In the last post, we talked about four primary reasons why your husband may seem to not care about you.
It is critical that you can identify which of the four root causes is the issue in your marriage so that you can decide how to approach the issue wisely. It takes the discernment and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help us tell what is truly going on.
Other people don’t necessarily know what we need to do, but God always does.
Keep in mind, there can be multiple issues going on at the same time.
One—He cares but you can’t see or receive it.
Our emotions are a gift, but they can also get us in trouble. Sometimes they feel so real, but our feelings are not always the source of absolute truth.
If your thinking is really the problem, your husband can make every change in the world on his end, but you will still feel upset, unloved, and like your husband is the most awful husband ever.
You may think he needs to change and that will fix your feelings, but he can’t fix issues on your end. This is between you and the Lord.
Until you deal with your skewed thinking and lies about God, yourself, and others—you will be stuck and so will your marriage.
It’s up to you to begin to seek the Lord, to invite Him to help you see wrong thinking, and allow Him to transform your heart, mind, soul, and life with the power of His Word, His truth, and His Spirit.
Resources to evaluate your thinking:
Note – there were also many links under each category with resources on the last post, as well
- How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ – this is THE MOST IMPORTANT issue, by far!
- Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced – this is the second most important issue
- My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language
- Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice
- I Was Sure I Would Never Make My Husband into an Idol
- The Pain That Pushes Us to Try to Control
- The Idol of Happiness
- Is My Spouse Responsible for My Happiness?
- How Satan Would Love to Use Your Thought Life to Destroy Your Marriage
- My Demon – by Kayla
- I Am Responsible for My Emotions
- I Am Responsible for Myself Spiritually
- Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?
- 25 Ways to Respect Myself
- Codependency – Oneness
- The PMS Issue – Part 1
- The PMS Issue – Part 2
- Laying Down Expectations
- Strong Marriages Don’t Happen by Accident
- Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!
- I Can’t Ask for Things. I Can’t Have Feelings, Emotions, or Desires.
- Resources on Insecurity
- Resources on Toxic Jealousy
- The Essence of Femininity
- Cinderella and the Gospel – about receiving God’s love for us
- 20 Signs That God Is about to Do Something Amazing in Someone’s Life
- 8 Powerful Keys to Real Peace
- I Wanted So Much to Respect My Husband, But I Just Couldn’t – a medical condition kept this wife feeling like her husband was the enemy
- How Is a Woman’s Desire for Her Husband a Curse in Gen.3:16? by www.gotquestions.org
- The Peaceful Mom – This book addresses how to correct toxic, skewed thinking in great detail in the beginning chapters.
- The Peaceful Wife – This book addresses wrong thinking and sin issues in our hearts as wives and teaches us what godly feminity looks like.
Two—He cares but is not showing it.
If your husband really does care, but he is hurting in the marriage, or he is overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling disrespected, he may be struggling to show his love. Or sometimes, there is simply a misunderstanding between male/female perspectives or between different personalities.
A husband tends to have a few very straightforward and simple needs in marriage:
- He needs to know his wife admires, trusts, and respects him.
- He needs to feel appreciated and needed in healthy ways.
- He needs to know his wife desires and enjoys him sexually and that she respects him in this area and doesn’t humiliate, shame, or pressure him. And he needs to know she won’t withhold herself sexually out of spite.
- He wants to be the leader, the protector, the hero, and the good guy.
If a man believes that his wife doesn’t have faith in him, it can be soul crushing. As Gary Thomas says, in “Sacred Influence,” men look into their “wife mirrors” to see the reflection of who they are. If he looks into his wife’s eyes and heart and sees he is a failure, that he is worthless, and that she only has contempt or annoyance for him, he may believe these hurtful messages and absorb that as his identity.
If he thinks his wife thinks he is incompetent, she treats him like a child, or she is very critical and negative toward him, he will likely either fight her for his honor or shut his heart against her, unless he is able to act in the power of the Spirit to address the issue rightly.
If a man feels his wife resents having sex with him, treats intimacy like a dreaded chore, or if he feels very pressured into sex with her, he may feel emasculated as a man emotionally and even spiritually.
If he believes that he can never be the good guy in his wife’s eyes, that nothing he can do can please her, eventually, he may stop trying to please her and give up.
Why try so hard when she’ll be upset no matter what he does?
But if a husband like this begins to see real changes and hope, if he begins to see his wife soften toward him and see that she has joy, peace, and that it is possible for her to be positive, he may soften, too. In time.
This generally takes many months, possibly even years; depending on how much damage was done. But as a wife allows the Lord to change her and as she embraces His design for her femininity and for marriage, a lot of amazing things can happen.
Resources to evaluate your husband’s heart:
- Signs Your Husband Feels Disrespected and Unloved
- What Is Disrespectful to Husbands?
- What Is Respect in Marriage?
- From Clark Kent to Superman
- Let’s Talk about Sex
- 17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully
- 25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally
- When Your Husband Needs Space
- This Is Not Working, I Don’t See Progress
- I’m Going to Start Believing My Husband Again – by A Fellow Wife
- A Silent Husband Shares His Heart
- Nikka’s Interviews with Her Formerly Passive Husband
- April’s husband Greg shares his heart in an entire chapter of The Peaceful Wife book
- If your husband has ADD/ADHD or Asperger’s, it may be much more difficult for him to show he cares, even if he does.
- Why Is My Husband So Skeptical of the Changes I Am Making?
- Handling a Delicate Matter – a Husband’s Impotence
- For Women Only – by Shaunti Feldhahn can help you better understand men in general
Three—He may not be capable of caring right now.
Sometimes a husband wants to care, but is in such great emotional, spiritual, or physical pain that he has to deal with his pain and get some kind of relief before he can have the ability to reach out to his wife in her pain.
With men, pain is often masked by anger or stonewalling.
When you see anger, it is usually a pretty safe bet there is pain fueling that anger. Invite God to help you understand his pain and hurt, and you may be able to get through to his heart-level need.
Or, your husband may simply be exhausted, sick, overwhelmed, or suffering from a mental disorder, or an addiction.
Ask God to help you see the real need. When your husband’s basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met, he will be in much better shape to have the strength to care about your needs.
This is true with all of us, of course. If our own basic needs aren’t met, it is much more difficult for us to help others. Unless we have the help and strength of the Holy Spirit to give us power over the weakness of the flesh. (Even with the Spirit, there are certain basic needs we do need to have met.)
If I can first seek to understand my husband more than to try to get him to understand me, I may unlock the clues to his needs.
I may be able to inspire him to find the healing that is available for him in Christ. Not by my words about spiritual things, primarily, but by my Spirit-filled example, my prayers, and my compassion and understanding.
This doesn’t mean I excuse sin or ignore it.
But it means I address my husband’s deepest needs with gentleness, respect, agape love, and godly wisdom.
When I see that he is dangling off of a cliff, about to fall into a deep pit, I want to offer him a rope and a hand up. I don’t kick his fingers or stomp on them to make him fall.
Resources to help you help better understand your husband:
- Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?
- Being on Your Husband’s Team in Tough Times
- Posts dealing with a husband’s porn use
- How Can I Help My Depressed Spouse? by www.crosswalk.com
- Bipolar Spouse Refuses to Seek Treatment – by Focus on the Family
- For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband – by Radiant
- Being Married to a Man Who Is Emotionally Shut Down
- Confronting Our Husband’s Sin
- What Do Addicts Need from You? by www.desiringgod.org
- Drunk You Is Not the Real You by www.desiringgod.org
- Sacred Influence – How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas
Four—He may have chosen not to care.
If he is abusive, he’s a narcissist, he is blatantly involved in significant unrepentant sin, he’s violent, or if he has certain uncontrolled mental health issues, he may not care what you say.
You may need experienced, godly counselors to help you in really difficult situations.
He may be so wounded and ensnared; that it isn’t really even him you’re dealing with anymore, it’s the addiction or the sin. Sometimes, it may even be a demonic force.
It may not matter how respectfully you ask him for things. He may be so far away spiritually that he can’t even function in a marriage no matter what his wife may do. He may be spiritually dead – or in a spiritual coma.
If my husband were physically dead or in a physical coma, my expectations of him would drastically change.
If I realize my husband is spiritually extremely unwell, my greatest goal is to seek to pour spiritual Life and healing into him. I can’t expect him to have the ability to act like Jesus at this point. A bunch of words about spiritual things won’t usually reach him, but my godly example may as I give God room to work.
Every person’s greatest need is Jesus, salvation, and His spiritual healing. I can’t force my husband’s eyes open. I couldn’t even open my own eyes! But I can pray and invite God to work and I can be an instrument in God’s hand rather than getting in God’s way.
If I try to force my husband verbally to come to God, I will push him away from God and from myself.
I can choose to allow Christ to transform me and be a godly example to influence my husband for Christ in productive ways.
I can also remember that my husband, like every person, has free will. I can’t control him. I can’t make him do what I want or what God wants. God, Himself, doesn’t force him to do things.
The cost of free will is that sometimes people make hurtful choices.
Resources if your husband has completely shut you out of his heart:
- Influencing an Unbelieving Husband for Christ
- When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”
- How Can a Godly Wife Possibly “Respect” an Unfaithful Husband?
- What Does the Bible Say about Narcissism? by www.gotquestions.org
- How Can My Difficult Marriage Glorify Christ? By www.desiringgod.org
- Confronting Emotional and Verbal Abuse in the Home by www.desiringgod.org
- Should You Strive to Please or Keep Your Husband at Any Cost?
- Peaceful Separated Wife Posts
- Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness
- Peaceful Divorced Wife Posts
- Real-Life Situations Where the Husband Wanted a Divorce
What if he still doesn’t care about your concerns?
If you have dealt with the sin in your own life, then your job is simply to set a godly example and to seek to be a godly influence in your husbands’ life. Not to change him, but to bless him and to please God.
- You are not responsible for your husband.
- You are only responsible for you and for doing what is right on your end.
- You can’t make him change.
- You can’t open his eyes.
- You are not his Savior. That spot is already taken.
- You are not the Holy Spirit. That position is also filled.
- You are not his Accuser. That spot, too, is taken.
- You are simply a fellow creation walking beside him who needs Jesus, desperately, too.
Most of the time, a believing wife can stay with an unbelieving husband or a husband who is far from the Lord. But there are times, unfortunately, when things are so toxic; she may need to prayerfully consider separation.
If you have really serious issues going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel or go to appropriate medical, spiritual, or police authorities for help. Please try to keep yourself and your children safe. And if you are abusing your husband or children and they are not safe, please reach out for help for yourself ASAP!
- Focus on the Family has a free one-time counseling service and a counseling referral service.
- www.biblicalcounseling.com has counselors available.
You are responsible to God for you.
You are only responsible for your end of things. Your husband is responsible to God for himself and how he treats you. Each of us will answer to Jesus for every thought, word, and deed.
As you set a Christlike example, your attitude, respect, and the fruit of the Spirit in your life will “preach” a much more powerful sermon to him than your words ever could.
And you, as you are in right relationship with God, have the incredible power of prayer and authority of Christ at your disposal.
You can bring your concerns directly to the Holy of Holies and watch God work in your life, your marriage, your husband’s life, your family, and your circumstances to accomplish His glory and His good purposes.
You don’t fix your husband. You don’t change him. Prayer is not a magic spell. Allowing God to change you doesn’t guarantee you that your husband will change. But if you want to see God work in your own life and you want to be a godly influence on your husband, this is the path you will need to take.
Let’s invite God to do all that He wants to do in both of your lives for His glory.
(Check out the movie “The War Room” to see what this can look like.)
In the next few posts
I plan to share resources about how to:
- Most powerfully influence our husbands for good in any scenario.
- Deal with an angry husband.
What general principles have you learned about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives here?
Let’s not get into the details of a husband’s sin in a public forum like this out of respect for the Lord, our husbands, and our marriages, please. But let’s definitely encourage each other with stories of God’s provision, wisdom, and the power of prayer. <3
Do you need prayer, encouragement, or more resources? Please let us know!
I don’t know if this will help anymore than my update recently, but I just wanted to share that after years now of learning about all the things you have taught, I see more clearly now than ever that it is impossible to change anyone but yourself, and even that task alone is nearly impossible! So many marriages are in turmoil and I know now that no matter what I change, what I do differently, how much I pray, etc ——- there is absolutely NO guarantee that my husband will treat me better, love me more, or be any different than he has always been.
Looking back now, more than any other issue, my husband’s aloofness and anger and all the things I faced with him over these years had more to do with his job stress than anything I ever said or did wrong. It didn’t matter how happy and content I was, how joyful in his presence, how kind, how loving, how much I gave him space ——- he was still unhappy, easily irritated, critical, angry, and all together aloof towards me, my feelings, and our marriage.
And then I noticed a pattern emerge over the past few years. Any time he got laid off from work, even if only for a week —— once the source of his true anguish and stress was removed (his job)—- he was the sweet, mostly kind and loving man I believed I was marrying!
Now, I firmly believe that stress does something to my husband that turns him into everything I find hard to deal with and be around. But at least I understand now where it comes from. It’s not me, it never was me. It was all the stress he deals with from work!!!!
So this is also how I found my own healing and freedom to be myself again. I had tried in the beginning really hard to be the perfect quiet loving respectful content happy wife, giving him space and focusing on the Lord. But his harshness never abated until he was laid off from work and out of the stress! Once he was home again, he would realize how harsh he was being and apologize and we would have months/weeks of bliss depending on how long he was out of work.
Once the work started up again, he would get stressed and turn back into the easily irritated man.
So now that I have a better understanding of what was really going on, it is much easier to be around and tolerate his unlovingness when it happens. If anything, I’ve learned to speak up for myself in those times and point out that I had done nothing wrong or worthy of his condemnation and that he was taking his stress out on me when it wasn’t my fault and he would usually see it and we would move on quickly.
But if someone tried to tell me this 3 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. I was so stuck in blaming myself for our issues and how he treated me that I wouldn’t have been able to see. But here I am now, and it is much more clear!
I hope that helps someone 🙂
This is super helpful! In fact, I would love to run it as a post, if you believe the Lord would lead you to do that. Maybe entitled, “Sometimes, It Isn’t about You”?
Thank you so much. I’m very grateful that God has shown you the issues going on and I love what the Lord has done in your life.
Of course you may use it! 🙂 I think that would be wonderful!!!! Great idea!!! <3
Yay! Thanks so much, Satisfied Wife!
Yes yes yes! This absolutely needs to be a post ladies-thank you for caring enough to think of wives in this very situation (like me). What a blessing to think that altering a perspective, thanks to the Holy Spirits work and healing in your own heart and life, can change the course and healing in someone else’s life-and offer such encouragement in this weary journey. Blessings to you both!
I’m so glad this was a blessing to you. Isn’t it awesome that we have the ability to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit and the abundant spiritual life and gifts Jesus has for us no matter what our husbands may be doing or not doing? Isn’t it amazing that as God pours His healing into us, He can then use us as an instrument of blessing and of the Gospel in our husband’s life. Not by our wisdom or our many words, but by the power of the Spirit living and breathing in and through us.
Praying for great encouragement and healing for you and your husband today, precious sister.
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