Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: If you’re a wife in a difficult marriage, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a word of encouragement for you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: God does not hold you accountable for your husband’s choices. God holds you accountable to obey Him. And God can and will bless you regardless of what your mate chooses to do.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 12th.

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” That can be more difficult when the one you have to live peaceably with is your husband.

We’re in the middle of a series called For Better or Worse: Marriage When It’s Tough. Nancy Leigh DeMoss was joined by her friend and pastor’s wife, Holly Elliff, in a question and answer session for wives. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: I have to read to you an e-mail that I received this week from a woman who said:

A little over six years ago I was divorced. I was completely lost and confused. Some days I felt it was hopeless.

However, I never stopped seeking God’s direction. Talking and praying to Him one day, I asked Him to tell me what to do, which way to go. And His message was very clear. ‘The truth shall set you free’ [see John 8:32].

The truth was the Word of God. So I stuck my nose in His Word, even though I’d read it many times, and sincerely searched for more answers to what God wanted me to do. And in His Word His message was finally revealed.”

You get where she got the message? In His Word the truth was revealed.

It was to reconcile with my husband. Through prayer from our families and friends, we were finally able to forgive one another and begin the process of reconciliation.”

I strongly urge women to pray for their husbands, and husbands for your wives. Pray for your families and your loved ones and dear friends who may be having problems too. It worked for us, and I have hope that it can work for others.

Marriage is so desperately needed. My husband and I now pray for couples who are going through the same thing. We are a living testimony that it can work out, but only if we do the will of the Father. My challenge to all the ladies reading this is, don’t ever lose hope or faith, for He is faithful.”

He is faithful. God wants your life and my life to be a testimony to His faithfulness. “I’m going to do what God’s Word says whether I feel like it or not, whether it makes sense or not, whether I like it or not. I’m staking my ground, casting my lot with God and His Word. I choose the pathway of faithfulness because it’s right.”

Your life then becomes a living demonstration of the faithful, character-keeping nature of God. God does not hold you accountable for your husband’s choices. God holds you accountable to obey Him.

And God can and will bless you regardless of what your mate chooses to do. Your happiness, your wholeness, your well being, your peace of mind is not dependent on what your mate chooses to do.

That’s why your happiness has to be independent of anyone and anything else in your life. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). Lord, my expectation is from You. You satisfy.

If you’re putting your expectations and your hope in having a good marriage, that’s the wrong goal. Now, it’s not bad to want to have a good marriage, but that’s not the right ultimate goal. You have to have a goal that is for the glory of God, and no one can keep you from that.

I don’t want to suggest that if you’re obeying God, if you’re faithful, that means you’re going to have this great marriage. I’ve seen women stay in marriages for many, many years and never see the husband turn around.

I’ve seen women who wanted to stay in the marriage, wanted to be the kind of wife God wanted them to be, and the husband would not make those choices. You have to leave that to God.

But know that doesn’t mean that your life therefore cannot be full and blessed and that you can’t fulfill God’s purposes for your life.

Holly: A few weeks ago I met with a wife whose husband will not respond and is filing for divorce. But what we talked about was that as she makes a choice, to say to her children, “You know what? As far as it lies within me, I want to restore this marriage. I want to see God restore this marriage. I love your father and I want you to know that.”

Now, what her husband chooses to do she cannot control and she is not responsible for. One day when she stands before God, God is not going to say to her, “What did your husband do?” God’s going to say to her, “What choices did you make?”

She will be able to stand before God with a clear conscience, knowing that she made choices to see that marriage redeemed even though her husband didn’t go there. But she wants to be able to lay her head on her pillow at night without regret about the choices she has made, so that her kids still have an example of faithfulness and godliness.

Her kids are learning how to make choices to forgive, and they’re also learning how to make choices of obedience in relationship with their father because they’ve been given the freedom to do that by their mother.

Marie: We’ve been married 34 years, and after 7 we had filed for divorce and lived separately. Thankfully in the state we lived in, you had to live separately for six months before it could be finalized. My husband’s church—we weren’t in a church; we weren’t seeking the Lord—they prayed for us so faithfully, and God did restore that about 6 weeks before it was final.

I just wish I had known in those early years what God has been teaching us the last four. Submission is submitting to God the results, that my husband doesn’t have to agree with me.

Now, that was news to me. As his helper, his completer, I am to express my cautions, my concerns, my preferences. But He said, “Let it fall to the ground like snow, and give God time to work.”

Sometimes it’s days. We’ll be driving in the car, and all of a sudden he answers that question from days ago. Sometimes it’s on the spot. But the difference is, he doesn’t feel pressed to agree on the spot or even answer on the spot.

That’s giving him the freedom to think and God the time and the freedom to work. That’s made the biggest, biggest difference in our marriage, in that communication. It’s just precious.

A second thing that I wish I had known earlier was how much men need respect. Someone very wisely said, “If a man does not get respect at home, he will get it somewhere.” They need it.

I think that’s why the last verse of Ephesians 5 is, “Wives, see that you reverence or respect your husbands” (paraphrased). I think it’s because men need it, in their wiring, and it’s the most unnatural thing for us to do. I think that’s why He tells us to do it, because it does not come naturally.

Nancy: Marie, that was so good. I just love the way I’ve seen God, over these last two and a half years . . . just the growth in you and your husband and your marriage. It’s been really thrilling to me to see the insights God has given you.

What are some other practical ways that you have discovered to reverence and respect your husband?

Sharon Martin: A couple of years ago I went to Nancy’s Revive Our Hearts seminar. I think sometimes in marriage you just take it for granted, every day. You challenged us at that seminar: for a month, 30 days, to say something positive about your husband.

I’m not one to just verbally say those things. So each day before I would leave to go to work, I would write something positive about my husband, Wayne. And it just made me love him more. I learned that his love language is words of affirmation. It revived our marriage.

I took a class under Holly about “Don’t ever take your husband for granted.” Sometimes you have this wonderful Christian husband, and you think everything is just going to be wonderful. That’s the kind Satan loves to get a hold of—those that are godly men. Don’t ever take them for granted.

Nancy: Sharon, I appreciate you saying that. I gave that challenge to a friend recently, and she was just sharing with me the need she felt to learn to respect and reverence her husband even more. They have a very good marriage, but she felt this was something God was identifying as something she needed to do more of.

She’s not really verbal, and she said, “I find it easier to do it with my children than with my husband. I feel those things about my husband, but I’m just not that much of a talker, and in the busyness of life I just forget to say those things.” You don’t know how many chances you will have to say those things.

Your husband needs to hear you say those things. And you will find that you view your husbandly differently, that you see him through different eyes. You’ll find that your husband may think he’s married to someone different because he may not be accustomed to this. But you’ll find that he wants to rise to the level of respect and reverence that you show to him.

Now, not every husband, but it would be an unusual husband who doesn’t. As Sharon said, “That little exercise revived our marriage.”

Holly: Let me just add, too, another little challenge that will also revive your marriage, and that is, for the next 30 days, as you are responding to him verbally in ways that are positive, also respond to him physically in meeting his needs sexually. You may see real revival in your marriage.

But what I hear so often from women is that they didn’t realize how important it was to meet their husband’s needs physically; and what happened was, their husband became very vulnerable to the attack of the Enemy. That’s what James talks about, that the Enemy is going to hang the bait out there until there’s a weak moment when your husband is really needy.

So, as a preventative to that, we need to be women who are faithful in every realm to be meeting our husband’s needs. I want to meet my husband’s needs. I don’t want somebody else to have to do that.

Woman: I also have tried, and it works, letting my children know, when they are around, what it is that their daddy has done. And he just—I saw him look over—he just really stands tall. What I think has really helped is, he wears shorts, and every day I feel his legs.

Holly: Nancy, do you have a response to that?

Nancy: No ma’am! Except I would say, that’s great!

Leslie Basham: Well, we’ve been listening to a helpful question and answer time for wives with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Holly Elliff. There was a lot more they talked about than we had time for here, so we’re making it available to you when you get in touch with us, with a donation of any amount.

Your gifts and your prayers very literally keep the ministry of Revive Our Hearts going. So thanks very much in advance.

Also, be sure to listen the rest of this week. On Friday Holly and Nancy discuss domestic violence and what to do if you’re in that sort of situation. Tomorrow Holly expands on how to meet your husband’s needs for physical intimacy.

All of these topics and more are covered in a variety of resources available from Revive Our Hearts at our website, You’ll want to look over the tools we’ve put together for wives, including some we’ve mentioned today: the 30-day challenge of building up your husband, the Revive Our Hearts conference, and more.

Again, check out our website. Our phone number is 800-569-5959. We’d love to hear from you.

We hope to see you again tomorrow as Holly Elliff discusses a sexual dimension of marriage, right here on Revive Our Hearts .

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.