*Guest post by Cindi McMenamin
How healthy is your marriage?
Would you – or others – say it’s fresh, passionate, and continuing to grow? Or could it be described as stale, stunted, maybe even a bit moldy?
You don’t have to be newly married to experience a healthy, vibrant marriage. In fact, yours can be getting better with age with a few adjustments here and there to curb the complacency and keep the home fires burning.
I know what you might be thinking:
But, so much has changed since we first married.
Or maybe you’re thinking:
The novelty of the relationship has worn off.
I’ve seen his bad moments…and he’s seen mine.
I don’t feel attractive around him anymore. In fact, I feel that he barely even notices me.
Or worse, you might be thinking:
Too much has happened for it to ever be the same again.
Those thoughts you may be having have not only been mine at one time, but they’ve belonged to hundreds of other wives I’ve heard from over the past 18 years who have written to me or talked with me about their frustrations and complaints. And as I sorted through them, I related to many of them, as well.
There were nights I would lie awake next to my husband, who was sleeping in sweet oblivion, and wonder how to turn back the clock and make him see me the way he once did – as the captivating woman he fell in love with. So many times I wished I could have back that man I married…have him treat me the same way he used to. And then I realized there was only one way to have that back. There was only one way to recapture his heart. Be the woman I was, and do the things I did when I first captured his heart.
In Revelation 2, The Apostle John records a vision of Christ saying to a First Century church:
“You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first….” (verses 4-5).
While that can be applied to our tendency to grow complacent in our relationship with God, it can be applied to our marriages as well. God is not the only One who recognizes when our enthusiasm for Him has waned. Our husbands recognize it, too. They once received our admiration, our smiles from across the room, our full attention, our constant giggles, our full vigor. Then life happened. Kids came. Work called. We gained a few pounds, and a million distractions. And before we knew it…complacency set in.
In my new book, 12 Ways to Experience More With Your Husband, I show wives how to be and remain the woman their husbands fell in love with so they can experience more in their marriage.
And more of what you didn’t realize your marriage was capable of.
Every relationship needs do-overs or fresh starts. Here’s yours. Go back to the basics by following these ABCs. They will help you curb the complacency in your marriage and start down the road toward removing the baggage, rebuilding the love, and recapturing your husband’s heart.
A – Accept the fact that your husband cannot meet all your emotional needs.
Your husband was not meant to fulfill you in every way. You must find your acceptance, security, sense of worth, and identity in who God says you are. As you begin to take that tremendous expectation off of your husband and see who you are in the eyes of your Creator and heavenly Father, you will gain the kind of confidence that exudes beauty and elicits pursuit. But if your man doesn’t follow suit, you have done what you need to do to be more able and stable to deal with whatever comes (or doesn’t come) your way. (For more on how to draw closer to God and see Him as your spiritual Husband who can meet all your needs, thereby freeing up your spouse from your emotional expectations, see my book, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs.)
B – Be the helper he needs you to be.
In Genesis 2:18, we see that God designed woman to be man’s “helper.” When our focus shifts to “how can my husband help me?” – and we insist on being needed, appreciated, encouraged, and affirmed – we are no longer helping. We are clinging – and in some ways crippling – our husbands. Personally, I have found that I am far more fulfilled when I am focusing on being my husband’s helper and companion, than when I’m accidentally being his complainer and crippler.
C – Cultivate a “new bride” attitude.
Remember when you were a brand new bride? You couldn’t wait until you and your new husband got off work so the two of you could be together again. You constantly checked your voice mail messages to see if he had called during the day. You had a special sparkle in your eyes when you talked of him and a spring in your step when you walked alongside him. There isn’t a woman on earth who doesn’t want her husband to continue to treat her like he did when they first married. But what if we returned to the “new wife” syndrome and starting treating and responding to our husbands the way we once did? Remember what it was about him that made you fall in love with him and then ask God to give you back that loving feeling for him. If you’re waiting for your husband to do something different to win back your heart, I guarantee he will when YOU start responding to him like you once did when you were a brand new bride.
Which of these ABCs will you focus on this week so you can experience a healthier, happier marriage? Leave your comment below (along with the U.S. state where you live) and you could win a free copy of Cindi’s new book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband. The winner will be notified via email by Feb. 8.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to a pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, released Feb. 1 from Harvest House Publishers. Grab it at a special introductory sale price today or find more resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, at her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.