Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Linda Dillow's book,What's It Like to be Married to Me? (David C. Cook, 2010).

 

It's easy for you to know what it's like to be married to your husband, because you are married to him, so you know what you like and don't like about him. But have you ever considered what it's like for your husband to be married to you? What qualities do you bring to your marriage? Are you the kind of wife who blesses your husband, or do you cause him pain?

When you think about what it's like to be married to you and ask God to help you change in the ways you should, your marriage can grow stronger. Here's how you can become a better wife:

Ask "What is really important to me?": Realize that the choices you make throughout each day about what to say and what to do reflect what's truly important to you. Consider whether or not your choices are showing your husband that he's the most important person on Earth to you. Ask God to help you choose attitudes and actions that will clearly communicate to your husband that your relationship is a high priority. Imagine your husband speaking at your funeral, and reflect on how you would like him to describe you and your marriage. Then keep the end of your life in view as you make decisions today. Pray and think about what's really important to you as a wife, and express that by writing a marriage purpose statement.

Ask "What does it feel like to be my husband?": Does your husband feel discouraged because you regularly complain, criticize, and nag? Or does he feel encouraged because you constantly speak positive words to him? Does your husband feel frustrated because your actions are burdening him? Or does he feel loved because you do acts of kindness to help him? Does he feel disappointment or contempt from you, or does he feel love and respect?  If you're guilty of being too negative in your marriage, pour out your complaints to God alone through prayer, and trust Him to help you with everything that concerns you. Then obey God's command to accept your husband as he is and give him grace, because Jesus has accepted you and given you grace. Shift your focus from asking God to change your husband to asking God to change you, helping you become a better person and wife.

Ask "Am I willing to change my attitude?": Change your attitude from griping to gratitude. Ask God to help you notice all of your husband's good qualities, and cultivate a thankful spirit by regularly telling your husband what you admire and appreciate about him. When talking to other people about your husband, choose to be positive rather than negative. Thank your husband for what he does to help you, instead of taking him for granted. Pray for your husband regularly, with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Ask "What will it take for me to get close to you?": Work toward emotional closeness with your husband by accepting the differences between you and learning how to use those difference to complement each other. Help each other be the best friends and lovers you can be. Since your husband's greatest emotional need is for significance, ask God to help you give your husband unconditional respect and encouragement.

Ask "What is it like to make love with me?" Consider whether or not your husband enjoys your sex life together. Remember that sex was God's idea, and in marriage, sex is holy and meant to be enjoyed. Pray for the ability to freely offer your husband the gift of your body. Pursue passionate and fun sex with your husband so you can grow in oneness together.

Ask "Why do I want to stay mad at you?" If you hold grudges against your husband after he hurts or offends you, ask God to help you let go of your anger and bitterness, since it will poison both your marriage and your relationship with God if you hold onto it. Rely on God's strength to help you follow His command to forgive your husband unconditionally and continuously. Remember that God has forgiven you of many sins, and let your gratitude for God's forgiveness motivate you to forgive your husband.

Ask "Is it possible to grow together when things fall apart?" Expect that you and your spouse will encounter various crises in this fallen world together, from health struggles to job losses. But realize that every crisis you all face presents either the danger that it will destroy your oneness by tearing you apart, or the opportunity that it will deepen your oneness by pushing you together. View each crisis that hits your marriage as an opportunity to grow closer together as you both learn how to trust God in fresh ways through the crisis. Turn to God's promises in the Bible to encourage each other as you deal with pain from crises in your marriage, and notice how you grow together.

Look in the mirror and focus on what matters most. Keep in mind that what matters most to God is that you're faithful. So regularly look in the mirror and ask yourself if the wife you see there is being faithful to God and your husband throughout all circumstances. Every day, pray for a fresh dose of the strength you need to be faithful in loving God and your husband, and God will help you keep learning and growing.

January 18, 2011

Adapted from What's It Like to be Married to Me?, copyright 2011 by Linda Dillow. Published by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, CO, www.davidccook.com.

Linda Dillow is the author of numerous books, including the best-selling Creative Counterpart and Intimate Issues (with Lorraine Pintus), with sales totaling more than 1.5 million copies. A popular speaker at women's conferences around the world, Linda lives in Monument, Colorado with her husband, Jody. The Dillows have four grown children and 10 grandchildren.