request for perfect marriage: denied

I have an obsession with my husband. :mrgreen: I think he’s the best. Kerry is my wildest dream come true and I appreciate him more with each passing day. He’s #mymancrusheveryday.

But I didn’t always feel this way. No, it was only 3 years ago that this obsession began (and we’ve been together for over 7).

“What happened?” you say.

“I’m glad you asked,” I say. 🙂

The story of how we ended up together is pretty unusual (if you haven’t already read my page “the story of our love” you will get a better feel for what I mean if you go read it now) and although I had very strong feelings, strong enough to get married to him, they faded after the honeymoon phase was over.

Our honeymoon phase, from my perspective at least, lasted a record-breaking 3 weeks. 21 stinking days.

21 days after I said “I do” my heart said, “I don’t.  I sooooooooo don’t.”

So what went wrong? Did he start beating me? Did I realize a crazy secret he’d kept from me during our engagement? Was he cheating on me? Was the sex just terrible?

No. No. No. No.

What happened was that he did not meet my expectations.

On day 21 of our marriage, a Friday, he woke up, got ready for work, kissed me and said, “See you tomorrow afternoon!”

“Tomorrow afternoon? What? Why?”

“I’m going camping with the guys. You knew about it. Why are you acting so surprised?” he asked. Little did he know he was about to be blindsided by some major sass.

“Yeah, I know THE GUYS are going camping tonight. Why would I assume that meant YOU when we JUST got married like 3 weeks ago?! I can’t even believe you would just leave me alone. Whatever. Go have your man time. Go camping. And enjoy every minute of it while I just sit back here all by myself like a widow,” I snapped.

Now, mind you, this was also the phase where I didn’t always say exactly what I meant (in fact I regularly said exactly opposite of what I meant) but he, being the young, honest, God-fearing man he is didn’t know that yet so when I said, “Fine then, just go camping!” he took me seriously and went. 😄 I am laughing out loud now but I was NOT laughing then. I was seething. 👿

Like a cold press coffee I brewed alllllllll night long and was pretty darn pungent the next morning.

Let’s just say my attitude didn’t allow him to be a very happy camper. 😳

The next several years can be summed up by these key words: disappointment, discontentment, anger, bitterness, fits of rage, misunderstanding, and more fits of rage, all the while Kerry just tried to figure out why I was always yelling at him.

We vowed in front of God and all the witnesses at our wedding to never divorce. It saved our marriage time and again. If it had not been for that I would have left without a doubt. I stayed but I thought I’d be miserable forever because I HATED being married.

Even on the better days I had this nagging doubt that we were ever supposed to be together because I felt unloved. (I wasn’t unloved, it’s just the way that Kerry communicated it didn’t translate to anything meaningful to me. See The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman for more on this concept.)

One time I got so angry at him that I threw a fork. I wasn’t targeting him, but it ricocheted off the table and hit him in the face. I’d like to say that was my wake up call and that I never did anything like that again. Not true. Things went on like this for years.

There was, however, one particular thought that revolutionized the way I viewed marriage and it is the reason I’m currently happily married.

Here it is:

Does a woman have to earn the right to be loved? Does she have to prove herself to be lovable? Isn’t it just understood that she deserves unconditional love because of who she is? Why then, does a husband have to prove he is worthy of respect? The Bible clearly teaches the wife is to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Peter 3:1). Wouldn’t that mean, then, that you, as the wife, give it even when you don’t feel loved, even when you don’t want to?

I don’t even remember where I heard this but I do remember being very struck by the fact that I was demanding Kerry prove he is respectable rather than just giving him respect. After months of wrestling with this idea, I finally decided to move forward. I chose to respect my husband. God commanded it and I would obey. In my heart, I began thanking the Lord for Kerry- that he sometimes washed dishes, that he provided for the family, that he didn’t ever retaliate with violence when I was acting aggressively, etc.

Once I changed my heart, my behavior started to change. There were obvious signs of disrespect I knew I needed to stop doing (yelling, slamming doors, throwing forks, accusing him, etc) but I was sure there were other things I was doing/not doing that communicated disrespect to him, so I asked him to give me some pointers. 

He replied by saying that me simply asking in what ways I could be more respectful was a huge sign of respect. #win! Then he listed these things after much thought:

–Ask me questions about how to handle a bigger situation rather than just flying solo and assuming you know what to do. Remember we are a team
–Correct me calmly and privately rather than exploding
–Say, “I respect you”
–Use a pleasant tone even when I do something you view as stupid or inefficient
–Express willingness to submit even if you disagree with a decision I’ve made

Since you’re not married to Kerry Poucher and you are not me (maybe you’re not aggressive at all, maybe you’re a cold-shoulder Shannon, or a evil glances Evelyn, a slanderous Suzy, or a money-spending Mary), you might want to ask your own husband how he would feel more respected  if you sense you need to make a change. Even if you don’t think you’ve been disrespectful, it couldn’t hurt to ask how to do it better, right?

Start by choosing respect in your heart
and then let the Holy Spirit modify your actions accordingly.

I would be lying if I said it’s been perfect ever since I made this decision, and that I’ve never done/said anything I regret since then. Truth is, I’m still working on it, but Kerry and I both agree our marriage is amazing and a huge blessing to both of us because the more respect I show him the more love he shows me! Thank you, Emerson Eggrichs, for that tip! 🙂  

I hope and pray that my trials are a source of encouragement to you!

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