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17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

The way you approach your husband makes a massive difference in the way he will respond to you. There are unhealthy, destructive ways to ask your husband for something that is very important to you – and there are healthy, productive ways.

A FEW TRUTHS ABOUT MEN (and really, we women feel the same way, too):

  • They like to be the hero and the good guy, not the bad guy.
  • They like to feel respected, not like they are being ordered around or treated like incompetent children.
  • They respond well to genuine respect and admiration, not control, hostility, condemnation, negativity, or a critical spirit.
  • They don’t like to be thrown under the bus.
  • They may need some time to think about things, that does not mean they aren’t willing to do something.
  • They may want to share their concerns and offer possible compromises and that needs to be okay.
  • They may have different priorities – that does not make them “wrong” necessarily.
  • They need freedom to do things their way, not always to have to do absolutely everything our way (i.e.: with how they do chores, how they parent, etc… There may be some differences and that can be a good thing to teach our children more balance and flexibility.)
  • They often are willing to sacrifice for us, but they still have feelings and they don’t want to be unappreciated.
  • They like to do things of their own free-will and not feel forced into things.

 

Let’s say that you want to take care of your sick mother and you want to ask your husband for his help with the children for a week. We’ll use this specific example, but the principles we’ll talk about apply to almost any time you want to ask your husband to do something for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ The ultimate goal is for us to walk in the power of God’s Spirit, wisdom, love, and power as we approach our men. He can give us the specific wisdom we need in each situation.

UNHEALTHY, DESTRUCTIVE, ย UNGODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him over and over again to “be sure” he is really going to do this for you:
    • “You told me last week that you would take care of the kids for a week this summer when my mom needs me. Are you still going to do that?”
    • “I asked you two weeks ago and last week, but are you still sure you are going to keep your word and help me?”
    • “I know I asked you 3 times already, but I just really want to be sure you aren’t going to leave me hanging.”
    • What I am saying with this approach is, “I don’t trust you. I don’t believe you. I don’t respect you. I don’t think you are a man of your word. I don’t respect the answer you have given me before.”
  2. Make demands/Act entitled:
    • “You will take care of the kids this week for me.”
    • “You owe me and you are going to take care of the kids this week.”
  3. Give him directives:
    • “You better do this for me.”
    • “You need to…”
    • “You have to…”
  4. Insult him:
    • “If you were a real man, you would…”
    • “I know you usually don’t care about my mom at all or about what I want, but I need your help.”
    • “You have been such a sorry husband in the past when I needed you, but I need you to come through for me now.”
    • “I know how passive-aggressive you can be when I ask you to do things. I just want to be sure you are really going to help me this time.”
  5. Don’t let him ask questions or share his wisdom, concerns or ideas. Don’t let him have a voice.
  6. Refuse to give him any choice but to do what you want him to do.
  7. Be completely inflexible even when you really do have room for some flexibility.
  8. If he talks about that it is going to be inconvenient for him, assume that means he won’t do it and that he is selfish..
  9. Accuse him of sinful thoughts before you even know what is really going on.
  10. Rescue him from his commitment if he says that it will be challenging.
  11. Try to control him.
  12. Freak out on him
  13. Try to put him on a guilt trip.
  14. Play the martyr.
  15. Complain or argue.
  16. Resent him.

These approaches show your husband that you don’t respect or trust him and that you don’t have much faith in God. These approaches hurt your witness for Christ to your husband. They also hurt your fellowship with the Lord and rob you of the spiritual power that is yours in Christ.

 

HEALTHY, RESPECTFUL, GODLY WAYS TO APPROACH HIM:

  1. Ask him once if he is willing to do something (generally).
  2. Respect his answer to you and that if he said, “yes,” he meant, “yes.”
  3. Expect him to keep his word in a calm, respectful way.
  4. Treat him like you believe he is a man of his word and you have faith in him.
  5. Ask respectfully, directly, and vulnerably – with a pleasant tone of voice and a smile:
    • “Honey, I would really like to take care of my mom right now for about a week because she is sick. I know it is a lot to ask – but it would mean so much to me if I could go be with her.”
    • “Baby, I want to take care of my mom. She is so sick. I know it isn’t much warning. But I would appreciate it so much if you would please take care of the kids so I could go.”
    • “I would like to try to stay with my mom for a week this summer when she has surgery. Would that be okay with you?”
  6. Give him time to think through things if he needs that.
  7. Let him ask any questions he may have.
  8. Be willing to compromise, if possible.
  9. Be appreciative of anything he does for you because anything he does for you is a gift of love from him.
  10. Rest in his love.
  11. Rest in God’s love and sovereignty over the situation, knowing that if the Lord desires you to be there with your mom, He can and will work it out. And if, for some reason, you can’t be there, it may be that God has shut that door in His wisdom.
  12. Be at peace in Christ.
  13. If he says it will be challenging:
    • Thank him for his willingness to help you.
      • “I know that will be a tough week. Thank you so much for helping me. You are my hero!”
    • Agree and sympathize that you are asking for quite a bit if you are asking for something big:
      • “Yes, I know this is a lot.”
    • Don’t jump in to make a decision for him.
    • Let him think through it and let him tell you what he can or can’t do.
  14. Be sure to show your gratitude with words for what he does for you.
  15. Also show your gratitude with actions in ways that are meaningful to him:
    • Try to squeeze in some extra time for intimacy before and after you go if possible if he would like that.
    • Try to have things in order as much as possible ahead of time.
    • Don’t complain if the house is not picked up and cleaned to your standards when you get home.
    • Be willing to pitch in when you get back to help get things caught up with a joyful attitude.
    • Ask him if there is anything you can do to thank him.
  16. Be willing to do some big favors for him, too, sometimes.
  17. Give him the freedom to say, “No.”

If he does decline, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. Respond graciously and take your request to the Lord, asking Him to provide a way for what you need/want if it is His will.

IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT YOUR WAY

  1. Count the time of trial as joy.ย (James 1:2-8)
  2. Don’t let Satan set up shop in your heart.ย (Eph. 4:26-27)
  3. Refuse to be bitter. (Matt. 6:15)
  4. Invite the Lord to use this situation to reveal His glory and to teach and prune you.ย (Heb. 12:7)
  5. Thank God for your husband – whether the answer is yes or no. (1 Thes. 5:18)
  6. Praise God that He will use this ultimately for your good (Rom. 8:28-29).
  7. Submit to the Lordship of Christ.ย (James 4:7)
  8. Seek His will far above your own – die to self.ย (Luke 22:42)
  9. Ask God to work in your husband’s heart for His purposes to be accomplished. Perhaps God will use your godly response to help teach your husband to be a better leader?

IF THINGS ARE REALLY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Keep in mind that there may need to be a period of time when you don’t ask for much if you have been extremely disrespectful, needy, smothering, negative, critical, controlling, entitled, or demanding for a long time. A husband in such a situation may need some time to heal before he is open to doing favors for you again. My suggestion is to do all you can to get rid of anything disrespectful and/or sinful on your end of things while you give him some time to recover emotionally and spiritually from his wounds.

As he begins to heal and as he begins to feel safe with you again, he will eventually probably be more open to you asking for things respectfully. This will take time. There will be a transition to moving toward a healthy way of relating. The more dysfunctional and broken things have gotten, the more time it will generally take for healing to begin to take place. Sometimes there is a quiet phase for a few weeks or months at the beginning of this journey (on a wife’s end) that can be necessary to stop the “hemorrhaging” in the marriage. Be willing to be the more spiritually mature one and be willing to let God transform you first.

  • If your husband has gone so far as talking about divorce, check out this post.
  • If your husband tends to be the negative, perfectionistic, controlling one – check out this post.
  • If there are extremely serious issues going on, (your husband is a compulsive liar, he is not mentally well, he has major drug/alcohol addiction going on, he is abusing you, he is involved in serious unrepentant sin like adultery, he is involved in major criminal activity, etc…) please search out for godly counseling in private with a godly, experienced counselor. The things I share in this post may not always apply if a husband is not in his right mind or is truly bent on harming his wife.

RELATED:

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

23 Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

Godly Femininity

 

 

 

124 thoughts on “17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

  1. This is a really good post, especially given the situation involving a sick mother. I’m not so sure how respectful and patient I’d be in a situation like this if he were to decline or complain. But if we are walking in the spirit and trusting God anything is possible. I want to work more on walking in the spirit instead of trying to force a smile, force sweet words…through the flesh I am unable to do that and it comes across as very fake and almost condescending. So doing these things really do require a heart change and a heart completely and utterly yielded to Christ. Thanks for the post April.

  2. Regarding “I know I asked you 3 times already…, but I just really want to be sure… you arenโ€™t going to leave me hanging.โ€
    Perhaps this is true? >>What I am saying with this approach is, โ€œI donโ€™t trust you. I donโ€™t believe you. I donโ€™t respect you. I donโ€™t think you are a man of your word.โ€ When your husband has people pleaser tendencies and has says yes, without thinking it through? When your husband has weasled out saying, “I forgot!” Then understandably a wife would be anxious…

    1. Marked Wife,

      If a man has tended to quickly say yes in the past without thinking it through – hopefully the couple can talk (before the wife asks for something) about that he does have the freedom to say, “no.” And then, a wife will want to be sure to give him the ability to say, “no,” to things without her freaking out. In time, as he begins to realize that he is safe and he has a choice, he should begin to answer more truthfully or to put more thought into his answers.

      Does he genuinely forget? If a husband seriously has difficulty remembering, perhaps something can be written on the family calendar or a shared calendar on the phone with an alert maybe the week before and the day before.

      There can be a time of transition where the dynamics are shifting after things have been unhealthy. In these times, (and at all times, really), a wife can focus on being filled with God’s Spirit and listening to His prompting about how to approach things.

      Much love!

        1. A wife might also say respectfully, if her husband says he forgot, “That makes me feel pretty sad. I was trusting you to help me. But I am sure that you will help me figure out a solution. I know you’ll come through for me.”

          1. If a husband fails to carry through on his word, I would very much recommend a wife take some time before God to pray and be sure her spirit is right and she is hearing Him clearly before she responds.

            1. God may use a wife’s Spirit-filled response to her husband’s failure to keep his word to train the husband in leadership and to help him grow. He may also use that trial to test and grow a wife’s faith in Himself.

  3. April. I love this: “God may use a wifeโ€™s Spirit-filled response to her husbandโ€™s failure to keep his word to train the husband in leadership and to help him grow. He may also use that trial to test and grow a wifeโ€™s faith in Himself.” I confess to feeling like God isn’t protecting me from harm. I pray for faith, faith and more faith!

  4. Hi April (and all),

    I’d like your interpretation of a situation that happened yesterday between me and my bf. I was sad because we wouldn’t get a full weekend to spend together in the same city for a very long time. Even thought I tried not to, I started to cry and my bf asked what was wrong. I explained why I was sad, and he was very sweet and loving and almost immediately said that he would stay in this city for the weekend that is two weeks from now (he works in the same city that I go to school but he often goes back to his hometown to visit his parents on weekends). I was very grateful and appreciative and told him several times how much it means to me that I will get to have another weekend with him.

    When he left my dorm to go back to his place, he called his mom to let her know that he would be spending that particular weekend in this city with me instead. She started screaming at him that he was an ungrateful son and that he just treats his parents’ home as an Airbnb that he doesn’t have to pay for.

    When they hung up, he called me and ranted about how sick and tired he is of feeling caught between me and his mom and that he feels like he can never do anything right because one of us is always sad or angry. His comments appeared to assign equal blame to both me and his mom and they made me feel very hurt because I DON’T think that I am part of the problem. It is extremely rare for me to cry because I can’t see him, and I never yell at him, insult him, or accuse him the way his mom does. From my perspective, the problem is not that he can’t make his girlfriend and mom happy simultaneously; the problem is that his mom is manipulative and controlling and responds in sin if she doesn’t get her way.

    But after he finished ranting and we hung up, he called his mom and told her off for yelling at him and said that she has to understand if he has a life outside of visiting them! She even said she was sorry and apologized to him for her reaction.

    So on the one hand, I am still hurt because of the comments he made, including the implications that I could make his life so much easier if I didn’t have any needs or wants. But on the other hand, maybe he did understand deep down because he stood up to his mom.

    What do you think?

    Love,
    Flower

    1. Flower,

      It is a really tough position for a guy to be in when he feels like he is making his girlfriend/wife unhappy or his mom unhappy. He is also still pretty young and still figuring some of this stuff out, I would imagine. It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong at all in your approach.

      I think it is possible that he was venting to you – probably because he didn’t feel safe to vent to his mom. I don’t think you have to own that.

      I’m glad that he let his mom know how he felt. She needs to know how he feels if she is being controlling. I am also really proud of his mom for apologizing. This is probably a new world for her, too, letting go of her son more and more and sharing him with you and watching him leave to become an adult more and more. Sometimes, moms of college age kids are also going through peri-menopause at the same time, which sure doesn’t help.

      I don’t think that he doesn’t want you to have any wants or needs. I think he wants to be with you. I think he was feeling too much pressure and feeling overwhelmed and wasn’t sure what to do.

      You don’t have to pressure him about coming that weekend. You can wait and see what he chooses to do. I’m so glad you haven’t been pressuring him or trying to control him.

      If God leads you to, you could say something about that you want him to feel free to choose to do what he believes is best and that you don’t ever intend to force him to be with you. That you don’t want him to feel this kind of pressure. You can ask what you can do to help the situation.

      But honestly, it sounds like he worked things out and handled the situation. I don’t know that you would necessarily have to say anything or defend yourself at all.

      It is not wrong for you to be sad if you can’t be with your boyfriend.
      It is not wrong for your mom to be sad if she can’t be with her son.

      But how you handle that sadness does matter.

      I’m proud of the way you handled things from what you described. Do you have a sense of what God may be prompting you to do? How have things been between you since then? Do you need to give him some space?

      Much love and a huge hug to you!

      1. Thank you so much!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you are right that he was venting. I sent him a text message saying that I didn’t want him to feel pressured to do what I want and that I want him to feel free to make the choices that he thought were right, and asking what I could do to help. Then I’m just going to let it drop unless he brings it up. Funnily, I don’t think I need to give him space, because even though he was distant and emotionally withdrawn last night, he has called me twice today while he’s been at work and has sent me a lot of sweet texts. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think he’s trying to make up for the distance of last night.

        Thanks again! Hearing your perspective was really helpful.

        Love,
        Flower

          1. When my bf came to see me this evening, he said he was sorry for how he acted yesterday (I did not hint at ANYTHING so it was all him) and said he wanted to make sure I knew how much he loves to spend time with me!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so happy that this worked out well and I am blessed to have him in my life. Thank you for helping me to understand his perspective – I think it helped me not to respond in anger.

            Love,
            Flower

            1. Flower,

              Sometimes we this we need to hammer our men when they do something wrong. But – they usually know already! I’m SUPER proud of you for the way you handled things. And I love the happy ending you got to experience – and how you didn’t have to apologize or have any regrets! Isn’t that the best? ๐Ÿ™‚

              Much love to you!

  5. April,

    I have been seeking God to help me be more consistent in this almost 2 year journey of submission. I had another “relapse” you could say the last 2 weeks and I have been asking God to help me see the triggers. God showed me as I repented to my husband that these times start with me feeling hurt by him. My response has been that I withdraw, put up walls, my attitude suffers and I desperately seek control again.

    Then as I read this blog this morning and followed some other blog links you shared. God lead me to see that my husband is not attempting to hurt/reject me, but help me. I have to learn how to receive correction and rebuke – to process it with Jesus. As I read this comment you made “Your walls are not really protecting you, my sister. They are destroying intimacy between yourself and Christ and between yourself and others. When we are vulnerable, we can get hurt. True. But you think you are protecting yourself, and yet, you are constantly hurting now. Your walls are actually repelling God and people from you and creating more pain. They donโ€™t help you. They hurt you.”

    Such revelation for me – God is opening my eyes and helping me grow! It is amazing how God works, this was written in October of 2015 and was my answer today! It is now on post-its around my house! I wanted to thank you for your time and wisdom you put into my life and so many others.

    1. Patty Walker,

      I am so proud of you for going to the Lord and asking Him to show you what triggered this stumbling. That is awesome! And I am thrilled that you were able to hear from God and see what happened and dissect the whole thing. What a huge blessing!

      Gary Thomas in “Sacred Marriage” says, “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against.” And boy, is that ever true! When we are feeling hurt, Satan will present us with lots of tasty looking temptations to hold on to fear, resentment, bitterness, control, sinful anger, etc…

      I am so excited about what God is showing you! That is awesome!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you so much for sharing. It brings me unspeakable joy to see God bringing healing and light-bulb moments to my sisters.

      Much love!

    2. Patty,
      Thank you for sharing your heart! It sounds like we struggle with similar sins and coping mechanisms. I love the truth you shared about our walls not really protecting us. I needed to hear that too! I am in a peaceful place right now, but know where my past temptations and struggles have been and now I’m going to look up that post to “have my armor on.” God Bless, and stay strong for Jesus!

  6. Thank you April for your blog and commitment to Christ.

    In response to your “asking a favor” blog…I did have one area of stumbling that I wonder if you might be able to provide clarity. What do you think is the best way to respond when respectfully following his lead yet he creates stumbling blocks.

    For example:

    Recently my husband asked me to join him for an evening event for his company. It was a convention-type scenario. He asked me to join him so I agreed. I stood by his side and greeted his customers. The evening went smoothly. However, one customer said “How did he manage to get you to come with him tonight?” My husband responded by saying, “The only reason I invited her was to get a ride home.” I was shocked, hurt, and a bit embarassed. Then, as the night went on he proceeded to drink with his co-workers and acted pretty foolishly.

    I have not said anything to him since I was angry. I thought it better to pray and be more peaceful before I talked with him about it. Now, a day or two has passed…and honestly, I am really not sure how to approach this with him in a respectful way. He is a awesome Dad, husband and provider. We lack nothing and he is often very loving. He is a strong leader, CEO and has a pretty big ego. Anyway, I just wondered with a personality like his I don’t want him to see me as a doormat without a backbone. However, I also don’t want to start a huge fight. I figure, in the future, I will just politely decline his invitation to attend these events. What are your thoughts?

    1. Gwen,

      Ugh.
      You know what? I can feel your pain on that one! That would hurt.

      I am guessing he maybe thought he was being funny and said that to make the customer laugh? But it was at your expense.

      Lots of people. Maybe even most people say things like this all the time in our culture. They think it is funny. But – it hurts our spouses when we belittle them like that. Even if it was supposed to be a joke.

      You certainly could decline future events respectfully. And if he asks why, let him know that you felt disrespected by his comment.

      Or, as God leads you, you may decide to address it sooner. How have you approached any similar issues in the past? How did things go?

      Not sure if you have seen my post, “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin,” but that may be helpful. And the post, “To Speak or Not to Speak” may be helpful.

      It doesn’t have to become a huge fight. You can simply share your feelings with humility, vulnerability, and respectfully.

      Is your husband a believer in Christ?

      Sometimes something like, “I was honored that you asked me to go to the convention with you for work. I really enjoyed meeting your customers. There are so many people who respect you and really look up to you in the business world. You are a strong leader. You are also an amazing husband, father, and provider. There was something that happened that night, though, that has me feeling sad. May I please share it with you sometime when you have a chance to listen?”

      If he says it is okay to share. You may just simply want to say, “When that customer asked how you got me to come with you. I am sure you were just joking. I know you wouldn’t purposely try to disrespect me. But it hurt when you said you only invited me so you could get a ride home.” And then, that may be all you need to say.

      Of course, do some more praying. See if you believe this is how God may desire you to respond. Ask Him to give you wisdom about the right time. Ask Him to help you know if you should wait or address it.

      How are you doing with forgiveness? It would be easy to let some bitterness crop up over a comment like that. But none of us can afford any tiny bit of bitterness. It is so toxic!

      I’m really proud of you for the way you want to respect and honor your husband. Let’s trust God that He will use this situation ultimately for His glory in your life and in your marriage. And I pray you will be open to all He desires to show you – that it may be a time where your faith is greatly built up and strengthened as you look to the Lord for help and wisdom. Let’s praise Him together for all He is about to do!

      Much love!

      1. Gwen,

        If he tries to start an argument after you share that this comment stung… you don’t have to argue back. You can simply affirm that you trust he had good intentions toward you, but stick with that the words made you feel sad/hurt. Thank him for listening.

        If he continues to try to argue – you may be able to just give him a hug and say, “I thought you may want to know how those words felt to me. I know you will be more careful later.”

        Of course, I believe God can give you exactly the words you need at exactly the right time. That is my prayer!

  7. This post is so helpful. I have been really praying and trying to use self control when approaching my husband lately. He is still walking his own walk but my attitude and responses are so much better thanks to the Lord’s healing and putting these types of spiritual truths to practice.
    Yesterday, when he was choosing to be angry and moody, I was able to stay joyful all day!! That is a huge accomplishment for me because I usually react in a negative way to his bad moods and it brings the whole house down quickly! Not on the Lord’s day!! I smiled and acted loving and kind. It was my choice how to respond and I had a wonderful and peaceful day. I even respectfully asked my husband this morning why he was in a bad mood yesterday and he said he didn’t even know. I didn’t want to pretend that it didn’t happen, but the tone I approached him in was just right. He apologized and I forgave! Praise God!

    Each day as a grow stronger and grow in the Lord I pray I will continue to be able to respond in a Godly, submissive way. So thankful for the encouragement and support on this blog!

    1. Emily,

      This put the biggest smile on my face. ๐Ÿ™‚ WOOHOO! PRAISING GOD WITH YOU!

      That is AWESOME that you didn’t allow your husband’s bad mood to drag you down. No one has the right to steal the peace, joy, and fulfillment that Jesus provides for you every moment. You can choose to let people take those things from you. But you can also choose to keep them! I love that you saw you had the choice how to respond. And it seems like you were able to maybe even see that his issue wasn’t necessarily about you. It was his issue.

      How wonderful that you were able to talk with him briefly this morning. And that he apologized and you forgave him! WOOHOO!!!!!!!! That is awesome!!!!!!!!

      As you continue to seek the Lord humbly and yield to His Lordship, He can and will absolutely give you more and more victories like these. It is the greatest blessing to know and love Him.

      Thank you so much for sharing! This made my day.

      Much love!
      April

      1. The further I go in my walk with Our Lord, our only Hope, the more I realize that being respectful to all those around us is not weakness, nor is it necessarily yielding to others, it is possible only through strength in one’s conviction in Christ. Respect is not lying or cowering to make others happy. Or speaking nicely to make others happy.

        1. JesusCentreofLife,

          Right! It is about our strength of character because of the Holy Spirit living in us – and our godly love for others. It comes from a place of great spiritual strength in Christ, not a place of weakness. And no, it is not people pleasing, or being nice. It isn’t about others being happy with us and avoiding conflict at all costs. It is about seeking to please Jesus at all costs.

  8. April, thank you again for blessing us with the benefit of your wisdom and experience.

    I have been spending much more time with God this week and feeling quite filled much of the time. Thank you for holding my hand at the weekend when everything broke down. God has given me much more patience with my husband, which has led to a peaceful household. I do feel resentment rising at times because he is not taking action on the financial front. We have to pay a large sum of money, many thousands, in several weeks’ time and as it’s getting closer I feel like every day I’m walking a step closer to the cliff edge. I have sweats and nightmares. I’m watching too much TV and browsing just to avoid that feeling.

    My question is about faith.

    This financial miracle is just one of three major miracles we are asking of God right now, although there are many more things that threaten us and some while much worse don’t have a deadline. I have been praying for these miracles but I lack faith – not because I don’t believe God can or wants to, I just don’t know. These things haven’t been resolved to date and are getting worse. I am confused because we have suffered for so long and things are now coming to a head. These are no ordinary consequences: failure could mean deportation, homelessness, prison, forced separation. I know that God has done many things. But virtually everything that we have done in good faith has gone horribly wrong, shockingly wrong. I can see that God has intervened at times with vital cash injections but my husband has used it on different priorities, like buying himself a computer, but failed to use that computer to bring in an income. My husband has blocked many things and omitted to do others, things that could have avoided these calamities. I have been confused and not always taken the right action in the moment. I have also been very disrespectful at times because I feel I just can’t take any more.

    This week I have been respectful but started to slip this morning as I can’t just take his inaction and all this responsibility. I don’t want to fall backwards. I want to lay this whole mess down before God fully, but if I’m honest in me there’s a strong doubt that God will resolve the situation because 1) this financial situation has been worsening over four years, 2) the legal situation hasn’t been resolved in three years, 3) a hearing has been set that apparently cannot be changed which will mean he will have to leave the country, and we have only been able to postpone such things in the past with money for a good lawyer, and 4) my husband is on course to fail an exam that will mean everything we had planned (and, I believe, God had planned) for our time here, a possible fruit of this suffering, will collapse. He took the exam before and convinced me that God supported his passing it and he failed miserably.

    I am not a natural worrier, I am quite laid back except when there is urgency. But this situation creates very real worry and fear. It weighs down on my heart and overwhelms me, leaving me ineffective and unable to take the action needed to try to resolve this situation. There is a guillotine over our head. God has done many miracles in my life. Yet how can I maintain genuine faith when things keep getting worse? Even the organizations that protect people from persecution have started persecuting us. I kid you not. I wonder whether God is separating us or even letting us live the effects of our disobedience. I can’t get clear answers because all I do is cry when I speak to Him. We have been completely shamed before our enemies for several years and I pray that we finally be lifted up in His glory.

    Would welcome your insight, thanks for your prayers and words which always strengthen me.

    love, Hope x

    1. Hope,

      What I am hearing is that you believe that there must be specific outcomes of all of these situations in order for you to have faith in God? It sounds like you would like God to rescue you and your husband from a number of poor choices, specifically a number of your husband’s irresponsible or poor choices, perhaps?

      You want God to fix the financial situation, the legal situation, to keep your husband in the country, and for God to get your husband to pass a test that he is maybe not able to pass. You would like to be spared from the consequences of your husband’s decisions. And you would like him to be spared from the consequences of his decisions.

      I am going to ask you to think about things in a very different way, my precious sister:

      “Lord,
      You see the mess we are in. You know the poor decisions that have been made. You know the consequences we are facing. You know that my desires are that my husband will change, he will become responsible, he will help me fix the financial situation, that he won’t be deported, that he won’t go to jail, that he will pass this test, that we will be together, that we won’t have to experience legal consequences…

      However, that is my will. Those are the things that look best to me at this moment from my perspective.

      I lay down my will.
      I lay down my desires for us.
      I lay down my fears.

      I trust that You will work in all of this major mess to accomplish Your good purposes in my life and in his life. I don’t know what is best. But I know that You do. I will trust You to lead in my life and in my husband’s life in the way that will ultimately bring the most good spiritually and in light of eternity. I will rest in Your love and provision. If we need to go through these trials and if we face outcomes that I did not want to face, I will trust You.

      Perhaps these things are what it will take for my husband to humble himself before You and truly turn to You? Perhaps this is what it will take to bring the healing our marriage needs? Perhaps this is what it will take to provide safety and protection for me? I don’t know. I can only see a little snapshot in time. But You are outside time and space. You already know what will happen. You are already there. You know what both of us really need in the long run.

      I will trust You with all of this. I receive Your peace. I receive Your joy. I will wait on You. I know that You can answer in many ways – Yes, No, or Wait. And that each of those answers are good gifts. Your, “No,” is just as precious and just as much of a blessing as your, “Yes.”

      Use all of this to work in my husband’s heart to draw him to Yourself. Reach him by the power of Your Spirit.

      I yield myself to You. Use these trials to grow my faith, to teach me anything You want to teach me, to accomplish Your good purposes in my life, to help me grow in spiritual maturity, to lead me in the path of the center of Your will for my life.

      I know You can do miracles. But more than miracles, I want Your will. More than miracles and being rescued from our decisions, let us experience what we need to in order to become more like Christ.

      Amen!”

  9. Thank you April! I am aware that I am not thinking right at the moment due to the pressure which Is why I wrote. My husband had convinced me about what God wanted. Maybe God does want those things but they’re not possible right now. You have been not only a great help but very very specific – thank you and bless you in your life and ministry! I will get to work! x

    1. I should add that I’m not blaming my husband for the whole disaster. I’m sure our lack of harmony has contributed greatly, and this situation has been caused by the enemy but exacerbated by him and also myself. x

    2. Hope,

      The things you and your husband want are good things in many ways. But – sometimes God has something much bigger in mind. Often it is about our hearts for Him, our spiritual growth, us being conformed to the image of Christ. I think there is a lot of power in being able to lay all of your desires, fears, and expectations before the Lord – trusting Him to do what is best, instead of telling Him what He should do. Of course you can ask for what you desire, but – more than that – seek His will and His glory, whatever that may be. This is not easy to do. It goes against our human wisdom. But it is the place of rest and peace that is available to us as we trust the Lord completely and allow Him to lead us.

      May God use all of this to bring about His glory in both of your lives in ways we can’t begin to fathom right now. I’m so thankful that He can take what Satan intended for evil, what people intend for evil, and even our mistakes and sins – and use all of that for our ultimate good and His glory as we trust Him.

      Much love!

      1. Hope,
        If you were to be separated from your husband – if he had to leave the country or if he had to go to prison – what are your fears?

        Much love to you! I am praying for God to work in your lives in mighty ways to accomplish His good purposes for you both.

        1. Hope,

          I have put several of your comments with much detail into “unapproved” status so that they won’t show for your privacy.

          These are some pretty big concerns and fears. Do you believe that you are able to entrust each one to the Lord at this point?

          1. Thank you April, that’s wise. Yes, they are big, awful, too big for us to solve but not too big for God. I just need to work on my walk with Him as you have always said so that I know when to act. I HAVE to entrust them to Him. If not, I will continue to deteriorate. We are just simple imperfect people trying to do good in the world and God is clearly training us to be warriors, and we are failing, miserably! Much love!!

      2. I have praying all day and looking at things not turning out how I thought. God is already giving me some new perspectives. It will be interesting to see what God does with this whole mess and turns it into something wonderful. I just hope we can keep close enough to hear him and not panic. I have adapted your prayer slightly and printed it out and will repeat it until this nightmare is over! Thank you and bless you for your ministry and friendship. Much love x

  10. My husband and I have had many issues over many years and we’ve always fought to make it work. I never had a strong physical attraction to him even in the beginning, it was all on his side. I do wonder if this has led to some disrespect on my part. When we disagree, I do not have that hormonal pull towards him that would normally make making up easier. As a result of all the problems any intimacy or trust I had for him have been destroyed. Is there any hope for a marriage with a one-sided physical attraction? I would be interested in your thoughts!

    1. Onmyknees,

      The amazing thing, in my view, is that as we focus on the good in our husbands, and as we learn to respect them in genuine ways, our attraction to them often grows a lot.

      Many women don’t have a hormonal pull to have sex when there has been a disagreement. We usually need emotional connection to feel that desire.

      But as you allow the Lord to transform your thinking and as you change your self-talk, I believe you can be attracted to your husband and that God can heal the intimacy in your marriage.

      When you say your trust in him has been destroyed – do you mean that he has been unfaithful or has broken your trust?

      Check out this post.

      And also, please check out some of the posts I linked in the post above about disrespect and respect. I believe they may be a blessing.

      For women, attraction is all about our thinking about our men. As we think about good things about them, we often feel more attracted. As we focus on negative things, we often feel less attracted. For many of us, attraction isn’t even really visual as much as it is about emotional connection. I believe you can have attraction toward your husband if you are willing to change your thinking.

      Let me know if you would like to talk more about this.
      Much love!
      April

      1. Thank you April. No, he hasn’t been unfaithful, but he has hurt me deeply and betrayed my trust in many ways. And I have hurt him in return with my disrespect and anger at his treatment. My natural response it to reject him but I hate feeling so dead inside, and don’t like feeling bitter when I see couples in love or who even just get on. You’re absolutely right in what you say. When I had higher esteem for him, I was much more attracted. I will pray on this as I know that God isn’t happy at the distance between us, and we so want to have children, but children who are surrounded by love and shown a good example.

        Blessings to you, dear sister!

        1. Onmyknees,

          If you are interested, we can do a brief spiritual check up together – and I would be glad to share resources that I believe may point you to the healing that is yours in Christ. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Some posts that may be a blessing – you are welcome to search:

          – bitterness
          – fear
          – security

          And, in case you need these, you may also search for things like:

          – porn
          – confronting our husband’s sins
          – righteous vs. sinful anger
          – he doesn’t deserve my respect
          – my primary goal in marriage has to be this one thing

          Also, keep in mind that whatever is going on with your husband has a big impact on your walk with Christ, too. First, you will need to experience the healing of Jesus in your own mind, heart, and life. Then He will give you the power to pour healing into your marriage.

          Much love!

  11. April
    It’s been a while. Unfortunately nothing has changed for me. So we left off with you making it clear that I need to commit to absolute surrender. I read chapter 7 of absolute surrender again and I’m confused as yiu say its a choice I alone have to make but in that chapter it says it is God that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. And that He himself will work it it me, that He will help me find that place of true surrender. This isn’t happening.
    I’m despairing and frustrated and I haven’t moved forward at all it seems. And I read some old posts of about a year ago where I was in this same situation and you saying the same things.
    Then I’m ashamed to say that I start to question everything. Like maybe it’s easy for you to say all this as your marriage was restored. It doesn’t look like mine will be. He’s now talking of buying another house where I can live and he can live elsewhere. I don’t want to go into details on here. I’m back to sick, not sleeping, depressed unable to get up and do what I have to do. Lots of things have been happening here that are hurtful. My daughter was crying about us yesterday after church. The sermon was such that it was clear that Satan has a hold on this marriage and about temptations. I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my face so I had to get up and leave. I can’t get away from, this sadness. I’m thinking of talking to my husband about this and saying that I love him and miss him and this is not how I want our last years with our kids to be and that I’ll continue praying for us. I’ve had it in my mind to try talk to him for months now but haven’t heard clearly from God whether or not to. There’s been a few things like devotions that have talked about speaking out in faith but I still can’t tell if it’s a sign or not. 2 years and 3 months now of nothing. I can’t work out if it’s my fear holding me back or if it’s God keeping me silent. I just think the silence makes it easy for him and it’s just going to turn into another year and another year……
    I’ve read posts that should help me in this but nothing helps. I know that means my marriage and husband are still an idol. I honestly can’t seem to separate my love for him being an idol with how it should be. If I’m honest I’m still not happy for my marriage to end even if it’s Gods. will. I don’t understand how it could be His will.
    Im really struggling. He seems very unsettled and this talk of moving has me very insecure. I know where my security should come from. I promise I’ve been listening. I just don’t get it.
    Please pray for me. Though Lots of people pray for us but nothing’s any better. I feel I’m unteachable. Thick skulked or something. This feels like torture and I’m desperate for sweet relief.
    I don’t know what else you could possibly say to help me. You’ve tried so hard and for a long time. So I guess I need prayer.

  12. I know you haven’t replied but since I wrote my comment my husband and I had a small talk. He said he isn’t interested in a relationship with me. He said he was hurt for over 10 years and most people would have walked out by then and he doesn’t ever want to go back to that again. He said that even though I’ve made changes and improvements I’m still the same person and he’s still the same person and we never got along so it won’t be any different now. I asked him if he still loved me and he said he doesn’t know. Then he said he supposes that will always be the case but that it’s too late and he’s not interested in a relationship at the moment. He said my changes are too late for him. He said he doesn’t know if 5 yrs down the track he might be, but now he’s not. And he said if it’s too hard for me and the kids to live like this that we might have to “pull the pin now”. So in over 2 yrs absolutely nothing has changed or improved.
    We actually DID get along and had a lot of fun, as we do even now. Yes we fought a lot and my depression and anxiety made it worse, but it seems he has a stone wall up and he is so stubborn and refuses to see any hope. I asked if it was completely over in his eyes and he said he doesn’t know and that he can’t out his finger on it. (The problem I think).
    Do I have any right to have some hope in the fact he said “at the moment” or do I just concede defeat?

    1. Bel,

      It is so wonderful to hear from you. I love you dearly, my precious sister!

      Yes, you have been stuck for quite awhile. My heart aches over you. It is not that you are unteachable. I promise! I just think you haven’t been ready to make the commitment to trust the Lord wholeheartedly and to yield control to Him completely – even if it means your husband leaves.

      Yes, you do need God’s power to do this. But you also have to make a conscious choice. Does that make sense? It is not like you just sit there and God suddenly does everything for you. He opens our eyes to our sin. He opens our eyes to our unbelief and lack of faith in Him. He shows us we have our husbands or marriages or self as idols. And He offers to help us. But we do have to consciously wrestle with deciding to trust Him and deciding to tear out the idols. It is REALLY scary and painful at first.

      It wasn’t easy for me to decide to completely trust God. I was terrified. And I know that as you look at my life now, it may seem like I had a guarantee my husband would heal and change and my marriage would be restored. But I had no such guarantee. I had no promise that Greg would ever want to be in the same room with me again, that he would ever want to touch me again, that he would ever want to talk with me again or be close to me emotionally again. No, he wasn’t talking about divorce. And no, he didn’t have a drinking problem. But he was emotionally completely shut down and unwilling to engage with me or our children.

      I had to decide to trust Greg to God and that I would submit fully to God and do things His way not knowing if Greg would ever change or if our marriage would heal.

      At that point, you make a conscious decision to ask God to help you learn to be content in Christ alone even if your husband never changes, even if he leaves, even if things all fall apart, even if you don’t get the ending you want.

      That is the whole point of surrendering to Christ as Lord. You decide to trust Him – even though it seems very scary at first – realizing that putting your faith and trust in yourself, your husband, or your marriage is only destroying you spiritually and only destroying your husband and marriage. Whatever relationships we idolize, we destroy.

      The purpose of submitting to Christ in faith is not primarily to heal your marriage. That may be a side effect eventually. But the purpose is for you to know and love God and for you to be close to Him and to be healed in Him.

      I vote for you to give up looking to yourself, your efforts, or your husband for hope. And I vote for you to decide to look to Christ for hope. Even if your marriage is not healed. Even if your husband leaves. There is EVERY reason for hope in Christ. He can absolutely heal your soul. Knowing Him is the only path to real peace and joy. Because He IS peace. He IS joy. He IS hope.

      You can have Him no matter what your husband does. You can be unshakable in Christ even if your husband divorces you. It would be very painful. Yes. And you would want to see the marriage healed- in God’s time and in His way. But you can be content in Christ even if your husband leaves. You can respect his decision. You can respond with respect, dignity, poise, and self-control in Christ – once you fully trust Him and have the power of His Spirit. And you can entrust your husband into God’s hands for Him to work on him. And then you can wait patiently on the Lord to work in your life and in your husband’s life – knowing that God is going to make something beautiful of your life no matter what your husband may choose to do.

      I have been praying often for you. My primary concern is your relationship with the Lord. That is the biggest issue here. Not the marriage. And the second biggest issue is your husband’s soul and his relationship with Christ.

      Much love to you!

      1. April
        I guess you’re right. I’m not coping with the fact that my marriage may never heal. We both have big loving families and I am just hating myself and in so much pain that I did that to my husbsnd. I hurt him to the point where this may end. It’s excruciating to think of how I acted and things I said. I want so bad to go back and do it again and appreciate and love the husband I was given. It pains me to no end that he feels this way about me now. I just can’t get over him saying those things to me. I wish it was a bad dream.

        We DID have good times and lots of love though. Why can’t he remember those things? He only remembers the bad and painful things. He also is blaming it all on me. He said he told me for years what my problem was and I didn’t do anything about it and now it’s too late. But he did the thing that made me lose trust in him and caused me to become so jealous and anxious in the first place. Then it just snowballed. I just wish he would remember that and have some kind of understanding to my pain.

        From the things he said and the fact there’s been no improvement at all in over 2 yrs, can you tell me please if you still think there’s hope? Do you still see a hurting man who could still want a marriage with me? Or do you think it sounds pretty final? It really worries me that he is thinking of living separate to our kids. These kids love him and he adores them and I think especially for my youngest who tends towards anxiety, this will be just completely devastating to her. He knows this yet he’s still putting it out there as an option.

        I know you don’t want me to concentrate on that and just on my relationship with God but it is just so hard. I love and miss him and this just hurts too much.

        After he said these things and I was praying, I did feel a sense of complete hopelessness and my prayer felt different. How will I know if God accepts it as complete surrender and accepts that I do still have fear about him possibly taking my husband away to teach me this lesson? I confess my idols and fears and sin and ask for His help and forgiveness. I feel like I prayed in the most honest and open way i could. But today I’m still in pain and tears and can’t eat.

        I admit though that I can’t still grasp the concept of being so content in Christ that I don’t care anymore about living the rest of my earthly life alone with no one special to share it with and take care of me. I still don’t get that He hates divorce and has the power to reach my husband and change all this but it doesn’t look like it will happen.

        Thank you for your prayers and being patient with me.

        1. Bel,

          Wanting a healthy, healed marriage is a good thing. The dream itself is not a problem. The problem is if we are clinging more tightly to our good dreams and to the people we love than we cling to Jesus. When we do that, we destroy our relationships. Of course, your husband has his own sins, too, that contribute, as well.

          The general principals I have seen as I minister to wives are:

          – The sooner you trust God and do things His way, the better.
          – The longer you insist on holding onto your idols and fears and you don’t trust God and you don’t do things His way, the bigger mess and the more difficult it is to heal.

          God didn’t mess up your marriage. He has been extending hope and healing to you for at least as long as you have been reading here. But you have been too afraid to trust Him.

          Obviously, all of the problems in the marriage are not your responsibility. Just a few of the things I remember that you have shared since I have known you show me that he has sin in his life, too.

          It is convenient to blame all of our marriage problems totally on one person – the other person. Then we feel justified in our own sin and don’t have to face our own issues. Except that God doesn’t ever give us a free pass to sin. Not for any of us.

          If you will not trust God and do things His way, I don’t see hope. I see a woman who will continue to repel her husband.

          If you will trust God, I see a woman who could be radically healed by Christ spiritually and emotionally. And then, from that position of great strength in Christ, she might allow God to pour His healing into her family. Perhaps your husband will then turn to Christ at some point. I don’t have any guarantees of that.

          If we had a bunch of guarantees – we wouldn’t have to live by faith. And living by faith in Him is the thing God is most interested in us learning to do.

          Yes. This is VERY hard. I don’t ever intend to minimize the pain. Having a broken marriage hurts. Having a husband who doesn’t want to be with you hurts. Having a husband who is talking about separation hurts very much.

          But – having sin in our own lives hurts even more. Being apart from God and not having His power hurts even more than having a broken marriage. I know that you don’t realize what you are missing with God. But let me tell you, you are missing A LOT. Everything that matters the most!

          The only way I know of for a wife to help stop a divorce or help bring healing after a divorce is for her to do things God’s way.

          But you know what, my dear sister? As you decide to do things the Lord’s way and you yield to Him in total trust and faith, you will discover the real you. The new you in Jesus. The woman you have always wanted to be but couldn’t be. When you have God – you have the Greatest Treasure in the universe. And when you have Him, you can be unshakable no matter if your husband changes or not. No matter if he comes back or not. You will hurt over him. You will grieve. But God has so much more to offer you than your husband ever could. Not to replace your husband – but to be the central focus of your life.

          I don’t believe God is “taking your husband away.” I think you and your husband have made a lot of destructive choices for the marriage. I think your choices are what has hurt the marriage, not God. God loves marriage. He has been standing here offering healing to you. If you will seek Him first. He wants to completely transform your heart, your mind, your desires, and your thinking. He wants to give you a whole new Spirit.

          Then you will be able to see with His eyes, love with His love, pray with His desires in your heart, and allow His Spirit to pour through you to breathe life into the lives of those around you.

          In your own strength – you are powerless and hopeless to save this marriage. Yes. That is the starting point.

          You are also powerless and hopeless to save yourself and to please God in your own strength.

          Do you realize that the pain and grief you feel over your husband not wanting to be with you is a fraction of the pain and grief God feels when you don’t trust Him and don’t want close fellowship with Him? He misses you. He loves you. And it hurts His heart so much that you are still so far away. Still in the far country – when you could choose to come home to Him.

          Seek Him first. Trust Him to cause the rest to fall into place in His timing. He can make something beautiful of this mess. But you will have to decide to trust Him and do things His way from now on – whatever that may cost you. Whatever His will may be.

          Much love to you! I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life!

          1. Ok so what exactly do you mean when you say do things Gods way? I’m trying. I don’t know what else to actually do. I’ve practically begged God to show me and help me. I’ve prayed the surrender prayer. I’ve confessed that it may not be 100% with the right motives and to please forgive me for that and make me willing or whatever it takes. I’ve confessed my fear of it as sin and asked for forgiviness. I’ve told God that I’m completely broken here and completely useless and unable to fix this on my own. I don’t know what else to say or do. I’ve wrestled with it. I’ve cried and screamed and begged and told God I know He’s the only way through this. I see it. I know it. If it’s my fear holding God back from me I can only ask for that fear to be released from me. I know LMS still has fear sometimes and HH said he still had fear when he surrendered so I’m frustrated. And I bet you are too. You are probably wondering how else to get through to me.
            And absolutely I agree that I have made destructive choices but I’ve repented often and am ashamed of that and I just want a chance to make it right.
            I don’t get how God misses me and wants me close to Him. I mean I get it, but I pray numerous times a day, read my bible, your blog to learn more about Him, I go to church, I read devotions every day, I sing praises in the car and in my head sometimes. I am so grateful that I have a relationship with Him and don’t have tinge through this life without Him and without the knowledge of what age did for me on the cross. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
            Would it help to actually tell my husband that it’s not my desire but he can leave if he wants to? Does he need to know that?

            1. Bel,

              What I mean is being willing to lay down all of your dreams and expectations before the Lord and let them go, deciding to completely trust Him with the outcome without a guarantee of what that might be. Yes, if you are able to tell your husband that and you can mean it – I think that may be a good thing. Instead of continuing to cling to your husband and try to make him stay – respectfully let him go if that is what he wants to do.

              No, it is not ideal. Yes, it will hurt. A lot. BUT – you can’t make him love you. You can’t force him to stay and give you what you want. His love has to be his choice to give. What if he needs some space to be able to hear God’s voice and to heal spiritually himself?

              The priorities have to be:

              1. Your relationship and full trust and surrender to the Lord – not just saying the words, but meaning the words.

              2. Your husband’s salvation and his eternity.

              3. Healing for your marriage.

              But – all of these things will have to be in God’s time.

              So, a way you can do this is to pray something like (if you can mean it):

              Lord,

              You know my heart has been so full of fear. I have been terrified to let my husband go. I have tried to make him stay and make him love me – but that hasn’t worked. I have clung to him and he has often been my greatest desire. Please forgive me. I know that he can’t be God to me. He is not worthy of having my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Only You are worthy of all of myself. Only You can be my Savior. My husband is just another sinful human. He can’t be Jesus to me. He is just a broken man himself who is in desperate need of Jesus.

              I know that my fear has to go. This is painful. But I know it is what I need to do. Here are my fears, I lay them before You:
              – I am afraid that my husband will never love me again. But even if my greatest fear comes true, I am going to trust You with the outcome of my life. If he never loves me again, it will hurt, but I will let You heal my heart with Your love.
              – I am afraid my husband might leave and never come back. But even if this fear comes true, I will rest in Your love and provision. Your love is infinitely greater than any person’s love.
              – I am afraid my husband might divorce me. But even if he does, You have promised never to leave me and never to forsake me. So I will cling to Your love and Your promises no matter what my husband may do.
              – I am afraid my husband may never come to know Christ as Lord. So I want to set a godly example and show him how trustworthy you are and how radically You can change me. Perhaps you may use Your work in my life to draw him to Yourself. I want to be a willing instrument in Your hands.
              – I am afraid my husband may be very distant for a long time. But I trust Your sovereignty over my life and my husband and this situation. And if I have to wait, I will wait patiently and I will trust You completely.
              – My primary goal is to love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I want to know You more. I want to experience sweet fellowship and intimacy with You. Nothing else really matters in this world.

              I am not beyond Your reach. I receive today all of the healing You desire to do in me. I receive the Lordship of Christ. I humble myself before You and invite You to lead me in whatever way You know is best. I won’t run ahead. And I won’t lag behind.

              My husband is not beyond Your reach. I invite You to draw him to Yourself by Your power – to provide the spiritual healing and regeneration that he needs. He is not okay. He needs Jesus. Help me get out of the way so that he can hear Your voice more clearly.

              Today, I choose faith in You, Lord. I face my fears head on. I don’t like the thought of having to face my fears. But I will do this for you – because it is part of how I show my faith and trust in You. If You see fit for me to have to face my fears in reality, I know that I will be okay – more than okay – as long as You are with me. All I ask is that You give me Your power to face each challenge and that You might live through me so that I can be obedient and faithful to You. I want to please You more than anything. I will trust Your Word and Your love no matter what my feelings may say and no matter what my circumstances may be. Help me to take my thoughts captive for You. Help me to reject any lies I believe about myself, You, my husband, and anything else and help me to trash those and rebuild my faith, my beliefs, and my life on Your truth and Your Word and You alone.

              Amen!

              Much love to you!!!! And a huge hug!

              1. Bel,

                So you lay down your fears – decide to wait on God and trust Him even if things do not end up the way you want them to go – and you receive the good things God offers to you in Christ.

                This is not just about giving up your fears. You have to replace them all with the truth of God’s Word and then rest in His love and allow Him to speak to You. Receive His communication, His love, His Word, His promises.

                Not sure if that makes sense?

                Much love!
                April

              2. The place we want to get to is the same place where Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He faced the cross. Not just the physical agony, but bearing the weight of all of the sins of the world on His completely spotless and pure soul. The spiritual agony and separation from the Father was the worst part, I think, for Him. But even knowing exactly what He would endure, He prayed, “Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” And He was obedient unto death.

                That is the same place He calls us to be each day.

                “Yet not my will, but Yours be done.” And He calls us to be willing to be obedient unto death. Not all of us will physically be martyrs, although a number of us may be as persecution of Christians is intensifying. I know I have readers in over 200 countries. For the past 10 years, 90,000 Christians each year have been martyred for their faith – and that is a conservative estimate. That is almost 1 million martyrs for Christ in the past decade.

                Jesus calls us to lay down our lives for Him. He calls us to pick up our cross for Him. I may not be facing execution for my faith today – although I don’t know for sure. There could be a shooter that bursts into my church next week or into my pharmacy or the court room where I have jury duty this week. If that happens, my prayer is that God might give me the grace I need to be faithful to Him even if it means I lose my life for refusing to forsake Him.

                But maybe I am not going to face physical martyrdom today. Still, I am to take up my cross and follow Jesus. I lay down my will, my dreams, my goals, my plans, my wisdom, my needs, my desires… and I pick up God’s will, His goals, His plans, His purposes, His wisdom, and His desires.

                So, my prayers will change from things like:

                – God give me what I want.

                to

                – God give me what You want.
                – Change my desires to match Yours.
                – I only want to know You and love You more.
                – Help me be faithful and obedient to You no matter what the cost to me.
                – You are worthy of every sacrifice I could possibly give.
                – I yield myself completely and hold nothing back from You.
                – Let my life bring You the greatest possible glory – whatever that may mean for me.
                – Pour through me to bless many others in the Kingdom.
                – Use my life to bring as many others to Christ as possible.
                – Love others through me with Your love.
                – Bless others through me.
                – Let the things of this world become less and less important to me and Your holy things and Your plans be more and more important to me.
                – Change me to be more like Jesus – whatever it takes.
                – Bring a Great Awakening to our nation and to Your church here and around the world – whatever it may cost.

                Much love!

              3. Bel,

                Radiant and I are praying together for God’s deliverance and break through for you today. I believe you are VERY close! I know this part is hard. And scary. And painful. But staying where you are is actually even more painful, and harder, and more scary in the long run. There is so much freedom, peace, and joy awaiting you in Jesus as you decide to trust Him and let go of all of the results and outcomes of everything in this life. As you give all of yourself to Him, not knowing what awaits, He gives all of Himself to you. It is the sweetest thing to know Him in that way.

                Much love!

              4. April
                What a blessing it was to wake up to your message for me. I am crying like a baby. I woke yesterday with that horrible nauseous feeling of pain, fear and sadness of what damage I have done to my precious husband and I prayed as honestly as I knew how for God to create a new Bel with a new heart and mind as I never want to be the old me ever again. She was so destructive. I wasted so much of my life. I still prayed with fear and I don’t know if it was enough. I told Him everything I have is His and I want to trust Him with it all as I know He loves me. I don’t know if God accepts it. How will I know? I did lose that sick feeling in my belly after awhile and then it felt weird and strangely guilty to not have it.

                Thank you April and Radiant. I have just thanked so much God for you. People who have never met me but care so much.

              5. Bel,

                This is a totally different vibe that I am hearing in your comment than I have ever heard before. I hear a real desire to change. Yes, there will be some fear at first, but you move toward God in spite of it.

                That is AWESOME that you lost the sick feeling in your belly. The beginning of peace. Don’t feel guilty not to have anxiety and worry. That is a gift of God as you trust Him. ๐Ÿ™‚

                Get used to that feeling. It is going to increase a lot over the coming weeks and months.

                You are so very welcome. I am happy to do anything I can to be a blessing to you and to point you to all that is yours in Christ.

                Much love! Sending you a huge hug!

              6. April
                Also, does letting go like this, if I truly did it right, mean that I don’t now pray for my marriage to be healed? And if I can still pray for that, does it help to ask others to pray for us? And the fact that I’m even asking, does that mean that I didn’t truly lay it down? That’s what worries me. I will still hope that my marriage is healed. It’s already in the back of my mind. Isn’t that normal? I’m so scared that this means I’m still not getting it right.

              7. Bel,

                What I would encourage you to pray is this:

                Lord,
                I lay my marriage down before You. I trust You with all of it. I trust You with my husband, his salvation, his sin issues, his decisions, his future, and our children. I desire to see this marriage healed. I know You love marriage and that You want to see the marriage healed, too. I pray You will heal us. But if my husband does leave, I will trust You. You are more than enough for me. I know You will help me to see that and You will provide for me. If I face my greatest fear, You will be with me and You will use it for good. Thank You that You have good intentions toward me and toward my husband and family. I will be content in You whatever may happen. I trust You to do what is best for all of us. I know I don’t have to freak out even if things seem like they are getting worse for awhile. More than anything, be greatly glorified in my life and in my family.

                Amen!

        2. Hi Bel.

          ย I wanted to let you know that I just read these posts from you.

          I know you feel stuck. But, honestly, I think this all takes time and God is delicate and patient with us. If He moved you through everything too fast, I think your head would spin. I think of it as someone who smokes, drinks, overeats and is addicted to caffeine having a heart attack and being told he has to stop smoking, drinking, exercise more, cut out the caffeine and go on a diet all at once. ย It all gets too ovewhelming to think about, but if he handles things 1 at a time, it becomes possible. ย My husband is saying the exact same things. That he is not sure if he will feel different in the future, but he supposes he loves me, but he doesn’t like me……yadda, yadda…what er.

          Honestly, I agree with one of the posters, that it is hogwash. I think that this is part of the mlc problem. They think their feelings are valid, real and true. Not saying they don’t feel that way, but the reasoning is not making sense…it is not based in reality. My husband seems irritated at the world, himself, me, women in general (he thinks they are all naggy b words). Just a general unhappiness. I can’t accept this as a personal attack anymore. Yes, I was disrespectful, yes, so were you. We didn’t intentionally try to hurt our husbands. Take a monent to read about how often this sort of thing happens to women everyday. There is a HUGE misunderstanding between how women and men think, perceive or process stuff….we ARE different. But that’s ok.

          I am concerned about your level of guilt. But I very much understand it. We need to go through that conviction, that regret and sorrow. It is part of the process, but for a season, not forever. It seems you have done all you know how to, to appologize, change your ways, deeply, and honestly conveyed your reget and repented from it all. Yet, I think the problem now lies with him. He has not forgiven you. ย Forgiveness is a 2 person thing. You have done your part, but now it’s up to him to forgive you and let go. He may not want to, he may feel justified to stay bitter and angry. It feels good to stay mad at someone, it gives him validation for his own feelings and actions and words. It’s a blame game. ย My husband thinks forgiveness = the wrongs of the past are now okay. They are not, but forgiveness is still nessecary for the person who needs to forgive…or else they are held captive by their own bitterness. This seems to be where our husbands are stuck. The reality is if they never learn to let it go, or accept that people make mistakes and learn to forgive others, as they would need to be forgiven, then the world will eventually move on without them. At some point, I pray that you can open your eyes to the fact that you have done everything you could to change your ways, be more sensitive and understanding.

          ย But also know that even if your husband NEVER forgives you, our loving Father, God HAS forgiven you. So now, please accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself and move on. You learned from your mistakes, you know more about how to be a better wife now than you did in the past. The padt is in the padt, you cant change it, but you can step forward with new knowledge, skills and hope to do better in the future. If your husband has decided to not give you another chance, well, quite frankly, it’s his loss. He, too has not changed after you told him over and over the issues you needed addressed. He is no better than you were. ย Understanding that he is living the life you USED to live, may give you some compassion toward him, but it’s time to let go of the guilt and condemnation you are holding on to. You are human. You made mistakes. A relationship will never survive if there is no forgiveness, flexibility, mercy and grace. That is why God loves us FIRST, so that we know how to go out and love others in the same way.ย 

          If you can accept God’s forgiveness of your past, than you have gotten the best kind of forgiveness you can ever get. If your husband decides to forgive you in the future, great, but really, that is just sprinkles on the cake….God’s forgiveness IS the whole cake! See, you cannot make your h ย forgive you. He has to choose that for himself. Even if he says he forgives you, but actions don’t line up…then beleive his actions instead. But it’s time to live a life that truly is forgiven. Go out with a new found view on life with that 2nd chance from God! Find joy and thankfulness in having a Father that loves and forgives, even when others do not.ย 

          My husband is just bamboozled and confused that I can live a life free of guilt and condemnation. He thinks I should live in misery, guilt, regret and slumped shoulders forever because of the “terrible” things I did. Oooooohhhh, scary! What did I really do that was soooo darn terrible? I didn’t cheat on him, blow all our money, abuse him, do drugs, drink myself into a stupor, neglect our kids….I could’ve done all that, but I didnt, and you didnt too. Sorry, but our husbands are not powerful enough to condemn us straight to hell, only God can do that, and he promises He won’t do that if we beleive in Him and live for Him….which we already have done. You dealt with life and emotions the best you knew how. Life got tough, you tried to communicate, he didn’t understand your cry out to him. Is THAT really worth throwing your WIFE away? Not. At. All. But if he chooses to, then HE will eventually feel the consequences of that. You have so, so, so much love, honor and relationship still left in you just yearning to be shared. Don’t let your H kill that in you. If he no longer wants that from you, it’s his loss. But live with joy, gratitude and love for the very forgiveness that God has given YOU and all of us through the sacrifice of His only Son for us. Don’t let Jesus’ death be for nothing! Accept His forgiveness and break free from the chains of this oppression. ย No one else is convicting you like you are to yourself. If you tell me your husband is, well, he is not the judge, jury or executioner, either. He has no right to judge you for your mistakes. Only God has that honor. HE is your higher power, the one you answer to.ย 

          I hope this helps you see where you might be stuck. Until you accept the gift God has given you, it will remain as useless as a wrapped Christmas present left on the table for years. Untouched, never used, appreciated, cherished or loved….and no good to anyone.

          Receive His gift and please let yourself BE truly forgiven.

          “What the son sets free, is free indeed”

          All my love, my sweet friend.ย 

  13. Is there anyone on this blog willing to talk or mentor me? I am desperate. My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years. We have a 1 year old little boy and things in our marriage have gotten progressively worse. I’ve always had tendencies to control and disrespect my husband (didn’t know I did At the time) and my husband is a complete people pleaser and has tried to please me and I didn’t realize to the extent he did until now.

    My husband is buried in his work the past year since our son has been born and we have struggled financially. To me it seemed he lost all priority for our marriage and family and put every ounce of focus into work. While I felt very unloved this past year I would try to manipulate and control his feelings, I only really realized this after coming across this blog. My husband spent the night away from me because he says he wants to divorce. I was honestly shocked and felt blindsided. I repented to the Lord for how I’ve acted and I repented to my husband and told him I’m so sorry for disrespecting him all this time and how I plan to change for the Lord and his conviction in my heart to honor and respect my husband.

    He says I shouldn’t have to change for him and I should have someone who loves me for who I am. I don’t believe divorce is the answer and I want desperately to restore our marriage. Since I read several articles and prayer the past day he responded positively to my changes but says he knows it will not last because in the past I have tried to make changes, but they were begrudgingly and not for the right reasons. He won’t accept any physical touch from me. I don’t know who I can go to. I just see so many of you on here who are so much wiser than me…

    1. Kari,

      I would be glad to mentor you here if that is okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so happy to meet you and to know that you have repented to the Lord and to your husband. That is awesome! You are getting on the right track, it sounds like. Would it be okay if we do a spiritual check up together so I can get a bit of a spiritual pulse on where you are? Then I will do my best to point you to the resources and healing of Christ that is available to you.

      I can relate a lot to where you are right now. When God opened my eyes to my disrespect and control, Greg had shut down so much that he didn’t want to be around me, didn’t want to touch me, didn’t want to be with the kids, didn’t want to speak to me, and didn’t want to listen to me. He was so wounded.

      All of us are sinners and all of us desperately need Jesus to change us. ๐Ÿ™‚ There is much hope in Christ.

      With love,
      April

      1. April,
        Thank you for responding to me. I am a believer and come from a family who loves the Lord- thankfully. My husband is a believer too but I believe he has let Satan attack him for several months and the more I tried to verbally push him to God I know it made him more resentful to me.

        I have been praying for a while about it but I felt like God wasn’t doing anything, so naturally, I felt I had to intervene (wrong). I have been trying to lead our family to spiritual safety for over a year because I knew he was drifting fast. I do not have a good support system because anytime I tried to get involved in church – I had no support or help from him to do so. I’m not blaming him, but in part I was internalizing my anger.

        This has been a cycle of us hashing through what I want and what he wants and we will be good for a couple of weeks and then both of us will go back to our old ways into a cold marriage. We get along fine usually like in a friendly way, but it feels like a room mate and not a husband/wife relationship and he agreed. We didn’t know what to do so I would do the things he asked of me which was giving him space, allowing him to do what he wanted without being made feel guilty. So I would stay silent and do that but he knew I was angry. It wasn’t out of a place of love and he could sense that.

        So since I wasn’t receiving the love I felt I needed and deserved I went back to my old controlling ways. Constantly telling him my needs. Since I came across your blog a few days ago when he said he wanted a divorce. A light clicked and I realized what I had been doing, and the reasons now my heart wants to change and honor him is because of my command to obey my Lord. That is the difference. I’m not changing FOR him but to honor the Lord. I was acting happy yesterday in joy of that realization. He said that he didn’t understand why I was being that way – he liked my reaction and appreciated it but said I couldn’t fix it and he knows things won’t change from previous attempts.

        I know he is justified in feeling that way and I need to let him feel that. However, he is saying things like he knows God wouldn’t want him to be unhappy (justifying divorce) and we are too different. He doesn’t want me to change. He wants someone to love me for who I am. He doesn’t get it but it hurts me tremendously.

        I want to go to my parents because my dad is a pastor but I am afraid if I do he will freak out and say I’m disrespecting him but I need emotional support as I have zero from him. The emotions are intense.

        1. Karilove,

          What if you find some support here and also from the Lord? Really – as you learn to receive all of your emotional and spiritual strength from Him – you will discover that He is more than enough. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I would love to walk beside you on this road, and provide some human encouragement and support.

          I am THRILLED about what God has shown you in the past few days. I know your husband can’t believe it yet. That is okay. Husbands have their own journey to take – and it takes some time before they believe that the changes in their wives are real.

          Unhappiness is not a biblical reason for divorce, as you know. And – God does want us to change. He wants all of us to change to be conformed to the image of Christ more and more.

          Would you like to talk about the emotions you are having and how you may be able to deal with them in a healthy way?

          Much love to you!

          1. Yes. I struggle sometimes with my walk with the Lord. I want to hear him but my aching heart wants comfort at all times. I struggle with severe anxiety at night and I know that’s when I need support. I feel emotions of not wanting to go through this. The only way I can describe it is despair and hopelessness. My husband left to go out of town this morning and I know I shouldn’t be alone so I’m going to my parents. I don’t know how to let the Lord ease my pain when I become unrational at night. I am not suicidal but I feel very intense emotions and I cry out to God for help and peace and it comes and goes in waves.

            1. Karilove,

              Have you read anything about idols yet? And the ways we tend to make our husbands and marriages into idols?

              Check out these posts, please, and let me know what God may be speaking to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

              How to Make Your Husband an Idol
              I Was Sure I Would Never Make My Husband an Idol
              How I Became Enmeshed with My Husband

              I’d like to talk about your fears and address them head on – if you are interested. I’d like to show you the path to peace and to God’s healing for you. It is the path to Himself!

              Much love!

              1. I’m going to read these posts. I know I have made him an idol in my life and when he threatened our marriage I think it has become clear just how much. Yes I would love to hear your advice.

              2. Karilove,

                Idolatry always leads to predictable results in our hearts:
                – loneliness
                – fear
                – anxiety/worry
                – depression
                – despair

                When we put all of our faith and trust into someone or something other than the Lord – these are the only possible results. No human can meet the deepest needs of our hearts. Only the Lord can. The feelings you have of not wanting to go through with all of this are your flesh trying to hold onto your idols, most likely. And it is the flesh not wanting to be crucified with Christ. Not wanting to die to self.

                The truth is, it is only as we face our deepest fears and decide to trust God with everything that we can find Him. And He IS love, joy, peace, truth, Life, freedom, fulfillment, and contentment. These things are only found in Him because He is the only source of all of these things. As we seek Him first, we will discover that He is BY FAR the Greatest Treasure in the universe.

                Check out those posts, and we will talk some more. Your healing is on the way if you are willing to receive it from Jesus’ hands.

                Much love!
                April

              3. That makes sense.. I feel like I’ve placed my husband and the love I used to get from him on a pedastal. I don’t really know what to do from here. I know I need to lean on God in this time but I don’t really know how right now when my mind is consumed by despair. How do i let him intervene and let go of this huge idol I’ve made in my life while also trying to mend our marriage as much as I can. He seems to of made up his mind so I don’t know there’s much I can do. Definitely feeling defeated in both areas

  14. Hi April,

    thank you so much for the time, prayer and labor of love that is your blog. I recently found the blog and have been reading through it. I also purchased the book and received it 2 days ago!
    I have been married almost 30 years and the past few years have been a struggle for me as I have felt that I was bearing much of the responsibility in our marriage-childrearing, finances, etc.

    A month ago, I went on a 3 day retreat and prayed and read my Bible. Before coming home, I wrote a 4 pg letter to my husband in which I told him of my frustrations and anger in our marriage. Some of the problems stem from his pornography viewing and flirting with other women. I also confessed to him my own sins of disrespect, anger, unforgiveness, but that I wanted us to work together to make our marriage better.

    In the past, I have been the one suggesting counseling (he would go and then abruptly stop), books to read together, date nights, etc. Sometimes, I wonder if I made things too easy. Forgive and then go on with the issue never really resolved, but me with lingering doubts in my heart about his commitment. I read the books and he would suggest a date night occasionally, but then return to his TV watching. I grew very tired of this cycle. I wouldn’t complain but just go into our bedroom and read. At this point, I feel as if I just need to STOP doing all the things I had been doing (suggesting counseling, books, etc) and I have done just that.

    This is very difficult, but it has been the way we have related from the beginning and it hasn’t been working but has led to him becoming passive and me verging on bitterness. This is a weird place for me to be in and I guess I am just asking you and anyone reading this to pray that I maintain my close relationship with the Lord and not allow my emotions to overwhelm me and cause me to act foolishly.

    thank you

    1. Pat,

      It is wonderful to meet you! Thank you so much for sharing. I can definitely understand why you have felt frustrated and angry. I’m glad that you wrote everything out. Have you given that to him yet? If not, you may want to wait just a bit until we can talk a little bit more. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m really thrilled to hear about what God is doing in your heart, and that you are taking responsibility for things on your end of the marriage. THAT IS AWESOME!

      I invite you to search my blog for:

      – porn

      Do you need any resources about any particular issues? I would love to point you to all of the healing that is available to you in Jesus. I believe that as you focus on your walk with Christ and are completely filled up to overflowing with Him, you will have the wisdom, power, and discernment you need to know how to pour God’s life and love into your marriage. So my first priority is to get you as filled up with God’s goodness and truth as possible.

      I will absolutely pray!
      Lord,
      I lift up Pat to you. I pray that You might empower her to stay close to you, to get rid of any sin in her heart, and to receive all that You offer her in Christ. Help her to know her identity in Christ Jesus and to receive it and live it out in daily life with Your power. Take all of the things that have been broken in this marriage and turn it into something so beautiful for Your glory!
      Amen!

      Much love to you!

      1. April, thank you so much for the prayer! I did give him the letter but there was no response. To my knowledge, he has not viewed porn in several years but only the Lord knows. I am learning to cast eveything on Him and to look to Him. Ps 62 has really ministered to me. Thank you for the resources you have listed in your book and here at the site. Regarding the porn, I have read several recommended books on the subject and even took an online course for spouses whose mates were addicted to porn. I completed the course. My husband started the course for addicts but did not complete it. I know the Lord has me in this place and as crazy as it sounds I have peace although at times I have been tempted to suggest again, I have not done so. I thank the Lord for where He has me because He is causing me to place my hope and expectation in Him alone, regardless of circumstances. Almost daily, I tell Him, “Lord all I know is that I love You and most importantly You love me”. I know that He is working ALL things and that He will be glorified and I will be transformed into the image of His dear Son. So, I am not afraid but just need prayer! Thank you so much for the prayer again and this wonderful blog to come to be encouraged!

        Pat

        1. Pat,
          You are most welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

          A four page letter could be kind of a lot for a husband to digest. But – since you have already given it to him – I think it could be wise to not pressure him for a response right away. At this point, let him mull things over. He may need some time to think through things. I vote for you to continue on your journey to become the wife and woman God calls you to be. Your attitude is beautiful in so many ways. I’m glad you have studied up on porn and have done your homework. I love that you are living in God’s peace even in the storm. Your prayer is beautiful and your attitude and faith are glorious.

          I pray for God’s Spirit to work in you both to accomplish His glory!

          If you are interested, you are welcome to search my blog for:

          apologizing stories

          Much love to you!

  15. Hi April
    Just wondering if you missed my second comment from April 26? Don’t feel bad if you did. You have a lot to keep up with.
    After you wrote that you hear a difference in me in my last comment, I had a huge test I failed. I by chance ended up driving right behind my husband in our nearest city. I didn’t know he was going. He seems to go a lot lately, more than usual. Even one of my kids made that comment. Anyway I felt nauseous straight away and my mind went crazy with what he was doing. He spent hours in there and got home late. I felt the old me from 10 years ago come back and i wanted to ask him questions and tell him how insecure I feel and how hard this is for me. I was crying and struggling to keep it together for the kids. I texted my sister who told me what if this is a test and to pull myself together. I prayed and cried and when he got home he looked me in the eye for a couple seconds then said something and for some reason my fear just left me and we talked a bit and I asked if he noticed me driving behind him and he hadn’t. Then he was showing me stuff on his phone and we were laughing a bit and the night went well ( This is the confusing thing to me as we get on well). I thanked God silently and apologized for freaking out and not being able to shoot those thoughts down. I know it’s still possible I can’t trust him and maybe he really was at a lawyer or something. I have no idea. But I was disappointed after I felt a bit of a breakthrough, only to lose the plot so soon after.
    Normal or bad sign?

    1. Bel,

      I don’t think I saw that comment, I will look for it in a moment.

      You know what? I wouldn’t call that a “fail.” You got scared, but you were wise to reach out to your sister – and what wonderful advice she gave you! That is a blessing! When your husband got home – you were able to be calm and enjoy the night. Wow! That is awesome! That was victory!

      This journey is kind of like a baby learning to walk. There will be times when you stumble and fall. But, as you have more practice trusting the Lord and as you learn to depend on Him and allow His Spirit to empower you, you can walk in victory. When you stumble, recognize what happened and get right back up and put your eyes on Christ.

      If he goes to a lawyer and seeks a divorce, you are going to be okay. God will not leave you. It is not the end of your life or of your story. It will be sad. You will grieve. But then you will trust God and He will heal your heart and make something beautiful of your life. He may even heal your husband and your marriage in the future. It is important not to get stuck on this moment. This one snapshot in time is not representative of the whole rest of your life. And it is important not to allow yourself to be a slave of runaway thoughts and emotions. Satan would LOVE for you to do that. But you are a daughter of the King and you are now seated with Christ in the heavenlies. You have a position of authority in Christ. You are covered with the blood of Jesus. Your old self is dead and buried. You have your new self and a new Life that God has given you. Satan no longer has authority over you. Sin no longer is your master. All that belongs to Jesus belongs to you. You have access to the holy of holies 24/7!?!!

      The more you know who God is and who you are in Jesus – the more unshakable you will be.

      When you see fear tempting you – shoot it down and focus on singing praise songs to the Lord. Or quote promises of God. Replace the fearful thoughts with truth from God, praise, and thanksgiving about good things.

      You can say to yourself things like:

      I want to feel fear because I don’t know what my husband is doing. He could be doing something that would make me want to freak out.
      – But, Lord, I know You are sovereign, and You will never leave me and never forsake me.
      – And Lord, my security is not in my husband anymore or in what he does or does not do.
      – I could be wrong. He may not be doing anything against me at all.
      – Even if he does go through with a divorce, that doesn’t mean You are powerless in my life. Maybe this is just the path he needs to take to find You and to find Your salvation.
      – I will trust You no matter what storm may come.
      – Satan is the one who wants me to be afraid. Fear is not of You. I reject that fear and will thank you for my blessings.

      Much love to you!

      1. April
        Thank you. I’m really trying. And I absolutely can feel God helping me! Tonight I had another test. First I was thinking REALLY? A double whammy? I got fearful and upset again but I prayed and the situation again was diffused the minute he got home. Similar to last night. It really felt like another test and I prayed and asked God to guide my thoughts words and actions. I’ve done this in the past but yesterday and today the prayers helped. I’m very time poor for the next few days. These days could be full of more testing I think. I don’t want to say too much here. I will do my best to cling to God.
        I have to say that tonight I felt like I was kind of proved wrong in a way. I’m definitely feeling a change though. And I’m thanking God with tears.
        I so would love to meet you one day and give you a real hug and see the gratitude in my eyes for your patience and prayers and pointing me to Christ in a way I didn’t know was possible. Now I’m scared of the change disappearing! Fears. I’m a shocker aren’t I.
        Bel.

        1. Bel,

          Expect to have tests. Multiple ones. Every day.

          I was thinking about you as I drove my son to school this morning. When he was three years old, we took him to the beach in January. He had on a raincoat, long pants, rain boots, etc… because it wasn’t very warm. He had never experienced a wave of water from the ocean. He was standing less than ankle deep in the water when the tiniest little wave came, maybe it was 2-3 inches tall. But because he hadn’t been in a wave before, it knocked him over. Now, he is 6ft 1in tall, and it takes a lot more to knock him down than that. Of course, a big enough wave can still knock him over. But he has had much more experience with waves. He knows how to brace himself against them to give himself leverage. And he can swim!

          At first on this journey, any little thing can feel like a tsunami. But as you grow in Christ, in maturity, and in allowing the Spirit to have control (including learning to take your thoughts captive for Christ), the little waves don’t make you fall over anymore. You grow stronger. Not because you are so awesome, but because He is so strong and He is living in you.

          Right now, Satan is very used to having free run in your mind and heart. He will NOT like it that you are beginning to yield to Christ. Of course he will tempt and test you. Of course he will try to get you to stumble and get you to feel discouraged. That is normal.

          I know this may seem counterintuitive, but you will actually be DOING less now. You will be resting more and more in Christ. Resting in His truth, Resting in His promises. Resting in His finished work that He did on your behalf on the cross. At first, it feels like total spiritual and emotional contortion. But as you continue to allow God to lead you – He will. ๐Ÿ™‚ And remember, He is holding onto you. He won’t let go.

          I would also love to meet you – whether it is here on earth or in heaven – I look forward to that day very much!

          The more you know and experience Jesus, the more you realize that to trust anything but Him is terrifying and to be apart from His presence is the worst thing that could happen.

          I love you dearly, my precious sister! How I rejoice this week! I have prayed for this moment to come for a long time. It is an honor to walk beside you on this road.

          Much love!
          April

          1. Hi April
            Thank you very much for checking on me. We’ve had a busy weekend and just got home. It was nice to see you thought of me.
            Im doing ok. The nature of our time away has made it hard to focus as it has shown just what I will be missing if we separate. This is hard. I know Jesus is the great reward but this is my reality and it really hurts. I wish I could talk more. It’s nothing controversial or anything. I’m just scared of someone knowing this is me or even where I’m from.
            Anyway. I’m trying to keep my focus. Did you find my second comment from April 26? I’m still curious.
            I would love prayer for my loneliness and how painful this is. Also that I can daily surrender all to God. I think that will be the challenge. To not try to clutch on to it for dear life.
            It feels like I had been doing this for the last couple yrs. I’ve had the feelings of peace before after he has told me the heartbreaking things he’s just told me again. So I’m trying to understand if I’m really doing it did differently this time. I guess doubt is setting in.
            Thank you.

            1. Bel,
              You are welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

              Yes, it would be very painful and difficult if separation were to occur. And yes, it would be very hard.

              I thought I responded to your second comment a few days ago. Was there another one I missed?

              I would encourage you to get some time alone with the Lord for prayer and for just laying before Him and allowing Him to work in your heart to transform you to be more like Jesus.

              Much love!

  16. April,
    I’ve been reading your responses to everyone and even though your not replying directly to me I am learning and being convicted of much of what you say! I have a question, though. Me and my husband have been experiencing marital difficulties for about two years. When he mentioned getting a divorce I was floored and realized I was going to have to fight for our marriage since he expressed to me he had given up. I apologized to him for years of me manipulating him and trying to control him in order to get what I desired deep down (to feel loved). I realize my husband is an idol in my life as well as wanting to be wanted and pursued. It was a major wake ol call for me. We are going to start counseling next week. My husband went out of town the day after he told me he was thinking about divorce and I didn’t know what to do – I couldn’t handle the feeling of despair so I went to my parents after not hearing from him for a whole day. My dad is actually my pastor as well so I wanted advice on what to do. My husband was furious I went to him and said again I disrespected him. I understand how he feels that way but honestly I didn’t know what to do. He has then withdrew even more. I don’t know how to handle giving space. I mean, I am outwardly and have a good attitude but I feel sad on the inside because I feel like he will never soften to me. Every night is a trial because I like to ask questions and talk and it takes everything for me not to. My question is, what is a reasonable amount of space? I don’t really know what a healthy relationship in that aspect looks like.

    1. Karilove,

      Let’s talk about what it means to fight for your marriage. What would you say your definition of “fighting for your marriage” would be? How do you expect to do that?

      Do you feel that you have a good picture of his perspective and why he is feeling hopeless and why he wants to give up?

      Have you ever been idolized by someone? Have you had a really needy, clingy friend who tries to make you personally responsible for that person’s happiness and emotional and spiritual well-being? If so, what was it like to be idolized?

      Did your husband ask you not to talk to your parents?

      What did your dad suggest?

      Right now, this is not going to be a “healthy” marriage. Things are very, very tense and strained. So you will have to probably give a lot more space than you would if things were going better. It would probably be ideal to wait and let him reach out to you right now. Right now, the more you try to talk to him and make him come back to you, the more damage you will likely do. Words don’t usually draw our men to us, especially when they are feeling disrespected by us. At that point, more word and more explanations from us usually repel them farther away.

      When you are feeling lonely, go to the Lord. Write down your thoughts, your pain, your fears, your inner dialogue. Lay it all before Him. Invite Him to help you take your thoughts captive for Christ. To replace any lies or wrong thinking with His truth. Spend time in praise and thanksgiving. Sing praises to Him. Sit and receive His love, His truth, and His power into your life. Receive the intimacy He can give you. Realize that just like you want to be close to your husband, God wants to have all of your heart, too. He misses you. He longs for 24/7 connection with you. When you are lonely, turn to the Lord. You may also come here for encouragement.

      Are you ready to tear out the idols? If you are, I can show you the way.

      Let’s focus only on today. Let’s not believe your feelings. Your feelings are not always accurate. They can lead you astray. When you respond out of fear, you will always do something destructive to your marriage. It’s time to get those emotions harnessed under Christ and His control. You don’t have to be a slave to them anymore.

      You can have self control with God’s power. We actually have a rule at our house – because I tend to want to have deep discussion late at night. Greg finally decided – about 12 years ago or so – that we shouldn’t have any “deep discussions” after 10pm. He said, “Nothing good will happen after 10pm if we try to have a major emotional conversation.” That was wise of him. ๐Ÿ™‚ You don’t HAVE to ask all of those questions at night. If they are that important, you can wait a few days and pray over them and see if God prompts you to be quiet or to really continue on with the questions. Are they questions to try to make you feel more secure in your husband’s love, mostly?

      I have a number of posts about space. You are welcome to search “space” on my search bar.

      But right now, I vote to give him space until he begins to come to you. And when he does begin to come to you, let him do more talking than you do. I suggest for you to just listen and to try to understand him and his perspective. Seek to be a safe place for him. I have a post on that from about 2 weeks ago.

      Have you ever had a cat? One that didn’t like being manhandled and picked up a lot? Men are sometimes a lot like cats. Sometimes we wives can be like puppies that want constant attention and affection. When your husband is shut down and talking about divorce, treat him like the cat that doesn’t like to be picked up. Wait and let him come to you. Don’t run at him or grab him or freak out. That will just scare him farther away. Be still. Be calm. Let God work in your heart. Use this time of being alone to focus on your relationship with Christ. Let Him expose any sin. Let Him begin to teach you what it means to be a godly woman and wife. Read posts. Ask questions here. Pray. Seek Him. Ask Him to change you. Invite Him to use this trial to teach you and help you grow spiritually.

      You don’t have to have everything figured out. You are not God. He is. And He will lead you as you trust, obey, and follow Him one day at a time.

      Much love and the biggest hug to you!
      April

      1. I’ve been talking about taking the next step in restoring our marriage for months and was kind of waiting on him to make the next move ( seek out counselor). He almost always says we are going to talk about how he feels and really never actually brings it up. It will be weeks unless I bring it back to light again. Whenever he dropped the divorce statement on me I felt very shocked because I knew things had been rough but not to the point of feeling that and not wanting to work it out. He thinks I will never change. He thinks that it’s just the way I am and we are different. And he’s right. We are different. I can’t explain to him all of the things I’ve been going through spiritually and how God is breaking down my barriers. For about a week I have been joyful in knowing these things even though other things in my life have seemed to crumble.
        You are so right and hit the nail on the head when you talk about women being like puppies and men like cats. We would fight often about me dropping emotional conversations at night. I can see now how I should wait. I am so bad at being patient and God is really testing that. My husband is a work a holic and keeps himself distracted from dealing with our issues by staying at work. I know only the Lord knows his heart- but since I am his wife I do know he has changed a lot spiritually and in every aspect ( wants to be alone, only wants to work, gets agitated by almost everyone, not wanting to go to church) I haven’t been going to church either because I don’t want to go without him and people ask me questions. I know the devil has come into our lives when we were vulnerable and has steadily led us into being his slaves. I have repented and desperately seek the road to healing. He did not ask me not to go to my parents. He was going to talk to his boss (Christian man) about everything and come back to talk like he usually says he will do, and doesn’t. I may have been wrong to go to my parents but I needed help finding a counselor and I did not say anything bad or overshare. I only sought to find a counselor and to see what I should do without ignoring the situation. My dad adviced me to a counselor and told me to remain faithful in my duties as a wife and to pray for he and I. Which I am doing.
        I have a one year old who keeps me mostly occupied but I start to get very lonely even when I’m home with him and start letting my mind go wild. I have gotten better in the last week but it will be a long learning process. And I fear my heart will not yield the way it needs to and I’ll never experience the true peace God wants me to have. I’m drawing near to HIm more but it still doesn’t feel “enough” to my deepest desires because my husbands love is still an idol.

        I did have a friend who idolized me and it was very exhausting. I know he must feel the same but very much more so. He would just do whatever I wanted and when he suggested something I hardly would do what he suggested and if we did I would act annoyed by it and think it was wrong for whatever reasons I had made up. I took away all his authority in the relationship and I can’t believe I was so blind to it all this time. I have repented to the Lord and to him and I cannot do much more other than with my actions and that is what I’m doing now. Before I thought fighting for our marriage was wringing words out of him and getting him to tell me all the things he thought then coming up with a plan myself. But that was the problem is I was trying to do everything myself and this is way past anything I can do. I am at the mercy of the Lord in this situation and that has been very humbling. I am a fast thinker and processer, I like to act on things and I think that’s why we are where we are because any decisions that needed to be made I would make them and think I was including him by saying “is this okay?” And if he disagreed I would manipulate words so he would eventually give in. Eventually he stopped giving his input because he knew we would eventually do what I wanted if I pressed hard enough. Where he is very slow at making decisions and waits to think. I am very bad about pointing out flaws and telling people what they should do. I have so much to work on. I can stay silent in my head and give words of life but I’m still thinking the same things I was!!! It’s really hard because It feels bottled up and like I’m going to explode on someone at some point. I pray my feelings change inwardly as well.

        Also, right now he has talked to me as if we don’t have issues like a friend. He tells me about work and we make small talk. Should we refrain from talking about anything until we resolve these huge issues?

        1. Karilove,

          Wow, I can relate to you so much! Your personality, the way you wanted to talk so much late at night, your husband being distant and gone a lot with work (my husband was working a full time job and working 40 hours per week on our house renovations for several years when I started this journey), the way you have been trying to be close to your husband, the way you want his love so desperately, your impatience, even how you would make decisions. All of it sounds extremely familiar!

          What is your husband’s general personality? Does he tend to be more passive or controlling?

          My goal right now is to get the hemorrhaging to stop on his end. If he wants to make small talk, that is awesome! But I want you to think about his heart and soul as being in “critical condition,” kind of like he needs to be in the ICU for his heart emotionally. Right now, he is very fragile and wounded. Right now he can’t give you all the things you want him to give you. And honestly, even a totally spiritually healthy man could never meet all of your needs that you would want a husband to meet at this moment. Your emotional and spiritual needs are too big for any human to meet completely.

          If your husband were physically in the ICU – your expectations of what he should do for you would be very different from normal. You wouldn’t expect him to go out to eat with you or to do the dishes. You would give him some time and space to get better. You would entrust him to the care of the doctors. Right now, you will be entrusting him to the care of the Lord – who is our Great Physician and who can heal our souls and hearts.

          So, here are a few things practically that I believe you can do:

          – Go to the Lord when you are lonely, and to a journal, and come here, and/or to a godly counselor. But most of all ask God to help you learn to find your deepest needs met in Christ alone.
          – Smile at your husband when you see him just to bless him.
          – DO NOT FREAK OUT! ๐Ÿ™‚ When you freak out about things, it will always repel him. God and our husbands are drawn to us when we have a godly gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear.
          – Hash through all of your fears with God. Write them all out. Lay them before Him, and decide that you will trust Him with them even if they were to happen. Choose to believe His Word and His promises over your feelings and emotions. (You may search “responsible for myself spiritually” and “emotions” on my blog for more on this.)
          – Welcome him home when he comes home. Be calm. Smile. Say “Welcome home” brightly in a friendly way. Then let him come to you if he wants to. If he doesn’t, that’s okay. Give him some time.
          – Make some of his favorite meals sometimes.
          – Don’t use words to try to draw him to you, let your godly attitude, your respect of him, your spiritual strength, peace, and joy in Christ do the work. God can reach him in ways you can’t if you are willing to do things God’s way. ๐Ÿ™‚
          – Be patient with yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚
          – Let him make some decisions for himself.
          – Respect his decisions, even if you don’t agree with them. If he talks about divorce, don’t argue with him. You can say something like, “I want to work on our marriage and I want to see it healed. I want to learn to be the wife I should be. But if you believe it is best for you to leave, I will respect that.”

          This will require more patience than you have ever had. But God can give you that patience as you seek Him. ๐Ÿ™‚

          I would also encourage you to search my blog for “A Fellow Wife” – her posts are very much about these same dynamics.

          The beginning of healing will come in enjoying the small issues. Savor anything he does with you or for you as a gift. Appreciate him. Let God work on the big issues in your own heart. Let Him transform your thinking, your heart, and your mind. Don’t be negative or critical.

          As you learn the discipline of taking your thoughts captive and you let the Spirit take control, He will teach you how not to even think all of those negative, prideful things – so that it will be real heart change, not just you holding in all of those negative things. You can also search my home page for “But I’m Right!” And for “perfectionism” and “control.”

          Much love! And the biggest hug! Welcome to this new adventure with God. It is going to be amazing!

          1. Karilove,
            PS – I would suggest that you go back to church. Don’t worry about the questions people may ask. Just say, “He couldn’t come today.” No need to go into details.

            If you have time to read anything, and are really ready for some spiritual growth, two books I would highly recommend as a great place to start:

            – Humility by Andrew Murray
            – Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray

            Much love to you!

            1. Karilove,

              I would also encourage you to search:

              – husbands emotions
              – husbands space
              – why won’t my husband lead
              – encourage husband to lead
              – interview with my husband (about understanding a more passive husband’s heart and mindset – you can read my interview and Nikka’s interview. Both of us had very similar dynamics to your situation. You can hear her husband and my husband share what they were thinking and feeling when we were being so dominating and controlling and when they were feeling disrespected.)

  17. April, you have given me a lot to think and pray about. I look forward to reading the articles you suggested. I also downloaded “Absolute surrender”.
    My husband tends to be controlling of me in the areas that I feel aren’t as important; examples are having the house perfectly clean, if I leave something out, or not doing things the way he does them (still the same outcome but different paths). He dominates me in a lot of ways because of his perfectionism and precision. He finds much joy when he can fix problems and offer solutions at work. He is always looking to improve. These are great qualities but he says degrading things to me in my lack of perfection like “your gross” “your not very smart about things”. I have gotten used to those comments and they don’t bother me much anymore. However, the areas I feel he should step up and lead he stays silent; church, friends, leading our family so I have always just kind of took over everything. I do everything at the house including bills, yard work, taking care of our son, and working 3 days a week. I feel exhausted and I get mad because he won’t step up! He wakes up, goes to work, and when he comes home and goes to the gym and comes home he doesn’t want to connect. He will not look up from my phone. We don’t eat any meals together hardly because of work. I have become very resentful of all this. We have hardly talked this week at all. He stays up very late or slept on the couch. He works all day again today and is going to a work party tonight at this girls house who he has become pretty good friends with at work. He has a past of getting too emotionally connected to women in the past. No affairs but just way too close on a personl level. I have that suspicion of doubt like he is doing something shady- maybe he is. If I ever question him about it before he says he can’t believe I would think those things. I haven’t said anything about the party tonight. But today for the first time in over a week texted me twice and he said he felt guilty I would be alone all day. I just responded with “it’s okay :)” and he followed up with my plans and I said I didn’t have any I was just taking care of our son and we might go out later on. In the past I would have been super short and annoyed. I hope he can see my changes. Thank you so much for listening to me. I feel very hopeful in the Lord- what he is doing in my heart. I fear that I will be strong in the Lord and his hope and if my husband starts giving me more attention I will push it to the back again. I am praying that that will not happen. I know now what happens when I put relationships before the father. Destruction! Much destruction.

    1. Karilove,
      Thank you for sharing. This is helpful for me to better understand what is going on.

      Have things always been like this? How were things when you were dating and when you were first married? Did y’all eat together then or talk and spend time together then? Do you know when things began to change?

      If he says he feels guilty about you being alone, you can certainly invite him to spend some time with you in a kind, respectful way. Or tell him you’ll miss him but don’t pressure him to be with you. God can give you exactly the approach you need as you learn to listen to Him. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think it is often a blessing that it takes our husbands a long time to believe our changes because if our husbands do change quickly, we so easily slide right back into our old ways. That would not be good. Keep on with your new journey – no matter what your husband does, my dear sister. I am very excited about all that God is doing and will do in your life.

      Yes, God has to be on the throne and He alone must be the most important thing. If we put anything or anyone else above Him, it leads to destruction. You are absolutely right.
      Much love to you!

      1. April, we started dating at a young age. I was 16, he was 18. We were each other’s first love and were absolutely crazy about each other. He obsessed over me and would do anything to make me happy. I realize now that was unhealthy but my 16 year old self was head over heels! We dated 5 years and we remained the same except we had one similar situation as the one I’m in now except for different reasons. He was interested in another girl. The break up lasted about 6 months. We got back together and got married shortly after. Our first year of marriage was great! He was super attentive and loving. We did almost everything together. When I got pregnant things began to change slowly. He got super stressed thinking about the cost of a child and having to provide. He started pursuing this career path he is on and has been heavily pursuing it ever since our son was born. It has gotten progressively worse. I’ve become more and more neglected and more and more controlling in response.
        Even though I feel the Lord working in my heart i am in a constant battle with my flesh telling me I have a right to be treated a certain way. And in a way I do feel that way. Is it wrong to think I deserve and expect love from my husband? I’m just trying to be transparent. I have a lot of conviction but it still doesn’t change the way I feel about certain things. Does that make sense? I know it sounds selfish probably but I’ve only been on this journey a week and I know I have a long way to go.

        1. Karilove,

          Greg and I began dating when I was 15 and he was 16. We dated 6 years and got married. We broke up once. Well, I broke up with him – when I was 18. Only for 3 weeks. There was no other person involved. Everything for us went pretty well until after the Honeymoon. Three days were amazing, and then the problems began!

          It is not uncommon for a husband to get really stressed when a baby is coming. First of all, it can be very stressful living with a pregnant woman. But then, the pressure to feel responsible for providing more income can weigh heavily on a husband’s shoulders. So – working extra may be a way he is trying to show love and provide more for his family. But then, if his wife gets more and more upset as he is gone for work, that can impact the dynamics, too.

          Men don’t like to be somewhere where they feel disrespected, smothered, controlled, criticized, and condemned. Really, women don’t like that either. No one does.

          And sometimes as we wives are pregnant and then become moms, we become more controlling, more fearful, more anxious about all of the things about the baby. I know I did that. And I know I pushed Greg away more and more, not even realizing what I was doing or why he didn’t want to be more involved with me and our children for so long.

          You are right that it is your flesh telling you about your rights.

          It is not that it is wrong to want to feel loved by your husband. In marriage, there should be mutuality with love and respect.

          The problem comes when you don’t get what you want and then you try to force your husband to do what you expect or want him to do. You can’t make your husband come back to you by force. You can’t put your hands around his neck emotionally and drag him back to yourself.

          Yes, it would be awesome if your husband were home more, and were attentive to you and the baby. But right now, your husband is not okay emotionally and spiritually. If you continue your old ways, you may help to destroy your marriage.

          Your husband has issues and sins, too, that he will need to work on. But as long as you are trying to control him and force him to love you – all he can see is that he wants to get away and the only sin he can really focus on is your sin against him.

          As you let go and stop pressuring him and stop smothering and trying to control him, he will begin to be able to breathe again. As you allow God to change you, he may even find that it is pleasant to be home more and more often.

          Greg told me, after several years of me being on this journey, that when I stopped all of the negativity, criticism, control, condemnation, frowning, scowling, being irritable, and all of the negative body language, that it was like someone took the static off of the speaker in his heart that had God’s voice in it. And then he said that as I began to learn to genuinely respect and honor him, to let him make his own choices like a grown adult, to affirm him, and to be friendly and pleasant to him, that it was like someone put an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in it.

          When I first began this journey, Greg was far from God. I didn’t think he could hear God at all, and I didn’t trust that God could lead me through this man. He couldn’t hear God well. But – it turns out – that a lot of that was that my voice was SO loud in his ears all the time. And he believed me. A wife is like a mirror (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage) that reflects back to her husband the man he is. He will often believe what he sees in his “wife mirror.” Greg believed me that I was so close to God and he was so far behind me spiritually. He gave up trying to be close to God. He believed me that he was a total failure as a husband and as a dad. He believed all of my negative words about him. I allowed the enemy to use my attitudes, words, and actions to attack Greg. Didn’t know that was what I was doing as I held on to so much entitlement, disrespect, control, and bitterness. But that is what I was doing.

          Yes, a husband should love his wife. Absolutely.

          But if this marriage is going to be healed and saved, you have some dying to self to do. Give your husband some space so that he can breathe again emotionally and spiritually. Get out of God’s way so your husband can start to hear His voice again.

          Don’t depend on your husband to be Jesus to you. Let Jesus be Jesus to you. Your husband is a sinful man who is very wounded right now.

          Did he come home last night?

          How did he respond to your text and call?

          It is not necessarily wrong to check on him. But if you constantly text or call or if you are trying to control him, that is not going to work.

          Not only is a husband supposed to love his wife, a wife is supposed to respect her husband and honor his leadership (Eph. 5:22-33). Your husband has just as much “right” to expect you to treat him well, to not control him, to be a friend to him, to be pleasant to be around, to respect him, to follow his God-given leadership.

          As you allow God to transform you to be the woman and wife He calls you to be. Focus on your end of the relationship. That is what you control. You do get to control yourself! So that is good news for those of us who like to control something. Of course, we need the Holy Spirit even to do that.

          I’m glad you are being transparent. That is going to be very necessary on this journey.

          Your emotions can’t be in charge anymore, though. They are misleading you. They are encouraging you to act in the flesh and in fear and out of entitlement and control. The more you listen to that voice, which is the voice of the flesh and of the enemy, the more damage you will do.

          God’s voice is there, but more difficult to hear right now. As you learn to turn away from the voice of the flesh and yield to the voice of the Lord, His voice will become more clear and He can breath life into your life and then into your marriage as you trust Him completely and depend on Him to be your Greatest Treasure.

          Yes, this is extremely early in your journey. We all will always be learning and growing as long as we are on this earth. This is the process of sanctification. We will not be perfectly sinless until we are in heaven. It is a process.

          But when you feel afraid, anxious, and like you want to control your husband – turn to the Lord. Turn to His promises. Examine your thoughts. Listen to the video about how to take your thoughts captive, I believe I shared the link. Write down all that you are thinking and evaluate whether it comes from God or from Satan. Reject every lie of Satan and every thought that is of the flesh, and yield your heart fully to the truth of Christ.

          If you need help with that, please let me know.

          Much love!

          1. Gary Thomas says, “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against.”

            God calls us to respond without sin even if we don’t get what we want. This is an incredible opportunity for you to begin to learn the sufficiency of Christ – which is something all believers must learn. And to learn to respond in God’s power even when you are feeling deprived.

            I am praying for you today!

            1. April, I know everything you say is right and it gives me encouragement to not lose hope when I fail. I’ve been in the word and prayer all morning. He did not come home last night. I let my fears, doubt, insecurities take over when i knew I should stay silent.

              I tried really hard but like you said my flesh and sin has taken over for so long it’s so hard to give it all up. I feel like it should be so easy for him to see it is wrong to just stay out- for any reason really. I need to let go of all my expectations, desires, and control. I feel like i can do this all day and even late into the night- but late at night is when the devil has always attacked me. I feel out of control. Even when I go to the Lord for peace and help. I cried out to him many times last night – I kept waking up praying to him. But I still felt alone.

              I was encouraged to read the prayer of Hannah from a post in your blog. The verse “talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” It revealed to me that God knows my motives even behind my actions and I feel a lot of my attempts to make changes are still in hopes of controlling and reeling my husband back in. My heart isn’t in the right place even though I so desperately want it to be. God keeeps revealing how nasty and selfishly unpleasant my heart is. And it makes me mad.

              I don’t want to believe my heart is this corrupt. My heart is learning to give up the idol of controlling my husband. Today, I feel much more hope. Hope in knowing today I am going to church for the first time in a month feeling very vulnerable going alone. He is with me. I have written down some verses to look at when I’m feeling tempted to give into my fears and desire for control. It’s so hard! I do not want to because it’s painful but I want to for the desire to let God lead my life. He is Lord and this is a new thing for me to not get what I want.

              Thank you for your prayer, support, and encouragement. I know the Lord has used this blog as a facilitator in my journey of dying to myself.

              1. Karilove,

                You are right. It is very hard to give up our flesh and our sinful mindsets and habits, our attempts at control, and our desires.

                As you continue to grow – you will learn to trust God’s Word more than your feelings, my precious sister.

                I’m so sorry that your husband didn’t come home last night. That was a really big test, I am sure. ๐Ÿ™

                I know it is easy to look at him and think he should change and he should do what is right. Of course, it is just as easy for him to look at you and think you could change so easily and you should do what is right. Maybe he has been waiting a long time – and things haven’t gotten better. To our husbands, they can’t imagine what could be so hard about treating them with honor and respect, about not nagging, and not trying to control them.

                It is easy to see sin that is against us. We feel the pain of that. But we often don’t feel the pain of the sin we cause nearly as much. We tend to justify our own sin.

                It is critical that we see just how corrupt and vile our own hearts are. I know when I began this journey, I spent a lot of time asking God to show me my sin, and I ended up writing down pages of things every day for six weeks. Things I had never even seen before or noticed that were sinful. It was MISERABLE. I was mortified. I had never had to really face what a wretched sinner I was until that time. I had never truly understood the depth of my sin and just how much grace and mercy Jesus had given to me.

                How was church? My prayer is that you will take all this time you have alone to really sit at the Lord’s feet and let Him speak to you and work in your life to get rid of the poison and to receive His truth and healing. You will never be the same. And I promise, you will never want to go back to your old ways.

                Much love!

              2. I had a glimmer of hope he might come to church too but he came home after I left. It didn’t disappoint me that much considering it was what I was expecting. I told him I was hurt but didn’t go into detail why. He got defensive and said he thought I wouldn’t want him to drive home after he had drinks. I was very quiet today. I was sad the way he was acting. It’s hard for me to hide that but I felt respectful in answering him and talking to him when he started conversation. But I didn’t talk much because all I wanted to say was negative things and slam him for staying out. So I knew it was best I didn’t speak. I was praying when we were in the same room to not have any expectations and to lay them all down and not be disappointed if he left tonight. He says seconds later.. “your going to be mad” I asked what it was and he said he had another get together with employees at work. I just responded and said okay. No other comments. My blood pressure was boiling inside. I didn’t let it show so I asked him if he minded if I went to get some mulch for our garden and he said that was fine. He left almost 2 hours before he had to be at the gathering and I couldn’t help but show an inflection in my tone. Nothing rude I just asked why he had to leave so early. He got defensive and said I make him feel guilty for everything. I didn’t let it turn into a fight. I did text him afterwards and say I was sorry and that I know it seems like I’m shut down and resentful and told him i have been silent because I’m praying and learning to let go of the idols in my heart of his attention. I thanked him for all he does for our family and that I loved him. I don’t know if I shouldn’t have done that but he never responded. I don’t know if he is up to something and he might stay out again tonight. I am kind of expecting it in my heart. I’m not caught up on it. I’m focusIng on what God and what he wants me to do.
                Church was great. The passage spoke directly to my heart and my situation. Philippians 3: 1-13. Dying to yourself and what means. All the efforts to protect myself actually is what destroys us and keeps us from God. Daily things. My husband threw many comments my way, I didn’t respond the way I usually would. I let the comments be. I didn’t defend myself. It really hurt because I want him to see my efforts but that’s not what matters right now.

              3. Karilove,

                I am really sad, too, to hear that he was out all night last night and that he is going out again tonight.

                BUT – I am SUPER proud of you!!!!!!!!!

                You don’t have to slam him or blast him for what he is doing. He knows it is wrong.

                I don’t think that text was necessarily a mistake. It’s okay that he didn’t respond. What you said will marinate in his heart. As you continue to respond without sin, it is going to begin to dawn on him that he is now the one who is wrong, not you. And as he finds that you are a safe, welcoming, friendly place to be, he may decide he likes being at home again.

                I’m so thankful that the Lord spoke directly to you this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚ I knew that He would!

                You have JUST started on this journey. He still has a lot of ammunition against you from the past few years, most likely. Defending yourself will only make him feel even more justified in what he is doing. So, I am proud of you for not defending yourself. And you are right, proving you are doing something right now is not going to mean much. But as you continue to change and God continues to transform you over a long period of time, he will see that this is for real. And he will come face to face with his own sin. As you continue to be a godly example, he will slam up against a wall of realizing that he has a really great woman who treats him well and that he can’t justify his sin to himself anymore because your sin is no longer in his face.

                We will trust that God will speak to him in powerful ways.

                What is your plan for handling your anxiety tonight?

                Much love!

              4. Karilove,

                PS – You don’t have to do much explaining about what you are doing to him. Often, if we explain too much at this stage, we only compound the disrespect thing because we inadvertently say something in a disrespectful way. You may want to keep what you are doing rather secret for now. Here is a post about that.

                Speak as God leads you to speak. And be silent as He leads you to be silent. You are doing REALLY well. WAY better than I was at this point! Continue to focus on Jesus and what He wants to do in your life and on becoming the woman He calls you to be.

                Much love to you!

  18. Last night I tried so hard not to text him but it got late, after 11. I noticed his tooth brush was gone and I let fear and panick over take me. I kindly texted him and said I hope he was having a good time and I wanted to check on him. I mostly get anxiety late at night especially when he is gone I can’t sleep because I know he was having drinks and my sister died in a car accident. I called him also. I feel like I failed ๐Ÿ™

  19. April,
    I just read the post about keeping what you are doing a secret. Wow, I didn’t think of it that way at all! My husband used to be or seem to be close to the Lord in his actions and speech, he’s drifted very far. I guess I felt like if I told him in a Loving way he would understand because we have had many conversations about the Lords work in our lives but now he seems completely unreceptive to the topic. He says he doesn’t have time or says I’m judging him for not spending time in the word and not praying. Maybe it is best to not give him any more details of what God is doing in my life. He never responded to my text, however he did call me and let me know when he was coming home and seemed like he was in a good mood? He says he’s coming home soon and on the way so my anxiety will not be like it was last night. In a way I felt the idol of his attention go back up when he called me and gave me attention I was seeking. Your right. I do not want to go backwards even the little progress I’ve made because I know I’m being freed! Praise God!

    1. Karilove,

      Men have VERY, VERY different ways of looking at things than women do. And when they are hurting – what they need is respect and often, space. Not more words. Not explanations. Not promises. Not lectures or sermons. What they respond to is a godly wife’s attitude, demeanor, joy, peace, friendliness, and receptivity.

      Your text – as you described it – wasn’t too bad. If you are talking about yourself sometimes it is okay. But most likely, he will respond better even if you don’t explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. The main thing that matters to a husband is that you are changing your attitude, words, and actions. They don’t usually really want a play-by-play of every thought we are having.

      The farther a man is away from the Lord, the less receptive he will be to his wife’s words about spiritual things. God’s prescription for us in those times is to stop using our words to talk about spiritual things, and to let them see Christ in us through His joy, peace, truth, holiness, love, faith, gentleness, patience, faithfulness, and godly power.

      That is awesome that he called you to tell you that he was coming home and that he sounded like he was in a good mood. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that he was so thoughtful and didn’t want you to worry and be anxious.

      I vote to meet him with a big smile at the door. And then just continue to show him that you are a safe place. That you are not going to try to drown him with all of your neediness, that you are not going to control him, that you are not going to order him around, complain, be negative, etc…

      We will pray for God to work in his heart. And yes, as you see him take a step toward you, it is easy to get all of those expectations back up and to begin to idolize him again. That is a temptation to be on guard for – and it is always a possible temptation. You have to keep a bit more space in your heart between yourself and your husband, if that makes sense. So, you cling tightly to Jesus, and have a bit of space between you and your husband. You can be connected to Jesus 24/7. He can handle your neediness and He can meet your deepest needs. He never fails you or forsakes you. But you can’t have that kind of trust and hope in a man. Not sure if that makes sense yet.

      You can search my blog for “enmeshed” and I think there may be three posts at the top that may be a blessing.

      Don’t expect this process to be linear. There will be steps forward and steps backward for both of you. That is normal. Just seek to sit at Jesus’ feet and absorb all you can learn and all of His goodness when things are good and when things are bad.

      Let us know how things go, precious sister! I am praying!
      Much love!

      1. April,
        I made him his favorite treat and when he got home he spoke some to me. But went back to ignoring me and glued to his phone. He also slept on the couch. I was joyful this morning, didn’t question why he slept on the couch and don’t act annoyed. I think your right about him coming face to face with his sin.

        I didn’t tell you everything prior but there has been issues with him getting close to women emotionally and there has been one girl in particular he is close with at work. There was an incident a couple months ago where he was acting friendly to her in front of me. He had his legs and feet right by her in front of me and I went to give him a hug later while had stepped in the bathroom and he denied my hug and said we didn’t need to be physically connected around other people. That hurt me severely.

        He stayed the night at her house when the party was going on – along with other people he said but her husband was out of town. I’ve asked him 2 or 3 times if there was anything going on and he got very defensive and said I always assume the worst of him etc. But I really have a suspicion something is going on. Paired with everything going on. I’ve tried to give him benefit of the doubt but he has disrespected me and neglected me on so many occasions. I feel more hurt today thinking about it all. ๐Ÿ™

        1. Karilove,

          Oops, I saw the last comment first.

          Yikes. This is a lot of evidence against him. It doesn’t look good. He is certainly not “avoiding the appearance of evil.”

          My suggestion is still the same as what I shared a moment ago. We don’t know for sure what is happening yet. But it is good to be alert.

          I can definitely understand that you feel hurt. Any wife or spouse should feel hurt if there seem to be signs of possible infidelity going on.

          If you are not sure if he is being intimate with someone else, you may have to not be available to him sexually until he is willing to be transparent and trustworthy.

          We are actually talking about this very thing on today’s post in the comments.

          Ugh! How I wish no spouse ever had to deal with anything like this.

          But my prayer is that you will seek to honor the Lord in what you do from this point on, no matter what your husband does. If he is cheating on you, it may be necessary to separate if he will not repent. Let’s see how the Lord leads. I am praying for God’s wisdom for you.

          You can still experience God’s healing for yourself – and even for your marriage. Neither of you are beyond the reach of God.

          Have you contacted the counselor your dad recommended?

          Much love to you!

      2. He has also turned off his location settings on his phone- doesn’t want me to call him at work. There are just too many signs. Should I seek further in finding out if he may being unfaithful?

        1. Karilove,

          I do think this needs to be on your radar as a possibility, unfortunately, because of the late nights and the location settings thing. I don’t know what is happening, obviously. And I don’t want to assume wrongly.

          What I would suggest is this…

          Fast and pray and ask the Lord to show you what is happening and to give you Light and clarity and wisdom. He can show you what you need to know. And you can ask God if you should ask your husband if there is anything he needs to get out into the open. He can show you when and how to ask.

          And in the meantime, focus on growing in Christ yourself. Ask God to prepare you for whatever may lie ahead that you may respond in ways that honor Him.

          If you aren’t sure about if your husband could be having an affair, you may also want to pray about and think about whether you can be available to him sexually until he is willing to be transparent and you are confident that he is not being unfaithful.

          How are you doing today? How may we pray for you?

          1. My husband has withheld from me sexually for a couple of months now. He won’t touch me, and he occasionally gives me a side stiff hug. I feel naive. Like I try to give him the benefit of doubt because I have trusted him for so long I wouldn’t imagine he could do that. I’m preparing my heart for another break if I find out he is having an affair.

            We have a counseling session tomorrow. Pray that I would know what to say about my husband and share my concerns respectfully instead of accusingly. I pray that my husband would be completely transparent as well and he would be able to lay down all of his troubles and feelings so we can work through our marriage in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.

            Thank you for your prayers. I’m going to be in prayer and the word today. He will calm my fears and angst. Sin doesn’t have control anymore.

            1. Karilove,

              I used to believe that I was “above” having an affair. I remember thinking that when we first got married. Then, a lot of things went very wrong. Greg shut down. I took over. And two years later, there was a charming, funny, flirty guy that would come to visit me when I worked nights. I made the mistake of inadvertently challenging him to woo me by telling him I would never date him even if I weren’t married because he was not a believer. I was too naive to realize it, but he decided to prove me wrong from that point on and he pursued me like I had never been pursued before. He gave me compliments and talked with me for hours. Greg wasn’t really speaking to me at the time. And even when things were going well, he never gave me compliments like this guy did. He knew just what to say, and when I would start to freak out, he would back off a bit. I became infatuated with him. I told Greg everything that was happening. He said nothing. I was terrified. Because I realized how dangerous my feelings were. Thankfully, he ended up dating a young girl before anything worse happened. I never kissed him or anything – but I gave him a lot of my heart for quite awhile – which was very wrong.

              I realized after that – that I was absolutely capable of adultery. In fact, God showed me about 8 years ago that I am capable of any sin if I am far enough away from Him. The only good that is in me is from Jesus. I have no good in myself on my own. All of us are capable of any sin if we are far from the Lord.

              There are many reasons why a husband may stop having sex with his wife. Many times, I have seen that a wife’s disrespect and control can cause a husband’s libido to plummet. Of course, there can also be medical problems or a porn addiction. Sometimes it is exhaustion from working too much and not getting enough sleep. Infidelity can be another thing that may be going on. Or sometimes, it is a combination of things.

              The fact that a husband doesn’t desire sex with his wife anymore doesn’t necessarily mean that he is having an affair. But when there is a lot of secrecy, working overtime, being away at night, etc… a wife would need to prayerfully evaluate what is going on.

              My prayer is that the Lord will prepare your heart – AND that He will bring something beautiful from this mess – that BOTH of you will find healing in Christ individually and together.

              I am honored to pray with you for these things.

              YES! God can absolutely calm your fears and anxiety. He is your Rock, your Shield, your Fortress. Your Ever Present Help in Trouble. Run to Him and He will shelter you under the feathers of His wings. How I praise God that sin no longer has mastery over you! WOOHOO!

              God has you. You don’t have to be shaken. He is going to be with you on this road and He has GOOD plans for you, plans to heal you of any idolatry, plans to draw you to Himself, plans to heal your husband and draw him to Christ.

              May you abide in Christ and receive His power to respond as He desires you to – not in the flesh.

              And may your husband be in complete shock and awe as he watches the Lord transform your life. May God be glorified beyond anything we could imagine today in your life and marriage, my dear sister!

  20. April,
    A lot has happened since we last talked.

    We had a counseling session and my husband said that I threw his character and loyalty under a bus afterwards and seemed angry. I went on my own suspicions and found out some things that were questionable. He said he was at work when he in fact was not (I had proof) and also long phone calls to this girl I have been mentioning. Going on for months and months. They do work together but I do not see how he needs to talk to her for hours at all hours of day including Sundays.

    I went to him a bit emotionally from the things I found out. He went into a full-fledge melt down. Something I had never seen him do. Said he couldn’t believe after all his loyalty and trust how I could just not believe him etc. He proceeded to say he felt so hopeless and alone and that he couldn’t do this marriage anymore. I comforted him as he had panick attacks as well. Things were intense. He said it was over. He left the house and ever since has been trying to talk to me and I just keep asking for him to agree to reconciliation. He says he cannot and he doesn’t expect me to understand. He says he feels divorce is best.

    I’m crushed. I don’t understand. I feel so hurt. So defeated. So worthless. Nothing feels like I’m going to make it through this. I know all of these things are lies but right now the despair is really kicking in. I don’t know how to move forward. I’m seeking the Lord but I feel hopeless right now. I need prayer. I need God to bring me out of the pits. What I mostly don’t understand is why he would be so sure this is what he wanted without trying anything out of our own efforts. He says he fears he won’t be able to forgive or be forgiven and has lost hope anything could ever change. He knows he’s disobeying God. He grew up Christian. He knows he’s going to go through church discipline soon but he doesn’t care. Heartbreak. What makes us get to that point of not caring about God and his word?

    1. Karilove,

      Yuck. ๐Ÿ™

      I really hate to hear this. All of it – the hours and hours of phone calls, the lying about being at work (it sounds like), his response when you approached him about things…

      Let’s take a breath here. And just stop for a minute, my precious sister.

      You have had a very tough week.

      What did the counselor say?

      I know that divorce is not what you want, but are you willing to hear what he is saying and respect his decision at this time? Not to say that this is what will actually happen in the end, but are you willing to respectfully let him go and entrust this whole thing to the Lord’s hands?

      You absolutely ARE going to make it through this. The enemy is whispering a lot of lies to you right now. He wants to destroy you. But God can use this terrible trial to bring about great beauty in your life as you trust Him, my precious sister.

      Let your husband think what he thinks right now. And I vote for you to focus on Christ and on allowing Him to change you. God can change your husband’s heart. Your husband’s feelings are important. But he is not sovereign over your life, God is. Let God begin to heal you and begin to pour that healing into your relationship in His timing. Your husband doesn’t know what will happen in the future. Right now, he is hurting and far from the Lord, it sounds like.

      If you are willing, I can walk beside you on this journey and show you the path to God’s healing for you and that may result in healing for the marriage, as well, in time. It won’t be soon. But you don’t have to know what will happen in the end. All you have to know is what God is showing you to do each moment of each day.

      God can touch your husband’s heart and your husband may choose to repent. What I’d like you to do is to get out of God’s way so your husband can best hear God’s voice. And I want you to be able to receive all of the good things and healing and growth God has for you in this time. There are treasures He has for you here that you wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else if you are willing to receive them.

      Much love!

      1. Karilove,

        Sin and hardened hearts get us to the place of not caring about God or His Word. But the Holy Spirit can work in your husband’s life. If he is a believer, He is already working. You just can’t see it right now. You have addressed the issues. Your husband reacted defensively. He said some harsh things – that may or may not really be true.

        Let’s give him a bit of time to marinate on what has happened, what he has said and done, and on God’s voice.

        God can reach him in ways you never could.

        Much love!

  21. Hi April,

    This is such a helpful post!

    While reading, I wonder, as wives, can we “guide” our husbands? Like in a situation where they’re not really sinning but they are about to do or are doing something that is not really beneficial and fruitful and they seem to be blinded by it.

    As wives, should we have that responsibility or burden to talk with them and tell them?

    When does it cross over to being a nag and controlling wife? And when do you go to the other extreme by being passive and uninvolved?

    I hope my question makes sense… Thank you and hoping for your insights!

  22. Hi April,

    I see the comments are closed on the topic of in laws. I have a situation:

    My husband mother divorced his father because she passed away, my father in law remarried before my mother in law passed on. When we got married i was welcomed by my husband step mother, who welcomed me with love. We get along so well but it is different with my husband. 1. i am not sure if he has forgiven her for coming between his parents 2. she is strict and say something as it is (unlike my father in law) so she would advise my husband and tell him if he is wrong. She loves our kids so much.

    i think it’s been a year and a half now that my in laws have separated, i heard this from relatives and i was so hurt. I didn’t want to talk or accept the news. My mother in law packed her things and left, i am not sure what happened but i know my father in law was the one at fault. I spoke to my mother in law but at that time she was so hurt, she didn’t want anything to do with her husband or moving back. No one has took the initiative to sit them down or call a meeting to discuss this issue, everybody is talking about it behind closed doors.

    When i spoke to my mother in law after some time, now she was cool and ready to work things out. I know she still loves her man but now the sad part is my father in law has a female friend. My husband told me about this and i felt this is not happening, i mean the man is old going on pension soon and is still married. When my father in law saw me he said he tried to ask for forgiveness but with no luck, I said nothing. I don’t know if this was rude or disrespectful. My mother in law asked me to come and speak to them and mind you she doesn’t know there is someone on the picture. My husband doesn’t want or i think he doesn’t care about what happens as long as his father is happy (now when he is alone he is happy)of which he is not according to me. The man i see now is not the man i saw when i came into this family.

    This weekend we went to visit my father in law and when we got there his female friend was there for the weekend. i felt like the earth can open and swallow me, i had all this mixed emotions (anger the most). I was angry why didnt he tell me when i told him that we are coming or tell my husband especially because we were coming with my kids. My older son is 13 years and he cried when i told him the truth about his grandparents separation, he loves them so much. Now there is this new woman in the house. I told my mother in law that we were coming and she was willing to come sleep at house with us, now i couldn’t tell her we have arrived.

    Before we left i asked my husband if i can please go see my mother in law and my sister in law (his half sister whom my son misses so much). He didn’t want me to go because it would be like i ma choosing side and when i honored his word, he changed his mind after some time and said i can go. I took my kids along because i know they want to see their sister and my mother in law misses them. We were all happy and i didn’t even talk about what is going on. She doesn’t have any idea what is going on, she still has her ring on and is waiting for someone to bring them together. she have forgiven the man.

    The thing is is want to speak to my father in law about this issue but i don’t know if i would come up as disrespectful but this killing me not doing or saying anything. I want to ask my husband for permission to go speak to Daddy about this.

      1. Hi April,

        Joh April it is so painful.

        Not at all, i think knowing how he feels about the issue i am guessing he wont allow me but i am praying about it and trusting God to take care of his heart. I know it is not by might nor by strength but by his spirit so i am totally depending on his spirit.

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

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