I had a talk with a friend recently. He and his wife had just had a fight. It was not huge, it was not mean, but he knows his wife and knows that there will be hurt that he has to deal with. He is fearful that this will put a wedge between he and his wife, he felt (and still feels) that he needed to talk about those issues. Now he fears she will fall into a pattern that she has fallen into in the past which something like this: “I can’t trust you with my heart (or my body) because you hurt me. I have to pull away until I can trust you again.” I really feel for my friend, it is a hard place to be and yes, I have been there also.
There are some things that you need to know about that attitude, in case you or some of your friends ever exhibit it:
Withdrawing may make you feel better, but it will harm your relationship with your husband. It will cause him to withdraw from you. It will cause him to become even more critical and less patient. In short it will make the problems a whole lot worse than they currently are. (No, it is not right, it is not the way it should be, but it is the way it will all most certainly be.)
Remember that some problems do have to brought up. Chances are you have done this to, you have had to bring up some problems that made your husband uncomfortable. You did not do it to make him mad or to be mean, but you did because it was something that needed to be dealt with. The same thing is true for him. He sees something that he thinks needs to be fixed. Instead of getting mad at him, be grateful he cares enough to bring it up.
Acknowledge the hurt you have, but seek to forgive. Your hurt is real, your pain is real. However, no matter how much you are hurting, you still need to forgive your husband for what he did. You need to do this whether he asks for it or not. (Yes, it would best for him to ask for it and I truly hope he will.) It has always amazed me that Jesus spent so much time talking about the importance of forgiving others, He basically said, if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven.
Your husband will never be perfect. That is okay, neither will you. Seems like I heard a great teacher say something like, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” You need to treat him the way you want to be treated. (Matt 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”) Do you want to be held to a standard of perfection? No, I don’t blame you. Don’t hold him to that standard. Do you want to be forgiven when you behave wrongly, whether you ask for it or not? If your answer is, “No,” then forgive when you are wronged.
If we all think about it, we know that we should not expect perfection from our spouse, but I think sometimes, we conscientiously expect it. Let us do what we can to change this habit and to understand that we are all going to have bad days.
Having said that there is no excuse for cheating, I believe that there are things that wives can do to help their husband keep from cheating. The following things are all common sense, but I am afraid sometimes that when we get busy doing all that we have to do in our lives we often forget our common sense. I think often times it is important to remind each other about common sense things and help each other to follow our common sense.
Make Sure He Knows that You Love Him: Remember that each of us have one or two love languages that are really important to us. For most men, physical – err – sexual touch is one of those. Make sure that you are showing him sexually that you love him. (I know some ladies get tired of hearing that, but it really is a big thing for most guys and if it is for your guy, make sure you don’t neglect it.) You don’t want some other woman’s advance to have a greater chance of success simply, because he has not been sexually satisfied at home lately, do you?
Show Him You are Grateful He is Your Husband: Men like to know that their families appreciate all that they do to support them. Many men work long hours, sometimes doing jobs that they really hate; because that is the only way they can support their family. It gets real lonely doing that if all they get at home is an attitude that says either, “Why should I thank you, that is what you are supposed to do,” or “You need to do more, you are not taking good enough care of me/us.” Yes, that is what men should do, we should sacrifice to take care of our family and sometimes we need to do more, but that does not mean that we don’t deserve to be thanked for what we are doing. A little gratitude goes a long way.
Do Not Make Him Feel Inferior: No guy wants to be constantly compared to your friend’s husbands, especially if his wife is always talking about how great so-and-so is. Instead, find things to brag on your husband about. Let them know that you think some of the things that he does are great. Brag on him, especially in front of him sometimes. It could be anything from what a great job he did cooking on the grill the other night to how he did a great job getting you that special something you wanted. It will make him feel like a million bucks.
Pray for Him to Be Faithful: Let him know that you are praying for him, not that you don’t trust him, but because you know that there are women out there who would swoop in to grab a great guy like him. He knows that sometimes he is more vulnerable than others and he will appreciate that you are praying for him. Most guys want to stay true and will take all the help they can get to do just that.
Some Special Treatment: There are a few other things that you could do from time to time that would also let your husband know that he is special. Try giving him an Ultimate Massage a few times a year. If you want some tips on doing that, check my post about the Ultimate Massage. Another thing, is to make sure when you kiss him, you communicate your love to him. Kissing can become routine, instead make sure you are giving him several loving kisses during the day. Check my post about Loving Kisses for some ideas. Some other things, do something different every now and then, do something he would enjoy, it does not matter what it is, but it shows him you love him. Some ideas could be, watch some guy thing with him, like football, by his favorite ice cream, join him in the shower sometime, send the kids away from the night and tell him you are all his for the night, most importantly, you know your husband better than anyone, use your knowledge, imagination, and love for him, with that for your guide, you can’t go wrong.
There Are Certain Times That Make These Actions Even More Critical: I know in my own life that there are times that I worry much more about straying than other times. (No, I never have strayed and I promise and pray that I never will!) The time that scares me the most is when I travel. Being in a strange place, where few, if anyone knows me can cause me to think, “If I did stray, who would know?” I know, God would know, and who knows what type of problems would result from that infidelity, but being honest, it is a temptation.
Another place that was a little uncomfortable for me is when I take my kids to places where there are more moms than dads. For example, I took my daughter to the Children’s Museum, the adult male to female count was about 4 moms for every guy there and if you took away the men who were there with their wife, it was much, much higher, like I was the only guy there with my kid without a wife along. It seemed to me that some of these ladies were a little more friendly than I thought they would be. I don’t know if they were just impressed because I was there by myself with my daughter and were being encouraging or they were lonely, bored, jealous, or just enjoyed being a little flirtatious. I was a little nervous.
In each of these situations; I am glad to know my wife loves me. She is especially helpful when I am going out of town, she finds some extra time and energy to demonstrate to me that I never want anyone else. I am grateful for that. I don’t want to face any of those temptations when I am weak. (Hey, I don’t want to face them at all, but I know I can’t avoid them all.) I know it is easier to deal with temptation knowing that I have a loving wife waiting for me. If I thought she hated me, was mad at me, or even just indifferent, it would be harder to fight the temptation. (Again, it would not be an excuse. I would be wrong. For me In the end, it is the thought of how much it would hurt my wife, my kids, and how it would hurt my witness, that keeps me from ever cheating. I have seen families and churches hurt by cheating. I pray I never add to it.)
Ladies, please do what you can to make sure your husband knows that you are there for him and that you want him, all of him, and that you are going to do what you can to make sure he knows all of this. Sometimes men get doubts, they start to wonder if their wife still really loves them, if their wife still cares about them as she once did. If you love him, you want him to know that, for him to know, you have to express that to him and probably express that in many ways, and do it often. Chances are you want him to do the same thing to you, so show him how it is done! (Any guys reading this, Take Note: Let your wife know you love her as often as you can, in as many ways as you can, and in a way that speaks to her!)
I know that post is longer than I wish it was, but I know it is very important. It really can make all the difference in the world. Call these actions insurance, extra protection, whatever you want, but in the end they will help your you and help your husband to be happier and to have a stronger marriage. Sounds like winning situation for both of you! Hopefully you both will have fun doing all of these suggestions!