A Wife’s New Understanding of the “Red Flags” She Missed before Marriage

A guest post by The Satisfied Wife – there are reasons why God gives us the parameters He does about marriage and relationships. Sin always hurts our fellowship with Him, our relationships with others, and ourselves. His boundaries for us are out of His heart of love for us. Thankfully, even if we didn’t prepare as well as maybe we should have before marriage – and no matter what issues we may have (whether they are issues from our childhood over which we had no control, mental health issues, or consequences of our sin or the sin of others) – we are never beyond His reach!

Randomly stumbling upon these lists from peacefulsinglegirl.com (April’s blog for single women) has been a divine appointment! The Lord used these lists to open my eyes to something I truly never saw or considered before.

(See NOTE at the bottom)

Even though I already “knew” this – the thing that kept jumping out at me the most was the fact that I married a man who is imperfect and who will sin against me at times. I know that’s like a no-brainer, but for some odd reason…

I had this belief that whoever I married would treat me like a precious diamond, no matter who they are or what they have come from in their past.

That was the first collision I had with reality after reading some of these posts. I needed to see that all the things I have dealt with and am dealing with are all because I did not even question ANYTHING before marrying. And now I am experiencing all the things April talks about on those posts – with having to deal with jealousy from him having been married, drama with the ex-wife, the kids, his past porn-addiction, etc. etc…. So many things. I am so thankful I found these posts.

It’s like my heart is melting with compassion as I realize that I am expecting my husband to be someone he will not be.

He has had so many issues in his life, and yes, God has truly brought him a long way. God got ahold of him a few years before I ever met him and he has truly been delivered from so many things! And he truly is trying. I see him trying in our marriage.

If any wife has a husband, whether a believer or not, who might have some of these issues from their past, let us find a new understanding of our men, and find compassion for them, instead of expecting they be perfect men who have absolutely no scars or disadvantages to being a godly husband. If we are so focused on what the man is not doing or how he is treating us, then let us not forget that we are called, IN CHRIST, to die to ourselves and we are called to love others as ourselves.

If our husbands were ALREADY like how they are BEFORE marriage – why are we so focused on how they are wrong and what they are doing, when we should be accepting them as is, especially if we were aware of their disadvantages BEFORE we married them? When I first found April’s site, it was the realization about letting my husband be himself that so touched my heart and opened my eyes and which led to some really great things in my marriage.

When I realized I couldn’t change my husband, and I literally stopped trying and stopped disrespecting him and just let him be who he is, and sought to love him and respect him. That’s when his eyes lightened and he drew close to me and started treating me better.

When he didn’t treat me right, and I started getting offended. That’s when things fell apart. How I wish I would have extended grace in those times, and kept my eyes on Christ and what He calls us to in Him! Things would have turned out a lot different over the past months.

I guess what I’m saying is that – yes it’s ok to realize if our husbands are blaming us for all the problems and we know that that is not true. There’s nothing wrong with setting healthy boundaries that promote more unity and a healthier marriage. But I am also saying that if we focus on what they are doing wrong, and if we are not accepting them as they already are, and we are falling into a pit of self-pity and feeling unloved and/or becoming emotionally shut down or whatever else… then I’m saying it is important to remember that we are not married to get what we want in life, or to be happy, or to have anything. If we are in Christ – our one goal in life should be to glorify God and to give Him His rightful place in every area of our lives. The Bible says, who is it that will harm us if we are zealous for that which is good?

I was being majorly disrespectful and controlling when my husband treated me wrongly – and I’m not saying what he did was ok – but honestly, I cannot claim to have been a saint at all. And, not only that, I married him knowing all about his issues and things. Yet here I have been trying to get him to treat me how I want to be treated in order to feel loved, etc. Instead of accepting him as he is, and being compassionate towards him.

I’ve had very little grace towards my husband in a lot of situations that stem from his past, and I am seeing it now, and the Lord has done something in my heart about it, and there is compassion now for him that I didn’t have before.

And the best news about this whole lightbulb is, when I saw it, and left my husband to be himself again, he came toward me immediately! He came right back to me, and he started doing things for me that he’s never done before! I didn’t tell him what I saw about everything, I just let the Lord do something in my own heart, and my behavior changed as a result, and it created a loving atmosphere in my home immediately!

I pray any wife who is experiencing the things in those lists from their husbands’ having past issues, that they might allow the Lord to work in their heart to have compassion for their husbands and to see their marriage in a new Light.

From Peaceful Wife:

We all have some degree of sinful “baggage” that we bring into the marriage that contaminates it that we need to deal with – husbands and wives. Perhaps we didn’t really “count the cost” of our own red flags or our husband’s red flags and maybe we didn’t deal with things before marriage like we should have. I don’t have every answer for every perplexing situation, but I am praying for God’s wisdom for each wife in a difficult situation – for His Spirit’s perspective and power, His love, His truth, His healing for her, her husband, and her marriage. What I do know is that our God is awesome at taking broken people and relationships and making something beautiful from our messes as we completely trust Him and yield to His Lordship. 

NOTE – For some wives, reading the Red Flags posts or the History Is Important Posts from the top of this article may be triggers. You don’t have to read them. They have been helpful to some wives as they seek to put puzzle pieces together. The posts are written for single women. I don’t want any married women to feel condemned or hopeless. In Christ, there is EVERY reason for hope! We ALL have issues. My prayer is that we would take all of our issues to Jesus and find healing in Him.

RESOURCES:

Other People Don’t Always Know What You Should Do in Your Marriage

Nina Roesner has an e-course for wives in emotionally/verbally abusive marriages and wives who tend to struggle with being too “doormat-like” that may be a blessing, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

To Speak or Not to Speak

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Why Do I Have to Change First?

Submission (to Jesus) Means We Hold the Things of This World Loosely

Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?

The Answer to All of Your Marriage Problems

 

NOTE:

If there are serious issues in your marriage – abuse, unrepentant adultery, active addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual issues, please reach out for help from someone you trust (preferably in person) who is godly and experienced. You may need some extra outside help. (Please search my home page for “abuse,” “porn,” or “rage” for more specific resources.)

Expectations – Part 2

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Yesterday, we looked at some common expectations that wives often carry into marriage and how they can create resentment in us (For Part 1 of Expectations, please click here).  We also looked at reality vs. these expectations.

Here are some more expectations that we often bring into marriage that sometimes create resentment

  • that if I am married, my husband will spend all his free time after work doting on me
  • my husband MUST initiate prayer with me every night and initiate devotions/Bible reading with me or he is not a good spiritual leader
  • that I am always right and leave no room for my husband’s perspective at all
  • I should always get MY way
  • if I am married, I will always feel loved by my husband
  • if I am unhappy, my husband is to blame and he must change
  • I am not a big time sinner – I won’t cause my husband any pain/wounds/grief/distress
  • I am better than my husband (spiritually/mentally/morally/emotionally)

This is not remotely an exhaustive list!

REALITY VS. THE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

  • Husbands have a lot of things they want and need to do.  Not all of it will always involve us.  That does not mean they don’t love us!  It just means sometimes they need time with their guy friends.  Sometimes they need time to chill out.  Sometimes they need time to cut the grass.  Sometimes they need time to work on their hobbies and passions.  Sometimes they need time with just the children without us.  It is easy for wives to interpret, “If my husband doesn’t do things with me every possible minute that he is home from work, he doesn’t love me or want me.”  This is usually NOT at all true!  Allow your man the time he needs to recharge and do things he enjoys – even without you sometimes.  That will give him a much greater appreciation for you and he will enjoy the time he spends with you infinitely more than if you are clinging to him and resentful of him spending any time away.  A wife who is a bottomless pit of need REPELS her husband far, far away.  A wife who is understanding and supportive of her husband’s hobbies and recreation will tend to have a much more loving husband.
  • The Bible does say Christians should pray continuously, without ceasing, for our leaders, with thanksgiving, with faith, in a closet so that the God who sees what is done in secret will reward us, in groups of 2-3, corporately as a church…  There are many instructions about prayer.  But I can’t find a verse that says, “Husbands must initiate prayer with their wives.”  I believe couples SHOULD pray together.  But if  your husband is nervous about praying out loud – please don’t shame him!  He may feel intimidated or too vulnerable.  Please do not try to force him into praying with you, and don’t judge him as being less spiritual if he hesitates about praying out loud together.  Pray on your own and/or with a godly female prayer partner.  Pray for your husband, thanking God for him.  If there is NOT a lot of tension, you could try, politely, respectfully, pleasantly asking your husband sometimes if he might pray with you/for you.  If he doesn’t answer or gets upset – then leave that topic alone and let God work on him.  You focus on praying yourself and on your own sin and your own intimacy with Christ.  If your husband is far from God, I Peter 3:1-6 is your prescription from God.  If he is far from God, words from you about spiritual things will only repel him farther from God and from you.  If he is far from God, make sure you are obeying God and honoring your husband’s leadership and showing respect for your husband – that is how God can use you to influence your husband.  But ultimately only God can open his eyes.  You can get out of God’s way in your husband’s life by obeying God yourself.
  • Be open to your husband’s ideas.  They will be different from your own.  That does not mean he is wrong.  God may well be speaking to you through your husband at times (if he is not asking you to sin or condone sin).  Be willing to hear your husband and accept that your husband has a masculine brand of wisdom and a masculine perspective that is very different from yours, but that he has a lot to offer.
  • Expecting to always get your way is one of the fastest ways to misery I know.  And trust me – I have been down that road MANY MILES.  It does not go anywhere good!  Be gracious and selfless and allow your husband to do things the way he likes to as a gift to him.  Lay down your own desires at the feet of Jesus and seek His will, His glory and His way, not your own!
  • You will ABSOLUTELY NOT always feel loved by your husband.  That doesn’t mean he won’t love you, necessarily.  But you will not always be able to FEEL/hear/see his love.  When your heart is set fully on Jesus, you can ride out those times because you have your identity completely in Christ, and you have your security in Jesus, not a man.  You keep obeying God for your part, don’t react in sin, stay close to Jesus.  And see what God will do.
  • I am responsible for my own happiness.  My husband is not responsible for my emotional and spiritual well-being.  He wants to see me happy.  He will probably try to do things that make me feel happy.  But every time I am unhappy it is not his job to make me be happy.  I am an adult.  I am responsible for my emotions and my spiritual condition.   I look to Christ to find my fulfillment and joy and strength.  My husband will add extra things to my life that do make me happy – but my primary source for my wellbeing is Jesus.
  • We are all big time sinners.  All of us tend to commit idolatry, be prideful, selfish… the list goes on and on.  I WILL sin against my husband.  I will hurt him.  Probably many times.  I have to be able to accept that I am human and understand that I need the blood of Jesus to cover my sin.  I need grace to give to myself.  And I will need grace from my husband.
  • We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.  We are all equally wretched sinners.  None of us are good.  Only God is good.  My husband may fall for temptations that don’t tempt me.  But I have other sin-tendencies that are just as heinous to God’s holiness.  My husband is my fellow-traveler on this road of faith in Christ.  We are equal in sinfulness and equal in the amount of the grace of Jesus that we desperately need.

We’ll look at some additional expectations vs. reality tomorrow!