Want a Better Marriage? Think more about yourself!
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated 8th wedding anniversary! A lot has changed since the day we said "I do." We now have 3 daughters and are moving into our second home (literally, we're moving into our new home the day this is published!) We've had some lows but we have a lot more highs. These 8 years represent a slow but steady climb upwards on the scale of a healthy, happy marriage.
And while I do not claim to have my marriage all figured out, let alone your marriage, I do have a piece of advice for you that you've probably not heard before...
The number one tip I have for a healthy marriage is to think more about yourself!
Now you're probably thinking.... wait, what??
But just hear me out: when has it ever served your marriage well to point out the flaws in your husband? When has it ever been beneficial to a situation to nag your husband? When have you ever had a healthy discussion start with the words "It drives me crazy when YOU...."
You get it? Sometimes we need to stop focusing on the other person and start focusing on ourselves!
Often we find ourselves asking questions like: "How do I get my husband to stop doing...?" or "How to I get my husband to start doing...?" or "Why won't my husband just....?"
When we ask questions like these, we're stuck. There's no action steps we can take to make our marriage better, because we are unfairly placing the responsibility on another person. (And we all know by now that we can't really change other people, right?)
So instead of asking ourselves questions that leave us powerless, let's ask ourselves questions that give us the power to have a greater marriage!
1. How can I encourage and build up my husband with my words today?
Instead of focusing on the negative, be intentional about looking for all the positive things he does. Verbally thank him, encourage him, and show appreciation for him.
Are you worried that he'll get a big head and just completely slack off? Don't be. The more you point out the positive, the more confidence he'll have and the more he'll look for ways to earn your adoration and affirmation.
2. How can I serve my husband today?
Instead of thinking about what you want your husband to do for you, actively look for things you can do for him. Marriage is not 50/50--it's 100/100. That means you give your ALL to him, even if you'll get nothing in return.
Plus, doing something for him that you wish he would do for you will actually give you a measure of the joy you would have received. If you look at serving your husband from a mindset of gratefulness, you'll find more fulfillment in your marriage than if you sit around waiting for him to do things for you.
3. How can I pray for my husband today?
Praying for your husband means desiring the best for him. This doesn't mean coming to God with a list of your husband's shortcomings that you bitterly beg God to change. He's not a genie who grants all your marriage wishes.
Pray for your husband as a man of God, as the spiritual head of your family, and as the most important person in your life. Know what is going on in his life so that you can pray for his day. Ask God for specific verses and encouragements that you can memorize and pray over your husband whenever you are feeling frustrated.
4. How can I improve our sexual intimacy today?
If you treat your sexual intimacy as currency in your marriage, you need to stop. Bottom line: if you use sex as a way to manipulate your husband, you will not have a healthy relationship.
God designed sex as the ultimate act of love. This isn't about your husband's "needs"; this is about treating sex as a pure and holy way to serve our spouse. And this goes both ways. If you are not putting time and attention into this physical intimacy, both of you are being deprived of the "one-ness" of a healthy marriage.
5. How can I be a better wife today?
It's much easier to point the blame at the other person, isn't it? Being able to honestly answer the question of "how can I be a better wife?" requires humility and the willingness to admit our own flaws.
But which would you prefer: to feel good about yourself and have a failing marriage or to be aware of your shortcomings and have a thriving marriage?
Now, I understand that you may find yourself in a situation where you are giving your marriage your all but it still isn't going well. I want to encourage you with this: God sees you. He knows that you are doing what is in your power to do and He is proud of you. You can only take responsibility for your own actions and sometimes we don't get the outcome we want. But have faith and don't let go of hope! God is there.