Updated: Aug 25
Have you ever asked yourself that question? Me too.
How about these?
Why doesn't he pick up his clothes?
Why doesn't he listen to me?
Why doesn't he help with the kids?
Why doesn't he acknowledge what I'm doing around here?
Why doesn't he see my job as valuable?
Why doesn't he understand that I don't feel sexy right now?
Why doesn't he know I need sleep?
And the list goes on ....
If you've been down this road of asking why your spouse doesn't seem to help, notice you, care about you the way you'd like, or any other complaints, you're not alone. I do it too. Even though I KNOW this isn't what God wants from me.
The problem is that these questions quickly begin to spiral. "Why doesn't he listen to me?" becomes "He must not care about me; maybe he doesn't love me any more." And "Why doesn't he help with the kids?" morphs to "I feel like I'm all alone here. I might as well be, for all he does!"
Not only do we begin to draw faulty conclusions when we begin complaining, but we also begin to really take it out of control. In addition to our general (and sometimes totally reasonable) complaints, we begin to take issue with how he laughs, eats, and washes his hands. Seriously! Have you been there, too?
There are some facts that are worth remembering, though.
The Fact: Everyone goes through these seasons. Every single married couple I know has been through these times. The ones who fight through it end up having a stronger marriage than ever. The complaining will drive a wedge in your marriage and the enemy LOVES that. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
The Fix: Stay alert! The minute you begin complaining, catch yourself. We can't fix something we don't notice. Even if the complaining is only in your head, take that thought captive!
The Fact: What we think is NOT reality. Those complaints you're telling yourself are not necessarily true. He may not help with the kids, true. But that could be because it's traditionally been your responsibility. Or maybe he was at work all day and doesn't know what needs to be done next to be helpful, so he stays out of the way. Perhaps he was raised in a house where men don't help so he doesn't even think of it. Regardless, the judgement we heap on with the complaint is ill-founded. Truly, our husbands are NOT the enemy.
The Fix: Do what Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." When we do this - when we take our complaints and compare them to this list, we see the TRUTH. Let's take this one, "If my husband loved me, he would help with the kids." Okay, is that statement true? Probably not. Helping out is not a measure of love generally. Is that thought noble? No. That statement does not take the high road of understanding our spouse. Is that statement right (other versions call this 'righteous')? Well, ask your husband. When we are acting/thinking/talking righteously we are doing so in a way that pleases God. Does this complaint and assessment reflect your concerns in a way that pleases God? For me, that answer is no. God loves my husband infinitely more than I do. He wouldn't want someone assuming the best of him. Work through the entire list, praying all the while. You'll find your perspective turns around a bit.
The Fact: Clear communication can offset most of these complaints. I'll be totally honest here. Sometimes my complaints mount up so high that the wall is visible to everyone in our house. When that happens, my husband generally leads me into our bedroom so we can be alone. He takes me in his arms and lovingly asks me what's wrong. He reassures me that he won't get upset. I cry and tell him the crazy thoughts I've been having. And he helps me to understand that what I've been "seeing" has been colored by my frustrations in life and aren't really what's happening. When I tell him I need help, he asks specifically what he can do. Once I tell him, he's happy to help in whatever way I need! If I had communicated my needs sooner, a lot of frustration could have been avoided.
The Fix: Talk with your husband! Lovingly tell him your concerns. I promise he wants to know! And if he can't do what you need him to do, then brainstorm about what CAN be done. Genesis 2:18 tells us that women were created for men - we're a team. If we're in this together then we need to work on the game plan together. You might go to the bedroom to be alone and have this conversation. A quiet lunch date is also a good time for this. No matter what, pray alone first. Ask God for the right words. Every time I've done this, God comes through. He did it for Moses and Aaron (Exodus 4:10-11), He can do it for us.
This discussion really only scratches the surface of correcting the negative self talk about our spouse, but it's a good start.
Want to know more tips to keep your marriage from these negative thoughts and improving every day? Check this out.
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What FACT have you learned about your husband, or what FIX would you share with a friend? Let us know in the comments below - scroll all the way to the bottom for the form.