I love, love, love being married! Apart from Christ, marriage is the biggest blessing of my life. At some point in our marriage journeys, however, we begin to notice that our husbands may not be doing all the same romantic or considerate things they did on a more regular basis back when they were just our boyfriends.
You know what I’m talking about – they no longer give us flowers regularly for no reason or perhaps they don’t hang on to our every word with quite the same interest as before or maybe they don’t express exuberance over something we’ve shared quite as freely as they once did.
It can be easy to quickly grow disappointed or disenchanted when considering these noted changes. This is precisely when we start walking on dangerous ground, because those small disappointed feelings, if allowed to fester in our hearts, can easily grow into deep-rooted angst and bitterness against our guys.
So, what do we do? How do we handle these let-downs over some change in things our husbands do for us or ways in which they act towards us? There are actually a few points I want to make on this topic, which I hope will both encourage you, as well as challenge you, and all the while, grow and prosper your marriage. Let’s get started!
1. Understand That There is a Lot More on His Mind Now
I remember standing in our kitchen one day a year or two ago and growing increasingly frustrated by my husband’s seeming lack of listening to, or interest in, something I was saying.
Finally, I belted out, “Why aren’t you listening??? You always listened to whatever I had to say back when we were dating!!! Now you aren’t even interested!!!”
While, granted that wasn’t the best way for me to bring up the issue, I am glad I asked, because his answer struck me:
“Honey, it isn’t that I’m not as interested in what you’re saying as I was back then. It’s just that now there is so much more on my mind than there ever was before. Now I have work to think about, providing for you and our family, taking care of things around the house, etc. It’s a lot. If I seem like I’m not listening, I’m sorry. There’s a lot on my mind.”
Wow, right? It hit me like a ton of bricks: this man carries a lot on his shoulders and, unbeknownst to me at the time, those concerns weigh on his mind on a regular basis. He works hard to provide well for us, to see that the needs of his family are being met as they should be, and that he isn’t falling down on some responsibility he has as a husband, father, protector, and provider. I’m ashamed to say I had never considered that before! No wonder he doesn’t always “hang on to my every word”! I need to cut my guy some slack.
2. Your Finances may not be What They Were Before
Is the letdown you are facing in your marriage right now a result of your husband not buying you flowers or little trinkets as often as he did before you got married? While this change can be disappointing and perhaps cause you to mistakenly deduce that he doesn’t love you as much as before, keep in mind that the two of you are running a household now and have all the expenses that go along with forming a family. Expenses which can lead to sometimes being unable to afford the fun little extras you once did. Don’t take this personally.
3. You’ve Changed, Too!
As easy as it can sometimes be to point the finger and be worried about the speck in another person’s eye, we need to first remember the log in our own (Matthew 7:3-5). Have our husbands changed in some way in which they treat us? Perhaps so. But have we not done the very same ourselves?
I don’t know about you, but I know that I have definitely struggled with changes in my own attitude at times toward the man I married. I love him dearly, of course, but I recognize that there have been all too many instances in which I, myself, have changed from the doting girlfriend in whose eyes he could do no wrong to the nagging wife rolling her eyes over some little annoyance. I hate that, but it’s true. When we were dating, I was just sure he would never annoy me or frustrate me or disappoint me in some big way, that I would never fall prey to being the “nagging wife”. But I have at times.
And, yet, you know what? He has never once pointed out that change to me. He has never criticized me for being critical. He has never lamented this change in how I sometimes act. He has never acted devastated by something I’ve done that was different than how I would have done things as his girlfriend. Instead, he has loved me, prayed for me, given me grace again and again, forgiven me, and, all the while, consistently pointed me towards Christ through his loving actions when I fall short.
Now, if only I were more like that when he lets me down!
We young wives far too often have a tendency to take things personally, to become heartbroken and devastated when confronted with what we perceive as a change in our husbands, to make mountains out of molehills. I’m not saying it may not be disappointing when we see sides of our husbands which differ from the boyfriends we remember. What I am saying is that we need to understand what the reasons might be for these changes and seek to hear our husbands’ hearts and see things from their point of view before instantly jumping to the conclusion that they just doesn’t love us like they used to. The fact of the matter is, our husbands love us. Just as we love them. But, even so, they are still sinners and will disappoint us at times. In addition, they have a lot on their minds in caring for our needs and the needs of our household.
So, the question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to lament a perceived change in your husband? Or are you going to go to that man you married, love him, and seek to strengthen your marriage, growing ever closer to him day by day?
The choice is yours…