What to Do When Your Man Can’t Make You Happy
- Betsy de Cruz Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 4 Nov
When I got married, I thought my husband would make me happy, but it didn’t take long to realize my mistake. Don’t get me wrong. I do love Jose, and he does make me happy, but not like I expected. Before we married, I just knew my attentive and kind-hearted fiancé would make the perfect husband.
However, the happily ever after bubble popped a few weeks after the wedding bells. We bickered throughout our honeymoon about where to go and what to do. When we had our first major conflict weeks later, I cried my heart out. That man just couldn’t make me happy.
I had a serious problem: I had married a regular person.
Jose wasn’t perfect. He was a redeemed sinner just like me, trying his best to cope with the reality that he was now married to a member of the Female species. By the end of our first year, I realized I had unrealistic expectations. I thought my husband would:
- Make me feel happy and complete
- Understand and meet my needs always
- Express love and appreciation consistently
In short, I was expecting Jose to take God’s place in my life. I was looking to a regular guy to meet needs only God could fill.
Many wives find themselves in a catch-22.
Placing heavy expectations on our husbands to fill our needs burdens them unfairly and brings stress to our marriages; however, not communicating those needs weakens our relationship. How can we handle this? For happier marriages, we have to learn to look to God for fulfillment. At the same time, we need to communicate our needs in a way that honors God and lets our husbands off the hook.
I’m discovering a balance:
Let your husband know your needs. Look to God to meet your needs.
Let your husband know your needs, but lower your expectations.
Let him be a man.
This sounds crazy, but I’m learning to remember that my husband is not my best girlfriend! For a better relationship, I need to communicate my concerns with him, but I can’t expect him to respond like another woman would. Most days, our husbands aren’t ready to sit down for an hour over coffee to hear about our exasperation with the kids or our frustration at work. If your man is like mine, he might even get that cornered rabbit look in his eyes when you share your struggles. It’s because he loves you, and he’s not sure what to do when you’re not okay.
Let him know when you need him to just listen.
When you share a struggle, does your husband respond by trying to “fix it” for you? Remember that most men talk problems over with the goal of finding solutions, not just to share their hearts. If you need him to listen, gently let him know you don’t expect him to fix anything. (But don’t be surprised if he ends up suggesting a great solution for you.)
Let his response be okay.
When we have a conversation to communicate our concerns, it’s only fair to leave the response up to our husbands. They might not know what to say. They might try to briefly encourage us before going onto another subject. Let’s be okay with their response, as long as it’s reasonably kind and considerate.
What communicating with my husband looks like in real life:
My husband and I have regular date times when we get to talk, but if something’s bothering me, I don’t wait until the next date to share it. Instead I try to find a few minutes in the car or in the kitchen after dinner to say, “I’m worried about my doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Could you pray for me?”
If I want to share something that will take more time, I ask, “Do you have time to talk?” If he’s not free then, we agree on a time later.
Look to God to meet your needs.
Before you share your needs with your husband, trust God to meet them. After you share your needs with your husband, keep expecting God to meet them. Let’s place all our expectations on the Only One who never fails. God understands us completely, comforts us, and loves us without fail.
According to Philippians 4:19, “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
How can we let God meet our needs?
Honestly, my first response when I feel needy is to look to people for help and encouragement. What I want instead is a God-first response. I want to learn seek Him first and people second. I want to learn to pray over my concerns before I tell my husband about them. A God-first response to our problems paves the way to seeing more of His answers.
God is a never-ending source of love and strength. He has all the resources we need. When we make space and time for God each day, we open a door for Him to come in and fill our hearts and minds. Here are some ways we can cultivate our relationship with God and open the doors to let more of Him into our lives:
- Spend 15 minutes a day alone with God. Read His Word. You’ll be surprised at how much it encourages you.
- Talk to God about your concerns. Turn each worry into a prayer.
- Take a walk around the block when negative emotions are too much for you. Pour out your heart to Him. Remember He cares for you.
- Experiment with journaling to communicate with God. Journaling can provide a healthy outlet for your emotions on days you feel depressed or fearful.
By placing all our expectations on the Only One who never fails us, we let our husbands off the hook. However, looking to God to meet our needs doesn’t mean that we don’t communicate them to our husbands. Instead, we’re free to cultivate closeness by communicating our concerns to our spouses in a healthy way without unfair expectations.
Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy writes about real life faith on her blog, faithspillingover.com, on Facebook. and on Twitter.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 4, 2016