Waiting for God to Work

Often a wife who is in a strained marriage asks me, “What do I do while I wait for my husband to respond? I don’t know how much longer I can take this!” Sometimes the fracture in the relationship runs so deep, that even when the wife recognizes her contribution to the marital mess and seeks to change, in some cases it may take years for him to respond. In case you may be in that place or know someone who is, I thought I’d share with you what I often tell women who are in that painful season of waiting.

Dear Waiting,

I know it is hard to wait. I am so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing. Let me assure you, your wait is not in vain. As you look to the Lord, laying out your need and desire before Him, He is listening and is at work. You may not see all you would like accomplished in your marriage, but if you are looking to Christ, seeking His will, and desiring for Him to be glorified through this, He will transform you.

And isn’t that what we all need most?

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Therefore . . . do not lose heart . . . but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing power will be of God and not from ourselves . . . (2 Corinthians 3:18–4:1,7 and read through to the end of the chapter).

If you recognize any way you’ve contributed to the strained relationship in your marriage, I encourage you to ask the Lord to lead you in the timing and words, and approach your husband to seek his forgiveness for specific ways you’ve wronged him. Let him know that you are committed to growing in your understanding of how to honor and love him well.

There are several good marriage posts written by various authors in the True Woman archives, I encourage you to check those out here. You might consider watching our marriage video with your husband and discuss what you viewed, letting him know that you are willing to work at improving your marital relationship. You can view that video together here.

Also, I have a book that has more of our story and a lot of practical help for rebuilding a fractured marriage relationship. The title is Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. You can order a copy here.

You might also find it helpful to listen to my husband share his heart on the Revive Our Hearts radio program here.

A resource many women have found invaluable in improving their marital relationship, is the 30-Day Husband Encouragement challenge. You can download a free copy here or order the journal here.

Finally, as you wait, cling to the Lord as your Redeemer. He alone can transform your marriage. He alone will meet your deepest needs. Ultimately your dependence on Christ and desire to glorify Him is what matters most.

You have my prayers dear one, do not lose hope in all God can do in and through you as you trust in Him and obey His Word (Ephesians 3:20).

If you know someone who is struggling in their marriage today, please pass this post on to them.


  • BH

    Hello Kim,
    Seeing a link ROH online a few weeks ago made me literally stop what I was doing and cry as I read/watched your story and followed the series that week. It’s as if it was my and my marriage’s story. My husband and I have been having the same issues for years, and last fall we both decided on separation. We were naive, me more so, and not turning to God together. I thought it’d be 3-4 months and we’d check back in. After a very rocky Christmas and my old behaviors rearing their ugly head, a mere 2 months into a partial separation (I only say that b/c he was still in the house part of that time and we hadn’t made it legal), he told me he wanted a divorce. That was in late January. In early January however, I had a drastic, transformative heart-change, over came my anxiety and finally “felt” again rather than having a numb, depressed and unkind heart. Thus hearing he wanted a divorce was devastating. And he was hurt too, shut down. LeRoy’s feelings are identical to my husband’s.
    I am needing a strength, guidance and hope since despite my best efforts over the past 8 months, my husband still wants a divorce. But to me, isn’t this the whole point of trials and tribulations? That we can be transformed and experience new possibilities together? He says he fought for us all the years I was a “shrew” and I know my mistakes, my resistance,yet I didn’t know he was fighting and for something he wasn’t going to lose (I had no intention of divorce). And yet now, my change isn’t a change he trusts. We have a beautiful daughter and I am shocked he thinks this is what’s best for her. I never, ever thought his faith and family commitment would lead him to think divorce is okay. I feel like this is where our stories differ, in that, how long must I wait if he is adamant that dissolution is what he needs?
    God is at work, I know it. It’s just so very hard, I don’t want to lose my family.
    Thank you for your time, any reply and support.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear BH ~

    I am so very sorry, I have read your comment repeatedly, it breaks my heart to read your story and know how your family is suffering. I understand your husband’s resistance to continue working on your marriage. Some men reach the point of giving up and believe there will never be improvement. After I asked my husband to forgive me, and God begin changing my heart, my husband watched me for two years to see if this thing was “real” or if the “old Kim” would return. It was a long period of me clinging to God’s grace, a long period of waiting, before he was willing to try to work on our relationship.

    I encourage you to cry out continually for God’s mercy (Psalm 116:1–2). He is faithful and righteous. Determine that no matter what, you will continue to walk in submission to the truth of God’s Word, you will run after Christ and cling to Him, and trust the Spirit to do the work that is necessary to turn your husband’s heart.

    Have you read “Fierce Women?” I think you would find the practical suggestions there helpful. It will be difficult, but wait on God to woo your husband’s heart, don’t badger him, belittle or preach to him, but cry out to God to rescue your marriage.

    I pray you will experience an Eph 3:20 work in your home. May God bring about His new work in your marriage, for His glory!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • BH

    Thank you so much for your response Kim! God is good. I would love to read Fierce Woman and thank you for the verses. I am wiling to wait and continue seeking God in my heart change. now it seems,how do I show my husband respect and not disregard his feelings when he wants me to fill out divorce paperwork, as he of course is fearful I will be the “old me” and doesn’t trust himself not to resort to old passive behaviors and thus my pleas have been met with “no”. If he feels he needs and wants a divorce, wouldn’t it be contradictory for me to withhold the paperwork completion out of a desire to restore our marriage and learning to create a safe space for him? He also wants the house Im living in sold and it is likely going to happen very soon, and that just gives me more pause to think he won’t consider turning back to us. I want to wait yet these pressures make it seem like my fighting for it is futile. I want to face fear but I fear letting go.
    Thank you and blessings!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear BH

    I am so sorry for the pain you must be experiencing because of your husband’s choices right now. The sad reality is that a wife may do everything possible to exhibit godliness and Christ-like love to her husband without seeing any change in him or improvement in the relationship. It sounds as though your husband has given up, but that doesn’t mean that you should, or even that you must agree to sign divorce papers.

    God’s heart is always the heart of redemption.

    I encourage you to find one or two spiritually mature women in your church to whom you can safely confide and ask them to help you navigate through this process biblically. I hope you are in a biblical church body and are receiving help and counsel from wise leaders who will pursue your husband’s heart. Divorce is not the route God would have you take. He is able to take any situation, no matter how desperate or hopeless it may seem, and if we are willing to humble ourselves and follow Scripture, He can bring about a redemptive and lasting solution.

    As much as I’d like to personally help you, responding through blog posts is a severely limited form of encouragement and accountability. But I pray God will use the words below to give you some direction.

    It is very difficult for me to write what I’m about to tell you, because I know it is much easier to express the beautiful “big picture” truth than to live it out in the messiness and sorrow of a situation like you are experiencing right now—but the truth is, living out Scripture in this situation is going to require you doing the hard thing. The easy thing is to run, give up, give in, sign the papers, pack up your bags and get out. But by doing that, what are you communicating about the reality of God and His ability to step into the darkest of places and bring radical transformation?

    Let me encourage you to consider God’s heart when it comes to the issue of reconciliation and then consider God’s ultimate purpose for the marital relationship.

    God’s heart is one of redemption. Although I am sinful and vile, He welcomes me back when I turn in repentance to Him. He is in the ministry of reconciling hearts to Himself. All marriages consist of two sinners. We are all in need of great mercy. Biblical counselors will provide varying responses to the question of separation, divorce, and remarriage. Multiple opinions abound.

    But one thing is true: none of us deserve God’s forgiveness, mercy, or blessing—yet He gives it. None of us deserve His commitment of fidelity, yet He is unrelenting in it. None of us deserve second chances, or His patience, yet He is long suffering with each of us.

    He has called us to display His character. He’s called us to demonstrate to our mates and to others His mercy, grace, truth, forbearance, patience, endurance and even joy in suffering (Colossians 3:12–19; Philippians 3:7–10; Ephesians 4:31–32).

    There are no pat answers or easy solutions. The truth is that God’s grace is sufficient for every need, but that doesn’t mean that every situation will result in a happy ending. When two individuals are willing to walk in a state of repentance and humility, depending on God’s grace in applying the truth of His Word to desperate situations—even then it takes much hard work and perseverance to overcome selfish tendencies and begin to reap the joy of a one-souled marriage. When only one mate is willing to work on the marriage, it may take years for the other mate to respond in kind—and perhaps he never will.

    God’s ultimate purpose for marriage is not our individual happiness—ultimately His purpose is for the world to see the gospel displayed (Ephesians 5:22-33). The amazing grace in all of it, however, is that when we establish the type of marital relationship described in this passage—we experience great joy and God receives great glory!

    With all of the above in mind, however, your husband may not be willing to try again. But let him know you are not giving up.

    Continue to search your own heart to see if there are areas of sin that need to be confessed before God and perhaps to your husband (Matt. 7:5). Your situation may require the intervention of spiritual leadership (Matthew 18:15-18).

    Do not enable your husband in this. Let him know that he is responsible before God for his actions.

    My prayer is that God will fill you with hope as He gives you a glimpse of what He can do. I pray that you will communicate openly, honestly and in loving humility, your heart to your husband and that God will open his eyes to his sinful choices in this.

    No matter what your husband chooses to do, Christ is to be the center of your devotion and affections. Look to Him to fill your deepest needs.

    I pray that your mate will respond in receptivity and humility and with a willingness to make the hard choices of unselfishness and be willing to agree with you to go to whatever lengths are necessary in order to work toward reconciliation and establishing a Christ-centered love-filled marriage that reflects His character.

    I pray that one day, we will hear of God’s miraculous intervention in, and supernatural provision for, your situation, which will bring great glory to Him and serve as a great witness to the power of the gospel.

    I (and hopefully other women who read your comment) am lifting up your marriage to the Lord in prayer. I’m unable to serve as a counselor or adviser for you, but can serve as an intercessor. I encourage you to seek biblical counsel within your church leadership.

    Pausing to pray for you now, dear one ~