Marriage so easily becomes a fertile ground for the growth of bitterness and resentment. Perhaps it’s the small things: the socks left in the middle of the floor, the toilet seat left up, the restless nights. Perhaps it’s slightly bigger things: a forgotten birthday, a week marred by grumpiness, a month with too many commitments. Or perhaps it’s big things: a move to another state for work, failure to meet primary responsibilities, or different preferences about family, housing, or ministry.
These things can especially affect us early in our marriage, when we’re not used to each others idiosyncrasies, and we’re learning how to please each other. We may ask ourselves some hard questions – “What am I doing in this relationship? Who is this person I’ve married?”. This comes especially if we heard our mother complaining about what “all men” are like, or if our father continually pointed out our mother’s faults, we may learn habits of discontentment and criticism which are hard to shake.
It’s been practically one year into my marriage and I’ve had an immense amount to learn about loving my husband. All of which I have strived to take the most head-on and practical approach to because I seek to love him purely, be his “help-meet” NO matter the load, and build a model that works for the both of us and will someday provide a healthy model for our children and to other believers and unbelievers alike. I seek to develop loving feelings for my husband as my commitment to taking my vows seriously, “’til death do us part.” Here are some practical and biblical principles that will allow us to keep our head on straight when striving to love our husbands despite circumstances. Besides we’re called to love our mates as God loves us with an Agape (unconditional) love so let’s get to it!!!
- Keep your heart. Realize that emotions like bitterness or fear are a good early warning sign of unhelpful thinking and wrong beliefs. Examine your heart, repent of any wrong thinking, and receive God’s forgiveness.
- Reflect on your own sinfulness. We were once sinners, and our husbands too. How can we not forgive our husbands, when they have forgiven and put up with us, and, more importantly, when God has forgiven us for so many more sins against him?
- Learn to think tender thoughts about your husband. Instead of focusing on your husband’s faults, think about his good qualities. Take a moment to look at him, and dwell on the things you love and appreciate about him. To retrain my mind, I actually wrote a list of my husband’s many wonderful qualities, and thanked God for them daily and now it is natural for me to think these things about him throughout the day; as I think of him (almost momentarily) I also think on these things.
- Cherish your husband in your actions. Make sure your husband comes before children (if you have them), home and ministry in the way you use your time and energy. Marriage is your first ministry, if you cant effectively love your spouse; How can you show this dynamic in God’s kingdom? Learn to enjoy the things he enjoys. You can do it: I didn’t particularly love history, but in order to spend more time with my husband I watched it and I have actually taken a likening to it! I think I’d like to make more of an effort to organize date nights (apart from ANY distractions-Twitter & FB will do it), give Ardarion my full attention, and make sure I put him first in my decisions.
- Find friends who support your marriage. When I was newly married, I had one friend I could always talk to openly and honestly about my marriage, because I knew she would always, without fail, draw my attention to my husband’s many wonderful qualities, and encourage me to have tender thoughts for him. Be a friend like this to your married friends! I now have many who I communicate with thru social media who share like views about marriage and we encourage one another in #TheWifeLife (Autumn Joiner, Nikita Montgomery, Shafawn Wiley, Rocquelle Devine, Kit-Tena Ferguson & others). There is so much joy and pleasure in KNOWING that you are NOT alone in trying to make sure that your husband is TOP priority and his needs are met thru how you love him.
Believe me, you can practice and learn to love your husband with a tender love. I know because I was good at this but I seek to love him better with every passing day so I practice and learn how. And the result? A God willed, happy, loving, supportive marriage, where two people cherish each other above all others, bear cheerfully with one another’s faults, thank God for each other’s strengths, and give their children the security and example of a loving relationship.
© 2011 The GOoD Life. Courtesy of Right The Vision. All Rights Reserved.