Viewing Your Spouse in a New Light

Glenn Lutjens

After the wedding, it's common to view your spouse in a new, perhaps disappointing light. Here's what you can do about it.

  1. Time. The longer you’re married, the more time you have to observe your spouse’s behavior. You see things that weren’t as noticeable back then.

  2. Distance. You now see him up close. There’s no end to the date, no "See you next week." The artificial nature of dating keeps many behaviors concealed. You currently see him when he’s hungry and tired. Women may have their "time of month," but men have their "time of day." When his stomach is empty you may see a whole new side of your man you never knew existed.

  3. Desire. You viewed your husband during courtship as you wanted to see him. We tend to construct a person in our minds to match the excitement we want to feel. We mentally create that person in a way that will make us happiest.

So the question becomes, "What do I do now that I’ve found out he’s different from the way I thought he was?"

Debating whether he misrepresented himself or you misread him won’t solve anything. Here are three actions you can take.

  1. Choose to love him. We’re told in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. There are inadequacies in the church, yet Christ still loves her.

  2. Look at how you may have changed as well. Jesus warns in Matthew 7:1-2 that the yardstick we use to judge others will be used to measure us, too.

  3. Realize that you may have legitimate concerns. Voice them to your husband in a constructive way with the hope that he’ll be willing to work toward change — or at least understand your concerns.

Remember Erica? She was surprised when the counselor wasn’t willing to "fix" Jim. It wasn’t that he didn’t recognize the need for changes in Jim’s working and spending habits. But the counselor also saw that Erica was mostly trying to control her man.

As Erica worked with the therapist, she saw how she had become less expressive and more withdrawn over time. She began learning ways to communicate her frustrations to Jim in a manner that didn’t leave him feeling disrespected.

Erica found that as she and Jim showed more kindness and care toward each other, her feelings toward him deepened. She didn’t necessarily feel the same romance as when they courted; but she sensed her love was more mature than it had been before.

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