I’m so excited about this guest post by a new guest contributor, Fortified in Christ. The dilemma that this precious young wife experienced is one that so many of us can relate to. It is spiritual warfare. I appreciate her honesty, transparency, and the rawness of the struggle she shares with us. And it seems to invariably happen that when I post someone’s story about spiritual warfare, they experience quite a bit of attack from the enemy. Please do pray fervently for her with me – for God’s protection for her and for her marriage and for God’s greatest glory and victory in the trials she is experiencing this week.
My marriage is just over a year old. I married a wonderful man who is very warm and caring towards everyone. The goodness of his heart can be clearly seen in the way he relates to his friends. However, this very same thing that attracted me to him has caused a lot of strife in our marriage.
- From the beginning of our marriage, I thought that my husband gives his friends an excessive amount of his time and attention.
He jumps as soon as they call him to invite him to hang out, do them a favor, or lend them money. This has caused me a lot of hurt and pain because it makes me feel as if I am very low on his list of priorities. This has caused many arguments between us and a lot of frustration on both our parts. My verbal pressure on him to spend less time with his friends and more time with our son and me mostly fell on deaf ears. He couldn’t understand why I was being so demanding and I couldn’t understand why his friends were so important to him. He said that I was always complaining and making demands and he was getting tired of it.
Because of the constant conflict on this issue, I made a commitment to search for my peace, happiness, and sense of security from Christ and not my husband. I realized that there was nothing I could do to make him change his point of view but I had the power to work on changing my own.
I read as many posts as I could find on this blog. I was very inspired by two articles in particular: Finding Contentment in Christ Alone Through Painful Trials and Waiting Becomes Sweet. Still hoping to become my husband’s #1 priority, I was inspired to believe that the time of waiting for his heart to be turned more toward me and less toward his friends could be a sweet time where I grow closer to God.
One afternoon, my husband left home at 4pm to help a friend buy some furniture and transport it to his house. He said that they would be going to a furniture store nearby and I assumed that he would be back at home around 6pm. As it turned out, he didn’t get home until about 8:45. Between about 6pm and 8pm when he didn’t get home when I expected him to, my heart and mind began spiraling out of control. I was really hurt and angry and filled with sadness, assuming that after buying the furniture, he decided to hang out with his friend for a few hours and leave me at home by myself.
I was thinking that I could no longer tolerate his obsession with his friends and I should just take our baby and stay at a hotel for a few days and ignore his phone calls to punish him and show him how it would feel to live without us for a while. I actually called a hotel nearby to find out what their daily rates were. I changed my mind about the hotel and then considered locking him out of our bedroom and leaving a note on my bedroom door saying that he needs to sleep on the couch.
I was fighting back tears as I was bathing my baby and putting him to sleep. I began thinking that if he continues like this, I would eventually have to divorce him and raise our son by myself. I began fantasizing that I would punish him by only allowing him to visit his son once a week for 2 hours because “he doesn’t deserve any better. He cares more about his friends than his son anyway. He’s not ready to be a family man and maybe he never will be. I’ll look for another man who really appreciates me and who likes to spend time at home with me.”
Around 8pm, I realized that I was really getting off track and being overly dependent on my husband’s time and attention for my happiness. I reminded myself that my joy should come from Christ instead of my husband and that I was responsible for my own happiness. I decided to calm myself down and make myself happy by watching my favourite show on Netflix.
VERY DIFFERENT RESULTS
By the time he got home at 8:45pm, I was calm, happy, and peaceful. I asked him in a friendly way why he took so long to come home and he explained that his friend had heard about a cheaper furniture store in another town nearby so they went there instead. They had to battle through rush-hour traffic and a long wait at the store. He was sweaty and exhausted from lifting the furniture into his truck and then setting up the furniture into his friend’s house. His friend is almost 70 years old and could not help with lifting the furniture. I offered him sympathy, rubbed his back and we cuddled lovingly on the couch for a while and then we cooked together. What could have been a horrible night filled with anger, hostility, and revenge turned out to be a peaceful and loving night.
I was truly amazed by this experience. I was shocked at how quickly my mind got so off track and that I was considering punishing my husband and ultimately divorcing him over something as innocent as his helping out an elderly friend. I’m even more amazed at how quickly I was able to calm myself down and refocus on Christ and take responsibility for my own happiness. I’m so glad that I was able to allow the peace of Christ to rule in my heart (Col 3:15), instead of being controlled by anger and hardness of heart.
This experience taught me the following:
- I get to choose what rules in my heart: the voice of the Accuser or the peace of Christ.
- Whenever I notice that my mind and heart are spiraling into a cesspool of negativity, blame, anger, and sadness, I need to take my thoughts captive for Christ.
- I need to seek my contentment in Christ, not in my husband’s attention. This will help me to avoid a lot of marital strife and bring peace into my home.
Nothing external in my marriage has changed, but my heart has definitely changed. It now feels like it’s full to overflowing with a peace that passes all understanding. It has given me real inspiration to continue seeking Christ and building myself on His Word.
FROM PEACEFUL WIFE
Praise God that this husband did NOT come home before 8pm that night! It could have been a marriage-ending evening if he had. May this post remind each of us of the enemy’s tactics and help us to be alert and better prepared for his subtle attacks – as well as being alert to our own sinful nature. He uses very similar methods with almost all of us. When I notice that I am full of anger, resentment, hostility, and accusations against my husband (or someone else), these are big red flags that there is a spiritual battle going on. The flesh is trying to take over and give the Holy Spirit the boot.
It’s not wrong for a wife to want to be with her husband. But if he decides to help a friend or do something else, the way we respond should be gracious and without resentment.
The Accuser wants me to listen to his smooth voice and to side with him in becoming his mouthpiece into my marriage. He wants me to savor feeling like a victim. He loves for me to be upset, freak out, assume the worst about my husband, and assume the worst about God. He wants me to respond in the flesh and forget about living in the Spirit of God. He delights in me listening to his accusations against my husband and joining in with him against my husband to create division.
The closer I am to the Lord, the more quickly I can recognize the enemy’s voice and immediately reject it and run into the arms of Jesus for protection, truth, and shelter. I can’t afford to listen to the enemy’s accusations against my husband. I can’t afford to play with destructive, sinful thoughts. They have to go the second I realize the thoughts are a temptation. I must resist the devil and submit myself fully to Jesus (James 4:1-12)
Fortified in Christ’s story reminds me very much of some previous posts that may be a blessing:
- My Demon by Kayla about a very similar incident when her husband went out with friends to play his guitar and she was home alone and upset
- How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – how Satan wants to keep you thinking accusing thoughts about your man
- Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority by A Fellow Wife
- Respect Dare Day 1 – Expectations
- A Big Lightbulb Moment about True Contentment
- Dealing with Loneliness in Marriage
A FINAL THOUGHT FROM FORTIFIED IN CHRIST
Strife, jealousy, fits of anger and divisions are works of the flesh and we are not to make provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
- Galatians 5: 19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Romans 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
If you have a story that is similar where you were focusing on some really terrible things but then began to focus on the Lord, we’d love to hear about it! Or if you are struggling in this area and want to discuss it, please let us know.
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REMINDER – My sites are designed very specifically for women. Men may certainly read them, as well. But my sites are quite purposely one-sided because I don’t offer instruction to men. This is out of respect for God’s Word that says that women are not to teach men or have authority over men in the church. Husbands and wives are each accountable to the Lord for themselves. It is not only wives who are to submit to the Lordship of Christ and who are to allow the Lord to change them. All of us have sin issues to deal with and we are all called to holiness, selflessness, obedience, godly love, dying to self, humility, etc… as followers of Christ. Here are some resources for husbands.
FOR WIVES IN VERY DIFFICULT MARRIAGES – please check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”