Wives, you don’t have to settle.
I want you to know that you don’t have to settle for less than you deserve in marriage.
God’s “baseline” (standard) is higher than you’ve been taught. He puts the responsibility of behavior and growth on the individual, not their spouse.
It’s not your job to “help” your husband out of his addictions, his adolescent behaviors, entitlement, or other destructive habits.
You can be supportive of his journey to wholeness. You can desire his change and pray for him. You can have those hard (but safe) conversations. You can stand by his side as he pursues recovery and starts to display the fruit of repentance. You can eventually work on the marriage end of things.
But being supportive of him isn’t the same as taking over.
Standing by him isn’t the same as carrying the weight of his choices and consequences. It’s not the same as being his God or Holy Spirit. A spouse who has the problem must own up to it and do the work. Not you.
I want you to know that you don’t have to settle.
Because you’ll be told to.
You’ll be regaled with stories of women who “fight for their marriage” and be asked to do likewise do. (“All women go through these issues, why do you think you’re different?” “All marriages are hard.” “All happy marriages have women paying the price.” “Pray, submit, and be patient. God always answers, it just takes time.” “Your suffering honors God and you circumvent His plan when you try to change things.”)
Women have their reasons for setting, and this post is not about judging or shaming that choice. Please read this post “But Why Doesn’t She Just Leave Him?” 40 Reasons Women Stay in Destructive Marriages
But this is for the individual who wants more but has been told men need women to become better husbands and overcome sin.
This is for women who’ve been told that a wife can save her marriage through more prayer, submission, sex, making needs smaller/ignoring them altogether, having little to no expectation of her husband.
This is for the woman who’s been told that she is the guardian of her marriage, and if she quits, she’s breaking up her marriage. (SHE. Not her spouse who won’t address addictions, entitlement, harmful immaturity, and abusive behavior.)
Wives you don’t have to settle: So here’s what I want you to know.
Men are fully capable of being safe and healthy human beings.
All by themselves without the help of women. Christian men (or at least men who deserve that name) are not immature, sex-obsessed egomaniacs.
Perhaps that little voice in your head or heart that says “there’s got to be more than this” is freedom calling your name.
Perhaps it’s God inviting you into new depths and revelation and possibilities. Small steps. Like telling yourself that it’s okay to stop taking responsibility for stuff that’s not yours.
Knowledge, individual experience, is power. They can shift your beliefs. And a changed belief system can radically change your life or marriage or both.
So talk to God. Allow His Spirit to lead you. YOU can hear God.
Out of everyone who wants to speak to your marriage, you are the only one who lives your reality. Trust God’s leading. Get into trauma-informed therapy. Fight for yourself because if you don’t, nobody else can.
Helpful Resources for Individuals in Toxic, Abusive or Difficult Marriages
If your spouse is toxic, abusive or chronically problematic, if they are engaged in unrepentant sin (repentance comes with fruit!) please get to a safe place and talk to a licensed counselor who is trained in relationship abuse and trauma. Please talk to someone safe. Here are a few resources and websites to check out.
- Hope For Hurting Wives with MaryEllen Brean
- Flying Free with Natalie Hoffman
- Leslie Vernick
- Confusion to Clarity with Helena Knowlton
- Life Saving Divorce with Gretchen Baskerville
- Sarah McDugal
- Patrick Weaver Ministries
- Heather Elizabeth
- Betrayal Trauma Recovery
- To Love Honor and Vacuum with Sheila Gregoire
- Strong Wives with Bonny Burns
- If you’re in danger, call an emergency hotline in your country. Canada: 800.799.SAFE (7233). United States: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673). United Kingdom: 08 08 16 89 111. Australia: 1800 015 188. New Zealand: 0800 456 450. Kenya: 0-800-720-072. Nigeria: 0800 033 3333. South Africa: 0800 428 428.