Why is My Marriage So Hard?

how our relationship with others reflects our relationship with God...

You are wondering: Why is my marriage so hard?

Your struggle is one that is common to women in this culture.  I’m not going to talk about that here.  There’s a hundred reasons in the culture, our upbringing, etc., to blame for this, but the source of the struggle when we know the Truth is different.

We can only blame the damage from our childhood for so long – and then we need to let Him make us new – and stop being victims.  And before you think I don’t understand what it’s like to be an abused child, or to suffer at the hands of a man, I can tell you I do, so don’t discount this response just because you think I don’t get it.


What we’re dealing here with is a struggle of faith and a lack of reverence for Who God is and what He commands.

At the core of the respecting our husbands  issue is simply, “Do I trust God enough to believe His Word to be true, and respond with obedience?”  Most of us really don’t believe that He has good things in store for us if we obey Him.  So we don’t.  And we’re naturally wired (thanks, Eve) to be controlling, so we try to manage our lives without His input.  We’ll sign up for salvation, peace and comfort, but that’s about it.  Most of us don’t want to “give up” anything…we just don’t know Him well enough to trust Him that much.

And believe me, I totally understand your conflict.

I have been there!

Being on the other side of this now, however, I want to help you and share the reasons we can, and as wives, should, do something about the states of our marriages.  First, Luke 6:32, 33 says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners do that.”  So, God’s attitude is that we should have Christ’s attitude (Phil 2:5) and pick up our cross and follow Him.

Even if our husband is a jerk.

If we are going to wait for our husband to show love to us before we will take action, show him love (through his language of respect) or do good to him, then we aren’t doing what God asks.  Combine this with the “you must be a doormat” attitude conveyed about submission and we end up with a bunch of resentful women.  

And that’s not what God wants, either.  

But we wives must FIRST submit and respect before we can have the relationship we want.  And WE CAN HAVE THE RELATIONSHIP WE WANT… hear that… yes, we CAN be treated with love… but yeah, first we have to die to ourselves and our sinful selfish nature, obey God, then learn the next steps.

And sometimes those next steps take a loooooooooonnnnnnng time…

And if you trust God, you know He has a purpose for His timing.

So we need to be cool with that. But we won’t, unless we wrap our identity up in His opinion of us, and not people’s.

The women who have done this have shared the horrors of the influences they’ve been under – everything from satanic ritual abuse, abortions, affairs, incest, murder, spousal abuse – you name it, we’ve seen them liberated.  I watched one woman confront her imprisoned father, who impregnated her as a child, (and by the way her entire family didn’t speak to her and her mother forced her to have an abortion) turn her marriage around by applying respect…and she even pursued her husband intimately. Now that’s victory!  But all these ladies had one thing in common – they submitted to Christ’s authority, making Him Lord of their lives, obeyed His Word, and lived their lives with the purpose of delighting God.  They all trusted God enough to do what He asked them to do, even when it was hard.

Why is it our responsibility as wives to move forward FIRST in our marriages? Is this a burden or a privilege?  I think it’s exciting and wonderful, but then again, I like being able to take responsibility for how I feel.  I find that empowering, freeing, and not a burden.  And I’d like to take credit for that, but it’s not “just because I’m wired a certain way.”  I’ve asked Him to help me follow Him. Asked Him to help me obey.  And He did.  His Word is full of ways to help us, if we just read it and follow – it’s all for good.

I believe God’s Word has revealed something about wives, too.  Psalm  19:1-6 says we can know God through His creation.  Just as women are designed by God to breastfeed (we have breasts, we lactate upon giving birth, our milk will “let down” at a baby’s cry, etc., without any conscious action on our part – we can know His intention is for women to nurse babies, not men, because we see it in His creation),  we can look at our brain chemistry (having more connections between the “thinking” and “feeling” sides of our brains) and the fact that we produce bonding hormones in dramatic magnitude compared to men and conclude also from His creation that women are more relational than men.  In the Bible, where God tells us how to do marriage, He tells the wife FIRST to take action.  Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:17-19, 1 Peter 3:1-7.

Look them up for yourself if you don’t believe me.  He tells the wife what to do FIRST.

I think that’s significant.

Knowing that one of women’s strengths is relationship-building and communication, given also, that in Luke 6:41 and Matthew 7:3, we are asked to pay attention to our own plank instead of another’s faults, and the tons of other verses about daily behavior and the fact that we are called also to be our husband’s “helper” – all these things add up to the privilege and exciting opportunity in front of all wives and that is to be the relationship architects in their marriages, helping their husbands learn to communicate love (and not just to us, but also to our kids).

But FIRST, we must learn to speak their language of respect, so that they will receive our help, and because God calls us to do so and He’s right for a whole host of reasons.

The alternative is to sit around and wait for him to change, being miserable and angry.
And that’s not what He wants.

But will we open our hands, holding loosely everything we have, surrender to His will instead of ours for our lives, and trust Him enough to obey?

We don’t even realize that we’re making it harder by not obeying.  By not trusting Him.  By not asking Him to help us trust Him, which He will be delighted to do.

That’s always the question.  And until we get that right, there is no lasting joy or peace that surpasses all understanding.

I so want all wives to experience those things. To wrap their identity up in the One Who Made them so they can handle the difficulties in their lives. To not be so devastated by another human’s response, or lack thereof, but to have a healthy identity.  To create this reality and model it for their own children, so they can get it right, finding peace and joy in marriage, representing Christ and the church.  But it starts with their obedience.

Will you obey?

Dare you today to simply ask Him to help you obey.  🙂

Will you?

Can’t wait to hear from you in the comments! 🙂 (and if you liked the article today, consider yourself invited to join us by signing up in the sidebar for the marriage tips articles – don’t worry, I won’t flood your email, and I promise not to share it with anyone else)

Here’s a few more articles you might find interesting:

Top 5 Ways to Respect Your Husband

What to Do When You Feel Unappreciated

Is Your Teen Complaining about Going to Church? 

When You are the Only One Trying in Your Marriage

Struggling with Life Balance? (aka, “How’d we get in THIS mess?”) *If you are chauffeuring kids everywhere all the times, you’ll want to check this out!

How to lose the weight and keep it off (and yes, it really works!)

How to Help People (and yourself) STOP Freaking Out During Conflict

And if you are struggling with a man who is angry, defensive, and you’ve lost yourself and are super discouraged… you can get on our waiting list for the Strength & Dignity class that starts in two weeks. 🙂 And it is free. 🙂

Strength &Dignity

If you aren’t signed up in the sidebar for the Marriage Tips be sure to do so and you won’t miss a thing!

What do you think? Where are you in the journey – chime in below!

titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

17 thoughts on “Why is My Marriage So Hard?

  1. I have been working through the respect dare since March and receiving your emails too. This issue so trusting God’s ways and thoughts is essential for moving forward. I have moved from living on eggshells to delighting in God and who I am. I married unequally yoked and against counsel. This revelation has saved my life, my marriage, and relationships in the Body of Christ. For as I didn’t respect my husband I also didn’t respect male ministry gifts who God placed in my life to build me on a stable foundation. I desire to help women and girls get skilled in respecting themselves and men before marriage too. I wish I had known before hand who I am in God and how He created me to be. Without this revelation, marriage is based on fantasy and we live victims rather than victors. Thank you for constantly giving even when I don’t want to hear it until I submit to God and His love for me.

    • Praise God for revealing these Truths to you! And your kind words encourage me, too. 🙂 I sometimes hear from people who “don’t like the message” and like to take it out on the messanger… your sweet transparency and testimony are appreciated by me, very much so this morning! 🙂
      Love to you, beautiful!

  2. So glad my sweet girlfriend that you reposted this – need the reminder all the time (so you are in obedience to our Lord, because like Paul and Peter tell us in the epistles … remind, reminder, reminding … Owe you an email. Thank you for putting the truth out there. Grace and Hugs.

  3. I really needed to read this today. Thank you! I have really been trying the last year or so to change myself and the way I respect and obey my husband. It isn’t easy, but I don’t think anything truly worthwhile ever is! It is a journey and I am learning everyday, even after almost 16 years of marriage. Many blessings, Lisa

  4. All so true…. just looking to the Lord to fill me in on the details. Wanting to obey… just needing guidance during the hard times. So as you say, I will ask… and in faith, I know I will receive the answers I need….I can see Him working in my life in so many ways so I know He must be working in this situation too. Thanks, Nina.

  5. Awesome!! I know I’m a little late, I just stumbled across your blog while looking for some guidance on another matter. But I certainly hope Jae, who posted on 1/20, will read these messages. Indeed, we are not perfect, yet the enemy is on the loose, tempting us incessantly, but God’s plan, in all it’s manifestations, is always PERFECT. If you are of Christian faith you should see that, whether we like it or not. We need to merely embrace that perfection; appreciate it.

  6. I’ve seen a lot of advice over the years. Seems like women are expected to treat men with kid gloves instead of adults. God made us ‘helpers’ (fully capable, fully comparable & joint heirs just as men), not Enablers. Am I honestly supposed to believe a man made man in God’s image can’t handle words from his wife, yet can handle his boss screaming at him? That wives have to EARN respect? If you have to earn a spouse’s respect then why did you marry him/her? That’s a given. And what’s with this ‘respect’ language? If I speak & understand English, I expect my spouse to also without any manuals or tutorials.

    • I’m curious to know the status of your marriage. I am not married, yet the advice is clear. If you love and respect God, yourself and your spouse you can’t lose. Take a step back and see that as individuals we own our actions. When people hurt us they hurt God and that is who they are accountable to. If you love unconditionally, you don’t blame or judge, that’s the Lord’s job, we must forgive as God forgives us. In forgiving, in respecting, in loving we reflect God’s love, that is ‘our job’. As Christians, our manual is the inspired Word of God, our tutorials are our brothers’ and sisters’ testimonies and our own trials. Best wishes for a blessed marriage.

      • Adanary –
        I think you have said so many true things! Regarding the status of my marriage, we’ll hit 20 years of legal marriage in a few weeks. Plus 5 years of friendship before that. Including off and on dating. Like every other marriage out there, we struggle with the same issue Adam and Eve did, which is maturity and obedience to God. When we are immature, we behave selfishly. And don’t obey. Which hurts us and the marriage. When we are mature, we make the right choices and the outcome fits the “can’t lose” statement that you made. So yes, the note on forgiveness is important! And you have the right manual, too. We are partners on this journey, privileged to walk together where others are alone. We understand more than the average couple and work out issues in more healthy ways than most. Having said that, however, we’re far from perfect and either of us can steamroll or be a doormat, given the right opportunity to behave immaturely! 🙂

  7. Well done, good a faithful servant! I speak for the legions of us who need to hear this message up to the point of optimum redundancy and beyond — whatever it takes come to understanding and acceptance. Then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free!

  8. Dear Nina:
    Thank you for writing this post and especially for mentioning the rebellion each of us women received from Eve (who disregarded Adam AND GOD thinking she had better information from a swarmy source). In my own walk it was hard to get my mind around all the things Jesus commands us to do. But recently while reading a work of fiction it all made sense when the central character asked himself, “Have I ever truly lived even one day solely to honor the Lord?” That hit home right away. My answer: “No. Not one day have I ever awakened and said, ‘Today I am doing everything so as to honor the Lord.'” It’s been only a couple weeks since I started thinking and praying this way. When I take the focus off me and put it on God it makes a world of difference…or should I say it makes a heavenly difference. Gone is the heaviness, gone is the pressure, gone is the rebellion. To each of you who reads this my prayer is that we can each start and end our days praying to bring glory, honor and praise to the Lord in EVERYTHING we do (which includes choosing to show and speak respect to our husbands).

  9. Thank you Nina for being so BOLD in Christ!! I love how you are not afraid to be used by God! Keep up the “stepping on my toes”!!

    • I am sorry about the toe stepping … please know I understand (oh, boy, do I!!!) the pain all of you feel…this IS hard. And yes, this week and last, God’s had this on my heart like crazy… 🙂 Hugs to all of you!

  10. Wow. Talk about challenging. Thank you Nina!!
    God has done AMAZING things in my marriage since I began applying the principal of respect. I am encouraged daily by my husband’s reaction and response.
    Interestingly enough, when I stop thinking respectfully, I stop acting respectfully and almost immediately my husband withdraws.
    I have learned that the most valuable question I can ask my husband is: “What have I done that you felt was disrespectful?”

    Yes, it’s a challenge, but it’s so worth it.

  11. As one whom the Lord has liberated from the many indignities inflicted upon me – I testify with you that what you have said here SO true. I am nearly rendered speechless by the healing power in obeying God’s word on this. He is true and faithful. His words do not return void. He does have my best interest at heart. His design for marriage and my role in it is perfect.

    AND the road to His intended results is strewn with hazards, pains and even terror. But I am here to declare that all that I endured was worth it.

    Thank you, Nina, for yet again saying what I have yet to articulate – but I know to be true.

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