Letter to the Struggling Wife
(An open letter)
To my friend,
Today I poured my heart out to Jesus begging him to give you hope. Begging him to help you find one thing that you could be thankful for in that man who you dreamily fell in love with so many years ago. The one who is no longer captivating your heart.
My prayer for you is to serve him. To remember his love language and start there. For me it was acts of service.
I began by picking weeds from the yard. Wiping down the counter tops until they were shining. Cutting the grass during nap time. Flying of around the house picking up the toys so everything looked orderly.
Taking a moment for myself to pray before he walked in. Lord give me a joyful heart. Lord let me be quick to listen and slow to speak. Lord, let me be awed again by how he loves our children. Help me to see traces of the spunky man I fell in love with and help me lift him back into that high place. Help me to remove the log from my own eye and not look so intently at the speck in his.
Sister, this marriage you have is valuable. Anything valuable is worth protecting with every fiber of your being. There is someone out there trying to steal this away from you. He knows you well. He sees your pain. He whispers in your ear when your heart gets hurt and tells you it’s always going to be this way. He tells you loving you is not worth the cost.
He is your enemy – not your husband.
I’m reminded of Psalm 3 that my dearest friend Kylie prayed over me recently when I was going through a major personal struggle.
So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” But you, O Lord , are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord , and he answered me from his holy mountain. Victory comes from you, O Lord . May you bless your people.
Psalms 3:2-4, 8 NLT
I am praying that you call on the one who made you one in Christ. I am praying that you serve and that as you serve your heart will follow your actions. I’m praying you find yourself reflective as you serve, “Lord show me how I have contributed to where we are and give me the courage to apologize without excuses or pointing fingers.”
My deepest desire for you is to live your life in service to Jesus no matter what that could look like. (I’m not talking about any form of abuse here, I’m talking about normal interpersonal struggles that have deteriorated for way too long.)
Think about the stories that move you. There was a point when something huge was at stake and the character takes a huge risk and loves and fights for what they want. This is your story. This is the one your Heavenly Father will leverage. This is the battle he has invited you into and equipped you for, the only question is, “Will you fight until the death of your enemy?” That’s the commitment we signed up for when we took those sacred vows. This battle is fierce because your enemy knows you’re standing in the way of something with the highest value.
You see, I know this because I am you.
My marriage has been hard. There are times when I wondered if I was going to get through it. But now I’m here, on the other side, thankful for the encouragement and prayers of those who loved us and now, my sister, I am showing up to fight for you.
If this hits home with you today. Will you tell one person? Marriage is one of the most common struggles among mothers. However, we can’t discuss it or write about it without disrespecting our men or taking down the hearts of people we love (i.e. mother in laws). When you bring something to light – it starts losing its grip over your life. Call a friend. Email a friend. Send them this post. Schedule a coffee. Hire a counselor. Do something to expose a marriage worth fighting for.
Feel free to comment today with a fake name. Share your hearts. Let’s discuss. We won’t ever look at your email addresses or contact you.
The Lil Light O’ Mine team is praying for our marriages this week and FOR YOU.
This blessed me today. Sending it to a friend to do the same for her! Thank you.
Thanks for commenting. It is a great encouragement to me! Only Jesus can restore us and bring holiness to our brokenness.
My name is Cynthia my husband of 16 years left me last week one of the reasons was because I was not growing with him in church he wants a woman of God I want to be that woman I have been reading more on God and I’m going to church with him we met there but how can I save my marriage
I also would like advice on making a letter to him can you help me
Please feel free to call me 832-231-2739 I need help finding more and trusting more in our lord I need faith I want to fix my marriage we have 3 kids I was the reason why he left I was to much of a party girl and I don’t know much about internet so I’m afraid I might not see a reply pleas help me I’m willing to do anythin
I am so sorry I am just seeing this. Will you email me at ashleygnolan at gmail dot com. I would love to chat with you there. Praying for you today. My heart is broken for you and with you.
ashley nolan. amazing. perfectly written. your heart is so big. thank you so much for sharing a piece of it.
Thanks deeterd! You’re super and so loving. Adore you!
Not sure what I’m asking but I need help I just wat to throw tha towel I’ve been married 16 going on 17 years my husband is a drug users I just can’t no more I pray try to stay in Faith believe tha God will heal him from tha drugs I’m tired I just can’t he lies he’s cheated he’s not a bad operate hen he’s not using but then he says I won’t do it gathers does it ever week I forgive going with life but he keeps doing it again I don’t think God wants me to live like this help please
Keep putting God first. Stay in prayer. Stay strong. Remember that God LOVES you and is always there. Even when it does not feel like it. Prey through the pain.
I am so sorry I am just now seeing your comment. My heart is so broken with you. Addiction is so hard and we try to make it our responsibility to heal them or parent them. Find your self regard, respecting yourself by setting and enforcing boundaries. The more you respect yourself by not allowing his behavior to dictate your life the more healthy and strong you will become. Im not certain but I can imagine you are believing a lot of lies about yourself right now, about the way God views you and why he would put you in this situation. Boundaries, beginning with physical boundaries will be the key to you getting healthy. Once you decide to get healthy and your husband sees that he may be motivated to make some personal changes, but allowing him to disrespect you and the family will not bring about change in him. In the hard times I like to find a song, put my face on the ground and just cry out to God. Ask for him to put a new song in your heart. One of hope and one that will allow you to view yourself as a daughter of a king. A woman with a royal heritage. You are strong and you can do hard things. Remind yourself you can do all things, not in your own strength, but in the strength you have because HE is in you! You are chosen and wanted sweet sister. Praying you are finding healing and hope in Him. He is the only one who will not let us down.
This is beautiful. So great, Ashley. Thank you!
Thank you Erin!
ash. i have so so much to say. you have always been an advocate of marriage. always been the one i call. i adore you. i got chills when i read this. the hundreds and hundreds of people that will read this -if not thousands that won’t respond. thank you Lord for moving through Ashley to show us all there is hope. kids is tough on a marriage. but we married these guys for a reason. i also got tear filled eyes reading the mowing part. i remember seeing that image on instagram. now, that i know your precious soul was out there mowing for this reason -it makes me love you more. way to go my friend. keep fighting. and inspiring me and many to join you. i love my ron so much – on a trip with him right now and remember why it’s so important to stop and be together and get time to reconnect. all things you encourage me to do.
You are such a great cheerleader for me. I would not be so brave without your leadership in this area. Thanks for the chance to leverage God’s story to hopefully encourage and restore the one relationship that will then become the cheerleader for the next one. We can’t do this stuff alone. This is the church at its finest and you my dear are a church planter. 🙂
hey beautiful lady!! so thankful for you and your amazing heart for encouraging marriages! I have tears in my eyes thinking about our many walks and talks and how you have personally touched my heart and were such an important part in changing my heart on marriage and my husband. I am praying for every single person who reads this that they be touched by this, and allow God to move mountains in their marriages. Love you sweet friend and keep allowing God to speak through you!
Thanks friend! Love you and your encouragement and prayers for us! You are dear!
Forwarded this to several people. Reading it, I was so reminded of my own struggles. And reminded of the friends my hisband and I have that have split up in recent years. We have been heart broken over these broken marriages and can only imagine the pain these couples have gone through to lead to their decisionsI am so glad you mentioned counseling! Marriage counseling is so helpful and a wonderful resource! It is worth the time and effort!! I know…my marriage is so much better because of it!
Yes Emily! We are huge counseling advocates, personal and marriage. You just have to find a good one!
Uh-mazing Ashley. Simply amazing. I too am reminded of my own fight & the despair that came with the prospect of being a roommate vs the vibrant marriage I had dreamed of having. Only God was able to heal the hurt that we had both inflicted on each other. As much as I wanted it to be 100% his fault, of course it wasn’t. So many months, there was literally numb resignation and I had to put aside my desire to be right and choose to give AND receive the love that God had uniquely equipped Michael to give me. It sounds so trite, but MIchael and I had to CHOOSE to trust God with giving us desire-the desire to fight, to love, to be intimate and to serve each other. Ashley-bravo, bravo. Our marriages are worth fighting for and I love this reminder.
Thanks KF. I always adore you and our time. You married a great one and so did I which means if this stuff is hard for us it’s gotta be hard for everyone. Funny how that sin just won’t shake itself loose permanently. Seem days I’m longing for heaven more than others. I guess that’s what That means when we are to “consider it joy facing trials” the joy is the pure longing for heaven that this Americanized life will convince me I don’t need many days.
Any advice for a Christian wife whose husband has decided after 5 years of marriage, one child, and a lifetime of being a Christian himself, that he is now an Atheist? He is NOT the man I chose to marry. I married a man who trusted God with his life and wanted to lead our family in a Godly way. Now after struggling with depression, hating his job, and feeling lost, he has decided God must not exist. Nothing I say can change his mind. His friends have tried and failed. His parents have tried and failed. How do I raise a child with a man who doesn’t believe in God? I’m trying to still submit, honor and respect him, but it’s so hard. I do all those things because God tells me to, but God also didn’t want me to marry an unbeliever. Where do I go from here?
Dear Anonymous- I cannot offer an answer, but what I can offer is prayer. My prayer for you is to be able to sit still and listen to what God has to say and that His answer is clearly evident. God is still God no matter what, and I know He has a plan for you and your family. I also encourage you to dive into the Bible for answers- always test the word of a human against the Word of God. I will be praying for you.
First, I am so very sorry. I know this is not what you had in mind or envisioned and I hate that you are facing this trial in your life. I pray that this will be a time you cling to God more than ever. I also cannot provide an answer. If it were me – I would get to a Christian counselor asap and if he won’t go with you – I would go alone. If funding is an issue, pray for this or see your local church. They often have financial support. Have someone walk you through this time and help make that call. God hasn’t given up on him. Keep praying for his heart to change back and I am praying. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk more.
Oh man this is so tough. I can only imagine how lonely this place must feel. The verse that I cling to when I feel alone is one my counselor recommended. I used to have it taped all over my house and car.
Put your name in…
“Is not……my dear dear daughter,
The child in whom I take great pleasure,
Every time I mention her name my heart bursts with longing for her,
Patiently I wait for her declares The Lord.”
The best encouragement I could offer is to be there for your husband. To love him where he is however painful that is and whatever questions he has about his faith, when they come up, help him wrestle through that. Check out a podcast for encouragement on this from Buckhead Church on July 21. I just checked and it isn’t uploaded yet but it should be there tomorrow.
Also, I would make sure you have yourself in a small group or women’s bible study. You eed community to help you sustain your faith
Also I would encourage you to allow yourself real feelings, anger, sadness, whatever it is and take it to The Lord. He can handle it. This is not a surprise to him. Also, I would pray big prayers. Sometimes you have to go rough hard stuff as a family for the well being of your marriage. In nears times people run to God. If I were you, I would be praying for some hard times where my husband couldn’t lean on his smarts or so ail skills or e tended family, only. The Lord would be there for him. I don’t know what that would look like for you but I know your God who loves you and looks at you as his favorite child wants more for you than this. Lay your hands on your husband while he is sleeping. Ask for elder prayer. Meet with a girlfriend to pray for him on a regular basis. Fast. This is your story and it’s not over.
Ashley, blown away!! SO, SO powerful!! Thank you for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable. God is using you, my friend!
I love this post! So what I have needed to hear for months. We just recently celebrated 10 years of marriage and have been together 15. I think this past year has been the hardest by far. I have noticed though that I seem to think he is supposed to be perfect when I am not perfect myself. Lots of praying and studying and reading other blogs has really been helpful. I think I will save this post though to remind me when I am feeling overwhelmed by it all and losing hope. Thank you!
Love this Dana … So resonates with me! Thank you!!
“I seem to think he is supposed to be perfect when I am not perfect myself.”
So glad God led you to these words. I know they struck the hearts of all wives who read them! I’m sending to others and pray they reach thousands more.
Marriage is an area we have such a platform and each one is a light. Without it, we have no lil-lights-o-mine at all. Praying for all who this reaches. And for you. The enemy is at work. We get tired. But it’s Christ in balms like this piece that fire us back up to press on with grace. Love!
I stumbled upon this page and love your godly wisdom, i’m so thankful for christian ladies like you. I’m personally struggling right now as I just found out my husband has been heavily into drugs for the past couple months and off and on for the past 5 years. I can’t accept this behavior and can’t have him around our family. He says he’s changed and he came to me to open up and apologize but this was a problem last year and said he would quit and lied about the length he was doing it and obviously never quit. I don’t even know what to pray for or where to go from here?
Hey Annette-My heart hurts so bad for your right now. I have had many people in my family go through the trials of addiction. It is so scary, disheartening, hurtful, harmful and dangerous. I wish I had the perfect words to fix your problem but we both know that isn’t possible. The only thing I know for sure about addicition is that we can’t do it or want it for them, they have to want it for themselves and have accountability to get out of that cycle. I am not a counselor and I wouldd highly recommend finding a great coulselor in your area through a recommendation, (in other words don’t just get one from google). Our church has a list of counselors they recommend and I have used several on there for myself and others and it is a great list. Here is a website also that may be helpful. Email them for a counseling referral even if you are out of state and they may be able to get you a step closer to someone great.
The other encouragement I have for you is boundaries. It sounds like you are doing this but likely there needs to be some sort of rebuilding of trust and some boundaries depending on the betrayal. I am all for forgiveness and the scripture says forgive 7×77 right? But, forgiveness does not mean being a door mat or that you can take the responsibility for him to be a healthy/safe person to be at your home with your children unless he is surely sober. I definitely think with good boundaries and crying out to God even, “God I don’t know what to pray, (then sitting in the silence and stillness and letting his Holy Spirit wash over you and fill you up amidst tears and anger and confusion.) You need a team. I pray that God will give you infinite wisdom to lead you to the right counselor or friend who can help you navigate this situation when confusion settles in so deeply. You can not hold your marriage together alone and God is FOR you. “Blessed are those who remain steadfast under trail, because when they have stood the test they will receive the crown of life tha God promises for those who love him.”
Feel free to email me at ashleygnolan’at’gmaildotcom to chat more
I know my husband and I will work thru our differences. He chose to on a trip to visit a ministry with two Godly women (they are from another country wanting to see examples of church ministries to take back home with them) whom I trust, but I am concerned. Traveling with two women. Really? I had asked him not to go but he did. His trip has refreshed him; he has lots of stress at work and at home (2 teens, one with a emotional disability). But it is bugging me and I want to understand why I am so hurt. I know that God should be my number 1. Maybe I rely too much on my husband so when he left, it felt like abandonment or choosing ministry over marriage and family or I am controlling and should be glad he got to get away or jealousy that he got to get away without me or without me and two women? We will be talking about all this when he gets back, but how do I approach this? I am struggling.
Thank you for this. We have been struggling for some time and at times I feel so alone, discouraged, of little value, not liked, etc. we have a 2 year old little girl and another little girl on the way and now more than ever I want them to see a good example. I feel like it’s sucking the life out of me which then I feel like I’m not being the mom I need to be.
Your post was such a good reminder that this is a battle and Jesus has allowed me to be in this to fight. My greatest fear is that my girls won’t get what they need as an example of a good marriage and I do desolately want more for them than I have.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. As I continue going around in circles, taking 2 steps forward, 5 steps back, I will try my best to allow Jesus to be the one who fills me, not looking for my value to come from a man that seems to dislike me so.
Thanks so much for commenting. I apologize I did not see this last year, but I wanted to reply anyway. That is such a tough place to be in. Most likely your husband is going through a lot of shame and hurt and as a result his pain is coming out on you. I say that not to minimize what he is doing or saying, its wrong, but to give you the perspective that this is not about you. I think it is always wise to set boundaries for ourselves in marriage and any relationship for that matter where we are not being treated with respect. We all have our off days, but continual mistreatment will likely bring about bitterness and resentment. I definitely encourage you to speak up if you have not and let him know how his words make you feel. When we express feelings it isn’t up for argument, no one can tell you what you are or are not feeling. Continuing to speak up and give yourself a voice in a calm manner will only bring about a more healthy marriage. Because, you don’t want your daughters to think that they should just get “beat up” verbally, you need to let your husband know that this is unacceptable. God’s design for marriage is not submission to hostility, it is a mutual love and respect. The error I made for so long was not speaking. When I found my voice, things were rocky at first and then they got SO much better. The more I respect myself, the more my husband respects me.
Check out the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
Thank you so much for sharing this! I am currently in class, just had an argument with my husband prior to returning from break and have been writing down my prayer to God since lately I forget to finish praying and put so many other things first. Things have not been going well, at all lately. I am a Marine wife, whose husband was diagnosed with PTSD, have 2 children under the age of 4, and a husband who has been in a rehab ministry due to heroin addiction for the last 8 months. My husband and I are currently restoring ourselves, and in time our marriage. Things have been absolute chaos in the recent months with many tough decisions and many trials in my way. Reading this post, was EXACTLY everything that I have been going through. It’s funny, I just asked God to speak to me and googled, “encouraging spiritual letter to husband” and this website was one of the first to pop up! Coincidence? I think not! I know that God is always near, even in my darkest days He is there for me comforting me and holding me each step of the way. It is so easy to forget that some days in the mist of our daily, busy lives. I receive your message and encouraging words, and am going to share with my husband what just happened! I pray that God be with you and your husband for many years to come. Remember, what God joins together let no man separate! 🙂 God bless you and thanks again, SOOOOO MUCH!
I am so sorry I am just now seeing this. How cool is that! I am so glad you received encouragement from this post. Praying for you now that you are fighting the good fight. I hope you are healing you as a result of the trauma that comes from being in a marriage with addiction and a husband with PTSD. That is SO hard!
I hope this message finds you doing well with a husband in recovery. I have actually seen a counselor who specializes in trauma, not that I had any significant trauma, but regardless of whether we would classify them as trauma as related to what your husband experienced, there are neurological impacts to what our body perceives as traumatic. If you guys are needing some help along the way. Look for someone with that specialty who is a christian.
God bless you.
I read this a few weeks ago. I screamed it, yelled it, poured my heart out. That night my husband came home and I had cleaned the house, made his favorite foods and finished the laundry. It was really hard for him to be mad when his belly was full and his clothes were nice and warm. I even went as far as laying out his clothes and getting him a warm towel as soon as he got out of the shower.
We went to counselling the next week. We were there for hours, came home and talked it all out. He felt like counselling was a tattle tale session, and in a sense it was, we both needed to hear we were wrong. That we both had contributed to where we were at.
The holidays came and went. Things were finally looking up. We had a great few weeks. I was anointed, God had intervened.
But now, it’s bad, really bad.
See we have an issue with his family being really, really hateful to me. Some, I have contributed to, most, I have not. My husband has never had to be a husband and really separate from his family. We got married in October, so this is all new to us. For me just dating him, knowing he was the one, it was instantaneous. I knew that my own family now took the back burner to my husband. In an argument in April that he had with my sister, I immediately took his side.
My husband has struggled with choosing me since the arguments between his family and me. It leaves me not feeling like a wife. It leaves me feeling angry, bitter, upset.
This week the word divorce has been brought up, A LOT.
I’ve prayed over my house, I’ve prayed over myself, I’ve put oil on door frames, I’ve cried.
& Now, I’m reaching out. I need prayer. In my prayer time God has told me that it is not my job to hold my husband accountable for his sins or what he’s not doing right, that it is my job to love him. I can tell him right from wrong but I am not to punish him for not doing whats right, that isn’t my burden to carry.
I would appreciate any prayers and any words that god gives you to give me. My heart is heavy. My body is tired. I’m so over the arguing and not doubt of a sustaining marriage. SURELY< this is not God's plan for my life. Marriage is a gift… it was a blessing to me! I prayed for my husband my entire life.
I need a friend that faces marriage troubles.
I am so sorry you are in such turmoil in your marriage. My heart breaks at hearing your pain and sadness. It is so hard when life happens and things don’t turn out like we think they will.
The fact that you made vows to one another, whether this was God’s plan for you or not before those vows, it is his number one plan for you now. He is interwoven in that covenant you took. He wants you to thrive in this covenant relationship with your husband-so know that he is FOR YOU and FOR this marriage.
The thing that I have learned over the years is, that to keep myself from allowing the circumstances to dictate my feelings, is to regard myself. I have had to do a LOT of work on my own in counseling to get to this place. I had to re-learn the immense regard and love that God has for me, his chosen daughter. This is not to boast but to live in the humility that this relationship represents. Self-regard means calmly stopping a conversation that dishonors you. It could look like many different things name calling, blaming, cursing, shaming you etc., but setting a boundary that you will not engage in that type of discussion is a huge start. When you feel your temperature rise you need to take a minute to regulate yourself and your emotions. If you’re emotions and body are going crazy, there is no way you can have a conversation that will be edifying or helpful to either of you. If you want him to respect and love you, you must offer the same thing to him first, without expecting that in return. Men respond well to a woman who respects herself. By setting your boundary, he will hopefully rise up to meet you. It may take time, and you must be consistent and clear with your boundaries. Boundaries are what you will and will not do. Check out the book, Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend.
As far as what you can do practically with his family. I think it is the same there. If you are not being treated with kindness and respect having a calm conversation with them about what they can do to change that to help your relationship, and maybe what you can do also, will go a long way to heal. Apologizing first paves the way to all of this going better for you. I don’t think you need to share your boundaries with your husbands family but let him know how you are processing in trying to love his family, while not disrespecting yourself.
I hope that helps. I would recommend you going to individual counseling first and work on healing you. We heal ourselves for US, not for anyone else. When we get healed, handling these situations is SO much easier because we can look at them and say…well they ought to do this, but they aren’t and I’m ok. They don’t have power over me.
This is a long road but sooooo worth it.
I so appreciate the words of encouragement. I’ve been married now for 19years. Just about 2 1/2 years ago 2 weeks prior to my birthday, my husband told me he no longer loved me, He then proceeded to tell me he no longer believed in God either. He barely talks to me anymore and it seems when he does, he’s either angry or his tone is very curt and argumentative. He’s suffered multiple concussions as a child and about 5 years ago fell during our move to our house and suffered another brain injury. He sometimes struggles with smelling things and I truly believe he suffers a traumatic brain injury. I try many times to bite my tongue, but sometimes I just can’t. I find myself getting angry many times as he has completely changed from the man I married. We have had some financial hardships too which doesn’t make things any easier. I’ve had some horrible ups and downs and sometimes just struggle to do the minimal to get the kids taken care of and get to work. I really am struggling with my personal life right now!