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 inadequacy!
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 is a talk minimalist!) 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!
I am a Christian. I know the Lord and have experienced his love for me over and over again. I am just venting my disappointment and hurt I have of my last relationship. The man I dated didn’t cherish me. I didn’t need him to supply my every need but he obviously didn’t treat me the way I deserved. With that said, I was just expressing that this point of view in a dating relationship when you are trying to find a spouse is inappropriate. It’s different when it’s your husband because of the level of commitment but not your boyfriend. I fell into that trap of a mindset thinking I was to “submit” and love him unconditionally as my boyfriend though their were things I didn’t like about our relationship. he never kept himself up, didn’t like hanging with my family, didn’t spend time with me, and I payed for things all the time. He wasn’t someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I think it’s okay to value certain things when dating and have certain expectations. Those are just my thoughts. I appreciate your reply.
What about in dating? Aren’t there suppose to be some expectations in dating? I wanted to be made time for by the person I was in a serious relationship with. However, he didn’t make time for me. We never saw each other during the week, and he never tried to make plans to see me on the weekend. They were always spontaneous and I felt like I was an after thought and not a priority. Reading this makes my heart hurt because I feel I have to love a man this way even in dating. I get that in marriage, but I don’t think it applies till after. I tried doing that with my ex and it caused me unbearable pain because I felt unwanted by him and valueless. Just venting my heart aches and thoughts. Thanks!
Hi there. Thanks for reading and for your comment. First of all, it is so important that you learn to get your value, worth, and confidence from your relationship with Jesus Christ. Are you a Christian? Have you taken that first step to a life of purpose and meaning? If so, then you must spend time on your relationship with Jesus.Spend time in his Word and in prayer.Once you have that foundation with Him and experience the love and acceptance that brings, you are more free to respond appropriately, lovingly, submissively…to your spouse. The relationship is no longer all about having all of your needs met. It is about living each day as a reflection of Christ to your spouse in service and love. I pray that God brings you a godly man who will love and cherish you and that you will understand the love God has for you that can fill all those empty places in your heart!
Awsome Beth, thank you for sharing, I so needed to hear this, as I pray for my husband and my marriage, I will pray that I see my husband as God sees him…..love you
Oh, Evelyn…thank you for reading my post. I’m glad it spoke to you. We all need to be reminded to see our husbands through God’s eyes, don’t we? You and Rodney are both blessed to have each other! Keep on keeping’ on!
I struggled a bit with this a few years back, only in the other direction (I’m the husband). I appreciate your post, because it matches my own discoveries in a lot of ways. I learned a great deal about our differences as male and female, which filled in a lot of blanks. Also, as I learned to see my wife as an amazing gift from God, my attitude shifted. The other thing i figured out was that as long as I was worried about what I thought she should do, I wasn’t striving to do what God called me to do as a husband. Taking the call to serve and imitate Christ changed my heart and my marriage. Thanks for posting this. It prompted me to reflect on all the things God has changed in me along the way. Great stuff.
Yes, husbands can certainly fall into wanting to change their spouse, as well. And, that’s a great point about focusing on our own role and how we can be the mate God has called us to be rather than focusing on our spouse’s shortcomings. Thanks for the great comment…and for reading my blog.