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!

 

Resources for Men

Some people say that because I only teach women, I must be saying that men can do whatever they want and they are off the hook when it comes to being godly husbands. No, not at all! I am not sure how anyone could arrive at such a conclusion! There is no excuse for any believer to think that he/she is “off the hook” and not responsible to God for how they live and relate to other people. Men are at least as accountable – if not more so – than women are before God. (Those in positions of God-given leadership hold a greater accountability.)

Thankfully, even though I only teach women – the Bible still completely applies to men, as well. It applies to all of us! I hope that is obvious.

There are PLENTY of resources for our men and brothers in Christ.

A FEW RESOURCES THAT GREG AND I WOULD RECOMMEND (some are wonderful for men and women):

www.radical.net – David Platt’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

www.desiringgod.org – John Piper’s site (search biblical manhood and biblical womanhood or marriage)

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

www.seriousfaith.com Brent Riggs has a number of posts for men about being godly men/husbands

– a resource about how husbands can love their wives is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs he also has a website that you may search with this link

Grace Filled Marriage, by Dr. Tim Kimmel, is for husbands and wives and is excellent

His Needs, Her Needs by Dr Willard F. Harley

The Resolution for Men – the Kendrick brothers and Randy Alcorn

Other resources by the Kendrick brothers about prayer, The Love Dare, etc.. https://kendrickbrothers.com/projects/books

How to Be a Godly Husband by www.gotquestions.org

– Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray or his book, Humility, are excellent resources for spiritual growth for men and women.

– E. M. Bounds book on The Necessity of Prayer will help any believer in his/her pursuit of a much more effective prayer life

My sites are for women. I don’t attempt to teach or mentor men out of respect for scripture’s instructions that women are not to have authority over men in the church. So I believe the focus here has to be on what God calls us to do primarily – not on what God calls men to do. My calling is Titus 2:3-5.

THE BIG PICTURE

However, I do want ladies to know about the whole picture in God’s design, not just what women are called to do. And I want the men to have the resources they need. Y’all are welcome to search the sites I listed above or check out these two posts by a minister at my church:

Spiritual Authority – A general overview of the concept of Spiritual Authority in Scripture relating to government, the workplace, the church, and family by a minister at my church, Rev. H. F. Weaver.
A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage  – Husbands have positional authority and wives have influential authority. Both are important and powerful. By H. F. Weaver, a minister at my church.

Biblical Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right – Husbands are still fallible, even though they are given extra responsibility.

A Husband Is Never the Absolute Authority – God is the absolute authority. There are limits to human God-given authority.

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships – When men or women become too passive or too controlling, it is a problem.

My husband, Greg, also has a blog for men – www.peacefulhusband.com

POSTS ON MY BLOG BY MEN THAT MAY BE A BLESSING TO HUSBANDS

 

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for each of us. How I pray we will seek Him more fervently than ever and that we might allow Him to continue to radically transform us to be the people He calls us to be.

SHARE:

Gentlemen,

If you know of a biblically grounded site for men that you would like to share with our other brothers, you are welcome to share in the comments. Thanks so much!

Why I Put My Wedding Rings Back On – a Guest Post

By a sister in Christ… I’m so thankful for her willingness to share for the first time in a post. I never get tired of hearing how our amazing God heals broken people and relationships:

Bare fingers fussed around the edges of divorce documents. Time had passed long and hollow since the sparkling bands of diamonds and emeralds had graced the ring finger of the two becoming one. I was ready for divorce. I felt done. Yet, I lacked peace.

When I’d last prayed the still, small voice had spoken into my spirit “six months.” Six months what? I’d thought. Six months until he changes? Six months until this nightmare is over? Six months until I stop crying?

I decided to meet a lawyer just to get the legal facts. I’m certain my jaw dropped when she said,

“It’ll be six months until you’ll even get to court. Maybe you want to think about it some more.”

I had felt God wasn’t working and had been thinking the dry season without visible change was His sign I should divorce. Now, I had a stirring of hope. I apologized for doubting Him and counted six months on the calendar – about the time of our vacation to the ocean. Tired of waiting around for him, I had planned it for the kids and me. I would pray about it until then and make my decision when we returned.

In the meantime, I read the book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” and the Peaceful Wife blog. April’s counsel was challenging: turn your eyes to Jesus. Stop making an idol of your husband. My heart was full of unbelief, anger, and unmet needs and hurt. And pride. Other wives felt the same. What sort of crazy road was this? we all wondered? Yet, the women who had gone before us were all singing the same song over our souls: turn to Jesus.

“God is sovereign, not your feelings” April would said. That struck a chord with me.

The time of the vacation arrived. A few days before leaving, we had an argument. Normally I would have been crushed. Angry. Confused. Oh, it hurt. But this time I didn’t give in to the feelings. This time I prayed. And again the still small voice reached out to me through the storm.

Put your rings back on.

When God speaks, the layers of meaning in one sentence, one word, can be endless. I knew immediately the command to put my wedding rings on was a call to fight, to humble myself before Him, to stand strong, to stop being lukewarm about my marriage. I was either all in or I was out. It was time to stop sitting on the fence and crying because things weren’t changing.

I slid the cool metal circles over my ring finger. I felt like an idiot. They were like a sword piercing my pride. He probably doesn’t even know where his ring is – if he even has it anymore. The bitter thought quickly receded, however, when in that one act of obedience I suddenly understood this moment was not about a marriage to a man, but a marriage of a woman to her God. The rings symbolized a vow I had made to my husband, but more than anything else they were an outward sign of a vow I had made to God to stand with Him as a helpmeet to my husband through life.

“I’m so sorry, Lord!” I cried out. As I repented of betraying the commitment I’d made to Him, His Spirit filled me anew. The rings sparkled and danced with life. I’d forgotten how beautiful they were. For a moment the pain of the years lifted and I was a bride once more.

What I noticed next was a prompting of the Holy Spirit to confess out loud that I wanted my marriage to work. This was difficult. Part of me wanted to be free from the hurt and humiliation. I had been encouraged by several friends to file for the divorce and move on. In my heart though, I knew I still loved him and dreamed of having our family together again. I felt ashamed at having this longing in the face of such unlikely odds. The prompting persisted, so alone in the car I would whisper, “I do want our marriage to heal, Lord. I still love him. I love our kids.”

This continued for several weeks. I watched War Room. I made a war room in my laundry room with pictures from my wedding day and each of our children. I posted scriptures and hand written prayers and simple words like Bring him home, Lord.

 I stopped fighting against the guidance of the wives who had gone before me, both in the Peaceful Wife blog and other forums He had sent my way. I let Him make changes in me. I focused on being more sensitive to the Spirit and simply got closer to Jesus. I got out of the way and God moved.

It’s taken some time, but there has been a real softening in my husband’s heart. He has apologized for the years wasted in anger. He listens to me now when I share my heart. He even tells me he loves me and I can hear in the tone of his voice it’s true.

I’ve thrown out the divorce papers and have begun to dream again.

And, yet, more than anything, my heart has the peace of a woman who has put God first, a wife who has learned (and is learning) to die to self in order to be a vessel of His goodness and redemption in another’s life. I thought I knew how to be a good wife. But I never asked Him how to be the wife my husband needed. God didn’t just want my cooperation. He wanted my submission.

Playing at the park today, I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in a long time. She looked at my rings and said “Oh, your rings are so lovely.”

As I pushed my son on the swing, the light of the sun sparkled over them as if imbued with Heavenly majesty. “Thank you.” I smiled. “I think so, too.”

SHARE:

If you would like to share a struggle you have had for a post idea or how God has been working in your heart and light bulb moments God has shown you – you may leave your story in the comments or submit it to me privately on my Contact page. 🙂

I’D APPRECIATE YOUR HELP:

If you have read my book, I would love for everyone to leave a review on Amazon. If I get 18 more reviews, my publisher, Kregel, will provide more funding for promoting the book. 🙂

RELATED:

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord by April Cassidy (book link to Amazon)

God Stopped a Wife’s Divorce Plans

The Bible and Divorce

Kristen’s Story – Being a Peaceful Divorced Wife

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done”

Should You Strive to Keep Your Husband at ANY Cost?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Other People Don’t Always Know What You Should Do in Your Marriage – by The Satisfied Wife

 

This post is by The Satisfied Wife (AKA WorthyofLove). She is in a very difficult marriage with a husband who tends to be rather harsh at times – and yet, what God is doing in her heart is SO beautiful! I appreciate her willingness to share with us:

ON SEEKING GOD ALONE TO KNOW HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES

In each of our lives, the only thing we can rely and trust in is the Lord, and His Word. There really are no other guarantees in this life. He is our greatest need, and our only source of life. When you are in a toxic marriage – it really is a great opportunity to seek the Lord with all your heart. I have found in my own life, being around toxic relationships and people is what drove me to Him in the first place. God can use anything to accomplish His greater purposes! Way before finding April’s site, I was driven into the arms of the Lord and His Word. It was the only place I found true rest and hope.

In my experience, seeking the Lord alone for the truth in your marriage is what will matter most in moving forward not only with the Lord, but in your marriage.

THE DANGER OF SEEKING HUMAN WISDOM ALONE
I honestly never sought anyone’s opinion about my marriage or life in the first place. I sought the Lord wholeheartedly, though. And through seeking the Lord above all – that is how I was led to His Body (April’s site). And once led to the Body, the Lord has been able to teach me so much truth and He has truly opened my eyes in so many ways since finding April’s blog.

However – at one point – I, too, found myself relying on what I was learning through the blog, along with what the Lord was teaching me, to direct my steps completely in terms of my own personal life and marriage. Because at that point, I was desperate for answers, and willing to try anything to “fix” my marriage.

When we are desperate for answers—we are at the greatest risk of being deceived about what our next step should be. Especially if we are not truly crucified to the flesh—and we have a predetermined will of our own. We will look for the answers that match our own will—and believe it is confirmation of God’s leading. We must first be truly crucified to our own will and ways—and seek only to know God’s will and ways.

That is the power of God working here. Many women might come there to find answers about their marriage and how to get their husband to love them a certain way, etc… but what they find is Christ Crucified as the Power of God! AMEN!

JESUS IS THE ANSWER
We can read and learn all we want about marriage, respect, submission, how to handle difficult people, how to walk in the Spirit, how to do this, that and the other thing. But knowledge of all that is NOT what will get you through the actual reality of your daily life living within a toxic marriage.

Your Spirit union with the Living, Risen Lord Jesus is what will get you through the toxic marriage. HE is what is needed. Not a list of rules. Not human wisdom.

If I adhered to all the “research” and “wisdom” of this world—I would be divorced already. I would have given up the first time I felt I was slighted or mistreated without a cause. That is the answer that the world gives to women who are in a toxic relationship. And perhaps that MIGHT be the answer that the Lord ultimately leads you to in certain situations (that are biblically supported).

The point right now is that when we are in a toxic marriage, and we are cowering under the oppression and fear of what will happen all the time – the most important thing is not what April says, what anyone human, or book (Christian or otherwise) says – it is what the Lord says. It is what He is leading you to see and do, that matters most. And He is not afar off – if we are in Christ and belong to Him, He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Christ Jesus has forever secured our entrance into the Presence of God by His precious Blood shed on the Cross! That is a FACT. Your feelings are NOT fact.

If any precious woman finds herself in a toxic marriage after evaluating in a godly way what is really going on – the best thing she can do is truly set aside some time, and seek the Lord. Pour out her heart to Him. Depend on Him alone for guidance, wisdom, and truth. (Maybe refer to Andrew Murrays “Waiting on God” and “Absolute Surrender”).

LOOK AT THE FACTS

Having already been through this more than once, the greatest thing when seeking God alone for truth has been to look at the FACTS.

  • The facts from the Word of God that tell us who we are, who God is, What God can do, etc.
  • The facts about how I am being treated (look to actions of spouse not words)
  • The facts about how I am acting/reacting to this treatment

A fact is a fact. It is what happened. It is what has been proclaimed. The biggest blinders in this process are your own feelings, because we all know that sometimes our feelings are actually NOT facts.

So I’ll say this – in my case, when my feelings matched the facts – I took them as real. If I felt as though I was being manipulated/controlled inadvertently, and I looked at what my husband did, compared to what he said – I found it was true how I felt.

HOW TO SEEK GOD

Seeking God, to me, has meant that I stop looking to anyone, anything, any system, and other source – except God alone to guide me, save me, provide for me, etc…

It means that I pray – I spend time reading His word and other trusted sources of spiritual food. I wait for Him and I depend on Him. Utterly. Wholeheartedly.

  • To speak to my heart.
  • To open my eyes.
  • To fill me with His Spirit
  • To save me from my own self
  • To save me from the fiery darts that are coming at me from the devil.

Be aware – any one who sets their WHOLE heart on God is a target of Satan. Don’t be shocked to find that yes, your very husband can be a tool in the devil’s hands to paralyze you spiritually – to trip you up and stop you at ALL COSTS from seeking God! Because when we seek God alone – we let go of all the things of earth -and when we are in our spiritual position with Christ by faith – we walk in His power and we are a HUGE threat to the Satan and his kingdom.

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of TRUTH. He cannot lie. He will not lead us into lies if we set our heart on Him alone. He will open our eyes, and grant us a revelation of Christ Jesus in our hearts – and when we see Christ alone -we will know Him and the Bible says that Christ is wisdom to us—CHRIST is wisdom! In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom. So then, more than anything else, we need knowledge of Christ in our situations!

 

“The ONLY Thing I Have Right Now Is the Lord.”

I’m so thankful this wife is willing to allow me to share her response to this post about two ways wives tend to respond when their husbands say they are done. Right now, things are still a mess in her circumstances and with her husband – but what I want us to see is the beauty that God is creating in her soul in the midst of this fiery trial:

My separation from my husband is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My husband has moved out of our home and is staying with family. As a wife of a man who has had trouble leaving and cleaving since day 1, this situation makes our separation SO much harder. Add to it that his family is encouraging divorce, and I am living my worst nightmare daily.

The ONLY thing I have right now is the LORD. He is my strength, my light, my song.

I feel like a psalmist sometimes. I cry out to God, tears streaming down my face, my heart-broken to the point of feeling physically ill. Where is my God? Why is this happening? What does it take to mend my hurting spirit? I have been angry with God, confused, depressed, anxious, unable to sleep, overeating, under-eating, and in the lowest point of despair I have ever felt. Some days. I have asked God to bring me home. I am not suicidal; I simply feel like all I can do is breathe. Going to work is an enormous chore sometimes. Making food is all but impossible. Smiling or laughing feels insincere. But God is with me through it all.

I miss my husband more than I know how to express. I have made GIGANTIC mistakes that have brought our marriage to this point. My LORD has brought me to my knees in dire regret and sadness over my abuse, desire for control, overpowering, mean, non-supportive, and downright selfish ways. My LORD has reminded me that He paid the price for my sins, and I am washed by the blood of the Lamb. My LORD has reminded me in my darkest hour that He will never leave me or forsake me.

The Lord has brought me closer to Him than I have ever been during this trial. For that, I am blessed and eternally grateful.

I lay down my marriage at the feet of Jesus daily, usually multiple times each day. I know healing takes time, and I know our God works in ways we cannot comprehend as sinners. I yearn for quick restoration, but I know I would rather be separated for years than divorced forever. My husband’s heart is resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit right now, and I want him to hear the voice of God. I pray for his heart and for blessings for him often. I want him to feel the closeness I feel to the Lord. I want him to rely on the eternal not the temporary. I want him to trust his God more than his family. I want him to remember his baptism, what Jesus did for him, and let that change his heart.

There is absolutely nothing that I can do. I have reverted to “Wife #1” too many times to count (see this post). Now I give my husband to God. I release him. We are one flesh by the joining we received by God on our wedding day. My heart aches for him, my heart is broken, and hearts can be restored.

No matter what happens, I love my Jesus and I love my husband.

Through this pain, I am firmer in my faith than ever before and I trust that God is working all things out for my good. He is with me through every storm. Praise be to God!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

When I see this kind of faith, humility, and trust in God – I know God is powerfully at work and amazing things are going to happen. I know there will continue to be healing and regeneration for the wife  – that God is using the trial to grow her and bring her to much deeper faith and greater spiritual maturity. Please join with me in praying for God to continue His good work in this dear sister’s life and for healing for her, her husband, and their marriage for God’s greatest glory in His perfect timing.

ENCOURAGING VERSES:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… Romans 5:3-4

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

RELATED:

Kristin’s Story – a Peaceful Separated Wife

A Separated Wife Finally Begins to Experience the Peace of God in Her Life

“My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife”

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

 

The Answer to All of Our Marriage Problems

Praying for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

There Must Be More to This Journey Than Just Prayer

“My Two Year Anniversary As a Separated Wife”

ADMIN NOTE – with the transition to the new host for this site, some people have been getting error messages or warnings that the site is not secure. This issue should resolve itself within the next few days or clearing your cache should fix it immediately.  Let me know if you continue to have this problem.  My apologies for the inconvenience!

FROM A DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST WHOSE DIFFICULT STORY INSPIRES ME GREATLY:

Today marks two years of me being a separated wife.

It’s not the story I would’ve asked for and definitely not the one I wanted, but it’s still my story. It can be hard to think a back to the terrible day that my husband left. Having told me about his affair and that he and his mistress were having a baby together in just a few short months, he moved out. Shock, hurt, anger, betrayal all hit in an instant. The journey to today would be long, hard and painful as more shocking details would come to light and his repentance has yet to happen.

At the beginning God was revealing, through April’s blog then through my church elders, the idols of my heart. The Lord led me through an intense time of confession and repentance as I painfully laid down my wants, desires, hurts and “rights” to God. I realized that the idols (stemming from my desire for control) I was clinging to were accusations against God – saying that I knew better than him or that he didn’t really care about me or what I wanted. God was beginning a work in my heart and showing me, more than ever, my great need for him. That he is all we need and that he is a good, loving Father.

Even though my husband and I have been separated for two years and have had very little contact during the past year (a good thing for our particular situation since there is unrepentant adultery), he hasn’t divorced me. Through much prayer and counsel from my local church leaders, I have decided to remain as I am (I Cor. 7) and not seek a divorce. Waiting is hard and each day has challenges. I’m thankful to say that I have many days filled with joy, but I also struggle with depression and anxiety at times and some days I don’t know how I’ll get out of bed to go to work or to be a mom. Despite that, I also know that God has used this situation to grow my faith and to draw me closer to Him…and that is always a good thing.

Today is the two year “anniversary” of becoming a separated wife, so I spent time going through my journal from the past year. I was reminded of how much hope God has given me during the hardest year of my life. I am so thankful for the hope that he has given me, despite my circumstances.

  • Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Hebrews 5:1-5
  • Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 
  •  Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Psalm 23:18

In a worldly sense, it seems crazy to have hope while going through a difficult trial. But God has shown me where my true hope lies. It is not in the idols I held on to so tightly.

Hope is not having my situation turn out a certain way or having control of my life… its knowing that my future is secure in God’s hands. Hope is trusting in the work that has already been done on the cross, that my salvation is secure through Jesus Christ. It is knowing that my story, as bad as it is, is the story God gave me. I find so much hope in the fact that we serve a sovereign God. My situation isn’t an oversight, it wasn’t an accident, God didn’t forget about me. God is a good God and everything he does is good. He can be trusted to write my story. He knows how this will end and I can trust that he is using it for his glory and for my good.

Through God’s strength, I’m able to surrender my hopes and dreams of the life I wanted because of the hope he’s given that this isn’t my home. I live in anticipation of the life to come. I love reading Hebrews 11 to be reminded of those who have gone before us and how they lived their lives by faith.

  • But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16
  • He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:26
  • For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14

The practical way that hope has kept me functioning day in and day out through these past two years is the hope in the promises of God.Never have the promises of God been more real to me than they are now.

When my “worst case scenario” happened, His promises sustained me. When I’m hit with depression, His promises carry me. This is the most useful advice or steps I could tell anyone to take when going through a difficult time: learn the promises of God and cling to them when the hard moments hit. It may be quoting them out loud, praying them back to God, or writing them in your journal. They bring hope and peace because God’s word is true.

  • This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50

A few, of the many, of God’s promises that have sustained me:

When I think my life has no purpose or is a mistake, I know God has a plan for my life.

  • The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8

When I cry and am filled with sorrow, God promises that He keeps record of my tears (Psalm 56:8) and that one day I will reap with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:5).

When I feel forgotten or alone, God promises that he will never forsake me.

  • “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When I pray to God, I know He hears me.

  •  I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Psalm 17:6

The list goes on and on. I’d encourage you to search the Word to find His promises. There’s no better way to fight those lies we so easily believe when going through suffering or any day for that matter. When we turn to God in our hardest moments, He is faithful to respond. He will always give us the immediate response of His presence. He will give us a peace that surpasses understanding, even in the most difficult situations. And in His love and care for us, He has given us hope.

NOTE FROM APRIL:

I am not going to be able to approve comments that may be hurtful to this wife in a very painful, and difficult time. Please feel free to share encouragement, prayers, and support.

When a Husband “Doesn’t Buy” His Wife’s Changes

From a sister in Christ who has been on this journey to become a godly wife for a year and a half – I am so thankful for her willingness to share:

 

My husband insists I will always be who I was. He asks “is THIS the REAL you, now?” I replied that “I won’t be done till I die. I will continue to improve and learn every day I breathe.” He just threw his hands up at me, exasperated. But it’s a pride sin to think that we “know it all” and have nothing left to learn. Where is the reality or growth in that?

There is still much hope. I haven’t wanted to believe it, but my husband has been much less aggressive and mean for the past 2 weeks (after a year and a half of this journey). He is thanking me for things I do and has stopped being paranoid about things he thinks I’m doing and am not.

I really think that when a wife begins this journey of respect and truly changes her whole attitude on marriage, life, and herself, this is a massive change for men to try to understand.

It’s as if they don’t know who we are, have no idea if they will like who we are or becoming – and yet they are used to a certain kind of shrew-ness from us that they have built up defenses against. And (now) they are married to a stranger. It’s like they are putting on armor, carrying 3 swords, a mace, and bludgeon and ready for a fight that doesn’t come anymore. They are all amped up from our constant disrespect in the past. So they actually “hunt” for the fight. But, because we are no longer fighting, they feel like some kind of trick or sorcery is going on. They just can’t believe a person can up and change their whole personality.

  • My husband often has told me that he is not mad at me, I am who I am. He cannot change that. He just didn’t think it could change at all.

He was right, HE could not change me, I could not change me, but GOD could. He just didn’t like who that person was… well, that was before God. I didn’t even like who I was. We all have this spouse itching to fight because the battle was never ending and they are ready. We have dropped all our weapons and they don’t know what to do. So they provoke, prod with hurtful words, try to find that monster inside us they are sure is just hiding or waiting for the right moment to rear it’s ugly head so they can strike at it with all their weapons. Yet, we have let that monster die… our old self.

I think it takes a lot of testing, and time for our spouses to poke, prod, stomp around to finally feel secure that the monster is gone before they can start laying down their weapons and trusting again.

I think it is very important that a sense of worth and value has to be developed inside us as well. We have been the mouth, then maybe the mouse. There is a balance of graceful control and wisdom that I think God is trying to grow in us. A sort of confidence that endures no matter who comes and goes from our lives. When we can live in a way that other people’s chaos doesn’t affect us as much, and we are able to look at God and say, “Thank you Lord, for not making me have to be responsible for this other person’s choices in life” then we can live much more free and as victors over our own life, not victims of other people’s lives.

I have a real sense after a long-awaited talk on the phone last night with my husband that he really is accepting the change in me and trying hard to think of his words before saying them. Right now, he kind of stinks at it. But, I did too – when I first started. I feel true hope for a restitution of our relationship for the first time in a long time. It is obviously too soon to bank on such a statement, but I know I may not get that glorious apology or huge hug asking for forgiveness. If I think about it, do I need that? No, not really. I might WANT that, but if I never get it, I’m ok.

I know I have done what God asked me to do in this marriage… to love him “even though” he didn’t love me/was being a jerk/said and did hurtful things/rejected me/gave up on his family/ acted like a put out teenager, etc. Frankly, he didn’t deserve that love from me. But here is the thing – none of us deserve that kind of love, but we have it in God. God loves us in our imperfections and when we act like jerks and do/say hurtful things, etc. Look how we turn from God and reject Him. Yet, He loves us through it all, so much, that He gave up His only Son to save us from death… because He loves us like that. To obey Him, we are asked to love others in the same way “as you do for the least of them, you do unto Me.” It is His overflowing love poured into us that allows us and gives us the strength to pour love into others… even our spouses.

I look at my husband as very lost, struggling and drowning. When I keep that in mind, I keep my compassion toward him. Yes, I tried to throw out life preservers and reached for him, but if he didn’t use them, well, that was his choice. Sink or swim. There are many things my husband can grab onto, but he has to do it now, I can’t make him. I’m just not shoving his head under water anymore.

For those who are struggling, I pray so much that you can lift your eyes away from your husband and marriage right now and start growing yourself to become more confident, secure and strong as a person in your own merit (in Christ). God has given you gifts and blessings just for you. Not just you with your husband. You want something right now that you cannot get from your husband. The store is closed, no one inside, shut up tight. If you break in, it will go really badly. Stop knocking on that door! You need to look to God for what you want. I suspect it is acceptance, value, feeling good enough, affection, closeness, security, trust, and partnership.

I challenge you to look into the Bible and find verses where God can fill these needs for you. Maybe you can see how He can do that and really take it into your mind and heart. You need God first. Then, if others can add to that on earth, here, then it’s icing and sprinkles on the cake…but you need the cake first (God). I hope that makes sense. Here is my example: I can get trust from God and I can trust Him, Psalms 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.”

In this way, you can verify God’s promises to you, rise above the shortcomings and disappointments of human failings and lean onto God for all your needs. My favorite is Matthew 6:26, “look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” This is God’s word that He will provide for us. He is the great I Am.

I just know that I saw my husband as my god for so long, that when his human failings started to show, disappointment and fear took hold in me. The best lesson I learned from any of this is to not put a human into that god position, he/she is certain to let you down. That also includes not putting myself (who is also human) into that god position. Only our true Lord God holds that position… that is why no other thing or person should be above Him. He is a jealous God, and it is idolatry when we don’t put Him first. Kids, marriage, friends, hobbies, fame, fortune, need for approval from others… there are so many sneaky ones too. (Kids as an idol for me was a surprise).

I pray for all of us with wayward spouses to be able to let them go. I pray that God helps them find their own way without our demands,  wishes, control, and fears getting in the way. I pray that each one of us can see our true self as God sees us; cherished, loved, valuable and important to Him. I pray we can let go of the things we want from our spouses so bad, but are not there yet inside of them, but I pray God helps them find what they need to heal, grow and be drawn to Him. I pray that each of us learn to stand with strength, dignity and courage as children if God, to wear our birthright proudly and without shame. We are children of God, “If He is with us, who can be against us?” I pray that we can grow in God’s design to have the control of our emotions and resist the enemy to become followers of Christ who are strong against the stormy winds of life, trusting our Lord is still in control.

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