Dealing With The Unlovable Husband

AdobeStock Unlovable Conflict between man and woman It is easy to live in harmony when your husband is treating you well, and things are going smoothly in your life together. But what life isn’t going very well between you. What if he’s not acting towards you in ways that you believe he should? How do you treat your husband when he is unloving and moody, and more?

Here’s 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)

Walking in the Spirit?

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?

Caught in a Cycle

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).

Dealing with Unlovable Husband

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. It’s simple to show love: 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

There is an example of a powerful way to pray contained in the book of Colossians. 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!” You’ll want to read this book to find out what they learned.

Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Do not reproduce this excerpt without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

– ALSO –

We recommend that you listen to the following radio series broadcasts titled “How to Live with the Fools in Your Life.” We believe you will find it will give you a better understanding on this same issue. Please click onto the Revive Our Hearts link provided below to read the transcripts. You can then continue to read or listen to more of the Abigail Series. Here are your choices: “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 here’s something to read first:


If you have additional tips to help others, or you want to share requests for prayer, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


Filed under: For Married Women

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


148 responses to “Dealing With The Unlovable Husband

  1. I am a husband married 36 years; we have 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren. After having been married this long and after seeing other marriages both good and bad, I can imagine that being a GOOD wife is difficult. It is true that we men need our wives. But dealing with the selfish, the workaholics… the insensitive… Wow! It is the man who is called to “live his wife as Christ did for the church… and gave Himself up for her…” not the wife.

  2. This article is so hurtful. I would like to talk to the writer. If phone if I could. Because it’s hard to believe that any human being who calls themself a Christian, would tell wives:
    1 “He is simply mad about what happened at work, or with his parents”
    2 “To treat your husband lovingly regardless of how he is treating you”

    Really? A cruel, cold, distant, husband deserves giid for his bad attitude. Where is the husband honoring and being loving to the wife? The wife cannot continue to deal with a mean husband when she has so many things already on her shoulders. Remember people, she has children and a job outside of the home besides her household responsibilities. And does he expect her to come to be and be loving to him after all this?

    1. Hi Jean, Frankly, I did not see this article as being hurtful at all. Rather the author is trying to help wives deal with a very difficult situation, namely, that of working with a difficult, rude and cantankerous husband. The only things we can directly control are our own words, actions, and reactions. We cannot control those of another. We can only influence them. So what is a wife to do? This is what the article is addressing. I admit that we men can be difficult, for sure. We often don’t listen, we’re absorbed by our jobs and “techy” hobbies, we’re not good at communicating our feelings. I also admit that the influence of a woman over a man is enormous. You women can make or break us men. We want to appear macho, and to come across as the “strong and mighty” when in fact we’re often insecure, lonely and scared… and feel that we cannot admit these things or even talk about them because we will appear weak. We don’t react well to these emotions, and we do and say unkind things. We certainly do not have license to act like fools, and we have no right to treat our wives badly.

      While the wife has every right to feel angry, bitter and resentful when her husband is being his difficult self, it’s true that excercising her rights will only make things worse. This is true the other way around as well, of course. The Bible says it this way, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21.

      Thanks for your text Jean. You take care… WP (Work in Progress)

  3. I have a husband who has always put sports above his family. He has not been a leader. He told me it is okay for him to complain if I ask for help. He told me it is okay for him to raise his voice at me. I am wrong to think otherwise. It is okay for him to tease and belittle me…it’s my problem because I can’t take a joke and I have no sense of humor. I am a stay at home mom, I asked him about our life insurance…if we had enough. He said he doesn’t believe In life insurance because he didn’t care what happened to me and the kids because he’d be dead. That Is so twisted. Is this abuse? He’s constantly telling me what I do wrong. So I need to be okay with this?!!!

    1. No Debbie you do not need to be okay with this and I’m sorry your husband says such terrible things to you. This article is not necessarily addressing marriages that are as painful as yours. It’s great advice though to pray for husbands even when they are acting like enemies.

      Have you read any of Nina Roesner’s work at greater impact? She has a course for women in hard marriages called Strength and Dignity. These women support each other through tough stuff. It’s a great Biblical course. But the fellowship is what is truly precious. I’m going to share this article with them.

  4. I live in the UK. I have done everything you said above and more. I have kicked up a fuss with my husband I have been quiet, I have dressed up, dressed down, done everything the way he wanted it, and he remains unaffectionate unloving he barely talks to me. He always was quiet but all the more withdrawn lately. He is a highly respectable, peaceful, God fearing man. He is loyal, kind, and generous; he does his duties. However, he does not show me any tenderness, love or affection or says one encouraging word. When he deals with me it’s in his time by appointment and even those appointments are filled with his lists of look what I have done for you, and all I wanted was for him to bang down my bedroom door and say I love you, I want you, I miss you, I can’t live without you.

    Recently he took a new job 250 miles away and returns home less and less. He will not respond to calls, pleads, or threats. He doesn’t want me to get emotional. He just wants me for a legal wife to keep his self righteousness in tact. I love the Lord but I am not being loved or cherished. There is no one else for either of us. However, due to a problem we had with sex at the beginning of our marriage 10 years ago he has never wanted to discuss it or try again. He said lets go to counselling but we did that. I know his pride and fear have overwhelmed him and I feel shut out of his life totally; we have brief factual conversations.

    Recently I was dressed like a princess to go to a ball. Everyone but him said OMG you look amazing. He never said one word. I think he resents being married to me but he would never say it to my face. Trying to draw near to my husband is like trying to open an oyster with a tooth pick. Keep praying what for another 10 years. My husband with all due respect needs to fall on his face and cry out to God like I have. He wants us to be friends, but sadly he is not a bit kind or friendly to me in the way I have needed. I just wish I could go to heaven now than face the rest of my life in an unloving marriage.

    Us wives are told what to do all the time and how to win our husbands but what woman or God can come against a man’s self righteousness and pride? When we talk he just agrees and that’s as far as it goes. I think although he is crazy clever, I think he is aspegic and something I had no idea about. When I mentioned his own way of loving me isn’t natural he withdrew from me all the more. If I do not call he does not speak to me. When we speak I make conversation.

    GOD give me strength. We are off to London for a few days now and I am dreading his cold, indifferent attitude toward me. I can see myself just walking away leaving him standing there; he wouldn’t come after me. I am slim, pretty, and full of joy, energy and love but I feel like I’m just a burden on the bottom of his to do list. Check this out. My anniversary card on the outside to my loving wife. on the inside he put to… my name from… his name no kisses nothing. I felt so sad. He sent flowers too without a card. It was all just another duty done to cross off on his list. If any one wants to write to me please do. God Bless you too in your trials of being married to a robot.

    1. Roslyn, Is there a chance he has Aspergers or something like that? It sure sounds like the symptoms. I would encourage you to look up the symptoms of this and study it more. Here is one link to start with: SOMETHING is up with him. There is a disconnect as to how to treat a wife appropriately. He sounds like a good guy in other ways, which is good (some aren’t), but there is a disconnect in how to interact in an intimate way with you. I’m not thinking it’s you. I’m thinking something has turned his psyche around so he really can’t react as you want and need him to.

      Please study, pray, and ask God what to do with what you discover. I had an uncle that I am now sure had this (he has since past away). My aunt just learned that she couldn’t expect the same things from him that other wives could. It’s just a fact. We all have something… and I’m thinking that this may be true in what is happening in him. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so. God can help you to learn what you need and do what He would have you, as you look to him as Savior and Lord. I pray you find what you need to make wise decisions.

      1. My issue is almost the same as Rosalyn’s; but my husband shows affection to other women messaging them, reassuring them and inviting them for lunch; when I confront him his response is “you want me to invite you for lunch? Have you ever invited me?” All our outings are organized for by me. I’m breaking down; I’m a God fearing wife. He says “if you’re not happy, go and find someone who will make you happy.” I’ve got a 6 year old step daughter. I feel like a servant. The mother is abusive???… plus more

        1. This message is a timely one. I agree that our duty as a wives first and foremost is to be submissive to our husband.

    2. No Rosalyn, you do not need to be okay with this and I’m sorry your husband says such terrible things to you. This article is not necessarily addressing marriages that are as painful as yours. It’s great advice though to pray for husbands even when they are acting like enemies.

      Have you read any of Nina Roesner’s work at greater impact? She has a course for women in hard marriages called Strength and Dignity. These women support each other through tough stuff. It’s a great Biblical course. But the fellowship is what is truly precious. I’m going to share this article with them.

  5. Married for 26 years to a very emotionally constipated, psychologically immature and selfish man. He is weak in every way. He makes excuses for his behavior of checking out of parenting, taking care of responsibilities, ignoring all the details of daily living. He must be led and directed to take any initiative on anything related to domestic/family life. His identify and self-worth is solely tied to his work and his addiction to ESPN and his glory days. My near grown children see him as a deluded, incompetent fool. He is a wonderful actor – he plays to whatever audience he is in front of…the doting father to his parents, the devoted family man to my own, the “great guy” everyone admires at work…but we all know the real truth.

    In his failure to love, lead, and be a man, I have learned to do a multitude of tasks from installing light fixtures, appliance repair, and landscaping. I have built (by myself) a beautiful home, wonderful children who love and respect me and a life outside of the moronic fool I married. He now suffers with a chronic nuero-muscular disease that is robbing him of his ability to walk, for which he has never acted to take care of himself or follow the advice of many medical professionals…my life has been a lesson on reaping and slowing. Despite it all, I am immeasurably blessed and God has met me at every moment of despair, frustration and asking why?

    I like to think of God as my husband…he is most certainly a good provider, a leader, a protector and full of love and compassion. He makes His presence known in small ways and big ways…those 11th hour breaks, encouraging coincidences, and just enough moments let me know He is fully in control, despite life’s trials. While my husband is an epic failure as a man, that is on him. It is on me to be my best and to trust God.

    1. Hi Helen, You are certainly an example to the rest of us! You have dealt very well with difficult circumstances, no doubt about that! I would like to ask, was your husband always this way? Or did he change after you were married? Have you ever let him take charge, even though you are clearly able to do this yourself? It is possible that he has simply checked out because you are doing the job already. Is this a possibility?

      A test for you would be to tell him, You are the leader of this family. I am placing this task in your hands. I can imagine that respect for husband and submission to a man such as the person you describe would be very difficult, especially for a woman who is very capable. All I can say is…. give this test a try with a specific task…surround yourself with a support group of trusted Christians who know you and care for you…and pray.

      Your last paragraph is beautiful. Yes, God is your Husband…and is the perfect Provider, Counselor, Comforter and Friend. Clearly He has sustained you well thus far! I am a husband married 36 years with 2 adult children. May God bless you and look after you all, WP (Work in Progress)

  6. Thank you so much for this article! I just finished praying for the strength to love my husband even though I feel his behaviour makes me feel like he cares for others more than he does me and the children. I’m so sick and tired of going round and around in circles and want to do this Gods way! I’m asking for your prayers because I’m scared I’ll fail when my emotions take over. I’ll be praying for you also. I love the scriptures above; I feel like they give me hope.

  7. Since nothing else seems to help, and I am desperate to hold my family together, I will turn to God and pray that He will work in my husband and myself to give us a more peaceful relationship. What do I have to lose? I do already try to be kind and just tell him how I feel (“I feel disrespected” or “I feel hurt”) and he literally tells me to “Go f* yourself.” I have stood by him through heroin and alcohol addiction as well as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at his hands.

    My heart is shattered and afraid, I feel unloved. He is so angry, so often. I was young when we met… but here we are- he is the man I chose to be my husband. We have children and a home together. It will take more strength than I can imagine to bear the weight of his choices and it is more than I can do alone. But I will “feed the red dog.” I will pray hard. God grant me the strength, and please, please work in his heart to save this family.

    1. I pray for you and your family too, and pray that God talks to your husband’s heart. He may or may not respond as he should (God gives us all a free will), but I have no doubt that as we pray God will work.

      Right now you are trying to deal with his addictions more than him because they are clouding his mind from all reasoning. What man in his right mind would tell his wife to do what he has been telling you –especially when you’re trying to be kind and hold your marriage and family together. I pray strength for you and wisdom and insight. It’s a tough road you’re traveling on… my heart goes out to you. I pray the Lord wakes your husband up and so he can better see that he needs to get help to put this abusive behavior behind him and you and your family.

    2. Maryanne, There are a group of us women over at Greater Impact Ministries doing a course online together called Strength and Dignity. We are in varying degrees of what you have described. We are a great support to each other and our Fearless leader is Nina Roesner. Please consider contacting her through Greater Impact. The course is free. You are not alone. I’ll be sharing this article with the women there as this is excellent prayer advice.

      1. Please let me have details of this course. I desperately need help. Have been in an abusive marriage for 46 years. He has had many affairs but I can’t bring myself to leave him. I live in the UK.

        1. Here’s the web site address for the ministry Nicole mentions: Also, the following is a U.K web site on abuse. They may be able to help you figure out what to do, as well: I hope these help and other articles in the topic we have on this web site titled, “Abuse in Marriage.” I pray the Lord helps you to get to a safe place.

  8. Man, I don’t know where to start. I pray every day for my alcoholic husband. He is such a negative, mean, hateful, person, I can’t stand him the majority of the time. I know my heart is hard. God states he hates divorce, but how much crap is a person to take? He is never going to stop drinking, then there’s the other woman, who he is deeply in love with. I’m so tired, I can barely breathe. I refuse to let him beat me down.

  9. Man, I don’t know where to start. I pray every day for alcoholic husband. He is such a negative, mean, hateful ,person, I can’t stand him the majority of the time. I know my heart is hard,God states he hates divorce,but how much crap a person to take? He is never going to stop drinking,that’s the other woman,who he is deeply in love with. I’m so tired, I can nearly breath.I refuse to let him beat me down. I’m tired of being the man and woman of this relationship

    1. BJ, You need to do something about this. If he won’t; you need to –if for no other reason than for your own sanity. Please read through the following article: It will help you to better see that you aren’t dealing with your husband, you are dealing with the alcohol, which has no ears, nor reasoning power. It has taken him captive and he is it’s puppet. Until he wakes up and becomes sickened by this horrible dysfunctionality, he won’t make the move to change. Please read the article, and all of the linked articles within it, and seriously consider contacting at least one of the help groups. I encourage you to go to a few Al-anon meetings, because you will meet others who are dealing with family members and spouses in the same spot as you. They will be able to help you to process through what you need to do about all of this.

      The fact that he is a womanizer too, makes it all the more difficult. He is in La La Land thinking his behavior, especially for a married man, is acceptable. You may need (after reading what I advise you to read, and maybe going to an Al-anon meeting or more) to draw a line in the sand, or at your doorstep, and give him a choice… either he gets help for his drinking and drops this other gal, and works with you to restore the marriage, or he needs to find another place to sleep (or you do, if it’s better that way). Cheating IS NOT acceptable, and neither is running your life according to the bottle, rather than with clear thinking. Yes, God hates divorce, but he also hates cheating, and treating each other in dehumanizing ways.

      But don’t just rush in to do this. You want to do this right because this is a life-changer, and it also can be a very explosive situation. He needs help. Whether or not you both can survive this marriage, I don’t know… but he still needs to get help or this will eventually kill him (and drive you crazy). You may be able to give him a wake-up call, and who knows where it could lead? But the fact is, you can’t help him if he doesn’t want help. But you can look, with God’s help for a way to confront him at a non-combative time –a time when he isn’t hungry, or angry, or tired… a time when his ears just MAY be a little more open to hearing the words you say, even if he doesn’t receive them well, at first.

      I encourage you to pray, read, contact those who better understand how to approach an alcoholic, come up with a plan, with God’s guidance, and do what you need to do. Ignoring this won’t make it better –it will just get worse. I have a lot of alcoholism in my family –even lost a younger brother to it. This is serious stuff. I’m glad you wrote this comment. It’s a good first step. Please reach for the additional help you need. I hope you will, and pray strength, and wisdom for you as you do. May God guide, and help you do what is best for yourself and everyone concerned, including your husband.

  10. I would like to request for a prayer. But before anything else I would like to thank you for this site and I was able to control myself in confronting my husband whom I suspect of being unfaithful these past few days. Though I don’t have proof I can feel his infidelity. I will stay silent and pray more and more that he will stop this. Thank you and more power. God bless.

  11. Thank you for dealing with this topic. I am blessed visiting this site. However as I read other comments I suddenly realized that our husband is the enemy we should fight. Some of them have no control of their behavior. The one enemy we (Christians wives) should flight is the Devil. He is set out to steal, kill and destroy. Anywhere you find these three verbs, he is the one at work. The solution therefore is to resist him. Wives, it’s time we stand up and fight the devil, not our husbands for our homes, our loved ones, husband, children like the Proverbs 31 wife. Please watch the War Room Film.

  12. I sincerely believe in the measures written in this article. I only pray for the grace to practice the content.