Every wife is going to have moments (or weeks or months!) that she’s disappointed with her husband. No man is perfect, and your husband is bound to frustrate you, annoy you, or fail to meet your expectations from time to time. The question is: How can you keep from being seriously discouraged or resentful during those times? I have found 4 things to be really helpful:
1) Clearly communicate your expectations and desires! Men are not mind-readers, yet often wives expect their husbands to “just know”! So, think about the areas in which you’ve been frustrated or disappointed. Then calmly and clearly tell your husband what you desire or need, as well as how much you’d appreciate him making an effort to meet those needs and desires.
2) Be grateful for what he does right! Isn’t it strange how most wives tend to gravitate to focusing on what their husband is doing wrong, but barely give a second thought to what he’s doing right?! Stop right now and ask God to help you see the many good things about your husband and the positive things he does. This is the essence of Philippians 4:8… “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thing.”
3) If your husband is actually sinning against you, it’s time to stop wringing your hands and it may be time to take action! In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to confront the person who sins against us, and to even get others involved if necessary.
4) Pray, and never give up! Prayer truly can move mountains, and Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1 that we “should always pray and not give up“. So go to battle in prayer, and ask God to reveal His love to your husband and to mold and shape your husband’s heart.
Do you keep replaying your husband’s past mistakes over and over again in your mind? Do you find yourself dwelling on how he’s disappointed you in the past? Let it go! Thoughts like that become toxic…to you and your marriage. Hebrews 12:15 makes this point: “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.” If you keep rehearsing your husband’s past failures, you will end up growing more and more resentful of your husband. The resulting bitterness acts like poison to your own heart. You become a dried up, miserable woman.
Even more damage is caused when you verbalize those past mistakes to your husband. Yet many wives do that. They repeatedly bring up their man’s past mistakes and almost wield them as a weapon against their husband. His heart gets sliced and diced in the process. His heart becomes poisoned against his wife as well.
It’s time to decide to release your husband from his past failures. The Bible is pretty clear about your need to release bitterness and resentment. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” Sochoose to exercise the same grace God has given you!! News flash: You’re not perfect either. By the way, releasing your man from his past mistakes doesn’t mean you should ignore current sin. If he is currently sinning against you, determine to respectfully confront him and work through the problem, perhaps with the help of a counselor or pastor.
I wonder what would happen if you asked God to transform your character into His character and then you actually began striving to display His character in your marriage? I bet your marriage would begin to thrive!
God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage. What if you started displaying grace toward your man? Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.
I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life. However, I am recommending that you work to extend kindness to your husband even when they’ve annoyed you or disappointed you in small ways. In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you? What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt? Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!
Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!
I remember being convicted several years ago when I overheard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it. This was news to me! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought he WANTED to do those things! For instance, for years, my husband gave my feet a little massage every night before I went to sleep. I thought he enjoyed doing that! He also ran ALL the errands that needed to be done for us. I thought he liked to run errands! He also made sure there was always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one ran out. Nice!
Here’s the thing. We often take for granted our husbands. Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you? Could he be acting selflessly, and you just didn’t realize it? Is he more noble than you thought? Hmmm. Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.
Bottom line: Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her“. The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband“?
I’m going to propose a radical shift in perspective. Some of you might not be ready, but I’m hoping you are. Here it is. Instead of praying for God to change your husband so that you’re happier, pray that God’s will be done in your marriage and in your husband. In other words, pray that God accomplishes what HE wants to do in your husband’s life. Catch the vision of partnering with God in prayer for the things HE wants to do in your man!
Where did I get this shift in perspective? Right smack in the middle of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
What does this mean in your marriage? It means that you stop focusing on getting God to change your husband so that he does things your way and makes you happy. Instead, you ask God what HIS will is for your husband, and you start praying fervently for God to mold and shape and transform your husband into the mighty man of God that the Lord wants him to be! God doesn’t intend for your husband to be an unbeliever who is stuck in sinful patterns with no joy or peace!
Here are 3 things we know to be God’s will for your husband, so start praying these 3 things in addition to whatever else God reveals to you:
That he would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4 God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth)
That he would turn from sinful patterns and surrender to God’s leadership. (2 Peter 3:9 He does not want any to perish, but that all should reach repentance)
That he would find joy, peace and hope in his relationship with Christ. (Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
An awesome benefit of praying this way is that God will slowly transform your husband in just the right ways that will be a blessing to you and the whole family!
It’s so very easy to sink into self-pity, despair or flat-out depression when you become disappointed in your marriage. It happens when your husband doesn’t have the same perspective as you, or when he doesn’t meet your expectations, or when he does something hurtful.
However, you do have a choice in how you’re going to view this challenge in your marriage. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself and become consumed with resentment and hopelessness….or you can choose to do much more productive things! You can choose to make the most of your hardship by….
1. Praying without ceasing for God to intervene in the situation. (read Luke 18:1-8)
2. Seeking guidance from God on what possible actions you should take. Sometimes God may want you to extend grace, realizing that your husband will never be perfect, just as you will never be perfect. Other times, God may want you to courageously establish boundaries with your husband, especially if he is sinning against you. Consult the Lord for guidance through His Word and through listening prayer. (read Psalm 32:8)
3. Asking God what He wants you to learn through this situation so that you grow in character and faith. (read Romans 5:3-5). Is he trying to teach you patience? Is he trying to teach you how to communicate your frustration in a more respectful way when your husband upsets you? God is always trying to mature us!
4. Seeking God through Bible-reading and worship so that you can experience his comfort at a new and deeper level than you ever knew was possible! (Psalm 34:18)
I bet you are checking this out because you think I’m talking about your husband’s laziness…but I’m not. I’m actually talking about our own tendency to become lazy in terms of putting effort and intentionality into our marriages.
Laziness is kind of like lighting a really long fuse. You don’t really notice anything for the longest time….that is, until the explosion! Many a wife has been burned, ending up with a husband who seeks attention from other women or who even ends up divorcing her. We can’t afford to be sluggards in our marriages! The Bible has lots to say about sluggards. Proverbs 13:4 says “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” This can be applied to your marriage! Only when you are diligent in investing in your marriage are you likely to have the kind of marriage you desire.
What can you do to strengthen your marriage? Do you need to get a babysitter and go on more dates with your husband? Do you need to find out his love language and start speaking that language more often? Would your marriage be strengthened if you looked for ways to encourage your husband every day and show him respect?
Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life! Whether you realize it or not, every time you criticize your husband or correct your husband or point out flaws in your husband’s ideas, you are crushing his spirit. Every time you crush his spirit, he ends up feeling like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying. I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”. When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat. He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father. He no longer even believes that’s possible,
On the other hand, ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father. He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well. A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!
Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.” One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager! Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures. Choose to encourage him instead. Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness! You’ll both be happier!
All work and no play make Jack and Jill….grumpy. Could this be the case for you and your husband? Most American couples are way too busy. We’re working exhausting hours outside the home to make more money. We’re running the kids to 12 different activities so that they have a chance to “excel” in something. We’re throwing dinner together while doing laundry and helping the kids with algebra homework. We’re running on empty and then we wonder why we’re grumpy! Duh! We need to give ourselves permission for a mental time-out.
When is the last time you and your husband let the house chores wait and decided to watch a funny movie? When is the last time you guys invited some adult friends over for “game night”? You need to give yourself permission to play every once and awhile. Your brain and your body need a rest. You need to have fun and spend some time laughing. Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“. Maybe your marriage needs a spoonful of this medicine…the medicine called fun and laughter. It’s a great antidote for grumpiness. 🙂
Each weekday, I offer a devotional intended to help wives. Yet, I have a funny feeling that some of you might be questioning why I’m always urging wives to change their behavior, look for ways to bless their husbands, and be more selfless in their marriage. I can almost hear you asking, “What about him? Am I the only one who’s supposed to work on this marriage?”
Well, here’s a news flash for all of us. We can’t change our husbands! Only God can change a man’s heart. We can establish boundaries. We can encourage our men and offer wise counsel to them, but at the end of the day, we can’t control them. We can only control us! However, by changing the way we interact with our men, we can dramatically and positively impact them. It’s the amazing power of one person to make a difference!
So, let’s all commit to working on ourselves. Let’s look for ways to encourage our men, help our men, respect our men, and serve our men. If your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin against you or your kids, commit to respectfully and lovingly setting boundaries on that behavior. As you continue doing this week after week and month after month, I bet you’ll see a change in your husband and an improvement in your relationship.
Don’t give up. Don’t be pessimistic. Press on. Meditate on this wonderful promise found in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”