How is it that the thing that’s supposed to bring us the most joy, that we wait our whole lives for, that we dream about from the time we’re little girls, can cause us so much pain? You find the right guy and you think life is going to be a walk in the park (cue birds singing and sun shining), but there’s something you didn’t know: marriage is hard.
I have some friends walking through some tough stuff in their marriages right now. Heck, I have at least one good friend at any given time working through something in her marriage. Know why? Marriage is hard.
But us girls, we make things harder for ourselves, really. We have unrealistic expectations. We pout. We get emotional. We blame it all on him.
Listen, before you get mad at me, I know men are idiots. They do stupid stuff. They think we’re going to be easy going and cool with their “guy” stuff. They don’t get us at all.
So if men are from Mars and women are from Venus, how in the world are two people supposed to make it work? Especially when things get tough?
When marriage is hard
Marriage is hard, period, due to the above things I’ve already mentioned. But what if you’re walking through an especially difficult situation like infidelity, financial stress, family matters, poor communication, illness, difficulty in parenting… the list goes on and on, and the things that are stressful to each couple will differ.
There are things you can do to make marriage not-so-hard, though, if you choose. You cannot control your husband or his actions (nor would you want to, trust me), but you can control your own thoughts, words, and actions. You can even take control over your feelings, believe it or not. (I used to think that feelings were wild things that called their own shots. Shame on me.)
How to make marriage easier
Love your husband.
That may seem silly to say, but when you realize love is a choice, and not a feeling, you realize the power you have to love your husband and love him well.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
We all make mistakes, sometimes they’re really big and it seems like your marriage can’t weather the storm. But listen, love covers a multitude of sins. Both yours and his. He may have messed up really badly, but your love for each other can make it ok. Even better? God’s love for the both of you covers your sins. Jesus is love and because He gave His life for you, HE covers your sin.
So if you’re making the choice to love your husband, despite his sin and mistakes, then you’re not relying on the way you feel. You’re simply saying “I’m going to love him, not because I feel loving towards him, but because I made a vow.”
When you decide to love your husband, just wait and see if your heart doesn’t soften towards him.
Forgive your husband.
And while we’re talking about making a choice, not based on how we feel, but on what we are called by the Almighty to do, it’s time to forgive him.
Boy, if I had a dime for every time I tried to make the feeling of forgiveness come so I could move on from hurt in my past once and for all… I’d be rich. Only when I learned that I could say I forgive someone and actually choose to do it, even if I don’t feel like it, did I learn how granting forgiveness, even in the absence of an apology, gives me freedom. Just say it. “I forgive him for _____.” Feels good, right?
Even if he won’t admit he did something wrong, or he hasn’t exactly asked you to forgive him, you need to forgive him. The two of you may have lots of healing left to do in your marriage, but if you haven’t forgiven him, you will not move forward in healing. You will be stuck.
AND- if you choose to forgive him, that means you’re giving him a clean slate. You don’t bring up his transgression again, and you don’t hold it over his head, demanding he make it up to you. You may have to keep wrestling it over with the Lord, but you cannot keep throwing it in your husband’s face.
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)
When God forgives you, He doesn’t bring it up again. He doesn’t say “I forgive you, but I need you to do this for me now.” He says “It is done.”
You want to see change in your marriage? Want to see your husband change? Like, really change? Speak life into him! He may not be meeting the standards you hoped he would, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage him to be the man you wish he was.
What does that mean? Speak to him with respect. Treat him like a king- even if he has behaved like a dog! Do nice things for him without expecting anything in return. Your words and actions will speak life into your man and he will take note when you start lifting him up with your words rather than tearing him down.
Mention it when he does something that pleases you. Thank him for working hard. Even if he fails to recognize your hard work. Even if he speaks rudely to you.
I know that seems harsh, but you catch more bees with honey, honey.
Here’s the hard part about this if there is strife in your marriage: you have to swallow your pride and humble yourself to your husband. Ouch. Humble= humiliating. He messed up, so why should you be the one who has to gravel?
I’m not saying to lose your dignity here. I’m just reminding you that the words you speak about and to your husband have a profound effect on the man he is and will become.
If he hasn’t been living up to your expectations, what words have you spoken that may have contributed to his lackluster performance as a husband?
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Do you want your tongue to bring life or death to your marriage? What consequences do you want to reap as a result of the words you say?
I love to talk… and I especially love to tell my husband how much I love being married to him, what a good daddy he is, how much I appreciate his hard work, and plenty of other things that are for his ears only. I also love to tell other women what a great husband he is.
That wasn’t always the case. When I was dissatisfied with my marriage, I loved to chat with other women about his failings and short comings. It made me feel better and somehow justified when we got into a fight and I placed all the blame on him.
Are you speaking life words over your husband to other women? Or would you be ashamed if your words got back to him?
Build him up to the man you want him to be, one compliment, one word at a time.
It’s worth the fight
I know marriage is hard. And sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the fight anymore. But before you give up, take a hard look at what you can change. You may not be able to change him, but you can sure change you, and through that, you just might change your marriage. That’s something worth fighting for.
Do you agree that marriage is hard? Share using a link below to encourage a friend going through a tough time.