My Husband Wasn’t My Friend
By: Anne Peterson
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. - Philippians 2:3
We were selling our poetry pieces at an Art and Craft show. When people see my poem, “I’d Marry You Again.” I get one of two reactions. Either they love it, or they laugh and say, “I sure wouldn’t marry him again.”
That day made me think of my relationship with my husband.
“Mike, do you consider me your friend?” I asked.
His response was immediate. “Yes.”
“I don’t consider you my friend,” I said quietly.
Those words were not said to be mean, but instead, I was newly aware of something I wanted to change. I realized there was my friends, and there was my husband, but that I didn’t treat Mike like I treated my friends. It was humbling. At the beginning of our relationship, I hung on every word Mike said, we talked all the time. But as the years went by, I began to change. It was gradual, but at that moment, so obvious. I wondered if God could rekindle our relationship.
God started showing me while I did love Mike, I did not honor him.
Honor is defined as high respect, great esteem. Honor would a person would hold a special place, above others. I prayed God would show me what this looked like. I became a student of my husband. I studied what Mike liked and what spoke love to him. Sometimes we assume if we love in the way we’d like love, we have done our job. But we may be missing it completely if what we do isn’t perceived as love to them.
Lysa Terkeurst shared in one of her articles a time when she asked her husband when he felt most loved. She wrote his answers on little pieces of paper she then put in a container. Every day she used those suggestions to show him her love.
So I asked Mike what spoke love to him. His answers included a back rub, a meal with mashed potatoes and gravy, watching an old movie with him. All things that were possible for me to do.
Proverbs 17:7 says a friend loves at all times. God showed me there were times I did not act loving toward Mike.
Being right sometimes mattered more to me than Mike did. Even typing those words, feels bad, and yet, it’s true.
I used to roll my eyes when Mike would start explaining something to me. I was impatient, wanting him to get to the point. The Lord showed me eye-rolling is not respectful. Even when I tried doing it inside my head, God saw it. 1 Samuel 16:7 talks about how man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I began to work on that one area. And every time I was tempted to roll my eyes, I prayed instead.
I also learned I don’t always have to be right. That was a hard one for me. Perhaps because I didn’t get heard at all growing up. But that was then, and this is now. God showed me people in the Bible like Joseph who were even mistreated, and yet, still had a good attitude. Or Jesus, who was right, but still kept silent. My wanting to be right was pride. God hates pride and that’s what Jesus died for. Sins like our pride.
God helped me in my relationship with my husband. I don’t do everything right, but I’m getting better. An interesting thing happened as I started honoring my husband. He loved me even more. God knows exactly how to help us in our marriages. After all, they were his idea.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 15 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss and another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com or connect with her on Facebook.
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