Does Your Spouse Dictate Your Worth?

A husband dealing with the possibility of his wife leaving him reached out to me. I responded to him: “The challenge before you…is to bring your identity in Christ to your marriage instead of deriving your identity from your marriage. Though your wife will affect many of your emotions—sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, contentment—in the deepest sense your sense of worth must be derived from your walk with Christ.”

Does Your Spouse Dictate Your Worth

He wrote back:

“Before I knew God I was a young man, a son, a friend, a boyfriend, a drummer, a workout guy, so I keep falling back into those things as establishing who I am as what my worth on this earth is. When I was a younger man—about 17—my girlfriend of 3 years broke up with me. I haven’t admitted this to many people, but I considered taking my own life, until the point where I sought help in counseling. I feel like God absolutely spared me and stopped me even though I didn’t know Him yet. Years later I look back, and though I don’t feel I would do the same without my wife, it still speaks to my value system. I value being loved by my mate more than by God. I am convicted of it, and I’ve been learning how I need to change that in my life.”

Does Our Spouse Determine Our Worth?

In every marriage each spouse negatively affects the other, at least sometimes.

When on the receiving end of the negativity, we feel disappointed, sad, hurt, grieved, frustrated, angry, and even devastated. In some instances, the pain proves nearly unbearable, such as when a spouse serves us divorce papers.

We are not mechanical robots without emotions.

But can a spouse make us feel worthless in the core of our being, ordaining that our life has no meaning or purpose? As with the man who wrote me above, they can reject us so severely that such mistreatment serves as a decree that we should no longer go on living. But should our self-worth be contingent on their treatment and estimation of us?

Who Decides Our Worth?

Does our spouse have the power to determine who we are as a human being? That can only happen if we have given them permission to govern who we are as a person.

May I ask you, have you granted your spouse the power of lordship over you and thereby they determine your self-worth?

If they convey that you are inferior, does their opinion dictate that you are inferior?

I am not minimizing the power of their dismissive words and devastating actions. Who does not feel rolled over by a Caterpillar tractor when a spouse yells at us, “I have never loved or respected you, and never will love or respect you. I have found my true soul mate at work. I am leaving you!”?

On the heels of hearing this, entering depression for a period of time can be normal. Even the apostle Paul felt downcast and depressed in the face of outward conflicts and inward fears (2 Corinthians 7:5–6). However, Paul’s heavy-heartedness over mistreatment and instability did not cause him to conclude that he had no worth as a human being.

Non sequitur.

This begs the question: What can one do who hears from another person, “You are worthless!”?

Recognizing How God Sees Us

How valuable are you? You are worth the price paid by the one who bought you.

Think about it this way. If a stamp on an envelope is sold for $78,000,000, which to us is ridiculous since no stamp is worth that amount of money, even so that stamp is worth that amount to the one who paid that price.

In similar fashion, the Bible reveals that God purchased you. You were paid for with a price, and that price was the blood of Christ who shed His blood for you when He hung on the cross to die for you.

In short, you are worth Jesus to the Father.

Hear these scriptures and grasp the inescapable logic that proves your worth.

  * 1 Corinthians 6:20: “You have been bought with a price.”

  * 1 Corinthians 7:23: “You were bought with a price.”

  * 2 Peter 2:1: “…the Master who bought them…”

  * Acts 20:28: “…the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

  * Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”

  * Revelation 5:9: “…and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

  * 1 Peter 1:18–19: “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious blood…of Christ.”

God values you a lot—a whole lot. Truly, you are priceless.

A wife traveling in Europe came across an expensive tapestry for $28,000. She e-mailed to ask her husband if he thought she should buy it. He e-mailed back saying, “No. Price too high.” When the wife arrived home, she had the tapestry. She had read the e-mail too quickly and thought it said, “No price too high.”

God is saying about you: “No price is too high.”

Because God created you and purchased you, you belong to Him. Whatever your spouse untruly says that demeans you does not change the fact that God loves you and that you belong to Him in a very endearing way.

Years ago, a small boy spent many hours constructing a beautiful little sail boat. When he finished, it was perfect. He prized it above all his possessions! He loved what he made. The day arrived to launch the craft in a nearby river. When placed in the water, the boat floated perfectly. The sails actually filled with wind and thrust the little boat forward. With a string attached to the boat to prevent it from getting away from him, the boy ran along the water’s edge as the boat sailed perfectly downstream. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind came out of nowhere and the boat blasted away, yanking the string out of his hand. In shock, he watched with dismay his precious vessel float out of sight, down river.

In disbelief and overwhelming sadness, he cried and cried but there was nothing he could do.

Several weeks later as he walked down the street he passed a toy shop and there in the window sat his boat! Running in, he informed the owner of the store that the boat in the window belonged to him and he needed it back. Unfortunately, the proprietor informed him that the only way he could receive the sailboat was to buy it.

Sprinting home, he gathered all the money he had saved and returned to buy his little boat.

As he exited the toy store the owner heard the small boy affectionately declare, “Little boat, little boat! Twice mine. Once because I made you. Twice because I bought you.”

God made you.

God bought you.

You are worth a lot.

Your spouse cannot change God’s opinion of you, affection for you, and value placed on you.

Leave a Comment On The Blog to These Questions

  1) What are the pros and cons of believing your spouse can validate your worth?

  2) What would you say to a husband who believes he provides faithfully and abundantly for his wife, but she is not appreciative at all, causing him to feel worthless?

3) What does it mean to you right now hearing that you are worth Jesus to the Father?

-Dr. E


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9 thoughts on “Does Your Spouse Dictate Your Worth?

  1. Thanks so much for pointing back to the Gospel, even in the intense troubles of marriage. Can’t tell you how much you have encouraged me through your book, blog, podcast…

    1) God can use me to remind my spouse about my worth, which is found in the matchless worth of Christ. That is my highest mission in my marriage. My spouse can do the same for me.

    2) I will fail at times to point my spouse toward the eternal truth of our worth in Christ. My spouse will also fail at times. That’s why I need to continually turn to my first love, Jesus. I need to seek him in the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. I can’t be an effective spouse if I neglect my first love

    3) Jesus’ worth is matchless. And he gave himself for me. If I devoted every waking hour of the rest of my life to wrapping my mind around his worth and sacrifice, I still wouldn’t fully comprehend him. That’s why Paul prays in Ephesians: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

    We need supernatural strength to handle Christ dwelling in us. What a Lord we serve!

    • Amen bro I have to agree with your post

      We are all important and special, priceless, and God has a plan for us all …

  2. This is so true. My husband had an affair and when caught he left me for her. My heart was shattered. My year long journey since that day he was caught has not been an easy one but I have grown closer and deeper in my relationship with my Savior who made me and bought me. I have forgiven him and was open to reconciliation when he said he wanted it but they were just words so there was more hurt. But, now I am moving on. Just waiting for home to sell so that last string keeping us attached is removed. The door to my heart is now closed to him but not locked. It will now be up to him to come knocking. I hope he will return to his Savior and realize all that we had together and want to return. I vowed for better or for worse. I wanted so much for a “til death do us part” marriage and thought we had that. The discovery that he was with someone else was devastating. But, now I am moving forward. God has my back. He will never leave me or forsake me. Onward and upward. Thank you for your message of encouragement to others who have been devastated. God will carry me (anyone) and give me (anyone) a new purpose. Our value is due to our worth in Him.

  3. Wow, great article. My husband has recently decided to leave our marriage. I lost count how many times he has chose to do this. I found out he was hiding stuff from me, confronted him nicely and he said that our marriage will never work. The day after he left I found out he was already on dating sites. 🙁 It hurts a lot. Before he left he called me many names although I did nothing wrong, I begged him to stay and work on our marriage. After he left I felt like it was me, he did make me feel unpretty, worthless, sad, betrayed…It was hard to stay in God’s word. After I kept tryng to listen to worship music, constantly putting religious shows on, reaching out to Godly people, and making sure I was attending service I felt 90% better. I have my moments here and there but I know I am worth it, I’m sure God wants me to be happy, He is working on my husband, even though I don’t think I can accept his behavior any longer, I still pray that he gets better and comes back to the Lord. I forgive him but I deserve to be loved. I keep remembering Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
    God has a plan for me even though I can not see it right now, I have to trust in God.

  4. Ten years ago my wife walked out, and moved in with my best friend. She didn’t leave until she had made it very clear what she thought of me. I felt destroyed. We, I thought, were good Christian people. I had to learn how much I had made her the lord of my life, but I could live without her. I continued to breath and could still take care of the children. I sang “Jesus loves me” a lot for a long time. Still single, still breathing, and I still sing the song, and God showed me His love. Life is good, God is great!

  5. I believe that we do feel because when God connects us with someone through marriage. When that person hurts us in that manner because we are simply human we will feel that way at some point in time. I personally went through this and I felt that I had to puck myself up off the ground. I was married and in ministry but my husband told me he didnt desire to be married to me any more. I begged him what could I do differently to make him love me. He bluntly said nothing! This article is good but in reality, it is easy said than done.

  6. 1) although we’ve been married over 30 years, I’ve had to recently realize my desire for a close relationship with husband wasn’t something he ever really wanted. I spent years feeling worthless to him, mostly due to his neglect. (As i see it). I’ve hung on to Jesus through the years.
    2) Husband does feel he is a good husband “because i don’t go to the bars after work” like others he works with. The kids are grown, and they do not remember their dad being a Christian, except for him listening to Christian music. We used to attend church, but when the service was over, that was it. No conversation about the service or anything. His Bible left in the car for next week. -I am now not appreciative of him, so he does feel worthless. My bad.
    3) I’m still here because of Jesus, precious Jesus.

  7. i quite often feel like this as a Husband and Step Father of three now adult children, But I’m learning to take back my worth and power. The insults hurt but clearly no more that the pain that My savior endured on the cross for my sins