my wifes ‘but’ keeps getting bigger

I have been married for almost 14 years.

To some couples that may seem like an impressive number; to others it isn’t even a dent in their cup of life. I have met people that could not make it to their second year of marriage and I know others that have been together since before I was born. On the flip side I know couples that live a miserable existence regardless of marital tenure of 30 plus years and others that seem like they are living in a constant state of euphoria after only a few years.

Some couples try to give themselves credit simply for sticking it out longer than most people they know. They pay no mind to measuring the happy years vs. the trying ones. They have tricked themselves into believing that the goal is the quantity and not the quality.

That must suck.

I can tell you the secret to having a successful relationship with your wife. Even better, I can do it in one sentence. (Actually, it’s a question). I must warn you, it will challenge you from the time you read it, till the end of your days. It is never too late to implement it, but once you do, your job is never ending. You can start it at any time in your marriage and you can measure its success with little effort. It may not always be easy to see, but it will be simple to stick with it once you recognize its importance. Here it is:

(X = the number of years you have been married)

“Do you you have “X” years of experience as a married man, or do you really just have 1 year of experience, repeated “X” times?

Do you get it? Are you the same person that you were when you started this journey? Have you fought change in yourself at the cost of your relationship becoming stale and empty? Are you refusing to learn and are you making a decision not to do anything to improve upon your blessed union? Are you taking advantage of your wife’s heart by assuming that she is obligated to overlook your shortcomings for the rest of her life?

Are you forgetting that you wife has a “but”?

I love you, but…

I forgive you, but…

We can work through this, but…

She may not say the “but” part out loud, but I am telling you that it is there. She has no problem forgiving you, overlooking a thing or two, or letting you learn from your mistakes. You just need to know that what she is expecting is that her graciousness will be repaid by your desire to improve yourself. You have to realize that she is trusting that you are understanding that the ‘love’, ‘honor’, and ‘obey thing’ comes with a disclaimer…

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless”    (Ephesians 5:25).

It is one thing to expect your wife to love you after you falter; it is another thing for you to expect her to continue to love you when you refuse to alter your behavior. Think of how easy it will be for her to love, honor, and obey you, even after you goof, when she knows that you are committed to making the relationship better and better every year. Think of how much better you will get at caring for each other as you gain closeness that comes from that kind of understanding, respect, and sacrifice.

I insist that my wife’s “but” gets bigger and bigger the longer we are together. I want her to challenge me to earn her LOVE. I want her to remind me that I must fight for her HONOR. I want her to OBEY me because she knows that I will her. I have been married for almost 14 years but I probably only have about 10 years experience as a married man. I am living proof that you may not always “get it” right away, but it’s never too late to start.

My wife has a big “but”, and I am a better man because of it!


19 Responses to my wifes ‘but’ keeps getting bigger

  1. jolynna says:

    What a great article.

    It was very well written. You had my attention from the title on,

    I love the title…I couldn’t see it and not read!

  2. Charles Arcario says:

    thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words, hope to see you back here again soon…

  3. Tim says:

    CHARLIE! Tim! HOW ARE YOU DONG? Great word and stuff. Hope all is well. Give me a shout sometime:

    Love and praying for you! Tim

  4. His Girl says:

    Thank you for this entire site. Oh my gosh first of all I’m honored you added me to your blog roll I can’t even fathom why. I had to call a friend who writes the “Rebel with a Cause” blog and tell him of this site. So refreshing to see a Godly man taking seriously his roll of a Godly husband. These are worth reading to my son. Thank you for setting a great example.

  5. David says:

    Charles, Once again you have managed to capture one of the hardest things to remember about married life. After 37 years of marriage I think my wifes but is perfect and is a constant reminder of my need to strive after constant improvement. The Native Americans believed that all of life is a series of constant circles. The trick is to live life in such a way that every time you come around to the intersection of the circle, you are a little higher (closer to the Spirit Father) than you were when you started. If this is accomplished we are ever moving closer to intimate relationship with the Father. My wife’s BUT helps me to move higher and not stay on the same plane for all eternity. I thank God for the blessing that is my wife.

    May God continue to bless you and your marriage Charles!

  6. jolenemartin says:

    “She may not say the “but” part out loud, but I am telling you that it is there.”

    I’m sorry I just can’t agree. Maybe I’ve not been married long enough (6 years) but I seem to not have a ‘but’ as you put it.

    I love my husband unconditionally; he couldn’t be any better at looking after me and the kids. He has never in all of the 12 years I have been with him done anything that could contribute to a ‘but’.

    So…not all wives have a ‘but’…just some.

  7. Charles Arcario says:

    Thank you for stopping by, again.

    I agree with your disagreement and apologize to all wives that don’t have BUTS. The perspective that I speak from is mine; and I have not been as perfect in my 17 years with my wife as M.A.T.H. has been with you.

    Please understand that what I wrote was aimed more toward a man improving upon himself and should not imply that my wife does not have the same unconditional love for me.

    Jolene, thank you very much, for reading; but thank you more so for taking the time to give me your opinion as it is appreciated and well received.


  8. Fan says:

    I hope no one got out of my husband’s blog that I only love him conditionally. I’m more in love with this man with every day that passes! He is the most amazing husband and father I could have ever hoped for. He has exceeded all expectations I had when I was a little girl daydreaming of being married to a wonderful man that would take care of me and our children. I truly love him UNconditionally! We both work on improving ourselves for the other. I LOVE YOU HONEY!
    Your Loving Wife,

  9. Alasdair says:

    I fear that Jolene doth protest too much …

  10. Charles Arcario says:


    have no fear :fight club nod: all in good fun :laugh:

  11. Alasdair says:

    Hey Charlie! Looks like you’ve got a fan!

    I’m sure your blog’s got more than one though, a little something waiting for you over at my place ;)

  12. Susie says:

    Hi, Charlie, I don’t think we’ve met. I just stumbled in here and wandered around. Nice place you have here! And thank you for linking me, that’s very kind of you.
    (I knew I would like it here when I saw the header image with that thing we always play with at Cracker Barrel. I’m usually “just plain dumb.”)
    Very insightful post, here, I think. I don’t normally jump into “controversial” topics on blogs of those I don’t know well (or of those I do), but I will say, my thought upon reading Jolene’s comment was that the key phrase in it was, “Maybe I’ve not been married long enough . . . ”
    Next March will be 25 years, and we’re talking very large BUTS here. AND he’s still my very favorite person in the world.

  13. Charles Arcario says:

    Nice to meetcha’ Susie.

    I always get a weird (but warm) feeling when someone that I have found to have a remarkable knack for this blog thing leaves me a nice comment. I like your site for several reasons and I am flattered that you have found yourself interested in mine.

    Thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to bring your BUT back anytime.


  14. Bonnie says:

    Charlie — wow you have incredible insight! I only wish my ex had had the same. We were married 26 yrs. (plus 6 yrs. dating—high school sweetheart) and he chose to leave…..So much to loose for so little! God Bless you and your wife and family….the grass is not greener on the other side….it is greener where you water it! I would have lived in a tent in the desert for my husband….No “buts” were too big to overcome for me…..thank you for your insight and God Bless

  15. Charles Arcario says:


    I am so happy that you stopped by. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with me.

    “It is greener where you water it!”

    I love it! If guys and gals would spend more time understanding what actually nourished their spouse, they would never have to concern themselves with the other looking for an alternative food source.

    I think that marriages would grow more green and lush if we performed simple preventative maintenance on them regularly. Then there is plenty of time left for us to sit back let it grow.

    Relationships, like grass, don’t grow because you are watching them. They grow because you care for them.

    You’re a smart gal,
    God Bless You Too

  16. Judy says:

    Good evening Charlie,

    I’m very new to this “Blog” business and I can’t believe I’m actually responding to your blog! I must say how appropriate that I find this site today, my 32nd anniversary. Fate? Perhaps. I was touched by your words and devotion to your loving wife as well as her response to you.

    I really loved Bonnie’s comment that grass only grows when you water it, so true! A coworker of mine today made a statement that made me stop and think for just a moment and that statement was “you must have worked really hard to get to your 32nd Anniversary” and I answered Yes I did.

    I worked through the times that it would have been so easy to just call it quits, I worked through the times when I didn’t think I loved him anymore or wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I thank God that I did because I love him more today after 32 years than I did the day I married him (I was eighteen by the way) he is my soulmate and next to my two daughters, he’s the best thing in my life!

    My sister just lost her beloved husband of 41 years last November and the lose of my brother in law has made me appreciate my wonderful husband. He may not be the most romantic, most thoughful or considerate man around but I wouldn’t trade him for any other man in this world, not “buts” about it.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and I’ll be sure to check back for more of your insight.

  17. Charlie says:


    Welcome to the “blogosphere”…i’m kinda new at it myself considering some of the long timers i have visited.

    I am so happy you stopped by and i appreciate your response. A Happy Anniversary to you. I was sorry to hear about your sister.

    I hope you stop by more often, i may have some questions for you on this marriage thing, I have only been at it for 13ish years…but I’m gaining on you. :lol:

    I promise to keep sharing if people as thoughtful as you keep encouraging me by commenting. After all, I am a guy and we don’t do anything well alone….


  18. Sally says:

    Hmmmm. This agrees with my thoughts – especially recently =]

  19. Charlie says:


    I love that you stopped by. Please do so more often. It lifts my heart to know that you are alright. Try to keep in touch more. I would LOVE to hear from you!

    God Bless You

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