Rejecting What We “Don’t Deserve”

January 13, 2016

in Uncategorized

I’ve been e-mailing with a fellow trying to keep his marriage together. His wife has had an affair and keeps talking about leaving. Nothing he does seems to matter. Recently he sent me something she wrote about her struggle. She had the affair in hopes it would cause him to leave her. She thinks he’s a great husband and deserves a better wife. Nothing he says gets through to her, she is locked into her own self-doubts and self-condemnation.  

This is a clear and extreme example of It’s Not You, It’s Me. Beyond that, it’s about refusing to live with something “undeserved”. This women thinks she doesn’t deserve her husband, and as a result, she’s actively and intentionally trying to destroy her marriage. The fact her husband and children want her to stay doesn’t matter; she can only see her own distorted reality. She feels compelled to make the life she’s living fit the life she thinks she deserves, and she’s willing to hurt everyone around her to do it. Of course, she would say they’re better off without her. She may well have convinced herself what she is doing is really the right and loving thing to do.

It’s easy to see how wrong this is and wonder if the woman needs some psychiatric help. However, most of us do the same thing, just to a lesser degree. We are generally uncomfortable with a better life than we think we “deserve”. It’s like we’re cheating, getting away with something, violating some cosmic balance, and we fear inevitable retribution. If we take what isn’t ours, we’ll be made to pay for it. To avoid just punishment we reject what we think we don’t deserve. Basically, this is the idea of karma.

Boomerang about to hit a woman © vladimirfloyd |

I think this is why some women argue with their husband when he says nice things about them. I think it’s why some do things which make it impossible for them to receive from their husbands. I think it explains many of the sexually self-destructive things women do.

So, are you doing this in any way? Are you pushing your husband away, or making it difficult for him to love you, give to you, or compliment you because what he says doesn’t fit with what you think you deserve? Doing this is harmful for you, your marriage, your husband, and your children.

A Few Words on What We Deserve:

If you’re a follower of Jesus, you are a daughter of the God of the universe. Every wrong you have committed is forgiven and God wants you to be richly blessed. You deserve what God says you deserve, and that includes a great husband, a wonderful marriage, and an awesome sex life.

It’s not God telling you that you don’t deserve good things!

~ Paul – I’m XY and I want to bless my wife’s socks off (and maybe other clothing).

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Me January 13, 2016 at 6:47 am

Yes, this! Exactly! I have struggled with not being good enough for my husband…forever! He doesn’t feel that way, but I sure do!
I’ve never gone as far as the woman in your post, and I pray I never would. I don’t want to hurt my husband or have him leave, but I completely understand feeling that he deserves better.
It’s an issue. I’ve just recently started examining it, because to deal with it, you have to admit it. I have always felt like I’m never enough. Not pretty enough, not short enough, wrong hair color (yea I could dye it but it would look unnatural and that’d be worse), not smart enough, not good enough at keeping house, not a good enough cook, not financially savvy enough, staying home to raise the kids when I should be bringing in a second income, yet if I work I’m not doing a good job raising the kids, not spiritual enough, not fast enough (running), not sexy enough, not feminine enough, not arts and crafty enough, not anything enough! Even my butt isn’t big enough. So how on earth could I believe him when he compliments me when I know I fall short in Every. Single. Area. Of. My. Life.
I’ve even felt envious and somewhat angry with women who believe they deserve this, that, or the other thing. I have never felt deserving of anything. In a way I see deserving as entitled and entitled is ugly and bad. I am saved, but I have a hard time not feeling like I am a huge disappointment to God every day. I slip up a lot. I am nowhere near as “together” as most of the women at church.
I know this way of thinking is wrong. Logically, I know I’ve got a lot of work to do. My comment may sound like I’m a lost cause, but I have finally started trying to deal with these negative thoughts. It’s not easy, especially when a girl is told these things every day growing up about, “you’re not … enough” or “why can’t you be better at this…or that…or whatever”. It takes a toll. I buried these feelings for years. I’m only now just beginning to deal with all this garbage.
So yea, I have never felt I deserved a husband as good as the one God blessed me with. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, neither did my husband. We are so thankful that God brought us together and led us both to Him. I am so thankful that my husband loves me, even with all my flaws, and that he hasn’t given up on me. I still have a very hard time feeling deserving, or even thinking the word deserving, but I’m working on it. When it’s an issue in your life, it’s much harder to deal with than you’d think. It goes a lot deeper than just “getting over it.”
Good post.


Paul Byerly January 13, 2016 at 6:15 pm

@Me – So glad you are brave enough to look at yourself as you are! You have my prayers.
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DC January 14, 2016 at 6:14 am

I totally get that thinking, which is pretty sad. It’s a major struggle for me, too! As a millennial, I have to deal with everyone thinking my generation is entitled, but I’ve never felt that way. I hate anyone thinking I “deserve” everything when I barely feel worth existing! (Yes, I’m in therapy) Poor woman! I hope she’s getting help!


Paul Byerly January 14, 2016 at 8:05 am

@DC – In a way the millennials have it right, but for the wrong reason. And why is always huge.
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Laura January 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

This is in a weird way why I am still overweight and stop trying to lose weight whenever a diet or healthy eating begins to work. I once lost 25 pounds and was determined to get down to a healthy weight, but my husband was so complimentary that I couldn’t bear it and gained 30 pounds back within weeks much to his surprise and disappointment.

An ex-boyfriend once mocked me and mistreated me which destroyed my self-confidence. I gained 60 pounds afterwards. My husband knew me and married me when I was chubby and never knew me when I was thin. I am afraid to lose weight because my husband might be more attracted to me or compliment me more which I find humiliating and frustrating. He is also very generous about a clothing budget. He can’t understand why I won’t go buy new clothes or get my nails done or something. I can’t bear it. Whenever I do, he smiles at me, wants me to model them and says such nice things that I cry about it later while I think, “Stop lying to me. You don’t have to do this. Just leave me alone.”


Paul Byerly January 14, 2016 at 4:58 pm

@Laura – I’m so sorry for the way our society messes with a young woman’s mind. Praying for you to find His truth and be set free.
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Elizabeth January 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

Thank you for posting this. I was wondering about myself earlier today… struggling with the idea that *I* am the problem in the middle of all the issues and struggles that I face. I was asking myself how God sees me… couldn’t come up with anything good. This post helped me make sense of some questions I’ve been asking myself. Thank you. :)


Paul Byerly January 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm

@Elizabeth – Thank you for the feedback. I was concerned about this post as I was not sure I had said it so it would be heard as I meant it. (A lot like husbands often feel, and sometimes say nothing to be safe!)
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