Years ago, I stopped trying to please my husband and that is the when my rocky marriage started to turn around.
That might not make sense right away. How could I save my marriage if pleasing my husband didn’t matter to me. The simple answer: God.
At the time, I was miserable.
The days of being happy-go-lucky high school sweethearts were long gone. Now, no matter what I did he had something negative to say and nothing I did was ever good enough. Or at least that’s what it felt like as I was considered divorcing the man that was once the love of my life who had been a part of me since I was15 years old.
With the weight of my husband’s criticism becoming too much to bare and our marriage nearing it’s end, I stopped trying to please him and started pleasing God instead.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t treat my husband like crap. There was no announcement. I wasn’t mean to him. It’s just that pleasing him was no longer the motivation behind my actions. Pleasing God was the motivation.
Before that day, my husband was the center of my universe.
He is currently active duty military and has been for the past 19 years and as every military wife knows, a distracted soldier could be a dead soldier. I always wanted to make sure he was OK because I knew us bickering could literally kill him.
Everything I did was to support him.
Although I never talked about it, I had this expectation that he would somehow notice that I wanted to do something other than being a housewife and he would give me the undying support that I gave him.
Instead, I always felt like I was waiting at the end of the line for his attention. First it was the military. Then it was our children. Then it was his education. It was always his turn and I was patiently waiting for my turn.
I would think: “Once he’s finished his bootcamp…”
“Once he’s finished his reenlistment…”
“Once he’s finished with his bachelors degree…”
“Once he’s finished with his master’s degree…”
Then FINALLY it will be my turn. I would finally be able to make myself a priority and do what made me happy. But there was always something else and I was tired of waiting my turn.
Like I said, my husband was the center of my universe. I expected him to fill every role I needed filled in my life.
I expected him to be my cheerleader, my spiritual supporter, my comforter, my best friend, my image consultant, my bookkeeper, my mentor and my peer. And when he couldn’t be everything for me, he let me down.
I didn’t realize what a huge burden I was putting on my husband until I shifted my focus to pleasing God. That was when I realized an important lesson: my husband only signed up to be my husband. That’s it. He didn’t sign up for all the extra jobs I was giving to him unknowingly.
And my expectation for him to be more than just a husband to me was the source of a whole lot of strife in our marriage because I was always being let down unbeknownst to him.
I shifted things and decided to make God my everything. When I did that, a few things followed.
1. I stopped judging my husband.
Yes, my husband had his issues. But my responsibility wasn’t to point them out. I was judging my husband and as Christians we are called not to judge. (John 7:24, Matthew 7:1) Instead, my responsibility was to go to God and work on my own issues — even when it was easier to clearly see his flaw and try to fix them than to deal with my own flaws.
2. I learned to forgive my husband.
As I took a clear look at myself and worked on my own flaws it got hard because I felt it wasn’t fair to put my own actions and expectations under a microscope. But that was when I learned to forgive him for all the things I thought he did to hurt me. And I didn’t say: ‘I forgive you for being a jerk all these years.’ That was unnecessary and would only cause yet another argument. I simply and sincerely forgave him for not being able to play the role that God is meant to play in my life.
3. I learned to forgive myself.
I unknowingly put my husband in the place where God should have been in my life and because of this both of us were unhappy. God is a jealous God and none should be put before Him. (Exodus 20:5). When I realized this I felt horrible. I felt IT WAS ALL MY FAULT! All this time I had been blaming my husband and it was ME! However God is merciful and in seeking to please God, I had time to fix myself to become a woman more in line with what God wants from his children. I made mistakes. But instead of beating myself up like I used to, I got with God and he helped me deal with my issues and I was able to forgive myself just as sincerely as I forgave my husband.
4. My marriage was restored.
Years after being on the brink of divorce, our marriage is now stronger than it has ever been. Of course, I still work actively at making myself the best possible version of myself that I can for my husband and he does his part as well.
While the outcome was wonderful the process was not always easy. At first, my husband didn’t like the change he saw in me because he was no longer the center of my universe. But eventually, it released the tension and pressure in my marriage. And he was happy to benefit from the change in me because now I was happy. As the saying goes “Happy wife, happy life.”
Forgiveness is a process it doesn’t come over night. You have to continue to forgive even when you fell that it is NOT FAIR (that was the hardest part for me). But forgiveness was not just in my words. It was in my actions.
I showed him I didn’t hold grudges. I acted like I forgave him. Because I did.
God showed me all this. Remember I was trying to please God. In pleasing God he showed me how to love my husband more.
If you are making your husband your everything you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. God should be your EVERYTHING, next in line is your husband then your children then everyone else.
I’m not telling you not to love your spouse or significant other I’m telling you to LOVE GOD MORE!- Kim Davis
How do you see God working in your marriage? Do you believe that when you stop trying to please your husband and please God instead, it could be the first step in restoring your marriage? Tell me in the comments below, I read them all 🙂
Be Blessed, Be Encouraged
For The One