What Aren't You Telling Your Spouse?
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2003 11 Oct
No matter how long you’ve been married, there’s still much more to learn about your spouse. But too often, spouses don’t share important thoughts and feelings with each other, for fear that doing so would be more trouble than it’s worth. If you have issues on your mind that you haven’t discussed with your spouse, don’t be afraid to speak up. Discussing topics you haven’t talked about before can open the door to a stronger and more enjoyable marriage for both of you.
Here are some topics that spouses seldom discuss, but that need to be addressed in marriage:
• Admit your vulnerabilities. Realize that it’s not possible for one human being to make another human being happy – only God can do that – so stop trying to live up to any unrealistic expectations your spouse may have of you. Don’t be afraid to let your husband or wife know about broken places in your heart and life that need healing from God. Then work together to pursue God’s healing.
• Reveal your needs. Let your spouse know how he or she can best serve you, and ask how you can best serve your spouse. Be direct, without playing games or dropping hints. Tell the truth, but with lots of love. View yourselves as teammates.
• Confront control tactics. If your spouse bosses you around, set boundaries and refuse to comply with his or her attempts at manipulation. If you struggle with controlling your spouse, pray for deliverance from your fears so you can be a partner and not a parent to your mate.
• Expect changes, and deal with them. Acknowledge that both of you have changed in unexpected ways and didn’t change in ways the other expected since you got married. Realize that changes will inevitably come in the future – in ways you can’t necessarily predict. Discuss how you both can be more flexible.
• Discuss the different needs you have for intimacy. Help fulfill your wife’s need for emotional nakedness. Help fulfill your husband’s need for physical nakedness. Mutually commit to stay with each other, pursue sexual purity, and regularly satisfy each other so your sex life can be healthy.
• Renew your friendship with each other. Admit your loneliness if you feel disconnected from your mate. Work on renewing your friendship with each other by: finding fun things to do together, respecting each other with your words, valuing each other’s opinion when making plans, laughing together, noticing little things your spouse does and letting him or her know that you appreciate them, buying gifts for each other and allowing each other to have some freedom with spending, sympathizing with each other in both joy and sorrow, helping each other with chores, spending time together – just the two of you – away from other people, and publicly praising your spouse.
• Reduce financial pressures. If you’re in debt, honestly talk about the stress of your situation. Then commit to pursuing a debt-free lifestyle. Ask God to give you each the gift of contentment and the grace to be able to live within your means.
• Talk about spiritual leadership. If you’re a wife, tell your husband how important it is to you that he assume his responsibility for spiritual leadership in your home. If you’re a husband, admit the ways you feel inadequate to be an effective spiritual leader, and ask your wife to support you in prayer as you try, without usurping your role.
• Deal with regrets. Be honest with each other about your regrets about the past, then ask God to help you both let go of the regrets and find peace. Look toward the future together with hope, anticipating that God will accomplish good purposes in both of your lives.
• Plan ahead for your senior years. Discuss what you hope your lives will be like together if you live to see old age. Work to enrich your relationship so that the best part of your marriage can be yet to come.
Adapted from "What Husbands & Wives Aren’t Telling Each Other," © 2003 by Steve and Annie Chapman. Published by Harvest House Publishers, www.harvesthousepublishers.com.
Steve and Annie Chapman are award-winning musicians who take their message of Christ-centered family to audiences all over North America. Steve proclaims his enthusiasm for the gospel, for family, and for hunting in "A Look at Life from a Deer Stand" and "10 Things I Want My Son to Know." Annie is a popular speaker and the author of several books, including "A Woman’s Answer to Anger" and "10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know."