Skip to main content

Things Got Worse at First When I Began to Change – by The Restored Wife

 

The Restored Wife Shares some of the most difficult parts of her journey with us (by the way, her husband’s response is pretty common):

When I started this journey, I had no idea how to be respectful or submissive – our biggest issue at that time was the way both of us reacted any time there was a disagreement or conflict. Things had been the same for so long, neither of us knew how to imagine a world where we didn’t argue.

What really stopped me in my tracks was a term from my previous career as a therapist – “unconditional positive regard.”

That means I treated my therapy clients in a positive manner no matter what I might think about them personally (or their actions). I was very ashamed one day to realize I did that for complete strangers with no problem, but didn’t do the same for my husband! I was failing at the Golden Rule, the most simple way to treat other people, and it really upset me that a small child could do better than I had done.

I started thinking about the things my husband and I argued about – almost always the tiny, insignificant day-to-day things – and how I’d react if a guest in our home did the same things my husband did. For instance, my husband seems to have an “allergy” when it comes to replacing the toilet paper on the roll. It used to drive me crazy! When I asked myself what I would do if a guest used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t replace the roll, I thought, “I’d just replace it and not say anything at all.” So that’s what I did! I had to go back to basics and consciously treat my husband the way I would treat someone else, because my disrespect for him had seeped into every part of my brain and I didn’t know another way to stop it.

Doing this actually made things worse for awhile because I found that, when I wasn’t nagging or pushing to get my way, I really didn’t have a lot to say about anything! It was very eye-opening. My husband had no idea how to react. Often he would go out of his way to do things he knew would upset me – he says now he was in total disbelief that I had changed, so he put me in situations where he thought the “real me” would come out. He knew how to deal with the arguments but not with the silence.

I remember many, many moments when I shut the bathroom door, cried quietly for a few minutes while I prayed, then wiped my eyes and went about my day. It was HARD to sit back and remain silent while my husband was angry and seemed determined to push all my buttons. Sometimes I would get so emotional I couldn’t think about the mission I was on; I would bite back and a fight would follow. This was good for me in a way because I began to see how MY reactions fueled his – the only way to make it stop was for me to control my own reactions and words.

We spent the better part of a year doing this dance… I would try to treat him like I would treat an acquaintance to force myself to be polite and respectful. He was angry, sometimes downright rude, and sarcastic. In the moments I lost control of myself and acted like I did in the past, he seemed almost triumphant, like he was saying “See, I told you nothing has changed!” I would retreat and pray and read my Bible. Rinse and repeat. I thought it would be that way forever and I had to make peace with it.

I told God, “If this is as good as things ever get, I’ll keep going. Not my way but yours!”

Slowly, my husband began to soften toward me. I can’t emphasize how slowly this change took placeI thought I would lose my mind.

  • It became more natural for me to respect and I didn’t have to pretend my husband was a guest in our home anymore.
  • He stopped trying to provoke me as he realized it seldom worked.
  • He had to learn to deal with the “new me” and respond to my respect instead of my disrespect.
  • It was a learning process for both of us!

As April mentioned, doing this alone is impossible. I leaned heavily on God to give me wisdom, patience, and to remind me why I was going through this valley in my marriage. I prayed to be reminded of my own sins against my husband when I was tempted to focus on his sins against me, and it worked! Every time my mind would think, “Look what he did. He doesn’t even care about you,” I would be flooded by memories of moments when I didn’t act like I cared about him. It was very humbling and refining to finally see all the things I had done wrong.

Stopping the cycle is so difficult but it’s possible! I’m the last person I ever expected to be posting on a site like this, talking about learning to submit to my husband, but our lives have been changed for the better. I pray the same for you and your marriage!

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This is a pretty common pattern. The wife begins to change. The husband can’t believe it and is confused. He pushes to try to get her to go back to the “old familiar destructive dance” because change is scary for a lot of husbands, even good change. Husbands sometimes think that if their wives slip at all, it means they aren’t really changing, even though we really are making progress at times. They are afraid to get their hopes up, afraid that things will never get better. They are afraid their wives might be manipulating them or that this will be a temporary phase that won’t last. It can take a LONG time for many husbands to truly feel respected and safe and like these changes are for real.

I had a similar experience. Greg didn’t attack me. But he stayed very distant and unplugged, watching to see if this was for real. It was a very slow journey of progress. From my perspective, the progress was often imperceptible. But after 3.5 years into this journey, Greg began to truly feel safe with me again. Of course, I had no clue what I was doing the first 2.5 years. It took years for me to get rid of all of the unintentional disrespect and for me to understand what respect even looked like to Greg.  That is why I cherish this ministry and the camaraderie we have here so much. My prayer is that my experiences and the experiences of other women might be a blessing and a help to others as they struggle, wrestle, and seek Christ above all else in their hearts.

RELATED:

“I’m Trying to Respect and Submit – and My Husband Is Being More Unloving Than Ever. What Is Going On!?!?”

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

A Husband Answers – “Why Won’t My Husband Lead?”

23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife

“I Will Not Be a ‘Second Class Citizen'” – by The Restored Wife

 

Encouragement for Those Who Are "in the Trenches"

woman-dreaming-in-the-park-2-1315678-639x440

 

 

1. SPIRITUAL HEALING TAKES TIME

This journey is a process. There are stages. If there is major woundedness in an individual or in a marriage, it often takes a long time to heal. Expect that it will be many months or maybe even a year or years before anything close to “total healing” takes place.

I think of this healing process as if a couple crashed their marriage “car” down in a steep ravine. The further off course they went, the longer it takes to tow it back up to the road and the worse the spiritual injuries they sustain. There may be a time when one or both spouses are in the “spiritual ICU.” At that point, making demands – or even requests – of the other person could be rather pointless. If my husband had been in a physical wreck and was in the ICU in a coma on a ventilator – I would not resent him because he was not helping me even if I had a broken leg and a broken arm. I would extend grace and understanding knowing that he CAN’T get up and help me right now.

People who are severely spiritually wounded or who don’t know Christ and are spiritually dead can’t act like Christ toward us. They are incapable of loving God or others as they should. They need to be raised to new life by Jesus or they need spiritual healing from God. Nothing we can do will make them be able to give us what we want when they are that injured. They need major healing themselves.

There are things we can do to encourage spiritual healing for our husbands. But then we are going to have to be REALLY patient. More patient than we have ever been in our lives as we wait for God to work.

God wants to use this time of waiting to strengthen my flabby faith muscles and to get me to focus on Him and allowing Him to transform my own soul, mind, and life by His power. This will involve me learning to savor the journey and even the waiting.

2. FOCUS ON TODAY

  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

My sisters, let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the enemy’s snare of what “might happen” weeks, months, or years from now. We tend to take one situation and zoom ahead with it in our minds to all of the “what-ifs” that may happen and try to plan what we are going to do in all of the worse case scenarios. Our plans may all come to nothing. God’s plans are what matter. When we get stuck in “what-if land” we usually don’t count God’s influence and power in our worrying scenarios.

Jesus was so good to tell us not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. None of us know what will happen in the next 5 minutes. The rapture could happen for all we know. Or a national disaster. Or a major miracle. Or a series of small miracles. We don’t know what is coming in the future. But God is already there – totally unlimited by time. He knows the way. He has your hand if you are following Christ.

3. A PERSON’S CURRENT FEELINGS,  SINS, WORDS, OR PLANS DO NOT DICTATE WHAT THE FUTURE WILL BRING

A husband’s feelings are important – so are a wife’s feelings.  But let’s keep the big perspective in mind. If he says he doesn’t love you, he wants a divorce, or he wants to separate, we are looking at a snapshot in time – kind of like one Instagram picture. This is not the whole story. It is not the last page of the book. There is more to be written! While we can respect what our husbands say, and how they are feeling – and while we can respectfully, graciously let them go (spiritually, emotionally, or physically) if they insist on leaving – we can also remember that ultimately our trust is in God and that He is able to change hearts, circumstances, mindsets, desires, and plans.

  • In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Because we trust in Christ completely, we are not at the mercy of other people’s plans or changeable feelings. We are not at the mercy of their emotions and decisions. We are not at the mercy of our own feelings or fears. We are in the hands of a sovereign Lord. Yes, people make decisions with their free will. But then, at the same time, God is sovereign and He will use all things to accomplish His good purposes in our lives and for His kingdom as we love and trust Him. So we can’t lose.

We can’t lose, my dear sisters (and brothers)!

  • If something bad happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good, to strengthen my faith, to draw me closer to Him, to make me more like Jesus, and to accomplish His good purposes.
  • If something good happens, I know God will use it for my ultimate good and to accomplish His good purposes in the end, as well.

I can always stand on my spiritual tiptoes and look beyond the current circumstances in eager anticipation to see all that God will accomplish. I can expect Him to move mountains, change situations, transform my own heart/mind/soul, change others in His timing, and work constantly for His glory and His will to be done. I can wait patiently knowing that God is in control and His timing and wisdom is much higher than my own.

I can hurt when my husband is distant or if he is talking about divorce or if he leaves. I can grieve over that. But then, I can also look to Christ for help and hope, that He will use even this ultimately for good as I trust Him completely. I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things. I can focus on praising God and on thanksgiving. I can face my emotions and feel them. Emotions are a gift from God but I am also responsible for how I handle them and I can learn – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to handle them rightly and without sin. I can allow myself to experience hurt, sadness, anger, fear… but then I can hash through my difficult emotions and lay them before God and entrust them to Him. I don’t have to be ruled by my emotions. My marriage is not to be built on my emotions, but on Christ and His truth. I am not a slave to feelings. I can take my thoughts captive as I process my emotions and feelings. I can even experience God’s supernatural peace and joy as I trust everything to Him and focus on God’s goodness, sovereignty, love, and Lordship in my life! Even in the trials.

4. GOD WILL USE THIS TRIAL ON A GRAND SCALE

God has something much bigger in mind than just to work good in your own life from the bad things that happen and the trials and suffering you endure as a believer in Christ. Yes, He will use it ultimately for your good and His glory in your life if you are living for Him and you love Him and you are yielding to Christ as Lord. But He also will use it to bless the Body of Christ and His kingdom. There is a much larger picture going on than we can possibly realize in the midst of our trials.

I had no idea that God would use my most painful trials to reach thousands of people around the world for Christ. But as we walk through these times of testing and suffering, and as God refines our faith and causes us to grow strong in our walk with Him – He uses our stories and our testimony to build the faith of others, to encourage others, and to teach others – and set an example.

What you are experiencing now that is so painful – may well be the very thing that convinces many people in the future to trust in Christ in the midst of their painful trials – because they see that your faith was tested and that God was victorious. God may use your story to inspire many others to walk in obedience and faith, trusting Him and yielding fully to Him as Lord.

What a joy!

 

 

“I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions” – by Radiant

 

From a very dear friend and sister in Christ whom God has radically healed physically and spiritually in the past year and a half. For decades, Radiant could not receive love from God, herself or from anyone and was imprisoned physically, spiritually, and emotionally. How I praise God for what He is doing in her life! This sister’s issues were often the opposite of my issues – and help to provide a much needed different perspective from my own.

———-

About the post, “Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!” – I totally thought like the wife who had objections to speaking in direct, vulnerable ways my whole life.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS:

This way of thinking makes us a victim and voiceless, then we freak out  on someone when they put that teeny straw on top of our huge anger that we aren’t allowed to admit, or have, or own, or do anything about. And it makes us jealous of wives who “have because they ask,” annoyed that they are so unapologetically “demanding” as we see it. My old way of thinking was about “righteously” refusing to have needs, emotions, demands.

It makes you really sick! Emotionally, physically and spiritually. To receive nothing good and only receive bad truly makes us toxic.

Why can’t we receive good? I think it’s this false humility stronghold that simultaneously says we don’t deserve anything good, while somehow at the same time being proud at how humble and un-needy we are. Then it’s about being a victim because no one understands how hard our life is. I felt I should have enough faith to be above struggles and emotions myself, even though I would never say anyone else should be. I was always the first one to comfort hurting people because I knew the pain of trying to go through things alone, and felt no one should ever have to do that (except me!). Part of it is the idea that “everyone else is more important than you, it’s in the Bible.” So being humble is not needing or asking or demanding. That’s for others.

If someone said good things about us, they are obviously lying or have a distorted perception or are just being nice, since the only thing that can be true is self-attack. That has been the only voice I have ever really believed – and I saw so much evidence to verify it – that it had to be true. And I was so used to that voice. I always thought that maybe if I criticized myself enough, then hopefully no one else would need to. While I was at it, I could feel extra guilty and not enjoy anything, and help God out with the punishments I knew I deserved. If someone did criticize me, I was a complete failure and had nowhere to stand, and collapsed inconsolably. There was no grace. No hope. Only trying again as hard as I could, knowing I would fail again.

People’s approval seems to be the only gauge of hope, but then we don’t receive it either. Nothing is ever enough.

So all time is spent trying not to need, trying to meet all others needs, trying not to mess up, attacking self with every mistake, guilt fear and failure. Trying to find life in dead works, which puts you under a curse. All this rule following and no joy or good results. Baseline – it is unbelief. Hebrew 4. No one can enter His rest if we hear the truth, but it is not mixed with faith.

My old way of thinking:

  • It’s saying Jesus saved me so I should be able to obey all of His commandments in my own strength.
  • It’s trying to please God without faith. Hebrew 11:6 says you can’t do that.
  • It’s trying to please God by obeying without believing anything He says, receiving anything but the most anemic salvation, (and believing Jesus did it reluctantly – that he had to), not receiving His love, grace, forgiveness, power, mercy. Having no idea all of the good qualities mentioned about Him could somehow be directed to include you, too. Imagining being on the very fringe of heaven, not included.
  • It’s also being totally blocked by anyone who disagrees or says, “no,” to you, but not ever being allowed to say, “no,” or your dislikes to them.
  • It’s remembering what caused someone to be upset at all, and making an inner vow to never mess up or cause a problem again. (These inner vows curse us, trying to save ourselves in our own strength).
  • It’s not believing anyone could ever enjoy your company or love you because you don’t feel it, so it can’t be true.
  • The biggest fears are being a burden, a failure, and demanding.
  • The only “truth” you hear are these accusing lies and and it somehow intertwines itself into the gospel to make it a non-gospel. You buy into it completely.

Idols, or strongholds, in this mindset are false humility and martyrdom.

Faith is scarce in this way of thinking. We believe Jesus did die to save us, and that we can be saved, but we don’t see His grace or promises or healing or forgiveness or that He truly desires us. And even then, we can grow in faith, be set free from quite a few things, and fall right back into this prison. Behind the false humility is immense pride – pride, saving ourselves, and being wise in our own eyes. Pride that we are following rules, astonishment when we can’t follow rules; that we weren’t successful since we should be. We are Christians! How can we fail God like this? So we attack and punish ourselves trying to help God with His disappointment in us. We try harder. Until we can’t try literally. Then we sink into depression and can’t be pulled out.
Faith is the ability to receive from God. So we cry out and try to serve and love Him and repent and feel guilty, but we don’t actually exchange that guilt for forgiveness.

  • We cry to him that we feel alone and unloved and abandoned but we don’t receive that He really is here with us and will never leave us.
  • We complain to him that we can’t do what he asks us to, and basically say He is mean and cruel for not helping us, but we won’t receive His help.
  • We don’t believe he will help so we don’t ask.
  • And when we do ask we are full of doubt and therefore don’t receive, and validate to ourselves that He doesn’t care.
  • We are proud that we don’t burden God or others.
  • We aren’t rude and don’t ask for stuff.
  • We are busy getting things done for God and praying for people and trying hard to follow our rules.

Until we fall apart. Then we are angry at God, ourselves and everyone around us except we can’t be angry, so this awful feeling stays general, unknowable and unfixable  and is more evidence of how God has abandoned us.

The mindset of false humility and not receiving and Jesus’ response:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
John 13:6-10 ESV

RELATED:

Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That Is the Godly Thing to Do.

What Does God Say about Me?

My Identity and Security Are in Christ Alone!

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

"I Don't Think My Husband Loves Me – How Can I Become a Godly Woman and Wife?"

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am not sure if I have made this really important point clear enough:

The path on this journey with your relationship with God to become a godly woman and wife will be basically the same whether your husband loves you or whether he doesn’t at the moment.

Let’s just stop to look at our purpose here:

The entire point of this journey is for you to draw close to Jesus, to love God, to know God, and to be right with God. The purpose is for you to be filled with His Spirit and to abide in Him and to experience His spiritual riches in your every day life and for you to be obedient to Him, increasing in holiness, and pleasing to Him. The purpose is to bring glory to God.

Like David Platt says, “We don’t come to Jesus to get stuff (from God), we come to Jesus to get God.”

The main goal on this journey is not to fix our marriages, to feel more loved by our husbands, to change our husbands, or to be happy. Ironically, though, if we make those things our most important goals – we will never have what we desire. God may heal our marriage along the way but the goal in following Christ is for us to have God and to be transformed by Him ourselves. We trust Him with the results in our circumstances, whatever they may be. As we yield our desires and dreams to God – He will change our desires to match His desire – and then He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).

What your husband does is primarily between himself and God. You can trust God to deal with him if he doesn’t love you. (Yes, if there is major unrepentant sin in your husband’s life, you may need to respectfully confront him – you may even need to separate from him as you continue to pray fervently for his repentance and for healing for the marriage.)

GOD IS SOVEREIGN:

Here is the awesome thing about having a sovereign God –

God can change your husband’s heart, He can change your heart, and He can change your circumstances. No big deal.

God can change any of these things according to His purposes, His will, and His timing. We have freewill as people – and at the very same time, God is sovereign. I know it is tempting to get really caught up in your husband’s lack of response, seeming indifference, unloving behavior, or his lack of willingness to spend time with you. It is easy to look at this one snapshot in time and think that this is our destiny rather than looking ahead with eyes of faith to what God desires to do and being content in Christ whatever our current circumstances may be – resting peacefully in God’s sovereignty.

If you are getting stuck on this journey – and caught up in all the things your husband is not doing for you and how disappointed you feel – let’s forget about your husband for a bit. (Unless you are not safe or have really serious issues and need to get out and get somewhere safe.) Let’s forget about whether he loves you or not. Let’s forget about his apparent motives. Let’s forget about what you can get from your husband and marriage and what he should do for you. Keep your eyes on Jesus, my dear sister! Listen to Him, follow Him, and obey Him!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

Other people’s feelings and motives are not that important on this journey. They are changeable and they are not the source of absolute truth. God is the source of absolute truth and His is ultimately in control. He can even use the evil intentions of others to accomplish His good purposes in our lives (see the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37). Thankfully, you are not dependent on your husband’s thoughts, words, or actions for you to become a godly wife. Your husband may be the source of some tests of your character. But he cannot keep you from becoming a godly woman or withhold God’s purposes from your life. He can’t stop God’s good plans for you or thwart God’s sovereignty in your life.  Your husband is not sovereign. Feelings are not sovereign. Circumstances are not sovereign. God is sovereign! No one can take you out of God’s loving hands or separate you from His love for you!

This journey you are on is not really about your husband at all. Yes, he may be a beneficiary as God heals you. And yes, part of your obeying God will be to bless him – but this is all about your relationship with God and whether your sinful nature is in control or the Holy Spirit is in control of your life.

Your husband has his own journey to make. He will be accountable for every motive, every careless word, every thought, every deed. He will be accountable for his obedience to God’s Word for him as a man and as a husband. And we will be accountable for all of these things to God, as women and wives. (** See the bottom of the post for more about this.)

MUTUALITY

It is not wrong for a wife to desire for her husband to truly love her. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife to truly respect him. There is an expectation for reciprocity in the marriage covenant. Marriage should be a mutual effort and a beautiful interchange between two people who love and respect one another.

I don’t intend to say that wives should not want their husbands to love them. We should want this! Mutuality is a good thing.

My concern is that – it is easy for us to desire our husband’s love so much that we can desire it more than we desire Christ or we can desire it to the point that we are willing to sin to try to get what we want from our husbands. That is where I want us to be very cautious. It’s not that we don’t or shouldn’t want our husband’s love, but that we need to be careful where this desire is in our priorities. I hope that makes sense.
GOD’S PRIORITIES:

God wants you to have a strong marriage – He loves marriage!! But hear this closely:

Much more than you having a strong marriage, God wants you to desire Him, to know Him, and to look to Him alone to meet your needs. He wants your life to glorify Him.

God is never going to allow us to put our marriages, our husbands, our feelings, or anything or anyone else above Himself in our hearts. That is idolatry. If His having you go through a painful trial results in you growing in your faith and you making Him THE priority in your life and putting everything else WAY below Him – then this trial was worth it in God’s eyes. One day, it will be worth it in your eyes, too, my dear sister! You know the pain you have when your husband doesn’t want to spend time with you? That is a similar pain that God experiences when you brush Him off and don’t want to spend time with Him – except that His pain is much deeper.

If you are content in Christ – you are blessed and you get to have His overflowing peace and joy no matter what your husband does. He can give you the power and wisdom to be the woman and wife He wants you to be in every circumstance for His glory. Jesus truly is MORE than enough and more than sufficient for each of us. He will bring each of us through various trials where we get to learn this first hand.

Interestingly, when a wife is filled up with Christ and walking in obedience to God, God often uses this to draw her husband closer to Christ. This often eventually leads to healing for the marriage. BUT – even if it doesn’t, it is still more than worth it for each of us to be right with God.

I INVITE YOU TO PRAY WITH ME:

Lord,

Open our eyes to the greatest purposes You have for our existence – to love You with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and to love others with Your love. Help us remember that following Christ is about taking up our cross, dying to our will and our wants, and living for Your will and Your glory. Help us focus on becoming the women You call us to be rather than what we can get out of our marriages. Draw us to Yourself. Greatly increase our faith. Make us women of fervent prayer! Fill us with Your Spirit. Cleanse us from all sin. Let us abide in You and be overflowing with Your Spirit. Regenerate our hearts. Renew our minds with Your Word. Cause us to rise to become a holy generation of women who are the salt and light of this world for Your glory! Use us mightily in Your kingdom, Father!

In the Name and power of Christ Jesus,

Amen!

WE WILL STAND ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE GOD FOR OUR OWN LIVES:

When you stand before God and He judges the work you have done for His kingdom – you will stand there alone. Your husband won’t be there beside you.

This is not a group grade. We will have no excuses – we will be accountable to Him for our walk and our character. For believers, our work will be tested by fire. We will not go to hell for our sins, because Jesus died to pay for our sin and we received that gift, making Him Lord of our lives. When God looks at our “bank account” instead of the billions of sin dollars of debt we used to have, now we have Jesus’ perfectly holy and righteous account. But God will burn our works, the things we did for Him and how we lived – and if we built wisely, we will be rewarded for whatever survives the fire. If we did not build wisely, what we did will be burned up and we won’t have any rewards – we will narrowly escape with our lives (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

The point of all that I write about on this blog is to focus on your own journey, your spiritual growth, and your relationship with Christ. My goal is for Him to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” to you when you stand before Him when this short life is over. This is all about you and God.

RELATED:

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman?

Godly Femininity – Part 1

Submission (to Christ) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

dreams-1435608

Whether you are feeling deprived of attention, love, affection, sex (and yes, a lot of women desire sex more than their husbands do), or anything else – I believe there are some steps godly wives can take to move forward in a productive direction. (If there are severe issues in your marriage, please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the post.)

The power to overcome feelings of disappointment in our husbands is in our thought lives as we choose to align ourselves with God’s wisdom and His ways.

We have two main choices.

  1. We can focus on how unfulfilled, how deprived, how upset, how victimized, and how empty we are feeling at the moment in our marriages. We can focus on all that is wrong and on what we don’t have. We can blame our husbands, expect them to fix all of the problems, and change to meet our needs. We can nurture our bitterness/resentment and dwell on how much our husbands have failed us. We can be irritable, angry, cold, and harsh. We can choose to lash out at our husbands and punish them for disappointing us. That will teach them!
  2. We can focus on Christ and how in Him, we possess every spiritual blessing from heaven that exists in the universe (Ephesians 1:3). We can focus on all that we DO have in Him. We can change the channel from our desire/disappointment to Christ. We can take up our cross daily, placing all of ourselves on the altar before God, living as though we are dead to self and to our own will, following Jesus and finding true, abundant Life in Him. We can choose to see that He is more than sufficient to meet our needs. We can choose to shoot down sinful thoughts immediately and nurture our faith in Christ, our love for Christ, and our desire to bless our husbands. We can choose to be loving, warm, accepting, gracious, joyful, peaceful, and content.

Each of these paths has a very different outcome – spiritual  death or spiritual life.

We do have legitimate needs and desires. It is important for us to respectfully share our feelings, needs, goals, desires, concerns, and perspectives with our husbands. That is part of our responsibility as believing wives. Husbands and wives should all seek to meet their spouse’s needs selflessly, lovingly, and with respect.

But if our husbands cannot or will not meet our needs or do what we believe is best – then where does that leave us? Are we going to try to force our men (or anyone else) to do what we want even if we have to sin to do it? Or will we respect their God-given free will and choose to turn to God in faith with our needs?

Sometimes there will be trials and times of testing in our Christian faith.

God gives us tests to help us see where we are weak in our faith, to bring sin to the surface of our lives as He refines us, and so that sin can be skimmed off. He uses tests, trials, and suffering to cause us to grow in spiritual maturity to completion (verses about suffering). Many times that painful trial of us feeling rejected, abandoned, or alone in our marriage will be the very thing that God will use to draw us to Himself in ways we have never experienced before. Sometimes He will help us see that our husbands are only human and can’t meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs. Only God can do that! If we are willing, God will use the pain in our lives to chisel and shape us, to teach us treasures and wonderful things about Himself, and to grow and prune us.

How we respond is the key.

Instead of meditating on resentment, bitterness, or disappointment all day long, let’s focus on Philippians 4:8 things:

  • My husband has a lot of traits that I really admire. I’m going to start a list and really think about his good qualities today.
  • My husband likely has good intentions toward me.
  • God has good intentions toward me.
  • God is sovereign over my husband, over my life, and over this frustrating, painful situation. What good might God desire to do through this? What might He have for me to learn? What an adventure it will be to find out His plans!
  •  I can lay my needs and concerns at the feet of Christ and trust Him with them. I don’t have to freak out even if I don’t get what I want or need. If He wants me to have my desires and needs met, He will provide a way for this to happen that brings honor to Himself. If my needs are not met right now in the ways that I want them to be, I will use this experience to practice living for God’s will far above my own. “Not my will but Yours be done, Lord!”
  • By God’s power, I will contribute to unity, harmony, healing, respect, honor, and agape love in our marriage.
  • I have so many gifts from God – I’m going to start a list of all of the things God has done for me and meditate on being thankful for each of these blessings.
  • I am going to focus on allowing God to change me to become the wife and woman  God desires me to be.
  • I am going to sing praises to God for His goodness!
  • I am going to meditate on Scripture and the promises of God.
  • I am going to put my energy to use in fervent prayer to know God more deeply and to grow in my faith.
  • I can focus on NOT feeding my desires for sexual intimacy for this time – by avoiding suggestive books, music, movies, and also by redirecting my thoughts to God and other things when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I can choose to fill my mind with thoughts of things I do have and things I am thankful for rather than ruminating on what I don’t have right now. That is a way that I can “turn down” my libido to some degree if necessary for a time.

If my husband does not meet my needs – I will be okay. If I have Jesus, I have everything that matters!

If I only have Him, His Spirit, and His Word, I have the greatest Treasures of the universe. I will find all of my personhood, worth, acceptance, love, peace, security, safety, hope, faith, joy, strength, and contentment in Christ alone – no matter what my husband does or does not do. My hope is ultimately in Christ Jesus alone, not in my husband. My husband may fail me at times, but God never will fail me or forsake me! Jesus is my Rock, my Strong Tower, my Refuge, my Mighty Fortress, my Comforter, my Great Physician, and my Prince of Peace. He has made me right with God.

I give all of myself to Him and He gives me all of Himself in return! I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords. I have all of the spiritual treasures of heaven at my disposal to accomplish God’s will. I am not deprived at all. I possess all of the promises of God’s Word, all of His love, all of His support, all of His power, care, and provision. My God can change my husband’s heart. But even if he does not, I will trust in Him completely!

This is how we take our thoughts captive for Christ, my dear sisters!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

Disclaimer:

If either your husband or yourself is involved in serious unrepentant sin, infidelity, abuse, active drug/alcohol addictions, or have uncontrolled mental health problems – please seek appropriate, trustworthy, qualified help for yourself and your marriage. I am not addressing serious issues in this post, although, some things about our walk with Christ will still apply. But you may need outside help in severe situations. If you or your children are not safe, please try to get out and get somewhere safe! Or if you are a danger to your husband or children, please get yourself some help and separate yourself from your family until you can be together safely. I don’t condone abuse or sin against anyone!

PS – a Note about Mutuality:

It is not wrong for a wife to desire for her husband to truly love her. It is not wrong for a husband to long for his wife to truly respect him. There is an expectation for reciprocity in the marriage covenant. Marriage should be a mutual effort and a beautiful interchange between two people who love and respect one another.

I don’t intend to say that wives should not want their husbands to love them. We should want this! Mutuality is a good thing.

My concern is that – it is easy for us to desire our husband’s love so much that we can desire it more than we desire Christ or we can desire it to the point that we are willing to sin to try to get what we want from our husbands. That is where I want us to be very cautious. It’s not that we don’t or shouldn’t want our husband’s love, but that we need to be careful where this desire is in our priorities. I hope that makes sense.
God designed marriage to involve two people who are both contributing to the marriage and both seeking Him. That is the goal!
If you feel that your husband does not love you as he should, that is a very painful place to be.
My prayer for my hurting sisters in this situation is that they might continue on being faithful to God, to their marriage covenant, and to their husband – allowing God to empower them, seeking to please Him, and seeking to bless their husband. We will trust God together to work in your husband’s heart to draw Him to Himself first, and also back to the marriage.
But no matter what our husbands ultimately do, my prayer is that we might walk in holiness, obedience, faithfulness, and by the power of God’s Spirit working in us – that Christ might be greatly pleased with us.

RELATED:

The Devastation of Sexual Rejection in Marriage

She Has the Stronger Sex Drive – Shaunti Feldhahn’s site

Are Particular Sexual Activities Wrong in Marriage?

Placing My Higher Sexual Drive Under God’s Control

My Husband Is Not Attracted to Me

25 Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

Healthy Vs Unhealthy Relationships

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!

image

From a dear single sister in Christ who is in her thirties, I so appreciate her willingness to share her story – and I believe that what God showed her is something He wants to show each of us as His followers:

I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.

He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.

I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.

At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.

I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.

He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.

  • First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
  • Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.

I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.

My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.

What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This calling to give up our most precious dreams (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls all disciples of Christ to do.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

Yes, those of us who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.

God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!

God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE, alone, is the Greatest Treasure!

Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Single and married women (and men) can hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life.

We must all ask ourselves:

I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.

When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly following Christ.

Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion. In fact, anything less than all that we are and all that we have is not enough. He gave ALL for us, now we give ALL for Him.

We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized. Paradoxically, yielding all that we are and all that we have to Jesus is the only path to true contentment, fulfillment, and joy.

We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.

Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet friends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!

Wives Share What They Have Learned – Part 1

20131005-174205

I think that most of us have realized, this approach does NOT work and is very unattractive to our men – understandably so! 

Wives share what they have learned about how to approach their husbands when they want their husbands to spend more time with them. From our discussion last week. Thank you to all the wives who shared! I don’t expect today’s post to be as big of a trigger for as many wives as hearing from the men was.

WIFE #1

This was a huge area of discontent in my marriage. I realize that it was too many expectations, my need to control the situation, and selfishness on my part.

When I look back my husband always spent time with me, but it wasn’t always the way I wanted.

Also, being a stay at home mom, I felt like he owed it to me to spend time with me when he was home. When he didn’t I became resentful and bitter. I didn’t always enjoy the time we spent together, there was more than one occasion that I ended up in tears because things didn’t work out how I wanted when we were together. I would be hurt if he went to the store by himself, let alone go do something fun.

  • I didn’t really consider how he felt after a hard days work, how he needs much more quiet time then I do.

He is an introvert while I’m an extrovert. I didn’t think about how much he hates being around large groups of people because I love it. That he just doesn’t talk much, and I can talk forever. Or even that he doesn’t like to be touched, but that he will put his arm around me and snuggle with me on the couch because he loves me. How the things that didn’t mean much to me, made him feel so connected.

I was so worried about making sure my needs got met that I missed so many opportunities to connect with my husband.

Once I stopped trying to make him meet my needs, I was able to let go and enjoy. This summer, for example, we went camping with some friends, he spent most of the time fishing by himself, or with the other husband. I could have been bitter and angry, but I had a really great time playing with the kids in the water, getting to know his friends wife, and just being outdoors. Then on the way home, a 3 hour drive with 4 kids under 7 he decided he wanted to take a scenic drive, just to see where it led. The old me would have wanted to control the situation, say, “Um, no thanks, 3 hours is enough,” but instead, I said sure let’s do it. It ended up being an extra 2 hour loop that brought us almost right back to where we started. But we had such a good time. It was so worth it.

Trips like this didn’t happen a few years ago, I would have been angry he wasn’t spending time as a family, and missed the time he did spend with us joyfully around the camp fire, I would not have added 2 hours to our drive, or enjoyed it if we had. And we would have both been bitter and I can say for sure, he wouldn’t have wanted to take me anywhere for a while.

The biggest change was for me to start looking at thimgs from his point of view not mine.

I still get a pang of jealousy when he goes somewhere with his friends without me, but then do something for myself instead, and he ends up coming home to a happy, refreshed wife which makes him want to spend more time with me. And it’s so freeing to not feel angry.

It took a long time to get here, though. There was a lot of healing to be done. At first, when I asked him to spend more time with me, he felt frustrated,  like I was saying he wasn’t doing enough. Now it looks different. I just ask him if he wants to do something with me. Most of the times he will.

 

WIFE #2

My husband and I have struggled with this.

My husband is not a big talker and over the years I know that I have made spending time with me not a safe thing for him.

I’d want to talk over everything during any and all activities, and I’d complain about situations and tell him what he should do, etc. We’d regularly end up fighting. He likes clear, concise, non emotive talks. I’ve seen his face light up when I talk to him in this way. It’s a language he can handle and he feels safe. He loves getting together with male friends and chatting to them. Sometimes I feel envious of this, but I think it’s the way that males talk. He feels safer and I know I have to work on how I talk to him. I am so much better than I was and I really can’t believe it took me so long when he was telling me all along. In my pride I thought I knew better.

  • If I stick to facts, lose the emotion and the complaining and keep it pleasant and positive, he responds. I was the wife in Proverbs 27:15. No wonder he didn’t want to spend time with me!

He was sick with chronic fatigue for many years and as a result can’t handle too much loud noise and being touched actually gave him pain and still does at times. Being a teacher, he comes home from work and wants peace and quiet. I have had to alter my expectations and realise that the world is not going to fall apart if we don’t talk. I’ve got better and keeping myself occupied and learning to be content. There has been a lot of sitting with him while watching tv, but just being in the same room with him makes me quite happy now. He is a musician and will play one of his instruments and sing while I cook or clean and that’s really nice.

The more pleasant I am the more he ventures out of his office to seek me out, to share something with me or hug me.

 

WIFE #3

I have had success with changing my approach. If I say, “you never talk to me,” a man can feel criticized. So I try to say, “I love it when you talk to me. I love the way it makes me feel all warm inside. And I really love the sound of your voice. ” (and I really do love the sound of his voice!). This approach, coupled with the right timing, has gained me some satisfaction with Conversation Hunger.

 

WIFE #4

Hi April, I know we’re all at different stages in our marriages (and feel free to edit this comment if it may be a trigger for others). I’m so blessed, usually my husband wants to spend time with me! (I don’t think this is anything I’ve done – I’m sure it’s the transformative work of Jesus in my husband’s life.)

But when my husband does pull away, it’s always because I was rude – selfish, snappy, condescending :(.

I’ve been married almost three years, and I didn’t know men were so sensitive! But I’ve learned some of them are. Nothing drives my husband away faster than when I talk to him like he’s a child, or get a disdainful tone in my voice! Or when I embarrass him by disagreeing with him in public, or trying to boss him around, even in small ways, like, “Honey, you should tell blah, blah, blah story.”

Funny how good manners and the fruit of the Spirit are really similar :).

On a different note, I’ve found it’s important for me NOT to get my feelings hurt if I feel he isn’t listening. Early in our marriage, I’d be chattering away (usually while he was driving) and he said to me, “Sorry, all circuits are full.” He meant he had to focus on driving and couldn’t give me his attention at that moment. His simple communication helped me understand I couldn’t have his attention at that exact second.

 

WIFE #5

I think having your own hobbies/interest outside of your hubby helps a lot. I know when I am busier and doing things- (out shopping, errands, spending time outside the home with the kids, other people, visiting family, etc.) I am not nearly as focused on my hubby and how much time “we” are together. Most all my friends have moved, so that leaves me a lot of time; however, his few good friends are still in the area so he likes to visit with them for sports, etc.

I know I can’t hold that against him just b/c his friends are around and mine all moved. Also – learning how men relate differently and consider “shoulder-to-shoulder” time the same as we consider girlfriend talk time. (from “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs). So I try to sit with him and watch his sports, etc. and if you change your mindset and realize that is HIS bonding time, then it helps.

Also, saying it in a non-confrontational way so as not to accuse him or come off like you’re saying he doesn’t spend any time with you. I know my hubby likes to be out and is not a homebody so if I just suggest, “Hey, would you like to go to X this Saturday maybe for an hour or so?” He’s usually down and wants to go. If I ask, “Hey, do you want to watch a movie together Friday night?” He usually always says, “Ok.”

Now if I start off complaining and whinny saying how we never spend time together, he’d rather be with his friends, etc. (which sometimes seems true to me) he will automatically go in defense mode and it starts a bickering session.

I think the best approach is to gently let him know, and if he does not respond at all, wait another week or more and gently suggest it again, maybe even suggest doing something with the kids together as a family if he never ever spends time with you alone. And then pray about it daily. Also changing your mindset on how men like to “hang out” and what they consider “spending time together”. Then, when he isn’t, you won’t take such offense to it or take it so personal.

What was a turning point for me, is your blog (of course!) and learning how men relate, etc… – but what was really an eye opener was recently when my hubby had plans to watch a football game with a friend and I myself had something I reeeeally wanted to do on my own. I realized I could care less at that moment what he was doing and that we wouldnt be spending time together- all b/c I had something important to me I wanted to do and not having to “tend” to my hubby during those hours (for lack of a better word) was great b/c I had things I needed to do.

So the lightbulb went off and I realized how sometimes it bothers me when he is busy with others, such as friends, and then when I am busy myself it doesnt bother me at all. Which is not fair to him. but its funny how if your feeling the slightest bit lonely or needy that if he’s busy with others or he’s just not busy with you, it will aggravate you way more. So I try to stay prayed up about this subject ahead of time now- and what I do is if I am not busy at all and I was hoping in my mind to spend “quality time” with him and it does not happen for whatever reason, then that’s God’s cue to me to break out his Word and study, spend time in prayer that I wouldn’t have otherwise, read a good biblical book, or listen to praise music. So those are my suggestions!

“Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Seek to Change?”

1338212_30238506
When a wife first begins this journey, it can be a very difficult time for her husband, many times, too. Let me see if I can pull the curtain back a bit on a husband’s heart and mind during these first few months (and maybe even years) when a wife truly repents and begins to seek God and wants to become a godly wife. Maybe some of the husbands will be willing to help us understand this better, too? Gentlemen, you are welcome to comment and share your masculine perspective on this issue!
If your husband happens to be extremely close to God – he may be able to help support you as you change. But most husbands (in my experience) – by the time their wives realize how much their disrespect/control hurt their husbands – are very deeply spiritually/emotionally damaged. By this point, they are often in self-protection and survival mode.
If a husband has felt extremely disrespected and his wife has been controlling for years – he may feel disconcerted and like the little tiny bit of stable ground beneath his feet is shaking if his wife starts changing a lot of things all the sudden. He may feel that this is another attempt by her to manipulate him into changing to be what she wants him to be. She has probably spent the last X number of years trying to change him. He is probably very tired of not being accepted and her attempts to make him her project. He may want to just do anything he can to try to re-establish “normal” and to try to feel like things are as stable as possible – even if it means things are still very tense.
Please understand, he is probably afraid and deeply wounded. But most men are not going to say that. Most men feel they have to just “man up” and bear their pain alone and try to make the best of a difficult situation and not talk about how much they hurt. Greg NEVER told me how hurt he was – not for the entire first 14.5 years of our marriage. A husband may feel that he has been burned over and over again for a LONG time. He is afraid to trust that this could be real, because what if he gets his hopes up and then his wife doesn’t change? What if he has the faith to expect that she will become a godly, respectful wife with a gentle, peaceful spirit who does what is right and does not give way to fear, who does good and not evil to him all the days of his life, a wife he can trust and be safe with – and then she turns on him and emotionally/verbally/spiritually destroys him after he opens up to her again?
He may not feel like he can endure that. It may be easier to try to sabotage her now (or call her out on her “manipulation” now, from his perspective) so that he doesn’t get his hopes up only to be crushed again. If he believes she can’t really change –  better to prove that to himself and to her now than to torture himself with the “fantasy” that maybe he actually could have a wonderful marriage. (I am not justifying this approach, just sharing that this is my understanding of how husbands may feel at times.)
Also, most men HATE change. Even good change. It is scary.  Right now, he is reacting out of fear and hurt.  Eventually, as God continues to change a wife – many husbands will change over from skepticism/negativity/insults to confusion. In time, the confusion will give way to curiosity. And then, eventually the curiosity will give way to wonder, appreciation and gratitude. Usually. And – in a VERY, VERY long time – when God continues to change a wife, a husband may eventually feel safe enough to trust his wife and let his guard down with her again. It took Greg 3.5 years into my journey to get to that point (he shared with me last year).
A wounded, disrespected husband’s dreams of a beautiful marriage were already crushed before. Just like his wife’s were. He may be terrified to go through that kind of pain again.  That’s ok.  We aren’t doing this for him. He will benefit, eventually from our obedience to God, yes. But we are doing this for Jesus. Not for our husband’s reaction.  
  • If we are doing this just to change our husbands, then our motives are sinful. That would be manipulation, not total devotion to Christ. This long time of waiting when our husbands don’t change is necessary, in my view, for God to refine our motives and purify our hearts so that ALL we want in the end is to please Jesus and bless our husbands. Nothing else.
So, my precious sisters, don’t take the “really big bait” as Laura Doyle calls it in The Surrendered Wife. He may try to get you to react. He may try to push your buttons. He may try to get you to do the old familiar “song and dance” because then he will feel like he knows what he is dealing with and be assured that things are the same and he can go back to “normal.” You don’t have to go there anymore. You have God’s power now!
Even if he doesn’t believe in you right now – that is ok. He’s very hurt. It is understandable. He is human. He is looking at the past X number of years as proof of your “true identity.”  That’s ok. You are now about to create a new history with the power of God’s Spirit transforming your heart, mind and soul. The longer the new history goes on, the more safe he will eventually feel. You are tearing down everything you built before and rebuilding from scratch on Jesus.
  • Jesus will reward you for your obedience and faithfulness to Him. That is enough. More than enough, really.
The only “benefit” you gain from giving into that awful fleshly voice that tells you to lash out at him when he lashes out at you is that you would be able to tear into your husband and rip him apart even more, causing more destruction to his soul, your soul and the marriage. That will set you behind even many more months or years.
IF A HUSBAND IS EXTREMELY WOUNDED AND/OR SHUT DOWN:
Please picture him as being in the ICU in a hospital bed. Right now, he is barely breathing on his own. Right now, he is barely spiritually conscious. If he is not a believer, he is spiritually dead. Yes, you are hurt, too. Maybe you have a broken leg and a lot of scrapes and scratches. But right now, he can not get up out of that hospital bed and take care of you. He is that spiritually and emotionally critically wounded.
You may have to set aside your needs, even though they are legitimate, and tend to him first. Strangling him spiritually and emotionally will not make him better. It will not make him get up and be strong enough to serve you and take care of you. He’s not doing well right now. Please let Jesus take care of your wounds, and you do anything you can to tend to your husband’s wounds. Or, at the very least, stay out of God’s way so that God can heal him. Sinful words from you right now would just slash his soul apart even more and cause more internal bleeding. I know that isn’t what you want to do. Sometimes, when people are wounded, they lash out.
Please focus on your own walk with Christ and allow Him to work in your heart and get things right with Him – that is the only way any of us can get things right with other people. We need Jesus desperately first and foremost!
Understand that he doesn’t realize what is going on with you right now. He probably doesn’t know how difficult this journey is for you and what a complete overhaul of your entire emotional/spiritual existence this will be. He doesn’t know that this is a long journey. He may think you should just be able to flip a switch and be respectful and understand him. But – this is a process that takes time. It doesn’t come naturally to women! He is hurting and in great pain and distress emotionally and spiritually. He can’t just flip a switch and be more loving either. He has just as long of a journey to learn to become the man God desires him to be as you have to become the woman God desires you to be. He can’t be Christ to you. He can’t meet the needs that only God can meet in your life. Now, I encourage you to set self aside, and cooperate with God to bless this precious brother in the Lord for whom Christ died. How does God want His dear son, your husband, to be treated by you?
(If there are SERIOUS issues in the marriage, and a wife is as wounded as her husband or more so – she may need outside help. They may both need outside help. I am not addressing situations here where there might be infidelity, drug addictions, uncontrolled mental health disorders, abuse, etc…  As always, if you are in such a situation, please seek godly, experienced help ASAP!)
FROM A HUSBAND:
  • George says in response to  “Why isn’t my husband more supportive of me as I seek to change?” –
Because he wants it to be true change even if he fails. He has to be able to count on it, even when he is tired, or forgets, or is sick, or confused.
  • Please check out Rookie Writer’s post that he wrote in response to the post yesterday – it is in the comment section of this post today.
  • From PaulC:

I find it hard to avoid shutting down. It’s harder to trust the change that I might be seeing. And even harder to know that I am called to be forgiving and to love my wife no matter what is happening.

I know that I have given up on certain things. I think that men will withdraw from their wives to avoid being hurt or to avoid feeling like you have no value to her. And it doesn’t sound manly…but it can be very difficult to drum up the courage to share how you are feeling if you’ve been degraded or beaten over the head for your feelings. Eventually….it is easy to keep quiet rather than put yourself out there. If you don’t have a voice, then you lose confidence that you are important to her. I believe that men like to feel like they have a purpose. And while our greatest affirmation comes from what God say about us….it is important to know that our wives believe in us. So, after being hurt, I think anyone’s natural reaction to be not be trusting of a change. I guess that I would encourage wives to be open with your husband about where you struggle, what you are learning, why you want to make a change and how you are doing it. It makes it a conversation. It will helps us understand what is going on which ultimately helps us take down the walls. I know that I appreciate when my wife shares with me how I can love and support her.

I think with many things in marriage….it is important that we let our spouse see that God is working through us. It all takes times, but the journey toward the marriages that God has planned for us are worth the effort.

RELATED:
Greg writes about what he was thinking as God changed me “When She Surrendered”
Husbands Have Feelings, Too – Peacefulwife video

God Answers a Wife’s Question – “Why Doesn’t My Husband Want to Spend Time with Me?”

throw ball

From a precious wife. I am so excited about what God is beginning to do in her heart!!!!!  Thank you for allowing me to share!

—————-

I stumbled across Peaceful Wife’s blog after Googling (seriously) “why doesn’t my husband want to spend time with me” (or something like that – I tried Googling it again to see and I can’t find the blog as a result anymore!)

Anyway, the post that was linked was http://peacefulwife.com/2013/09/06/im-going-to-stop-pursuing-my-husband/ and as I read, I felt a huge weight being taken off my shoulders. I’ve been married for two and a half years, and my husband and I have a baby who’s just under a year old.

Although I try my hardest every day to uplift my husband, I never realized just how disrespectful I’d been – things like

  • withholding sex and cuddling because I wasn’t feeling loved
  • making enormous financial decisions without his input
  • trying to be the spiritual leader in our household… the list goes on.

It definitely got worse when our baby was born this past spring – our baby is very fussy and needy, and I was always putting our baby first (hard not to do with a newborn) and barely giving my husband any respect or attention at all. Naturally, I began feeling very unloved. Despite all the work I was doing, it felt like my husband didn’t see it or didn’t care.
So I’d been praying for God to change my husband. I’d considered separation. I let thoughts of an old ex-boyfriend (from seven years ago!) with whom I have absolutely zero contact play around in my mind. But I bit my tongue (something I learned to do early on, thank God) and prayed. I got mad at God. I asked God why He wasn’t doing anything to help my marriage.

Then, your blog. Here was His answer:

“You need to recognize your controlling ways and learn to submit joyfully to your husband.”

And it was scary. But as I read Peaceful Wife’s post and all the comments, and continued to read the blog, I felt a joy I hadn’t felt in a long time. I am a steamroller! I couldn’t believe just how disrespectful and controlling I’d been, all the while lauding myself for being that “cool, laid-back wife”… oh my. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I asked God for the grace to allow me to step back and let my husband lead in our family. I recognized just how difficult this is going to be, but I absolutely trust God (not to mention my husband’s capacity for making smart decisions). I don’t know why I always felt like I needed to rush to make decisions, or not trust my husband, but his track record reveals a man of sound heart and mind! And he is a terrific father; I am so blessed to be married to him. I’m just so glad I found Peaceful Wife’s blog and was reminded of God’s sovereignty and my husband’s role as leader in our family.

I think a lot of my fear and control has to do with the roles my parents exhibited in their own marriage (which ended when I was in university, when my dad cheated on my mom [a recovering alcoholic] with my best friend’s mother [a drug addict]…. sigh!) My mother was a doormat for my father. He walked all over her and treated her very poorly. He never abused her, but he was not very loving and my mother worshipped the ground he walked on. I can see now that my mother didn’t respect him, though. When I was 4 and mother had gone through a rehab program to finally kick alcohol,

She booted my father out of the house, saying she didn’t need him around to help raise the kids.

My dad revealed to me when he left my mom 30 years into their marriage that he hadn’t loved my mom since that day in 1986. I can’t imagine the pain that ripped through my father’s heart when my mother showed him that phenomenal amount of disrespect. She did beg him back a few months later, and he did return, but it was not a joyful marriage, and like I said, it ended in separation nineteen years later. My father told me that the only reason he’d returned was for my sibling and I.  I know my relationship is not my parents’, but at least knowing where my fear comes from can help me hand it over to God and not live in fear.

After all these revelations and prayer, I am not joking you when I say I saw a difference in my husband within hours.

(From Peacefulwife – every couple’s story is unique. The timelines are different. Sometimes there is an immediate response. Sometimes things get rocky after that for awhile. Sometimes it takes months or years to see a “response” from a husband, and there are some cases – rarely – where a husband never responds favorably to his wife’s genuine change of heart, respect and honor. We are not responsible for our husbands’ response, we are only responsible for our obedience to Christ.)

Whereas he’d barely said 10 words to me in the past few days, all of the sudden he posted a picture of me on Facebook, praising me with some sweet comments – very unlike him. The difference? God created the space in our relationship for us to fulfill our respective roles, and I am able to see my husband with new eyes. I am actively praying about respecting my husband. I have so much to learn, so much scripture to reflect on, so much repentance to do. I wrote a note for my husband this morning and put it in his lunch, apologizing for some of my ‘steamrolling’ behavior in the past few months.

I know it is dangerous for me to expect any response, so I am not.

When he comes home from work today, I will greet him at the door with our child, give him a hug, and allow him to pursue me in his time and space, whatever that may be.

Thank you to Peaceful Wife for creating a space online which has evidently already helped so, SO many women. I am not much of a YouTube watcher, but I began watching Peaceful Wife’s videos last night (channel “April Cassidy”). Submission is scary, especially in a culture that promotes aggression in women. I’ve followed God’s will in so many areas of my life and have been so blessed, and I’m excited for whatever His will is in my marriage.

THIS IS FREEDOM!

God Begins to Work in a Newlywed Wife’s Heart

1362457_79018405

From a precious sister in the Lord (with her permission):

Dear Peacefulwife,

From the bottom of my heart, I just want to say thank you. Three days ago, I came across your site from a specific internet search: “My husband doesn’t care,” because at that time I honestly thought that my husband no longer loved or cared about me anymore. That day was like rock bottom for me. I woke up, and my husband was gone. No note, no text, no call, nothing. I had to go to work that morning, and he took our only car with him. I tried to call him but I got no answer.
You see, I’m a newlywed (been married since June), and my husband and I recently moved to a new city which is thousands of miles away from the majority of my family. I had no one close to rely on for an emergency ride. As a former country girl, I am still scared about being alone and unprotected in a city full of strangers. I was so hurt and frustrated as to why he would disappear on me like this, knowing that I had to go to work, knowing that that car was my only form of transportation. He knew all of this, but chose to ignore it so obviously he doesn’t care of me, right? I cried as I called a cab, and I secretly cried when I got to work. I was thinking why does he have to do this to me, and why do I love him so much? He is such a mean, hateful person and blah, blah, blah…
And this is why I was blindly searching the internet as a way to comfort myself when I found your blog.
At first I was skeptical. “This site is too radical. This isn’t the 1800s anymore. My husband and I run things equally, that’s how it is done nowadays, etc.,” I thought. I’m already submissive (or so I thought). What is this about respecting my husband and such? I already respect him (again so I thought). But thank the Lord I didn’t close the window. I guess your God-given words touched a part of me that knew they were true.
I wanted a way to fix my husband. I wanted to make him stay with me, talk with me, smile, do the things that he used to. I wanted him to love me again because I didn’t feel loved. I felt so discouraged and have been feeling that way for a while. I felt like a failure as a wife.
  • I stopped cooking after my husband seemed to prefer eating out (now it is more like he eats out because I stopped cooking).
  • I have never been a neat person, and he is a neat-freak.
  • I pray to God that He can work in our marriage and develop the solution as this is an ongoing problem even now.
  • I’m a habitual procrastinator.
  • Sometimes I forget things, important things.
  • I beat myself up a lot.
  • I tried to please my husband in everything that I did, and that was my problem. I made being a wife, trying to please my husband, an idol. You can’t please another person all the time, and that is what I tried to do. My relationship with God has always been wishy-washy, but I had put a lot of things in front of God when it should have been vice versa. Thank you for reminding me to put my complete focus on God once again! First God, then my husband!
That first day I read your blog (I read so many entries that day), I repented. I want my marriage to be honorable to God. I want my husband to be happy. We’ve only been married for almost six months (and we both consider divorce not an option), so I didn’t want the rest of our lives to be full of unhappiness and strife. I felt so bad.
I haven’t been respecting my husband at all.
  • I yelled and cursed at him because I felt lonely and I wanted him there, but that of course made him shut down and pull away more. He stopped talking to me. He stopped holding me. My coworker one day was talking so positively about her husband, and when I thought about the unhappiness in my marriage, I wanted to cry.
  • I was (so) bad that I even walked up and pulled the television cord out the wall once because I felt that he was ignoring me while using the TV as a medium. What did that accomplish? Nothing. I was just so angry at the time. I had actually been repeating in my head all the negative things about my husband for a whole week before that happened, and my anger and bitterness just came to a head. Before that, I didn’t even know I had it in me to be so bitter. I don’t blame my husband for not wanting to be with me. It would have been scary to be in the same room with me at that moment.
And now of course after repenting, what do I do now? I suppose I’m in the quiet stage now (and it is only two days in). It is hard.
  • At first I wanted to dump all the hurt I felt on him as soon as I saw him, but I forced myself to stay silent.
  • I am extra careful whenever I am around him to be extra positive.
  • I wrote him a note apologizing for what I’ve done (I can’t trust myself to talk with him yet. I am not yet in complete control of my emotions).
  • I baked a pie. He didn’t eat it.

I didn’t let myself feel bad though because I’m respecting my husband because it honors God in my marriage and not whether he deserves it or not. He can choose not to eat my pies, but I should forever make them available to him. 

I am still reading your blogs (you have so many, thank goodness), but also recognize that I need to start rebuilding my relationship with God. I’ve been so backwards. The Lord God will direct my paths. I am praying that I can continue down on this road for a happier marriage. It’s my second day in giving my husband respect so there hasn’t been much change in him (I’m sure he is waiting to see if this is some sudden phase or not). And we honestly haven’t spoken much in three days. We sleep apart, and we practically live apart, but today we spoke briefly, and it was calm. No animosity at all. This all just gives me hope!
Thank you, Peacefulwife, for being a mouthpiece of God and for showing backwards, sinning wives the truth! I needed the truth. It hurt, but I needed it.
Thank you so much!
%d bloggers like this: