Supporting Your Husband When You Don't Agree

Q: I know I’m supposed to support my husband, but sometimes he says/does things I just don’t agree with. How can I voice my objections without starting a huge fight or embarrassing him in front of his friends?

Photo by  Joanna Nix  on  Unsplash

Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

A: The first thing you need to do is talk to God. Let him show you if this is an issue you need to bring to your husband or if you need to back off. God will give you the guidance and the wisdom. If it’s clear that you need to discuss the situation, ask God for an opening—the right time, the right place, the right words to say, the right tone of voice. Always do this in private—not even the kids should hear this discussion. This way you’re not confronting your husband or embarrassing him; instead, you’re voicing a concern. You can express that you’ve prayed about the situation and it’s still on your heart, so you wanted to talk about it with him.

When you disagree with your husband, be sure he understands that you’re not trying to undermine his leadership or God-given authority. Disagree with the issue, the content. Keep the disagreement about substance. Don’t attack him. Let your husband know that you will honor him.

Does a man need his wife’s support? Of course. Scripture says that you are to be his helper—his “vice president.” In any organizational structure, it is a wise president who listens to the advice of his vice president. As head of the home, your husband has the responsibility of the final decision. But a wise husband listens to his wife and gets her input. But he’ll be far more willing to listen depending on how you approach him.

Ultimately, the better the relationship between you and your husband, the better you’ll each be able to voice concerns and talk through the tough issues. So continue to build up your marriage relationship by loving him well. God designed each of you differently, so it’s likely the things that make you feel loved may not be the same things that make him feel loved. Here’s a short list of ideas for ways to love your husband well:

  1. Make time alone with him a priority. In this busy world, other things become more important than husband-and-wife time. Learn to say no in order to love, honor, and cherish your husband above all else.

  2. Honor his favorite things. Make a list of his favorites—such as favorite dinner, dessert, date activity, TV program, etc.—and make sure he gets to enjoy those things.

  3. Tell him what you need. He can’t read your mind—at least not always!

  4. Lift a burden. Ask him, “If I could take something off your to-do list today, what could I do for you?”

  5. Allow him to be himself. Don’t assume that your husband is going to think, feel, or behave as you do or as “the ideal husband” does. He will make mistakes. Allow him that freedom.

  6. Affirm your husband’s maleness by showing interest in his hobbies. Attend a sporting event with him or join him in the garage occasionally. If he participates in sports, be there to cheer him on.

  7. Be more curious of your husband than critical. Don’t judge him. Investigate and ask questions about why he does the things he does.

  8. Appreciate his hard work. Thank him for working for you and the family. Let him know that you notice and admire his work.

  9. Praise him to your children. Tell the kids how hard he works and what a good man he is. Tell them how much you love him and how important he is to you.

  10. Compliment his efforts to be sensitive. If he makes special attempts to understand, listen, or comfort you, let him know how meaningful they are to you. Be specific about what you particularly like.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!

I Blew It! Now What?

Q:  I really blew it. How can I regain the trust of my spouse?

A: Once trust is broken, it’s very difficult to rebuild—not impossible, just difficult. Listen to one of our heartbroken callers:

Photo by  Bruno Aguirre  on  Unsplash

 “I just was calling to see if you guys could help me figure out a way to get my wife to forgive me for some things that I have done. I had a problem with pornography over a two-year period, and a lot of people were hurt during my time of addiction. It was all brought to a head about six or seven months ago, and my wife just can’t forgive me for it.”

If you’re facing a situation where you’ve really hurt your spouse and you’ve broken trust, you have to realize that you can’t “get” your spouse to forgive you. What you must do first is find your personal peace. You need to confess your sin to the Lord and you need to be cleansed. You need to be walking with Christ. And then you know what? You need to change. And that’s repentance. You need to turn away from whatever behavior caused the problem so that over a time your spouse can begin to trust you again.

In the past, you lied. So what do you do? Now you tell the truth. Everything that comes out of your mouth should be truthful. Your spouse longs for you to be all that God made you to be. Your spouse needs you to be a person of integrity. But you just can’t put that on. It’s going to take some time; it’s going to show itself in the smallest decisions. Stick to your word in the smallest of things. Stay away from those places that you know are going to tempt you. Get some people in your life—including your spouse—who will hold you accountable. You fight the lies by telling the truth. Let that beautiful refreshment of the Spirit of God wash through your spirit and clean out the stuff that was pulling you down. If you have trouble within your mind, then confess it to God and start memorizing some Bible verses so that whenever temptation comes, you can remember the Word.

It’s a process and it’s going to take time. If you have hurt your spouse deeply or repeatedly, he or she may be willing to forgive you, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship is completely healed and that you can go on as if nothing happened. For true restoration to occur, you must be willing to work at rebuilding your spouse’s trust over a period of time. You need to prove to your spouse over the long haul that your confession, contrition, and repentance are genuine. Listen to another caller:

 “I want to encourage everybody out there who’s going through a breakup, separation, or divorce. My wife and I went through a separation for eight months. I cheated on her. She forgave me, but she didn’t trust me. It took a long time for her to finally get a little bit of trust back. We did counseling. I would like to encourage people in that situation to just hold steady and trust in God and seek God in this time. It’s very important. I knew that my wife and I were meant for each other, even though I had messed up. I knew that what I had done was grounds for divorce.—and divorce was mentioned several times. But now we’re back together. We’re still going to counseling and we are trying every day. It’s not easy. But you know what? Christ can redeem a broken relationship and turn it around.”

Trust isn’t rebuilt overnight. If you have been unfaithful to your spouse, it may take long months of single-minded devotion before a foundation of trust is reestablished. The sanctity and peace of your relationship may be in ruins at your feet, but through the power of Christ’s redeeming love, your marriage can be transformed from rubble to restoration. Begin that healing process today. Begin to rebuild trust today. Be faithful and patient, and you will experience the restoration you seek.

*Our book, Healing the Hurt in Your Marriage, can help you understand different conflict styles and teach you how to move toward forgiveness and healing!

Spiritual Intimacy: A Top Sex Need

In the last several months, we’ve discussed the top three sex needs for both men and women. For all the differences men and women have, our survey suggests that husbands and wives essentially want the same things in their sex lives: relationship, intimacy, and fulfillment. The differences arise from the ways we pursue those needs: men through the physical act, women through emotional connection.

Photo by congerdesign

Photo by congerdesign

In the next few months, we’re going to take a look at the final top sex needs of men and women.  This month, we’ll cover a woman’s #4 sex need: Spiritual intimacy. What does spiritual intimacy have to do with your sex life? Well, it’s something you do outside the bedroom and something you do for and with your spouse. The result when it’s fulfilled? An enhanced sex life.

A husband often does all he can to take care of his wife by providing for her, but sometimes he doesn’t tend her soul, her spirit, her innermost beliefs and passions. His spiritually starved wife would often trade all the vacations in the world for a little spiritual intimacy from her husband.

How is tending to your wife’s spiritual side a sexual need? Women all over the country tell us the same thing: “When my husband takes the lead spiritually, by praying, reading his Bible, or going to church, I am drawn to him on a deep level. It makes me feel so secure that I am eager to give myself fully to him.”

Women are so serious about spiritual intimacy with their husbands that 58% ranked it as a top sex need. If you want to release deep passion in your wife, then get serious about connecting with her spiritually.

What Is Spiritual Intimacy?

You will experience deep spiritual intimacy when you have a mutual, heartfelt desire to be close to God, when you seek God’s direction for your marriage—even for your sex life. Spiritual intimacy means that in the midst of conflict, you honor and ­respect each other. You don’t put each other down in an attempt to win; you think about how God would want you to act in the situation. You become united together through prayer. You unite under biblical principles for your lives and marriage. You actively invite God into every aspect of your marriage, including sex.

A wife deeply desires to pursue God with her husband. She wants to have spiritual conversations, to read the Bible together, and to pray together. A wife is attracted to a husband when he provides spiritual leadership.

God designed the husband to be the spiritual leader in the marriage. And your wife really wants to see you succeed in that. When you spiritually lead your wife, she feels encouraged to trust you more. When a husband and wife build their marriage on the foundational commitment to pursue God above all, they are able to share fears, anxieties, joys, and dreams. They are free to experience transparent honesty, knowing that they love each other unconditionally and that neither will ever walk away.

How to Meet Your Wife’s Need for Spiritual Intimacy

Pick a few of the following suggestions and begin the process of meeting your wife’s need for spiritual intimacy.

1.  Ask your wife what she needs. The best way to start meeting your wife’s need is to ask her how she would like you to build spiritual intimacy with her. Don’t let her give general ­answers. Probe exactly what she means. If she says, “I want you to be the spiritual leader in our marriage,” ask her what that looks like to her on a daily, practical level.

2.  Be honest about your awkward feelings. If you are uncomfortable talking about spiritual things, start slowly. One great way to start is for each of you to share the history of your spiritual life. Use the following questions to discover more about your partner’s faith:

  • What did your parents believe about God, Jesus, church, prayer, and the Bible?

  • How and where did you first learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? At what age?

  • What has been the greatest spiritual experience of your life?

3.  Pray for your wife. More than anything else—more than flowers, candy, candlelit dinners, or gifts—your wife needs you to be her “soul protector.” Pray for her throughout the day. Pray for her struggles and her dreams. Ask God to show you ways to meet her needs.

4.  Pray with your wife. Praying together is probably the strongest knot that binds a couple. Praying together may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, so use these tips to minimize self-consciousness and make you aware of God’s presence in your life.

  • Set aside time to pray together. It could be any time of the day that works for you. If doing it daily seems like a stretch, pray together once a week, maybe on Sunday evening.

  • Share prayer requests regularly. Informing each other of your needs is an important way to open your hearts to each other and to know where to start in meeting each other’s needs.

  • Talk about how God has answered your prayers in the past.

  • Pray out loud together for each other, for your marriage, and for your family.

6. Encourage your wife spiritually. To get started, complete these four statements together:

  • You could help me grow in my faith by . . .

  • I feel most comfortable praying with you when we . . .

  • We could grow together in our faith if we . . .

  • We could serve God together by . . .

7. Become a spiritual sounding board. Tune in and listen to your wife. If she has a greater need to talk about spiritual things than you do, don’t be put off. Listen. Ask questions. Share your insights with her.

8. Focus on your wife’s spiritual strengths. When you see her make a difficult decision based on her convictions, affirm and encourage her. When you are drawn to God because of her, let her know.

9. Practice forgiveness. When you and your wife have an ­argument or when she has hurt or frustrated you in some way, know that any unresolved offense can block all kinds of intimacy—emotional, physical, and spiritual. When you sense a wall between you and your spouse, something is wrong. Take responsibility for your wrongs. Ask for forgiveness. And when your wife does the same, choose to forgive her.

*For more revealing insights about what your spouse’s most intimate sex needs are - and how to meet them - check out The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women in our online bookstore!

The Honeymoon is Over

Q: Well, the honeymoon is over and I’ve discovered that my spouse is not perfect. Now what?

Photo by   Zun Zun   from   Pexels

Photo by Zun Zun from Pexels

A: Your wedding may have been like a fairy tale. You were drawn to that moment of marriage by the dream of spending the rest of your days with the love of your life. And how long did that last for you? Maybe through the honeymoon and, if you were lucky, through the next few months. Then one day you woke up in the real world. You realized you were no longer the shining stars of a dreamy fairy tale. You had to adapt to each other’s schedules and accommodate each other’s preferences. Your real world came complete with job demands, housework, unfulfilled expectations, and arguments. Sure, you were still deeply in love and committed to each other, but marriage hasn’t been as easy or magical as you expected, right?

Let’s say it plainly because we all know it’s true: Nobody’s perfect. When the honeymoon ended and the glow of your first year together dimmed, you began to see your partner more realistically. You rubbed each other the wrong way occasionally— not because you wanted to (most of the time) but because your differences and flaws were beginning to show more clearly. In the overall scheme of things, these relational glitches are usually minor. Most are momentary annoyances. But the end result is disappointment.

The antidote to disappointment is persevering love, a love that hangs in there even when your spouse doesn’t live up to your ideals. We’re not talking about marital perfection here. This doesn’t mean that you won’t wound each other or that problems won’t ever occur. And it doesn’t mean that closeness and communication happen automatically. You can be relishing the dream while still working diligently to improve your marriage. In fact, that’s the normal state of a healthy marriage relationship! Willingness to accept that fact and prayerfully work on resolving marital glitches can turn your hope for a dream marriage into a daily reality. And with each step of growth and new level of closeness, you have even more to celebrate!

How to Keep Your Dream Alive

  • Talk it out. Communicate freely with each other and keep no inappropriate secrets.

  • Love without strings. Forgive each other when you are wronged and seek forgiveness when you offend.

  • Ask, “What can I do for you?” Eagerly seek to discover and meet each other’s needs.

  • Hang tough. Instead of caving in to difficult circumstances, face and conquer them.

  • Remain true. Consciously guard yourselves against threats and temptations that could pull your marriage apart.

  • Stay close. Work at maintaining emotional, physical, and spiritual closeness.

  • Go the distance. Be committed to keeping your relationship fresh and alive.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!

My Parents are Sabotaging my Marriage!

Q: My own parents keep trying to sabotage my relationship with my spouse. They always have snide remarks or something that they think isn’t being done right. What can I do?

Photo by  Jon Asato  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jon Asato on Unsplash

A: Your first response is to probably want to say to them: “Get a life, you guys, and quit sabotaging my marriage. This is my husband. And we are building a healthy, biblical marriage.” But that probably wouldn’t be the best way to deal with this. 

Instead, you need to cling to your husband and let your family know in no uncertain terms that when they reject your spouse, they’re rejecting you. If they get all upset and dysfunctional about that, then they’re sucked into some toxic behavior patterns. Don’t take the bait. Instead, pray for them. Love them. Honor them. Encourage them, but support your spouse. That will do a number of things. First, it will eventually extinguish their behavior because, after a few months, it’s going to burn out because they aren’t getting anything from you. Second, it will build the esteem of your spouse so much that he/she will be drawn to you and feel the incredible sense of connectedness. Third, it will strengthen your marriage.

It’s going to take time. It may never be completely gone. But realize that you can’t control it. No matter what you do, that stuff was there before you and your spouse were on the scene and it’s going to be there after you leave the scene. You can’t change them until the Holy Spirit convicts them and changes them. In the meantime, do what you can to show honor while making it very clear where you stand.

*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!