If a person wants to strengthen their marriage, they can work on the areas that God speaks about, and authors then wrote about. In Ephesians 5, Christians are told to walk in love right at the start of the chapter. In (Ephesians 5:22-33, NKJV), the Apostle Paul, being led by the inspiration of the Spirit of God writes:
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
Eph 5:29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
Eph 5:31 “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
I have a friend that got frustrated with her husband because he didn’t do the things she wanted him to do in the way she wanted him to do them. I can understand that. I remember asking a ladies’ group leader why my husband wouldn’t listen to me when I had good advice to give him. Somehow, I got the idea that I was being prideful, so I repented to the Lord. I tried not to take it personally when he went in a direction that was contrary to my leading. How many times did he give me perfectly good guidance and I went my own way? Then, a year or two later I’d tell him something I read in a book that solved a problem I was wrestling with, and he’d quietly tell me that he advised me the same way a year ago, or five months ago, etc. Lots of times. I’m so glad he’s a patient man that doesn’t hold grudges!
My friend spoke to her mentor, an older lady that she admired regarding faith and wisdom. When my friend asked how she could change her husband, she said, “Do you do the same thing you want your husband to stop doing?”
My friend got thinking. Yes, I’ve been known to do the same thing. But, I don’t want to hear about me. I want her to tell me what to do about him.
Her mentor said, “I want you to ignore the fact that he struggles in this area. I want you to work on this struggle in your own life. I want you to think about how blessed he’s going to be when you take care of your own responsibility in this same situation.”
So, she went after it with gusto. When her husband came home from work, he could sense things were different. They got talking and she told him she’d been applying herself to get rid of a habit that stressed him out. Then she invited him to see the changes she’d made. He smiled like a Cheshire cat. They had a great evening. She didn’t nag him once.
About three days later, she noticed he, too started working on the issue they shared. She called her mentor and thanked her for the valuable advice. My friend said that happened years ago. Now, if she goes out of her way to be nice to him, he says, “What did I do now?”
“Nothing,” she says with a grin.
She means it, she just felt like blessing him. They get a good laugh about it now.
To get back to our conversation, I can’t say that I’ve stopped giving my husband advice. Now, I try to ask him questions. If he says, “I know you want to tell me how to handle this situation. This is what I want to do about it,” I listen.
Oftentimes, I’ll tell him that’s a great idea, and then I’m relieved he’s thinking about it. If I disagree, I’ll ask him if I can tell him some thoughts I have about the subject. If he’s tired, I don’t even think about bringing anything up. If he’s had a really stressful day, I don’t discuss anything that might start an argument. If we’re not communicating, I’ll wait a while, for me it may be only five minutes. Then, I say, “I’m trying to understand how you’re processing this.”
Then he may say, “I don’t have an opinion right now. I’ll get back to you when I’ve had time to consider the options.”
So, then I’ll back off. The other day, something medical came up. I tried to approach in a way that wasn’t harsh. I wanted to know why he didn’t go to the doctor sooner. I have been known to ask him to get his name on a cancellation list, so he can get in earlier, but he always says “no, I don’t want to bother people.”
Plus, he doesn’t like to talk on the phone. He doesn’t want to be treated like a son by his wife. So, I don’t offer to call. I may tell him I was tempted to call, and then he just looks at me. Message received. After all these years, I know my husband. Sometimes, it may be tempting not to even talk to him, because I know what he’s going to say. I care for him too much to do that. So, I’ll force myself to open up. Once in a while, he surprises me. When two people follow Jesus, who likes change, and works on our character, I’ll see that I didn’t know what my husband’s response was going to be.
So, about this medical event. He’s finally going to see a plastic surgeon in the morning to have a small area of a skin cancer removed. It was teeny, tiny in July. I mentioned that it wasn’t good that the spot wasn’t healing, back in the summer. Then I let it go. His body is his body. Even though we are one flesh. Over the last two months it has gotten my attention. His, too. So now he’s going. We both know it’s going to be painful. When I asked him why he waited, I’m just trying to understand, he said he didn’t really understand himself, so how could he explain it to me.
Enough said, right?
He doesn’t really like me writing about him, but he gave me his permission a while ago to bring him up if I felt a need to. How can I write about marriage if I don’t mention my husband?
Now, I’m asking people in our church to come out once a month for some kind of marriage get together. A dish to pass, a small teaching, fellowship with other couples. I’m hoping it’ll bless marriages. I believe families are under attack. God made the family unit because it’s not only good for the people involved, but it’s good for society. I think we’ll have fun, too and God likes healthy fun. In Proverbs it tells us that laughter works like medicine. Yay!
May God bless you!