– Feature Guest Post by Stephen Miller –
“I made a mistake”. “I shouldn’t have gotten married so young”. “We seem to have grown apart”. “That woman is Crazy!” We have all heard these statements combined with feelings of disillusionment, aggravation, and anger, coupled with sexual frustration, emotional frustration and maybe even spiritual frustration, it seems the natural thing, to look at our friend, our family member and start to nod our head in agreement.
(Photo by LightStock.com: Faith focused, Cheesy-Free Stock Photos)
It’s so easy to pat men on the back and say, “I hear you man”, but saying nothing to counter the emotions we are confronted with, maybe because your own marriage is hanging by a thread or your dealing with the frustrations of connecting with your wife as well. Divorce becomes a natural part of the conversation and viewed as the only way out, although the most damaging. We need to recognize that just like the tide rolls in and out according to the rotation of the earth and the gravitational pull of the moon, the feelings surrounding your marriage will ebb and flow depending upon the rotation of your moods and related to the gravitational pull of your decisions.
So let’s pretend you just said to me, “Steve. I just don’t think we were meant to be together”, and rather than agreeing with you and pacifying you, I’m going to empathize with you, but share why you should continue working to get past this low tide.
1) The Theory of Soul Mates is not Biblical.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that there is one person meant for you and you are meant for one person and if you miss out and marry the “wrong” person, then you will be unfulfilled. When frustrations arise within a relationship, it’s very easy to blame it on outside forces rather than take responsibility for the issues ourselves. The use of the term soul mates designates that if you marry this one person, you will never argue, your sex drives will match, your spending habits will balance, and there will be continuous harmony in your home. Hold on a second while I strike a yoga pose and meditate for a second. Ok never mind, I’m not that flexible. So I’ll just say, wake up and get back to work.
2) Your issues revolve more around your misguided expectations than your spouse’s faults.
Wait just a minute, did I just say that you need to evaluate whether your expectations are wrong rather than your spouse being wrong? Yes, yes I did. Have you ever grabbed the wrong glass while sitting around a table with a group of friends? You were drinking a Soda and they were drinking Iced Tea? You were expecting that familiar flavor of syrup and sugar combined with carbonation. What entered your mouth was cold and flat with no carbonation and a strong flavor of tea leaves. You grimaced and almost threw it up! Not because tea is bad, not because tea is gross, but because it wasn’t what you were expecting. You may have expected a certain type of wife. You may compare her to your mother. You may need to step back and celebrate your wife for her differences, not your perceived flaws. I used to only eat steak dipped in ketchup. Because that’s what I liked when I was a kid. I dipped everything in ketchup, but as I grew older and went to a steakhouse with adults, I was too embarrassed to dip it in ketchup, so I ate the steak without it. It was fantastic! The flavor was excellent, the meat was divine. I had never tasted steak without the pungent flavor of ketchup. Once I tried it differently, I found out I loved it. It was the same in my third year of marriage. (Now on 18) Give your wife’s differences a chance.
3) You’re commanded from your Lord to Love your Wife.
Loving her the way Christ loves the church. Even if she has faults, which she probably does, you love her. Love her when she’s upset, love her when she cooks and when she doesn’t. When she wants to have sex and when she doesn’t, when she needs you to shut up and listen, when she’s in pain, sick, or hurting emotionally…… love her. When she’s on top of the world, when you have children or if you don’t, when you look into her eyes and recognize that you are responsible for this woman, to love her. Giving up is not loving her, leaving is not loving her, checking out emotionally is not loving her. Love her through the low tides and love her in the high tides. Love her when it’s so hard to do and love her when it’s easy. Ephesians 5:33, “Each one of you should love your wife as yourself………… Yeah I know there’s more to that verse, focus on your part. Love her.
Lord, be with every man who reads this, give them strength to do the right thing, empower them with the fruits of your Spirit and enable them to bear those fruits within their marriages. Help them to love You so much that they can’t help but to love their wives and love them well. Amen.
What is one tip you could offer other husbands to get past the misery stage of marriage?
Stephen Miller is a Family Life Pastor at Crystal River Church of God, an ordained minister in the Church of God, the Men’s Ministry leader of Warriors with a Covenant and a Married Life Small group marriage ministry leader. Steve and his wife Jessica present regularly for the Marriage Restored Conference. You can read more of his work at Marriage Encounter and read his book “Fight for Her! A Marriage in Crisis and God’s Intervention.”