* Vintage post from last fall

So yesterday we talked about how sometimes I have pretty unrealistic expectations for what my husband should say, do, think, feel, and act. (Umm . . . control-issues much?)

Instead of just talking about the mere existence of this challenge, I thought I would share some things I’ve learned along the way of this free-your-husband-of-your-unrealistic-expectations journey.

Like six of them:

1. Pray. Ask God to search your heart and reveal what needs to be cleaned out. I also ask Him to soften my heart towards my husband and give me a spirit of humility and love. If there is something on your heart that you really want your husband to do, don’t jump his back about it every day (Trust me. This doesn’t work.) Instead, ask God to change His heart if it is in His plan for your husband and if not, ask Him to give you peace in your own heart about this particular issue. But . . . be prepared. I’ve learned some pretty ugly stuff about myself this way but the fruit it will bear is worth it.

2. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. When I start to feel like I want to strangle my husband for offenses that aren’t even really offenses, then it’s time for me to check myself. Am I setting him up for failure? Do I constantly keep moving the finish line? Am I being a nag? Am I being crabby?

It is better to live in the corner of an attic than with a crabby woman in a lovely home. Proverbs 21:9 (TLB)

I don’t know what kind of response the above verse elicits in you but when I read this, I wanted to hurl (Eloquent. I know.)

So if I check myself and realize my husband is living in the corner of the attic, then I know my expectations of him have been too high and I need to just lower it all down a notch (or ten.)

3. Meditate on who you are in His eyes. When I start to get this all twisted and expect Jason to be my personal Jesus, then I know I’m forgetting who I am in His eyes. My identity doesn’t come from my husband–it comes from God. My roots are planted in Him but sometimes I forget. If you have never studied scriptures that name who you are in His eyes, then a great place to start is with the “Father’s Love Letter”. (Click here to watch) There is also a printable of the scriptures quoted in the video here. Print this out and study it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Teach them to your children, too. There’s power behind this, I promise.

4. Remember that as strong as he may seem, he still really needs you. He also really wants your approval. He probably won’t ever verbalize this to you but it’s true: men want to know their wives think they’re pretty awesome.  We as women need to recognize the power of our influence and be good stewards of it.

We don’t want to abuse it but instead use it: to build him up, to encourage him, to tell him he is indeed enough.

But what if he isn’t very nice to you? Do it anyway with one exception: if he is verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually abusive, get help immediately and remove yourself from the situation. I will never encourage a victim of abuse to stay with their abuser. That’s one never I can stand-on with confidence.

5. Remind yourself  that like you, your husband is also a person with dreams, feelings, and longings of the heart. This sounds funny doesn’t it? I mean, we all know our husbands are people, right? Except admittedly, there are times when I’m so consumed by the details of life with three children that I forget to look at him, I mean really look at him, and see his heart.

6. Make a list of the qualities you love and appreciate about your husband. Now tuck it away someplace safe and get it out when you feel your blood start to boil. You’ll be surprised how quickly this will soften your heart towards him.

And there you have it . . . Six things you can do right now to help your marriage. Which means help you too because if you’re like me, when your marriage is off-kilter, so are you.

What do you do when you find yourself becoming irritated with your husband?