. It brings tears to me now to think about.

            God told me to stop apologizing for things that I didn’t need to apologize for. In other words, if my husband gets upset about something I did or didn’t do, but it wasn’t something I did on purpose or I never even knew he wanted a particular thing from me or whatever, I stopped apologizing. I *might* say a simple “I’m sorry”, but I almost felt led to definitely NOT do that if my husband was being rude in how he was treating me. God led me to stop apologizing if I had nothing to truly be sorry or repentant for.

            I actually felt God tell me to STOP trying to improve myself and that I had done enough. I think during this time, I needed His permission so that I wouldn’t fall into more confusion, self-condemnation, guilt, etc. I took God’s advice. But, of course, He is so good….He still kept teaching me and leading me when to ask for forgiveness when I crossed lines during this excruciating process. But, I didn’t have to focus on *me* – and in fact, God told me not to… that was the point.

            I stopped speaking negatively about myself and even started affirming my gifts or personality traits that were good. I know, to some, this might seem pompous or conceited, but I *needed* to do this to speak truth out into the darkness. The enemy will capitalize on anything we say and can use even our own words to help construct a negative image of ourselves in our spouse’s mind. If we are speaking negatively over our own lives, we open the door for Satan to do this in another’s mind. As I got stronger in Christ and started seeing things clearly, I started to actively change this. I didn’t go around looking for opportunities, but just found myself doing that from time to time in specific situations as God led me. They were probably times that in the past, I would have put myself down, and so I was replacing the lies with the truth – and saying it out loud was powerful for me.

            I felt God tell me to “submit to where my husband was taking our marriage”. I was so wrapped up in submitting in all things, that God used that phrase to help me see that I was submitting in a very real way to my husband by the choices I started making….and I told my husband this. “I want to submit to you and be your wife and have a healthy marriage, but I cannot do it all by myself. If you want to lead us into an unhealthy marriage that neither of us enjoys very much, then I submit to that.” …. Really, what other choice did I have? That was my way of telling him I was no longer going to fake it or pursue reconciliation at all costs (usually meant me accepting all responsibility for whatever latest conflict) just to “be ok”. I lined my actions relationally to respond to his actions in the marriage.

            I felt God tell me to stop “admiring” my husband because it was feeding something in him that was not healthy. I learned to show gratitude for things he did, and to affirm him without falling into that unhealthy dynamic.

            I realized that I had contributed to an unhealthy dynamic by telling my husband several times about a Christian wife’s role in marriage. I felt because he was an unbeliever, I shouldn’t mention what a husband’s role was. So, my husband had this idea that a wife was to do whatever her husband wanted whenever he wanted it. Thankfully, my husband *wasn’t* super controlling, but he still was controlling and used this, I think, to indulge selfishly in what he wanted. ***However, I would never want any wife to think that it is her fault that she might have contributed to this and that is why she is in this kind of marriage. That is NOT what I’m saying, at all. These kinds of things happen in all kinds of marriages, where Christians are part of the marriages and in marriages with two unbelievers. I am just saying that, for my situation, I do think this helped to feed this in a negative way. Now wife in this situation needs to hear anything else that makes her feel guilty or to blame.***

            I learned how to navigate around the manipulation that is used when sin is being brought to the light. (Guess who’s behind that manipulation? Only the enemy who knows that someone seeing that they are a sinner might lead them to realizing they need a Savior!) There are a lot of manipulative tactics that were used against me and God had led me to a book to be aware of the many things that can happen. So, all of the other tactics were used in an effort to shift blame to me and get the attention off of him.

            When it all came down to it, nothing was going to be accomplished until my husband was able to say, without putting any blame back on me or any other thing in his life, that he was sorry and to apologize specifically and humbly. Also, not just words, but actions that line up with his words. This is something that is really hammered again and again and for good reason when you look at Leslie Vernick’s blog and others who are reaching out to women and men in these kinds of situations. The reason I could never get past old conflicts is that there was never real repentance for them. You can forgive someone, but the relationship cannot be whole or healthy with that between you. It is night and day how I feel about something that happened in my marriage four years ago because now my husband has accepted responsibility for his part. Now, even though I disagree with a few minor things in how we see that situation, my husband apologized for a few very hurtful things and finally said to me “You’re right. That was wrong of me to do. I’m sorry.” And, he has apologized many times for shutting me down and not listening to me. It is AMAZING how quickly I could move past that situation once he said that when before I just. could. not. let. it. go. Patrick Doyle has some videos out there about this….that a relationship cannot move forward when there has been offense and the offender has not repented and asked for forgiveness and shown, over a period of time, that they are willing to look at themselves and put the hard work in to better themselves. Forgiveness and reconciliation or being at true peace in a relationship are two different things and I think many believers get this confused (I definitely did for many, many years). A lot of people think that if you truly forgive someone, you should just sweep their sin under the rug, whether they’ve apologized or not and move on in the relationship as if all is fine. This will only lead to a bigger blow-up down the road and you are hindering the growth of the one who has sinned against you by smoothing things over too soon and not allowing them to face the consequences of their sin.

            I am totally convinced that there is a lot of twisted teaching on submission and respect out there and I was reading a lot of that as I homeschooled for a while and that can be a big focus in certain circles and….dare I say it?….cults that masquerade as being “Christian”. And, of course, the worse our marriage got, the harder I tried to be more submissive and respectful and more whatever he wanted….which led to nowhere good really fast.

            This is a spiritual battle and God used this time in my life to highlight to me the very real and crafty ways the enemy works to create confusion, to place doubt in our minds about our spouses, etc. He is the one who has bound and taken captive the one who is using these kinds of tactics and I had to remind myself that over and over. Because I was angry. Really angry. It was helpful to remember that my husband did not know what he was doing (as Jesus cried out on the cross “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”) and that he was blind. (But, again, that did not mean that I then acted like it was all o.k.) The verse that says to “Be alert. Your enemy prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour” has new meaning for me after all of this.

          42. CiC, hmmm…lots here! I like this “The enemy will capitalize on anything we say and can use even our own words to help construct a negative image of ourselves in our spouse’s mind. If we are speaking negatively over our own lives, we open the door for Satan to do this in another’s mind.” I’m gonna think on that a lot, thanks 🙂

            Along those lines, you said that you learned to navigate around the manipulation being used when sin was being brought to the light and that a particular book helped. Which book please?

            Thanks CiC. HH

          43. HH, I couldn’t in good conscience even mention it here. I know that God allowed *me* to read it and used it to prepare me, but I do not like the way the author talks about people who use these tactics. http://www.leslievernick.com/newsletter/071012-newsletter.html That is a good link to get you started. You could also just google Leslie Vernick manipulation and it will bring up some good links.

            Some other common ways to manipulate are changing the topic of the conversation (you approach someone about something you’re concerned about that they did, get drawn into a verbal exchange and pretty soon the whole topic is on something else entirely – your problems, usually!), using their health problems to make you feel guilty so they can get their way or so you will re-enter into the “normal” mode of relationship, rewriting history….there are a lot.

          44. April,

            I am seeking to listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit and there is a small part of me that wonders if this comment may cross the line into gossip about DW. Would you be so kind as to remove this comment if you feel it has crossed a line? It would help me see what is appropriate to share. Thank you so much! HH

            CiC,

            I just clicked on the link and realised I have actually had been reading that link over the past couple of weeks 🙂 It has been very eye opening for me. It is interesting to note that I am viewed as “entirely in the wrong” by DW (direct quote) and the more I tried to understand and take ownership of my wrongs during the breakdown the more she was convinced she was guiltless.

            And yet, according to Leslie’s article I was ‘manipulated’ quite often. Things like this were often said to me (some of them still are):
            “if you don’t do this I’ll have an affair”
            “you know that everybody thinks you are crazy”
            “even your own family hate you”
            “he’s just a friend, stop being so controlling” (said about a guy she would get up at 2 AM to private message on Facebook)
            “everyone else is doing it, why can’t you be normal”

            I suspect that we all use a measure of control/manipulation on those around us and I suspect the more we grow in Christ the less we do this. The more time I spend with the Lord the more I can see how different fears and attitudes led to me trying to ‘control’ the relationship in our early years with awful consequences, and yet I also see that it was a two way street.

            So what is the take home message for me? A couple of weeks ago I did try to share that I felt it was emotional abuse to threaten affairs and said that we came to a point where I had no freedom to share any opinion without it being seen as control and that any kindness I showed was viewed as manipulation. She acknowledged that was true but said it is irrelevant now she has left. So clearly there is no point trying to work through these things now we’ve separated, it’s a waste of breath.

            I think the take home message for me is to “do what I can” in all the relationships I have (kids, other family, friends etc) to ensure that I have a clear conscience as to my behaviour and leave the results in all relationships up to the Lord 🙂

            Thanks for the link. HH

          45. April, no that is fine thank you, I appreciate your opinion. I am coming out of a time where there was so much reaction if I expressed my view/hurt so I am still working out when it is ok to say some things 🙂 HH

          46. HH,

            You and I have had a similar journey in a lot of ways, I think. Our personalities and struggles have been similar, it seems to me. I went through an extended frustrating quiet phase myself.

            At first, I think we do swing from control and disrespect all the way to the opposite extreme many times. But then there is a time when we begin to venture back toward the healthy, godly center where there is proper balance. And we begin to learn to speak the truth in love and when it is important to say something vs. when to stay quiet. Praying for God’s discernment for you!

          47. HH,

            I do want to affirm, you are allowed to have feelings, desires, dreams, emotions, needs, concerns, and personhood. Those things are not bad or sinful. The way we handle them can be sinful at times. But you are human. You have value and great worth in Christ just like every human does that was created in His image. God’s grace has washed you clean. Now, there is just the business of learning what it means to be “in Christ” and to live in His power and to understand our true identity in Him. 🙂

          48. April,

            Yes, there does seem to be similarities in our journey!

            “You are allowed to have feelings, desires, dreams, emotions, needs, concerns, and personhood”

            I understand this to be the truth but I have not been allowed to have these things for a long time so I think it is going to take some time for me to really accept this in my heart 🙂

            I would get told off for playing too vigorously with the kids on the playground, mocked because I don’t like dancing, told off when I spoke too loudly to a friend and then told that being around me was like walking on eggshells and I was hurting over these things because I was too proud……it is quite hard to understand the balance between making up for what my selfishness has done yet maintaining that sense of ‘self worth’ (our big discussions here recently).

            That is why the story of the woman who put perfume on Jesus feet touched me so much. She was told off for doing something out of love. It was as though God was saying “HH, I KNOW you have given all you are for me, and it is enough”. God knows my heart.

            HH

          49. April. That link to the ‘frustrating quiet phase’ leads me to a page with the title, a picture of a girl sitting down holding a wallet or something similar but no actual post. HH

        3. Hi Amanda,

          I met two of my girlfriends from my walks around the block after dinner. In my last neighborhood, I saw a gal already walking one evening, and recognized that she lived near my house. I introduced myself and just casually invited her to let me know if she ever wanted to join me some evening. She surprised me by excitedly saying, “I’d love to!” We walked together just about every night that summer and fall. It was a great activity that is very condusive to chit chat and getting to know someone.

          The other friend–in my next neighborhood–was often gardening in her yard when I walked by. One day I overheard her sharing some struggles with her neighbor across their fences. (They were talking pretty loudly so it was hard not to overhear.) She sounded like she might be a christian and I wondered if she might be a possible future friend. So I introduced myself later that week and she actually was attending my church, it turned out. We are very good friends, though not walking partners. She isn’t into it. 🙂

          In each neighborhood, I prayed that the Lord might send me a new friend near my house. I was walking because I enjoy it, whether I’m alone or not-not to make friends. But it just so happened the Lord answered my prayers in that way. And I did extend myself to one gal who never took me up on it. And then another I got to know a bit on my walks when we’d stop and chat. But I noted she walked very slow. That would frustrate me too much. lol.

          I’m praying the Lord shows you some creative opportunities to extend yourself to find new friends!

          1. J,
            That is awesome!!!!! I did meet one family at the top of the road across my street, she has kids and she stays home too, and she has given me information about the community, but never really had any invites or offers. Maybe next time I see her I will extend that to her! I thought about it but never went ahead on that! 🙂

            My back neighbors have tried to have us over and stuff and they have kids my sons age, but my husband doens’t want me going over there or my son playing over there because when my husband was talking to them a few times, they mentioned some things they like to do in their spare time that we don’t really want to be around and don’t want my son around, so I understand that!

            I do have to admit that God has revealed Himself more in my times with no other sources of anything than any other time. But it is good to have people to talk to especially women, and especially when my husband is not into talking like a woman, lol.

            You all here definitely provide me that outlet to share what I’m learning and ask advice and for prayer—-I don’t get that anywhere here! This is awesome if you think about it! I’m so thankful right now for this place to share and connect with like minded people!!! 🙂

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. I feel the same way Amanda about this page and April and all of the other women here. It’s such a fantastic minister and I guarantee that God had us in mind when He told April to start this page. He has been showing me how he makes a plan for things and people before we even know it’s going to happen! And then sometimes WE get to be involved if we are willing and keep our eyes open for “God” opportunities! Something that like about this medium though is that I feel like we can understand each other in a Godly way yet I feel like if I was exhibiting some sinful behavior you all would call me out on that and cause me to look at my behavior (and I would come away grateful not resentful!) It’s extremely valuable because although my local friends have been so great (and will continue to be im sure!) they want to be supportive of me and so I don’t think they would honestly call me out on sinfulness in my life, at least not the small stuff. They may for the larger stuff but the little things I think they would consider less of a priority to the peace in our friendship.

            On another note, I have an answer to prayer to report! Last night my husband sat on the couch near me for the longest time and we didn’t argue once! We seriously haven’t even been able to be under the same roof at night and he would usually leave for long walks till i went to bed. The whole time I was so careful of what I was saying and how I was saying it and I think I could tell that he was doing the same because he was almost entirely not bitter the whole time. He wasn’t initiating conversation or saying anything encouraging or positive (he was mostly silent or sharing facts) but the fact that it was at least comfortable to sit next to each other for a couple of hours was so sweet and just what I had been praying and hoping for in terms of a little sign of progress. In fact as I was sitting there I thought about what I would do if he DID say something condescending or whatever and I knew I would end the evening and go to bed (that’s what I had been doing as of recent, just walking away and not engaging in what always seems to be a way to goad me into an argument) and it felt like he knew thats what I would do too so he made a change because it seemed like he wanted to spend time together! Seriously it seems a little crazy to go on about this but it was a BIG victory in my book right now!

          3. Nicole Martinez,
            That is GREAT! Praise GOD!!!! I am so happy for you! It is nice to have support like you said, and it is great to be able to refer back to all the wisdom April has shared with us to implement it in our lives. I think it is such a God thing and I am so glad you are here with us!!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          4. Nichole Martinez,

            I am so happy right now for you! Praise God that is progress!!! I can totally relate to how you said you were so careful about everything you said to keep it respectful! I too have felt like I need to plan out almost every word so that I don’t slip back into my old tone of voice and disrespectful way of talking to my husband. It is getting much easier, phew! I think it’s amazing that you got to spend time together and that you felt like he wanted to!

            I know you mentioned that your husband is hanging onto how much you have hurt him. I know a pivotal moment for us was telling my husband that no matter what he chose to believe, my old self was dead and gone, and regardless of how he wanted to move forward I would do whatever it takes to ensure that old self never returns. It wasn’t just for him, but that I myself never wanted to be that person again so with or without him believing it, it was never going back to my old ways for me. It seemed like after that conversation, he seemed to start opening up like wow it really was for real.

            I don’t know if sharing my experience will help, but I hope it is encouraging in some way. You are in my prayers that you both keep moving forward in the right direction!

          5. Melanie, thanks for being happy for and with me! It’s fun to share that!

            I have actually said that to my husband, about the fact that the old me is gone and that it doesn’t matter what he believes, THAT is the truth I am living by. He often will tell me that I’m not living in reality and that I’m basically delusional and that I can’t even see what I’m doing. There’s a lot of sighing, rolling eyes and him walking away halting any more conversation which is all very frustrating because I just want him to believe me! When he says those things I do try to listen and try hard to discern if there is truth in what he is saying. I tell him that I will still mess up, of course, (I used to say that I’ll never be perfect and he’d get so mad because he’d say that of course he doesn’t expect perfection! So I stopped using the word perfect at all, it’s been eliminated from my vocabulary.) But that was when I was still talking and trying to convince him with my words. About 2 weeks ago or so I realized I needed to just be quiet and let God speak to him because he accused me of preaching at him and I realized I was making things dreadfully worse. And that’s when things seem to get really bad, as in “it’s getting worse before it gets better” type of thing. The bitterness increased tenfold, the silent treatment, long walks at night and avoiding me at all cost became the norm and then last night happened… So yeah it’s been interesting and very emotionally taxing which is why last night was such a blessing!

          6. Nichole Martinez,

            How I rejoice about last night with you! PRAISE GOD!

            It sounds like you are hearing God and obeying Him and moving in the right direction, my precious sister!

            Yes, we would call you out on sin if we see it – in a gentle, humble, loving, respectful way. 🙂 And YES! What a blessing we can meet here like this! A little oasis in the storms of life. So glad you are here! You are a huge blessing to my heart already!

            I used to feel that I was “leaving Greg in the dust” spiritually, too. Now, I don’t worry about that at all! We are each on our own journey and our own timetable with God. Who am I to question how long his journey should be. I mostly just don’t want to get in God’s way in Greg’s life. And I want to focus on my own walk with Christ and I don’t want to miss ANYTHING God has for me! As you continue to be filled more and more with His Spirit, you will be a greater blessing to your husband. And you will have greater spiritual power to handle things in godly ways. So – don’t think you need to wait on him to grow spiritually before you can move forward. This is an individual walk mostly that we have with Christ. If your husband is walking along side you at some point – awesome! But he is not the main issue. Jesus is! Does that make sense?

            Much love to you!

        4. Amanda,

          Glad the cat illustration was helpful. Yes, I think a lot of us as wives are like the hyper puppy who wants tons of attention. I know I have been like that many times! It is a blessing to be able to be content in Christ if I am receiving tons of attention or little attention from my husband. I love not having to depend on another person or anything in this world or circumstances for contentment. Very freeing!

          Yes, fear absolutely impacts and triggers our desire or compulsion to try to control things. Interestingly, God describes a beautiful woman in His sight as one who “does what is right… and does not give way to hysterical fear” in I Peter 3.

          Not sure if you have seen my posts about fear? But you are welcome to search “fear” on my home page. There is one post, “Fear Fuels Our Need to Control” about this very thing.

          Much love!

          1. April,
            I am all over your posts about fear and control, Thank you so much for them. God literally used you to show me about control from fear, I never ever realized that before reading that post, I remember when I first read it my heart sank…I was like “wow.” I was speechless, I had no idea!!!

            I have been reading them over a lot these past few days because I am beginning to see this pattern emerge in my life….Whenever things are going good, meaning that I am full of God’s Spirit, totally content in Christ, empowered to be the wife He wants me to be—full of joy—- focused on God—–I am full of faith from His Spirit——–

            THEN—–

            something major happpens, totally out of my control—— and at first I am still faithful…… trusting God——–

            Then things don’t get better. They get worse!

            I slowly step out of faith and back into self….the flesh takes over, I try to control my life, other peoples lives, my circumstances, etc. etc.

            Fear, loss of connection with God, blindness, unbelief, resentment, bitterness all start taking over—before I know it, I am ruining my whole marriage all over again and I am so mad and upset that I annoy myself after a while.

            I really think security is some like huge idol I have in life and I can’t seem to get past it whenever something happens.

            I really do not feel like I can trust my husband on a few diffrent levels. I want to, but there have been so many things that have happened that I just can’t.

            I just don’t know how to stay in faith and not lose sight when things start falling apart! :/

            Any thoughts?

            Love,
            Amanda

          2. Amanda, I too had the experience that God used April’s posts to show me where I had been blind. It was an unreal experience, I was feeling at rock bottom and in desperation was searching online about marriages failing. My husband had said he was done and I was devastated. A post came up and I read it and instantly I felt God telling me that I had it all wrong, the reason I couldn’t figure out how to “fix” things was ME. It was like getting hit Over the head with something. In hindsight i can see my husband had tried for me to hear him, but I just couldn’t hear and couldn’t see, until that moment when God made it clear to me. I was living in fear and trying to do what I could not- which was control my life! At that moment I felt God say to me that the only way I would ever be satisfied is if I give up fighting for control, and hand my life over to Him. And I did. I had always been a church goer sometimes more than other times, but to be honest I used to be frustrated as to what people that felt so secure in God were doing that I wasn’t. I never understood salvation until at that moment when I felt that God save me. It was so clear, that if I let Him, He would give us a second chance.

            Has it been perfect? Absolutely not. But the changes have been pretty mind blowing so I know it is definitely from God. At first I felt like a stranger to my husband. My old self died but my new one didn’t know how to go forward. I barely spoke. Then, God started to work me through ALL of my failures in my marriage. I have apologized to my husband and God for everything. Many things. Am I only at fault? NO. But I have learned that I can only worry about and control what I do about my part. So I have done what I can do and hand God the rest! What my husband has done to contribute to our issues is between him and God. I don’t have the power to convict him myself.

            I also have trust issues that praise God I think I am starting to overcome and have peace about. Some of the issues I have had in the last couple weeks have been around this. Before we hit rock bottom we were drifting apart and I felt my husband had almost completely shut down. I discovered he was quickly heading down the wrong path but I believe God was gracious enough that he intervened before my husband got too caught up and went too far. I felt it was a matter of time whether it be this time or not long down the road. I was hurt and felt rejected and it was horrible. We came dangerously close to falling apart. Being able to trust my husband now is like climbing a mountain but I am slowly starting the ascent. The only way I have been able to step forward is to take that step of faith and lay it at Jesus’ feet and let it go. I refuse to take it back. Or I will never be at peace. Since I took this step a few days ago I feel absolutely free. I have never had this peace before! And I finally feel like the bitterness I had against my husband is gone and I am in love with him more than I ever have been in my life.

            It’s difficult right now because I am waiting on God to give me the opportunity to share with my husband what He has done for us. The only ones who know my story are you group of ladies. Praise God He brought me here! I am silently waiting and praying, working on my relationship with the Lord, and trying not to push ahead and make decisions about church and trying to lead my family. I am done with that I’ve already tried far too much and failed. We have attended as a family but right now we don’t as I am not sure where my husband is with God right now but I know it isn’t a priority for him YET. I am trusting God and praying every day for Him to work on my husbands heart as much as He is mine. I know if I wait on Him it will happen. God has already given me many examples the last few months of how waiting on Him works.. No more charging ahead on my own desires!

            You are in my prayers, we have many similarities in our journey it seems!

            One thing that comes to mind as I read about your situation is that I see what your husband doesn’t want… Have you been in a position where you have been able to talk to him about what he does want? Just curious. Has he been open enough to share with you? Or have you had to be left guessing. I ask because I felt like everything was a guessing game. it seems though that we are finally making some progress after a long time of just ignoring each other and not being able to get on the same page. I will
            Pray for you that you and your husband get to this place too if you aren’t already!

          3. Melanie,
            Thank you so much for sharing!It is so nice to have others who know just how I feel!

            Yes, I have heard from my husband’s mouth what he does want many times, and he has told me flat out what was disrespectful before my eyes were opened ! April has post about what happened in my life with all that called “worthyoflove finally gets her husbands texts”—– He has no problem telling me what he wants. The most recent time he told me what he wanted was over this summer when we spent 3 weeks together where he was working and he basically told me he just wants me to be peaceful in life and content……he wants me to be his wife…cook his food, clean, and take care of my son. He wants me to pay the bills, and just be happy in my life.

            Basically, though, his list is a lot of “don’t do this” things I feel like….

            He always tells me to relax…even when I’m seriously relaxed. He’s a cat, so he thinks I’m not relaxed if I am merely sitting on the couch smiling and excited about something in life lol.

            The control issue for me is definitely a problem and it all stems from fear….I keep going through this cycle and I just want to overcome it like you said! I was on a good streak for a while where I was not interferring with my husband’s decisions, even when I didn’t agree,and I was trusting God…just letting things roll off my shoulders and seriously not worrying about them.

            I’m afraid in life. I need Jesus desperately.

            Can you share like how you truly let go of control and fear?

            I always think I am trusting God, but I’m not :/……… But the times I really did, I could tell the difference because of that peace you described…it was like the world was lifted off my shoulders!

            I just don’t know how to trust God when I feel like my husband is ruling my life!

            Help!

            Love,
            Amanda

          4. Amanda – worthyoflove finally gets her husbands texts was the post that changed my life! God chose that one to open my eyes and it was not coincidence that it was that particular post. My husband had been sucked into a “budding friendship” (read: likely would have been more than that quickly) through an insane amount of texting with a woman half his age and it was escalating fast and furious. I remember searching about what was appropriate and inappropriate because I wa desperate for where to turn ( AND he had said he was done with us!) only texting was the common thread, but that was enough for God. At that moment everything became crystal clear!

            How I truly let go of control and fear? Through Gods strength is all I can say! Up until the last week or so, I still struggled with not being at peace over what had gone on with my husband and the woman. I knew not being able to let it go was keeping me from being able to trust again. Didn’t help I couldn’t get past that although it was cut down to a casual text from her once in a while, I had expected him to stop altogether. He was trying to make it die without being rude and I knew this but it wasn’t my way to handle it so I just couldn’t accept it. Reason I’m telling you all this is That I was praying how to address this with my husband as it was still really bothering me and in his eyes there was nothing to it anymore. I couldn’t accept it because it made me too uncomfortable feeling like the woman that had brought everything to a head in our problems just wouldn’t go away. I had planned what I was going to say and prayed for God to show me the right moment if it was meant for me to bring it up again. We had argued several times about it lately although nothing to the degree we used to as now I am in control of my emotions more. God didn’t give it to me. Instead I felt Him clearly tell me that she wouldn’t go away because I was harbouring so much resentment still. That I was still trying to control my husband by demanding he deal with it on my time and my terms. It became very clear that God wanted me instead to tell my husband that I was putting all my what-ifs aside and going to finally trust him that he knew what was right and wrong and that he valued our marriage enough that I should be able to trust him. God told me it was wrong to pressure him like I was doing and why was I still so afraid I had Him and that was enough. So at that moment I decided to let it go once and for all! I apologized to me husband even though he said he didn’t feel I did anything wrong by what I expected ( we haven’t finished discussing about this yet by what he means when he was upset that I was pressuring him? but I am just trusting God) and since that moment I have to say I finally feel absolutely free and content. I believe it is just That I finally reached a point where I stepped out of where I was comfortable in my fears and finally gave them to God and committed to stay the course whatever it takes, and never look back.

            So that’s it. Don’t know how much of a help it is but that’s where I am!

          5. Amanda,

            It is possible that there could be areas where trust may have to be rebuilt. You may not be able to trust your husband in everything – especially if he is going away from God at the time. But – you can trust God fully! And you can abide in Him and He can give you the wisdom you need about exactly what to do.

            I was thinking about the rental car thing. If your budget is very tight and the things you wanted to do were just things like playdates or something – I can see where a husband may feel like a rental car is an unnecessary financial burden. If you had doctors’ appointments or important meetings or something, that may be a different story – especially if the budget is not tight. So – there are a lot of possible variables that could make this kind of thing understandable and not oppressive. It depends on the details and his attitude, it seems to me.

          6. April,
            I want trust to be rebuilt, and I’ve plainly told my husband at this point what I need to see happen, and we are both committed to working on our own parts, and he has a reference to go to which explains what I want to see happen, and I am holding myself to the same reference —it is the “equality wheel” if anyone is interested. It just says how a healthy relationship is supposed to be!

            I do trust God. I want to be so focused on God again. That is when I am ok! I just got so sidetracked in fear and control lately!

            The rental car thing was a situation where I had dr’s appt and school started and I had counseling. Our budget is not tight at all. That is why I was flabergasted. It was non-negotiable for me, but he didn’t seem to understand that.

            I felt as though what I needed to do didn’t matter to him.

            I guess my biggest issue right now is finding security in God alone. I know that’s where it needs to be, yet I can’t seem to get past my husband’s free will in the mix of that.

            It was literaelly one thing after another lately in my life/marriage, and I feel like a scared little girl in the corner totally insecure and unsafe in my own life.

            :/

            I need the truth. That is what I also like about here, is the truth is told.

            I just want someone to tell me the truth about what I’m experiencing!

            Truth is welcome 🙂

            Thank you!!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          7. Amanda, I hope you don’t mind I know I have responded with several long replies to you already, but I can relate to you in so many things! I felt so much for you when I read how you know finding security in God is your biggest issue, but you can’t seem to get past your husbands free will. This, literally, has been my exact biggest struggle as well. Letting go of the fear that my husband would choose to go down the wrong path if he didn’t do things my way. Fear that everything would get turned upside down again if I didn’t point the way so I could feel good about how things were being done. Then God showed me what I was hanging on to. And that I would live miserably in fear until I gave everything to Him. And that includes my worries about my husbands free will! I have to accept that no matter what I do or say, my husband will always have the free will to go against me. And it’s a terrible thing to live in fear of it, crippling, really. And I know because I lived in that fear for so long.

            I read two devotions that came to my inbox this morning that I know God used to speak to me about these very things. First, he showed me that I was saying it, but was not really showing true forgiveness to my husband for when he has done what I felt was wrong against me. The first referred to Matthew 18:32-35 told me (in my own simple interpretation!) that unless I forgive my husband with my WHOLE heart, the same forgiveness that God has given me, I will stay tormented and jailed and not able to feel the freedom that Christ offers me. The next devotion God clearly showed me about my pride – and how I was letting it get in the way of truly being able to love my husband for who he is RIGHT NOW. It became so clear that I really am struggling with My pride. I am still looking at my husband in the mindset “well I’m doing THIS to help our marriage. And why isn’t he doing THAT… Still struggling with putting myself on a pedestal that I can do better than he can. Fact is I struggle with being too stubborn to just love him for exactly who he is, precious to God with all his faults, JUST LIKE ME.

            I was SO overcome with guilt. I am so thankful that God is teaching me so much, and for the first time in my life, I am seeing my failures, and taking ownership. I’m not believing the lies that everything wrong in my marriage is my fault. BUT I am now willing to carry some of the blame. And I may not be comfortable with everything my husband chooses to say or do, but he is being faithful to me and cares more about our marriage and our family than sometimes what I know I will admit. So I have to learn to just let go and accept that I have no right to think my ways are any better than his.

            Sorry to go on, hope you don’t mind! I wonder to myself if I’m more of a bother than a help, but please know I’m sharing purely as encouragement.

            When I read your post, and saw how you plainly have told your husband what you need to see happen, I saw flashes of myself and discussions with my husband. And immediately, I recalled my husbands words at how he told me on that day when he had said he was done, how he felt no matter what he tried, he just couldn’t get me to hear him that he just couldn’t handle my telling him what to do anymore and how I always demanded that we “fix things” the way I wanted, that I thought I was the only one who ever knew how things needed to be done. And I was the only one who could be trusted to know how to do it right. Before that day, we had already had a major blowup about two weeks before, where we both we so frustrated and acknowledged things had come to a major boiling point. But at that time, me, in my blindness, I had laid out everything in my head, and “came up with the plan” again, as I always did, as what “we” needed to do to fix where we were. I told him how I was going to do x,y and z. And how he needed to do the same, and how “we” had to do blah, blah, blah… I loved him so much and was so afraid of our life together falling apart, and I was determined to make it work and not give up! BUT I was not seeing how I was trying to manipulate everything into how “I knew” it needed to be done. Because I was still living in that fear!

            I’m telling you this not because I know your situation or that I know better than anyone what to do, but because when I saw myself in your words, and saw something of our own situation in yours, I felt like God was speaking to me and telling me to reach out and share with you, and ask you to think about could any of this relate to your own situation. I don’t know if I am right or wrong, but these days if I get that feeling that God wants me to do something, I’m doing it!

            Then, to top it off, I had another email newsletter come in that talked about how being unforgiving was like an untreated injury of the soul, and how biblical forgiveness is a CHOICE to no longer blame your spouse, and a reminder of Corinthians 13:5 love keeps no record of wrongs.

            not a coincidence. God knew this morning I needed every word. last night my husband and I talked about some things that made it a bit tense again. This morning I woke up without that peace we talked about, and feeling panicked and fearful. I believe Satan was trying to push all the right buttons but I did not give in. God supplied me with what I needed and now I feel that peace again 🙂

            Hang in there, dear sister. Praying that God will supply you with exactly what you need to get through this rough time you are experiencing! I hope that you won’t consider anything I’ve said as being too much, just felt so led to share with you to see if you might be able to relate anything to help in your own situation!

            April, I have been following your posts on this as they have helped me as well, you have such a great perspective you are very inspiring to help me search myself and challenge myself to really figure out what God wants me to do to grow in not just my marriage but mostly in my relationship with Him. thanks again!

          8. Melanie,

            Thank you SO much for reaching out! Not only was this helpful, but I have seen God speak through you to me sister! He has confirmed a few things that He had recently showed me as well!!! The pride thing, and the unforgiveness. You literally said what He showed me only a few days ago! WOW! God is AWESOME!

            I saw that I was being prideful in thinking I knew best, and being scared that he would not make good choices because of past issues with that, and I heard my thoughts that were prideful, and God seriously showed me that I was wrong in terms of that!!!

            The part about telling him what we needed to do—– the only reason I don’t feel that I am wrong in pointing what needs to happen out to him is because the way I am being treated is not ok and I am putting boundaries up on myself—not him. He can choose to treat me right. I can choose to treat him right. If he chooses not to treat me right, he is aware that I will have to end the conversation, or that I won’t be spending my time around him when he does not treat me right. He is receptive to this, and he has been working on it ever since, and so have I. We shared what we both needed to see happen, and we both know that we won’t be perfect and if we mess up, there is grace, but we also don’t want to excuse sin anymore!

            I knew I needed to forgive him. And I have. But I agree and also believe that I was not forgiving him for a while, and it held me up in bitterness, control, fear, etc.!

            It’s one thing to bear with someone’s infirmities or quandries, or whatever you want to call it—-but what I’m experiencing and have been dealing with for a while now is way past those types of things. It is not something that will go away over night. I have to take a positive, proactive stand, and set boundaries for myself and say what I need and feel, otherwise I will be trampled on and tossed out like an old door mat every time!

            My husband might mean well, and I love him. I hope we can both grow into Christlikeness together. But either way, I need to get my own life right and stop being vulnerable in my own weaknesses (security, etc.), which allows the enemy to just come right in and take over and wreck havoc in my life every time!

            I must set my heart on God alone!!!!!!!

            That is where security, peace, joy, love is—- and I want to stay there!

            The times I fell from that stance is when things that I had no control over started happening, which directly effected ::::my own personal interests/desires:::::! Every time, it has to do with me not getting what I wanted in some way or another!

            LORD HELP ME! 🙂

            Thank you so much Melanie for contributing! I am so glad you joined right at the perfect time here in this discussion! I thank God for you!!!

            Love,
            Amanda

          9. Amanda,

            Were you able to share with him that you felt these were really important things to you?

            Do you believe you are safe emotionally and physically?

            Have you done any studying on manipulating behavior?

          10. April,
            I did explain and that is why I think I came across so demanding to him is because he was not understanding what I needed!

            I am not safe emotionally at the moment. We are working on that. He knows what I need to trust him again, emotionally. That part has been damaged a good bit. But I am aware of it, and working on that with the counselor, and with my husband. He’s starting to realize about how he does not empathize or validate my emotions at all. But I think we have a looonnngg way to go on that issue. I know only God can open his eyes and change him. I pray he will. But I daily have to battle this from him. It is draining, or it can be atleast. But that is why I’ve been backing away, because I kept serving my heart on a silver platter only to have it ripped apart everytime. I’m not doing that anymore. I’ve studied manipulation and all those types of things, control, etc. It was such an eye opener—-

            If any ladies need a good evaluation—this book (not christian so be careful for sure!) “When Love Goes Wrong–what to do when you can’t do anything right”, was SUPER helpful in opening my eyes to what belongs to me and what belongs to my husband who tends to be manipulative and controlling, but in a subtle, sly, way–not openly and plainly. It is more through criticism, etc.!

            Physically I am safe at the moment. If I were to ever feel threatened, I would leave the situation until things calmed down!

    2. It’s so funny when you say your husband is kind of like a cat April, mine is that way as well. He does best when he has time alone to recharge as to where I, like you, really need to feel that emotional connection at times. I used to get insecure and still do at times when he doesn’t give me the reassurance my flesh wants to know that he loves me and cares for me still even though he needs time to himself a lot. Honestly I feel bad for my poor husband. I’ve realized a lot in our marriage on constant reassurance but God is always reminding me that when I draw closer to Him, I will find security and contentment from Him alone. I’ve realized it’s actually not fair that I’ve placed so much energy into worrying whether or not my husband still loves me just because he needs time to recharge, it only leads to him feeling like he’s not doing enough and my wanting that reassurance by demanding so much of his attention has actually put more distance between us as my husband started to feel like what he does do was never enough. Thank God for his patience with me but that also ties into what you said Amanda, when we learn to “leave our husbands alone” and just focus on our walk with God things get better! I hope I’m not misunderstanding what you meant anyways 🙂

      1. Ashley,

        It was really helpful for me when Greg was able to articulate to me about 3 years ago or so that he always feels connected to me. His feeling of being bonded and of loving me is unrelated to how much time we spend talking together. That blew my mind. I always had the idea that emotional connection had to involve constant talking together and that we were only “connected” when we were talking. It was an amazing thing to me to just rest in my husband’s feeling of being always connected with me. I picture it like resting in a hammock of his love. I picture the same thing with God. Even when I am not actively praying or hearing His Word or His voice – He is One with me in Spirit. We are always united. That one change in thinking brought me a lot of peace and helped me realize I didn’t have to strain and struggle to be connected all the time – I already was!

        If you get a chance, there are some posts that may be a blessing on this topic. You are welcome to search my home page for:

        – needy
        – husband idol
        – oneness
        – closeness
        – security
        – contentment

        I love what God is showing you! Makes me smile. 🙂

  11. Amanda, Ashley, Nicole, I can relate to you all so much. My husband is somewhere in between it seems, he isn’t introverted nor does he comment that I will never change. He has expressed his feelings about how he notices I have changed, yet other times I get very little, he is really hard to read sometimes. So that’s when I try my best to hand it over to God.

    My husband is a big type A personality, yet it takes a lot to get him riled up. He is very in-control of what he says and when he says it. I am thankful now that I am on this journey, we are arguing so much less than we used to, mainly because I can see now how my own actions, controlling nature, and stubbornness, played a big part in it. However, I just find on certain things I am praying and waiting, praying and waiting, that God would lead us both to change on, as we are still struggling to work through some things. The waiting is hard, the not knowing is sometimes so frustrating, and I have learned over the last few months that I have to accept these things may never change. With Gods help I am slowly learning to accept it and find ways to deal with it, where I used to end up in an emotional mess of screaming and crying whenever I felt I was losing control.

    I have had a trying last couple of weeks where I have battled trying to take control of certain things and learning the hard way that it isn’t mine to take. I have been very encouraged by reading your posts, as it is comforting to read that we all stumble and fall and pick up and start again. I am starting to see and understand the effects of taking my eyes off God and trying to go my own way. It is very humbling.

    One thing I have found so far in this journey is that it has really helped to take my emotions out of the equation and instead of trying to talk to him about certain things or trying to apologize and being mad at myself and ending up with an emotional disaster, I write him letters. In the most thoughtful and respectful words I can. I find I want to do this verbally, but I always end up overwhelmed with my emotions and don’t say things well to him face to face and it hasn’t gotten anywhere. Writing the letters gives him the chance to read what is read in my heart, and take time to absorb it. So far he has then come to me and we have been able to talk about every issue (on his time not mine) and keep it calm and reserved and we have made real progress. Just wondering if anyone else has tried this and how it worked for them.

    This past little bit I have really struggled with letting some things go. It has been really burdening on us both. I thought about confronting him on some things but prayed about it asked God if it was meant to bring it up then, please give me an opportunity. It didn’t happen. Then today I felt so burdened and I prayed for God to show me where I needed to repent. And he showed me loud and clear where I had been cherishing some things I had to let go of, and where I was still fighting for control. Praise Him that I didn’t speak too soon it would have ended up probably an even bigger mess.

    God told me I needed to apologize to my husband for my part in where we were struggling. So today I wrote him a letter apologizing. I hope that it was the right thing but I really felt God was telling me this is what I had to do so I put my trust in Him. I feel silly sometimes writing a letter but it has really helped me to separate the heightened emotions that usually come out when I try and approach him. Then I usually find he is a lot more receptive and so far praise God we have been able to work some major issues out. Anyways I just wanted to say again how I am being encouraged by what you all have shared. This has been a long few months of discovery and learning and growing and learning to lean on the Lord. And I am so thankful I have other women to share on this journey with!

    1. Melanie,

      Thank you so much for sharing what has been helpful to you. Writing letters can be a good approach, especially if we want to be very careful what we will say. Also, for most husbands, I would encourage wives to keep the letters pretty brief. Think – bullet points. Sending a 3000 word emotional letter that is very negatively charged is going to probably create more problems. But sending a concise, unemotional, calm, honest, vulnerable, humble, respectful letter may be a great way to communicate. And for some husbands, it may give them time to think about things before needing to respond, which can also be a good thing sometimes.

      Praying for God’s wisdom for you!

      1. Hi April, yes that is a very important point, keeping it concise for men I think is much more impactful. I find of I just try to discuss that’s exactly what happens, going off on another point and never really getting to the real concerns because we never make it there! With a letter I can sort of see a plan and better organize my thoughts. Also I find I have really tried to take your advice I have read, as well as some others from books I have read, and it’s easier on paper to be sure I am wording things in the most respectful, non-threatening, non-accusatory way I can. I am really beginning to understand how listening carefully to my words and tone and how I come across makes a huge difference to the response I get. It’s my husbands nature and I know it has a lot to do with how he has to handle things at his work that if I use the wrong tone, or wrong words, I totally invoke the wrong feelings in him and the discussion falls apart. I was so blind to this before, but God has really helped me start to “get” this now and it makes such a difference! I think he likes as well it gives him a chance to absorb and think, and then when we talk it has been much more productive. Thanks again to you and all these other ladies for such great encouragement!

  12. Hello my PW friends! A question if you may 🙂

    How does an understood truth become an applied reality in our daily walk?

    I have been considering Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” and James 1:22-26 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” today.

    It is so easy to listen to something, nod our heads, stroke our beards wisely (or whatever is the female equivalent) and then go away with the truth pretty much unaffecting our lives.

    So how does one apply a truth learned? For example, I really see the truth in applied humility 🙂 But my instinctive reaction is often still to act in a way that is anything but a reflection of Christ’s humility 🙁 How does one get to the point where our reactions reflect the truths we accept?

    Ed-um-acate me!!! 🙂

    HH

    1. HH,

      That describes my Christian walk for so many years. I read the Word daily. I thought I understood it. I didn’t even see that I was not applying it.

      Here are some thoughts:

      1. I have to be willing to get rid of anything that God calls sin and allow Him to examine the darkest areas of my soul.

      2. I read the Bible expecting God to speak to me through His Word and assuming, “I am going to obey ANYTHING God instructs me to do.”

      3. When I come to a passage and realize I haven’t been obeying it. I repent deeply and camp out on that passage and ask God to help me understand and to fill me with His power to do this thing. I study everything I can on the topic in the Bible and maybe from some trusted pastors, as well.

      4. There is a lot of conscious effort and practice involved – but at the same time, I must learn to allow the Spirit of God to empower me. I can’t do any of this stuff on my own. But as I get rid of sin and yield fully to Christ, as fully as I know how – He begins to work in me as I also seek to desire and to do the things that please Him.

      5. I may have to make reminders to myself – notes, or a certain ring or bracelet on my hand that reminds me of the thing I want to remember to do.

      6. I may ask other believers to help me keep accountable.

      7. There is also a lot of “taking my thoughts captive for Christ” and seeking to immediately shoot down the sinful thoughts or motives. For me, it is helpful to write down the things I am thinking. So if I realize I am being prideful or something, for example, I may try to get away by myself and write down the things I have been saying to myself in my head and then write down verses about pride and about humility. I must purposely force myself to seek to act and think and speak in a way that I believe is humble according to my understanding at the time. There is a process here. It is a refining process. The process of sanctification. I ask God to help me hate my pride as much as He does and to help me immediately recognize it.

      Is that helpful at all?

      1. HH,

        Oh! And, the more we resist the enemy and yield to Christ, the more we are able to hear God’s still small voice. He prompts us to obey Him and He flags sinful things in our lives as we are listening.

      2. April,

        It is helpful. I will think through it some more. There is a marked difference between head knowledge and living something. We all know that if we save money then our bank account will get bigger, but we have to actually PUT the money in savings and not spend it on food (yum!) to see that benefit.

        1. GOT IT!!!

        2. GOT IT!!!

        3. Hmmmm…..I got it but haven’t got it. I understand the how but I have a lot of things that I have to work through.

        4. I think I got it, but this is the tricky one. Is it as simple as obedience? Coz I am a MASTER of putting in effort and failing, and you know of some of those catastrophic failures despite my good intents 🙁

        5. Oooh, I should buy a pretty bracelet to wear to remind me! Jokes! 😂

        6. GOT IT!!!

        7. GOT IT!!!

        HH

        1. HH,
          Honestly, a lot of times at work, I just put one of those big ugly rubber bands on my wrist to remind me not to gossip or to remind me about the specific thing I want to work on. 🙂 But you are free in Christ to buy yourself a pretty bracelet to wear! Ha!

  13. We are a vessel,
    We are the clay pot,
    Into which,
    The Holy Spirit may be poured.

    Isn’t it funny, not really actually,how the Holy Spirit, is often seen as fire and water.
    Why is that, in my opinion it is because of these things can purify us.

    When we are a new clay vessel untested ready to receive the Lord, we are baptized in water,
    But we may have already gone through some fire,
    This fire,
    This cleansing fire of remorse, shame, anguish, guilt,
    That is cleansing and strengthening too.

    And then we must leave that.

    “I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too.”

    What is that Grace, it is like balm, like anointing oil, it is forgiving.

    The accuser, satan, wants us to dwell on the misery that we caused others and ourselves.

    “You remember in 1990, whe. You said and did those unforgivable things to your brother? I’m here to remind you, and pour salt into that wound, just in case you grow a little to comfortable, I will never let you forget that one, or the other 14,763 sins you’ve committed.”

    The accuser, deceiver, enemy, keeps a tally, he uses to corrupt who you have become through God’s Grace.

    Our Lord and Savior, has washed away the sins and is smiling on the good we do.

    The beautiful vessel that is purified through the fire and water of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of God’s Grace.

    Dear brothers and sisters, it is the believers who satan is working against, he has the non believers in his back pocket.

    We are to be an example, that is how we will win the hearts and souls of the non believers. An example in our hearts. Let us please always try to share the example of righteousness not self-righteousness, for then we have the enemy speaking in us again: I am better than you and you will never be able to measure up to what is expected of you, that behavior in 1990, you’re done for.

    And yes, yes let us us be conscientious and clearheaded when we fail, but not wallowing or dwelling in self-pity. We can dislike our actions and thoughts, but remember to forgive ourselves.

  14. Hi sisters.

    I have reached a dilemma and I need advice if you can offer any, if you have dealt with this.
    How do you deal with a critisizing husband? I feel like he’s always pointing out what I can “do better”. It’ll be little things like “how I can do the dishes better. “, ” how I can handle situations with the children better “, ” how I can make supper better ” but it’s basically everything I do, he seems to have an answer for “how I can do it better ” or ” this is how I should do it ”

    I’ve realized that at times I just do not handle it well when he criticizes me. I have often gotten angry and haven’t always handled it well. I read your article April, on not having to feel the need to constantly defend ourselves and I’ll admit their are times where my pride has caused me to feel the need to defend myself. I just don’t know how to respond to his constant critisism without getting impatient because though some of it is good, some of it really is just a difference in perspective and it’s not that I’m doing anything wrong in some of these situations, it’s just that I do things differently than he does. I just feel like he doesn’t understand that, though I have tried to take the calm approach as well and explain that when he constantly picks at everything I do, it gives me anxiety and makes me feel like I’m walking on egg shells if I don’t do things how he would. I don’t mind taking advice when it’s good, we can all benefit greatly from correction, but I also don’t like being made to feel like my way is always the wrong way and I just don’t know how to approach this situation so he will understand. I just don’t want to be passive aggressive about something that really is bothering me. Please any advice would help. I want to be submissive and respectful, but not passive and “not myself.” In the process. 🙁

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Ashleykb,

      So great to meet you! Would you say he is a perfectionist? How is your walk with Christ going? How about his? 🙂

      I am glad to point you to some resources.

      Please search my home page for:
      – harsh
      – conflict
      – command man
      – angry husband
      – bad mood
      – in the trenches
      – got worse before it got better

      We are going to be having a number of posts on this topic in the next few months, as well, God-willing. 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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