Can you love your husband even when he’s being unlovable?

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! And today author Joy McMillan joins us with this great encouragement to see beyond the things that irk us to the heart of our marriage–and our husbands. Love it!

Here’s Joy:


A sweet friend of mine texted me a while back with a plea that read something like this…”please write a post on loving our husbands when they’re being unlovable. I need it and know a few women who could really use the encouragement right now“. Being the great friend that I am (ahem), I stashed it away in my mental vault and promptly forgot about it.

Until recently. When my hubby was being a smidge unlovable. Go figure.

I considered entitled this post: “You’re Being A Punk…But I Still Love You”, but erred on the side of grace.

Here are a few simple words of wisdom from a perfectly imperfect wife who has, admittedly, told her hubby on occasion to stop being a punk.

1. Husband Being Unlovable? Check Yo’ Self

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 12 years of marriage it’s this: unrealistic and unspoken expectations will destroy a relationship. It is so easy to assume, especially when you’ve been married for a while, that your husband knows what you need or want, when you need or want it. Clear communication, seasoned with grace, is essential in making a relationship work. I think we forget how very differently we’re wired; between our upbringing, personal baggage, temperament and personality, along with the fact that men and women are cut from entirely different cloth. If we aren’t clearly communicating our needs, which are not to be confused with unrealistic expectations, the chances that they’ll be met are slim.

Occasionally my hubby will distance himself emotionally from me because he can sense a low-grade level of dissatisfaction from me. When I get disenchanted with him because he’s not meeting my expectations, out of self-preservation, he withdraws.

It’s amazing how easily we can bring out the best – or the worst – in our loved ones.

With this being said, let your hubby off the hook. There’s a tremendous difference between living with lofty expectations and living life with expectancy. Master the latter.

Our identity, security and worth were never intended to be forged through them. Affirmed, yes. Nurtured, yes. But not established and maintained. We love our husbands well when we stop demanding that they meet needs they were never designed to meet.

If you find yourself often offended at your husband for little things, check out this post: believe he means well!

2. Speak life {or Zip Your Lip}

Our words are powerful weapons…they can be used to destroy, or defend. We can either fight with, or fight for, our guys.

I don’t know about you, but my filter malfunctions frequently. I blurt something out and then lament my complete inability to think before I speak when passion is coursing through my veins. When I get fired up, my mouth can get me in trouble.

But here’s the deal: in a world of raging negativity, criticism and disrespect, we can be a safe haven for our husbands. I want my hubby to know that whatever he faces out there in the world, his name is safe in my mouth. I will honor him with my words, rather than cut him down, and I will never publicly embarrass or disrespect him. We never speak negatively about each other in front of our kids, because we realize the power we have to enhance or destroy the way they see the other. It’s not always easy when blood pressure runs high, but it’s a commitment we’ve made…and it has made all the difference in our family.

And you know, friends, the truth of the matter is…our husbands are only as great as we believe them to be. What we speak reveals what we believe. And they will live up to what we believe about them.

Choose your words well with your husband--they're powerful!

It’s easy to pick out the dirt in other people’s lives, and it’s even easier to talk about it because it makes us feel better about our own dirt. But we love our husbands well when we choose to speak life instead, when we intentionally choose to seek out the gold we know is sometimes buried beneath their temporary punkiness. Go for the gold, girlfriend.

3. Don’t Drink the Poison

I’ve heard it said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison hoping to hurt another. This poison is particularly potent when drunk within marriage.

On the flip side, resilience and grace are two of the healthiest ingredients we can add to our relationships, and should be consumed in large quantities, frequently. We are imperfect humans married to imperfect humans, in an imperfect world. We will disappoint, and we will be disappointed.

What a gift we give each other when we choose to live unoffended!

In the same way a house is kept in order more easily by sweeping through it daily and making sure things are roughly in their right place, a marriage is kept free of clutter when we make a point of not allowing baggage to accumulate. In other words, don’t allow the sun to go down on your anger. Graciously unpack your baggage together daily – uncomfortable as it may be in the moment – and refuse to let bitterness or resentment simmer overnight. Don’t sleep on it.

Forgiveness isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. Even though our hearts may hurt, we can choose to lay down the grievance and give up our right to seek revenge.

While we may feel slighted at times, and may be tempted to demand a blood sacrifice to right a wrong, we love our husbands well when we don’t drink the poison, when we keep our tabs short and make grace more important than justice.

Remember this wisdom from Ruth Bell Graham! Forgiveness is the key to happiness!

Sheila says: Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we don’t deal with real issues, however. If, in your marriage, the things that need forgiveness are more like emotionally abusive words, addictions, or even physical abuse, please read this post on how to stand up to your husband and this one on not being an enabler.

4. Seduce the Dude

We may claim to not know how vital sex is to the health of our marriages, but the proof is in the pudding. Have you ever noticed the direct connection between the way your husband interacts with you emotionally and how long it’s been since you’ve connected physically?

When life gets busy and we don’t intentionally carve out time for us to reconnect and have a heavenly hoorah!…well, let’s just say…everyone’s a punk.

We know that most men have an overwhelming physical need for sex, but we often fail to recognize that our hubbies’ sex drives are intricately connected to their ability to feel like a ‘real man’. Shaunti Feldhand, in her book For Women Only, expands on this discovery, noting their overwhelming emotional need for sex as well. While they may not express their heart the way we do – that level of raw communication does not come naturally to most men – our husbands struggle with deep feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. Making love makes them feel desired, it improves their confidence and self-esteem, and boosts their well-being and performance in every area.

So, even though it can be a struggle to want to be intimate with someone who’s not being particularly lovable, we love our husbands well when we choose to be selfless, rather than selfish, honoring the fact that God created them to crave physical connection as a way of reconnecting with us emotionally.

XES: Why Church Girls Tend To Get It Backwards...And How To Get It RightjoymcmillanJoy McMillan is a speaker, writer, graphic design and coach. Author of “XES: Why Church Girls Tend To Get It Backwards…and How To Get It Right” and founder of the We ROAR Project, she’s passionate about empowering women to embrace their stories, live out their passion with purpose, and leave a legacy of love. Born and raised in Southern Africa, Joy has made her home in Michigan with her hubby and their two lovely loin-fruit.

Find her online at simplybloom.org and on Instagram @simplybloomjoy.

Thanks, Joy!

Now let me know in the comments: What’s the hardest one for you?