I know, I know, he was late again- didn’t get home until after 7:00 and you were planning on 5:00. And there’s his piles of junk all over the counter. Also- also!- he was falling asleep on the couch right when you needed to talk to him about that important thing.
If your husband were around more, would that help?
If he picked up his keys off of the counter, would that help?
If he worked less, would that help?
In your discontent, you look out at your friends’ marriages- the ones who go out on weekly dates, the ones who have husbands that actually do household projects, the ones who seem to never disagree- and you wonder what in the world they have that you don’t. You look out at other marriages and maybe wish yours were a bit like that?
You remember yourself as a bride- young and in love and feeling all of the feelings that come with romance and dating and sure you knew the way it was going to go. Feeling that “In sickness and in health, for better and or worse, from this day forward” was more just lines you recited for tradition- for you, it would all mostly just be “in health, for better, always.”
Now you look at your marriage and wonder How did we get here? There has got to be more to marriage than this. Now, he’s not there for you, he’s not pulling his weight, he’s not clean, he’s not present. When he is home, he’s not really home- you know what I mean? You know what I mean.
Oh, I know they should pull their weight. I know that you doing it all is unsustainable. I know that this was supposed to be a team effort and now it really just feels like the other side didn’t show up to the game.
And I know that hurts. You’re not going crazy- that’s hard.
But I’m going to ask you the same thing my very own husband asked me one day: What do you want your marriage to be about?
Sit with it for a second, see where it takes you.
What do you want your marriage to be about?
Because here’s the thing- all marriages are aiming at something. They can be aiming at appearance, or wealth, or busy schedules, or community involvement, or power even.
Friend, I say this with love because I’ve been there too, but it sounds like you made marriage a lot about you.
Your clean house, your side of the deal, the extra weight you’re pulling.
Your comfort, your heart, your needs, your happiness.
But the purpose of marriage isn’t to make us happy. The purpose of marriage is to show us God.
Through this lens, there’s other things that marriage can be aiming at as well: Grace. Generosity. Sacrificial love. Forgiveness. Adventure. Fun.
Do you remember those 3-D image books that initially looked like a bunch of wild designs, but then when you really stared at it, you instead saw this beautiful image pop off the page?
That’s kind of how marriage is.
Initially, marriage can seem to be this mess that you can’t really figure out. The two of you haven’t hit your rhythm yet, you’re keeping record of wrongs, you’re resenting what he’s not doing, you’re unhappy.
But when you adjust your aim just a little bit, when you let your vision get off of you and instead look just a little bit beyond yourself to the other person, their needs, how you can serve them above yourself, this whole new beautiful image of marriage is going to appear for you.
If you keep trying to fix your husband, get him to meet your needs, notice what he’s not doing, you’re never going to be happy in your marriage.
Do you know why? Marriage was never intended to be about you, my dear. If you keep your focus on yourself, the image is going to stay blurred. If you keep your focus on yourself, your husband is never going to be everything you need him to be.
Because you know what? It’s not your husband’s job to meet all of your needs- that belongs to God alone.
So let your husband off the hook and let God fill your needs instead. What does that look like? It looks like extending grace, it looks like praying for him, it looks like choosing to forgive. It looks a whole lot like letting go of the scorecard keeping tally of all the ways your husband doesn’t measure up.
It looks like letting two little words guide your days: Love Always.
As you look for ways to love him even when it doesn’t feel like he deserves it, I bet you’ll end up finding freedom there too. When you seek ways of how to love him above yourself, I bet you’ll discover you get less irritated, less resentful, less discontent because this is just the way love works.
It drives away darkness.
Here’s what I want you do to: Think about what you want your marriage to be about and make it so. Love always, throw out the scorecard, and love him above yourself.
Try it out for a week.
See if a new picture appears for your marriage.
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