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Marriage counselling - for women

Jacob Ninan

Usually it is the wives who come first for marriage counselling, and their most common problem is that they are not sure if their husbands love them any more. You may have heard the story of the couple who just finished celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and wife asked her husband if she could just ask him one question. Her question was, "Do you love me?" The husband was shocked. His reply was, "How can you ask such a question? All these years I have worked for you, provided all the things you needed and took good care of you and the children. And still you ask me if I love you?" You see this couple obviously loved each other in their own ways, but the wife had her genuine doubts!

If we can say that the most important need for a husband in marriage seems to be sex, the most important need for a wife is to feel loved--even if her husband believes he loves her. And she is not asking for too much. It is just that usually husbands are unaware of the 'way' their wives expect this love to be shown. If some husbands think that when they work hard to provide for their wives the wives should understand it, other husbands think that their wives should understand their expressions of love through the sexual relationship. It all boils down to not rightly understanding each other's expectations and ways of expressing love. You may love your husband, but what is the use if he doesn't understand it? Wouldn't he be getting frustrated thinking that you don't love him? In the same way, your husband may love you, but you may be getting upset because you don't feel any love from his side!

One reason why a woman feels her husband does not love her is that he doesn't seem to understand her problems. He is busy in his own world and appears to have no time to listen to her. But the bigger problem may be that he doesn't understand her need to talk to him. There are many such differences in the way men and women think and behave, and both of them may be actually wondering why the other person is behaving in such a different way, if they have not understood these differences! There may be also differences in temperament (our nature), in the way we were brought up, our cultural and religious background, etc., which all emphasise the need for husbands and wives to make the effort to understand each other. When they begin to understand each other, they can begin to accept each other as each one is in reality, and make adjustments in thinking and behaviour in order to harmonise with each other. This is what is required in a marriage, and this can sort out most of the misunderstanding, frustration, confusion and discouragement. What we want to do through this write up is to explain such common challenges that we face in marriage and to prepare for working towards a happy, satisfying and fulfilling marriage.

Having said that, let me also encourage you to go for personal counselling, if after reading this you recognise that you have problems that need more help than you can provide yourself. "A stitch in time saves nine," says the proverb. Many problems become worse if unattended to, don't go away with time as many people imagine, and may become too complicated to handle later on.

Why marriage?
Marriage provides the most intimate and satisfying relationship between a man and woman. It is not just about sex, but the companionship of becoming so close to each other that you understand and cherish each other's friendship and company, you think alike, make your plans together, share your problems, worries and desires together, enjoy bringing up your own children together and see them settle into their own families, etc. Isn't this the real reason for getting married, rather than so many other things people have in mind? Of course if you get married for the wrong reasons it would be likely that you end up getting frustrated with marriage! You can read more about this in another article Why get married?

Why marriages become difficult
The straight answer is that usually it is because we enter marriage with a lot of unrealistic expectations and without being really prepared to face its challenges. We usually get married when we are young (and inexperienced), and our ignorance and lack of preparation show right from the beginning! Issues may come up even during the honeymoon and our own ways of trying to cope up with them actually seem to make things worse! Our parents may have trained us for eating, sleeping, dressing up and toilet habits, and put us in a good school, but most of them may have omitted to talk to us about boy-girl relationships in general and marriage in particular. Whatever we 'know' may have been picked up from watching our parents or from the media. Surely that is not enough preparation for a marriage for a lifetime with a person who is so different from you! Years of preparation and training prepare us to get into a profession, and there also we continue to get on the job training. But there is virtually no preparation or training for those who are getting married! With all the problems that are being faced in marriages these days, pre-marital counselling is slowly becoming recognised as a 'must' before marriage.

You may wonder how couples all through the centuries managed without marriage counselling! But you know things were very different those days. Compared to our ancestors, we now lead very high pressure lives which leave very little time for relaxation or sorting out issues through discussions. Issues that are ignored or 'swept under the carpet' have a tendency to blow up in our face later! We also live in nuclear families without the support of the extended family like our ancestors.
Anybody can give up, but it takes strong men and women to stand up to challenges and overcome them.
Usually nowadays both husband and wife are working with the wife having to handle the stress at work in addition to the stress at home, and this leads to more tension between the husband and wife. A working wife also becomes financially less dependent on her husband, leading to a feeling that she can afford to leave him in case of difficulty. Socially women have become more aware of their rights and will no longer tolerate any domineering treatment from their husbands. Divorce has become a more acceptable option to many people in view of the diminishing stigma associated with it. As a result of factors like these, marriage has generally become more stressful and fragile now than ever before, and this brings in the need for support from counsellors to preserve marriage. Anybody can give up, but it takes strong men and women to stand up to challenges and overcome them.

Two people get married who are so different from each other.

One is a man and the other is a woman! Men and women are so different from each other, not only physically, which everyone knows, but also psychologically. It is not just the 'hardware' that is different, but also the 'software operating system'. Even though they both seem to do many similar functions, they do them somewhat differently because different programmes are running inside their minds! It takes time for both of them to understand each other.

Usually the husband and wife have different temperaments. One may be an introvert and the other and extrovert or different variations of these. Each temperament has its strengths and weaknesses, and it can be very difficult to figure out how the other person can be so weak in an area you have no problem with! Actually once you get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses both of you can learn how to complement and supplement each other in such a way that 1 + 1 can be greater than 2!

Perhaps you two grew up in different family backgrounds.
You will come to know that some of the 'faults' you see in your husband's behaviour are not really faults, but just differences from your ways!
A lot of our mental make up is what we have acquired by imitating our parents and learning coping mechanisms (or the lack of them) in our childhood. You will come to know that some of the 'faults' you see in your husband's behaviour are not really faults, but just differences from your ways! We all may not be even aware that we are doing certain things wrong, because that's the way we have always seen our parents do them.

You are really two different individuals, aren't you, with your special interests, ambitions, goals, skill sets, etc.? Two paths that had been going in different directions have been brought together at an intersection, in a sense, and now you both need to learn how to walk together. That is not going to be easy, but you shouldn't give up easily without putting in efforts to learn and make changes. Giving up is easy, but that way you will lose what you can come to experience if you just hang on! Most marriages take a few years to come to stability, and it would be disastrous to give up just because you face some difficulty along the way. In the heat of a moment of strife, or when you have been nurturing judgmental thoughts about your spouse for some time, it is easy to think that anything would be better than continuing with the marriage. But a counsellor may be able to give you insight into why problems have developed and point out how a few adjustments can prevent the catastrophe called separation. You should not forget the fact that divorce adds its own trauma which can affect you both for years, and more so your children who may carry its effects even to their marriages!

Do you get the impression from reading so far that marriage is tough? Surely it is unrealistic to imagine that we get married to the one we love and from then onwards we will have heaven on earth. Romantic novels and movies may depict a Prince Charming who will come riding on his white horse and whisk you away to his castle where you can live together happily for ever and ever! But in reality marriage has its practical sides also. Yes, there are many challenges that will come across our way, as we make our transition from one phase of marriage to another. There may also come unexpected events that disturb the routines we have become used to. But remember that instead of a 'vicious cycle' there can also be a positive cycle that develops -- the lessons that the couple learns through the challenges of life make them stronger and also closer together, and then they are able to face greater challenges together without getting shaken up as before! As you understand each other better and are able to draw strength from each other, your own individual struggles become easier to handle too. Remember, giving up and going for a divorce is an easy option, but after that comes the pain, the trauma and several complications, for both of you and the children.
the lessons that the couple learns through the challenges of life make them stronger and also closer together
Statistics also show that one who has been divorced often gets divorced again. There are admittedly a few divorces where the fault was with the 'other spouse', but a far greater number of divorces happen because the spouses have not learned to make successful adjustments towards each other. So then they go on to make similar mistakes in their next marriage also. Whatever problem may come up in a marriage, the right way is to work towards a resolution of the issue and reconciliation.

One secret of a happy marriage
When two Christians get married, they make a covenant with each other. They individually agree to love each other, be faithful to each other and to stay together as husband and wife no matter what happens. This is a lifelong, exclusive commitment to each other without any conditions. One secret of a happy and successful marriage is to have the direction right. That is to understand that the big aim of marriage is to enjoy companionship with your wife and to become more and more one with her.
A great secret of a happy marriage is to work with a focus on becoming one with your spouse and to direct all your actions towards that.
And you must be committed to each other. Getting married without this commitment is like living in a house with no doors, allowing thieves to walk in any time, and not working to keep this commitment alive is like not bothering to lock up the house doors at night.

Every marriage will have its challenging moments. Those whose commitment to each other is strong will then try to resolve the issues and work towards a happier marriage. But those whose commitment is weak will give up easily. They look at the effort involved in making changes to their own attitudes, approaches and behaviour and conclude that it is too much, without realising that in deciding to give up they will be really asking for more trouble for themselves in a different way. What I would advise couples who are going through difficult times is to put aside even a theoretical consideration of the option for separation, and to decide only to work for resolution. You may not know how to work things out by yourself, but certainly there are others who can help.

Understanding your husband
Your husband is very different from you in many ways. You both come from different backgrounds, you both have different temperaments, and your husband is a man! You may find in a short while after marriage that he seems to have only one interest -- sex, he switches off his mind quickly when you try to talk to him, he doesn't have any feelings except anger, he just wants you to do whatever he says, he doesn't tell you what is worrying him, he doesn't have a clue about what is upsetting you, he thinks that as long as he provides for you you should be happy, etc.! But it's not as bad as it looks.
If you understand a few tips about men, you will be able slowly to learn his language, and then you will find that he is really the best thing that could have happened to you!
If you understand a few tips about men, you will be able slowly to learn his language, and then you will find that he is really the best thing that could have happened to you! Handle him with care and he can give your life more meaning and fulfillment. On the contrary, if you try to mould him to become like you, he can become such a pain in the neck! It's your call!

Women have great power over their men. As tough as men seem to appear on the outside, they are little boys on the inside, and wise women find ways to influence their husbands to move in the right direction. As they say, behind every successful man is a strong woman. But a foolish woman who nags and complains all the time will only drive him away from her -- completely or into his own shell.

One way to get to have a happy marriage is to make sure that you meet the love needs of your husband. When he is happy in marriage it is but natural that he becomes interested in making you happy by meeting your needs! Be clear about this, that what you look for in marriage is not what he looks for, and how you show love is not the way he expects love from you! But once you understand what your husband really needs and try to provide those for him (and it is not hard once you get the hang of things), you will have him becoming eager to please you. You may wonder why, if it was as simple as I seem to make it out, many marriages are falling apart all around us. The reason is that husbands and wives don't make the effort to understand each other, and they find fault with their spouse for being different from themselves!

Psychologist Dr. Willard F. Harley Jr. has written a book called His needs, her needs where he mentions his findings on what men and women look for in marriage, based on the results of a large survey. You may be justly surprised when you understand what your husband is really eager to get from you, because it is very different from what you are looking for! And if you are like most people, and your really love your husband, you would be doing things for him based on what you would enjoy getting from him! Unfortunately that wouldn't click with him because he is different from you! Let us now look at five things your husband wants from you which would make marriage a satisfying relationship for him. Statistically speaking these are generally what every man wants, even though you may want to remember that there could be deviations from person to person.

#1. Sex. Men have a very strong sex drive, and when they get excited other considerations can fly out of their mind! They get easily excited by what they see or touch, and when your husband finds you lying down close to him, it is very natural for him to forget everything else, including the squabbles you both had earlier, and to want to enjoy sex with you. I know you would like to first have an affectionate relationship going on between you before you can enjoy sex. You can suggest that he reads my write up for men for him to understand a woman's approach to sex. But at the same time, think of the possibility of making him happy by meeting his need on this point, and then watching him expressing his affection to you in the way you like. Many men become thoroughly frustrated with their marriage if their wives 'don't cooperate with them in sex'.

#2. Companionship. Men enjoy it when their wives 'participate' in their special activities either directly or through show of support and interest. These activities can be related to their work, hobbies or special interests. They enjoy it when they see that their wives enjoy what they enjoy. Think of how support from their wives can boost the husbands' performance, and compare it with homes where wives criticise and complains about their husbands' activities because, according to the wives, these are taking time away from home, children, and other common interests. Certainly the husbands do need to keep a balance, and cannot afford to neglect, for example, time with the family for the sake of enjoying his hobbies.

#3. A beautiful wife. When men want get married, usually they would like to marry an attractive looking woman. (Most women would place more importance on marrying someone who would love and take care of them.) You know how girls spend a lot of time and effort making themselves looking good before they get married. But it happens sometimes that after a woman gets married she doesn't take that kind of effort to remain good looking (she may become sloppy in dressing, gain lots of weight, etc.). This disappoints her husband who was very proud of her looks till then. So one of the things you need to do as a wife is to keep yourself looking nice for your husband. (At the same time you know he is not going to like it much if you spend too much money on this!)

#4. Admiration. The male of the species always likes to be admired by the female. If this is true during courtship, you should be aware that the same desire is very strong after marriage also for a husband to be admired by his wife. So instead of following the usual way of nagging and criticising your husband like most others, why don't you show special respect for him, especially in front of others and the kids, and show appreciation for the things he does for you and in other places? You may not know how much this will boost his morale and drive him towards better performance in every area.

#5. Domestic support. Even though men and women are equally valuable in the sight of God, it is also true that they have different roles to play. Men are designed to be providers and protectors, while women are designed to be mothers and caregivers. These roles have evolved with societal pressures, and nowadays many women are also taking on the role of providers, working outside their homes in addition to their responsibilities at home. At the same time, men are expected to take the lead role as providers, and women the lead in managing the home. This is what husbands expect. Even when they volunteer to help at home with the children, kitchen, etc., they expect their wives to have the overall charge of the home.

The way men and women use their brain
One typical scenario is when the husband is seriously pondering over some matter, trying to figure out what to do. His wife notices that something is bothering her husband, and quickly comes near him and tries to show her affection by asking what he is thinking about. But the husband will lose his focus if he tries to answer her, and so he brushes her off. The wife then interprets this to mean that he doesn't love her or appreciate her love! A little bit of explanation can ease misunderstanding on both sides.

Another situation can be that when your husband gets a phone call he wants everyone to keep quiet without disturbing him and the TV volume to be muted so that he can answer the call. But if you were to get a call, you wouldn't mind if everyone was talking and the TV was on, and you yourself would be able to join in with the home conversation and watch the TV also simultaneously with the phone call! You are capable of 'multi-tasking' while your husband can only do one thing at a time.

Recent developments in CT and MRI techniques have brought out the fact that women use different parts of their brains almost simultaneously while men are essentially able to focus only on one conscious function at a time. This may also explain why wives seem to flit back and forth from one subject to another with ease while their husbands get quite confused because they can't understand why their wives are switching subjects right in the middle of a discussion, and they become frustrated because they can't switch focus as fast! But women have a valid logic in their mind (remember the operating system is different) which connects those different subjects together. One subject is associated with another not on the basis of information content as in the case of men, but because they produce similar feelings! If you understand this, you can try to be patient with your husband when he can't follow along with your conversation, and also try to avoid bringing too many subjects into the discussion which he won't be able to handle. When you are talking with him, learn to take up only one subject after another, and if you do have to bring in another subject to emphasise your point, do take care to clearly explain the connection! If you notice that he is seriously occupied with some thought, don't interrupt him unless you want to get rebuffed(!), but wait till he seems to be free. His behaviour has nothing to do with loving you, as you might think, but only his male thought process!

Different ways of dealing with stress
When a man comes under stress he tries to think over it and find some solution by himself. He prefers to be left to himself at this time because otherwise he would lose his focus. On the other hand women would like to talk to someone about the problem she is stressed about, and her husband is obviously the best choice. Obviously these different strategies can cause their own conflict in a marriage! But once each spouse recognises this, they can make way for each other. You can refrain from intruding into your husband's private space if you notice that he is seriously mulling over something in his mind. Give him some time, and he will come out to meet you. On the other hand, if you want to unburden your fears, sorrows and other concerns to your husband, wait for a time when he is relaxed. When you tell him the challenges you faced during the day, your husband may immediately start telling you what you should do. You can explain to him that you would be happy just to know that he is there to listen to you.

The time when you both meet in the evening
You may be waiting for your husband to come home in the evening so that you can tell him all the exciting things that happened to you during the day, and share the pressures you faced. But remember he is coming home after work hoping to find some rest and relaxation. So why don't you help him to unwind by helping to sit down with the newspaper or the TV while you give him a cup of tea? He will be relaxed after some time, and then you can take the opportunity to sit with him and talk about your day.

Conversing with your husband
Conversation presents a major area of difference between men and women, and a cause for lots of misunderstanding and quarrels. It is well known that on an average women talk much more than men. Women are very vocal, and usually better communicators. You have a special knack of understanding and relating to children (because you are designed to be mothers) which men find comparatively difficult. Men talk mainly to exchange information, and tend to focus on one subject at a time. But women talk not only to exchange information, but also to build relationships with practically everyone you come across. Actually you feel more 'secure' if you have more friends who would be there to help you if you need help.

If the husband calls his friend to make an appointment to meet the next day, that is just what he would do -- nothing more! The whole conversation would be over in less than a minute. But what happens if you call your friend with the same intention? The conversation may touch so many different subjects, including the appointment, and it seems to go on and on. What is happening? Your husband, like most men, talk in order the exchange some information or to get a task done. Women also talk with the same purpose, but they also have a bigger purpose, of bonding with the others. The more they share about the details of their lives and the more vulnerable they make themselves, the stronger their bonds will be! But be careful when you try to do that with your husband! He may switch off if it goes on for too long!

Husbands usually get confused with the number of things their wives flit from one to another during a conversation and wonder why they can't just stick to the subject under discussion! Of course you have your own logical connection among all the things you talk about--usually they all are related to the same feeling(!). Men get confused when you sometimes bring up something from the historic past which they feel have been already dealt with and put away! Have you ever thought that sometimes when you are trying to resolve some issue in your mind, you keep on talking about many different things? Men don't realise that you are also at the same time thinking about the problem! So wives, when you are talking to your husbands do try to focus on the one subject under discussion. This can reduce a lot of possible trouble.

Many women tend to talk around their feelings, using words such as 'always' and 'never' which the poor husbands take literally and get worked up! You will have better success if you deliberately try to keep things as precise in meaning as possible. Many times wives will play hard to get, just for the satisfaction of seeing their husbands pursue them. It makes them feel wanted. But at the same time remember that your husband can't read your mind, and if he doesn't catch on don't interpret it to mean that he doesn't love you.

The first thing in communicating to each other effectively is to listen!
The first thing in communicating to each other effectively is to listen!
Listen with a clear intention of understanding what he is telling you, without waiting for him to stop so that you can say your piece! Don't assume that you understand everything perfectly every time. Occasionally ask short questions to clarify your understanding (without an interrogating approach!). Let your conversation become one after the other (and not simultaneous!). Make an agreement with your husband that if either of you becomes agitated and your voices are beginning to rise one of you should call for a 'time out'! You can then agree to continue the discussion later. You could go out for a walk together to talk these things over, or agree to stay up after the kids have gone to sleep in order to sort out issues.

Remember, you are both not in any competition with each other to find our who is right or wrong, or to fix the blame. You are partners in this together. Your goal is to come to an understanding between each other, do things together and to enjoy your relationship.

Enjoying sex with your husband
You have already seen how this is the number one thing in the marriage for your husband. But you are different. You too enjoy sex, provided things are good between both of you, you are not too tired, nothing is troubling you in your mind, etc. But you may have to consider the possibility that because of the strong urge he feels to have this relationship with you he may seem to be impatient, callous, inconsiderate, etc. It may even be that the rough way he has treated you in the past has 'put you off' from this altogether. Sometimes it may be that the fear of pregnancy and the subsequent delivery may cause you to hesitate or be less than half-hearted about it. Some Christian ladies may even associate sexual relationship with sin.

But think of it this way. The sexual relationship between a husband and wife is the most intimate and effective way of expressing and enjoying your love for each other. It is not just a physically thrilling act as is made out by the media and worldly people. It can only be maximally enjoyed by a husband and wife who love each other, because other illegitimate relationships lack genuine love (but only selfish seeking of pleasure), commitment (with the assurance that this relationship is permanent), and openness (without any shame and wanting to hide from others). You can see from the Song of Solomon in the Bible that God has meant this relationship to be enjoyed between husband and wife, and not just for having children. If you have fears or concerns about this, it is something that should be openly discussed with your husband. Perhaps both of you should read my article 'Sex with understanding' to understand this better.

Perhaps your husband does not understand how he should be considerate towards you in terms of meeting your needs (e.g., for foreplay) or making allowance for your tiredness, sickness, etc. Don't hesitate to talk to him about such things because he may be totally unaware of such things from your side as he is focused on meeting his needs.

Remember that God has created sex to be enjoyed between husband and wife, and if you go about it in the right way, you can make it happen that way.

Families with working wives
It was after the Second World War when thousands of men lost their lives that women began in large numbers to take up the additional role as a breadwinner. The thrust of the so-called women's liberation movement also highlighted the rights of women who had been downtrodden by their husbands and society in general for centuries. However many women nowadays work outside their homes not out of necessity but as something that would give them additional meaning and value in life apart from the income. But what happens is that they are taking additional stress on themselves for which they are not naturally designed. It is no joke for a woman to shoulder (at least the major part of) the responsibility of running the home and bringing up children and then to also manage the stress of commuting and working in a (usually) male dominated workplace. The result of such a tightrope walk is physical exhaustion, less time than necessary for everything, tensions with the husband and the children, and finally a sense of guilt that she is not able to do a good job as a wife and mother. Husbands also get frustrated when their wives are usually not in a mood for sex because of their tiredness. It is a decision that families need to take, considering all the different aspects, whether wives need to go outside their homes to work. (Read more) If you decide that it is necessary for your family, then you, as a wife, need to get your husband to understand that you would certainly need his support and help at home -- in the kitchen cooking or washing the dishes, helping with the children, etc. Also -- and this is very important -- you both should find frequent time together when you can enjoy each other's company, share things on your mind, make joint decisions about the home and the children, etc.

In laws
Some men are so possessive of their wives that they don't like their wives to spend any time with her parents. It is only natural that she feels great affection towards those with whom she has been close all these years. Of course it is also possible that husbands and wives have not learned how to move their loyalty from their parents to their spouse. Read more The goal is for both to recognise that unless they make their marriage a higher priority than other relationships, it is going to invite many types of problems for them. One's spouse has to be given the highest priority over all other people in terms of closeness of relationship, sharing of heart, talking, planning and taking decisions together. You are now grown up people and you are not required to obey your parents, but you need to honour them by showing respect, providing for them and taking care of them if necessary, etc. What is needed is to discuss all such matters between husband and wife and come to a mutual plan and approach. This oneness of approach becomes all the more necessary if one or more of the old parents try to control your life or interfere in your decisions. You both have to stand together.

Many marriages seem to go well till the first child comes along! Then many times the wife's whole attention is given to the baby, and the husband may feel out of place. Another problem is that parents begin to have favourites among the children, and create an unhealthy environment for them to grow up in.
A wise family will plan ahead, building up a friendly relationship with the children
It happens many times that the father and mother are divided in their approach to disciplining the children, one tending to be strict and the other lenient. (The kids are smart enough to notice this and take advantage!) When you know these things ahead of time, talk them over between yourselves at different times, and come to a common understanding. It can avoid a lot of unpleasant situations. Your husband is expected to be the head of the home which he can only do with your support and understanding. But you have a much greater share in dealing with the children, especially when they are young. This means that you need to discuss these things with your husband and boldly go ahead knowing that he will back you up with the children. Many families make the mistake of handing over the entire responsibility of nurturing their children and teaching them godly behaviour and values to the Sunday School, school teachers, etc., and wake up when teenage rebellion hits them on their face. Even then they blame the children for being the way they are. A wise family will plan ahead, building up a friendly relationship with the children by playing with them, encouraging them to talk, telling them stories, taking them out to teach them new concepts and skills, and coaching them about the things they will face before they face them. Then the children will feel like turning to them if and when they run into problems. Investing for children is not merely in terms of money, property or education, but also in a relationship that they will cherish, which will nourish, protect and guide them as they grown into maturity.

Finally, authority and submission
This can be a ticklish issue because there has been a lot of abuse and ignorance in this connection. Over the centuries many men have treated their wives practically like slaves or like second class human beings and on the other side there have been men who have handed over the leadership of the home to their wives. But God created human beings as men and women, not different from each other in worth or importance, but different in roles. Men and women are also created with capabilities suited for their roles. As husband and wife, there needs to be a companionship and partnership, where each fulfils some need in the other and both complement and supplement each other. In this way marriage becomes a partnership. God has appointed the husband as the head of the home simply because both husband and wife cannot be heads!

Your husband is God's gift to you, not just as a physical person, but also as a psychological and spiritual companion.
Respect generates respect, and dictatorship generates rebellion.
If you support him, discuss with him about all the things that concern your family, you will enable him to make the right decisions. (Read Frequently Asked Questions on Authority and submission.)

God tells the husbands to love their wives, just as Christ loves the church, and tells wives to submit to their husbands. For husbands to love their wives in the way Christ did, they cannot lord it over them but love, serve and give themselves for their wives. Then their wives will find it easier to submit to their husbands. In the same way, if the wives are submissive to their husbands, the husbands will want to love them more! These are both interlinked. Usually what happens is that the husbands demand submission from the wives and wives demand love, and they both get into a deadlock!

Of course, these are only a few brief tips for you as a wife and a mother. There are many more detailed write ups out there for you to read. If you have specific issues in your marriage, first try to discuss it with your husband--not wanting to pin the blame on him but trying to understand him and the what he thinks. Then you could consider going for counselling. You can also write to me for clarifications on different aspects of your marriage. May the Lord bless you, your husband and children.

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