Marriage can bring a lot of changes, but the one change that people seem to hate the most is one’s ability to grow up. Only a select few can understand the need to stop doing what you use to do in an effort to reap the benefits of something different. Growth is not a bad thing and in fact, it’s necessary for any effective change. You wouldn’t keep wearing a size 6 shoe if your foot was a size 8, would you? That would become uncomfortable and in some cases, cause excruciating pain. That’s the way marriage works. There is no way, a wife or a husband, can continue to do the things they use to do without causing excruciating pain to the marriage.
Some people didn’t expect growth from my husband and for a long time, he didn’t expect it from himself either. In fact, he seemed to reject the changes that marriage required, or shall I say, the changes that being married to ME required. It is my belief that in any relationship, particularly marriage, one or both of you will grow at the other’s expense. Some might argue that, this would mean, you and your partner are not equally yoked. I’d have to disagree and say that marriage is like birthing a new child. Sure, it has your DNA and it has your eyes but guess what, it will develop it’s own personality and what we as parents put into that child or refuse to put into that child, plays a part.
With that being said, if we don’t give our marriage what it needs; if we don’t feed it, teach it to stand on it’s own two, share effective communication, nurture it, bathe it, do our best to keep it free from negativity or germs, it will not be successful. Those who are not involved or who don’t benefit from this growth, may not understand the changes necessary for making your marriage successful. Some may shun you, make sarcastic remarks about you or your spouse’s growth or ostracize you for just being different. This is where the discomfort comes in.
My husband couldn’t handle the discomfort. Unlike me, he was still very close to his family and accustomed to a lifestyle that included them daily. I left home at age 17. I was in the habit of setting boundaries. In addition to that, I grew up at my first husband’s expense so I wasn’t at that place anymore. While I completely understood my husband’s need to grow up, it didn’t stop me from requiring it of him. We had arguments, disagreements and sometimes, I had to leave him to his own devices. Talking wasn’t helping. It upset me that he had to make decisions about the most minuscule things: “Do I get up early in the morning so my granny can make me pancakes or do I stay home and make breakfast with my wife? Do I sit with my family and play cards while my wife is sick or do I go home and be with her? Do I agree to do things for others or loan money to others without discussing it with my wife? Or do I speak to her about it first? It should be common sense what the correct answers are but those questions were hard for him. For a while, my husband seemed to choose his family, every time.
Needless to say, things got better and what helped was my silence with him. While I didn’t budge on what I wanted and I held him accountable, I stopped arguing with him about it. I opened up to God and asked him to do the work. My husband started to put more study in his scripture and found his own way. It hurt because it had to be his process and done on his time. If you’re like me and impatient, this can be a struggle. It was time for him to be the man that Jehovah needed him to be, not just me. Doing it for me would’ve been temporary, but when God wants it, it’s permanent.
It’s simple and the WORD says it, WIFE before all others. I’m sure for my husband, putting me first was easier said than done but he did it and it cost him some relationships with his family. I think he still struggles with it a little but he wouldn’t admit it and that’s ok. It’s not easy for a person to let go of critical ideas that defined them for the majority of their life and suddenly adopt new ones. That’s why we should always be satisfied with our spouse’s effort.
When my husband started to set boundaries, the reactions of some were priceless. The most undeniable theme was that, “I changed him.” Not that it’s anyone’s business but of course he changed. He should have. He met a woman who wanted the best for him. He met a woman who wanted him to follow his dreams. He wanted to change, therefore change was inevitable.
My husband got a Masters degree. He got a nice home, upgraded his car, got a passport, started traveling internationally, stopped arguing with baby-mommas, and turned in his t-shirts for some button-ups. I was confused. These were good changes and not many seemed happy for him.
I was referred to as controlling. I was accused of making decisions for him and speaking on his behalf. Even when words, came out of his own mouth, the response was, “Nope, those aren’t your words, your wife told you to say that.” This was both funny and sad to me because that would suggest that the people my husband put on a pedestal didn’t believe he had a brain or the ability to make decisions on his own. I guess he had one when he was doing everything they wanted him to do. I ached for him. Those same people also referred to my husband as ‘pussy-whipped,’ and ‘under a spell.’ Now, those are the best compliments. What woman wouldn’t want their husband to be pussy-whipped? THANKS!