Marriage is tough. Having a great marriage is even tougher. By nature, we men tend to be a bit isolated, independent, and a little dense at times. By and large, we find female emotions a mystery and an unnecessary distraction.
Why does she have to be so sensitive?
Why does she always take everything so personal?
I didn’t mean anything by that comment about her hair changing color for the tenth time in three months . . . I don’t really care. (And therein lies the problem.)
Often we stumble into a situation that leaves us frustrated. We’ve lived around women all our lives, but we still just don’t get the female species. Of course, we’re grateful for women in general. We all love our mama, tolerate our sister, and thank God for sex with our wife, but they all baffle us on a regular basis.
That being said, perhaps women are not the problem. Maybe (and I know this is a radical concept), just maybe we are in need of some serious growth. Is it possible that we need to learn how to be better husbands and focus more on our character?
Recently, my wife and I celebrated our thirty-eighth wedding anniversary. The fact that she has stuck with me that long is a tribute to her love and patience. Along the way, however, I’ve learned a few things you might want to consider implementing in your marriage.
- Love your wife for who she is, not for what she does. Performance-based relationships rarely last. We might be able to perform our way into a marriage relationship, but sooner or later we all fail (including you). So if your relationship is primarily built on your wife’s performance, then you are destined for struggle. If, however, she knows that you love her simply because of who she is to you, it provides a strong and secure foundation for a lasting marriage.
- Selflessly serve her without reservation or expectation. Find ways to meet her needs before your own. And when you serve, don’t do so expecting anything in return. According to Ephesians 5, I am to love my wife as Jesus loved the church. Jesus said He came to serve, not to be served. Jesus sacrificed everything for us. Truth is, Jesus died for His bride. Certainly, this goes against our human nature and our me-first culture, but we are called to serve and lay our lives down. So man-up and give up your rights and demands, and watch how powerfully that will impact your marriage.
- To build up your marriage, build up your wife. This ought to be a no-brainer. Most guys like to build. We understand the process of investing time, energy, and money into something we care about. We all know the difference between a sledgehammer and a framing hammer. One is used to tear down and destroy, and the other is used to build up and create. Tragically, our words and our actions often emotionally bruise those around us. Rather than beat down your wife, look for ways to build her up every day. Treat her better than any project you might have out in the garage or backyard. Let your words bless and encourage her as only you can.
Yup. Marriage is not for the faint-hearted. It will cost you. It is work, and it’s not always fun. But after almost four decades with my wife I can promise you this, it’s worth it.
So go focus on your character and her needs rather than her character and your needs, and watch and see what God will do.
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