February 6, 2016

Why Men Don’t Change

Gary Thomas — 

Why Men Don'tChange

What if your husband isn’t motivated by your pain?

What if he’s only motivated by his?

Many wives live with great frustration because they keep telling their husbands that something he is doing (or not doing) is causing them great pain, but the husband never changes. This confuses the wife. She thinks, “If I knew I was doing something that was really hurting him, I’d stop it as soon as I found out. Why won’t he?”

The answer, according to my friend Dr. Melody Rhode (a gifted marriage and family therapist), is “functional fixedness.” This phrase describes a man who will never be motivated by his wife’s pain; he’s only motivated by his pain. For change to occur, he has to feel his own discomfort. He doesn’t like hearing you tell him you’re not happy; in fact, it probably irritates him. But if the pain necessary for him to change is greater than the pain of putting up with your occasional expressed frustration, he simply endures the verbal outbursts as “the cost of being married” and will put the entire episode out of his mind as soon as it’s over.

Why?

Because it’s painful for him to remember the conversation and he wants to avoid pain at all costs!

(For the men reading this post, it’s certainly true that women as well as men can fall prey to functional fixedness. The reason I’m describing husbands here is because I first broached the issue in my book Sacred Influence and have since had women write to me for more clarification. So don’t be insulted. Just flip the gender and the principles will be roughly the same.)

According to Dr. Rhode, men don’t normally change if what they’ve been doing appears to work for them. For example, when a woman allows her husband to treat her with disrespect, he has no motivation to change—and so it’s unlikely he ever will.

“There’s a simple question I ask wounded women who seek help to endure belittling or degrading treatment from their man: ‘Why does your husband treat you badly? Answer: because he can.’”

This is not, in any way, to blame a woman for the abuse, but to develop a new understanding in order to map out a different future.

Melody continues, “If what he’s doing is working for him, why change? He needs a compelling reason to change and it needs to be more compelling than your unhappiness or private misery with the situation.”

A God-fearing man would be motivated to change simply by understanding that his actions or inactions hurt you. But you may be married to a man who doesn’t care if his actions hurt you, so long as he gets what he wants. In such cases, allowing the behavior while complaining about it won’t change anything so long as the husband keeps getting his way. Remember, with such men it’s not your pain that motivates him, it’s his pain.  You have to be willing to create an environment in which the status quo becomes more painful than positive change (we’ll discuss suggestions for doing this in the next blog post; this post is focused on the spiritual dynamics behind the problem).

Here’s what’s going on spiritually. Melody points out that “functional fixedness” in men is rooted in the fall–our remaining selfishness and sin nature. Many men never connect their spiritual conversion with how they relate to their wives. “For the most part men do not experience a conversion, transformation, a renewing of the mind, in their relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit that changes the way they see their wives and themselves in relationship to their wives. In the old nature men are desensitized to their wives, clued into their own natures and the fallen bent toward wanting their own way. This could mean simply ignoring their wives or being unresponsive to their wives’ feelings and needs, or it could expand to the extreme of dominance, oppression, and abuse.Untitled design

“Functional fixedness might be equivalent to what the Bible calls being ‘stiff necked’ people or ‘darkened in their own thinking,’ even ‘hard hearted.’ Having eyes, they don’t see the woman in front of them except in relation to their own feelings and needs (i.e. is she sexy or fat?). Having ears, they don’t hear the woman they are married to except as it pertains to them (is she nagging or affirming me? Saying something I want to hear or something I want to shut out?). The real problem here is that women can’t change this. The problem lies with the man. It is his uncircumcised heart and unrenewed mind that sees his wife as a ‘self-object’ and her pain as something to be avoided, silenced, ignored, or even harshly treated.”

Do you understand what Melody is saying? You’re thinking, “How can I get my husband to be more sensitive?” while your husband is thinking, “How can I end this conversation that is causing me pain?” He doesn’t want your pain to stop; he wants his pain to stop. This is because his heart hasn’t been renewed. He is a stranger to agape love. Putting someone else’s needs above his own doesn’t even occur to him because he does not have a sacrificial heart or mindset. Your call for him to sacrifice simply because something he is doing hurts you is like asking a soldier to fire a weapon he doesn’t possess.

If your husband is mired in functional fixedness, any appeal to empathy is futile. He is spiritually incapable of empathy. Again, he will be motivated by his pain, not yours.

Here’s what Melody says needs to happen spiritually: “Christ calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, which means to take on the suffering of others, particularly wives who we are told are members of our own body. We see very clearly the depth to which Jesus Christ has taken residence in a man by the sensitivity he develops towards his wife who is different than him and has a whole world of pain and feeling that he is naturally unresponsive to. This whole interface reflects how thin or superficial many Christian men’s relationship with their savior is. I think it is a cry for help we women are sounding to herald the need for flaming revival in the hearts and minds of our men.”

Men, let me talk to you for a second here: let’s take Melody’s words to heart. The depth of God’s work in our souls is demonstrated by the level of compassion, concern and care we have for our wives and their pain. To be hard-hearted toward our wives reveals a hard-heartedness toward God.

I agree one hundred percent with Melody that the problem isn’t marital; it’s spiritual. The husband’s conversion hasn’t affected the way he looks at himself or his wife. He is still motivated by selfishness.

What can a woman do? Melody (who has specialized in working with women who are married to narcissists) suggests the following: “Women need to quit being bent to their husbands for their worth and validation; that’s the female result of the fall.  They need to be helped to know God as their husband, provider, and protector and not to be expecting this from their husbands. If they believe in the Kingdom of God, they need to pray blessings on their spouses and that God will captivate them, wrestle them down by the brain to transform them from being selfish peacocks or thugs to love the Lord and then demonstrate that love by being kind, gentle, sensitive and compassionate to their women.”

To the men reading this, we can construct a helpful grid. How close are you to God? How godly are you? We can measure it by asking how kind are you to your wife? How gentle are you with her? How sensitive and compassionate are you at home? These are the markers of God’s Spirit in a man’s soul. To receive Christ is to receive the spirit of the suffering servant who puts others’ needs above his own. To not care about another’s suffering or to increase another’s suffering isn’t the work of Christ; it’s the mark of his enemy.

For women, this spiritual reality means that you need to adopt a long-term view of change that will be internal and spiritual before it is external and marital.  More than simply praying for a change in the way your husband treats you, pray for a change in his heart toward God. In the end, that’s the most effective way for him to change the way he treats you and looks at you. He’s spiritually bent, so that needs to be your focus before God. Instead of trying to “fix your marriage,” ask God to overwhelm your husband’s soul with the presence of the Suffering Servant, Jesus.

Take your focus off yourself for just a moment and place your energy and efforts on how you can you influence your husband to go deeper in the Lord. Can you encourage him to get involved in a circle of men who will challenge him? Can you help him find a local church that impacts him? Are you just attending the church you like, or is it a church where he feels at home, where he can connect with the teachers, where he comes alive spiritually? That might mean changing churches.

Can you ask him to read a Christian book that will kindle the fire in his soul, promising him something special in return? Maybe he won’t read a book—will he occasionally read a blog with you, as long as you find a way to make it interesting? He may not be seeking spiritual inspiration, so you may have to do it for him.

There are so many gifted teachers today online. If you can’t find one in your hometown who motivates your husband, go to the digital world and see if there is one with whom your husband can “connect.” Personally, I listen to about three to five sermons on any given week. You don’t, as a couple, have to put God “aside” when you get home from church on Sunday afternoon. As you’re driving, doing the dishes together, and just sitting having a cup of coffee on Saturday morning, take 35 to 40 minutes (most sermons last no longer than that) and get a special “boost” from God’s word.

If your husband won’t do any of this, then you have to keep praying (not as a last resort—I’m recommending praying as a first response, too) for God to soften his heart. Join with other women to plead with God to bring a revival amongst the men in your community.

Also accept some responsibility. When you marry a man with a hard heart, it might take a long time for the heart to soften, but don’t forget—you chose this man. It won’t serve you at all to accuse God for choosing this man for you. I’ve addressed this in other blog posts. (God Didn’t (and Won’t) Tell You to Marry Your Spouse)  You need God on your side as an encouragement; nothing will be gained by becoming His accuser.

Settle in and take the long-term view. In Sacred Influence, I tell the story of a woman who was married to an unbeliever for over two decades before he became a Christian. In some cases, a husband’s heart may never soften. Choices—including the choice of who we marry—have consequences.

I sincerely hope that offering such a stark description of the spiritual heart of a man won’t discourage you; in reality, nothing is as discouraging as empty promises designed to sell books and tickle ears. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Trying to get a dead or luke-warm spiritual heart to be white hot requires a deep spiritual transformation. If a man is infatuated and the sexual chemistry is high, he’ll change. But it will last only as long as the infatuation and sexual chemistry does. Many of you have witnessed this firsthand (and often the change is superficial, lasting only as long as it takes to get married).

Having said this, there are a few practical things you can do in your marriage to help address functional fixedness while you wait for a spiritual transformation. That will be the subject of my next blog post. For this one, I just want to statesacred-influence the problem and emphasize that it’s spiritual. Until you understand what’s really going on, you won’t be able to address it in an effective way. Put your effort into pursuing a spiritual change for your husband (or your wife). That’s where you need to start.

I know there’s a lot of pain out there. Before God, I pray that these words will bring a little bit of healing at least in the way of understanding what’s going on, even though they will not resolve the problem.

In the meantime, if you’re into books and want a longer discussion of this issue, check out Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of their Husbands

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39 responses to Why Men Don’t Change

  1. This was my ex, to a tee.

    One thing you said, I disagree with. “You chose him.” No; a clueless teenager chose him, without nearly enough information to go on. I don’t blame God; He didn’t choose him for me, either. The man my younger self married was not the man I divorced. Over the more than 30 years we were married, he gradually hardened his heart- to God, and to me.

    Sometimes, people change. Sometimes, people are not who they appear to be.

  2. Very insightful article. I think it also explains why my husband treats God the same way. He is trying to avoid the pain of facing things he knows he should change in his life. Looking forward to the follow up blog, and a new perspective on how to approach things with my husband.

  3. To Carrie57; Good for you! The Bible tells us that through our horrible, hurting trials Christ will equip us and ultimately make us stronger. I am here to tell you He has done so in my life a hundred fold. Compared to 25 years ago, I do not recognize myself! Oh, how much wiser and emotionally stronger because of trials.

    Keep trusting Him. It appears that in the end you made a choice for your saviour. Right choice. Most importantly, to all Christian women out there, expect other “Christians” to crucify you!! Dont be naaive and be shocked even by those you thought were your friends. They are busy doing the work of Satan. Pastors are males, and they don’t have a clue about domestic abuse. Go someplace safe if necessary esp if you have children. Prayer changes things. Only Jesus Christ understands and he is waiting for you to ask him for help. And, if you think about it, isn’t that the way it should be? Trust Christ.

  4. Do you really believe that God will make change the husband ?? LOL till the religion will be in the middle of a couple … they avoid the real problems

  5. This article was really hard for me to accept but I think much of it is true. I have often wondered why my husband wouldn’t change some of his behavior and not that I think about it, why should he? It doesn’t benefit him at all and actually makes his life more difficult. SO if he doesn’t care that he is hurting me then there is no reason for him to change!

  6. Thankyou Garry,
    This has been very helpful to me. I can look back and now identity some things that still puzzled me. It helps so much to understand some behaviours,it also brings healing. God’s work in our lives is an ongoing process. I look forward to the next part. Blessings

  7. I suffered for 15 years in an emotionally abusive marriage that included infidelity. As a Christian woman, I gave it 100 percent and prayed desperately for a miracle. I not only read but also taught classes from Gary’s books Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence. I attended solo and marriage counseling and God finally gave me permission to divorce. This little saying, along with Henry Cloud’s book “Boundaries” have helped me see things with clarity:

    1. Change the changeable.
    2. Accept the unchangeable.
    3. Remove yourself from the unacceptable.

    Change the changeable — My spouse didn’t want to change, so the only part of my marriage that was changeable was ME: my attitudes, my responses, my behavior. This is the whole thrust of Gary’s book, Sacred Marriage.

    Accept the unchangeable — This involved lowering my expectations for my spouse and my marriage. It meant accepting the unchangeable things (preferences, deferred hopes, etc.) — but please note that this does NOT mean accepting unrepentant, sinful behavior!!! Because those things fall into the third part….

    Remove yourself from the unacceptable — I believe that unrepentant, sinful behavior is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to God — whose LOVE is unconditional but whose RELATIONSHIP is not!!! (A relationship with God is conditional on REPENTANCE, just as a reconciled marriage should be.)

    See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”

    16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Hebrews 3

    I believe that only the Holy Spirit (through His Word, a large amount of time spent seeking His will, the counsel of godly elders) can give an individual discernment into when it’s the appropriate time to remove themselves from an unacceptable marriage situation. (And this can be simply separation, not necessarily divorce.)

    No marriage blog will be able to answer that question for a person — it MUST be the result of earnestly seeking God’s presence and His will!

    Many blessings to the dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are silently suffering abuse at the hands of their spouses. Keep seeking and trusting in the Lord!!!

    Thank you, Gary, for taking on the difficult subject of marriage day after day. Every situation is so unique and you’re forced to try and speak to a broad audience when each reader is entrenched in their own unique circumstances and woundedness. I suppose there aren’t enough disclaimers in the world to make your blogs fit everyone, but I admire that you continue to speak the truth.

  8. Thank you for this article. What would you suggest for a marriage or for me, the wife, to do with a husband who blames and is defensive, and very stuck? I have hurt my husband in the last several years of our marriage. He has threatened divorce for almost 2 years. He avoids affection, won’t kiss me, refuses to talk to me about specific issues with finances, plans, our marriage- other than to blame and reject me. He walked out of counseling and won’t go again. He has pulled away from his men’s groups and Christian accountability peers.

    I have asked for forgiveness, pleaded, cried, yelled, and continue to work very hard on my own sins and shortcomings, yet my efforts are never good enough.

    I pray and cry out to God for our marriage to be healed..yet my husband punishes me emotionally and in other ways.

  9. Thank you so much for bringing perspective to me today. I have been frustrated for so long with trying to figure things out, but you definitely brought so much clarity into my life. I thought my situation was by far to complicated to try and fix, and that no one would ever understand what it’s been like for me. This article was like God hearing my prayers and finally being able to articulate what’s been going on in my life for the past 18 years. Thank you so much and I will continue reading your blogs.

  10. Gary: thank you for sharing this post. I’m looking forward to the next one. In the meantime, what is God’s promise to wives during this time? In addition, what should we be praying in addition for God to overwhelm our husbands’ souls with Jesus (helping us persevere through this process)? Thank you again.

  11. Thank you. Thank you. This was “bang on” for me.

  12. I so needed to read this blog at this moment at this time!
    Thank you

  13. This is a very timely explanation of what I’m experiencing wtth my mate. I’m losing hope. We’ve been through so many things and just when I think we’ve made some progress, we end right back at square one. I’ve known this was a spiritual issue but this article provides a name for it. Thank you. I look forward to the upcoming blog post providing more information.

  14. Well. You and Melody have said it well. Thank you for the truth. This is where my husband is at and at least now I know what to do.

  15. Thank you for this post
    .
    Through all our marriage struggles, Feelings and communication were our biggest problems. My husband and I could never talk about our feeling, or in fact talk in general.
    If something affected me, i would bring it to his attention (not 100% in the right way) and he would say whatever he could so I felt better. There was nothing to follow the conversation, as if the conversation never took place.
    This often affected me emotionally. I could never understand how we (together) couldn’t solve a problem.
    I know we had a terrible communication , mainly because communication was avoided at all costs. We would handle things differently (ofcourse); I know I am very “there is an issue, come up with solutions, and start implementing solution(s) to see results. My husband would ask not to talk and avoid at all costs. Come home later and later, once home to tell the kids goodnight, then off on a night voyage around town. Which brought in more issues I wanted us to resolve.
    I knew he hated talking, so to lessen his discomfort I stopped talking all together. Nothing was solved and issues became greater and stronger . He wanted us separated because a seperation worked for his parents. I was against seperation (still am/because of my story) until I couldn’t take the complete isolation from each other anymore (litterally-to avoid talking he would leave the room if I started that way).
    I had enough. I left. It was the hardest decision I ever made. We needed a change. I asked during the separation we start talking again, we spend time together (outside of marriage counceling) and his drug use needed to stop.
    After 5months of nothing, he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he filed and we divorced.

    I shared this for you mainly because of this article. (All your articles have helped me in some form of closure and understand both our parts in our failure. ) this has shed some light to me on how we could discuss something and nothing was a result. And how I couldn’t explain my acknowledgment and pain over other people’s suffering. (Especially my husbands)

    I am not trying to belittle my ex we both have issues (mine involve learning boundaries ‘cloud’). I still love the father of my children, and divorce is a reason I never wanted to be married.
    As life happens, I am truly blessed to get your emails which help me currently understand and will potentially help me excel if I want to marry again.
    THANK YOU

  16. While I agree with much in this post, such as men not caring about their wives’ pain and only focusing on their own pain, I disagree with the methods that you suggest to wives to encourage their husbands’ hearts to change. I disagree because I tried them for two decades, and they were futile and didn’t work. In my situation, my spouse’s abuse of me escalated over the years and he was reinforced by church authority and messages that I should submit no matter how he behaved. Also, he purposely withheld anything I needed. There was no consistency in anything and any efforts I made to try to find a middle ground of agreement, he would quickly shift to create a situation of animosity. Please do not always assume that women are trying to find their worth in the approval and affirmation of their husbands. Often we desire and are strictly counseled that we must behave in the manners of putting our husbands first, boosting their egos by pretending an idea was theirs so they don’t feel injured, and seeing to their sexual needs even though they are merely using us for their own self-gratification in order to be obedient and pleasing to God. Quite honestly, the message that is often given to women is that if we don’t comply with the behaviors I described above, then we are putting our relationship with God at risk and we are behaving in rebellion to God’s Word. These messages come from our abusive husbands and from church authority. When a distraught wife with a heart’s desire to do the very best for her family attempts to get help from church authority. Church leadership often uses convincing Scripture to ensure her that her husband is in authority over her; she must submit; she must forgive; she must provide sex (even if her husband is adulterous and putting her at physical risk); & she is not allowed to leave or divorce. Often, when the husband is adulterous, the wife is also blamed for his behavior because it is assumed that she was not doing her duty. I realize I speak in a broad generalization here, & I understand that this doesn’t always occur everywhere. I speak from my experience and a broad base of women who have experienced this horror. We are hurting and we need pastor’s and church leadership to hear us and support efforts to really get educated. Pastors often want to split responsibility for marriage problems right down the middle. Oftentimes their isn’t equal responsibility. Look at Joseph in Scripture. He acted righteously and Potiphar’s wife convincingly lied resulting in Joseph’s imprisonment. This is often what we as women endure; our husband’s create a different story in counseling offices. They play the victim role, and we get reprimanded. We become isolated because no one will hear us. Our husband’s look really great to others around us, and we suffer horrifically behind closed doors. We are disbelieved. We are beaten down. We need people who will hear and “be a voice for the rights of the unfortunate and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy” Proverbs 31:8-9.
    Isaiah 1:17 reads, “Learn to good; seek justice; reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan; plead for the widow.” Women in this situation are widows; sometimes they are married widows because their husbands have emotionally divorced them. We are trying to get our message out, but few are interested in hearing it, and even fewer are willing to risk supporting us.

    • Completely agree Michelle. Gary, I do appreciate the bulk of the article. I agree with Michelle and find myself currently in a place that feels like nothing will work; I watched my mother serve, serve, serve, quietly, respectfully doing whatever he wanted, briefly living life a few years for herself to which he responded “I don’t love you anymore”; so she returned to the self sacrificing that is almost painful to watch and my father never changed after 50+ yrs to turn to have a gentle heart toward her. He still looks at her as if she ‘bugs’ him. It’s so rude, she is PRECIOUS, there is NO NEED TO BE TREATED THAT WAY!
      I myself have had no luck either. And it’s painful that the men almost deceive women in the beginning, bc they tag along in church and act like they love God as much as we do, but it doesn’t last after marriage.

    • To Michelle, thank you for your reply in better words than I could have said it. I am in complete agreement with you on every point because these are EXACTLY what I am experiencing as we speak. It is no coincidence in this timing to read this site.
      18 years ago I married a man that played the part of a Christian while we dated. Then three months into our marriage his true monster within emerged. I and my two teenaged sons have been emotionally and psychologically abused. They have moved on. But now that it is just the two of us, my husband has poured gasoline on his anger. Again, everything you described, esp. the Christian church leaders tell me God hates divorce and I must endure it. This is Calvary Chapel southern California.

      Gary Thomas took my hypothesises right out of my mouth and you stated my reply. I’ve told him he does not demonstrate any fruits of the Spirit and Paul told us that is how we are to judge for the genuine believer. My favorite missing fruit is “self control”.

      It amazes me how ignorant people are about abuse. That is evidenced by how many people tell me I must be, in some small way, responsible for his treatment towards me.

      I give all the glory to my Lord Jesus Christ for leading me to all truth about my situation. He calmed my (false) guilty heart by telling me I am guiltless! He also led me to be suspicious. So, innocently, I began looking and into my husband’s electronic files: LOL. He signed up for a matching dating service and was just beginning a relationship with a co-worker. He asked how I knew? My answer should have confirmed to my husband, God exists! I had no clue.

      God does hate divorce but he also hates his daughters to be abused! This is NOT his plan for a marriage relationship. If Jesus leads me to a legal separation, then no human will tell me its WRONG!

      As I read these blogs by precious wives whose husband have turned away from them, in my life experience, I want to shout to each one: SUSPECT YOUR HUSBAND IS HAVING AN AFFAIR! HE HAS LOST INTEREST IN YOU, SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME AWAY, AND IS CONSTANTLY ANGRY AT YOU. Do not believe him when he denies it. Get smart for yourself. Follow the trail. My husband’s affair ended my first marriage and I felt so stupid for not seeing the clues earlier.

      Jesus Christ loves you! He is TRUTH. When you get confused, its not of Him! Trust Him.

    • I whole heartedly agree. Can you imagine if you had to deal with this situation, a serious illness, home remodel, living in a camper for 3+ years and your husband is an associate pastor who has a title that is over glorified and jobs that include tileing, church maintenance, building and remodeling, organization of community outreach ministries and a vow of poverty? He is a retired military Chief Master Sergeant with 2 degrees, student loans, and almost at the point of losing a house that was completely paid off until the remodel. Having to follow Gods calling first, this means nothing is more important than what other people tell you is His calling for your life and how to carry that out. I am bitter at this point. I have gone and laid everything out with my husband and the senior pastor. No accountability for him, I need counseling for jealousy. Now I have gone to leaders a second time after falling unconscious and out for more than an hour. Begging for a meeting for 2 weeks, I asked again and then finally broke down in front of the wrong pastor because my husband was taking care of other matters. Now I must be crazy or mentally detached. I don’t know of any honestly written books my pastors wives or women in the church that lay it out there, and what God did through them that actually worked. What did or didn’t change in the way the wife was treated or what changed in the husband?

  17. Curious. If infidelity (multiple cases) is involved what is your opinion of divorce and Gods biblical allowance of it in. Agreeing in the choice of a spouse and a consequence but more than a hard heart is infidelity and abuse…

  18. Great information Gary. Change is hard for all the reasons cited. Until I’m uncomfortably with my current state then change can occur.

    You write about men, I would love to see your thoughts about women who treat husbands with disrespect or verbal abuse.

    I always aporeciate your insight into relationships.

  19. Wow. Thank you! Having never heard of you before, I was led here from a Bible reading plan based on one of your books. Both that reading plan and this post have stirred my heart toward change. Even though I am not as stark as some of the inferences in this post; I know I am insensitive to some of my wife’s pain because of my own self-seeking comfort. Thanks again for the wake up call!

  20. Wow, God is so good to me to give this post by Gary Thomas. I have been married 31 years. I haven’t had emotional and spiritual intimacy with my husband for many years. I have always asked him to pray with me and do a bible study with me because I noticed he never read his Bible. And I knew he wasn’t growing. But he would not. I’ve encouraged him to meet with other men but he never can connect with men. The only intimacy we have had is sexual. I have kept myself fit so I guess he felt that I was useful for something. But now that his sexual drive is slowing down, it has even been worse with his anger and verbal abuse. He recently stopped going to church and said he didn’t believe in God anymore and did not think of him as good. My heart is broken for him. He was leading a small group at church on sacred marriage and quit toward the end of the book! And then told me he wasn’t going back to church. He didn’t have a problem with our church or the people. He has a problem with God. I was thankful for the honesty because the last 10 years have been hard. Gary’s post is like dew from heaven to explain in words what I have felt God telling me for awhile. The hardness of heart and junk he has believed has to be cleaned out before good can be put in. Only God can do that. I recently have been putting boundaries up because I used to let him use me. I never understood why he could never repent . It’s because he doesn’t love God that he can’t be loving to me or to the children. He only thinks how things effect him. It is scary when you thought you had a believing husband but he isn’t. But I’m thankful it’s in the open because it was driving me into feeling crazy, bitter, and depressed . I had to fight that everyday to keep my heart clean before the Lord. Please pray for me to be faithful to keep praying for my husband. I am growing weary. Thank you for the article, it is definitely from the Lord to me. He is faithful, caring , and good to me , always showing me he cares and will send messages of help if I’m listening.

    • Jamie Waldron June 10, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Vickie what did you do can you give examples? Of ways or what you did. To get your husband to feel your pain.