A Wife Won Her Husband: His Testimony

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I wish to sing the praises of the wife described below by her husband, who e-mailed me to share how she won him back to herself and to God’s truth on the heels of his sin.

Dear Dr. Eggerichs,

Thank you for writing Love and Respect—the book has been a blessing and reading it has been a life-changing event for me.

I'm 36, my wife is 35. We have two children. I am an engineer by degree and work in management. We've always been fortunate enough for our finances to allow my wife to stay home with the kids.

I started a disaster for our marriage. I was involved in several online emotional relationships, which culminated in my leaving the house for 7 weeks in early spring. I returned home in April and broke off all extraneous relationships, but even then I had a list of "demands” for my wife to meet. We continued to struggle as I tried to "force" her to respect me. In September my wife came upon your book in an airport bookstore (of all places!) as she prepared to accompany me on a business trip. She asked me to read a passage—and I agreed albeit with grumbling and rolled eyes. However, despite my bad attitude, I told her to buy it after reading a page.

Early in our marriage, I made mistakes that have caused my wife to have insecurity and distrust in me. Over the years, she dealt with her insecurities through behavior that I (then) described as "controlling."

Each time she engaged in this behavior, I reacted typically—by withdrawing physically and emotionally. We stayed on the “Crazy Cycle” frequently. I realize now after reading your book why things happened the way they did. For years I complained about her controlling behavior, but the "light bulb" moment came when I read in Love and Respect that she was really just trying to connect and deal with her insecurities. This realization came as a fundamental paradigm shift in my thinking.

During our brief separation, my wife maintained a very positive attitude towards me. She never gave up on me and she never gave in to the temptation to downgrade me. When her friends voiced negative opinions about me, she never joined in. Rather, she told them I was a good man and she still believed in me. When other men called to express interest under the guise of being consoling, she refused to open herself emotionally to them. In short, she showed me respect when I did not deserve it. Only after reading Love and Respect did the importance of this dawn on me. And I realize her showing me respect during this critical time made all the difference in my eventually returning.

A while later I wrote this husband to ask how they were doing, and he quickly wrote back: “We are doing well—our holiday weekend we just shared was free from any crazy cycles. These cycles truly can be avoided with a little focus and attention. This Thursday, my wife and I are renewing our wedding vows also. I definitely would not have arranged for this ceremony if I had not read your book so thanks again!"

What this man did to his wife is not something that is fair to any wife or woman. I say this because some in the church default to the position that says anytime a husband wrongs his wife, the wife ought to get out of the marriage. They scream, “Leave the bum!”

But the apostle Peter would instruct wives to weigh carefully his statements: “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:1–2).

According to Peter a wife has the power to win her husband to the Lord.

Will it always work out like it did for these two? There is no absolute guarantee that a disobedient husband will respond to a respectful wife. However, what wins a disobedient husband is a respectful wife.

Being a respectful wife does not mean turning a blind eye to sin. In Acts 5, Peter expected Sapphira not to go along with the sin of her husband. I am also not urging women to stay in harm’s way. My mom separated from my dad due to his rage issues. So, let’s not hijack this husband’s testimony by bringing up physical abuse. This is a case of a husband committing adultery and being unfaithful, which is evil enough. By comparison, God called Hosea to love his adulterous wife to win her back (Hosea 3:1), not divorce her; and in most instances God calls a wife to win her husband back through respect when a husband fails to be who he ought to be.

This wife dared to see the image of God within her husband even though he was living in opposition to the will of God. A wife is never weak or foolish for looking at her husband in the way Jesus looks at him.

One day I believe this wife will hear in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” She won her husband with her respectful attitude. It works!

Personal Reflection

1) If your husband has wronged you in any serious way, have you been tempted or encouraged to “leave the bum!”?

2) There is no absolute guarantee that a disobedient husband will respond to a respectful wife. If this ends up being the case for you, how will you find the strength to show respect to your continually disobedient husband?

3) Do you believe Peter’s encouragement that God can use your respectfulness to win your husband to Him? Write down 1 Peter 3:1–2 on a notecard to keep as a reminder for you.

-Dr. E