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A Silent Husband Shares His Heart

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For those wives who have passive, unplugged husbands – it can be really difficult for us to understand what is going on in our shut-down husbands’ hearts. I greatly misunderstood Greg for so many years because he didn’t tell me what he thought – so, I ended up making a lot of really horrible and extremely inaccurate assumptions.  

Today’s post is by a Christian husband – I appreciate his willingness to articulate his perspective. Husbands have feelings and emotions, too – even if they don’t verbalize them to us. They can be DEEPLY wounded and never say a word. That is what Greg did. He just went into his self-preservation mode and shut down to protect himself and never told me how much I hurt him with my disrespect and control for all those years.  He knew I was not a safe place for him to share his heart. 🙁

Please prayerfully consider whether your husband may feel like this husband and see what God may desire to change in your heart and in your marriage for his glory. (This post is primarily about Type-A, take-charge, wives with strong personalities. This is not a post for wives who are afraid to speak their minds or share their thoughts or feelings and it is not for wives who are abused. The dynamics for a more passive wife/dominating husband or an abused wife/abusive husband are very different from what is described here. If anyone is not safe in his/her marriage, please seek appropriate help right away!)

——————

Thank you for this post (Nikka’s 3rd Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband). I can identify with Dong’s thoughts and feelings.

  • My wife’s domineering nature sucks the life from me emotionally, spiritually, socially, intellectually and physically.

Emotionally she drains my by communicating to me both verbally and non-verbally that my feelings are wrong. The constant battle of having to prove that what I am feeling is legitimate just wears me down. As a result, I am very hesitant to share my emotions with her.

Spiritually, she communicates to me that her ways are the right ways and that my perspective on spiritual truth and walking with the Lord is wrong or lacking. She devalues my relationship with the Lord because I experience Him through the Word. She values prayer and the gifts of the Spirit more. She doesn’t see it as me being different from her but that I am wrong. I get spiritual life from personal study of the word, smaller group discussions, accountability and prayer. She gets life from large worship services and through worship music. Again, she communicates that her way is superior to mine.

Socially, the strain of the regular conflict drains me. As an introvert, when I am drained, I need time alone to recharge. I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in relationships that I used to have. There have been numerous times where she has emotionally beat me up on the way to a gathering so that by the time we arrive, I am drained and need to recharge. She then puts me down for being withdrawn at these gatherings.

Intellectually, I am an idea person. These could be on how to do things better or be more efficient. Other times they are on how to solve problems. I also have ideas about the Lord and ministry. Yet, whenever I share them with her she pushes back and takes them apart as being wrong or unrealistic. This just shuts me down because it has communicated to me over the years that I am stupid and should keep them to myself.

All of this drain on my soul has affected me physically too.

The constant message I hear is to be quiet and don’t embarrass her.

The cumulative effect of 20 plus years of being controlled and opposed is that her voice is constantly in my head accusing and condemning me. It causes me to second guess everything I do and to be very tentative on making decisions. I am always concerned about her reactions and having to explain myself. This makes it difficult to enjoy many things in life because her voice is there in my head questioning my actions, interactions, feelings and motives.

The good news is that I can see how the Lord has been working in her life for the past 20 years to open her eyes and address her sin. Over the past couple of years, I think she is starting to see her sin and address it. We still have a long way to go. She still doesn’t feel safe to me but there is an inkling of change.

RELATED:

From this same husband, “My Wife Would Bless Me If…”

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Greg told me that when I stopped all the negativity:

  • criticizing
  • controlling
  • lecturing
  • telling him what to do
  • treating him like he was a child
  • taking over and doing things for him
  • freaking out
  • worrying
  • using an angry mama tone of voice
  • scowling
  • sighing

… it was like someone turned off the “static on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

And, Greg said, when I began to do the positive things:

  • encouraging
  • affirming
  • blessing
  • waiting patiently
  • cooperating
  • honoring his leadership
  • listening to him
  • caring about his opinion and perspective
  • allowing him space to be different from me and to be a man
  • appreciating his masculinity instead of condemning him
  • respecting him

… it was like someone put “an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”

THIS is why God commands us to win our husbands without words.  We don’t force them to change with our words. When we attempt to verbally force our husbands to do what we want, we can unknowingly cause a lot of destruction. Instead, let’s inspire them by our example and the love, joy and peace of God in our hearts. How I pray we might live in the power of God’s Spirit and learn to use our incredibly strong influence, our words, our attitudes and our actions to bless, build up and encourage our husbands for God’s glory!

Nikka’s 3rd Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband

An Interview With My Husband — 3rd Interview

Controlling Nikka with my sad husband Dong – Dec 2009

From my dear friend, Nikka.  Check out her blog at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com  Nikka and I both write from the perspective of wives who used to be controlling and domineering, Type A personalities with passive husbands.  If that is not your situation, these posts may not be as helpful for you. But if you tend to be very take-charge and have a husband who tends to be passive – please listen to Nikka’s husband’s heart in this post and ask God to help you see if it could be possible that  your husband may feel a lot like he did.

———————–

In the ‘First Interview With My Husband‘, Dong admitted that during my most controlling years, he wanted to die because life seemed to have no meaning and he could not make me happy.

In the ‘Second Interview With My Husband’, Dong admitted that because of my controlling attitude which almost always led to me being restless and depressed about our circumstances, he felt like a failure because nothing made me happy.

I must be a sucker for heartache though because though my heart bled after I found out his true feelings in the first two interviews, I still interviewed him a third time. It was like I was bringing on the pain. He even asked, Do you peaceful wives have to do this? Is it required of you?” 

I said, “No. This one is for me. I am doing it for me. I need to hear this.”

Here then is my third interview with my husband.

Note: Most of the pictures I will use are from my very controlling period (between 2009 to 2011), the time when we had most of our arguments and emotional discussions. The bottom pics will be current with me already as a “peaceful wife”.

Nikka : Can I interview you again?

Dong: What? Di pa ba tapos yan? (Is it not over yet?)

I need to ask you some questions still. (I pull out my questionnaire. We both laugh.) 🙂

Nikka: You told me before that all of the decisions in the past were MY decisions. None of it was

With Therese in her VTR – 2009

yours. How did you feel about that, when I was leading the family and controlling everything?

Dong: Actually, I was not so hurt. I told myself I will just go along with what you wanted to happen. I just felt that my input had no value.

You always told me this: “You are always putting it in YOUR hands!”. What did this exactly mean and how did you feel towards me when I was at my most controlling behavior?

Asar. (Irked.) Yabang mo kasi. (You were so arrogant.) Minamaliit mo ako. (You were belittling me.)

(Editor’s Note: I was not aware I was belittling him at that time because I was not really saying my thoughts out loud. But actions do speak louder than words, and that was Dong’s love language — through actions. I was a “silent” nagger.)

How did you feel when I would seek your advice but not heed it, but when somebody else told me to do the exact same thing you advised me to do, I would immediately follow that person’s piece of advice?

I felt disrespected.

(Editor’s Note: This was the first time Dong said the “disrespected” word. He usually called it other things but it was the first time he called it for what it was. Loving passive husbands these days usually do not even know what disrespect is anymore. It just feels to them that they are being attacked. Most wives these days do not even know that they should respect their husbands or how that looks like.)

When we would get into our emotional discussions, there were times when you would suggest that maybe I was better off without you. It was always I who would say, “No. We should stick it out. We are in this “for better or for worse”.  Why did it even cross your mind to separate?

Dong with Andre – 2009

Too much disrespect. I had no intention to separate. I know that I was in it “for better or for worse”, but I could not find a solution to our problem.

(Editor’s Note: Our problem was I was most of the time restless and joyless for some unknown reason.)

To save myself from the situation, since I could not make you happy, I felt that it (separation) was the ONLY SOLUTION. I felt that most likely maiaangat ko naman ulit sarili ko outside of the situation. (I felt that most likely I could regain my sense of self outside of the situation.)



Despite our trials before, was there ever a time that you did not love me or did you always love me?

Kahit asar na asar, mahal talaga kita. (Even if I was very, very irritated with you, I still loved you.) The fact that there was resentment still did not change my love for you.

I never thought you were “better” than me as a person but you never failed to make me feel that,

8 months pregnant with our 3rd – 2009

and not just in money or capability. I was asking myself already, “Is my being too equal in treatment with you wrong?”, “Am I being a deterrent to our relationship?” because I have seen how some husbands treat their wives badly to make them (wives) respect them (husbands).

But that would be wrong!  Abusive and oppressive.

Yes. Exactly. For me, Golden Rule dapat. (For me, the Golden Rule should rule.) I also know respect should be earned and I cannot force respect from you.

(Editor’s Note: In this submission journey, I have learned that as a Christian wife, I must respect my husband unconditionally whether he deserves it or not, as the Lord commanded in Ephesians 5:22-24.)

How did you bear with me during those bleak times?

It was not that unbearable… but something happened to me in the process. I didn’t blame you for anything. It was MY decision. It was MY proposal for us to get married. But I sort of lost faith…

5 months pregnant with our 3rd – 2009

Did my controlling behavior and my lack of faith in you, affect your faith in God?

Yes. I lost faith. I “learned” from you that in order to be respected, you had to put everything in your hands. You cannot have “blind faith.” I used to have that, and you would always look down on me for it.

(Editor’s Note: Between me and Dong, in the beginning of our relationship, it was always Dong who was very hopeful and had much faith that things would work out for the best because God was in control. My controlling behavior and my desire to put things in my hands all the time, made him think that maybe his faith was not real after all, that something was wrong with him for not putting things in his hands.)

I am so sorry, honey. 🙁 Do you think you will have your (old) faith back? 🙁

The only way that I’d get it back is if something drastic will happen. If something so bad or something so good happens… I have lost faith in Man. I don’t know if I would get my faith back. 

At a sports event – 2010

How could you explain that my lack of faith in God  led to your lack of faith in God?

(Editor’s Note: I had much faith in myself, not in God. Proof of this was always putting things in my hands, and being controlling. I thought I was just being ‘efficient’. I was blind to my sins. I even thought I was deeply spiritual!)

Family of 5 – October 2010

We became one. I became one, too, with how YOU felt about things.

(Editor’s Note: I would always chide him for having so much faith in God but no outcome to show for his faith. 🙁 I would tell him that “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.” The Lord helps those who help themselves. I was really judgmental towards him then and thought him to be not doing his best. )

I am really sorry Honey. I didn’t know about this. You are still hopeful for the future, I hope? 🙁

Yes, hopeful. Good is good. I have my big doubts. Skeptical.. But it is only now that I am learning to have faith again.. I told you, you won’t like my answers. I would not tell you these, if you did not ask. I was keeping them to myself. I did not want to make you feel bad.


But I want to know, Honey. It’s okay. Thank you for telling me.


When I was listening and listing down my husband’s answers, my heart bled. 🙁 I had an inkling my controlling behavior affected my husband’s faith but I did not know just how badly I contributed to his losing faith, to the point of almost being agnostic now. 🙁

Controlling Nikka – 2010

I knew that my bragging to him about my great faith in God, but with no actions to show for it —  always morose, scared, depressed during those years, only maligned God’s Word. 🙁

I did not walk the talk. He was looking to me to see Christ, but not finding Him, made Dong conclude that religion, Christianity, and even the Bible were not to be trusted. He considered them “proof”  that they were all “gawa-gawa lang” (man-made).

                                      Matthew 5:16
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

He said that I was not 100% at fault over his having lost his faith for a long time, but I know that I was mostly, hugely, gravely at fault. 🙁

I was not a godly wife. I only succeeded in bringing shame to God’s Word. So different from what God commanded for wives to do… 🙁

 Titus 2:5

“to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

He even lost the desire to go to weekly masses for those three years. And whereas before he would recite Psalm 91 by heart the moment he woke, up, I just one day noticed that he was not praying that nor any prayer anymore. 🙁

At our 3rd child, Reuben’s baptism – Oct 2010

I may not have single-handedly made him lose his faith, but I sure did everything during those dark years to make him lose faith in himself as a father and the leader of the home, which led to his losing faith little by little in our Heavenly Father.

I was arrogant, self-righteous, judgmental, condescending, negative, gloomy… and yet I never failed to tell him of my GREAT FAITH in God! What a fool I was!!! 🙁

He is answerable for his own walk with Christ and he would have to answer to God for his own sins, but it is true that since we were one, my lack of real faith (I had more faith in myself than in God) affected his own faith.

                                    Proverbs 22:24-25

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Thing is, we were more than just friends. We were husband and wife. We were one because of the sacrament of marriage. My constant turmoil and discontent and penchant for putting things in my hands led to him “learning my ways”. Before he knew it, he was already “ensnared.” Instead of me learning how to be faithful to God, he learned how to be faithless from me. It’s the case of “a rotten apple spoils the barrel.” I was the rotten apple. I spoiled him. I am so ashamed. 🙁

I thank the Lord for opening up my spiritual eyes to my mountains of sin. I thank the Lord for allowing me to repent for them and for forgiving me. I thank the Lord for giving me a chance to change. I thank the Lord for sharing with me this precious secret given to us wives, on how to experience true joy in marriage. I thank the Lord for giving me a husband, who despite my blatant disrespect and hard-headedness still loved me unconditionally though I disrespected him shamefully. 🙁 He did his part of the equation. I obviously didn’t. 🙁

Dec 2011
                                          Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I am so grateful to the Lord because ever since the start of my submission journey, I have seen Him work in my life, in Dong’s life, in our lives. We are starting to go to church together again, with him sometimes initiating it even, whereas I would find myself alone in most Sundays in the past.

At our 4th child, Isabelle’s baptism – Dec 2013

I have also seen him happier now more than ever, and hugging me or complimenting me out of the blue. I also see him walking taller now and being more energized to make decisions for the family. It was in my submission that he has started becoming the man God wants him to be. It was in my stepping aside, that God found the space to talk to his heart.

At Therese’s Holy Communion – Dec 2013
Submitted wife and mother – January 24, 2014

All my negativity was hindering him from hearing God’s Voice. All my empty faith sharings, just made him detest me and the faith I was “falsely” propagating. I surely did not walk my talk. I preached what I did not practice. I maligned God’s Word. 🙁 I am forever repentant to God for that. I was so blind to my sins. 🙁

I see that there is so much hope for us now.

I feel God’s presence in our lives now.

Dec 2013

I cannot make Dong bring back his once solid faith in God. I have already done him much harm in the past with my actions. Forcing him to go back to his old faith would only do more harm than good. My being so dominant was what led him to start losing faith in the first place.

I too am not the Holy Spirit. Only God can make Dong seek Him again. And with me out of the picture, I am hopeful that the Lord will once again woo Dong to that kind of no-holds-barred faith he used to have, pre-me.

It is out of my hands now. I leave it all in God’s Able Hands. Him who loves my husband more than I do, and Who knew Dong even before he was born, will call him by name yet again…

However, I can practice one powerful secret that God has given to us wives who want our non-believing husbands to become believers in God (or in my case, to believe again fully in God), and that is through our godly lives.

                                         1 Peter 3:1-5

3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,
I love my family. 🙂 — January 24, 2014
I love the Lord.
I love Dong.
I have let go and let God.
At this stage of my life, my greatest test to my faith is this: Am I willing to allow God to work in my life and to lead me, through my husband?

The answer is YES.

January 17, 2014
I pray that those in the same boat as I was may find it in their hearts to humble themselves and to follow God’s Great Design for Marriage. There is no peace and joy quite like it. I assure you, dear sisters… this kind of peace Christ gives is not of this world.
Our home is my ministry. Praise be to the good Lord for His Mercy and Love. – Sick Visitation at Dong’s Aunt’s house
January 2014
May we all be richly blessed! 🙂
RELATED:

Why Your Husband May Not Immediately Do What You Want Him to Do

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Are we trying to control our husbands?

I had another impromptu interview with my husband.  I’m so thankful he is usually game for answering my questions!  He is able to express a masculine point of view very clearly now – I learn so much from him every time we talk!  My husband may not be speaking for all men as he answers these questions.  I hope other husbands might be willing to share their perspectives, as well.  But I think it is possible that other husbands may look at things the way my husband does – and this may be something to prayerfully consider for us as wives.  (If you have SERIOUS issues in your marriage – your husband has uncontrolled mental health problems, major addictions,  major unrepentant sin, physical abuse, infidelity, etc… this post may not apply to your husband.  Please seek godly, wise counsel ASAP!):

I was talking with my husband about a situation that – I would guess – probably happens in almost every marriage at some point, maybe MANY points:

The wife feels disconnected emotionally.  She feels like she is not a priority.  She feels like work, the TV, hobbies, the kids or friends are bigger priorities for her husband than she is.  She is feeling unloved.  So she begins to say things like:

  • Why don’t you ever sit with me?
  • I want us to sit together/cuddle.  We never spend time together.
  • I’m not a priority to you.
  • If you really loved me, you would make time for me and you would want to sit with me on the couch (or cuddle with me in bed) instead of sitting by yourself at the computer/in the recliner.
  • I want to be with you, but you never want to be with me.  You wouldn’t care if we never spent time together.
  • You need to sit with me right now!
  • Oh, no!  Where do you think YOU’RE going?????  You can’t go out with your friends.  You’re spending time with ME!
  • Why can’t you turn off the TV and talk to me????!?!!
  • Why did you even marry me if you never want to be with me?
  • You obviously love the TV more than you love me.
  • I have felt disconnected from you for weeks!  All you want me for is sex.  I feel like such a piece of meat to you.
  • You care more about football/hunting/sports than you do about me.  You need to spend some time with me right now!
  • I feel like we are just roommates.  You don’t love me at all.  Why don’t you ever just cuddle with me and talk with me?

The wife just thinks she is “sharing her heart” and saying what she needs.

She thinks she is being totally reasonable  – because any woman would feel the same way she does in her situation.  She fully expects him to drop whatever he is doing RIGHT THEN and come lavish attention and affection on her.  In all likelihood, she probably believes that her husband has the same emotional need to verbally connect that she does.  If we assume our husbands think just like we do – we can get ourselves into HUGE trouble because it is VERY EASY to assume that our husbands have evil motives toward us based on their behavior and our assumptions that our husbands’ motives must be the same as our motives would be if we were behaving the way they are behaving.  I hope you were able to follow me on that last sentence!

ASSUMING THE WORST OR THE BEST?

Unfortunately, our assuming the worst about our husbands does not promote a healthy marriage.  It brings out the worst in our husbands  – and in ourselves – when we make these kinds of assumptions.  

We end up sabotaging ourselves and preventing ourselves from getting the very emotional intimacy we really long for!

If we can take the time to realize that our husbands and men in general often have VERY different ways of thinking, feeling and processing life than we do – that their masculine perspectives are totally different from our feminine perspectives – we can offer grace, understanding and empathy assuming the BEST about our men instead of the worst.  This is the kind of environment healthy marriages need in order to flourish.

Another issue is that in each of the examples above – the wife was approaching her husband disrespectfully.  She was either giving him a directive (telling/ordering him what to do), making a demand or unfairly assuming that her husband is being unloving.  This is NOT the way to motivate a husband to do what we want!  

Men don’t like to be controlled.  Honestly, who does?? Husbands respond to RESPECT – sincere, genuine respect that is completely free of manipulation.

I would suggest something like:

  • “Honey, I’m feeling lonely today.  Would you please hold me sometime when you have a few minutes?  Thanks!”
  • “Honey, I really miss you.”
  • “I can’t wait to get to be in your arms soon.”
  • “I’m really looking forward to have a chance to just talk and relax together soon.”

I would say this with a smile and a pleasant tone of voice.  And then – be gracious no matter how he responds.  This is a respectful way to share our feelings and needs WITHOUT pressuring our husbands, making them the bad guy or making demands.  If he feels pressured, he will not feel like he has the freedom to delight you.  He may feel like he has to wait a day or several days to be able to really give you what you say you desire.

HERE ARE SOME OF MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHTS  (I hope some other husbands will also share their thoughts on this important issue, too!)

“If a wife demands attention/affection/discussion immediately, a husband is in a terrible predicament.

  • If he immediately does what she says she wants, he and she both know that his actions are not genuine.  He feels he has no choice but NOT to do what she demanded right then.
  • If he does not do what she says she wants, she will think he is a total jerk and that he is being extremely unloving.  He knows this.  He doesn’t like it. But he MUST know that he is acting because he wants to, not because she is ordering him to do something.

He has to wait a certain amount of time so that he can act in his time, not her time.

It may be that later that week, if his wife asked respectfully and doesn’t blast him with criticism/contempt/disrespect – he will try to make some extra special time to hold and cuddle her and show her affection.  But it will only be when it is HIS idea and he knows that she knows that it is not because she is forcing or coercing him – but that he wants to give her his attention on his own.”

A FEW OF MY HUSBAND’S THOUGHTS ABOUT “EMOTIONAL CONNECTION”

Greg says that – from his perspective – when I feel emotionally disconnected from him, it is MY emotional disconnection, not his.  He says that a husband “is  feeling very connected to his wife until she says she feels disconnected, then he feels like she is saying he has failed her.”

Most men are not motivated by feeling like failures.

I know that wives don’t intend to communicate, “I feel disconnected from you, so you are a failure in my eyes.”  But, maybe that could be what our husbands HEAR?  I don’t know if this is how every husband feels.  Maybe some husbands feel this way?

Greg says, “When a wife wants emotional connection, if he thought things were fine, it is a slap in the face to him.  If he was gone on a trip or very busy with baseball or kids or work, then he can understand her feeling disconnected.  If he is unaware of her disconnection, it is like wife has a hole in her bucket, he can’t fill it fast enough.  He feels he can never do enough to satisfy her.”

“Wives need emotional connection, husbands don’t need nearly what a wife would need.  Most men have very few emotional connections outside of their wives.”

“If the family has a very hectic schedule, a husband would be fine without talking all week, and would understand that this is what we have to do to get this done.  It’s not that I don’t love her or am not connected.  My love doesn’t change because of that.”

I asked Greg, “What makes a husband feel connected or not?”

He said, “Disrespect can make a husband feel disconnected and for some men, not having sex with their wives in a certain time frame can make them feel disconnected.  But

usually, a guy is going to be connected, and will not lose his connection unless his wife disconnects from him.”

MY THOUGHTS AFTER OUR DISCUSSION:

My feeling is that as a wife, many times our “neutral status” is feeling disconnected.   We feel we have to do something actively to feel connected (talking, cuddling, affection, time together, praying together).

Greg said he believes that “A husband’s ‘neutral status’ is  feeling connected and they have to do something  actively to feel disconnected.”

WHAT AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT!

When I learned that my husband thinks of his love for me as unchanging and constant, regardless of what he says to me or our time to talk in a given week, that was a HUGE burden lifted from my shoulders.  Now, I am able to rest in his love and know that he feels connected to me, even if we don’t get to have the time together I would really like.   That helps me feel very connected to him – even when we can’t talk as much as I would like. Of course, I am also resting in my Jesus’ love that is unending and never failing, knowing that nothing can separate me from His love.

“For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn talks about this – that most Christian husbands see their love as unchanging and solid.  Many of them have no idea why their wives constantly want reassurance of something that, to them, is steady and constant.  One man said (this is my paraphrase), “my wife needing constant reassurance of my love seems as unnecessary as if she were to ask every day ‘Do we still own the house?’  Of course we still own the house!  We bought it!  And, of course I still love you, I married you!”

Men do not always express love verbally.  For a lot of men – words aren’t worth much.   But that DOES NOT mean they don’t love their wives.  They tend to show their love in action.  They often show love by going to work everyday and providing for their families. They show love by running to the pharmacy in the middle of the night when the baby wakes up sick, or by putting gas in their wife’s car, or by lifting burdens from her when she is overwhelmed.  They show love by remodeling the house, taking the family to church, taking out the trash – by the things they DO.  And when they do these things, they do them out of love, not because someone tried to force them to do them.

A NEW APPROACH

I think if we approach our husbands as if they live in this mysterious (new to us) world of masculinity that we know nothing about and that we would like to explore his world with him – and ask questions with eyes of wonder and amazement and friendly, genuine curiosity – continuing to see the best in him – our husbands will be able to eventually open up to us more and more.

I would like to see us as wives assume that if we don’t understand why our husbands are doing something, that they have good motives towards us.  Unless they have definitely proven to be evil and untrustworthy, let’s assume the best about them, instead of the worst.  Let’s assume they love us (if you have SEVERE issues in your marriage, this may not be true – but most husbands do love their wives – especially if they are still with them.)  And let’s assume that they don’t have evil motives towards us.  Let’s assume maybe we don’t understand how they think and maybe their priorities are different from ours.  But let’s not assume they are ill-willed towards us and that they are our enemies.

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Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

An Interview with My Husband  (Understanding a passive husband’s mindset)

An Interview with My Husband – Understanding a Passive Husband's Mindset

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Greg and April – May 28, 1994
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Greg and April at the church where we were married – May 28, 2013
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Greg and I had an impromptu interview the other evening.  I have been hearing from one of my dear friends who has been struggling a lot on this journey of learning to be a godly wife.  I was asking my husband what his perspective was earlier in our marriage as I was being so disrespectful and controlling.  During that time, he became passive and very unplugged.  There were times he barely spoke to me, barely looked at me and sometimes barely touched me.  I thought you might be interested to hear what he had to say.  
This was the first time I have ever heard much of these particular thoughts of his.  I am SO honored that he feels safe enough now to share his heart with me like this.  What a privilege for me to be married to this man and for God to have so radically changed me, our marriage and Greg.  I thank and praise God EVERY DAY for the miracles He did in our marriage.  It was ALL Him.
1. What are some of the things I did that used to bother you the most before God showed me my disrespect and control?
You already had this conversation in your head with me all day long and were already mad at me before I could even say what I wanted to say.  You  already decided what my answer was going to be and how you were going to deal with it, there was no use in me answering.
You would ask me a question, but it was worded so that if I picked one answer, I would have to be the stupidest person in the world.  There is only one right answer.  I couldn’t disagree with you.  That was not allowed.   You knew you were “so right” about it, there was no room for you to be wrong.  There was no room for any other perspective in the world.  

Once you are hit with that over and over, why answer?  What’s my role?  Do I have a role?

2. (Talking about the TV/football watching thing) I can probably watch 1 football game,  but I can’t watch 40 hours/week.  Of course, wives would like to talk and connect with their husbands 40 hours/week.

I don’t even talk to MYSELF 40 hours/week!

To husbands, talking = conflict.  At work, we have to have a meeting because there is a problem.  At home, we have to talk because there is a problem.

It was never, “Can we talk about what you want to talk about, Honey?”  It was always, “I’m going to tell you, and you’re going to listen to me.”

Wow!  I have never thought of it like that!  But – that is so right!  Yikes!
3. Why did you stay with me all those 14+ years that I was not giving you what you needed?
There were times I wasn’t happy.  I stayed because I loved you.  Leaving wasn’t an option.  I could be unhappy, but it didn’t mean I didn’t want you to be my wife.
4.  Were there any happy times?
There were some happy times.  
(My perspective was) if I didn’t want some of your characteristics, I shouldn’t have married you.  Some of the things that made you struggle a little bit at being a wife were some of the things that were probably at the same time things that attracted me to you as well.
I liked that you were intelligent and a go-getter and had a little bit of an edge of brazenness.  I liked that you were independent, strong-willed and educated (as a pharmacist).  I didn’t want to be with somebody that was “just average.”   You wouldn’t do any thing that you didn’t give it 110%.  School, flute, piano, pharmacy…  you gave everything you had to all of it.
You were good with words.  I thought it would help me somewhere in the long run.
5. What were some of the hardest things for you during those years?

At times I felt trapped.  I felt like I didn’t have a voice.  

I wasn’t “not answering” you to try to irritate you at all.  I felt trapped in my situation.  It didn’t matter if I answered.  It seemed like however I saw it – it wouldn’t matter.
6. There were a handful of times that you really stood your ground, and I ended up VERY reluctantly doing what you wanted.  Why were you willing to insist on those few issues?
If I lost those types of things, I wouldn’t have had anything to call my own.  I wasn’t willing to lose those things.
7. How did the way I disrespected and controlled you impact your relationship with God?
I don’t know that you had a real negative effect on my relationship with God.  But your “mastering” of it, would come into play.  When it came to (Bible) knowledge, you were way, way, way beyond advanced of where I was.  When it came to wisdom, I looked at is as we all had issues with that (due to a lack of) experience and maturity.  I don’t think you had a huge role in disparaging me (spiritually).  I didn’t challenge you much on it.
8.  Did you have any hope that I would change?
I was not looking for you to change.  I knew there were ways we could be better.  

I looked at myself as the problem most of the time.  I looked at me as “not getting it.”  I didn’t look at you as the problem.

  • I just wasn’t doing what I needed to do.  
  • I wasn’t making you as happy as I needed to.  
  • I was not the husband I needed to be.  

I was looking for ways to limit the pain by going into a shell.

9.  I believe that if you had told me I had hurt you – at any point in those first 14+ years –  I would have felt HORRIBLE and would have wanted to apologize and make things right.  But you NEVER told me about your pain.  NEVER.  I eventually believed you didn’t have feelings at all. Why didn’t you ever say anything?  Why did you suffer silently all those years?

I didn’t tell you my pain because “a man doesn’t show pain.”

10.  Why did you allow me to lead?

Some things I looked at as it was advantageous for you to lead.  When I wouldn’t make a decision, you were always there to hammer down the decision, and if things got screwed up, it was your fault.

11. I can remember BEGGING you many times, ” PLEASE, just tell me what you need!  I don’t know what you need!”  Why didn’t you say that you needed respect from me?  Why didn’t you say you needed me to stop trying to control you?

  • I felt like it was my problem.  
  • I didn’t necessarily know what I needed.
  • I would have felt like it would have been selfish for me to say what I needed.

I knew I needed respect, but I didn’t know how to explain that to you.  I didn’t look at it as something I could ask for.  I looked at is as something I couldn’t obtain.  There was something I was doing that meant I didn’t deserve it.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think it is SIGNIFICANT that BOTH of us thought my husband was the problem.  I didn’t see myself as any part of the problem those first 14+ years of our marriage.  My husband didn’t see me as being any part of the problem.   But the truth is – we were BOTH contributing to the problems in our marriage – and change only happened after I was willing to look at my (rather hefty) part in the mess. My power came when God opened my eyes to my own sin and helped me stop pointing my finger at my husband and begin to deal with the mountain of sin in my own life.

  • I was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage.
  • I was not responsible for my husband’s sin.
  • My husband was not responsible for 100% of the problems in our marriage!!  Sadly, that was the only explanation I could imagine for many years.  How wrong I was!

But I was responsible for my own sin, my own walk with Christ, my emotions, my responses, my joy, my contentment, my peace.  Of course, real joy, contentment and peace can only be found in Jesus.  My husband can’t give me those things.  Only Jesus can.  And He only gives me His supernatural joy and peace when I follow Him and lay down my life for Him in total submission 100%.

Please notice that some of my husband’s feelings are the exact same kinds of fears women tend to have about biblical submission and respect.  Quite honestly, in the first 14 years of our marriage, I expected my husband to “submit to me.”  I tried to force him to bow to my will.  And man, was I offended when he wouldn’t do as I said he should!  I would NEVER have said that I wanted him to follow me or “submit” to me.  But I thought I was always right.  I thought I was better than he was.  I thought I was closer to God than he was. I thought I was a better leader than he was.  I thought he “wouldn’t” lead or “couldn’t” lead.  So I tried to take control.  What a disaster!

Thankfully when a woman biblically submits to her husband – she has the freedom to speak her mind and voice her feelings – and her husband, as he feels respected and honored, will generally desire seek what is in her best interest.  

A godly husband who is entrusted with leadership reacts with humility, sacrificial love and a desire to delight his wife.  

But his first priority is to please and honor Christ.  So – ladies – don’t worry about losing your voice when you obey God in marriage.  When we do things God’s way – we have MORE power in a godly way – than we ever could when we try to usurp our husbands’ authority and take over and try to force our way.

The truth is …  I wouldn’t follow Greg.  He did try to lead early on.  I fought him tooth and nail.  I was in rebellion against God and against Greg.  My husband was totally capable of leading.  He does a wonderful job of it now!  I was sabotaging him, myself and our marriage – and didn’t even know it.  I NEVER EVER EVER want to go back to the way things were.  I was miserable, lonely, anxious, stressed and fearful.  Greg was shut down and emotionally very distant.  Our marriage has been INFINITELY better since God showed me His design for marriage.  We have the intimacy and connection we always wanted.  My husband is the man I always knew he could be.  I am the woman I had always longed to be.  I am SO ETERNALLY THANKFUL to Him!  

MY HUSBAND’S BLOG:

www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com

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Why So Many of Us Aren’t Prepared to Be Godly Wives – Part 2

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How to Make Your Husband an Idol

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Dying to Self

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