The more positively you think about your marriage, the quicker you will feel better about your husband and your life together.
Published on: 08-11-2018
I’m very unhappy with the man I married nine years ago. He was loads of fun when we first started dating. I would never have believed that so soon after our wedding he would begin to take me for granted. It’s almost as if I don’t exist. At first he said he loved my cooking and loved the way I dressed. But he has long since quit thanking me for my cooking or taking the time to compliment me about the way I look. His behavior is affecting my self esteem. I’m ready to leave.
We’re sorry to hear that your once-happy marriage has become a painful place to be. Unmet expectations are among the most difficult realities to deal with in marriage. This is especially so with matters that should be a given in daily married life.
As we’ve worked with couples over the years what you have described takes place quite regularly in many marriage relationships. While this may appear to be deceitful, it mostly has to do with the fact that all human beings can be inconsistent, unreliable, and imperfect. Your husband is no exception.
One way to manage what you have described is to respond in a way that brings the matter to your husband’s attention while at the same time helping to build your marriage. This is no easy matter. When one has been hurt it is quite natural to want to hurt back, but it isn’t a very constructive approach to achieving a stronger, healthier marriage. Remember, while you can’t control what your husband does or says, or what he doesn’t do or say, you can control your response.
It is relatively easy to respond from the perspective that you deserve better than what you are getting and do something rash. But there are no guarantees that being married to another person will get you a better response. In fact, you may walk into an even less desirable arrangment, given that second marriages tend to be more difficult than first ones and often have higher rates of divorce. From our vantage point the best thing to do in your situation is to work on the marriage you are in to make it better.
Have you thought about the fact that the dominant attitude of our age—which has become increasingly pervasive—is to get a new one of whatever we have? Our technological age seems to be in a race for making better, more sophisticated, and faster devices. Many of us have inadvertently bought into this paradigm. People often want newer and better cars, houses, electronic devices, jobs, vacation packages, even spouses. Thus it isn’t difficult to think of marriage as disposable. We forget that with this approach to life it won’t be long before one needs to upgrade, and the cycle begins all over again.
We encourage you to make the marriage you have better than what it is right now by focusing on the good things your husband contributes to your life, rather than just being down on the things he has forgotten to do for you. If there is no infidelity with another person, and he is not abusing you, the more positively you think about your marriage, the quicker you will feel better about your husband and your life together.
So rather than putting expectations on your husband, put them on yourself. The more you do for your marriage, the more committed you will be.
We are not suggesting that you disregard your husband’s lack of attention. But when you speak to him about your disappointment, do so with a kind and gentle spirit. If you are unable to do this, don’t be afraid to attend a marriage retreat together where your awareness level on many issues will be raised to help you both get a better perspective on how to grow a stronger, healthier marriage. If more help is needed you may have to enlist the assistance of a professional Christian counselor.
We are praying that you allow God to lead your decision-making. Remember God’s promise: “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11).
Be of good courage and keep trusting in God, who loves you and your marriage more than you can imagine.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, and family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Elaine Oliver, MA, LGPC, CFLE, an educator and counseling psychologist is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at Family.Adventist.org or HopeTV.org/RealFamilyTalk.