NOTE – this post is not intended for wives facing abuse, a husband with severe unrepentant sin (adultery, sex addictions), active alcohol/drug addictions, criminal activity, or uncontrolled mental health issues.
If you are a wife who is feeling lonely and unloved – I feel your pain VERY DEEPLY! I pursued my husband for 15 years in our marriage and wanted his love SO MUCH! I was lonely, frustrated, angry, and felt extremely unloved at times.
Most wives are in such horrible pain and we only see our own pain – not our husbands’ pain. We don’t realize he is just as wounded and injured as we are. We don’t realize our own contribution to the mess and just want our husbands to be:
- more loving
- more plugged in
- more kind
- more romantic
- more understanding
- more sympathetic to their pain
It’s not that these desires are wrong necessarily. The issue is when we put these desires above everything else in life.
Ideally – husbands would continue to love and pursue their wives even if we are messing things up a lot. But it would take a very Holy Spirit-filled man to react that way to a wife’s desperation/demands/hostility/control/disrespect. Most men are NOT THERE.
God made wives to need love primarily. God made husbands to need respect primarily. When we are not getting what we legitimately need – we react by not meeting our spouse’s legitimate need. THIS DOESN’T WORK! SOMEONE has to start meeting the other person’s needs even if he/she isn’t getting his/her own needs met for a time.
Unfortunately – the way we wives usually react when we feel unloved is disrespectful. And when men feel disrespected their knee jerk reaction is unloving. So the crazy cycle begins (Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs).
THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE
God designed marriage with a very specific purpose (Ephesians 5:22-33) – to be a living demonstration of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. Husbands are to play the part of Christ loving, providing, leading, being selfless and servant-hearted. And wives are to represent the adoration, reverence, awe, devotion and submission of the church to Jesus.
Husbands are wired by God to need respect in the most profound ways in order to feel loving. Wives are wired by God to need love deeply in order to feel respectful.
You can’t change your husband. You can only change your relationship with Christ and your behavior. You can’t make him love you. You can only influence him in a godly way. BUT that way is VERY powerful!
FOLLOWING YOUR HEART WILL MAKE THINGS WORSE!
To attract your husband – you have to do what works for HIM to feel attracted to you. Giving him more and more love won’t help at all. He doesn’t long for love the way you do. He longs for respect, faith, admiration, trust, friendliness, your beautiful smile, and a sense that you actually LIKE him as a man and accept him as he is.
If you smother him with neediness and constant phone calls and texts and you try to demand his attention, change him or even worse – beg, cry, pout, whine, manipulate or try to force him to do what you want – HE WILL NOT DO IT. Those tactics repulse men.
Bob Grant (a marriage counselor and author) says, “No one likes to be told what to do. But men REALLY don’t like to be told what to do.”
When we are resorting to those desperate methods to try to MAKE our men love us and MAKE them do what we want – we are actually committing idolatry. I did this FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. I didn’t see it. All I saw was, “He is unloving! He SHOULD do X, Y and Z for ME!” But I didn’t notice how I was hurting him. He never told me I was disrespectful and he never told me I hurt him. I assumed he had no feelings. And I was WRONG.
I HAD A FOREST IN MY OWN EYE
I was putting my desire to feel loved way above my desire for Christ. Any time I HAVE to have something other than Christ to be happy – that is idolatry. And there is no worse sin than that. I broke the first commandment (from the 10 commandments) all day long every day for many years – and I thought I was a great Christian. But I was living in sin, so I didn’t have God’s power working full blast in me, and I didn’t have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. I had grieved God’s heart and His Spirit could not stay in fellowship with me with all that filth in my soul. I didn’t lose my relationship with Him – but I lost connection with Him and His full power in my life
I didn’t see my pride. I really believed “I know better than my husband.” “I’m smarter than he is.” “I need to take over because he WON’T MAN UP.” And so I tried to control him and I treated him with disrespect. I criticized him daily. I lectured him. I ordered him around. I told him what to do and how to do it. I rolled my eyes at him. I raised my voice and used the angry mama scolding tone with him. I didn’t pay much attention to his feelings or what he thought was important or what he wanted. If he didn’t answer me within 5 seconds, I was ANGRY. I acted like I was better than him because I really thought I was. I had MOUNTAINS of pride.
When I finally saw it – I was mortified. I thought I was such a great wife – but I wasn’t. I wasn’t taking care of my husband’s legitimate and God-given need for respect. I didn’t even really know what respect or disrespect meant to a man! And I wasn’t allowing him to lead even though God designated him the leader in the marriage.
I was stressed out, lonely, angry, anxious, unforgiving, resentful, fearful and thought that I had to make things happen, that I was in charge – not God. That is how I lived – as if I were in God’s place and God barely existed. That was all HUGE sin and the results of my sin and living in my own strength and wisdom were obvious.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
I had to learn to put Christ first. He has to be my Lord and my God. I have to be willing to sacrifice MY wants, MY will, MY way, MY rights, MY wisdom, MY needs and take on God’s will, His desires, His goals, His purpose, His plan and His wisdom. I had to REALLY, REALLY humble myself hundreds of notches and be contrite before God – seeing the depths of my sin – and seeing the heights of God’s holiness and that I fell miles and miles short of His standard. I had to really see how much sin debt I owed to Jesus – that I owed Him BILLIONS of $ for my sin, not just a few hundred bucks.
I had to learn to put Him first in every area of my life and hold nothing back from Him. I had to learn to obey His Word and seek His will.
It was only when I had Jesus in the right place in my heart and took my husband, my being in control and my feeling loved off the throne of my soul that God began to work powerfully in me and my marriage. He eventually gave me the desires of my heart – to feel loved by my husband again. BUT my motive had to be to please God not to try to make my husband love me.
When my motives are right in God’s sight and I obey Him and respect my husband and cooperate with his leadership – THEN my husband is powerfully attracted to me and WANTS to love me again.
My humble attitude is a lot more likely to attract my husband – the idea that he has valuable wisdom and insight that are important to our marriage and family is a necessary ingredient of respecting him!
I stepped down from control and allowed him to make decisions. I tell him what I want and like and need (usually once) and then I let him make the ultimate decision and trust that God will use my husband to lead me to His will. I don’t cooperate with sin – but everything else, I joyfully and cheerfully cooperate with my husband about.
When I seek God’s design for marriage and look at His commands for wives and am willing to obey them – God blesses me greatly in my walk with Him and my marriage!
I’M THANKFUL I COULDN’T MAKE MY HUSBAND LOVE ME NOW
I learned that it was actually a HUGE BLESSING that my husband refused to pursue me when I was idolizing him. If he had rewarded me by giving me what I wanted – he would have created a monster! What a blessing to have a man who will not be manipulated or coerced or forced into what we want. That is a sign of a strong leader who stands by his convictions.
I believe many wives are experiencing intense emotional pain and distress because they may have their husbands, or feelings of being loved or trying to be in control themselves as idols in their hearts. I pray you will examine your relationship with Christ and put Him in His proper place in your life and commit to do things His way. Then I think you will see miracles in time that will blow your mind.
I am here if you want to talk more! MUCH LOVE and BIG HUGS precious sisters!