This post has been burning away in my mind {as the deeper ones usually do} and I am really hoping that my experience as a wife might be a comfort, an encouragement, a conviction and a source of guidance for those who may be struggling with things I did as a young wife and who need the hope that they can grow and truly love their husband’s better.
It truly is possible to change because it is truly possible to be a good, but not so good, wife to your husband. It hurts knowing you have areas in your life that need deep {and painful} pruning. But, from my own experience, your husband needs you to change {if you’re struggling in the areas I’m about to share}. If there is a wall between you and if you feel you are constantly battling against him from within, please read on. It honestly doesn’t have to be this way.

A Clinging Vine
As a young wife, I was deeply in love with a man who just seemed to have saved my life. I was a wounded, hormonal, deeply broken young woman in desperate need of love and acceptance. When Tim walked into my life, he was truly the man I had been praying for. Within nine months of meeting, we married and began our life together. 
Both of us had baggage and painful experiences, but between the two of us, I was the more fragile, more emotionally unstable and deeply insecure. While many of Tim’s struggles began to resolve themselves, mine seemed only to worsen. I thought that being married, being loved, would make me feel better – better about my past, better about myself, better about my body, better about everything. But it didn’t. And this only made me more and more insecure.
Instead of being grounded, I continued to be up and down, weak in mind and emotion, and I clung to Tim as if he were my all-encompassing source of life. Though my relationship with God was strong and passionate, my theology was still weak and I believed that Tim was supposed to give me all the good feelings I needed to feel good about myself. I thought being married to this amazing man would make all the pain and fears and anxieties go away.
Clingy, needed, possessive and insecure, I was not the wife Tim needed nor desired. He tried his best but, after awhile, it started getting at him. I was not the joy waiting for him when he got home, as much as I tried to be the “perfect” wife, it wasn’t what he needed. He needed me – secure in the Lord, secure in my soul, secure as the woman God had made me to be. He needed a companion, a helpmeet, a lover – not a tearful, overwrought and needy wife.
My Man, My Girlfriend
Not only was I clingy and demanded him to fulfill in me what only God could, I tried to make him be somebody he wasn’t. It frustrated me when he didn’t get things about me that my best friend would. I couldn’t understand why he thought and processed things the way he did. And my way of having a relationship with God was better, more holy, more passionate because – well, because! I loved this man I had married but I couldn’t believe he was… well, a man.

“You marry a man, not a woman. Strange how easy it seems to be for some women to expect their husbands to be women, to act like women, to do what is expected of women. Instead of that they are men, they do what is expected of men and thus they do the unexpected…Anything he does which seems to her inexplicable or indefensible she dismisses with ‘Just like a man!’ as though this were a condemnation or at best an excuse instead of a very good reason for thanking God for. It is a man she married, after all, and she is lucky if he acts like a man.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Because I have matured in this area, almost eight years down the track and many valleys and summits later, I love and appreciate that he is truly, and completely opposing to me, a man. I don’t want a feminine man, I want a manly man. If he were as emotionally-minded as I can be, we would be in for a whole lot of trouble! I want my husband to view the world like a man because, not only is that the best thing for me, it is the best thing for him. When we accept how we relate gender-wise, it frees us to truly complement one another in our union.
Changing Him
Not only did I expect my man to behave like me, a woman, in many areas of life {particuarly emotionally and spiritually}, I also didn’t let him be a man. I thought that he should be, must be, content with my company only. I felt resentful and hurt if he wanted to game instead of cuddle with me {even if we had cuddled every night previously}. And if he wanted to have a beer with the boys then I held it against him as if it were an insult to me.
But men need men as equally as women need women. It is good and right for spouses to have a little time now and then, or more frequently, to be free to communicate and relate to other people of the same sex. Husband’s need male companionship, not just for biblical relationships, but for gaming, having a drink, hunting, playing sport, or just mucking around. A loving wife should almost push her man out the door regularly so he can have time for himself in a “man” environment. 
“If you succumb to the temptation to expect your husband to fulfill all the roles of all relationships you have had prior to marriage you will learn that is asking too much. He needs his male friends, you need your female ones, even though your marriage and home top priority in your interest.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot.
If there are jokes, ways of thinking, insecurities, sin struggles that you just don’t get because he is a man, that is okay. Laugh anyway, try and follow along with his very rational logic, allow him to talk {if and when he does} and don’t interrupt or try and “fix” his problem, just be there and understand. 
Also, don’t be his personal Holy Spirit. That’s God’s role, not yours. Your role is to live out true love and true grace to him. Pray for him, daily, and talk about things if needed  but – for the most part – let God deal with him.

“Tell your mate the positive, and tell God the negative.” ~ Ruth Graham
“God, working through his Spirit, is to be the change agent. We can end up hindering his work in the lives of our spouses when we try to be helpful with criticism that is anything but constructive…Rather than making insensitive and inappropriate efforts to change our mates, we must support them in prayer and be willing to wait for the Holy Spirit to do his work in their lives.” ~ Bob Barnes
I have hurt and hindered Tim in many ways during our marriage because I am a sinner. But, thank goodness, Jesus is a great saviour and he loves marriage. When we seek, as wives, Jesus alone and what his will alone is for our own heart and behaviour, he works his way in us and slowly – oh, ever so slowly – we grow and bloom into the women our husband’s truly need. There is hope for you to be a happy wife, with a happy husband, in a ever-growing happy marriage.
For two great resources on how to really love your husband, read:
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
What Makes a Man Feel Loved? by Bob Barnes

10 Replies to “How I Genuinely Became a Better Wife.”

  1. It really can be hard to be in a relationship when you're constantly seeking what you aren't even supposed to be getting from that other person. I'm glad you've come through to the other side and your relationship has remained in tact. I'd imagine that since the struggle of figuring it all out, your relationship may even be that much stronger 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you! Our marriage went through the rocks in those early days – from the both of us – and now God has refined us and taught us what true love is. I wouldn't change those days for what we have now for all the world!

  3. Too many of us expect our husbands to be someone they're not, and in fact can never be. Thank you for pointing us toward a better way, and for linking up with us at Grace & Truth!

  4. Sarah, a happy relationship–marriage is two people whole with in them selves. Sharing your faith makes for a stable foundation to build and grow the relationship and model for your children and grandchildren healthy relationships. I must say, I had problems understanding some of this that you wrote? Firstly, I read that you are very self condemning, and in the end still blame your self for not being perfect for Tim? WHY ?? I see nothing in your writing that alludes to the fact that Tim is the other half of this relationship ie half responsible for helping in this relationship. Therapy typically only works when two are on the same page and want to help each other for the good of both–utilitarian. Happiness is a two way street Sarah ! If you do not believe you are worth that……I feel bad for you. You are the only You on earth. God created You to become the best You–you can be. One has to love one self before one can truly love another. Work on You !!!!!

  5. Hi! I really appreciate your comment, so thank you for taking the time to reply with your concerns.

    I didn't allude to Tim because I was writing about my own struggles in our marriage and how God grew me. I don't write about Tim because that is his story and there are aspects of marriage that belong alone to a husband and wife. But I can assure you that God has worked on Tim in equal measure and I am so proud of him with all that he has done to be the best husband he can be.

    I'm not sure why you don't think I deserve happiness. The point of the post was that what I thought would bring happiness in our marriage {making Tim into something he isn't and using him as an idol for my own security} only hurt our love and that, as God showed me what true love is – that is, seeking Him first as my True love and allowing Tim to be the man that he is – changed our marriage vastly. I do believe that one has to love oneself to love another but the verse I think you are referring to seems to imply that we do inherently love ourselves and so we love each other in the same way. Also, it is impossible not to escape the fact that the entire NT is about loving others the way Jesus did – more than ourselves. And loving Tim more than myself is what I was trying to put across.

    I hope this clarifies what you were concerned about x

  6. Oh Sarah, I believe so many women can relate to this post. I know when I was first married( nearly 12 years ago!) I expected so much from my husband. I am thankful the Lord showed me that He would meet all my needs! I too expected him to be like one of my friends empathizing with me. I have learned so much these past years especially that I can't change him but that God can change me. I have found that instead of complaining to him, I can go to God and give him my desires for my marriage and he will do the work in my husband and myself. I know many wives need to hear your beautiful message of what it means to be a godly wife. It is possible! Excited to be featured with you at mama moments:)

  7. Sarah, I absolutely love your post and am blessed by you. I've been poking around your site and love what I've seen! 🙂
    Also, have you tried to use the wayback tool to find your old site?
    God bless,
    Jenn @ busybeingblessed.net

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