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Overcoming Unhappiness in Marriage – by Tina

photo credit – Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

 


Today’s post is a guest post by a Christian wife, Tina. I pray it may be a blessing to you. 🙂

Marriage is not easy. Sure, there will be plenty of good times, but there will also be trials and challenges. Sometimes bad times will last longer than the good times. And sometimes the difficult period will seem to last for so long that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have good times. You find yourself being unhappy. Your spouse is not everything that you’d hoped he would be. You feel neglected. You don’t feel appreciated or loved enough. You feel like you deserve better. You want to be happy.

But how many times do we ask ourselves, “Am I the best person I can be for my spouse?”

It is so easy to focus on all the good things we do and all the negative things that our spouse does. We conveniently forget that we’re not perfect either and that we are sometimes very hard to deal with. We also fail to see all the good that we receive from our spouse because it’s easier to just see the bad. I am certainly guilty of that.

Recently I found myself thinking about all my expectations and being so disappointed as they were not met. I even made a list of things, which only made me feel like everything is wrong. I complained about it, kept thinking about it and became consumed with it. I was sinking deeper and deeper into disappointment, resent, frustration, and depression. I didn’t even see that it was starting to change me.

I didn’t see that I was becoming this bitter person and was not very easy to live with.

I thought I was trying my best, but somewhere along the road I became too focused on the negative and, what’s worse, I didn’t even see the negative side of me. I still saw me as the caring, loving person as I was before. I was still doing the things as before, but my attitude was so much worse. Difficult to say now which one of us deserved better!

I am so thankful for this blog and April’s book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord. It is so amazing the things you write about and how open and honest you are! I can relate to so many things, it’s crazy! It is so wonderful reading about someone else being like me, feeling the same way and so inspiring what God has done in your life. Wow!

Reading your blog (along with watching a couple of messages on marriage) really opened my eyes. I just KNEW I had to read your book, if it was the last thing I did! I could feel the change in me immediately. I could feel that, for the first time in my life, I was ready to let go of wanting to control everything and just follow Him (baby steps :-)). All of a sudden that seemed so much easier to do than ever before. I feel like your book is guiding me and I feel so encouraged and so blessed!

I realized that it’s not my husband who needs to change and try better – it’s me. Maybe he’s not perfect and not meeting my expectations (which, to be honest, I’m sure they are way too high anyway), but then again, neither am I meeting his.

I tried so hard to do it all because I thought that was what was expected of me. I ended up too tired for everything other than work and too resentful because my husband didn’t help me as much as I thought he should. I “forgot” that every time he did offer help in the past, I shouted at him and accused him of doing everything the wrong way. And when he was not willing to do what I asked that very second, I assumed that meant he wasn’t willing to do it at all. Of course, I failed to see that part. I was becoming more and more exhausted, so much that I was seriously worried about my health. I thought my husband simply didn’t care.

It was hard to realize that it wasn’t my husband’s fault for not helping me.

The problem was, I wasn’t willing to accept the help. I wanted things to be done either my way or no way. I came to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore as I was just too exhausted. I had to accept help and I had to accept it to be done in a different way. Not an easy thing for me to do!

Living with another person can be a challenge. You both have your own ways and it can be difficult to compromise. There’s always going to be disappointments and expectations that won’t be met. But there are also many good things. It’s what you choose to focus on that will make a difference. When you think about all the bad things, you can end up being overwhelmed by all the negative. I hope to be able to mostly look at the positive and make the best out of that.

– Tina

RELATED:

17 Tips on How to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully

Dealing with Annoying Things

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

Why Won’t My Husband Lead?

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ADMIN NOTE:

 

b8bc3-dongnikka

I received some very sad news last week. Some of you may remember Nikka Alejar, who used to write posts for me a few years ago. She received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior September 1st, 2013. I met her a week or two after that on my blog. We corresponded quite a bit – it was such an honor to watch the Lord transform her into such a godly woman. She had her own blog, www.peacefulwifephilippines.com for a time. The posts are still up if you would like to read them.

Our beautiful friend passed away July 14th of this year after a few months of unexpected illness – leaving behind her precious husband and four children. She was such a joy to me. I know she is with her Lord in heaven! I know she is having the best time with Jesus. But please pray for her family. Her children are still rather young and I can’t imagine the grief and difficulties her sweet husband, Dong, is enduring.

Posts on my blog by Nikka.

Also, let’s pray together for Texas as they face such a devastating flooding situation.

57 thoughts on “Overcoming Unhappiness in Marriage – by Tina

  1. Thank you, April, for letting us know about Nikka. I am praying for her family. I really enjoyed and benefited from her beautiful, honest, humble witness. You and Nikka were the “Dynamic Duo” helping my marriage when I was in the beginning of this submissive walk. Thank you for your ministry. It has changed my marriage completely…for God’s glory!!!

    1. Renee,

      Thank you for sharing about the impact Nikka had on your walk with the Lord and your marriage. It is such a blessing to me to get to hear about that. 🙂 God gifted her with such a sweet spirit and a wonderful way of explaining things.

      How I praise God and rejoice with you at what He has done in your marriage! WOOHOO!!!!!! 🙂

    2. thank you April for starting this and hubby Greg too!i pray all is well with your’ll and all out other families!tnx Tina.Yeah,God is faithful n will finish the world He began in us all!!!Everyone,keep doing what God called u to do,your main purpose and the daily things!!!stay blessed n in The Trinity!!!
      Gerusha Bhotha

      1. Gerusha,

        It is such an honor for me that God and Greg have given me the opportunity to share here with my sisters.

        Thanks for the encouragement, and may God richly bless your walk with Him.

  2. Thanks much for this article. As always your blog posts are most encouraging. I hope to see additional articles by Tina in the future. I’m praying for your friend Nikka’s family and the folks impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
    <

    1. ronfurg,

      I would love to give Tina more opportunities to share if she would like to. Great idea! I believe God will use her post to be such a blessing to many women.

      Thank you for your prayers for Nikka’s family and for those in Texas who are suffering so much right now.

  3. I also have been blessed by Nikka’s blog posts and the way she has shared her experiences. I know she is with Jesus and I’m very happy for her but also saddened by the news of her passing. It must be hard for her husband and children. Her smile just radiates an inner beauty in that photo! She will be missed until we see her again. I will keep her family in my prayers. May they lean into Jesus during a difficult time for them. He is the great comforter. Thank you for letting us know April.

    1. Cara,

      It was quite a shock for me to hear last week. I was offline for most of July and hadn’t seen her FB page. Thank you so much for praying for this dear family. That means a lot to me!

  4. I will join you in praying for Nikka’s family. Nikka was so kind to me, I enjoyed her posts, and she even took the time to encourage me by emailing me directly. God is using her to strengthen me, even now. I’ve been healing from years of negativity, and at times I start to drift backwards. This morning I was feeling a bit off (which is odd because my husband and I had a wonderful weekend) – but anyhow, I came to your blog seeking encouragement. Tina’s post was helpful, but reading about Nikka, seeing her beautiful smile, and my memories of how she reached out to me – God is using all of that to encourage me to be strong.

    Nikka was a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I look forward to meeting her in Heaven someday. I will definitely be praying for her family.

    1. Becca,

      I’m so glad Tina’s post was helpful. I love seeing God working in people’s lives. It never gets old!

      So precious about how Nikka reached out to you. I know she is THRILLED at what the Lord has been doing in your heart and how strongholds of the enemy are being broken and you are healing so much. One day in heaven, we will get to hear every story about all that the Lord has done and how He used Nikka to impact thousands of lives for His kingdom. I look forward to that so much!

      Thank you for praying for Nikka’s family. I know they will appreciate it more than they could ever say.

  5. Hello Tina,

    I am just like you. At the moment I decided to work on me and work on the things I can control. That is when I started to feel inner peace and calmness. I am in the quite frustrating phase and I am learning to trust again and to let him lead. Currently I am looking at what I fear the most and focusing on the opposite of my fear – tearing those idols. Please pray for me and my husband to find complete healing. God has spoken to me so much through this blog. I cant wait to see what He has in store for me. Anyone who can walk with me in this phase and keep me accountable and ask me hard questions, I would be more than glad.

    1. Onbecoming peaceful,

      I’m so glad to hear from you. And I am very excited to hear about that you are focusing on yourself and your walk with the Lord and things you actually can control. There is a lot of peace in that approach! I love the heart work you are doing, examining fears and idols and seeking to tear them out. That is AWESOME!

      I will pray for you and your husband right now. I can’t wait to see all that the Lord has in store for you, either.

      If you are interested in a spiritual check up with me, we can do that.

      Much love!

    2. Thank you so much April i need that spiritual check up and to be equipped for this quite frustrating phase waiting to see what God will do for my marriage. God bless you for your kindness and Gentle spirit. Love you so much

      1. Onbecoming Peaceful,

        Awesome! Let’s get started. Take your time to answer… 🙂

        1. What is your relationship with Christ?

        2. How do you believe you can be right with God?

        3. What are you doing to nourish your soul and to grow in your faith currently?

        4. What kinds of things do you pray about for yourself?

        5. What are your greatest fears?

        6. What are your most precious dreams?

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

        Much love to you!

  6. Hello brothers and sisters,

    I just read this excellent post from Tim Challies:

    https://www.challies.com/articles/treasure-your-marriage/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_campaign=0&utm_content=5575

    Let us be kind for our one another as husbands and wives.

    Let us live for one another.

    In the old marriage vows, the man would say: with my body I thee worship.

    That is a remarkable vow of devotion.

    Being kind is not an easy way to be but it is so important.

    In my walk with Christ, I have been so much joy in my marriage, we are more strongly bound together because Jesus lives between us.

    With love to all my dear brothers and sisters, and my prayers for Nikkka’s family.

    May she be looking down from the warmth of her new home in Jesus. I am sure she is encouraging us all,
    Jesuscentreoflife

    1. jesuscentreoflife,

      Kindness is so very important! Thank you for sharing.

      I’m not sure we want to go as far as worshipping our spouse – but I think if we think about the idea of the way we are consecrated to Christ alone spiritually, it is a similar picture in the one-flesh relationship that we are consecrated to our spouse physically, wholly devoted to them, to loving, honoring, and cherishing them. That is interesting to consider.

      Thank you so much for the encouragement and for the prayers for Nikka’s family.

      May the Lord richly bless your walk with Christ!

      1. Peacefulwife,

        I am not always so good at explaining things, but this post may be helpful to my explain point of view.

        Here is the link: https://themennonite.org/feature/with-my-body-i-thee-worship/

        I believe it is connected to when Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:4:
        The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does (1 Corinthians 7:4 NASB)

        I hope this clarifies.

        Jesuscentreoflife

  7. So very heartbroken to hear about Nikki’s passing. She was a precious light shining for The Kingdom of God. I missed her posts when she stopped writing. And I know her family must be devastated. I will be sure to pray for her family. Thank you, April, for letting us know.

  8. Thank you for the post Tina and to you April for your wonderful blog. It has encouraged me through the darkest moments this year.
    I have only been married for almost a year. It has been very hard and tough for me. I have felt and thought that I made a mistake so many times. My husband has anger issues and at the beginning of this year stopped going to church (he has been a Christian for the 10 years I’ve known him- we meet at Church). I started the Respect Journey after realizing that I may have been the reason he stopped going (my nagging, criticism, etc…).

    I tried talking to him about it and he said his Christian walk is between him and God. I respect that and I have not asked him again. I have struggled in my own walk this year because I feel disconnected from him because he doesn’t go to church. I am worried about his leadership being influenced by all other things except God. How can I trust it? Especially when he gets angry and ignores me for days. I dont know how I can function as a wife, spiritually if we can’t share the word of God or pray together. I have asked God to help me “win him without words” and I have been praying for strength and peace and I feel I have it for a time then each Sunday comes by and my heart breaks as I leave for church alone. I feel isolated and lonely in my marriage. I can’t imagine an eternity of feeling this. I refuse it. I don’t know how I can communicate my feelings without getting my husband upset. Please help.

    1. Phoebe,

      My precious sister! I can relate to you in a lot of ways. I’m so thankful you are reaching out for help. There IS help available in Jesus. And I have tons of resources that I believe may be a blessing to you in this very situation.

      Yes, his Christian walk is ultimately between himself and the Lord. I know that it would feel like “bait and switch” to get married and think you are marrying a man who will be a strong Christian, go to church, and pray with you. And now, it may seem like he is living far away from God. That is very frustrating. It is tempting to try to make him go back to God or to try to verbally drag him back to God. I tried that for a long time, myself, with Greg. All I did was push him farther from the Lord and farther from me. I’d love for you to learn from my mistakes!

      Here is some amazing news – God can use your husband to lead you even if he isn’t super close to the Lord. God is sovereign. That is what can bring us so much peace. People have free will. They can choose to sin and rebel against the Lord. But God can use a husband – even in your husband’s situation – to lead you. Your ultimate trust can’t be in your husband. He is a sinful man. But you can completely trust God. He can lead you as you fully yield yourself to His Lordship. That doesn’t mean you can follow every single thing your husband wants to do. And it doesn’t mean you don’t go to church anymore. There are limits to how far we can follow a human husband’s leadership. But there are no limits to our ability to submit 100% to God’s leadership.

      If you are ready, I believe I can help point you to a very different perspective that may help you to heal a lot in Christ. I can also point you to resources to help you learn to influence your husband in a godly way. You can’t control him. But you can influence him – but it has to be God’s way. If we try to influence or force our husbands to do things in our own flesh rather than in the Spirit, we just make things much worse.

      I used to get VERY upset that Greg wouldn’t pray with me. He still doesn’t pray with me out loud. But I have a completely different way of looking at it now. And when I started this journey, Greg was not speaking to me except about the most essential things. He didn’t want to be in the same room with me. He didn’t want to touch me. He didn’t look me in the eye anymore. He didn’t care about my feelings. He was too hurt. I didn’t think God could lead me through such a man. But, it turns out, He absolutely can! It just took some time and healing and a radical change in my heart, perspective, and approach. Then God worked on Greg – once I got my own voice out of the way of what He was trying to do.

      If you are interested, let’s do a spiritual check up together for you. And let’s hash through this issue together with the Lord.

      I know that God can heal you both. I can’t wait to see what He has in store!

      Much love!

      A few posts to get you started:

      The Blessing of Having a Husband Who Won’t Pray with His Wife
      I Wish My Husband Would Pray with Me More
      My Husband Is Not a Good Spiritual Leader
      Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice
      Empowering My Husband’s Leadership about Church Stuff
      Why Won’t My Husband Lead?
      I Want to Follow My Husband. What If He Doesn’t Lead? How Can I Encourage My Husband’s Leadership?
      Why Do I Have to Change First?

      1. Thank so much for your response April.

        You are right I definitely had high somewhat unrealistic expectations of what i thought marriage with him would be but it is because he used to initiate reading the bible so much more when we were dating. I may have made marriage an idol And now that those very high expectations aren’t being met it really is hard to deal with.

        I started reading those posts you linked me to and I feel convicted in my heart to confront the pride and judgement in my heart. As you clearly point out in another post that nowhere does it say that our husbands must pray and go to church with us. Just because i feel these things are important it doesn’t mean he needs to feel the same as i do. This is what particularly touched me in another post.

        “I am free to grow in Christ – I do not have to “wait for my husband.”  I am to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling and trust God to work in my husband.  The closer I am to Christ, the MORE respectful, kind, gracious and merciful I will be to my husband – and that will influence him to  draw nearer to God, too.”

        I really have concentrated my efforts on being united. When in fact God can still build a relationship with God on my own and trusting him with it all.

        I do know that God has a purpose in everything and everyone. I am willing and ready to learn and grow into what he has called me to be in this situation.

        1. Phoebe,

          Marriage often exposes sin in ways that nothing else can. In ourselves. In our spouses. If you are willing – this very trial may be a springboard God has provided to launch you into a much deeper faith and deeper walk with the Lord. 🙂

          I’m thrilled to hear your heart to humble yourself and to allow the Lord to use this time to teach you and to help you grow in holiness and in allowing the Spirit to be in control in your life.

          I’m here if you want to hash through things. But I can tell you are getting on the right track. That is awesome!

          Much love!
          April

        2. Phoebe,

          If you don’t mind, I feel led to share a few things I learned too so far in marriage. I’m married for 3 1/2 years now, and when I married my husband, he was literally on fire for God. He was all into reading the Bible, seeking God, praying together, etc.

          And then we got married.

          And I didn’t know it yet, but looking back on everything, God has shown me that I loved this man and marriage more than God. I loved myself, and what I wanted, and my will more than anything else.

          And as soon as I got married, my husband was totally repelled because of this, and I was so blind at the time. It took 2 years until the Lord led me to April’s site where I saw all my own issues and the Lord used her journey to speak to me and lead me in the direction of freedom and life and peace and joy. Though I’ve had ups and downs like everyone one this journey, I’ve come to this place where my marriage is not my number one at all, and either is this man I’m married to.

          My husband was so disgusted by my carnality, that I literally pushed him away from myself, and from God. My husband has his own walk with the Lord like yours, but the more I tried to shove everything down his throat as if I knew anything (so idiotic now that I think about it!) —– the more he stayed away from me, and he actually came to a point a year or 2 ago where he said he didn’t want to even talk to me about God anymore!

          Can you imagine?!

          But you know what — the Lord allowed ALL OF THIS out of His love and mercy for me! If the Lord had not allowed this marriage to be everything I didn’t want, and nothing of what I wanted, I would have NEVER turned to the Lord is desperation, and I would have never come into the Truth that Jesus Christ is our Life — and there is nothing more important than knowing Him, and loving Him!

          It takes the Spirit of God to open our eyes to see our own wicked hearts —- so If I was you, I would pray and ask the Lord to seriously open your eyes to your own heart —– and you will see that you love this man, and this marriage, and going to “church” with him more than you love God!

          And that is why the Lord is pleased to thwart everything, and nothing is going how you wanted it to!

          Through April’s wisdom and the Spirit of God working in your heart, you will see that the answer is that of turning your whole heart to loving God alone, and accepting His will in this time, and you will come to see that the Lord is wanting you to desire Him alone, not for what He can do for you or give you —but just for Himself, because He has forgiven you much (we all need His forgiveness!) But until or unless you see how much He has forgiven you, you will not love Him above all!

          Your story is the story of everyone that comes here!!!! You are not alone — and I, with April, guarantee that if you turn your whole heart to the Lord, and seek Him above all else, and lay down all your expectations, and accept God’s will — you will not only find the Lord and lose all craving for the lesser things of this life and world, but you will become the sweet wife your husband knows you can be, and he will warm back up to you, (God willing), when you are no longer worrying about your husband and setting your heart on him and having your will be done in his life and your marriage!

          I pray you might come to let it all go and seek the Lord, and experience the true rest, joy, and peace that is found when He is truly our ONE desire! 🙂

          Blessings,
          Amanda

          1. Amanda I can’t describe fully to you how much I appreciate you sharing your lessons with me. Thank you. I have truly felt alone for a very long time. But I thank God for this blog and all the women here that are so encouraging and that are willing to be so open to helping others.

            Over the last few days I have cried my heart out to God for more of him in my life and less of everything else. I know it will take time to get where I hope to be in my marriage ( not worrying about it all the time and feeling happy) but I just feel at peace knowing that I don’t have to carry this burden anymore and God is right here just wanting to give me the best of everything even if it’s not the way I expected, it is 10000000 times better. I’ve prayed that God break down the idols I have made out of my marriage and my husband.
            Amanda it’s so encouraging to me that you can now say that those things are not number one in your life anymore. It must’ve taken s lot for you to get to that point!
            Going to church as a family was something we always did in my family- whether you wanted to or not. I’m learning now that God wants so much more than just attendance, he wants a relationship with me, a deeper one.

            Thank you once again April for this platform. May God bless your ministry and may he keep enabling you to reach out to many more women in need.

  9. I’m looking for advice about how to approach a specific situation.

    My bf and I have been together for over four years. I just finished college; he just finished grad school. He started a job and is excelling at it. I just started grad school today.

    Shortly after we started dating, we decided that we wanted to get married and chose to get married the summer when I finished my undergrad degree. He said so many times that that was what he wanted. This past fall, he said that he wanted us to get married at the end of this summer instead of the beginning so he would have more time to adjust to his job first. This spring, he said that he felt like we should wait to get married partly because there were so many changes for us this summer (his new job, my new school, and me having to move across the country and away from him for school) and that he felt like God was telling him to wait.

    I can definitely see that God could want us to wait and that there are things He would want each of us to fix before we get married. The thing I think God wants me to fix is idolizing marriage to this man, or marriage in general. I have been struggling so much to stay open and connected with my bf even though it hurt so much (and still does) that he broke his promise to me. There are days when it’s hard for me to get out of bed because I worry that he doesn’t love me enough to marry me (“if he really wants to spend his life with me, why is he waiting to do it?”). I worry that nothing my bf does can “work” any more:

    – If he never marries me, I’ll be sad that he didn’t.
    – If he asks me right away to marry him, I’ll still worry that marriage isn’t really that important to him because I’m still hurting about what happened this spring.
    – If he gives me a new timeline (“I’ll ask you in X months/years”), I’ll feel like I can’t believe him about when it will happen because he broke his word the last time.

    I truly believe that God desires us to get married at some point, but how am I supposed to act in the meantime? Am I supposed to continue to act like I’m actively preparing for marriage with him, or am I supposed to “just” act like his girlfriend? Either way, I will, of course, treat him with respect and kindness, I’m just trying to figure out how to approach the marriage issue. I thought I was dealing with it rather well and learning to accept the waiting, but today I realized that I’m not.

    This morning, I got to lab (first day!) later than I had hoped to because I found it hard to get out of bed because I was so sad about this whole thing. This afternoon, my professor stopped by to say hi and welcome me on my first day (how nice!) and I was SO EMBARRASSED because at the moment he walked in, I wasn’t doing the reading he had asked me to do; I was on my phone googling “how to be patient when you’re waiting for a proposal”!!!!! I have never been so embarrassed in my life. This was my first day and this is the professor that is going to advise me through my Ph.D.! So I realized that something needs to change.

    Do I view the situation as I’m actively preparing for marriage with this man? Again, I do believe that God desires us to marry at some point, but my bf has only mentioned something along the line of “soon” (not descriptive and I don’t think it’s respectful to ask for clarification, and I wouldn’t believe his answer anyway – see above). When he talks about allocating his vacation days for this year, he talks about using the days to come visit me or to take vacation days during my winter and spring school breaks so we can spend time together then (which is sweet), but absolutely NO suggestion of pooling vacation days for a week or two in the summer (i.e. a wedding and honeymoon). OR do I view the situation as that I’m “just” his girlfriend and he loves me and I’ll just be surprised with a proposal whenever he decides to do it?

    Would love thoughts on this.

    Love,
    Flower

    1. Flower,

      I’m sure that you are probably already aware – this is a decision that you will have to make with the help of the Holy Spirit, ultimately. None of us know your boyfriend. We don’t know his heart. We don’t know if these delays are legitimate or not.

      No matter what route you choose, I would suggest the following:
      1. Fast and pray and seek the Lord steadfastly for a period of time before making any big decision.
      2. Deal with the bitterness and resentment.
      3. Be sure you are seeing clearly spiritually and hearing God’s voice clearly before making a big decision.

      It seems to me that you have a few options – that I can think of:

      1. Let him know that these broken promises are a big problem for you and that they are making it hard to trust in the relationship. (I assume you have talked with him about this?)
      2. Don’t say anything, but just respectfully distance yourself and focus on your walk with Christ and your life trusting that he will draw near to you if he is interested in pursuing marriage. This way, you aren’t directly confronting him, but you can see what his priorities are by his actions.
      3. Break things off with him gently and respectfully to allow yourself to deal with your sadness and to give him space and time to think. If he truly wants marriage, he will most likely pursue you.
      4. Act like things are normal and continue to patiently wait, trusting his leadership.

      The real questions, in my mind, are things like:

      1. Is he close to the Lord?
      2. What are his motives?
      3. Do you believe he is listening to God?
      4. Perhaps he is trying to lead in what is best?

      And then, as you know, it is also wise to do a heart and motive check on yourself, as well.

      Much love to you!!!!! You are so precious to me!

      1. Hi April,

        Thank you so much!!! It’s so much better now. 🙂 I walked home (about 40 min) instead of taking the bus and I spent the time talking with God. He showed me that:

        1. I need to have faith in His promises, including where He had told me specifically earlier that He would not split my bf and I up.
        2. I need to have my first priority as Him and my actions need to show this.
        3. If I seek Him, he will teach me and draw near to me and make me more like Him.

        I talked to my bf when I got home; I had planned to just say nothing, but he could tell I was still a little sad. I explained to him what I felt that God was showing me (the things listed above). He agreed that, while we both love God and desire to be close to Him, our actions need to be more explicitly seeking God and less just desiring to seek Him. I explained to my bf that it still hurt that he had gone back on his word (note – this is the ONLY time he has not followed through with something) and that it was hard for me to trust him with the marriage thing. I said that not knowing the future was also hard because I’m not sure if I should be planning things in my life around being his girlfriend or being his wife. I said that it was also hard because I GENUINELY had no idea what he was waiting for, and if I knew, that would be easier. And then I said that even if he gave me a timeline, why wouldn’t it just change again? So then he apologized for me feeling bad and asked what he could do to make it better. I said that if I could understand WHAT it was that he was waiting for, I could then know what to expect. I said that I don’t need an exact timeline or to know all the details, but I need to know something – it’s not like I have a problem with waiting, it’s just really hard if I don’t know what I am waiting for. And he explained everything!!! 🙂 He said that he wanted to badly to marry me this past summer, but just felt like it was not the right time yet. He said that there was a financial goal he wanted to meet (and was very close to meeting) to be sure he could provide for me. He said that his immediate family is going through a tough time right now and he wants to wait until that calms down (a few months or so was the implication) so that his attention isn’t so divided during our season of engagement / wedding / honeymoon. And he said that he wanted us to have settled into our new lives first – both individually (he has settled into his job, but I just moved in to my apartment last week and started grad school today) and together (getting the rhythm down of daily phone calls and seeing each other 2x/month). He also said that he’s been planning how he wants to ask me and there’s a couple minor details he still wants to nail down. It’s not that I would have come up with those reasons myself, but I do think he makes valid points. I feel so much better now that I know what specifically he is waiting for and I feel confident both that I can trust his leadership and that he will ask within a year!! 🙂

        As for the questions you asked, now I can see that:

        1. My bf desires to be close to the Lord. Like me, he desires for God to be his first priority, but, also like me, he sometimes puts other things first.
        2. My bf has good motives toward me.
        3. My bf is trying to seek God’s will in this.
        4. My bf is trying to lead in what he thinks is best.

        Thank you for listening and thank you for your advice, it really helped! I want to make a bigger effort to focus on God as well.

        Love,
        Flower

    2. Flower,

      I know you’ve been on here for a long time, probably longer than me — but I just want to encourage you — you are most likely a lot younger than most of us and you honestly have the opportunity right now that a lot of us DIDN’T have because we were blind at the time of our marriage or engagement, etc.

      You have the opportunity to get your heart and life right with Christ BEFORE marrying anyone. You are unmarried. You are not already committed, and therefore you are still free to seek God, and truly wait for His will and timing in your life, instead of rushing ahead like some of us did, only to end up in a horrible marriage a week later because we didn’t have our eyes and hearts TOTALLY 100% focused on God.

      It is a blessing in disguise right now friend that your boyfriend is delaying — but you don’t realize it yet. I pray you will by God’s grace realize that this is a blessing. If you get married to this guy and your heart is not totally 100% sold out for Christ — all you have to look forward to is misery and discontentment after marriage. This is guaranteed sister!

      If you are bought by Christ’s blood—- then you owe Him your entire life and whole being — and if you don’t love Him above all things and all people — you are asking for disaster if you get married and your heart is set on this guy, marriage, feeling loved, or infinite other things the heart creates to love instead of God.

      Don’t be a fool like I was and rush into things, thinking you know what is best, or like you HAVE to be married by X time, or your life is over.

      The Lord is in control, and it sounds to me like He is orchestrating this situation more than you think.

      You think it is God’s will for you to get married a month ago — but obviously, it’s not God’s will because He has been pleased to allow you to NOT get married this summer we just past. The Lord is doing this our of His love and mercy for you, and I pray that you don’t miss this opportunity to get your heart right before doing anything else in this relationship!

      You are in a place I wish I had been 4 years ago. I was in this place, yet I demanded of the Lord a husband, and I got my desire — only for it to taste like bitterness once I got what I wanted to desperately.

      Time has gone by, and things are perfectly fine in my marriage now — but look what I had to go through to get here. It is a journey.

      But you have an opportunity to skip all this stuff and deal with it BEFORE you get your heart broken or worse by being in a marriage where you will become miserable and discontent because God does not allow us to gain in the creature what He means to give us Himself!

      Please don’t make the mistakes that we all made!

      Love,
      Amanda

      1. Flower,

        I agree with both April and Amanda. You have a lot of different options or paths to take on this journey.

        I very RARELY look back into my past except for to acknowledge possible sins, ask forgiveness, learn from it and do better. Last night, I was thinking about my past and how I’ve completely rushed, controlled and dominated all decisions about relationships throughout my entire adult life. Being impatient and not waiting on God and HIS direction has cost me dearly. There are blessings and there are consequences to our decisions and actions. I have had to deal with consequences EVERY TIME my decisions have been of my own free will (mostly fear driven) instead of Holy Spirit led.

        If I could do it over, I would, as Amanda has said, find my worth in Christ alone and value my relationship with him above all others. I would learn all I could about the character of God and trust him COMPLETELY with the direction of my life because my life is all about HIM! I would trust that he knew my heart better than I knew my own and that he wanted to give me the desires of my heart when they were in agreement with HIS will. I would not lean on my own understanding but trust that God works everything out for my good and HIS glory. I would then be able to patiently wait on the Lord for a husband that he desired for me and I would obey and have blessings instead of consequences.

        Your current boyfriend may or may not be the one that God desires for you. You need to come to a place where either one is ok with you and that you have peace with whatever direction the Lord leads you in. As April said, fast and pray and seek the Lord steadfastly.

        I’m glad you are asking for guidance on this. I wish I would of listens to the advice of “seasoned” women. Much love to you sister.

        Cara

        1. Cara,

          This is SUPER helpful. Thank you so much! I wonder if you might allow me to share this anonymously, the part about your story, on my blog or FB page for single women?

          Much love!
          April

          1. April,
            Absolutely, you can share, I would be honored. These are also things I share with my teenage daughter and hope that she has ears to hear. I know that I didn’t. 🙁

            Cara

      2. Thank you so much, Amanda! I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder that I have the opportunity to get my heart and life right with Christ BEFORE marriage. 🙂 That is so important for me to remember and really puts a positive spin on everything!

        Love,
        Flower

        1. Flower,

          I don’t want to spoil your happy moment but I just want to point out that your boyfriend, although he seems like he is planning his life wisely —- doesn’t know what tomorrow even holds. So it is wise to remember not to put your trust or faith in your boyfriend, but rather, it is best to set down your will completely, and turn to Him and trust in Him alone to carry out His own will in your life!

          You both have a long way to go 🙂

          But if you set your heart truly on God alone, He will guide you!

          Love,
          Amanda

          1. Flower,

            Amanda makes a really important point, that I think all of us women may want to consider. When we look to our man (a possible future husband, or a current husband) to lead, he may have a plan. But things don’t always go as planned. So, it is important that we seek to be flexible.

            The truth is, sometimes God will interfere with a man’s plans. (Or ours, too.) A godly leader will do his best and may even have a 5 year plan laid out. But God can change things in a moment. And, sometimes our men try to lead us well but can’t explain all of the reasons for their decisions. I have had that happen with Greg. Sometimes he just has a “gut feeling” that we should not do something that I want to do or we should wait a lot longer than I wanted to wait. Sometimes he can’t explain it all. But sometimes, God nudges our men to lead in certain ways and it is not obvious until later when God exposes the reasons for the delay or change of course.

            Ultimately, yes, laying down our will and expectations completely and allowing God totally free reign is the path to the most fulfillment, peace, and joy.

            I’m so thankful we can all talk about this together here. What a blessing!

            Much love!

      3. Amanda,
        Thank you very much for sharing your story with Flower. Yes, it could be the Lord’s hand moving to prevent the marriage from happening at the expected times. It could be that she will marry this man later but be much more well-prepared. Or it could be the Lord will lead her in another way that only He knows right now.

  10. I’m really shocked and sorry to hear about Nikka :(. I’ve wondered about her and how she was doing, off and on, and I’m saddened to know she’s gone. I learned a lot from her and will always be grateful. Thanks for letting us know, and I’m sorry for your loss, April, and for her family’s.

    1. Liz M.,

      It was such a shock to me, too. I know it was for her family, as well. 🙁

      She had been doing REALLY, REALLY well. She attended seminary and had just begun back as a news anchor on TV – which she had done in the past. She radiated Jesus and such beautiful femininity. I miss her! And I know her family does so much more than I can imagine.

      I know she is glorious, singing praises to Jesus in heaven. I know she is completely content and overflowing with joy and peace.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and sympathy.

      I am praying with great faith – because I know that God will deliver her family and use this somehow for His glory in ways I can’t begin to imagine. But how I pray for the Lord’s comfort, peace, direction, wisdom, and guidance for them now as they take these first few steps and try to find their way with her gone.

    1. I love the fellowship too! It’s been such a blessing to me. I’ve been reading for a few years now and I’ve learned and grown so much along with a few steps backward. BUT I am always willing to get back on the horse and try again and it always help to do some “refresher” reading from time to time. Thank you for being here and for sharing wisdom. Much love!

      Cara

      1. Cara,

        We ALL need refreshers. I know I sure do! And we all stumble at times. But then, let’s just get right back up “on the horse” again. Exactly!

        I’m honored to be here. Y’all are such an encouragement and blessing to me.

  11. My Husband is an alcoholic. But at the moment he seems to be dry. I am the queen of the house. He is not able to reign over anything right now. I decide what we do, what we eat and I also deal with the finances, the landlord and school. I have a nest egg prepared for worst case I go to get more qualifications at my job as well.

    He needs to work on the demons he never acknowledged. He hurt me in ways that make me cry thinking about it. Without any regard to me he tore into me to destroy. I have not yet been able to forgive him – cause he will do it again and again until he finally becomes safe by facing his own shadows. Beyond the alcohol I mean.

    I am amazed how much I grew into a wonderful and capable Woman over the last 3 years. I went deep into myself to meet the shadow aspect of myself and mastered the challenges. I am finally at a point where I love myself and feel confident of me being a good Woman and Wife. I always have been. I just needed to figure out the darkness to become even more awesome.

    Now it is his turn to convince me, to remorsefully make amends and ask for my forgiveness. To fight for my love. If nothing changes I am out of the door in 2018

    1. QueenofmyHome,

      Such a heartbreaking situation! 🙁

      I’m very thankful that your husband seems to be sober for now. That is certainly wonderful news. But when a husband is dealing with alcoholism, it definitely makes things extremely difficult. Alcoholics idolize alcohol and their addiction. That tends to be all that matters. How I pray for the Lord’s healing for you both and that he can find the spiritual transformation available to Him in Jesus so that he can become a godly, responsible, loving man.

      I hope you have support from the Lord, from the body of Christ, from an appropriate counselor, and other support, if necessary, to help you navigate this difficult road. I long to see your marriage thrive and become strong and healthy for both of you.

      Much love!

      1. Leslie Vernick has a site for those in emotionally toxic relationships http://www.leslievernick.com and she has some posts about dealing with alcoholic husbands. Here is her response to one wife who asks what she can do when her husband won’t stop drinking and the whole family is suffering that may be a blessing to others in similar situations:

        The situation you are in is messy and there are no easy or quick solutions, but you do need some support. The first step is being honest with yourself and that is exactly what you’re trying hard to do. You are not okay, nor are your children. You are all in a great deal of pain and the source of that pain as far as I can discern from your e-mail is your husband’s drinking. Probably more to the point, much of the pain comes from how he behaves when he’s drinking.

        You mention that you’re not sure whether or not he’s manipulating you in the counseling in order to keep drinking. That makes me question whether or not his drinking is actually being addressed in your counseling sessions. If not, why not? Perhaps he’s using the promise of going to marital counseling to give you hope that things will improve, deceiving himself and you that somehow things can improve without having to face his drinking problem.

        Please hear me. You cannot deal with marriage problems adequately while someone is regularly intoxicated. His drinking must become the primary focus of treatment. That being the case, your part is to expose the frequency and intensity of his drinking binges and what happens when he is drunk. You want to describe as specifically as possibly what he does or doesn’t do during these times that create fear, pain and suffering for you and the kids.

        Please discuss how to do this privately with your counselor so that you might plan how best to confront him. You’ve already tried to do it privately and his response has been to lie, blame you, get angry and fall into self-hatred. When he does that you shut up, feel guilty, and back off from pressuring him. It’s pretty effective, but his tactics are destructive and manipulative.

        It’s also important that you understand the risk you’ll take when you confront him again, this time in front of your counselor. He very well might refuse anymore counseling. If that happens, then what? Again, talking this over with your counselor ahead of time helps you be wise and as proactive as you can. Read all you can about doing an intervention with an alcoholic and work to implement as many steps as appropriate to your particular situation.

        Finally, I want you to know that your husband might hate his drinking as much as you do and truly want to stop, but willpower is not enough to actually stop. The Bible calls it being a slave of sin (2 Peter 2:19). I don’t know your situation fully, but your husband may need more support, accountability and people pressure (in good ways) in order to actually take the necessary steps that will help him succeed. Do all you can to get involved in your local church as well as possibly Al-Anon or some other Twelve Step Group so that both of you will find some friends, accountability persons and spiritual mentors to help you walk through this difficult journey.

        Don’t give up on yourself even if he won’t stop drinking. Do what you need to do to get healthy, strong, and whole and stay there. As you heal, you will be a positive influence on your children and help them make good choices as they grow up.

        http://www.leslievernick.com/how-do-i-deal-with-my-husbands-alcohol-abuse/

  12. What a sad shock about Nikka`s passing! How blessed that Nikka was committed to Christ and ready to meet Him though. I pray that the Lord will bless and speak clearly to Dong and the children that they may be comforted and borne up through this time of loss.

    1. SevenTimes,

      It was quite a shock! I definitely didn’t see that coming. She was still so very young. Thank you for praying for Dong and their 4 precious children. I am sure this is an extremely difficult time.

      It’s wonderful to hear from you, my sister!

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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