Winning back your husband (Part 1)
- Gary Smalley Author and speaker on family relationships
- 2000 7 Jul
"Never give up . . . Never, never give up . . . Never, never, never give up."
These twelve immortal words were spoken by Winston Churchill during a commencement speech at a noted university in England. Churchill's speech lasted less than two minutes - but it drew a standing ovation and has inspired men and women ever since. What he said is the best advice you can receive when it comes to winning back your husband. Never give up!
Few can appreciate Churchill's message quite like Robert and Debbie. For them, "Never give up" means far more than some positive rallying cry or historic speech. It is the testimony of their marriage experience, and one Debbie now feels called to share with others.
That day is still fresh in my mind. "I'm moving out today!" my husband Robert announced in a cold, distant voice. "They're delivering a bed to my apartment in a few hours. I'll be back later to pick up my clothes and other personal belongings." And with that, Robert was gone.
I stood there looking bewildered. There were so many things I wanted to say to make him stay. There were so many things that I wanted to say to make him pay. After all, he was the one that had the affair. But most of all, I just wanted my marriage to work out.
With that in mind, the only thing I could manage to say was, "fine." I had to go to work that day knowing that when I came home my husband would no longer be living there.
Looking back on our time of marital separation, I can see that I did many things to compromise my own self. I did a lot of card sending, phone calling, and tried being the perfect cook when we were together. To be more physically attractive, I lost weight and frequented the local tanning salon. I can remember thinking, "Well, this may be good for him, but it's definitely not good for me."
But I came to the conclusion that something first had to be good for me - my self-image and self-esteem - before it could be good for us relationally. If I was miserable, then I would never be able to build a satisfying relationship with my husband.
In writing the book, Winning Back Your Husband, we interviewed countless women who had "won back" their husbands. One of the most important things they shared was that the reconciliation process began with becoming "whole" as an individual first, before focusing on the relationship.
Ho to Win Back Your Husband: Taking Care of Yourself
In the story above, Debbie began to build her new relationship with her husband on a new foundation - focusing on the positive and becoming whole herself. Just as you wouldn't think of building a new house on an old, faulty foundation, don't build a new marital relationship on an old you. Your life is built on the rock of Jesus Christ. In Christ, you are a new creation, body, soul and spirit.
Winning your husband back starts with you. Yes, he may need to change, but the first one to change is you. Yes, he may have said and done many hurtful things. But, you must first identify and take responsibility for your own actions, words, thoughts and feelings. Unless you begin with you and the changes you need to make, you will continue to do and say things that will drive your husband further away. Winning your husband back begins with you.
As you become more and more the person Christ created you to be, you will become more attractive and beautiful to your husband. The Christ in you will attract the Christ in him. The indwelling Spirit in you will transform you from the inside out. Winning your husband back involves more than changing your attitudes or behaviors, even though they may have to change substantially. The change in you is a spiritual transformation out of which flows new life through you and into your marriage relationship.
Let us assure you that God has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life even if your husband doesn't see you as important or essential to his life. You are body, soul and spirit. All of who you are is important to God. We will examine each aspect of your life and look at how you can become whole regardless of how your husband views you. All that matters is that you see yourself as God sees you. You are a whole person reflecting Christ's image, not the image projected for you by your husband, others or even yourself. So let's look at you the way God does.
Step 1. Look at your body
The way you look physically may convey to others how you feel about yourself. A sloppy, overweight person can communicate lower self value. It's important for you to take care of your body for your sake and so you can be a healthy vessel through whom the Spirit works. Commit yourself to a regular routine of exercise. Keep your body fit in order to honor the Lord, to be used by Him for His purposes and to stay attractive to others and your husband. But you are not doing this to look good or to win your husband back. This is for your health and for God.
Step 2. Look at your soul
Next, it's important to cultivate and maintain a healthy mental outlook. A healthy soul begins with Christ's thoughts that focus on the positive, not the negative things in life. Paul writes, "Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" (Philippians 4:8, NIV).
Examine your soul for balance. Ask yourself these questions:
- What negative attitudes do you have toward yourself? Your husband?
- Do you have a social life with other women friends?
- What are your hobbies?
- Are your friends positive people who affirm and encourage you?
- Do you have time for serving and ministering to others?
What new ways are you learning and growing intellectually?
Decide to put on the mind of Christ and to set aside negative attitudes that serve to damage you and your relationships. Also, time for yourself is important in a daily schedule. Make yourself and your attitudes a priority for your time.
Step 3: Look at your spirit
Now it's time to examine your spiritual life. Matthew 6:33 clearly shows us our source of life: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (NIV). In my life, when God is in first place, He promises to meet all my needs. I try to love God with all my heart. In other words, He's the highest priority in my life. When I focus on Jesus Christ as the sole Source of my life, an amazing thing happens. Because He loves me and actually possesses the wisdom, love, peace and joy I've always wanted, He alone can overflow my cup. That's exactly what He promises to do for His children: "This love ... surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19, NIV). Can you be any more filled than full? Absolutely not.
Next week: Read more about Debbie and Robert's experience and learn more about becoming the person Christ wants you to be.
Ask Dr. Gary Smalley and his sons, Michael and Greg, your questions about marriage and family relationships. Click here to submit your question.
For more information about Gary Smalley's work, visit the Smalley Relationship Center Web site.