Counseling sessions with my husband always started out the same. On the drive there I would envision the therapist agreeing that I was right and that my husband needed to change. It would surely be a life-changing hour for him. But the counseling sessions always ended the same. Half way through after being shocked that the therapist was focused on me, I wrestled with the thought that the therapist had it all wrong. But by the end, reality set in.
I had the problem.
Human nature arms us with the ability to self-protect. At every turn we have a seemingly involuntary response of deflecting anything that is remotely threatening. I am not the one who has a problem, YOU are.
Not only is this unhelpful in our regular relationships, it can be the root for marital deterioration. When we are so busy pointing the finger at our spouse, arguments end with no resolution. In fact, arguments end in confusion about what the argument was initially about. This leads to ongoing frustration, bitterness, and a bag full of old, unresolved issues. And we end up walking around hypersensitive and overly aware of our spouse’s shortcomings. Enter argument number 3,485.
So how do we change?
I have yet to meet a couple who wants their marriage to be worse. So, if you TRULY want a better marriage, forget about your husband. Forget about him! And focus on you. Yes, you. Check yourself. Don’t check your husband. Now is where you can stop thinking, ‘Yeah…but she doesn’t know my husband.’
We are wrapped up in this covering called pride. Pride blinds us from our own brokenness. It prohibits us from saturating in the truth that Jesus suffered and died for our brokenness. And when we drift away from remembering this truth, we put ourselves on a pedestal above our spouses brokenness. Our husbands become so difficult to live with, right? Wrong. And if they would just stop doing that, we would have a better marriage. Not necessarily.
We absolutely need to live in a constant place of humility of how broken we are so that whatever our husbands do or don’t do, it is nothing in comparison to us. Can we all just raise our hands and admit that we are pretty ugly inside? That we really aren’t that nice all of the time? That we are critical? And disrespectful? And rude? And (fill in the blank). I mean let’s be real here. How fun are you, really, to live with? To be married to? If you don’t want to answer, check your pride at the door. And leave it.
Phillipians 2:3 tells us that in humility we are to value others above ourselves. Do you value your husband over yourself? Humility is the necessary ingredient for a marriage that honors God.
So strive to have a greater awareness of where YOU fall short. Take inventory. Back off of your husband and self-reflect for the good of your marriage. Be so aware of your shortcomings that you are able to warmly respond to your husband. Able to hold your tongue. Able to love.
Every exchange will either bring you and your partner closer together or further apart. For the sake of your marriage, walk in humility. Seek your Father, take care of yourself, and be in prayer.
By Amanda Davison
I am a wife to a farmer and mother of three who when isn’t caring my tribe, spends my time teaching psychology, coaching wives, writing, and speaking. I am often shown the areas where God needs me to adjust so that I can obediently share with others. Please visit my website at www.amandadavison.com for more encouragement!