I got in my car and started down our winding driveway. Tears fell in a steady flow. My chest was tight, my eyes puffy, and every muscle tight with stress. Why does it have to be so difficult? Why can’t he just love me the way I am? Does everything have to be such an issue? What am I doing wrong? I really thought he would be a great husband.
Can you relate? If you’ve been married any time at all, I’m sure you can. At times I’m consumed trying to figure out how to make my husband love me. Ive tried to figure out how to make everything all right between us. This is to the point that he in some strange way became my god. If we were doing well, I was doing well. If we weren’t doing so well, I wasn’t doing so well either.
Even a Great Husband Makes a Poor God
Now, understandably, because my husband and I have come together as one, we are close enough that when he hurts, I hurt. But, my spirit should not vacillate between joy and sorrow based on how Art and I are getting along. Instead, my soul should always rest in the safety of Jesus’ unconditional love and acceptance.
Jesus laid this principle out clearly in John 15:5-6, which says, “I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers.”
Jesus is our life-giving vine. Our husbands are not. If we remain in Christ and let Christ be the only one who holds our souls and determines our identity, then we can bear much fruit. We know from Galatians 5 the fruit of God’s Spirit in us. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In God Alone
Can you see why it is so important to get your every deep, spiritual need met by God alone? My husband can’t give this type of consistent love, joy, peace, etc. And I can’t give him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control apart from Christ. Apart from Christ I can do no good thing. That is because apart from Christ I wither as I try to make my husband fill me. When I do this I drain my husband and my marriage.
John 15:9 continues, “As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Now, my friend, I know what it is like to walk the rocky paths of a difficult marriage. I understand the loneliness, the desperation, the frustrations. But I also know what it’s like to have a wonderful, fulfilling, romantic, awesome marriage.
My husband is basically the same man today as he was when things were not so good. God has worked on his heart and made some changes in him. He is now a great husband. But nothing I’ve ever done had the power to change him.
Let God Be Your God
The main thing that has transformed my marriage is my letting God be my God. Instead of focusing on all the things my husband didn’t do right or letting his approval or disapproval consume me, I learned to go to God. I learned to say, “Lord, I know You love me. And You love my husband. So please either change him or change my heart toward him or this issue we are facing.” Sometimes He’ll soften my husband. But more times than not God will change me.
I often share at conferences that God has taught me what it means to live for an audience of one. Instead of trying to be a good wife and win my husband’s approval, I now simply try to please God. I seek only His favor. And I follow His precepts.
Faithfully spending time with God every day and asking Him to fill me and give me my identity and security has transformed my marriage. It has freed me to take the focus off of my needs, my wants, and my desires. It is only through God’s strength working in me that I can give to my husband in this way. I now feel more fulfilled in giving than receiving.
Survey after survey that I received from men had a common thread. The husbands said their wives were missing something in their life that they had no idea how to fulfill. “I wish my wife knew that I love her.” Or they said, “I want to give her what she needs but I’m not sure even she knows what that is.” It was also said, “I wish so much my wife could see my inner feelings —how much I do love her. I just don’t know how to make her see and believe that.” And they said, “I’m doing everything I know how to do to make her feel loved. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.”
These husbands want their wives’ hearts to be secure enough to freely receive the love they were already offering. The only way this can happen is when a wife’s heart rests safely in the Lord’s hands and she’s at peace with who her God is. Then and only then can a woman of tender strength emerge with the capacity to be the wife she was created to be.
This article comes from the book, Capture His Heart: Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires, by Lysa TerKeurst, published by Moody Press. This book is one that is endorsed by the ministry of Focus on the Family and is subtitled, “Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires.” This small book has some great material in it.
There’s also a companion book, which is titled, Capture Her Heart: Becoming the Godly Husband Your Wife Desires, also written by Lysa TerKeurst.
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19 responses to “Even a GREAT Husband Makes A Poor God”
(NIGERIA) I’m happy to read this article. I thought I was all alone thinking this way. I now realise that it is only by focusing on one’s relationship with God primarily, that satisfaction can be truly realised in marriage because He is the Initiator.
(NIGERIA) This is so true. It also made me realize that only God can actually give us what we are looking up to our dear husbands for, and this puts a great strain on our relationships with them. It’s comforting to know that others out there share these thoughts. I am certainly going change my focus.
(USA) My husband and I are working through these studies/articles together as a refresher course, and our marriage is improving by leaps and bounds. I think, though, that this article was written just for me! I definitely am very insecure in so many ways, and it definitely effects my marriage negatively and my relationship with God, too. I’m going to try to stop depending on my husband and daughter for my identity, and start trying to find my identity in God.
(USA) I finally GET it. I have been in church all my life, but it has taken 51 years of hearing the same thing many times before it sunk in. NO ONE can love me like God does. No relationship is more important. NOTHING is more important. I have filled my life up with so many distractions. I know that God does not waste time in the life of a believer, but it would have been so nice to understand this at the beginning of my marriage.
(USA) I am 49 years old and have been married for 29 years. I have never felt that I have lived up to my husbands perfections and standards. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home with much emotional and physical abuse from my older siblings. My mother was an addict and was never around to protect me or care for me like she should have. The pain of those days have haunted me through out my entire adult life.
I have been in 2 very serious affairs in my life while I have been married, the most recent one lasting 5 years. I have known the Lord my entire life, but only have given my life to Christ this past year and a half. I was not only caught up in these affairs but drank and did drugs to mask the pain. Last year in August the Lord took this man that I was involved with and moved him out of state. This happened because God knew I would have continued down that path of spritual destruction. We continued the “emotional affair” via phone calls, emails and text messaging. Two weeks ago I made a commitment to end this due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Each day is a struggle not to pick up the phone or send an email. As I give my thoughts of despreation to the Lord, he heals me and allows me to know that He is where I need to run for my love, not my husband or this other man. I know that as I do my part in this healing process God will do His part. Staying in the word and seeking the friendship of Christian women has helped me press forward.
(USA) Anne Marie, I would like to know more about your heart changing toward Christ. Having known God all your life but just recently giving your heart to Christ got my attention. My husband is Catholic and I am Evangelical. He has a steady and consistent prayer life and even fasts from time to time. This doesn’t stop him from the texting, the emails and the phone calls to and from other women. It’s weird. I “hear” the struggle you have gone through to keep free of your emotional affair. I just want to understand more. Thank you.
(CANADA) I love my husband, and I know that God is my main focus. At times there is so much anger, fear and hurt that I do and say things I can’t seem to control. I want to give myself to the Lord completely. He deserves that. I just haven’t been able to find a balance of everything life puts in front of me. I feel I ask so much of my husband and put all of these expectations on him and it only makes our life harder. So I ask God for change because I know my husband loves me. Help me to see your plan for me more clearly.
(USA) My husband has relationships with other women who call him husband and they call themselves his wife. He is emotionally abusive to me and withholds himself from me when I’ve angered him. Yet… I am trusting God for the full manifest of reconciliation. Even while he is speaking with some of the women in French. I hurt tremendously but I longingly expect God to help me look at Jesus and not my husband. I need a tremendous outpouring of God’s love.
(USA) Hi Neena, Make God your God. Please stop talking to this man; he is the devil trying to hold you back from doing God’s will. He is wasting your time, burying your talents, so that one the judgment day God will ask what have you done with your life? And you will say you stayed with a man -listened to a man, obeyed a man instead of God -then what? Please stop this. God has plans for you -and they don’t include following Annanias into the grave.
(USA) My dear Amy, Thank you for touching my heart. I agree with you to let God be my God and not my husband. The enemy uses my husband but my duty as a daughter of the King of kings is to lift my husband up to God and pray for Him to resist the devil. I am convinced of that. Marriage is honorable and I refused to give up. Even when it hurts; Jesus remains my defense. God will honor my prayers of faith, trust and belief in His word. I remain steadfast in my longing to be rooted and grounded in the love of God and not my husband.
(USA) Today while driving home, the Lord met and reminded me of what He had given me — His love. I recalled two visions early on in my walk with Him and my heart burst with gratitude and love for Him. I love my Jesus for His great love and care to meet and remind me of His very watchful eye over me for all my life.
I came home to coldness and a withdrawn husband but I maintained my focus on the Lord singing and making melody in my heart toward Him. By the end of the night I was in tremendous pain and tears listening to my husband having a joyous conversation full of laughter. It hurt because I never got as much as a hello or how are you or a little smile. I try so hard to be a good wife. By the way, I am the only one working. I just wish he didn’t resent me so much.
(INDIA) This seems like a miracle for me today. Because I have heard this statement a number of times – Let Jesus be the centre of your life, not your husband, not your parents nor anyone else… and I would wonder how is that possible. And often lately, I have had some experiences that made me realise that yes, making Jesus the centre of our lives is not only possible, but also necessary. He is the only one who can give us true peace. I realised this fact a few days back and was contemplating on it and today to reassure me of what I was thinking, I happened to read this website… Thank you Jesus!
(UNITED STATES) My husband and I have been together for 13 years and married for the last 4. I moved 3000 miles away from my friends and family 13 years ago to be with my husband. The last few years our relationship has been very rocky. As a teenager I used to write poetry and hadn’t written one in almost 20 years. A few weeks ago I wrote one regarding our relationship. In the poem I wrote how I had made my husband my everything and was this possibly too much for him to handle.
In realizing that I also realized how I had begun to make my husband my god and he was the center of my hope my happiness and sadness. “For you shall worship no other god for the Lord I am a jealous God” The decline in our relationship was because God was no longer number 1 in my life and I have began to reestablish my relationship with my father. This article spoke on my situation word for word.
(USA) I read this article today because I was looking for advice on what to do with my life. I am a stay at home mom and I’m twenty. I have known the Lord all my life, but not until this past year after my son’s birth did I realize how much I needed him. I knew me and my husband would not have a single strand of hope without the Lord in our lives.
Unfortunately my husband is not a believer and openly confesses the only reason he went to church as a young man was to entice young women into sin. I want to dedicate my life to the Lord. I want to do his works, but my husband is so stubborn. I pray every night for the Lord to soften his heart and already I can see changes in my husband. He becomes more and more attentive to my son and me every day. The Lord’s work in my husband gladdens my heart. Like I said I want to give my life to the Lord. I have always wanted to see the world and now with my new zeal and longing for the Lord I want to become a missionary, something I never thought I would want but here it is, the need to do the Lord’s will.
Sisters, I have put all my faith in the Lord asking him to show me the way, but I would like sisterly advice or to know what others have gone through. OH, AND MY HUSBAND DOES NOT WANT ME TO BECOME A MISSIONARY BECAUSE HE DOES NOT BELIEVE. I’m pretty sure I forgot to mention this earlier. I always welcome prayer and would appreciate it if those who read this would pray for me and my marriage.
Sweet Sasha, How I love your heart. And how glad I am that you woke up spiritually while your son is still young! I hope and pray that you are able to keep growing in the Lord in a healthy way and be a wonderful influence within your home and outside of it, as God leads.
Sasha, as I read your comment, the first thought that came to me is to encourage you to go into the topic, “Unbelieving Spouse.” Please read through it… pray through it, and ask God to talk to your heart about how to be the wife HE has ordained that you become. As you read through the various articles and linked articles and web sites and such, I believe you will see what I am going to say to you next.
What I’m not thinking you realize is that you already are a missionary. What most of us don’t realize is that the mission field is not excluded to some foreign territory or a set place, but exactly where you are. Sometimes God calls us to a foreign or a different location and sometimes He doesn’t. But we can’t box His work into a set location or job description. God is at work where you are. You just need to look around and join Him in it. He will not call you into the mission field at the expense of your marriage. Even though your husband is not a believer, when you married him, you took a vow to love, honor and cherish him. You don’t throw him out when things change for you spiritually or disregard him by going in a direction that could damage his thoughts of Christ –by making him bitter (which could very easily happen if you start running away to be a missionary when your husband opposes it). You work within the mission within your home first and foremost. (Read 1 Corinthians 7, as it pertains to marriage and the freedom you lose when you marry.) When you marry, you have other considerations to make. We’re warned of that. Your mission is now different than it might have been if you hadn’t married.
I’m not saying that you hit your husband over the head with the Bible and start preaching at him and such (like we may think that missionaries do –which they don’t). Those of us who are followers of Christ are to communicate the gospel with and without words. The articles in the Unbelieving Spouse topic can help you to see how you are to live Christ, and not push Him at a spouse who God has not prepared ahead of time for him to receive. There are recommended resources (which I recommend you read discretely) and web sites –particularly the one for the Unequal Marriage. Dineen and Lynn are great examples (as are others) of those who recognize their mission field and yet go as God leads, rather than at a harried or hurried pace, where they stomp all over or leave their families behind.
Please prayerfully consider what I’m saying to you Sasha. You are a precious jewel. I sense that. But don’t allow your enthusiasm for God (which is a great thing) to run ahead of God. Perhaps God will show you a different mission field in the future as you enter another season of life. He has for my husband and me, and for others –where He expands our territories, in the proper season. But for now, your mission appears to be to take care of that precious son and a husband who doesn’t love God yet, but prayerfully, will someday. Prepare yourself, study God’s word and learn how to genuinely live and communicate the gospel with and without words, by your lifestyle and the ways in which God shows you. I hope you will. I pray the best for you and for your family.
(US) Dear Sister, Thank you for this encouraging word. Believe it or no, I just happened to google the phrase “God change him or change me” and your article popped up. Before today, I was making preparations to leave my husband. We have been only married six months, but I was ready to call it QUITS. One thing question that bothered me was, “Had I done everything to save my marriage”?
I am a minister, and I know Christ, but I could honestly say that I had not. I haven’t prayed, fasted, or sought the Lord. Much like the article described, my emotions hinged on how we were doing in our relationship. Up and down goes the roller coaster, and all the while I had this VOID inside of me. By reading your article, I realized my relationship had become a God, instead of allowing God be God.
I am now ready to let God be God, and be the source of my everything, not my husband. I am reacquainting myself with my Father, repenting of my past actions, and allowing him to change me. Pray for me that I allow God’s perfect work in me first, so that my husband, marriage and home may be blessed.
Dee, I am so moved by your attitude here –you are able to now see God in your marriage, beyond the flaws that are blaring, concerning your spouse. I HIGHLY recommend the book, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy written by Gary Thomas. It sure put a different perspective on marital issues for my husband and me. Gary also has the book, Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples and Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands. I’ve read them all and have gained so many insights. My husband and I also have the DVD set of Sacred Marriage (which you can also get) and we are going to be having couples over to join us to go through the series together. We try to help strengthen marriages whenever we can. You might think of doing the same.
You might also think of getting the books, The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of Prayer(TM) to Change Your Marriage. Another great book is What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage written by Paul Tripp –loved that book!
Also, as a minister, you might visit Parsonage.org because they help pastors and their marriages. Even if you just talked to them individually, you might gain some good insights. I hope this helps. May God richly bless you as you reach out to God on this important matter –one that is close to God’s heart, after-all, marriage is shown in God’s Word as a living picture of Christ’s love for the church. So when we tear up that picture, we need to be aware of the gravity of it all to those outside of the church looking in.
(USA) This article is so true. Now I know when I find myself allowing my husband’s mood to affect me, I need to walk closer with Jesus. Since we are separated and I am alone standing for my marriage, it is so easy to be on an emotional roller coaster and God will allow you to ride the roller coaster as many times as you like.
He will nudge you with an article like this and a still small voice reminding me that my husband is not God. He should not be able to influence my mood by some small gesture or big one for that matter. Instead of praying for my husband to change his heart or mind with fevor, I will now pray “change me Lord, let me abide in you and you in me.” Great article.
(GHANA) I had a new awakening recently because after I met my husband and married my happiness vanished. I thought that my husband was not making me happy and it affected me greatly. This was when someone reminded me that my husband is not responsible for my happiness. I am responsible for my own happiness, and the source of my happiness can only the GOD. I think that I neglected God while trying to please my husband and expecting him to make me happy.