For over 14 years, I looked to my husband to make me feel secure and happy. To cheer me up when I was upset—which was often. Like possibly almost every day.
I expected him to shower me with attention, compliments, and affection constantly. No matter how I treated him.
Eventually, he started telling me that I was insatiable. No matter how much he did for me, I was never satisfied. I wanted more and more.
I became quite bitter and he got to the point he barely spoke with me, touched me, or wanted to even be in the same room with me.
I idolized him and ended up sabotaging the very intimacy for which I longed most. But I didn’t realize what I was doing. I thought he was 100% to blame for the lack of connection in our marriage and told him so often.
Since 2008, and my “blinding light experience” in the bookstore at our church where I saw the enormity of my sin for the first time, I have learned to depend on God first, not my husband. That is where my true comfort and healing are—in Christ.
If Greg, my husband, does comfort me or does something sweet, that is awesome, and I greatly appreciate it. But I no longer depend on Greg to heal my soul and fill me with abundant spiritual life. That is not his job.
I depend on Jesus and am satisfied with His goodness and love. Then I come into my marriage healthy and whole with an overflow to share rather than with an insatiable black hole of need in my soul.
For the first few years of my journey, Greg was still emotionally very distant and wounded. It was just God and me. I am thankful now for that time because I learned to be completely dependent on Christ and nothing else.
I had God. I had His Word. I had my journals and prayer. That was enough. Jesus was and is more than enough. Even after God healed Greg, I continue to look to Jesus to meet my deepest emotional and spiritual needs, not Greg.
No human can satisfy the deepest needs of our souls.
Jesus is my Source. He is my life. He Is love. He is my Greatest Treasure. He is EVERYTHING to me!
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.Phil. 4:11-12
Eventually, God slowly healed us both and our marriage. The last 9 years or so have been the best of our marriage. (I’m now 47 and Greg and I will celebrate our 26th anniversary in May!)
But I don’t center my world on Greg anymore. Not even now. I kept my new perspective and priorities, even after God healed us both. I never want to go back into that unhealthy, dysfunctional way of relating.
If I have Jesus, I can be content. This doesn’t mean I won’t have pain, sadness, or grief. I have had those things and I will likely have more of it because, in this world, Jesus said we would have troubles.
But if I have Him it means He will carry and strengthen me through anything that may come. He gives me His power and victory and His access to the Father.
He will cause good and beauty to come from painful times. He will never leave me or forsake me and nothing can separate me from His love! Not even a global pandemic!
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.Psalm 18:2
Have you struggled with codependency? What was the result in your life and marriage?
Have you experienced God’s healing and what it means to find contentment in Christ? We’d love to hear your story!
Need some encouragement, resources, or prayer? You’re welcome to share, as well.
I Was Sure I Would NEVER Make My Husband into an Idol!
How to Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him
Oneness in Marriage: Not to Close but Not too Far Away
Bitterness of Soul – I Want to be His FIRST Priority! by A Fellow Wife
Closeness in Marriage Is Different from What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife
Thanks for sharing your story. I also have a story about codependency and idolatry to share. It’s really embarrassing actually.
When I was 22 years old, I got really mad at God about something and turned away from him. I tossed out my Bible and prayer books and wanted nothing to do with Christ every again. I told myself that if I fell in love with a good man, he would be able to replace God in my life. I became desperate, eager and needy towards every guy I met. I was completely desperate for a man to love me and cherish me. It was so bad that guys would realize that I had a problem, cut me off completely and avoid me like the plague. In addition, I became obsessed with celebrities. I would fantasize about being with a certain singer or actor and believed that being loved by him would heal my wounds and solve my problems.
When I was 30 years old, I broke up with a guy and he keep calling me, trying to make me feel sorry for me and take him back. I firmly said no but I was filled with sorrow and guilt for having hurt him. I went to the beach by myself to clear my head and started crying. I tried my best to cover my face but a woman saw me crying and approached me. She sat with me and asked me what was wrong. I told her the story and she sat with me, giving me advice and compassion. She then asked me twice “Do you want to receive Jesus?”. I said “No” both times. She stayed with me and kept talking and then she asked me for a third time “Do you want to receive Jesus?”. I said “No. I don’t trust Him”. She asked me why and I explained to her that I prayed a lot about certain family problems and God didn’t do anything to improve things so I don’t trust Him anymore. She then said “My mother died last year. Do you think I should blame Jesus for that?”. I said “No” and she said “Come on. Receive Jesus”. I held her hand and she led me in a brief prayer “Dear Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and savior. From now on, I will live my life in your way and no longer in my way”. I instantly felt a heat come into me and when I opened my eyes, the whole world seemed to be on fire and I was happy and laughing.
I went to a bookstore the very next day and bought a Bible and starting reading it every day. Within a month, I started going to church again and I’ve been committed to Christ every day. It still took a lot of work and prayer to heal myself of idolatry and “forgive” God for what I thought he did wrong but now I have a solid relationship with Christ. I’m now happily married to a good man but I keep Jesus on the throne of my heart. I don’t look to husband to be the source of my happiness or peace. I keep that for Christ and Christ alone. I don’t pressure my husband to be Christ for me so he can relax and enjoy our life together.
The bottom line is that we all need Jesus first and foremost. No human being can replace Him.
Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, it is embarrassing once your eyes are open to it. But before that, we just can’t see what we are doing.
I wonder if you might allow me to share this anonymously as a post?
So many women have been commenting on my FB post on this topic, I think it is something we need to address in several more posts.
Praise God for what He has done in your life!!!!!
I can attest to everything you’ve gone through. My husband used to try to turn himself inside out to try to make me happy, but whatever he did, it was never enough to satisfy me. Eventually, he gave up trying to please me, and that was the pivotal point of change for me. I realized that I was responsible for my own emotional and spiritual well-being, and that I needed to seek God’s kingdom first to quench that insatiable thirst inside my soul. It took complete surrender to be able rely on God for all of my needs, and to share the abundance of His love with my husband.
jeannieremyministries, Yes! That is exactly what my husband did. He tried and tried to please me, and it was never enough. He finally got exasperated and gave up. He realized that if he tried extremely hard to do what I wanted or he didn’t try at all, either way, I was upset with him.
So sad to think back on it now. 🙁
Would you consider allowing me to share your comment anonymously on my Peaceful Wife FB page? I think your story would make such an impact on many other ladies who are struggling.
Yes, the same here with my husband. That’s why I love reading your blogs because I identify with your stories and teachings. I would be honored if you shared my comment. I think it needed a grammar correction, so feel free to correct that as well. Also, you can use my name with it if you wish to. I. So glad to have come across your blog and to connect with you. God bless. ????
It helps SO much to hear other women’s stories. It just never gets old!
Thank you very much for allowing me to use your comment and your name. I plan to run it tonight at 8pm EST.
I am so excited to get to see all that the Lord is doing and will do in and through your life!
Yay! Ok, I am so happy to be a part of sharing in God’s glory on your page! Ty so much. I hope it helps many! I will look for it.
Hooray! I’m honored to get to share a bit of your story. Praying for God to speak powerfully through your life.
You can share it on Facebook. I’ll work on it some more and make it into a full post if you like.
That would be AWESOME! If you have time. <3 Thank you!
Thanks for this great reminder. I can’t recall whether you are married to a believer or an unbeliever, but I am married to an unbeliever and it is even more significant dealing with that. Only Jesus can satisfy our needs and wants and desires. It is such a big learning curve learning that in life. God bless.
My husband is a believer. However, at the point where God opened my eyes to all of this stuff, Greg was struggling spiritually. He could barely hear God’s voice at that point. So I had to essentially use the same approach a wife would need to use with an unbeliever. Or any husband who is severely spiritually wounded.
Yes, it could be much more difficult for a wife with an unbelieving husband. Especially if there are major addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, infidelity, or other serious issues going on.
May the Lord heal you and strengthen you and may He reach your husband by the power of His Spirit and raise him to new life in Christ. May He work powerfully in and through you that you might be a useful instrument in His hands. May you know the Lord’s love, encouragement, comfort, and strength more than ever in this time.
This post is so timely for me. I have a serious bondage in my life related to this issue. In addition to looking for the man in my life to be the source of self worth and healing, purpose, confidence etc, I also struggle very much with being able to stand on my own two feet.
Even though I am in my mid fifties, I struggle with being able to be an adult and am terrified of being alone. I can also relate to the poster who described desperately wanting a man to love and cherish her. I think in my case it’s related to fatherlessness and abuse. But it has caused a MAJOR problem with idolatry in my life and one heck of a deliverance issue. The fear, abuse and a spiritual bondage issue resulted in my being coerced into an unwanted marriage first time around and the second time it was running away from all these things and fatherlessness and idolatry.
I’ve shared that I lived for four years in a frightening war zone with an abusive dad and prior to that, there had been family violence and other kinds of abuse. When I came back from living with him I was about twelve. I was unable to even cross the street by myself. I didn’t have the sense of confidence to be able to be responsible for making such basic decisions as it all seemed so fraught with peril. I might make a mistake or get hurt. So I would hide behind a telephone pole and wait til someone else came long and then I would follow along behind them, trying to behave as if I just happened along at the same time.
I was frozen in fear and shame. I didn’t feel as if I could hold my own in this world or was capable, and I felt so full of shame and worthlessness that I didn’t feel as if I had the right either. It seems in my life I am still stuck being that little girl hiding behind others and relying on them for survival. As a result I have little in the way of personal accomplishments.
However I am at the moment, seeking help and deliverance from this. It always results in turning me away from God and into some form of sin, even when I have really wanted to surrender to Him, whether its sexual compromise or spiritual compromise. It seems I wind up always being stuck in self so that it winds up being “all about me and my needs and issues” so that I am unable to properly love. I am realizing there is a lot of healing, cleansing and restoring needing doing and I know I can’t do it and there are almost no resources where I live help wise.
I would be very thankful if any of you out there are intercessors, if you would be willing to pray for me to be delivered completely, to be able to completely surrender to Jesus and find Him in a deep and permanently life changing way, to be able to give up self will and pride and be delivered of the demonic bondage aspect of this, believe me, there IS one. I am seeing a pastor’s wife that I formerly had some offenses with, for help and prayer, so I am praying for the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts and attitudes open to Him and out of the flesh and for gossip to be avoided and confidences kept. My prayer is that God’s will and holiness would overcome anything not of Him so that I can get desperately needed help.
Thank you April for this article and for anyone who is willing to pray.
Precious sister! You have endured serious bondage. It is so heartbreaking!
And yet, I am thankful to God because I know that He is able to heal you and to be the Father you needed and that you still need. He is able to cleanse you and transform your heart, mind, and soul. You are not beyond His reach. He is close to the brokenhearted.
The process you must go through for healing is very much like the path we all must take.
1. Admit your thinking and understanding is faulty and toxic.
2. Ask God to help you identify and tear out all the lies and wrong thinking.
3. Invite God through His Spirit and His Word to help you completely rebuild your thinking and your life on His Word and His truth alone. Not a twisted version of it, but a right handling of it.
4. Reject the old view of yourself and count your old self as dead.
5. Embrace the new creation you are in Jesus and yield control to Him.
So it is a getting rid of the poison and a receiving of good nourishment.
We know there are some very old habits and skewed thinking that developed in Seventimes heart out of her childhood and the abuse and trauma she suffered. But she is no longer bound to be that person. That is her old identity. The one that has been buried with Jesus if she has yielded her life to You as her Savior and Lord.
I praise and thank You that she is not alone. You are with her! And she no longer has to listen to the lies of the enemy and those familiar old spirits who would drag her back into sin and darkness. She can choose to walk in the Light with You just as much as any of us can. Help her see that she no longer has to be in prison. She no longer has to be a victim. Your sacrifice on the cross completely paid her sin debt in full! She is FREE! She just has to walk out of the dungeon. The door is open wide and You are right there to take her by the hand and show her the way.
I thank and praise You that You are willing to heal her and that You can undo the damage from the many decades of sin against her and her own sin. Help her find Your way. Help her make the decision to build her life on You alone and to build her identity and security on You alone and Your Word. Help her to stop looking to cisterns that won’t hold water and come to You, the only source of Living Water. Help her to come to You and find the rest You promise for those who are weary.
We invite You to do absolutely everything You want to do in her life and we pray she will have the strength to turn the Holy Spirit volume knob up to full blast in her life, shutting out any influence that is not of you, and clinging to Your Word alone and Your truth and Your character, promises, and love.
Help her to forgive herself and her abusers. Help her to see any doors she has left open to the enemy. Help her to identify any lies she has embraced and help her to replace them all with Your truth. Help her to receive her identity in Jesus and the blessings You freely give to her. And help her to yield herself as fully to You as You have yielded Yourself to provide for her every need. Help her to tear out the idols and invite the Prince of Peace to rule and reign in absolutely every area of her heart, mind, soul, and life.
20 Signs God Is About to Do Something Amazing in Someone’s Life
Thank you April for praying for me and for anyone else who felt moved to pray also.
You are most welcome. <3
I love your blog. Wisdom learned from a low place. You are a blessing to your sisters worldwide. Thank you for sharing.
Yes, how I pray that God might use my awful example to bless my sisters and help them avoid going down the destructive path I chose. I want to see this journey be easier for them than it was for me. <3
You learned humility! That was probably your best achievement! Then God lifted you up in due course. Your example was probably not as bad as mine – and I thank the Lord for your current godly example.
I cherish humility now because God opened my eyes to see the beauty and power of dying to self. It is such a good place to be, where God, alone, is exalted.
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
May the Lord conform us all to the image of Christ! May He present us to Himself as a bride without stain or wrinkle or blemish. <3
All the glory to Jesus, sweet sister!
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