Before I was married, I heard a toast at a rehearsal dinner in which the woman said to the bride to be, “Honey, your husband isn’t your Savior; Jesus is your Savior.” I thought it was such a strange and ridiculous toast. And when I looked around the room, I could tell from all the expressions and snickers that I wasn’t alone.
Little did I know, that lady was onto something. A few years into marriage I realized I desperately looked to my husband to make me happy and to fulfill my every need. This is not an exhaustive list but here are a few things I expected of my husband. He needs to provide for me, protect me and love me. He needs to know me. He needs to know what I want and respond because he wants to please me, not because I want him to. He should come home after work and help me around the house and with our kid. He needs to know the routines and do them exactly how I do them. He has had all day to himself while I have been spread thin and now I need him to give me my alone time. He needs to listen to me and be my encourager and champion. He needs to support me in all I want to do. And when I need him to do something, it needs to be done immediately.
In addition to those general expectations, I also wanted my husband to be like me in one particular area. I wanted him to be outgoing, enjoy meeting new people, making new friends and I wanted everyone to like him. I bring this up because it was a struggle for me. It’s awkward when people ask “does your husband like me?” It was painful to watch as people attempted to engage him in conversation. I, of course, wondered if people would even like me after they met him? My husband wears a shirt which says, “A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinions of sheep.” He married a lamb who has concerned herself way too much with the opinions of others. All of these expectations made me realize marriage is hard. I knew I wanted things to work but I wasn’t sure where to begin. My parents always told me whenever I had a problem that I should pray about it.
I decided to pray and ask God to change my husband, and the dialogue went like this. I initially prayed for my husband, “God, his heart is hard, help him to see his wrong ways, show him how to love me and others.” However, it seems whenever I pray, God humbles me and redeems my broken prayers and teaches me new words. God’s response to me was, “I love your husband, I created him exactly this way, and this is who I made him to be.” I responded, “Then Lord, teach me how to love him, teach me to see him in Your light. Teach me to see what there is to love because I am not seeing it right now but I know You love him.” Over time my perspective changed and I realized marriage isn’t about this one person making another happy. Marriage isn’t about my relationship with my husband, it’s about my relationship with God. Jesus’ grace fills in the gaps where I fall short, after all, we are both only human. Once I took the focus off of my husband and focused on Jesus, I removed the burden from my husband to make me happy at all times… Once I accepted Jesus for the Savior He came to be, the pressure was off my husband. As a result my husband feels totally loved and accepted by me and he in return is now free to love me, without concern of falling short or doing it wrong.
Releasing my husband from this pressure and leaving it all to Jesus means I no longer have to fight to get my way in marriage. Because he feels loved, my husband looks out for me. God’s provision for me comes through my husband. I finally feel incredible freedom in my marriage. I am not trapped. I flourish, and I am safe to be who I was created to be. Jesus extends his grace through my husband and I am reminded daily how deeply I am loved by God through him. My husband is a changed man but not without my being a changed woman. People may ask why my husband doesn’t smile in a photo. But he does smile. He smiles all the time. We laugh all the time. You just have to want to see it. You just have to want to witness it. You have to want to love him. My prayer is now, “Thank You Lord for my husband, thank You Lord for this amazing man who you have created so wonderfully. Thank you for how You love me through him, thank You for Your provision for me through my husband.” God not only redeemed my prayers, He redeemed my marriage.