When Your Husband Has Given Up

I know the heart-ripping hopelessness of a relationship unraveling.

The silence. The rejection. The harsh words. The absence of intimacy. The questions. The lack of answers. The hurt feelings.

The first five years of my marriage were really hard. Two sinners coming together with loads of baggage, unrealistic expectations and extremely strong wills.

My heart aches for anyone in a marriage that’s struggling. Many of us have been there.

But I think the deepest hurt comes when one spouse resigns while the other is still trying. There is a panic that arises to somehow make the other person wake up, stop their resignation and help you fix this relationship.

A situation like this is much more complicated than simple answers I could offer here. But might I give you one stepping stone upon which to stand, to stop the panic and balance yourself?

Decide today that you are worthy.

Because you are. Worthy. You may not feel like it. But a quick glimpse at Psalm 139 assures me, you are.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God who cares for you. Who loves you. And I’d rather depend on the solid truth of God than the rollercoaster of fickle feelings.

You are beautiful and captivating and attractive and smart and capable. But if you are in a relationship full of unmet expectations, unresolved issues and frustrating communication, I suspect you feel a little less than all I’ve described.

Broken-down relationships can really break down a woman.

And if you’re anything like me, when you feel broken down, those around you get your worst. Then upon all the hurt and anxiety you layer regret, shame and the feeling that you’ve lost yourself. You’ve lost that girl inside who used to be so positive and happy and ready to take on the world.

Can I whisper a tender truth to you? The only way to recapture her is to come up for air and remember: You are worthy because the Creator of the Universe says you are.

Then you can act worthy.

And step aside from the emotional yuck to make some levelheaded decisions. Get a plan. Talk to wise people who love you, provide godly counsel and will walk this tough journey with you.

Draw some boundaries with your husband, if some are needed.

Pray like crazy for clear discernment. Because Jesus is the best source of help.

Honest cries for help, lifted up to Jesus, will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.

Remember, you can’t control how your husband acts and reacts, but you can control how you act and react.

Reclaim who you are.

I pray your relationship survives. I pray it with every fiber of my being. But if it doesn’t, I pray most of all that the beautiful woman you are rises above all the yuck, still clinging tightly to the only opinion that matters — the One who forever calls you worthy.

If you’re in a hard place in your marriage, leave a prayer request or comment that says “please pray.” And then let’s rally around one another with prayer. My team and I will personally be praying for you. You aren’t alone.

I’d also love to help encourage you with a 5-day challenge I put together. Click here to sign up for “Praying Boldly For Your Marriage.”


A Wedding Prayer, a Marriage Prayer

Just recently, I came across the prayer Art’s dad prayed at our wedding. And it occurred to me this is much more than a wedding prayer. It’s a marriage prayer.

As I read back over this prayer, I am amazed at how God has answered so many of the requests intertwined in the words. This was being prayed over two broken, fragile, headstrong, needing-to-learn-a-lot individuals. Individuals who weren’t sure we were going to make it. But we did.

And so can you.

If you know someone who is about to get married, send them a link to this post. But I would also say it’s a great prayer to pray over your marriage now. Whether you’ve been married for 2 weeks or 32 years, take your spouse’s hand and either have someone read this prayer over you or read it together. Use it as a reminder and recommitment.

And if your marriage isn’t at a place where that is possible, pray this in the quiet shrine of your heart. As Psalm 34:15 tells us, God hears you. He knows. He loves you. He will show you the way.

Download a printable version of this prayer here.


5 Ways to Pray Boldly For Your Marriage

I was cleaning my kitchen counter the other day and brushed past a framed snapshot taken on my wedding day. Someone caught that moment we were driving away waving to all our wedding guests.

I stared at the photo taken 22 years ago. I laughed at how big my hair was. I sighed at how much smaller my waist was. And I wished I could pull that young bride aside and give her some advice and perspective that would certainly have benefitted me.

I would have whispered…

“Sweetheart, there is only one day where marriage naturally looks like the storybooks. It’s this day. This day, your wedding day, is where every hour has been arranged and planned to be beautiful and special. And as you wave goodbye to this one day, realize what happens from here is all about choices.

Choose to understand that love isn’t always a feeling. Many days love will be a choice. It’s a choice to press through and learn to enjoy the fragile blend of both the bliss and disappointments of two people learning to become a family.

Being married is amazing. Being married is incredibly difficult. Being married can seem impossibly hard. Being married can seem incredibly beautiful. There is no other person who can frustrate me the way my husband can. There is no other person who can make me feel as loved as my husband can.

Yes, marriage is a fragile blend of all this and more.

Remember to keep little things little through the power of prayer, humility, and the discernment to know how and when to address them. Watch these kinds of disillusioning thoughts and capture them before they take root:

He didn’t load the dishwasher even after I asked him to. He doesn’t listen to me.

He just handed me a brochure about the new gym opening down the street. I’m never good enough for him.

He took a phone call while we’re on date night. He doesn’t love me enough to give me his full attention.

Yes, the unraveling places of relationships often occur in these kinds of spots with these kinds of thoughts where little discouragements grow into big wedges of discontentment.

And most of all, remember to pray your marriage through. Don’t fall into the trap of just thinking about your differences, discussing your issues, complaining about your challenges, and attempting to fix these things on your own.

Thinking, talking, complaining and working on those things is not at all the same as praying for them.”

And then I would end this sermonette to my young bride self with the best advice of all, “Remember, the more you do battle for your marriage on your knees, the less you will fight in the flesh.”

And as I finished imagining this conversation I would have so loved to have, I felt challenged that even 22 years later, I needed a fresh dose of applying my own advice.

That’s why I put together this free, 5-day marriage challenge. We need to set aside time to pray boldly over our marriages and proclaim God’s Truth over our spouses.

Whether you’ve been married 3 minutes or over 3 decades, I’d love for you to join me as we determine to not just pray “about” our marriages but to truly pray our marriages to a new place.

I can’t wait to walk through these next 5 days with you.

Sign up for Praying Boldly for Your Marriage: a 5-Day Challenge here.