Does your heart long for a harvest in your marriage? Is your marriage not all you dreamed of? Are you doing the work to make a healthy marriage, but still waiting for your husband to change? Let’s chat.
When my husband and I were only about three years into our marriage, a seed of bitterness crept into my heart. I judged him, and I was hateful towards him, often over very minor and trivial things.
A dish here. A sock there. I let the menial things of life prick at my soul and penetrate my heart, building up a wall of resentment in my marriage.
One night a good friend of mine and I were all prepared to dive headlong into a husband-bashing session, something I had never actually done outside of my own mind, but thankfully the Lord put a halt to that practice before the words began to flow. My friend’s heart was struck by God, and my life was set on a new course forever.
Are you Waiting for a Harvest in Your Marriage?
My friend had been fuming over some things we had earlier discussed, and while doing so and crying out to God against our husbands, our ever-loving Abba gently, but firmly pressed her back.
“God! Why aren’t you changing our husbands? They are so ridiculous! Lazy, disconnected, ignorant. It’s not fair!”
My daughter, if you want me to change your husbands, you have to get out of My Way.
Immediately, I knew what that meant. I was a critical voice of condemnation and judgment against my husband, a voice that was hindering and halting the Love of God from accessing him, and I was doing neither of us any good.
My heart immediately cried out, “Abba, I don’t know how to do that!”
And, from that point on, He set out to teach me how to love my husband with His True Love.
And I set out to receive the lessons with an open heart for Him.
The changes did not come overnight. For at least two years I took marriage studies on being a good helpmeet, and what it meant to love my husband in an honoring way (see my post for scriptures to pray over your marriage). This was all completely new information for me as my father died when I was only six years old. I had never seen a healthy marriage operate before.
I had to learn how to support his dreams, how to confront hard things, and speak the Truth in Love. It took a lot of time to begin to understand which little, annoying habits to ignore, and which ones to actually address (see my post here if you are in a difficult season of marriage).
There is nothing easy about the work of building a healthy relationship based on mutual love and respect, but it became my main focus to tend to MY heart and how I extend those elements to my husband.
Another thing I had learn was not to have arguments in my head and then hold resentment in the real world. Such passive activity was not beneficial for our marriage as it avoided communication instead of uniting us by actually addressing issues that we were experiencing.
It took several years to have a vision of what it means to speak the Truth in Love.
And, most importantly, I had to learn how to begin to pour life-giving love INTO my husband so that he could not deny my commitment to our marriage and him in his mind (nope, sex is NOT the most important thing).
I had to learn HOW to Love like God.
The most difficult part of the whole experience was knowing that I was only in control of my side of the relationship (if you struggle with this, see my post about boundaries). In order for our marriage to truly thrive, my husband also had to decide to be all in.
Around two years into my journey of obedience, we hit a major wall as the Lord began to work on my husband. It was ugly. And it hurt, a lot.
The more I turned to God with my heart, mind, and actions, the more my husband pulled away from me. I felt alone (here’s my post on that time). Though he had been raised in the church he still did not know the fullness of God’s Love, and it took many years to pull back the curtain and reveal the hurt places that kept him distant and afraid.
I am happy to say that eventually my husband did take a turn and take action for our marriage, but the completion of that turn was not brought to its fullness for nearly a decade.
It took years of cultivation to provide the fertile soil for a harvest in our marriage.
And the waiting time was not easy.
Start Where You Are
Sweet sister, is your marriage in need of a fruitful harvest? Are you and your husband disconnected and broken?
Even in this God can make a way. If your heart desires to see your marriage renewed, there are some things you can do on your end to help pave the way for that eventuality.
I feel it necessary to say that there are some occasions where separation and self-protection are necessary to save a marriage if at all possible; unrepentant destructive sins such as addictions that are denied or ignored as unimportant, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse against you or your child(ren).
Sometimes the hard line of tough love is needed to urge a hardening heart to make a turn. Only you and the Lord know if such a line needs to be drawn.
However, not every marriage is in such a dire situation.
Many of us are dealing with struggling husbands who hate their sinful elements and want to change, but don’t know how. Or, they aren’t even acting in truly sinful ways, but have not yet learned that their actions or inactivity have an effect on your emotional state and overall relationship.
For those of us in these situations, the work to build and restore a marriage is still work and still tricky. The enemy is always looking for ways to separate marriages, and it is our job to firmly establish that we are not willingly going anywhere.
Start with yourself, and your own heart. Ask the Lord to help you to begin to see your husband through His eyes. Pray for eyes of love that look for the good in what your husband is doing, instead of only seeing what he does not do or does wrong. Learn how to claim the right to hold a space in his heart (more on this here).
Pray against the critical spirit.
Begin a journal of recognition and write down every little thing you love about your husband. When I started I was so full of bitterness that I could barely think of anything. I had to start with his smile and what I had originally loved about him and go from there.
But, a seed of softening had been planted, and in time my eyes were cleansed and my vision towards my husband became clearer.
Commit to Doing Good
Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.” ~ Gal. 6:9
Unless the Lord has specifically released you from your marriage (as in the case of a wayward spouse with a hardened heart who leaves and divorces you, never to return), make a commitment right now to be diligent in your end of marriage agreement.
Do not stop doing the Good Things from your end.
Extend gentility and respect. Act and serve your husband in love (here are 28 Ways to Say “I Love You”).
Speak words that uplift and honor him, his work, and his heart. Confront issues with a tongue of kindness, and speak the Truth in Love.
Even when he is not yet reciprocating. I know how hard it can be to pave the way, but I have found that many successful marriages often begin with a committed woman of God leading with Godly love that sets the stage for her husband to emotionally connect.
I don’t pretend to understand it all, but I know that God honors those who humble themselves.
Pray and Trust God to Bring the Harvest
Be still, and know that I am God.” ~ Psalm 46:10
As much as we might think that we are the ones making things change, we are not. We are only responsible for the work within our own hearts. And even that is spurred on by the work of the Spirit of God.
If we cannot even awaken our own hearts and minds without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we must trust that God is the One who will speak to our husbands to awaken their spirits.
We are responsible for planting good seeds.
We must speak words of kindness, offer encouragement, pray for blessing and honor for our husbands in their jobs, pray for their hearts and minds to be filled with the Love of God, and pray for the Spirit to fight for them spiritually against all attacks and temptations that the enemy wants to throw their way.
And don’t ever stop.
Hold Tightly to Hope
The path of restoration can be long, but there is hope for those who hold tightly to the vision of a healthy marriage and are willing to do the work to create it. You are responsible for your end of the marriage. Make sure that you are bringing your best, even when you feel empty and tired.
Your job is to work on yourself first so that God has room to work on your husband. Make your walk with our Abba the centerpiece of your life, and you will prepare the soil of your heart for a marital harvest.
Do your part, and trust God to do His.
My heart is so encouraged, this was exactly what I needed.
So thankful that as wives we can’t “fix” our husbands, but are called to pray and be there and God is at work.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being real and honest. I really needed to read this, but I also walk away some steps of what I can be doing as God is working. A praying Wife is so important!
Oh Jessica, it pleases me so much to see your response this morning! I’m blessed and honored that this post as an encouragement to you! Continue to do the good work, sweet sister. He’s got you. Shalom!