Do you remember the thoughts running through your mind on the day you said, “I do”?
I remember being captivated by my ever-so-handsome groom–who was dressed in a white tux and tails. (Don’t judge me – If you got married in the 80s you might have made your man wear a white tuxedo too!)
Vowing to love, honor and cherish my husband, I was convinced that our happily-ever-after love story would fulfill my longing for a happy life.
As Steve and I settled into married life, I remember how I would look to him to fulfill all of my emotional longings. When I was sad, lonely, or feeling unattractive, if my husband did not say or do just the right things to make me feel better, I would secretly feel betrayed.
With each “betrayal” I found myself stuffing resentful thoughts toward my husband into the corners of my mind. Maybe you can relate to my experience. Do you struggle with feelings of resentment when your husband fails to measure up to your expectations? Do you find yourself feeling betrayed when your husband doesn’t make the effort to make you feel valued?
If so, you’re not alone my friend. In the number of years my husband and I have mentored married couples, time and again we have discovered that wives struggle with these same issues. And when wives feel like their husbands are not giving them the happiness they long for they usually respond in a number of ways. From what I have observed, women tend to:
- Withdraw emotionally
- Lash out in anger
- Harbor resentment
- Look for a way out of the relationship
Maybe you can identify with one or more of those responses. For me, as a young bride, I was tempted to withdraw emotionally. I come from a long line of broken marriages, and I was determined not to be another family statistic. So, when the Lord began to convict me of the wrong thinking that was threatening to take root in my heart, I knew I needed to change.
The Bible instructs the older women to teach the younger how to love their husbands (see Titus 2), so I decided it was time to reach out to some older women in my church.
From what I observed among the established Christian couples in our congregation there were some who were just married, and there were others who seemed to have grown more in love with one another over time. I reached out to the women who enjoyed marriages that I wanted to emulate. And do you know what these women did? They helped me see how selfishly I had been loving my husband.
From God’s Word, and from their own experiences, they helped me come to understand that my husband was never meant to be the source of true joy. These godly, Titus 2 women showed me that it was wrong of me to expect my husband to fulfill my longing to be happy.
If you are a follower of Christ, you may be surprised to learn that the number one thing on God’s agenda for you and your marriage, is not that you live “happily-ever-after” as many believe is the goal of a happy marriage.
You see, God created you to long to be loved and to find true happiness in a relationship with one who loves you. But that relationship you long for is not with another person, but rather with the One who created you.
Just think––the Creator of heaven and earth made you so that you could find your worth, significance, and true happiness in relationship with Him. The problem lies in that sin stole away the relationship God intended for you and I to have with Him.
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” From the first sin in the Garden until now, each person is born in sin and with a longing for a relationship they don’t even understand––until the Lord opens their eyes to His great love.
When you and I come to realize that our true happily-ever-after is found in a relationship with Christ alone, we will have discovered the secret to a happy marriage.
Over 30 years ago the Lord used some older women to teach me His truth about happily-ever-after. And now, God is granting me the privilege to do the same for the next generation of wives. Through the pages of my book If My Husband Would Change, I’d be Happy, God is allowing me to help women discover the secret to true happiness.
Down through the ages few women have come to know their worth and the true happiness that God intended. It is my prayer that you will determine to be one of those women.
And when you come to know genuine happiness in growing deeper your love for God through spending time with Him daily in His Word and through prayer, you will find you can let your husband off the hook as the source of your happily-ever-after.
And know this, the more you learn to love Jesus with your whole heart, the more He will love your husband through you with His selfless love. In this you will find the secret to true happiness in marriage, and you will have no regrets.
Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 20 years of experience as a marriage mentor, pastor’s wife, author and speaker, Stoppe leads women of all ages to live lives of no regrets. She is the author of Moms Raising Sons to be Men, which mentors thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her latest book, If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe, is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages.
Stoppe lives in California with her husband, Steve. They have four adult children and five grandchildren.
Publication date: August 5, 2016