Things are getting worse! What now?
“My marriage seems to be getting worse, not better, since I have been trying to respect my husband. He seems to be even angrier with me. Help!”
There are times when your marriage seems to get worse when you begin to apply Ephesians 5:33. Why? Your obedience could be bringing your spouse under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is not working. On the contrary, God is moving in your spouse’s heart and they may not like it very much. Minimize any negativity and sarcasm that may come from them during this time. Just because they say hurtful things doesn’t mean they are true.
Obviously I don’t know what is going on in the heart of your husband, but it could be that he is afraid to trust that this is for real. When a man gets a taste of the respect that he desires deep down in his soul, it is almost too good to be true. If there has been a history of that lacking in his marriage, he is confused. He’s not sure what is going on! He may revert to his old comfort zone, hiding behind sarcasm and a thick wall of defense. It may take some time to break down that wall.
If you keep your eyes on doing this unto Christ, it will be easier to stay the course. Some people find it helps to picture Christ standing behind the shoulder of their spouse during a conflict, to keep their eyes on Him and not their spouse’s reaction. This is what I call the Rewarded Cycle and this is where you must focus! Trust that God can speak louder to your spouse’s heart than you can. Focus more on being consistent over the long haul, and less on how your spouse is reacting.
For more information on The Rewarded Cycle, read Dr. Emerson’s book, Love and Respect, or check out the Love & Respect Conference CD’s or DVD’s.