Honestly, this is where most of us find ourselves at the beginning of this journey. I know I did. When I began my journey, my husband was completely shut down and he didn’t care about my feelings or happiness anymore. Or so I thought. He didn’t want to look at me, be in the same room with me, listen to me, or talk to me.
I concluded he didn’t love me at all. But I was wrong. He was just hurting. A lot. We both were.
The answer to this question is going to be a bit different depending on the particular man, his personality, the dynamics of the marriage, and where both the husband and wife are spiritually. It requires some serious spiritual discernment to unravel – what are my own issues as a wife and what are my husband’s issues?
1. For example, some men act like this because they have felt disrespected for a long time. That was my situation. My husband had shut me out of his heart because I was (unknowingly) bossy, rude, condescending, controlling, prideful, self-righteous, and disrespectful. It took over 3.5 years into my journey of asking God to change me for him to soften and begin to feel safe with me again. As he felt more and more safe and respected – and less like I was going to bite his head off – he began to really show that he cared about my happiness.
There is also the issue of idolizing our husbands or becoming codependent where we depend on them to “make us happy” rather than finding our joy and happiness in Christ alone. We can become black holes of deep neediness that no human man could ever satisfy sometimes.
2. Of course, there are other men who are narcissistic or emotionally/verbally abusive or so extremely wounded from their own past that this is the reason why they act this way. Their unloving behavior may be completely independent of their wives.
Other times there is a culture of emotional and verbal abuse that can begin to be corrected when one spouse begins to change and heal in Christ.
3. Another problem is – if the wife doesn’t know how to properly “respect herself” (or, think rightly about herself according to Scripture) if she acts subservient, like a doormat, or weak and disrespects herself, a husband may begin to see her that way, and there are some husbands (especially with more dominating personalities) who may run over a wife like that. She may think that to respect her husband, she has to demean herself. Thankfully, this is not true!
4. There are also men who have mental health issues, very serious unrepentant sin, major addictions, who are very abusive, or who have such severe spiritual oppression that they may not care about their wives or act in loving ways.
Even in really tough situations, we can focus on ourselves and how we can grow in Christ as women. But we may also need outside help to deal with the crisis in the marriage.
Each of these topics could be a book in and of themselves.
I’d like to provide wives with some resources that may help you be able to prayerfully determine which dynamic is going on and work on your end with the Lord and invite His wisdom, discernment, and healing into your life and your marriage.
STEPS TOWARD HEALING
Of course, if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the first step to see healing in your marriage is for you to experience the spiritual healing Jesus has for you. Having a relationship with Him includes deciding to set Him on the throne of your life so that He is LORD of every area of your life. Then He can empower you to become more and more the godly wife He calls you to be.
Resources to help you heal spiritually and be as strong as possible in Christ:
- How to Have a Relationship with Christ
- Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?
- How to Stay Filled with the Spirit.
- 8 Powerful Keys to Peace
- The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant
- Is Real Joy Possible for Me?
- How to Make Your Husband an Idol
- My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language
- Why Should a Wife Change First?
- The Idol of Happiness
- I Am Responsible for My Emotions and for Myself Spiritually
- Oneness in Marriage – Not Too Close and Not Too Far Away (healing from codependency)
- Strong Marriages Do Not Happen By Accident
- Posts about idolizing your husband and breaking codependency by A Fellow Wife
Resources for the 4 marriage situations listed earlier:
1. If #1 (above) is your issue, I believe my book, “The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord,” would be really helpful. (available on Amazon, Christianbook, and Barnes and Noble online.) Also, many of my videos on my Youtube channel, April Cassidy, and my blog posts here about disrespect and respect may provide tools and lightbulb moments to help you on your end of the relationship.
- What Is Respect in Marriage?
- Signs Your Man May Be Feeling Disrespected
- What Speaks Disrespect to Men?
2 and 3. If you are dealing with a man who tends more toward narcissism or emotional/verbal abuse, I would suggest Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. This will help you get the firm spiritual foundation you need with the Lord and then you will learn a lot of tools about deflating defensiveness in your man and how to set healthy boundaries in ways that honor the Lord, your husband, and yourself.
I also have some posts that may be helpful:
- Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced
- Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?
- 25 Ways to Respect Myself
And, I would encourage you to search my blog for posts by “Radiant.”
- Prayer for wives with a critical, harsh husbands
- Prayer to “change the spiritual atmosphere in our homes.”
- For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband
- I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires or Emotions
Also, Nina Roesner has a blog under her name that has posts that may be really helpful like:
4. If you are dealing with severe issues – a truly abusive man, a man who is involved in active infidelity, a man who has severe uncontrolled mental health issues, or who is severely spiritually oppressed and you (or your children) are not safe – I would strongly suggest seeking wise, godly, experienced counsel one-on-one. Also, there are times when it is necessary to involve law enforcement, doctors, pastors, and other people who can help. I don’t want anyone to be in danger.
You may contact:
- the one time free counseling resource at Focus on the Family.
- a counselor from www.biblicalcounseling.com
There are so many women here who are hurting. Our perception is sometimes that our husbands don’t love us, don’t care about us, and that we aren’t important to them. It hurts us to the core as wives.
We feel insecure. We feel afraid. And when we are feeling insecure, unloved, and afraid, we sometimes make destructive choices. Help us to stop depending on our own wisdom and understanding. Help us see our situations rightly – our own lives and our husband’s life – with Your perspective, Your wisdom, Your discernment, and Your Spirit’s power.
Change us. Heal us. Let us become the women and wives You call us to be for Your glory. We invite Your work in our hearts, minds, and lives. We yield ourselves wholeheartedly to You.
Then give us the power, discernment, wisdom, and ability to pour Your healing, Your Spirit, Your goodness, and the blessings of heaven into our marriages – that You might be greatly glorified!
Help us to find our security in Christ alone. Help us to become strong women of great faith in Christ. Not because we are so good or strong. We are weak. But You are strong, Jesus!
Use the pain we are in to draw us to Yourself that we might yield to Your love, Your glorious salvation, and Your Lordship.