I’m going to give you the oddest, most counter-intuitive tip for your marriage. You’re not going to want to hear this tip, let alone do it! However, I urge you to give it a chance; maybe even do an experiment and try it for a few weeks straight. I learned in my marriage to Raul that this tip was powerful and transformative, and it drew my husband’s heart to me. Here is the tip, and it is a Biblical principle: Die to self. I know. I told you it was counter-intuitive! In short, this principle could be summed up like this: It isn’t all about me!
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Here’s what I know. When I focus on myself, and what I want, and what I think I need, and how the people in my life aren’t making me happy or perfectly meeting my needs….I grow depressed and resentful. I become an irritable, sour-faced woman! No one, including a husband, wants to be around that!! But, if I focus on serving God, responding to his prompts on loving and serving others….I feel fulfilled and joyful. In marriage, if you focus on being a blessing to your husband, his heart is drawn to you and your heart, believe it or not, is drawn to him. The marriage grows stronger! By the way, being a blessing to your husband can mean many things. It can mean being kind even though he’s in a bad mood from a stressful day…or getting up early to make him a great breakfast even though you’re headed off to work too…or lovingly and respectfully asking him to seek help if he has a personal problem that is spiraling out of control.
Try it for a few weeks. Ask God every morning to help you die to self-centeredness and ask Him for direction on how to be a blessing to your husband this day. Let me know how it goes!
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)
So many women (like me) grow up thinking once they find their Prince Charming, they’ll get married, he’ll be perfect, and they’ll live happily ever after. It’s as if we think we’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust or something and our marriages will thrive with no hard work on our part. Not true!
The smart wife MUST intentionally work on her marriage. When you start neglecting your husband, or when you fail to remember to press into the Bible instructions for wives, your relationship with your husband starts to get a bit more like you’re roommates who simply tolerate each other. It happens so slowly that wives often fail to notice the slow crumbling of a once-vibrant marriage. Don’ let this happen to you! Be intentional. Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” So, be diligent in working on your marriage. Wives who intentionally nurture their marriages have the most fulfilling and joy-filled marriages!
Here are just a few ideas on how to nurture your marriage. Ask God every morning how you can bless your husband this day, perhaps with a small act of kindness or a word of appreciation. Ask God if there’s any small seed of resentment toward your husband that’s taking root in your heart. If there is, ask God for wisdom in respectfully addressing this issue with your husband. Carve out time for date nights or date lunches with your man every single week. You may have to trade babysitting with another woman, but do whatever it takes to intentionally nurture your marriage. Also, make sure you create opportunities to laugh together and have fun together. Those kind of moments are very bonding.
Great marriages don’t just happen. They take effort….and it’s worth it!
One thing I’ve learned over my many years is that a great marriage doesn’t just magically happen. Being “in love” when you exchange vows on your wedding day isn’t going to be enough. You must be intentional. Please allow me to share 5 simple but profound keys to building a strong, lasting, healthy marriage. Conveniently, God gave me this acrostic to help both you and I remember these 5 keys! Together, the letters spell G-R-E-A-T.
G: stands for God, as in making sure that God is your number one relationship instead of trying to get your husband to meet all your emotional needs and expecting him to be your source of happiness. (Matthew 22:36-37)
R: stands for resentment, as in making sure that you address resentment quickly so that it can’t choke the life out of your marriage. (Hebrews 12:15)
E: stands for effort, as in being diligent to speak your husband’s love language, show respect to him, pay attention to him, create fun moments with him, do small things he appreciates, and build a vibrant sex life with him! (Proverbs 13:4)
A: stands for ask God to show you how YOU need to change, grow, and eliminate old unhealthy patterns in your own life such as conflict avoidance or having a critical tongue. (Colossians 3:5-10)
T: stands for treasure, as in purposely reminding yourself of the good qualities you can treasure in your husband instead of allowing yourself to dwell on his imperfections. (Philippians 4:8)