I got in my car and started down our winding driveway. Tears fell in a steady flow. My chest was tight, my eyes puffy, and every muscle tight with stress. Why does it have to be so difficult? Why can’t he just love me the way I am? Why does everything have to be such an issue? What am I doing wrong?
Can you relate? If you’ve been married any time at all, I’m sure you can. At times I’ve gotten consumed trying to figure out how to make my husband love me and how to make everything all right between us that he in some strange way became my God. If we were doing well, I was doing well. If we weren’t doing so well, I wasn’t doing so well either.
Now, understandably, because my husband and I have come together as one, we are close enough that when he hurts, I hurt. But, my spirit should not vacillate between joy and sorrow based on how Art and I are getting along. Instead, my soul should always rest in the safety of Jesus’ unconditional love and acceptance.
Jesus laid this principle out clearly in John 15:5-6, which says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers.”
Jesus is our life-giving vine; our husbands are not. If we remain in Christ and let Christ be the only one who holds our souls and determines our identity, then we can bear much fruit. We know from Galatians 5 that the fruit of God’s Spirit in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Can you see why it is so important to get your every deep, spiritual need met by God alone? My husband can’t give this type of consistent love, joy, peace, etc. And I can’t give him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control apart from Christ. Apart from Christ I can do no good thing, because apart from Christ I wither as I try to make my husband fill me. When I do this I drain my husband and my marriage.
John 15:9 continues, “As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Now, my sweet friend, I know what it is like to walk the rocky paths of a difficult marriage. I understand the loneliness, the desperation, the frustrations. But I also know what it’s like to have a wonderful, fulfilling, romantic, awesome marriage.
My husband is basically the same man today as he was when things were not so good. God has worked on his heart and made some changes in him but nothing I’ve ever done had the power to change him.
The main thing that has transformed my marriage is my letting God be my God. Instead of focusing on all the things my husband didn’t do right or letting his approval or disapproval consume me, I learned to go to God and say, “Lord, I know You love me and You love my husband. So please either change him or change my heart toward him or this issue we are facing.” Sometimes He’ll soften my husband but more times than not God will change me.
I often share at conferences and retreats that God has taught me what it means to live for an audience of one. Instead of trying to be a good wife and win my husband’s approval, trying to be a good mom to win my kids’ approval, and trying to be a good friend to win my friends’ approval, I now simply try to please God. I seek only His favor and follow His precepts. In doing this I am a good wife, a good mom and a good friend.
Faithfully spending time with God every day and asking Him to fill me and give me my identity and security has transformed my marriage. It has freed me to take the focus off of my needs, my wants, and my desires. It is only through God’s strength working in me that I can give to my husband in this way and feel more fulfilled in giving than receiving.
Survey after survey that I received from men had a common thread: husbands said their wives were missing something in their life that the husbands had no idea how to fulfill. “I wish my wife knew that I love her,” or “I want to give her what she needs but I’m not sure even she knows what that is,” or “I wish so much my wife could see my inner feelings —how much I do love her —I just don’t know how to make her see and believe that,” and “I’m doing everything I know how to do to make her feel loved and it doesn’t seem to be enough.”
These husbands want their wives’ hearts to be secure enough to freely receive the love they were already offering. The only way this can happen is when a wife’s heart rests safely in the Lord’s hands and she’s at peace with who her God is. Then and only then can a woman of tender strength emerge with the capacity to be the wife she was created to be.
The above article comes from the book, Capture His Heart: Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires, by Lysa TerKeurst, published by Moody Press. This book is one that is endorsed by the ministry of Focus on the Family and is subtitled, “Becoming the Godly Wife Your Husband Desires.” This isn’t a very big book—it’s actually more compact than most, which might appeal to many. But don’t let its size fool you! It has some great material in it and a man might even use it to read together with his wife during a quiet time together. As one of them reads a chapter aloud, they can discuss it afterwards to see what they can learn about each other. It has 24 chapters which include the advice for the day, a short “Home Improvement” tip, and a “Thought for the Day.” There’s also a companion book which you can get that can also be used during this quiet time with the husband and wife which is titled, Capture Her Heart: Becoming the Godly Husband Your Wife Desires, also written by Lysa TerKeurst.
Filed under: For Married Women