Tag Archives: write 31 days

31 Days to a Better Marriage – He’s not the person I married!

31 days to a better marriage

Isn’t it interesting how the man you are married to seems like a different man than the one you dated?! Maybe it’s just me. In fact, I haven’t heard any of my friends mention this odd phenomenon, so it probably IS just me. But just in case you have felt this too – I am going to include this, anyways! :)

There was a point several years into our marriage when I just stopped and was like: “this guy is so different than the guy I dated!”

I puzzled over it a while till I came to this conclusion:

He was the same man, but his personality didn’t lead him to the same result or action which I thought it would.

I don’t think most men are trying to deceive their wife-to-be. They genuinely think the girlfriend has a fabulous idea, and they agree that yes, going to India with a mission would be interesting and worthwhile. Maybe they even give it some serious thought.

But just because he agrees that it is a wonderful idea, doesn’t mean he is going to drop everything and rush over there with his young wife! (yes, I am using a personal experience here!) See, I though that when he agreed about stuff being cool, he was essentially agreeing that he also wanted to do it, buy it, or be that way.

Not necessarily.

Now, some of your couple-dynamics may be the opposite of this. I know wives who are more cautious and it is the husband who leaps into things feet-first! Maybe the wife is like: “Wait, you really intended to DO that? I thought we were just talking about how cool it was, not about actually doing it!” 😀

Either way, we can easily get stuck in the trap of being dissapointed because he doesn’t seem to be the same person that we married.

Two problems

Two problems that often come up; either we try to change him, or we get bitter.

Neither option is Christlike or healthy. There are so many jokes about trying to change your man, but I am thankful that many men do not change that easily! We need men who have a backbone and stand for what they believe.

And becoming bitter is just ugly. I know your husband may not ‘turn out’ quite as you’d hoped. Maybe he is ‘way off track on how you had agreed to live life. But bitterness is so ugly and unChristlike!

What to do.

Pray. Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray for wisdom and grace. Pray for your hearts to be knit together in God’s perfect calling for you. You don’t believe prayer works because you don’t believe God. Prayer does work!

Change. Not a popular idea, in this day of independant thought and women’s rights. We will fight to the last breath to do what we want, never bowing our head to someone else – especially, it seems, not to our husband. But when we decide to lay aside our ideas and be willing to support our husband, it is amazing how God can change your desires!

Remember the foundation we laid in Day 1? We need to become one, (Genesis 2:24) submit to our husband, (Ephesians 5:22-24) and respect our husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Respect Him. I think we find it hard to respect our man because he is different than us. He doesn’t do things the way I think a husband should, or the way I think a Christian should, or the way I thought HE would, before we married. So I whine and complain and nag. Nagging is not respectful. Will you start taking Scripture seriously and stop nagging your husband? Also; manipulating is not Scriptural, either.

Understand that you have changed, too. I bet you have changed as much, maybe more, than he has! Are you the happy, smiling girl he dated? Do you flirt with him still? Do you hang on his every word? Maybe he thought you adored him, and now wonders why you even married him?! Hmm?

My husband and I haven’t always been on the same page. The India-mission thing was short-lived, but there have been other ideas and plans that we had to deal with. In the end, though, we always want
1. a good relationship with each other,
2. to honor God with our marriage,
3. to have fun and never live bitter.

So we work it out. But I can honestly say that most of the time, if my man thinks it is a bad idea – it usually is. I trust him and his wisdom.

And I remind myself that maybe it isn’t him who changed – maybe I just didn’t know him as well as I thought I did!

Today’s Challenge: Take a minute to think about ways YOU may have changed. Think about how it may have affected him. Pray over your marriage.

Day 1: The Foundation
Day 2: Committed
Day 3: What is love?

31 days to a better marriage – Committed.

31 days to a better marriage

Today I want to take a look at what it means to be committed to your marriage. We established yesterday that a Godly marriage must be rooted in God’s Word, so what does God have to say about commitment?

 “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:7-9

We are living in a culture that promotes keeping our options open. We can’t decide on a major in college, we don’t want to commit to a career or denomination or political party. Creative types (like me!) want to dabble in everything, so we call ourselves “multi-passionate”, as if that means anything, other than that we are undecided wafflers!

I stumbled across an article I really liked, this morning. It fits quite well with this topic. Read it here: Stop Leaving Your Options Open.
It links to some studies on marriages where people live together prior to marriage. Data proves that couples are more likely to divorce if they live together first. 

I believe that marriage is forever. No divorce. It really makes you aware of who you marry when you truly believe your vows. “Until death do us part” is not just in there to sound cool. It means something. Do they even vow that to each other, anymore?

Decide now.

If you aren’t yet married: be careful whom you marry. If you are married: decide from now on, you will not entertain thoughts of leaving your husband. Decide that you are in it for good. That your bridges are burnt and you are standing with your man, for better or worse. Even though he has problems, even though he may not be saved.

You know, sometimes I think we expect more from our husbands because they ARE saved. Because they profess to be Christian, godly men – we hold them to an impossibly high standard. If he was not saved – do you think you could stay with him, hoping to lead him to Christ? Do that now. Yes, he may have weak spots – so show him Christ. By your Christlikeness. Not by preaching.

But what about infidelity? Abuse?

Those are indeed issues. I do believe that there is an exception for adultery, as Scripture says in Matthew 19:9, Matthew 5:32. However, I can’t ignore the testimony of many couples where there was adultery, and yet they stayed together. With the grace of God and a forgiving spouse – even that situation can be redeemed.

If your husband is physically abusing you or your children, leave. No two ways about it. I am not saying divorce – perhaps by God’s grace your husband will repent and turn to God, and your family can be salvaged. This is a situation where you need counsel from trusted authorities, hopefully you have a pastor or other trusted Christian mentor who can guide you.

Mental/emotional abuse… I hate this one, because it gets sticky. (is it truly abuse, or just two very selfish people?)  But again, get counsel. Get advice. Get help. Maybe you need to separate for a while, then be reconciled. I don’t know. But I do know that especially while you have kids at home, you should be careful – very, very careful – about divorcing.

My experience.

See, I grew up in a home where my parents had difficulties in their marriage. I won’t go into detail out of respect for them. But it was rough. Many people in their situation would have parted ways many times! But not my parents. They believed divorce was wrong, so they made it work. You know what? I was scared more than anything that they would separate. As a child, I hated the stress of disagreements, but I still wanted us to be a family. There is something vitally important to a child about a family with both parents – even if it is just a good front.

Now, my parents are aging, as we all do. My mother has ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) and watching dad care for her, I see a softness in him that makes me cry. Dad has had a few bad episodes with his health, and watching mom try to care for him is touching. What if they’d separated?? Is their marriage perfect? No, but who of us is perfect. They still have each other, 52 years later.

I guess what I am trying to say is; don’t be so quick to throw away a whole lifetime of loving, caring, living – just because you don’t like something about your spouse. Just because it is hard. I can say with some confidence, that you will have times when you don’t like each other. But keep loving. Love is a choice. Commitment is a choice. Most marriages do not have the ‘big 2’ of physical abuse or infidelity. Mostly, it’s just two sinners trying to live together and getting frustrated with each other.

You know what is to blame? Self. You want him to treat you in a certain way, or do a certain thing, and when he doesn’t – you get ticked off. You think you are more important than he is. 

To have the best chance at long-term marriage happiness, you need to commit. To go all in. Don’t think about divorce – that’s off the table. Nope. Just settle in for the long haul.

Does that sound depressing? It doesn’t have to be!!

Come back tomorrow to read about what love actually is. :)

Today’s challenge: Tell your husband that you are committed to sticking with him. That even you may go through (or are in!) rough spots, even if you get frustrated at him – that you are not going to leave him. My husband and I got married with the strong conviction that divorce is wrong – but we still commit ourselves to each other occasionally. Just hearing my husband reassure me that he will never leave me, is somehow comforting. We have been married nearly 17 years, and we still like hearing each other say it. Don’t be afraid that it will sound weird. Just do it. :)

Read the Day 1 here.