I don’t know why it’s such a struggle doing and being what our husbands need us to do and to be.
Is it selfishness? Laziness? Neglect? Misplaced priorities?
Yes, I think it is.
Selfishness because we prefer other ways of showing love—ways that are easy. Ways that fit our nature. We can do them in our sleep, check off the boxes, and feel like good wives.
Except it doesn’t feel like love to our husbands, so it defeats the whole purpose. Giving love our husbands can’t receive is pointless—like cooking a steak for a vegetarian. We can put all the love in the world into making it, but a vegan won’t get anything out of a steak except a greater hunger and a whole lot of frustration.
Laziness because learning a different love language takes time. And effort. And commitment. And discipline. And we want the easy way. It’s frustrating to speak those newly conjugated love language verbs and see a blank look on his face. Or worse, a snicker, or the drooping shoulders of disappointment. To know we’ve missed the mark again. Right word, wrong timing. Or right timing, wrong approach. Or the wrong language entirely. Comment allez-vous? Muy bien, gracias.
Rivers take the path of least resistance, but for our marriages to be healthy, we must be rivers that carve a path through a rock canyon—the flint-hard stone of our own sinful nature that defaults to lazy whenever things seem to be going OK.
Neglect because we take them for granted. They’ve been faithful, loyal, and hard working for so long. The thought that they would be anything else seldom crosses our minds. They’ve done a good job of making us feel loved. How can we be failing so miserably?
Misplaced priorities because the tyranny of the urgent screams loudly while they only sigh. Until we reach a crisis point—then the anger echoes loudly against the cold walls of our bedroom, and we wonder how we’ve reached this place.
You'll never change.
They might say it to us in words dripping with disappointment and compromise. Settling for what they think they have a chance of getting but don’t really want. A consolation when they really want the grand prize.
Their hopelessness almost sucks us in. We almost believe them because we know the weakness of our flesh and the truth of Romans 7: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
But then the still small Voice whispers Philippians 1:6 into our hearts, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”
We realize we can’t conquer laziness, selfishness, neglect, and misplaced priorities.
But God can.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:21-23).
God began a good work in us and in our marriages, and by God’s good grace, he will be faithful to complete it.
Instead of hopeless, we can be hopeful.
If you're struggling in your marriage, here are two great resources:
7 Things He'll Never Tell You, But He Wants You to Know by Dr. Kevin Leman
The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Dr. Gary Chapman