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)
Pretty much anyone who has entered the arena of blended families and step-parenting knows that it is like trying to walk across a field of landmines. Typically, the biggest problem is that the step-parent thinks the step-child should love and respect them just like they would their biological parent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.
Here’s the best piece of advice I ever heard on this subject. As the step-parent, take the time (perhaps years!) to sow nothing but love into the relationship with your new stepchild. Resist the desire to step in as disciplinarian and let the biological parent handle that. As a couple, talk with your spouse behind closed doors about how “situations” and discipline should be handled, but then let the biological parent actually carry it out.
The idea of sowing love into a person before expecting that person to love you in return is actually similar to our relationship with Jesus. The Bible says “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We need to model this as step-parents. Your step-child needs to see you demonstrate love for a sustained period of time before believing you actually have their best interests at heart. This may truly take years, especially if the child is over the age of about 5 when you first enter the new marriage. Be patient.
I know what it’s like for a wife’s heart to grow hard and cold toward her husband. I let that happen in my first marriage of 18 years…a marriage that ended in divorce. Don’t let that happen to you. Your marriage and your family are worth fighting for!
In my experience, the reason a wife’s heart grows cold usually comes down to two things. She has not established firm, clear boundaries on disrespectful or destructive behavior…or she has expected her husband to make her happy and blames him for failing to do so. Could one of these reasons apply to you?
Boundaries: It is Biblical to lovingly confront someone who is sinning against you and establish boundaries in that relationship…with the goal being that the person will repent and be welcomed back into full relationship. Read Matthew 18:15-17 to learn what Jesus has to say about this. Also keep in mind Galatians 6:1, which says. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.”
Expectations: If you expect your husband to make you happy, realize you have an unrealistic expectation! The only one who you can trust 100% to bring you fulfillment, joy, and perfect love is….the Lord! Make the relationship with Him your top priority, and once you feel secure in that relationship, your heart will likely become softer and more compassionate toward your husband.
Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Matthew 22:37-38 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Well, I’ve been asked lately about how to develop this actual love for God. You see, it’s very difficult to truly love someone you’ve never experienced. You and I must experience the Lord’s power and love for ourselves in order to truly fall in love with Him. Otherwise, we have head knowledge from the Bible, but no heart knowledge!
Looking back at my own journey with Christ, I realized that I’ve grown to truly love Him as I earnestly sought His help through prayer and then saw Him answer those prayers in loving and powerful ways. I experienced God!
So I urge you to begin seeking the Lord with your whole heart. Come to Him with your deepest needs, but make sure you’ve done your best to obey Him first. After all, God says in James 5:16 that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. So, in other words, God powerfully responds to the person who truly seeks to obey His commands and follow His promptings. After you’ve done all you can do to obey the Lord, pray earnestly for His help. When He shows up, take notice! God just connected with you and allowed you to experience His love, power and help! Now, you have heart knowledge of the Lord!
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By purposely withholding what he needs to feel loved, could it be that we’re actually sinning? Listen to what God says in James 4:17: “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Oh my.
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. Run your fingers through his hair. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!
Have you lost that “in love” feeling with your husband? Are you feeling like there should be more in your relationship? There could be some major problems in your marriage that need to be addressed. However, it could be that you’ve fallen prey to the notion that your relationship with your husband should resemble the thrill of new romance portrayed in chick flicks and romance novels.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love watching a good romantic movie like The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. I enjoy reading Christian romance novels. However…you and I have to be so careful that we don’t start subconsciously thinking our marriages should have that constant thrill of new romance. That’s unrealistic. There is no way we’re going to be “twitterpated” (like Thumper in the Bambi movie) all the time! Also, our husbands couldn’t possibly be as breathtaking as the men portrayed in the romantic comedies or as perfect as the men in the Christian romance novels! It’s all a beautiful delusion from the enemy who wants to destroy your marriage. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light“
And here’s one more caution. Did you realize that many romantic comedies actually promote a woman leaving the man she’s with to find the “true soul mate” awaiting her? Yikes! We get so involved with the romance story that we don’t even notice this is the case! Think of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. She pines away for the man who’s already married to someone else. In Sleepless In Seattle, Meg Ryan’s character is engaged but feels there must be someone better out there. The list goes on and on. So, let’s be careful to avoid unrealistic expectations of our men and our marriages.
You want a quick and easy way to show respect to your husband and improve your marriage? Just notice a few small things your husband seems to appreciate and then…..do them! What a concept! I mean, why wouldn’t we want to please our husbands? Why wouldn’t we want to be kind and thoughtful? Colossians 3:12 tells us “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” So, if we could do just a couple things differently, in a way that our husbands prefer, why wouldn’t we extend that kindness to them?
Let me give you some examples. My husband insists that if we load the dishwasher in a certain way, it cleans the silverware better. (I don’t think it makes any difference!). But, I do it the way he likes…because it pleases him. I know my husband loves it when I leave a little note of encouragement for him on the kitchen counter at least once a week. So I intentionally do that every week. I know my husband really appreciates a clean kitchen counter, so I try to keep the counters tidy. Why wouldn’t I want to please him in such a small way? I’m not saying a wife should have no opinion and should simply be a doormat for her husband. But I think God would be pleased if I stopped only thinking of myself and started thinking a little more about blessing my husband!
How about you? Could you intentionally take note of a few things your husband really appreciates, and then actually do some of those things? It would make him feel respected. It would draw his heart to you. It would likely improve your marriage. Sometimes, it’s the little things…