Prepare to deal with the hurt in your heart.

How can a wife heal her hurting heart?

My years of resistance to intimacy, sexual and otherwise, were built on a foundation of my own baggage. Rather than helping to dismantle that bad foundation, Big Guy’s words and actions piled on even more stuff that I had to deal with.

Because I wasn’t aware that my baggage was  anything other than just the way things were, all I could see was what my husband did. I was hurting, and as far as I could tell, it was Big Guy’s fault.

When I was full of hurt that I thought was caused by my husband, it seemed completely unfair to think that I had to take on the challenge of healing my pain. I’d already been hurting, and now I had to go through the struggle of dealing with the pain? It just didn’t make sense to my sore heart.

Every time I thought about working on myself or addressing the concerns that Big Guy expressed about our marriage, all I could think was, What about him? He is the one who hurt me, so why should I be the one to have to work on anything? And he’s the one who’s miserable with our sex life, yet he tells me I’m the problem? Why should I work on the whole sex thing if he isn’t even going to apologize for what he said or recognize how hard it’s been for me? Why does he think it should be so one-sided, with all the sacrifice on my part?

I am never surprised to hear from wives whose emails echo these same thoughts. They ask me why I don’t spend more time telling husbands what to do to heal their marriages. So this summer, that’s exactly what I did.

What about your husband?

CSL at The Curmudgeonly Librarian invited me to write a guest post (A Wife’s Heart) in response to his series on sexless marriages. My goal was to lay out recommendations for husbands about what they can do when a wife’s heart is carrying hurt—especially hurt that entered her heart as part of their relationship. (Note: This was not about hurt caused by abuse.)

I figured I’d write a guest post, respond to a few comments, and then be on my merry way. Instead, my guest post triggered an on-going conversation between CSL and me in a series of posts on his blog. Our colloquy (just a fancy word for dialogue, folks) spanned several months.

Our extended interchange got us digging into my recommendations a bit. We teased out how some of them might actually work in a marriage, and we pulled on some of the nuances. Some of my suggestions might be difficult for many husbands, but I believe that a wife’s healed heart is worth the effort.

As I answered questions and illustrated points, I spent a lot of time remembering the difficult years in our marriage. It wasn’t easy thinking back on the things that led to my feelings of hurt. I saw what I once felt through the lenses of what I now know.

Even as I remembered the things I’d hoped Big Guy would do, I saw my own mistakes as well.

I stood at the intersection of my emotions, my actions, my expectations, and my husband’s experiences. I was acquiring a clearer view of what could have been.

What about you?

Thinking intensely about hearts and healing for several months helped crystalize for me what is involved in healing a marriage burdened by relational hurt.

It takes two to develop most marriage problems. Even when one spouse is clearly at fault due to past sin, the other spouse’s response to words or actions can influence the trajectory of the marriage’s health.  (I am not referring to hurt due to on-going unrepentant sin such as abuse, pornography, or infidelity. Those issues require a different approach.)

When a marriage is bruised, both spouses should be working to heal—even if one person caused the initial damage.

If you are carrying heart hurt, not only should your husband be working on things from his end, you have some work to do as well.

On CSL’s blog, I was addressing husbands about what they can do when a wife’s heart has been hurt.

Here, on this blog for wives, I ask you to consider what you can do to heal your hurting heart—even if your husband has been responsible for some of that hurt.

Over the next few posts, I will share three lessons for wives that emerged from my comments to husbands:

  • Conquer complacency.
  • Deal with your feelings.
  • Care for your husband’s heart.

These lessons represent the biggest challenges I faced in working on my own marriage. Some of what I say may not be any easier for you to read than it is for me to write.

After experiencing the peace and joy that can come after the work of healing, however, I know how vital these lessons are in pursuing a healed marriage.


If you are carrying hurt that is blocking intimacy in your marriage, ready yourself for what will be shared in the next few posts.

Spend time in prayer. Seek God’s guidance about what you can do to experience healing. Prepare your heart to take a step forward in healing the hurt in your own heart. Reflect on mistakes you’ve made as well as mistakes your husband has made.

Even though it may not be easy to get there , the other side of the healing process is a lovely place to be.


If you’d like to read the Wife’s Heart series on CSL’s blogs, follow these links:

A Wife’s Heart
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #1
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #2
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #3
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #4
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #5
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #6
“A Wife’s Heart” Colloquy #7
“A Wife’s Heart”: Colloquy’s End

Image courtesy of smarnad at

6 Thoughts on “Lessons from a Wife’s Heart

  1. Our marriage hurt, is ongoing. Porn is still in his iPhone and he uses it. Please tell me how to deal with ongoing sin and a unrepenting heart.

    • A husband’s use of porn can hurt a wife so deeply. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this.

      One thing you can do is work to understand pornography addiction. Two resources that come highly recommended are Your Brain on Porn and Surfing for God (affiliate link). Your Brain on Porn is for men who are using porn, but it is a good place for you to become informed about what happens to a man’s brain that keeps him hooked. Surfing for God (affiliate link) delves into the spiritual desperation that a man mistakenly seeks to fulfill in porn. Covenant Eyes has helpful resources on its blog, including this article.

      You might also want to check out Rebuilding Trust after My Husband Had an Addiction to Pornography, a guest post here by the woman who writes at Hopeful Wife Today (which you might find helpful as well).

      Also, be sure to check out two posts at Bonny’s Oysterbed7: Waging War and Porn Plagued Us Until This Happened.

      Your husband’s sin against you is about him, not about you–but it still hurts. Pray for his walk with God, because surely his sin is interfering with that.

      I hope women who have figured out how to deal with this can weigh in with some good suggestions for you. You are in my prayers.

    • Sherrie, my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry you and your husband are dealing with pornography addiction. Porn is the biggest thief of intimacy (sexual, emotional, and spiritual). I think the one phrase that kept me pointed in the right direction when seething with anger was, “Your husband is not the enemy, the enemy is.” Yes, hubby bears responsibility for looking and seeking out. But, hubby is the one to be fighting for, not against. Porn is warfare against your marriage. That’s why you need to know about it academically. Study the site’s Chris recommended. Knowledge is power. When you can talk clinically with your husband about his addiction, he’ll hear you. Also, pray, pray, pray for your hubby’s spiritual maturity. Pray he will awaken to the damage porn is doing to your marriage. Pray that your husband knows you are on his team, but you cannot condone his activity. Read not only Surfing for God, but also Boundaries (by Cloud & Townsend).

    • “Wired for Intimacy” is also an excellent book for understanding God’s original design for intimacy and the effects of porn on the male brain wiring.

  2. Tahnee on October 26, 2015 at 3:06 pm said:

    He had an emotional affair and lies a lot. I don’t like the person I’ve become: snooping, prying, stalking. He can’t tell me why he did it so I can’t grasp how to empathize with him. I just want the craziness to stop.

    • Has he ceased contact with the other woman? My guess is that he doesn’t like the person he’s become, either. I’d like to recommend Surviving an Affair (affiliate link) for you, along with the authors’ website, Marriage Builders.

      Dealing with the lying is its own set of challenges. I find it helpful to look past the hurtful behavior at the reason behind it. It’s hard to do when I’m hurting, but I’ve practiced and have gotten better at it. Lying can become such a habit that sometimes a person will lie without even being aware of it and without having anything to hide. Also, it is worth reflecting on how you have dealt with difficult truths in the past. Sometimes a man wants to tell the truth but is afraid of his wife’s reaction. He lies in order to keep the peace. It’s wrong, but it is good to understand the motivation.

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