The Secret to a Husband’s Love, Happy Marriage

“My husband won’t take me on walks.”

“Have you asked him to or told him you would like to?”

“Oh, no, I’m not going to do that.  If he loved me he would volunteer.”

My friend was asking me how she could help her neighbor who seemed to be suffering from depression because of her “bad marriage”.  (She kept the woman’s identity anonymous.) But as she prodded for descriptions of said marital problems, she saw a completely different picture than what her neighbor seemed to see.

She described the neighbor’s countenance as she foamed about her husband.  Narrow eyes, a tight mouth, and a 2-hour conversation riddled with criticism and negativity.

“He just doesn’t show me love.”

The husband provided for the family and the wife mentioned that he almost always cooked breakfast and would cuddle with her at night.

My friend said, “to be honest, if she’s half as critical at home, I give her husband Kudos for as much as he does for her”.

Description after description of her “problems” revealed a constant critique of “what he doesn’t do for me” as opposed to any thought of what she gives him or what he does do for her.

Listening to my friend, I realized how common this is.  I’ve heard this story so many times before.

The tricky part is, this wife, and others, literally feel “abused”.  This woman talked about “the deep hurt” but couldn’t produce a reasonable piece of evidence that her husband did anything to purposely hurt her.

Standing from a distance, I think of several factors that have caused this cycle many wives describe–factors of which we all need to be wary.

  • Artificial men. From romance novels to soap operas to the latest Twilight series, the entertainment industry has fed our lustful desires for husbands that don’t really exist.  The smooth-tongued, at-your-beck-and-call, romantic, say-all-the-right-things guy is rare.  But, he’s in our books and tv and so we indulge in our own “emotional pornography” and it’s just as degrading and hurtful to marriages as the husband who compares his wife to that filthy picture in his magazine.
  • Feminist men. To spur the aforementioned image, the feminist movement has done a great job of planting seeds of discontentment into the hearts of women.  As gender differences are spurned, our men have been told to act more like women, in so many ways.  And if they don’t, there’s a barrage of criticism waiting to be launched against their character.
  • Our right to pout. In keeping with the feminist propaganda, women were told they have a right to demand and get the things they want.  So, if hubby hasn’t chucked enough of his masculinity to meet my expectations, I deserve to punish him with my coldness, criticism or indifference–a recipe for marital disaster.

In the end, there is a bitter, unhappy woman crying on her friend’s shoulder about how her husband doesn’t bend over backwards to show her love.  Meanwhile, he’s about to go insane.  He thought he was being a good husband.  Most husbands want to please their wives.  They just aren’t women.  They have unclogged the toilet, killed the bugs, taken out the trash, repaired the car, noticed the tread on the tires is getting dangerous, brought home a paycheck faithfully for years, been a faithful father and husband, all for a woman who complains that he doesn’t do enough.  (By the way, this hurts me to write it.  I’ve been this woman.)

Would that husband be a little more eager to show affection or surprise his wife with romantic flair if he came home to a smiling, thankful face?  If she expressed a bit more gratitude?  If she made the home a pleasant place to be?  If she actually tried to make his life easier?

I pray we would all let our men be men and watch how a thankful heart may be the secret to drawing him out.

71 Responses to “The Secret to a Husband’s Love, Happy Marriage”

  1. Genieve says:

    This scenario made me think of the first book that my husband and I read together when we got married. It’s The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This book showed us how there are different ways of showing love and most of us have a main love language and when that love language is expressed to us, we feel loved the most.

    If I remeber correctly, the 5 were: Quality Time, Physical Contact, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Gifts. The book is packed full of stories of couples who felt disconnected, unloved and drained because they were showing their spouse how much they love them by the love language that speaks most to them instead of the one that speaks most to their spouse (because they didn’t realise that their spouse didn’t feel loved when they bouoght them gifts, etc.).

    I wonder if this might be the case in this situation. The husband is probably loving the wife by cooking breakfast and providing for the family, but she is craving some quality time with him (a regular date night perhaps) or words of affirmation (hearing him say he loves her or how pretty she looks).

    For us, my main language is physical contact, I need some cuddle time with my husband 🙂 But his is acts of service. Now that we both recognize this, we can be intentional in showing love to each other; my husband by initiating cuddle times and me by doing things for him like making him meals and doing the dishes. But if all I wanted to do was have cuddle times with him, he would not feel loved, even though, to me that is showing love.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts 🙂

    Genieve

    • Alexander says:

      This makes the most sense. “The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman”, thanks, I’ll try to find this book. Makes a lot of sense. You’re a good woman, Genieve, you’re worthy, you hubby must be real happy, indeed. This is GOOD! See, feminists are dumb, but this feminine woman is THINKING, and solving problems… now that’s what I like. C’mon, women, get on with it, dont’ fall for the lies of femninists, they have agendas, evil agendas. Time to throw their lies off and take up your lives the way God intended. I’ll bet many men will be very happy, indeed.

      I’m only sorry here in Australia, too many women are obsessed with money, with drugs, with booze, with partying. At least, that’s what I saw with my ex.

      Yep, I won’t ever touch a drunk, drugged up, harpy like my ex ever again.

  2. Georgina says:

    Thank you for this post! Sadly, I am this woman most of the time. I praise God that He is revealing my ungrateful heart, not only toward my husband, but to God himself. It makes me so sad to realize what my husband has been going through because, like Eve, I’ve bought the lie that God is withholding good from me. I’m learning to be very cautious about the entertainment I expose myself to for this reason. And I’m not talking just secular stuff. I think “Fireproof” is a great movie, but for me, I find myself wishing I had a man who would fight for our marriage like the man in it. And I enjoyed the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers, but the same with that book. We women must guard our hearts from this emotional adultery, if need be repent, and ask God to help us love and respect our husbands for God’s glory, not our own.

  3. Candace says:

    Im reading Love & Respect which is based on:

    Ephesians 5:However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    I think this verse sums up the majority of our marital problems, or our issues can be derived fromt this verse. If we as women are made by God to Love naturally, and God makes men respect women naturally, then we need to be focusing on what doesn’t come naturally to us.

  4. Okay, I just have to comment on this post!

    First of all – why in the world would a woman hesitate to ask her husband to take a walk with her?!? Or anything else that she would like for him to do??? This is so strange to me…

    I’ve been married for a very long time (15 years) to a man whom I love dearly, and I do not hesitate to ask him to walk with me, talk with me, or anything else with me! He, for his own part, does not hesitate to ask me to climb mountains with him (yes…I even do this), run with him (he’s a bit of an athelete), or watch really corny and totally boring Western movies with him!

    And we both do what the other asks! Why? Well, in a nutshell – that little promise we made so many years ago to “love, honor, and cherish”.

    Why in the world would someone think that another person could read their mind? And why would they think that only one person who made the vow should have to live up to it?

    Complain? I do it – constantly! But only about the vagaries of life – never about my husband. “Tit-for-tat” – isn’t that the saying? Do I want him complaining about me? No! Well, in fairness, I shouldn’t complain about him.

    Sorry to go on and on – but this gets to me! Honor cannot be just a word – it has to be a way of living!

  5. Ginger says:

    So glad you mentioned movies first. That’s the first thing that came to mind: That woman’s been watching too many Hollywood movies.
    It’s easy to be miserable when we focus completely on ourselves.

  6. Kim M says:

    Can you imagine if men acted like we women sometimes? We would be in a constant state of tears. I am so glad for my awesome husband.

  7. Tammy says:

    Even Christian fiction often does this – the couple practically reads each other’s mind, he always says the right thing, blah, blah, blah.

    I know my husband does so much for me. And I speak well of him to other people all the time. But this is a good reminder to make sure to tell HIM too! I need to be more smilingly thankful on a regular basis.

  8. Ashamed says:

    Why do you insist on being that fly on the wall? I just sent my husband away because I am the wife you just described. I feel so stupid and unworthy of his love. I can’t wait to see him tomorrow and apologize!

  9. Jennifer says:

    At the risk of sounding judgemental, I can’t believe that woman. She’s whining and crying about a husband who COOKS for her and CUDDLES with her? Because he can’t read her mind? Some women think a hubby who cooks and cuddles is an urban legend.

    This brings to mind a scene from one of my favorite old shows, “Home Improvement”. The husband in that show, mad about the tendency he sees in women wanting their husbands to always know how they’re feeling, makes a hilarious and accurate illustration: when explaining how men are more direct and clear in expressing what they want, he says, “For example, if a man holds up a Stop sign, he means “Hey stop!” If a woman held up a Stop sign on the other hand, if she designed it, instead of just saying ‘Stop’ it would say “If you really knew me, you’d know what you should do right now”.

  10. Jessica says:

    There was a huge change in my marriage when I focused on being grateful for the man God gave me instead of wishing for changes. I don’t know if I’m just seeing things in a different light now or if because I changed my attitude it encouraged him to change his. On a more frequent basis I now get flowers for no reason, phone calls just to say “hi”, and he is the one that corrals the family for worship in the evenings now instead of me! I love it!

    I posted a quote I read about the sanctity of the family circle just this morning.
    http://surrender2survive.blogspot.com/2010/07/family-circle.html

    Have a lovely Friday everyone!

  11. Sarah Lownsbery says:

    Kelly!
    I think this post has great timing because lately I have been a little like this with my husband. We are not perfect and I know that my husband is not and he has been under a lot of stress lately and I have been less than kind to him about it. We are a military family with a seperation coming up which is bringing on his stress and my stress, so I want to say thank you for helping me to see that I do truly have a wonderful husband and I need to treat him as such!

    Blessings,
    Sarah L.

  12. brenda says:

    AMEN!!! I learned several years ago about the importance of being thankful and grateful and happy. How much more attractive that makes a wife to her husband! And then he wants to do things for her. But even if he doesn’t….because you can’t put on a smile to get what you want…she still has so much to be thankful for. I kept a running list in my head for YEARS about all that I did vs. what all my husband did NOT do.

    Boy I’m glad to not live like that anymore!

  13. Melissa Jeffers says:

    Love today’s post! Women today wait around on our husbands and his lack of romantic tendency to kick it into gear, all the while convincing ourselves, Boy I went wrong with that one! Ladies if your man is working and bringing home your living, pleasant and nice to you and your children (most of the time) ;), and seeking the Lord- We need to *GET OVER OURSELVES* or either trade places with them for a day. Do everything that they accomplish in one day alone and I bet feminism will suffer. I made so many selfish mistakes in the beginning of my marriage with a “me-monster” attitude. It caused many hard times. Now it repulses me what women expect their hard working husband to do in his “free-time”. In my opinion if you want romance you need to pick up your copy of God’s word and find romance in him. Our husbands don’t need to be dead beats but they don’t need to be romantic pansy-puppies fulfilling all of the emotional needs that we should be asking our God to fill for us. If the ladies that I have heard complaining about their marriage lately would get in the Word and figure out what their marriage should look like, they would stop complaining and start apologizing. So many marriages are destroyed these days be deception in our own heart. Not being able to communicate with each other as husband and wife. I know of a marriage that a young lady walked out of recently for a less than stupid reason. It is heart breaking how many marriages are breaking up over the woman needing more “me-time” and my friends” time. Astounding! The last time I checked we did not get married for “me-time” or “my friends-time”. We marry for husband/family time. I am thankful to God and his mercy, for humbling me and breaking me several years ago. This is not a fix however! I still have to seek this humbling almost daily. Love is not a feeling it is a CHOICE!!!!

  14. Mary says:

    First of all, I totally agree, and am also not proud to have “been there,” and learned to re-love my husband the hard way… Our expectations and attitudes towards the person God put in our lives make all the difference… For me, it was a change that only God could make it me….

    I would love to ask your advice here, though. There is a mom I’ve been ministering to for a couple of years now. A couple of months ago, she really started opening up. This is a church going couple who seem to really be caught between the messages of the World around us, and God’s World. They both have very disappointed expectations of the other, and until this post, I had not realized that those expectations are probably based on TV (they watch several of hours of TV an evening.) Anyway, she gets frustrated with him, because he only provides what he wants for the family, and she feels that is selfish. He doesn’t help much with anything around the home, although he is home. He sees this as being faithful–he’s chosing the family over temptations, other people, etc… At times he really doesn’t provide for his family completely, and doesn’t seem to care about what the rest of his family wants (i.e. she said he won’t pay for braces, for activities for the kids, for dates for them, for anything “unnecessary” for the home–landscaping, cookware, clothes, curtains, and even for car maintainance and repairs (she said this costs them thousands more because he will only respond when it’s a crisis. Sometimes, he also will only pay what he thinks is reasonable for food, electricity, medicals, etc… ) He works a blue collar job, and she stays home. He says she should be happy with what she has, and she says they have no money or permission to do anything outside the home. She makes all his meals, writes notes with his lunches, and watches the TV shows he wants to watch (so do the kids, which she doesn’t like). She admits that she is not as physically affectionate anymore because she doesn’t respect him, and because for him, there’s no romance… She said she used to “make herself” feel romantic towards him, but that didn’t make any difference; the more she gave, the more he wanted. She feels he is very selfish, and he feels she should do whatever he wants her to (he is providing, and treats her kindly, and is faithful…). He feels she is ungrateful and always wanting more.

    I don’t know him all that well. We’ve been over a few times, and what we’ve seen seems to confirm what she has said. My dh has not been successful at reaching him, even though there was a time when he shared some of these characteristics. My husband is not respected by this man because my husband is not the “manly man” this guy is. (My husband likes hiking, reading, cooking, playing with his family, gardening, caring for our animals, etc… My husband limits and is very selective about our TV, and is now very involved in the upbringing of our children morally and spiritually.) I have not been successful at ministering to this mom (she says I don’t understand because I have such a perfect family–not true at all!–but she sees a family that loves each other, and for the most part respects each other. Her children are disrespectful and out of control. They treat her so rudely, and her husband vascillates between yelling and spanking them for it, and joining in the “fun,” accusing her of being too sensitive.) Honestly, nothing I have said seems to help, and I have pulled away from this friendship. But God keeps putting them on my heart. When I saw this post, I wondered if someone might have some ideas to share…. If this is an inappropriate place to ask, I apologize. Please delete it if it’s inappropriate.

    I’ve just never realized how blessed I am to have the family I have, and to have been humbled and disciplined by our wonderful, loving Father in Heaven!

    Mary

    • Kelly L says:

      I would encourage you to pray WITH her at the time of her complaining. Be sure not to ask for particular prayers “against” the husband. But ask for healing of both their hearts, an ability to see each other through the eyes of Christ, a deeper love for God, a restoration of the marriage God had in mind when they joined and anything God puts on your heart to pray. If, in the middle of complaining or sharing, you always turn to prayer, she will learn to turn to prayer too. God clearly has put you in her life to help guide her into the right way of doing things. I would also encourage you to listen to God and see if He leads you to buy “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. This has changed the lives of so many Christians in “hard” marriages it would be mind boggling, if you didn’t know the power of the Word of God. (The Word of God is the primary focus in this book) It also has a study series available, maybe you could do it together?
      On another note, you could point out something you are tempted to criticize, and how you overcome it. eg. This morning I found the hot sauce in the completely wrong shelf in the fridge and it irritated me, but then I remembered how blessed I am to have a husband who would put it away in the first place. Ummmm, yeah, that was my crummy initial reaction this morning. I still suck at being perfect…*SIGH*

      Continue to mirror the woman of Christ, and redirect complaining. Kinda like we redirect tiny kids because they don’t know any better, she really doesn’t know any better, or at least any different. She probably has other friends who join in and encourage this. You must be trusted by God, that He would ask this big task of you. 🙂 Blessings!

  15. Chrissy says:

    I’m so glad you posted on this subject today! Sadly, I had fallen victim to the “feminist” expectation for my husband to know me and go out of his way for ME. We’ve been married 5 years and I’ve just, in the last 10 months, learned what it means to truly love my husband and to accept that he truly loves me. We communicate differently and expect to be shown love in different ways. I now realize that all the things he has been doing over the course of our relationship were to show me his love! I now have to return the sentiment. I know that he sees love from me when he’s a priority in my life, not just the occasional “date night.”

    In 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” to me this verse is more than winning over an unbelieving husband to the Lord. It shows more clearly how I can show my husband my love for him through the Love of Christ in my behavior.
    Anyways, thanks for the post…you’re always so uplifting, even if you make me face some unattractive truths about myself!
    In Christ,

  16. shanie says:

    i’ll chime in with another ‘yeah i do it too!’… sigh…. no time to elabortate, but thanks kelly, another poignant reminder… 🙂

  17. So on target. For years I’ve always just looked at myself and where I fall short whenever I think of something my husband should be doing for me. It helps me not to focus on trivial things. When I do that I find that I then see clearly all the things that he does and then I’m thankful. I wish more wives would look for the gold instead of trying to create a perfect man out of their husbands.

    I enjoyed reading this. I believe more wives need to read this. I’ll be tweeting this out and sharing it on facebook as soon as I finish this comment.

  18. Lucy says:

    @Mary, your friend could try Karen Pryor’s book “Don’t Shoot the Dog”, but as you are seeing sometimes no amount of our words can change hearts. Only God can. I will say, from having worn the shoes of being friends with people who have spouses we might call “difficult”, sometimes the best thing you can do for them is only listen. If you expect to change her or him, you may soon just leave, frustrated, when you might help best by just being there to listen to her (and pray over the problems later) without expectations of fixing her problems which only God can really do .

  19. Lucy says:

    I do think blaming fictional accounts of the ideal male for marital problems is somewhere equivalent of blaming magazine pictures of slender fashion models for all the eating disorders. I don’t buy it. As a teenager, I read volumes of Harold MacGrath, Zane Grey, Grace Livingston Hill and did indeed set up an “ideal” man in my mind, someone who was strong and polite and faithful. I feel certain when I was turned loose on the world that that ideal image helped me weed through the potential suitors to find the one who had, at his base, a very good character.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Lucy,

      I think I’m confused about your comment. You said, “I don’t buy it”, and I took that to mean you don’t believe that reading about “artificial men” can lead to unrealistic expectations, and therefore marital problems. But then you said that you read examples of great men that formed your picture of the ideal man. So, it does matter which kinds of men we are reading about/watching as it relates to our expectations. No?

      • Lucy says:

        Word Warrior, you wrote specifically “The smooth-tongued, at-your-beck-and-call, romantic, say-all-the-right-things guy is rare.” And someone else in the comments added Christian fiction to the list of unrealistic expectations. I’ll try to explain – I think that angle is flawed. God tells us to think on things that are good, pure, etc, for a very good reason in that things that are the opposite can really drag our characters down. Hollywood is filled with horrible examples of characters of men, and horrible examples of fatherhood but that it not what you described as the bad influence on marriage, rather you pointed to unrealistic expectations.

        Christ is an unrealistic expectation, but we should all dwell on him and strive to emulate his example. And it is not wrong to look for that in our husbands.

        Rather I think the way the entertainment industry sabotages our relationships is through the portrayals of constantly bickering, disrespectful families who don’t treat each other well as the “norm”. And we lower our efforts and expectations accordingly.

        To relate it back to the fashion model example, I don’t think the images of well dressed carefully groomed slender women are the problem nearly as much as the newscasters telling us the statistics on how fat all Americans are every evening. (Now the influence of scantily clad provocatively posed teenagers in fashion magazines is in that negative category).

        • Word Warrior says:

          Lucy,

          I still maintain that many “harmless” venues of entertainment (I mention these because often Christian women will choose non-smutty forms and think they’re safe) create damaging portrayals of husbands that cause women to compare.

          We know from research that pornography harms marriages for this very reason–a harmful compare factor with something unrealistic. This is a basic, human flaw and it is very important that we guard our thought life from these comparisons.

          • Kelly, I see where you’re going, and I wonder if it is fair to say that this is a matter for personal discernment? For example, certain kinds of romance will trigger certain longings in certain women. Provided that the novels/movies aren’t smutty, they are not necessarily going to cause a woman to covet, to set up and ideal strawman, or to be tempted to sin. But, then again, they might. You know? I totally understand the idea of “emotional pornography”–and I agree that its out there and that many women like to use it to “turn themselves on” whether they know it or not. But, I guess I just don’t think that all romances will trigger this response in all women. KWIM?

          • Lucy says:

            Are you willing to apply your logic to another stumbling block for many women … large family porn? I have noted many comments on this site (and others) from women who are so desirous (covetous?) of more children that it has become a stake in the heart of their marriage. Is it necessary to ‘guard our thought life’ from comparisons with your family, the Duggars X and Counting (to pick on them because they’re famous) and the many other quiver-full blogs around the net?

            I agree with you there is a very prevalent sin of covetousness and discontent stirring in so many aspects of our lives and cultures these days and we must address it. For some that may very well mean avoiding for a time influences that make them discontent, but avoiding that which is good as a preventative measure is misguided.

            • Word Warrior says:

              Lucy,

              Yes, coveting anything is wrong–even children that the Lord hasn’t given you. But your comparison here is not “apples to apples”. I didn’t say “avoiding what is good” as a preventative measure, I said avoiding unrealistic expectations, such as fantasy-type versions of men.

              “a harmful compare factor with something unrealistic”.

              But I wouldn’t hesitate to say that if a woman knows she struggles with coveting children she would do well to guard herself from indulging in the “fantasy” that isn’t hers.

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  21. Sylvia says:

    My life choices have been leaving my native country for a higher education in America, unmarried. I wear pants instead of skirts (In my native country showing legs in immodest and my native dress is a long top and pants). I have been told to try wearing hose if showing my legs bothers me, I do not like hose. Pants are what I am used to and I am comfortable in. Classic ‘feminist’ choices ? No, much as people like to put me in that box, I also went for an arranged marriage. And to paraphrase, I chose to, no one forced me. To a wonderful man introduced and yes, vetted by my parents. We did not live together before marriage. Even though he was in America and I was and we could have done so without anyone knowing.
    I have been married to this wonderful God given husband of mine for a long time. I have been blessed to come from a line of very long marriages and happy marriages. But not all long marriages are happy and I have seen some very bitter, unhappy and lonely ones which are very sad to see because in my native country divorce is not common and frowned upon. Among christians and non-christians.
    My parents always wanted my brother and I to have the blessing of a happy marriage. And for this, it started with prayer. One of the first memories I have as a child is of my parents pray for the future spouses of my brother and I during family prayer. Every, single day. When we were children, we actually used to smile and find that funny when that portion of prayer came because here we were children and our parents were praying about our future spouses ? I never understood why until I became a parent myself. And my husband and I pray now, every single day as well. My mom always used to say, that is the single most important person in your life after God and I want you and your brother to have a blessing of a good, God fearing spouse. You will build your own family with them. If your spouse is a God fearing person your life will be well, if they are not, it will be a very bitter path. When we were older and we joined in the weekly family fasting prayer, we also prayed for our future spouses. Though we are not worthy at all, my brother and I have the blessing of good, God fearing spouses.
    Both my brother and I were raised to cook, clean, make beds, iron clothes, do laundry. Because those are life skills. So was my husband. I also work outside the home as they say. I do not expect my husband to bring me flowers, but he takes out the trash, changes diapers, sweeps up a messy floor. Our native country’s meals are elaborate, time consuming and need lots of prep work. Like soaking grains, grinding flour etc. And he helps me with it. Thus enabling me to cook meals from scratch every day. From cleaning the house to vaccuuming we do it together. All without me asking or a honey do list. He cannot read my mind and I cannot read his. But we pray a lot for God’s grace and blessing in our marriage, we talk and we share. And we of course have our moments where we lose our tempers. And life is definitely not perfect. Marriage is hard work. But it is God’s design.
    My culture has this horrible practice called dowry which is basically money and/or goods the parents of the girl give the groom’s family for marriage. And because of this practice, women are set on fire if they do not bring enough. And most heart breakingly husbands participate. I have also seen men who basically drink their earnings away and the family starves. Or beat their wives so much they break bones. That is abuse to me. Abuse exists, even in christian marriages. And sometimes people have to walk away for their own safety and the safety of their children.
    But before we criticize our God given husbands it is better we look at how blessed we are and what we are criticisng. The socks that are not thrown into the hamper, the wet towel on the bathroom floor, the snoring or the lack of material things.

  22. Rebekah says:

    Yes, we as Christian women have to guard our hearts if reading or watching a movie, etc. that portrays some seemingly perfect marriage. We also have to be careful to guard our hearts when another woman raves about the wonderful “extras” her husband does! 🙂 It would be too easy to start thinking, “My husband doesn’t do this or that” and become discontent. Thankfulness is such key to contentedness. (And not to mention realizing all the ways we as wives fall short! ;0)

  23. Margaret says:

    Amen Kelly!

    I am so blessed. So very, very blessed. And when I was a newly married wife, I had no recognition of that. 🙁

    Husband and wife *both* are called to love each other and seek to bless and help and lift each other up. However, I’m the wife. The oen I’m responsible for is me, and my behavior, and how I love my husband. When I pulled my head out of my bellybutton after some years of miserable marriage, I realized how ungrateful and spiteful I’d been. My husband *loves* me, and shows it in many ways on a daily basis, most often in his daily sacrifices of self for the sake of me and the family. When I’m honest in communication with me, he is open and vulnerable. It was only when I was passive agressive and expected him to know what I wanted and respond to my “vibes” that he shut down and got annoyed. How about that?

  24. You are soooooooooooooo right, Kelly! I fell that this is particularly dangerous for my generation (currently in the teens and 20s). There was the “Me” generation that said, “If it feels good, do it,” and then there are the Millenials, who say, “If it’s not absolutely 100% perfect, I’m history!” I shudder for the state of the up-and-coming marriages of my generation.

    But, on to happier topics: When my husband and I were dating, I remember one time that I broke down in tears. He tried to fix things, but I felt like he was just telling me to “buck up.” I remember having to stifle the little monster inside of me that wanted to stalk off and leave him with a cold shoulder. Instead, I looked up at him and said, “I don’t want you to fix it. I just want to be upset. Can you hold me?” His face lit up! And he held me–and after that, he even said all the right things.

    Most men just need a little advice and guidance from us; they’re not mind-readers, but a good husband DOES want to please his wife and make her happy–probably more than she even realizes. To this day, my husband tells that story with joy and pride to all the courting and newlywed couples we know. It certainly started our marriage off on the right foot!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Love it–very sweet story! Don’t ya know most men are begging, “just tell me what you want!” It is really amazing, when I think about the things I’ve expected my husband to just *know*. Bless his heart. And then we can manage to hold a grudge about his inability to mind-read.

      • Jennifer says:

        You know Kelly, that’s why I had a bone to pick with the wife in “Fireproof”: she was so ungrateful! She told Caleb what she wanted, he did it, and she whined. I remember telling my mom, “You know what message this sends to men, right? It says that when women say things like ‘If you’d only do THIS..’ and indicate that they’d appreciate it, they lie.” Women like Catherine, who say “If you’d only TALK to me or help out around here, I’d respect you” and then treat Caleb like Catherine did, with NO appreciation after he did EVERYTHING she asked for, are dishonest nags who give women in general a bad name.

        • Mrs W says:

          Actually, Catherine just wanted to make sure that the change in Caleb was for real. Once she saw that it was, she responded with forgiveness and change herself. A couple of days of doing something right doesn’t mean a person has changed. People want change to be for real and they wait until they can see if it is or not first.

          I thought that Fireproof was a well balanced movie in showing that the bad marriage was the fault of both the man and the woman, instead of just slamming the woman for absolutely everything. They were both at fault and the movie portrayed that well. I’m actually glad that they showed the man changing first though, since most people try to make out that any time there is marriage issues, if the woman doesn’t change then the man never will. Sometimes, God uses change in the man first to bring about change in the woman.

          • Jennifer says:

            No, that’s not really the whole case. She nagged him to do stuff and once he did, nothing but more nagging and coldness. If it’s about both of them being at fault, why is it all on him changing? She sure behaved as if it was all his fault. She also should have showed forgiveness MUCH earlier in the film, like around the time he nursed her in bed and cried at her side, and her bogus reaction was to keep her nose turned up and stare at him with more coldness, claiming she still didn’t trust him. What nerve!

            Catherine NEVER apologized, not onscreen. The movie put all the pressure on the husband and while I too hate it when the woman’s blamed for everything, it’s just as wrong to have a selfish wife who roles her eyes at her husband while he’s reminding her that his job can be tough as nails and sometimes includes pulling dead kids out of lakes. Cold-hearted woman.

            • Margaret says:

              Wow, Jennifer, I agree with you!

              The movie was sweet but the wife was frankly a cranky nag and that she didn’t apologize for her part in their dysfunction was a real failure in the film, IMO.

              • Jennifer says:

                Thanks, glad you agree! I love that film, they just should have had Catherine’s response to her weeping husband be more humble and included an apology in the scene when she came to the firehouse. I wonder if they actually overlooked it because they thought she had apologized in the latter scene; after her line “If I haven’t told you I forgive you, I do”, there should have been “If I haven’t told you I’m sorry, I am”. Since Catherine’s last line in that scene was more or less clearly remorse, I can’t help wondering if the filmmakers didn’t even notice that she never actually said “I’m sorry”.

                • Ellowynne says:

                  I only saw the film “Fireproof” but once, but I perceived it differently, Jennifer. It appeared to me that Caleb was quite callous, indifferent, and insensitive to Catherine in the earlier portion of the movie. I see it happen regularly that people think as soon as it became known to THEMselves that what they have done was wrong, they wrongly assume that offended must be right there on the same page waiting to make things “right”, when often it is the offender themselves who must intiate the making of things right, especially since they are claiming they are the “repentant” one. I have witnessed wrongs done in the dozens for years to people by an offender, and then when the offender is good and ready and has seen teh light, they assume everyone is going to jump. I was VERY glad that Catherine was allowed to be human and real and wallow and not believe or trust or make a move toward Caleb. It showed the reality of the situation that wrongdoing truly harms people. Many Christians I know who want to make things right have a bad habit of turning everything around on the offended, without realizing they want forgiveness, restoration, and resolve according to THEIR timetable (not the true sign of repentance!) Just as we are human when we error (as offenders), we need to see the fraility in others as well-just as WE want to have our fraility understood when we initiated sin against them!-when did it become taken for granted that when it is honky-dory for us to get of our sinful butts and make right, that all people around us should be ready to cater to us?

                  I truly loved that Caleb had to demonstrate in extreme ways that he wanted to make peace with Catherine.

                  I also do not see much benefit in saying I am sorry. I teach my children we do not say that. We say, “I was wrong.” The words, “I am sorry” have been used and assumed so hollowly and without true sorrow and humility today. Admitting wrongs in detail spells it out and makes it concrete. Blanket “I am sorries” have become much too common and overdone in recent days. Catherine’s final actions sat well with me. I was VERY worried that the film would have portrayed a wimpy, codependent Christian woman; so thrilled I was wrong.

                  Again, this was just my perception of the movie and how it spoke to me, so this was just an excerpt from my own personal opinion 😉

                  • Jennifer says:

                    “I also do not see much benefit in saying I am sorry”

                    Wow. Well, obviously I very strongly disagree with that; people can be fully aware that they’re wrong, but expressing sorrow for it is different. Catherine was just as callow to Caleb in the earlier part of the film and her silly words about not trusting him implied that it was all his fault. She should have apologized, come closer to all the various things he said and did. It’s as simple as that.

                    • Mrs W says:

                      Jennifer, what you wanted the film to have in it would not have been realistic. I liked FIREPROOF so much because it was realistic. They had obviously thought through actual thoughts and feelings of actual people, instead of just trying to make a good, but not real, story, to appease the “it’s the woman’s fault for everything” crowd.

  25. Jennifer says:

    “Oh, no, I’m not going to do that. If he loved me he would volunteer.”

    Even if women think they’re mind readers, men KNOW that men are not. It’s time women believed them.

  26. alionheartedgirl says:

    I am a feminist, so I’d like to argue with your second two bullet points. A feminist man is not a woman, nor is he womanly; instead, he is a man who respects the personal autonomy of all women. In heterosexual relationships, a feminist man may take on some of the traditionally feminine duties because he respects his wife’s right to free time and a comfortable home; maybe he cooks and she cleans, vise versa, they alternate, &c. The point is that work is split evenly between them instead of his girlfriend/wife doing all of the housework.

    Second, as a feminist I’m rather insulted by your insinuation that we’re cold-hearted and mean to our significant others. I have never seen any feminist advocate for “punishing” our significant others for not meeting some idealized standards of romance. Rather, all of the feminists I know personally or have read their works have advocated for communication, so that both partners can express their feelings, their concerns and their hopes and dreams so that they can work together to fulfill each other. None of that means being cold or indifferent.

  27. Luci says:

    I completely agree with what you’ve written, Kelly! I had an experience similar to Bethany’s — it was like a lightbulb moment for my husband and me! 🙂 He wanted to fix a problem and was aching to do so, when I really just needed some time to be upset. Not to dwell on what was wrong – but it wasn’t something that could be “fixed” immediately. One of the many reasons I love him is because he works so hard and is a real stand-up man of integrity — I know it was challenging for him to adapt to not jumping to try to fix something, and I am so grateful for his patience and love! 🙂

    Blessings,
    Luci

  28. karen says:

    Oh my I had a dear friend like this who had an absolutely wonderful husband He worked and provided he was a caring loving husband and father he was not a drinker or mean amd my friend constantly put him down for not being as intelligent as she was and for not reading her mind..as in every Christmas found her giving some over the top ( hiring an artist to hand paint his hunting dogs) gift and when he gave her a new vac. or the wrong perfume etc. then she’d carry on and cry about it for years.She could have had an excellent marriage and she kept them from it. So sad.

    • Jennifer says:

      “My friend constantly put him down for not being as intelligent as she was”

      That’s just..unbelievably acidic and arrogant. What a nasty, unkind attitude.

  29. I just found your blog…I will definitely be back!
    Blessings.

  30. J says:

    I’d love to see a post about husbands can be more loving to their wives! That would lead to more happy marriages, too!

    • Word Warrior says:

      a. this is primarily a women’s blog. Instruction to men who aren’t reading won’t improve their marriages.

      b. I don’t teach men.

      • If Kelly would permit me, I would like offer this post–

        http://applecidermama.blogspot.com/2010/06/l-word.html

        –that I wrote on the topic of husbands loving their wives. It is the 2nd in a 3-part series on Ephesians 5.

        Just a few words on Kelly’s points, which I respect profoundly:

        a. Though my blog is primarily read by women, I do have a number of male readers.
        b. My theology regarding women teaching is different than Kelly’s, since I am a Catholic. We hold completely with the teachings of the epistles, including the letters of St. Peter, but we understand them a bit differently, largely due to the different roles played by our clergy. Women are not priests, and we do not preach sermons, but we are not barred from instructing in the faith.

        That said, because I respect the fact that Kelly’s theology bars her from instructing men, I understand completely if she’d rather not share my post (which is addressed to men) here on her site.

        Blessings,
        Bethany

  31. Jennifer says:

    Yes, it would have been perfectly realistic, Mrs W. It’s realistic for the man to go through some super-husband change, but not for the amazingly moved wife to say “I’m sorry?” Don’t buy it.

    As for his apology scene, she was crying there too, and had no need for the nasty Medusa stare. Obviously it was too early in the film for her to totally accept him, but the film would be better served to have her say “I still need some time” instead of the huffy “I’m NOT ready to trust you”.

    • Mrs W says:

      Wow so you’d have rather she keep quiet than reveal her true feelings? It seems like that’s all you ladies want here. For women to be quiet regardless of their feelings. Both the husband and wife had to change in that movie, and the movie portrayed it well. But because it doesn’t go with the common viewpoint on here that it has to be the woman who changes first, you ladies don’t like it. It doesn’t always work out how you wish it would in real life, and it was a very realistic movie.

      • Word Warrior says:

        Mrs. W.,

        First, let me suggest that Jennifer doesn’t represent “you ladies” especially given that she’s the only one having this discussion with you. She can hold her own. Frankly, a word about the movie should have been sufficient, but I think that arguing about how a movie “should” have been is rather fruitless.

        As it pertains to your comment: “But because it doesn’t go with the common viewpoint on here that it has to be the woman who changes first, you ladies don’t like it.”

        Let me remind you that just because I talk a lot about women changing, while I don’t talk about mens’ responsibilities, doesn’t mean I think “the woman is always wrong and the man has no responsibility”. It’s a very silly assumption that a little discretion would prevent. I address this because it has been brought up by several others.

        I ask you to bring some reason to that assumption. I’ve stated repeatedly that I write to encourage women and to work on their part in marriage. I don’t feel free to address a man’s responsibility nor would it do any good to do so since most of my readers are female. Same as it would be ridiculous for a speaker to belabor a woman’s responsibility at an all-men’s conference. People would get up and leave.

        That doesn’t mean I don’t *believe* that a man has a great responsibility. He has the greater one. But it’s not my job to instruct him. There are others who have that ministry.

        I don’t like the little irritated jabs that tout that aren’t true about “the ladies here”. They aren’t the most becoming to you, as a commenter either.

      • Jennifer says:

        Your assumption is tasteless, Mrs W, and as far as I go it’s flat-out nonsense. I’m ALWAYS putting down teachers who say it’s all up to the women to change, and even otherwise good teachers have done so; that ticks me off to no end. But you know what, two wrongs don’t make a right, and a woman who nags her husband and shows no appreciation is simply wrong. Yeah, I would prefer a woman keep her mouth shut than vent ingratitude and nag to a man who bends over backwards for her. Your assumption simply doesn’t make sense. I would suggest you take this grievance to someone who’s truly guilty of such faulty pictures of women.

        • Mrs W says:

          But here’s the thing: Catherine in Fireproof wasn’t a Christian, and she changed when she became one, just like her husband. You can’t expect the unsaved to act right. However, I will never convince you and I just realized I don’t even need to try, because if you want to live this way, it’s your loss. You’re a grown up and can do what you want.

          • Jennifer says:

            Actually no, she was NOT a Christian when she changed toward Caleb; she didn’t convert the second she found out he made money for her parents, or when she showed up at the firehouse. I have no idea what you mean by “my loss”. Once again, you’re not making sense. There’s no loss in believing that women should act like ADULTS. This whole thread is about behavior like Catherine’s.

  32. Miri says:

    I am with you, Mrs. W. For what it’s worth. One cannot simply preach to women about this because it really does take two to tango!

    However, I have seen many “unsaved” act right. I have seen many saved act not right. Sadly true, yet true.

    I admire your feisty nature, Mrs. W. Don’t ever change. *smile*

    • Jennifer says:

      Making an incorrect assumption about others and targeting them for something they’re not doing isn’t admirable, Miri. Neither is indicating that women don’t need to be given advice on how to behave because “it takes two to tango”; you might as well just tell wives to cross their arms and refuse to change their own faults until their husbands play fair and change THEIRS. That’s realistic.

      • Kelly L says:

        Jennifer,
        reading this is cracking me up! If only they read regularly, they would not be accusing you of this! Not laughing at you, just with you. Too good for words! 😉

        • Jennifer says:

          No you’re right, it is a kick considering my views. I’m not mocking them, just finding it a greatly amusing irony. As Bugs Bunny put it, they don’t know me very well, do they?

  33. Nnena says:

    I must confess, you are very frank. I agrre with you especially on the point that his love is spelt r-e-s-p-e-c-t. My counsellor told me in my teenage years tha men love women with a servant’s heart.
    Tv and etc has made us to believe a lie, so the sweet tongued man and who will never hurt your feelings is only on Tv and soap operas.

    Thanks for speaking to my heart
    Mrs Eze

  34. Jennifer says:

    Of course, it only works in a Godly way if the man himself has a servant’s heart as well.

  35. […] A great article on marriage–The Secret to a Husband’s Love […]

  36. Miri says:

    I’m surprised by your wrath because my comment was not directed at you, Jennifer. I also admire YOUR feisty nature.

    I was pointing out in short hand, perhaps, that it is impossible for a marriage to be anything but the work of two people. No matter how much a wife might try, if she tries alone, she is doomed to failure.

    I have a very happy marriage by the way. I am merely pointing out the above.

    • Jennifer says:

      Well, not all of my wrath was directed at your words, Miri; it was the mindset you seemed to be supporting. Sorry for the excess heat and thanks for confirming.

  37. […] The Secret to a Husband’s Love, Happy Marriage, HT to Lizzie. […]

  38. 6 arrows says:

    “…I will cherish and give my life to only the most biblical, most honest, most Jesus-loving woman, if she exists.”

    Alexander, if you want to find a woman like that, for starters you’ll have to clean up your language.

  39. Emma Milburn says:

    My spouse and I stumbled over here different page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to going over your web page for a second time.

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