As I stated in a previous article on ways a husband can show love to his wife: Marriage ain’t easy!
Marriage can hurt, can be painful, and it oftentimes can feel more like a roller-coaster than a smooth boat ride on a calm lake. There and up’s and there are down’s. Sometimes those down’s feel so low you want to quit, pack up your bags and leave. But there is light at the end of the tunnel for those who are willing to put forth the effort.
How to fix a relationship between a husband and a wife.
Ever since the Fall of humanity in Eden’s Garden, back in Genesis chapter three, there have been problems in marriage. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman. The woman blamed the serpent. But neither the husband nor the wife was willing to say: It’s all my fault, Lord! But praise be to God that He knows how to fix a relationship!
Problems arise in marriage for many different reasons. There may be problems in finances, or how best to raise children, in-laws, submission to one another, secrets, sexual affairs…you name it. But the core issue comes down to the fact that we want to be served by other people rather than serving our spouse. Husbands and wives are sinners. If husbands and wives loved one another as themselves (“love your neighbor as yourself”), there would be far less divorce, separation, or stress in our marriages. Consequently, we wouldn’t need so many blog articles offering ways about how to fix a relationship.
Nevertheless, I want to offer some suggestions to both men and women about how to fix a relationship. I will offer some suggestions for the men first (who need to be better leaders and love their wives) and then offer some for the women (who need to submit to being led and respect their hsubands).
How to Fix a Relationship (for the MEN)
1. Men…don’t ever, ever, ever keep secrets from your wife.
I have a confession to make. This is the first one on the list because it is one I’ve personally messed up on too many times now to count. If Mary & Martha from the Bible could be used as illustrations for a marriage, my wife is Martha and I am Mary.
My wife can jog circles around me when it comes to administration or being “orderly.” I’m more of a laid back kind of guy. At the beginning of our marriage I was open with my wife about most things on my mind. However, it seemed to me that what were little more than passing “thoughts” in my own head, which I would likely never pursue, to her meant those were plans I was formulating to act on right then and there. That caused friction, serious friction. Friction that is still felt even today. What I did as a result was to stop being open with her about things I thought about or considered. Even on things I did intend to pursue, I never told her much about it…usually until it was too late.
Obviously, that was a stupid blunder on my part. I have come to realize that communication works better when I verbally communicate to my wife what my plans are, but doing a better job explaining what I will or will not pursue. I still have a lot of work to do in the area personally. Maybe other husbands do as well?
2. Men…don’t ever stare at other women.
This should seem like obvious counsel, but far too many men do this. Question: Would you feel insecure, hurt, or shamed if your wife stared at other men. Yes, you probably would, and for good reason. When you make the decision to turn your head away from lust and second glances, you’re demonstrating to your wife that she is more valuable to you then other women.
This goes for things on the internet as well, whether they are merely images in a television commercial or full-blown internet pornography. Our wives deserve our undivided attention when it comes to the physical relationship, so don’t compromise that holy relationship for the passing pleasures of sin for a season.
3. Men, complement your wives to other people.
Not only should we not put our wives down publicly, but we should praise our wives, lifting her up, calling her blessed (Proverbs 31), and speak about her deeds often. The more your wife feels loved and needed, the more she will respect you.
How to Fix a Relationship (for the WOMEN)
1. Wives, respect your husband and submit to his authority.
I know this has got to be difficult, but God didn’t say it would be easy when He commanded it. It is your husband’s responsibility to lead you and the children, like Christ loves the church, but your role is to submit to his headship in the marital relationship.
It is interesting to note that even in my own marriage, I am more motivated to love my wife and do kind things on her behalf when I feel respected by her. When I don’t feel respected, I am less inclined to be motivated to perform loving deeds toward her. Is that sinful on my part? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! (I’m a wretch!) But I’m simply making the point that the husband is more likely (motivated) to do a better job at his role in the marriage when the wife is currently doing hers. It just happens to be a truism when it comes to marriage between two people plagued by the Genesis 3 Fall.
2. Wives, don’t ever, ever, ever cut off your husband when he is speaking.
This sort of ties in to the first point above, but it’s narrower.
I was recently talking to a husband and wife at the same time for about ten minutes. The wife spoke practically the entire time and raced to answer any of my questions before her husband had a chance to answer. In fact, he tried to answer first on many of my questions, but she cut him off nearly 90% of the time. As she cut him off and spoke, I kept glancing at him to see his expression and demeanor. It was easily noticeable how annoyed the husband was. He felt disrespected by his wife in front of another man. (Ugh!) It’s strange, but all I could think about while she spoke to me was that she has no idea what she’s doing to her husband or how she’s making him feel right now. That is definitely a big issue, as far as husbands are concerned, when it comes to figuring out how to fix a relationship.
3. Wives, do NOT compare your husband to other men.
Whether you do this publicly in your conversations with others (especially your friends or parents) or whether you do it in a closed conversation with only your husband, comparing him to other men you know is a sure way to an unhappy marriage.
Most people flaunt an exaggerated facade when it comes to how other people view them. The fact is that we usually show people our “good side” and hide our “bad side.” So when you compare your husband to other men you know, whether at your church or workplace or wherever, you’re not seeing the full picture. In fact, “other men” really isn’t even the standard you ought to use when comparing your husband. The standard we men need to live up to is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! And in case you aren’t aware of this already, no man even comes close to the divine Standard. We fail multiply times daily. So when it comes to how to fix a relationship, don’t compare your husband to other men, even if he is a pastor.
In summary, if we husbands loved our wives like we should, we’d never need to figure out how to fix a relationship. And if wives respected their husbands like they should, the same would be true. So let’s stop sinning and start loving and respecting our spouses, for that is how you can truly live up the standard of being one flesh.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTING BELOW: What are some other suggestions you have for either husbands or wives that would be good ideas regarding how to fix a relationship?