I spent many hours and days in prayer begging God to wake my husband up to his responsibilities…. not really seeing the sin in my own life. I had great expectations of how our marriage was suppose to be, I couldn’t understand why my husband would choose to live in a cave and not come out and be a part of my life. Wow, if I would have know this then…I wonder how things would have been different. I really thought he was the one in the wrong…...
So now is the hard part….undoing all the damage that had been done over the years, showing him love, admiration, respect, and rebuilding his trust and his confidence as a man.
I have been slowly giving him room to lead and sharing with him how truly much I appreciate and love him.
It had been a long time since I have asked him to spend time with me….as I said, I was just tired of feeling rejected and not knowing why he had withdrawn from me was driving me crazy. But now seeing the real reason, I am being more careful as to how and when I ask.
Just an example of how God is working, my husband was sitting in his easy chair the other night, so
I sat down next to him on the couch I said, “Hi, Hon, it looks like you had a hard day at work, can I rub your shoulders or get you anything to drink?”
Simple I know, but he actually got up took me by the hand and walked me into the bedroom. Hmmm… I didn’t realize we would have to go that far 🙂 but I was thankful that he chose to sacrifice his time for me. Although, I really didn’t do it for that reason, I did it because I just wanted to bless him as you mentioned in an earlier email. Time together was just frosting on that cake you mentioned:)
I know it is a long road ahead….it’s hard to change old habits, but I thank you for the way that you minister to my heart. I read your blogs daily and am learning so much.
The Lord continue to bless you richly for His honor and glory,
I could have written the part about the tv at the top. ALMOST EVERY WORD.
Greg and I read this together and laughed so hard because THAT WAS ME! THAT WAS WHAT I USED TO DO!
- I used to beg Greg to turn off the tv.
- I prayed for God to break all the tvs. Seriously.
- I thought TV and football were idols for my husband.
- I thought if I could throw the TVs (and later the computer) out the window, that my husband would love me again and want to be with me like he used to!
- I would cry because the TV was “more important to him than I was.”
- Then I would stomp off to another room and cry even more… and then I would be even more disgusted with my “unloving” husband for not coming in to check on me. MORE EVIDENCE that I didn’t matter to him whatsoever, right?
I had no idea it was my disrespect and controlling, smothering, angry, critical, condemning, self-righteous, negative, complaining, arguing attitude that repelled him. It kind of blows my mind now that I couldn’t see this for so long, but…
The real problem in my marriage, was not the TV, it was ME!?!??!!?!?! YIKES!
Before I got married, I was always with my twin sister, or with our college roommates – who were girls, of course. We would sit and talk and talk and bond for hours every day. I thought when Greg and I got married that once we were both home from work, we would be talking face to face and connecting from supper time until time to turn out the light every night. You know, for 5-6 hours every day, I figured we would talk and connect. Why on earth wouldn’t we do that if we could?
My expectations and my husband’s expectations were NOT THE SAME!
Men don’t tend to bond by talking and emotional connection the way women often do. They bond more by doing things shoulder to shoulder – often without talking. In fact, sometimes, it is possible for them to get a bit overloaded with too much talking.
Kind of shocking, isn’t it?
AND – in His Brain, Her Brain by Dr. Walt Larimore MD, the author (a Christian neurologist) talks about how different men’s brains are from women’s and how they need a few hours per day to just relax and recharge. Our brains are not like that. But this helps them prepare for another long day of work ahead. They are not made to go full speed all the time. They need to rest some. Honestly, we could probably benefit from a bit of rest, too. 🙂
It’s really important to figure out that MEN ARE NOT WOMEN!!!! THEY ARE VERY, VERY DIFFERENT from us. They are not wrong. They are just different. That has to be ok!
IF IT WERE UP TO ME:
We wouldn’t have a TV in our house. I don’t turn the TV on when I am home by myself.
But, now, I trust that if God wants us not to have a TV or wants Greg not to watch so much TV – He is able to work on my husband’s heart. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. I can ask for what I want (usually once), then I trust that God is perfectly capable of speaking to my husband and working in his heart without my “help.”
I have my own obedience to God and my own capturing-every-thought-for-Christ, and listening to His voice about MY attitudes/motives/behaviors to do that keeps me plenty busy.
WHAT I DID AT FIRST:
When I first saw my sin – my disrespect, my control, my idolatry, my pride, my self-righteousness, my selfishness, my neediness (see my About page)… I withdrew from everyone (after repenting to Greg and all of the adults in our extended family for my disrespect and control towards them) for awhile and poured myself into repenting before God and seeking Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and spent hours every day reading, studying and trying to understand God’s design for femininity, for marriage, for masculinity and what it meant to respect and submit.
- I would often quietly sit beside Greg and read. Lots of times, I would have to leave the room to cry about what God was revealing to me. But I would sit, take notes, highlight, read and re-read – I was DETERMINED to learn what God wanted me to learn. I wanted my husband to feel like “the most respected husband on the planet”!
I didn’t have a godly mentor. I didn’t have a spiritually mature, godly wife to help me and explain things to me. If you do have some support system like that – a godly wife who understands these things and can meet with you once a week or so, that would be amazing!
- It was just God, me, the Bible and about 30 books in 2.5 years. It was kind of like I was studying to get a college degree in godly femininity and being a godly wife.
When I felt lonely, I would read books like For Women Only (Shaunti Feldhahn) and His Brain, Her Brain (Dr Walt Larimore MD) and try to learn about God’s design for masculinity. It made me feel so much closer to Greg to be able to begin to understand men’s perspective on life.
At first, I was really quiet. (The Frustrating Quiet Phase) That was the first step toward learning discretion and wisdom. Stop saying the foolish, disrespectful, sinful things. Eventually, I began to be able to add saying positive things, encouragement, genuine praise… and I began to understand how to use my words to build up my husband and give life to him, instead of using my words to destroy. It was like learning a new language! It was very awkward and foreign feeling for a long time.
I personally, also did something that probably seems radical today. You can read about it on this post if you want to. It helped me SO much.
WHAT I DO NOW:
If I want time with Greg, I will…
- sit by him on the bed (or join him while he works on a project) while he watches TV in a CHEERFUL, PLEASANT way. I don’t pressure him to talk. I enjoy being beside him. Lots of times, he will play with my hair while I sit beside him. I savor those moments. It’s my favorite time of the day! I just show up, join him in what he is doing and appreciate him being with me. I know that this is seriously awesome bonding time for him – that helps make me feel like it is bonding time for me, too.
- offer to get him a drink or snack.
- say, “Honey, I would love it if you could hold me for about 10 minutes and just listen to me for a little while whenever it’s a good time for you. Thanks!”
- if I want to talk with him as I sit beside him, I will say in a friendly voice with a smile, “Hey, Honey, would this be a good time for me to talk with you?”
- walk through the room where he is and give him a hug and a kiss with a big smile, then continue on doing my chores or whatever it is I am doing.
- just go lay down beside him and cuddle with him. I’m always welcome now. 🙂
- really, at this point, I can have a deep talk with him about things almost any time. All I have to do is ask respectfully. We talk for a long time now, almost every night. Yes, the TV is usually on. But we are able to have really deep, amazing discussions together and I LOVE IT!
- sometimes, Greg will actually turn off the TV himself and give me all of his attention now.
- sometimes, I will ask if there is a time where we could turn off the TV and just enjoy each other for awhile – and Greg is almost always fine with that, now!
Sometimes – he actually pursues me now!
- When he does, I enjoy it!
- When he doesn’t, I’m fine. God has taught me to be able to be gracious when I get a lot of attention and also when I don’t. Totally a God thing.
He comes looking for me many times if I am not in bed by 10:00 and asks,
“Are you about done? I want to spend some time with you!” WOW!
This is the same man who used to shut down and totally ignore me when I was acting controlling, disrespectful, clingy, needy and demanding!
Sometimes, he literally sweeps me off my feet and carries me to the bedroom. Yes. Really.
That NEVER EVER happened when I was smothering him and demanding attention and affection.
The key is – I do what I do to please and honor God – not to change my husband or get certain “results.” I leave my husband to God, and I focus on Christ and my relationship with Him.
Stop Pursuing Him in the Wrong Ways Youtube video
Why Men Sometimes Need Space Youtube video (6 minutes)
If I am Right, but Don’t Have Love and Respect, then I am Wrong in All the Ways that Matter Most
Praying for Your Husband so that God Will Hear
How Men Process Emotions
A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions
More Men’s Emotions
How Do Men Think?