When You Have No Words

Photo Credit: Bruno van der Kraan

Photo Credit: Bruno van der Kraan

Last week after I posted my blog “Words That Will Turn His Head”, I felt a little uneasy, like maybe I had missed something.

So I reached out to a dear and trusted friend, and I asked her to give me her honest feedback to what I had written. I texted her--

“After you read my blog, will you tell me if there’s somewhere I went wrong? Something I’m missing?”

Her response was so rich that it became a blog.  

I loved your blog. I loved your message. You’re right on, in so many ways. But I do think there is something you’ve missed.

You presumed that all women are in love with the man they’re married to, and they actually feel love in their hearts. But sadly that’s not always the case. I bet some of the women who read your blog can’t imagine telling their husband what they love about him, because they have nothing to say.

So this got me thinking, what do I say to those women, who have no words, because they feel no love at all? How do I respond...

...to the betrayed wife who just found out her husband is having an affair, or is addicted to pornography?

...to the hurting wife who’s experiencing verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse from the very man who’s supposed to protect her?

...to the lonely wife whose husband’s job has been put before his marriage and family?

...to the aching wife who desperately wants to build intimacy in her marriage, but continuously feels rejected?

...to the tired wife who’s consumed with kids all day and is barely surviving, and gets no help from her husband around the house or with the kids?

...to the resentful wife who thought to herself, “You’re asking me to tell my husband what I love about him? When he never tells me what he loves about me?!’”

My friend and I discussed all the scenarios a wife might find herself in - that would cause her to turn away with disgust - rather than turn him towards her in love.

So if there’s something missing in your blog, Jenny, I would say it’s that you failed to answer something for your readers - how do you tell your husband something you love about him, when literally, you have no words? When you don’t have anything in your heart to share with him?’

It’s so easy to fall into bitterness. A lot of us women do. How often do we think to ourselves, ‘Look at everything I’ve done today. What has he done lately?!

But you know what? The ironic thing is, that maybe the time to speak these words to our husbands - is absolutely when we do not feel like it. When we feel like our husband doesn’t deserve to hear anything we have to say. Maybe that’s exactly when it needs to be said. In those vulnerable moments, when you melt the pride away, and you choose to be kind. I think a lot of us as wives can be unkind, harsh and critical. And we wonder to ourselves, ‘What do I love about this man anyway?

I think it’s in the times when we can’t answer this question that we need to find something to say - for our own sake - so that our hearts won’t remain hardened.

If we do that, we honor the Lord, by honoring our vows, and honoring our husband. Faithfulness to our vows - some days; some years, that’s all we have - the vows we made before God. When we’re hanging on by a thread, that thread is our vows.

You know, I’m going through a difficulty in my own marriage right now.  And this morning, before you reached out to ask me to read your blog, I had already felt the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart. I woke up thinking, ‘I need to start asking myself this question every day: How can I make my husband feel loved today?’

Not just, ‘How can I not be mean?’ or, ‘What can I refrain from saying?’ Instead I need to ask myself, ‘What can I say to make him feel loved?’

That’s my job - every day. What’s one thing I can say or do today to make my husband feel loved, even when I don’t feel like it? Even when his weakness is glaring at me in big neon blinking lights, and the last thing I want to say to him is ‘Do you know what I love about you?’

Because isn’t that what God does with us? When we’re at our worst - when we’re at the bottom of the barrel - sinful, yucky and so undeserving. Right there in our mess God says to us, ‘Do you know what I love about you?’

And we melt. Our hearts melt. His love melts everything away.

This is what God does with us, and it really is what we’re called to do with each other, especially our husbands.

And that right there is true love - it’s when you’re kissing the cross, sister. When true love is sacrifice.

So ladies, it turns out I did miss something in my blog last week. And I’m so thankful for my honest friend who was bold enough to tell me! I missed the opportunity to share that these words that will turn his head won’t always come easy for you. Yes, they can bring incredible life to him, but speaking them might require a sort of dying (to self) from you.

I also missed the opportunity to say that wherever you are in your marriage; whatever struggle or pain or despair you might be in - God is bigger, and His love covers all. And if He can speak truth to you and remind you how much He loves you... imagine how the words He gives you for your husband might breathe life into him and into your marriage.

Jesus, give me the strength to love even when it costs;
to build my husband up,
even if I have to lay myself down.
For “greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down their life.”
(John 15:13)