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A Wife’s New Understanding of the “Red Flags” She Missed before Marriage

A guest post by The Satisfied Wife – there are reasons why God gives us the parameters He does about marriage and relationships. Sin always hurts our fellowship with Him, our relationships with others, and ourselves. His boundaries for us are out of His heart of love for us. Thankfully, even if we didn’t prepare as well as maybe we should have before marriage – and no matter what issues we may have (whether they are issues from our childhood over which we had no control, mental health issues, or consequences of our sin or the sin of others) – we are never beyond His reach!

Randomly stumbling upon these lists from (April’s blog for single women) has been a divine appointment! The Lord used these lists to open my eyes to something I truly never saw or considered before.

(See NOTE at the bottom)

Even though I already “knew” this – the thing that kept jumping out at me the most was the fact that I married a man who is imperfect and who will sin against me at times. I know that’s like a no-brainer, but for some odd reason…

I had this belief that whoever I married would treat me like a precious diamond, no matter who they are or what they have come from in their past.

That was the first collision I had with reality after reading some of these posts. I needed to see that all the things I have dealt with and am dealing with are all because I did not even question ANYTHING before marrying. And now I am experiencing all the things April talks about on those posts – with having to deal with jealousy from him having been married, drama with the ex-wife, the kids, his past porn-addiction, etc. etc…. So many things. I am so thankful I found these posts.

It’s like my heart is melting with compassion as I realize that I am expecting my husband to be someone he will not be.

He has had so many issues in his life, and yes, God has truly brought him a long way. God got ahold of him a few years before I ever met him and he has truly been delivered from so many things! And he truly is trying. I see him trying in our marriage.

If any wife has a husband, whether a believer or not, who might have some of these issues from their past, let us find a new understanding of our men, and find compassion for them, instead of expecting they be perfect men who have absolutely no scars or disadvantages to being a godly husband. If we are so focused on what the man is not doing or how he is treating us, then let us not forget that we are called, IN CHRIST, to die to ourselves and we are called to love others as ourselves.

If our husbands were ALREADY like how they are BEFORE marriage – why are we so focused on how they are wrong and what they are doing, when we should be accepting them as is, especially if we were aware of their disadvantages BEFORE we married them? When I first found April’s site, it was the realization about letting my husband be himself that so touched my heart and opened my eyes and which led to some really great things in my marriage.

When I realized I couldn’t change my husband, and I literally stopped trying and stopped disrespecting him and just let him be who he is, and sought to love him and respect him. That’s when his eyes lightened and he drew close to me and started treating me better.

When he didn’t treat me right, and I started getting offended. That’s when things fell apart. How I wish I would have extended grace in those times, and kept my eyes on Christ and what He calls us to in Him! Things would have turned out a lot different over the past months.

I guess what I’m saying is that – yes it’s ok to realize if our husbands are blaming us for all the problems and we know that that is not true. There’s nothing wrong with setting healthy boundaries that promote more unity and a healthier marriage. But I am also saying that if we focus on what they are doing wrong, and if we are not accepting them as they already are, and we are falling into a pit of self-pity and feeling unloved and/or becoming emotionally shut down or whatever else… then I’m saying it is important to remember that we are not married to get what we want in life, or to be happy, or to have anything. If we are in Christ – our one goal in life should be to glorify God and to give Him His rightful place in every area of our lives. The Bible says, who is it that will harm us if we are zealous for that which is good?

I was being majorly disrespectful and controlling when my husband treated me wrongly – and I’m not saying what he did was ok – but honestly, I cannot claim to have been a saint at all. And, not only that, I married him knowing all about his issues and things. Yet here I have been trying to get him to treat me how I want to be treated in order to feel loved, etc. Instead of accepting him as he is, and being compassionate towards him.

I’ve had very little grace towards my husband in a lot of situations that stem from his past, and I am seeing it now, and the Lord has done something in my heart about it, and there is compassion now for him that I didn’t have before.

And the best news about this whole lightbulb is, when I saw it, and left my husband to be himself again, he came toward me immediately! He came right back to me, and he started doing things for me that he’s never done before! I didn’t tell him what I saw about everything, I just let the Lord do something in my own heart, and my behavior changed as a result, and it created a loving atmosphere in my home immediately!

I pray any wife who is experiencing the things in those lists from their husbands’ having past issues, that they might allow the Lord to work in their heart to have compassion for their husbands and to see their marriage in a new Light.

From Peaceful Wife:

We all have some degree of sinful “baggage” that we bring into the marriage that contaminates it that we need to deal with – husbands and wives. Perhaps we didn’t really “count the cost” of our own red flags or our husband’s red flags and maybe we didn’t deal with things before marriage like we should have. I don’t have every answer for every perplexing situation, but I am praying for God’s wisdom for each wife in a difficult situation – for His Spirit’s perspective and power, His love, His truth, His healing for her, her husband, and her marriage. What I do know is that our God is awesome at taking broken people and relationships and making something beautiful from our messes as we completely trust Him and yield to His Lordship. 

NOTE – For some wives, reading the Red Flags posts or the History Is Important Posts from the top of this article may be triggers. You don’t have to read them. They have been helpful to some wives as they seek to put puzzle pieces together. The posts are written for single women. I don’t want any married women to feel condemned or hopeless. In Christ, there is EVERY reason for hope! We ALL have issues. My prayer is that we would take all of our issues to Jesus and find healing in Him.


Other People Don’t Always Know What You Should Do in Your Marriage

Nina Roesner has an e-course for wives in emotionally/verbally abusive marriages and wives who tend to struggle with being too “doormat-like” that may be a blessing, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

To Speak or Not to Speak

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Submission (to Jesus) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?

The Answer to All of Your Marriage Problems



If there are serious issues in your marriage – abuse, unrepentant adultery, active addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual issues, please reach out for help from someone you trust (preferably in person) who is godly and experienced. You may need some extra outside help. (Please search my home page for “abuse,” “porn,” or “rage” for more specific resources.)

33 thoughts on “A Wife’s New Understanding of the “Red Flags” She Missed before Marriage

  1. Thank you, this was literally RIGHT ON TIME! I was just preparing this scathing text to my husband for something he did to hurt me. I stopped and prayed for God to help me know how to handle this, then the email notice for this blog popped on my screen. God immediately answered my prayer! Awesome. I will make the changes within myself that you mention her. Thanks.

    1. Tameka1,
      I am so glad the Lord has spoken to you this morning! He really is amazing, and the Holy Spirit will lead us to exactly what will meet our need right at the right time! 🙂 Praise God!


  2. Amen! Satisfied Wife, I love this post! I am so grateful to the Lord for what He is teaching you. I too had that lightbulb moment and I will admit it took several attempts before I really “got it”. There were times as I started on this journey that I thought I was respecting him and accepting him for who he was, but then the Lord kept revealing to me how I really was still focusing on the things he “did wrong” in MY eyes, and I wasn’t letting myself truly accept him for who he was because I was still wrapped up in being offended, and in my own pity because I didn’t have the husband I thought I should have. Finally the Lord made it absolutely clear that I was still looking at him through my own Sinful eyes, and not HIS eyes. the moment I finally let go and realized what God was trying to get me to understand, was the moment of true change.

    isn’t it amazing to see that light in your husbands eyes again? I can describe it as exactly the same thing, it was like God saying to me “see, It’s still there… Why do you doubt me?”

    God bless you, thanks so much for sharing this. I pray that God will speak to other wives through your words, that they too will allow the Lord to work in their hearts to see their husbands in a new light and that it will be a blessing to them.

    1. Melanie,
      That is why when I read your post I was like YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. It was literally the same thing the Lord had shown me this week! I love it! I know how drastically it changed my whole home and relationship when the Lord opened my eyes to this!

      I pray any wife who reads will have eyes opened by the Spirit of Our God that they might see and be renewed in their minds unto the unity in marriage that the Lord desires us to have!!!


  3. Yes!! Exactly how God has been speaking to me and it’s amazing what a difference it has made in our home and in our relationship! Lucy

  4. Lucy,
    Wow! That is so awesome!!!! Praise God!! I am amazed at how He is working in all of our hearts for His greatest glory in our marriages!!!


  5. Hi, Amanda
    What a great post! There is nothing a husband wants more then for us to accept them completely right as they are…exercising our compassion muscle is something that has to be on the forefront of were we come from, really in everybody we encounter. I will never know the extend of damage that my husband went through, and I certainly cannot take it away (how I wish I could!) Only God can deal with that healing, but I can step back from the immediate reaction and extend grace, as you said… it is incredibly hard to not react, and lash out, but how much more space it opens up to come together when we see the hurt and pain that is really underneath the lashing out and blaming…we don’t have to take on that blame, because it isn’t us that is at the heart of it…but instead address the pain with sympathizing with the feeling. “That must really hurt to be treated like that…”… “I can hear how much that hurt your feelings..” etc. The more I align with that, the more understood and heard he feels, the more he knows, that I am on his side, not on the other side..

    Really all of us just want to be heard and understood, because then, it creates an opening to come closer, because we feel safe to delve deeper into the connection. God is so good, to give us his example to follow…we are humans, we make mistakes, we are stupidly reactive at times, but he still extends us the same grace, and patiently waits for us to come back, so he can shelter us and keep reminding us of the ultimate gift and sacrifice that he has given us!

    Always wise words and revelations…

    Love, A Lifetime Learner

    1. Lifetimelearner,
      I think it is so important now that I see how much we must react on the ground of Christ instead of the flesh! The Lord loved us even when we surely did NOT deserve it! This approach is far more peaceful than any way! 🙂


  6. Amanda,
    I dont have much time right now, but wanted to tell you – GREAT POST!!!! Thank you for this!!! This has been a major realization for me also and the same lightbulb went off for me too!
    Love and blessings sister,

  7. NB,
    I know how much your marriage has changed for the better and how seeing this changed so much 🙂 I am so glad I “met” you sister, you have been an inspiration to ME! 🙂

    Love you!

  8. I’m going to approach my husband about something that’s been going on for some time now.
    Please pray for me to have stay calm and have courage. Thanks

  9. I have heard from some wives who feel condemned when they read the Red Flags Posts or the History Is Important Post from Peaceful Single Girl.

    Those posts were written for single sisters so that they are careful to count the cost before marriage and so that they go into marriage with realistic expectations, hopefully. That they might not ignore major issues but deal with them before marriage with the power of Christ. But for those who are already married, none of us are beyond the reach of Jesus, thankfully! We ALL have issues and scars. My goal is for us all to take all of our Red Flags and our husbands’ Red Flags to Jesus and to find healing in Him. I want to see us deal with our baggage in healthy, healing, and productive ways.

    I was a bit hesitant to share the Red Flags posts for single women with wives because I don’t want anyone to feel condemned or hopeless. When I saw how much these posts helped The Satisfied Wife as she tried to better understand her husband, that is why I decided to share these posts. Not to condemn anyone, but to help us better understand where we are and how we got here and how to move forward in Christ.

    If you want to talk about this some more, please let me know!

    Much love!

  10. April
    Condemnation is the last thing I would want to come from sharing this experience with our sisters in Christ! When I came across them, I saw for the first time that a lot of my current marriage issues stem from a lot of those flags, and the Lord gave me a new understanding and compassion for him as I realized that he has had a lot of hurtful, life changing events from his past that have definitely impacted who he is today and how he is as a man. It was freeing to see it all because now I am able to let him be himself, and not try to change him or wish he were different. The whole point that I got from the posts was that letting him be who he is will promote a more compassionate and loving atmosphere in our marriage! 🙂

    I pray the Lord will give us all a deeper understanding of our men, and a heart full of compassion for them! 🙂

    Lots of love,

  11. Dear April,
    I hope you and your family are doing well. I have been listening to you on YouTube since last year, and I thank God for you.

    I am writing to you because a couple months ago I read an article from your blog regarding persecuted christians living in different parts of the world (don’t quite remember all the details). I thank God for allowing me to live in a great country where I can freely exercise my freedom in Jesus-Christ.

    Unfortunately, many of us who have this luxury don’t know about, or even forget the hardships some of our brothers and sisters are enduring, just because they have faith in our One True Messiah. I believe that I am blessed, and I would like to share a little bit of what God gives me to one of my sister or brother. And it doesn’t matter whether s/he is from Jerusalem, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan or Korea.

    Do you know any group of Christians who is actively involved in helping the “forgotten”, but yet not forgotten, please?

    If you do, please connect me with them.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ketsia Elien

  12. Thank you for this post! This is my first comment, but I have been reading here for several months — sometimes learning new things, sometimes confirming things God has recently taught me, always being encouraged that I am not the only one with struggles and that God is always with me and for me. There are so many of these red flags that I saw, but chose to ignore, when I was dating my husband, now I am unequally yoked and very lonely spiritually. I cannot blame God for my choices or expect Him to work on my timeline to “fix this”. My husband has so much emotional pain from his father and ex-wife (and she continues to inflict emotional pain on a regular basis), and I am thankful that I saw that pain early on — I believe that is why I was so willing to overlook the red flags.

    I am not trying to change him, and am trusting God to work in his heart, and see evidence of that healing already, but it will be a long road. When I was considering accepting the marriage proposal, many of the red flag issues came to my mind, but in prayer I felt God asking me loud and clear “Do you trust ME?”. I knew it was about trusting God, and not trusting my husband. I had to take the chance to be willing to be the channel God might use to bring healing to my husband. God does not need me, and sometimes i have to remind myself to get out of the way. Sometimes I think I need to be more willing to be salt and light in my own home, but I think God is gradually showing me a good balance between submission/respect and silence — I think it’s going to be a lifelong journey.

    So, while I sometimes wonder why I ever started on this road (why did I wait for over 40 years for the “right one” and then fall into this situation?), I can look and see how God is working in my husband’s heart, and I hear my husband say he is closer to God than he has ever been (he says he believes the gospel, but there has never been any discipleship; I see no hunger for scripture or fellowship with other believers). I am not abused, and my husband does not mind if I attend church, and will sometimes attend with me. My husband has a good job, works incredibly hard around the house, tells me he loves me, always makes his sons respect me. He has even starting trying to teach the kids to say grace before meals, really say grace, not just recite the little prayer his religion taught him to quote. He says he does notice the difference between my prayers, but never wants to pray together. I have brought it up a few times, but he declines, and has stated outright that he worries that he is not “spiritual enough” for me. I try hard to never act like I am more spiritually mature than he is, and do not condemn his words or actions, but I do have my Bible on my nightstand and do read it. I do not push to attend church if he is tired or not in the mood. I am so hesitant to attend without him, because Satan really tempts me there — “look at all these godly men who are spiritual leaders and enjoy serving the Lord!” — it can breed discontent in me.

    I am thankful for all the ladies here who are willing to share what they have learned and are learning.

    1. Never Alone,

      Thanks so much for sharing! I’m very glad you are seeking God and that you want to yield to Christ as Lord. There is no better place to be in the world! I pray God will use you to be salt and light in your home and to be filled to overflowing with Him so that you will have the wisdom, power, and discernment you need to walk in obedience to Christ in every situation.

      Watch out for Satan’s lies, many of the wives whose husbands are at church have similar temptations as they look at other men and imagine what kind of “godly leaders” they might be. It is so easy to fall into envy. But every marriage has its issues – things are not always as they seem on the surface. Our hope has to be in Christ far more than in a man looking like a “godly leader.” I’m glad you recognize the temptation and pray that you will continue to look to Christ alone for your contentment. 🙂

      Much love to you!

  13. I’m struggling as a new mom with feeling bitterness, resentment and overwhelmed. I’m enjoying motherhood and our little family, but it’s so hard taking care of the baby and doing all the housework and errands alone. I’ve accepted that hubby can’t/isn’t comfortable with helping with our infant right now; I know that as she gets older he’ll get more involved. But it’s hard to not get upset at him not helping with dishes or our dogs…He was raised without parents so I know he didn’t have an example of what a husband/father should look like. I don’t know, I guess I just want some encouragement and many some verses that’ll help me stop pouting and focusing on myself. Hubby is working many long hours so I can stay home so I’m super thankful for that but still want to feel like we’re a team in this parenting thing. Also I had a very painful recovery after giving birth so that has gotten in the way of physical intimacy! I definitely don’t want the enemy sneaking in but feel like that’s the direction we’re headed!

    1. New Momma,

      Wow! You get to stay home full time! 🙂 THAT is a HUGE gift. You know, it is easy to feel overwhelmed as a new mom. I have absolutely been there. And I was one of those moms who wanted to stay home but Greg said that just wasn’t going to work. How I grieved having to go back to work, even though it was just part time. 12-24 hours per week over the past 14.5 years. I didn’t want to leave my babies with anyone else. I didn’t want to miss one smile or one first step. I longed to be home so much. I can remember resenting that I had gone to pharmacy school, wishing I could stay home like my mom did, and my twin sister, and both of my sisters-in-law got to. I struggled with jealousy. And when I was home, I was still the one doing almost all of the housework and childcare. I felt resentful about that, too. It is easy to feel resentful – but I would encourage you to look at this situation another way.

      Your husband is sacrificing A LOT so that you can be home with your baby. He is the one doing ALL of the financial earning alone, it sounds like. He may be overwhelmed, too, with the feeling of responsibility for that burden. I know a lot of husbands feel much more compelled to try to be even better providers when a new baby comes into the family. My own dad had to work tons of overtime when my twin sister and I were born. My mom was very much alone with twins – who were sick almost all the time and who took turns sleeping and crying for about 3 years.

      Marriage can be hard.

      Adding a new baby to a marriage can be hard.

      There are challenges and difficulties.

      But – if you are willing to look at it – you have what many women DREAM of. You have “it all,” in a lot of ways.

      – A husband who loves you
      – A baby
      – The freedom to be home and not to have to juggle that extremely difficult balance between work, motherhood, wife, and housekeeper

      These are gifts that countless single and married women would give almost anything to have. However, the gifts alone are not enough to satisfy us. If you look to your circumstances, your child, or your husband to meet your deepest needs – you will never be content.

      If you choose to focus on things that you don’t like or if you focus on that you feel alone – you can make yourself completely miserable – and you can repel your husband, too.

      Or, you can choose to take responsibility for yourself emotionally and spiritually and take these things to God and THANK Him for the many blessings you have and the many generous gifts He has given you and you can choose to be grateful, joyful in Christ (finding all of your fulfillment, security, worth, peace, and contentment in Him alone).

      Satan is the one who wants you to accuse your husband and wants to fan these thoughts of discontentment. Don’t listen to him for one moment!

      Much love to you!

      7 Ways to Kick Satan’s Butt by Nina Roesner

      1. New Momma,

        And if you are truly too overwhelmed to be able to do everything, it is okay to ask for help. You can do that respectfully. And you can even ask people other than your husband, too. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, be sure to talk with your doctor about that and your husband. You may be able to ask other family members or friends for help, as well, if all of this is more than you are able to do right now.

        Your husband will need some grace right now.

        You will need to give yourself some grace right now, too.

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

    2. New Momma,

      Having a new baby is DEFINITELY hard! Especially if we are the ones primarily taking care of him/her, and also the only one doing the other things necessary to make a home function. I know when I had my son, I lasted about 2 weeks before I broke down crying and became depressed as I was breastfeeding what seemed like every 10 minutes, getting no sleep whatsoever, and I was literally alone. Thank God, I was living with my parents, and if it weren’t for them helping me, I don’t know what I would have done. I wonder if you have family/friends in the neighborhood that might be willing to lend a hand???

      And even though my son is older now, my husband feels the same way about things—- he doesn’t really get the opportunity to do much around here because he works very hard for me to stay home and raise my son. But, there are still days when we all need a little help 🙂

      I pray the Lord strengthens your innerman with might, that you might be able to stand through this difficult time and cling to the Lord—and lay hold of eternal life! 🙂 He is a VERY present help in times of trouble–and His grace is abundant! Lay hold of His grace by faith!


  14. Hi New Momma, your post reminded me of when I had our son (now 14) and feeling so overwhelmed… I think many of us moms have been there! when our son was born I took maternity leave for the first year. We are fortunate where I live to have that. However it was so overwhelming being a first time momma and learning how to manage everything and to make up the financial cost (mat leave benefits were less than half my normal monthly pay) my husband worked 70+ hour weeks. I felt SO alone! I had my mom nearby at the time but I still struggled with it as I felt like my husband was not willing to do the physical care when he was home and it was exhausting never getting a moment to myself. I too had a lot of resentment. what I wish now that I think differently than I did at that time, was that I would have realized that my husband was in fact being a very active parent but meeting a different need. At the time I could not reason it that way! You ARE a parenting team… you are providing the physical caretaking while your husband is providing the Financial means… i know when it was me in your position it was easy to overlook that thinking that what I was doing was much more than what he was contributing. Now that I allow the Lord to show me, I can clearly see how unfair I was in my expectation. Although I was grateful for the mat leave I quickly overlooked that I was able to enjoy that entire first year Because my husband was dedicated to his family and willing to put in those long hours. One of the things that I have come to understand thanks to the Lord and the resources He has put in front of me, is that men and women have a different perspective in that most women tend to value the physical caretaking and nurturing more for their self worth and self respect, while to men, being able to bring home the money and provide financially is critical for them in their self worth. But thanks be to God His design for marriage is that we don’t think the same!!! One complements the other… I don’t know why it took me 14 years to get this but I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to this. When you feel that resentment and bitterness that you feel like you are doing “everything” like I did at that time, try and focus your thoughts on what is GOOD… the fact that God gave you a husband that is dedicated to providing for his family by putting in those long work hours. Satan wants you to take it personal, but he is a Liar!!! God wants you to remember that you both are equal in His eyes… your contributions are equal, He has just wired us differently so that we complement each other and are able to live in marriage and raise a family by His design.

    I know that it doesn’t take away the fact that you still are just plain exhausted, but I hope that it can be encouraging to you to think about that your husband is on your team but like any team, you have a different role that complements each other and when keeping that perspective that you ARE working together, you can have success! Also as April mentioned, it’s also super important for a team to have substitute players… alternates that are there to step in. If you have those resources, don’t be hesitant to use them! Right now I am mother to a 14 year old, 10 and 8 year olds, the younger two having many extra needs due to painful pasts and coming from the foster care system. We have only one living parent, and limited other family and we live half way across the country from them! When we had our son 14 years ago my parents lived close by and I will never get that time back again no matter how much I wish I could. yet I was hesitant to graciously accept their help because of my own stupid pride that we could manage all on our own. Thankfully the Lord has forgiven me for those prideful years! Anyways not sure if you said what the situation was for you with outside help but something to think about if you have that possibility. Sending you love and support, you have reached out to a wonderful place with so many wonderful people here that the Lord has brought together. I hope you will find as much encouragement here as I have!

  15. Yes please let us all remember that however wonderful a husband or wife may be, to grow together as one is time consuming and we must not expect perfection in the other, it is only, by the Grace of God, that we, each individual can learn to do what is right.

    Patience is a beautiful thing and in these times often forgotten.

    Thank you all, brothers and sisters?

  16. This is a great post. It’s hard to imagine me getting to this place but I pray, read and reevaluate myself constantly. I always end up feeling depressed whenever I am around him. It’s not all him that is the blame, it is me as well. I married him knowing he really didnt love Christ and I struggle with this, amoung other things. I just need to keep fighting and dying unto myself. I’ll get there!

    1. Ryder,
      Hang in there! It IS a struggle. Can’t count how many times I have asked God to forgive me for marrying my husband. But this marriage is where we are now, and I keep reminding myself I made a vow to God and He will give me the strength to do His will. I love how April and the others here remind me to keep looking at my own heart, and focusing on my walk with Jesus. That is all I can “control”. I am growing in accepting that my husband’s response to God’s calling is his own, and continuously pray for the Holy Spirit’s work in his heart.

      1. Thank you Ladies! This is such a great community of Christian supporters. This helps me more than you know. 🙂

    2. Ryder,
      I’m so glad this post helped you! Sometimes we want something so bad we don’t stop to really think about the consequences, and then we see later how much we should have thought things through. But either way, wherever we are right now, the Lord is there, and He is able to use ALL things for the good! He is able to work things out and change our hearts and transform us into the image of Christ right where we are. What matters is the Lord having His rightful place in us! And he uses those things we didn’t think about at first to make us more like Christ! 🙂


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