Many women get so discouraged about the lack of emotional connection with their husbands. Wives desperately desire their husbands to open up and share their deepest thoughts and feelings, but often it just doesn’t happen. Well, one of the things I’ve learned is that most men will do almost anything to avoid looking weak or being vulnerable to criticism. So, they don’t share their hearts. They don’t want to risk your scoffing or criticism. They’re like a turtle that tucks its head inside a protective shell.
But there is a way to prompt your husband to take the risk of sharing his heart with you. You need to be a safe place for him to share his heart! What do I mean by that? Well, I’ll tell you what it looks like if you’re NOT a safe place. Do you roll your eyes at his ideas? Do you explain why he’s wrong when he shares his thoughts, beliefs, or ideas? Do you criticize him or complain all the time? Those kinds of words and actions don’t exactly make him feel safe in terms of opening up his heart at the deepest level!
God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “the wife must respect her husband.”, and if you consistently show that respect…day after day…and month after month….your husband may start feeling it’s safe to risk opening up his heart to you. Starting today, try looking for ways to encourage your husband. Listen attentively to what he talks about. Look directly at him when he is talking. Smile at him. Affirm him in any way you can. You might find that he will enjoy talking to you a whole lot more! And that turtle just might poke his head out from underneath the shell.
I was reflecting recently about how many affairs happen between people who work closely together. The boss has an affair with his long-time female assistant. The female newscaster has an affair with the male newscaster who works in the same studio every day. The pastor has an affair with his long-time secretary. I realized something profound. These people ended up having an affair because a super strong emotional bond was created as they worked together as a team over many years.
There is great bonding power when a man and woman work side by side as a team toward a common goal. As they fight together through challenges and adversity, they bond. As they work side-by-side over many years, they develop a history of shared experiences and memories that only they know about…and that creates a special bond. The power of team is highlighted in the well-known verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 4: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Thought for you: How can you take this knowledge of the “power of team” and use it to foster an even deeper bond between you and your husband? Can you intentionally begin working together on some common projects or goals? Think about it…because the “power of team” can create a super strong glue for your marriage.
We ALL experience tough times in life. It happens to all of us, whether in your marriage, with your health, with finances, with your children, etc. And of course, Satan loves to pile on the negative thoughts all the more when he sees that we’re struggling. We tend to start reciting a list of complaints…about people in our life, health problems, finances, the way we look, and on and on. Instead of reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us, our facial expression portrays “woe is me”.
How ridiculous! In reality, we have SO much for which to be grateful. I know I do. Life could be SO much worse! I have a warm, comfortable home. I have plenty to eat (too much actually!). I have a husband who takes care of me. I have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. I have a brain that actually works so that I can accomplish many tasks for my family and for God’s kingdom. So, why am I whining?
Yes, sometimes things don’t turn out the way I had hoped. But what I need to remember is how many things have turned out well! I could choose to be grateful for what I DO have. And when things really are tough, and when I’m disappointed and discouraged…I need to remember to stop wallowing in self-pity, and to choose to trust in Jesus. His Word says He is my rock. He says He will never leave me. I love what He tells me in Psalm 103:4 “He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”. When life gets discouraging…when you’re disappointed as a wife…lean on Jesus.
I finally grasp hope and peace when I choose to trust in Jesus. He is at work! His ways are perfect. Seek His perspective on all that’s happening. Ask him to help you understand what he’s doing in this challenging moment. He’s up to something, and in the end, it is good.
Most women wrestle with insecurity, and when we live in a place of insecurity, we often make unhealthy choices. We tend to put up with disrespectful behavior. We tend to look to other people for our value and become codependent in relationships.
Well, I have found that meditating on these 3 Bible verses helps me start to feel more secure and grounded. I become more confident in both my value and the decisions I need to make in life. I begin to relax and feel safe. As a result, I can approach all my relationships in a much healthier way! Here are the 3 verses:
1) He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5) *you are his adopted daughter! Awesome!!
2) Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) *He will always be by your side! Awesome!!
3) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24) *He will guide me in all my decisions and he is preparing a fantastic future for me in eternity! Awesome!!
We all would like to feel more emotional intimacy and connection with our husbands, but often we end up drifting apart as the years of marriage pass by. This is especially true when children come on the scene. You get super busy and absorbed with the kids and your husband feels unimportant, unvalued, and un-needed.
However, there is one simple step you can take to begin changing that dynamic. Start asking your husband for his opinion! Ask him his thoughts on the right number of activities for the kids. Ask him his thoughts on how to best arrange the living room furniture. Ask his opinion on what is most important to him in terms of cleaning and tidying the house. (You might be surprised that most men would prefer you focus on keeping the home tidy rather than clean).
By asking your husband for his opinion, you’re communicating that he matters. You’re communicating that he is a needed and valued team member. You’re communicating that he is respected by you! He needs that respect. He’s wired to crave your respect. That’s why God gave a clear instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33. It simply says “The wife must respect her husband.” So, start respecting your husband by asking his opinion and truly considering his thoughts and desires. You will find that he likes being around you more, and you will develop a powerful sense of “team” in your marriage.
When you think of the curses placed on Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden apple, you probably think of Adam having to toil to bring food to the table and you likely think of Eve having to endure pain in childbirth. However, there is another curse placed on Eve that may have escaped your notice. It’s found in Genesis 3:16 where God says “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“. Oh my. This explains a lot!
Almost all women struggle with almost an insane desire to secure a man. In fact, I was observing my 22 month old granddaughter the other day. Even at that tender age, she gravitates to men and boys. She likes her female cousins, but oh boy, she practically worships her boy cousins. She wants to hug them. When my husband and I walk in the room, she might glance at me but she runs to Raul. Hmmm.
My point is this. If we recognize this curse, we will be more able to deal with it. The curse may explain why it’s so difficult for most women to establish and enforce boundaries with their husbands when their men are sinning against them by using pornography, drinking excessively, gambling large sums of money, spending time with other women, etc. If we do indeed have a deep instinctive desire (curse) to desperately hang onto our guy, we believe we can’t do anything to threaten our grip! This explains a lot, doesn’t it? Knowledge is the beginning of understanding. Ask Jesus to give you clarity about how your thoughts and actions are being affected by the curse. Then ask Him to give you courage and strength to make wise decisions.
Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures? Most of us are in “hiding”. We’re afraid that if anyone, including our husbands, were to discover our flaws, they wouldn’t love us anymore. Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you. Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.
Satan is a liar. I know from experience that the opposite is true! When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming. It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me. We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage! How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband. Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past. Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care. I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man. Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!