About the Author

April Lakata Cao is the homeschool mom of four beautiful kids and military wife of sixteen years. Wannabe morning person by day and freelance writer by night, April also blogs her heart into words at A Well Done Life. Her desire is to encourage moms by sharing the unspoken and...

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    • Laurie, it does sting! And writing it made me a bit queasy but it just had to be said. Thanks for reading and I pray God touches you on this subject as He did me!

      • wow. and as Laurie said, it does sting. thanks for the pointed reminder. i think my husband has been trying to tell me this and i’ve been defensive about it, now i think i understand. deep breathe.

        • Donna,
          I think sometimes when our husbands don’t say anything outright about our pointed words we often see it as “see, I must be telling the truth”. Yes, deep, deep breaths. Oftentimes we feel defensive b/c we know we’re in the wrong and want to justify our position. Find one thing he does that just drives you batty and pray that God helps you be SLOOOOOOOOOW to speak 🙂

  1. ….”we forsake the grace that sufficiently bears the weight of our humanness.”
    This pierced my heart. I’m finally aware that I haven’t really understood the love of Christ for me. As I prayed this morning “Father reveal your love to me. How do you really feel about me? What does that look like?” I realized I’ve been loving (or maybe a lack of) my husband in the manner I *think* I deserve to be loved. I long desperately to be loved by my Heavenly Father and for him to accept me just the way I am. And He does. He DOES. And so if He loves me so graciously and well. Just the way I am. I can love my husband just the way he is. Showing him the same grace- I need so badly.

    • Danna,
      Beautifully said! Oh gosh I think this is a struggle we all face. In our humanness we forget about what love looks like in the eyes of God and begin to define it according to our own needs. But He is the great Redeemer and every day is an opportunity to begin new with grace and mercy.

  2. Thank you April! Such a wonderful message and reminder of how to love. I was especially captured by your ‘holiness before happiness’ statement.
    We so often consider happiness to be the main attainment in marriage. However, the Lord did not promise that, and we have to remember that before we turn away because of the unhappiness, we failed to put the holiness and our commitment and covenant first. Holiness over happiness is a wonderful way to put it!

    • JH,
      Thanks so much for your comment! Holiness before happiness was something I had to learn and it wasn’t until 10 years into marriage! If I may, might I recommend a book that completely rocked my world in regards to marriage? Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage. Just a beautiful anthem and God’s purposes for marriage.

  3. Wow. I feel like that could have been written by me; that someone actually had a camera lens pointed into my home and was actually viewing not only my actions, but also my thoughts. What a wake-up call. I want to fall to my knees right now in forgiveness – to ask forgiveness of my husband for the times when I knowingly do this, but also to ask forgiveness from my Heavenly Father. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. He, too, has a habit of chewing VERY loudly, and I have had many an outfit ruined by being thrown in the dryer, but unlike my ever present tendency to “nag” at him and pick at what I feel are his “flaws”, he never speaks negatively to me or even mentions my bad habits. I have been studying the story of Abigail, Nabal and David. I can’t help but think what a mess Nabal created by opening his mouth and speaking (without thinking) to David. The theme of speaking without thinking led me to read Proverbs 10:17-21, but more specifically Proverbs 10:19, “He who restrains his lips is wise.” This struck a very obvious chord with me. The opening of my mouth and saying things without thinking of how it affects someone else is an area that I have been praying to God about. Then today, when I open up my laptop there is an email sitting in my Inbox with your blog, “Confessions of a (Semi-Reformed ) Nagging Wife.” Your message has been an encouraging reminder to me that not only can I change my ways, but that God continues to listen to me and is showing me that I am not alone in this area of my life. Thank you for sharing your story, April.

    • Lori,
      Praise God how He chooses to speak to our hearts and His perfect timing!! You are certainly not alone in your struggle and I’m thrilled that (in)courage is here to deliver encouragement to you daily. This is a journey women in general must walk as we draw closer to the Lord and His purpose for marriage and love within marriage. It’s not always easy, but I know for me, when I’ve chosen to keep my lips sealed instead of making a biting remark, I feel that much closer to the Lord. Relying on His strength in my moment of weakness is very powerful and I hope you have the same experience. Bless you Lori!

  4. Beautiful reminder! But I know people who take this word to mean that no metter what they do, you’re supposed to just grin and bear it. I don’t believe that God expects me to “bear all things” when it comes to family that disrespects me while continuing to live off me in my home. Why am I the enemy and told that I don’t kow what it means to love? I have endured for over one year of my sister and her two young adult kids in our home. I never asked them to leave because I truly felt sorry for them. But now that It’s long overdue, I’m told that I’m mean, selfish, childish and have no compassion. In my heart I don’t feel as though I’m being unfair…am I not allowed to be happy?

    • This sounds like a case where people need to be reminded of WHO their provision truly is. That is something my husband and myself have learned over the past 25 years of marriage. In the recent past we experienced foreclosure, bankruptcy, and job loss. During those challenges it was when we witnessed the hand of Almighty God holding us, providing for us, and meeting our every need. Prior to that I looked at my husband as a ‘provider’, however, ultimately God revealed that HE TRULY IS OUR PROVIDER and will meet our every need; mentally, emotionally, physically and financially and spiritually. He has not left us (nor would He) and HE will not forsake us! This was a lesson, as a Christian, I didn’t necessarily think I needed to learn…BUT I thank my Father God, he is a gracious and merciful teacher. Since then, I have told my children that we can do everything in our power to help them, but NEVER FORGET WHO THEIR PROVIDER IS, because Abba Father is not limited! God has truly blessed us with a place to live, food to eat, and employment opportunities:) Since HE is no respecter of persons, HE will provide for your family members as well. What HE does for one, HE will do for others! Amen!

      Janice, cast your cares upon Jesus in this situation, after all HE cares for you. May you not grow weary in well-doing! May God Almighty bless you with grace and peace at this time! May He give you joy and that same joy be your strength. Happiness comes from circumstances, but that TRUE JOY comes only from the Lord (ESPECIALLY in the face of adversity). May your joy be full! Seek HIS will in this situation and pray HE moves upon the heart of your sister and her children. Ask for supernatural wisdom to know how to interact with your family members. Ask God to reveal HIS eyes, so you can see them as HE truly sees them. It is easy to look upon another human and expect them to help us out (as they have looked upon you), however, their eyes must be upon God and what HE can do for them. You have been a gracious host but they must realize that ultimately GOD IS THEIR PROVIDER, too. These situations aren’t easy, but praise the Lord, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE! Since we can do ALL THINGS, THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US, victory is at hand…for everyone! Have a most blessed day!

    • Janice, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and I hope (in)courage encourages you daily in your walk with Christ. I certainly feel your frustration. It can feel like a tightrope walk, trying to balance faith and love while putting boundaries in place to preserve your family. Might I encourage you to seek elders in your church or a wise counselor who can guide you in this season? There will always be people who use God’s Word to defend their choices but that doesn’t make it right. It sounds like you have loved well but are ready for things to be different. I will pray that the Lord places someone in your life RIGHT NOW who will give you wise counsel and prayerful support.

  5. uh, yeah… my husband and I right down to the shirt in the laundry….. and it happened again this week, and I did exactly what you did…. sigh. Needed the reminder, and as accountability, sent it to my husband with a note of apology and a promise to do better. Thank you for writing!

    • Oh Christal you made my heart dance! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post but even more I am so happy the Lord spoke to you today! What I often try to remind myself when I feel that frustration bubbling to the surface is “do I care more about the shrinking/crunching/forgetting or how I make my husband feel with my sigh/look/tone of voice/harsh words?”.
      If you continue to struggle or need an accountability partner please don’t hesitate to send me a message! It gets better but it takes (lots and lots of) practice!

  6. Such a great reminder April! Its so easy to forgive the people you love sometimes but I have the hardest time forgetting the hurt or pain they have caused and its def not a healthy way to live life and move on! Thanks for sharing!

    • SVS thank you for leaving a comment! The hard thing about being married is we start to be very unforgiving for things that didn’t need forgiving in the first place! And then when it comes to the stuff that DOES need forgiving we’ve got all these tiny things kept in an inventory that makes the forgiving harder!
      I’m so happy you were encouraged today and hope you’ll continue to allow (in)courage to minister to your heart!

  7. Wow this really hits home for me and convicts me of all the nagging and attempts at trying to change my husband, instead of realizing that love truly bears all things, I really need to love my husband for the wonderful man that made me fall in love with him in the first place. Thanks for reminding me of what’s truly important! God Bless!

    • Kath,
      Thank you! God rejoices when we have these moments of reflection and insight! Just remember that this marriage journey is long and never perfect but small steps make a huge difference! Even thinking before speaking, taking a breath before allowing ourselves that quick reflex to bite back is life changing and will breathe new life into your relationship! God bless and have a great day!

  8. 2 years ago I was praying about something that had knocked me to my knees and the 2nd thing I heard God tell me was “who r u to be praying cuz all u do is complain abo ur husband” talk about a wake up call but glory to God the best wakeup call ever..nope not perfect but God has delivered me from so much that I cannot praise him enough and thank him every day for the husband he gave me ..and yes we will be celebrating 40 years this year God willing!!

  9. Beautifully said, April, and meaningful even to those of us who should have this whole marriage thing down pat after 41 years! Thanks for helping me refocus…again!

    • Cindi, thanks for your kind words-coming from you they mean so very much! You bless me!

    • Kasey,
      You are so welcome and it’s a pleasure to be in such great company! I’m so glad God spoke to you though this post today!

  10. April, what a beautiful post – thanks to Kasey for posting the link to the Compel forum. Your words were so encouraging to my marriage – after 18 years, I love this reminder – “Love does, in fact, bear all things.” Kim Stewart

    • Kim
      So glad to see another Compel girl here! I am humbled that these words encouraged you today. God is so good at timing what we read and see to fit our needs. Bless you!

  11. So, so beautiful! I am not married yet…but I love finding amazing words of wisdom from those who are. Your vulnerability will touch so many people, April!

    • Laura,
      Your comment is a blessing to me! I WISH I would have had a place like (in)courage to find encouragement and wisdom from before marriage. If you get the opportunity, the best thing you (and your future spouse) can do for each other is seek out a marriage mentor through church. My husband and I didn’t have mentors until we had been married ten years and there was a lot we had done wrong-even as faithful Christ followers! We still don’t get it all right, but now we have better tools and wise people to pray for us! Many blessings to you, Laura 🙂

  12. Oh my goodness! How convicting and beautifully said. My heart hurts reading the truth in your words. God’s word. Memorized scripture that hasn’t sunk deep past my head to my stone heart. The huffing and desire to change my man. It’s the cereal crunching here and I can relate to the laundry. Oh how I can tear down my house with my own hands. My words. My demeanor. Thank you for sharing so eloquently how He is shaping and changing you. Praying He will use your words, His word, to open eyes and hearts of all of us wives. He is faithful!

    • Melanie,
      Thank you so much! I am so glad you found encouragement here tonight. Please remember to have grace on yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight and this kind of “heart to mouth” change takes some time and practice. We all fall short but understanding our shortcomings and then prayerfully petitioning the Lord to walk through it with us is a beautiful process-if not a bit painful at times. It’s never too late to become slow to speak and quick to listen.
      The crunching. Oh my goodness it is like Chinese water torture to my OCD brain. Sometimes I am literally biting the inside of my cheek not to say something (how crazy am I?) but I’m learning that I honor my husband AND God with my silence in that moment. Blessings to you!

  13. Thank you soooooo much for this. It is exactly me. I hesitate to buy chips just for that reason. We’ve been married almost 19 years, and it’s just recently started to get on my last nerve. Possibly due to my much more sensitive hearing due to a stroke two years ago. This post hit me hard right where I needed it too. Thank you again for allowing God to use you to get to a stranger like me.

    • Kristy I think we were separated at birth! Who knew chips could be so infuriating?? But God is GOOD and we can honor our spouse even with this because it spills over into every part of our relationship. God bless you and may your chip purchasing be less cringe-worthy going forward 🙂

  14. April,
    Such beautiful words. I must admit I can be a semi nagging wife also. But since he puts up with my attitudes, family and other stuff I apologize and move on.
    I find that we must take the good and the bad. Each person in a marriage brings baggage of some kind. We must learn to accept and love each other. I suggest sitting down and talking. Find out about your mate-the kind of person they are. That will help stop the nagging wife syndrome.

  15. This is a great article! I couldn’t help but think as I was reading it that aside from the words that we’re speaking or not speaking, the intent of the heart is what God considers…and holds us accountable for. We can only say what we’ve thought about first. The word does say that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks so we know that the things we say, start in our heart. I’m thinking that merely controlling our words, which certainly has value but is only the symptom, is neglecting the root issue of resentment (sin) based in our heart. This is something I’ve taken to the Lord often and He chastens me. After 30 years of marriage, I prided myself in the fact that i rarely said anything to my husband about those annoying little things he does that drive me bananas but inside, where he can’t see…that’s where I needed redemption. Praise God for His mercy and grace! I’m learning that the intents of the heart are what matters most because that’s what influences everything else.

  16. April, yes love does bear all things. Thank you for this truth you speak. I am convicted. I love that you and your powerful words are part of the #RaRalinkup. Blessed by you.

    • Kelly,
      Thank you! When I see you at SheSpeaks I’m going to give you a huge hug for the amazing encouragement you give me!