I have a friend who speaks of her husband as if he were God’s gift to all creation. I’ve met the man. While he is a nice person, he is as regular as the rest of us. But she insists he is the greatest thing since… ever. When asked how she has such a great marriage, she gives a knowing smile. “Because I believe it.”
It wasn’t always like that. Several years ago, she was in the throes of a lukewarm marriage. She and her husband weren’t connecting emotionally or physically. Negative thoughts about her husband led to negative words about him. Before she knew it, the little negatives added into piles of dead leaves cluttering what once had been a garden of affection. Her heart had chilled, following her mind and words.
How do our hearts grow cold?
In Song of Solomon 2:15, the lovers plead, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining our vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom” (NASB).
These foxes are often the small things that come between us as couples and as parents. They often start as little discontented thoughts that we allow to fester. Dwelling on these negatives is like fertilizing weeds. They grow until they take over. Soon, the garden is full of ugly, prickly weeds rather than pretty, fragrant blooms.
This is how we become nags to our husbands and children. We emotionally disconnect from others because our focus is on their faults. We put up a wall of self-protection. Frowns replace smiles. Warm, tingly feelings are replaced with cold granite. As the people around us respond to the negativity, they withdraw from us, tightening the downward spiral.
Finding a new “heartitude”
There is good news, though. Just as we can reclaim a weedy patch of yard, digging out of a negative “heartitude” is possible.
Positive words will lead your heart home. As my friend discovered, if she spoke about her husband in positive terms, her heartitude improved. Even if you don’t believe the positive words at first, speak them. Find something positive to dwell on about your spouse (or child). As my friend reported, the more positive things she spoke, the more her heart believed them.
Pray for God to change you. Instead of praying for God to make the other person into what you would like, pray for your own heart to soften. Pray for God to give you positives to dwell on. Pray He will help you overcome pride and the fear of opening your heart again. Pray for God to bless the other person.
The only person you can fix is yourself. As difficult as it is to hear sometimes, a wife is not her husband’s Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the expert at heartitudes. He doesn’t need our help. Release the other person to the Holy Spirit and focus on weeding your own heart. Perhaps as a mother, this area becomes rather sticky, especially when the kids are young. The thing to remember is that moms lead best by example. When our hearts are soft and following Jesus, we inspire others, including our children and husbands. Only God can change a heart. But we can lead them.
Physical attraction is based on more than the external. You can look like Barbie, but if you act like an orc, people are not going to want to be around you, your husband included. How you treat your husband, how you talk about him, how you think about him affects every corner of your relationship, especially intimacy.
Want to rekindle your relationship? Take a look at your heart first. Our attitudes are transparent. Have you ever thought your husband was distant emotionally and maybe physically? Despite what media says, men have emotions. They can be hurt by a nagging, disrespectful, irritated wife. Just as we feel like withdrawing from someone who is hurtful, men will do the same.
Words are powerful. And the heart is a follower.
Another practical way to rekindle your relationship with your husband is to attend a Weekend to Remember