Kent and I [Somer] are going on 20 years of marriage and we’re constantly learning, but not just from our own marriage. It’s been interesting to be the more “seasoned” couple in a lot of our friendships. (Yeah, that’s a nice way of admitting we’re the old couple now.) Recently, we had a pretty good chat about our marriage and the marriages we’ve had the privilege to be trusted to counsel and I walked away with three big weapons that we wives MUST eliminate from our arsenal for disputes and communication in general. If we do, I think it will help us to see a pretty huge difference in our relationships.
Quit punishing your husband. That’s not an appropriate response for anything ever. Whether you’re mad because he hurt your feelings, you had a rough day with the kids, or you don’t like his side of the family, punishing can’t be an option. Be mad, talk it out, get over it. You can punish your kids, but you can’t punish your husband. Also, just an FYI, it’s probably sending mixed signals (to him AND the kids) when you beg your husband to be a better, stronger leader in your home and then treat him like an extra kid.
How will we get the husband we desire? Contrary to what most of us think, it’s usually without a word. “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.” (1 Peter 3:1) Most women are pretty good communicators, but it doesn’t matter how good you are at putting your feelings into words if the one listening isn’t a great listener. Men, for the most part, learn by watching and doing. Not lectures. Live it out, be the example, and do it quietly so as not to distract from the main objective: a husband who comes to love you the way Christ loves the Church.
This one may be the most dangerous of the three. Be careful blaming any unhappiness or discontentment on your husband. We see over and over in Scripture countless accounts of people who had to endure difficult circumstances that were still full of joy because they kept the first thing first. Your joy comes from Jesus. Also, joy is attractive and your husband WILL take notice when your days are spent joyfully loving and serving your family rather than nagging and complaining about them.
BONUS TIP: Laugh together! You’ve gotta have fun! Don’t know what to laugh about? Kids are usually pretty ridiculous and amusing – try laughing at your offspring.