Dealing With The Unlovable Husband

AdobeStock Conflict between man and woman sitting on either side of a wallIt 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)

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.

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.


Filed under: For Married Women

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127 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?!!!