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My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

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The book, “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman (which has sold over 11 million copies)  can be a wonderful tool to help us better understand our husbands and ourselves. It has been a blessing to countless marriages and he has written a number of books in the same vein that have helped many people, as well.

The five love languages Chapman writes about are:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Quality time.
  • Receiving gifts.
  • Acts of service.
  • Physical touch.

From my perspective, it is ideal if both spouses seek to show all of these kinds of love to each other. There are always ways we can grow in showing love.

The book is most helpful, in my view, if we approach the issue like this:

  • X is my husband’s love language, so I am going to learn to start speaking love to him in ways that are more meaningful to him.
  • I also can begin to receive the love language my husband speaks and learn to receive love from him the way he tries to show love.

I have no problem with a wife respectfully asking for what she would like at appropriate times (without making demands or pressuring her husband):

  • Honey, it would mean so much to me if we could spend 30 minutes together tonight talking about our day. I feel so emotionally connected to you when we do that.
  • When you share words of affirmation with me, when you tell me when you see me doing something well, or you share verbal appreciation, that really makes me feel loved.
  • I am so excited that you got me a new coffee table! It is beautiful! I feel SO loved when you pick out a sweet gift for me.
  • Babe, I appreciate it so much when you take the trash out when it starts to get full.
  • I love when we get a chance to cuddle at night and when you play with my hair and show me a lot of physical affection.

However, a pitfall I have seen for some wives (with this or almost any book that talks about marriage) is that it can be tempting to start thinking things like:

  • X is my love language, and my husband isn’t speaking my love language.
  • My husband needs to start doing what I want him to do or he isn’t loving me enough and he isn’t being a good husband.
  • It is my husband’s job to make me happy. He is responsible for my emotions and for me feeling loved enough.
  • If my husband won’t speak my love language when and how I want him to, I’m justified in feeling resentful and bitter.
  • I may even feel justified to sin against my husband if he doesn’t show me love exactly the way I would like for him to.

The enemy would love to use anything, even a great book with many biblical truths, as a springboard to sinful thoughts in our lives. How we must guard our hearts!

CHERISHING RESENTMENT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION

It is very easy to focus on what we want our husbands to do to change. But when we do that, we begin to set up a bunch of expectations – some of which may not be very realistic. Unrealistic expectations invariably lead to resentment. And once we are cherishing resentment and bitterness, we tend to believe we can justify practically any sin against our men. This sin, when it is unchecked, snowballs and gets worse and worse. We may engage in things like:

Once we get into this mode, we are operating in the fruit of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. It is a recipe for pain and misery. For our husbands. For our marriages. For our children. And for ourselves.

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN CHRIST LEADS TO ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL LIFE

I know this is not a popular thing in our culture. But when I try to make my husband, my children, or anyone else responsible for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing – I am living in a dysfunctional relationship – or sin. This goes by several names:

As a believer in Christ, my spiritual wellbeing is dependent on my relationship with Jesus alone. I am responsible for abiding in Him and being filled up with Him. I am personally responsible for confessing any sin and for finding my contentment in Jesus alone. I know that if I am experiencing the fruit of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21) – it is about my character and my walk with the Lord. And I know that if I want to live in the power of His Spirit and have His fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23)- that I am responsible to the Lord for turning away from every sinful thing and for yielding myself to the Lordship of Christ.

The way I act, the way I treat my husband (and other people), is about whether my sinful old flesh is in control or whether God’s Spirit is in control of my life at this moment.

In Jesus, I can be content in all circumstances – whether I am receiving love in exactly the way I would prefer or not – through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:12-13).

ASKING GOD TO CHANGE ME, MY PERSPECTIVE, AND MY HEART

It’s easy to pray, “God, change my husband!” And there are times when it is right to pray for our husbands to change – to have God’s victory over sin, to have more of His Spirit, to have His wisdom, etc…

But there is such a need for us to first pray most fervently, “Lord, change me!”

If my husband can’t or won’t change or won’t do what I would like for him to do, I can still live in the power of the Spirit. I can still live in God’s peace, joy, patience, and self-control. I can focus on the things God calls me to change – myself. And trust God to work on the things I can’t change – my husband.

I can invite the Spirit to work powerfully in me, my my marriage, and in my husband’s life for His glory, not for my own will. Here are some examples of how a wife might approach this issue in prayer:

  • Lord, help me learn to appreciate and receive the ways my husband does show love to our children and me.
    • He fixed the sump pump last week. THAT was real love right there. I can receive that act of service as a massive gift of love for me and our family.
    • He went with me somewhere even though it wasn’t his favorite place. That was a gift to me.
    • He asked my son to send a picture of my grocery list when he stopped by Walmart and he picked up everything on the list. Wow! He is my hero!
    • He took all of us to the movies over break. He is so generous. What a thoughtful gift.
    • He helped me take my car to the shop today.
    • He replaced my dead car battery last month.
    • He takes the kids to church on Wednesday nights when I am at work.
    • He sits on the outside of the pew at church on Sunday mornings so that he can try to protect us from harm if something were to happen.
  • Lord, help me not get so fixated on “my love language” and what I want that I miss the beautiful ways my husband expresses his love to me and to our children.
  • Lord, my husband isn’t as verbal as I would like. He only gives me a compliment once every year or two. I really love words of affirmation. But maybe You have things for me to learn in this situation. Help me to be open to receiving the lessons and spiritual growth that I can receive from You as I have a husband who is not super verbal. Help me realize that even though words of affirmation are beautiful and powerful, the way my husband shows love to me and our children is just as beautiful and powerful – maybe even more so.
    • Would words of affirmation have been as helpful when the sump pump was messed up and the toilets wouldn’t flush? No, not really. I do like having toilets that flush!
    • Maybe giving gifts is not my love language, but look at all of the thought and research my husband put into the gifts he gave our children, our extended family, and me. He is SO talented at that! It is not my gifting. But I can certainly appreciate that it is his gifting.
    • Maybe my husband doesn’t write me love letters or send loving/flirty texts or emails. I would like it if he did that. But he comes home every night and eats with our family. He is a good provider and a hard worker. He tries to protect us spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically when there is danger.
    • He doesn’t give me a lot of compliments, but he also doesn’t give me much criticism. That is sure a blessing!
  • Lord, help me to learn to give love (and respect – because feminine respect speaks love so powerfully to men) to my husband in the ways that matter most to him. And if something I do to show him love doesn’t really do much for him, help me to see how I can change my approach.
  • Lord, thank You for my husband. He is a gift to me from You. I’m going to write down all of the good things I can think about regarding his character and the things he has done for my children and for me in my quiet time this week.
  • Lord, help me to be a blessing to my husband simply out of a desire to please and honor You.

SHARE:

How has God spoken to you in this post or about these issues in the past? You are welcome to share insights you have learned or struggles you are having so that we might encourage and pray for you.

Much love!

 

 

 

 

Strong Marriages Do Not Happen By Accident

Strong marriages seem to happen magically on movies and in romantic novels sometimes. But the truth is that strong marriages are built. There are very specific building blocks that are required to develop strong, healthy marriages. These are things that any of us can do – if we are in Christ and we are working in His power. There are specific things that create healthy marriages and relationships and there are specific things that destroy healthy marriages and relationships. We can’t control our spouse, but we do get to control our end of things – with God’s help.

MARRIAGE DESTROYERS:

 

MARRIAGE BUILDERS

 

This week, in your quiet time, invite God to show you the marriage destroyers in your life. Begin to get rid of them all. And invite God to help you begin to practice some marriage builders. Your marriage, your husband, your children, the Lord, and even you, yourself, will be greatly blessed as you become more and more the woman of God He calls you to be.

Much love!

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus as your Savior and Lord – that is your first need. Then He can give you the power to do the marriage/relationship building things.

“My Husband Was Out Late with a Friend – Again!”

 

I’m so excited about this guest post by a new guest contributor, Fortified in Christ.  The dilemma that this precious young wife experienced is one that so many of us can relate to. It is spiritual warfare. I appreciate her honesty, transparency, and the rawness of the struggle she shares with us. And it seems to invariably happen that when I post someone’s story about spiritual warfare, they experience quite a bit of attack from the enemy. Please do pray fervently for her with me – for God’s protection for her and for her marriage and for God’s greatest glory and victory in the trials she is experiencing this week.

BACKGROUND

My marriage is just over a year old. I married a wonderful man who is very warm and caring towards everyone. The goodness of his heart can be clearly seen in the way he relates to his friends. However, this very same thing that attracted me to him has caused a lot of strife in our marriage.

  • From the beginning of our marriage, I thought that my husband gives his friends an excessive amount of his time and attention.

He jumps as soon as they call him to invite him to hang out, do them a favor, or lend them money. This has caused me a lot of hurt and pain because it makes me feel as if I am very low on his list of priorities. This has caused many arguments between us and a lot of frustration on both our parts. My verbal pressure on him to spend less time with his friends and more time with our son and me mostly fell on deaf ears. He couldn’t understand why I was being so demanding and I couldn’t understand why his friends were so important to him. He said that I was always complaining and making demands and he was getting tired of it.

Because of the constant conflict on this issue, I made a commitment to search for my peace, happiness, and sense of security from Christ and not my husband. I realized that there was nothing I could do to make him change his point of view but I had the power to work on changing my own.

I read as many posts as I could find on this blog. I was very inspired by two articles in particular: Finding Contentment in Christ Alone Through Painful Trials and Waiting Becomes Sweet. Still hoping to become my husband’s #1 priority, I was inspired to believe that the time of waiting for his heart to be turned more toward me and less toward his friends could be a sweet time where I grow closer to God.

A TEST

One afternoon, my husband left home at 4pm to help a friend buy some furniture and transport it to his house. He said that they would be going to a furniture store nearby and I assumed that he would be back at home around 6pm. As it turned out, he didn’t get home until about 8:45. Between about 6pm and 8pm when he didn’t get home when I expected him to, my heart and mind began spiraling out of control. I was really hurt and angry and filled with sadness, assuming that after buying the furniture, he decided to hang out with his friend for a few hours and leave me at home by myself.

I was thinking that I could no longer tolerate his obsession with his friends and I should just take our baby and stay at a hotel for a few days and ignore his phone calls to punish him and show him how it would feel to live without us for a while. I actually called a hotel nearby to find out what their daily rates were. I changed my mind about the hotel and then considered locking him out of our bedroom and leaving a note on my bedroom door saying that he needs to sleep on the couch.

I was fighting back tears as I was bathing my baby and putting him to sleep. I began thinking that if he continues like this, I would eventually have to divorce him and raise our son by myself. I began fantasizing that I would punish him by only allowing him to visit his son once a week for 2 hours because “he doesn’t deserve any better. He cares more about his friends than his son anyway. He’s not ready to be a family man and maybe he never will be. I’ll look for another man who really appreciates me and who likes to spend time at home with me.”

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Around 8pm, I realized that I was really getting off track and being overly dependent on my husband’s time and attention for my happiness. I reminded myself that my joy should come from Christ instead of my husband and that I was responsible for my own happiness. I decided to calm myself down and make myself happy by watching my favourite show on Netflix.

VERY DIFFERENT RESULTS

By the time he got home at 8:45pm, I was calm, happy, and peaceful. I asked him in a friendly way why he took so long to come home and he explained that his friend had heard about a cheaper furniture store in another town nearby so they went there instead. They had to battle through rush-hour traffic and a long wait at the store. He was sweaty and exhausted from lifting the furniture into his truck and then setting up the furniture into his friend’s house. His friend is almost 70 years old and could not help with lifting the furniture. I offered him sympathy, rubbed his back and we cuddled lovingly on the couch for a while and then we cooked together. What could have been a horrible night filled with anger, hostility, and revenge turned out to be a peaceful and loving night.

I was truly amazed by this experience. I was shocked at how quickly my mind got so off track and that I was considering punishing my husband and ultimately divorcing him over something as innocent as his helping out an elderly friend. I’m even more amazed at how quickly I was able to calm myself down and refocus on Christ and take responsibility for my own happiness. I’m so glad that I was able to allow the peace of Christ to rule in my heart (Col 3:15), instead of being controlled by anger and hardness of heart.

This experience taught me the following:

  1. I get to choose what rules in my heart: the voice of the Accuser or the peace of Christ.
  2. Whenever I notice that my mind and heart are spiraling into a cesspool of negativity, blame, anger, and sadness, I need to take my thoughts captive for Christ.
  3. I need to seek my contentment in Christ, not in my husband’s attention. This will help me to avoid a lot of marital strife and bring peace into my home.

 

Nothing external in my marriage has changed, but my heart has definitely changed. It now feels like it’s full to overflowing with a peace that passes all understanding. It has given me real inspiration to continue seeking Christ and building myself on His Word.

 

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Praise God that this husband did NOT come home before 8pm that night! It could have been a marriage-ending evening if he had. May this post remind each of us of the enemy’s tactics and help us to be alert and better prepared for his subtle attacks – as well as being alert to our own sinful nature. He uses very similar methods with almost all of us. When I notice that I am full of anger, resentment, hostility, and accusations against my husband (or someone else), these are big red flags that there is a spiritual battle going on. The flesh is trying to take over and give the Holy Spirit the boot.

It’s not wrong for a wife to want to be with her husband. But if he decides to help a friend or do something else, the way we respond should be gracious and without resentment.

The Accuser wants me to listen to his smooth voice and to side with him in becoming his mouthpiece into my marriage. He wants me to savor feeling like a victim. He loves for me to be upset, freak out, assume the worst about my husband, and assume the worst about God. He wants me to respond in the flesh and forget about living in the Spirit of God. He delights in me listening to his accusations against my husband and joining in with him against my husband to create division.

The closer I am to the Lord, the more quickly I can recognize the enemy’s voice and immediately reject it and run into the arms of Jesus for protection, truth, and shelter. I can’t afford to listen to the enemy’s accusations against my husband. I can’t afford to play with destructive, sinful thoughts. They have to go the second I realize the thoughts are a temptation. I must resist the devil and submit myself fully to Jesus (James 4:1-12)

Fortified in Christ’s story reminds me very much of some previous posts that may be a blessing:

A FINAL THOUGHT FROM FORTIFIED IN CHRIST

Strife, jealousy, fits of anger and divisions are works of the flesh and we are not to make provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

  • Galatians 5: 19-21
    Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Romans 13:14
    But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

SHARE

If you have a story that is similar where you were focusing on some really terrible things but then began to focus on the Lord, we’d love to hear about it! Or if you are struggling in this area and want to discuss it, please let us know.

Much love!

CLICK HERE FOR MY LATEST YOUTUBE VIDEO – “RESPECT BASICS”

TO CONNECT ON MY PEACEFUL WIFE BLOG FACEBOOK PAGE – Click Here.

REMINDER – My sites are designed very specifically for women. Men may certainly read them, as well. But my sites are quite purposely one-sided because I don’t offer instruction to men. This is out of respect for God’s Word that says that women are not to teach men or have authority over men in the church. Husbands and wives are each accountable to the Lord for themselves. It is not only wives who are to submit to the Lordship of Christ and who are to allow the Lord to change them. All of us have sin issues to deal with and we are all called to holiness, selflessness, obedience, godly love, dying to self, humility, etc… as followers of Christ. Here are some resources for husbands.

FOR WIVES IN VERY DIFFICULT MARRIAGES – please check out Nina Roesner’s e-course, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone in Painful Trials

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Three strong believers share about finding contentment in Christ alone even in very painful, difficult, lonely situations where worldly peace and contentment are completely impossible. I pray their words and stories might bless you and your walk with the Lord richly!

From Sister in Christ #1 

I had to hit rock bottom and surrender everything to the Lord before I found that peace and trust in Him. I had to get to the point where I truly realized that my husband and my marriage had been an idol – that I had been depending on my husband to meet my needs, instead of God. So truthfully, the main reason I was so afraid of losing my husband (in the beginning) was because he was the one that I had been looking to – to take care of me, provide for me, love me, and fill me. I knew the Lord, but I had not been fully relying on God for these things – and I didn’t even realize that until after my husband left!

It took my husband leaving me for me to come to the end of myself and surrender to the Lord. And it took many months (actually over a year) before I FULLY trusted God with my life, my husband, and marriage.

I can assure wives that if they will press into the Lord and give Him total control, that they will get to a place of complete trust and have a peace that passes our human understanding! I’m sure there may be other problems on our spouse’s end, too. But the Lord wants to work on our hearts individually. The change has to start with us! There may be a totally different timetable for what God does in a husband’s heart and in the marriage, but the only time table that we have any control over is what we allow God to do in our hearts right now, even through painful, lonely situations.

I remember people telling me things like that and I would just get angry because I didn’t want to hear that I had no control over anybody but myself.

Control issues are rooted in fear – what do we truly believe about God?

  • Are there false beliefs about God that needed to be uprooted?
  • Do we see Him as being totally sovereign, 100% trustworthy, and that He is exactly who the Bible says He is – and that He can do exactly what the Bible says He can do?

That was another thing that I discovered in this journey, that I had false beliefs about God – I didn’t truly believe He had only the best plans for my life. I had to ask the Father to break many strongholds, and to renew my mind by His word.

I had to start speaking out scripture, and hear myself declare it, until I truly believed it.

 

From Sister in Christ #2

You know what? It would be wonderful to have Christ-centered human companionship always, but so often in life, only the Lord stands with us. For example, in 2 Timothy 4

  • “. . .At my first defense, no one stood with me, but everyone deserted me. . . . But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. . . . So I was delivered. . .

Ultimately, it is just us and the Lord who have to cross the “Jordan Rivers” of our lives.

God makes all His best people in loneliness. That is so demonstrable. You study the great souls in the Bible, those great souls – they walked alone — alone with God. Just like great eagles that soar, they fly alone.

That loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God is really within you. But that’s how you can tell He is really living in your heart. You will enjoy it!

God makes us His, alone. He takes us out to be alone to make us Holy. And Holiness is real Happiness. I believe it is because He knows how dangerous co-dependency is. Faith in Jesus combined with action is the only thing that will bring you contentment. I have to be alone very often because of my work and travel schedule. I was so worried when it all started, now, I can’t wait to get alone with the Lord. That’s how I fully refuel.

My goal is GOD HIMSELF. Not joy, not peace, not even blessing – but HIMSELF. . .my GOD.

I lived for the praise, acceptance, and expectations of those around me. Now, I have an audience of ONE. Also, He is now the only One who gets a vote on my worth and value. Jesus had an audience of ONE, His Father. Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth!

From a Brother in Christ

Two weeks before our 10th anniversary my spouse walked out of the family home with my two children after engaging in multiple acts of adultery with multiple different people. I am now divorced (not my decision), I have sold that family home, split our assets, moved to a different town and have walked a LONG way through the valley of pain since that day.

When a person whom you believed would meet your emotional needs and create fulfillment within you fails to meet those needs, it creates a deep hole within.

We begin to question so many things!! We feel upset, angry, and fearful. For me fear was the overriding emotion.

  • What will this do to me?
  • What will this do to my children?
  • How will I ever heal from this?

At the point of my anniversary I had NO idea what to do or how to heal. But I came to a place where I genuinely surrendered the situation and the outcome of my life to God.

I did NOT have peace or joy when I surrendered it to God, I still felt the pain and fear but I had made a conscious decision to trust God with the process. It was a time of great trial.

Fast forward to nearly 7 months later and I was still grappling with the separation and pain, but still surrendered to God’s will and plan. At this point I was focused on a Christian book that used Isaiah as a springboard to talk about the healing that we can find in Christ. It talked about the fact that Jesus used these prophetic words to illustrate that He was the one who would bind up our wounds, heal our hearts and set us free. And I wanted that far more than anything else!

God graciously opened my eyes and heart to see that in Christ I was loved and accepted without reservation! That the only one who had any right to reject me actually chose to give His life for me!!!

As I saw this, my heart was set free from needing approval or acceptance from my spouse and I knew SO much joy. I knew that if I never had my spouse again I would be more than ok.

And, I am more than ok.

Nearly 2.5 years after my spouse requested a divorce, I AM divorced and all that I feared DID happen, plus more. The trials were so severe that I could not have imagined them. But I am 100% ok and I am thriving in all aspects of life. I enjoy companionship and the love and presence of God in a tangible, incredible way that I did not think possible before I experienced it. I have experienced answers to prayer, fulfillment, and joy that I had no idea was possible. Truly the treasures of heaven are found in Christ.

God has met my needs emotionally, spiritually and physically in every way I needed.

Interestingly, my prayers for a reconciliation were not answered and I realise now that those prayers were made because I wanted to find my identity in my spouse. God could not allow that, my identity must be in Him. Now, I do not pray for a reconciliation, in fact I am reluctant to consider a reconciliation given the history between us. Now I pray for my ex-spouse’s salvation and for my ex-spouse to experience God’s love, as that is of primary importance.

When we try to find our identity in another person we find ourselves in bondage to that person.

When we receive validation, we feel ok. When we do not receive validation, we feel awful. But, when we receive all that God has for us in Christ we can feel ok whether we receive validation from our spouse or not! The words and actions that our spouse gives can be received as a gift when they are positive, recognised as coming from a wounded heart when they are not positive or used as a springboard for prayerful, personal evaluation if they are suggesting things about an area that we may need to grow in.

I pray that you will be able to see again, or maybe for the first time, just what you are worth to Christ. He gave ALL that He was to purchase you, to have you for His own, He ADORES you and wants to know you and love you in a way that you can not imagine. I pray that you are able to release your fear and hurt to God and enjoy this day with Him.

SHARE:

If you want to share a bit about your story and how you are learning to find contentment in Christ alone, you are welcome to share. If you are struggling in this area and want to talk about it, you are also welcome to share.

Much love!

RELATED:

If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage, please check out the healing that is available to you in Christ at Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. There are lessons to read and watch. And there is a private forum there for women to heal and encourage each other.

A Big Lightbulb about True Contentment

Roots of  Insecurity

Finding God’s Victory over Fear

My Security Is in Christ Alone

A Lightbulb Moment about Loneliness

FreeinChrist Fights with Heavenly Weapons

Last night, I got to do something that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. May it bless you, as well!

FreeinChrist is a friend of mine and has given me permission to share. For more of her story, check out this post.

FreeinChrist is so strong in her walk with the Lord now, that she knows God has good things in store for her life no matter if her husband returns or not. She faces the future with great joy – seeking only to live in the center of God’s will. At this point, it would be infinitely easier for her to continue on without her husband. But she is seeking to be available to work to restore the marriage if that opportunity arises so that she can honor her marriage covenant before the Lord – simply to please Him and keep her vow, if the Lord provides the way. It is her heart’s desire to see her marriage restored if it will honor God.

She is not desperate or despairing. She has emotions to deal with, of course, and pain to hash through at times, but she is completely filled up with God and such a powerhouse of faith. The Lord has provided abundantly every step of the way for every need – housing, jobs, medical care, spiritual needs, everything. She says, “My story for His glory.” Whatever will bring the Lord the most glory, that is what she desires with all her heart, whatever that may be. Most of all, she wants to see her husband find peace with God.  She wants him to experience the healing and abundant life that can be his in Jesus.

Today in just a few minutes is their court date to finalize the divorce that her husband has filed against her.

When the judge asks her if there is any hope for this marriage to be reconciled, she plans to answer, “Yes.”

Last night, she assembled a group of 6 other strong, godly women to pray with her who have been praying and, at times also fasting, with her for quite some time.

  1. First we sang a song of praise together in the parking lot – Resurrecting.  Her reasoning was that when King Jehosephat went out to battle, he sent the worshippers out to sing praises to the Lord before the army went into battle in 2 Chronicles 20. (I LOVE that story! It is a great one to read in your quiet time this week.)
  2. We walked around the county courthouse 7 times – just like Joshua did with Israel around Jericho – another amazing encounter with God’s power and victory for His people. Before each lap around the courthouse, we all read a passage of scripture together out loud in unison. Then we walked around the courthouse and prayed – some silently, some out loud. We received God’s work, His power, His truth, His promises, His Word, and His Spirit to work in this couple’s situation.
    1. Lap 1 – Divorce. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all people coming to that county courthouse to get a divorce for healing for their marriages and glory for God.  “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Mal. 2:16 NLT
    2. Lap 2 – Marriage. We prayed for FreeinChrist and her husband and for all those coming to the courthouse to get a marriage license and for those in our county getting married – that they might honor and understand the significance of a marriage covenant in God’s eyes. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt. 19:6 NIV
    3. Lap 3 – New things. We prayed and thanked God for the new things He is doing in FreeinChrist and in her husband and prayed for new things for those coming to the court house and in our county – for a great awakening. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isa. 43:19 NIV
    4. Lap 4 – A new heart. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Eze. 36:26 NLT
    5. Lap 5 – New life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17 ESV
    6. Lap 6 – God’s sovereignty. We thanked and praised God for His sovereignty in FreeinChrist’s life, in her husband’s life, and in their marriage. We thanked and praised Him for His sovereignty in this courthouse and in this county. “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'” Isa. 46:9-10 NIV
    7. Lap 7 – God’s sovereignty. “I know that You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 NIV
  3. After the 7 laps –  we stopped and sang Holy, Holy, Holy together in the parking lot and thanked and praised God.
  4. We walked an 8th lap – a victory lap for new beginnings. And we prayed and received these scriptures:
    1. “‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Hag. 2:9 NIV
    2. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:20-21
    3. I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25
  5. We sang Victory in Jesus together at the top of our lungs.

It was amazing to walk behind this precious sister in Christ and to pray with her and to see her faith. She had the biggest smile on her face all evening and was simply totally yielded to the Lord. Praising Him, thanking Him, worshipping Him, trusting Him. She doesn’t know what will happen today. None of us do. But she was radiant with His glory and beauty last night. And we are all confident that the Lord is going to move in this situation. We are excited to see how.

You know something? It hit me that if all of us approached trials in our lives in a manner like this – we would have a VERY different world!

Imagine if every marriage had this kind of prayer. If every lost person had believers praying for him/her like this. If every school, courthouse, city, state, and country had believers bathing them in prayer and faith like this.

FreeinChrist has no need to use earthly weapons or human wisdom and effort. She doesn’t have to try to force her way. She doesn’t have to cry, scream, yell, cuss, or make demands. She doesn’t have to argue or try to convince her husband of anything. She doesn’t even have to communicate with him. Her eyes are on the Lord. His will is going to be done. His glory will be made known through her story. He will do the fighting and all she has to do is to be still and receive the things He will do on her behalf.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in Him, and He will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine

like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and

wait patiently for Him;

do not fret when men succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:5-7

Please join with me in praying for the Lord’s victory, His greatest glory, and His Name to be exalted in FreeinChrist’s life even now as she is about to enter the courthouse within ten minutes of when I publish this post. And let’s also lift up our other brothers and sisters who have lost spouses and who are facing a spouse going ahead with a divorce. I can’t wait to see all that the Lord will do!

RELATED:

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Just Her Marriage

 

A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

——–

I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

——–

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage or you tend to have a husband who is very harsh you may find healing in Christ for yourself, and your marriage, in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.com or www.brentriggs.com also has helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

FreeinChrist Stands for Something Way Bigger Than Her Marriage

Note – for a post about resetting our Valentine’s Day expectations, please click on this link.

I’m so thankful for this wife’s willingness to share her story. It is not all neatly tied up in a bow. Things are not good in her marriage, to say the least. But – check out what God has done in this dear sister’s heart! It is glorious! 

And we ALL have access to this kind of healing in Jesus. Her experience is not unique. What God has done and is doing in this wife’s heart is what a “normal” Christian walk should look like. 🙂 I long for each of us to experience Christ like this for ourselves – no matter what may happen with our marriages and our husbands. He is Real Life and Real Love!

———–

The Lord has been leading me to study Elijah for the past couple of months. Another thing He’s been speaking to me about is that something is about to happen in my marriage situation – telling me to “get ready” and that He makes “all things new.” The signs have been nothing short of miraculous, even though I don’t have any specifics, or a timeframe.

When my husband first left me and started pursuing divorce in 2015, the Lord told me to stand in the gap for my husband to come home to Him, Daddy – God, first and foremost. God showed me that my husband was a prodigal, and we all know how that story turns out – the Father showed unconditional love and forgiveness, and there was eventual reconciliation!

Having a reconciled marriage is way on down the list though, after my husband’s salvation and reconciliation to his Heavenly Father – so this “stand” is about something way bigger than my marriage!!

It’s not easy to stay encouraged when you see things that look opposite to what God told you… A facebook friend called me to tell me that she saw pictures of my husband with another woman on social media.

NOTE – Let me interject a quick note right here and say that this is not something that I recommend doing- at all! People who are separated, and praying for marriage reconciliation, don’t need things like this pointed out because it’s just plain hurtful and discouraging. *It is NOT too big for God to handle, so why be the bearer of bad news? Take it to the Lord and let Him reveal whatever He wants that person to know.

I was quite upset to receive this information b/c I’d been fighting so hard for my marriage, praying against adultery, and I honestly thought that the relationship my husband entered into right after he left had ended months prior. It felt crushing, and then it quickly became obvious that this was a test of my faith.

WHAT NOW, LORD?

So I asked God what He wanted me to believe, and what I should do now?

 

I went to church. My prayer was still, “What do I do now – it looks so hopeless? Should I still believe what You’ve told me Lord – that You want to restore things and that ‘something’s’ about to happen soon? Do I give up now, or keep standing firm?” I wondered if it was a test from God – to see if I’d believe what He’d spoken to me for weeks, IN SPITE OF what my eyes were now seeing. Hmmm.

  • It felt like Father was saying “do you still believe Me now that what you see looks THIS bad?”

He’s constantly told me to walk by faith and not by sight, but it’s hard to do when you see things in the natural realm that look so hopeless. I’m working on learning to believe what I see in the Spiritual, over what I see in the natural.

Our worship leader stopped in the middle of the song (which just happened to be THE song that The Lord has used most powerfully in my life this past year – Resurrecting by Elevation Worship) and he pulled out his Bible – said he wanted to share a story that we needed to hear.

It was the story of when Elijah prayed for rain but there was no cloud in sight [1 Kings 18:41-45] He said something to the effect of “there are a lot of people who have been praying for something for a long time but you don’t see anything happening. You need to know today that your prayers have been heard. God will do what He promised, but you must persevere and wait to see it. Get ready b/c it’s about to rain!!!”

Yes, Jesus! He used Elijah again – He knew that I’d pay attention b/c He’d already spoken to me about Elijah. Praise God!! I have symbolically pulled out my umbrella, rain coat, and wellies!! I’m ready for a downpour, Father!!

  • p_hya_t-1wu-david-marcuTHEN another breakthrough happened at the end of the sermon. The pastor asked, “What’s the one thing in your life that is so important to you that you feel you’d just fall apart if it was taken from you?”

A year ago I would’ve said “my husband/marriage.” And now that my dad may literally need a new heart (b/c his has become too weak to sustain him adequately) I’ve also felt that I couldn’t bear it if he was taken away from me anytime soon. “Please Lord, not my husband AND my Daddy!”

But in that moment when the pastor was asking that significant question,

I realized that the ONLY thing I can’t bear to lose is Jesus! It was a beautiful and freeing realization. AND I’m never going to have to worry about losing Him anyway! Amen?!!

It doesn’t mean I’ll never struggle again as I continue to walk this path – I’m sure I’ll be asking for prayers and encouragement again soon, as they help me endure. But at least now…

I’m absolutely sure that I’ll survive, and THRIVE, no matter what happens!

Praise the Lord for the mighty work He’s done in my heart and life these past 19 months since my husband left! Can’t wait to see what God does next! Please keep my husband and I in your prayers as this story continues to play out. It’s not over yet – praise the Lord!!

Yesterday as I was praying in my kitchen I had the realization that this is the first time in my entire life when I’ve truly loved myself and accepted myself as I am. I feel more freedom than I’ve ever felt before! I am someone that I would actually want to be friends with, and hang out with, and have in my inner circle. I am someone who is worthy of love (because God created me).

I have spent so much of my life with an oppressive Spirit over me, and agreeing with the lies of the enemy.

I was in so much bondage but I didn’t even know it until the Lord opened my eyes and then He set me free! Now I can’t imagine going back to the way that I was living before. Everything is not “perfect” and my husband is still a captive of the enemy – my marriage still looks deader than dead.

But God has transformed ME and changed my life!!

I feel a sense of peace and joy that I’ve never known before. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to be fine – even great – no matter what happens with my marriage, or any other situation I face.

I finally know (and BELIEVE) that I am who God says I am – loved, chosen, blessed, worthy, accepted, free, precious, priceless- a daughter of the King!! Praise the Lord!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

THIS is exactly my prayer for each of us! That we might know God like this and know who we are in Christ like this! 🙂

RELATED:

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story by The Restored Wife

Kirsten’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience God’s Peace in Her Life

My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should a Christian Wife Consider Separation?

I long for all of us to honor marriage the way God desires us to.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb. 13:4)

MARRIAGE IS A COVENANT

God designed marriage. It is a covenant – which is much more than a promise. God’s plan is for marriage to last until death. The covenant goes three ways, not just between two people, but between a husband, wife, and God.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

Haven’t you read,” he (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt. 19:4-6

 

MY DESIRE FOR MARRIAGES

For wives dealing with mild-moderate issues:

These are situations where we would need to turn to Christ and allow Him to work full blast in our hearts to empower us to be the women and wives He calls us to be. Then we would be able to pray from a position of great strength in Christ and invite Him in to heal our marriages and husbands for His glory. He can direct our steps and grant us His wisdom and discernment as we completely submit to His Lordship. He can also work in our husbands’ hearts in ways we can’t begin to fathom, no matter what our situation may be. Let’s not separate if it is not necessary.

For wives facing really severe issues:

The same things I shared in the above paragraph would apply. But we may also prayerfully decide to reach out for appropriate help: godly counseling, prayer support, pastoral support, medical help, even help from the police, if necessary. By severe issues, I am referring to things like major drug/alcohol addictions, physical abuse, severe emotional/spiritual abuse, threats of violence, uncontrolled dangerous mental health issues, severe unrepentant sin issues, unrepentant adultery, certain dangerous illegal activities, etc…

If anyone is truly in danger and being genuinely threatened, I would personally love to see them get somewhere safe. I don’t want anyone – men, women, or children – to be beaten or killed by those who are supposed to love and protect them. God hates violence, oppression, and abuse.

For women in “gray areas”:

Here, it can be more difficult to tell what we should do. I don’t have the wisdom wives need in every situation. But God definitely does! Again, it will be essential that we allow God to help us get rid of any sin in our own hearts. Then we can allow God to transform our hearts and minds by His Word and His Spirit’s power. Then we can discern exactly what God desires us to do. He knows what each of us need to do and He generously gives His wisdom to us when we ask in faith. (James 1:5)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

It is critical that we check our motives. Am I truly seeking to honor Christ above all else? Or do I want to do this because of selfishness, resentment, hatred, pride, or lack of faith in God? Am I acting in the flesh or in the Spirit of God? Have I dealt with any sin in my own life thoroughly and am I seeing clearly and know that this is what God would desire me to do?

AVOIDING EXTREMES

It is easy to go to extremes and say things like:

  • No wife should ever separate from her husband for any reason!
  • Wives should be able to leave for any reason!

The difficult thing is godly balance. That is true about every issue in the Christian walk, it seems. My desire is for us to handle God’s Word rightly and to live in ways that please Him in every area of our lives. We tend to want rules and lists about what we should do. God does give us some of that – but what He desires most is for us to learn to depend totally on Him and to learn to hear His voice and obey Him.

If you haven’t read my post from last Friday, please check it out: “My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT SEPARATION?

God, Himself, commands wives not to separate from their husbands.

Separation is not the normal pattern. The normal pattern is for us to follow the first command below not to separate from our husbands. The option of separation is given only for true emergencies.

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Cor. 7:10-11)

A decision to separate is a HUGE thing. If I found myself in a possible situation where this could be necessary, I would have to approach this with much prayer, and fasting. I would also likely seek extremely wise, godly counsel with a very trusted pastor or Spirit-filled Christian counselor. A decision to divorce would be even bigger. There are not many biblical reasons for a believer to seek a divorce.

  • Let’s be so careful not to run ahead of God but to seek to do His will! So many women leave their marriages today for unbiblical reasons. Let’s be sure that we are honoring Christ as LORD and honoring our marriage covenant.
  • Another risk is to be in a very bad situation where we know we should leave but we lag behind and don’t obey God right away, exposing our children and ourselves to more extremely toxic things or danger.

If you don’t know Christ or you can’t hear God’s direction clearly, seek someone who is very spiritually mature and experienced in Christian counseling who is living wholeheartedly for Christ. If you have really serious issues, seek out an appropriate counselor who is experienced with dealing with those kinds of issues, as well. Ask for God to lead you to the counselor and resources you need. Evaluate the counselor and resources you find against scripture. Test them to be sure they are in line with God’s Word.

A lot of wives in very difficult marriages are experiencing God’s healing and wisdom through Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. I would encourage you to check that out when things begin to get tough. It may spare you from having to even consider a physical separation as you begin to heal more in Jesus and you begin to hear the Spirit more clearly about how to handle your husband’s issues.

IF YOU HAVE AN UNBELIEVING SPOUSE

Scripture has encouragement for you.

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Cor. 7:12-14

IF YOUR HUSBAND LEAVES YOU

Scripture also has words of wisdom for you.

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 1 Cor. 7:15-16

MARRIAGE IS IMPORTANT, BUT JESUS IS MOST IMPORTANT

I don’t believe a wife should stay in a marriage “at any cost.” Marriage is very important, but it is not more important than our walk with Christ. Jesus must be THE most important thing by a long shot in our lives.

The Greatest Commandment is that we love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. We are not to love anything or anyone else this way. This requires discernment. (Let’s talk about this together if it doesn’t seem clear.)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:25-27, 33)

Of course, the second greatest commandment is that we are to love others as we love ourselves. And we are also commanded not to hate anyone. So Jesus clearly doesn’t mean we are literally to hate our family members in this passage. What I believe He is saying is that our love for Him is to be so much greater than our love for anyone else that our love for our families and our own lives would look like hate compared to our love and devotion to Him.

If my husband asked me to commit some very clear sin in order to stay with him, I would have to refuse to do so because my first allegiance is to Jesus. Here, I am not talking about something that is just a difference in personal preference, a minor interpretation issue, or a difference in personal convictions. But egregious sin.

If he asked me to have an abortion, to have a threesome, to help him rob someone, to join a cult, to worship him as god, to help him traffic cocaine, to condone his beating our children (not spanking, but beating), to cover for him committing murder, to endorse him having an affair or engaging in sex with a prostitute…. I would not be able to honor those requests. I have a responsibility to be sure I am not participating in clear sin or illegal activity myself.

Sometimes a husband may be involved in a sin issue and a wife may not have to leave. But some sin issues are so severe that a wife may need to leave. This requires great wisdom and the direction of the Spirit to be able to tell the difference. We need God’s wisdom not human wisdom.

AVOID SEPARATION IF IT IS TRULY NOT NECESSARY

We serve a mighty God who is sovereign and who is in the business of turning our big messes into beautiful things for His glory. I would hate for anyone to separate prematurely or unadvisedly and miss out on the miracles God wanted to do if only one of the spouses had trusted Him fully and stayed to allow God to work.

If I left when things were at their worst in my marriage, I would have missed out on so many incredible spiritual treasures God wanted to share with me about Himself. I would have missed out on all the spiritual growth and refining He wanted to do in my life. I would also have missed out on seeing God heal my husband and our marriage. It would be tragic to have missed out on God’s blessings if I had left when I shouldn’t have. God often uses trials and suffering to help us to grow.

However, if a wife really does need to leave because of an emergency, that doesn’t mean the marriage is over or that her situation is beyond God’s reach. It is possible for God to heal a marriage after separation and even after a divorce.

SEPARATION IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY

Even if a wife believes she must separate – my prayer would be for spiritual healing in Christ (starting with salvation) for the husband, for healing for any addiction, for genuine repentance of any sin, and for eventual reconciliation if at all possible. I long to see every marriage become a godly, healthy marriage that shines for God’s kingdom.

No matter what our husbands may choose to do, we can know that God will use all things for good for us because we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28-29). When things are good or when they are horrible, we can yield ourselves fully to His will and invite Him to use our lives for His greatest glory. We can rest in His sovereignty and His promises to us.

May God empower each of us to be faithful and obedient to Him!

NOTE:

I am not going to be able to address everyone’s possible situations who think they may need to separate or who have separated or have gotten a divorce in the past. I know it will be tempting for everyone to want to share their particular situation here and get other people’s opinions. But it is very difficult to know what is truly happening in a marriage just from hearing one side of the story briefly online.

Sometimes other people’s opinions online can make things more confusing for a wife who is already confused. I don’t always know exactly what every wife should do in every possible scenario. I don’t want to mislead anyone. I know that God’s wisdom is what is needed, not mine. Ultimately this decision is between a wife, her husband, and the Lord. We will each answer to Him.

If you want to share something encouraging for our hurting sisters, that would be lovely. 🙂

** There is a one-time free Christian counseling service with Christian counselors and chaplains available at Focus on the Family with a free referral service, which may be a blessing.

RESOURCES:

Nina Roesner’s eCourse for women in difficult marriages Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity

Verses about divorce

What Does the Bible Say about Divorce and Remarriage? – by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about a Trial Separation? – by www.gotquestions.org

Gary Thomas writes about how the church should view abuse in marriage and about how to help women who are suffering at the hands of an abusive husband

John Piper’s articles on Divorce and Remarriage

A Peaceful Separated Wife (a wife whose husband left her)

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

Is Divorce the Worst Thing That Can Happen? – a Peaceful Wife VIDEO

God Stops a Wife’s Plans to Divorce

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

My Primary Goal As a Wife Has to Be This One Thing

Reminder – I have a conference in Eaton, Ohio February 25th and a conference in Columbia, South Carolina March 24th-25th. You are most welcome to come!

Marriage meets many needs and fulfills a number of purposes in our lives, in our families, the church, and in society. A healthy marriage:

  • Brings stability to society.
  • Teaches the next generation how to have healthy relationships.
  • Is to be a safe place to raise children and for them to learn what love is.
  • Can meet both spouse’s needs for companionship.
  • Can be a place of wonderful friendship.
  • Is the only place where God condones and celebrates sex.
  • Can be a place of romance and fun.
  • Can provide financial stability and resources.

But there is an even greater purpose for marriage that I can’t ever forget.

God’s greatest purpose in marriage is that marriage is supposed to display the gospel of Christ and it is to bring great glory and honor to Him.

My marriage is about so much more than just me. It is about much more than just my husband or just our children. It is ultimately about something infinitely higher.

  • Marriage is to be a living parable demonstrating the relationship between Christ and the church where the husband is to portray the love, humility, selflessness, and sacrificial leadership of Christ. The wife is to portray the honor, respect, and submission of the church for Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33)
  • When we as wives focus on our role and what God calls us to do – the gospel is exalted – and the same is true when husbands focus on the role God gives to them and walking in submission to Christ as Lord.
  • If we choose to disrespect our husbands and dishonor God’s design for us as wives and for marriage, we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5)

This is a very lofty goal, my precious sisters. Marriage is no longer about me being happy,  me having my way all the time, or me having control. It is not about my husband being the most important thing or about me seeking to please him at any cost. It is about me completely yielding my heart, my mind, my life, all that I am, all that I desire, all of my fears, all of my purposes, my marriage, and my family to God to accomplish His purposes. Whatever He sees fit. My eyes have to be on eternity and God’s kingdom now – not just today or this lifetime.

Now my heart’s cry is:

Not my will, but Yours be done! Luke 22:42

As an individual believer in Christ, my purpose in life is similar.

  • I am to bring glory to God far above anything else. (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • I am to seek His will far above my own. (Luke 22:42)
  • I am to count myself dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ. (Romans 6:11)
  • I am to take up my cross daily. (Luke 9:23)
  • I am to be completely at God’s disposal, His trusted, faithful servant, willing to do anything He may ask of me. (John 14:22-24)
  • I am to view suffering as God’s tool to refine me and to grow my faith. (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-8, 1 Peter 4:12-19)

This changes everything about how I relate to my husband (and everyone else, but we will focus on marriage in this post).

Now I don’t need to ask questions like:

The funny thing is, when I asked questions like this and my heart was not wholeheartedly yielded to God’s, I actually sabotaged my marriage. I kept God out because I didn’t trust Him. Then I was upset because my marriage was a mess. What a confused girl I was!

The scariest place in the world to me now is to trust self and to not trust God. When I yield everything to God and I am in fellowship with Him and His Spirit fills me, He also pours His healing and the spiritual treasures of heaven into my life and through me into my family and those around me. He withholds no good thing from those who belong to Him.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Note  – the only way my walk can be blameless is when I allow God’s Spirit to live in and through me to empower me to obey Him.

Now I ask questions like:

Real peace comes as I know and love Christ wholeheartedly and as I trust Him completely with everything.

God’s Spirit can give us the power to stay when we may not feel like staying because we can look with an eternal perspective rather than an earthly one when we are abiding in Christ. He can give us the ability to love when maybe our husbands don’t deserve it. He can give us the power to treat our men with honor, dignity, and genuine respect – not because our husbands deserve it – but because Jesus deserves our utmost reverence and we want to submit to His Lordship completely.

When I am willing to obey God and I am filled to overflowing with His Spirit, His wisdom, and His power – there is no stopping God! He loves to do miracles and move mountains for those who fully trust Him. But I don’t love Him so that He will do what I want Him to do. I love Him and trust Him to do what He knows is best. I can ask Him to change my desires to match His.

His wisdom is infinitely greater than mine. I can rest in Him and His love and sovereignty no matter what my situation. I can trust His promises to me and anticipate how He is going to bring great good from even the most awful situations because He promised to do just that for those who love Him in Romans 8:28-29.

RELATED:

Verses on Suffering

Verses on the Lordship of Christ

Verses on Taking Up Our Cross

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Spiritual Authority

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

 

What about wives who truly are in danger?

For those who are in very dangerous situations, the goal is still God’s greatest glory. His Word still applies. You still have His love. You are not beyond God’s reach! I pray that you will seek godly counsel and wisdom one-on-one from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor. Pray, seek to hear and obey God’s prompting for you.

I don’t know exactly what God desires every wife to do in every situation. But God has the wisdom each one needs. I don’t want to see anyone hurt or killed. I hate abuse and God sure hates abuse. There should not be hatred, rage, or violence in our relationships as believers.

God’s Word does provide for separation when something very serious is going on that can’t be resolved – in 1 Cor. 7:10-16 – but it is not to be entered into flippantly or without significant reason. This is not God’s primary plan and design for marriage. If we take such a step, as believing wives, we want to be SURE that we are doing so because it is necessary not just that we are unhappy, feeling unloved, or that things are just really hard. Marriage is a covenant between God, my husband, and myself. I want to keep my end of it until death do us part – may God help me to do so!

 

 

When You Are the Primary or Sole Breadwinner As a Wife

This is, admittedly, a very tough dynamic sometimes. It feels “backwards” to many couples, even those who are not believers in Christ. Yes, even in our modern era. The challenges can be surprising. We think we are “past” all of the old traditional marriage dynamics because we are so hip and progressive in our culture. But the truth is that when a husband earns less than his wife or especially when he doesn’t earn any income (whether he lost his job, he is disabled, or he and his wife choose for him to be a stay-at-home dad while the wife works), both spouses often struggle greatly.

Greg and I were in this boat for the first 17 years of our marriage with me being the primary breadwinner. So – we know many of the challenges first hand and I hurt deeply with those of you who are hurting in these situations.

NOTE – if you are a wife who is a primary breadwinner and you and your husband are doing WELL and you have godly wisdom to share, please, please feel welcome to share in the comments! I know your words will be such an encouragement to those who are having a hard time.

 

The problem with the wife earning more than the husband is that it makes it tends to make it more difficult for spouses to give each other the things they need the most.

Husbands need to know their wives genuinely respect them, that they will cooperate with them and not be an adversary. Wives need to know their husbands genuinely love them, that they are secure in the relationship, and that they have a voice and influence.

Generally, these are the kinds of pitfalls that tend to happen when the wife out-earns her husband  (I can give sources to those who would like them for more info):

  • The wife tends to lose respect for her husband even more than normal in our culture.
  • The wife tends to believe she deserves more control or even all of the control because of her financial contributions.
  • When a wife feels more like a mother who is supporting her child than a wife who is married to an equal, sexual relationships tend to suffer.
  • Husbands tend to feel emasculated because they tend to feel like failures for not being able to provide more financially even though their worth is not measurable in dollar amounts.
  • Sometimes husbands feel emasculated by comments their wives make, too, that compound the sense of shame many men feel in a situation like this, especially if they are bringing in no income. Even if it was by choice for both spouses to go down this road.
  • Wives tend to continue doing most of the housework and childcare when they are home, often because they feel their husbands don’t do things “right.”
  • Then the wives feel that they are doing “everything” and resentment builds against their husbands even more as the wives become more and more stressed and exhausted.
  • The couple doesn’t have quality time together to focus on the marriage.
  • Wives don’t have the time they need with God – which causes them to go into “flesh” mode instead of “Spirit-filled mode.”
  • Husbands tend to withdraw from the contempt and disrespect and become more and more passive and shut down.
  • Wives lose more respect and husbands feel more depressed.
  • Wives tend to want to think about divorce even when there are no biblical reasons.
  • Wives may start to view their husbands as dependents instead of as equals.
  • Husbands long to be treated as equals with respect, honor, and dignity.
  • Husbands are often more tempted in such situations into an affair with a woman who will respect them.
  • Wives can more tempted in such situations into an affair with a man they feel more admiration for.

If a believing wife is in such a situation, what can she do? None of us want any of these situations in our marriages! We don’t have to become statistics even if we can’t always immediately change our circumstances.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be able to change the circumstances, if we are willing to let God change US. There is every reason for hope in Jesus Christ!

God can meet our deepest needs even when our spouses or circumstances may be failing us. Let’s set our eyes on Him and on what He calls us to do.

It will be vital that a wife take certain steps to avoid heading down the destructive road of disrespecting her husband – your willingness to avoid disrespect is KEY:

  • Acknowledge that God’s design for marriage is the ultimate authority, not your feelings or the situation at this time.
  • Acknowledge that God’s commands for you as a wife involve that you respect your husband regardless of your income level or his income level. The command is an unconditional command, “The wife must respect her husband” (Eph. 5:33). That command is just as unconditional as God’s command that the “husband must love his wife” (Eph. 5:33). It does not say, “respect your husband IF…” It is simply our job to respect our husbands.
  • Learn all you can about respect and do all that you can to figure out what this means because this is very key to your marriage thriving.
  • Consciously write down all of your husband’s strengths and good qualities and focus on them.
  • Cultivate a grateful heart toward God and toward your husband.
  • Pray for God to intervene and to bring about His will for her career and your husband’s career and to change the situation if that is better in His sight. He is sovereign, after all, and this is not too hard for Him to do.
  • Consciously avoid associating respect with dollars. In God’s economy respect is not about money.
  • Be sure not to act like “the boss” around your husband. Consciously take off your “work mentality” and be sure you are thinking in a godly “feminine mindset.”
  • Focus on not being controlling about the house.
  • Praise your husband for whatever he does right.
  • Thank him for taking care of the kids even though he is not you and he does things differently.
  • Remember that different doesn’t necessarily mean “wrong.”
  • Let him dream and pray about what God may desire him to do even if it means that things would need to dramatically change.
  • Be flexible with God and your husband.
  • Be willing to let go of unrealistic expectations that may be creating tension.
  • Focus on eternal things more than earthly things – like your attitude and how you treat your husband and children more than whether the house is as clean as you would like it to be every moment.
  • See the good in your husband’s ideas and be cooperative.
  • Smile at your man – your smile blesses him greatly.
  • Use a friendly, positive tone of voice with him.
  • Seek God’s will far above your own will. Submit to His Lordship and hold the things of this world loosely.
  • Be willing to lay down your most precious dreams and all of your fears and entrust them to God.
  • Don’t allow yourself to look down on your husband. You are not better than he is. We are all on level ground a the foot of the cross. Pride and self-righteousness are always tempting for everyone but they are even more tempting in this situation. Pride and self-righteousness on a wife’s part can absolutely destroy a marriage because pride is the root sin of every other sin.
  • Don’t allow yourself to hold onto resentment or bitterness. Those things would also be able to destroy a marriage. Deal with your pain, hurt, unmet expectations, and anger before God. Hash through all of it with a godly mentoring wife, too, if needed. Don’t allow toxic thoughts to build up in your heart.
  • Focus on taking your thoughts captive for Christ.
  • Don’t listen to the enemy. He is the accuser. When you realize you are thinking lots of accusatory thoughts toward your husband, it is time to pour everything out before God and to let Him help you reject any sinful thoughts and build your life only on His truth. Satan would LOVE to destroy your marriage through your thought life.
  • Carve out the time you need with God to be as close to Him as possible and as filled up with Him as possible. That is the only way to be a godly wife in any situation. But in more difficult circumstances, you will need Him all the more. You can’t be a godly wife if you starve yourself spiritually. This is not something any of us can afford to skimp.
  • Pray against Satan’s plans to steal, kill, and destroy your marriage and family. Yield yourself fully to the Lordship of Christ and let Him lead you and your husband.  (James 4:7) This is spiritual warfare!
  • Clear your plate of everything that is unnecessary.
  • Take care of your health, your diet, your exercise, and your soul. No one else can do those things for you. You will need to be filled up so that you have something to give to your husband and family.
  • If you don’t have time for God and you don’t have time to take care of yourself and your children the way you want to – pray! Ask God to show you what He wants you to change so that you can make His priorities for you the most important priorities in your life.
  • Talk with your husband about your concerns in a respectful way after much prayer and as the Spirit prompts you.
  • Be a team and conquer things together.
  • Think of your money as “our money” or even better, as “God’s money,” and remember that we are simply to be good stewards of the blessings God has given us for His glory. It is not about us.
  • Let him know that you want to honor God’s design for the marriage no matter who earns more and that you are thankful for your husband and that God will lead you through him.
  • Remember that your husband is not your enemy.
  • Remember that our culture’s ideas have infected us all and that some of our ideas need to be questioned and rejected because they are not good for us. Be willing to question everything in light of God’s Word and be willing to change anything that is not working or that is leading to temptation.
  • ENJOY your husband and children. Breathe. Relax. Slow down.
  • Rest in God’s love, sovereignty, and peace. Let God restore your soul.
  • Approach God with complete humility. Trusting that God’s ways are much higher than your own. Don’t lean on your understanding but completely depend on God’s Word and His wisdom.
  • Approach your husband with great humility, knowing that you are both of equal worth in God’s sight.
  • Seek God’s approval not the world’s approval. Ultimately, the only opinion that will matter is His when we stand before Him one day.
  • Seek to become the woman God calls you to be.
  • Appreciate your husband’s wisdom and intelligence.
  • Be willing to honor his God-given leadership
  • Commit to the marriage and don’t threaten divorce for unbiblical reasons. Let God help heal you, your husband, and your marriage. There are times separation may be necessary. But don’t leave just because you are not happy. Seek God and He can fill you up and heal your soul.
  • If you don’t know Jesus as Your Savior and Lord, I invite you to come to Him.

RESOURCES:

Signs Your Husband Feels  Disrespected

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

What Is Respect in Marriage?

How to Encourage Your Husband to Lead

Why Won’t My Husband Lead? (a husband shares his insights)

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

What Is Godly Spiritual Leadership?

For those in very difficult marriages, I encourage you to check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. It is a private forum where women receive instruction in scriptural principles and learn to think rightly about themselves and heal in Christ so that they can have the spiritual strength they need to address the issues in the marriage properly.

 

BOOKS THAT MAY BE A BLESSING:
The Life Ready Woman – by Shaunti Feldhahn (How to strip away the things that don’t matter and focus on the priorities God calls us to  that bring real peace and fulfillment.)

Radical Womanhood – by Carolyn McCulley (How we have all been impacted by feminism in good and bad ways, even in the church, and what godly femininity really means.)

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – by April Cassidy 🙂

PS:

If you need more resources, let me know. I have lots more!

 

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