Dear Church Family and Friends,
As a pastor and counselor, I work often with marriages in distress I’ve discovered most Couples hurt each other their life emotionally and sadly sometimes physically. It is hard to understand how this happens. But as is often said, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Most often it is men who hurt the wife, but that is not always the case. To understand how this can happen one needs to first understand one of the ways men and women are usually different. Most men are predominantly thinking beings—they receive and process experiences in life in a predominately rational and logical way. If someone says something that offends a man, he will accept or dismiss it based on whether it is true.
Most women are different. Women are usually more in tune with their emotions. They are often more relationally aware. When life happens to them their dominant reaction is often to respond emotionally first. When someone hurts a woman’s feelings, for example, even though the information they receive may be false, it takes them longer to work through the feelings associated with the emotional injury.
(Of course, both of these two paragraphs are general statements, but they ring true for most men and women.) I would contend though—every woman’s heart is injured to a certain extent. (And, fairly, probably every man’s.) Sometimes this injury occurs gradually over time. Sometimes it comes suddenly through serious breaches in the marital trust.
The heart, speaking in terms of the seat of our emotions, was created much like other parts of the body. When a finger is broken the body is designed to instantly start to heal and protect itself from further injury. When a person takes a swing at you your natural reaction is to put your hands up in defense.
The same is true of the heart. When a person’s heart is injured, it goes into a self-protective mode to keep it from further injury. Over time, after years of injury, the heart becomes almost calloused, refusing to allow anyone to injure the heart again. A woman who has had years of emotional injury doesn’t have much heart left to give to anyone, but especially to the one who has done the injury. She has closed off her heart to keep from being hurt anymore.
Most men enjoy trying to “fix” problems, but men cannot fix their wife’s emotions. Emotions are not repaired as easily as one could fix a leaking faucet or program a computer. So, what is a man to do if he feels his wife’s heart is injured? How do you heal a broken heart?
Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He can come in, erase all the pain and make the heart brand new. Most of the time, however, at least in my experience, He lets us wrestle with life’s heartache while we learn to better love one another.
The following steps are designed for a man to help heal his wife’s heart.
Here are nine suggestions for winning back the heart of your spouse: (The focus is on the wife since she is the most often hurt and begins to close off. Although, Men close off as well and these steps work there as well.)
1. Seek God
Whatever draws you closer to God is a good thing—and will make you a better person, regardless of what happens with your marriage. When you are attempting to rekindle your partner’s love, use this time to develop and strengthen your relationship with God. It starts, as all relationships with God begin, through a recognition of who Christ is and your belief in Him. Start there and grow.
2. Practice patience
The first thing we need to do is to recognize restoring a broken heart will not happen overnight. Emotions heal very slowly. Steps should begin to restore an injured heart or to rebuild the marriage, but we should not expect too much too soon. Most often the hurt and closure did not happen over night and will not heal over night either. And even if the hurt came suddenly, like a fall and broken arm, it takes much longer to heal.
3.Love your spouse
This is by far their greatest need. Most men and women have their love need unmet. The standard for our love is perfection, since a man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. As imperfect men we will actually never love our wife enough. The wife knows, however, when the husband’s attention is somewhere else, as do men know when their wife’s attention is elsewhere. Many men sacrifice their marriage for their careers or other interests. A wife’s love need is new every day. A wife needs to know that she is second only to God in her husband’s affections. And, a man’s need for love, while expressed differently, is also new every day.
I have found for my love for my wife to grow I need Christ’s help. I pray for this often.
4. Romance, especially her
Every woman has a certain need for romance. Many wives had a fairy tale idea of marriage when they were growing up. They realize early in marriage this isn’t reality, but their need for occasional romance remains. Most men rarely know how to do this. A man should be genuine but should recognize and value the uniqueness of his wife and find ways to give her romance. And ladies, men desire you to look good and make a fuss over them like you did when you were dating.
Try planning something romantic together. It may not work out exactly as planned, but you will earn big points in the romance department for your efforts and it helps keep the flame alive.
5. Use Value words
When a man comes home and says, “This house is a mess,” being a mostly factual being, that’s probably all he meant. He looked around, made a physical observation, and stated a factual conclusion. The wife, however, probably did not receive the information that way. The wife most likely heard lots of negative information, such as, “You have done nothing all day,” or maybe even, “I don’t like you.” This sounds impossible to most guy’s rational minds, but with emotions receiving information anything could be heard, whether it was the intended response or not. Men, we need to learn how to be gentle with our wives and the words we use. And wives, don’t always nag or be critical or over generalize about your husband in his areas of weakness. Focus on those things you value most in him.
One question I ask men, “Would you let another man talk to your wife the way you talk to her?”
6. Communicate with the correct “Love Language”
Many women communicate best heart to heart—not head to head. A man should allow his wife to see his heart. He should be willing to be vulnerable with her. Men may need to ask their wives to help them learn how to say things to her. Men cannot talk to their wives as they would their guy friends. Women require understanding, compassion, openness and honesty in communication.
If you struggle in this area read Dr. Gary Smalley’s book, The Five Love Languages.
7. Give constant assurance
Trust is an important need for a woman and a man in relationships. The wife needs to know that her husband is going to be faithful and vice versa. We should not take offense, for example, when our spouse asks details about our schedule or the activities of our day. We desires to be a partners in each other’s lives and these details help provide trust and security in the relationship. A man should also tell his wife frequently he loves her and is committed to her. She needs this consistent assurance.
8. Learn to live by truth
Ultimately, life cannot be lived strictly by emotions. We need truth. Emotions are often unreliable. A woman who feels unloved may be very much loved by her family, but she fails to feel that truth because of years of emotional abuse. Men should gently but consistently speak truth in love, reminding his wife of her worth, her beauty and her place in his life. Wives, you can do the same with your husband. Over time, truth, when given with love, can help heal damaged emotions.
9. Keep doing it!
The heart is damaged over years and years of injury. Sadly, many men and women have deep and tragic heart wounds, but much of this injury will have been unintentionally delivered and small in terms of the magnitude of the incident. Years of emotional injury builds up in the heart until the heart becomes closed. The erasing of the pain will happen just as it was developed—a little bit at a time. You cannot try this for a week and then stop and expect things to be all healed and open. Protecting the heart must become a lifestyle.
Many times spouses tell me they don’t know how to be who their significant other needs them to be or wants them to be. I believe if we want to win back the heart of our spouse we may need to learn how. It’s never too late to begin!
139. What Ruler followed Joash as king of Israel?
140. How did Jezebel die and what happened to her?
141. What king threw Daniel in the lions den?
142. What royal heir got hanged by his hair in a tree?
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