In the spirit of truth-sharing, I’ll tell you that being the wife I am called to be is my weak area, my Achilles heel. I never feel so much like Paul in Romans 7, battling with the flesh, as when marital issues arise. How can I love my husband when I myself feel unloved?
Often Satan and sin have me so ensnared that I even become confused as to what “right” really is.
Like many married couples, we tend to get caught up in the cycle of an argument that’s been played out time and time again. And that can be so frustrating!
Revisiting those same issues makes us feel like failures, trapped by the past, stalled in our progress.
But I’m not satisfied with a marriage that’s merely okay, and I mean that in the best of ways, I really do. I desperately want to grow ever closer to the type of intimacy God intended for us to experience as man and wife.
I don’t want to be fatalistic or resigned in my outlook, even though I may feel that way at times. Because if I settle for “this is as good as it gets,” then where is my hope in the God who transforms souls, including my own?
Marriage is hard work, just like parenting is hard work. If it were easy, we would not be challenged to grow!
Marriage teaches me things about myself that I loathe: how selfish I am, how easily offended, how weak and needy. But unless I see the truth of where I stand, what chance do I have to move on from that spot?
By far the most difficult times in our marriage occur when we are both bearing unusual burdens that slowly wear us down, burdens like extended illness, or financial stress, or parenting issues, or major decisions, or unpredictable catastrophes.
We’re both weak.
We’re both worn and frayed.
We’re both longing for rest.
You’ve been there before, I’m sure – those times in life when you both feel like you need a good long vacation from reality.
As much as I’d like to blame our marital strife on my husband’s inadequacies, I know the issues at hand aren’t his alone. We’re called to be sacrificial in our love for one another, but when I’m already at the end of my rope, I often feel there is nothing left to give.
I become selfish;
I withhold kindness.
I justify: how can I love when I feel unloved?
How can I lift my husband up when I can barely lift myself up, Father?
How can I?
I’m certain I’m not alone in this desire we wives have to be rescued by our husbands when the going gets tough.
This desire to have men of strength come charging in to save the day. This desire to let ourselves be the weak ones for once. This desire to feel protected and cherished and cared for.
Because for all of our outward strength, we women often harbor needs that remain hidden.
The problem is that in wishing my husband would take on that role of Rescuer, I’m asking him to fill a space only our Father God can truly fill.
When I ask my husband to fill up that empty space, I’m asking to be disappointed.
My husband is imperfect. Sometimes he lets me down, as I do him. Sometimes he needs a Rescuer just as I do. Sometimes he is weak. He is only human after all. My desire for him to be what even I cannot is quite unfair, isn’t it?
I’ll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense.
I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.
So, how can I love my husband when I feel unloved?
How can I be so filled with the Spirit, so filled with the Father’s love for my husband, that I have a constant and abundant supply to give?
Honestly, I have no clear answers.
I have only ideas, inklings of what it takes.
Prayer would be a good start - telling God where I’m really at, even if it’s ugly. Letting Him know how unfair it feels, how I feel unloved, how hurt I am, how afraid. Asking Him to bring light to the Enemy’s lies, lies about how it will never change, about how it never has changed, about how you’re stuck.
They are Satan’s favorite lies. You’re trapped in this loveless marriage forever! He’s unfair! He doesn’t appreciate you! You shouldn’t have to put up with this!
Praying for supernatural intervention certainly helps! God can change my husband’s heart, as well as my own, quicker than an hours-long “discussion.” He can give me a supernatural love for my man, something that is not naturally “in me,” especially when I feel unloved.
The Father can melt my stubbornness, soothe my anger, hold my hurt, and forgive my sin, too.
He can also help me see the truth in the situation and who my husband is in the Father’s eyes, a dearly beloved son. He can remind me of how big my husband’s shoes are, how broad his shoulders. He can help me see clearly the load that often sits there and understand why my man sometimes stumbles beneath it.
When I see that truth, who my husband really, truly is at heart, I’m overwhelmed by compassion and ashamed by my traitorous thoughts.
I may not feel any stronger. I may still desperately need rescuing. I may even carry wounds from the wrestling.
But at last I see that we two are the same: lonely, weary hearts in search of love and acceptance and a Rescuer.
You’re tired? Me, too.
You want to escape from life right now? Me, too.
You feel inadequate? Me, too.
You hurt? Me, too.
Instead of being angry with my hubby for failing to rescue me, we can turn hand in hand to the Father, the One who rescues us both.
This is how we love, friends,
by gazing into the face of Love Himself.
I’m not trying to make it sound simple or easy because I know how difficult it is to choose love when the world tells us it’s easier to give up and call it quits.
We can choose to love even when we feel unloved because Jesus did.
And so we stand, my husband and I, in the face of Perfect Love.
Side by side.
Fear washed away.
Compassion in our eyes.
Forgiveness on our faces.
Wearing our Grace-colored glasses because we serve the God of all Hope!
We’re merely works in progress here on Earth.
But we are not alone.
And this is not our home.
When do you feel strain in your marriage the most?
How do you take it to the Lord?
You can find more great posts on marriage here:
Also – Life in Grace
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