Any time my wife and I quarrel, she has a habit of discussing our business with her family and friends. Her version of what happened is always told in her favor. Her friends and family think I am such a villain. What will it take for my wife to stop airing our dirty laundry in public?
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]adies, ladies. Sigh.
How many of your girlfriends look cross-eyed at your husband because you tattled about all of his misdeeds (real, exaggerated, and imagined) early in your marriage, and now, even though he’s a better man, and you’re a better woman, they’re still convinced he’s doing you dirty?
How many of you mothers enable your married daughters by entertaining her litany of complaints about her husband? And because of your own disappointments, you refuse to do the one thing that will help her the most—encourage, prod, and push her to work things out with her own husband, by God’s grace and wisdom and power?
Let’s face it. When we’re hurt and offended by someone we’re close to, it’s easy for us to offer a self-serving version of the “facts.” Like a friend of mine often says, “There’s my side, there’s your side, and then there’s the truth.”
That’s one part of the issue. But the deeper matter is our husband’s heart.
You know, ladies, our husbands really don’t ask for a lot. After more than two decades of marriage, studying the Word of God, and listening to and observing a lot of married Christian men and women, Mrs. Happy has boiled it down to this:
The Three Things Your Husband Longs for You to Do
1. Honor and respect him. He needs this from you. It’s not optional. It’s tough for him to carry on his responsibilities as a provider, husband, and father when he’s greeted with silent (or not-so-silent) disapproval and looks of pained disappointment. Forgive the past—that’s not optional either (Matthew 6:15). Respect your husband because it’s right, and because this is what the Word of God tells us to do. There is something about him that you can encourage. If nothing else, he is due respect because he is made in the image of God and is precious to our Father. As you make a decision to respect him publicly and privately, God will begin to work in his heart. If you don’t respect him, his heart will become like a walled city (Proverbs 18:19).
2. Respond to him sexually. I don’t mean just put up with sex—be responsive to his desires. You are more irresistible to him than you realize, and usually he finds your body a whole lot more attractive than you do. Show a little interest. When you’re sitting next to each other at home, touch him on his thigh…or wherever. He’ll love it—and he’ll get an electrifying message: She wants me.
Believe it or not, your husband wants nothing more than to please you sexually, though he might have settled into a stale routine rooted in disappointment and a lack of knowledge and communication. And yes, I know that for many wives, sex isn’t any good, for a variety of reasons. We will get to that in later columns; just know that I care about your situation a lot. In the meantime, try to be generous with your body, as an act of faith. And pray for a breakthrough in the bedroom. You’ll be amazed at how much Jesus cares about every little detail of our lives.
3. Protect his heart. We are back to our original question. Men don’t go to their friends and recount every little detail of their relationships, and they don’t want us doing the same. It comes down to loyalty—something that is of the utmost importance to your husband. We should be extremely cautious about sharing the negative details of our marriage with others. Only the most spiritually mature friends can handle it, and even that is tough for them. If your friend isn’t pointing you straight back to what the Word of God says about marriage—and encouraging you to work things out with your husband like you’ll never have another option for marriage—that isn’t the friend to talk to. Be warned: If you repeatedly violate your husband’s heart, the damage will accumulate and push him to a breaking point from which it will be very difficult to recover.
Notice that I didn’t mention anything about children, cooking, cleaning, etc. If you do these three things, he doesn’t have to worry about the others. And trust me, he won’t care if you’re not Martha Stewart material.
I know this all began with a man asking what to do about his indiscreet wife. Take her aside and tell her firmly but with respect that her words are damaging the marriage brick by brick (for wives only: Proverbs 14:1), and that this must stop. Then forgive her and seek God for wisdom to rebuild your home.
Mrs. Happy has been married to one man for a long time.