To Desperately Praying Wives Everywhere,
Marriage isn’t what you imagined it to be, huh? I get it.
I remember being a young woman, daydreaming about building a family with the perfect guy. Maybe you, too, imagined how the Christmas cards would look—matching red pajamas and beaming babies. Or you pictured sitting at the large, mahogany dining table together, sweet smiles, grateful bellies, an aura of well-earned pride over the most tender pot roast ever. Sitting in the den, cuddled on the couch together, the doting children at your feet, a blazing fire crackling.
You didn’t ever see yourself screaming as you set up the auto-timer on your camera, “I said look this way! Smile or so help me God!”
As your hurriedly tell your honey goodnight, taking your turn to tuck in exhausted kids at the end of another monotonous day, you realize, life is nothing like romance novels.
“It’s your turn,” you grumble to your spouse, in reference to the sink full of stained Corelle (the only dishes the children don’t consistently break), the aftermath of being a short-order cook for picky eaters.
Did anyone even say, “thank you”?!
It’s hardly ever movie night. No, it’s crying over homework right up until bedtime. It’s envying your partner as he dozes off in his recliner.
He could sleep through a tsunami!
It’s picking up the same mess, waiting in the car line at the elementary school. It’s taking off work for another doctor appointment, or leaving early to make the soccer game. It’s packing lunches, scraping together a fast meal, and telling your husband, “Not tonight, hon. I feel all bloated.”
All you know is, it’s nothing like you imagined at all. You wanted a regular date night. Not a peck on the cheek as you scurry past one another on a rushed Monday morning.
“Do you know where I put my keys, dear?!” he says.
Sometimes you feel like no one could find their own butt if you didn’t tell them where God put it!
The next thing you know, you’re angry about towels on the floor and balled-up socks under the couch.
Does anyone know there’s a thing called a laundry basket?!
You find yourself easily annoyed over tiny nuisances.
Like, why does he put all his crap on the mantle?! It’s not his personal junk table!
Why is it every time you go in the bathroom the hand towel is on the floor?!
You end up feeling like You. Do. Everything. Like, if you didn’t hold this family together, the whole thing would spin out of control. You work, pick up the children, make supper, clean house, help with homework, give baths, read bedtime stories, say prayers. Then it starts all over again the next day!
Maybe if he could just carry his fair share of the load!
Your marriage becomes more like a competition, and you are certain you bear the heavier burden. You keep a scorecard instead of a prayer journal. You allow one bitter thought to lead into another. A mound of discontent forms, threatening to topple and crush you both.
You become short-tempered, easily perturbed, getting snippy before you can even stop yourself. He responds back with anger, and then the silent treatment ensues.
This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
So, I’m going to offer you some advice, my friend, something I learned through much trial and error. I’m going to tell you how to get a better husband.
Are you ready?
Wait for it…
The way to get a better husband is to become a better wife.
What?! I know what you’re thinking. He’s the one that needs to change, right? He needs to help more around the house, be a better listener, hang out with the kids more!
Well, this might be an unpopular opinion, but I think the best bet for a better marriage is to take the focus off what your partner is doing wrong, and instead focus on what you can do better. Your nagging and obvious discontent can change very little, but your persistent prayer can change a lot. I’ve found that the more I seek to serve my spouse, the more he serves me in return. You can change no man, but the Lord has softened more hearts than you can count. Seek the Lord often, and follow Scripture for the kind of wife that pleases God. Everything we do in this life should be to His glory and service, and therefore my marriage is my ministry. I strive to show my spouse love like Jesus would do, and I’ve found that since I began this work, my marriage has been abundantly blessed.
My spouse serves me in love, and neither of us wastes time on what the other isn’t doing. Our relationship is a partnership, but we don’t bother with keeping score. Instead of ensuring it’s an equal 50/50 relationship, we simply give 100% of ourselves to the marriage. It’s not a contest, it’s a team, and we don’t bother with whose turn it is to sprint. We just keep pace together.
I discovered that selfishness is the saboteur of marriage. When we focus on who we think is giving more (which is usually ourselves), we become blinded by lies from the enemy. Seeds of discontent are sown, we forgo forgiveness, and grace is a goner. But if we can let go of the things that aren’t important, and instead focus on the love we share, we can calmly and clearly see our spouse’s heart for us.
So, if you’re that desperately praying wife, beating your head against the wall for how to make your man be a better husband, perhaps the answer isn’t found in him. Perhaps it’s found in you. I know it’s found in Jesus.
Start today. Begin to see your marriage as a ministry to the Lord. Serve your spouse like you’re serving Jesus, and watch as the Lord begins to bless your life. Surrender your spouse to God, and you just do you. The Lord will sort out the rest. You’ll see.
A Passionately Praying Wife Whose Prayers Were Answered
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on briegowen.com.
Featured Image by freestocks.org