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!
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!