You used to be so happy. He used to be so perfect. But, now here you are facing just another day. You wake up to another mess, another pile of mail and pick up yet another pair of shoes. You deal with screaming kids, endless housework and a fridge that seems to empty out faster than you can make another grocery list (seriously, didn’t you just go to the store??)
You try to be patient. You try to be understanding. You try to be strong. But, somehow at the end of the day, you feel all alone.
I get it.
Overtime, you quietly grow a longing in your heart for more…not a desire for more from your friends or your family. But more from your husband.
It isn’t hard to see how imperfect they are. You can read Christian blogs all day long from other (more perfect) men who gush their affections and admiration for their wives. Or, one of my favorites, blogs from men chastising other men (like your husband) for not being a better guy. They are filled with scriptures that prove every maddening, irritating flaw your spouse has.
Or maybe you’re just sitting in church on a Sunday morning. And before you know it, you’re listening to your pastor heap praises from the platform over his wife and how he loves to “serve” her and their household. Out of nowhere, tears flood your eyes feeling your heart crave that kind of love and affirmation.
And, don’t even get me started on movies. Good Lord. It’s apparent to me that all romantic films must be written by females feeling exactly the same way you are (I have no proof to back that up but, I’d bet money on it regardless) None the less, women watch them. And, you leave with a sense of emptiness; desiring something you wish you had.
Yep. It’s out there. And it hurts. You don’t have to look hard to decide that your husband is a total failure.
So, you go into one of two modes:
The super-star-I’m-better-than-my-husband-Christian-wife. You leave scriptures out for him to see (ones from the blog of course). You pray pointed prayers at the dinner table or anywhere else your husband can hear you. You make sure to tell him all about Sally’s husband and the amazing Godly husband/father he is. And, my personal favorite, you go crazy on Amazon buying up every Christian manly book you can find.
The martyr. Or, you sink into moping and looking exhausted anytime your husband is around. You pick up his clothes with loud exasperated sighs. You sit defeated and depressed on the weekends hoping to send the message that he knows he blew it for not planning a date to “invest” in your relationship. And anytime you see a happy married couple (in front of your husband of course), you drop your countenance and let it be known that you are anything but happy.
Have I hit home yet?? I hope so.
(First of all, this blog isn’t intended for those in abusive marriages or ones facing serious crisis such as infidelity or matters of that nature. If that’s you, talk to a wise person you trust and get to a safe place where you can heal. I am ALL about healing and setting safe boundaries. Link to my book Forgiveness is Not an Option: A Journey to Freedom and Healing)
Having that said, for the rest of us, this hits all to close to home. This is a rhythm you can find yourself in before you even realize how you got there. I want you to know, the longings of your heart matter. They matter to you and they matter to God.
But, the sad reality is, this is one of many ways the enemy looks for an opportunity to creep into an unsuspecting marriage and wreak havoc.
Hear me out…
Let’s look at those blogs. The guy who writes those blogs you drool over? You’re seeing him on paper. And, not just any paper. An edited, proofed, perfectly inspected one at that. You don’t see him at home when he’s short with his kids or when he ignores his wife’s pleading for him to take out the trash for the thousandth time. You don’t see his shortcomings (and trust me, he has plenty. Denial and arrogance possibly for starters…I’m being a bit snarky, but you get my point) At the end of the day, he’s a man. One who isn’t perfect. And who at times most likely drives his wife nuts.
And, the pastor you admire so much and nudge your husband to be like? Yeah, you don’t live with him either. And, I’d bet if you were one of his wife’s besties, you’d see an entirely different picture. Because you don’t see him late for the dinner his wife spent hours making. Or, when she trips over his shoes for the tenth day in a row and is tempted to hurl them into the nearest trash can. You don’t see her lonely nights as he spends hours focused on his growing church…for all you know, she could be one of the many women reading this blog feeling just like you.
My point isn’t that the blogger you admire is a jerk or that your pastor is secretly a bad guy. They are both probably awesome. They both have qualities and strengths that you recognize and admire. The one thing that differs from the way you see them versus your spouse, is that you ONLY see their strengths. If you saw both, you’d probably see your spouse as a pretty cool guy too.
No husband is perfect. Seriously. Repeat after me, ladies: NO HUSBAND IS PERFECT. Every man and woman on this earth have a sinful nature and need Jesus on a daily basis.
But, what about those deep-rooted longings in your heart?? They are not wrong. They are God-designed, in fact. But, the enemy will whisper in your ear that only your husband can fill them…
The problem when women fall into this trap is this:
You become focused on your husband’s every flaw and are blinded to seeing anything else
You set your husband up as your sole source of happiness, joy and contentment
It’s a dangerous trap that the enemy sets for Christian marriages that many fall into. And, if left unchecked, it can lead to bitterness, adultery and ultimately divorce. It happens. It happens in churches all across the country. Self-righteousness and a lack of humility are two of the seeds set to sprout if you’re not careful….and these can turn a once softened, pliable heart into a bitter, resentful, entitled divorce’.
There is hope for your marriage. I promise. And, trust me when I say, you’re not alone. As much as I’d like to say I’m a perfect champion in this dept, I’m not. My husband is a great guy, but I have to guard my heart just like anyone else. And most of the women I know (who are rock stars btw) hit bumps here too.
If you’re struggling with this, here are some ways you can overcome it:
Be honest. If there are issues driving a wedge between you and your husband, you need to talk to him about it. He can’t read your mind, no matter how many hints (or books) you give him. Be humble, open and speak the truth about where your heart is at.
Decide the Lord is your husband. Quit looking to your spouse to fulfill you. He can’t and he won’t. No one will complete the deepest needs of your heart other than Jesus; it’s simply impossible. The whole in your heart is made for only God to fill (sometimes he will use your hubby, but ultimately, the completeness comes from Him)
Repent. Confess any bitterness and self-righteousness in your heart and ask the Lord to forgive you.
Forgive your husband. Yes, I said it. Every time he frustrates you or you feel your needs aren’t being met, choose to forgive him and run to the Lord for comfort and healing.
Ask the Lord to remind you of your husband’s strengths and how you can encourage him more in them
Pray. Commit to praying for your husband every day. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him in the areas he needs help in.
While we’re at it, stop trying to be the Holy Spirit. (We all think we’re simply fantastic at this. But truthfully, we hinder what God’s doing every time we step into this role) Stop trying to do a job that isn’t yours.
Be thankful. Find one thing each day to thank your husband for (remembering to take out the trash, taking the kids to school, brushing his teeth – seriously. Find something!)
Change your prayer life. Instead of praying that God will change your husband, ask him to reveal where YOU can change.
This is not intended to force you into a suffer-in-silence-state-of-being.
There have been enough “Christian” books and teachings on that over the last 50 years; we don’t need any more. The one on my list I hope you pay the most attention to, I listed first: Be Honest. If your heart is breaking, don’t pretend it isn’t. If you’re loosing your mind, don’t act like you’re fine. If you’re hurt and angry, don’t slap a smile on your face and start singing through another tense meal. In doing that, you’re serving your spouse a big fat lie that isn’t going to do your relationship any good. Speak the truth about his behavior and it’s effect on you. In the meantime, keep running to the Lord for comfort and peace. It may be difficult at first to confront, but having the truth out there is always better than covering it up.
Your job is to be honest and to trust the Lord.
I realize every marriage is unique and can’t be fixed overnight. But, my hope in this blog is to breathe some life into a dark place and allow some room for God to work. He is good. And, your marriage can be good too.
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