How Grief and Humility Can Set You Free

Feel like there's a huge divide between you and your spouse? It could be that you need to grieve your sins committed against your mate. Find out how at MM! #marriage #confess #confession #conflict #humble #Bible #verses #encouragement

Early on in my marriage, when we were full-throttle in the messes of our own making, the last thing I wanted to do was admit my part in those messes.

Feel like there's a huge divide between you and your spouse? It could be that you need to grieve your sins committed against your mate. Find out how at MM! #marriage #confess #confession #conflict #humble #Bible #verses #encouragement

And the more I ran from taking responsibility and the more I pointed the finger of blame at my husband for “driving me to make those messes,” the more our messiness in marriage grew.

In this last post of the Resurrect Me series—on how to bring our addictions and bad habits to the Lord and leave them there—I want to unpack some important insights from James 4:9-10 . . .

“Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

As I mentioned earlier in this series (see this post), my marriage messes were ultimately idols and addictions that took over my heart, driving it away from my husband and most importantly from God.

[bctt tweet=”Some of the addictions in my life could have been overlooked by the casual observer. Those are the worst kind because they are so subtle and easy to ignore. #addiction #idol #Godmatters” username=”BethSteffaniak”]

My addictions and idols were . . .

  1. Letting my devotion and attention to my children trump and overtake my devotion and attention to God and to my husband. This is so very common for young moms, especially ones in challenging marriages! Can you relate?
  2. Focusing addictively on my anger towards my husband. This was ultimately demonstrating that I did not believe God was in control. #majorfaithfail
  3. Running after the affirmation that my accomplishments in motherhood and ministry would bring. At that time a good pat on the back became the proverbial “high” I longed for and addictively sought.
  4. Habitually unleashing my anger on my hubby through arguments and venting could also bring a false sense of control and superiority. This too was intoxicating! #asuglyasitgets

I had to realize that I was destroying my marriage with these sinful habits before I would give them up. This called for two very important, yet simple, steps to find healing through grieving. I’m hoping the steps I took (and take) will be a great roadmap for you as well.

2 Important Steps for Healing Your Marriage 

1. Grieve for the way you have hurt your spouse and your marriage.

Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  James 4:9

For me, this first meant abandoning the blame game. The game where I focused on my husband’s negative contribution rather than my own. It also involved recognizing that my sin was poisoning my marriage.

The only power that playing the “victim card” afforded me was the power to lock myself behind walls of defensiveness and self-protection. The release from these prison walls always involves confession and apology. It’s the cure that hurts so good!

Question: What are some of the ways you have hurt your spouse and marriage? Pray for God to give you the courage to confess and apologize to your mate about every single one!

2.  Humbly confess to God for all the ways you have sinned against your spouse.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:10

Don’t make this about your spouse another minute! God wants to know how you have sinned. He already knows exactly how your spouse has sinned against you.

Trust the Lord to do the convicting of your spouse, while you respond to His conviction of your heart. When you do, your new attitude will ironically serve to convict your mate much more than any harsh and judgmental word ever could!

Question: What are some of the reasons why you’ve hesitated to own and confess your sins to God in regard to your marriage? Trust the Lord to forgive and bring healing as soon as you drop your guard with Him.

Here’s how this works . . .

I began to replace the bitter venting I did in my head whenever my husband did or said something that angered me with humble confession (See that Push Pull Principle at play?). It will work the same way for you too!

My confession to my husband typically looks something like this  . . .

“I was hurt by the tone you used with me earlier. And because I love you, I don’t want us to argue. I know that I’ve hurt you by my hateful tone and defensiveness. Will you forgive me?”

My confession to the Lord looks more like this . . . 

“Father! Please help me! I am so angry at this man! But he has not done anything more sinful or ugly than I have at one time or another. Both of us are in need of Your grace and mercy, so please take my sinful and angry heart and soften it with Your love and grace. Help me to respond to Gary in caring and humble ways even though that feels like the hardest thing ever right now! But I know that You are walking with me into the fray, Lord! You are the Keeper of my heart! Help me to live out Your love to my husband in this painful moment.”


What doubts do you have about how God can use your grief and humility to set you free from addiction?


What stories can you share with us of how God used your grief and humility to set you free?


I want to give a special shout out to Trinity Community Church in Knoxville, Tennessee who hosted our Connect U. Marriage Workshop this past weekend. We had an incredible time! Thank you so much! 🙂

Connect U TCC

Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me MondayLiterary Musing MondaysPurposeful Faith, Tell His StoryInstaEncouragements LinkupRecharge WednesdayWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementGrace and Truth, and  Faith on Fire Friday. Subscribe [yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]
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15 responses to “How Grief and Humility Can Set You Free”

  1. Beth, I love how you contrasted how we confess to the Lord with how we humble ourselves with our spouses. God knows our emotions as well as our true hearts and can handle it all. Mere mortals could be blown away by it all! Congratulations on your cool Connect U website!


    1. Beth, I didn’t know you had gone through that. I’ve felt a sense of dread today about tomorrow. But the Lord has also given me great encouragement that it’s going to be for the good whatever I find out. Thank you for standing with me! It means a lot!


  2. Beth,
    Please tell me HOW you got into my head and my marriage? The only thing I couldn’t relate to was unleashing my anger on him…I’ve always tended to be a “stuffer”… Appreciate your prayers, friend, as I come to terms with facing and overcoming this all – with His help, of course!


  3. Oh my gosh, Beth…where do I start?

    First of all, a major congratulations on the marriage workshop! Look at how the Lord has turned your “mess” into a “message”! I love how He does that.

    Second, this post – all I can say is that every point you mentioned is slaying me. I am (or have been) so guilty of each one. Lord help me! (And I am so glad that He does.) :o)

    Third, I love what you shared about replacing bitter venting with a humble confession – what a profound and POWERFUL principle…one that’s not easily carried out unless one is in step with the Holy Spirit. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) :o)

    Lastly, I so appreciate how you included your confession to your husband. (I have a feeling I will be borrowing it in the future (but I’ll try to switch up the words first so that I can take credit for it). :o)

    Blessings to you, my dear sister. Thanks for the link-up and have a blessed week!


  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth. Again, I am sure you’ve helped – and saved – many a marriage with your wise and transparent words, and your Heart of Faith.

    I suppose my addiction is a resentment that while I am locked into a losing fight for life (had to have canine CPR over the weekend when I stopped breathing), my wife is putting some emotional distance between herself and my situation.

    It’s clearly a survival strategy, because there’s little practical help she can offer, but the gulf between our life-paradigms has grown large.

    Handling this through the acceptance of my own grief is not really possible; every day has become enough of a trial that I don’t feel I can afford either internal or external vulnerability. Just keeping up morale is a full-time endeavour, and slipping…well, I may not make it back.

    Humility is there, I think, at least insofar as I understand where she’s coming from, and where I assume she has to be. I’m learning to take loneliness as a given, and as a necessary evil.

    If you’re interested in what the “Oh, crap I can’t breathe” thing felt like, I did write it. The link’s below.


  5. Hmnnn… Beth. Admitting wrong is very difficult especially when flesh is fed fat. I have had similar experiences and reactions with you, but I am learning to look beyond my husband and I and look unto God.
    I strive to allow pleasing God hem me in and cause me to think, say and do the right things. I do not score all the time but I am getting better and better…
    Many thanks for sharing this series with us, it is blessing us more than you know.
    Do have a super blessed day!


  6. Bev @ Walking Well With God Avatar
    Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth, Oh the blame game. I wouldn’t have done this if you hadn’t done that. We’ve been doing it since Adam blamed Eve and Eve turned around and blamed the serpent. I need to accept responsibility for the things I say and do and not blame them on something my husband said or did. Grieve, mourn, be humble, and accept responsibility…all things I need to work on. Great reminders here this am.


  7. Oh Beth, I could write a book!!! Thank you for the linkup. xo


  8. My story is one of grief and humility. When my marriage was crumbling, I looked for God in a much deeper way. This is when I began to have a relationship with God rather than just know God. It has made all the difference in my life from that point on. When you lose your spouse, for any reason, there is a sense of grief and coming to grips with the loss. It has been a burden that I have had to lay before God over and over. Thank you for this series and for the perseverance to see it through as well as your transparency in telling your own story.


  9. This going to sound weird but I have always tried to responsible and accountable for my actions and I try not to have an ego at work and in my life. Also, I try to live in a humble manner.

    I started doing this after I was trying to blame people for the crappy way I was raised and using that for an excuse for some of my crazy behavior. I came to realize that the people I was trying to blame were six feet under and really didn’t care. I read something that said “What is your part in this” and I thought that I need to change my ways or things will keep going south for the winter

    I try to go by the Al-Alon 12 steps: one of which is: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    The interesting thing is that by being accountable, responsible and humble is a lonely island. My ex’s family (who quote the bible all the time) still makes fun of me for being that way. I was told by a born-again Christian at work that “being a stand-up guy” is not the way to go, that it makes a bad impression on management. He said that being humble tells management that I have no self-confidence in myself (I work in the public sector).

    Thanks for everything as I am learning a lot.


  10. This post certainly resonated with me Beth. I’ve been there done that more times than I can count. I blamed my precious husband so many times for my terrible actions. God is humbling me. I am so thankful for His grace!


  11. Dear Beth

    > “First of all, I needed to grieve for the way I had hurt my husband and marriage.”

    Thank you for this. Now I am beginning to understand the importance of that verse: of grieving for my sin. Lot of work to do.



  12. Right at the start you had me with this, Beth –>’ full-throttle in the messes of our own making.’ Yeah, that sounds about right. We’d much prefer that our messes were someone else’s fault, but more often than not, they are ours to own … and to decide what we want to do with.

    Another great post … and another workshop. YAY! Lucky them …



  13. Lori Schumaker Avatar

    Yikes, Beth, it is so difficult to look inward rather than outward! But so necessary for healing to come! Love this post (as always!) Your hashtags always make me laugh, too!
    Blessings and smiles,


  14. Beth, thanks for hosting and for your willingness to be so transparent. God is so faithful when we surrender to Him and do life His way. And when we do, life changes into something beautiful. You are a living example. Blessings!


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