Ladies, I am on a soapbox of sorts. Not really a soap box exactly. More of a plea than an indictment. I am going to address ways women destroy their marriages. Why? Because I work with marriages in crisis. Because I see people who truly want to do the right things, but are doing the wrong things out of ignorance or hurt or anger. Because marriage is meant to be a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness, but I see so many dark pictures being painted. So, here we go friends, 5 sure fire ways to wreck/rob/destroy/tear down an otherwise healthy marriage:
1. Become friends with a man who is not your husband. I know, I know- everything in our culture says that intelligent, educated and well meaning people should be able to be married and have friends of the opposite sex and this is not a problem. But, our culture is wrong. Here’s why this doesn’t work for women: because we fall in love based on emotional connections. To be loved as a woman you have to be known and accepted. When I have a friend, who is not my husband, he hears my story about my boss treating me badly (or my kids driving me crazy or worse, my husband forgetting my birthday) and he empathizes. Then, I feel connected to him. Now that I have been “heard” I don’t need to re-tell my story to my spouse, hence my connection to him lessens because he now knows me less. Over time, this eats away at intimacy between my husband and I. I may or may not actually “fall” for the guy I’m friends with, but my marriage is in jeopardy because I am less connected and vulnerable.
2. Text, email, facebook, chat or hang out with men, without your spouse. A bit of expounding on the first point, I realize, but this is a boundary that matters. Obviously, in business you may have to email or call a man, but it should always be kept professional and not personal in nature. Again, bonding to other men, weakens your connection to your husband. Also, there is a form of flirting that is easier to get sucked into via facebook and text than you would naturally engage in in person. When I counsel couples I tell them to have no room or way to keep secrets. The best policy is always have each others passwords and have an “open book” approach. No one, I repeat no one, is above having an affair if the boundaries get dropped along the way.
3. Compare your husband to your dad, your pastor, your boss, your ex. Nothing will alter your perception of your spouse like mentally comparing all their faults to all the strengths you see in other men. You married a sinful person. (So did he.) Comparing in your mind, or out loud, is dangerous, because you will tend to devalue as a result. What might have seemed like an irritation or quirk in your husband becomes a glaring flaw when we hold him up to someone else as a standard. There is no other relationship on earth that allows you to know another person as deeply and as closely as marriage. As a result you see the good, bad and ugly in your spouse. You only see the good in the person you are comparing them to usually. Remember, they have a bad and ugly side too, that you aren’t privy to. Whatever we focus on expands, so focus on the strengths and good traits in your husband. Find the positive comparisons in your spouse with Christ. Ask God to give you His eyes to see your husband.
4. Threaten to leave/divorce. When you got married you made a covenant before God to commit your life to this man. When we sow seeds of insecurity into our marriage through our words or actions, we erode the very love that brought us into the commitment in the first place. Additionally it does not paint the picture God intended marriage to be. Marriage is meant to mirror God’s covenant with us- everlasting. Often in anger or frustration we speak words of doubt and unfaithfulness. “If you don’t get your act together I’m out of here.” or “I’m not sure if I can stand much more of this.” Instead a wiser and more healthy choice is to speak commitment INTO your painful or difficult issue. “Because I am going to be married to you until I die, we are not going to continue in this pattern” or if you’re really mad, “Because I have to spend the rest of my life with you, we are going to figure this issue out.” It expresses the frustration, without creating insecurity. (As a side note, I am talking about a generally healthy marriage here. If you are dealing with active addiction, abuse or adultery- you may need to seek a separation for your safety. A good christian counselor can be very helpful in those situations.)
5. Turn your husband into your god. There is only one who can satisfy your every need, never fail you and love you perfectly. And you are NOT married to Him. Your relationship with God is the only way to truly experience the kind of love your soul has been craving your whole life. Your husband may be a great man- but he cannot be your god. If you expect him to do things that only God can do, you have set him up as a idol. This will destroy you both because he will never live up to your expectations, you will become needy and clingy and never satisfied. I know about this one personally because I struggle with this. I have to constantly remind myself to seek God, not my husband for my deepest needs. I can tell I have displaced God with my husband when I am disappointed by some action or lack of action. I tend to freak out and over react when I have my husband on the throne of my heart, but when God is in His rightful place I can express my feelings, forgive and move on. This lesson has been a painful one for me, and I am still learning it but I have been blessed to have women around me who help me “get over myself” and point me back to Jesus.