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When a Husband Is Negative, Critical, or Hurtful


NOTE – if there are really severe issues: adultery, drug/alcohol addiction, severe porn addiction, criminal activity, uncontrolled mental health issues – please seek appropriate one-on-one godly counsel. This post doesn’t address severe issues.

This is a spiritual battle we are fighting. Our husbands are not the real enemy, even though it sure seems like they are at times. What does God call us to do when we are mistreated? What is an effective approach when someone is being hateful? How can we respond in God’s power and not in sin?

  • Romans 12:9-21 is about how to approach our enemies/those who mistreat us and how to overcome evil with good
  • I Corinthians 13:4-8 is about how we are to love everyone with the agape love of God – that would include our treatment of our husbands
  • Galatians 5 is about what the Spirit filled life this will be true no matter how others are treating us.
  • Matthew 7:1-5 is about examining any sin in our lives before we attempt to address sin in another person’s life. I believe we should always seek God’s heart about if there is any sin from which we need to repent before we humbly attempt to approach someone else about his sin.
  • Matthew 18:15-17 is about how to confront those who sin against us.
  • But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16
  • What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

Verses about handling conflict
As our husbands watch us respond in the power of God, with genuine respect, honor, poise, dignity, peace, joy, and love – as we respond with grace – God works in their hearts. Greg was talking with our teenage son about how to treat some other boys who are mistreating him. He advised him to treat them well and then he said to our son…

“Being shown ultimate grace is like being shown a mirror.”

(Sometimes he just comes up with the most profound things that blow my mind!) There is nothing more convicting for a husband who is mistreating his wife than to see her living out godliness, love, and goodness – and extending God’s grace to him when he knows he doesn’t deserve it. We don’t have to preach, lecture, nag, or try to verbally force our husbands to God. Our attitude and God’s power in us speaks a much more powerful sermon than any words ever possibly could to our husbands.  (1 Peter 3:1-6)

Sometimes if a husband gets too upset, a wife may find that simply distancing herself in a respectful, loving way may be helpful. (This does depend on the husband. Some want to calm down and resolve things right away. Others need to have space to calm down before they lose control.) It is important that this space is not “the cold shoulder.” It is not done out of spite. Times respectful, loving space may be wise:

  • If a husband was very hurtful and the wife shares respectfully that his words or actions hurt and he refuses to apologize.
  • If a husband is upset and needs time to think and is not ready to try to reconcile verbally yet – like when a wife tries to apologize and he cannot yet receive her apology.

Some men need space for a time when emotions run high before they can articulate their thoughts and feelings well. I personally believe this gives our men a chance to hear God’s voice of conviction and helps us not get in God’s way in certain situations.

A wife giving respectful, loving space as a gift may want to:

  • smile when she sees him
  • kiss him in the morning and in the evening
  • continue cooking and doing chores, maybe even cook her husband’s favorite meals if she feels led
  • allow him to have space to process his thoughts and any sin
  • spend extra time with God in prayer for herself, her husband, and her family
  • be content in Christ and joyful in Christ
  • be approachable when he begins to draw near her
  • be ready to extend grace and forgiveness when he verbally apologizes or extends an “olive branch” without words
  • if he is interested in sex but hasn’t apologized for a genuine sin against her, she may want to be ready to say, “I want to be available to you sexually, but I need to know our relationship is stable and secure first. Then I will be ready to give my body to you freely the way I want to.”

It is helpful to remember that our real battle is fought and won in prayer, not necessarily in conversation with those who oppose us.

God’s Word and His power are what is most needed. Our words and our human effort will not produce effective results. Our sinful power can only tear down and destroy. But as we allow God to work in and through us, He can pour healing into our lives, our husband’s lives, and our marriages in His timing.

As we are filled with God’s Spirit, He can prompt us about when to speak, what to say, how to respond, when to respectfully confront, and when to wait and pray.


“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Prov. 17:22

It may be that your husband is crushed under guilt and shame, trying his very hardest to be good in God’s holy eyes. It is drying up his life and joy because that is what the law does. It is impossible for us to find life in the law – the burden is too heavy. If we break even one commandment we are under a curse.

I think if he sees joy, light, life and grace in your eyes; sees that you have peace and a nearness to God that he is trying to have – God will use that more powerfully than words can ever convey.

When we only receive negative (wrong, twisted messages) from the Word, we are also only receiving negative from everything, including our spouse and environment, even food. (I started reacting to everything with increasing allergies and health problems too. I attacked myself, and that allowed the enemy and my body to attack me too). We are very toxic and find it impossible to get clean because we are trying to do it ourselves rather than receive what Jesus already did. When others point out “more faults” to us trying to help us be set free, we feel more angry and more guilty and fight back, since we are already drowning in failure and really think we know God and how to be close to Him if we just tried harder.

Only God can open our eyes to His goodness and grace. He gets us to the end of ourselves and any kind of thinking that we have any ability to save ourselves or have any teeny source of good in ourselves at all.

Two things that convicted me when I was so bitter and hurting and full of unbelief were:
1) people full of powerful faith for themselves and those around them
2) people who did not speak negatively at all, but rather Scripture, thanksgiving, and praise

Jesus has given you huge authority to speak mighty things into being as a believer.  Say:

“I speak freedom, life, for eyes to see and ears to hear and a soft heart that can turn and be healed for my husband.”

Speak in prayer to his unbelief and inability to receive grace and love to really decrease and his faith to increase. He needs deliverance from old sins, old habits, lies, attack, generational sins, and curses. So get your Spiritual armor on each day for this battle, and with the sword of the Word cut those curses and lies and sins in the Name of Jesus that have a hold on your husband, you and your kids. Kick those demonic forces out of your house. “In the Name of Jesus I cut all demonic assignments against me, my husband, our children and our home. I bind them and send them to the Cross to be dealt with by Jesus.” “I loose His love and power and blessings and His Spirit to work in our hearts and our home and to reign with His peace over us and our marriage.” Or if that feels too strange to pray at first – find prayers like Ephesians 3:14-21 and Col 1:9-14 to pray over him.

When you pray, thank God that He has already done these things instead of asking God for these things – because Jesus said “It is finished” on the Cross and that He has already blessed believers with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (and many other verses and promises for believers).

“Thank You, God that my husband already has freedom in Jesus – for ‘if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ Thank You, God for deliverance from lies and strongholds in my husband’s heart and thinking, for Your arm is not too short to save, and You still set the captives free, and those who look to You are radiant and will never be filled with shame. Thank You that I am radiant because I am trusting in You. Thank you God that You are working in our hearts and our home.”

And then praise Him! He is worthy of it! He is Faithful and True. He is the object of your faith – and worthy of our trust. He is infinitely good and way more interested in us loving and growing in Him than we are. And He inhabits the praise of His people. Our praise is a weapon that opens new pathways and routes the enemy.




Is there a time your husband was being very harsh and God prompted you to respond in a godly way? Would you like to share what you did and what happened, (if you believe it would be honoring to Christ for  you to share without too much detail – we want to be respectful of our husbands even as we share)? Thank you so much!


Would you like to share how you believe wives can approach their men during conflict in a godly, constructive way? If a wife giving the gift of space for a while is a blessing to you, we’d love to hear more about that. 🙂 Thanks!



A Beautiful, Feminine, Godly Example of How to Conflict

A Wife Responds Well to Her Husband’s Bad Mood

Responding to Insults, Criticisms, and Rebukes

A Godly Wife Confronts Her Angry Husband Respectfully

Some Things God Has Shown Me about Conflict with My Headstrong Husband

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Why Your Husband No Longer Respects You – by Nina Roesner

for wives whose husbands are emotionally/verbally abusive –


A Wife's Little Victories as God Changes Her Heart

1167176_54598022From a dear wife, thank you so much for sharing!!

Since the argument, I have been praying and applying the principle of being respectful towards my husband and it really does work. Maybe a part of it is that after an argument we are both usually more kind and careful to act in the right way too…which is positive also because it shows we both still really do care…

On Valentine’s day decided to get my husband a small gift and a card – which he liked…we went for a swim together and that was nice, as the day came to an end and there was no little gift for me,  I tried to be logical about it telling myself it didnt matter if he got me anything and I was able to stay kind and composed thru the day but as soon as my head hit the pillow my eyes just started to well with tears and I couldn’t help it I cried quietly for probably an hour.. my husband kept asking what was wrong and if i needed a hug (if he was angry at me he would normally ignore it or not be as kind about it) but I just said I was fine and it was okay he didnt need to hug me. I did that because i knew if i said something it might cause an argument as he would feel criticised and also late at night is never a good time for us to talk about these things.  (From peacefulwife – I believe she could have graciously accepted his hug and thanked him for checking on her.  But I appreciate that she didn’t want to cause a conflict.)

In the morning my husband came up to me and wanted to know if i was okay. I then told him that i felt sad that i didnt get any flowers.  (From Peacefulwife – i like how she shared her feelings simply and without blaming him).  He was kind of surprised but did not see it as a problem at all. He said, for our anniversary next week I will definitely get you flowers. He didnt say it under duress either. You are right when my husband feels respected he is definitely more willing to meet my needs. And I do feel I need to be true to myself – first to examine my ‘needs’ and if it really is a something i need that only my husband can meet to share it respectfully with him. I felt that even though I was sad it still came across respectfully and that made all the difference. (from Peacefulwife – yes!!)

I think i am learning that: If i can overlook an offense, accept and anticipate that my husband will snap at me when he is stressed over seemingly minor ‘mistakes’ and respond with grace and a calm composure, speak my needs to him respectfully and preferably in a ‘light/fun’ way, join him in some of the things that are important to him – We will have a much happier marriage and just these past few days have shown that.Y

Yesterday at church my husband forgot some papers and wanted me to rush home and get them. He sort of asked me in a bit of a frazzled way and I could tell the girl I was speaking to was kind of like ‘oh dear ok..’ but stayed calm said, “Yep, sure,” and went home to get them. Then he called me up and i was aware that probably other people were around when he spoke to me, he was like ‘where are you!!??? DO NOT stop to get anything at home, take the papers and come right back’. Before, i might have said with a ‘tone’ ‘I AM ALMOST BACK! ARE THERE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND? YOU DONT NEED TO TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, STOP PANICKING’ etc…and this would flare him up.

But i remembered from our last incident that this is the way he is in these situations so i just listened and said ‘yep sure i am only 30 seconds away so i will see you soon’. It was so much better and later he was the one that told me about how he got into a bit of a panic. It  happened numerous times last week too. I was helping him with a project for work and he started to get all stressed and worked up. I stayed calm and said ok so this is what you need me to do ‘and started writing it all down’. and it turned out fine. That calms him down too. Also at lunch yesterday with friends he shared something little i didnt really want him to – about how he thought I didn’t react well with doctors at the hospital once – but instead of trying to set him straight (probably for the first time) i just smiled and looked at him (remembering this is just a small mistake i can overlook). And then our FRIENDS were the ones who were like kind of coming to the rescue and just helped ‘move the conversation on’. It was so much better than us arguing in front of them! And i didn’t FEEL offended i could truly just let it go. Later on we were sitting on the couches all talking and I noticed my husband was playing with my hair as we all talked, i thought how sweet he is such a ‘man’s man’ but is not embarrassed to play with my hair in public.

I heard something in a sermon too recently. If you add fire to fire you get an even bigger fire. But how can you put out a fire? with water. That is why in these situations i need to diffuse them with water (grace, calmness) and not more fire (stress/anger etc).

I definitely feel God drawing me to himself lately, i think i have had a real grieving period with facing my infertility but He  has been constantly wooing me. I think you are right i need to spend time with God for the purposes of enjoying him as my Creator, listening to the love messages He has for me (both in his word and in nature), continuing to teach me how to bee a good wife, daughter, friend… seeking His will in specific situations and also seeking wisdom for situations i may come across that day.

I will also pray that God will help me put the desire for children in a proper perspective. One thing i have been thinking about lately and finally found the answer yesterday is was there anybody in the Bible who was married, struggled with infertility, pleaded with God for a child, and did not receive a baby in the end? And the answer was no. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Elizabeth, Hannah. Their infertility was not permanent although they had to wait for a very LONG time (eg. 100 years in some cases). Although that doesnt mean that God OWES me a child or that i will definitely have one… it was encouraging to me to see that God more used these times to work in the lives of these couples and for them to learn to trust him fully.

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