An Attitude Of Love

Published on January 12, 2012 by Rosann

Do you remember what your marriage was like in the beginning?  For most of us, the first year or so after saying I Do is filled with happiness, romance, sex, laughter, and everything else we dream of in life.  Our marriage is strong, healthy, and vibrant.

Then something terrible happens.

You wake up one day and realize you're in debt up to your eyeballs, you've neglected to save enough money for a rainy day, and your man's employer just laid off thousands of good, honest, hard working people.  Your husband included.

Your response, whether you claim to believe in God or not, is probably something like this…

"No God!  Why us?  We're good people!  Why are you punishing us?  What are we going to do now?"  

And then you fall into a ball of tears.  Anger is knocking at your heart.

As the weeks progress with no job opportunities in sight for your husband, he begins to get depressed.  His self-esteem starts to drop dramatically.  He feels like such a failure for not being able to take care of his family.  So he withdraws.   His behavior changes.  He becomes unusually quiet and appears to not care about anything, not even looking for work.

Confused by this sudden change in your relationship and now lacking the patience to communicate with him as his lover or confidant, you withdraw and become depressed as well.  The anger that was knocking at your heart earlier, you let inside.  Once inside your heart, it begins to fester and grow.  It becomes more and more ugly every day that passes.

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Before you know it, there's an enormous wall of strife separating you and your husband.  The passionate love, the respect for one another, the best friend you once had in your lover, it's all buried in resentment.

From this point on, nothing your husband does is good enough.  Nothing he suggests is smart or worthy of consideration.  He's lazy.  No good.  A total loser.  His lack of employment is embarrassing to you.  He deserves to be treated like a child, because he's acting like one.

And so your husband responds by becoming even more depressed.  He feels even more like a failure.  He's no longer sure if he wants to be married because clearly your actions don't indicate love, friendship, understanding, or support.  He already has one mother.   He really doesn't need a second one.  Instead, he needs an escape of some sort.  So he starts drinking or finds some other unhealthy, unproductive vice to get him through the day.

Your attitude and his attitude have fed off of one another and now you have a marriage that is nearly falling apart.

Life is falling apart.

Dear friend, do you understand that this season of unemployment will not last forever?

Today, it may feel like it's gone on too long and you may feel no hope for the future.   But I promise you, this too shall pass…

God has a plan and a purpose in all of this.  I know it doesn't feel like it.  But He does.  And it's much greater than any plan you or your husband could dream up on your own.  You simply need to trust God and His timing.

I have a question for you.  And I'd really like you to be honest with yourself when you answer.

When this financial crisis in your life is over, what do you want your marriage to be like?  Do you think it will magically return to a blissful state just because you have money flowing in again?

Remember, our words and our actions are powerful.   Putting gloom out there whenever you speak or do something is so unproductive and unhealthy.

Consider this painful truth.  If you aren't effectively communicating with and loving your husband through this, which really is a minor inconvenience compared to some of the life storms other people are challenged with, then how on earth will your marriage survive the next and potentially more devastating trial?

You can change your attitude.

You can say No to the anger and the resentment and Yes to love, grace, and patience.

It's a choice.

And it's not easy.  You won't always be good at having a loving attitude.

When you feel weak, turn to God in prayer.   Ask Him to cover you with His peace.  Pray for God to reveal what He wants you to do or how He wants you to grow during this difficult time.  Listen.  Respond in obedience.  Trust Him.

Sometime in the next few hours try one or all of these ideas:

  • When he least expects it, approach your husband and kiss him passionately.
  • Think of two of your husband's strengths (one as a man, the other as a husband) and tell him how much and why you love those particular things about him.
  • Apologize.  You know what you should say you're sorry for.  Do it and be sincere.
  • Pray for your husband, for your marriage, and for your own brokenness.  You can't change the path you're on without the hand of God working with you and for you.

When you treat your husband with sincere love, he will respond positively.  Over time, you will see a transformation take place.  Keep at it.  Your husband is a gift from God.  Don't throw that precious gift away.  Instead, fight to keep it.

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left;  he was gone.  My heart sank at his departure.  I looked for him but did not find him.   I called him but he did not answer.  The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.  They beat me, they bruised me;  they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!  O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you - if you find my lover, what will you tell him?  Tell him I am faint with love.   ~Song of Songs 5:6-8

How quickly a marriage can fail when our attitude is only about ourselves.   How awful and lost we would feel if it indeed fell apart and our lover left.

Today is the day to tell him, "I am faint with love."

May Christ's love inspire your heart to change for the better!

 

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14 Comments

  1. christine (lulobird)

    well, i am divorced ; ) so i can't quite answer this question exactly as stated...but i do try daily to have confidence in myself and my abilities to be better, love better and be present in my life. i do think this advice is fabulous and if all couples could ascribe to this attitude of loving and understanding, well, there may be less divorces : )

    • Rosann

      Christine, thank you for your feedback.

  2. [email protected]

    We went through a tough financial time it lasted a few years my husband was downsized twice we had our 3rd, 4th, and 5th child through that time. My husband in hindsight did deal with depression we just didn't realize it at the time he would go to work (2 jobs) and then just sleep. Thankfully, we grew closer together through that time. I remember thinking there was no light at the end of the tunnel and that life would never improve. Things on the financial front are much better just before #5 was born Hubby started a new job and things are much much better (over 4 years later and # 6 has joined us) That doesn't mean life is without any challenges our 6 year old just finished cancer treatment. And you know what, my husband and I look back on those financial struggles which ended up pulling us closer to God and each other and see that those struggles strengthened us so we could make it through the devastating diagnosis of brain cancer in our 4 year old (at the time). This is great advice for any major struggle a marriage might be going through.

    • Rosann

      Cheryl, thank you for sharing your deeply personal story. I'm so sorry to hear about your child's brain cancer. That's the sort of thing I'm referring to in the article when I say unemployment is a minor inconvenience compared to some of the trials other families are enduring. Yes, it's hard. But it can always be worse. I'm praying for you and your family.

  3. Kathy Radigan

    I remember when my husband went through this, it was a scary time, but for me it was actually a very happy time. My husband was freelancing and for the first time in our marriage and in my young son's life, ( he was 2 and half) he was home more. He worked in his home office but we saw him for dinner and he would take me to my doctors appointments since I was pregnant with our daughter. I also helped him with some of his work, I would call or help with a presentation. I felt part of his life in a way I hadn't before. I find it more challenging sometimes now when we are going through a money crunch because we are both so busy that it really takes work to talk and stay connected. I do find when we pray together it really does help. Thanks for a great piece!!

    • Rosann

      Kathy, I love your story. One of the blessings of my own journey with unemployment is being able to see my husband every day and knowing he's just in the other room. I love him so much and it's pretty awesome to be able to have lunch with him every day or ask him for technology assistance when I want to throw my computer out the window. (ahem...not that I do that a lot...) There's a silver lining to most things in life. We just have to be aware of the blessing in the storm. I especially like that you pray together with your husband. That makes all the difference in the world.

  4. Jill

    Single here. He used to say to me, "I am a man no matter where I stand." I'd reply, "Then act like it." Unemployment was not one of his many issues unfortunately.
    I do like this post and for men worth the time and love, it's helpful and encouraging. Unfortunately, a lot of women need to hear similar from their fellas being that a lot of the women I know and I am one myself...the head of household.

    • Rosann

      Jill, thanks for your input. I'm currently in my second marriage. My first was to my high school sweetheart and it was simply a bad choice on my part. Our marriage wasn't a Christ-centered marriage. We were both way too immature to even be in a relationship. And he was abusive. There are situations where being the first one to display a loving attitude won't make a difference, no matter how much we try. Some people don't think they need to change nor do they want to change. You are absolutely right when you say women need to hear from their man how much they're loved and appreciated. But it has to start somewhere. If there's too much stubbornness, nobody will ever make the first move and things will only continue to spiral out of control. This post was written to encourage women who are going through the emotional challenges of unemployment, not to give up. If that's the only "issue" in the marriage, then those emotions can be dealt with in a healthy and fruitful way, if we choose to take on a loving attitude.

  5. lisa from insignificant at best

    I'm married almost 10 years, but we had quite a different situation. My hubby and I opened up our own business when we got married. I supported him through the struggles and after a few years he was really doing great (it's a carpet cleaning business so I only do the office work when I'm not at my day job). Then in December of 2008 I got laid off and in 2009 the business took a pretty big hit (worse year since we opened). It was the hardest year of my life, but we both supported each other and made it through. The information in your post are great reminders. No matter who is unemployed, we all need to take a step back and be supportive. Remember "this too shall pass" as they say.

    Lisa
    P.S. Thanks for linking up to the GtKY blog hop!

    • Rosann

      Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your story. That's just it. We all have our own unique story of how this economy has affected our family. The overwhelming emotions that surface, however, are all very much the same. Knowing how best to deal with them in a healthy and fruitful way is the key to surviving the storm. And during difficult times it's much better to come together as one than to separate and travel the tough journey alone.

  6. Marisa Frank

    Wow! This is a great post and full of us helpful information. I have not dealt with umployment personally in my marriage but I have seen it affect some friends and family members. Unfortunately most of those marriages ended up in divorce. Attitude really does change everything. If we choose to be resentful and angry then we don't have a chance to love or find the positives. These marriages that I mentioned that fell apart also did not have Christ as the center. God is good all the time and if we lean on him then we can get through anything.

    • Rosann

      Marisa, thanks for your great comment. I've had some women tell me they have no respect for their husband since he's been out of work and they ultimately blame him for their marriage and life falling apart. It saddens me to hear these stories because they speak from such a hardened heart and seemingly stubborn attitude. We chose to marry our mate because we loved him. Unemployment doesn't change the person he is. But for a man, his entire identity is wrapped up in what he does for a living. So being without a job is devastating to them. And they deal with their own emotions and self-worth issues differently than we as women do. That's one of the reasons I push the need for us to make the first move toward an attitude change. We need to love our husband's through this difficult time. We also need to pray for them and with them and lean into God for comfort and peace.

  7. mybabysleepguide

    Great post. I especially love the last statement about selfishness. So true!

    I'm a new fb follower from the s.m. hop (via personal account so it counts). It would be great if you could stop by my page when you get the chance :) My Baby Sleep Guide

    Thanks,
    Rachel

  8. [...] can’t change who my husband is, but I can pray for God to change my attitude and my heart as needed.  When we endured three years of unemployment, emotions were flying wild in [...]

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