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A Young Wife Seeks to Honor Her Husband, Not Prosecute Him

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

A guest post from a young, Christian wife in response to last week’s post:

I have had a major problem with (acting like my husband’s prosecuting attorney) and continue to if I am not careful. I’ve been married only three short years and I’ve followed this blog very closely. It was, and continues to be, a blessing as I continue to walk with my husband in our very early stages of marriage. As I’ve continued on in this journey there are a couple of things that I’ve found to be helpful that I would like to share in case it helps anyone else.

TWO KEYS I HAVE FOUND

What I’ve found to be extremely helpful is studying and memorizing the specific scriptures about what God wills for wives in relation to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33) and then asking God to do two things:

1) To allow me to understand in a practical way what these particular scriptures mean and how they can be applied to my life in a practical way, for day to day living. I pray in faith and believe that He will guide me, even in the midst of a situation. The Bible states:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8)

2) That GOD work a respectful, submissive attitude into my heart. Though we may DESIRE to respect our husbands, we cannot walk this out in our own flesh! This is a biggie. We can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). It will take His spirit to actually complete His will. Romans 7:21-25 states:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

DEALING WITH DEFEAT

I know we may have times in which we gave the Devil a little more of a foothold than we ought have (Ephesians 4:26). I have beaten myself up and often given up because I’ve felt so defeated.

When I dwell in my sin I feel more and more defeated and wonder why I even try.

But most recently, I’ve tried simply asking God for forgiveness and asking Him to show me how to handle it more respectfully the next time. When the next time rolls around (sometimes within the same our, or even within seconds!) I wait expectantly for the Lord, remembering His commands and trusting He will give me the strength to carry out His will:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. (Philippians 4:13)

A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON RESPECT

One more thing. I am an elementary school teacher. I thought about my authoritative role as a teacher and how utterly disrespected I’d feel if one of my students said or acted towards me the way I often act towards my husband. It would be completely untolerated and it would be inappropriate.

In the same way, I thought about my own boss (the principal). Would I walk up to my boss and say and behave the way I behave with my own husband with him/her? Of course not! I’d know I’d be fired and it would be completely disrespectful to behave that way in the first place.

It’s interesting that regardless of our understanding on how to respect parents, teachers, bosses, etc… we fail to see the importance of giving our husbands the exact same respect and to follow their leadership. We will behave respectfully towards our bosses and others we see as authoritative (as we should) but our husbands we disrespect right in the face of God.

It stings as I write this, because I am so guilty of all of this. But it’s still something I wanted to share as God continues His work in my life.

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Honestly, even if I had treated my co-workers or patients the way I treated my husband in the past, it would have been totally inappropriate and disrespectful. As believers, we are to treat all people with dignity, respect, and honor. And all the more so when it is someone in a position of God-given leadership in our lives.

SHARE

What kinds of things has the Lord shown you on this journey to become a peaceful wife? Are there areas where you are struggling and you would like to talk about things?

Much love!

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – There is a chapter on disrespect, one on respect, one about submission to Christ as Lord, a chapter on God’s design for submission in marriage (what it is and what it is not), dealing with conflict, asking for things respectfully, etc… This was the book I needed desperately 9 years ago when I first began this journey.

Spiritual Authority Basics – for all believers in Christ relating to how we treat those in positions of God-given leadership

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?

Posts about what biblical submission is and is not

What Is Respect in Marriage?

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Do You Think Women Are Always to Blame for Marriage Problems?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

44 thoughts on “A Young Wife Seeks to Honor Her Husband, Not Prosecute Him

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us. Very helpfully thought provoking, regarding the teacher/pupil/boss part!!!!! I struggle enormously in this area and often beat myself up when I fail.

    One thing I will say, I think the title of the post could do with some readjustment. This post is relevant to wives…all of us…young, mature, new, experienced. I’m soon to be 45 but in the infancy of a new marriage, trying to do it God’s way, had I taken the title literally, I may have missed out on the complete gem of what was written here.

    Thank you so much. This blog continues to be a much valued resource on my journey.

    X x x x

  2. I have a question. I have been reading this blog throughout the past week and praise God, the Holy Spirit has been convicting me of so much sin that is in my heart and shown me that I must address the state of my heart instead of trying to control my husband and demanding that he change.

    I really, really, REALLY want to be a respectful and submissive wife. I struggle big time with a short fuse, a defensive spirit, and pitting my husband against myself. I see how the Lord is already working to sanctify me and showing me that I must focus on my own change; however, I am at a loss for how to respect my husband when he is in sin or making a poor decision!

    A real life example of this is my husband’s affinity for poker. He loves to play, and I hate that he does. He is not a gambling addict or anything quite so severe, but I see the hobby as very poor stewardship of our finances, not to mention that the way he is doing it is illegal. I have told him that I strongly disagree with his choice to play, and that I wish he wouldn’t, and that I feel it’s very unfair to me; but ultimately he has the freedom to make the decision himself.

    Is this my only option? This makes me feel so helpless; like I am confined by my husband’s choices and have no control even over my finances.

    1. Hopeful Wife,

      It is so great to hear from you and to hear what the Lord is doing in your heart and life! WOOHOO!

      This is a great question.

      Obviously, gambling is not good stewardship of your money. And if he is doing something illegal, that does not honor the Lord. I’m glad that you have let him know that you strongly disagree with his choice and that you wish he wouldn’t gamble and that you feel it is very unfair to you.

      I believe that as you take care of the sin in your own life and on your side of things, you will have infinitely more power in your prayers and a much closer connection to God. So as you heal and as you are walking in greater holiness, God will give you the wisdom you need to deal with your husband’s sin in ways that honor Him. And, often, as a wife begins to live a godly example and takes care of her own sin, that alone – without any words – preaches a more powerful sermon than any words a wife could say.

      So it may be that your husband might eventually change as he sees you change and as he can better hear God’s voice for himself.

      Are you having to participate in the illegal activity at all? Are you going to be able to be held criminally liable in court, for example, if your husband is caught?

      Would it be okay if I ask you some questions to get a better spiritual pulse on what is going on so that I might be able to better direct you to the wisdom of Christ for your situation?

      Much love to you!

      1. Here is a quote I am planning to share on my FB page tomorrow that may be a blessing…

        Obedience can ask with boldness at the throne of grace, and those who are obedient are the only ones who can ask in that way… If you have an earnest desire to pray well, you must learn how to obey well… If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed. God delights in the prayers of His obedient children.
        – E. M. Bounds in “The Necessity of Prayer”

        1. Thank you! This makes sense, and my utmost desire is to cultivate a deeper intimacy with God – I know that walking in obedience will strengthen that intimacy as He reveals more and more of my own sin!

          And yes, please feel free to ask anything! I so appreciate the wisdom you’ve already shared.

          1. Hopeful Wife,

            The same general principles apply whenever our husbands are doing something we find offensive. It gets a bit more difficult when a husband is engaged in clear sin or something illegal. But God always has wisdom for us so that we can honor Him no matter what our husbands may be doing.

            Some posts that may be a blessing:

            – How a wife might respond to her husband smoking cigarettes
            Whether we can force our own personal convictions on our husbands
            When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?
            Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMSdaily
            Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

            Right now, since you have already addressed the gambling thing quite a bit, I don’t think more words are going to be helpful. He has to see his own sin and want to change because he wants to please the Lord. You can’t change his convictions or his heart. But you can influence him by your godly example. Not by preaching, lecturing, or nagging. But by your following 1 Peter. 3:1-6.

            Okay, here are some questions for me to be able to better understand what is going on. Take your time. 🙂

            1. What is your relationship with Christ?

            2. What do you want most in your walk with the Lord?

            3. What do you desire most in your marriage?

            4. What is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

            5. What are your most precious dreams?

            6. What are your greatest fears?

            7. Is there anything you are holding back from God or anything with which you feel you can’t trust Him fully yet?

            8. What are the general dynamics in your marriage?

            Much love!
            April

        2. Hi April,

          For some reason the site is only letting me respond to your first comment. Hopefully you are able to see this.

          To answer your initial question as to whether I am having to participate in the gambling – no.

          In answer of your spiritual check up questions:
          1) Christ is my savior. I believe I am saved by the blood of Jesus not only from sin and death but for the Kingdom.

          2) What I want most in my walk with the Lord is to be in close communion with him. I want to hear his voice clearly and consistently and walk in loving obedience. I want to be dead to fear and to my flesh more and more so that there is more room in my heart to be filled with his Spirit.

          3) I think what I desire most in my marriage is to really feel like we are a team. I want to be understood at the deep levels of who I am, and I want to understand my husband; I want us to never stop seeking to better understand and love one another. Most of all I want our marriage to be focused on God’s vision for us – as individuals and as a couple.

          4) My husband is a Christian and he is saved; as far as his level of intimacy with the God, I cannot say except that there is a lack of spiritual fruit and desire to live a life under the authority of Christ.

          5) My most precious dreams…my husband suffers from chronic pain and many of my cries to God and my dreams for the future are for him to be healed and restored. I dream of being able to do the activities we both love together. I hope that answers the heart of the question for you, I am not sure exactly what you meant 🙂

          6) My greatest fear is to be abandoned and alone. Going into marriage I always said that my biggest fear about it was that my husband would one day not love God. From almost the start of my marriage I felt that fear was realized.

          7) I think that up until this point I have not acknowledged that I am not trusting God to take care of me in my marriage. I am not trusting Him as my Defender or Provider…I am not trusting Him to heal my husband physically or emotionally…I am not trusting that He will always take care of me no matter the state of my marriage. My eyes have been opened to this and I am trying to walk forward in trust. It’s hard though!

          8) There is little to no conflict resolution in our marriage. Disagreements and arguments turn into toxic, destructive fights which detract from the real issues. There are some pretty severe trust issues on my husband’s end stemming from his past and some other insecurities. There has been talk recently of separation; our pastor was involved and we are currently going to a Christian counselor. Separation is off the table at this point. On my end there is a lot of defensiveness and destructiveness that I think stems from the aforementioned fear of abandonment.

          Thank you, April. You are so kind to be so responsive and engaged and devoted to your ministry. I am so thankful to have found your blog.

          1. Hopeful Wife,

            Thank you so much for these answers. That helps me see a better picture. I love your heart for the Lord and that He is showing you that there is a lack of trust of Him that is contributing to the issues. That is a really important piece of information!

            You and I can’t change your husband. We can’t “fix” him or make him do God’s will. We can’t open his eyes spiritually.

            What we can do – if you are ready – is work on your heart and your faith. My desire is that you might be completely healed and walking in holiness and the power of God’s Spirit yourself. I’d be glad to walk beside you on that road if you are up for it. It’s amazing what God can and will do once we focus on Him and our own sin and our own obedience. I can’t guarantee God will change your husband. But if your husband is going to change by God’s power, it may be that God wants to start with you.

            If you are ready to dive into this, let me know.

            Much love!

              1. Hopeful Wife,

                WOOHOO! I’m so excited! When I see a wife who is ready to focus on her own walk with the Lord, I know amazing things are about to happen. 🙂

                The first step, let’s allow God to shine some light on any lies you may have unwittingly embraced about Him, yourself, and others. Please read this post and let me know what lies might be issues for you. These may not be things you consciously say or that you speak out loud. They may be things you unconsciously believe. We can say we trust God, but the way we live doesn’t match up. So if you see that the fruit of your life has anxiety, fear, worry, etc… it may mean that some of these lies may be festering.

                Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced

                Much love to you!

                April

              2. Hi April –

                Well, I am seeing what you mean when you say that things often get worse before they get better! My faith has been challenged this past week more than it ever has before. Your list of lies was very eye-opening. I feel I have agreed with A LOT of lies.

                – God is not good
                – God is holding out on me
                – God won’t help me
                – Circumstances are greater than God
                – God’s word is not totally true
                – I can’t trust God

                – My emotions are greater than God. They are the source of absolute truth

                – Others are more important than I am
                – If I am in a bad mood, I have a free pass to lash out at others in hurtful ways
                – Others are responsible for my happiness and emotions
                – I have to disrespect others in order to respect myself

                – My approval and opinions are more important than God’s
                – I am responsible for things that aren’t really my responsibility
                – My value is in what I do
                – If I don’t ever make mistakes other people will love me and never be upset with me

                Wow! I think I have a lot of work to do…

              3. Hopeful Wife,

                Sometimes just identifying the lies – and recognizing what they are and their source – is more than half the battle.

                Would you like resources on any of these?

                I’m so excited about the healing God is about to do in your heart! ❤️💜❤️

          2. Hopeful wife,
            Much of what you describe is very familiar to my own marriage experience. Thankfully through ‘excellent marital counseling’ We don’t even have the same marriage. My marriage was destructive and especially got more destructive as I got ‘healthier’.

            The things you describe are not your every day run of the mill issues because they are a pattern and reveal a cycle within your dynamic. Your marriage needs special treatment and intensive counseling to unravel the issues.
            I would highly recommend that you get equipped for what the realities that are sometimes hard for us all to face.
            Education and seeking wisdom and discernment from professionals was key and God had a path for me and my husband.

            Many times earlier in our marriage I was easily offered ‘hopeful’ moments in many Christian communities only to be let down harder and the dynamic to get even harder to find resolution.
            I did a lot of the advice that April offers through my marriage, the outcome was that my husband became more emboldened and more entitled by my passiveness and my willingness to not hold healthy boundaries.

            I needed to get healthier to learn what a healthy partner looked like and not continue to redesign what the enabler partner is.
            My husband is ever grateful for my willingness to become his Ezer and all the help we have received to be able to have a real marriage and a real partnership.

            I recommend you look at Patrick Doyle’s YouTube videos as well as Leslie Vernicks materials because the marital experience you describe won’t get better if you can’t get to the issues. I don’t want to see more women follow hope that isn’t ‘real hope’.
            Prayers for your heart and your strength.

            1. Freedom,

              Thank you for sharing with Hopeful Wife!

              If there are really serious issues going on, it would be so wonderful for couples to find appropriate marriage counseling that is specific to their needs.

              If a husband is emotionally abusive/toxic, Leslie Vernick’s material will be helpful for a lot of wives. Sometimes wives think that being respectful or submissive means they are to be passive. That is not the message I want to ever send! It is tempting to either be too controlling/disrespectful or too passive and too respectful and too submissive. But, as many wives experience, neither of those unhealthy extremes are good.

              Thankfully, God’s design for us is not about being passive, or about disrespecting ourselves, or about condoning sin or saying nothing about sin.

              Another resource that is helpful when a husband is particularly toxic and a wife is having trouble respecting herself properly and setting healthy boundaries is Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” Several of my readers have told me that it was helpful.

              Praying for healing for all those who are hurting and for God’s leading and wisdom about exactly what resources and counsel might be best.

              Much love!

              1. For wives who are more prone to passivity, giving up their personhood, being too quiet, too respectful, and letting their husbands run them over, I invite them to search my home page for:

                – command man
                – doormat
                – passivity
                – a husband’s and a wife’s authority in marriage
                – 25 ways to respect myself
                – Radiant (all of her posts)
                – is it possible to disrespect myself?
                – lose my voice
                – does being a biblically submissive wife mean I can’t say how I feel and what I need?
                – biblical submission does not = the husband is always right
                – you don’t have to lose yourself or be fake
                – can a wife overdo biblical submission? – by Nikka

              2. April,

                I think you have a really tender heart and a desire to help in such a positive way that would bring Glory to God.

                I struggle so much with your conversations and the dangerous territory I see in these posts and comments. I realize that you offer plenty of disclaimers but what I continue to see is your invitation to walking along side someone yet not asking the critical questions that need answering and sorting through, most often the answers to be evaluated by a professional.

                For example,
                Above you write to me, ” if there are really serious issues going on”.
                I see that you point out different resources but it’s important that you also be wise in looking for the flags in these destructive relationships and what flags a wife might write who is entangled in one. Hopeful wife explained plenty of serious issues.

                I realize you write from the standpoint of not being in a destructive marriage or even being the recipient of a destructive partner or any relationship for that matter, so it’s critical that you be willing to consider the other scope.

                When a woman is in this type of a toxic and non-resolving relationship, she often is desensitized to the reality of how bad and how one sided the power struggles are.
                ‘Hopeful wife poster’, has pointed out critical areas that highlight these and they are serious to need professional intervention. Most victims want to feel like they have some power to change the situation even if it means changing themselves into whatever pretzel necessary to survive what she is entangled in.

                I bring this to you because you offer to walk Hopeful Wife into change but you don’t ask for what she might define as destructive and or defensive behaviors.
                This is very concerning to me.

                Often times a person in this type of a marriage is used to taking on MORE than her/his share of the relationship and willing to have a more sensitive conscious that can cause her/him to struggle with healthy boundaries and requirements necessary for a healthy relationship.

                You wrote this to Hopeful Wife,
                “What we can do – if you are ready – is work on your heart and your faith. My desire is that you might be completely healed and walking in holiness and the power of God’s Spirit yourself. I’d be glad to walk beside you on that road if you are up for it. It’s amazing what God can and will do once we focus on Him and our own sin and our own obedience. I can’t guarantee God will change your husband. But if your husband is going to change by God’s power, it may be that God wants to start with you.”

                I agree with you in many ways but it’s critical that the ‘change’ and what type of change is needed is assessed.
                None of us can be completely healed, walking in holiness on this side of heaven, but we can be in a transformation process until we die.

                The problem I have with your words are that they can be twisted so easily with a person who is sensitive to their own sin, but not able to recognize that their protests might be completely valid and essential to confront with their spouse.

                Hopeful Wife needs the right kind of Hope and path that offers TRUE hope!

                Hopeful is not going to be content or at peace given the dynamics of her marriage that she has described.

                Hopeful wife wrote:
                “4) My husband is a Christian and he is saved; as far as his level of intimacy with the God, I cannot say except that there is a lack of spiritual fruit and desire to live a life under the authority of Christ.”

                Here is evidence to pay very close attention to. When a husband does not desire this authority, the whole marriage is out of balance. He is going to struggle honoring and cherishing his wife and anything she may bring as a valid complaint or grievance to him. She will be discredited and dismissed by him because of the lack of relationship he has with the Lord. It is wise to discern this.
                She will look for solutions to feel bette about a marriage that doesn’t find the health of healthy resolutions.

                Most importantly I would be most interested in what Hopeful believes and how she would define destructive or defensive behaviors?

                These are critical evaluations to consider and weigh and also see if they are in reaction to a husband not being a true partner that she can count on.
                This is devastating and lonely to say the least. I’ve been there. I was lead astray to all sorts of ‘false hope’ thankfully the Lord was faithful and I didn’t give up searching for the Truth I desperately needed to my part and my history of that.

              3. Freedom,

                I very much appreciate your willingness to share your concerns. I have very similar concerns with every wife who comes to my site.

                – Do I have a clear picture of both sides of this story?
                – Is she being completely truthful about herself?
                – Is she being completely truthful about her husband?
                – Is there abuse going on? Are there mental illness issues, addictions, affairs, etc?
                – What is her history? What are her filters?
                – How is her relationship with Christ?
                – How is her husband’s relationship with Christ?
                – How can I best assist in her particular situation in the most edifying way?
                – Does she need resources for abuse or does she need professional counseling?

                At this point, I only know a tiny fraction of what is going on with Hopeful Wife. About 95% of the information I need to begin to make recommendations/suggestions, I don’t have yet. I had expected to have a much longer conversation with her than we have had so far. I had a number of questions I intended to ask as she elaborated on more details that I haven’t had a chance to ask yet.

                I don’t want to force her, or any wife, into a conversation she doesn’t want to have. I noticed some red flags, yes. But I don’t have enough of the picture that I need to know for sure what is going on, in my view. I know it is easy to make assumptions about things, and I try to be sure I have a fairly clear picture before I begin to move into a strategy and approach.

                If I give Leslie Vernick’s resources to those who have my marriage dynamics, a wife who is like me could take that resources and use it to justify destroying her husband verbally. That is what I would have done with that information if I had it years ago. I would have been able to use it to justify my sin and control. Unfortunately. I would not have heard many of her words clearly. Different wives need different human resources depending on their particular situation. I do get that. And that is why I have disclaimers.

                I am also dependent on wives being willing to answer the questions, and answer them honestly – and she may just not have had time, so I am being patient. I also know that it is very difficult sometimes to answer these kinds of things in a public forum like this. I respect that, as well. And this is very private, personal information. Some wives decide they are not comfortable sharing in a place like this. Some husbands really would not appreciate their wives sharing here. So the conversation just stops and I don’t have a chance to ask everything I want to ask.

                I do agree with you, there are real dangers here, especially with wives who have husbands who are destructive, abusive, or toxic in specific ways. It is very difficult for me to know online exactly what is happening. Especially when the conversation is cut short.

                I focus primarily on what a wife can do on my blog. And I am coming from a background where I never experienced abuse, narcissism, gas-lighting, etc… My primary target audience is women who are a lot like I was with similar dynamics that I had in my marriage. Of course, there are limits to what a wife can do. She can work on herself and her own faith. That often is very helpful for the marriage, too. But there are some situations where things are so toxic that a different approach needs to be taken and she may need a lot of help getting to a place of wholeness so that she can begin to rightly deal with her husband’s sin.

                It really breaks my heart that you think I was communicating to wives that they should “be passive” and “have no healthy boundaries.” As if that is what it means to respect and honor our husbands. I have written so many posts countering those exact thoughts. I am not completely sure how to reach the women who might mishear me. Especially if they never comment. I am definitely open to suggestions. I’d love to hear what you believe I could have done better for you in your situation. And I hope that you will pray for God to give me His wisdom. I don’t want one wife to fall through the cracks. I don’t want one wife to not receive the help she needs.

                I have a number of groups of women who read my blog:

                – Women who are controlling, disrespectful, Type-A personalities like I was with passive husbands like I had. They tend to hear me just fine with almost no miscommunication.
                – Women who are too passive who have controlling husbands. These women tend to mishear me in dangerous ways. The dynamics are so opposite from mine. They often have to correct in a different way than I did. Where I had to learn to be quiet a lot more, they need to learn to speak up more. Where I had to learn to show respect for my husband more, and I had no issue respecting myself and standing up for myself, sometimes these wives need to learn to respect themselves more and stand up for themselves more. For awhile, I wrote disclaimers on almost every post trying to prevent that. It didn’t work. And it took up way too much space.
                – Women who think they are being abused by their husbands but their husbands are actually leading in godly ways and there is no abuse going on.
                – Women who don’t think they are being abused by their husbands but they really are and are in denial and won’t read the resources for women who are being abused and won’t reach out for professional counseling.
                – Women who know they are being abused by their husbands but they can’t be honest about it on a blog because it is not safe, so they write about small things (never mentioning abuse) and leave out the huge, big, awful things, which makes it impossible for me to know what is really happening.
                – Women who are passive married to husbands who are passive. When I talk about “respect” and “submission” women who tend to be passive tend to also hear “be quiet, be a doormat, say nothing.” Even if I talk about that this is not what submission and respect mean.
                – Women who are controlling married to husbands who are controlling. Things can get really explosive in these kinds of situations. Sometimes when a wife changes, things get better. Other times, a husband, depending on where he is spiritually, decides to take advantage of his wife as soon as she begins to try to show respect. A wife in that kind of situation may need more specialized help and resources and one-on-one counseling. Of course, many of them say they can’t reach out for counseling. They often feel very stuck.
                – Women who were abused as children who have very different filters and needs.
                – Women with very healthy marriages.

                I haven’t figured out a way to address all of these groups of women in every single post and keep it at 1500 words or less. I am seeking to depend on God’s Spirit for His wisdom and for Him to help women have discernment about their particular situations. And I am depending on His Spirit to open women’s eyes and hearts to Himself and His healing.

                I have seen many wives allow God to change them first, and, in time, God does change the husband, too. Sometimes even in really horrible situations. Ultimately, what we all need is Him, His Spirit, His Word, His truth. That is what I long to provide for my sisters. But if some have specialized needs and circumstances, as soon as I know what is happening, I always try to point them to the resources that I believe will be best in their situations to the best of my ability to discern.

                This issue keeps me on my face before God many days. I know that He has given me this platform. I want, more than anything, to handle it rightly in His sight, to feed His lambs, and to offer real hope that is in Christ.

                Much love!
                April

              4. April,

                Thank you for your honest reply and especially your willingness to hear. I think what I want you to see is what you say verses what is also relayed to your poster.

                You wrote above;
                “At this point, I only know a tiny fraction of what is going on with Hopeful Wife. About 95% of the information I need to begin to make recommendations/suggestions, I don’t have yet.”

                This is really important and understandable. But put yourself in a women’s shoes who is trying to find solutions, hope, change! If you truly believe the above statement then I would ask that you look at the following encouragement you write to Hopeful Wife here and see how it can be misunderstood and offer a direction without enough information. Counseling is essential.

                You wrote:
                “What we can do – if you are ready – is work on your heart and your faith. My desire is that you might be completely healed and walking in holiness and the power of God’s Spirit yourself. I’d be glad to walk beside you on that road if you are up for it. It’s amazing what God can and will do once we focus on Him and our own sin and our own obedience. I can’t guarantee God will change your husband. But if your husband is going to change by God’s power, it may be that God wants to start with you.”

                Sometimes this message is dangerous to a wife who is already ‘over-functioning’. She may not know it, because it’s all she knows at the time. Her normal is her normal sort of thing.
                Most wives with Hopeful’s complaints and especially her examples are not being domineering, are not calling the shots, and are seriously not getting their legitimate needs met or HEARD in the marriage.

                Your writing and the overall blog atmosphere is about Peace and a women changing to create that peace. I did have to be the one to change first in my marriage, but the ‘kind of change’ is critical.
                Trust me it wasn’t Peaceful, it was War and conflict!

                I’m mean this in the gentlest way. There are many things you post or write about that are so often used over and over in our Christian communities. Most women who are in an unhealthy marriage dynamic based on their own controlling ways are not searching for solutions and peace. In fact, like most unhealthy situations, one spouse is quite satisfied with having plenty of their needs met and majority of the power dynamic.

                Ask my recovering husband, rarely is the person who is the ‘taker’ …isn’t looking for marital solutions for better communication and connection. They are quite stuck but have no reason to seek peace and resolutions or the dynamic to change.

                I will pray about writing a post for your blog.

                I want you to hear that the problem in my marriage wasn’t my relationship with God, my faith or my trust with God. My faith was anchored. Many women who have sensitive hearts are willing to consider this as factor that you keep placing on the table and it can come across as shaming to a victim/survivor.
                My reality was that I didn’t have a covenant marriage! I had a husband married to himself and his self centered values even though he professed to be a Christian. I was committed to a God centered marriage but my commitment wasn’t going to create commitment in my husband, in fact he was thankful one of us was so committed because he didn’t know what that entailed due to his own trust issues and relationship with God and his past emotional injuries.

              5. April & Freedom – I want to thank both of you for your dialogue and for sharing your wisdom and experiences! I don’t have a lot of time so forgive me if my response is a bit thrown together.

                I want to note that from my perspective, I am a controlling wife married to a controlling husband. As you said, April, this makes for substantial toxicity and destructive behaviors. I am talking about yelling, name-calling, slamming doors, silent treatments, etc. Most of that is coming from my end. I don’t think I am deluded about the state of our relationship or each of our roles in it; in fact, I feel that because I am spiritually stronger than my husband, outsiders tend to go easy on me and think that my husband is the greatest perpetrator and my sin is all but excused. It takes a lot of self-control for me to not capitalize on that and play into that scenario in which I am the victim. I would actually love to bounce some of this off of one or both of you, if you are willing.

                We have been going to counseling together and our counselor has advised us to each do individual counseling separately as well. I am hoping to see breakthrough from the therapy as I think that both of us have unhealthy coping mechanisms and communicative patterns that stem from an abusive relationship for me and a colorful past for my husband.

                Thank you again!

              6. Hopeful Wife,

                Thank you so much for your willingness to shed a bit more light on your situation. That is super helpful. I’m really glad to hear that you are going to counseling. But I would also be glad to walk beside you on this road. I have lots of resources here to point wives to Christ and to His power and healing in our lives spiritually. When you have time, we can dig a big deeper together.

                Much love!

    2. Dear Hopeful Wife

      I have no profound wisdom to pass on, I just wanted to let you know that you’re definitely not alone in your struggles. I struggle hugely in this area and am dealing with similar issues within my marriage (though nothing illegal).

      Much love in Christ
      Sharon x x

    3. Hopeful Wife,

      I don’t think I heard how severe the gambling issue was. And we hadn’t really finished the discussion of how things were going. I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as a family. 🙂

      There is a very wide continuum with gambling. So I’m not sure if you are talking about $50-$100 or if it is thousands of dollars. There can be times when an addiction like this is so severe that a wife may have to prayerfully consider separating her finances. You had said it wasn’t an addiction, so I am assuming it is on the more minor side of things?

      1. Hi April,

        No it is not that bad. It is $200 each time, which isn’t very often – although I would prefer never and he would prefer much more frequently haha. It is more of a hobby than anything. Thanks for following up.

  3. I can definitely relate to HOPEFUL WIFE’s comment! I found this blog after google searching “ways to be respectful” and having some serious marital struggles over the past 12 months. I have been married for 2.5 years and am 7 months pregnant with our first baby. I did not (and STILL deeply struggle with) understanding what it even means to respect my husband. I kind of just thought the first year or so that it just meant being nice and courteous and being helpful. But God has really convicted me of how i am just nice/helpful/courteous when it suits me and is convenient for me (aka when i feel like being nice based on how he has been treating me). It has really been just the past two weeks that my eyes have been opened to the truth that GOD calls me to be respectful to my husband regardless of the circumstances. Things in our marriage have gotten hard the past year because my husband has a highly stressful job that puts a ton of pressure on him and he started an old college habit back up of smoking weed to relax and get his mind off stress. I have begged him not to use marijuana and also have had maybe 10 or 20 talks with him about how much i am against this. He agrees that it is not a healthy habit (and says he wants to quit and stop the addiction /craving it when he gets stressed) and will go 5-6 weeks being “good” but then goes out with a buddy and they get high. This drives me crazy and fills me with worry, anxiety, and just makes me feel so let down. I am guilty of just totally losing respect for him and just feeling disgusted. I know how unhealthy this is and i am really studying God’s word about how to behave and go about the situation. In a conversation we had yesterday about marijuana use, he said he smokes because it helps him get work done and blames me for his use because i don’t support him and he said he knows that i have no respect him. I can see how my respect and cooperation with his leadership is totally based on how he “behaves” and i will only follow his orders if i agree with them. He says i fight him on every decision. And at first I thought that was simply untrue and he is being dramatic/controlling…But lately I’ve noticed that I do fight him on even the smallest suggestions he makes. I am incredibly defensive ALL THE TIME. I put him down and try to “one up” him and compete with him. I think his weed use is something that really pushed me over the edge and made me think “i can’t trust his decisions, he might of made them while high” and reason with myself that i just should not trust and respect this behavior. I have prayed for him and talked to counselors about this. I still am struggling but the newest development is that GOD has opened my eyes to see that I can only change myself and that i struggle with sins that are not weed related but are just as sinful in other ways. Like lust and materialism and lacking faith in God. I have been so focused on my husband’s sins. That if he would just never smoke again, romance me more, dress better…ect our marriage would be perfect. I have so much work to do on myself. My husband is a believer and I know God will work out what he needs to work out with him in his way and time. I need to stop letting his sins push me over the edge into fear and anxiety and worry and unbelief. I know my husband is a good man and we both married believing and praying over that our marriage was God bringing us together. I am guilty of just sometimes thinking i should have married someone who just has more tasteful sins to my choice.

    1. Kaitlin Sherman,

      I can relate to the not understanding the whole respect thing. I didn’t really even see this issue until 14.5 years into our marriage. And then I had no idea what respect even meant once I discovered I hadn’t been very respectful. I spent the next 3.5 years (usually about 3-5 hours per day) studying, researching, praying, begging God to change me, to teach me, to show me what it meant to really respect my husband, what it meant to honor his leadership, what it meant to be a godly woman/wife. It took me at least 3 years to begin to have a grasp on the respect thing. And I am still learning!

      The posts that are linked on this post may be helpful about disrespect and respect if you haven’t seen them.

      It sounds like there is a LOT going on:

      – His high stress job.
      – His smoking marijuana.
      – Your pregnancy and hormones.
      – A new baby coming and your concerns for the baby.
      – Your expectations of your husband.

      It is helpful, in my view, to realize that I don’t have to respect sin in my husband’s life. In fact, I can’t respect anything God hates. But I can respect the fact that Greg is my husband. And I can respect my marriage vows. And I can reverence God and honor my husband in the way I treat him because of my relationship with Christ. It is all about Jesus and how worthy HE is – not about my husband and that I think he is worthy of respect. But I can ask God to help me see the good things in my husband that I can genuinely respect. And I can seek to be the most godly wife and seek to respond to my husband in the power of the Spirit, rather than in a destructive, fleshly way.

      As a pharmacist, I also know that no one can make someone else quit an addiction. You can’t nag someone into it. Or preach at them. Or lecture them. You can’t force him to stop. That has to be his choice. You can influence him. But he is a grown adult with God-given free will that even the Lord, Himself, doesn’t take away. So I sure can’t take my husband’s free will away either.

      The thing is, the way God designed us to influence our husbands – is not with verbal coercion. It is with a godly, beautiful example that we demonstrate ourselves. Our respect, tone of voice, smile, cooperative spirit, and peaceful trust in the Lord impact our men INFINITELY more powerfully than our attempts to make them do what we think they should do.

      Here are a few posts and videos to get you started.

      25 Ways to be an Emotionally Safe Place for Your Husband
      The PMS Issue
      I Am Responsible for Myself Emotionally
      Healthy Vs Unhealthy Relationships
      25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband
      25 Ways to Respect Myself
      A Challenge for You Ladies – about not arguing and not complaining
      The Smile Challenge
      My Welcome Home Plan
      The Tone of Voice Challenge
      Do I Have the Right to Punish My Husband?

      Amazingly, God can actually use our spouse’s sins to help refine us and help us to grow. Invite God into the situation. Invite His Spirit to work in your heart and to purify and refine your thinking, motives, words, and actions. Invite Him to show you the spiritual treasures He has for you in this trial. And invite Him to do the work in your husband’s heart as you focus on your own walk with Christ. When you are filled up to overflowing with Jesus, God can communicate very clearly to you exactly how He wants you to respond in ways that will lead to healing and life rather than destruction.

      Much love!

      1. Here is a post related to a husband who is committing adultery – and how a godly wife could respect a husband in such a situation. Of course, she can’t respect his sin. But she doesn’t have to sin just because he is sinning. Some of the principles would be the same for a situation with a husband smoking weed.

        And this post may be a blessing, “A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction.”

        If the addiction is severe and he is no longer himself and not thinking clearly – you may need to reach out for help. With marijuana, some people are quite functional. Others are not.

        Praying for God’s wisdom and healing for you both!

        As you become a woman who encourages, affirms, supports, blesses, and honors him and sees the good in him, he will feel less stressed. He will enjoy being around you more. He will feel more safe. He may decide on his own to quit. Or God may reach him when he can begin to hear God’s voice clearly again and isn’t only hearing your voice all the time. And, your husband will respect you a lot more when he sees what a holy life you live – and then your words and desires will probably be more important to him than ever. Husbands tend to love for their wives to be happy. When he sees you responding to him in the power of the Spirit, over time, he may be convicted and want to be a better man, too.

        1. Peaceful Wife,
          Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comment. I appreciate the thought and wisdom you have shared with me. I have always struggled with the respect issue as well. I don’t like being told what to do and one of my biggest fears is that my voice won’t be heard or that my input won’t matter. I can see that this has clearly carried over into my relationship with my husband. “wives respect your husbands” has NEVER clicked with me. For the first time I am seeing just the tip of the iceberg what this all entails. Throughout my
          life God has always used friction and discomfort in my life to draw me closer in my walk with Him. I can see that this is another one of those times. I want to cultivate a deeper intimacy with the Lord and am so inspired by the feedback on this blog as well as reading the stories of other wives to dive into this and walk this respect thing daily. I also can see that cultivating my relationship with Jesus has taken a back seat in my life as I feel that I am giving all of my energy to this relationship with my husband over the past 3 years to “make” it my idea of healthy, perfect. But i can also see that all my energy output is exhausting me BECAUSE I am not relying on God to lead the relationship. And then when things don’t go my way…I have an emotional melt down. Bad cycle.

          I am encouraged to reprioritize everything and do a deep cleansing of myself. I will be following this blog closely and looking into the links you sent me.
          thank you!

          1. Kaitlin Sherman,

            I think that what is most helpful is to realize that the way we treat our husbands is a tangible indicator of the way we treat God. I didn’t respect my husband. I didn’t honor his leadership. I also treated God the same way. (Not that a husband is God. He is not! But our attitude toward our husbands reveals, often, our attitude toward God.)

            First, I must recognize disrespect and irreverence in my heart for God. Rebellion against Him. Unbelief. I deal with that first. If I can’t respect the one true, perfect, holy, sinless, sovereign God of the universe. If I can’t trust Him and can’t submit to His Lordship – I can’t possibly respect a sinful man or honor his leadership.

            When you are ready for the next step, please let me know. I am praying for you and I can’t wait to see all that the Lord is about to do.

            Much love!

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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