Julie’s relationship with her husband of 18 years has always been confusing and painful, but no matter what she does to try and fix it—nothing changes. Ever.
Resolve conflict? Impossible. When she brings up a concern, it becomes about her, not the problem she wants to solve. Her husband tells her she’s too picky, too whiny, too unforgiving, too angry, too nagging, too silly.
Sometimes he IS nice to her, like when he wants sex—or when they’re around other people. He’ll put his arm around her and she feels special for a bit. She loves to imagine that he really cares about her, but after the people are gone or the sex is over, he drifts away, and she is alone again, feeling used and worthless.
She’s afraid to try anything new because—what if her husband doesn’t like it? If they get through a meal without a comment from him, she feels relieved. But usually he finds something wrong with what she makes. It’s so confusing, because—didn’t he say this dish was his favorite? Now he’s saying he never said that.
She feels like she’s losing her mind.
She works hard to keep the house clean so her husband has a peaceful place to come home to after work, but she’s always falling behind. He makes little comments about the dirty bathroom or the clothes the kids are wearing.
She feels like a failure.
Keeping the children clean and well-behaved so they won’t bug her husband is a stressful, full-time job all by itself. She avoids asking him for help so he won’t get irritated with her. After all, he works hard all day providing for them, and she needs to do her part.
She feels alone and exhausted.
At church, she makes sure to dress up, smile, and keep her kids in order so the other ladies will know she is doing her best to be a Proverbs 31 woman. If they knew the kinds of angry, negative things that went through her head, they would be shocked.
Once she told a church friend about something painful her husband had said, but her friend told her she needed to talk about her husband in a more respectful way. She needed to be more forgiving and overlook his sin.
She felt ashamed.
Does God see her life? She’s not so sure anymore. She feels that He’s disappointed in her, somehow. She’s unable to make her husband happy, no matter how hard she tries, and she resents her husband’s constant control and criticism.
She feels like a horrible Christian.
Isn’t her husband God’s representative in her life? Her God-given authority? And here she is, inwardly rebelling! She feels out of control. Abandoned. Unloved. Rejected. Maybe she’s just a Christian-wannabe.
She doesn’t like herself much. She’s pretty sure she’s not worthy to be a child of God.
Her mind loops over and over on the same things, mentally spinning in circles that never end. She’s anxious and depressed. She had a panic attack on the road the other day, and she had to pull over to the side for fear she would black out while driving her young children to school.
She’s scared there’s something seriously wrong with her.
She looks in the mirror and doesn’t like what she sees: a scared, indecisive, insecure, stressed-out, unhappy woman who can’t seem to do anything right.
What happened to the girl she once was?
She’s stuck. There is no way out. She made her bed, and now she’ll have to just lie in it until she dies. Sometimes she thinks dying would be better than living this way another day.
Hope’s relationship with her husband is not good, either. But she sees what’s going on, and she has a new lease on life since she started making some changes in the way she lives.
Hope doesn’t get into many arguments with her husband anymore—mainly because she refuses to engage him. She now walks away when he starts to accuse her and demean her opinions.
When her husband acts like he loves her for show or because he wants sex, Hope has zero expectations. She knows it isn’t real. She’s accepted the truth and lives in reality. She also knows she is never really alone, and her faith is strong.
Hope’s not afraid to try new things and get her husband’s criticism. His opinion of her is not stronger than her own opinion of herself. And now—she likes herself. She’s comfortable in her own skin. When she tries and fails, she sees it as a learning opportunity and tries something new.
When Hope needs help with the kids, she asks him. If he helps begrudgingly, she doesn’t care. She no longer feels responsible to manage his emotions.
In church Hope wears what she wants—blue jeans and a sweater. Her kids aren’t the best behaved, but she knows they are kids, and she doesn’t expect perfection. If people cluck about it, she doesn’t take it personally. She now believes the opinions of others are just that—opinions. And she knows God’s opinion is the only one that counts.
Hope doesn’t talk about her husband at church. Frankly, he’s not on her mind all that much, anymore. She feels separate from him—able to live her own parallel life next to him. She’s pretty sure the folks at church wouldn’t think that was very “Christian” of her, but she’s now confident that managing her husband’s happiness and ego are not her responsibility. That’s HIS responsibility.
Hope’s faith is strong. She doesn’t live by all the man-made laws around her. She lives in the light and joy of the gospel of Jesus. She is FREE in Him, not relying on her own goodness, but on His grace.
The mental circles Hope used to entertain in her head are quiet now. She is focused, not on her critical, demeaning husband, but on Jesus, her hobbies, her children, her friends, and her new career.
She looks in the mirror and likes what she sees: a confident, decisive, secure, relaxed, happy woman who is doing her best.
She is all grown up, and it feels good.
Which woman do you identify with?
If it’s Julie, you’re probably wondering what in the world is going on in your life? And how in the world did I know about it? (Was I spying on you? )
No, I’m not a spy, but I do know what’s going on, and I’m going to help you figure it out HERE.