"I Wish My Husband Would Text Me from Work!"

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I am so thankful for everyone taking the time to answer my poll questions last month about our expectations vs. the reality of how much contact our husbands make with us while the are at work. Texting, calling, or emailing can be a source of wonderful bonding for some couples or a source of a lot of hurt feelings and contention for others. I have shared the results of the two polls at the bottom of this post if you would like to refer to them – could be interesting.

Sometimes the thing that causes the most hurt feelings in our marriages can be our expectations – particularly when our expectations and reality don’t match up very well. One reader shared with me a few years ago, “expectations are premeditated resentment.”

If you read the survey results, you will find that there are a wide variety of expectations about how much contact wives would like to have from their husbands. Some wives are totally fine if they don’t hear from their husbands at all during a work shift. For others, it ruins their whole day – maybe even the whole relationship – if they don’t hear from their husbands a certain number of times per day on a given day.

Why? How can some wives be totally content with no contact, and other wives are upset if their husbands don’t contact them at least every hour?

I believe it comes down to expectations and where we find our security.

I used to get really upset if Greg didn’t contact me from work. Especially if I found out he wasn’t really busy and could have emailed/texted me. I took him not contacting me to mean things like:

  • If he had time to contact me but he didn’t make any effort to contact me, he obviously doesn’t love me as much as I love him.
  • If he loves me, he would MAKE time to contact me to tell me he loves me during the day.
  • I should measure his love for me by how often he contacts me while we are apart.
  • I should measure my security in our marriage by how often he texts/emails/calls me.

I sent him emails almost every day – sometimes really, really long emails to tell him how much I loved him because WORDS are my biggest love language. I was trying to do for him what I wanted him to do for me. I was following the Golden Rule, right? I thought that words and verbal/written communication would be as big of a gift to him as they were to me.

Turns out, my engineering-minded husband, doesn’t bond with words. When I realized that a few years ago – it completely blew my mind!

Words are not a big thing for him. In fact, he feels connected to me and bonded with me all the time whether we have any conversation or not. To me – earlier in our marriage – “bonding” and “emotional connection” only happened when we were talking face-to-face without any distractions or when we were having a typed conversation.

Sometimes, we can feel a lot more connected and loved by our husbands if we set down our preconceived expectations of how they “should” love us and we learn to receive love in the ways they actually like to give love.

When I found out that Greg didn’t bond with words and that he always felt connected to me unless I was upset with him – what freedom that insight brought me! I learned to rest in Greg’s love whether we were communicating during the day or not. I learned to expect that he did love me and to greet him with joy and gladness when he got home instead of with resentment and bitterness that he didn’t email me. I dropped my expectations of him contacting me when he was at work and accepted that he doesn’t bond with words and that is not wrong – it is just different from how I bond.

At first, this was really hard for me. I thought to myself, “It would be easier for me to send 87 loving emails to Greg than to not email him at all. This is SO HARD!!!!!”

These days, Greg does contact me if he has a question or something to share with me. And I do the same. Sometimes we are in contact multiple times through the day. Sometimes we don’t talk at all during a work shift.  Now, I can be content either way. I have learned to enjoy the love he shows me in the way he shows it. I have learned to appreciate that – to him – just being together in the same room is bonding. Now, we actually do a lot more talking (which I love) because I don’t react with resentment and anger to Greg or try to force him to show love exactly the way I like to show love. I can ask for things in a pleasant, friendly, respectful way if I want to. But I can be content whether he emails me or not. I can be content whether he texts or calls me or not. I can be content whether we spend hours together in the evenings or not.

I CAN ASK FOR WHAT I WOULD LIKE:

I can certainly say, “Honey, it would mean so much to me if you get a chance to send me a little text during the day sometime. I feel very loved when you do that. ;)”

But then, if he doesn’t or can’t contact me, I can still respond with grace, respect, dignity, and poise. I don’t have to fall apart. I don’t have to automatically assume the worst. I can focus on allowing God to meet my deepest needs rather than trying to make my husband, a mere human, meet my deepest needs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when your husband is working is not a good time to try to have deep, serious, painful discussions about the relationship or to shower him with lots of problems. There may be some problems you need to share with him when he is at work that need urgent attention. But generally keeping the conversation light, sweet, and pleasant, while he is at work can be a blessing to him – unless there is truly an emergency, of course.

MY SECURITY IS NOT IN A MAN:

I have learned to find all of my security, peace, purpose, joy, and identity in Christ, not in Greg. If I idolize my husband and expect him to meet the deepest needs of my soul that only Jesus can meet, I am going to be clingy and needy with Greg and I will repel him. Not only that, but he can’t meet my deepest needs. He is not God.

I am responsible for my own emotions whether Greg does what I want him to or not. And I am responsible for my own spiritual well-being in Christ. I get to determine whether I will be joyful and content or not. My level of joy and contentment is a function of how much I allow the Holy Spirit to fill me up and to have control instead of my fleshly self. No one else can determine that for me.

I like to modify Philippians 4:11-13 a bit to fit our marriages sometimes:

ORIGINAL: I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

MY VERSION: I have learned that the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether my husband shows love in the ways I prefer or not. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. In fact, whether my husband meets my needs or he doesn’t, Jesus always meets my deepest needs and I will be abundantly content in Him!

—————-

POLL RESULTS FOR WIVES (Reminder, this is not a scientific, statistically accurate poll)

  1. Does your husband contact you when he is at work just “because”? (603 votes)
  • He contacts me, but only if there is something he needs to ask me.   28%
  • Yes, multiple times per day, usually.    26%
  • Yes, once per day, usually.    22%
  • Yes, a few times per week, usually.     9%
  • No, he doesn’t contact me when he is at work – even though he probably could.     6%
  • Yes, once a week, usually.     6%
  • He contacts me, but only if there is an emergency.     3%
  • No, but he is not allowed to contact me when he is at work.      1%

2. How often would you like your husband to contact you from work just to let you know he loves you?  (537 votes)

  • At least once per day.     43%
  • A few times per week.      20%
  • At least once per week.      13%
  • Multiple times per day.      11%
  • Once per month or so.     8%
  • Never, I would rather he not contact me when he is at work.      3%
  • He isn’t allowed to contact me from work – so it isn’t an issue.      1%
  • At least every hour.      0% (2 votes)
  • I’m not allowed to receive contact from him when I am at work.      0%  (1 vote)

3. How important is it to you for your husband to contact you from work to emotionally connect? (523 votes)

  • Important to me.     27%
  • Very important to me.      23%
  • A little important to me.     21%
  • Extremely important to me.     17%
  • Not important to me at all.      12%

4. If your husband doesn’t contact you when he is at work, how would you feel? (532 votes)

  • totally fine – I would still feel loved by him and connected to him.     44%
  • A little sad and a little unimportant.     43%
  • Very sad and unimportant.     11%
  • REALLY, REALLY upset, unloved, rejected, and devastated.     2%

POLL RESULTS FOR HUSBANDS (This is not a scientific, statistically accurate poll.)

  1. Do you ever contact your wife while you are working just to show her you love her? (257 votes)
  • Yes, multiple times per day.     25%
  • Yes, a few times per week.     24%
  • Yes, once per day.     29%
  • Rarely.     13%
  • I contact her if I have a question I need to ask her, but not “just because.”     11%
  • Yes, once per week.     5%
  • I am not allowed to make personal calls/texts at work.     3%

2. Do texts/emails/phone calls during the day make you feel more bonded with and loved by your wife? (254 votes)

  • Yes! I LOVE it when she contacts me and feel more loved by her.     56%
  • I feel bonded with her and loved whether she contacts me at work or not.     39%
  • I feel less loved or connected if my wife contacts me when I am at work.     5%

3. Are you concerned that too much contact from your wife when you are at work could hurt your job? (249 votes)

  • No, it is not a concern at all for me.      65%
  • Yes, it is somewhat of a concern.     22%
  • Yes, it is a big concern.     7%
  • I’m not sure.     6%

4. What makes you feel most loved and appreciated by your wife? (257 votes)

  • Sex     40%
  • Time doing something fun side by side   36%
  • Words, texts, emails, phone calls, and conversations.     16%
  • Praying together.     6%
  • Eating together.     2%

(Several husbands wrote in that just being in the same room with their wives, not necessarily doing anything together, is the most bonding to them. Another wrote that when his wife anticipates his needs and meets his needs, he feels most loved, appreciated, and bonded – it could be any of the things on the list or something else entirely.)

"I Want to Be Desired by Other Men, Too"

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A reader and I are tag-teaming together to write about this – in conversation style.  I greatly appreciate her contribution and willingness to share so vulnerably. My prayer is that God might use this post to help many other women break free from these kinds of destructive, toxic thoughts:

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar or tempting?

  • I want other men to notice me and be attracted to me.
  • I want other men to be jealous that they don’t have me.
  • I want other men to lust for me.
  • I want to know that other men find me irresistible or tempting.
  • I want other men to think I am really interesting, beautiful, sexy, and fun to be around.
  • I like for other men to flirt with me to prove that I am a good catch.
  • I like to know that I am still attractive to other men, too.
  • I want to know that other men want to fall in love with me.

FROM A READER:

Yes, you’re one the right track with those, and it goes deeper (for me) as well…

… like a woman’s sense of self-worth or validation comes from her ability to attract a man and have him love her.

I thought as a girl that the “proof” that I was lovable or valuable was having a guy fall in love with me. My operating in this belief not only left several broken hearts behind me as I selfishly looked for the next “project” to build my confidence up, but even now that I’m saved and married, I still feel the desire to know that I still have enough attraction/interest to attract a mate creep up (especially when I feel unappreciated by my husband).

My Dad left us when I was in elementary school, and I took it very personally.

I began to long for the love of a man for personal validation, and developed the idea that perfect happiness would be a marriage where I’m 100% satisfying to my man, and he’s 100% satisfying to me, a sort of mutual worship.

I got saved after being married, and though I see the idolatry of this, I still struggle hugely with wrapping my self-worth and happiness in how I’m loved my by husband. When my husband has an outburst of anger (never violent, but he has a temper), I take it very personally, as though he’s saying I’m unlovable or he hates me (even though he’s never said these words, but that’s how it feels to me).

If I can get “looks” or hints of interest from another man, especially one that seems reasonable and in good-standing, it reassures me that my husband is wrong – I am still lovable, and a man out there might be happy to have me as his wife even if my husband isn’t.

There’s a lot of pain and confusion in trying to write that out, but what stands out to me is the issue of trying to find my satisfaction outside of Christ and my self-worth outside of Christ, as well idolizing romantic love and adultery of the heart.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Whose approval do you really need? What gives you your worth and value? These are critical questions to prayerfully consider.

Check out these posts and see if they might be a blessing, my dear sister:

 

FROM THE SAME READER:

There were definitely some things that stood out like a sore thumb in some of those blog posts, mostly the idea that I will never be enough to make my husband love me perfectly.

This is a huge blow to my pride!

But instead of humbling myself and agreeing that I’m not enough to satisfy my husband perfectly or have him be able to love me perfectly, that I am unworthy to be worshipped or idolized, and then looking to Christ who IS worthy of worship, my heart has secretly sought to find it’s longed-for worship in whatever way it can – if not by my husband, then the easiest/fastest being the cheap idolatry of looks from men or the ability to rouse interest in them.

  • But it is NOT my husband’s job to idolize me or worship me. And when he doesn’t idolize me, I’m not justified in seeking to secure these things in other men, though that’s how my pride feels in the moment.

To be faced with the truth that I’m not enough to make my husband love me perfectly is a humiliating blow to my pride. But rather than trying to cover this humiliation by letting my idol of self loose to get fed any way it can (thus strengthening the idol of my pride), I can let the humiliation have it’s intended work on my heart – to humble myself before Christ, my all-sufficient Saviour, who ALONE is worthy of worship and praise, and who saw the ugly truth of my sin and suffered and died because of it.

It’s not about me. Christ calls me to DENY myself.

That overfed idol of my pride needs to be starved out. So when my idol is hungry for a meal (the adoration of my husband), or a snack (a look from another man), I have a choice.

  • Who will be fed today, my flesh or my spirit?
  • Will I scrounge for worship of self, or worship Him who alone is worthy of worship?

I pray God does in me what only He can do. I pray He teach me to worship and praise Him from a sincere heart.

I feel like we’re getting to the core of the sin, pride and desiring to be idolized by my husband or others. I think the deeper part is that I’m really putting myself before God in my heart. It can be confusing, because sometimes I think my motives for seeking God or trying to become a godly wife are tinged by pride as well, trying to impress others or God by my “godliness.” Sometimes I feel I can’t even discern to true motives of my heart, and feel stuck in the deceptiveness of my own pride.

I’ve been feeling God drawing me to His word daily. I need to renewing of my mind and to trust that He will do it. I can’t get unstuck in the tangles of my pride and sin on my own. I need to truly come to God for this work and stop trying to do it on my own.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I am so glad that you are getting to the core of the issue! That is wonderful!  Pride is the source of all other sins. From it flow all of our arrogance that we know better than God, that we can use God as a means-to-an-end, that we can get people to think highly of us, that we are good in and of ourselves, that we can justify our sin, etc…

Pride is blinding and very deceptive, yes!

I got to read a book last month by Andrew Murray called “Humility.” It was POWERFUL. I would encourage you to check it out for free at this link!

You are right that we do have to watch our motives about seeking God or trying to become a godly wife. We do have to watch for pride and guard against it. All of us. Myself included. We can’t do this on our own. We are in total and desperate need of Jesus and His work on our behalf every moment of every day.

Sinning against Our Husbands, Our Brothers in Christ, and other Men:

Let’s also think about how much of a betrayal it is to our husbands and our marriage covenant if we purposely try to grab the attention of another man. We would never want our husbands to do that to us! I want us to be trustworthy and loyal – always honoring our marriage covenant in our hearts – whether things seem to be going well at the moment or not.

Let’s dress with modesty and act and think with modesty around other men – out of reverence for God and respect for ourselves, our husbands, our marriages, and other men. How wrong it is to purposely put a stumbling block in a brother’s path to try to get him to sin by lusting after us. God will hold us accountable for such motives. We should be encouraging others to live holy, godly lives, not encouraging anyone to stumble into sin because of us.

Godly Beauty:

Thankfully, ALL of us have the ability to have feminine, godly beauty that is of great worth in God’s sight. As we yield fully to Him as LORD of all in our lives and we allow Him to transform us and regenerate our souls and minds – He empowers us to have His overflowing peace, joy, and gentleness. He enables us to receive all that He has for us in Christ and to receive our husbands’ love. He gives us the ability to not freak out, become doormats, or control-freaks –  but to do what is right without giving way to fear. That is the essence of Godly femininity. 🙂

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

SHARE:

Have you experienced tempting thoughts like this? You are welcome to share your struggles and to share how God has helped you have victory over them, as well, if you feel so led.

Much love to each of you! I am praying for y’all daily!

RELATED:

Godly Femininity

Taking Our Thoughts Captive – Peacefulwife video

Tearing Out the Idols in Our Hearts  – Peacefulwife video

Dying to Self

25 Ways to Respect Myself

InHisGrip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

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Today’s guest post is by a believing wife, InHisGrip:

I have always believed that a lot of people don’t deal with issues in relationships mostly because the hard conversations that need to be had are, well…..hard. Probably since I became a Christian, I have noticed and been aware of relationships that stay stuck or worse yet disintegrate into relationships full of bitterness, regret, unforgiveness, walls of pride, etc. I believe most of these have been because both parties (or even just one) have refused to be vulnerable with how they are feeling or refused to speak the truth in love to someone. I’m sure there are many factors that cause people to fear the process – probably the biggest one being rejection.

For myself and my particular situation, we were in a place where I had been hurt by some ongoing things that my husband was doing. Then one big event kind of magnified it all and really was the catalyst that God used to get me on the “respect” road. I started off thinking that I just needed to learn how to respect my husband, but I learned so many more things in the process – as you know and have gone through yourself. Interestingly, during the time of major conflict that we were in, I tried to confront my husband about the things he was doing that were causing me pain, but it never, ever went well (that would be an understatement!).

As God showed me how to respect my husband and as I dealt with working on myself, I went through an internal struggle about whether I should ever say anything to my husband about issues in our marriage or if God was trying to teach me to just be completely quiet and trust Him, waiting on Him to show my husband in His own timing.

FINDING BALANCE

What would happen was that my husband would respond negatively to me during those times of me bringing things to him (even after I was learning respect), so I would decide I was going to be quiet from then on. The problem was that as I shut that part of me down, everything else would shut down, too – my emotions, my vulnerability, everything that made me *me* and that drew my husband to me.

One of April’s recommendations for reading is some material by Bob Grant and his writings really helped me to understand that emotions aren’t (necessarily) wrong and also that our husbands need to see our emotions and emotional side (from Peacefulwife – unless they are motivated by sin). It is one of the things that attracts them to us.

I think God was also refining me more and more (and still is, of course!) as we would have these hard conversations so that I was learning a better way each time to approach these kinds of subjects with my husband that wouldn’t trigger a huge defensive reaction from him so that he would be able to hear my heart. But, there were times, too, when I really felt like I was doing the best I could at the moment and it would still shut my husband down. And, that was a whole other area of learning where I had to figure out how to react when I wasn’t being heard, when he didn’t seem to care or understand or even want to. I would be so tempted to shut down completely.

Many times, I have needed days or longer to just be quiet and process. During those times, God gave me grace to be respectful,

but respectful does not have to mean that we act like everything is perfectly fine and we are not hurt. (That is not real love, either).

It is very possible to be respectful, to bless our husbands in our pain, but to not be living a lie and being fake and acting like everything is completely ok. I don’t believe God is honored by that kind of behavior, and I believe Satan has tried to manipulate and lie to wives on this respect journey that that is what a good wife should do/be.

You know, even with the spiritual warfare possibility, we know that the darkness hates truth. Satan will do everything he can to suppress the truth – and some of that could mean manipulating you into a place where you believe you cannot speak the truth in love. Or telling you that you can’t tell your husband how much you miss him and need him because he might respond negatively or reject you. Anything that gets on a heart level.

Being vulnerable and dealing with our issues sometimes means me having to take a stand on certain things in our marriage that my husband was not wanting to see.

CHANGES IN OUR MARRIAGE

We are still living out that process, but in the last couple of months, I have seen a humility in my husband – he is not as determined to defend himself at all costs or to push the blame back on me, but is more willing to hear what I’m saying and to understand my pain and hurt and even to take a little ownership. This is not a result of him feeling pushed into a corner and just giving up for the sake of peace because my husband would never go for that – he’s not that kind of guy. 🙂 It is a result of me following the Spirit and being willing to fearfully bring my hurt again to my husband – even when he had shut my heart down so many times in the past.

I can’t tell you how many times I would say to him things like, “I want to shut down, but I know that you don’t want that out of me. I know that you don’t want a wife who is shut down and is only going through the motions in our relationship. I know that we both want a good marriage.” And I knew that. I really knew that he loved me and wouldn’t want a shut-down wife — because as soon as I did start putting a wall up to protect myself, you could see his hurt.

  • I think it’s also important to say here that being vulnerable with our feelings shouldn’t mean that every single time we get our feelings hurt, we have to discuss it and be heard and understood.

There is definitely a beauty to “covering over sins” and “bearing with each other” – and so many of the things that women get hurt about aren’t even sin, it’s just a different way of operating. Wise to take our hurts immediately to the One who will never get tired of hearing our hearts, our hurts, etc. and ask Him what to do with them. Many, many times, just knowing He knows and understands is enough to help me move past it and not even have to bring it up to my husband at all.

A NEW WAY TO THINK ABOUT CONFRONTATION

Confrontation in my mind – before God teaching me all He has taught me in the last few years – was me trying desperately to hang on to and grasp control of our relationship and of my husband and being angry when I didn’t get the response I wanted and needed. Now, God is teaching me how to let go of the expectations of those conversations and so when I come to my husband with something, there is a peace and a security in me that even if my respectfully spoken words hurt him and even if he decides to be silent to me for days or whatever at a time, I will be okay. My security isn’t wrapped up in him any longer and my desire for love from him is balanced now that he’s not my idol. If he rejects me – even if he rejects me in an ultimate way….I will be okay. God had to take me to that place.

I wanted to say also that I couldn’t count the number of times that we’ve had conversations about the same issue in our marriage. It took numerous, painful conversations to get to where we are now. And, I know that we are still working through this. There will be more to come, I’m sure. For some reason, I knew that we weren’t meant to go get counseling together. We had a couple of sessions early on in the process and I just knew that God was blocking anything good from happening there. I don’t really know of another way to explain it than that. I could tell my husband was resentful of going and I felt like respecting him was letting go of that expectation of needing counseling in our marriage. I feel like every time I think we have to go to counseling, God reminds me that He is my Counselor and that if I trust His leading, He is enough. So, we have had the hard conversations on our own — without a human someone there overseeing and guiding us – but with the best Counselor overseeing and guiding us.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

(Some couples will need a godly, trusted, experienced counselor to help them with issues – and that is fine, too!)

When I talk about sharing our emotions, feelings, and thoughts on this blog – I am talking about sharing them after we examine our hearts for any sinful motives. We don’t want to just blast our husbands with thoughts that we should have taken captive for Christ. And if our emotions are not reliable at the time, we want to consider that prayerfully before we address anything or share anything. We can share our new self in Christ. But we do not want to share our old sinful nature freely. I hope that makes sense!

Also, if a husband is severely wounded spiritually/emotionally (or is in the middle of a state of rage or something really severe, or is not in his right mind) – we may not be able to share as much detail as we would with a husband who is more healthy emotionally and spiritually. He may need healing first before he is able to hear and absorb information about our pain or concerns. This all requires the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit for us to know exactly what to share and what not to and when and how, etc…

RELATED:

The Frustrating Quiet Phase

To Speak or Not to Speak

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Pendulum Effect – being too dominating and controlling or too passive and shut down are both sinful distortions of godly femininity or godly masculinity

Posts on Conflict

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

Posts about Emotions

 

"The Worst Year of My Life. But Then… God!" – Quinn's Story

from CBSLosAngeles (picture not related to the wreck in the story)
from CBSLosAngeles (picture not related to the wreck in the story)

 

 

From a dear sister in Christ, Quinn (not her real name), with her permission in response to a comment on Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches. This is a long post – but it is MORE than worth it to take the time to read the whole thing:

I started reading your blog April 13, 2015. I know the exact date because that was the day my husband and I had a major blowout fight to end all fights. We concluded the conversation with the words…”I’m done.”

But God.

As we said the words to each other our 24 years together seemed to race before our eyes. There was still something there beneath all the pain. When we got up the next morning we both were drained and sad. We got into another spat and that lead to a two-day long conversation. We talked about everything. Anything. It all came bubbling out. And by the end we said the words…

I’m not done…I want to fix this.

I LOOKED FOR HELP ONLINE AND FOUND YOUR SITE.

  • Let me say the first thing I did not understand was how important sex was to men. That it was how some feel loved, which definitely was my husband. I was always turning him down. He has a high drive and I was a once a month-er. I even told him if I never had sex again it wouldn’t matter to me. (I deeply regretted that comment when I learned differently and apologized to him.) I just didn’t know it was different for men. Sadly, I viewed it as another thing on my to-do list. And it wasn’t that the sex was bad. Quite the opposite. I was just always too busy and tired.
  • The next thing I learned was what a shrew I had been to my husband. I didn’t realize the way I spoke to him was disrespecting him. It was how the women I grew up with spoke to men. I only saw his anger problems and blamed everything on him. (he gets verbally angry – he has NEVER been physical. I have been and still am completely safe with him. He just learned verbal abuse in his family and that was communication to him… much like shrew was a language to me.)

I started reading everything I could on your site and implementing it.

I asked him to start praying at night with me… something we had never done together before. I made more effort to keep time aside for him and our sex life too. He started to notice the differences in me, he relaxed and I was feeling better too. About six weeks later I decided to apologize to him for my past behavior. It was cathartic.

TERRIBLE NEWS

And then he looked in my eyes and said God is prompting me to also apologize and come clean too.

Then he admitted to having an online emotional affair from January to May. He said it was over and that he had ended it because we were getting to a better place.

To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I laid in my bed and sobbed. After about an hour I heard God so clearly say, “Go forgive him. You two have had enough pain it is time for healing.” It was the hardest thing to do – but I did.

We had a long talk and decided to work more on our marriage and for the next several months, I thought we were. I know I was. It seemed he was. He was better at being calm and we talked more things out. We still had arguments but no blowouts – which were the regular before. Then one night in October, I just felt something was off. I can’t explain it but I knew I needed to check our phone records. I firmly believe what I found was God’s prompting to fix the mess of our marriage once and for all. Because what I found was from July to October two phone numbers had a ton of calls to them. Numbers I didn’t know in a town about two hours away.

When I confronted him, I found out he was having emotional affairs with two different new women online. He was viewing porn with one of the women and his relationship with her was sexting. She lived in another country. The other woman…sigh….this still hurts to say….the other woman lived two hours away and he told me he fell in love with her and was going to tell me the next day he was leaving me for her. Then he said I will always love you but I am not IN love with you anymore. (For clarity he never met any of these women in person – it was all online/phone. Not that it made it hurt any less.)

I was blindsided. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I thought we were working things out. He prayed nightly with me! How could a praying man do this to his wife?! His level of deception was so deep. I didn’t know who this man was. The man I knew would never…I…it…huge sigh…

I cried and screamed for a good few hours at him. I have never felt that kind of hurt in my life.

BUT GOD.

Remember how I said I felt the feeling I had to look up the phone records was God’s prompting to fix the mess we called a marriage once and for all? Well, I can say without a doubt it WAS indeed God’s hand of intervention. April, I think when I sought out your site in April (I don’t think that is an ironic coincidence either!) that God was preparing me then for what He knew I was going to have to endure in the months ahead. By reading your site – I started to pray, really pray for my marriage and my husband. Remember my husband and I were praying nightly together, too. How you pray to God while cheating I still don’t understand but that is between him and God. I do think though God used it as a chance to be in my husband’s heart. It was an opening. And my prayers gave God more room to work as well.

The next part I am about to explain no one around me understands. I am hoping as I share it here that in this atmosphere it will be understood. Less than 48 hours after I was leveled by my husband… God settled on me in a way I could never begin to put into words. He gave me complete peace. He healed all that pain in an instant. It was gone. (From Peacefulwife – sometimes people experience an instantaneous spiritual healing like this, other times it is a gradual healing.)

What I was left with was this deep, unabiding love that God spoke to me was how He felt for my husband. I still can’t say that without crying. God let me feel, truly feel, the love He feels for my husband. His deeply wounded and abused child. He then spoke to me and said,

“I want you to have the same compassion for him that I do. He is hurting from the lifetime of abuse inflicted on him by his family. He needs to come back to me and I am going to use you to (help him) do that. I want you to go to him and forgive him.”

Now remember I had been asked to do this back in May too when I learned of the first affair. I remembered how confused I was to be asked to do that but I saw God work through it then so I chose to trust God again. I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when I said, “I don’t like what you did and you hurt me beyond comprehension but I forgive you. God has given me a deep compassion for you and I see the pain in you differently now. I still love you. I see the man God knows you can be and I think your leaving would be a huge mistake. I think God has so much better for us. But if you don’t love me anymore that is your choice but God loves me and I him so I will be okay.”

His eyes got as big as saucers and his hard shell exterior melted into sobs. I’ve never seen my husband cry like that.

He started to say, “Dear God what have I done?! What have I done to this woman I love so much?! What happened to me?!” over and over.

It was like a literal blindfold was taken off of him and he saw me again. Then he saw his sin. He was so distraught. I kid you not when I say I think I heard some demons screaming for cover as the Holy Spirit descended on us.

PRAYER CHANGED EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, our pastor was coming over within the hour to pray and talk with us. When he walked in the door he said to my husband, “Well brother, long time no see…it is good to see YOU again.” Our pastor and my husband are walking partners. And the day I felt the prompting to look for the phone records was the day my husband admitted to our pastor on their walk that he didn’t love me anymore and that two days later he was going to tell me that and leave me. He didn’t tell our pastor about the affairs on the walk though. But God told our pastor. Our pastor started praying after their walk fervently for our marriage. He stormed the gates of heaven on our behalf and I think that is why I felt the urging to look for the records and that was how it all came tumbling down.

So on the day the enemy had planned for my husband to leave and to destroy our marriage for good…ended up being our day of redemption. PRAISE BE TO GOD! It was instead the day I forgave him and the day my husband was freed from demonic oppression. If you ask my husband now he will tell you, he felt like he was literally blinded. He still can’t fathom how it got so bad. How he did what he did. But that is the enemy’s game…little here, little there until you are so deep in the pit you don’t see the light of day anymore and you somehow don’t think you need to ever again.

HOW HAS IT BEEN SINCE THEN?

My husband and I have spent the last six months going through some DEEP healing. We have done counseling and continue each day to understand our “new” marriage, the new ways of coping with life and ourselves as individuals. We had to learn how to talk to each other, be real and love again. We went through a honeymoon period where we couldn’t keep our hands off each other and wanted to be with each other every moment we could. Then we were tested with a lengthy time of not being able to have sex (read below) and we had to level up again in our emotional relationship and friendship.

We still have times when we have to crush the enemy all over again and realize he is still trying to take us down. We have gotten better though at seeing it now and we act on crushing him together. We still pray nightly together and we see how He continues to work through those prayers. We both know we will always have this pain in our past but it does not define our present. It is part of our story that we use to now help others. I often get asked if I really was delivered of the pain that fast. Yes, I truly was. God did a miracle for me. Do I feel sadness that we had to go through this? Yes, I sure do. Do the things I wish I didn’t know pop in my head at times? Yes, they do. So no it is not all sunshine and rainbows but without the dark clouds and storms we wouldn’t appreciate the sun (Son) as much now would we?😉 I choose to remember that God has a plan for us. And whatever that plan is required me to trust God quickly. He had a reason for needing us to work through this all so fast. Whatever that reason is only God knows but I sure am not going to get in the way of whatever it is by holding on to past hurts. It serves me no good in my present day or my future.

What really makes the biggest difference, and always will, is handing the reins over to God.

Doing things His way and not ours. Dig deep into your relationship with God and let nothing and no one interfere with that. Even your spouse. If I had accepted my husband saying he didn’t love me, if I had let the enemy keep whispering to me, if I had not read April’s words and taken them to heart, if I had not allowed God to change ME first… NONE of this would have happened the way it did. I am 100% sure of that. I would be divorced right now.

Even if that worst case scenario had happened I still would have been okay though because I have my God and I need nothing else. *tears of joy* I didn’t know that before April 13, 2015. I was raised with God from birth but I never truly knew Him until this last year.

And I needed Him this last year like I never have before. While I was going through all this I had many other horrific life events going on as well. Illness in my body, deaths of parents, the beginning of our empty nest, and we ended the year with my husband recovering from a very serious car accident.

A MAJOR CAR ACCIDENT.

April, when you used the analogy of marriage being like a car accident down a deep ravine…that is what hit my heart the most.

Six weeks after the betrayal and reconciliation, my husband’s car hydroplaned on a wet road, spun into a pole and went down the ravine toward the river.

If he hadn’t hit the pole the fire chief said he would have gone IN the river. Our 18-year-old son watched the whole accident happen as he was in the car behind my husband. It took 10 firemen to secure the car as it hung on the ravine to keep from sliding down the wet, muddy ground into the river. It was downpouring and there was a power line that he took down went he hit the pole. The first man on the scene and my son both stepped on this line without knowing it was there as they tried to get to my husband before first responders got there. Thank God, the line was not live. It took them almost two hours to extricate my husband from the car.

The passenger side door was resting next to his right side because it was the side that hit the pole. The passenger seat was demolished. The passenger seat I would have been sitting in if not for a stomachache that kept me from going with that night. They had to use the jaws of life to remove the roof and take him out that way. With both lungs collapsed, eight broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder. Miraculously, that was all of his injuries. He didn’t hit his head, he had no cuts or bleeding, no broken limbs… unreal – considering what the car looked like. When you looked at him he looked normal. He was in ICU for three days and I never left his side. I spent the next four weeks nursing him back to health at home and then he slowly returned to work. That time together while he healed was precious. So many conversations and so much love shared.

My husband has now made a full recovery.

Just like our marriage.

OUR MARRIAGE WAS DOWN IN THAT RAVINE.

Deep down there with the rain pouring on us and the mud keeping our marriage “car” stuck. We were refusing to see how the other was hurt because we were so focused on ourselves at the time. And we both had very little focus on what God wanted for us despite calling ourselves Christians.

I could have wallowed in the pain my husband caused me but the truth is – I hurt him too.

I know what I did to him was not the betrayal of affairs but the way God worded it to me was like this…

“His sin is no worse than yours. Sin is sin. You both have been deeply hurt by life and by each other. Enough is enough. It is time for you both to heal and get onto the plans I have for you.” It took the true First Responder to deliver us out of it but we had to reach up for His hand first before He could get a good grip and pull us out of the mud.

We realize that on that dark, rainy night things could have gone so much differently. If I had been with him, if he had gone in the river, if our son had stepped on a live wire…so much could have changed. Before my husband left the house that night I had a sinking feeling something wasn’t right. (Being an intercessor I get these feelings often.) I went to God in prayer and asked him to watch over my boys and give them safe travel – to send his angels of protection with them. I have no doubt those very angels are why my husband and son sit with me still today. It is the power of prayer that changes lives.

I HAD SOMEONE SAY TO ME…

“Well if God really answered your prayers then He would have kept your husband from getting in the accident at all.”

Oh, this reaction always makes me so sad. It is the refusal to see that life can’t be all good. It is from hurt souls who think following God means everything will be good and if it’s not then God failed. Oh sweet sister or brother we live in a fallen world. Bad stuff happens unfortunately. God is the one that helps us endure those things though! And He uses them for good!

So much good came from the accident.

Of course I wish it hadn’t happened!! But that accident pushed us closer together as a family. It healed a broken relationship that I can’t mention here. It gave ME a renewed zest for life because nothing makes you appreciate life more than seeing a mangled car in a junkyard that could have been where you took your last breath. Honestly, there are too many things to mention. That is not even mentioning the ways it helped others that we don’t know about. The same goes for the affairs. Much good came from that mess coming to light. I have a strong, healthy and happy marriage now. We have a very active sex life and we both speak respectfully to each other now. We are able to help others now who are going through what we did.

GOOD came from it all…because of God.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR OTHERS WHO ARE HURTING DEEPLY

If I can encourage anyone else who is going through the trenches (so appropriate you named it that, April, because it is exactly the word I always use) with something it would be this… pray, trust God and don’t ever be afraid to do what God asks of you… even the REALLY hard, unimaginable things… pray through them if it is only way you can get through it. If He is asking it of you then there is a good reason you need to do it. And remember that thing you are praying for may only happen if you do that hard thing He is asking first.

Sometimes we truly hold the answer to our prayers in our own hands and until we act we won’t see it happen. If I had argued with God about how “entitled” I am to my pain or refused to see my husband with God’s eyes of compassion… I WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT. I would still be wallowing in that trench full of bitterness, pain, and misery. And I would have denied myself, my husband, our children, our pastor, family, and anyone who hears our story from seeing God’s amazing power at work! If I had not forgiven, as brutally hard as that was, I wouldn’t be able to share this amazing testimony today and maybe touch more lives.

God is always waiting it the wings to get to work. He isn’t the problem. We are.

Our life is completely different now and IT ALL STARTED WITH ONE PERSON… ME. I laid down my idols and dreams… and found God had bigger, better, and more amazing things for me than I ever could’ve imagined. But none of it could happen until I gave him the reins and did as He asked. Even when it made no sense whatsoever to me. And for the record I’m working through another trench currently. It is a deeply painful one. It likely won’t go the way I am praying and I may have to be okay with that. Here is where past trenches can help you… you know you will survive… you know there are better days ahead….and you know where to look for help. UP.

You are all in my prayers. May God fill you with peace, understanding and love.

And April, girl, I can’t wait to hug on you one day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a mentor to me. You truly changed my life. Words can never express what you, my sweet sister, mean to me.

A Big Lightbulb Moment about True Contentment

 

From WorthyofLove who shared about her husband’s old text messages a few weeks ago…

April,
Wow! I just had serious lightbulb…..and your name kept popping in my head so I just know I need to share it with you! God has been working on my heart much deeper these days since I last shared in your “Share about Your Journey” post!

I became very discontented, and I started expecting things from my husband again, and things got seriously out of hand for about a month. But I did something I should have done a long time ago—I sought a counselor and began meeting with her and just trying to dig deeper into my heart. She first lead me to a book called “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by Stasi and John Eldredge, who also wrote the book “Wild and Heart” which is all about a man’s soul.

There is one part in it that caught my eye – my spiritual eye – about how true beauty is a heart at rest and at peace in the Lord…one that trusts fully in Him and one that does not give way to fear. You already know because I’ve read it on your blog posts before 🙂 BUT, my heart SAW it for the first time reading this book and then this realization lead me to seek out also the meaning of having Christ within – having Christ as my true heart’s satisfaction – and about how He is our source of life within.

Well here I was recently, researching this and just seeking God about it – to know Him and what this means for me – when my husband decided to pick a David Wilkerson sermon for us to listen to together and he picked one on contentment! (TOTALLY GOD LEADING ME THROUGH MY HUSBAND!) We listen to it and Wilkerson starts referencing this book called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs….. it was written in like 1645, when there was a major falling apart of the Church and people losing all they owned and people were just in turmoil everywhere. This man Jeremiah heard from God and he wrote this book and so I of course found it online (FREE!), and began reading immediately.

My jaw dropped as I read over and over the message and confirmation that:

a soul which has the capacity to commune and know God WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED EXCEPT BY GOD HIMSELF!!!!!

And on and on he talks about contentment, how it is LEARNED, how Christ teaches us it and the whole while I’m thinking of you, because I know that this is what you have learned in your journey. You have learned it and it has changed you!!! And it is the key to true heart rest!!!!

So I came to this point in the book where he talks about how the devil comes to those hearts that are DISCONTENTED, and tempts them, because it is the heart that is unhappy with whatever he has, or does not have, or what he wants, etc….it is that heart that will be easily tempted to sin in order to get what it wants!!!!!

Is this not the main issue in marriages?? Pride being the first—which is ultimately (sinful) SELF-love—and it breads this discontentment.  It leads to all the strife, complaints, and just the miserable condition of the soul and heart!!!! And I thought— wow…… if women could see this! It is also in James where he talks about how when we are tempted we are drawn away by our own lusts (or sinful desires)!!

OUR OWN LUSTS—e.g WHATEVER IS MAKING US DISCONTENTED BECAUSE WE DONT HAVE WHAT WE WANT!

I see it now…I SEE! I was blind but now I see!!!

When I am content with having Jesus within me – satisfied with God – when I realize that yes He is the ONLY One who can satisfy my heart – I am at true rest, true peace….and I am content!:)

If you have not read this Rare Jewel book, I reccommend it to you, the Holy Spirit will confirm in your heart all the work He has done in you:)

RELATED:

Contentment Comes from Having Christ As LORD

Things That Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me

Security Comes from My Identity in  Christ

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by The Restored Wife

 

The Restored Wife Shares some of the most difficult parts of her journey with us (by the way, her husband’s response is pretty common):

When I started this journey, I had no idea how to be respectful or submissive – our biggest issue at that time was the way both of us reacted any time there was a disagreement or conflict. Things had been the same for so long, neither of us knew how to imagine a world where we didn’t argue.

What really stopped me in my tracks was a term from my previous career as a therapist – “unconditional positive regard.”

That means I treated my therapy clients in a positive manner no matter what I might think about them personally (or their actions). I was very ashamed one day to realize I did that for complete strangers with no problem, but didn’t do the same for my husband! I was failing at the Golden Rule, the most simple way to treat other people, and it really upset me that a small child could do better than I had done.

I started thinking about the things my husband and I argued about – almost always the tiny, insignificant day-to-day things – and how I’d react if a guest in our home did the same things my husband did. For instance, my husband seems to have an “allergy” when it comes to replacing the toilet paper on the roll. It used to drive me crazy! When I asked myself what I would do if a guest used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t replace the roll, I thought, “I’d just replace it and not say anything at all.” So that’s what I did! I had to go back to basics and consciously treat my husband the way I would treat someone else, because my disrespect for him had seeped into every part of my brain and I didn’t know another way to stop it.

Doing this actually made things worse for awhile because I found that, when I wasn’t nagging or pushing to get my way, I really didn’t have a lot to say about anything! It was very eye-opening. My husband had no idea how to react. Often he would go out of his way to do things he knew would upset me – he says now he was in total disbelief that I had changed, so he put me in situations where he thought the “real me” would come out. He knew how to deal with the arguments but not with the silence.

I remember many, many moments when I shut the bathroom door, cried quietly for a few minutes while I prayed, then wiped my eyes and went about my day. It was HARD to sit back and remain silent while my husband was angry and seemed determined to push all my buttons. Sometimes I would get so emotional I couldn’t think about the mission I was on; I would bite back and a fight would follow. This was good for me in a way because I began to see how MY reactions fueled his – the only way to make it stop was for me to control my own reactions and words.

We spent the better part of a year doing this dance… I would try to treat him like I would treat an acquaintance to force myself to be polite and respectful. He was angry, sometimes downright rude, and sarcastic. In the moments I lost control of myself and acted like I did in the past, he seemed almost triumphant, like he was saying “See, I told you nothing has changed!” I would retreat and pray and read my Bible. Rinse and repeat. I thought it would be that way forever and I had to make peace with it.

I told God, “If this is as good as things ever get, I’ll keep going. Not my way but yours!”

Slowly, my husband began to soften toward me. I can’t emphasize how slowly this change took placeI thought I would lose my mind.

  • It became more natural for me to respect and I didn’t have to pretend my husband was a guest in our home anymore.
  • He stopped trying to provoke me as he realized it seldom worked.
  • He had to learn to deal with the “new me” and respond to my respect instead of my disrespect.
  • It was a learning process for both of us!

As April mentioned, doing this alone is impossible. I leaned heavily on God to give me wisdom, patience, and to remind me why I was going through this valley in my marriage. I prayed to be reminded of my own sins against my husband when I was tempted to focus on his sins against me, and it worked! Every time my mind would think, “Look what he did. He doesn’t even care about you,” I would be flooded by memories of moments when I didn’t act like I cared about him. It was very humbling and refining to finally see all the things I had done wrong.

Stopping the cycle is so difficult but it’s possible! I’m the last person I ever expected to be posting on a site like this, talking about learning to submit to my husband, but our lives have been changed for the better. I pray the same for you and your marriage!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This is a pretty common pattern. The wife begins to change. The husband can’t believe it and is confused. He pushes to try to get her to go back to the “old familiar destructive dance” because change is scary for a lot of husbands, even good change. Husbands sometimes think that if their wives slip at all, it means they aren’t really changing, even though we really are making progress at times. They are afraid to get their hopes up, afraid that things will never get better. They are afraid their wives might be manipulating them or that this will be a temporary phase that won’t last. It can take a LONG time for many husbands to truly feel respected and safe and like these changes are for real.

I had a similar experience. Greg didn’t attack me. But he stayed very distant and unplugged, watching to see if this was for real. It was a very slow journey of progress. From my perspective, the progress was often imperceptible. But after 3.5 years into this journey, Greg began to truly feel safe with me again. Of course, I had no clue what I was doing the first 2.5 years. It took years for me to get rid of all of the unintentional disrespect and for me to understand what respect even looked like to Greg.  That is why I cherish this ministry and the camaraderie we have here so much. My prayer is that my experiences and the experiences of other women might be a blessing and a help to others as they struggle, wrestle, and seek Christ above all else in their hearts.

RELATED:

“I’m Trying to Respect and Submit – and My Husband Is Being More Unloving Than Ever. What Is Going On!?!?”

Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?

A Husband Answers – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

“I Will Not Be a ‘Second Class Citizen'” – by The Restored Wife

 

What Is the Best Way to Handle the Finances?

 

 

 

 

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In my view, there isn’t a specific “one right way” to handle money issues in a godly marriage – as far as who is “in charge” of paying the bills. Of course, we will want to use scriptural principles. We need to manage our money wisely, realizing we are stewards of all that God has given to us. The money is all His ultimately, it is not truly ours to do with as we please if He is LORD. So we will want to seek to honor Him in how we use our money and make sure we are doing what He desires us to do with it. We want to avoid debt. We don’t want to overspend. We want to make sure our families have what we need, but we don’t want to get caught up in consumerism, materialism, and greed – which are idolatry.

Dave Ramsey is a Christian financial teacher  who has a lot of great information about being godly stewards, wise financial management, biblical principles, and getting out of debt.

SOME WAYS COUPLES HANDLE THINGS:

  1. Sometimes the husband handles all of the accounting and everything is joint (the wife has access to the information) and they discuss major things before making decisions.
  2. Sometimes the wife does the bill paying but she runs any major issues past her husband so that he is involved and can contribute his perspective and desires, as well.
  3. Sometimes husbands and wives have separate accounts and each handles his/her own part of the bills and their own accounts.
  4. Sometimes the husband and wife sit down together to pay bills as a team.
  5. Sometimes only one spouse handles everything and the other spouse has no idea what is going on. (I don’t recommend this – although there can be certain situations where it may be necessary, if there are uncontrolled mental health issues with one spouse, or one spouse is very ill or is traveling a lot or has an extremely stressful job and doesn’t have time to deal with finances or doesn’t want to look at things.)

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

Some wives prefer for their husbands to handle the finances if they, themselves, get too stressed about money issues or bill-paying. For me, I asked Greg to take over, not because I couldn’t manage the finances, I did manage our bill paying for over 16 years, but because I tended to be too controlling about what Greg could spend. And I didn’t like the dynamics of me telling him what to do. I wanted him to have more of a chance to lead after I had been so controlling for so long. This works well for us.

You will want to consider things like –

  • how much time each of you have to devote to managing bills
  • any ADD issues or mental health issues that one spouse may have that could make it more difficult for that spouse to manage finances
  • coming up with a budget – either a very strict one, or a loose one, depending on your family’s needs
  • the spending limit you each want to have to spend without checking with the other (maybe any purchase over $200 you would want to talk with each other first before making that purchase, for example)
  • how much you want to give to church and charities (be sure not to force your husband to do this, but share what you want to do and listen to what he wants to do)
  • how much you want to save for retirement (link to a retirement calculator), for emergencies, for your children’s college, for your next car purchase…
  • your spending/saving personalities
  • your individual priorities and how you will work together on priorities for the family
  • determining what things are needs and what are wants
  • deciding where to cut spending if the budget is tight
  • talking with a financial advisor about wealth management or managing your savings or 401K plans
  • if your spouse is threatening to leave, that will certainly affect how you need to decide to handle your finances together

PRAY!

Remember to pray for God’s wisdom, provision, discernment, and guidance about your budget, your husband’s leadership, how to spend your money, how to give to those in need, etc…

Ask God to help you see any idols in your heart – about greed, wealth, luxury, or finding security in money rather than in God.

STUDY SCRIPTURE:

Verses about money

SHARE:

What works best for your marriage in how to handle finances?

What has been frustrating financially in your marriage?

RELATED:

I have a few posts about how various couples have decided to handle this issue way back in 2012:

What Greg and I did

What A Fellow Wife and her husband did

Another Wife Shares about Finances and Trust

When a Husband Insists That His Wife Handles the Finances

Money and the Ugly Truth  and an update by Kayla

Not a "Successful Marriage Story"… Yet

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Check out my 35 minute interview from last Tuesday with Charlie and Keith at KLFC Radio in Branson, Missouri!

————

A guest post:

This is my first time posting but I have followed your blog and been on the respectful wife journey now for about 3 years of my almost 7 year marriage. My husband is a “command man” and has quite a dominant personality he is always “right” and has little tolerance for people doing things that don’t make sense or are wrong to him.

I have struggled a lot to not shut down and become a doormat to avoid conflict and protect myself.

Over the years I have learned to “read” him a bit better.

  • I try to hear his underlying problem rather than just get defensive at the way he talks to me when he has an issue.
  • I try and apologise quickly for my fault and then drop the matter.
  • This (past) time I didn’t take his attack personally, I kept calm and said my piece quietly but stood my ground.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of months and I was feeling like I had learned and changed so much that I was nearly at the end of needing to read this blog and working on our marriage as I thought I was turning into a pretty agreeable wife (not saying that things were perfect or that I didn’t still struggle with sin still, but I had put in so much work into being respectful). We were having a conversation and I said something about how I had changed in our marriage, he knew I read your blog but we never really had conversations about what I was learning.

He said to me, “What do you mean changed?”

It came out that he hadn’t even noticed how hard I had tried over the last couple of years, he had seen no change in me from when we were first married.

I must admit I was gobsmacked and it was totally disheartening.

Up until a week ago I was just numb and devastated about our marriage, and wanted to give up and just shut him out. During this time I have refined my motives, I am now doing this out of obedience to God, my relationship with Him has grown so much since that moment. Without that time I would have continued in my own strength trying to make a good marriage.

God didn’t let me take any short cuts.

While I was being outwardly respectful to my husband in my mind I would be thinking, “You are so mean,” and call him names silently. There was so much hidden sin and filth in my heart that had to go. I have pretty much 0% chance of things improving for me. If he hasn’t noticed a change in me then I can’t hope that he will respond in turn. I am okay with that now, I can’t be responsible for his poor reactions to situations, I was enmeshed with him and overly sensitive to his moods. I have now accepted him for who he is.

However, now instead of just feeling sorry for myself and keeping my hurt hidden I have committed to respectfully saying, “That was hurtful,” and then moving on. I am excited about my new relationship with Christ and that is my primary focus now. Being a wife is only part of who I am and whilst I will continue on my journey it will be with a different heart. It’s not a successful marriage story, but praise God for he has been faithful to me.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This wife may feel that hers is not a “successful marriage story” – but it already is a “successful discipleship story!” That is the most important thing! She saw that her motives and attitudes were still not right and needed to be refined. God often uses our spouses (and others) to be the “sandpaper” that helps to refine us and smooth us to be more and more the women He calls us to be. She is open to allowing God to use these difficult times and trials to mold her more into the image of Christ and to refine and mature her faith.

If we have struggles and we have times of pain, but God uses it for our growth and His ultimate glory – and He uses it to draw us much closer to Himself, that is success in His sight!

My prayer is that we might each be able to see that anything that draws us closer to Him, refines, and purifies us IS something that is accomplishing God’s good purposes in us! Let’s also pray for each hurting person here… that God might heal each spouse individually and then bring healing to each marriage for His glory!

QUOTE FROM ANDREW MURRAY’S BOOK, HUMILITY (chapter 11):

Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”

But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self. A clearer insight was to be given to Paul into the deep truth that the presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing.

 

RELATED:

Why Do I Want to Change? – Peaceful Wife VIDEO (Youtube channel, April Cassidy)

Posts about Conflict

Posts about Being Enmeshed

Link to free download of Andrew Murray’s book Humility

Resource for emotionally abusive relationships www.leslievernick.com

Passive Aggressive Husband? – by Nina Roesner (author of The Respect Dare)

WorthyofLove Finally "Gets" Her Husband's Text Messages

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TODAY’S GUEST POST:

Sometimes, our husbands don’t share that they are feeling disrespected or that we are sinning against them and we have no idea we have contributed to the problems in our marriages. But other times, they truly do clearly try to explain that they feel unloved, mistreated, and disrespected – and we just don’t hear what they are saying – until God opens our eyes and ears. One couple has allowed me to share some of a husband’s old text messages to his wife that she has only recently begun to understand. These are the words of a frustrated,  husband who was feeling discouraged, disrespected, and unloved and yet was trying to love and lead his wife in a godly way. His wife, we will call her, WorthyofLove, sees now that she was fighting his attempts to lead and to love her with disrespect and control:

 

———————-

Here we go – some of my husband’s old texts to me:

TEXTS ABOUT BLATANT WAYS HE FELT DISRESPECTED:

From Peacefulwife – This next quote is what happens to a man who feels very put down and disrespected by his wife, notice what begins to happen to his ability to lead and make wise decisions:

Do you realize how many times you reminded me about my mistakes? How else am I supposed to feel except rejected and hurt? It surely didn’t make me feel like a man. I keep second guessing myself.

WAYS HE WAS TRYING TO LEAD ME SPIRITUALLY:

When I read some of these (now) I am like, “Wow he couldn’t have been any more blatant!!!!!”

I honestly did not have a clue what he was trying to say to me. If anything, when he said these things I felt totally wronged and like I was the one trying to work on everything. But looking back, I WAS FOCUSED ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT GOD AND MY HUSBAND!!! I’m glad I can share these in hopes that other women might be able to pick up on anything their men might be trying to say.

I LITERALLY SAID THIS IN A TEXT WHEN I WAS BLIND AND DID NOT UNDERSTAND A SINGLE THING:

“You can’t handle life so you’re dumping your crap all on my shoulders. That’s fine, I’ve had it dumped on me over and over. This is nothing new. Men obviously can’t deal with stuff anymore and women are the only ones who can keep it together while under serious pressure.”

This was my attitude!!! Sadly 🙁

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Ladies,

Let’s slow down. Let’s really listen to what our husbands are trying to share with us. Perhaps they have important things to share that we need to hear. It is possible that God may even be trying to speak through them to us if we will listen. Yes, they have things to work on, too. But so do we. Let’s be willing to humble ourselves and look at any sin issues in our own lives. Let’s take what our husbands say, even if we feel upset about it at first, to God in prayer. Let’s ask God to help us discern, “Is this a legitimate issue? Is it a life-giving rebuke and godly wisdom? If so, help me embrace it. If it is not of You, then help me to not absorb it.”

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

                         – Proverbs 14:1

Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

                 – Proverbs 9:8

I pray God will give us ears to hear so that we might build up our marriages, our husbands, and our children and not tear them down.

Much love!

I NEED A BIT OF EXTRA HELP THE NEXT FEW DAYS WITH COMMENTS, PLEASE 🙂

I have some extra responsibilities on my plate today through Saturday – so if anyone feels led to reach out and share encouragement and godly wisdom that you have learned with someone who is commenting and may need some love, I would greatly appreciate my Titus 2 ladies reaching out this week. Y’all do an amazing job blessing, encouraging, sharing, praying for each other, and loving each other. I am so honored to get to see how the Spirit of God brings such love, unity, and support to this body of believers that gathers here.

RELATED:

Signs Your Husband Is Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them – note, the things that really can upset husbands are things that often seem “small” or “insignificant” to us, but to them, these are big issues. We want our husbands to care about things that matter deeply to us even if our issues seem “small” in their eyes. Let’s give them the same level of consideration and compassion. And the added bonus, as we ask God to help us work on these things, we are getting rid of sin that God wants us to get rid of anyway. We will become more godly women.

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

 

Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

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1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

This journey is a process. There are stages. If there is major woundedness in an individual or in a marriage, it often takes a long time to heal. Expect that it will be many months or maybe even a year or years before anything close to “total healing” takes place.

I think of this healing process as if a couple crashed their marriage “car” down in a steep ravine. The further off course they went, the longer it takes to tow it back up to the road and the worse the spiritual injuries they sustain. There may be a time when one or both spouses are in the “spiritual ICU.” At that point, making demands – or even requests – of the other person could be rather pointless. If my husband had been in a physical wreck and was in the ICU in a coma on a ventilator – I would not resent him because he was not helping me even if I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I would extend grace and understanding knowing that he CAN’T get up and help me right now.

People who are severely spiritually wounded or who don’t know Christ and are spiritually dead can’t act like Christ toward us. They are incapable of loving God or others as they should. They need to be raised to new life by Jesus or they need spiritual healing from God. Nothing we can do will make them be able to give us what we want when they are that injured. They need major healing themselves.

There are things we can do to encourage spiritual healing for our husbands. But then we are going to have to be REALLY patient. More patient than we have ever been in our lives as we wait for God to work.

God wants to use this time of waiting to strengthen my flabby faith muscles and to get me to focus on Him and allowing Him to transform my own soul, mind, and life by His power. This will involve me learning to savor the journey and even the waiting.

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

My sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the enemy’s snare of what “might happen” weeks, months, or years from now. We tend to take one situation and zoom ahead with it in our minds to all of the “what-ifs” that may happen and try to plan what we are going to do in all of the worse case scenarios. Our plans may all come to nothing. God’s plans are what matter. When we get stuck in “what-if land” we usually don’t count God’s influence and power in our worrying scenarios.

Jesus was so good to tell us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. None of us know what will happen in the next 5 minutes. The rapture could happen for all we know. Or a national disaster. Or a major miracle. Or a series of small miracles. We don’t know what is coming in the future. But God is already there – totally unlimited by time. He knows the way. He has your hand if you are following Christ.

3. A PERSON’S CURRENT FEELINGS,  SINS, WORDS, OR PLANS DO NOT DICTATE WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING

A husband’s feelings are important – so are a wife’s feelings.  But let’s keep the big perspective in mind. If he says he doesn’t love you, he wants a divorce, or he wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written! While we can respect what our husbands say, and how they are feeling – and while we can respectfully, graciously let them go (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) if they insist on leaving – we can also remember that ultimately our trust is in God and that He is able to change hearts, circumstances, mindsets, desires, and plans.

  • In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Yes, people make decisions with their free will. But then, at the same time, God is sovereign and He will use all things to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and for His kingdom as we love and trust Him. So we can’t lose.

We can’t lose, my dear sisters (and brothers)!

  • If something bad happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good, to strengthen my faith, to draw me closer to Him, to make me more like Jesus, and to accomplish His good purposes.
  • If something good happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good and to accomplish His good purposes in the end, as well.

I can always stand on my spiritual tiptoes and look beyond the current circumstances in eager anticipation to see all that God will accomplish. I can expect Him to move mountains, change situations, transform my own heart/mind/soul, change others in His timing, and work constantly for His glory and His will to be done. I can wait patiently knowing that God is in control and His timing and wisdom is much higher than my own.

I can hurt when my husband is distant or if he is talking about divorce or if he leaves. I can grieve over that. But then, I can also look to Christ for help and hope, that He will use even this ultimately for good as I trust Him completely. I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things. I can focus on praising God and on thanksgiving. I can face my emotions and feel them. Emotions are a gift from God but I am also responsible for how I handle them and I can learn – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to handle them rightly and without sin. I can allow myself to experience hurt, sadness, anger, fear… but then I can hash through my difficult emotions and lay them before God and entrust them to Him. I don’t have to be ruled by my emotions. My marriage is not to be built on my emotions, but on Christ and His truth. I am not a slave to feelings. I can take my thoughts captive as I process my emotions and feelings. I can even experience God’s supernatural peace and joy as I trust everything to Him and focus on God’s goodness, sovereignty, love, and Lordship in my life! Even in the trials.

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life if you are living for Him and you love Him and you are yielding to Christ as Lord. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom. There is a much larger picture going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

I had no idea that God would use my most painful trials to reach thousands of people around the world for Christ. But as we walk through these times of testing and suffering, and as God refines our faith and causes us to grow strong in our walk with Him – He uses our stories and our testimony to build the faith of others, to encourage others, and to teach others – and set an example.

What you are experiencing now that is so painful – may well be the very thing that convinces many people in the future to trust in Christ in the midst of their painful trials – because they see that your faith was tested and that God was victorious. God may use your story to inspire many others to walk in obedience and faith, trusting Him and yielding fully to Him as Lord.

What a joy!