Sometimes husbands are disappointing. It’s simply inevitable when we decide to marry another flawed human being. From unmet expectations to unkept promises and forgotten plans, them letting us down from time to time, unfortunately, is bound to happen.
It is important how we respond to these situations. We believe the goal of marriage and conflict within marriage should always be connection. That’s what we all want, right? To feel connected and loved and known by our husbands.
As someone who tends to romanticize EVERYTHING, Mike has let me down on more than one occasion. Some more significant situations and most smaller but still challenging. These are some tips and practices we have learned over the years so far.
I am aware that there are different degrees of let down. Some let downs do substantial damage. I believe this post can help in all situations, but for the more extreme disappointments like betrayal and the like, I highly suggest seeking help outside of your home if you are interested in working through the problem.
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God Never Will
I know this may sound super cliche, but please stay with me. When you feel like your husband has let you down and completely missed the mark, you can also feel very alone and depressed.
In that place, you may feel misunderstood, isolated and undervalued. This is a breeding ground for bitterness and resentment which will give way to all kind of other nasty things.
It is imperative that you know and remind yourself that those are lies. You are not alone. You are not rejected. The Father understands you entirely, and in Him, you have immense value.
When you can approach the situation with your spouse from that place, of knowing who you are and whose you are, you will be able to communicate better from a place of love and a desire for connection rather than from a place of fear or pride.
Sure you are still disappointed in your husband’s actions (or lack of actions), BUT you’re not asking him to provide things that are not his responsibility to provide, and you can approach the conflict aware that your husband is not the enemy.
If you are in need of more focused study and a reminder or encouragement of just how incredibly loved you are by the Father, then make sure to sign up for our free 6-day scripture writing challenge, Extravagant. Join over 1,000 other believers as we spend six short but powerful days focusing into the love the Father has for you!
Practice Being Gracious and Forgiving
I know you may want to really stick it to your husband and you are hoping I will provide you with the necessary tools to do that. At least that is what I tend to want when my husband has fallen short of my expectations.
Instead, I just want to build you up. We find so much of our worth and value in our husbands when in reality those things come from the Father. When your husband has fallen short, stop and think on how you have fallen short and remember how the Father met you in it with grace and forgiveness.
Listen, I don’t say this to make light of your feelings. I don’t ever want to do that. Being able to see yourself and the forgiveness you’ve been given will help you to look at your husband gracefully.
Often Mike is the most hurtful when he is in over his head with stress and responsibilities. Usually, his lack of attentiveness or short and sharp words are a sign that he is struggling and needs some encouragement and help himself.
It is in no way an excuse for bad behavior, but understanding where he is coming from helps me to be gracious and seek connection over justice.
We talk a lot about forgiveness so if you would like more on that topic check out The Destructiveness of Forgiveness - The Truth About Forgiveness or Why A Good God Would Want You To Forgive.
Pursue Open, Honest, Respectful Communication
When your spouse lets you down sometimes, it’s a small thing. It’s out of character for him. You can see that he’s struggling with stress and you can cover that offense with love and move forward.
But sometimes it’s not just a one-time thing, and you’ll have to communicate what has hurt you. I would suggest waiting until the emotions of the disappointment have settled and then communicate in respectful ways that aim to foster connection and avoid communicating to be seen as right.
If you go in wanting to be right, you will go in guns blazing and likely cause more damage. If you go into the conversation with a desire to be heard but also to understand where he is coming from and what’s happening in his heart and mind, you can make progress by creating an atmosphere where it feels safe to work through the issue.
In these conversations, I find it helpful to remind myself frequently that my husband is not my enemy and that we have a real enemy who is against our marriage.
We have a whole post on communication in marriage that you can check out called Four Tips For Better Communication.
If you need a little encouragement like a locker room pep talk before you go in, then check out How To Discern His Needs From His Nags or Loving Him When it's Hard: Scriptures to Help You Love Your Husband.
Seek Outside Support
Now let's say you and your husband are not at a place where any of this is currently realistic for you. I get that. This is when you need a mediator or counselor. Get some outside help!
Find an impartial third party. If you just need some help working through communication, find out if your church offers counseling. If you need some more in-depth support and work to get your marriage healthy again, then get some counseling.
There is no shame in needing help. It is actually super brave and impressive to admit you need help and seek it out. There have been seasons of my marriage that would have been so much smoother and more productive if we had been willing to swallow our pride and admit we needed it.
If your husband isn’t willing to go, then you go. You go and get healthier, and find more joy and stability and you go and find support. You can only work on you anyways. You go and invest time in yourself and see if the changes you make to you inspire your husband.
Be A Better You
The reality of the situation is this: You can’t change your husband, BUT you can improve yourself by growing, learning, and finding new tools to do life with.
In a season where our marriage was falling apart, and divorce was starting to be thrown around the second book on this list REALLY encouraged me and armed with tools necessary to fight my real enemy and to fight for my marriage and honestly marriage in general.
These four books, other than the word of God, have radically impacted our marriage. I would HIGHLY suggest each of them if you would like tools and resources that will teach you to communicate more effectively and in ways, your spouse is more likely to hear and respond well too.
This book will change the way you look at and approach communication. It helps you shift the objective from being right to understanding where the other person is coming from.
The whole book teaches the value of connection and how to achieve and protect it.
I have shared before that there was a season where our marriage almost fell completely apart. God helped us with a MAJOR breakthrough and afterward Mike, and I read this book in our healing process.
It is absolutely beautiful, and it teaches you that to show love you must first understand and receive love from the Father. It breaks down 1 Corinthians 13, and for us, it revealed quite a bit of baggage and healing we needed to work through.
This book. Most likely you’ve at least heard of this one, but just in case you haven’t read it yet I highly suggest it!
It teaches that everyone shows and receives love in one of five different ways. After reading this Mike and I realized we were speaking entirely different languages, both communicating love in our own ways and both feeling unloved by the other.
This is our most recent life-changing book. We love this book so much we gave all of our closest friends and family a copy for Christmas.
This book teaches the Enneagram, an ancient personality typing system. Don’t think Myers-Briggs. This is so much deeper than that. This is the best book and system for personality I have ever found as it reveals what scripture would call the “false man.”
This book actually helps you grow as a person and most of all it enables you to understand your spouse and the people around you with much greater compassion.
These are the tips that I try to live by but know that I often fail. This marriage thing is a process that takes work. I would love to hear yours! How do you handle it when your husband is disappointing? Be honest! I tend to build an argument in my head and then just let him have it!
What are your tips for positively handling conflict in marriage? Share both in the comments below where the conversation takes place!
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