I remember clearly, as a young wife many years ago, struggling with wanting more from my husband. Can anyone else relate? I mean, when I first met him he was a dream come true, “perfectly perfect in every way”. But soon, the honeymoon phase began to wane.
Let me start by sharing a little of my marriage journey. My husband and I were around 30 years old when we married…the second marriage for both of us. We were so ecstatic to find each other and couldn’t wait to tie the knot. After being single for a few years, I was thankful to God for sending me a godly man to help me raise my 5-year-old son and to be the spiritual leader in our home. Those first few years of marriage were fabulous and fun, as most new marriages are. But, as the shiny, new, honeymoon sheen began to dull, I found myself wanting more.
The things I had first loved about my husband: his laid back nature, steady temperament, and introspective demeanor– began to irritate me.
As any well-meaning (although misguided) Christian wife would, I prayed that God would change these things about my husband. But, unfortunately, I didn’t stop there. I complained to my husband about them. I am typically not a nagger and have never wanted to classify myself as such, but, I confess, I may have even nagged him about what I saw as his husbandly incompetence!
It was a daily struggle that left me frustrated and unhappy. I fell hard into that proverbial “I can change my husband” trap. My discontent led to some rough waters for a little while there until God, through a series of events and a period of personal growth, taught me an important threefold lesson:
- He reminded me that he made men from a completely different mold than women. He made men to be steady, practical, and logical– qualities that are absolutely necessary for one who must provide for a family on an ongoing basis. He made women, on the other hand, to be more personal than practical– with a deeper interest in relationships and feelings.In addition, Men are goal oriented, having the innate desire to conquer problems. Women would rather talk them out. For example, when you were on that trip with the family, remember how your husband just had to get that 500 miles of driving in on a given day. You, on the other hand, wanted to stop, have a cup of coffee, and talk, at that cute coffee shop that just flew by. The joy is in the journey, right?Also, when it comes to communication, men are more thinking and internal and women are more verbal and external. Our husbands were made by God, in general, to be a little more quiet and introspective than us. The better to think of all the options before making a decision that will impact the family.And, men are not organically as equipped to express unselfish love and outward affection, whereas, for women, many of whom will be mothers, it is imperative. You see, God made men the way he needed them to be…the way we needed them to be. And he made us to be the complement to that.
- He reminded me that all the nagging in the world would not change my husband. Change would have to come from inside of him as he was prompted by the Holy Spirit…not the Holy Wife. And that although I couldn’t change him…I could certainly change me. I could pray for God to change my heart and give me eyes to see my husband the way God sees him… as a unique and beautiful gift from God to me. God opened my eyes to my own faults and imperfections, as well, helping me to see the amount of patience, prayer and restraint required of my husband in living with an opinionated, strong-willed and “take charge” gal like me!
- He reminded me that my security, self-worth, and joy must come from God, the Father…not from my husband. As many young women do, I was looking to my husband to meet so many of my needs. It was an impossible task for him. When we realize that God fills every hole we have in our spirit, then we are free to love our husbands without expectations. I began to work on my personal relationship with my heavenly father which brought an amazing sense of relief and peace to me.
In the early years, God taught me that my husband was equipped with God-given traits that make him a great husband and father and that I needed to begin to appreciate those traits as gifts from the Lord. He also opened my eyes to the fact that I am a flawed and imperfect creature, as well, and though my husband (who isn’t verbal!) doesn’t nag me about my faults, he is surely thinking about them from time to time, but, chooses to live every day with me in forgiveness and grace. God showed me that it is only in Him that I can find deep peace, total and complete understanding, unending joy, and perfect, unconditional love.
I worked through my wanting more phase with the Lord’s help, thank goodness, and since that time he has blessed us with a wonderful, fun, and fulfilling (not perfect, of course) marriage. My prayer for you, young wife, is that you will see your husband as a unique and beautiful creation of God with his own strengths, weaknesses, and personality. Know that he is perfectly equipped to lead your family and nourish your heart as only a man created by the master designer can do. He may not be “perfectly perfect in every way”, but he’s yours; and with your love, support, prayers, and encouragement, he will soar…taking your beautiful family right along with him!