Marriage Missions International

Dealing With The Unlovable Husband

Photo by David Castillow Dominici, courtesy of

Photo by David Castillow Dominici, courtesy of

It is easy to live in harmony when your husband is treating you well. But what if he’s not? How do you treat your husband when he is unloving and moody? Listen to what Jesus says regarding difficult relationships:

“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayers for that person… If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for your behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? …I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never —I promise —regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, and criticize their faults —unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back —given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:27-38, The Message)

One way you can tell that you are walking in the Spirit in your marriage is to ask: Is my husband’s response my goal, or am I doing this to please the Lord?

God will enable you to be compassionate to someone who doesn’t deserve it, just as He was and is to you.

Ask yourself, “Why is my husband moody and sharp with me?” Often the answer is that you are simply catching the overflow of what happened to him at work, with his parents, or with some other problem. Is this fair? No, but life isn’t always fair. Consider other possibilities as well: Is he stressed about something in particular? Is he fatigued due to extra house he’s putting in at work? Is he going through a difficult time with someone? Ask God to give you understanding and patience during these times and continue to treat your husband lovingly, regardless of how he may be treating you.

Don’t be so sensitive that you let your feelings and emotions be set by another’s treatment of you. Jesus didn’t do that. He continued to live His life with honor, dignity, love, and mercy through the most difficult times. Don’t be judgmental or unfriendly. Don’t allow yourself to be too easily wounded, crushed, or hurt. Guard against bitterness and being quick to forgive. Ask Jesus to help develop these attitudes in you when you face challenging times.

Be a Blessing
Your job is to bless (1 Peter 3:9, The Message). Put another way, it reads like this:

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult —scolding, tongue-lashing, berating; but on the contrary blessing—praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God] —obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection. (1 Peter 3:9, AMP)

Holy, beautiful women never return harsh words, but instead give a blessing back! One way to do this is through prayer. Do you see that the blessed outcome of our unselfish prayer for our husbands’ welfare, happiness, and protection is that we inherit these things as well?

Have you and your husband ever been in the following cycle? He raises his voice; you raise yours. He becomes louder; you retaliate.

This is an endless cycle, but the dynamics of it can be broken quickly if you no longer react. You can choose to act instead in a manner the Bible says is right. Your consistent, sweet, silent response to poor behavior may be the very thing God uses to change your husband. Don’t give in to the urge to let your silence be cold and stony.

When Jesus was oppressed and afflicted, He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:63; Matthew 27:12-14, NASB). Mark says that Pilate was amazed at how Jesus stayed silent in the midst of the accusations that were swirling around Him. Only when He was placed under oath and asked whether He was the King of the Jews did He humbly reply, “Yes, it is as you say(Mark 15:2).

If your husband is short-tempered and impatient, try remaining silent in love. Stop participating in the vicious cycle of “he gets angry; I get angry.” Choose not to react during heated times. Wait until your husband has cooled down or is more rested before discussing things.

Suppose you had two dogs. Let’s say one was red and the other blue. What would happen if you fed only the red dog and not the blue one? The red dog would become bigger and stronger while the blue one became weaker. Over time, Red would thrive, while Blue shriveled away.

Every time you act in a loving way toward your husband, it’s as if you’re feeding the red dog and refusing to feed the blue one. The basic principle is simple: Feed Red, and starve Blue! Each time you do this, it becomes more and more a part of your natural response. What you’re doing is training your mind to think in a new way, and each successive attempt becomes easier.

Begin now to pray that you will have the strength to do this, and begin praying scripturally and fervently for your husband.

How to Pray Scripturally
An example is given in Colossians of a powerful way to pray. You might consider praying for your husband in such a way. Pray that he will:

  • be filled with the knowledge of God’s will,
  • have spiritual wisdom and understanding,
  • walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, living a life full of integrity,
  • please the Lord in all respects and do those things that bring glory to God,
  • bear fruit in every good work,
  • increase in the knowledge of God,
  • be strengthened with all power according to the Lord’s glorious might,
  • attain steadfastness and patience,
  • joyously give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

The above article comes from the book, The Politically Incorrect Wife: God’s Plan written by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby, published by Multnomah. You’ll find that the authors confidently write as “voices of experience.” They say, “Between the two of us, we bought into the modern-day thinking regarding marriage, for nearly 40 years! During that long time, we flowed right along with emerging cultural values and became entrenched in the idea that our husbands had to earn their way to our hearts.” They explain that they came to realize this way of measuring and giving out love was “faulty for a number of reasons.” You’ll want to read this book to find out what they learned.

The article is excerpted from The Politically Incorrect Wife, written by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.


You may find the following radio series broadcasts titled “How to Live with the Fools in Your Life” to be helpful on this same subject. Please click onto the Revive Our Hearts link provided below to read the transcripts. And from there, you can continue to read or listen to more of the Abigail Series by scrolling down to the links provided for, “Are You Approachable?” (Aug. 19, 2013) – “Diffusing the Situation” (Aug. 20, 2013) – “A Soft Answer” (Aug. 21, 2013) – and “A Happy Ending” (Aug. 21, 2013) – and “Death Brings Life” (Aug. 23, 2013). But first read:


If you have any additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


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75 Responses to “Dealing With The Unlovable Husband”
  1. Lupe from United States says:

    Be strong in the Lord and of good courage and GOD will strengthen thine heart. May the Holy Ghost lead you in your individual situation. Every spouse is in a different stage spiritually speaking. Only repentence and turning away from sin will Spouses allow God to work within them for change. But never the less we ought to continue to fast, pray and believe. As soon as we feel any form of bitterness and unforgiveness, we need to repent ourselves and pray it out, renouncing all anger recentment. Regardless of how unsensitive our spouses are we ought to seek to continue to please GOD.

    If we have to separate for as long as we have to, for our sanity and salvation, then may it be with GOD’s guidance. Yet as the scripture says, Let not the wife depart from her husband, but if she does depart let her remain unmarried. Jesus said, except for fornication we cannot divorce. That word fornication is between unmarried people. The scripture clearly teaches that anyone who marries a divorcee in committing adultery with someone elses spouse, even if they are now in a new marriage. In other words, we have a one flesh covenant before GOD in the marriage vows of the husband or wife of our youth.

    As a wife that has suffered much abuse, GOD has taught me we have permission to separate out of an abusive relationship, but not free to remarry or commit adultery. The Bible teaches us, if we separate from our spouse we ought to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to our spouse. Yes, ladies that means, no flirting, lusting, or having any kind of unclean dealings with opposite sex. Jesus said, if we look upon another to lust we have commited adultery already in our hearts.

    GOD has corrected my theology on marriage, divorce and remarriage adultery. Because we have lived in abusive marriages Satan takes advantage of our lack of biblical teaching and understanding of sound Doctrine to justify sin in remarriage and adultery. Please stay true to your 1 flesh covenant vows, of your husband of your youth so as long as He is alive. If you become a widow for any unfortunate reason, Lord forbid, you are free from your marriage. Till then we may separate if need be, but live Holy. Wide is the road that leads to destruction, narrow is the road that leads to life. Jesus is the way, truth and life. Lets not take His grace as a form of liberality. Holy Ghost will help you. I only write this because as a women who has suffered abuse for many years I first hand know the devastation of our marriage and the need to separate at times. GOD bless you, sisters.

    • Lauren from United States says:

      Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful message. My husband and I have been going through it and this is definitely what I needed to hear. Please pray for my strength as I endure his moods and mistreatment and focus on pleasing the Lord rather than pleasing him. I pray for peace in my household. I am so grateful for Lupe & the writers of this site for the messages and issues addressed. Now the abuse, on the other hand, is something that I cannot and will no longer tolerate.

  2. Anita from Nigeria says:

    Hello everyone I stumbled on this site while trying to find information about how to love an unlovable husband. As I write this I’m in tears when I see the pain my fellow sisters go through and like me still looking for possibly loving way out. I got married four years ago to a very rich man by our standards. I have been very miserable ever since I got married. It’s almost like we’ve experienced all problematic marital issues.

    Right from the beginning the scales were not balanced but I was very optimistic because I believed in our love. He happens to be much older than I am, the kids and I are totally dependent on him for everything and he wants it to remain that way. He treats me like a servant in the house. He is very abusive and can insult me in the presence of anyone including the kids, and if I as much as try to reply him or abuse him back he will make sure I don’t get feeding money until I go down on my knees and beg him.

    He is a worker in the church but only goes when he likes and never goes to church until the service is halfway. They don’t mind in the church because he is one of their big spenders. He readily does things for people who he believes are influential but he is very mean and cruel to people he thinks are beneath him, including myself and the three children. Yes, I said three kids. I’ve been married now for four years and I’ve had four pregnancies, one of my kids died at birth.

    I’ve become an emotional wreck and it has affected my health seriously, I’m only 26 and the doctors say I have high blood pressure, gall stones, ulcers and that it is being aggravated by my stress. This man is killing me slowly. I thank God he has stopped beating me. For over a year now he hasn’t beaten me up. He still insults me and makes fun of me in public. I’m always the butt of his jokes. I’m so worried because I don’t know what to do for the sake of my kids.

    I’m fully aware that he is having sexual relationships with other women. I’ve seen chat messages between him and other women and when I cried unto him, he said I should not worry that they are only sleeping with him for his money and not for love. I have no one in his family to talk to. They all resent me because they feel I’m using up money they were previously enjoying before I came on board. I pray every time to God and believe that he is a miracle working God. But I always wonder if truly this is my portion. I’m not one hundred percent perfect. I’ve done some some things in the past, which I have asked God for forgiveness, maybe I haven’t been forgiven yet.

    As I’m speaking to you I haven’t seen my husband since the beginning of this month and he has only called me four times without caller ID. So I can’t reach him, his local lines are not going through so I think he is out of the country. I’m ready to do whatever I can do so far as it’s in line with Christianity to make him love me. I don’t even enjoy having sex with him because I’m always afraid of infection and he always uses foul language to degrade me while it is going on. I’m so afraid. I don’t know what to do. I cannot tell you all that this man does and he doesn’t see anything wrong because he is my lord and master. He makes me beg and grovel for every single thing I want, I end up going to beg my parents for money.

    Please help me, please. Please pray for me. I beg GOD ALMIGHTY to look down on me and help me. He even had the police lock me up in the police station cell as punishment when I went to a hotel near our house to confront them with a bill I saw from them for my husband to pay a huge sum of money for the nights he spent there. My husband denied me as his wife and asked them to call the police and denied me to the police. After spending the night in the cell he sent his brother to bail me out. I want to commit to suicide, but I think about my kids. Who will remember them? He doesn’t know anything about them, not even their birthdays. I’m sorry for writing this long. Please somebody help me. Please. I still love him dearly, I love him and I want my husband that I knew that also me loved back. I love him and I always wish him well. Please help me.

    • Renee from United States says:

      Anita, I am so so sad that you’ve had to go through such a cruel situation. I just kept shaking my head as I read your story. God certainly never intended for any spouse to endure this kind of treatment. I sense through your words that your self esteem is really low and for that I offer you encouragement. The truth of the matter is, you really don’t need others to help you change your marriage. Honestly, what more can you do besides pray and treat him kindly with words? Your husband has abandoned you and your children in every sense of the word. He has broken the marital bond and the family unit. You acknowledge that your husband is killing you slowly and yet you allow him to continue risking your life with infections. You and your children deserve better. It’s time that you start valuing your health and your wellbeing. You are not as helpless and hopeless as you think you are. The answers that you seek are on the bottom of your two feet. Take your children and walk away.

    • Ryane from United States says:

      Anita, my heart aches for you. I can’t say that I’ve suffered as bad as the painful things you are going through but I do know how it feels to be the target of a husband’s abuse and the helplessness of having nowhere to turn for help. As a woman, wife, and mother I can say it is the worst thing to ever go through. I just pray to our Lord wholeheartedly that he wraps his loving arms around you and your children and lifts you from this painful place. I will continue to pray for you and ask for God to send an army of angels to come through and save you from this awful situation. God BLESS you Anita! In Jesus name, I pray, AMEN

      • Julie from United States says:

        I stumbled on this website in search of words of prayer to help me through my own pains because I feel lonely, abused and abandoned. But going through Anita’s story has brought tears to my Eyes and I suddenly realize my situation is nothing. I got married in 2012 to a man I knew little or nothing about. However, from the time of marriage, I made up my mind to be indeed betrothed to him.

        I have been a faithful wife but what I have received since I walked into this marriage has been unfaithfulness, and an adulterous and domineering husband. I am Nigerian but my husband is black American. My husband has been cheating on me and taking all our issues to a girl he met at the hotel when he came over to marry me. The point was not that I caught him cheating but that he told her that I am barren even after forcing me against my will to use birth control. I do not have a child of my own, he has two children and yet I had to get an IUD placed inside of me.

        He never does anything for me without threatening me or reminding me he is doing me a favor because my immigration status is dependent on him. He once went out to pay for sex, patronized a sex hawker he met online. Some days I wake up with tears in my eyes and too weak to go to God in prayers. Today was not left out. I am becoming miserable. The only thing keeping me is the question “does God support divorce”?

        Anita take heart. I know how our Nigerian men behave. My mother lived thru years of an abusive relationship and is still surviving that marriage. It’s sad what women go through. I pray that our prayers be answered of God very urgently. Amen

    • TERRY from Kenya says:

      Hello Anita, Be strong. Wait on the LORD Jesus and He will answer your prayer. The Bible clearly tells us that you reap what what you sow. It also tells us not to fret when the wicked get their way… Forgive your husband for all he has done to you and all he still continues to do. Pray that Jesus gives you true forgiveness in your heart and then leave him to God. Be patient God will help you.

  3. Plummy from United Kingdom says:

    I shed tears as I read your story. Life is such a cruel place to live if you are with the wrong person. I don’t know what to say other than to tell you to please hold on for your children’s sake. If you can get support elsewhere go and get it and keep STRONG (life does not get any easier; you learn to get TOUGHER) and pray God changes your husband’s heart.

  4. Esther from United Kingdom says:

    Hi, I have been married for more than 20yrs to my husband. Two years ago he had an affair with his 2nd cousin and they had a child. I did not know until after the child was one year old. I insisted on a DNA test which proved negative. So he is not the father.

    Since then I have not had peace in my home; he banned me from his room, deprived me of sex and affection. He is cold and says I will suffer because I made many people aware of the DNA test result and that I insulted him. He has no respect for me nor our wedding vows. He is very arrogant.

    Even though we are Christians he practices African traditional religions. He says I am slowing his progress because I refused to do some fetish things he asked me to do. He says ‘I don’t hate you and won’t divorce you but I have no passion in me for you anymore but that there’s nothing that God cannot do.’

    He has been sufferring from erectile dysfunction because of I believe age and high blood pressure but he says I caused it. My children are still in the university and I’d really like to keep my marriage but the emotional abuse is too much; please pray for me. Some of my kids say I should leave.

  5. Mary from United Kingdom says:

    Hi Anita, I feel sorry to hear all that. I was crying after reading your story. I wanted to tell you to trust in our almighty God and I am sure that he will never, ever leave you empty. He will replace whatever you lost… Always think about your children. They are really a gift of God. Spend your time with your children. Take care of your health as well. As you know health is wealth. Eat properly. Take rest for some time. Don’t worry about anything. Everything will be all right. God is seeing everything. One day your husband will regret what he did to you and his kids. You will be in my prayers for sure… God bless you.

  6. Naa from United States says:

    Anita, you can die from HIV or others then what will happn to your kids? Leave him but write him a letter telling him how hard you have tried and will keep praying for him. I say this because he needs your prayers and does not know this because of the devil’s influence. Keep copies of letter with trusted people for you never know what can happn and one day your kids may ask questions.

    Discreetly ask a lawyer’ advice on your losses or benefits in your situation and save up some money and have a little bank investment. Pray unceasingly as you go thru these procedures so God will empower you and at same time change him. Remember that he may change one day and come begging and by that time God would have uplifted you wonderfully with inner and outside beauty, confidence and your own wealth – not his because he can lose wealth if he does not change.

    If God brought you into his life it may be for a purpose to be his wife or not a wife – just his savior by prayer. As Christians we choose partners God has not chosen for us and stay. Just think about all these things and save you and your kids lives till ur husband finds Christ.

  7. Lekeysha from United States says:

    This was very helpful, thank you, pertaining to Colossians. Thank you so much. I needed that.

  8. Feyikemi from United Kingdom says:

    This piece I just read has brought light and healing to my darkened and painful heart.

  9. Acel from Philippines says:

    I find it very difficult to remember the passages and lessons here, when it is a constant struggle to understand and take in all the emotional pain my husband imparts on me. I have to read it again and again just to heal myself…

    At first, it made me hopeful that I could be God’s instrument to change my husband, but it just makes me suppress my anger, and eventually, it affects my health. I am now experiencing bouts of high blood pressure. I think I’m having passive anger since all the hurt I receive, even though I know I don’t deserve it. I do not retaliate nor complain it to my husband, but of course, still feel so hurt! It made me feel like suffering silently, and although I know only God can change my husband. I hope my husband does change before I die.

    • Lauren from United States says:

      Acel, I totally understand where you’re coming from. This is exactly how I feel. How much pain and suffering do you endure before you explode? I pray for God to strengthen both of us, sounds like we are going through the same or similar situations. I sometimes think that maybe my husband and I just aren’t meant to be together but then I realize it’s not me, it’s him. He has this mindreading expectation of me. If I don’t meet them then he gets in a mood and treats me mean and acts very distant.

      I’ve never been good at dealing with moody people and plus I can’t relate because I am the type that says what’s on my mind but when I do with him, he gets even more angry and distant. Unlike you, it’s hard for me to not retaliate when I keep it bottled up too long. People have advised me to “just ignore him” or “don’t pay him any attention” but that even seems to result negatively. I can’t continue to live my life like this, it’s so much pressure and tension and I just want to enjoy my life without the judgement or negativity. Life is too short. We just have to pray this thing through and ask the Lord to continue to direct our paths. God bless you all.

  10. Jian from United States says:

    I really enjoyed reading this information. It helps me when I have been down during my emotional period, especially when my husband is so cold (unaffectionate) to me. Please continually post more information that helps people who needs this kind of support through Holly Spirit –our lovely God.

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