Revive Your Marriage: Revive Your Attitude


Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

Revive Your Marriage by Cultivating a New Attitude--and choosing to let some things go.
Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through Reviving Your Attitude!

I have a friend that we’ll call Laura. Laura married her husband Jeff right out of university. Jeff came from a blue collar family, and was the first to pursue higher education among his immediate relatives. He was a hard worker, and Laura loved that about him. He was focused. He was responsible.

When they had children, Laura stopped working to stay at home, because Jeff was now a corporate exec in a multinational company. And Jeff worked. A lot. In fact, he worked at least six days a week, and of those six days, was only home two or three when the children were still awake. Fourteen hour days were par for the course.

Laura spoke with him about this at length when the kids were young, and his response was that he knew the kids were safe with her and thriving, but he needed to put in these hours so that they could reach their dreams, and be able to retire early and give their kids so many great experiences and opportunities. Laura told him that she thought the kids wanted more of him. He replied that this would mean having to leave his job, and there’s no way he’d find another one that would let him be home more at even half the income, so it wasn’t an option.

And this is where Laura made a decision that likely many people would find difficult, if not wrong.

She let it go.

Did she think it was good for the family if Jeff missed out on most of the children’s lives? No. Did she think it hurt the kids? Yes. Would she have been happy at half the salary? Yes. Did she think  his priorities were messed up? Yes.

But she also knew that she wasn’t going to change him, and that she had two choices:

  • I can be bitter about this and make everyone’s life miserable over it
  • Or I can accept it and try to give all of us the best life I can within these confines

She chose the latter. She gave her husband over to God, and she started to live her life with gratitude.

Instead of resenting the fact that Jeff wasn’t there, she made sure she and the kids had fun. She occasionally even planned vacations without Jeff. And whenever Jeff was home, she made the time fun for him and the kids. And she made sure he knew that she appreciated him for being there. She even vowed to make their sex life great again.

And lo and behold, as the years went by, he started to take a little more initiative to seek out the older kids to do things with them. And the family has fared quite well–so far.

Here’s the thing: many of us in our marriages have one or two things that our husbands do that we find it very difficult to live with. Maybe he works too much. Maybe he’s just really lazy and doesn’t work enough. Maybe he doesn’t help with the kids. Maybe he spends too much time with his mother. Maybe he doesn’t talk to you enough.

I don’t know what it is, but I do know this:

If this is not something that you would divorce him over, you need to give it to God and stop letting it make you bitter. That step alone can revive your marriage!

Men thrive on appreciation and respect; when we show that we appreciate them, we empower them, and quite often they want to do more. They tend to thrive in areas of their lives where they get the most positive feedback, which is one reason so many men spend so much time at work.

Appreciation is hard when you can see all the bad choices that he’s making that are harming not just him, but also you and the kids. And you know one day he’ll regret it. But you can’t change him. Only God can.

The more bitter you become, the bigger wedge you will build in your marriage.

Some things are so big that we have to take action, like if he’s using porn, or if he never ever makes love to you, or if he’s violent. But other things, even if they really hurt us, we have to let go, because hanging on to them will ultimately more painful and more dangerous than letting go.

God is big enough to hold you, to do battle for you, to change your husband’s heart (and yours). You don’t have to do that. Will you hand over the one or two things that are keeping you from totally loving your husband today? If it’s not something that you would leave over (like adultery, or addiction, or abuse), then you shouldn’t leave him emotionally now, either.

I know this isn’t popular to say. I know a lot of you are mad at me right now, and thinking what an idiot your husband is. I don’t walk in your shoes, and it could be that your husband really is that horrible. But then, if you don’t mind me asking, why did you marry him?

You saw something nice in your husband once. I believe those attractive qualities can come out again if you start accepting him and even pursuing him. So, please, ladies, even if you don’t believe what I’m saying, can I ask you to try today’s challenge?

 


 

Instead of focusing on how he has failed you, commit to just loving and accepting him. Even commit to making love more frequently! As you make love more, you will feel closer to him and you’ll feel more goodwill, too. Maybe that’s hard for you because you honestly don’t enjoy sex. If that’s the case, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex has great info in a fun way that can help you turn it around! If you feel really distant from your husband, sometimes getting a new perspective on sex can start the process of bringing you together again.

Throughout this week I’ll be writing more about thoughts that can change your marriage–and on Wednesday I’ll finally write my big post on what I think submission means (since a number of you have been asking lately!) So tune in this week, too!

My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Courtney from WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have all written awesome posts on prayer! Click on through to see what they have to say.

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with prayer, the solutions you’ve found, or how you remind yourself to pray for your husband and encourage him through prayer. And if you blog, you can write a Revive Your Marriage post and link up using the linky below! The same linky appears on all four blogs, so you’ll get even more coverage for your post!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.



Comments

  1. Truly, and I mean TRULY giving my husband up to the Lord and reliquishing all control over him was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it is reaping great rewards and a husband who’s heart is slowly changing.

  2. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! We as mothers/ wives need to hear this regularly! Its not popular in our world today, but it is so biblical, and that’s supposed to be our ultimate goal, right? I have a husband who works long, long hours! He’s a farmer so when its planting or harvest season we don’t see him much. As a mother of 5 I find myself resenting him all too often. Why isn’t he here helping me get them in bed? Bathing them? Doing homework? Cleaning up this mess? I’ll be honest, it consumes me A LOT!!! It usually carries over into my attitude toward my children, as if they are the cause of my frustration. Thank you for reminding me what I knew all along! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

    • Oh my goodness, are you living my life too. Married to a farmer and have 5 kids as well. Everything you write here is same thing that goes through my head. And Sheila hit it on the mark once again. Friends have been telling me this since last spring when I was so wrecked over this exact thing. I am now through that dark period and now that I read this I can say, yeah, my attitude does really need to change. God’s timing is kind of perfect to hear this again. Give it to Him cause after 10 years I haven’t been able to change him so obviously I need to let it go.

      All the best to you Kristen and thanks again Sheila.
      Kari

  3. Thank you for this. This is so very true. We as wives/women think we have to be responsible for our spouse/family and their actions, when in truth, we can’t usually make our own flesh and spirit respond the way we are supposed to, much less those of another human being.

  4. A great article! I too have a husband that puts in long hours and has done so for years…I used to feel resentful and nag him to change. But a few years ago I realized that I needed to change, through prayer and God’s grace and faithfulness I try to honor my husband and created en gedi (is that how you spell it?) for my husband and he in turn has responded just as Laura’s husband has. He enjoys coming home (no nagging wife!) is home for supper more often and we all enjoy being together. Praying for other women experiencing this!

  5. I LOVE this website. I am recently married to my husband and I am determined to live our life and marriage out with Christ as center. Many people in my family don’t like my husband. They think him immature and look down on him for not having a job (although he has been sending out resumes like a madman.) They tell me (most of them christian too) that i’m not stuck in this relationship and that I wouldn’t be judged if I divorced him. WOW. I rebuke those comments all the time. This man is my husband and the father to our unborn son. I chose him and made a covenant before GOD to love, honor and obey. I don’t like everything he does or is, but I chose him and I choose him daily.

    He struggles with porn addiction. At one point, to meet his sexual needs (daily, twice daily) I began to look at porn too so I could satisfy him. But GOD grabbed a hold of my heart and I again refuse to let the enemy in. Reading the articles in this blog and watching the videos has been SO helpful and life changing. My PERSPECTIVE is changing and I am expecting great things for my marriage and my walk with GOD.

    Thank you.

  6. “If it’s not something that you would leave over…then you shouldn’t leave him emotionally now, either.” Oh, wow! Thank you, Sheila – just what I’ve needed to hear for, oh, fifteen years or so!!!

  7. I probably spent 23 of the last 26 years of my marriage bitter that my husband was not what I thought I was getting or what I wanted. I would spend hours thinking about “what if” and “if only,” including being single. Early this year, I began to realize how deeply I had sinned in harboring those negative thoughts for so long, and I found your blog. I have been able to actually feel love for my husband again! I love getting your updates every week–especially ones like this because they remind me how important it is to just let things go and love. God is greater than all the hurts and disappointments and I have been so much happier since I gave all of that over to Him. For me, it all starts by controlling my thoughts and when I recognize myself getting negative I have been able to pray for help and stop before it gets out of control.

  8. I love this, but I think it is important to note that communication and discussion did occur first. The pastor who performed our wedding ceremony used the analogy of paper clips; it is easy to move just a few (or to deal with small issues as soon as they occur), but if you let them accumulate, the pile becomes impossible to move. I guess that is where the truly letting go and giving it to God comes in.

    Thank you for this post!

  9. Your advice seriuosly ticks me off, pushes my buttons, and sends me on an inner screech fest. Because, I know you’re right. How? Because you align yourself with the Word. And He’s been whispering the same advice to.my heart. Thank you …. thank you for being a true friend and telling it like it is. :)

  10. This poses a rather tricky problem when teens naturally stay up until midnight and you want to be in bed by 10. How do you keep love with your husband alive when your kids are night owls?

    • My suggestion for you is what my husband and I learned after living through 3 sets of teenagers. Our oldest child is 34, our youngest is 16 as we speak, and then we have some in between. I learned this advice from a good friend of mine who had children older than my oldest. She told us to go into the bedroom at 10 and close and lock the door. Tell the teens you are having private adult time. I guarantee they won’t ask what you mean by this, cuz for them that’s “Ew, gross!”, and you don’t need to explain anyway. Later on, usually one to 2 hrs later, I get back up, pretending to go for a bathroom run, to check on them & shag them to bed. I’ve found this works for us, with no questions asked, and no need for answers anyway. Teens can be left alone for a couple of hrs, as long as you keep tabs on them, and make sure they don’t start staying up all night doing god knows what. As long as teens know that you are still on top of what they are doing, they’re usually fine when left to their own defenses for a bit, while you enjoy some private, adult time. Good luck!
      Sandy recently posted…Revive Your Marriage 3: Revive Your FriendshipMy Profile

  11. My God how He will give you tools to survive; a way of unserstanding. I thank God that I saw this bc I just got finish talking to my husband about some irritation in our marriage and he didn’t even open his mouth to say anything. But I know that was God and me reading this hopefully bring insight to my stress level, and maybe I just need to pray more harder or trust more harder. Thank you for this blog God bless

  12. You know, I am so glad I saved this post to Instapaper so I could reflect upon this story and really take in the lesson of letting go and letting God in these areas. Such great truth here.
    Ginger recently posted…#UngluedMy Profile

  13. Warning: this newlywed needed to vent a bit. A little bit about my husband and myself: we are opposites who balance each other. He is very quiet, reserved and calm. I am very chatty, outgoing and can be a bit highstrung at times.

    This was very nice to read today and exactly what I needed to hear. I’m a newlywed (we just got married last month) and my husband works graveyard shift (10pm-7am) an hour away from home, sun-thurs. We barely see each other for 4 hours after I get off work (Mon-Thurs) before he has to take a nap and go to work. I work from 8am-4:30pm. Sat/Sun is “our time”..which is usually divided with errands, household chores, laundry, and naps of course because he’s adjusting to being awake during the day on the weekend.

    He’s been saying for over a year (while we were dating) that he will get another job closer to home, that he wants to make more $$ to provide for me and our future children, etc. He says all the right things, and I believe him. And yet no action is being taken. Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to get promoted at work so we can have more $$ to save for a house. I’m 100% driven to do this for US. Having a little wiggle room in our finances would be nice. This situation frustrates me to no end as his work schedule affects EVERY single aspect of our lives. He’s tired because of his schedule. He sleeps more because he’s tired. He doesn’t feel like doing anything because he’s tired. I’m irritated because I want to make plans for once on a weeknight and go hang out with our friends or have a date night or go to the Newlyweds Group Class at church. Sometimes, I come home and he’s already awake and playing video games or watching tv…and I think “you could be applying for jobs!” I try to tell him how I”m feeling, but we can’t even have a full conversation about it because 1) he shuts down..and believe me, I was watching my tone and tongue, and 2) our time is so limited, by the time we start making progress in the conversation (if we do), he has to leave for work. And I don’t see him again until the following evening and this process starts all over again.

    This week, I hit my livid point. I’ve been praying about this, and asking God to help my attitude (which has become very bitter and somewhat resentful, which is a horrible feeling to have about your husband). I miss my husband very much and want to spend time with him. I wish we had more time together, so we could figure out routines and cook togther, etc. We’re newlyweds and we should be able to spend quality time together! I wish I could focus on other things instead of why he won’t do what he said he would. I wish he had the drive to apply for jobs here in town, and actually DO what he said he would a long time ago. I know I’m supposed to tell him how I apprieciate him and love him, etc. And I DO. But this situation stares me in the face everytime I come home. He says he’s so tired and I bitterly think “if you’d apply for jobs and get one closer to home that has day hours, you wouldn’t be so tired!”. But I try to keep my mouth shut. I know God has a plan for him, and this impatient wife just needs to zip it and have faith.

    THANK YOU for posting this. This line was my favorite: “I don’t know what it is, but I do know this: If this is not something that you would divorce him over, you need to give it to God and stop letting it make you bitter.”

    I’m trying my best tonight to focus on the positive and not nag. I have decided that he needs to do this himself…and I cannot force him. I would appreciate it if you ladies would keep us in your prayers. I KNOW we can get through this. We love each other very much.

    Thank you.

    -L

  14. Hi Sheila,

    I have been reading a lot of your posts lately and they are wonderfully written and is just what is required to soothe disturbed hearts!! Kudos!!
    I have a question for you though, from what I understand from the many blogs I have read it is not possible to change your partner and the only person you can change is yourself. But I have reached that stage in my marriage where we never really understood/appreciated each other, of course I blame my husband for most things but I realise I havent been exactly perfect either. Now he is nothing that i thought he was, I just dont see anything good in him( I am sure he must have good qualities but his shortcomings more than bury it) and I am not sure if i really want to save this marriage although i know we have both not given each other a genuine chance. In such a situation, how do I motivate myself to let go off the past and try and inspire myself to make changes to myself to make my marriage work?
    Thanks for reading through :)

    Regards,
    Rose
    Rose recently posted…A Letter Of Hate: To The Woman Who Broke My HouseMy Profile

  15. This was a great reminder to me. Thanks for sharing! The greatest power we have to make our husbands better people is with our love and acceptance, not with bitterness and rejection. Bitterness doesn’t do anything but drive you apart.

  16. I get this … really I do …. my frustration is how long it’s taking God to ANSWER and how many years have been wasted

  17. My husband likes going out late with friends, smoking matijuana and drinking. He works long hours doing manual labor so i can stay home. I am a sahm to an infant. I have a lot of resentment at times. I feek that I am the grownup but I still cook and give him reg.sex

  18. Sharidan Dillon says:

    Thank you for this!

  19. Yes, yes, yes this is wonderful advice Sheila – something I am working on and need to remember!
    Nicole Beard recently posted…Frugal & Fun Date Night IdeasMy Profile

  20. Is Laura a code name you gave me? Thank you, it´s like this was written to me.

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I wrote about how we need to let things go that we can’t […]

  2. […] Marriage, we’ve been talking about how to revive your attitude! We started with looking at letting things go, moved into why he won’t meet your needs, and then talked about […]

  3. […] talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, and reviving your prayer life. Next week we turn to my […]

  4. […] I’m not saying that if you’re upset at your husband, and you have an argument where you both just can’t agree, that you keep at it indefinitely to the detriment of your marriage. In fact, sometimes in marriage we have to decide to let an issue go. We have to say, “he just doesn’t see it my way, and I’ve tried telling him, and explaining it to him, and he doesn’t agree and he isn’t going to change.” And then you do let it go, as I spoke about here. […]

  5. […] Revive Your Attitude: How to Let Go of Expectations Marital Success if a Matter of Attitude The Right Attitude for Improving a Marriage The Root of Marriage Problems–Selfishness When Conflicts Don’t End How Do Marriages Change? Are You a Spouse or an Enabler? (sometimes praying for God’s will in your husband’s life also requires you to take concrete steps when significant sin is involved) Help for Those in Hurting Marriages Posts on Specific Areas of Conflict: When You Disagree About Parenting Help! My Husband is Gross (about personal hygiene) […]

  6. […] root in our marriages? Beth @ messy marriage.com has a great article about forgiveness, as does Sheila and Jolene @ thealabasterjar.com. In addition to their ideas, My husband and I found a few more to […]

  7. […] Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Attitude“! […]

  8. […] talked about reviving your attitude, reviving your friendship, Reviving Your Praise, and reviving your prayer life. And now we come to […]

  9. […] You Feel Disconnected from Your Husband and Have No Hope Hope for Those in Troubled Marriages Revive Your Attitude Why Your Husband Won’t Meet Your Needs Marital Success is a Matter of Attitude Sometimes […]

  10. […] know this is tricky in real life, because we do need to work out what things to just let slide in a marriage. We do need to step back and let our husbands lead. We have to let go of the reins. Depending on […]

  11. […] think this one really depends on what it is we’re talking about. Some things in marriage you absolutely have to let go. No question about it! But some things in marriage you CAN’T let go, and indeed, I think […]

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