I know this title is a strange question. I’m not going to go into dollars and cents. The subject is so much deeper than that and so much more important. My dear, to everything in life that is worth pursuing there is a cost. It makes no difference what that is. If there is something you decide you want more than anything else, you will pay a cost. Some of it will be your time, efforts, sacrificing other things, or maybe giving up one dream for a bigger one.
If you want something good, like a good marriage, its going to cost you. Before I go into some of what that cost might be, ask yourself an important question. How important is it to have a good marriage? How about a GREAT marriage? This question is the first one you should ask and is the most important. Why you ask? We guide our decisions and ultimately our efforts according to importance. If we want something bad enough, we will work for it no matter what it takes. We will jump hoops and go out of our comfort zone. We will fight the good fight and not even bat an eyelash when adversity comes along. I think you get my drift here. So, what’s the verdict? Do you want a good or great marriage bad enough to do whatever it takes? After you answer this question, you may proceed to some of what this will cost you .
- You will need to lay down your “right to be right.” A marriage is not about who has the correct answer. It is more about exchanging ideas and coming to a happy medium within those ideas. Its about compromise more than it is about our need for “rightness”. You might even be right, at least to yourself. But remember, your spouse is not you and operates on other thought processes which draw from experiences you did not share before you were together. We all have different experiences, and our decisions can be guided by them.
- You will need to lay down putting anyone else before your spouse. I know, I know, sometimes you need gal pal time, but if your spouse will have to be slighted during those times then it is not a good thing to press at the moment. Decisions on when those friendship times should occur can take place through open honest discussion. After all, he will need his time without you as well. It just takes planning. No one wants to sit around waiting for their spouse to get back after a day apart and one of you has taken 3 or 4 hours more than your time. I am not fond of waiting for someone, are you? Don’t disrespect your husband by making him wait and wonder. Even if you call, you are speaking to his unconscious mind that your gal time is more important. Not a good deal.
- Sometimes you will have to lay down your right to have your say. Some arguments are not worth having, so listen objectively and just “be there” for him the way you would want someone to be there for you.
- Give up your old guy friends from before you met him. Yep, I am serious. Another man has no business being in your life unless you and your spouse spend time with him at the same time and all have become friends. Even so, if that man is single, spend no alone time with him. Respect and guarding your marriage is important. You will need to lay down some other relationships and prefer your spouse over them.
- Flirtatious behavior is off limits to a married woman. Respect of your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give him, aside from love itself. In fact, respect is a part of love. That is why the word is often in the marriage ceremony. You know, “Will you love and respect…” If you feel the need to flirt with others you are doing this out of your own insecurity and that needs to be dealt with from inside of you! Don’t drag your hubby down that road with you. Go to God and get yourself a good dose of self esteem.
- Be prepared to leave some of your independence behind you. Your husband will need to know he is valued for what he puts into your marriage. Independent things for you both are good for you, just don’t make yourself so independent that he feels you don’t need him. We all desire to be needed and appreciated for what we freely give to another.
- Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay ones life down for a friend and your spouse should be your best friend forsaking all others. If he is not then you need a friendship lesson. If he is not a good friend to you then maybe he needs one!
- Be willing to love when he is being or acting less than love-able. Not everyone is in a great mood all of the time. You know that you are not. Your spouse won’t be either. Don’t take his bad mood personally and love him right on through it!
- Pray for and with your husband! A marriage that prays together stays together! Prayer is the power of God in your marriage! You could never underestimate this one!
I hope this gives you a good start. I know it might not be popular with your ego, but our first ministry is to our spouse, like it or not. It is what God has ordained. You can not minister to anyone else until you know how to do it with your family first and that means your spouse before anyone else!
PS, the exception to all of these is if you are being abused or mistreated. I have to add this in here because of the tendency for abused wives to become co-dependent husband pleasers in order to not be abused. This does not work out. Mutual respect is a major gift to a marriage that will work. If you are being disrespected then maybe you need to make a new decision. I’m a firm advocate that we teach people how to treat us. If you are being mistreated, never reward that behavior. Safely walk away from abuse. That one IS your right!
Dear God, help us all to know and understand what the cost for a good marriage will be for us and help us to be better wives in the process! amen
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
800-421-1765 for prayer