His Emotional Ambivalence, Squared

One of the things that I find comes up in coversations with wives over and over again is the issue of a husband’s ambivalence towards his recovery.  On the one hand they seem to say, “Yes, I’m sorry for what I’ve done, and I don’t like the consequences of it.” and on the other side, their actions (or lack thereof) seem to say, “But I don’t want to give it up–it feels too good, it’s become too important to me”.  The wife finds herself in an excruciating state of frustration.  While he seems to be giving lip-service to what he knows to be right, acting upon what he knows to be right is another story.

I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Revelation 3:16 when He talked about the distaste He felt for those who said they were Christ-followers, but seemed to only to engage Him in a lukewarm way.  The danger of being lukewarm is that you can be lulled into thinking you’re in a safe place, when you’re actually in “danger from mixed motives and disregarded principles…having religion enough the lull the consicence but not religion enough to save the soul.”(Jamieson, Faucett and Brown).

Where a wife needs to see “the rubber meeting the road” in her husband’s intiative, she sees ambivalence. And that can be hard to deal with, because it leaves her marriage in a sort of  limbo.  How long does she wait patiently as he “processes” without some tangible signs of growth?

Joe and I were talking about this the other day, and he wrote a post that I think will help wives understand how a man’s spiritual walk has much to do with his recovery.  Please take a look at it, and let me know your thoughts. Can you relate?

You can read it here: He’s Just Not That Into Him


  1. Kelsey,
    I know this is probably the most frustrating thing a wife can go through! You’re right that the best course to take is to let his recovery be his, and to focus on your own recovery. I often talk about a wife having learned about a husband’s sexual sin like being in a bad car accident! She needs to focus on her own recovery – even though she didn’t ask for the problem.

    For more helpful info, please see the WifeBoat Just For Today list – which has 10 things you can do to help yourself during this time. Blessings, R

  2. Thank you for this article and thank you to Jeanine for her comment which made me cry. It is so easy for me to focus on him, him changing, him not doing enough, not “proving it”, but really I need to focus on ME and what I do (pray, rely on God, etc.).

  3. Jeanine Lyons says:

    Hi Renee, Well, considering I just told my husband that I don’t want to talk to him because he is not taking the initiative to do any more than go to the hypnotist once a month, I’d say it was meant for me to read this and Joe’s article. I feel that women in my situation do tend to settle for less, waiting, not wanting to push for our timing, waiting on our husbands to DO something. Anything! Life goes on and they’re happy because we seem happy and life has taken on some normalcy again. Joe’s article reminded me that I need to pray for my husband to find God in a way like never before.. Thanks for the reminder during a time where I find it hard to pray for anything at all. First I have to swallow my pride to admit that I have turned away from relying on God the way I used to.

    Love you, Jeanine

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