If you look in the sidebar of my blog, you’ll see that there are many categories of posts listed, but one rather important one is missing: marriage. I don’t often talk about the relationship between my husband and I, but there’s something that’s been on my mind lately that I need to get out in the open.

I used to think I loved my husband.

Okay, maybe that sounds a little dramatic. But the other day, Kirk and I had an, ahem, disagreement. He needed to go back to the office to do something on a Monday and I was rather upset. His day off is Monday and I like him to be at home all day so we can spend time together as a family. He would be able to get his mind off of work and relax, he said, if he could just finish this one thing. I dug my heels in and a spat ensued. In the end he did end up going into the office and I was left frustrated and mad.

As the minutes past, while I stood at the sink washing dishes while my kids played in the living room, I slowly began to calm down and began to realize I had wasted a lot of time arguing with my husband. Much more time than it would have taken to just say, “okay, see you in a little while” and then let him get things done quickly.

“I love my husband, right?” I mused to myself. Maybe not. Perhaps I only do something for my husband when it suits my purpose or makes my life easier. That’s when it’s easy to love. Go to Caribou coffee and get him a drink when I can also get one for myself? Sure! Work together to put the kids to bed if it means we can relax on the couch together sooner that evening? Of course!

But when he tells me he needs to go take care of something work related at odd hours of the day (or night!) so I have to cancel our previous plans? No way. If he wants to spend time with some pastor friends on a week-long retreat that leaves me alone with three kids? Not so much.

Maybe I still don’t get what love really is after eight years of marriage.

Most of us have heard the 1 Corinthians 13 passage before. We had it read at our wedding! Verses five through seven ran through my head as I soaked my dishes and thought about what love should be.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,L)’> it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evilO)’> It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Keeps no record of wrongs {or perceived wrongs}–yikes! I’m really really not even close to that right now. Always trusts? Rejoices? Not seeking my own way? Um, what?

There are always going to be things in marriage that I don’t like. We’re two different people and are still working on the whole “becoming one” thing, because it’s more than just a physical oneness, but a unity of mind and heart as well. And I’m certain I do things he doesn’t like either and probably always will!

Kirk with our adorable children!

So what’s the solution to this problem? Do I “try really hard” to be a “good submissive wife” and that somehow my outward agreement and fake smile will make it easier to love my husband?

I thought as I now was drying the dishes (I had few interruptions from the kids, God must have known I needed to think this over!) that my response can’t be either fake enthusiasm (“yes, honey, I’m so glad you’re leaving me on your day off to go to work–yay!”) or acting like a pouty child in hopes that he’ll change his mind and stay home. It has to be a response that mirrors Paul’s description of love: gentle, understanding, fair, forgiving. But my human efforts aren’t going to achieve that either.

It takes time to cultivate this type of response to things that don’t go my way in marriage. It takes a love that transcends our human understanding of love. Love is not something we “do” when it suits us, something we fall in and out of depending on our mood or that makes us feel good all the time. It’s sacrificial, long-suffering and sustained, the kind of love that Christ has for us.

Love like this doesn’t come from human effort, and so I can’t depend on my own work to love my husband this way! It’s a process, a day-by-day transformation made possible only by the grace of God.

And really, my love for my husband shouldn’t depend on whether he’s attentive or appreciative all the time or what he’s done right or wrong that day or anything else for that matter. I’m realizing I can’t change him by my badgering and complaining. I don’t want to show love to him only if he “deserves it”. This is about my part in our marriage. I want to show love to him when he doesn’t deserve it.

I’m pretty sure I’ll mess this up again. Another day will come where I’ll huff and puff when my husband interrupts my plans for his day ;) But I am incredibly thankful that I know a God who can truly make the change that I so desperately need and continue to help us grow in our love for each other–the First Corinthians way.

But now faith, hope, love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. {1 Cor. 13:13}

Do you struggle with sacrificial love? What has helped you to overcome it? What can I do to encourage you today? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Shared at The Better Mom, The Alabaster JarGrowing Home, Raising Mighty ArrowsDeep Roots at Home, Walking RedeemedTime-Warp Wife and MercyINK.

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18 Comments on I Used to Think I Loved My Husband

  1. Awesome post; very convicting. I’ve got so much room for improvement when it comes to sacrificially loving my husband. Our first baby is 5 months old now and having a baby has changed our marriage so much! It’s easy for me to get so wrapped up in taking care of our son that I forget to take care of my husband’s needs, too. God is working on my character daily, which is a never-ending process :)

    Thanks for the encouraging post!

  2. I feel the same way so often, Jenn! I love this post!

    I recently read a book that really helped me with getting over myself and showing love to my husband. You may have already heard of it, but I wanted to mention it in case you (or your readers) may be interested. It’s called “The Husband Project,” and it really helped me!

    (I’m giving it away on my blog this week, too!)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I, too, can get a bit upset when things interrupt our family time. I recently was faced with the realization that many times I spend more time being upset about or disagreeing with my husband over the issue than would take for him to be done with whatever it is. I was the convicted that I am really the one wasting our precious family time, so how can I be upset with him about it. What’s the great part of all of this? I was reminded that God extends us grace and that we are a work in progress. I now try to thing about how long the interruption will actually take before getting worked up over something small. I will be praying for you as we face this dilemma together!

  4. Hello, Just thought I would say hi!
    I was not sure if I should leave a comment but here goes!
    I remember those days… But I realized I was putting so much guilt on my husband, someone who cared about me said REALLY??
    So I apologized to him and he was shocked and overcome with ok who is this person?
    But the next time I grabbed him and said HURRY HOME HONEY!
    It worked!
    Blessings, Roxy

  5. Thanks for sharing! This is something I struggle with at times as well. Especially since my husband and I aren’t on the same page spiritually at times, it can be frustrating.

    Visiting from the hop. :)

  6. This is something I am always working on… And probably always will! Thanks for sharing your heart. :)

  7. Thanks so much for this post. It was a blessing to me my husband and I had a similar spat the past couple of days. I am also a pastors wife and it is hard to balance everything while protecting our family time. Thank you for reminding me about what God’s definition of love.

  8. I wish I were better at showing people “true” love. I love my husband, but sometimes I struggle with showing that when I am irritated. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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