I've watched as people carelessly and dangerously have "fun" with heavy flirtations, all the while diminishing their spouse's confidence and sense of security and trust. I've known of one or the other spouse letting a deep friendship with the opposite sex develop and allow themselves to get into deep confidence with this "good listener". I've watched time and again people become and remain in miserable marriages all the while waiting for their partner to change and make it all better. I've known of emotional, verbal and physical abuse. I've known of spouses coming out and leaving their family behind to pursue their preferred activities. I've known of marriages where the women cringe at the mention of sex and I've known of marriages where the women can't get sex. I've seen heartache upon heartache. And - I've sat and cried with and consoled women who've awakened to find they're no longer wanted...at all.
So now, where does that leave me today and what could I possibly contribute? One of the first things that comes to mind as a word of wisdom to my fellow women: Don't expect your husband to MAKE YOU HAPPY. I just believe that is too much responsibility to place on another human being. A man can add a lot of joy and happiness to your life for sure, but God is the one who wants to complete you and the only One who can. You can just chew on that a while. I'm not expanding.
Marriage is the earthly example of God's love for the church. He calls Jesus the groom and the church the bride. It seems to me then that we have a responsibility to do our part to make our marriages a beautiful tribute of sorts to that perfect love God has for us. I'm not going to sit here and say that it's easy or even truly attainable but I think we each need to be making that effort.
Having said that, we each only get to control our side of the equation. This is probably the toughest part in it all. We have the opportunity to choose how we will accept (or not) the behavior of our spouse. I tell myself and others that we can't decide that it's "their responsibility" to change and just sit around scornfully waiting for that to happen and complaining when it doesn't. We have to consider our OWN behavior and how we're going to react. Chew on this one a while too. I'm busy feeling convicted.
I have patience with a lot in life but some things, not so much. I have very little patience for one (man or woman) who thinks it's all right to make a whole family miserable and make them suffer so they can go chase after their latest affection. Very little patience for this. It is the height of selfish behavior. VERY LITTLE! Get over yourself. And by the way how did you develop this grand new interest? Possibly by spending time with another that you should've spent with your husband or wife? Opening up and sharing your heart with another? Emotional infidelity. Ok - I have NO patience for this. It's selfish I say again.
We need to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We need to protect ourselves and our marriages from wandering interests by being mindful of our interaction with other men and women. And by the way, I think this extends to our girlfriends we hang out with - husband bashing is not cool.
- When we allow ourselves to spend one on one company with another man over and over, developing a good friendship apart from the eyes of our spouse, we're being foolish if we believe we cannot have our heart wander... particularly if we're in an unhappy situation at home. It might be comforting but it's a major precursor to an affair. Consider yourself warned.
- If we sit around and complain to our girlfriends about our husband and only examine his flaws - we're in danger of being tempted and lured. Consider yourself warned.
- If we feel miserable about ourselves and do nothing about it and complain that "he doesn't love me like he used to" - we're in danger of being left. Consider yourself warned.
- If we just nag and nag, making our man feel unloved and unappreciated, he will look elsewhere (doesn't make it right, but he will). Consider yourself warned.
Now - I cannot guarantee that you will keep your husband like this. BUT at the end of the day, if he chooses a foolish path, you can know that you have loved him and respected him. Remember our scriptural commissioning, as women, is to RESPECT our husbands. Cultivate that! You have done your part. Develop and nurture a gentle, quiet spirit, particularly if your husband is not a believer. You cannot be responsible for another's behavior. Do not carry that load.
An easy summary - If your marriage isn't all you'd like it to be, make sure (SURE) you're doing your part.