My bags were in the minivan along with our four young children, and I drove to the church to tell my husband that we were leaving him for a few days.
Enough was enough.
He couldn’t deny my reasons for going, but he begged me not to leave. His brokenness gave me hope as I drove back home to unpack. The thing I wanted more than anything was to be wanted by my husband.
As desperate as I was for his love and attention, he was grasping for something to fill a need in his own soul. While he spent hours in the woods and on the river, dollar upon dollar on the next big thing, I was crying myself to sleep wondering why I was no longer enough to be his greatest thrill.
This was not the marriage of my dreams. I felt alone and unwanted.
Have you faced that kind of rejection? As women, we deeply desire to be known and to be cherished. Living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, even having children together isn’t enough to satisfy that longing.
What is it that your husband has chosen over you?
- his buddies
- pursuing his dream
- other women
What if he didn’t really choose one of these over you? What if it really has nothing to do with the object of his pursuit or obsession?
My husband was struggling with something deep within himself, trying to medicate his own pain and insecurities with anything that could temporarily bring happiness. I say temporary, because isn’t all of it temporary save the love of Christ?
Can we really love someone when we are consumed with satisfying our own soul?
I know loneliness. I understand feeling invisible, taken for granted, and undesirable. I longed for my husband to long for me. Some days I prayed for him, but most days I pushed him further away by trying to control him. Silent treatments, guilt trips, nagging and crying only made things worse.
So what does God ask of us while we are in that lonely place hoping for change? What do we do while we are waiting to be wanted?
My husband (a pastor) and I usually don’t recommend marriage counseling. Most issues in marriage arise when someone in the relationship is not really healthy. What I mean by that, is that most of us are messed up. Until both the husband and the wife have a healthy view of God and self, nothing will really change. My husband eventually went to counseling, and I watched God set him free from his struggle. Guess what? That’s when I realized what a mess I was! Both of us now live believing that we are loved, accepted, worthy, and secure. In Christ. Ask God what needs to change in you.
Stop nagging, correcting, judging, begging, threatening your spouse. We cannot change anyone. God changes hearts and he has not enlisted us as his little helpers. He called us to be our husband’s helper in Genesis. If you study the Hebrew you find out that it means a suitable helper, a compliment to him, a helper comparable to him. How are we truly helping our husbands? What is it that we are designed to do for them?
Respect. I don’t have to feel respect to give respect, but my husband feels loved by me when I give it. He needs to know that I think he has what it takes. He needs me to believe in him. Look for ways to build him up. You may have to search hard but, girl, you can find something. It’s how we love them, not our words that win over their hearts.
The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. 1 Peter 3:1
How desperate are you for change? How feisty are you willing to be? Your battle, my battle is not against these men of ours. Our first battle is within us. We resist our own selfish desires and choose to fight for the souls of our husbands. The next battle is one we fight against our enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy marriages. He has a battle plan. Do you? He has placed a target on your husband as the leader of your home. What will you do about it?
We have two choices here. We can slip down into a pit hanging onto our unmet expectations and loneliness or we can get on our knees and pray. We can give in to discouragement and hopelessness or we can pray the promises in God’s Word. Girls, we can allow a root of bitterness grow in between us, or we can allow the power of God to first change us and then captivate the hearts of our husbands.
Is it hard to be the only one in the marriage praying? Yes. Is it hard to feel like you are the only one working on the marriage? Yes. Maybe your husband isn’t praying, but Jesus is interceding to the Father. Maybe your husband is off with his buddies golfing but God is at work. You are not alone.
God is good. Marriage is hard, but God is good. Your husband may be way off track right now, but God is good. He is faithful to you and nothing is impossible with him.
We were created for connection and intimacy, and like threads in a tapestry, marriage is a weaving of two souls to make a beautiful design. On our own it becomes a tangled mess.
I will tell you that God redeemed our mess, and I will also tell you that it was not the last or even the worst. We have been married for 21 years and I’m in it to win it.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:12-13