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Do You Believe God Can Impact Your Husband?

“It takes two, ya know!”

Her words wore the biting effect of the long years of pain. I looked into those weary eyes and I knew I’d never walked her path; felt the sting of rejection that left its mark on her heart. I knew her edgy retort wasn’t so much anger at me, but bubbled up from years of frustration, years of longing, and my intended encouragement had bumped that raw place.

I wanted those hopeless eyes to see what can’t be seen, for that deadened heart to beat with God’s life-giving dreams, for her faith to be renewed by truth that lives beyond the temporary.

Yes, you’re right, it does take two to make a marriage work. You’re right. You can’t do this alone, you must have the Author of marriage leading, impressing, directing your heart. You and He can impact your relationship with your husband. You have His word on that. He doesn’t hold out false hope. In fact, He anticipated that you would need this passage for this exact moment in your life:

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:1–4)

There’s more in this passage than can be unpacked in the limited space of a blog post, but I’ll just touch on a few things for those of you who may be in that painful place.

♥ The heart is the issue—always.

Notice the instruction given; wives aren’t told to whip that man into shape, to preach the gospel to them, or to coddle them. They are challenged to IMPACT them. The answer isn’t to run to Victoria’s Secret for the most seductive nightie. The answer is the heart.

A heart that’s lost all hope is a dead heart and a man can sense that a mile away.

On the surface, things may appear calm – you may not be the shrieker or the witch – but underneath the surface you resent him. You resent that he’s not what you want him to be and that’s taken your heart and sucked it dry.

You want him to relate to you, to understand you, to respect you, you want peace, love, and friendship. I imagine he does, too. He probably doesn’t show it, and he may not know how to reach out to you for that, but he, too, probably doesn’t enjoy the life you share if your hope has died.

Do you believe God can impact your husband?

Maybe he doesn’t know God. Neither did Joy’s husband, but God captured his heart. Neither did Edie’s, but she followed this passage’s instructions all the way . . . and God heard her prayer. When her husband accepted Christ, she hardly recognized him.

Maybe your husband does have a relationship with God, but the relationship between the two of you is shadowed by betrayal, broken promises, shattered dreams or just empty space.

You can resign yourself to this, or you can believe.

You can believe that God’s Word is true and one plus One can make a difference. You can believe that because of the gospel—there is still reason for hope. You can admit that by losing hope, you’ve settled for less than what God can do, and ask God for forgiveness.

I’ve never seen a husband be unaffected by the respectful, gentle, and quiet spirit of a wife who hopes in God. That wife has a heart that will impact her man.

Have you become skeptical?

How does that line up with the beauty described in this 1 Peter passage; the beauty of the heart that is precious in God’s sight?

10 Comments

  • Lynn

    Kim,

    Thank you for this encouraging blog. I can identify with your paragraph about being resentful. I am still recovering from my husband’s affair from over 4 years ago. We have stayed together, gone through counseling and “worked” on our marriage. But, I know that my heart has been cold and still struggles with trusting him, and believing that God can really change my heart.
    I would appreciate your prayers.

  • Nicole

    Hi Kimberly,

    I too found your blog as well as all of your blogs I have read very encouraging. I thank God so much for a friend who gave me your book “Fierce Women” and sent me the link to your website. When I began reading your book and your blogs, the Lord showed me how I had been blaming my husband for a lot of the problems in our marriage and I too have been struggling with resentful feelings towards my husband.
    I guess the “key” in the passage in 1 Peter is “they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” “Without a word”… I have found it so difficult to do this… it seems that even if I pray and think “ok, I will do this”, the minute a situation arise, I forget about this and my flesh just takes over 🙁
    I will also admit with shame that I am guilty of trying to “whip my husband into shape, or preaching to him or coddling him”. It is my prayer that God will help me break out of this circle and be able to obey His Word in 1 Peter 3.

    Appreciate prayers also 🙂

    Thanking God for you and your ministry.

  • J

    After 42 years, I don’t care anymore. I really, really believed that God would capture my husband’s heart and it hasn’t happened and now it doesn’t matter. I faced reality 2 years ago, after reflecting on his past behavior, that he never did intend to be a husband from the first month we were married. After he ended his last affair that lasted over a year with a woman, younger than his daughter,with 2 kids the ages of his grandchildren, he decided he would be celibate, it was like he rolled up a blanket and put it between us in bed. I finally moved into the spare bedroom because I could not stand the rejection in bed night after night. We are just a man and a woman living in the same house. He has no remorse for any of his behavior.
    When I became a Christian 32 years ago in January one of my favorite verses was Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you…..to give you a future and a hope.’ I think ‘Lord, what was the point of my coming home in the past when I left because of his behavior?’
    I cannot imagine living this way for 20 more years, maybe even 30 (he is 63, I am 64), but I don’t have any choice. Life on earth is just a brief moment compared to eternity.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Lynn ~

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and I’m grateful that you are encouraged by the blog. I am so thankful to hear that your marriage did not end with the affair and I pray that the pain and loss caused by that affair will not “define” your marriage or limit you as a couple, but that you will continue to deepen in your understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness, and that He will establish you in true love for one another.

    Have you read “Fierce Women?” It might provide some practical help as you seek to navigate the difficult terrain that comes from a breach of trust in the marriage like an affair.

    I have witnessed God answer the prayer of Ephesians 3:20 many times with couples. I’ve seen Him take what looked like insurmountable walls of isolation and bring deep unity. May you see that occur in your marriage as well.

    Praying for you dear friend:

    “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21)

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Nicole ~

    Well, I am so thankful for that friend! I’m glad you’ve found the blog encouraging, now I hope you’ll pass it on to other friends as well. 🙂

    You’ve hit on a very common and frustrating behavior. Sometimes I just want to tape my mouth shut! Remember that you can not implement the beautiful aspects of a godly woman without the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Cry out to Him for help the moment you feel tempted to open your mouth, before your day begins, before you take a phone call from your husband, before you sit down with him to talk about your day . . . continually be shooting up silent prayers to God, asking Him to fill you with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23), and to govern your tongue.

    I don’t know how much you’ve visited the blog, but I have several posts on “the tongue” that you might find helpful. Here are the links to a few of those:

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=2341

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=2346

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=2357

    God has given us the precious promise in 2 Peter chapter one that He has provided for us all things that we need to live a godly life. Praying for you to press in and experience the full joy of that!

    Pausing to pray for you now, Nicole ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dearest J ~

    My heart breaks to hear your pain. I have not lived in your shoes, but I know the Savior is fully aware of all you’ve experienced, the years of rejection and the extent of suffering you’ve endured.

    Have you read “Fierce Women?” In the book, I share many stories of marital infidelity. I am continually amazed by the work God can do in people’s lives; how He can bring miraculous transformation for His glory. I appeal to you, to care about your marriage, but more than that to care for your husbands’ soul. It sounds as though he is in great need spiritually.

    I hope you’ll read the post (pasting the link below) on how to confront our husbands biblically when they are in a lifestyle of sin. More grievous even than your husband’s sin against you of adultery, is your husband’s sin against God and his need to be reconciled to God. Your desire to confront him must be from right motives—spiritual restoration for your husband and love for him as your brother in Christ (if he is a believer)—not in order to “fix things” more to your liking. If your husband is not a believer, that is even more reason to seek to impact him spiritually.

    For the sake of God’s glory, for those who know you are a believer, but the state of your marriage does not reflect God’s reality and power to rescue and redeem, I pray you will humbly and prayerfully work through the Scripture passages that I include in the post below on biblical confrontation.

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=3345

    I am praying for you now, J, I do not want you to remain in this state of suffering, this is not God’s will for you or your husband. He really is able to step into the darkest of situations and rescue our loved ones (and us!).

    May you know the reality of God’s transforming power at work in your marriage:

    “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

    After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:5–11)

  • Nicole

    Hi Kimberly,

    Thank you for your reply and for the links. I went and looked them up twice now and took notes. Getting all the Scriptures on the tongue to start memorizing them and by God’s grace apply them. Pressing in :)!

  • jeanne

    I am in the same boat as Nicole. I have the best of intentions but when a moment arises with my husband my heart starts pounding and even though I try to go to God first I still end up saying something. So frustrating.
    I’m dealing with fear of what he’s doing. Its starting to control me again. I want to believe God can impact my husband. And I want to get out of the way!