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How Do I Respect My Husband without Idolizing Him?

To me, the primary key in balancing respecting my husband but not idolizing him is to watch my motives. I want to care about his feelings and concerns. I want to treat him well. But why?

Do I want his approval more than anything?

Or do I want God’s approval more than anything?

If I idolize my husband’s approval:

  • My motives are to please him and to satisfy him at any personal cost to me. These motives are fueled by huge fear of my husband’s rejection of me.
  • I may be willing to be a doormat and very passive.
  • I may want to change to please my husband without considering if I am pleasing God.
  • I want to treat my husband well to try to get him to stay and give me the love I want from him.
  • I love and respect my husband with strings attached. I have a lot of expectations of what he should do for me in return for what I do for him.
  • I would be devastated if my husband is not happy with me, even if I am doing what is right.
  • I would be devastated if my husband leaves me or dies and feel like there is no hope if he is not with me.
  • If my husband left me, I might grovel at his feet and do anything to get him to come back, even if he was involved in serious unrepentant sin.
  • I might be willing to disrespect myself in order to meet my husband’s definition of respecting him.
  • The fruit of my attempts to respect my husband will be frustration, disappointment, fear, loneliness, worry, bitterness, and/or possibly even physical sickness because I am not acting in the Spirit, but in the flesh.

If I have Christ on the throne of my heart and His approval is most important:

  • My motives are to please God and to satisfy Him at any personal cost to me.
  • I seek to bless my husband because I know he is made in the image of God and he is beloved by God.
  • I want to treat my husband well because God wants me to treat him well and because I love him with the love of Christ.
  • I look for the good things in my husband to admire because that honors the Lord.
  • I change to please God primarily. I want to do things that please my husband to a degree – but only if I know God is pleased with those changes.
  • I love my husband unconditionally without strings attached.
  • I can be content even if my husband is not happy with me, as long as I know that God is happy with me – it wouldn’t be my favorite thing, but I could deal with it if I had to.
  • I seek to respect God first, respect myself (think rightly about myself in light of God’s Word and receive God’s truth about my new identity in Christ), and respect my husband all at the same time.
  • I measure my success as a wife and woman by God’s Word not my husband’s current mood or emotions.
  • I can stay at peace in Christ even if my husband is upset at something or even if he is in a bad mood.
  • I can even stay content in Christ and full of His joy no matter what my husband may do or not do.
  • I honor my husband’s God-given leadership because I reverence Christ and trust God to lead me through my husband if my husband is not asking me to clearly sin or condone clear sin. I do want to trust my husband as much as possible, but ultimately my trust is in Christ alone.
  • If my husband were to leave me or die, I would be very sad. I would grieve. But I would know that if I have Jesus, I have the greatest Treasure in the universe.
  • If my husband left me, I would pray for my husband. I would want him to come back and to reconcile the marriage. But my greatest concern would be his soul, not my personal happiness.
  • The fruit of my respecting my husband would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life because it is God’s Spirit empowering me to do this (Gal. 5:22-23).

Note:

It’s not wrong to enjoy pleasing our husbands. It’s very helpful to us when they give us some feedback and we know that they appreciate what we do for them. We feel so blessed when our husbands smile at us or show us that they are responding positively to our respect. But we can get sidetracked by their feedback sometimes – or lack of feedback. God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feedback from our husbands reflects God’s feedback. We must test our husbands’ feedback against God’s Word. I hope that makes sense.

Related:

 

 

56 thoughts on “How Do I Respect My Husband without Idolizing Him?

  1. So so good! Thanks so much; this was perfect for me right now. My hubby and I have been arguing quite a bit lately and him being upset at me either leads me to 1) Want to do better to please him and feeling bad about myself, or 2) Be upset at him for his unrealistic expectations and act unkindly towards him. Both super unhealthy and a good indicator that my focus hasn’t been on doing everything to glorify Christ. I recognize that if he’s discouraging to me, it’s not an indicator or my identity or worth, but of sin in his heart. Because that doesn’t define my worth, I don’t need to retaliate or defend myself, but can remain at peace knowing that my responses can glorify Christ and that my identity is found in Him. And if I strive to do better it can also be for the sole purpose of glorifying Him. Idolatry of our marriage and my hubby was a huge struggle for me before and contributed to the destruction of our marriage the first time around. Now that we have a restored marriage, I’m more aware of it, but I’m definitely still prone to it and have to be careful!

  2. Hi April,

    I really appreciated this article. It answered a question I had asked at your conference you did in Eaton, Ohio this past February. The Conference was wonderful and so helpful. My question was, basically, If our husbands or partners are quiet and unemotional, and we are seeking to treat them with respect, how do we know if we are doing it right or are being successful?

    Your statement above gave such clarity: “I measure my success as a wife and woman by God’s Word not by my husband’s current mood or emotions or (unresponsiveness I might add).” Is it wrong to look for that approving smile when we are seeking to bless, respect, and serve the men in our lives? I am so grateful I got to meet you at the Conference. Have a blessed weekend.

    1. Karen!

      It is so neat that I know who you are now. 🙂 Thank you very much for coming to the conference. It was a blessing to get to meet you. I appreciate you letting me know that this post is helpful. I agree that when you aren’t getting much (or any) feedback from your husband, it can be much harder to figure out the respect thing. I know it was for me for a long time! But ultimately, as we compare our lives to God’s Word and invite Him to shine light on any sin, He can show us a lot of things, even if our husbands don’t speak up.

      It’s not wrong to enjoy pleasing our husbands. It’s very helpful to us when they give us some feedback and we know that they appreciate what we do for them. But it is important to keep our motives pure. We can get sidetracked by their feedback sometimes – or lack of feedback. God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feedback from our husbands reflects God’s feedback. I hope that makes sense.

      I’m so grateful that the conference was helpful!

      Much love!

  3. Thanks, April. I like what you said, “God can use our husband’s feedback to benefit us and help us on this journey. But not all feed back from our husbands reflects God’s feedback.” So, if am seeking to be respectful to my husband with pure motives, and his feedback is negative or no response at all, I can still trust I am pleasing God. If not, God will show me. Pleasing God does not necessarily equal a certain outcome. People have their own free will.

    1. Karen,

      YES! Exactly! Pleasing God always leads to rewards for us in our walk with God and in eternity. But pleasing God does not necessarily equal pleasing my husband all the time. A wife may be doing everything right in God’s eyes and her husband may be angry with her. A husband’s anger doesn’t mean she is sinning, necessarily. There is righteous anger and unrighteous anger.

      Sometimes a husband will rebuke his wife rightly. So we want to weigh criticism against God’s Word. Other times it is possible a husband may rebuke his wife in error. It may be that he is upset because of his own sin issues or way of thinking or lack of intimacy with the Lord.

      This requires discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer.

      And yes, I do believe that as you seek to please God and obey Him, He will show you what you need to change if anything. 🙂

      1. So incredibly timely. I have not dove into the posts about idolizing our husbands too far but recent events are pushing me there. I loved your comments, Karen and April about our husbands reactions. I work out of town a time or two a month and have found this trip extremely difficult because I can’t gage my husbands reactions very well on the phone. It sent me into a tailspin today and luckily I was able to discern (with a godly friend’s help) just what I was struggling with.

        I feel so out of control because my husband has put divorce as an “option” on the table but hasn’t done anything toward that. He’s been ok, he’s pretty quiet and passive, but this insecurity is my biggest stressor. I have a strong relationship with God and he often clearly speaks to me but now I’m struggling to hear Him. I don’t know how to do this!! Men have always been an “idol” with me…I was always “boy crazy” and put a lot of my worth in who liked me to the point that college is not a pleasant place to relive. I even think about how if my husband leaves that I want to find someone else who will love me. God says “hello? What about me?” But I’m struggling with the flesh. Any suggestions on reading?

        1. Trying,

          Hope to respond more later, but try searching things on my blog like:

          – husband idol
          – discontentment
          – contentment
          – insecurity
          – security
          – hold things of this world loosely
          – respect myself
          – disrespect myself
          – separated wife

          much love and a huge hug!!!

  4. Hi everyone,

    Really off-topic for this post, but I just got my first maxi skirt today and I love it!! It is very beautiful and makes me feel very feminine. However, I am having such a hard time finding a top to wear with it. My chest is VERY small and everything I try on seems to make my chest look smaller and my hips look bigger – NOT what I am going for. I love the idea of wearing maxi skirts, but I would also like to find something to wear on top that I like. Did anyone else experience the same thing, and if so, what types of clothes did you find to wear on top? Thanks!! 🙂

    Love,
    Flower

    1. Flower,

      I wear maxi skirts a lot. And I have an extremely small chest, too. I don’t like wearing button down blouses because sometimes my tummy has issues and they don’t always fit. So I often end up with just a simple solid color t-shirt type of top. The necklines are higher than a lot of other necklines, which I like. The tricky thing for me is that I am usually a XS, but sometimes need a S in women’s. But sometimes the necklines on S tops are too low. Sometimes I will wear a V-neck t-shirt type of top, but if I do, and I am not just at home, I wear something under it to increase the height of the neckline.

      It is possible that a cropped jacket on top of a shirt may help give you more of a feeling of symmetry.

      Much love!

  5. Excellent post. We need to focus on doing everything for the glory of God instead of trying to please our husbands at any cost. With that in mind, we won’t obsess over our husbands’ reactions and behavior towards us. My mother obsessed over my Dad and spent years in heartache and devastation because of his cruelty towards her but she could not leave him or demand better treatment because she needed him more than anything else in the world. Because of that I focus on my relationship with Christ more than my relationship with my husband because I know that God must come first for me.

      1. My dad was involved in unrepentant adultery for 20 years and my mother was trying to be “perfect” and please him at any cost to keep him and get him to leave the other woman. It was a very painful and toxic environment for the whole family. She was absolutely obsessed about the situation and would talk about nothing else. She was desperate to keep him and almost lost her mind. When wives behave like that, it’s incredibly hard on the children. When wives focus on pleasing Christ, I believe that it can make a world of difference for the children.

        1. Nikki,

          Wow. That just grieves my heart. 🙁 The whole thing. I can’t imagine how hard it would be on the children in such a situation. And yes! I totally agree, if a wife focuses on pleasing Christ, what a better and healthier atmosphere for the children!

  6. Thank you, April. It took me years to figure out that when my husband is moody or angry or ___________ it might not have anything to do with what I am doing or not doing. It is very freeing to know that what I need to focus on is whether I am right with God rather than right with my husband, because when I am being right with God, I am right with my husband, whether he likes it or not. Ultimately I will be judged on that, not condemned by a flawed human being (me included).
    The more I focus on my relationship with God, the stronger and more secure I get in interacting with people, because my focus shifts from pleasing people to pleasing God.

    Very good post! Thank you, A Lifetime Learner

  7. April, and any other wives reading, I would appreciate prayers. I’ve been on the respect journey for over a year, but recently have realized how many little things I was still unknowingly being disrespectful in. I have repented to God, repented to my husband, and even showed my husband your blog about respect and how it took you 2.5 years, and how difficult it is to learn respect, even as an intelligent person. My husband told me that unfortunately, he wouldn’t wait around for me to have it all figured out, and doesn’t “buy” this “excuse”. Obviously, I’m extremely hurt, and I’m really uncertain as to how Christ wants me to respond to this. Prayer appreciated!

    1. SavedbyChrist,

      Many husbands expect an instant change once wives begin to learn and grow in this journey. I have not ever seen that happen yet. But it would be great if it could! Is your husband a believer in Christ?

      Some posts that may be a blessing – please search:

      – husband doesn’t buy my changes
      – why doesn’t husband support me more as I try to change
      – things got worse at first when I started to change

      Much love to you! I pray for God’s wisdom. Ultimately, keep doing this simply to please and honor Christ and bless your husband. Trust that God will work in your husband’s heart. He has his own long journey to take that he may not know about yet.

      1. SavedbyChrist,

        Fewer words may be better in a situation like this. Let your husband just watch your attitude and respect grow. Let him see how you get up as soon as you stumble and you repent and try to continue to live in a way that honors God and honors him. Do this for God no matter what your husband may do. His response is pretty normal. Don’t freak out. This is a test. Just stay steady in your faith and let God continue to refine you. He’s got this. And He’s got you!

    2. SavedbyChrist,

      The 2.5 year mark for me was when I was JUST beginning to have any clue what I was doing. It was another year before I really began to feel like the new ways were “natural” and “normal.” And it was that long before Greg felt safe with me, too. He was very skeptical and shut down still for a long time. I probably didn’t figure out all of the unintentional disrespectful things until the 2.5 year point.

      Nina Roesner said it took her 10 years to feel like she began to know what she was doing with respect.

      My prayer is that through the things I share, it won’t have to take y’all as long! But – we will trust God with the timing and trust Him to continue the good work He has begun in you.

      LMSdaily has some posts that may be helpful about this issue, too.

      1. Thank you for responding so soon. It’s hard to hold back the tears as I type this, because of how grateful I am to have this wisdom and support. My husband is a believer, for which I am very thankful. In the past, I probably would’ve judged his relationship with the Lord, but I do see that he has a heart for God, and struggles with all the same things I do. In the midst of all of this, there have been so many times I have just doubted my journey, although God has always restored my joy and peace in Him. But, this is really hard. I have forgotten what it is like to be in such a valley…not a very comfortable place to be! I have told God over the last few days that I have nothing left, and could He please restore me to keep going. To keep blessing, and to find ways to show respect even when it feels like my husand will not receive it. And lastly, to know, to really know, that He who started a good work in me will not abandon me. Bless you, April, for your heart in this. Praying for your marriage to also be blessed and protected.

        1. SavedbyChrist,
          You know what? This is actually the best place to be. At the end of self. Desperate for God. Totally dependent on Him. This is the place we must be before God begins to really move to change us. As long as we think we can do it ourselves, we keep Him from being able to do everything for us by His power.

          Thank you for the prayer and blessing. I am excited about where you are and what God is about to do!

          1. This is so true. Thank you for reminding me of this truth! As soon as I read the your comments, it was like the Holy Spirit was able to take the burden and allow me to enjoy spending the day with my daughter, and rejoice with a new understanding and hope. I am always encouraged and amazed at how God is able to change our hearts and attitudes…my day was completely turned around in hearing God’s truth through your sharing with me. Praise God! Thank you for your blog, April. I’ll continue to keep in touch

          2. SavedbyChrist,
            I’m so thankful that you were able to release that burden to the Lord and just rest in Him and enjoy the day with your daughter. That is awesome!!!!!!!

            I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you, dear sister!

    3. Dear SavedbyChrist,

      I hope to give you some encouragement. Sometimes, what we mean to say to our men is not what they hear. To me, this sounds like a misunderstanding, because I think your words can be taken in two ways.

      Here’s what I think you meant: “I love you and I’m sorry I keep messing up. This is really hard – I’m not being stupid about this on purpose. I want you to know that I will continue to work on this for as long as it takes. I want to be a godly wife for you, for us, and for God.”

      Here’s what I think he heard: “I feel bad that I mess up, but this is really hard. See, look at this woman on the internet who says it took her 2.5 years! I’ve only been working for one year. It’s really hard even for smart people to learn respect. Maybe your expectations are a little high? So if I continue to sin against you in this way for the next 1.5 years or so, it’s fine because I can’t be expected to learn this stuff so quickly.”

      Again, I think your words could be taken in two ways. I think what you meant to say to your husband is loving and respectful. But I think that he heard the second thing, and that sounds like an excuse. If he thought you were saying that, it doesn’t surprise me that he was angry.

      Please keep in mind that if my hunch is correct, he was only responding to what he THOUGHT you were saying, not to what was actually in your heart. I of course don’t know the rest of your life, but looking at this one story, I would translate his words in the following way:

      I would translate, “I won’t wait around for you to have it all figured out,” as “How dare you ask for a get-out-of-jail-free card for the next few years?!”, NOT as “I will divorce you if you don’t change immediately.” I also personally would translate, “I don’t buy this excuse,” as “How dare you insinuate that I shouldn’t care if you disrespect me, only because it’s ‘hard’ for you to learn respect?”, NOT as “You need to change everything RIGHT NOW.” Remember, he’s responding to what he THINKS you meant, not to what you actually meant.

      My hunch is that if he had understood the first meaning, he wouldn’t have reacted this way. I have had similar things happen to me so many times, where I say one thing, and he thinks I mean another, and we’re upset, and finally I figure out that he thinks I meant something else, and that’s why he was upset.

      Anyway, hope this was helpful. I will pray for you on your journey. <3

      Love,
      Flower

      1. Flower, can I take a pocket-sized you with me? This is EXACTLY what he heard vs what I meant. A few questions…how did you get so good at interpretting things like this? Why can’t I see these things?
        I feel like every word, every thing I say, is just cause for a whole new argument, because of the way I say it and the way he inerprets it. I’m guessing you may have been in my shoes…where do I go from here? I think silence may do some good, but I don’t know if that could even be taken in the wrong way. Blessings to you. I thank you so very much for lending your wisdom to me.

        1. Hi SavedbyChrist,

          Aww!!! 🙂 Thank you!!

          How did I get so good at interpreting things like this? First, I read a lot of April’s posts about how the way we phrase things sounds disrespectful, and how to phrase certain things more respectfully. Second, I made mistakes. A LOT. I still do, just a lot less than I did before. When I make a mistake, I dissect it. I learn precisely what it was that I said that was disrespectful, and I come up with an alternative phrasing that I should have used that would have been respectful and still gotten my point across.

          Why can’t you see these things? You can. You do. You see them more than you used to, but you don’t see them as much as you will in a year, or two years, or ten years. It just takes practice, like anything. I’ve been working on this for a little over two years, and I’m better than I was last year, and last year, I was better than I was before I started learning about this stuff. I like to think that I’ll be better next year than I am this year 🙂

          Where do you go from here? In specifics, I think it depends on what your husband’s personality is like. Yes, I have definitely been in your shoes. A lot. I can tell you what my boyfriend is like, and how I specifically try to communicate with him, but it may not be helpful if your husband isn’t like my boyfriend. My bf wants to talk things out and he always “fights fair” – even when he’s angry, he’s still rational. If I’m upset, or if he’s upset, he wants us to talk about it until we fix it. On a good day (meaning I’m doing this the respectful way, lol), here’s what it looks like on my end: if he’s upset, first, I try to think of if something I said could be taken disrespectfully. If so, then I ask, “Baby, did you think I meant ____?” If he says yes, I apologize and explain what I actually meant, phrasing it respectfully the second time. If I can’t think of what I did wrong, I ask him why he’s upset. Then, when he explains it to me, I listen and apologize if there’s something I did wrong (usually I did do something wrong if he’s upset).

          This is the ideal case, and this is what happens most of the time between us, I think. But there are definitely times when I really screw it up – so don’t feel like a failure if you don’t get it right each time.

          The worst thing you can do is assume you know what he’s thinking. This is the lesson that I struggle to learn time and time again. For example, a couple months ago, we were discussing how we would manage our finances when we married and he mentioned that he wanted separate accounts. I automatically ASSUMED that he wanted separate accounts because he didn’t trust me with his money. “Why else would anyone want separate accounts??!” I thought. Quickly followed with, “Why should I marry a man who doesn’t trust me to handle his money wisely?!?” Well, instead of asking why he wanted the separate accounts, I assumed that I was right in knowing what he was thinking. I got really upset. I got accusatory of him “not caring about oneness in marriage.” Well, I found out that that wasn’t his reasoning at all! He said he trusts me COMPLETELY with his money. And I was like, “well, if you trust me, why on earth do you want the accounts separate?” And he explained that it meant a lot to HIM to know that I trusted HIM to use HIS money to provide for me! And I was like, “what???” And he explained that if he paid for the vast majority of things that we needed, but that I couldn’t access his money, that it would show him in the most obvious way possible that I trusted him to provide. So then I wasn’t mad anymore, because I didn’t think his reasoning was sinful. I still like the idea of joint accounts, but I was no longer angry with him for wanting separate accounts, because I could see that that desire came from a place of him wanting to feel trusted by me, and NOT from a place of greed or distrust of me. (We still have not finalized how to handle things yet, but I have decided that I will find peace with either option.) Except that it took three hours of frustration on both our parts (and a lot of tears and accusations on my part) for me to figure out his motives. I really wished I had just asked him outright to begin with.

          If your husband wants to talk things out, then I highly recommend doing that, and just doing your best to sound respectful throughout the whole thing (knowing that you won’t get it right 100% of the time, but that you will continue to get better at it). If your husband is not a talk-it-out type, then I don’t know. Silence may be a good thing in this case. But I don’t know because I don’t have any experience with a man like that. (Anyone whose husband/bf is like that want to weigh in? :))

          Blessings to you!
          Flower

          1. Flower, thank you for your insight. And thank you for answering all of my questions! So true…we are on a journey of becoming respectful and wiser than the the day before. After reading your comments, I de used to gently ask my husband for a minute of his time. I I softly explained how sorry I was for the confusion, and that I did not expect him to put up with disrespect. I actually used a lot of your words so that he could hear me saying the way he felt…and then I thanked him for taking the time to listen, and let him be. He softened very quickly, and we were able to move on very nicely. 🙂 God is so good! My husband hasn’t always responded this quickly, and so I praise God that he did.
            My husband doesn’t always like talking things out…he prefers I write out a text if I disagree, to give him time to think about it and gather his thoughts. I like to do this, too. We both are sensitive and emotional, so written words seem to work well for us. I think sometimes I do have to give him a lot of space and silence, but I’m so glad the Holy Spirit prompted me to apologize quickly to my husband in this situation. I wish I had time to write more! Thank you for your encouragement. Hopefully we will chat again soon!

          2. SavedbyChrist,
            That is awesome! I am so thankful you were able to use your new understanding from what Flower shared to approach your husband softly and humbly. WOOHOO! What an incredible blessing!
            Praising God with you, dear sister!

          3. Also, I love the example you used. I have definitely caught myself questioning my husband’s motives in the past, and it’s beautiful to begin to relax and trust our husband’s knowledge and wisdom. To know their hearts is a beautiful thing 🙂

  8. April,

    Wasn’t there a post that you had written titled: The Separation-Leads-to-Greater-Intimacy Paradox ? I try to click on it but it isn’t there any longer. Thanks!

    Mrs. G.

  9. I used to idolize my husband in a lot of ways, and I feel like I’ve gotten much better at recognizing what I need to do to obey God rather than focus all of my energy solely on my husband.

    The other night, my husband seemed to be in a very foul mood for some reason. We were on the phone (he’s away for work right now) and it seemed everything I said irritated him. He got upset with me because I didn’t comment on his most recent Facebook post, and despite my reason being that I didn’t have anything comment-worthy to say, he insisted that I was judgmental and comment on everyone else’s.

    Once that was cleared up and done, he began angrily asking me about a different situation, which we had calmly discussed earlier in the day, and about which he was (earlier) agreeable to my solution. However, in this new mood, he was no longer agreeable and accused me of not doing anything to help the situation. He began to curse at me about it, and I asked him not to curse at me. He repeated himself with the language, so I calmly hung up.

    Immediately, I felt like I should have apologized, but then I realized I was really only removing myself from a negative situation that wasn’t going anywhere, and not allowing myself to be verbally or emotionally disrespected. I texted him right away that I love him very much, and I want to talk about it when we are able to speak respectfully to each other.

    I tried calling him a while later but he didn’t answer. I texted him before I went to bed, and no response. I went to bed praying for him and our marriage, but peaceful that God was in charge. I texted him again in the morning to simply tell him that I love him and hoped he had a good day, and no response.

    In the past, I would have flipped out, cried, sobbed, called his phone dozens of times, texted over and over. But this time, I was so peaceful. I knew that I showed myself respect, I showed him that it was not okay to disrespect me that way, and I stopped the situation from escalating anymore and stopped him from continuing to sin in that way.

    A time or two, the thought crossed my mind that he might file for divorce, but I quickly threw that away, reasoning that if he did, I have God fighting for my marriage and He is all I need.

    I prayed for my husband, for him to be set free from the prison of anger and turmoil he is keeping himself in right now. I pray for his eyes to be open, for his heart to be protected by God’s peace, that his faith in God would be increased and he would find freedom and fullness and peace and rest in God alone.

    Eventually he texted me later that he didn’t want to discuss the situation, but he does love me. We didn’t bring it up again. I am sure there will be other times like this, but more and more frequently, God has been giving me His peace and I have had the power of the Holy Spirit helping me to respond to my husband with prayer, respect for myself, and respect for him as my head and husband.

    1. Victorious Wife,

      I’m really proud of you! I know that you are dealing with a particularly difficult situation with your husband that makes it a lot more challenging at times. But I am glad that you were able to handle things in a much more healthy way and didn’t flip out or freak out. I’m also glad you didn’t text and call dozens and dozens of times. Yikes! That is an approach of desperation. I’m so thankful that you trusted God and that you realize He is all you need. WOOHOO!

      I’m glad you prayed for your husband.

      I think that as you respectfully ask for him to treat you with respect, and as you don’t freak out if he won’t respond for awhile, you may find that he begins to treat you with more respect. If he is able to think clearly, that would be the usual pattern.

      And if he leaves, you can still be content in Christ and full of His peace and joy. It would be really sad if he left. You would grieve. But your life would not be over and you wouldn’t have to be completely devastated. And if he did leave, you could trust that maybe God would use even that to draw him to Himself.

      I’m so thankful for what God is doing in your heart! And that you are beginning to not idolize your husband so much. These are baby steps to a much healthier relationship, it seems to me.

  10. April, and any other wives reading, I would like to ask for a prayer.

    An update : In February, just a week after my husband came back home (we were separated for a month and a half), I received a convocation to present to the judge on 28th of March.

    Yesterday, my husband left again, saying that he wants to stay alone till the 28th to prepare his papers.

    I grieve today.. but I’m also so glad for Jesus’s strength and support ! I see that the more I surrender to Him the more I’m joyful. I will continue to learn to trust Him.

    I decided not to divorce and to stand for my marriage. Because I have less income, I was told, my husband will have to leave the house. I think that’s good for my healing, especially because he still continues to hide his affair.

    We did not talk at all about the convocation. It looks like nothing is happening.
    Maybe it would be good I say something like this to him before we go to the judge :

    You have probably noticed that I have been working on my issues, working on becoming a better person. I’m going to continue to seek to honor you and treat you with respect, but I have a responsibility to tell you, again, that your duplicity is unacceptable to me. It’s not ok for you to hide the affair and cheat on me. What you are doing is wrong and destructive. You are hurting my feelings. I do not want to divorce, but believe we should separate. I do expect you to treat me with respect. You are free to leave.

    Last January when I told him that I do not want to divorce he “exploded” and left the house. I counselor told me that he is doing this because he wants to derail me and accept the divorce.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your prayers !

    1. Ev,

      Thank you for the update. It sounds like it has been quite an emotional roller coaster. But how I praise God for what He is doing in your heart. That is awesome! I love that you see that the more you yield and surrender to Him, the more you experience His joy.

      That sounds like a good plan to me as to what you are thinking of saying. I pray for God’s clear wisdom, leading, and discernment as you pray about how to approach this and exactly what to say.

      I think it may be wise to acknowledge that he wants a divorce, and that you will not stop him if he chooses to leave. So that you are not disrespecting his decision. But then to calmly, respectfully say what you want – sounds very good. Not in a demanding way, just to let him know respectfully what you would like to do.

      It sounds like you are hearing God clearly. That is wonderful!

      1. Thank you, April ! You are a such a blessing !
        I really do not know where I would be now if I did not find Jesus.
        Also I see again that for three days my eyes are again on my marriage, and that I will have to lay all down again and look to Jesus. But probably it’s also normal that I’m sad.

        Yesterday I heard John Piper talking about God’s Sovereignty.. how He uses evil things and turns them to good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8)… He briefly gave some examples from the Bible (Joseph’s brothers, Satan, Juda…) I would like to read a book about God Sovereignty (control).. is there anything on the web I could read about and that you would recommend?

        I would also like to learn more about how to approach and talk to God when I go to pray…

        Thanks April, and any other wives reading !

        1. Ev,

          Focusing on God’s sovereignty is SO important! This isn’t a book, but I would highly recommend David Platt’s Secret Church series “Who Is God?” And I would also recommend listening to the podcasts Wayne Grudem has for Systematic Theology – specifically about the attributes/character of God.

          I have a number of posts about prayer. I invite you to search my home page for “prayer day.” But if you want to go much deeper, check out E. M. Bounds The Necessity of Prayer.

          Much love!

          1. Thank you, April ! I will look for them and also for the Bounds’s book “The Necessity of Prayer”.

            I praise God for He was gracious to me today ! I’m starting to see again Christ’s light and goodness. He Is really all we need !

            I have also just heard your video “A Heart of Praise and Thanksgiving!” and it is uplifting ! 🙂

  11. April, I’m so excited to have found your blog! I recently married my husband Luke on NYE and have been struggling with the sudden lack of affection from him that is so opposite of how it was when we were dating. I can relate so much with the “pressuring my husband to show me more love” and found so much encouragement through the words posted of husbands not submitting to wives and how they feel they are showing love through actions. I love the gentle reminder that I need to back off, stop idolizing my husband, and trust and pray because God should be my number one source of joy, strength, and life! I’ve read a few of your blog posts already and am soaking up each word. This blog is exactly what I need as a young married woman who thought something was wrong with me and my relationship with my husband because things weren’t going according to my “plan.” Thank you so much and I look forward to reading more now that I follow your blog 🙂

    1. Meredith.Helm,

      Congratulations on your new marriage. 🙂

      I just found your comment in my spam folder. My apologies for not seeing it sooner.

      I’m so thankful for what God is doing in your heart already! That is awesome! I’m very glad to hear from you. If you need to talk about anything, please let me know.

      Much love to you! I pray for God’s greatest glory in your life!

  12. Thanks for you blog. I am attempting to undo many psychological issues from my growing up years that have hurt my marriage and other relationships. People pleasing and inability to say no. I have such a mixed up sense of myself that it is hard to judge my own motives correctly. I have a lot of trouble figuring out if I do or feel something sincerely for God or am I doing or feeling what I think someone else wants me to do or feel? I am going to use the list in this post to try to sort it out. I was raised – by what I can see in hindsight – was a very controlling household. I was not allowed to make my own decisions, and was expected to do what my parents said always. So I became a passive aggressively controlling wife. It is so hard to undo a lifetime of poor communication and relationship skills. I have ordered your book and look forward to reading it.

    1. Heather,

      It is very hard to undo the damage we learned as children and the warped ways of thinking we have adopted as our fixed beliefs about things. BUT – with Jesus, it is possible! 🙂

      I have a number of posts that I believe may help with these issues and may be a blessing as you seek to unlearn wrong, destructive things and purposely build your life on God’s truth and healthy ways of doing things:

      healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
      the snare of people pleasing
      examining the real motives behind perfectionism and people pleasing
      spiritual authority
      a husband’s and a wife’s authority in marriage
      how can I tell if I am doing this on my own or if God is working in me?
      insecurity
      security
      identifying the lies we have embraced

      Take your time. Dig deeply. Allow God to speak to you. I’m here if you want to talk. I know God can heal you and transform you completely!

      Much love!
      April

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