my wifes ‘but’ keeps getting bigger
July 14, 2007 19 Comments
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!