Skip to main content

A Wife Asks, “Why Is It That It Seems Like the Wife Always Has to Change First?”


Here is an interesting discussion that took place in the comment section last week between two of my readers. I love to hear what God is showing other women and how He makes His truth real to them. Sometimes hearing multiple people describe and explain the same concepts just helps make things click. May this be a blessing to you, my precious sisters:


Update: Hubby and I are in counseling! It’s really cool because the pastor is a John Piper “fan” so he’s totally on board with the whole biblical manhood and womanhood ordeal. So, naturally, headship and submission is brought up and good thing I’ve been wrestling with the topic and following your posts for a while because it’s not so foreign or offensive when we talk about it.

Though the topic is much easier to talk about, the journey is still “trenchy” and hard as ever! In fact 2-3 weeks ago we threatened the relationship and nearly divorced! IT IS ONLY BY THE GRACE AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE PEACE OF GOD THAT WE ARE STILL HERE! I’ve had to repent lately because I was going through the stage of, “Nothing I’m doing is working,” and I found myself just lingering and frustrated. But God always uses April and the posts here to jolt me out of my spiritual pity party and get back to fighting to trust and put my eyes on Him.

My current wrestle is feeling like its actually the wife who has to lay down her life for the man to be a man. Maybe that’s a fleshly perspective but that’s how it feels.


Yes, we all (men and women alike) called to die to self. But in addition to the things that people in general are supposed to do, there is also something a marriage is supposed to do – to portray the mystery of Christ and the church to the world (Eph. 5:22-33). The husband is supposed to love his wife and the wife is supposed to respect her husband. The husband is also supposed to lead and the wife is supposed to follow.

  • How does the wife’s effectiveness at following depend on her husband? It doesn’t, really. She can follow him (provided he is not asking her to sin or condone sin) even if he doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere “special.”
  • How does the husband’s effectiveness at leading depend on his wife? It does. A lot. You can’t lead effectively if no one will follow you. A husband could be the most godly, Christ-like man ever, with the best leadership talents, but if his wife refuses to follow, he can’t SHOW that he’s an effective leader.

So from that perspective, I would say that the wife’s willingness to follow EMPOWERS her husband’s leadership. (But both are called to die to self for Christ, and both are responsible to God for their own actions.)



Thank you for giving me a better perspective about my current wrestle. I guess it just seems topsy-turvy to me. The concept that his leadership depends on my willingness to follow. Christ was already a great leader before He called anyone to follow. He was secure in his purpose, personhood, and knew God before He led.

Ephesians 5 says the husband is to love the wife as he loves himself. Does the husband learning to love himself, know God, grow up as a man, heal up as broken man depend on my willingness to follow? I get me following in certain respects empowers him but it just seems a bit weighty especially with my specific marital situation in mind.


I would say that his leadership’s EXISTENCE does not depend at all on you. The ability of his leadership to be SEEN (by you and by others) depends on you and how you respond to him.

Love your example about Christ! Yes, so true, He was already a great leader before He called anyone to follow.

The thing is, no one else could SEE that He was a great leader UNTIL people started to follow Him.

Similarly, if you don’t follow your husband, no one else will look at your marriage and SEE the Christ-and-the-church-he-leads-she-follows part. But when you do follow, people will look at your marriage and SEE that. 🙂

Does the husband learning to love himself, know God, grow up as a man, and heal as a broken man depend on your willingness to follow? NO. He is responsible for that on his own. But your respect will make it easier for him. And your disrespect will make it harder. You are not responsible for making him grow in Christ; you are responsible for being the best wife to him that you can be, according to God’s Word and with God’s help. <3


I see. Maybe I’m a bit petty, I just feel like it could go both ways then. I could easily say that my husband knowing God, learning to love himself, growing up as man and healing up as broken would make it so much easier for me to follow because it would!

  • In the same respect, when following Christ we have to learn that He is good and He wins our trust. According to the gospel we know Christ died because He first loved us but it isn’t until we come into a revelation of that love and who He is that we began to trust him as Lord to LEAD our lives. Why is it not so for a husband if parallelism is the goal?

I do not struggle with feeling like I’m not loved by my husband. I know my husband loves me and can be very loving to me. It’s his own personal issues that prevent him from being the best version of himself and this inevitably effects me too and whole of the relationship and love. Just like any unaddressed issue of mine would take effect on him and the relationship. Yet and still I guess this logic gets trumped by a command and the logic of reverting back to curse Christ freed us from that still is somehow relevant as though we are still tied….??…??
Sigh….maybe I’m overthinking.


Yep, it does go both ways – him trying to be a good leader will make it easier for you to follow as well. But you can only control your actions, so the only part that you really have influence over is how easy you make it for him to lead.

“Why is it not so for a husband if parallelism is the goal?” This is a great question and I had to think really hard about it! I think it’s mainly because of two reasons:

1. If a wife thinks she only has to submit “if her husband is a good leader,” she will probably think things like, “No, I really think he could do better. In situation X the other day, he did Y when Z was a much better choice. Also, he still needs to get more spiritually mature.” This causes her to have a critical spirit. She is not her husband’s judge. God is. (And her husband is not her judge.) So if she thinks that she is only supposed to follow her husband if he is a “good leader,” then she has to come up with the idea of what she thinks a good leader is and make sure he conforms to what she wants in a leader before she follows. This puts her in position of judge rather than follower.

** See notes below from April about this. 🙂

2. Christ loved and led us before we submitted because there was no other option. Christ’s relationship with us is between one who is sinless (Him) and one who is sinful (us). If we were sinless, we would have respected and followed him immediately. And if we were sinless, His sacrifice, atoning death, and resurrection would not even have been necessary for us to have a restored relationship with Him. Christ had to love and lead us before we submitted because that was the only way that He could bring us back to Himself. Ideally, we would have submitted to Him immediately.

Because the relationship between a husband and wife is a relationship between two people who are sinful, God calls each of them to change ASAP. But each of them can only change themself, they can’t change each other.

April’s “Why Do I Have to Change First” post is a great read. But to clarify something, it is not that you have to change first because the wife has to change first and that all wives have to change first. You have to change first because if God opened your eyes to your sin, you have no right to sit there and refuse to change until God opens your husband’s eyes to his sin as well.

Ultimately our change is about our obedience to God, not about whether our husbands deserve it. (Similarly, if a husband’s eyes are opened first, he also would have no right to sit there and refuse to change until God opened his wife’s eyes to her sin. I have seen situations where God opens a husband’s eyes first.)

So the changing first thing is not, “You must change first because you’re a woman,” it’s, “You must change now because your eyes have been opened.”



The last part especially has officially disarmed the petty! It makes sense! You have brought another piece of clarification that blessed me.


FROM APRIL (to add a bit to point number 1 made by Flower):

If a wife has the authority to decide when her husband is a “good leader and when she will follow,” then it is really the wife who has the authority, not the husband. There are limits to a believer’s submission to any human delegated authority, but apart from those limits, we are to honor the authority’s leadership, trusting that God will lead us through that person. Not because of the person. But in spite of that person – because God is sovereign and this is His design to lead us through human God-given authority.

When we honor a person in a position of God-given authority, we honor God’s authority. When we rebel against a person in a position of God-given authority, we rebel against God and bring judgment on ourselves. Rom. 13:1-2 And we malign the Gospel of Christ when we rebel against our husband’s leadership. Titus 2:5 It is also important to remember that wives may not have positional authority, but we do have influential authority, which can be even more powerful than positional authority, at times. Although, the ultimate goal is to please and glorify the Lord, not to have “the most power” for ourselves or for our own agenda.


Spiritual Authority – a General Overview

What Is Biblical Submission?

Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Say How I Feel and What I Need?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Biblical Submission, Respect, and Sexual Attraction

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD?

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

Should a Christian Wife Ever Consider Separation?

Oneness in Marriage Not Too Close but Not Too Far Away

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected 

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

Respecting Your Husband VS. Idolizing Him

Dying to Self
Dying to Self Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood
25 Ways to Respect Myself
Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?
25 Ways to Reverence God

78 thoughts on “A Wife Asks, “Why Is It That It Seems Like the Wife Always Has to Change First?”

  1. This is so excellent, such a huge blessing! Thank you so much!
    May we let God bless us and continue to lead us on this journey. 🌸

  2. Thank you to “Wife” and “Flower” for this vivid insight into submission. I was hanging on every word!

    I too struggle with “why do I have to go first?” After a lot of prayer ( and I could be wrong) I believe wives going first is often a consequence of the fall. I do not believe it is the natural order of things.

    This has helped me tremendously in asking “What does it mean to do my husband good all the days of his life?” (Proverbs 31) If we simply submit to husbands who aren’t following Jesus there’s a good chance we are not doing them good. Yes, I believe submission is a good thing in general. God created us to be respecters and responders.

    But I also believe the church has failed woman (and men) by not holding men accountable as leaders of the home and just letting us be the relational restorers, seekers etc. In situations where the wife is not respectful and needs to adjust then respect and submission obedience is key.

    However, I’ve met too many wives (myself included) who are codependent…meaning we are constantly trying to please our husbands, live up to his expectations, find the “switch” that will finally make him change and end our pain.

    But the problem is we have abandoned the innate gifts and talents God has given us to be the wife He has called us to be for our particular husband and instead we are trying to be who our husbands want us to be (even though its not good for them or the family) and calling it submission.

    Sometimes the answer to their requests has to be “no.” A respectful, loving but firm “no.” God can help us discern.

    I don’t know anyone’s situation here and so am not trying to advise – just share my experience. In my own situation when it seems like “nothing I do is working” its because God is holding up His hand and not allowing my efforts to bring change. He wants me to be the wife He created me to be and let Him do the changing. Dying to self means dying to selfishness, sin etc. It doesnt not mean dying to the beautiful, unique woman/wife God created us to be.

    1. Nicolemannwatt,

      Codependency is definitely NOT God’s design. If we are making our husbands into an idol, seeking their approval above God’s, that is a destructive approach that will hurt us and our husbands.

      I hope any wife who thinks she may be struggling with codependency might check out these posts:

      – oneness in marriage
      – closeness in marriage
      – difference between respecting husband and idolizing him
      – people pleasing
      – respect motives count
      – when would I not submit to my husband
      – submission does not = the husband is always right
      – submission is not passivity
      – the pendulum effect

      Yes, the church should be holding husbands and wives accountable. But most don’t, unfortunately.

      If we didn’t have the fall, we would all be doing our part and there wouldn’t be a problem. Thankfully, in Christ, He can restore our relationships to more and more what they would have been without sin.

      There are times a wife may have to say, “no,” to certain things. Yes. Particularly if a husband is asking his wife to clearly sin or condone clear sin. We will need to use God’s wisdom and discretion about that. Absolutely.

      We also want to be sure our motives are right. If we are trying to be submissive and respectful to manipulate our husbands into changing. That won’t work. Our motives must be to please God and bless our husbands. Our husbands may change, they may not. The goal is that we be faithful and obedient to the Lord and empowered by His Spirit.

      Much love!

        1. Absolutely love your posts! You clear up the fog surrounding the dying to self and submitting to our husband topics. It helps to read your thoughts to keep from venturing into either extremes, Im constantly printing them out and reading them whenever I need to question my motives! Thank You April!

          1. B Resilient,

            It is my prayer that God might allow His Light to shine brightly here, so that things are easy to understand. That His Spirit might flow through the words and also into the hearts of my readers. I’m thankful that God uses these posts to bless you and to draw you to Himself. That is awesome!

  3. Dear Sisters in Christ,

    as a husband, living with a non believer, I feel like I am the one needing to make the first move. I am certainly not speaking to those of you living in abusive relationships, where the husband is enthralled by the enemy in some way. However,it may be that the husband is working in his own way, to make changes.

    Since I allowed Jesus Christ back into my heart, I have striven to be, through Christ’s grace a better, more loving husband. I do still fail, I raise my voice, letting anger and frustration get the better of me, but I am not sure that my wife sees any change from the old me.

    It is not easy when even simply the name of Jesus, is scorned.

    Please pray for my wife, I am so afraid she will not come to accept that she will not come to know the Lord.

    Thank you for your ministry Peaceful Wife, it means a tremendous amount to me,

    1. Jesuscentreoflife,

      It would be extremely difficult and painful to live with an unbelieving spouse many times. I agree that as the believing spouse, you are the only one who really can make a first move. I’m so thankful that you are seeking Christ. I pray for His wisdom, power, and strength for you to be the man and husband that God desires you to be no matter what your wife may do. I pray that God will open her eyes to Himself and draw her heart to Christ, regenerating her soul.

      Much love in Christ, dear brother! I’m glad this place is an encouragement to you.

      1. Every day,
        I thank Jesus for His blessings and grace!
        He is my sustenance,
        My spiritual nourishment
        And strength.

        May the blessings of Christ rain down on you and Greg, and your children.

        My favorite verse of scripture:
        As for me and my house,
        We shall serve The LORD!

        Hallelujah, praise Him!

  4. Jesuscentreoflife, I’m so sorry to hear of your wife. Continue to preach the light of Christ, and, if necessary, use words. (I forgot where I heard that from but thought it was lovely). I strive as well every day to be that light. Just today I had to run away from my desk at work, a strange cloud was over me since this morning. Such a battlefield, this life.

  5. “You have to change first because if God opened your eyes to your sin, you have no right to sit there and refuse to change until God opens your husband’s eyes to his sin as well.”

    I needed to hear this today!!! I know this truth but the way it was worded was what my stubborn self needed today. It removed every excuse i was clinging to in a particular situation.
    Thank you

  6. Absolutely!! I make it a point to pray at work (ensuring no one in the room will be offended just because of work policies), at home with my children..I have even created a War Room where I pray as I get ready in the morning..I have even found my husband using my War Room when he thinks I’m not paying attention. Bring God with you everywhere you go! Don’t get frustrated by the way people do or do not react, or do not comment on the changes they don’t see, for that is not the ultimate goal and as I have learned you cannot measure success simply by the outcome! Stay focused on God, enjoy his blessings and the revelations in your heart! Stay encouraged my brothers and sisters!

  7. If we wait for our husbands to “deserve” our respect, we’ll be waiting for a very long time, especially if a pattern of disrespect has already been in place for many years. I was in that place when God pointed out the errors in my thinking and allowed me to see what *I* needed to change.

    We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means loving others (including our husbands) not because they deserve it, but because it’s what we’re supposed to do. Jesus demonstrates perfect love by loving each of us despite the fact that we could never deserve it. We will never do it perfectly as He does, but it sure gives us a standard to strive toward.

    When we draw nearer to God and realize that we should respect our husbands (1) because the Bible says so and (2) because it’s the most loving thing we can do for our husbands, it becomes easier to stop keeping score. We can only control our own behavior! I tried to control my husband for YEARS and I could never make him do anything I wanted him to do. When I started focusing on my own thought life and behaviors (because I’m accountable for myself, not my husband), I realized I had more than enough work to do without worrying about what he was doing.

    When I married him, I made a lot of promises. Love is a choice, and I can choose to love my husband no matter how he acts or responds. Since he was designed by God to feel love via respect, I can choose to show him respect regardless of how I think or feel. It’s been about 3.5 years since I figured this out and my marriage is one I didn’t think was possible in real life – I’m grateful to God every day for opening my eyes.

    1. therestoredwife,

      I always love when you share insights God has given you. Thank you so much, dear sister! The place you were that you describe in your first paragraph is where I was, too, at the beginning of my journey. When I have been focusing on thinking in a disrespectful way, my judgment is also skewed. So thankful God is willing to shine His light on our thinking to show us what we need to change!

      God’s Word telling us to do something is certainly reason enough for us to obey, whether or not we understand why. But I love that God does have good reasons why He gives us the commands He does. Even if we can’t see it at the time. It is SO critical that we stop keeping score. That kind of attitude is very destructive to our marriages.

      How I praise God with you for all He has done in your life and marriage! Thank you very much for sharing!

  8. Therestoredwife,
    Thank you for this, your words really spoke to me today. Especially this part…

    “Love is a choice, and I can choose to love my husband no matter how he acts or responds. Since he was designed by God to feel love via respect, I can choose to show him respect regardless of how I think or feel. “

  9. Excellent topic!! God choose to speak to me again today through April’s blog and all of the women’s wonderful comments so thank you kindly. I try to remember on tough days that a spiritual woman is a healer, teacher and nurturer of life, because it is her ability to love that will soothe all who come into contact with her. Other things I pray about when I get tired of waiting for positive change from my husband is… “I am in right standing with God. I am difficult to offend. No human being is going to control my mood.” So be His will.

    God wants us to stay in touch with Him at all times throughout the day. You cannot live on yesterdays’ faith. Colossians 3:2 And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things). I try to give the past to God who can change your mind about it .

    My last point that I try to remember that our greatest opportunity to positively affect another person’s life (our husband) is to accept God’s love into our own. Which means that we are the leaders when it comes to living in God’s love. When we make the choice to change, then all who love God will follow. I ask God to heal me of my judgement as who am I to say what is right? Blessings to all as we continue to stay rooted and grounded in God’s Love!

    1. Jennifer Thomas,

      Yes, if we are filled up with God’s power and love, we can be His instruments to bring healing and wisdom and to nurture life. 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing about the things that you pray and the treasures God has been showing you. That is awesome.

      I appreciate your willingness to share!

      Much love,

  10. So I have a question that maybe you could help me with. My hubby is taking a father/son class at our church with our 19 yr old son, and I’m taking a mother/daughter class with our 16 yr old daughter. After church on Sunday, my husband asked a good question. “So if we as husbands are to be like Christ to you as our wives and either be the ‘new Adam’ or live as the ‘old Adam’…are wives supposed to do the same and live like the new Eve or old Eve? It really doesn’t say who women are to be like. There doesn’t seem to be an accountability for women as for men as we are supposed to be like Christ to our wife.”… answer to him was that I believe we are all supposed to live as Christ and by our respect to our husbands, we are following Jesus. I’m not sure if I cleared up his answer though. Any thoughts? By the way, as always, you bless me with your amazing posts. You are changing our world for Christ! What a wonderful mission God has blessed you with using social media as the tool and what better way than through marriage struggles. God bless you my sister in Christ!

    1. Julie,

      That is a great question!

      We are all to die to our old sinful self in Christ – men and women. Ephesians 5:22-33 describes that husbands are to be like Christ and wives are to be like the church. The husbands are to love selflessly, lead sacrificially, and humbly. And wives are to honor their husbands and respect them the way that the church is supposed to honor and respect Jesus.

      Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

      25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Eph. 5:22-33

      There is accountability for both husbands and for wives – although husbands do have the greater accountability since they are the leaders. All of us, as believers, are to count ourselves dead to our old sinful flesh and this world and live our new lives in Christ by the power of His Spirit (Romans 6).

      This post may also help to clarify.

      God has blessed me to allow me the honor of sharing the things He has shown me. I pray He will be greatly exalted here and in each of our lives! So thankful this has been a blessing to you. 🙂

      Much love!


      1. Thanks April! (Would you be able to remove my last name in post above? I didn’t want to have my full name listed but didn’t think about it…thanks! 🙂

    1. I enjoyed the article thank you. I have read so many books related to sufferings through the years it’s almost comical how I would order every few days and read book after book….after book….after book. I am suffering a great deal today and these past few days, to the point I even admitted to my husband I may be unwell, it’s crazy how, even so, my spirit is ok. I feel if I die tomorrow my Lord KNOWS how hard I tried and how much I love seeking and learning about Him. My home is my sanctuary. I rarely go out and after work it’s straight home (and the weekends) to clean house, take care of kids and, I know this sounds weird, I love it, I am so at peace when I get to finally be home even when I’m tired cleaning the house etc. Our home has a lot of peace and joy (thank God) even in spite of my problem. If I may share some quotes on sufferings:

      “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
      CS Lewis

      “All the saints who have pleased God have gone through many tribulations by which they were made the sons of God”.
      If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.
      St. Thomas Aquinas

      “I always want to see you behaving like a brave soldier who does not complain about his own suffering but takes his comrades’ wounds seriously and treats his own as nothing but scratches.”
      St.Therese of Lisieux, to her novices

      Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
      2 Corinthians 1:3-4

      And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
      1 Peter 5:10

      I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
      Romans 8:18 (Amen!)

      Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
      Romans 5:3-4 (maybe it’s because I have hope, it’s easier to endure these years than in years past)

      I wanted to wish you a wonderful conference on the other section but comments were closed. I pray it’s a blessing for everyone and that it’s easier on your precious daughter this time too! If you’re ever in NY, you have a place to stay.

  11. I just found your page today and i love it…this article had me holding on to every word…i have found this to be so true like flower said if God opens your eyes to the sin we do not have a right to just sit there waiting for our huband to have his eyes open to, i wonder though what to do when your huband….ill give my example…he had an affair now by the grace of God we were able to reconcile as time has went by my faith has grown and his not so much..i am definetly the one “trying to change first with Gods help ofcourse” but he is still the same old accusing me fighting with me lying to me person.(not that i dont do this)..what does the wife do there i know i must trust God but what are my reactions? I cant feel the anger of having a finger pointed at me or i cant have the insecurity that he might be doing something..when all this happens am i just suppose to smile and go about my day being the one who dies to self first?

    1. Kassandra,

      That is a great question!
      These are very different topics you are describing.

      Dying to self is not the same thing as reconciliation or trust.

      There are times we must confront sin gently, humbly, and in a godly way after we have dealt with any sin in our own lives.

      If he is cheating – that is NOT okay. That is a huge breech of the marriage covenant.

      How long ago was the affair that you know about?

      He is not being transparent now?

      Did he ever repent?

      Do either of you have a relationship with Christ?

      What things is he lying about now?

      What sins do you need to repent from?

      Let’s hash through this together. 🙂

      Much love!

  12. This was well said.

    Somewhat amusing, I just came from an article lamenting, “why is it always men that must change?” One problem in marriage is that we often have trouble focusing on our own selves. We really cannot change anyone else, but we can change ourselves, with the Lord’s guidance of course. “So how can I be the best I can be,” is really a better question. Our relationship with God is a personal one. As much as I love my husband, ultimately I don’t really answer to him, I answer to God about what kind of a wife I am, what I made of marriage.

    1. insanitybytes22,
      Ha! Love it. God is so good. It is hard to focus on ourselves. So much less painful to point at our husbands or other people and say that they should change. But how amazing that God can use our circumstances to refine us if only we will allow Him to. Yes, we answer to the Lord, not to our men, ultimately. I long for God to be pleased with each of us and for our lives to bring Him great joy.

      Much love!

  13. Everyone,
    I’m looking for a bit of advice from those of you who have been in the trenches. I know April is busy and probably exhausted from her conference this weekend so I’d love any other comments others may have.

    Just a bit of backstory. My husband of 17 years and I have been struggling with his healing from my disrespect for a few months. The past two have been especially hard as he has seemed to slip into unbelief about my changes and pain of his own. I have done well to be still and only give a few words of genuine thanks for things as to not scare him. But in the last few days I’ve been wondering if I am being selfish (due to fear) by not giving him more thanks verbally–with no expectations of course. He is struggling so much in life it seems and I wonder if my words could bless him. I am headed out of town and want to thank him sincerely for how he handles the kids and home while I am out of town–he always has, but could this be too much? He’s still in a place of acknowledging me about kids and life but rarely “gives” anything to me. I don’t want to repel him. I have been praying and will continue to try and hear His voice but would love input from this group too. This is what I was thinking of saying:

    “I am truly thankful that our kids have a father and I have a husband that I can completely depend on and trust when I am out of town. This has always been a blessing.”

    What do you think?

    1. Hi Trying,

      I was thinking that sometimes people respond better to notes than to words if they are hurting, because they don’t feel obligated to reply immediately. I know this has been the case in my life – if I am hurting over something because of someone else, I am more likely to feel blessed by a nice text they send or a note that they write and leave for me, than I would by them saying those words to my face. I wonder whether your husband may be like me in this regard (of course, everyone is different, so he may not be like me in this way).


      1. Thank you Flower. That’s kinda what I was thinking–writing it in a text. I just don’t know if it would “bless” him right now or if it is still too much. I know that’s hard for any of you, not in the situation, to determine, but was hoping someone had experience with when they felt their “words of affirmation or thanks” would actually be a blessing vs. a repellent. There’s been very little movement towards me at all, so I’m fearful of it being too much. But on the same hand, is the fear I feel keeping me from blessing him and that could be helpful. Err on the side of caution?? That would be my bet, but again, I’ve been reading a lot about fear keeping us from things and so I don’t want to err on not affirming him. UGH. This is so hard. Luckily, I’m off to church in about 15 minutes and hopefully it will all be clearer!! 🙂

        1. Hi Trying,

          Yayy have fun at church! 🙂 That is a tough one. Even if it doesn’t “bless” him, it may help him get used to hearing more positive things from you. But then sometimes our silence speaks better than our words. I’m sorry I can’t think of anything more specific.


          1. God gave me a great concrete example that my husband did last night that just solidified and added to the sentiment behind the text above. Made my decision to send it clear. No expectations but am glad I could bless this wonderful man who is hurting so deeply.

        2. Dear Trying,

          I’ve had this experience so many times. What God showed me is that NO MATTER WHAT I SAID Satan intercepted my words and added his own twist. The strongholds were so great and the wounds so deep that ANYTHING I said was not helpful.
          I went through a period where I only prayed. Smiled a lot and just prayed that God would bless my husband, fill him with love, heal him, etc.
          Then I asked for discernment when to speak.

          1. Thank you for your comment. I was very encouraged today to have the solid example to add to my text. The text felt “flowery” which I was leaning towards being too much. Having the example is usually what seems to bless my husband.

            How is your journey going? What happened to move you past this challenging phase?

          2. Nicole,
            Thanks for sharing this. I agree, there are times when no words a wife can say would be received well. This requires God’s wisdom and discernment. But I love that you prayed and smiled a lot. That is awesome!

          3. That’s excellent, Trying. Maybe it has something to do with the fact we all like praise for specific tasks. When someone is too general maybe we, at least I, question their sincerity. A concrete example always means more to me and sounds like your hubby is the same way. I’m so glad you could bless him.
            Thank you for asking about my journey. I’m still walking through it. I like what the Bible says about “Your yes is yes and no is no.” I find keeping it simple is hubby’s language. And enjoying my deepening relationship with Jesus. Bless you sister. I love that you call yourself “trying.”

      1. Just a quick follow up: when I spoke to my husband several hours after I sent the text, I didn’t bring up the text and neither did he (I didn’t expect him to). But he was kinder overall. He actually answered my phone call even though he wasn’t with the kids (he would’ve known I was calling to say good night to them) and he spoke with me about things going on at home with calm and less anger than I’ve noticed. The next day, he sent me a text about the kids and although the content was nothing you could derive “love” from, the fact that he sent it was nice. He hasn’t sent me texts about anything in the last month or so.

        When I got home last night and when I saw him this morning, he was not noticeably kinder. But I tried to extend grace since he seemed preoccupied with what he was doing work-wise this morning. When I talked to him about the day, he seemed less tense with me, but again, nothing noticeably kinder. I didn’t expect the text to make a huge difference, but of course I hoped. It is so hard not to hope. But I am getting better at fixing my eyes back up to God when I feel them focused on my husband’s mood.

        I get so hopeful about teeny tiny baby steps, but I’m learning to “be still” even in these times. It’s hard not to rush ahead of God, even when they are such such small things. I need to be good to myself today as traveling always stresses me out and makes me much more sensitive to the flesh. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. But I’m learning such amazing things. God’s got this.

  14. Peaceful wife,
    I really need your help.
    I have been following some advice from your blog, from the respect dare and from love and respect and from surrendered wife for about 4 weeks now.
    I have seen some very very small baby steps from him but I have also seen some huge leaps backwards too.
    One of the things you mention in of your articles is ‘Am I saying we have to be doormats? Not at all. It’s good for us and important for us to share our hearts, our needs and desires respectfully, humbly and with a sincerely friendly demeanor. ‘
    I’m finding whenever I try to do this, he humiliates me, goes back to anger mode, swearing, shut your mouth, whatever, calling me really demeaning things.
    It’s like I’m trying everything I can on my part, not just for him, but for his family too (one of the things that are meaningful for him is me spending time with his family)
    I feel so much neglect on his part, like he’s avoiding me, making excuses to not sit with me, does not see the hurt I am feeling, I try to remain positive, not show him i’m hurting, but in all honesty, I just feel like the more I surrender, the more selfish he is becoming, the more I surrender, the little falls I may have in being disrespectful, turn out to be huge disasters whereas in the past, they were not.
    It’s like he feels like he can do what he wants when he wants. It’s the neglect I am finding most painful, and the more I don’t speak of it, the more he feels like he can get away with it or that its not a concern for me.

    Today, my parents came back from a spirtiual retreat abroad, I wanted to meet them and thought he would too. When his parents went and came back, I was fully at their service, helping them in chores, spending time with them and guests, for more than just hours, days and weeks. I thought he wouldn’t mind at least an hour here meeting my parents but no.
    Since morning we have been busy at his house(in laws, we live with his parents) removing kitchen cupboards, items and gutting the kitchen. In the morning, I asked him, we’ll go to my parents house around 5 ish, he said ok. Later on when I asked he seemed so angry, I knew he was tired and I also know he is a ‘yes man’ person to everyone except me. He will bend over backwards for everyone but not me, even if he is extremely tired. In the end he didn’t come, dropped me, used foul language before that, and said he needs to be at home doing the kitchen work, when in reality, right now I just find out he’s gone football I think.

    I am trying unbelievably hard, I spend hours in day reading books, your blog, making gratitude lists and feel like I am just being treated as a doormat, by him and his family. I know I need to seek God’s help and seek pleasure from him, but at the same time I don’t want my husband to form these habits which he is forming as I just become ‘used to’ his nature.

    It’s almost like everything works on him, if he is happy and in the mood, he will be nice to me, otherwise not so. And I have to tell you, and I’m not being controlling here or disrespectful (trying not to), he is struggling to deal with general day to day stresses and things just get to him too easily and I have to suffer, go home to find him miserable. I have been extremely supportive towards him, not complaining, just smiling, asking him of his day, listening, but more often than not its just the same thing before he feels too tired or given up mood, to say, lets go sleep and I’m left emotionally unfulfilled. (By the way, I don’t see my husband all day because of his commitments, work and then studies, so he has a sort of 12 hour shift and I end up seeing him around 9:30pm or 10:00pm.)

    He didn’t like me contacting him in the day, so even that I have had to let go of, and only text if he does or answer calls if he calls, which is maybe just once a day for couple of minutes. I feel like the lack of time we have with each other, physically, emotionally and even throughout the day just warming messages, means that are connection is not building, especially on my part.

    I am battling against his family too. I spoke to his mum about his abusive language and she didn’t seem to care, does not really empathise and does not understand about husband and wife time, but says her son is allowed and free to do as he wishes and i should just be happy with it.
    I have other issues at my in laws house but I cannot confide in him at all about anything.

    As I am learning true respect and submission, I am trying so hard to not release my emotions to him about my true feelings about him, his family or just even work stresses and its becoming increasingly difficult, like I’m a stranger but not a stranger if that makes sense.

    Anytime conflict arises, and the biggest conflict has risen just today and couple days ago in this 4 week journey( we had a 1 month seperation before this, where divorce was imminent) I try to calm myself, see where I have been disrespectful, apologize. But, in turn, he just has gotten used to me apologizing every time and I don’t feel he is really opening his eyes to his behaviour.

    I hope you can help me, in advising me how to get out of the doormat phase and being able to voice my concerns.
    thanks a lot.

    1. jtz,

      I’m really glad you reached out for some help, dear sister!

      Whew! Y’all have had a lot going on.

      Four weeks is VERY, VERY early in this journey. If you didn’t have major issues, only some very minor ones, you may see some progress in that short time.

      But you are describing a relationship that has very major issues. If you were separated a month ago and on the brink of divorce, your marriage is extremely fragile right now. It is likely to take many, many months, if not longer, to restore the relationship.

      Your expectations for what he should be willing to do for you and how he should change and respond seem pretty high, and probably unrealistic.

      Then add that you are living with his parents and he is doing renovations for them and working a job and is exhausted – that is an important factor, too. He is stretched very thin.

      This journey doesn’t usually produce instant results. So, I vote to slow down and evaluate what your goals are and why you want to do this.

      There can be a period of several months when things are far off track where God may lead a wife not to ask for anything at all from her husband as she learns to be content in Christ alone.

      I had a time like that myself, although it was longer than a few months.

      What is your relationship with Jesus? That is really the key. ❤ would you be open to doing a brief spiritual check up with me?

      I do believe God can heal your marriage. But He has a bigger goal in mind first – which is to have your whole heart for Himself and to heal you first in Christ. Then it will be His power working in you. Trying so hard in your own strength isn’t going to work. Resting in Him and allowing Him to change you and empower you is key!

      Much love!

      1. jtz,
        When things are this bad, I think of it as the husband is in a spiritual coma, if he is a believer.

        It is helpful for me to picture how my expectations would change if my husband were in the ICU physically. We can talk more about this if you would like. When the problems are severe, a different approach is needed until things begin to slowly heal.

        Does your husband know Christ as his Savior and Lord?

        Sending you a huge hug!!

        I am so thankful you are here and that you want to see your marriage healed and want to honor Christ. ❤

          1. jtz,

            So sorry for multiple responses – I have been trying to do too many things at once, I am afraid!

            There may be some times, even during this tense time, when you may need to or want to ask your husband for things – if you believe he may be open to hearing requests from you (that will depend on how severe the damage is in the relationship. Sometimes things are so bad that it doesn’t matter what you ask, he will resent you). The important thing is that you allow him the freedom to say, “No.” It has to be okay for him to say no to something you ask him to do without you freaking out.

            So, with a smile and a friendly, pleasant tone of voice, you could say something like:

            “Honey, I’d like to go to my parents’ tonight. If you’d like to come that would be great. If you can’t, that is totally fine, too.”

            It will be important that he knows you are not demanding that he go. And that it is truly fine if he says, “no.” At first, he may feel like he has to say, “yes.” Like he always has. But as he realizes that you are still calm and respectful and fine when he says no, he will feel safer with you. That is a good thing! Eventually, he will probably feel like he can tell you how he really feels and what he really wants to do up front, instead of feeling pressured into saying yes when he doesn’t want to.

            Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

          2. Sorry for the long post, firstly.
            I have read all those posts but it is still really difficult.

            Every time he asks me you ok? I just say yes, because the moment I say no, or tell him how I’m really feeling, he just explodes.

            Your post healthy/unhealthy relationships, I feel like I am in an unhealthy one, verbal abuse, swearing, sometimes physical even though he assumes he has valid reasons to push me.
            I want o feel safe emotionally with him, my voice be important to him.
            If he unloving, I still try to show him respect unconditionally and am usually the first to say sorry and be happy again after a disagreement or moment for me where I don’t understand his frustration or anger.

            I know his anger is not always to do with me but who he is as a person and thank God, his insults do not affect em as they used to

            your post ‘waiting becomes sweet’ that’s exactly what I do when on the weekedn he does neglect me, spends time on his phone, goes out not telling me where, I don’t ask where, then comes up at night, might speak a bit and then that’s it. I have been patient and patient, but I feel the more patient I become, the more he does what he wants and neglects me? i am playing the waiting game and am waiting and waiting for ‘the new way of life’ to emerge where things are really spontaneous, exciting and full of adventure.

            I loved your husband’s response in one of your posts:
            HERE ARE SOME OF MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHTS (I hope some other husbands will also share their thoughts on this important issue, too!)

            “If a wife demands attention/affection/discussion immediately, a husband is in a terrible predicament.

            If he immediately does what she says she wants, he and she both know that his actions are not genuine. He feels he has no choice but NOT to do what she demanded right then.
            If he does not do what she says she wants, she will think he is a total jerk and that he is being extremely unloving. He knows this. He doesn’t like it. But he MUST know that he is acting because he wants to, not because she is ordering him to do something.
            He has to wait a certain amount of time so that he can act in his time, not her time.
            It may be that later that week, if his wife asked respectfully and doesn’t blast him with criticism/contempt/disrespect – he will try to make some extra special time to hold and cuddle her and show her affection. But it will only be when it is HIS idea and he knows that she knows that it is not because she is forcing or coercing him – but that he wants to give her his attention on his own.”

            Now, this is where it gets tricky, he is always assuming I will bite back at him, if he doesn’t show me love, or he just chooses not to because its easier for him, there are times he says, I don’t know what to say or do, and I try to respectfully tell him, to which he tries (although not as fulfilling as I think he could have)

            I will try my best to relinquish all expectations and control off him and continually focus on his positives and be grateful for those.
            Thanks and would love to hear your thoughts

            1. jtz,

              A few questions for you, my friend… 🙂

              1. What are your expectations of your husband when your marriage heals?

              2. What are your greatest fears?

              3. What are your most precious dreams about your marriage?

              4. Where do you look for security, safety, and fulfillment now?

              5. What do you desire in your relationship with God?

              6. Who do you believe Jesus is?

              7. Are you safe with your husband physically?

              8. How do you respond when your husband lashes out emotionally and verbally? Does he seem to have particular triggers?

              9. Are either of you dealing with active addictions, infidelity, uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, criminal behavior, or other severe issues?

              10. Is he emotionally safe with you? Has he ever not been emotionally safe with you?

              11. Is it possible that his love and a healed marriage and your expectations of him could be the most important thing in your life?

              12. What do you believe it means to respect him unconditionally? Does that mean you have to respect things he does wrong?

              13. How do you respond when he neglects you?

              14. Has he felt pressured and smothered by you? Would you say you have become enmeshed with him?

              I want you to be able to be emotionally safe with him, too. 🙂

              The only reason waiting can be sweet, in my view, is if we know that the Lord is working on us during that time of trial to make us more like Jesus. For those who belong to Christ, God promises to use all things – good and bad – to ultimately bring about great good in our lives and glory for Him because we are His.

              If you don’t have God’s strength and power – this is going to be a very frustrating journey. It will be like trying to take a 3000 mile trip in a car with no gas and you are just trying to push it the whole way.

              My desire is not for you to be fake, or for you to lie about how you are doing. But – I do think you both are in great need of healing spiritually and emotionally from what I can tell so far.

              Much love to you!

              1. jtz,
                Please take your time in answering. I just want to be sure I understand well before I attempt to direct you.

                You are welcome to send the answers to my Contact Page if you would rather send them privately.

                Much love!

        1. Thanks so much for your reply peaceful wife.

          It’s not just expectations, it’s really a feeling of me being used and stretched beyond limits, in the sense he is being selfish. Those renovations he was doing, he said he was and so couldn’t come, but in the end he went football and picked me up really late. I bit my tongue, didn’t say anything.

          It’s like he is unwilling to really make me happy, even when I show my vulnerability, commit hours and hours to pleasing him, doing things his way, allowing him to do as he pleases.

          I am not christian, but I take all of your advice and apply it to my belief in God and it really does help, so thank you. I feel like I do need to build a bigger connection with God and rely on him fully to change myself, focus on myself and not my husband. But a lot of my time does go into thinking about him, looking for ways I can be grateful for him, practicing gratitude a lot, reading your blog, making notes and looking at how I can respect him every day. If I don’t focus on those things, I have noticed, my old self easily comes out and recently, I find, he is more angry at my tiniest form of disrespect or just having a voice and saying what I want, for example, honey can we chill later? He would say we’ll see but in a sour way. Or it might lead to anger?

          Is this normal? The more I respect him, the more he retaliates back?

          I do have other larger motives in showing him respect other than getting the marriage back to me feeling like a wife and as though I have a friend. We both do want to start our future and have children, I am still hesitant because of his character to me, and personal issues that he needs to deal with, anger, frustration, relationship with God, smoking, giving me time, if I feel like he can’t give me time, how will he when there is more than just me in the family?

          One of the hardest ordeals in my marriage is the neglect throughout the day, minimal phone calls or texts, and short. It reeeeaaaalllly hurts me because I don’t feel valued or loved. I try not to see it like that and make excuses, like maybe that’s not how he shows love, maybe he’s busy, tired at work but it doesn’t get rid of the niggly feeling in me that craves that attention or that makes me feel like I do so much for him and am asking for less, why can’t he show that? He used to before and even when I would ‘nag’ him, he did try to, now, as I ‘nag’ him or respectfully ask him less often, he doesn’t as much.

          I want him to be my knight and support and one I can open up to about anything and everything and know he’ll be here for me.

          1. JTZ,
            I have very recently gone through the same type of issues, except that my husband is very very quiet about things he feels. He doesn’t tell me what he’s going to do or not do, just doesn’t do it. He at one point had told me that he felt like I was manipulating everything. So I went very very quiet for a very long time. There were times when I felt like saying something to him about his treatment of me, but April’s vision of the ICU helped me to remember that he is hurting too. Luckily, he didn’t ever say anything “mean” but was short, rude, non-responsive. This was very challenging for our children to see.

            But I was quiet, peaceful, smiled and accepted his “no”s. And I tried to ask him for NOTHING. I was (and am still VERY lonely) but I am looking for my love from God and surrounding myself with my friends, and family. My husband has also been PUSHING in all of the areas that I was controlling before: church, eating, kids. I am not exaggerating when I say that he brought home a bag of candy for the kids EVERY NIGHT for about 2 weeks. It made me cringe, but the bigger picture is our relationship, not if our kids get a little sugar high for awhile. He has actually seemed to stop it after I thanked him one day for the “yummy chocolate eggs” he brought home. He’s eating horribly, he’s getting sick, he’s exhausted, his anger is evident, but this is now between him and God. I need to get out of the way.

            It’s a process and it took me several months to get into the groove (and I still struggle) but I leave him alone a lot. I do my own thing. I smile at him and ask him how his day is. I have just started giving him a few more words of praise as I listen to God’s direction. I have surrounded myself with God. I find strength in this blog, several books, praying for my husband, going to mass, and my wonderfully godly women friends.

            Keep going to God. He will help you. It’s so hard and lonely; but God’s got you!

          2. jtz,

            Obviously, things are really tense still, it sounds like. 🙁 I know you would love to see everything resolved and healed TODAY. But this is going to take some time. Are you able to share why you had separated before? What are the things (generally) that he is upset about in the marriage? What are the things (generally) that you believe need to change?

            I’m really glad you are here. I know that even without God, you can apply His principles to your marriage, and they may help to a degree. But if you really want to experience all that the Lord has for you (in this life and after this life is over) I invite you to look into coming to know Jesus Christ as both your Savior and your Lord. That is the only way there is to real peace, joy, contentment, forgiveness, and spiritual healing and fulfillment. All of those things are in Christ. He can meet your deepest needs spiritually and emotionally in ways your husband never could.

            Right now, you are both spiritually dead, according to the Bible. But right now, God is calling you to a new life in Jesus. If you respond, He will give you a new life, new hope, new strength, and power to become the woman He calls you to be that you can’t have on your own. 🙂 Then, He can also begin to pour His healing into your marriage, as well, over time.

            Just so I can better understand… I think you realized you were acting disrespectful before? Did you apologize for your disrespect? Has he shared with you what he finds to be most disrespectful? Did you tend to act controlling before?

            Yes, sometimes things do get worse at first after a wife apologizes for her disrespect. Sometimes husbands think that wives will be able to flip a switch and be perfectly respectful all the time. But it is usually a process of learning for us to learn to genuinely respect our men.

            Most husbands are very skeptical of their wives’ changes at first. It takes a long time before they feel safe again. I know for my husband, it was 3.5 years before he felt completely safe with me again from the time God showed me my disrespect, pride, control, idolatry of my husband (expecting him to be responsible for my happiness, expecting him to meet my deepest needs), idolatry of myself (having self on the throne of my heart instead of God), bitterness, un-forgivness, etc…

            But during that time, I learned to depend on God and to allow Him to change me. Then I was not changing in order to get my husband to love me more. God showed me that would just look like manipulation to my husband. God taught me to want to change just for Him and to please Him and to let Him change me. Then I was glad to embrace His work in my life no matter what my husband did or did not do for me. I learned to find my joy, peace, and contentment in Christ alone. It was only after that point that I began to see my husband start to heal, too. Of course, we are not guaranteed they will heal. But if they are going to heal and our marriages are going to heal, first we must be willing to receive the healing Jesus offers to us for ourselves. Then we can cooperate and become His partners to pray for and pour His healing into our marriages.

            I invite you to check out this post about how you can have a relationship with Christ Jesus.

            And then, I invite you to watch this video of mine about what God wants to do in our lives as women (but also for men).

            I am sure he has tons of issues to work on, too. But the strongest way to influence and inspire a man to want to change and to yield his life to God is for you to set a beautiful, godly example for him. Not to preach at him or lecture him or nag him. That will only repel him. Not to be needy or clingy or to idolize him in a desperate way. But when you are filled up to overflowing with God’s healing, goodness, love, and Life, your husband will notice the difference. He will see your genuinely respectful attitude. He will see that you are peaceful and joyful no matter what he does. He will start to get curious about how you are able to be like this now when you couldn’t be like this before. As he comes to the Lord, God can heal and transform your husband in ways you never could.

            I know that you are feeling very unloved by your husband right now. That really hurts. That is where I was when I started this journey, too. Greg was to the point that he didn’t want to touch me, be in the same room with me, look at me, or talk with me. At all. He was SO wounded and hurt by my 14+ years of control and disrespect. He was a shell of the man he had once been. It took a long time for healing to take place. But first, God had to deal with the issues in my heart and heal me. Then, I got out of God’s way so He was able to begin to heal Greg.

            I hope you will check out the other posts I had shared with you, too.

            You CAN have the love, security, and Hero you need in Jesus right now today. Your husband is an imperfect, sinful man. He can’t always meet your deepest needs. But Jesus can. And then, He may just lead you on a path that heals your marriage, too. Your husband may be able to bless you in small ways as a human. But nothing compared to what Jesus can do for you.

            As you learn to go to Jesus to meet the deep needs of your heart that truly only He can meet, you can go into your marriage from a place of being overflowing with good things instead of being needy and empty, expecting your husband to fill you up. He is needy and empty, too. He can’t fill you up. But Jesus can!

            I can’t wait to see all that Jesus has in store for you!

            I’m here if you want to talk some more.

            Much love!

    2. Dear JTZ,

      I am sorry for the hurt you are going through. 🙁

      I am concerned about when you said – “verbal abuse, swearing, sometimes physical even though he assumes he has valid reasons to push me.” Pushing you is not okay.

      I agree with April and the others that because you and your husband are trying to bring your marriage back from the brink of divorce, it is probably too soon to ask for or expect things like him spending time with you for fun. Hopefully that will come in time, but with the amount of hurt that your marriage has been through, it is probably best to lower your expectations for now and not ask for or expect things like quality time – even thought it hurts to not have that.

      Swearing at you and pushing you is different. I don’t think that you should be expected to not speak up about those things. (Of course, if you swear at him, or if you have tried to hit or push him recently, or if you have tried to throw things at him recently, you need to stop that immediately before you ask him to change. But I am assuming, for the purposes of my comment, that you don’t swear at him or try to hurt him physically.)

      If he swears at you, you can say calmly (and without anger), “Please don’t swear at me, baby” or “Please don’t use that language with me, baby.” This may make him angrier and you may need to repeat it again, calmly. You may need to walk out of the room if it’s really bad. Even if he doesn’t stop, you calmly asking him not to swear at you every time he does teaches him that you are not okay with how he is talking to you.

      Pushing you is more serious. If he pushes you, you can say in a low, even tone, “Don’t push me.” The only excuses that I can possibly think of for a man laying a hand on his wife in this way is if she is 1) trying to hit or hurt him (or someone else) and him pushing her away is self-defense, or 2) if some danger is coming toward her, like a car, and he needs to push her out of the way so she doesn’t get hit.

      I was interested in your comment that you believe in God but do not identify as Christian. I know that there are some religions that fit this description in which it is religiously or culturally acceptable for a man to push or hit his wife. If your husband has heard from a teacher of his religion, or from a member of his family, that it is okay for him to push or hit you, then it may be harder for him to stop because he believes it is okay. (You mentioned that he assumes he has valid reasons to push you.) Is this the case? Has he heard a religious or cultural justification that it is okay to do this? (Note – Christianity does NOT teach that it is acceptable for a man to push or hit his wife.)

      For people that end up victims of physical abuse, usually it starts off small – like pushing, arm yanking, etc. Then it gets more violent. Don’t let him push you without you telling him that you’re not okay with it – and walking away if necessary. And keep your eyes open for warning signs of escalation. A man who pushes his wife on rare occasions and without her sustaining injury probably has anger issues. A man who escalates the frequency with which he pushes his wife or who escalates the type of physical contact (slapping, punching, grabbing the neck, etc.) likely has warning signs of being an abuser. If you believe your husband is abusing you, your safety is the first priority and you will probably need to reach out to a counselor who has experience helping clients identify abuse and deal with it in ways that protect their safety.


      1. jtz,

        I was hoping to hear back from you to get more clarification on what was going on with the pushing, too. But I agree with Flower on her concerns.

        Much love to you!

  15. Dear JTZ and April,

    I am in tears reading what you both have shared.


    I know the hurt you are feeling. Although I am a Christian, even as a Christian, I can feel as you are feeling. My husband is also a Christian but in his fleshly nature, and me in mine, the devil wants to attack. My husband has cursed at me as well. He has PTSD so has struggled with that since Feb of last year. Finally, he chose to get help from a psychologist which was an answer to my prayers.

    Quick story. I had a benign brain tumor back in 2013…a meningioma and also the surgeons miraculously found an AVM which could have caused a brain bleed. I have never felt the peace of God as I did over those months. I wanted desperately nothing but Jesus and to be with him! Nothing or no one even competed in my heart or mind over Christ. I wanted to be with him! I thought maybe he was leading me home to heaven over that time. Little did I know what was in store for me still here on earth. I believe that God was showing me for the here and now to look back and see how he was my EVERYTHING! So strange how we as humans can almost forget some things along the way.

    So why now do I almost idolize my husband? Why do I need his approval or attention? I think it’s natural to long for that as wives but it’s not spiritually healthy for us… or for our husbands. I had been praying that God would be everything to my husband and that my husband would love Jesus over me as I love Jesus more than my husband.

    Well since my husband has been getting counseling, on his own, he asked me to get biblical counseling with him from our pastor at our bible church we attend. It’s been a bit eye opening for me as to where I’m falling short… when just a few years ago, I would have been looked at as the more spiritual one. The enemy (Satan) seriously is out to destroy us if we aren’t on to his tactics. But thanks be to God who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!!

    My husband recently shared that his heart has been open to Jesus as he never thought it ever was before. God has been changing him! So do you see what I’m saying? God is in the restoration business! He healed me of my brain tumor and what could have been deadly and the AVM, possibly to show me how he can restore our marriage as well! He is our healer and I pray you will know him because he is our great Physician in every way. Do we still struggle? Absolutely! We are still getting marriage counseling. I still read April’s blog and watch her beautiful videos because I truly believe she is an instrument used by God for all of us! So thankful for her.

    I will say one more thing. Sorry for being so lengthy here. But it’s true what April has said about placing our spouses as idols. I struggle with jealousy, fear, and worry. The “what ifs”… when I look to Jesus and ask him to fill me up with himself, writing out my prayers to God, truly helps me and our marriage. It takes the pressure off of my husband to know that Jesus is all I need! He is attracted to that. He wants to know that he doesn’t need to meet my every need. When God sees that we idolize anything or anyone above him, there will not be blessing. I’ve learned this. He does bless our hearts with a PEACE–the same peace I experienced when I had my brain tumor, that passes all understanding. It’s hard to describe.

    This is the same peace I pray for me, for you and for all of us as women in our marriages. God desires to be our all in all. Someday if we all know Jesus as Lord, this will all be revealed more clearly to us when we stand before him. These worries and troubles will be dimmed. I know this. But I also still know and understand how difficult marriage is and when we want and desire what we want…it doesn’t always feel fair. My heart does understand what you’re feeling. I can still be there many times myself. God will help you as he has for me. Just cry out to him. Truly he saves…in every aspect of our lives! God bless you.


  16. For those who are suffering (and really, for all of us who belong to Christ),

    It is extremely humbling to hear this Christian man’s story, Petr Jasek. Prisoner Set Free – the link is at the bottom of this comment. How he was wrongly imprisoned in the Sudan for 14 months. How he was mistreated and even tortured by Muslims who were fellow prisoners and members of ISIS in his same tiny cell. It really puts our struggles and problems into perspective. I can tell you that!

    If you have time to listen to the first message and also to the one called The Greatest Peace, I believe you will be very blessed. Each one is a bit less than 30 minutes. What he describes is the kind of love, faith, and devotion God calls each of us to have in the face of our greatest trials. This is the kind of faith I pray for God to empower each of us to have.

    Listen especially for the ways God encouraged him and prepared him for what he would endure. And the ways God blessed him in the midst of incredible suffering. And how his prayers changed from “how long will I have to stay here, Lord?” to “how do You want to use me here, Lord?”

    If God can give this kind of blessing and encouragement to one of His dear sons who was in prison for his faith very recently, can we imagine that He is any less able to encourage us in whatever situation we may find ourselves today?

    Much love in Christ!


  17. Hello April,

    I know this is an untimely comment but I have been searching about how to deal with a husband you have nothing in common with and mostly ungodly sites are coming up but your site is about godly marriage so I thought I’d ask.

    We are both born again and obviously have Christ in common but besides that we are so totally opposite and it causes so many issues because we are completely different in terms of our view on hobbies and time spent and interests etc.

    It’s getting to the point where I feel like we can’t even be around each other because anytime he constantly focuses on his own things and doesn’t seem to care to be involved in my life things turn sour…. I’m just trying to seek guidance and advice but not from ungodly or wordy sources.

    Thank you and I understand if now is not the best time for this!

    1. Anonymously Seeking,

      I’m so glad to meet you! 🙂 Thanks for reaching out.

      You know what? My husband and I have very few interests/hobbies in common. That really is not a deal breaker at all. The thing that matters is our attitude and perspective. Would it be okay if I ask a few questions to get a feel for the issues you are having and maybe we could talk about some of your expectations for your husband? Then I will be glad to point you to some resources that I believe will be a blessing to you and your husband.

      Much love in Christ!

      1. Anonymously Seeking,

        PS – If you have Christ in common, that is truly the most important thing by FAR! We can work with everything else – in the power of God’s Spirit. God can absolutely make something beautiful for His glory from this situation.

  18. April,
    Thank you for responding. You may ask any questions. I would love to go deeper in this issue. I had a feeling my expectations might be an issue but at the same time I also feel it might be more than that alone! Thank you for going through this with me!

    1. Anonymously Seeking,

      Okay, here we go… 🙂

      1. Share as many expectations as you can think of that you have for your husband.

      2. How is your relationship with Christ going?

      3. Do you believe you can be completely content in Christ alone?

      4. What are your greatest desires and dreams in life?

      5. What are your greatest fears?

      6. Where is your security?

      7. What do you desire most in your walk with Christ?

      8. Are you familiar with the ways a husband can be an idol?

      9. How do you respond when your husband doesn’t do what you want him to do with you?

      Much love to you!

      1. April,

        1. I expect him to treat me how I treat him. I give him space to do the things he enjoys buy when I ask him to do something with me, unless he’s in the mood at that time, it’s a no go. So basically I get upset sometimes because I don’t limit my serving him and adjusting to him based on my own mood at the moment!

        2. My relationship with Christ is going good. It is not in myself at all it is all in Christ!

        3. Yes I believe I can be content in Christ alone. There have been many times that He is all I have!

        4. Greatest desires and dreams are really to do God’s will and for Him to work for His own glory in and through me my marriage and family! I desire true fellowship and being one with Christ and my husband!

        5. Fears…… only the normal ones like getting my finger nails pulled off or being skinned alive type things!

        6. My security is not in this world, that’s for sure! It’s in Christ.

        7. Same as #4

        8. Yes I’ve been through the idol stage and do not go there anymore! I know my husband can’t fill the hole in my heart!

        9. I usually don’t get upset if my husband doesn’t feel like doing something with me but sometimes I do and feel upset or like he doesn’t really care about me enough to make a small compromise sometimes. For example if I ask him to play catch with me and he says no…I won’t flip out but will feel upset because I don’t know why he won’t even do that it doesn’t seem like that big a deal…he plays catch with the kids…y not me sometime?

        1. Anonymously Seeking,

          Thank you for these answers, they are helpful. 🙂

          I’m so thankful for all that God has already been doing in your heart. That is awesome!!!

          A few more questions, sweet sister…

          1. What is your basic personality?

          2. What is his basic personality?

          3. Do you believe that you may expect him to think, speak, and act just like you do, possibly?

          4. What was his parents’ marriage like generally?

          5. What was your parents’ marriage like generally?

          6. Do you happen to know what your love language is and what his is?

          7. How often do you want to do things together, would you say?

          8. Are there any issues with addictions, major unrepentant sin, health issues, exhaustion? Is he under a lot of stress with work?

          9. When you want to do something with your husband, how do you ask?

          Much love!

          1. April,

            He is totally opposite of me. He’s quiet, doesn’t like social life, and keeps to his own hobbies. I’m outgoing like to be busy and interacting with people. I’ve calmed down quite a bit though because I’ve adjusted to him and I’m OK with that.

            I used to expect him to be like me but I know he is different as man. We are not the same. I’ve also adjusted to this truth.

            His parents divorced mine are together but are not equally yoked so they really have nothing in common. My dad is bitter about it because my mom doesn’t care to watch TV or talk about cars all the time.

            Yes we read the love language book together. He makes an effort to be affectionate sometimes to me and I focus on appreciating what he does for me and our family.

            We never do anything together. Not just us. He might come to baseball practice or take us fishing with him…..but this is exceptions not rules. He literally is not interested on doing anything I would like….going for hikes or visiting family, etc. His whole argument is that since he’s home every night that it’s ore than enough and he doesn’t need to do anything else since he already spends all time not working at home….yet he is not interactive at all.

            There are really no major issues.

            I ask him plainly for example would you like to play catch with me??

            1. Anonymously Seeking,

              So he is rather introverted, it sounds like. And maybe needs a certain amount of time to himself to recharge.

              What were things like when you were dating and when you were first married?

              Have you ever tried sharing like this, “I would really love to play catch with you – just the two of us – sometime this week. That would mean so much to me.”

              Sometimes men feel connected just by being in the same room or same house – even if they are not actually doing something with their wives and even if they are not talking.

              What does he like to spend his time doing?

              How is he doing spiritually – from what you are able to tell?

              Much love!

Thanks for joining the discussion! Let's keep it classy and respectful. I'm so glad we can walk this road together.

%d bloggers like this: