This post is a chapter from my book 21 Days to Save My Family.
Let me tell you a story and see how you feel about it.
I know a woman who is making life miserable for everyone she knows. Rude, obnoxious, mean and thoughtless. She is angry and spiteful. She says things that upset everyone close to her. She is slowly losing all her closest friends because they just can’t take it. She treats everyone like they are a nuisance. This lady has transformed into someone you couldn’t spend ten minutes with.
Her husband won’t touch her. He barely talks to her. They have been together for over twenty years. They haven’t had sex in about ten. They are approaching retirement. I honestly expect a divorce as soon as they are retired. Once they have no more common responsibilities, I can’t imagine them staying together.
At first glance, everyone would openly claim that she is the problem. Sure. Understandable. But I don’t see it that way.
If this guy wasn’t so tough and arrogant, he would humble himself and look at her with compassion. That’s his wife. The lady he fought for in the dating days. The one he committed to love, honor and cherish; forsaking all others. The one who conned her into giving herself to him. To giving him her life. To sacrificing her own body and giving this man children. She deserves to be treated better than he has.
Nobody sees what she does. I can see this guy as anything else, but I can’t see what kind of husband he is. I don’t see what she sees. Just like me. Everyone thought I was a great husband based on what they saw. But, only my wife could tell you what kind of husband I really was. Nobody else has that perspective.
What we can see, is the results.
When a woman is denied affection and love. When she is denied physical contact. When she is saturated in stress and anxiety, her body produces cortisol. Now, I am not a doctor, you are at the mercy of my limited knowledge. Feel free to do your own research.
This cortisol is in her body for survival. It causes her body to defend itself. Weight gain is a symptom. Anger is another. I have read that cortisol is a common issue in almost every disease women experience. An abundance of cortisol will slowly kill her and drive her mad. A jackass for a husband is the most effective way to produce lots of it. Men have it, too. But that’s not what I am discussing today.
The stuff in her body that counteracts the effects of cortisol is called oxytocin. That’s the stuff that causes peace and rest in her. That’s the stuff that tells her brain that everything is fine. Her life is good. She can let down her guard and enjoy life. It causes her to be able to feel things deeply. Guess what triggers that stuff.
Affection, love, touch, kind words, a calm home… Stuff like that produces the oxytocin. Things that convince her that she is worth loving. Things that convince her that her life is good. Things that cause her to relax instead of tensing up.
You know what else happens when she is like that? She is much more open to giving back to her husband. Demanding affection or sex is abuse. Loving her so much, that she wants to do that, is a whole different thing.
We have never heard of a woman filing for divorce because her husband was too good to her. He just loves me too much. He does too many nice things for me. He is just too generous. He thinks about me all the time. He is always surprising me with gifts and adventures. Yeah. I don’t expect to ever hear those arguments in a divorce hearing.
When I say that one in a thousand failed marriages are the wife’s fault, I am serious. As a husband, I accept full responsibility for the condition of my marriage. Again, like salvation, marriage depends on one person completely focused on serving the other. The bridegroom devoting his life to making life great for the bride. The bride merely responds to that love. It works for marriage and salvation.
If Christ hadn’t taken on the full weight of our sins, salvation would have fallen short of completion. If the husband doesn’t accept full responsibility for the condition of his home, guess what… That doesn’t work, either. How can we claim to be the head of the house and not take full responsibility? That is ridiculous. We can’t blame her for anything. All she is doing is responding to the life we give her.
If I walked up and slapped your face, is it your fault for backing away from me? If I insult you, is it your fault for not wanting to talk to me anymore? If I am a jerk, is it your fault for not liking me? If I lie and manipulate you, is it your fault for not trusting me?
If I claim to be in charge of my business and the business fails, who is to blame? If I am holding a balloon and let the string slip through my fingers, it’s not the balloon’s fault for leaving me. If I smoke and develop the standard health issues, can I honestly blame the cigarettes?
If I claim to be the head of my home, can I honestly blame her if my marriage fails? If she is ignored or abused by the most important man in her life, can we blame her for being angry? Who’s fault is it really?
Wake up. Own your life. Be the man. You can’t have it both ways. Take responsibility for your home and do this thing right. Honor your wife and those vows, see if I am wrong. See if she doesn’t transform right in front of you. Eventually. After she trusts you again. Once she doesn’t believe you are going to repeat the foolishness. She will become the lady you fell in love with all over again.
The couple I mentioned earlier might make it, they might not. They might be so far gone that neither one wants to fight anymore. They might just be ready to give up. It might not be worth it anymore. That’s their life and their decision. But, whatever happens, it’s on him.
If he wakes up and turns to her, if he decides that he wants to do right and take responsibility for his home, if he steps over his own feelings to care for her, if he decides to treat her like the most important person in his world… It would be better for all of us. She didn’t get angry like that while living with a good man. She got like that from years of neglect and abuse. Only he can fix that.
What about you?