Skip to main content

A Wife Completely Shuts Her Husband Out – a Guest Post

Reminder – My first book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, is available if you are interested. Everything you need for the first few steps of this journey to become the wife God calls you to be is organized and together and I pray the book may be a blessing to your walk with Christ and your marriage. If you have already read the book, please take a minute or two to share an honest review on Amazon. Thanks so much!

From a sister in Christ:

I am relatively new to this blog, but have become a faithful reader, and I wanted to add something to your list of what NOT to do when you feel forgotten by your husband. It is something that I did and it literally lost me several years of my marriage, even though on the surface it seemed like a reasonable, even right thing to do.

A few years ago I started questioning my awkward marriage and came to the conclusion that since my husband was not a godly man, and riddled with faults, and I wasn’t getting what I thought I would/should in a relationship, that I had made a mistake in marrying him. So instead of doing any of the things you listed, I adopted a long-suffering, “I made my bed and now I have to lie in it” attitude. I couldn’t bring myself to “chase” someone who clearly preferred the TV over me, so…

I just emotionally walked away from the relationship.

Instead of asking for what I wanted, I became my own person and completely stopped communicating. I was still there physically, cooking and washing his socks, etc., but I very determinedly asked nothing from him anymore, not conversation, advice, support, or even love. I even got a job so he wouldn’t have to pay for my groceries or anything. If I was sick I wouldn’t ask for help, and if something needed to be done that I physically couldn’t do, I would pay someone else to do it rather than “bother” him about it.

Looking back, I realize it was so stupid and prideful of me to live this way, and it left my husband wondering what the heck he was even doing here (something I wondered as well). But I couldn’t stand the thought of needing him and being rejected, (it was more than just TV watching and not just once) so I stopped needing him altogether.

Finally, I stumbled across your blog and I remember just crying and crying as I realized how wrong I was and how disrespectful and distrustful I had been. God gave me this man for a reason, and I was just throwing it away. Since then I have been more respectful, understanding of his masculinity and how he relates (it’s not necessarily a rejection!), and open (although I still don’t talk a whole lot, I don’t think it’s in my nature).

My husband’s relief and delight in this change is practically palpable.

It turns out he actually wants me to need him and desire him. Just by showing him respect in asking him for things, he is a changed man, and I am so thankful for your blog and your writing, and to God for showing me what I was missing by not being vulnerable.

I will never be a fit-thrower, but it is just as damaging to ignore your own needs and desire for attention from your husband. You CAN turn these needs off and shut them down, which might be a relief for both of you in the short term, but it kills the relationship and really makes it kind of pointless.

I think this is kind of dangerous ground too, because it can feel so “right” somehow. After all, what could be more noble than being low-maintenance? I actually thought I was being a very good wife most of the time. I never complained, never drew attention to myself, and never needed anything.

But what I actually was without realizing it, was just a good housekeeper. My husband didn’t have a wife, he didn’t even have a roommate. He just had a person who shared his house and his bed. I made it impossible for him to “know” me as he is told to do in the Bible. It wasn’t a marriage, it was two people living independently in the same house.

And yet I congratulated myself on “not being needy” and never bothering my husband. It felt right most times. But I didn’t know what I was missing, and that I was robbing my husband of his wife as well as the opportunity to be a living witness of God’s grace to this man. It is a very self-righteous, and dangerous way to live, and a high price to pay for pride.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that some women may think, “I am dying to self,” by adopting this perspective that the author shares here. But this approach leads to division and hurt not healing and the Life, love, and unity of Christ in our marriages. It is not the kind of dying to self that we do in the power of Christ – it is more of a “power of the flesh” kind of thing, it seems to me. Here are some posts on similar topics for those who may want to research this mindset a bit more and how destructive it can be..

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Desires, Emotions, and Needs… by Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel by Radiant

Also, let’s keep in mind there are times when God calls us to wait, be still, and pray. And there are times when He prompts us to speak. Let’s be listening carefully to His voice of wisdom and discernment in our particular situations.

NOTE:
Revive Our Hearts Ministries hosted a massive worldwide prayer event for women last Friday night called “Cry Out!” If you are deeply burdened for your country and want to join with tens of thousands of women from around the world to pray for revival, please check out this link and watch the video that was live streamed on Friday.

 

Approaching My Husband’s Sin Issues – by LMS

I am hoping to share, God-willing, stories from a number of wives who have been truly “in the trenches” in the past year or two. Many of them have very different dynamics in their marriages from the one I had with Greg where I was dominating and he was passive. Some of these husbands are a lot more vocal than Greg was – and demonstrated more direct opposition to their wives as they tried to allow God to change them.  Last week I shared a post by The Satisfied Wife about how really only God knows exactly what each of us needs to do in any specific situation. Today I am sharing a guest post by LMS who also wrote, “My Husband Wanted a Divorce.”

May God lead each of us on our own path of discovering and discerning what He desires us to learn and do in our particular situations that will bring honor and glory to Him. Each of us will have some similarities in our stories, but some unique differences. We ultimately each need to hear God’s voice and follow Him. Some things are very clear in Scripture about how we are to treat others, including our husbands. Other things require close fellowship with God for us to know what we should do. Please pray for the wives who are sharing – and their husbands – for God’s power, love, wisdom, and discernment as the wives seek to honor Christ and as they share with us. Don’t take the weight of their struggles on yourself, but rather, lay them before God. Let’s entrust these precious couples – and all who are here and who are hurting – to His care.

BACKGROUND:

My husband became increasingly angry and shut down until he asked for a divorce in January of 2015.  At that time, I searched for some kind of answer and truth on what to do in my life. I found Jesus (and became a Christian) and began a journey in learning respect, love, hope and faith. On my way to healing, I also had to learn forgiveness of others as well as myself, with God’s grace and respect for myself as well. My husband was not very responsive to my changes and, in fact rebelled greatly against them. With a non-believing spouse, it has been a very hard road to stay on with God, but it is the only true path to overcoming sin. We are still together, in spite of many friends and family telling me I should divorce him. There is healing, baby-step growth.

I HAD TO DEAL WITH MY OWN ISSUES FIRST:

I had to learn submission (to Christ first, then to my husband), respect, tearing out idols, etc… before I could possibly even THINK about standing up to my husband’s sins. It’s like “Taking the Log Out of Your Eye 101” – like a college course or something. Then, after I had made much progress (by the power of Christ), I started to feel like I was falling out of peace as time would go on. I would get paralyzed with fear of speaking the truth to my husband in love with respect and honor. I would try sometimes, and I would stress about doing it right, saying the right words, etc, and when it went badly, not as planned, or I lost my temper a bit, (not as badly as in the past) but I could recognize that I didn’t handle something as Jesus would’ve, I would feel panicky that I hurt rather than helped my marriage.

  • I was afraid to make a move in case it was the wrong one. I was still trying to be perfect.

But, I kept saying to myself that God can make beauty from the ashes… and He would. One of my sisters here on the blog helped me relax a bit in the process, as long as my motive was right. Until the pressure from my husband got so mean, sarcastic and contemptuous, and I couldn’t take it anymore – I stayed stuck in misery.

I don’t know if I would’ve moved to the next step without my husband’s attitude getting worse.

I strongly feel God was trying to take me to a new level. One that taught me right thinking about (or “respect for”) self, courage, bravery, confidence in Christ, and being able to face my fears. I grew slowly more okay with my fear of “if my husband left me.” I actually was looking forward to it at some point…  it would have been a relief, not happy to admit, but true. I told him if he wanted to go, he had my blessing. He never went.

DEALING WITH HIS ISSUES:

I learned that standing up to my husband and his sin/horrible, hurtful attitude was actually a LOVING thing to do. The line that hit me from Leslie Vernick’s book, “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong,” was “ignoring someone’s sin is essentially writing them a one way ticket to hell.” It is NOT loving to refrain from speaking the truth because we are being ruled by fear (of our spouses leaving, getting angry, being more unloving, getting revenge etc.)

But facing that fear was like a 2nd level college course “Speaking Truth in Love 201.” This helped me swing back to center and away from doormat mode. So, now, I knew how to be silent and not complain or bicker or be critical or argue, but I also knew how to stand up for myself and not believe every word my husband said and let him walk all over me. I was more balanced.

I know I very much had my husband as my god and an idol. Every word he said, I would believe. I never thought he would lie to me or manipulate me. So, even though I saw him do that to others, I was naive to think he wouldn’t do that to me. He very much feels he is smarter, wiser, and more aware of things than I am. He judges and criticizes me and others. He feels he is above others.

This makes me disgusted now, but before, I would adopt his ways as my own, but with no real good reason, just because I believed everything he said and did was good and right… just because he was my husband. I let him “own” me and my happiness. Fear kept me in a prison. I think learning how to fight evil fear and knowing the difference between fearing the Lord and what that really means (being in awe of Him) and healthy fear for safety and godly warnings would be helpful (don’t stick a metal screwdriver into a live plug). Not zooming ahead with fear of the future or the lies we tell ourselves because we don’t know what is going on in our spouses minds or suspecting bad motives… it all instills loads of fear.

Fear, fear, fear….a huge roadblock to joy and godly surrender.

Today, my husband is very confused now because he cannot predict how I will react to things that before I would get upset about, or he knows I SHOULD be upset about.

  • I am more direct when I speak and less unsure of myself.
  • I call him out when he is lying and he is uncomfortable. I’m not disrespectful, but I am no longer his starry-eyed groupie who praises every word or thought of his.

He doesn’t understand my calm during the storm, or peaceful joy in spite of our marriage being in shambles. It actually entertains me to watch him try to figure it out now. I have tried to talk about God to him, but it’s lost on him right now. God will tell me when – if I need to. But for now, it’s “winning him without a word.

I also think there is something to the fact that men tend not to respect a woman who allows them to treat her disrespectfully. Much like men don’t respect another man who shakes hands like a wet noodle, or won’t stick up for himself…they are seen as weak, spineless, and unworthy. We women sometimes see our actions (not speaking up when we are being mistreated) as submitting, loving, cooperative, but men don’t. We need a little spark and feistiness for them to know that we have our limits too. I think they feel less-than if they are married to a weak-willed woman with no backbone. But it’s a fine line to walk so we don’t slip into disrespect.

RELATED:

Please always seek God’s wisdom and His prompting for what He desires you to do in your exact situation in each moment. His Spirit can give you the wisdom and direction you need that is so much greater than any human wisdom. 🙂

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

25 Ways to Respect Myself – or “to Thing and Act Rightly about Myself”

To Speak or Not to Speak

InHisGrip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

The Pendulum Effect – avoiding being controlling/dominating/disrespectful and avoiding the other extreme of being passive, unplugged, defeated, and a doormat

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

A Wife Responds Beautifully to Her Husband’s Bad Mood 

God Showed Me How to Approach My “Command Man” Husband

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Nina Roesner has a class for wives in very difficult marriages that helps women experience healing in Christ and then have the wisdom and spiritual strength they need to know how the Lord desires them to handle the issues in the marriage – Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

When Would I Not Submit to My Husband?

 

This is such a serious issue. How I pray that God’s Spirit will be very much involved to help me write and to help each of us understand things clearly. I have had many women read a bit about biblical submission and conclude that submitting to our husbands means things like:

  • My husband is my absolute authority not God.
  • I have to do whatever he says no matter what.
  • I can’t voice any disagreement with my husband, that’s disrespectful.
  • I have to follow him into sin.
  • I have to treat his words as if they are always the very words of God even if he clearly goes against the Bible.

I don’t believe this is what Scripture teaches at all.

With almost every biblical principle, there is balance. If we veer to the right or the left of what the Bible teaches, we will end up with a destructive false teaching. So let’s always “test the spirits” as Scripture says. Let’s not just believe anything that any human teaches. Let’s compare everything to the Bible and pray for God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom and discernment that we might handle His Word rightly. It is impossible to delve into all that marriage means in one post – so please take lots of time to study this issue and to seek God’s truth wholeheartedly.

Note – There is a danger with a post like this that a wife who is not abiding in Christ and not seeing clearly spiritually may try to use this list to justify her own sin or selfishness. We are accountable to God for any sin in our own lives.

Let’s keep in mind that ultimately our submission is to Christ as Lord – as men and women. And let’s be sure we are hearing God’s voice clearly, not listening to the enemy’s lies or walking in the power of the flesh so that we can clearly discern God’s voice. Let’s ask God to purify our hearts and motives and to expose any sin or wrong thinking we may have. The goal is that God might say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant,” to each of us. Let’s desire obedience to Him above all else. 🙂

TIMES THAT I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO MY HUSBAND

I am posting this with my husband’s full support and knowledge.

Greg wants me to be sure to emphasize, “A wife will need godly discernment and the power of the Holy Spirit in some of these situations. Sometimes things are gray, not clearly black or white.”

We all need God’s Spirit to give us His wisdom as we seek first of all to submit to Christ as Lord. Ultimately, we will each answer to Him. I want us to handle His Word and our decisions rightly in His eyes. We need to be abiding in Him and we need to know His Word well and be seeking Christ far above all else so that we can hear His voice clearly. God gives us as wives a command to honor our husband’s leadership. I don’t want us to be always looking for a way out of obeying the Lord. That is not the point of this post. Our hearts should long to obey the Lord in everything.

This list is one that Greg and I came up with together for our marriage.

I Would Personally Not Voluntarily Yield to My Husband’s Leadership If:

  • He was not in his right mind
    • he had an uncontrolled severe mental illness at the time – psychotic, manic, extremely depressed, suicidal, schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc…).
    • he was on medication that was causing him not to be able to think properly (like he was not in touch with reality after anesthesia).
    • he was high or drunk or involved in a severe addiction that ruled his life.
    • he had significant dementia.
    • he asked me to do something truly foolish or reckless to endanger himself, others, or me – like asking me to get on the roof when I was 9 months pregnant, unless the house was on fire, refusing to go to the hospital when he clearly just had a heart attack and needed life-saving treatment, or saying we should strap the kids on the hood of the car and drive down the interstate.
    • he was obviously demon-possessed.
  • He was asking me to condone or commit clear sin according to God’s Word – not about my personal convictions – but clear sin. i.e.: He wanted me to get an abortion, to have a threesome, to watch porn with him, to lie on our taxes, to steal something, to worship someone/something other than the Lord, to be okay with him having an affair, to take the Lord’s Name in vain, to blaspheme against God, to turn from my faith in Christ, etc…
    • He demanded that he had absolute authority over me and was to be my primary “lord” instead of Jesus.
    • He wanted to lead me into a false religion or cult.
    • He wanted me to condone something illegal (unless it was to smuggle Bibles into a closed country).
    • He was threatening harm to me or my children, brandishing weapons,  or he had rage so out of control that I felt that I or our children might be seriously in danger.
    • He was truly abusing me or our children. (see note on bottom of post about abuse)
  • He was asking me to do something I literally could not do. (i.e.: drive a stick-shift that I have never learned how to drive, pick up a 300 lb couch, speak German fluently when I haven’t learned German, etc…)

Note – I haven’t been in such a situation with Greg so far, but if I did face something like this, I would not be able to just blindly follow him. God requires wives to be accountable for our decisions about when to submit and when not to submit. Check out what happened when Sapphira followed her husband into lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5. Abigail is a great example of a wife who honored God and who did not follow her husband’s disrespect toward David in order to keep the males of their household from being killed in 1 Samuel 25. For more on this issue of when it is appropriate to disobey a person in a position of God-given authority (in the home, government, church, or workplace), please check out the class notes on the post Spiritual Authority from a minister at my church.

There are some situations where a wife may be able to stay in the home and honor his leadership concerning non-sinful things. There may be other situations where things are so toxic that she prayerfully decides to seek a separation in hopes that her husband will repent and find the help he needs and that they can rebuild a stronger, more godly marriage in the future. Separation is not ideal, but it is acknowledged in 1 Corinthians 7 and sometimes it is very necessary.

I could still have a desire to be able to honor my husband’s leadership and a heart that anticipates being able to honor him again. But before I could honor my husband’s leadership in cases like the ones above on my list, I would need to see that he was back in his right mind. I would need to see clear repentance and fruit of repentance if he had been involved in major sin and trust had been severely broken. If wives are dealing with issues like this, I believe they may need godly, appropriate outside help to help them navigate these kinds of issues and find the help for their husbands that they need spiritually and medically – depending on the situation.

To me, this would be similar to a situation where my husband is driving the car. I don’t grab the wheel from him because I would wreck the car if he is driving even though I am a very responsible driver, myself. I can’t drive well from the passenger’s seat. However, if my husband were to pass out or become incapacitated, I would certainly try to grab the wheel then and bring the car safely to a stop, if at all possible.

We also need to be sure that we are not endangering our men, abusing them, sinning against them, trying to lead them into sin, or continuing on in unrepentant sin ourselves, as well. And if we are involved in addictions or we need help spiritually, emotionally, or mentally, we need to be sure to reach out for the help we need. I don’t want to ever see anyone in danger from family members! Home should be the safest place on earth, brothers and sisters!

WE ANSWER TO CHRIST ABOVE ALL

Ultimately, we must each study to “show ourselves approved workmen” before God. We will answer to Him alone for all of our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. So will our husbands. I want us to obey His Word above all else.

There are some who teach that submission/authority in marriage is about a husband lording power over his wife. That is not how Jesus describes authority in His kingdom to His disciples in Matthew 20:25-28. There are some who teach that husbands have no authority or that husbands and wives have “equal authority” to lead. I also don’t see how that is biblical when we read passages that clearly teach that husbands do have authority in ways that wives do not (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, I Peter 3:1-7). We do have equal value in Christ and yet we have different roles. But there is to be mutual unconditional love, and unconditional respect flowing both directions in marriage. We are to treat all others with honor, dignity, gentleness, 1 Corinthians 13 love, and respect if we love and know Christ.

Even though husbands have a God-given position of authority, it is not a position of absolute authority.

God doesn’t ever give a human a position of absolute authority. All authorities on earth answer to Him and He has put all authority in heaven and on earth under Christ’s feet. Human authorities often answer to other earthly God-given authorities, as well. Husbands answer to the church, the government, and the police, for example. If there is abuse going on, these other authorities are there to help stop that. Any human authority must have limits. We know that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” for sinful humans. Thankfully, God’s Word has answers for us – I share some resources below that may help, as well.

I pray you will take the time to really study this issue and seek to understand God’s teaching rightly. Misunderstandings on this issue lead to great dysfunction and harm to husbands, wives, children, and the Body of Christ.

WE CAN BE GODLY WOMEN NO MATTER WHAT OUR HUSBANDS DO

If our husbands are involved in unrepentant sin or are not in their right minds, that does not mean we get to sin against them. It doesn’t mean we get to treat them with contempt or disrespect. But it does mean that we may have to spend much time wrestling in prayer to discern God’s wisdom and direction for us and how to best handle these very difficult situations. There is not always a one-size-fits-all formula for what a wife should do.  I would encourage women with extreme situations to seek one-on-one, experienced, godly counsel and much prayer.

 

For More Clarification on Spiritual Authority and Biblical Submission:

NOTE – please compare EVERYTHING any human author says to the Bible, my precious sisters!

Spiritual Authority – by Rev. Weaver from my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by Rev. Weaver from my church

What Does “Submit in Everything” Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission by Steven R. Tracy – Overall I agree very much with this paper, there is only one point towards the end that says if a wife ever disagrees with her husband on anything, the husband should always seek outside godly counsel before leading in that direction. I can think of some possible exceptions to that. If you want to talk about that, please let me know.

The Danvers Statement  – from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Husbands Are Never the Absolute Authority

My Husband Gets Upset If I Respectfully Disagree with Him

What Is Biblical Submission?

Biblical Submission Is Not Passivity

Do I Condone BDSM or CDD? – (The short answer is – no, those things are not what I am teaching at all.)

Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband Is Always Right

What Biblical Submission and Headship Look Like at Our House

Husbands May Not Force Their Wives into Biblical Submission

The Pendulum Effect – men and women must avoid being dominating and avoid being passive

Godly Leadership

Healthy Relationships

25 Ways to Respect Myself

Do I Condone Abuse?

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

Secret Church – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – David Platt

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord – April Cassidy  – There is a whole chapter on submission in marriage, after a whole chapter on submission to Christ as Lord.  I talk about what biblical submission is not, and what it is.

  • It is not an invitation to abuse.
  • It is not agreement.
  • It does not mean I can’t have my own opinion.
  • It is not mutual (in the way that many evangelical feminists describe it).
  • It is not absolute.
  • It is not related to value.
  • It demonstrates trust – in God but also in our husbands.
  • It allows God to work.
  • It promotes real romance.

 

DEFINING ABUSE:

I want to be clear about a definition of “abuse.” This term is so overused. Some women who truly have godly husbands claim their husbands are “abusive” because their husbands want them to check with them before the wives making purchases over $500 or because their husbands would like them not to show rated R movies to their young children. These kinds of things are not abuse! That is godly leadership. Other women don’t think they are being abused, but they really are and don’t recognize it. Other women truly are being abused, severely sinned against, and mistreated, but think they have to stay and take it. They think that is what “submission” means in Scripture and are told they are “bad wives” or “sinning against God” if they leave.

thelawdictionary.org’s definition of abuse – “Cruelty that causes harm to another.”

legaldictionary-thefreedictionary.com’s definition of domestic violence – “Any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another can constitute domestic violence.”

I would argue that all sin is abusive. All sin causes harm to those we sin against and to ourselves – as well as our relationship with God. But there is a continuum and  progression of sin where it becomes more and more toxic. There is a point at which it can be too poisonous for a spouse and/or children to stay with the abusive spouse. Sometimes both spouses are abusive.

What is the Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence – by www.gotquestions.org

Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity is for women in very difficult marriages for them to find healing in Christ and to learn to think rightly about themselves and to learn healthy boundaries and biblical principles so that they have God’s wisdom and Spirit to know how to handle the marriage issues.

www.thehotline.org – a secular resource for those in physically or severely emotionally abusive situations

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.

RELATED:

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

Things Got Worse At First When I Began to Change – The RestoredWife

25 Ways to Respect Myself

My Security and Identity Is in Christ

25 Ways to Show Real Respect for Your Husband

25 Ways to Show Reverence for God

Husbands Share What Speaks Disrespect to Them

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

"Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!"

directions-1312438-640x640

I’m going to share one wife’s “gut reactions”  to the list I gave of ways we can speak and communicate directly and honestly. It’s worth the time to really hash through these objections in our self-talk together. My original statements from a post last month about how to directly communicate our needs and desires are in bold. Keep in mind, when you read the statements I am sharing – that I am talking about a wife sharing these statements with pure motives, respect, a genuine smile, and a pleasant tone of voice. I am also talking about a wife sharing difficult things only after much prayer and in the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit. I don’t intend to say that we should share out of selfish or sinful motives.

I greatly appreciate this wife allowing me to share her thoughts – (they are in red):

 

1. “I need this, please.”

(Yikes! Do not tell anyone what you need or you will sound needy! And whiny. And do you really need it? No. Be grateful for what you already have.)

If I were being whiny, I would repeat myself over and over again and verbally try to force other people to do what I wanted and I would continue to verbally pressure them until they did what I wanted them to do. That is not a godly approach. But to share my desire or need one time in a pleasant way (or to share when needed, not in a nagging way) – is perfectly acceptable. There are a lot of verses that tell us to ask for what we need and desire – but that we are to do so with godly motives, not sinful motives.

Verses about asking for things

There are times we genuinely do need things. I think it is important to differentiate between a need and a want. There are things I want that I can live without. But there are some things I truly need – or that others truly need. We all do have legitimate needs – air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter, love, acceptance, purpose, forgiveness, grace, help, etc…

2. “I would really love to do that.”

(Maybe someday. Maybe after everyone else has their turn it would be okay to say what you’d love to do. Otherwise you risk upsetting someone who wants to do something else. But do not tell anyone or you’ll sound selfish and demanding.)

Perhaps you are thinking of this passage:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

But let’s read that closely. The key is that we don’t do something from selfishness, not that we have needs or desires. We are to think about others and their needs, considering other people more than we consider ourselves. But look at the last part, it doesn’t say, “don’t look out for your own interests and only look out for the interests of others.” We are allowed to look out for our interests – but we are not to do so in a selfish way or with sinful motives. And, ultimately, we are to seek God’s will above our own.

3. “I don’t like X.”

(So what? Am I queen of the world? We all have to deal with things we don’t like. Deal with it!)

God never says that we cannot have our own opinions, desires, preferences, and emotions. We are free to express them to Him and to others – again, as long as we do so with pure motives and we don’t try to force our way on others.

It is not sin for me to say, “I prefer Japanese food.”  Or “I don’t like being around a lot of cigarette smoke.” Or, “I don’t like for my children to see movies that are over PG.” Or, “I don’t like that color for the dining room – I like this other color the best.”

If others don’t agree, over the color of the paint for the walls at church – I can submit myself to whatever they would like and not cause a fuss. If my husband and I don’t agree on a paint color, I can decide to selflessly allow him to choose the color he prefers. But there is nothing wrong with me stating my preference calmly and respectfully. If we can’t agree, I may decide to acknowledge that the color of the room isn’t a big thing in the light of eternity.

4. “I want Y, please”

(Oh my goodness! This is the worst one on the list. Do not tell people want you want. Again, selfish. Begging. It’s worse than being forced to tell someone what you’d like for a gift. Who begs for gifts? This list is insane! This list is starting to frustrate me…)

God invites us to share our desires with Him. Jesus certainly expressed that He didn’t want to go to the cross. But then He submitted Himself to God’s will. Prayer is about our praising God, thanking Him, confessing our sins – but then it is about our sharing our desires and our seeking to line up our desires with the desires and will of God. As we approach God in prayer with our desires and seek His desires above our own, He helps transform our desires to match His own. But there is nothing wrong with us asking God for what we desires if our motives are pure.

James 4:1-10 is all about this. We don’t have because we don’t ask God, and when we do ask, we ask with wrong motives, that we might spend what we get on our own pleasures. The problem is not that we shouldn’t ask for what we want. God invites us over and over to ask of Him. But we do need to watch our motives.

Those who came to Jesus for healing, He often asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” And then, whatever they asked Him for, He would do for them. He healed them. There is no one I can think of who asked Jesus to heal them whom Jesus ultimately refused.

I can say,

  • “I really want another baby.”
  • “I want to spend some time together this week, Honey.”
  • “I want to think about changing careers. Would you pray about that with me, please?”

Verses about desires

5. “I feel scared/sad/upset/angry/happy…”

(Keep your feelings to yourself. Smile. If you share your real feelings you will be judged. People may get upset. You will look weak).

There is nowhere in Scripture (that I can think of) where we are commanded to be fake or told not to have or not to express our feelings. We are told not to “give full vent” to our every emotion – that would be foolish. We are not to share in sinful anger or in sinful manipulation. We are not to try to make other people do what we want. We do need to watch our motives and attitudes. Our feelings are not the source of absolute truth. We don’t have to be slaves to our feelings and emotions. But we are responsible to share our own feelings and concerns with God and with others when appropriate.

David shared all of the range of human emotions with God in the Psalms. Did God consider him to be weak because of that? No! God said David was “a man after My own heart.”

Sharing feelings and being vulnerable is  not “weak” – it is essential! Apart from vulnerability, there is no true intimacy or authenticity.

Verses about emotions

In the next post, we will address the issues of people pleasing that this wife voiced.

SHARE:

Do you feel safe to be vulnerable and direct in your marriage and relationships? If not, what fears do  you have that keep you from feeling like you can share?

 

RELATED:

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Why Non-Verbal Disrespect Is So Disrespectful to Our Men – VIDEO

Advanced Self-Control – VIDEO

Control and Boundaries

My Husband Said, “You Worry Too Much”

 

 

Another Challenge – Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

 

In the last post, we talked about choosing to believe our husbands and taking what they say at face value. (NOTE – These posts are not for wives who are facing very serious issues in their marriage like drug/alcohol abuse, uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, pathological  lying issues, or unrepentant infidelity. If that is your situation, please don’t read my blog, but seek appropriate one-on-one experienced counseling.)

Now, here are a few questions for us to prayerfully consider…

  • Can our husbands take what we say at face value?
  • Do we speak in a straightforward manner?
  • Do we communicate truthfully ourselves?

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

If I say, “Yes,” is that what I really mean? Or do I expect my husband to decipher that I said “yes,” but I really mean, “no”?

Do I send mixed messages to my husband? Do I expect him to have to read between the lines to guess what I am really thinking? Or do I communicate clearly and concisely to my man? Most men truly do appreciate it when their wives say what they mean and mean what they say. (Gentlemen, you are welcome to jump in and comment here.)

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

What if we challenge ourselves to speak the truth to our husbands and to communicate honestly and vulnerably?

This can get a little bit dicey when we are in the process of learning respect – because sometimes when we try to be honest, we also come across disrespectfully. BUT – it IS possible to be honest and respectful at the same time. I promise! That is the goal – to share our feelings, needs, concerns, ideas, and wisdom effectively – and to do so without being hurtful, disrespectful, rude, controlling, unloving, etc…

It is also possible to be honest and straightforward without arguing, nagging, complaining, criticizing, or being negative. I do admit, it takes a lot of prayer, the power of God’s Spirit, and tons of practice… but God can empower us to do this!

Some ladies think that we are sparing our husbands feelings by being very vague, by giving hints, or by not directly saying what we need, think, feel, or want. That would be respectful, right? We may think it is rude or demanding of us to have any needs and to voice them. Actually, the men I have corresponded with often feel disrespected and confused by this kind of unclear, murky communication. It is my understanding that it is frustrating for husbands to have to jump through hoops and be mind readers to know what we are thinking. Women sometimes value nuance in order to try to spare people’s feelings, but not everyone can read into our hints. Our men, in particular, may appreciate us just being upfront and direct in a friendly, calm, pleasant, concise way.

When we are vulnerable and we share our desires and feeling directly with respect – it draws our husbands to us, and makes it easier for them to understand our desires and makes it a lot more likely that we will receive the things we would like. 

(Laura Doyle talks about this in The Surrendered Wife – a very helpful, but secular, book.)

Two Examples:

1. If I need help and am overwhelmed with the housework and children – I could refuse to ask for help. I could let my pride get in my way of my needs. I could dishonestly tell my husband that I don’t need help but secretly expect him to see I do need help and think, “If he really loved me, he would just know I need help and he would help me.”

But if I really do need help, and I won’t ask for help – then I resent him and huff and puff and storm around the house, slamming doors because he believed my words – that is not okay. It is sin on my part.

A lot of men don’t jump in to help unless they are asked because they believe it would be disrespectful to help someone who said she can handle things on her own (Nina Roesner – The Respect Dare blog). If I need help, it is good for me to say, “Honey, I am really feeling overwhelmed tonight. I could use some help with the kids and the dishes, please.” Then, perhaps my husband will help me.

2. If my husband didn’t clean up behind himself in the kitchen and I don’t like that, I can say (in a pleasant, friendly way), “Sweetheart, would you please wash the dirty dishes in the kitchen, thanks so much!” If I tell him, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll do them,” but then resent him or lash out at him later – that is not good. If I really don’t like it when he leaves a mess for me, I can share respectfully that I would appreciate him cleaning up after himself.

If he can’t or won’t take care of the mess, I have the power in Christ to clean up and to do it out of love for God and for my husband and to lay aside resentment. I don’t have to be held hostage to resentment.

I can ask for what I need. But even if I don’t get what I want, God can empower me not to live in sinful thinking and to walk in victory over temptation as I stay totally yielded to Him.

A big key to honest, godly communication is for us to examine our motives.

  • Why am I afraid to say the truth about what I feel? Is there anything ungodly in my thinking?
  • How am I going to respond after I say what I plan to say? Is there any temptation there for me?
  • How can I be honest, authentic, vulnerable, respectful, and loving? What is God prompting me to do?

Sometimes we are afraid to share our real needs and desires. We feel guilty even having needs or we think we are being selfish to say what we want. Where does that awful idea come from? We are real people, my dear sisters! We are allowed by God to have our own feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, and desires. We don’t have to pretend that we are two-dimensional, second class people who are not permitted to have thoughts, needs, or feelings. Now, if I am ONLY concerned about myself and don’t care about anyone else’s feelings, needs, ideas, concerns, or desires – or if I do not put God first – then I may be selfish. But simply sharing what I need and want is totally fine. Then I can trust God even if I don’t get what I think is best and seek His will above my own.

I don’t have to feel guilty for sharing my feelings, needs, and ideas!!!

The other side of the coin is – I want to avoid resentment after the fact. If I am going to resent my husband (or someone else) if I say a specific thing or agree to something, maybe I need to re-evaluate what I need to do in order to be truthful, vulnerable, and authentic. I also want to make sure my motives are not to hurt my husband or someone else. If there is any sin in my motives (bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred envy, pride, etc…), I need to stop, pray, and get my motives right with God before proceeding.

Alternatives to Sharing My Needs and Feelings Directly:

If I don’t believe I can share what I need and think honestly in a straightforward, loving, respectful manner, I am left with a number of destructive, sinful approaches like…

Speaking in a direct, honest, straightforward way prevents a great deal of hurt feelings, confusion, miscommunication, misunderstandings, and destructive interactions. It promotes unity and harmony.

SHARE:

How have you communicated in ways that created confusion in your marriage at times?

Are you afraid to be honest and direct with your husband in a respectful way? If so, why do  you think that might be?

If you have learned to communicate in a more straightforward, honest way – please share your story if you would like to. What has been the outcome so far?

Men, is there anything else about this you might like to share so that we can better understand our husbands?

RELATED:

Verses about honesty

Posts about Bitterness

Posts about Forgiveness

Posts about Fear

A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – "I'm Going to Actually Believe My Husband"

Featured Image -- 15926

I first “met” A Fellow Wife in October of 2012. We have had some INTENSE conversations over the past 3 years. This has been a difficult journey many times for her – as it was for me (and as it is for all of us, I would daresay). I always love sharing what God is teaching her. I pray this might bless you (If your husband is involved in unrepentant sin, is abusive, is a compulsive liar, or is not in his right mind for some reason, perhaps you can’t believe your husband and this post may not be a good fit for you.) Thankfully, most of us really have decent men who are pretty straightforward and honest with us about what they say or who would like to feel safe enough with us to be straightforward and honest with us – even if they are not believers.

I’ve been thinking how different our marriage would be if I just truly took my husband at his word, if I believed him, if I took him as literally as he intends his words to be INSTEAD of allowing doubt and insecurity to creep in. Instead of over-analyzing and worrying he may not mean what he’s saying or that he’s just trying to spare my feelings or avoid conflict. How much more secure would I be in his love? How much happier would I be in our marriage. How much have I allowed Satan to steal from me through causing doubt, fear and insecurity?

  • Instead of thinking maybe he doesn’t want to have sex because I’m not a size 0, maybe he truly is just tired.
  • Instead of thinking he doesn’t love me as much as he says he does, just believe him.
  • Instead of believing I’m a low priority because he has things he wants to do, how about believing him when he says he just has things he wants to get done and it’s no reflection of his feelings for me.
  • How about believing him when he says he loves me with his entire heart instead of wondering if he’s truly got his priorities in order and prioritizes his marriage?

It would be a MUCH less painful way to live.

The reason I shared this is that I was thinking that doubt and insecurity can steal SO much from you – they’ve certainly been enemies of mine the last few years and I’m tired of the battle. It’s certainly easier and feels much better to have confidence in his love for me.

My husband’s biggest complaint (or close to the top) over the years has been that I don’t believe him.

I don’t want him to feel that way at all! It’s not been a matter of believing him but a matter of doubt and insecurity creeping in. But I want to conquer that. Love believes all things (Corinthians 13:8)!

I once read in book that Satan’s weapons are always doubt, deceit and distraction and if you can trace your thoughts back to those then you know you’re in a spiritual battle.

This is definitely a battle of doubt.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Isn’t this the same issue we have with God so many times? What would happen if we just believed Him and took the Bible at face value and accepted His Word to us?

But, back to talking about our husbands. It has been my experience that most husbands really do try to tell their wives the truth in a very straightforward way. We tend to get ourselves into a lot of trouble though, because some of us want to read into everything. What did that look mean? What was that inflection in his voice? Maybe he really meant this, not what he said. Maybe he is trying to hide his real feelings. And we get into a big tizzy over all of the possible interpretations we can imagine regarding what our husband said rather than just taking his words at face value.

That is a LOT of unnecessary drama and angst, my dear sisters!

It is extremely frustrating to a man to tell his wife the truth and then have her not believe it and begin imagining 96 other things he may have meant – that he definitely did not mean.  In fact, for a man to tell his wife the truth and for her not to believe him and to assume evil ulterior motives instead feels really disrespectful to a man. Why is that? Because she is calling him a liar. No one enjoys being called a liar. Certainly not most husbands.

What if your husband does fudge things a bit to keep from upsetting you? What do you do then? Well, I think that if you begin to take his words at face value and don’t freak out and launch into “what if” land, he may eventually begin to feel safe enough to be more honest with you when he has a problem. In fact, that is one of the signs that he feels more safe with you and that he trusts you more is that he begins to share the really hard things with you more often.

If he truly has an issue with dishonesty and lying, that is a different situation – and you may need some experienced one-on-one counseling to help you. But for most of us, what if we try taking up a challenge:

Treat your husband as if you completely believe whatever he tells you this week. Take his words at face value. Rest in them. Act on them.

  • If he says he likes something, believe him.
  • If he says he doesn’t need help – trust that he is being honest and don’t help him. 
  • If he says he thinks you are beautiful – graciously receive the compliment and rest in his words, trusting that he is telling you the truth.
  • If he doesn’t give a lot of compliments, rest in what he does to show his love for you and that he is still there.
  • If he says he loves you, receive it.
  • If he does something special for you – receive that as his way of showing love for you and appreciate him.

If he is not being honest about little things, he will figure out that he needs to change things as you begin to consistently take him literally. Your husband is probably a pretty intelligent guy. You may be amazed at how relieved he feels when you stop questioning everything he says – if you have been doing that.

In the next post, we will talk about a challenge for us to share in an honest, respectful, and straightforward way, too.

SHARE:

If you have already been down this road and have learned the blessings and freedom of just believing your husband and trusting he is being honest, please share your story.

PRAY:

How would your relationship with God change if you began to do this with Him, as well? What would happen if you just took His Word at face value – believe it and act on it?

OTHER POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE

 

 

 

 

“Wouldn’t a Husband Be Prideful for Not Accepting His Wife’s Help?”

image6

Photo credit – Maral Rabbit Photography

A woman asked this question recently – and I think it is a great one to discuss.

Women tend, in general, to jump in to help their husbands or other people – because we see it as “the loving thing to do.” Men tend, in general, not to jump in to offer unsolicited advice or help because they often believe that would be “disrespectful.” So when a wife offers unsolicited help or advice to her husband, and he refuses it – she may be tempted to think that he is being prideful. (Of course, this may happen in reverse, as well. I am talking in generalizations here – but there can be different dynamics in different marriages.)

But let’s step back and realize that we don’t know other people’s motives or their hearts. Other people may have perspectives that we are not privy to. So, it may not be that a man is “prideful” for not accepting his wife’s attempts to help him. He may feel that she doesn’t believe he is capable of doing what he is trying to do and he may feel insulted by what she believes she is doing to be “helpful.”

Let’s see how a woman might experience a similar scenario:

  1. Imagine that you have a newborn and you are nursing your baby because you believe it is the best thing for your baby’s health. Now picture that your mother tells you that formula would be better for your baby and that your baby will never get enough nourishment because she thinks that you cannot possibly produce enough milk to sustain your baby. Imagine that your baby is well within normal weight limits and that your baby is healthy and you are having no problems with nursing. How would you feel about your mother’s unsolicited advice and “help”? Would it be prideful for you to make your own decision about whether to breastfeed your baby or not?
  2. Imagine that you are cleaning the bathroom and your husband comes in and and grabs the sponge and spray bottle out of your hand and starts cleaning himself? What if he also criticizes your own cleaning abilities the entire time as he is taking over the job you were doing? How would you feel about your husband’s “help”? Would you be prideful to be unappreciative?
  3. Imagine that you are in the middle of ringing up a customer at work when a coworker comes over and steps in front of you and finishes the transaction while you were handling things just fine yourself and didn’t need or ask for help. How would you feel about your coworker’s “help”? Would it be prideful of you to expect to be able to do your own work without your coworker stepping in to do your job for you?

Perhaps we can appreciate that what one person perceives as being “helpful” may actually feel insulting to the one receiving the unsolicited advice or help. Could it be prideful not to ask for help when we need it? Yes. It definitely could. But there may be other ways to look at situations at times – and that is what I would like for us to try to do. Let’s seek to understand our husband’s perspective rather than judging him as having evil or sinful motives first.

Here is a recent 4 minute Youtube video I did about how to tell the difference between being controlling vs. actually being helpful to our men:

 

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Signs Your Husband May Feel Disrespected

The Respect Knob

 

GENERAL DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY BLOG – if you have really serious issues in your marriage, if your husband is very dominant/controlling/abusive, you are struggling with mental illness, your husband is struggling with mental illness, you or your husband have an active addiction, you tend to be extremely codependent, you are extremely passive and tend to be too afraid to share your needs with your husband, or you are severely emotionally scarred  – my blog may not be a good fit for you.

I would suggest that you find a godly,   you can get to know and trust one-on-one to help walk you through your situation. Sometimes women in these situations mishear me in dangerous ways. I never want that to happen. I want everyone to find the healing that is in Christ – if that is through a different source, I am fine with that.

Twenty-three Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

 

Many of you may remember me saying – it took 3.5 YEARS into my journey before Greg began to feel safe with me again – once God opened my eyes to my disrespect and control. Just a few weeks ago, he told me that he feels even safer with me – 6.5 years into my journey. At first, a lot of husbands are very skeptical about the changes they see in their wives. They may stay that way for months, or even years, before believing that the changes in their wives are real. Many husbands are worried at first that the changes are a phase or their wife’s attempt at manipulating them. (For more about how husbands often respond when they don’t know what is going on at first, please check out this post.)

Sometimes, it can be confusing to a wife when her husband begins to slowly trust her again – because it can seem like things are getting worse – from a wife’s perspective. Here are some things may indicate your husband is beginning to feel safer with you – that he feels like he has a voice in the marriage again, that he feels respected, that he feels you can handle hearing his true feelings/thoughts, and that he is feeling more free to be honest and be himself again (these things will happen gradually over time, usually – and they won’t all happen in every situation):

  • He tells you things that might be difficult for you to hear (constructive criticism, or just ideas of his that differ from yours)
  • He shares more about his heart, struggles, concerns, ideas, and dreams
  • He is more affectionate – maybe even begins to touch you again if he had stopped touching you
  • He may begin to flirt and become more interested in sex with you again, his libido begins to pick up
  • He looks you in the eye more
  • He is more willing to risk disagreeing with you
  • He smiles more
  • He jokes more often and teases you in a friendly way again
  • He wants to do more things together
  • He looks more relaxed around you and seems to be having more fun
  • He gives you more compliments (less verbal men may still not do this, just because of their personalities)
  • He seems more interested in doing things you would like
  • He feels like it is worth it to try to do things that will make you happy because he believes it is actually possible to please you again
  • He is more interested in your feelings, concerns, insights, and ideas
  • He doesn’t raise his voice as much
  • Arguments seem to happen less often and the recovery time seems to be much faster
  • He may be more willing to talk about having children if he wasn’t before
  • He talks about the future together
  • He acts a lot more like the guy you fell in love with years ago
  • He begins to open up spiritually – maybe even praying with you (although some men still won’t, this depends on the man, where he is spiritually, and his personality)
  • He trusts you with deeper parts of himself
  • He tries to serve you more and do more things to show his love for you
  • He is more willing to try to lead you and your family and take risks because he is not afraid of you reacting negatively

If your husband is feeling more at ease around you and more trusting of you – what are some of the changes you noticed on this journey?

Men, you are welcome to comment, as well, to help the ladies better understand the things they might see in their marriages as they learn to honor and respect their husbands and to be peaceful, godly wives.

RELATED:

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Is Respect in Marriage?

My Level of Respect for My Husband Has Nothing to Do with Him – VIDEO

Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them

Could Your Husband Be Trapped in Shame?

me-myself-and-again-1239149

My husband, Greg, has a new site for his blog – he changed the name to Peaceful Husband. 🙂 You are welcome to check out his new look and his posts. He writes for men, many times – but, he has more women readers than men, so sometimes he also writes for women from a man’s perspective. Lately, he has been doing a powerful series on shame for men.

I believe that for our husbands, shame is often a very serious issue.

Shame can deepen and become entrenched in a man’s heart to the point that it becomes extremely toxic – total imprisonment. When a man is feeling shame, he will generally retreat into himself to protect himself from exposure. Sin is always progressive – it all snowballs and gets bigger and more destructive. As Greg shared with me the research he has been doing about shame in a man’s life, I was struck by how many men probably experience shame and by how paralyzing and isolating shame can be for a man.

Greg said that when a man becomes increasingly trapped in shame, other men generally do not reach out to them – because that would be “unmanly” to imply to another man that you think he needs help. Men tend to wait for other men to ask for help – but to ask for help is seen as “weakness.” And then there is the issue that there are not too many men who are well-equipped to help a man through the healing process for shame even if they did want to help someone. So – many men feel completely trapped by shame over their sins, shame over not being “man enough” at home, at work, at church, or shame over their failures (real or perceived). 

A number of our men feel shame simply for being men in our culture today. They are told they should feel, think, and act like women. And when they don’t – they hear a clear message that they are “wrong” or “evil.” What an incredibly awful place to be! To think that just by existing and being masculine as God designed them to be – they are seen as being “wrong.” (I am not talking about sin here, but just masculinity in general.)

This absolutely breaks my heart!!!!! I don’t want ANYONE to be isolated and trapped like this, feeling that they are completely alone in the world and unable to break out of that snare.

Interestingly, the cure for a man’s shame, in Greg’s research – is vulnerability.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT FOR WIVES IN THIS POST:

If a man can become vulnerable and open with someone he trusts who is safe – he can begin to heal from his shame and find hope. The place a man is most likely to look for help and healing is his wife. But the clincher is – a man will NEVER be vulnerable with someone who disrespects him. Why would he share the deepest parts of his heart with someone who seems bent on doing him harm? Greg told me,

“a man would rather be unknown than to be known for his weaknesses.”

We wives long for our husbands to be vulnerable and open with us. We long for them to share their hearts. But – if we are disrespecting them (even unintentionally) – we are communicating a clear message that we are not safe and that they cannot open up to us. Unfortunately, our disrespect can block one of the best paths to healing a man might be able to find. If a man believes that his wife is not safe and no man will help him – but there is another woman at work or somewhere who admires him and accepts him – what a recipe for disaster.

Most men do not have close guy friends. We may be the only one who could offer them a ladder to get out of the deep hole in which they find themselves. Will we throw a rope to them to help them, or will we shovel in more dirt over them and bury them alive? When a man feels completely trapped in shame over a long period of time, he may eventually “snap” and  lash out in really destructive and sinful ways toward himself, his wife, and others (sometimes this comes as something like a “mid-life crisis”).

Ultimately – men need the same thing women need – a relationship with God through the healing that only Jesus can offer!

(How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ)

Ways We Can Make Things Worse and push our husbands deeper into the mire, deeper into hopelessness/despair, and further away from Christ:

BOTTOM LINE: if we are sinning against our husbands or against God – we may inadvertently compound our husband’s pain and shame.

Ways We Can Be Part of God’s Plan to Bring Healing, Hope, and Help to an emotionally/spiritually wounded husband:

  • abide in Christ and be filled with His Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)
  • know our identity in Christ
  • extend grace
  • extend forgiveness
  • share the good things we see – the things we truly admire and respect (usually briefly – i.e.: a sentence or two per day or per week)
  • if our husbands are open to us talking about spiritual things, we can share the hope that is in Christ – that He takes away all of our guilt and shame – and that in Him, there is abundant spiritual life available. There is a fountain of Living Water. They can have God’s Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit. They can have wholeness, healing, purpose, godly power, and God can transform them to be more like Christ and make them mighty warriors in His kingdom for His glory!
  • be vulnerable ourselves – sharing our feelings, desires, and needs – softly, respectfully, humbly, gently
  • be honest but in a respectful way, considering our husbands’ needs and feelings
  • refuse to build walls ourselves
  • be able to hear hard things – even when we don’t agree
  • not demand perfection, but accept our men are human – just like we are
  • be willing to be flexible and try to understand our men’s very different perspectives
  • receive any wisdom our husbands may have to share
  • appreciate anything our husbands do for us to show their love – even if it is nor our favorite way of receiving love
  • keep our husbands’ faults, failures, and weaknesses to ourselves and be trustworthy and loyal by keeping confidences (unless there are really serious issues going on, then we must reach out for help, but only to appropriate, trustworthy counselors and sources)
  • choose our closest friends/advisors wisely (to be sure that they will honor and respect our husband and marriage and point us to God’s truth in the Bible, not worldly wisdom)
  • tear out every root of bitterness
  • accept them (not to say we accept sin, but we can accept our men and not try to change them)
  • affirm them and build them up (in sincerity, not in a fake or manipulative way)
  • give them the space they need to process and grow
  • trust and begin to follow their leadership, understanding that it will take time for them to learn to become strong leaders (unless there are really serious issues like abuse, unrepentant infidelity, uncontrolled mental health disorders, etc.. where trust would need to be rebuilt first)
  • trust God’s sovereignty in the marriage
  • smile that beautiful smile that lights up the whole room – and makes him feel like a million bucks

BOTTOM LINE: if we are seeking to allow God to transform and regenerate our souls and we are living in the power of God’s Spirit and walking in holiness and obedience to Him – we can be an instrument in God’s hands to bring healing and hope to our men.

SHARE:

Gentlemen, we welcome your insights on this issue – and how you believe wives might be able to reach and bless their husbands who may be caught up in a terrible abyss of shame.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? How can we pray for our men and our brothers in Christ? The enemy wants to take them down and destroy them – because if he can destroy our leaders, everything else will crumble. He is attacking them with everything he has today. Sisters, let’s close ranks to surround our brothers in Christ with fervent prayer!

PRAYER:

Lord,

We lift up our husbands and our brothers in Christ who are trapped in shame and who can’t see the way out. Open their eyes to You! Open their eyes to what Jesus has done for them. Let them turn to Him and be healed and bring them up out of the pit! Let them fully submit themselves to Christ as Lord and become the godly men, the holy generation, that You call them to be for Your glory!

Amen!

SCRIPTURE:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:1-5

%d bloggers like this: