I am head over heels in love with my husband. But I have to tell you something…
There have been some Valentine’s Days or anniversaries where I felt I really had to TRY to celebrate. It seemed other women were effortlessly making eyes at their man or singing his praises online. And I wondered if there was something wrong with me because we were in a place in our relationship that wasn’t so easy; because I felt like I needed to work at appreciating him.
Like it or not, difficult, negative emotions are a part of being married. Feelings that I don’t even want to feel come my way. Thoughts come and have to be rejected, pushed away, and replaced with truth and love, even when it doesn’t feel good.
So how to handle those times?
When I’m facing difficult emotions toward my man (and it still happens occasionally), I need to be reminded of some basics. It comes down to choices:
I must seek, not to be blessed, but to bless.
Whenever I’m battling my emotions, there is nothing better than to have something to DO. Many years ago, if I had a bad attitude or felt hurt by something my man had done, God gave me this focus from Proverbs 31:12: “Just do him good.”
“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12
Make him a cup of coffee. Write him an encouraging note. Make his favorite dish for dinner. Do a task or chore he has been asking you to do for awhile. Wash his clothes. Pray for him! And by all means, submit to his preferences and his decisions.
If he has been selfish or moody, this “doing good” doesn’t feel so good; in fact it sometimes feels terrible. But it is God’s will for me to do good to my man, on all the days.
I must look to GOD to make needed changes in our marriage.
Discontent in my marriage usually comes back to one thing: my expectations weren’t met by my husband. If I have a desire for something, I’ve learned that I need to look to God for it. Every good gift comes from God, not from my husband. What does my marriage lack? It could be anything: more help around the house, more connection, the skill of communicating well with each other. God is more than able to give me good gifts in his timing, but I need to pray, and I need to keep on praying. I have seen God do some amazing things in our marriage through prayer!
Pray every single day for your man. A good place to start is using Scripture verses! One of my favorites to pray for my husband is Colossians 1:10.
“That [he] might walk worth of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col. 1:10
I must try to communicate, if it will enhance our connection.
There are times to communicate, and times to be quiet. (That’s a topic for an entire book, and I wish someone would go ahead and write it!) It takes discernment from the Holy Spirit and some trial and error to know when and how to communicate in marriage. My natural tendency has been to hide my negative feelings and emotions. But I’ve learned that you can’t be intimate and connected with someone while trying to hide something. If I am stifling something important, we cannot experience closeness. Nor can the issue be resolved.
Sharing candidly at a well-chosen time and in a calm manner opens the way for us to be completely free with one another again. (This does not mean criticizing. You can say hard things in a humble spirit. The spirit in which you communicate makes all the difference.) I’m getting better at opening up, but I wish I had learned to do it many years ago.
I must choose a thankful heart.
I’ve got to remember that I am not entitled to anything. I am not entitled to a certain amount of time spent with him, to special attention or affection. The fact I get to be someone’s exclusive life-long love is a gift. Keeping my mind centered on God’s many blessings to me is essential on those hard days.
These kinds of choices in a difficult time are far from easy. But I want to tell you about the reward! Yes, the reward! These choices have been the path toward a love so beautiful and valuable in our relationship that I sometimes can’t believe how good it is.* This is the path to becoming the woman he truly cherishes more than all else on earth. And that reward far outweighs those lousy times when wires get crossed and toes stepped on. It is unquestionably worth the fight.
*I could never assume all the credit for our marriage successes. My husband has definitely made positive choices to bless our marriage too. But when you’re working on your marriage, you can only work on you. Thus, these are choices and rewards as seen from my perspective.