Attitude Is Everything

I want to love my husband well. I think that how I respond to and treat my husband most accutely shows the areas where I need to improve my character. I found myself challenged this week in my attitude towards him. I want to love him generously and without reservation, but it isn’t something that I find myself living out 100% off the time. It’s a real challenge sometimes.

How easy it can be when our husbands initiate sexually to only give our bodies and think that is enough. It is very difficult sometimes to step beyond that and give our souls, especially if we feel empty and haven’t had our own hearts cared for. I would far rather give myself fully to my husband, but sometimes I really struggle with my attitude about that. I’d still rather connect with him at least physically than not at all, but I don’t want to have a relationship that is void of the soul connection, especially if I can change something to make it better.

So I want to have a discussion on what lessons you have learned in how to control your attitude when it is negative. What works for you when you find yourself closing off to others? How do you shift from spiraling further downward towards discouragement or even bitterness to spiraling upwards?

I’ll share a couple of things, but would love to have input from others.

One thing I have noticed is that God is REALLY faithful to help us when we call to Him. The particular day this week that I was struggling I made numerous attempts to connect with the Lord about it and was constantly drawn back to the need to mother my kids for one thing or another. During church God provided me with a servant to minister to me and speak some life to me that my heart really needed. I was seeking the Lord and He was faithful to meet me.

I have also found that there is a lot of power in declaring things with our mouths. Like King David in the Bible who said “Hey soul! Why are you depresssed. Put your hope in God.” He speaks to his own soul and declares truth. “God is trustworthy. Put your hope in Him.” So when I am struggling with my attitude, I often just start to speak truth. Sometimes all I can do is mouth the words to begin with, and then I find I am able to speak with more authority.

A final thing I will add before I invite you to share your thoughts is that looking outside ourselves really makes a difference. I find that in the downward spiral, I become more and more internally focused. Me! Me! Me! But in the upward spiral I am looking at others and seeing beyond my circumstances. Right after my friend ministered to me at church this week I began speaking with the person next to me and found an opportunity to be an intercessor for a situation in their family’s life. So in the times when I realize that I need an attitude check, looking out beyond myself has been very helpful.

As I have said before, my husband gets only one lover so I want to be the best one I can be. This often involves a strong commitment to good communication and giving myself an attitude check every now and then. Please feel free to add your experiences in the comment section in how you have ensured that you maintain a healthy attitude towards your husband.

21 Comments

  1. If marriage isn’t a soul connection as well as a physical one, then it is not a Biblical, “two shall become one,” marriage. It is just a living arrangement for the sake of someones conscience. “Better to marry than to burn? Get a wife and you have a bed-warmer without guilt.”

    This describes a period early on in my marriage. I tried for years to just love him unconditionally, and this included our sex life. I prayed, I read books, I did all I knew to do. I expected God to fill my cup as I was emptying it out.

    After a five years I felt like a martyr. Then a few years latter I felt like a piece of trash. I was having sex without a relationship. It was like ML to a room mate instead of a husband. I tried communicating my needs, but they fell on deaf ears. Resentment set in: That downward spiral you mentioned.

    As a submissive wife I started having sex out of submission only, because all desire had faded. At this point, I started developing the symptoms of sexual abuse. I even became suicidal. I felt like a child with no choice, because I felt God expected this of me. There was this guy, who I just happened to be married to, who had become a stranger, expecting marathon porn defined sex, and I had no choice.

    Because of my depression, I finally went to a Christian counselor who taught me how to respect myself enough to demand some attention outside of the bedroom. He then taught me how to communicate with my husband and take the lead in nurturing the soul connection. I became strong enough to insist on joint counseling and date nights. Once my husband was involved, he enjoyed the date nights as much as I did. We started having fun together.. We laughed, we shared, and I began to desire physical intimacy with my husband again.

    The closer we get, the more I want him. When we would get busy and distracted for months at a time, I could feel the connection slipping, and along with it my desire. Now I know how to nurture the connection and communicate my needs. He knows how important it is to cooperate no matter how busy he is, and that in the end he gets great sex as a result.

    We can try “faking it until we make it” and “adjusting our attitudes out of love and obedience to Christ,” but that doesn’t always solve the problem.

    Our emotional and physical intimacy needs and priorities were different. It is important that we see both persons needs as a priority.

    I am interested in hearing other peoples, “especially if I can change something to make it better” advice. I think it is really needed.

  2. Firstly, when I check my response to something that my husband has done, I tell myself that he’s human and makes mistakes. That usually keeps me from blowing up at him. I try very hard, with sooo much help from God, to guard my tongue and not speak out of foolishness or anger. I sort of take a time out to think about loving words to correct him when I’ve been hurt. I’ve found that this helps me not to say words I will later regret. The power of my words can tear down my husband or lift him up. I choose to lift him up.

    There are times when I’m so overwhelmed by my everyday life that anything would set me off. But again instead of reacting I hold my tongue. My husband knows that I am silent but he knows that I need time to settle down. I’ve taken the Bible verse “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26 to heart. And before I go to bed that night, I pray to my Abba Father for comfort and the words to express my hurt to my husband in a loving way. The Lord is so faithful that I am given the words and the comfort only He could give. I know that many may think that I am avoiding confrontation because I choose not to immediately respond in the situation, but since both my husband and I are logical and calm people, it is better for our marriage to talk when I am calm. I have not seen my husband angry because I am blessed to have a talkative husband and we enjoy long conversations. I know that this isn’t the norm for a marriage, but I’ve tried talking out of anger and I didn’t like the results.

  3. Specifically with my darling, when I begin to feel myself detach that way, I’m always able to catch it. I don’t know why, but I think a lot of it has to do with my love language (if you don’t know about love languages—talk to me! they have saved many of my relationships, both with my darling and with friends/family)
    another thing that helps is reminding myself of the brevity of our time together. my darling is in the military and he sometimes has to leave at a moments notice. knowing that it may be weeks or months until we are able to cherish each other in that way again makes it easier for me to keep my focus

    I love giving of myself. I haven’t had a huge issue with this, but who knows, I’m young…it may come up…and any input that other women might have that I can use in those times are greatly appreciated

  4. I’ve been surprise that several ppl have said things along the lines of tell your husband what’s bothering you.
    I don’t think this is necessarily the best in every relationship, (my husband especially believes that sometimes we should keep quiet and take it) but in a marriage, it’s important to be honest and completely open. Even if you do need to wait a little while to cool down before you talk about it πŸ™‚
    Part of my trouble is I WANT to live generously, but occasionally I end up feeling stepped on… And I want to shut up and take it (then I get mad at myself because I can’t!), but DH doesn’t want that for me when he’s concerned. And I need to recognize that, even though both of us don’t like telling the other that our feelings have been hurt.

    But to answer the original question – I try (though often don’t do well) not to be mad at myself for long when I do behave selfishly. Repent and then be done with it, don’t spend too much time on “woe is me I can’t be a good wife” because then where is my focus? On myself. All over again. Rats. I think it’s another form of pride.

    Prayer helps, humble prayer asking for God to change my heart, but without any self pity… Yeah, I know, not always easy!

    Also, sometimes when my attitude isn’t quite right, I try to go out of my way to do something special, and think just about how much it will please my Man πŸ™‚
    This isn’t always the best approach for everyone (if you find yourself feeling like a martyr for this effort, then stop the work and work on your heart more…)
    But sometimes the best thing for me is to do something for my lover that he won’t expect, that I know will cheer him up and please him, and that very thought pleases me, and when I’m back to being pleased through pleasing my husband, the transformation back to loving wife is mostly finished!

    Some things I’ve done… Make lasagna (he feels so spoiled by that meal!) or something else special, go buy a snickers bar (he’s easy to please), clean the house sparklingly (actually, it doesn’t matter that much to him, but it does mean something, and I feel better by having a nice house for him to come to… My mom used to have us clean for daddy every day, and so it’s a form of respect in my mind)… light a few candles and wear special undies beneath my regular clothes πŸ˜› Find a comic online that we have something in common with and send it to him, pop him an email saying i’m praying for him (and praying for someone helps your attitude toward him)

    Sometimes though, all I can do is tell my guy that I feel like running away (figuratively – emotionally) and ask him to come catch me cuz I don’t like to be away…

    But though I seem to think I have lots of possible solutions, we’ve never had this problem to any extreme degree – so far (all glory to God because I DO have detaching and grudge holding tendencies) he or I ‘catch’ it and deal with it quickly πŸ™‚

  5. Something I have been struggling with is respect. I definitely respect my husband in my heart, but it doesn’t always come out in my words and actions. Often times it’s because I’m struggling to figure out finances (we’ve only been married a year) or insurance or housing issues, and I’m significantly younger than my husband. I think to myself “What? Why are you not on top of this? You’ve been doing this for years! I have no idea what all this means, but I guess I have to figure it out because you’re slacking”. Sometimes that comes out in words. In all honesty, he does struggle with the practical matters in life, and that has hurt him in some ways. Often times, he is the overly optimistic one who says “oh it’s fine, don’t worry, babe” or “I’ll take care of it later” (and it doesn’t get done).

    My mother actually has taught me through life about this, both in a positive and negative manner. On one hand, she would turn off the “Berenstain Bears” when the mother continued to act like pappa bear was stupid, (I used to be frustrated by that), but on the other hand, my dad was similar and that he was brilliant, but wasn’t good at monetary management. I often witnessed my mom scolding my dad saying “you PROMISED me that you’d take care of that” and I swore I would never act that way towards my husband some day. Ha ha. My mom has told me that I am here to be a “helpmate” to my darling, and I’m still finding it difficult to accept as my role. I guess I assumed in the beginning that he would manage finances and such since he had more experience. I’m just struggling to continue to be respectful as Ephesians tells us when I seem to be the one holding the household together.

  6. I sure appreciate everyone’s input. It’s really helpful for me to hear how other women have learned to control their attitude, specifically towards their husbands but in other ways too.

  7. dandelion13,

    My husband is literally a genius. (tested) His mind is like a calculator and he can work long mathmatical equations in his head, add a list of 25 or more big numbers in seconds, and knows trivia as if he has memorized every movie credit and sports player.

    My husband has me paying the bills, because it is so mundane that his mind does not wrap around it. His mind also does not wrap around the concept of time, except that we can be going on a trip across the country and he will have figured out how long it is going to take, give or take stopped traffic.

    My husband works very hard and is a responsible professional, husband, and father, but…
    I am learning that managerial skills are often not a gift of the very smart, (in general.) He has given the scheduling and organizing of business, home and social every day and monthly events to me to keep up with.

    There is enough in my husbands life to respect, that I can overlook his managerial and scheduling weaknesses. Respect is the biggest gift a woman can give a man, especially his wife. We have to try to focus on the strengths. I know it is not easy.

    When I read Prov 31, it looks to me as if the woman is holding the household together, so I have no problem taking on this responsibility. He is still head of the house in that he leads in the decision making. Then I carry out the decisions so he can concentrate on other things.

    I hope this helps.

  8. Yeah, everyone has weaknesses. If we start to hold that against others, we’re going be disappointed often.

  9. ‘lo girls πŸ˜‰

    Plenty of sails a-flapping with these posts. Today, my sexual life with my man is so incredibly magnificent yet to have gotten to this place, plenty of water has had to be ‘allowed’ to flow under the bridges.

    For most of our marriage, I have been the volunteer skipper in our marriage in many aspects including being the only captain on board during many literal and figurative storms, (whilst to his credit, the chief was faithfullly, and willingly, bringing home the hardtack) ; designated bursar with sole responsibility for the ship’s purse; savvy merchant trusted for purchasing and storing of provisions; cook and sculley maid to a voraciously ravenous crew of 7 mates, 24/7; and general full -fledged deck hand.

    Overall, the most aggregious role has been that of mediator between the captain and crew due to a lack of relationship development through either a lack of desire, travel related physical exhaustion or the simple fact of abscence during formative ship building.

    How on earth can a loyal seaman glibly hand over the ship’s log to an inexperienced captain without causing chaos and undue stress on all the crew members ? Totally unrealisitc yet although the burden/release is long over due, I must hold onto my vessel’s wheel to remain even-keeled for as long as it is necessary, without thought for my comfort because without my manning of the helm, the ship could sink!

    Jesus is our lighthouse through the crashing thunder and blinding lightning as we steer our families through life’s ocean and to Him I cling with everything in me as He is ultimately The Captain of my beloved man’s ship and to that end I give my all ,every day and night.

    My Captain, and my darling captain, are to be honored and served from my heart and in doing that I will oneday hear the coveted words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”… and where will the crown I receive be placed…oh yeeeaaah, with a huge flourish at Jesus’s beautiful feet because to Him goes all the glory for all that I have done in my life.

    Must swab the decks for the evening and ensure that all hatches are battened down, if necessary, for the morning so anchors aweigh me hearties !!

  10. I have struggles with this too, and it’s so helpful to read what others have to say. It’s easy for me to feel down or disconnected when he just doesn’t get that my love language(s) are different than his, or when I want to talk about something and he’s just not in a listening mode. Sometimes it’s over what he’s been reading on the computer. Sometimes I feel resentful and hold on to my anger, and try not to let it show. It helps a lot to know that The Lord is walking this walk with me, and I can offer it all up to Him. I know that His love is unlimited, and it’s important to let my DH show that love for me too- even when I’m feeling disconnected. It helps me to remember that my DH is human, and has faults and weaknesses like everyone else (including me!) I try to remember that he’s showing love for me in his way, even if it’s not my preferred way, and accept it for the gift that it is.

    Marriage just plain takes a lot of continual work, and sacrifice, to be as beautiful as Our Lord intended for it to be.

  11. I wasn’t sure where this question fit best, so I apologize if I am off subject. (I scanned through, and it looked like it might be a fit!) I just wanted some perspective on a situation that just happened to me. Okay, well dh and I were out running errands, and out of the blue he took me into a store I love and he hates, because I always take so long in there when I go. I was like “Really? We can go in here?” because it’s just usually something I do alone because I know how much he hates it. So he half jokingly said “Well, you can make it up to me later.” Fast forward to a few hours later, we are at home watching a movie with the kids, and he really quietly was like “So…are you gonna make it up to me?” I was honestly really just not in the mood for anything, but I feel guilty when I turn him down. (Not because of anything he does, but just because I feel like a bad wife-I know I would feel bad if he turned ME down…) So I headed back to the bedroom, and when he got there, it was obvious what he wanted was for me to give him oral sex. Now, I can gear myself up for sex, but unless I’m the one initiating, or we’re in the middle of sex and he asks for it, I have a really hard time gearing up for that. So I started to do it, but then I just got really bothered, and he noticed and asked what was wrong. I told him I just felt like I was paying my dues or something! I mean, if he had wanted sex, it would have felt different to me, because even if I didn’t O, there is giving and receiving going on. But he just went in and sat on the bed and waited for me to do that, without offering me anything. I don’t know, as I’m reading over this it just sounds so petty and stupid! Of course I know that it’s not like my husband expects me to really pay him back for letting me go to the store I wanted to go to. He isn’t that way. So tell me please, can anyone identify? I just felt used. I know that was not the case. My husband loves me and would never do that, but that didn’t change the fact that it felt that way. And I have never been abused or anything like that….do you think it’s just another way satan is trying to weasel himself in? By making me overly sensitive, and hesitant to bless my husband? I could really use some input! Thank you!

  12. I could use some input, too. It’s not something that happens often (usually my man goes out of his way to give me pleasure) but a rare every once in a while, there is not ‘give and take’ and I don’t like how it makes me feel… I do feel used sometimes, or at least taken for granted. And then I feel bad b/c I DO want to bless my husband and I DON’T want to be selfish, PLUS my husband is very giving and tries very hard to give me pleasure (most times, the times that he hasn’t have been VERY rare)…

    And lately – not exactly sex-related – we’ve both been busy and I’ve felt like he’s kinda shoved me on the back burner. There’s part of me that KNOWS he loves me AND that he’s too busy to put much time into relieving my burdens (we’re moving this weekend. Actually I should be packing right now, and I’ve been putting a lot of time into our new house while he’s been working and doing summer classes, which are FINALLY over).
    I know all this about how busy he is and how tired he gets, yet EVERY time he gets on facebook or looks at his fave news or athletic websites when *I* am busy packing or making dinner (why do we need to eat dinner when I’m so busy?), or pretty much anytime he has a break and I want to be with him, I feel SO unloved and neglected. (esp that one time I was trying to look seductive and he was on FB instead of paying attention to me and it was getting late… Then he came and started kissing me and told me I was pretty and I told him I didn’t believe him. Yeah, that was a bad time. Til later when we made up. Then it was a good time.)
    I *know* I’m loved, and that I’m not the ‘used and neglected’ wife that I’ve been almost feeling like lately… But I don’t know how much of these feelings are ‘my fault’ b/c of my selfishness and I just need to get a grip on my attitude and how much of these feelings are rational wifely jealousy of her husband’s time and emotions… The whiny part of me says ‘I just want to feel loved and cherished’ and the other part says ‘suck it up and love your man’…
    Don’t really like how I’ve been feeling.
    Not sure if this is a plea for help and input (as I originally intended) or just a vent.

    Back to work packing. πŸ™‚
    Moving tomorrow… Yikes.

  13. Hisgirl,
    Don’t forget the wild raging pregnancy hormones either. I bet in a few months, after baby and your body’s back to normal you’ll wonder why you ever thought that. When your pregnant little things seem so huge and worth crying about πŸ™‚
    I remember when I was pregnant with our 1st child my DH played baseball 2 nights a week. That was fine but one night a game went into overtime and I cried and said he didn’t love me cause he stayed and played the extra innings! Wow a little over the top!!! We laugh now but I was very hurt at the time.
    I think that if once in awhile he wants something “extra” or only for himself it’s ok as long as thats not the normal. Hey he must feel
    Comfortable enough to ask. Maybe just do it before he has to ask. Like somenight make it all about him, that can be a lot of fun! I think marriage is always a give and take. Just my thoughts. πŸ™‚

  14. I feel for you, hisgirl! Isn’t it frustrating how true it is that we really don’t know our own hearts? It sucks to be like “I feel this way, even though I know it isn’t true, and I have no idea why, or if I have a right to be feeling like this!” And Intendedforpleasure is totally on the money about the pregnancy hormone thing. I can still remember so vividly so many times that I just cried and cried and thought life was over while my husband looked at me like he was frightened and wanted to run away, lol. I actually remember some of the worst times for me were right AFTER the birth of a baby. Because then not only are the hormones out of whack, but you have this new baby, you are sleep deprived, sometimes you feel distant from your hubby because you aren’t having sex…not to be discouraging!! Just don’t expect to suddenly be non-hormonal once you have the baby. πŸ™‚ (I am assuming this is your 1st baby, but if not then you probably already know what I mean!)
    My husband did come home later yesterday and apologize for upsetting me, and tell me he didn’t mean to seem selfish. And I apologized for being a big baby. πŸ™‚ All I can say is this is where I just try to pray and ask the Lord to show me if I am feeling however I’m feeling for no reason, and if I am, I ask Him to take those feelings away and help me to see things the way they really are. Maybe one of these days I will learn to listen to Him better!
    Hope your move goes smoothly, and you feel better!

  15. mdcccc- I can relate to what you are feeling and don’t think it is petty. I think it can cause tension to use sex as a bartering tool, especially if you are bartering an act that one person feels hesitation about. I can imagine that if I was in your situation I would have felt very much the same way.

  16. Thanks, I appreciate that! πŸ™‚ We talked it all out, and all is well now. Thank you for the empathy. πŸ™‚

  17. WOW… That was wonderful!! I can be incredibly hot headed and impulsive, and it’s SO HARD to hold my tongue and be kind when I feel ENTITLED to hurt my DH because ‘he hurt me first.’

    God doesn’t want us to bury our concerns and never approach our spouses when we’ve been hurt, but He does desire us to speak out of love. Having a quiet and gentle spirit DOES NOT mean keeping your mouth shut and repressing all the pain.

    I love what you said about asking our Father for comfort and the words to express your hurt in a gentle way that pleases Him. I can also ask God to prepare my DH’s heart for what I am to say.

    Seek God’s will first…easier said than done, but it definitely pays off!

  18. I have recently watched the movie called “Fireproof”. It is a really good Christian movie on a marriage that had lost its path, it’s passion, it’s focus. One of the main things in this movie was called the “love dare”. A 40 day (or however many days it takes) ‘plan’ to keep your focus on your spouse. There is a book called “the love dare” that is this plan. It came out w/ the movie. I have been doing this love dare.. I am only on the first week so far but I am already seeing a difference in my frustration and patience level w/ my DH. It might be something worth checking out. I have a few friends that did it and they said it really helped their focus go back to where it needed to be = on their spouse.

  19. Thanks for the encouragement, deeni! I have that movie sitting on my dvd shelf and I keep pushing it aside to watch more enticing newer releases….. maybe it’s time I made the time to watch it. πŸ™‚

  20. Hopefully this is the right thread to post on. This is great advice; however, I feel like my problem is a reverse of what you’ve been saying. Sometimes I think I need sex too much. I think–okay, I know–that it is a source of affirmation for me, a sort of “proof” that I’m desirable. No matter how many times my husband compliments me, I feel so un-sexy (I mean, who am I supposed to be? I don’t look like Megan Fox, if I wanted to be a stripper they would kick me into the street because I just don’t do the dancing thing well…). If he doesn’t want me all the time, I start to worry. Then, if he’s utterly exhausted when I approach him, even if we’ve made love the day before, I feel so rejected. The next time he approaches me after that incident, I’m literally terrified to let him have sex, or even let him hold me.

    I’ve never been sexually abused. I don’t know what’s up. Help?

  21. My DH comes from a family that doesn’t show alot of love other than saying i love you. H ei snot used to showing other signs of love physically. my family did not do that much eihter.. for the most of our 20yr marriage I didn’t need that.. however i do now. I Have talked to DH about this and for a time he attempts to do that.. more touching ,, during making love and just during daily interaction. But after a while.. it stops. i feel likke i have to keep asking him to touch me and that is starting to bother me. i wonder why he just doesn’t get it? and he does have a temper that he has not shown much of lately at all.. but when he does i get this feeling like “why am i even trying to get him to touch me”.. i know that is just anger talking and i do admit htat when he does get angry it does nto last long at all! i know that i have nothing to complain about with that. I just want to expierence affection. I don’t have that or much of it right now and for the last year (since my sexual awakening as i call it) i NEED that touch or just that sign of affection. Is that a “man” thing? am i waiting for somethign that will just not come? i dont’ want to have to keep asking him over and over… it is frustrating at times. I sometimes almost feel unattractive ( i am not the thinnest person and am working on that with very slow sucess, and i am disabled also . so i do have self esttem issues I am working on and they are getting better) but the lack of touching is starting to get to me again. it does feel like a rejection.


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