When I got married, I was amazed at the instant, overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt to love and care for my husband. Suddenly, a huge part of someone else's well-being and happiness was largely affected by my choices and actions.
Women, we need to be careful about how we are caring for our husbands and marriages. Don't let the small stuff ruin the things that will bring you the greatest happiness in life.
Here are just a few ways you might be unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage (as a caveat, please understand that although this article is directed toward women, it applies to men as well):
1. Living outside of what you can afford
A wise old woman from my church congregation once advised: "The best thing you can do as a wife is to live within your husband's means."
Wives, show sincere appreciation and respect to your husband by carefully following a budget and making the most of what you have. Be wise about your finances.
Constantly complaining about not having enough to fulfill your lavish desires or racking up astronomical amounts of debt on your credit card is a poor way of saying "thank you" to a faithful spouse who works hard every day to provide for the family.
Yes, you may not have enough to buy that Kate Spade bag you've had your eyes on for months, but your husband will love and appreciate the fact that you honor him and are grateful for what he provides.
2. Constant negativity
You hate your hair, the messes around the house, the neighbor across the street, your dumb co-worker, the old dishwasher, and everything in between. As soon as your husband walks through the door, you launch into action and dump every negative and angry thought that's crossed your mind throughout the day.
Can you imagine having to carry that burden? Negativity is draining. Men like to fix things, and constantly being hounded with complaints makes it difficult for him to help solve your pains.
If there is one thing I've learned from marriage it's that a good man wants you to be happy, and if he can't help you do that, it makes him unhappy. It's okay to have a bad day once in a while — that's totally understandable; but don't make it a way of life.
3. Putting everything else first
When your children, mom, best friends, talents, or career in front of your husband, you send a clear message to him that he is unimportant. Imagine having that message sent to you every day for many years. What would that do to your self esteem?
Put your husband first.
Although it sometimes seems counter-intuitive and counterproductive, I think you'd be amazed to find that it's often the key to the greatest happiness in marriage. So many couples get divorced these days, because they neglect to care and love one another and put each other first.
If you choose to put each other first, you will find a lot of joy.
4. Withholding physical affection
Men crave and need physical affection with their wives. When you constantly decline intimacy, it wears on them.
Sex should not be used as a tool to control your spouse; it should be viewed as a sacred tool to draw you closer to one another and to God.
It is a great blessing to be wanted and needed by a loving, romantic husband who wants to share something so beautiful and important with you — and you only. Even though you might not always be in the mood, it's worth it to give in (when you can) and spend that time bonding.
5. Not speaking his language
Women love to drop hints. (I think it's part of our DNA.) But men just don't get them. (I think that is a part of their DNA.)
Don't waste your time giving subtle hints that he won't understand: Speak plainly to him. Be honest about your feelings, and don't bottle things up until you burst. If he asks you what's wrong, don't respond with "nothing" and then expect him to read your mind and emotions. Be open about how you really feel.
UPDATE: Men, this advice applies to you as well. Check out, "5 ways you are unknowingly destroying your wife and killing your marriage."
IN THE MEDIA: A big thanks to Fox & Friends for featuring me on your show, and to Matt Walsh for mentioning me in your article, "4 things that are hurting your wife and killing your marriage."