Our church is in the middle of a series about Sex. It's a great series that looks at a topic many churches shy away from. When I think about the awesome relationship I have with my husband and then read on Facebook or hear stories from friends about their relationships and how very awful they are, it saddens me. It's not the way it was meant to be, friends. Sex and it's misuse (or non-use) is a big part of marriage problems. Fear not though, I am NOT going to dive into a discussion of sex from Carrie's point of view and share my nitty gritty details. Instead, I just want to talk about my own attitude toward my husband and I hope what I share is encouraging to other wives (or wives to be) out there.
I love my husband. He is the best man I know. Is he perfect? No. But he and I have a strong marriage built around our faith and trust in God, so even in his shortcomings (he will love to read this next part), which I can honestly say are few (you're welcome, Jarrod), there is grace in my heart to accept him as he is and to love him. Completely and totally.
Early on in our marriage, I made a decision that in order to have a successful marriage, I needed to be my husband's number one fan. If anyone knows a pre-teen girl (or has ever been a pre-teen girl), then you know that they develop ecstatic crushes on different movie stars or boy band members. For me, it was New Kids on the Block all the way. Jordan Knight was my dream guy. I had his picture on my wall and I wore t-shirts and giant buttons with his smiling face emblazoned across them. My Dad and brothers would taunt me about him, but I remained steadfast in my admiration for him. I was a fan. Thankfully, I grew up a little and realized maybe he wasn't all that amazing. I fell in love with a real person at age 16 who later became my husband. And he could sing too (thankfully not as high as Jordan Knight and, quite frankly, in retrospect it's more than a little troubling that Jordan could so effortlessly sing like a woman, but I digress).
That devotion that I held for a person I didn't even know as a 12 year old pales in comparison to the love I have for my husband today. But back then, I learned what it takes to be a fan:
First of all, you have to be passionate about the object of your affection. You have to be proud of who they are.
Secondly, you need to know all you can about them. Get to know them and understand them more than anyone else can. This means you have to talk! Put down the iPhones. Turn off the TV. Look at one another. Talk.
Thirdly, you need to support them. In practice, that means when other ladies are complaining about their husbands and their many downfalls, you maintain a positive attitude toward your husband. It doesn't mean there aren't things that irritate you about him, it just means that you display respect for him as a person by not discussing his dirty laundry or his bad habits. Would you want your husband to sit around with his guy friends and talk about things that irritate him about you? I didn't think so. When you're together in public, resist the urge to speak negatively, even if you are joking, in front of others. This is something that God worked on in my life early in our marriage. There is nothing funny or clever about demeaning your husband to get a laugh. He craves and deserves your respect, not your insults. Ladies, we need to build up our husbands every chance we get, not tear them down.
When you make respecting your husband a priority in your marriage, you will see a difference. When he can sense that you are passionate about him and dedicated to making your marriage a strong place where the two of you can be sheltered together from the chaos and confusion that surrounds in this world, you will see a difference. Marriage is not always extremely easy, but it doesn't have to be difficult either. If you're struggling in your marriage, I advise you to seek professional counsel. But something every wife reading this can do to boost their relationship with their husbands is to increase the respect you show him. Wives, think about the way you treat and talk about your husband. Ask God to reveal any area of your marriage in which some respect needs to be injected. You will make mistakes. My mouth works before my brain has had a chance to think things through entirely from time to time. Because we are all human, we don't expect perfection from our husbands and they shouldn't expect it from us. But in those times, you can apologize and learn. You can be a better wife. You can and should be your husband's number one fan.