Do you know a couple who has been married for a long time and are still deeply in love? You might find yourself wondering what their secret is or how that woman was lucky enough to find such a perfectly wonderful man. However, in If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House), Rhonda Stoppe shows readers the secret to a happy marriage isn't related to how "ideal" a spouse is, but rather having a relationship grounded in a love deeper than their own.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe?
My husband, Steve, is a pastor, and we are committed to help couples build marriages with no regrets through one-on-one mentorship, premarital counseling and teaching No Regrets marriage conferences.
For more than 30 years we have biblically counseled numerous married couples. More often than not, when wives get their husbands into our office, they are secretly thinking, "Oh good, now they will fix him, and then I can be happy." When a wife learns the secret to her happiness lies not in how well her husband measures up to her expectations, but in how well she loves God, she discovers the secret to her happiness in marriage. If My Husband Would Change, I'd be Happy is a resource to help wives learn this truth.
Q: As a newlywed, what were some of the expectations you had about your husband and marriage in general that were unrealistic? What were some of the big things—or even the small things—you wished your husband would change?
Before my husband and I were married, our weekends were filled with fun dates and lazy days picnicking near a river's edge. I was convinced being married to this man of my dreams was the key to my happily-ever-after.
After the honeymoon, it wasn't long before my weekends became consumed with doing housework. Gone were the weekend dates. I remember one Saturday in particular, as I heard my husband and his brother laughing together in the garage while they worked on my car, I was in the house working. I began to feel resentment toward my husband over the lack of fun in my life. Even though I had seen marriages in my own family fall apart from resentment, I found myself falling into the habit of harboring wrong attitudes toward my husband. Those feelings of bitterness scared me and sent me to look for godly older women to mentor me.
Q: How does the way a wife thinks about her husband influence her happiness in the marriage?
I know women in difficult marriages who find their marriages transformed when they choose to think only what is good about their husbands. The battle is in your minds, ladies. When you determine to think on what is good, right and honorable about your man—you know, the way you hope he will think about you—then the peace that surpasses all understanding will rule in your hearts, minds and homes (Phil. 4).
When you learn to enjoy your husband for who he is and not who you wish he would be, you will be on the right path to a happy marriage.
Q: You talk about how a wife pursuing her husband physically ministers to him deeply. Can you shed some light on what that means to a man?
There is so much I can say on this topic! Wherever I speak, women regularly come up to me and make comments like, "I'm just not that into having sex with my husband." When you mistakenly view your husband's need for sex as some sort of primal urge to be satisfied from time to time, you are missing the true ministry God has given you to affirm your husband's deepest emotional needs through sex.
Did you know that when you pursue your husband sexually, you have a profound influence on him in all areas of his life? Men tend to struggle with feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. When you find your husband sexually desirable and he feels loved for who he is, then you fill him with a sense of strength, well-being and confidence.
When your husband says he feels better after you have had sex with him, you would be wise to understand he is not simply talking about the physical pleasure he experiences through love-making. He may never be able to put into words the effect making love to you has on his emotional well-being. But it really does impact him in a big way. Just watch and see if the results aren't reflected in your husband's confidence and overall satisfaction with life.
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