Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part. Not true! I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy. Philippian 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:
Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness. (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)
Happy couples never have conflict. (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)
If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen. (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)
It’s actually a really awesome thing when you talk about your husband in public! Well, it’s really awesome if what you’re sharing is complimentary! In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your husband. Men are wired to crave respect and affirmation. That’s why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to respect their husbands. I saw my husband begin glowing (in a masculine sort of way!) when I affirmed him in front of his friends or our family members.
However, there is a flip side to this business of speaking publicly about your man. My husband always told me one of the very worst things a wife can do is to disclose some of her husband’s failures, character deficiencies or mistakes in front of other people. He said when a wife shares her husband’s personal failings, he is absolutely devastated and emasculated. Don’t emasculate your man! Don’t cross that boundary when speaking about him in front of others! If he begins feeling emasculated, he will likely subconsciously gravitate toward another woman who will build him up instead of tearing him down.
Sometimes, men are so hard to understand! When we first see our husbands at the end of our work day, whether working away from home or inside the home, we LOVE to talk about how the day has gone. We eagerly await our husband’s arrival so that we can share the details about the children, the crazy thing the neighbors did today, the weird stuff that happened at work, etc. We LOVE to verbally process the day with our husbands. But guess what? Most men are not exactly excited about having a long conversation with their wives as soon as they walk in the door. They long to spend some time in their “nothing box”. Huh?
It’s hard for women to understand a man’s need for his “nothing box” because most women don’t even know what one is! I’ve had a few men explain it to me in two different ways. It can refer to most men’s uncanny ability to think about absolutely nothing…to completely zone out! It can also refer to a man’s need to have down time where he can veg. Here’s the basic idea. After a long day at work, most men need to enjoy either quiet or mindless activity in order to decompress from their day. This means your husband probably doesn’t want to hear the fascinating details of your day as soon as he walks in the door and he probably doesn’t want to talk about his day either…at least not for a while.
So, give your husband some space when he first walks in the door. Greet him with a smile and a kiss and then allow him some time in his “nothing box”. You will become more beautiful to him. God says this to wives in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”
I’ve learned something pivotal over my many years of helping women navigate marriage problems. In general, don’t share your husband’s faults and failures with your family of origin! The reason is simple. Your parents, siblings and grandparents not only love you, but are often overly-protective when it comes to you. They can’t stand the thought of anyone wounding a member of their family. Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, their allegiance to you can often turn into the vilification of your husband!
Allow me to explain. Once a wife openly shares the faults, failures or sins of her husband with her relatives, he may be forever stained in their eyes. Many parents and siblings will begin treating the husband as the enemy. Sometimes, those relatives develop deep resentment toward the husband. Once those strong feelings have developed, it’s often hard to turn that ship around, even if the husband has repented of wrong-doing! He will always have a black mark next to his name.
This is what I would suggest doing. You definitely SHOULD seek advice and wise counsel as you’re working through difficult seasons in your marriage, but, in general, avoid confiding in your relatives. If you sense that your relatives are quick to forgive and refuse to hold onto resentment, perhaps you can safely confide in them. Otherwise, seek counsel elsewhere, such as a women’s ministry leader, Christian counselor, or wise older Christian woman in your life. You need the kind of wisdom described in James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.