Veiled in white, she stood before the altar bubbling with anticipation. She was radiant and ready to utter those long-awaited words…
He said them too, sealed it with a kiss, and the happy couple hastened down the aisle as husband and wife.
But before long those two life-altering words, “I do” morphed into, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
It happens far too often.
The marriage of our dreams is rarely the marriage of our reality. But a hard season doesn’t equal a hopeless marriage. There is hope.
Through the years, women have asked me what to do when they were facing a difficult season in their marriage. My answer has pretty much stayed the same…
“You won’t answer for your husband, nor can you change him - but you will answer for you and you can work on changing yourself. Do what you know you’re supposed to do regardless of whether he does or not. Pray for him, live for God, and you won’t have any regrets.”
The Bible says a wise woman builds her house and a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)
I’ve done some serious tearing down of my own marriage. Not intentionally, but unaware that some of the things I was saying, doing, and even not doing were like removing building blocks from the foundation of our happy home.
I realized that I was spending a lot more time and energy fighting with my man and finding fault with him, than I was fighting for my man and focusing on the good things about him.
But I want to be a wise woman who builds her house, not a foolish one who tears it down.
How about you?
Today, I want to share with you 5 ways you might be ruining your marriage without even realizing it.
1. Not Thinking before You Speak
Proverbs 29:11 tells us that a fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. It’s much easier to say what is on our minds than to think before we speak. But it’s also much more destructive.
Years ago, a wise woman gave me some priceless advice: Before you say something, ask yourself, “Does what I’m getting ready to say really need to be heard.” Those powerful words of wisdom revolutionized my marriage and the way I communicate with family and friends.
Here are a few filters we can use to help us think before we speak:
- Arguing in public is never a good thing. Just don’t.
- Talking badly about your husband to others smears his reputation and festers negative thoughts in your heart about him. Don’t even go there.
- Divulging his personal character flaws makes him feel like he can't trust you and he has no safe place to go. Stop before you start.
- Revealing information about your sexual relationship with him is more than inappropriate, it exposes what should be personal. Keep private what is private.
- Undermining him in front of others undermines your marriage. Think before you speak.
- Looking for opportunities to say something positive to him and about him will build his confidence and your marriage. Brag on him publicly and privately. It will make your man’s heart smile and help him become all God created him to be.
2. Noticing Everything He Does Wrong and Telling Him about It
Being human means your husband is going to blow it. He’s going to fail. But you will too. We all do. One of the things I share at conferences is that we all need to give each other room to fail, room to grow, and room to be human, because we need the room to fail, room to grow, and room to be human. An important component to any relationship, but especially a marriage.
Most of the time when your man messes up, he knows it. Your finger of disapproval isn’t some sort of revelation to him. Being quick to point out his failures is a good way to chip away at the foundation of your marriage.
Rather than being your husband’s critic, try being his biggest cheerleader and most adamant admirer. Everyone needs someone who they can depend on to be on their side. Someone who is for them. Someone who believes in them even when they don’t believe in themselves.
A wise woman builds her house. She doesn’t tear it down.
3. Not Making Your Heart and Home a Haven
A surefire way to destroy some of the foundational footing of your home is to make your man feel like home is the last place he wants to be and like he can’t tell you anything.
Everyone needs a place they can go to retreat from the rest of the world. A safe place from the confusion, chaos, commotion, and messiness of life.
When you make your heart and your home a haven for your husband, it’s like putting mortar between the building blocks of your home and strengthening your marriage.
4. Not Praying for Your Spouse or Your Marriage and Not Trusting God to Work in His Life
In our early years together, I spent a lot more time complaining about my marriage and my man than I did praying for them. How destructive! And what a waste of time and energy! There I was again, being that foolish wife who was tearing down her home and marriage instead of building them up.
A wise woman knows…
- She can’t change her husband. But God can.
- She can’t give him wisdom. But God can.
- She can’t heal his heart. But God can.
- She can’t open doors for him. But God can.
When you’re married, you become one. So ultimately, when you pray for him, you are praying for yourself as well.
When your husband says or does something that hurts you or behaves in an ungodly way, pray for him. When your husband struggles with insecurities and sin, pray for him.
Prayer. It’s the most powerful way to build your marriage and your man. It will change what words can’t and repair what seems impossible to mend.
5. Being Way Too Serious and Losing Your Laugh
Focusing on how all of your needs aren’t being met, or on how you’re struggling in your marriage, or on how he isn’t the man you thought you had married will sap any semblance of enjoyment right out of your marriage!
There’s a wonderful bonding process that takes place when you simply laugh together. Life is too short to take everything so seriously. It’s okay to lighten up and laugh again.
Think about it, when’s the last time you saw a couple laughing their way to divorce court?
Marriage is rarely easy. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it. We just need to think about intentionally building up our marriages instead of unconsciously tearing them down.
Stephanie Shott is a pastor’s wife and ministry leader who thinks way outside the box and refuses to settle for status quo. In 2012, she founded The MOM Initiative, a Titus 2 movement dedicated to mobilizing the body of Christ to make mentoring missional. Their goal is to reach a million moms for Christ and they already have MOM Groups in 30 states and 10 countries. She is author of The Making of a Mom and Understanding What Matters Most and has appeared on a host of media outlets including The 700 Club, WJXT, and Atlanta Live. For more on Stephanie’s ministries, visit StephanieShott.com and TheMOMInitiative.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstock.com
Publication date: October 20, 2016