GraceAlone – I Want Him to Change, Too!

Posted on March 16, 2014 by

We are continuing to follow the wife who wants more than anything to have children whose husband decided after they were married that he didn’t want children. (Post 1, Post 2). This wife’s journey is not unique. It is very representative of many of the hundreds of wives I have counseled in the past 2 years and the idols of self, control, feelings, husband, marriage and children that many of us have going into marriage, and most of us don’t even realize we have any idols at all. The process of tearing out idols by the roots is PAINFUL. But, this is the path to finding the peace, joy, freedom and abundant life of Christ. We repent of all sin, we submit to Him fully as LORD and allow Him to be in charge. It is scary at first to learn to trust God instead of self. But this is what it means to have faith in Christ and for Him to be our Savior and Lord. Some circumstances in marriage are different, but the process of repenting and removing idols is the same whether we are single or married. I pray that GraceAlone’s journey might richly bless your walk with Christ. She and I got to meet and walk and talk for 3 hours on Friday. She is seeing that she has contributed GREATLY to the damage in this marriage, I am so excited to share all that she is learning now!  But, this particular set of emails is from over a week ago. I want you to see the whole process:
I started reading John 1 yesterday and John 2 today- Something you said triggered the idea to keep a journal of my journey- so I am keeping a journal every day of what my emotions are like and what I feel like God showed me that day. I think keeping this journal helps me better articulate things, and my prayer is that I will be able to look back years from now and that I can know beyond a shadow of doubt where I was/am and where God led me.

You gave me the assignment of 1 Peter 3:1-6.

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, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 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. 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, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

  • I believe God is trying to show me that nothing I say or do can change my husband. I have said all that I can say, tried to get him to read books, seek counseling etc and nothing has changed as a result. If anything, I think things have gotten worse because of my constant talking about things.

After getting married and gaining so much weight – I don’t know what it feels like to be beautiful anymore. I cannot tell you the last time my husband gave me a compliment without me first prodding. I always felt so ugly on the outside. Well, it’s way worse to feel ugly on the outside and the inside. Reading this passage about letting your beauty come from the inside resonated with me. Maybe I won’t feel pretty again til I lose the weight, but maybe, just maybe, my husband will find me attractive again if I have a beautiful spirit. See, this is hard to separate for me – because, believe it or not, I feel like a lot of our problems are connected to my weight- my physical beauty.

I think what God is trying to say is, yes, while I do need to work on my health, what is more important is that I work on my spirit. I do want and desire to have a gentle and quiet spirit. I am terribly afraid of not getting there.

  • Yesterday, I had a great time in the Word and prayer- better than I have had in a very long time.
  • I chose to be happy when my husband came home.
  • I did not say anything unpleasant to him the whole night.

But sure enough, as I woke up this morning doubts were there:

  • “What if my husband is right when he says, ‘I have seen this before and it lasted about three days.'”
  • “What if this gets too hard when my husband does something to hurt my feelings – will I explode and lash out?”

It seems I can do alright when he is doing alright – but the first time he hurts me – it’s game-over for me.

I think something else I am afraid of is no change on his part at all. I realize that you said in one of your emails that change must take place in me because it pleases God, even if my husband does not change. This is very HARD.

It almost seems I cannot help my selfish motives of “If I am changing, he needs to change, too.”

I worry that if I do not see change in him, than I will give up – even knowing that is not the right attitude. I don’t know how to fix that. I secretly am still hoping that my husband will change and that one day he will want kids. As much as I want to let that go, it is very hard.
You are correct – God is showing you that you cannot change your husband. We don’t control other people. We can only control ourselves – and really, we can only do that with the power of God’s Spirit working in us! In fact, the more you try to control him, the more you will repel him.  Laura Doyle, “The Surrendered Wife” says

“You can have control or intimacy, but you can’t have both.”

Your words about God, the marriage, spiritual things or children are going to be like nails scratching a black board to your husband’s masculine soul right now.  The more you try to control him and put your hands emotionally around his throat, the more he will fight you and go the opposite direction just to prove to you that you cannot control him and that he is a grown man and can make his own decisions.
  • You are going to have to accept him as he is right now – even if he never, ever changes.  This is a very important step in this process. It will take some time to process and hash through all of this. That is ok.
You have a number of idols that have to be torn out by the root. This is exactly like dealing with a bunch of addictions – because that is what idols are – addictions.  This is not a one time thing. It may take months or years to completely deal with your idols. The temptation to re-erect your idols will continue to be an issue for a long time. Your job is to tear them completely out of your soul and put your faith and trust totally in Christ alone. Ask God to show you just how ugly idolatry is to Him. Ask Him to show you just how much it grieves His heart and looks like “adultery” to Him. That makes it a lot easier to get rid of the “detestable” idols. You may have to tear them out every day or every hour for a long time. That is ok!
A few assignments (ladies, you can do this at home!):     🙂
1. Please list all of your idols. Every single one you can identify.
2. Please start a list of all the things you admire and respect about your husband.  When you start to dwell on something negative, try to immediately recognize you are not focusing on Philippians 4:8 things and you are going to replace those thoughts with good thoughts and grateful thoughts about his strengths. You are going to starve your negative thoughts about him and feed your positive thoughts about him. (For the single ladies, please start a list of all the good things in your life to focus on.)
3. Please start a list of all of the sin in your heart.  You will be adding to all of these lists.
Your health is an idol-related issue, I believe.  As you get your heart right with God – I believe you will be able to get your health right, too. But if you don’t address the spiritual issues of seeking comfort from food instead of from God, you will continue to sabotage yourself, in my view.  I want you to have the best possible spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health!!!!!
You will have TONS and TONS of selfish, sinful motives to hash through in the coming months and years. When your husband doesn’t change – which he probably won’t for a long time (that is normal) – you will have to refine and purify your motives over and over again – to be sure you are only doing this for God.  It is actually a blessing that husbands are so skeptical and that they don’t trust us and the changes in us for so long many times-  because as they continue not to change, it FORCES us to purify our motives in ways that we would not have to if they changed quickly.
  • So, do not go into this expecting your husband to change. Pray for God to change YOU for His glory!  Pray for God to make you faithful to His Word and to Himself, no matter what the cost, no matter what the earthly results, no matter what your husband does.
I cannot do the wrestling part for you. You will have to do a LOT of wrestling with God, His Word and yourself. Take all the time you need.
Dying to Self and giving up idols and learning to fully trust God is HARD!  It is painful. It is terrifying at first.  But it is so worth it!


I cannot tell you how many times I have questioned the very fact of if I made a mistake. Family has told me to divorce my husband, and I would be lying if I said that the thought has not been in my mind before. *However*, God is really starting to change my mindset. I believe my situation is tough, but I believe that I am also so very much to blame for the state of my marriage. I am not excusing his actions, but

I am realizing that I have sinned so much against God and my husband, that I can start to see how I may have sabotaged our marriage in certain ways.

You see, when my husband told me he hated me, in that moment I was being SO incredibly disrespectful and sinning so much in my words and actions to him, that he probably did feel very much like hating me in that moment. I think many spouses have been so angry with each other in the “heat of the argument” that they may think those very same words, some may just voice it, and others may not. As I reflect over my marriage,

I have been controlling, manipulative, prideful, and EXTREMELY disrespectful.

It think it would be hard to have feelings of love towards anyone like that! I am learning, that yes, while some things that are said to me hurt me, I have to start taking responsibility for my own actions, words, and thoughts. I cannot say if I will ever have children, but I can say that I have made children an idol in my life. God wants my main focus to be Him and Him alone. This is hard, but I know it will be so worth it as I embark on this journey to please Jesus. Blessings to you!