Last Valentine’s Day, when my husband, Steve and I put on our No Regrets Marriage Conference.* The event was well attended by couples who wanted to learn ways to build a marriage that would stand the test of time, while reflecting a loving union that their children would one day want to emulate.
At the close of the conference, the lights were dimmed as Nathan, our worship leader, sang the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns.
I was standing in the back of the auditorium where I observed the gentle mood of the room. One by one, I watched husbands tenderly wrap their arms around their wives––as they heard the words “broken together.”
Deeply moved by this phenomenon, it occurred to me that these husbands knew they were not measuring up to their wives’ expectations. And in a small gesture they were asking, “Can we not just love one another in spite of our brokenness?”
Why is it wives get stuck in disappointment over unmet expectations? And what can a husband do to help his wife break free from the myths their wives may believe about marriage? Let’s look at a few here:
1. If my husband would change I’d be happy.
…When your wife realizes that the only way to be genuinely happy is not by looking to you as the source of joy but in knowing intimately the Lord Jesus Christ, she will have found the secret to building a happy marriage.
And since Ephesians 5:26 calls a husband to be his wife’s spiritual leader, it is your job to learn firsthand how to find your own joy in loving Christ with all of your being.
When you and your wife stop believing happiness lies in how well your spouse measures up to your expectations––but in how well you love God, you will have discovered the key to happiness in marriage.
2. All he wants is sex.
Why do wives make husbands feel apologetic for wanting to have sex with them? Across the board I’d have to say this a major myth that is hurting Christian marriages.
Most wives wrongly assume that sex for her husband is purely physical.
Wives don’t realize that most men struggle with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. So help your wife understand how intimacy with her is salve for your weary soul. (I talk more about this topic in Chapter 7 of If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy.)
Your wife longs to regularly connect with you emotionally. You would do well to remember that this is your wife’s God-given need––a need that only you can fill in a Christ-honoring way.
And just as strongly as your need to connect with your wife in the marriage bed, God has given your wife the same intense longing to interact with you through conversation and romantic gestures.
3. I’m falling out of love with him.
…After marriage, it’s easy for husbands and wives to stop making the effort to present themselves lovable. What if you put forth the same amount of effort to keep your wife’s affections as you did to win them?
When you see a married couple that appears to be deeply in love, you can know that they have discovered the discipline of:
––Making time to enjoy one another’s company
––Dwelling on their spouse’s positive qualities
Rather than responding in an unkind or agitated manner, thinking the best about your spouse is the key to acting in kindness toward them. Wives often take out their frustration by responding harshly to their husbands. If you in turn snap back with cruelty it will only serve to destroy the foundation of your marriage.
So what can you do? Take the advice of Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
By example, help your wife realize that the way the two of you will fall deeper in love over time is by choosing to think on what is good, right, and honorable (see Philippians 4:8).
Let it Begin with You
Someone has got to make the first move toward building a happy marriage. Let that someone be you. If your wife has wrongly believed myths that are keeping her from enjoying your marriage, rather than pointing out the error of her ways, work to dispel the myths by realizing:
––Christ is the source of genuine happiness
––Staying in love is all in your mind
––Her emotional tank will be filled up through conversation and romantic gestures
Putting time into kindly helping your wife dispel the myths she believes about marriage will help you build a no regrets marriage.
Seek Godly Counsel
To help you and your wife build a better marriage, take to heart Proverbs 11:14:
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Seek out godly counselors. Look to a pastor, older godly Christian couple, or find a Biblical Counselor.
For more, listen to this 4 minute excerpt of Rhonda teaching: Staying in Love
Read the article in its entirety as it first appeared in Crosswalk.com
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 20 years experience of helping women build a no regrets lives. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching, and zeal as an evangelist.
She’s committed to fulfill the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture and easy to read––like you’re visiting with a friend over coffee.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including FamilyTalk with Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and hosts The No Regrets Hour. She speaks at women’s events, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and homeschool conventions. Sharing the gospel is her sweet spot––she’s an evangelist at heart.