How to Share Your Needs with Your Husband

When I first got married, communication came easily and it seemed that my husband understood what my needs were. Of course we spent a lot of time together and that made it easy for him to see, know and understand those needs. When we settled into our home and started to manage life as a married couple, I began to feel that he didn’t understand my needs as well. We had bills to pay and a house to keep. We participated in church activities, and though we were together a lot, it wasn’t the same.

The more I felt misunderstood, the more frustrated I became. It didn’t take long for me to feel as though he shuffled me out of first place in his life (first place after God). I felt resentment build each time my needs went unnoticed, or unanswered. My husband was not a bad guy; he was simply trying to manage a family on top of his regular responsibilities. When pressed, he genuinely wanted to meet my needs; he just had a lot of other competing factors in his life. It took me a few years to understand my husband’s mentality in wanting to provide for his family, participate in church activities, be a good father and a great husband.

How to Share Your Needs with Your Husband in a Thoughtful Way #marriage #communication Click To Tweet

Looking to improve communication in marriage? These are a few ways you can share your needs with your husband in a thoughtful way. #marriage #communication

As I understood his perspective, I learned to approach him differently when I truly needed him to hear and understand me. I want to share some of the ways I approached him in those times. None of these ideas are brilliant or new; you’ve heard of all of them. But sometimes it can be good to hear them again and try to put them into practice.

Join me at Fulfilling Your Vows as I share these ways to share your needs with your husband.

What are some of your tried and true ways to be sure your needs are heard? 

 

 

How to Grow a Healthy Marriage

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My husband and I celebrated our 18th anniversary this summer! We’ve grown so much over the years, experienced typical ups and downs and endured many changes. We’ve come a long way from that couple standing in front of the church saying our vows. There were so many changes that occurred after marriage. Looking back, I see that I was not prepared for all that changed when we got married.

Dating had come easily, conversations flowed freely. Perhaps it was the stress of married life, or maybe the early pregnancy in our marriage, that indicated that things would not be smooth sailing. Although I committed to the marriage for the long haul, I learned a few things in those early years that helped me stay focused on growing in my marriage.

Are you looking to grow a healthy marriage? Try these 3 tips to help you and your spouse to grow a healthy marriage. Share your best tips, too! #marriage #healthymarriage #hopeforthehurtingwife

I didn’t just want to grow a marriage, though; I wanted to grow a healthy marriage. There will be growing pains, but we can make sure they provide growth in a positive way!

I’m sharing 3 ways to grow a healthy marriage at Fulfilling Your Vows.

I’d love to hear your tips for how to grow a healthy marriage!


 

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

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Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement

When You’re in the Wrong Story

Sometimes you have to be reminded that you aren’t the only one walking a tough road. When you’re stuck in the rut of day-to-day, that reminder can be just the wake up call that you need to remind you that you really aren’t in the wrong story.

Someone got to my blog today by searching these words:

“sometimes you come to know that you are in wrong story”

I don’t know who it is, or where they are, and I have no way of knowing if they’ll ever read these words.

Ever feel like life just isn't going the way you think it should? Maybe like you're living in someone else's story - the wrong story? Here's hope.

For me, though, it was enough to jar me out of my current state of mind, feeling like I’m constantly in a valley  – though I have learned that I truly do need to spend time with my emotions, but sometimes they can get the best of me. 

Dear Friend who feels like they’re in the wrong story,

If there is anyone in this world who can truly understand your sentiment by searching for those words, I think it’s me.

I’m a take-charge type of person, I am pretty set in my ways. The past couple of years have nearly been my undoing. The amount of pain, fear, uncertainty, anxiety and stress have seemed to be more than I’d even wish on an enemy.

The fact is, we’re all subject to the consequences of the choices we make, and we’re also subject to the consequences of some choices that others make – for example, if a co-worker slacks off, we often have to cover for them. Or if a child does wrong and needs to be dealt with, we need to do that even if we are too tired to want to deal with it.

I don’t know your situation, I only know my own. In my current situation, there have been 3 options:
*leave my marriage
*separate from my husband and maybe come back together after a time (or maybe not)
*dig in and do the hard work of “for better and for worse…

It took a lot of time to make my decision. At first, I made no decision because I was determined not to make an emotional and rash decision. My husband spent the better part of a year not knowing if I’d stay or go. And I spent the better part of a year asking God to make it very clear as to what I should do.

See, I went from being in control – what was happening, what needed to be done, what order to do things in – to being told how life would be for the next number of years. Not necessarily allowed to come and go as we used to, under constant scrutiny, where every word matters and you sure need to choose them carefully. Basically, my life was completely out of control.

It was not the story I would choose for myself. Change that: It is not the story that I would choose for myself.

But I don’t have a choice. This is where my life is currently.

I’ve decided to fight for my marriage. That means really having to face all that has happened, painful as it may be, and find a way to move forward. Do I expect this will all be a thing of the past someday?

I expect that what we’re going through will change us. It’s forcing us to communicate more, to be completely open with one another. I don’t know that this present mess will ever be completely behind us someday, no.

But, I am expecting God to use this to be the thing that propels us forward in our relationship. I’m anticipating that in the next 20 years, we’re going to look back and say that we are actually stronger because of this.

So, friend, I don’t know where you are or what you’re struggling with. I hope that you’ve found the encouragement and support that you need for whatever you are facing.

I know that it may seem like the wrong story – no doubt there is pain, maybe even heartache and grief.

Keep pressing on. Keep showing up. Keep opening your eyes each morning. Keep searching for the help you need. Don’t stop until you feel that you are at a place where you have peace.

Trust God – hard as it may seem. Believe me when I told you that I had it out with God many times over the past few years. The anger, the hurt, the “how dare you lead me into a life that was never meant for me” feelings were all there.

The good news, though?

God can handle our feelings. He knows our hearts anyway, and He fully understands our emotions because He created them.

I truly believe that sometimes the best thing – the very best thing – that you can do is to be completely honest with God.

And while you wait for God to sort out the issues in your life, there are two resources I’d recommend to you – two that I’ve been working through myself. Two resources that I trust will bring you peace and hope because they are full of truth.

The first is a small, pocket-sized devotional for the times of hurting and pain. It’s called When Words Won’t Come and the beauty is in its simplicity. God’s Word for our hurting hearts. My friend, Leah Adams, wrote it and it’s been a blessing to me. You can find it here:

The second is a book that I’ve shared here before, but it’s been amazing in changing my perspective from doubt and fear, back to trust. As my husband and I continue to work on trust in our relationship, I’m finding that I have to take a step even beyond that and make sure that my trust in God continues to be solid. Arabah Joy wrote Trust Without Borders for just that purpose – building our trust in God.

I’m praying for you – for peace, for trust, for very evident signs of God’s faithfulness. 

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

Ever feel like life just isn't going the way you think it should? Maybe like you're living in someone else's story- the wrong story? Here's hope.

Stepping Out in Tiptoe Faith

Yesterday started off like any other Sunday. I woke up, I had my morning coffee, I snuggled under the blanket with my early-rising daughter and enjoyed a slow start, while trying to decide if I had enough courage to really face the day. You see, while it started like any other Sunday, it would not end like any Sunday I’d experienced in about a year.

I read this quote yesterday:

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.
-Naeem Callaway

After my coffee and breakfast, I did the next thing – I got ready for the day. I shared with a few friends that I was dressed and ready an hour and a half early, so that I wouldn’t back out.

See, after being out of church for almost a year, I was venturing out.

To a new church.

And I was full of anxiety.

This is the all-too-true story of when I tiptoed out in faith, my car died, and my kitchen almost won a blue ribbon...for being a hot mess. All in one day.

 

There are a lot of things that could be said here. Suffice it to say that a lot of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and perceived lack of support in very difficult times, went in to my family’s decision to switch churches.

Church was a very different experience. Not bad, just different. In fact, I really enjoyed it. I had a few conversations with people I knew “way back when”.

I came home feeling totally spent.

It’s hard to work up the courage to try something new, especially a church. Particularly when the last experience ended badly. But I did it. I tiptoed, but I did it.

Just before I’d left for church, my husband went to start his car so he could move it. We’d just had it worked on last week and put some money into it. So when he started it and nothing happened, we were a little shocked. It’s an older car and while it hasn’t been too much trouble, it’s been enough.

He spent some time thinking and praying over what to do regarding the car. Keep it? Junk it? And then our sweet girl presented him with another option.

Her option couldn’t help us fix the car situation, but it could help us all feel better.

She wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies. With her dad. I love that my kids like to cook and bake with my husband. It’s nice to see them bond over fun things they can do together as they get older!

The cookies were delicious and we managed to get the grocery shopping done and get our oldest to and from youth group. Once we were all home, we got the kids ready for bed and my husband and I watched Moms’ Night Out. Talk about laugh-out-loud funny…!

It was time for bed and I made the mistake of walking into the kitchen.

Y’all, it was a mess. A cookie-making mess. They didn’t clean it up. 

If kitchens could be a “hot mess”, mine would have gotten the blue ribbon.

It is fair to say that we had a day.

I was tempted to get frustrated and upset about the kitchen. I mean, at the end of a long day, it would be fair, right?

But, I didn’t get frustrated. To be honest, I wasn’t even in denial. I may be a little sleep deprived to make that statement, but I wasn’t in denial. For real – the kitchen was a hot mess. The car was dead. I had to go to a new church. I’d had a day – I even told my friends about it.

In fact, all of this post is based on a message I sent to friends last night saying that my day was…very different from normal and that it had taken some courage to get through the day.

The last thing I needed was the kitchen.

But then there was this realization:

Last week when my brother was very sick and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong,
and my husband’s car showed signs of starting to die, I  didn’t worry.
I was concerned – very concerned, but not worried.

See, things have been bad in my life before – real bad.
Like, almost-lose-part-of-my-family kind of bad.

That’s now become the standard by which I judge stressful situations.

I considered yelling at my husband about the kitchen (because technically the mess was his fault).
But I’ve come to realize that if something happened, and my family couldn’t be together for some reason, I’d miss that messy kitchen where two of my loves worked together to make some AMAZING cookies!

Someday the kids will be grown, on their own, doing their God-things,
and I’ll have time for spotless.

Today? Give me a house full of family, a dead car in the driveway, a mess of a kitchen, courage for a new church, and hearts FULL of happy!

Not today, devil. You don’t get to win today.

It’s tempting to worry, isn’t it? It’s tempting to do everything in our power to make things turn out as we think they should.

Yesterday at church, the pastor was sharing out of Genesis 15. In those times, a certain type of covenant was made by cutting animals in half and laying them in two separate rows. The path between the animals is where both parties would walk, symbolizing their commitment to the covenant, and if they broke their end of the bargain, they were willing to be cut up like the animals were.

In this passage, though, Abraham cuts the animals, makes the path to be walked on, but only God is the One who walks between the rows of animals. He’s saying, “I will keep my covenant with you, or else I will be cut up like these animals.”

Of course, we know God can’t go back on His word, but what a gesture to make such a commitment. The pastor pointed out that Abraham had God’s word. What better thing could anyone have?

We have that same assurance. We have the promise of salvation and redemption. God covered the debt we owe – a death requiring blood – by sending His Son to die for us.

We want to work out the problems we have – dead car, messy kitchen caused by someone else. We want to hide out sometimes rather than take a step of faith.

Sometimes, though, the best thing is to let God work as He will.

Why does that always seem the hardest thing? 

God has our days, our lives, in His hand and yet we find it so difficult to just let go and let Him work. At least, I know I do.

I’ve chosen to pray more – a lot more. I pray until I get an answer, until I see God work. Sometimes my prayers are precise, asking God specifically for what needs to happen (for example, specific prayers for my brother’s health – for the fever to go away, for wisdom for the doctors).

Often times, though, I don’t know what to pray. I just know that God needs to work because things seem to be falling apart. And so I wait.

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:3-6

My day was tough, and unusual, and at the same time it was the culmination of time spent waiting on God.

I find the quote above to be so very true. I don’t think that our obedience to God has to be some grandiose gesture of faithfulness. I think it’s our heart that He looks at, our faithfulness in just showing up – even in just remembering to pray.

Maybe God is asking you to do something – to step out of your comfort zone, to try something new, to call the hot mess what it is, and to remember that at 11pm, sometimes rest is the better choice.

Can I tell you, after a year of turmoil about church, about knowing that my kids should be in church, of fear and frustration (and so many other emotions) tied up in the choice to leave my former church, I knew God was telling me that I had to get us back into church.

I am grateful for those who paved the way – who had the tough conversations to see if we’d even be welcomed at a new church. (Yes, “welcomed” is the correct word for that sentence…it’s been a long road….)

The welcome was there, the support system in place, the doors were open, all that was left my choice to obey. Or not.

Sunday was quite a day.

But it was a day where God was honored by my choices, I believe, to step out in faith – even to tiptoe.

 

I don’t know if this even makes a lot of sense as I’ve shared it here. I often try to think through my thoughts and feelings and put them into some sort of format. Today, though, it seems more important to be real. To share that, on my side of the screen, I struggle with a lot of what you do, I’m sure. My kitchen is never perfect (though it’s usually in somewhat of a better state than it was yesterday!), my faith is a journey – even that’s not perfect.

I appreciate the support that I often find here as I share my journey.

Praying for you all…and I’d be honored if you would share some of your faith stories – those times when the mess doesn’t matter, when you decide to step out in faith – even if it’s just one small tiptoe step.

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.