Feeling Neglected in Your Marriage?
Some marriages are at a stalemate in that both are waiting for the other to make the first move. In these scenarios both are often feeling neglected and they often accuse the other of not meeting their needs. If your marriage is in such a state, you will find it necessary to step outside of yourself and into the interests of the other.
“My husband has a Love Affair with Sports”
I am often cornered at social gatherings or in public places by those looking for advice. If I am exhausted from a hard week at work, I have found a way to shorten these conversations: I tell the truth.
On one such occasion, a young lady was bewailing her marital miseries to me by telling me how much her husband loved sports. She went on to tell me how it monopolized his time and how she was feeling neglected in the marriage.
Though I would never condone a spouse loving a hobby to the detriment of his or her marriage, the accused was not the one standing in front of me. Therefore, if my advice had any chance of taking hold, I thought I had better give this lady something that she could personally do to help her to not feel so neglected in the marriage. I remember going away impressed with my counsel, but I am not so sure she shared in my sentiment.
After listening semi-intently while trying to enjoy my food, I asked this woman how long her husband had a love affair with sports. As she rolled her eyes, she said with a sigh, “Ever since I have known him.”.
My next question was, “How did you handle this issue before marriage?”.
The woman’s response was intriguing. Sheepishly, she began by saying that before marriage she pretended that she liked sports, and, whenever he was watching a sporting event, she was right there with him cheering on his team. The enthusiasm in the conversation started to change as I asked her why she ever stopped. She had to admit that she had only played along before marriage because she liked him and she wanted to win him over.
If my memory serves me correct, my advice to this bewildered woman was simple, Biblical, yet not well received. I encouraged her to grab a sports jersey and return to her first works. Unfortunately, the conversation was short lived as she seemed to be unwilling to give in the relationship without a guarantee of receiving from her husband.
In Luke 6:38, Jesus taught:
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Normally, teachers make an application to money after quoting this verse. Honestly, if you read this verse in its proper context, it has very little to do with money and more to do with offering kindness and forgiveness to others. Jesus is teaching that if you want kindness from others, you must first learn to give it away.
In a marital situation, if you desire the other person to stretch to meet your needs, you will first have to be willing to be stretched. If you expect the other to take interest in you, you may have to take the plunge and show interest in what they love before they are willing to return the favor. Any other type of approach will leave your marriage at what I call a stalemate with both deeply entrenched in their pride, hurt, and their skepticism.
Let’s Get Practical
From a very practical perspective, this means not to walk six feet behind your wife while she is shopping while you shuffle your feet in silent protest of the entire shopping experience. It means even though you do not understand your husband’s fascination with engines, his lawnmower, fishing, or sports, you work hard at not taking those subtle little verbal jabs at his obsessions.
Keep in mind, different is not weird, strange, or wrong. It is just different.
I do not understand many of the conversations or desires that my wife has concerning clothing, home decor, make up, or hair. Honestly, at times, I think that women have their own separate language concerning some of these items as I often hear words that seem new to the English language. But, if I roll my eyes, sigh, or even start to make little sarcastic jokes about the things she holds dear to her heart, how can I ever expect her to show patience and especially interest toward mine. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it is only when we give in these areas that we should we ever expect to receive anything back from our spouse.