Greg and April – May 28, 1994
Greg and April at the church where we were married – May 28, 2013
Greg and I had an impromptu interview the other evening. I have been hearing from one of my dear friends who has been struggling a lot on this journey of learning to be a godly wife. I was asking my husband what his perspective was earlier in our marriage as I was being so disrespectful and controlling. During that time, he became passive and very unplugged. There were times he barely spoke to me, barely looked at me and sometimes barely touched me. I thought you might be interested to hear what he had to say.
This was the first time I have ever heard much of these particular thoughts of his. I am SO honored that he feels safe enough now to share his heart with me like this. What a privilege for me to be married to this man and for God to have so radically changed me, our marriage and Greg. I thank and praise God EVERY DAY for the miracles He did in our marriage. It was ALL Him.
1. What are some of the things I did that used to bother you the most before God showed me my disrespect and control?
You already had this conversation in your head with me all day long and were already mad at me before I could even say what I wanted to say. You already decided what my answer was going to be and how you were going to deal with it, there was no use in me answering.
You would ask me a question, but it was worded so that if I picked one answer, I would have to be the stupidest person in the world. There is only one right answer. I couldn’t disagree with you. That was not allowed. You knew you were “so right” about it, there was no room for you to be wrong. There was no room for any other perspective in the world.
Once you are hit with that over and over, why answer? What’s my role? Do I have a role?
2. (Talking about the TV/football watching thing) I can probably watch 1 football game, but I can’t watch 40 hours/week. Of course, wives would like to talk and connect with their husbands 40 hours/week.
I don’t even talk to MYSELF 40 hours/week!
To husbands, talking = conflict. At work, we have to have a meeting because there is a problem. At home, we have to talk because there is a problem.
It was never, “Can we talk about what you want to talk about, Honey?” It was always, “I’m going to tell you, and you’re going to listen to me.”
Wow! I have never thought of it like that! But – that is so right! Yikes!
3. Why did you stay with me all those 14+ years that I was not giving you what you needed?
There were times I wasn’t happy. I stayed because I loved you. Leaving wasn’t an option. I could be unhappy, but it didn’t mean I didn’t want you to be my wife.
4. Were there any happy times?
There were some happy times.
(My perspective was) if I didn’t want some of your characteristics, I shouldn’t have married you. Some of the things that made you struggle a little bit at being a wife were some of the things that were probably at the same time things that attracted me to you as well.
I liked that you were intelligent and a go-getter and had a little bit of an edge of brazenness. I liked that you were independent, strong-willed and educated (as a pharmacist). I didn’t want to be with somebody that was “just average.” You wouldn’t do any thing that you didn’t give it 110%. School, flute, piano, pharmacy… you gave everything you had to all of it.
You were good with words. I thought it would help me somewhere in the long run.
5. What were some of the hardest things for you during those years?
At times I felt trapped. I felt like I didn’t have a voice.
I wasn’t “not answering” you to try to irritate you at all. I felt trapped in my situation. It didn’t matter if I answered. It seemed like however I saw it – it wouldn’t matter.
6. There were a handful of times that you really stood your ground, and I ended up VERY reluctantly doing what you wanted. Why were you willing to insist on those few issues?
If I lost those types of things, I wouldn’t have had anything to call my own. I wasn’t willing to lose those things.
7. How did the way I disrespected and controlled you impact your relationship with God?
I don’t know that you had a real negative effect on my relationship with God. But your “mastering” of it, would come into play. When it came to (Bible) knowledge, you were way, way, way beyond advanced of where I was. When it came to wisdom, I looked at is as we all had issues with that (due to a lack of) experience and maturity. I don’t think you had a huge role in disparaging me (spiritually). I didn’t challenge you much on it.
8. Did you have any hope that I would change?
I was not looking for you to change. I knew there were ways we could be better.
I looked at myself as the problem most of the time. I looked at me as “not getting it.” I didn’t look at you as the problem.
- I just wasn’t doing what I needed to do.
- I wasn’t making you as happy as I needed to.
- I was not the husband I needed to be.
I was looking for ways to limit the pain by going into a shell.
9. I believe that if you had told me I had hurt you – at any point in those first 14+ years – I would have felt HORRIBLE and would have wanted to apologize and make things right. But you NEVER told me about your pain. NEVER. I eventually believed you didn’t have feelings at all. Why didn’t you ever say anything? Why did you suffer silently all those years?
I didn’t tell you my pain because “a man doesn’t show pain.”
10. Why did you allow me to lead?
Some things I looked at as it was advantageous for you to lead. When I wouldn’t make a decision, you were always there to hammer down the decision, and if things got screwed up, it was your fault.
11. I can remember BEGGING you many times, ” PLEASE, just tell me what you need! I don’t know what you need!” Why didn’t you say that you needed respect from me? Why didn’t you say you needed me to stop trying to control you?
- I felt like it was my problem.
- I didn’t necessarily know what I needed.
- I would have felt like it would have been selfish for me to say what I needed.
I knew I needed respect, but I didn’t know how to explain that to you. I didn’t look at it as something I could ask for. I looked at is as something I couldn’t obtain. There was something I was doing that meant I didn’t deserve it.
I think it is SIGNIFICANT that BOTH of us thought my husband was the problem. I didn’t see myself as any part of the problem those first 14+ years of our marriage. My husband didn’t see me as being any part of the problem. But the truth is – we were BOTH contributing to the problems in our marriage – and change only happened after I was willing to look at my (rather hefty) part in the mess. My power came when God opened my eyes to my own sin and helped me stop pointing my finger at my husband and begin to deal with the mountain of sin in my own life.
- I was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage.
- I was not responsible for my husband’s sin.
- My husband was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage!! Sadly, that was the only explanation I could imagine for many years. How wrong I was!
But I was responsible for my own sin, my own walk with Christ, my emotions, my responses, my joy, my contentment, my peace. Of course, real joy, contentment and peace can only be found in Jesus. My husband can’t give me those things. Only Jesus can. And He only gives me His supernatural joy and peace when I follow Him and lay down my life for Him in total submission 100%.
Please notice that some of my husband’s feelings are the exact same kinds of fears women tend to have about biblical submission and respect. Quite honestly, in the first 14 years of our marriage, I expected my husband to “submit to me.” I tried to force him to bow to my will. And man, was I offended when he wouldn’t do as I said he should! I would NEVER have said that I wanted him to follow me or “submit” to me. But I thought I was always right. I thought I was better than he was. I thought I was closer to God than he was. I thought I was a better leader than he was. I thought he “wouldn’t” lead or “couldn’t” lead. So I tried to take control. What a disaster!
Thankfully when a woman biblically submits to her husband – she has the freedom to speak her mind and voice her feelings – and her husband, as he feels respected and honored, will generally desire seek what is in her best interest.
A godly husband who is entrusted with leadership reacts with humility, sacrificial love and a desire to delight his wife.
But his first priority is to please and honor Christ. So – ladies – don’t worry about losing your voice when you obey God in marriage. When we do things God’s way – we have MORE power in a godly way – than we ever could when we try to usurp our husbands’ authority and take over and try to force our way.
The truth is … I wouldn’t follow Greg. He did try to lead early on. I fought him tooth and nail. I was in rebellion against God and against Greg. My husband was totally capable of leading. He does a wonderful job of it now! I was sabotaging him, myself and our marriage – and didn’t even know it. I NEVER EVER EVER want to go back to the way things were. I was miserable, lonely, anxious, stressed and fearful. Greg was shut down and emotionally very distant. Our marriage has been INFINITELY better since God showed me His design for marriage. We have the intimacy and connection we always wanted. My husband is the man I always knew he could be. I am the woman I had always longed to be. I am SO ETERNALLY THANKFUL to Him!
MY HUSBAND’S BLOG:
Things that Fuel a Spirit of Discontentment in Me
The Secret to True Contentment
A Husband Answer’s a Wife’s Question – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”
Humility is Beautiful
Why So Many of Us Aren’t Prepared to Be Godly Wives – Part 1
Why So Many of Us Aren’t Prepared to Be Godly Wives – Part 2
My Husband Is Not Responsible for My Happiness
How to Make Your Husband an Idol
Could My Disrespect Contribute to My Husband’s Depression?
Dying to Self