A happy marriage takes hard work. When you take two sinners and bring them together as one, there is bound to be trouble. Before the honeymoon, we are putting our best foot forward, looking our best, thinking of the other first and then real life kicks in with new babies, husbands working long hours away, sickness, hormones, homeschooling, or just the monotony of everydy life. It is easy to grow stressed, become unhappy or drift apart without realizing it. If we are not careful, we can end up as two people who are just living parallel to one another but not connecting regularly in oneness as we once did.
As a wife we should not strive to change our husbands (that is the Holy Spirit’s job) but we can make changes in our own lives that can have a big impact on our marriage. Here are some things that I have learned to apply to my own life, to bring back the sweetness. I am not perfect and I still have to fight every day against my “old man” so the “new man” wins.
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."Ephesians 4:22-24
1. It starts with having a vibrant living relationship with Christ.
The first thing we must realize is that a Happy Marriage must start with a relationship with Christ. This means that there was a time in your life when you acknowledged you were a sinner, and you repented (100% turn around from serving self to be willing to serve God); you believed Jesus was who He said He was, and you called out to Him to ask Him to save you from your sin. It’s a heart change and not just a praying a prayer or making changes in our life to read our Bible more.
If you are already saved, you must have a vibrant, growing relationship with God. This mean you are reading your Bible, applying it to your life, and seeking daily to walk in the Spirit. Just like we cultivated a relationship with our spouse BEFORE we were married, we must cultivate our relationship with Christ after we are saved.
We must also remember only God is perfect and can meet our soul’s need. We cannot, nor should we expect our husbands to do what only God can. If we want to have a marriage that will last and will endure -we must Rely on God. We must learn to walk daily in His Spirit.
Personal Thoughts: The times that I have had the most conflict in my marriage is when I have neglected my personal time with the Lord or have just read my Bible to check it off my list. I cannot love my husband, as I need to, without the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Application: If you are not experiencing this vibrant relationship, ask for help from an older woman or your Pastor’s wife. You can also ask a Godly friend to keep you accountable.
2. We must CHOOSE TO LOVE and not base our marriage on our feelings
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”Ephesians 4:31-32
Personal Thoughts: I have found bitterness can creep in without even realizing it. I have also personally found it helpful to take time alone with God to reflect or journal about personal struggles when they come up. I also like to remember as Dr. Terry Coomer taught. STOP (at the point of impact or moment of conflict) and turn it over to God (do not respond or react); and to Praise and Thank Him (for my husband, the trial and for God’s goodness to me.) One thing we have also done, is removed the word “divorce” from our vocabulary. Divorce is never threatened or even ever mentioned. It is not an option. I often will say at a time of stress and conflict. “We are stuck together so we might stop as well make up.”
Application: Ask God to help you to CHOOSE to LOVE. Start a journal to the Lord to help you during difficult times or just spend some time alone talking to God.
3. We Must Become a Student of Our Husbands.
If we want to truly understand our husbands, we must become a student of our husbands. Ask questions about what he likes and dislikes. All husbands are different and you may be surprised to find out that your husband cares very little if dinner is on the table at 6 but likes a clean house. Maybe your husband does not care to have a spotless house but would love happy attitudes when he gets home every day. Each husband is different and learning about what makes him happy or makes him tick can really be a reduce stress in both your lives.
Personal Thoughts: I have had a lot of fun learning about the Enneagram, the 5 Love Languages and the 3 Kinds of Men. These are just a few of the many personality type resources out there. This can be a fun project to do together or to read yourself. They can be eye opening experience when we realize we are not the only ones that have a spouse like this. It helps our spouses to also see he is not the only one with the crazy wife. Of course neither of us are crazy just unique and we could use a little help understanding why we do the things that we do.
Application: Schedule a date night with your spouse. (Talk to me if you need help finding a babysitter.) Add “Couch time” into your busy schedule and teach the kids to play quietly while you both connect on the couch for a few minutes every day. Talk together and find out what is important to your husband. Does he need quiet time when he comes home? Dessert? A spotless home? Also tell him what you need (sweetly and at the right time of course). Our husbands cannot read our minds, despite what we may think. Check out the 3 types of men at the bottom of this article. Which one is your husband?
4. We Must Learn to Respect our Husbands.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”Ephesians 5:22-29
We must respect our husbands in our speech, actions and attitudes. In the book Love and Respect, it talks about the “crazy cycle”. This means the wife stops respecting her husband, and because he now does not feel respected, the husband stops loving on his wife. Yet she feels unloved, so she stops respecting her husband and on and on it goes. Conversely when we get out of that cycle, it is a beautiful thing when we start showing our husband respect and he starts loving on us again. We feel loved so it's easy to respect him.
Personal Thoughts: This is another thing I see all the time in my marriage! I usually get on the crazy cycle because I got offended. Often this may be a word said in a commanding way by my husband (I have a “command man” husband. See below for explanation.) After 23 years of marriage you would think I would know this is just part of my husband’s personality and no ill intention is meant by it but it is easy to forget. I need to choose to overlook this and not respond disrespectfully.
Application: Choose to respect your husband today, despite the fact that he may not be very “loving” lately. Get off the “crazy cycle.” Only we can change us and we can pray for God to change our spouses. Be the first to humble yourself.
5. We must give attention to The Physical Needs of our Husbands.
We also must give attention to the physical needs of our husbands. This is a real need for most men and is vital just like food to the body. Although sometimes it can even be the woman who has the bigger need. Regardless, it is God’s plan to enjoy a physical relationship as a married couple and it is truly the “glue” that creates a special oneness in marriage. Communication is key here.
Personal Thoughts: I have had to have open communication with my husband in this area. I have had my share of hormonal issues and my moods can often shift suddenly, but reading through a book together on this subject helped to talk through our challenges and solutions together.
Application: Be available for your husband today and initiate in this area. If this is an area you are struggling with get help from a trusted older woman or couple that you admire or check out the resource Intimacy Ignited below and read it together.
Want to Dig a Little Deeper?
How to Have a Daily Time with God by Dr. Terry L. Coomer
How to Have a Real Relationship with God-The Work of the Holy Spirit in a Person’s Life by Dr. Terry L. Coomer
The Thought Life of the Christian by Dr. Terry L. Coomer
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
For Women Only What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn
Me? Obey Him? By Elizabeth Rice Handford
Intimacy Ignited by Dr. Joseph & Linda Dillow & Dr. Peter & Lorraine Pintus
THREE TYPES OF MEN
*The following words are various quotes taken from Chapter 8 in Created to Be a Helpmeet by Micheal and Debi Pearl. Though we do not endorse everything written by the author, this chapter is a helpful tool to help you better understand your husband.
God is dominant — a sovereign and all-powerful God. He is also visionary — omniscient and desirous of carrying out his plans. And, God is steady — the same yesterday, and today, and forever, our faithful High Priest. Most men epitomize one of these three aspects of God. No single man completely expresses the well-rounded image of God.
Mr. Command Man
A few men are born with more than their share of dominance and, on the surface, a deficit in gentleness. These men are born leaders. The Command Man can seem to be sufficient unto himself. A King wants a Queen, which is why a man in command wants a faithful wife to share his fame and glory. Without a woman’s admiration, his victories are muted. If a wife learns early to enjoy the benefits of taking the second seat, and if she does not take offense to his headstrong aggressiveness, she will be the one sitting at his right side being adored, because this kind of man will totally adore his woman and exalt her. She will be his closest, and sometimes his only, confidante.
If you are married to a king, honor and reverence is something you must give him on a daily basis if you want him to be a benevolent, honest, strong, and fulfilled man of God. He has the potential to become an amazing leader. Never shame him, and do not belittle him or ignore his accomplishments. Make it your life’s goal to become his queen.
Some of you are married to men who are shakers, changers, and dreamers. These men love confrontation and hate the status quo. They are the men who keep the rest of the world from getting stagnant or dull. The Visionary is consumed with a need to communicate with his words, music, writing, voice, art, or actions. Every Mr.Visionary needs a good, wise, prudent, stable wife who has a positive outlook on life. The wife of Mr. Visionary should learn how to be flexible and learn how to always be loyal to your man. You will be amazed at how much happier you will be and how much fun life can be if you learn to just go with the flow — his flow.
If you are a young wife married to a man whom your mama thinks is totally crazy — then you may be married to Mr. Visionary. Right now, purpose in your heart to be loyal to him, and to be flexible; then, let your dreamer dream. Lean back and enjoy the ride. Visionary Man will talk and talk and talk to his honey if she approves of him. He will be subjective, thinking about feelings, moods, and spiritual insights. One of his greatest needs will be for his wife to think objectively (proven truth) and use common sense, which will help keep his feet from flying too far from solid ground.
The Steady Man is “in the middle, not given to extremes.” Your husband never puts undue pressure on you. You rarely feel hurried, pushed, pressured, or forced. His steadiness makes him the last to change, so he seems to be a follower because he is seldom out front forming up the troops. There is no exciting rush in him, just a slow, steady climb with no bells or whistles. Some women equate their husband’s wise caution and lack of open passion as being unspiritual. His lack of spontaneity and open boldness may look like indifference to spiritual things. Your husband’s gentleness is not a weakness; it is his strength. Your husband’s hesitation is not indecision; it is cautious wisdom. Your husband’s lack of deep spiritual conversation is not a lack of caring; it is simply the cap on a mountain of intense emotions.
If this describes your man, you need to learn how to stand still and listen; then let God move your husband in his own good time. Ask God for wisdom and patience. Seek to always have a gentle spirit. A Steady Man needs a resourceful, hardworking woman with dignity and honor. It is important to Mr. Steady that his wife is able to be self-sufficient in all the mundane tasks of daily living. Mr. Steady will enjoy the company of others and be most comfortable spending time in small talk with whoever is around. Of the three types, he is the one that will be most liked by everyone.
Suzanne has been married to Dean, her high school sweetheart, for 24 years. She is a former Elementary Teacher and homeschooling mom with two now adult children. Jeremiah is 22 and Ruth is 19. Suzanne was saved in 1998 and has been a faithful member of Lehigh Valley Baptist Church since that time. She enjoys reading, snuggling with her new puppies, encouraging others and using her “Happy Planner.” Suzanne is a first-generation Christian and knows all about the struggles of striving to be a Godly wife, mother and servant of Christ. She hopes to encourage you with the wisdom that she has learned through the years and is still learning.