What do you do when the spark in your marriage is gone? When you are going through the motions, so you feel more like roommates than soul-mates? How do you treat your man when you feel like he is not holding up his end of the bargain? I can tell you now that I do not have all of the answers, but I think that there are some things that we can do and some attitudes that we can have to help protect our marriage in those difficult times, as well as create a foundation for a stronger future.
1. Stop blaming your spouse, hoping that he will change so things will get better. Work on the plank in your own eye!
2. Evaluate your own life and actions. What things have you allowed to creep in that are not edifying and glorifying to God; have you become sarcastic, do you name call or not fight fair, do you pick at and nag, do you make fun of or drag your husband through the coals in front of him or when he is not around? Take a minute to confess these to God, and apologize to your man and kids if you do it in front of them. Now change that behavior. (Easier said then done I realize.)
3. Take time to sit with God and help Him to create a spirit of Rest and Retreat in your heart. If you are looking for your husband, or anything else, to complete you then you have totally missed the mark. You are only complete in Christ. Allow Him the time to sing over you and mend your broken places, it is only from the deep well that is God that you will be able to have patience and grace towards those that you love.
4. Evaluate ways that you can speak respect to your husband. When was the last time you had sex? How can you talk to him to let him know that he is not only a man in your life but THE MAN in your life? Communicate your appreciation of the things that he does well; work hard to provide for the family(even if you work), that you notice the little things that he does,how strong, handsome, and smart he is.
5. Communicate with your man. Take time to ask him how you can support him? Ask him what you say or do that cuts at his manhood and what encourages it?
6. Remember. If I have learned anything in life it is the heart tends to follow the head, so start remembering and thinking on the positive rather then the negative. When Josh and I were first married it was hard for me to do this, so I started to write down in my journal all of the little things that he did for me. This allowed me to have a warm, loving heart toward him, instead of a judging and resentful heart.
7. Expect the best! I am reminded of a conversation that I had last week, a husband had started a project and then left it undone. So the wife has now taken over the space with her things, so even if he wanted to work on it he would have to wade through her stuff first… So clean out that area and let him know what a great guy he is and how much you will appreciate having that project finished! He may not get to it this week or even this year, but at least when he is ready, he will have access to it. Don’t allow those things that are left undone to add fuel to your frustration and discouragement. Instead take time to pray for him or encourage him when you see that sore spot instead of mutter under your breath.
8. Push back to him the responsibility that he has shirked. Because of original sin we as women naturally tend to take over and do things that are in our husbands role. What are you doing that you should let go of? Don’t throw it in his face, but let him know how you feel. After Josh and I first got married, I decided to write our check for our tithe. I did not think twice about it because he was a pastor, but he let me know that we were not going to be tithing. So instead of kicking my feet and doing it anyway or throwing a tantrum, I let him know that it was really important to me to tithe, and we would do it when he was ready. Soon after that Josh started his Master’s Degree and our prayer was that we would get through it without any debt. For that prayer to become a reality we needed to be giving back to God, so the light bulb came on for Josh and he started to sign our tithe checks. I don’t say all of that because I was a relationship genius or even knew what I was doing at the time, but so that you can see what giving over control to the man in your life who is called to be responsible for the house can look like.
I guess that is all I have to say right now… think about it, chew on it and let me know if anything changes in your house after you start to worry about your attitude and actions instead of those around you.