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Twenty-Five Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

We as women understand the desire to feel safe with our men. We want to feel safe and secure physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually – and in every way – in our marriages. That is one of our greatest needs as wives. Husbands want to feel safe in every way with us, too.

Men have certain legitimate needs that need to be met before they can be open to emotional/spiritual intimacy as men – all of us do.

Our men are wired by God for adventure, for purpose, to fulfill His calling, to portray the strength, love, grace, and wisdom of Christ to the world. They seem so big and strong. And they are in many ways. But they have feelings and emotions, too, which we may sometimes discount if they don’t express them the way we do.

Our attitudes, words, and actions can hurt them. Even if they don’t show it in the same way we would. Even if they don’t complain about it or confront us. So let’s make sure that we seek to provide a safe haven from this harsh world for our men when they are with us. A place where they feel welcome, where they can relax, and where they know we have good motives toward them.

WAYS I CAN BE A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND (with the power of the Holy Spirit, of course)

  1. Get rid of anything that is emotionally scary on my end of the relationship (more detail below).morgan-sessions-17278
  2. Smile my beautiful smile often.
  3. Use a pleasant, friendly tone of voice whenever possible.
  4. Watch my body language, let it speak warmth, love, and respect.
  5. Be kind, gentle, and polite.
  6. Share my needs and feelings with humility, authenticity, and vulnerability in direct ways.
  7. Don’t share the private things he shares with me with other people – be trustworthy.*
  8. Honor his God-given leadership in the family as appropriate.
  9. Use my influence authority wisely.
  10. Honor his authority as a dad.
  11. Give him space respectfully when he needs it.
  12. Seek to understand his unique masculine world, celebrating that men are different from women in some ways and that is part of God’s good design.
  13. Take my thoughts captive for Christ first before having a negative emotional conversation.
  14. Be aware of PMS, hormone issues, exhaustion, illness, etc… where the body is weak – and consider whether it is a good time to try to emotionally connect or to talk about negative things.
  15. Be content and peaceful in Christ. My genuine peace and joy are huge gifts to him.
  16. Be filled up to overflowing with Christ – that is the only way to have that beautiful gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear.
  17. Reward him when he shares with me emotionally and make it enjoyable for him.
  18. Limit the amount of time I ask for emotional connection if that is tiring for him or he is stressed/exhausted, etc…
  19. Receive good things from him – compliments, gifts, time, attention, affection, attraction, sex, etc… – graciously and joyfully.
  20. Have a spirit of gratitude toward him.
  21. Be willing to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a healthy, godly way.
  22. Be responsible with financial decisions.
  23. Be interested and open to his wisdom and ideas.
  24. Give him my full attention when he is talking whenever possible.
  25. Enjoy him and rest in his love.

Yes, most people would appreciate most of these things in relationships – wives certainly would like many of these things. 🙂

 

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY SCARY TO OUR MEN?

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What are some ways you have discovered you can encourage your husband to feel safe with you?

FOR MORE HELP

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband into an Idol 

Should I Seek to Please and Keep My Husband at ANY Cost?

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs

What Is Disrespect in Marriage?

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected

IF THINGS ARE VERY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE:

Please understand, if you have an extremely emotionally/spiritually wounded husband – he probably can’t do much to meet your deep spiritual and emotional needs right now. Even if you are also deeply wounded and need a lot of help, too. He may need to be in a spiritual/emotional ICU for a bit. Give him some time and space to heal as you focus on finding the healing Jesus has for you in your soul. Find all of your contentment, joy, fulfillment, security, and peace in Christ alone. Thankfully, you can find all of our deepest needs met in Christ no matter what your husband may or may not do. Seek to bless your husband. You may have to refrain from asking him for emotional support until he is stronger and the marriage is healing up more.

  • This post does a good job explaining an approach that may be helpful for those whose husbands act like or say they are done with the marriage.
  • This post may be a blessing for those who are in the trenches.

If you are struggling in your walk with the Lord or in your marriage – reach out to God. Reach out for godly counsel one-on-one if you need it. There is private counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.com. Also, KLUV, a Christian radio station, has pastors and Christian counselors you can speak to.

 

*(If there are serious issues going on, we can privately reach out to appropriate authorities and counselors who can help.)

 

63 thoughts on “Twenty-Five Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

  1. This is just awesome. I know I need to study this and return to it often. Thank you April and may God continue to bless you and us through this life giving ministry. Happy Easter!

  2. April,

    Basically, as you know, over this past year I have put into practice all those things you mentioned as a way to be a safe place, and I want to encourage any wife here that is married especially to another believer, and who is for the most part loving, that when we truly take a step back and stop hounding our husbands, and demanding things from them, and expect things from them, and assume things about what they are thinking and feeling—they really will come back to you and start behaving in the ways you want him to! The reason he doesn’t, is when we act all the ways April explains NOT to act! I’ve experienced it over and over and over! It doesn’t matter how long I am doing “good” with my husband, the MINUTE I revert back to old ways, he becomes the same old way too, steering clear of me, not wanting to be around me as much, definitely not affectionate as he was being, etc. And I’ve seen this in other wive’s marriages too!

    But also, if we are reaching out for our husbands to pay attention to us, to talk to us for a long time, or for him to just give us all his time and lots of affection, and we constantly tell him how much he DOESN’T do those things—he will continue to not do them, and actually be pushed further away!!! But if we STOP doing all those things, and leave him alone, smile at him when he is around us, he will come back to us and naturally do those things that we have been demanding (possibly, depending on the type of man he is) —- but just for encouragement—my husband is NOT the affectionate type and he is not all talkative and touchy feely, and he will make this effort when I am leaving him be and not demanding, needy, or clingy. So I think the chances are pretty good for any wife who is married to a man who is for the most part loving, but gets withdrawn when we wives are hounding him too much about these things!

    But either way, at the end of the day, no amount of attention, affection, talking to our husbands will ever make our life better, and it certainly won’t satisfy our hearts on any deep level! So it is always best to look to the Lord Jesus because He alone satisfies!! 🙂

    Love,
    Amanda

  3. Ditto to Esther. So thankful for your ministry, April, and how much your words have helped me. I am feeling more peaceful as I focus on my relationship with God and worry less about what my husband is doing. (i.e. is he leading, etc…) Thus, creating a more peaceful atmosphere in our home. I just saw the movie The Case for Christ last night & loved the way she continued to love & pray for her husband, and not criticize him. I’ve had so much to learn in my approach and my attitude etc….what I was doing was hurting and would never help anything. I was getting in the way of God, and I was sabotaging my relationship with my husband. I love the way I see my husband move towards God when I’m just quiet & loving……inside my heart is cheering. It’s great to have your resources to keep reminding us!

  4. Thanks for all of these beautiful reminders April! I wish I knew all of this a long time ago, but am so grateful that the Lord opened my eyes and that my marriage is healing and turning into something beautiful!

    1. LinseyAK,

      I know I wish I knew this stuff 23 years ago myself. But what a joy it is to see God working in all of our lives now. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing, sweet sister!

  5. How do you encourage a man to talk about things if there is a disagreement or argument? For the last few years, I haven’t even bothered to try, because we couldn’t have a conversation about things without it turning into a bigger fight, but not talking about it now that we are doing better is very difficult.

    We had a fight this evening and he went to the gym and I want to talk about it it to share both our feelings, but my husband is very angry and doesn’t want to. He won’t let me get two words in. When things were really rough in our marriage, I didn’t bother, but we have had a lot of healing in our marriage and closeness and it’s making it harder to just sweep it under the rug.

    I don’t know if I should give him space and then try again when things are better (even though this will be hard, because women need to talk!) or if I should let it go.

    1. Linsey,

      This will require prayer and God’s wisdom and discernment.

      A few things to consider:

      1. Did his parents and family talk through didagreements that were emotionally painful? What is his background with handling disagreements?

      2. Is the issue truly important?

      3. Is there a solution? Or are you going to have to agree to disagree? Some issues are resolvable, some are not.

      4. Have you tried just talking about conflicts in general without talking about the specific issue? Maybe you can share your picture of what talking through a conflict would look like if he is open. Or at least ask him what his picture is of dealing with disagreements. If it is an issue where y’all are not going to agree, he may feel it is not worth talking about. Remember he probably doesn’t bond with words and maybe he is afraid things will get really bad again if y’all even try to talk about these things? It could be that asking gently, “I would really like to better understand how guys think and a masculine perspective. When women bring up a sensitive subject, how do guys usually like to handle that? (I am not going to bring up any discussions about sensitive things today. I am just interested in better understanding your perspective and how guys think.)”

      5. What was your approach? Do you believe he felt safe?

      6. How have you been doing with God? Do you have a sense of what He desires you to do?

      Much love!!! I am praying for God’s wisdom for you!

      1. Linsey,

        I had a similar issue with Greg not wanting to talk through things even as he began to heal. We had a discussion a few times about his take on talking about things where we disagree. I remember him sharing that if it was an issue where there wasn’t a resolution, that he felt it was unproductive to talk through it. His definition of how to handle conflict and his goals were really different than mine. I believed we could talk through and resolve anything. He did not.

        Depending on the issue, you can certainly share your heart, your desires, your concerns and feelings. If he is not sinning against you, it may be a situation where you pray and invite God to bring about His will. Sometimes, all you have to do is share your concerns once (or every so often) and then let him think about things. God can change his mind. Or God may lead you in a direction you didn’t expect.

        If you would like, you are welcome to share some of the issues here (without sharing a lot of detail), and we could hash through them in a general way and think about some approaches you could possibly take.

        A book that I have found to be helpful is Rick Johnsons’s “How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Husband Will Talk.” And Shaunti Feldhahn’s “For Women Only.”

        Much love! ❤💜❤

        1. PS Linsey,

          Now, I feel like I can ask Greg about almost anything. But I also understand him, his thinking, and his heart a lot more than I did even 6 years ago. This is a process of healing. 🙂

          Some things, once I understood his perspective, weren’t even issues for me anymore.

          1. Thanks April.

            Here’s the situation. So, as you know, things have been rough in our marriage for quite awhile. But the last month or so there has been a lot of healing between us.

            A week ago, I found out my best friend has a few months to a year to live. I want to go see her before she passes. I asked my husband if I could fly to Texas to go see her. I want to leave as soon as school gets out, because I don’t know how long she has to live. I also want to go without my daughter, because I want to show my friend a nice time and take care of her. My husband said this would be fine, despite the fact that this is a time he would usually do one of his hunting trips. I asked him many times if he was sure and he said yes. I asked him if he was going to be passive aggressive about it if I went. Him and his family are notoriously passive aggressive.

            Well last night, we were talking and he said how it stinks that he can’t go on his hunting trip. I asked him if he didn’t want me to go. He asked if I could push it back or bring our daughter. I was getting very upset at this point. He promised it was okay and that he wouldn’t be passive aggressive and make me feel guilty. Plus, my best friend is dying and he is more concerned about hunting! It makes me so furious that he could be so selfish. As the conversation became more tense, I decided I need a timeout to cool off. Well that made him upset that I was leaving and he’s like, “Fine! You can go! You never let me share things! I have every right to share my feelings and point of view!” I told him that he did, but he can’t expect people never to get upset at what he has to say. At that point, I did not want to fight in front of our daughter, so I took her into the other room, but he kept yelling and screaming and threatening to leave. I didn’t say anything and just left the room again with my daughter and finally he stopped.

            If I had left it at that and trusted the Lord to work into my husband’s heart, I could have probably saved my dignity and MAYBE my husband would have understood things and apologized, but I didn’t. I went upstairs about 30 minutes later and tried to share my point of view, but he started to ignore me. When he ignored me, I felt really disrespected and blew up. He got really upset and left and went to the gym.

            When he came back, I asked if we could talk and he said no and hurled some insults. He said he never would talk about it. No his family does not talk about things at all. They are very passive aggressive. One time I was crying at his family’s house, because something happened to my dad and no one even acknowledged it and my husband got upset that I was crying. I guess the motive for wanting to talk about it is so my husband can understand my feelings and to prevent a fight like this in the future. I really feel sick to my stomach that we argued in front of my daughter. I think that is why he is upset. That I yelled at him in front of my daughter, but he refuses to admit that he did first. He says I’m delusional that he did that. In his mind, he was sharing his feelings and I didn’t let him and got mad and then I blew up. He doesn’t see any responsibility in this. He probably thinks talking about it will just be another fight and that there is no point. HE even blocked me on his cell phone so I can’t text him.

            I’m really upset that he can’t see how bringing up hunting again was passive aggressive and how he can’t see that he blew up when I tried to get some space from him.

          2. Linsey,

            That sure didn’t go well. 🙁 I am so sorry for the pain you both are experiencing. And for your daughter.

            There is a learning curve on this journey, for sure. But each time there is a blow up, it is an opportunity for growth and for us to allow God to refine and purify our hearts more and more.

            A few things that hit me:

            1. I’d love to see you simply ask him for something once instead of asking over and over and over. To continue asking means you don’t believe his answer was good or final. It also gives him plenty of opportunities to change his answer. If you ask him once and he says yes, simply thank him and plan your trip. No need to continue asking.

            I vote to begin treating him like he is a man of his word and a man of integrity. He said yes, he must have meant yes.

            2. Asking him not to be passive aggressive seems rather unnecessary to me. People don’t usually plan ahead to be passive aggressive and don’t tend to be able to identify when they are doing this. I vote to trust him and assume he will do what he said he would do. That would be respectful. I think this whole process could be a lot more simple and have a whole lot less drama as you learn and grow. ❤

            3. If he says it stinks he can’t go on his hunting trip, agree that is a bummer and thank him for his generosity in letting you go with your friend. Thank him for being a man of his word. Then you probably don’t need to say anything else. Sympathize with him but thank him for what he said he would do.

            Then wait and let God work on him.

            There is no need at all to get into yelling and arguing.

            If he is upset about missing his trip, let him share his feelings and let him know you hear him. But you don’t have to be responsible for him and you don’t have to rescue him from his commitment to you.

            Continue to assume the best. Let him know you know what a sacrifice it is and how much it means to you for him to do this.

            Let him wrestle with his feelings. Let him come up with a solution. Then deal with what he decides to do. ❤💜❤

            Much love!

          3. Thank you April! That is beautiful! Lol. How much better that would have gone if I had responded like that!

            Now I’m wondering how I should handle things now after the fact. I really would like to talk about how I felt with him, but he might perceive it as an attack. And like Greg said in one of your posts, will talking about it solve anything? Probably just comfort me I guess because I want to share my point of view. He has has blocked me from texting him and he said he doesn’t want to talk about. Wondering if I should drop it all together or wait and approach it again. The reason he blocked me is because in the past I have sent him many texts arguing with him at work and he still thinks I’ll do it. It’s going to take time to build that trust again.

          4. Linsey,

            Things went into full blown “flesh mode” on both sides it sounds like. It is harder to get things back on track after that happens. But, with God, He can give us victory when we turn back to Him and His ways. Praise God for that!

            At this point, I think it could be wise to pray about how best to apologize for the disrespect on your part and your losing your temper. Anything God shows you that you own that contributed to the mess.

            If you apologize, keep it very brief and don’t justify your sin.

            If he doesn’t want to talk about it, that is fine. Don’t talk about it with him.

            You serve a sovereign Lord who can make a way for you to visit your friend if it is His will. Pray for God’s provision. Pray for Him to intervene. Be open to whatever He wants you to learn in this time of waiting. Hold your desires loosely and seek God’s will and His greatest glory above all.

            I believe He can make something beautiful in your marriage through this conflict as you rest in His love and sovereignty and don’t freak out. As you don’t bring the topic up, don’t argue, don’t fight, and don’t demand your way – your husband will likely be very confused. Let God work in his heart. Focus on trusting the Lord, praising Him, thanking Him, and waiting to see what He will do in this situation. ❤

          5. Linsey,

            It may also be that you could consider being open to visiting your friend the week after you had planned originally. Then maybe you and your husband could each do what you want to do.

            Much love!

          6. prayinglikehannah,

            I think a lot of us do that, and don’t realize it. I know I have done this very thing before. Talked with Greg about it last night, actually. And I think I need to write a post about this issue. We don’t even know that we are actually disrespecting our husbands when we do this, and that we are repelling them. I shared a bit about Linsey’s situation with Greg. He said, “Her husband wasn’t saying that he wouldn’t do what he said he would do. He was just verbalizing that it would be a sacrifice.”

            I know a lot of us, especially those who are prone to people pleasing, might hear a husband say something negative about what he said he would do, and assume that means he won’t do whatever it was. But that is not always true! He may just want us to know that what he is doing for us is hard. But that doesn’t mean a man is unwilling to follow through. We can hear him, validate his feelings, and not take over and take away the responsibility from him. I sure wish I had understood that a LONG time ago myself!

            Linsey,

            Would you consider allowing me to write a post about a general scenario that is similar to yours – but with different details? I could share it with you before I publish it to be sure you are okay with it. But that difficult dance you and your husband have gone through is one that many, many couples go through. I would love to share with a lot of the other ladies some wisdom that may help keep things from getting so frustrating.

            How have you been doing the past few days, my sister?

            Much love!

          7. April,

            Yes! Of Course! I think Greg was right on too. My husband did allow me to share my feelings last night to him. I told him that I was hurt, because I felt like he had given me a gift and then he was trying to take it away and now I had to feel guilty for taking it. My husband said he was angry, because he thought I was overreacting for no reason. He said that he wants me to go, but he wasn’t sure if my dates were finalized and he was just wondering and he was thinking out loud basically on how he’s bummed that he won’t be able to provide meat for the family. He said that my situation is more important and he wants me to go. Talk about two different perceptions! LOL.

            I think you pointed out some really good things. 1. Assume that his motives are good. I think that this is important, because even if you are wrong, he will more likely rise up to the occasion if you think he is going to do the right thing. 2. There is no need to ask for things more than once. I honestly never thought that this might allow him to change his mind or think that I do not trust him! My husband gets really mad when I say things more than once, so this is important to. 3. You don’t have to rescue him from his commitment. One of the reasons my husband fell in love with me (according to him) was because I was so confident. I didn’t verbally demand respect, but I acted in a way that I expected people to treat me with respect. It does appear that my husband acts annoyed when I don’t act confident or happy. Maybe this is the same thing in a way?

            I was glad he allowed me to discuss my feelings. I did so respectfully. Then I gave him space. He is acting on edge tonight, but hopefully that will subside if I give him some more space.

          8. LinseyAK,

            I’m so proud of you both for sharing your feelings. I think you definitely have extremely different perspectives. It is easy to assume evil motives in that situation. But – how awesome that you listened and wanted to understand. That is awesome!

            I’m excited about this conversation – and I appreciate your willingness to allow me to do a post on this general topic. I think it will be such a blessing to many marriages. 🙂

            1. Yes, if he sees you trust him and expect the best of him and expect him to be a man of his word, he will have to let you down and not be the hero if he doesn’t follow through. That makes him the bad guy, and healthy men don’t like to be in that position! Remotely healthy men love for their wives to be happy and to admire them.

            2. When you keep asking over and over ad nauseum – it communicates to your husband pretty clearly that you don’t believe he is a man of his word, that you don’t trust him, that you expect him to fail, and that you don’t respect what he says. So – that is a really big deal.

            3. He doesn’t want to be rescued from his own commitment. He made the commitment. Let him stick to it. He doesn’t want to be the “damsel in distress” with you flying in to save him from his own words. He gets to make his decisions. He gets to decide what he will and will not do. When we try to rescue our men like that, it does show a lack of respect for them. And I understand being in this position. I have done this very thing many times earlier in our marriage. I didn’t realize what I was communicating at the time. But now, it is very clear to me. Men thrive on our faith and trust. They thrive on our respect and being the good guys. When we intervene, we make it impossible for all of those things to happen – and we repel them.

            I’m so proud of him for being off of tobacco now for so long! That is awesome!

          9. April,

            Do you have any advice on how to get rid of the worry of finances? You know how this has been an issue with me. It CONSUMES me. I’m constantly bombarded with thoughts about our budget. The crazy thing is we are doing great! We have no debt, we put money into savings every month, and we both work.

            I guess the reason I worry is that I’m super black and white with money. I see it come in and go out. I know how much we are allowed to spend each month, if we want to put a certain amount in savings each month. My husband wants to save, but he is also very relaxed when it comes to things I think are wasteful. For example, today he had to order books for his class. It came out to be ridiculously expensive. I know that if he had just looked on Amazon, instead of straight from the publisher, than he could have saved so much money! HE also is constantly buying stuff at gas stations (sodas, coffee, candy) and we would save a lot of money if I just bought it at the store. He says he needs this to help him quit tobacco (BTW- He’s been tobacco and nicotine free for 5 weeks!!! Woo hoo!). I get so stressed when I see money is wasted. I’m a coupon, find the bets deal, kind of girl. He’s more of a pay-for-the-convenience kind of guy.

            We have set a system where I handle the budget. We get a certain amount of our own money each week to spend as we please and then the rest goes on the credit card which we pay off each month. I inform him of the budget before the weekend on Friday (how much we have left) and Monday we briefly discuss it right after the weekend. The problem happens when something comes up, like the textbooks, or if he wants to do something fun and spend more money, it stresses me out so much! I know that if we go over a certain amount, we will have to pull form our savings to pay for the credit card. I don’t want this and he doesn’t, but if we had to pull from savings, we would be more than fine.

            Honestly, I really don’t understand why spending money causes so much anxiety in me. i wasn’t always like this. In fact, I was in cc debt when I met him. We have a system set up and we are doing good. I guess I just don’t always want to be the person in charge, but at the same time, when my husband took over once, he wasn’t very good at it.

            I really don’t think that there is really anything that can be done, it is more of me having to change my perception of it. We have a system. We are doing fine. I am just different with money than he is. Maybe I wish he was more responsible and less wasteful, but I know I can’t change him or nag him to be this way. I’ve prayed and prayed for God to take this worry away. But I think He is telling me I need to work this out.

            This is some of the things that I have heard from Him: Just because you husband is one way and you are another way with money, doesn’t mean he is wrong and you are right. Just different. He works hard and feels the right to treat himself and pay for convenience for his hard efforts, so he doesn’t have to worry. You do the same, but in a different way. Do not tell him what he can and cannot buy. Simply just tell him the budget and then let it go. If you go over, allow him to deal with the consequences of it. If you are constantly trying to micromanage him and dealing with the consequences of his mistakes, he will never learn and grow. Allow him too. You are fine. It will be fine. Money is fleeting. It does not go with you. It comes and it goes. You could lose it all, and you will still be fine, because you have me. It is an illusion. If you continue to try to control this, it will only push him farther and cause you distress. Let it go.

            It has come to the point where i can’t even enjoy going out to dinner or receiving a gift because I think about it. The thing is, when it is just me (when I was single), I don’t mind spending money on things for myself. It is only when I’m with someone that I get nervous about it. Maybe then it really still is about control?

          10. LinseyAK,

            I think you are hearing God correctly. So when you feel that fear and anxiety – realize that it is not from the Lord. It is from the enemy. He wants you to freak out because if you do, you can destroy your trust in God and you can destroy your marriage.

            God is able to provide. Even if all of our retirement is wiped out and our savings. Even if we lose our jobs. God is still sovereign. We can still trust Him. He will still provide.

            Our comfort and security HAS to be in the Lord, not in our bank account or how many dollars are saved.

            Continue to take your thoughts captive for Christ. Continue to listen to what God is showing you. Continue to seek to trust Him. And, if you get a chance, please read Answers to Prayer by George Mueller to put things into perspective – how God is able to meet the financial needs of those who seek Him first and His glory alone.

            Much love!

    2. Linsey:

      I am so very sorry to hear about your friend :(. I cannot imagine what all her friends and family – and her – are going through now. I hope she knows the Lord and I pray for comfort for her and her loved ones. I also pray that you will get the opportunity to spend the time with her, taking care of her and making some memories in this difficult period.

  6. Good morning,
    It has been a rough few months. I feel like every time my husband and I make progress, I am slammed with the reality that he is “done”. Instead of disrespect and control, I feel like when I take a tiny step towards him he shuts the door even tighter. I have done, I think, a pretty good job with removing disrespect and most of the control, but am realizing that some things may be controlling without me even thinking about it that way. I am letting go of him but am so incredibly fearful of him leaving forever. I am very close to the Lord and He is truly my savior, but this fear gets to be so overwhelming! I KNOW God will take care of me and my kids and I KNOW he’s working on my husband, but life has to move forward and its so hard when I don’t even know what tomorrow will bring. My counselor and my godly friends do not believe he’s leaving, at least anytime soon, or he would have already. But how do we live like this? He’s polite to me and great with the kids, and I miss him so much. Even today, instead of calling me to discuss a more complicated situation with our home, he just wanted me to text it to him. It’s like he can’t handle me being nice to him. He’s expressed that he doesn’t understand what’s going on with me.

    This blog and the comments from other women are so inspirational. I have read several of the posts and comments 3 or 4 times over the last few months. I know I’m idolizing him. As soon as he moves towards me even just a little, I get such relief and happiness, but then crash when it doesn’t continue or he withdraws. I don’t know how to stop wanting the marriage to heal and for him to take leaving “off the table”. When he makes motions that seem like he’s sticking around longer, it relieves so much pressure and anxiety. Those of you who have been in this type of situation, what helped you relieve the anxiety of him leaving? I just want the time available to help him see my changes and for his eyes to be opened and his heart to be healed.

    1. Trying,

      It is great to hear from you! ❤💜❤

      You are welcome to search these words for posts that may be a blessing:

      – husband idol
      – fear
      – contentment
      – insecurity
      – security
      – even when marriage is healed I can’t go back to old ways
      – closeness
      – oneness
      – LMSdaily (her posts are very helpful)
      – stop pursuing my husband
      – a fellow wife (her posts would be very helpful)
      – FreeinChrist

      My experience with my own life and many other wives’ experiences are that until we deeply deal with idolatry of our husbands, things don’t really fundamentally heal.

      Your spiritual healing will come first. Then, in time, you may see more healing for your husband. But the goal has to be for you to love, know, and please Christ. Any healing to your marriage will be a side effect of the healing you receive in Christ.

      Much love to you! Praying for God’s wisdom and His greatest glory in your life! ❤

      1. God Is so great. I have been praying about how I can turn my self to God when my husband takes baby steps so that when my husband retreats I will not crash. I have been praying about ways to help myself cognitively stop idolizing my husband. I get the idea, but I needed something concrete to start. So God answered me today.

        I have often thought about little miracles as God’s little hugs from above. When He puts the right reading or verse or person in my path, it’s a hug from Him. Well today my husband did something nice–itty bitty teeny tiny–but as my heart started to soar towards my husband, I realized that it was one of God’s hugs from above. It doesn’t mean we’re fine or will we be for a long time, but it was God’s way of letting me know HE is working on him. Even if he leaves, God will still be here giving me hugs from above. It takes my thoughts to HIM doing it, not my husband. HE is in control and HE is here for me…always and forever. God is great.

        1. Trying,
          This puts such a smile on my face and joy in my heart. YES! God is the one you need. And He will never fail you or forsake you. Humans will fail us. But God never will. He is the only one who can love us the way we really need to be loved and who can connect with us at the deepest level 24/7.

          I’m so excited about what you are learning! Thank you very much for sharing with all of us. I know it will be a great encouragement to the other ladies, as well.

          Much love!

    2. Dear Trying,

      I am in the same situation. My husband said he was done in January. I found PeacefulWife in February. (Thank you very much April for creating this site.)

      I lost my connection with God during my college years. With April’s site, I have started to find peace and contentment in God.

      I am going through all the same feelings you are going through. I’m on an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been working quite hard on the “win him without a word”.

      My husband had started to soften, and I was beginning to feel like he would not go through with the divorce. Last week, I attempted to ask him what he was thinking, and if he continued to want to go through with the divorce. He said he wasn’t sure what he thought. I didn’t push further, but the next day, I could tell he had withdrawn again from me. I really was calm and quiet when I asked him his feelings.

      I became quite anxious again and fearful. I just feel like I can pop with emotions and turn into a crazy train.

      You ask how to get through the anxiety? When I feel like this, I get on the floor and pray to God to give me strength to get through the feelings. I pray for calmness. Then I go back to April’s site, and look through some articles. I always seem to find just the right article that gives me strength. I thank God for that sign. I go on a walk, and there is always some thing I see that reminds me that God is watching over me. I thank God for that sign. It brings me peace. The idolatry of my husband and our marriage is what causes my anxiety. Remembering God will make me strong enough to get through whatever outcome gets me through the anxiety.

      One hour of the day, I think I am strong and prepared for the worst. Then one hour later, I might start becoming sad thinking my husband is going to leave me. When that happens, God finds a way to make me calm so that I don’t freak out when I am in the same room with my husband. I want so much to just know the answer to my question – will my husband stay or leave?

      He’s still in the same house. We still sleep in the same bed. I calm myself knowing that God gives me hope. God tells me it will take time. I calm myself knowing that whatever does happen, good or bad, is part of God’s plan to bring both of us back to him.

      I’ve worked hard to see my sins. I am working hard on not continuing to commit those sins. God has given me wisdom to see that I can not control what my husband feels, and that I can not control what my husband has done and is doing. I cannot fix my husband’s problems. Only my husband and God can do that. By letting go and giving control back to God, I have found peace, acceptance, and love with God.

      Thanks April and all the other wives who have posted articles and comments. Your faith has helped me get closer to God. We are all worthy of God’s love.

      1. NewlyBorn,

        Wow.

        Thank you so very much for sharing about your story and for offering hope and encouragement to Trying. 🙂 What you shared is so beautiful and powerful!

        How I praise God for what He is doing in your heart!

        I personally suggest that it is probably best for a wife not to ask what a husband is thinking about regarding the future in a situation like this. I know that what all wives want in this scenario is closure, security, a guarantee that he will stay. Or even, a quick “‘rip off the bandaid’ and just tell me that you are leaving so I can begin to move on without you in my life.”

        That is not how men work. In my experience, whenever a wife in this situation pressures her husband for commitment, things begin to fall apart again. But when a wife waits patiently on the Lord and doesn’t press her husband, things often continue to soften and heal. He has his own issues to deal with and his own skepticism at the changes in you. He wants to see that they are real. And he doesn’t want to feel controlled or pressured.

        But I believe God has a purpose in all of this, too. For all of us, whatever our situation in life, He will put us in positions where we must learn to live with uncertainty and get comfortable with it, learning to rest in His love, sovereignty, and provision no matter what may happen. Honestly, this is the path to spiritual maturity and there is no way around it, that I know of. The trial may be different for different ones of us, but the lesson is the same.

        “Will I learn to trust God and rejoice in Him, thanking and praising Him in the midst of great uncertainty? Will I learn to be at peace in the midst of facing my deepest fears?”

        Embrace the uncertainty. Embrace the unknown. And embrace that if God is there with you in the future, you will be more than okay.

        I love what you are learning.

        I pray that Christ will continue to be formed in each of us. Yes, it is painful. But it is SOOOO worth it! HE is worthy!

        Much love!

        Praying for God’s continued healing for you both in Christ first, and then for your marriage for God’s greatest glory!

        1. Thanks April! And NewlyBorn!
          Our situations do sound similar and I agree that the anxiety is the worst and I would love closure, but only if it’s him staying! I agree with April that when I have “had” to push the issue of what he’s thinking and what he’s planning on doing, it always goes HORRIBLE. It’s like he strengthens in his resolve that’s it’s over. I don’t ask anymore. Last time I asked if he was leaving and all he could do was huff and throw his hands down. I saw this as progress :)! He couldn’t say he was.

          This blog has been a wonderful resource and, like you, I feel that when I get on God leads me right to where He wants me to go.

          I have been trying really hard to give him space and let him pursue me. That’s just really started but even the itty bitty thing he did today was more “pursuing” than he’s done. It’s my hug from God–that He is working on my husband, not that my husband’s ok. It gives me such happiness and peace to feel this today. I was able to enjoy my Holy Thursday with my kids and just felt God’s arms around me all day.

          Happy Easter!!

          1. Trying,

            Love this. So thankful to see some baby steps toward healing. That is awesome!!!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing. I especially love that you realize where your love ultimately comes from and how you are resting in God’s love. That is the best!

        2. Thank you so much for the way you worded this. It’s definitely true that I just want to know what is going to happen and am not waiting patiently. I’ll keep working on it.

          1. NewlyBorn,
            Your husband feels a lot more safe emotionally when you don’t pressure him. He needs time to know that he is safe. That has to be okay. You can be calm and secure because your hope is in Christ primarily. You don’t have to have guarantees from people. You serve a sovereign Lord who is able to work through the free will of people in amazing ways to accomplish His good purpose and His glory in the lives of those who love and trust Him.

            Waiting Becomes Sweet

            Much love!

  7. April, this blog cannot be a better reminder for all of us at this special time of year. The risen Christ is coming soon! I was told a long time ago that women have the power to either help or heal a man by the words she chooses. Since Christ has soo much patience and forgiveness with me, I must remember to offer that same blessing to my best friend. Men feel like heroes when they see their wives happy. Although this is not the case nor possible to hold 24 hours a day, it truly is about finding the Joy in the Risen Christ. Joy is an Inside Job and it takes work to find joy when things around you are not going well. But once you dwell in the secret place of the Most High, you want to take up permanent residence there. I look to find it and feed off of it so I can best arm myself against spiritual warfare. When my heart is feeding off His vine, then my husband’s actions- when they disagree with mine- don’t appear so detrimental. I stay in His light and do not let my husband steal my Joy. Easier said than done at time, but it is what I strive for! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SWEETNESS and also your wonderful book. Hope one day you write another one!

    1. Jennifer Thomas,

      I love what God has been shown you and that you have been able to find that secret place with the Lord. That is what I long for all of us to experience! The goodness of God! What a blessing!

      I am finishing up my second book in the next few months – The Peaceful Mom. Hopefully it will come out this fall or winter.

      Thanks so much for the encouragement.

      Much love!

  8. Thank you April for humbling yourself and being so transparent and real with us here on your blog. I know that any post is going to be a washing of my soul because I am always drawn closer to Jesus by your encouraging words! As you know I am fighting daily to strengthen my marriage and found so much similarity in some of the posts above. Women who are walking my walk and clinging to Jesus every step of the way. You always make it sound so easy just to let things go and sometimes when I am in the middle of conflict with my husband it is so difficult for my flesh to do that. My mind races with thoughts like, ” Why do I always have to be the stronger one? Why can’t he just love me for who I am and not analyze every little thing I say?”

    Today we are starting the process of marriage counseling again. I can honestly say I feel very unsettled about it but will go because I know it’s the right thing to do. I’m praying for strength and Gods peace.

    I am trying in the strength of the Lord to put these 25 encouragements into practice and I know God will be blessed through it even if my husband is not.

    Be blessed!

    1. Emily,

      You are most welcome. I sure wish I had a resource like this 23 years ago when I first got married. And 8 years ago when I began this journey. It is so helpful to have a mentor and to be able to ask questions and get feedback from a woman who has been on this journey for awhile longer.

      I’m so glad that you find encouragement here. That is an answer to my prayers. 🙂

      There is profound wrestling to be done before we get to the point of trusting the Lord. It is not easy. It is painful. We have to come entirely to the end of ourselves and realize that we can’t live the Christian life on our own. We can’t be good enough. More trying hard doesn’t help – in fact, it makes things worse. We have to get to the place where we realize that trusting ourselves is the scariest place to be and that trusting God is the best place to be.

      It felt like I was jumping off of a high spiritual cliff when I decided to stop trying to control other people and my life and I decided to trust God instead of myself for the first time. I was terrified. But how grateful I am that I didn’t spend one more minute trusting self. It is a journey. Much like growing from a baby into an adult. There is one baby step at a time. We will continue to grow and be refined and there will continue to be painful trials, but the more you trust God and His Word, the more you realize how that is all you want to do. Nothing else matters. Nothing else satisfies. Nothing and no one else is sovereign. Eventually, He changes your desires so you only want Him and His glory. No matter the cost to yourself. That is the place we all need to be. 🙂

      If you are willing, God will take the disagreements and misunderstandings between you and your husband and use them to refine and prune you to conform you more and more to the image of Christ. God will take care of your husband. He has a similar journey to take. But it will be different from yours. For now, just focus on what God calls you to do. That is where His healing and power is – when you allow Him to get rid of anything toxic in your thinking, mind, and soul, and you allow Him to build Christ in you.

      You can’t do this in your strength. I can’t either. It is totally impossible. This is about resting in what Jesus has already done and letting His power have total access to every dark corner of your life.

      Here are two post that may be a blessing –

      Why Do I Have to Change First?
      A Wife Asks Why It Seems Like the Wife Always Has to Change First

      How did the counseling go?

      Yes, obedience to the Lord is its own reward no matter what our husbands do or don’t do. 🙂

      Much love to you! Praying for God’s healing and spiritual deliverance for you, my dear sister!

      1. April,

        Each time I read a post or response I am so encouraged!
        Our counseling session was amazing! God is so good. Truthfully, I was dreading it because I just didn’t have it in me to emotionally talk about all our issues again. The Lord was so faithful in that He gave our counselor wisdom and instruction in how to counsel us. She had us watch an hour long video together, called “The Truth Project.” It was humbling in that the speaker went back to the basics in how and why God created marriage and it is a reflection of His relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church and leaders of the church. This threesome union was designed to never be broken. Wow! The way it was presented really was eye opening to how God views the sacred union of marriage and how when we don’t take that union seriously we actually cause God to grieve and cover His holy alter with tears, Malachi 2.

        I was humbled and broken and so was my husband. Without Christ our marriage has no hope. We both verbalized a commitment to Christ and each other according to Ephesians 5. We will follow up with her again soon. We need the acountability.

        My eyes were opened to my sin and need for more of Jesus in my life. My hope is in Him to change me and teach me how to respect my husband even if my husband does not follow through. God gave me a glimpse of His Glory yesterday and I am overwhelmed at His love for me! It is so sad how the enemy is trying to ruin what God created for His glory and our pleasure.

        Happy Easter! Praying for you and this valuable ministry, without it I may have given up. I will be visiting frequently for help with respecting my husband.

        Blessings!

        1. Emily,

          That sounds like an amazing video. Thanks so much for sharing about it. It sounds like something many, many believers could benefit from. I’m so thankful for what God revealed to you through that video. Yes! God’s design is to have a living display of the gospel in our marriages for all to see that will draw people to Jesus. Marriage is about so much more than my husband, myself, and our children. It is about the kingdom of God and about exalting His wisdom, His design, the gospel, and bringing many into His kingdom by our godly example.

          I’m really excited about what God is doing in you both! That is awesome!!!!! PRAISING GOD with you!

          If you want to talk some more, just let me know. I will do all I can to point you to the healing, truth, and love of the Lord.

          Much love!
          April

  9. Hello dear brothers and sisters,

    I have been busy with all kinds of things, both good and not so much: isn’t our “pilgrim’s progress full of giants and blessings, I am so glad I my heart to be walking each day, closer to Our awesome Lord!

    A man’s perspective:
    This is not a sacred song but I believe, though some men might deny it, that we all experience moments that are expressed in this song:

    I can’t stand to fly
    I’m not that naive
    I’m just out to find
    The better part of me
    I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane
    I’m more than some pretty face beside a train
    And it’s not easy to be me
    Wish that I could cry
    Fall upon my knees
    Find a way to lie
    About a home I’ll never see
    It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive
    Even heroes have the right to bleed
    I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede
    Even heroes have the right to dream
    And it’s not easy to be me
    Up, up and away, away from me
    Well, it’s all right, you can all sleep sound tonight
    I’m not crazy
    Or anything
    I can’t stand to fly
    I’m not that naive
    Men weren’t meant to ride
    With clouds between their knees
    I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
    Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
    Only a man in a funny red sheet
    Looking for special things inside of me
    Inside of me
    Inside me
    Inside me
    Inside of me
    I’m only a man
    In a funny red sheet
    I’m only a man
    Looking for a dream
    I’m only a man
    In a funny red sheet
    And it’s not easy
    It’s not easy to be
    Me
    Songwriters: John Ondrasik

    So, and I know that our dear sister Peaceful Wife has said this implicitly in another lovely post, but I would ask all my dear sisters to: be kind.

    My brothers and I do struggle. And while it is not easy to say this, being held inside the love of a wife is a wonderful thing. It is beyond physical as those sisters who are mothers know.

    Now, please be warned, certain men will not want this, because they struggle to let their heart be open. In that case: be kind from more of a distance.

    I am not saying this is easy. But marriage like our walk with Jesus is a rich path full of giants and gems, is it not?

    Bless you sister April and all my brothers and sisters,
    Jesuscentreoflife

  10. Dear April
    Thank you for this post. I am just beginning the process of being a godly wife and find it hard. I have started reading Love and Respect (just like you did) and it is really eyes opening, and I have only read half of it so far. Every disrespectful attitude he describes in the book is something I regularly do or have already done with my husband. I also try to pray but I have decided to change just a few little things for the moment. It means not raising my voice, not yelling at my husband and trying to express my feeling in a clearer, poised manner. I know that if I make it too big, too soon, I won’t be able to make it. Does it seem like the right approach to you?
    Contrary to my previous approach (which didn’t work), I’m mainly concentrating on God and myself because I don’t like the woman I have become. I’m no longer focusing on saving my marriage.
    Yesterday, something happened which left me disoriented.
    My husband was trying to fix the bathroom tub and, in doing so, he sullied some or our sheets and part of the flood. When he saw that, his first reaction was « I can’t do anything good » and then he started sobbing. Really sobbing, like a child who had just hurt himself. He was sobbing so loud that I could hear him from the other side of the apartment. Our 5-year-old precious little girl came to him and told him « it’s okay, it’s not a big deal » and she gave him a kiss.
    While I thought our daughter was being adorable, I couldn’t help but think « something is wrong her ». It lasted at least 20 minutes.
    Just so you know, I have never seen my Dad cry, not once. So I’m not used to it.
    I decided to remain quiet and leave him alone. But deep inside of me I felt contempt for him, real contempt. I felt unsafe, stressed, and I resented him for being such a crybaby. Remaining quiet was the best respect I could give him, really.
    After the episode, we talked about it and I told him that I didn’t mind about the sheets and the stains on the floor. Because, to me « people who never try never fail ». But I could see that to him, it was hugely important. Then I politely told him that it was not very virile and that I felt unsafe. He said « yes I know, you want a man who is a family leader and can provide you with security ». And then I said « you have all it takes in you to be such a man ».
    I’m sure I was disrespectful in many ways during that episode but I’m confused. What would a godly wife have done in such occasions? Tap his hand and comfort him like a mother with a child?
    The mere idea of it makes me shiver. I’m asking God to show me what was wrong. But I’m full of doubts. Is my husband emotionally healthy? Am I safe with someone like that?
    He can be extremely nice but also extremely impatient and get upset about absolutely anything. We regularly fight with harsh words (no physical violence)
    I am really lost. I need your insights. Thanks.

    1. Laura,

      Not only is being a godly wife hard, it is totally impossible in our own human strength! Yep. This is a difficult, painful, arduous journey. BUT – in Christ there is every reason for hope! First He shows us the depths of our sin and depravity, our incredible need for a Savior. And then He provides all that we need as we trust Him. He gives us the power to do what we ask as we yield fully to His Lordship and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us to be more like Jesus. 🙂

      I agree with getting rid of the disrespectful things you are aware of first. And that sometimes if you change too much at once, it can be hard on your husband and family, maybe on yourself, too. This journey is a lot like “eating an elephant.” You have to take a bite or two and chew on that and digest and apply it. Then you take another few bites. You can’t absorb it all at one time.

      Your daughter handled that situation really well. I am super proud of her! SOOOO precious!

      Men are allowed to cry. They often don’t in our culture, because they have often been trained that “crying is for wimps” and “real men don’t cry.” But you know what? Kind David shed tears quite a few times over various things. And Jesus wept over his friend who had died. He also wept over Jerusalem because they wouldn’t turn to Him and be healed.

      There are things that grieve God’s heart. Sin. Death. Suffering. Oppression. These things should grieve our hearts, too.

      It is not wrong or a sin for a man to cry. Yes it is unusual for a man to cry over his frustration like this. Many times men are more likely to yell than to cry because yelling is seen as “more manly.” I don’t really think yelling would have been any better, myself.

      I’m glad you are being honest about how you felt about what was going on. It is interesting to me that you felt contempt and resentment. I think we have expectations sometimes that men should be super-human. Or we think they are so strong, or they should be so strong, that they have no weaknesses, no insecurities, no fears, no anxieties. But that is not reality. Men do battle these things, just like women do.

      In that moment, if being quiet is the best respect you could give him, that would be better than saying something hateful or spiteful.

      I like what you told him about the sheets. That was awesome.

      I wonder if what he may have needed at that time was encouragement and inspiration?

      He already was beating himself up. He already felt like a failure as a man that he couldn’t fix the tub and that he made a mess – from what you are describing. He was already drowning in shame.

      What I would imagine he needed was to know that you believed in him, to know you have faith in him, to know that he was not a failure as a man just because the sheets got messed up.

      I don’t know where your husband is emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. I don’t know his background or history. I don’t know his scars and wounds. But I know he has them. And for some reason, this situation triggered some of his deepest insecurities and anxieties about his abilities as a man, possibly. Or maybe there is something major going on with him medically, spiritually, or emotionally that we don’t know about.

      No, you don’t treat him the way a mother treats a young child. But you can give him a boost out of the pit. You can throw him a rope, a life-preserver, a ray of hope. You can let him know that you don’t judge him and that you know he will learn and do better next time. You can let him know he is safe with you and that you will permit him to be human.

      I’m not sure why you don’t feel safe with him because he was so upset with himself. I don’t know if this has happened before? I don’t know if he is on medications or if he is extremely stressed or exhausted. I don’t know if he was sick or in pain.

      But I do know that you can find your security in Christ no matter what your husband does or does not do. And I do know that in those moments when a husband feels like a failure, a godly wife has an incredible opportunity to bless her husband, to boost him up to soar on wings like eagles, and to be willing to try again, to be willing to believe in his abilities.

      The harsh words have to go, my precious sister. Words have the power of life or death. Be sure your words only speak life to him. Don’t speak death to your husband. We can speak curses on our men – and those kinds of words are powerful spiritually. They produce death in our husbands’ lives and in our marriages. Our words can cause catastrophic damage.

      Part of being a team is that when one person falls, the other is there to help him up.

      Have one or both of you been talking about divorce?

      If you are interested, we can talk some more about how you can speak life to your husband and how you can encourage him to be the godly man and leader God calls him to be in healthy ways.

      Much love!

  11. Dear April
    Thank you so much for taking time to answer my message. I agree with everything you say. It makes a lot of sense to me. Encouragement and inspiration…Now that you mention it, I remember my husband’s eyes as I was talking to him after the “crying” episode. They were begging for some kind of encouragement and confidence in him as a man. He seemed so heartbroken!

    I guess Jesus is doing exactly what you describe in your message: showing me the extent of my sin. It is painful and also shameful but at the same time I feel like He is doing it graciously, with all the love He has for me. That is new to me. I feel energized although I know that the road will be long.

    It is true that in our culture, crying is not very well perceived when it comes to men. I like the Biblical examples you give me. It is true that Jesus cried but, to me, the cause was a noble one. I could never resent a man for crying over the death of a loved one for instance. But crying out of frustration is difficult to understand for me. And as you said, it is unusual for a man.

    That is why I said that I felt unsafe. Although crying is not a sin, seeing my husband like that triggered some of my deepest insecurities. It really made me wonder if my husband could ever be the leader of our home, in a Godly way. For a moment, I felt that I would reluctantly have to be in charge, although I know it is not Biblical, because of him being so emotional.

    To answer some of your questions now: yes, it has happened before. Not often but I would say 3 to 4 times in 7 years of marriage. And yes, he screams sometimes too (I do too, so I cannot really blame him for that). When it happens, I usually lash at him and make fun of his masculinity. He’s been on antidepressants for a few years now, is seeing a therapist and It is actually helping him. He doesn’t get along with his parents who, he says, used to constantly put him down.

    He has a lot of insecurities and is very emotional, for everything. On top of that, he’s a perfectionist. While he loves his children, he doesn’t seem to allow them to fail either and punishes them way too often (not physically). All of this makes me feel very unsafe as well. I am beginning to wonder if he doesn’t have a more serious mental problem but I am not a doctor so I don’t know.

    Spiritually, we both were Christians when we met. He was very involved in the church, and then little by little, we both stopped going. This is a cause of huge disappointment for me also, because I thought we would be involved in the Church as a married couple.

    Divorce… yes, it’s come on the table a few times, especially by me. I know it’s heart-breaking but when I use the word, it’s always out of despair, to get his attention. When we fight and I say that I’m done and I want a divorce, he stops talking and starts pursuing me. It’s the only way I have found to attract his attention and to feel loved. But now, it doesn’t work anymore cause he knows there is no follow through. Also I was wondering: he forgets everything I say to him, even if I said it 5 minutes ago. Can it be a result of his stonewalling me? Or be caused by his medication? He seems to have a very selective memory of what I say.

    You are absolutely right about Christ. He has to be my safe place. I don’t really now where to start but all I know is that deep down in my heart, I want to be a Godly wife and person, regardless of what my husband does or doesn’t do. Any help will be welcome (for example, if you have good books to recommend, apart from your articles which are already so powerful…)

    Thank you April

    1. Laura,

      Gary Thomas describes that a wife is like a mirror to her husband. She reflects back to him the man he is. Husbands tend to believe their “wife mirrors” are accurate. When we berate our husbands, criticize them, are negative toward them, we doubt them, we mock them, we insult them… many times our men absorb those messages and believe them. My husband did. 🙁

      He believed all the things I told him about that he was so far from God and I was so near to the Lord. He then drifted farther and farther away. He believed my insinuations that he was a failure, that he was a terrible husband, that he wasn’t loving enough, that he was just not enough in any way for me. He absorbed all of that and became more and more what I reflected to him. I had no idea that was what was happening, of course. I thought that my telling him all of his faults would get him to fix them and get better. But my approach spoke death to him, not life. He became a shell of the man he was before we got married. 🙁 He became very withdrawn, depressed, discouraged, and filled with shame.

      Yes, this road will be long – BUT! You are so right that even as God reveals our sin to us, He does it graciously and lovingly. He wants to heal us, not destroy us.

      Your husband can find healing in the Lord. And if he is going to find it, I believe it will start with you finding healing in the Lord first. And you know what? I didn’t think Greg could ever lead me either. I thought he was too far from God. But years later, Greg told me that when I stopped the negativity, the putting him down, the bossing him around, the acting like he couldn’t handle things, the taking over myself, etc… that it was like someone took then static off of the speaker with God’s voice in his heart. And then, as I began to understand how to affirm him, truly respect him, honor him, and follow him, he said it was like someone put an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in his heart.

      Now, he has become more and more the man of God I always knew he could be. But I could’t verbally drag him into it. I couldn’t verbally bully him and force him into being close to God. That approach was destructive. As God changed me, though, and as my approach changed, I became a safer and safer place for Greg. And he began to have hope that he could be a godly husband and father. He began to believe that God had not forsaken him and that he could hear God’s voice. With our men, our genuine admiration, encouragement, respect, and inspiration are the most powerful motivators there are. We can be instruments of Life and instruments of the Holy Spirit rather than instruments of death and destruction – giving our mouths to the enemy to use to attack and accuse our husbands and to try to defeat them.

      You don’t have to be in charge just because he had a moment of frustration and weakness. You can acknowledge to yourself that he is human. He is not perfect. He has his insecurities, too. Just like you have yours. But you can take these fears and insecurities to the Lord. He has to be our only source of security in this life. As you look to the Lord for your security and as you are unshakable and full of God’s peace and joy – you will help your husband find that same thing in the Lord, too.

      If he screams, do not lash out at him. Do not make fun of his masculinity. Those are words of death. And because you are one flesh, when you speak death to your husband, you speak it to yourself, too. He needs to see that he can become the man he wants to be and that you will support him in that rather than stomp on him and drown him.

      He already has the voice of his parents in his mind – putting him down. And he already has Satan speaking to his heart, telling him he is inadequate and he is not enough. Here is a post about that. If we don’t realize what is happening, we will cooperate with Satan instead of with the Lord and we will let negative, hateful, bitter thoughts dominate our hearts and then we will attack our husbands, too, with our words. May it never be!

      I would like for you to promise the Lord that you will not bring up the word “divorce” anymore to your husband. And that you will not bring it up to God, either. Again, that is speaking death. Those are words the enemy wants you to use so he can steal, kill, and destroy in your marriage and family.

      I can teach you how to draw your husband to you in godly ways. You don’t have to resort to a nuclear bomb that will destroy him and the marriage to try to get him to pursue you.

      Would you like to do a spiritual check up with me?

      As you find the healing that Christ has for you, God will then pour His power through your life into your marriage and your husband’s life to bless them, as well.

      Much love! I am so excited about all that God is doing and all He is about to do in your life!
      April

      1. Ladies,

        If a husband has insecurities, the WORST thing we can do is insult their masculinity. I know that is what many women do in our culture today. But that approach would be similar to a wife who is insecure about her body or appearance and then her husband insults her beauty, her figure, and her femininity. A husband telling his wife she is fat and ugly when that is her worst fear would NOT help.

        We have SO MUCH POWER in our husbands’ lives to destroy them or to build them up.

        The most destructive thing a wife can do, in my view, is to attack her husband’s masculinity.

        The most powerful thing a wife can do is to learn to treat him with genuine honor and respect. As his deepest masculine needs are met, he has more strength to become a more godly man.

  12. Thanks April, just so you know, I am from France, so there is a time difference between our two countries, don’t worry if it seems a bit long for me to answer 🙂

  13. Dear April
    Thank you for your words of wisdom and for telling me about your experience with Greg. I realize now how wrong, hurtful, disrespectful and ungodly I was (and still am). It’s heart-breaking. Really. And when I’m ready and have made significant progress, I will ask my husband for his forgiveness.
    Just a few minutes ago, I promised God I would never use the word “divorce” again, as you suggested. I hope I will not fail because it has become an easy option for me. The good news is that now I am full of hope and I want to know Jesus more. One thing I didn’t mention about the “divorce” is that every time I’ve put it on the table, I’ve have had some kind of day dream or vision the day after about me being so miserable without him. Strange isn’t it? And I always tell myself never to use it again. But I have never promised it to God. I have now and I intend to stick to that promise.
    You are right, if my husband finds healing in God, it will start with me first. I feel blessed that Jesus has chosen me. I really don’t want to be this angry, bitter, harmful woman anymore.
    I would love to do a spiritual check up with you, thank you very much. I am willing to follow Christ through your guidance.
    Thank you April

    1. Laura,

      I love where your heart is right now. I see brokenness, humility, a desire to draw near to God, grief over your sin. THAT is the best place to be in the whole world! When we are “poor in spirit” before the Lord, He is drawn to us and begins to work miracles. 🙂

      Here are some posts you may want to read before apologizing to him…

      Apologizing Stories
      Why It May Be Best to Keep (this journey) a Secret for Awhile

      Praise God that you have promised Him that you will never use that word again. Greg and I made a vow not to use that word before we got married, and we never have threatened it against each other. That word is so destructive. If you want to build your marriage and see your husband heal, remember that the word “divorce” is a nuclear bomb that will set you back years and years in the progress you want to make. It is not worth it!

      I’m so excited that you realize the blessing of being the one in the marriage whom God has woken up first! Some wives are bitter about that and want their husbands to change first. But you are so right in seeing this as the biggest gift and blessing. Jesus is about to change and transform you. It will be painful sometimes – but SO worth it! WOOHOO!

      Here we go with the spiritual check up – take your time in answering:

      1. What is your relationship with Christ?

      2. What do you most desire in your relationship with the Lord?

      3. What are your greatest fears?

      4. What are your most precious dreams?

      5. What are you doing to feed your soul?

      6. What things do you pray for?

      7. What is your desire for your marriage at this point?

      8. What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your daughter?

      Much love to you!

      April

  14. Thank you so much April for your encouragements and for the spiritual check-up.
    I will take the time I need to answer it with humility and honesty.
    Is it between me and God or do I send the answers to you ? (which I have absolutely no problem doing :-))

    1. Laura,

      If you would like me to help you with resources dependent on your answers, you may send the answers to me. If you want to send them privately, you may send them to my Contact Me page. Or you may share them on the blog in the comments section. Whichever is best for you. 🙂

  15. Thank you April
    I will definitely send you the answers in order to receive your help and guidance. I’ll see which option is best when the time comes 🙂

  16. Dear April
    I just wanted to tell you that I have sent you my answers to the spiritual check-up via your contact me page.
    Love.
    Laura

Thanks for commenting! Let's be respectful toward God, our husbands, and one another.

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