Thursday, April 5, 2012

Guard Your Thoughts

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be loving towards your wife when you don’t feel loved? Of course, for us guys, the sexual part of our marriage relationship has a lot to do with our feeling loved, so that means that most men struggle with feeling unloved. Yet, believe it or not, our wives are expressing their love towards us, just not in the way that we want.

In the typical marriage, there’s a lot of sex up until the first baby comes along. Then, what had been once a day (or more) suddenly drops down to an average of once every 10 days. Husbands everywhere are baffled by this phenomenon, even realizing that their wives are tired from taking care of the baby. Yet, that realization doesn’t do much to cover up the hurt they feel inside, because their wives are paying so much attention to the baby and so little to them.

Of course, women don’t see the incongruity of this, because their focus is on the baby. They don’t realize the problem their husband faces, and if he ever tries to bring it up, it comes across to her as selfishness. She’s giving her all for the baby, and can’t understand why he can’t understand that she doesn’t have anything left for him.

This becomes a major crossroads for most married couples. They either go forward, learning to overcome the new struggles, or they start falling apart. Sadly, too many start falling apart. Because the husband doesn’t feel loved by his wife, he stops expressing love towards her. She then feels rejected by him and acts even less loving towards him. When he wants sex, she feels as if he is just using her, whereas before she felt it was an expression of love between them.

For most couples, this problem never stops; it just keeps spiraling downwards. Sadly, they never learn to overcome the negative emotions and return to a truly loving relationship. So, instead of being the marriage God intended them to be, they end up being little more than roommates.

The first thing we need to realize in all this is that our enemy, the devil, is the one who is putting those thoughts into our minds, the thoughts that we aren’t loved. It’s not a rational analysis of the situation; it’s not even a message we’re receiving from our wives, it’s a lie that we’re being told. Unfortunately, it’s a lie that’s all too easy to accept.

We are commanded to “cast down vain imaginations and anything that exalts itself against the power of God.” Well, take my word for it; all those thoughts about your wife not loving you are definitely vain imagination. Cast them down. You don’t need them, you don’t want them, and if you let them, they’ll destroy your marriage. Get rid of them, before they get rid of your love.

How do you get rid of them? There are many ways. First of all, think on the good in your wife, those things which you love and appreciate about her, instead of focusing on the negative. Then, take it one step further and find some way to express love towards her, even if you don’t feel like it. Your feelings will end up following you actions. The best way to get over feeling negatively towards your wife is to do something special to express love towards her.

The second thing we need to realize is that our love towards our wives and our expression of that love should not be dependent upon their expression of love towards us. We are commanded to love our wives, in the same manner that Christ loved the church. How is that? By giving Himself for her. We are to give and give and give, whether we feel like we are receiving or not. Even more so, we’re to give with a good attitude.

You see, if we’re just being romantic in the hopes of receiving something back from our wives, we’re not expressing a pure love towards them. Granted, we all hope to have our love reciprocated, but that’s really not the point of expressing love. Anyone can express love when they are feeling loved, it takes a real man to express love when he doesn’t feel loved.

We also need to understand that women don’t understand love in the same manner that men do. Gary Chapman’s book on The Five Love Languages is a great primer on how to express love. Even so, let me give you the simplified version. Women understand romance as expressions of love. That’s it. That’s really what this blog is all about, teaching men to express love in a way that their wives will understand.

So, when’s a good time to be romantic? Really, any time is a good time. But, the best time to be romantic is when you don’t feel loved. Then, it’s a true expression of love “as Christ loved the church.”

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