What Do You and Your Husband Have in Common?

What do we have in common anymore?

Christmas is the time of goodwill and joy and cheer, and yet I know for many people it’s also a vivid reminder that your life is perhaps not going as planned. When everything around us is joyful, it’s that much more of a stark contrast when we are not.

And so I have asked Poppy Smith, author of Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?, to guest post about a difficult time in her marriage today.

The advertisement for a marriage seminar caught my eye. It asked the question, “What do you and your husband have in common?” An anonymous woman had scrawled across it in red ink, “We were married on the same day!”

I burst out laughing. But early on in my marriage, I probably would have burst into tears.

My American husband, Jim, and I met in Nairobi, Kenya. I was twenty, lonely, on the rebound from a broken relationship, and had no family in the country. My parents had returned to England because my father’s tour of duty with the Royal Air Force had ended. Instead of going back to England with them, I decided to stay.

Shortly after that I met Jim. He strode into the small, English church I had attended since becoming a believer three years earlier, and all my female senses went crazy: Who is this man? Is he single? Is he passing through town or is he going to be here for a while? How do I get to meet him? Well over six feet, dressed in a tan, tropical suit, Jim’s physical appeal oozed out of him. The fact that he pulled out a small Bible and joined in the singing only heightened my determination to find out who he was.

Two years later we married in the same church. Arriving in America six weeks after the wedding, Jim began a rigorous five year surgical training program. When I did see him, he was exhausted. Sleeping and studying filled what little time he spent at home. When we talked, we clashed. Issues we’d never seen as potential problems tore at our relationship: different backgrounds, opposite perspectives, and incompatible personalities. Neither of us knew how to respond to the pain we both felt.

In my early twenties, unhappily married and with no family or friends to turn to, I wanted out. My dream of living an exciting adventure as a newlywed in my adopted country had become a nightmare. I was more lonely and miserable than ever.

Crisis Point

After several years of constant blaming and fault-finding, ping-ponging between frustration, rage, and depression, I came to the end of myself. I was emotionally exhausted. Instead of my incessant pleading with God to change Jim, the Holy Spirit impressed on me “Poppy, look at yourself.”

What I saw wasn’t pretty. But it was the best thing I could have done. My attitudes were not loving or kind. I was not patient. And I allowed my negative thoughts to influence my mood which produced my less than godly reactions and words.

Moved by the Holy Spirit, I sobbed “Lord, please change me. I have become someone I never wanted to be—bitter, angry, sarcastic, and hurtful. I need You to touch my mind, my moods, and my mouth if I am to ever become the woman You want me to be”.

Did this miraculous transformation happen overnight? Did God wave a magic wand, suddenly turning me into a sweet, submissive wife who never disagreed with her husband ever again? Nope. In fact, the inner transformation I needed is still going on decades after that crisis point. But change has happened.

How about you? What does God want to change in you and your marriage? He will go to work when you invite Him to keep working in your heart, attitudes, and actions (Phil. 1:6).

For practical helps to understanding yourself and your husband, check out my newest book, Why Can’t HE Be More Like ME?

Poppy Smith inspires women to grow spiritually, emotionally, and personally through her inspirational Bible teaching and books. To know more or invite Poppy to speak, visit her at: www.poppysmith.com


  1. I needed this. Thank you and be blessed:)
    Jennifer recently posted…Moved to WordPressMy Profile

  2. KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

    Yeah, that sounds about right with what me and my DH have in common. He’s 9 yrs older than me. Raised in a different generation. Would love to be stuck in the 1950’s. ADORES Elvis. We both like sports so there’s that. I’ll be adding her book to my Kindle 😉

  3. I used to wonder this a lot when my husband and I first got married…actually up until recently! We have been married 10 1/2 years now….and I must say, that I feel as we mature and grow and raise our children that doesn’t seem to matter as much any more. We have learned the art of compromise and also the importance of taking interest in each other’s likes and really listening to one another. Even if you don’t share the same likes, if you listen, you might learn something from one another….For example, my husband is big into weight-lifting….that is his stress reliever and something that makes him feel ‘like a man’! So anyway, he talks about it alot….and I listened and learned from him…and now i’m lifting too! It’s something that we now do together (although i don’t even dare try the weight he pushes lol!) and we are staying healthy together. It’s time that we share without the kids… :) It’s fun!

  4. awww you two met in Nairobi! so awesome. Am a Kenyan living in the US :) Great perspective in this post. Am still young in marriage (5th year) and when I first got married, i walked in thinking that it was all about him – him needing to change to accommodate me. it was a quick and teary revelation that God ordered things differently. Am still on the journey for sure (i doubt it’ll ever end) but am at a better place than where i was before.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…Five Marriage MisconceptionsMy Profile

  5. I find this one hitting home quite a bit. When I was in college (at Harding, and Church of Christ school) I was so on fire for God and happy and carefree. But by senior year I was just so stressed, and a lot (I mean a LOT) of really bad things had happened with my family, and I just couldn’t see how God was caring about us or anything. Really more than anything I knew He was there, but I wanted Him to just go away and stop tormenting me and my family. I was dating my now husband all 4 years of college and we married the October after I graduated. He saw this change in me and saw me become negative, sarcastic, spiteful, and all the other things that come with it. I know it hurt him to see his happy, carefree Katie turn into the ball of stress that I’ve become. I’ve been trying to get better but now I’m so tired and weary all the time that it’s hard to really care about anything when I come home from work. Our sex life is minimal, but we’re trying! I bought the Guide to Great Sex and it has some great ideas, but sex is still so stressful.

    All that to say I really needed to see this post today because while my husband has his faults (he hasn’t totally grown up yet…), I know that my stressed-out brain-fried way of handling things isn’t helping. Thanks for showing me that there is hope for me yet!

  6. Sometimes I do think this. Not because we clash on everything, but we just don’t like similar things. Are there any good ideas out there of hobbies that are pretty darn cheap or free that husbands and wives can do and learn together? We struggle to find things like that, since as of yet, we don’t have kids.

    • You’ve probably thought of these things, but here is my 2 cents…… we cook/bake together. We really enjoy finding a new recipe and making it, it’s fun…you’re both learning, and more than likely you have to buy groceries anyway, so i really wouldn’t consider it extra money…Since you don’t have kids, it’s much easier to pick up and do something than with kids…enjoy this time…my husband and I (before kids) would go on a walk at a nearby park…we had a dog, so we’d take him with us….sometimes we’d just drive around and look at houses and neighborhoods and dream of what our future would hold….just time to decompress and talk openly with each other…Those are some of my fondest memories with my husband….We would also go (at night) and walk around car lots and dream about the vehicles we could buy if we were rich! lol….just simple…but fun…..How about volunteering together??? especially during this season, there are alot of opportunities. We also used to gather up any loose spare change that we had and take it to the arcade in the mall and just play games like kids….i’ve also just found this thing called Table Topics that you can get relatively cheap and it has lots of different questions and topics that are different from the everyday conversations you probably already have….There is a couples’ version that I thought about getting for my husband and I to use on date nights…or when the kids go to bed…just to learn more about each other…
      Sorry for the rambling, but maybe some of these ideas are helpful. :)

  7. Oh, that prayer that you prayed about the woman you had become really resonated with me!

  8. I can relate to this one. It felt far more lonely to be in a bad marriage than to be alone. And I also relate to finding out that the problem wasn’t all my husband. I had a lot of changing to do to become someone he (or anyone) would want to live with.

    Thanks, Poppy, for sharing your story of hope. Thankfully, I have a great marriage now as well.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Sexual Desire Differences: What If There’s Nothing Going Wrong?My Profile

  9. I can totally relate! I am American and my husband is American of Filipino descent. He was actually born in the Phillipines and raised here. I didn’t know how hard it would be to get used to another culture! I mean he is very American in most ways, but it’s mostly getting used to his older siblings and just the fact he still possesses some of his Filipino ways. I must admit a lot of their culture is very endearing and family-oriented and for that I am glad. Still we are so very different from one another in certain ways, but the beauty of it is he can learn from me as I have learned from him. We have both grown because of it and are still madly in love after 5 short years of marriage. The most important thing is that we have God and our Catholic faith in common! Thanks for sharing, Poppy!

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