"It takes two, ya know!"
Her words wore the biting effect of long years of pain. I looked into her weary eyes, and I knew I'd never walked her path, felt the sting of rejection that left its mark on her heart. I knew her edgy retort wasn't so much anger at me, but years of frustration and longing. My intended encouragement had bumped that raw place.
I wanted her hopeless eyes to see what couldn't be seen, for her deadened heart to beat with His life-giving dreams, for her faith to be renewed by truth beyond the temporary.
Wives aren't told to whip their men into shape, to preach the gospel to them, or to coddle them. We are challenged to impact them.
You may be in that same painful place.
And you're right, it does take two to make a marriage work. You can't do this alone; you must have the Author of marriage leading, impressing, and directing your heart. Together, you and He can impact your relationship with your husband. You have His word on that. He doesn't hold out false hope. In fact, He anticipated that you would need this passage for this exact moment in your life:
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:1–4)
There's more in this passage than can be unpacked in this post, but I'll touch on a few things for those of you in this painful place:
The heart is the issue—always.
Notice the instruction given. Wives aren't told to whip their men into shape, to preach the gospel to them, or to coddle them. We are challenged to impact them. The answer isn't to run to Victoria's Secret for the most seductive nightie. The issue is the heart.
A heart that has lost all hope is a dead heart, and a man can sense that a mile away.
On the surface things may appear calm. You may not be the shrieker or the witch, but underneath the surface you resent him. You resent that he's not what you want him to be, and that's sucked your heart dry.
You want him to relate to you, to understand you, to respect you. You want peace, love, and friendship. I imagine he does, too. He probably doesn't show it, and he may not know how to reach out to you for that, but he, too, probably doesn't enjoy the life you share if your hope has died.
Do you believe God can impact your husband?
Maybe he doesn’t know God. Neither did Joy's husband, but God captured his heart. Neither did my friend Edie's, but she followed this passage's instructions all the way . . . and God heard her prayer. When her husband accepted Christ, she hardly recognized him.
Maybe your husband does have a relationship with God, but the relationship between the two of you is shadowed by betrayal, broken promises, shattered dreams, or just empty space.
You can resign yourself to this, or you can believe.
You can believe that God's Word is true, and one plus One can make a difference. You can believe that because of the gospel there is still reason for hope. You can admit that by losing hope, you’ve settled for less than what God can do, and you can ask God for forgiveness.
I've never seen a husband unaffected by the respectful, gentle, and quiet spirit of a wife who hopes in God (v. 5). That wife has a heart that will impact her man.
Have you become skeptical? How does that line up with the beauty described in 1 Peter 3:1–4?