Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

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What to Do When You Fear You’re Not Enough for Your Spouse

What to Do When You Fear You’re Not Enough for Your Spouse

Having walked through an unwanted divorce, I am well acquainted with the deep-rooted issue of insecurity. To this day, I feel deeply for women who frequently battle that war. I sympathize and relate to those vulnerable and fragile beating hearts who fear they’re not enough—not pretty enough, not smart enough, not sexy enough, not strong enough, not wise enough, not “fill in the blank” enough.

It’s an exhausting battle to fight. Yet at the end of the day, may this simple truth bring you peace, sister.

You’re not.

The Simple and Difficult Truth about Marriage

I know—it stings a little, but please hear me out. I could give you a pep talk on how you’re enough, you’re so enough, as our culture likes to promise…that you’re beautiful, you’re kind, you’re smart, you’re amazing, or, to quote the beloved Mary Poppins—“you’re practically perfect in every way.”

But here’s the reality of it—you’re not enough for your spouse. You’re not enough to sustain him, fulfill him, keep him happy, make him content, and provide for his every mood, whim, or joy. You’re not enough to hold him up, make him strong, make him capable, or fight his battles with sin for him. You’re just not.

The Holy Spirit is.

When God created marriage, He said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. "Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).

Did you catch that? A helper. He didn’t pull a Jerry McGuire and say women were to complete men. No, rather, the Lord had a purpose for women to come alongside their man and be a helper, a partner, a teammate. None of that means the woman is to hold her man up in every way. You weren’t created for that, sister. You can’t carry that burden. That’s not your role to fill.

"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:21-24

Some men expect their woman to be more than they were meant to be, though, and the woman feels that “not enough” pressure from very real, tangible places. It’s not right or fair, but it happens. Other times, the man in the marriage doesn’t actually expect that of his wife, but because of past wounds from toxic relationships, the wife assumes he does and so she creates her own self-fulling prophecy of failure, born out negative expectation.

And perhaps more often than not, there’s a complicated and exhausting mix of both.

The Endless Battle for "Enough-ness"

I’ve been there. I’ve been in a marriage where a pornography addiction was a struggle. I’ve been in a marriage where there was adultery, lies, and constant flirtation with other women who were “just friends.” I’ve been in a marriage where there was no respect for boundaries—and it did a lot of damage. Even remarried now to a godly man, I struggle with the residual effects and battle the pressure to “be perfect” in order to be “enough.”

And that’s when I must remember that I’m not. I can’t control what my former or current husband chooses to look at, who he chooses to talk to, and what sin he chooses to fight or succumb to. That responsibility is on him and is between him and the Lord. My worth, value and “enoughness” will never be tied to his choices, his sin, his failures, or even his successes. I am a helpmate, not the Holy Spirit. I have no power to convict.

Of course, the Holy Spirit often uses wives to speak life and encouragement and hope into their partners. He frequently uses wives to bring wisdom and discernment to their spouses. But our waist measurements, cup size, hair color, or weight brings no bearing to whether we’re enough. Our IQ, test scores, or level of education in no way contributes to our identity as Daughters of the King. We are never enough, but Christ is enough in and through us. Because of the gospel, we are made righteous with Him, joint-heirs and are covered in the blood of Jesus. That’s the only place where we will ever find true contentment and feel wholly completed. Not in our spouse’s attention, not in the marriage bed, not under compliments and appreciative looks from our spouse or from strangers…but in Christ alone.

Now, I get it. It’s one thing to know these truths while reading these words. It’s easy to sip your coffee and agree as you read—it’s another to live it out daily. It’s much harder to believe who you are and that Christ is all when you suspect unfaithfulness in your marriage or when another relationship ends or when you catch your spouse with porn…when the numbers of the scale are inching up and your waist is inching out and your husband has a cute new co-worker at the office.

I’m preaching to the choir. Because sometimes, the icy cold, sharp-nailed finger of doubt and insecurity still loves to trail down my spine and remind me of all the wrongs done to me, of all the “reasons” I have to be insecure and afraid.

That’s why the next step in what to do when you fear you aren’t enough for your spouse is to fight fire with fire—meaning, attack the lies of the enemy with Scripture.

I love this verse when I’m feeling frayed. "But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer" (Psalm 38:15). It reminds me that sometimes it takes a little while for truth to catch up to emotions, for wisdom to overcome feelings. In those moments, on those days, I quote this verse and wait for the Lord to fill me again.

As women, we naturally want to feel like the most beautiful woman in the world to our husbands. Sometimes the men in our life will get that right, other times they’ll fail miserably. And that’s okay—because we’re not supposed to be getting our worth and value from them. Just as we weren’t meant to sustain and be enough for them, they weren’t meant to quiet our every fear and calm our hearts from every real or imagined assault. We need that comfort and identity from the Lord.

Scripture to Fight the Enemy's Lies

Here are a few helpful scriptures to have in your arsenal as a woman of faith—regardless of what your marriage dynamic looks like.

Psalm 139:14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a] Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

Colossians 2:10…and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Song of Solomon 4:7"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

1 Corinthians 11:12…for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

Sweet wife, the next time you feel insecure, alone, or not enough—whether it be from your spouse or from your own fears—know this: you are Christ’s and He is yours. No matter what choices your husband makes, nothing he can do, say, look at, or participate in can ever change your true value and identity before the King of Kings. Cast your eyes off yourself and your insufficiencies. Instead focus on the fullness of Jesus. He is peace and life in the turmoil of an emotional heart.

Forgive your spouse. Trust again. Try again. Give grace. He’s not perfect, just as you’re not perfect. When you start to feel you aren’t enough, don’t blame your spouse. Run to Christ.

**Disclaimer** If you are in a marriage with frequent, unrepentant pornography use or acts of adultery, please seek professional counseling from a trusted Christian counselor or pastor.

Photo Credit: ©proud_natalia

Betsy_headshotBetsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.