Did you ever wonder why your wife stays with you? Maybe it’s financial security, obligation to her marital vows, the sake of the children, low self esteem, or even fear. Are any of those reasons good ones? The answer to that last rhetorical question is unequivocally NO.
Why your wife stays with you is one of the most important aspects of your marriage. The reason is just as important as the action, and chances are if any of those are the reason you won’t get an honest answer if you ask her. Any of those answers and a plethora more all require her to maintain a subterfuge to sustain the relationship which eliminates any hope of honesty and thereby intimacy.
Now you want to know what you can do about this? How can you solve a problem you cannot even identify clearly? The good news is that this one can be fixed – and in the fixing you can make an amazing transformation in your marriage.
A happy wife is a good wife. Remove the potential reasons one by one as possibilities and the only thing remaining will be Love, you’ll also create an environment conducive to happiness in the process. However even that can break your marriage if either party made marital promises they couldn’t keep because they love another. Nothing you can do will change that unhappy circumstance if either of you is so afflicted.
In removing these obstacles to truly joining with each other for the right reason, one can not only eliminate doubt – but also help ensure that your wife becomes the happy, independent, emotionally secure person you need to be an effective partner.
1. Financial: Be honest about your fiscal resources with her. If she has educational or career dreams then start her on the road to meeting them. Even if its a class or two per semester, a part time job, or a hobby she wants to turn into a small business. Make major purchase decisions together and keep your long term goals aligned. Never ever threaten her with being left penniless or in poverty if the marriage failed. Buy life insurance to protect both her, and you, from potential loss. Do whatever you can to enable her – should you find yourself suddenly disabled, she may need these options to care for you. As a side effect this process will empower her, and clearly demonstrate that you don’t want to control her by keeping her down or holding her hopes and dreams just out of reach.
2. Obligation: While this is an admirable trait, submission to her vows must be a joyful one and not fraught with sadness or tinged with regret. The same applies to yourself. Let her know that she is a joyful responsibility – a gift, and not a burden. Do what you can to ensure that her service in submission to her vows is revered, and accept it as you would a priceless gift. Please and thank you go a long way, and when it comes to chores, four hands are better than two. For many tasks there is no such thing as “women’s work” or “men’s work”. Make sure you encourage her to work together with you on tasks that are traditionally yours and you volunteer on hers. Teach her new skills and learn from her new skills in turn. In short, do everything you can to make fulfilling her marital obligations a joy you share together, rather than a burden borne by one or both. Lead by example, and let her know that your marital obligations are a source of joy in your life – and never let them become an impediment in hers.
3. For the children: It is your job to let her know that she is is the most important thing in your life. Yes, even more important than the children. Children need a father, and though it is an admirable sacrifice on her part to put them before herself, you should instead address the root causes of her feeling the need to make such a sacrifice. Children are a product of the marriage and are an inadequate substitute for trust, love, faith, and honesty which are the true core components. Never let her think that you put the children before her, or that your presence and support in the children’s lives is contingent on her behavior regarding the marriage. Doing so is what so often turns them into pawns in an emotionally deadly chess game. If she truly loves your children and believes a fathers presence is that important then she should be working to maintain or fix the marriage. A father is just as important to a child at every stage of their lives, and this is especially true after the children have left the home.
4. Low self esteem: This is probably the most pervasive form of destructive control I see, and by far the most common. Between the media and society in general many women already battle with low self esteem, and many husbands thoughtlessly magnify the situation or use it as a weapon or anchor. Always avoid running your wife down, whether in public or private. It is your responsibility to think and speak positively about her at all times and to all people. Accept her as she is and build her up where you can. Insincere compliments or praise will do more harm than good, as dishonesty will destabilize your marriage and credibility. Support any and all of her attempts at self improvement, but don’t try to push an agenda of you own onto her. Doing so will only make her feel more inadequate. Make resources available to her as she requires them, support and encourage, and provide valid positive feedback on her successes. Never let her feel your love is conditional on some aspect like her dress size, cooking ability, educational achievement, or the production of income. God does not do this to you. Follow His example. Highlight the places where she shines and gloss over the ones where she does not. If you cannot accept her as she is, you will find that your feelings will not change no matter how she attempts to comply. Fix yourself, not her. Any change should be motivated by a desire to please herself, not to please you. Build her up in the eyes of your friends and family and the effect is contagious, tear her down and the same applies. A happy secure wife is far less susceptible to seduction and sedition than one who is insecure and unhappy, she also will recognize and hopefully appreciate your unconditional love and support. That is a gift you can give to her which can very literally change her life for the better. How many men can even recognize the opportunity before them? Be the one who not only sees it but acts on it. When she reciprocates that love and support more than just lives are changed– marriages and families are changed, and an example is set for the children to ensure that it gets paid forward.
5. Fear: Fear is the greatest of the adversary’s weapons. It cuts both ways, giving both sides reason to cling to it and attempt to use it to provide a defensive perimeter against being emotionally harmed. Fortunately, it is one of the most easily defeated, and, unfortunately, it takes the the most courage and the highest perceived risk to do so. You must never use it to motivate your wife to change, take an action, or to stay with you.
You must overcome your own fear so that the adversary cannot use it against you to undermine your actions. You must show her leadership and courage here; and once again you must lead by example, not manipulate or coerce.
Fear is a product of doubt, which the adversary thrives on. Be firm in your convictions. Leave no room for doubt in your wife’s heart that she alone is loved, wanted, and treasured by you. Expel all doubt that her role in your life might be less than critical. Ensure she knows the depth of your love for her with certainty, and she will not be afraid.
Once you have built your wife up and loosed all the Earthly bonds save love, then you will have removed all doubt, not only from your mind, but hers, as well. In doing so, you will have built up your marriage and relationship in ways that far exceed the sum of the effort expended and placed yourselves on the solid footing intended by God. Build on that foundation, and enjoy the comfort, surety, and peace that it brings to your home and your life.
Please send questions, comments, suggestions, and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org