I received an email from a woman in her mid 30’s wondering how one can honestly desire, respect, trust or be kind to a husband that “doesn’t deserve it.” In her own words, her husband isn’t “worthy” of her desire, respect, trust, or even kindness, that “the real problem is that this advice (my blog’s advice) is EASY to follow when you are married to a great guy and you haven’t ever had any hardships or resentments or relationship issues.” That if you manage to get engaged early, marry the perfect man, have a dream proposal, etc. that you won’t have to work hard, or put any effort in at all, to have a good marriage.
This is based on the societal lie that the only people who have good marriages are the ones who got lucky in their picking, the stars aligned and behold, they acquired their “unicorn,” or mythical creature of perfection in marriage. It is also based on the societal lie that women can treat their husbands “like crap” (her words), and still expect to somehow create a beautiful marriage, or at the very least, be angry or annoyed at someone (like me) suggesting that they should treat their husbands with respect, desire, trust and kindness if they want to have a good marriage.
Abuse, adultery, and alcoholism are things that ruin a marriage, and no, this woman’s husband was not guilty of any of those things. He was simply an imperfect man who failed to meet her high expectations of carrying out a fantasy and dream romance. She said in her email that she knew she carried some intense anger and resentment from the engagement into the marriage… and it was still there, 7 years later. Because he messed up at the beginning, one time, she decided to make the rest of the 7 years full of anger and resentment.
For any wife reading this, let me give you some of the encouragement that I gave to this woman.
You need to let go of any grudges or resentment or anger you have toward your husband.
We are all human. People make mistakes, your husband makes mistakes, and most importantly, you make mistakes. If we as wives cannot learn to forgive and look beyond the mistakes that our husbands make, we are going to be miserable, terrible wives, and mothers who choose to live as an unhealthy role model to everyone around us.
If something happened in the past, choose to forgive, move on and let it go. Never use old hurts or disappointments as ammunition to throw at your husband in the heat of an argument. And never use past decisions to destroy the future of your marriage! There is an interesting article at The Rational Male talking about a woman who never respected her husband in the first place, and when the time was right (several years into the marriage) decided to try her hand at attracting other men to get back at her husband for failing her several years before.
Marriage takes work
Your marriage is designed to make you grow and mature. No, seriously, it’s how God designed it! Living together with another person of the opposite sex, learning how to communicate in a healthy, adult way. Learning how to be unselfish after a whole lifetime of putting yourself first enough to try to think about what he may want or need from you. It is hard, but it is wonderful growth if you embrace it!
Part of the feminist society that we find ourselves living in tells women that they don’t have to work to have a good marriage, that being a “good wife,” that freely gives her husband a fulfilling and passionate sex life – that wants to please her husband – is degrading or beneath her position as a strong woman. Cooking for her family is beneath her, instead women now take pride in never taking the time to learn to cook a simple meal. Keeping a clean house is oppressive… who has time for that drudgery? Nevermind that children need and crave a peaceful, stable, organized, reasonably clean place to come home to and be nourished in. Loving her children and serving her family in these ways are outdated, and were oppressive for the women in the 1950’s era. Women who still do them are backwards, old-fashioned, or at worst, doormats to be so submissive to their husbands. These are the real, feminist lies we live in, and they do not promote self-less care and love for others, but they do promote selfishness.
So what we end up with is the ugly realities of a reoccurring feminist ideology that women should not have to do anything for men, except to show up, and then expect to be catered to for being female.
Instead of feeling entitled to a dream romance or the perfect marriage, we as wives need to be ensuring that we live and create our dream romance, by making an effort to be romantic with our husbands. By romancing him first if need be. Not by complaining that he isn’t worth our efforts to begin with.
If your husband is the typical, normal husband who works for his family, providing for them, being a dad to your kids, the men that I see all around me whenever I go out, believe me, he does deserve your respect, love, desire, compassion, kindness, faithfulness, and gentleness.
I challenged this woman to try to emulate these beautiful characteristics into her character, and she turned it down, still adamantly assuring me that my husband must be perfect and hers just wasn’t, and although she felt sad about it, that he just wasn’t the man she wanted him to be, and should never have married him in the first place.
Dear wives out there, take my challenge. If you want a good, healthy marriage, you absolutely need to give him respect, and be nice, kind and compassionate – you need to give him a healthy passionate fun and loving sex life!
Try these things for a month and see if it doesn’t make a difference, I’ll bet it changes everything.