afraid woman

No Comparison
Sadness and rejection are two more common emotions experienced by women who are not able to share spiritually with their husbands. The grief and pain are very real, to be sure.

There is a special closeness, a deep connectedness, that comes in a marriage when a man and woman are growing together in the Lord. When that's not happening in your marriage, observing other couples who seem to share spiritual intimacy only adds to your hurt.

It doesn't help to deny the truth. You must face the pain of grieving to ultimately regain hope and joy.

How you respond in your particular situation is critical. Each marriage is unique. There is no point in comparing your marriage with another. In fact, God tells us not to compare ourselves with others (see Gal. 6:4).

Instead, ask yourself these questions:

* Are you listening for the Lord's voice? What direction is He giving you?

* Are you interceding for your husband and your marriage?

* Have you called on other godly women to pray for your situation?

* Have you sought godly counsel from your pastor?

* Is there a trusted Christian male friend who could begin to mentor your husband? Some men may not know how to get started on their spiritual journeys and could use the encouragement of a fellow journeyman.

The Spiritual and the Natural
God's will for you and your husband is that you be united—"one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Spouses are to be in mutual submission (see Eph. 5:21).

Yet I have known Christian women who believed the Lord was calling them into ministries that would take them away from home for days and weeks at a time. Their husbands and children were not convinced that the Lord had called them out.

The women went anyway. Unfortunately, some of these women began to experience major spiritual and natural battles in their homes.

This is not always the case, of course. There are those who have genuinely received a call from God and whose families support their efforts and accommodate the women's commitment to follow the Lord. But in order to "live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received," it is important to "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1,3).

God may indeed be calling you. Perhaps He is giving you a vision of things to come. Just as we anticipate the birth of a baby by preparing for its arrival, you can begin to prepare for what God is birthing in you spiritually. Then when the time is right, you will be ready.

As a young woman, I knew God's will for my life was to minister to my husband's and my children's needs. I knew God would not call me to a ministry that interfered with my primary calling as a wife and mother.

I ministered at the local level, serving in the church nursery and teaching Sunday school. Today our children are grown, and I am able to accept ministry opportunities on a broader basis. I know that my obedience to the Lord during the early years pleased God and prepared me for my current ministry.

Another woman I know made a decision early in her marriage not to leave her husband behind spiritually. She was concerned that the spiritual distance would create competition or separation between them on a natural level.

Instead, she determined to wait on the Lord to touch her husband so they could then journey together in the spiritual and the natural. Her obedience to the Lord brought blessing, as Deuteronomy 5:29 promises.

She prayed mightily and kept loving her husband unconditionally. Today, 10 years later, her husband is a deacon in their local church, and they are serving the Lord in ministry together. God is faithful!

Of course, some situations are extreme. Personally, I have not known many marriages in which the husband completely forbid his wife to go to church, bake cupcakes for a bake sale, help a widow or orphan, cook for a sick neighbor, read the Bible, pray, or speak words of godly encouragement to others; but they do exist.

If you are living with an abusive spouse under that kind of control, talk with your pastor and seek professional help. More than the spiritual aspect of your relationship is suffering.

Prepared by Love
If that's not your situation, however, you can be sure your husband's heart is being prepared right now for spiritual growth and maturity as you and God love him with perfect, unconditional love. Remember, the Lord desires fellowship with your husband more than you desire it for him! And God wants your spouse to love and serve Him, just as you do.

God has a plan for your life and for your marriage. If He has indeed called you to a specific ministry, He is working out the details; you don't have to force it to happen. Your life, your marriage and your ministry are in His capable hands.

Julie Roe, Ph.D., is a Christian clinical psychologist who has ministers to hurting and wounded women around the world. Her private practice is based in Sanford, Fla., where she lives with her husband, Allan.

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