By Wendy Pope

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12 (NKJ)

Misunderstood: this word clearly describes how I have felt many times during my 15 years of marriage and if I am honest; my husband could make the same claim. I remember in our pre-martial counseling hearing the word communication and how important it is to a successful marriage. Keeping this in the forefront of my mind and having gone to great lengths to communicate, many times I still feel misunderstood.

My husband and I used to have "pillow talk." Well we still do, but not nearly as often. Pillow talk is honest, heart to heart talk, in the bed, in the dark. Not necessarily involving intimacy, just conversation. Somehow in the dark, you can shed light on how you are truly feeling about an issue.

Not long ago we had some pillow talk. I thought I was really making some headway in helping my man understand my needs. I shared my needs openly and honestly. He responded with a simple touch and a snuggle. At this point, I was feeling very understood. I fell asleep knowing that my thoughts were heard, appreciated and would be taken into great consideration the next time this issue came up.

A few days later, on the way to church I heard the following words coming through the speakers:

When we don’t talk, when we don’t touch, when it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love it matters to me.

When I don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do, don’t know if it really even matters to you. How can I make you see it matters to me?

As I listened to the words I thought, "Faith Hill can say it better than me." I just knew my husband was pondering Faith's words as well, and recounting our pillow talk conversation. This is when I made the mistake. I said, "Did you understand what I was saying the other night?" I won't bother to give his response. Suffice it to say, he is a man not a woman.

Instead of getting upset that he was unable to recall our entire pillow-conversation, I recited a “reader's digest version” of it and we laughed. Then as God would have it, I heard the following words from Ricky Van Shelton coming through the speakers:

I don't know why you want to start with me, I ain't done-nothing far as I can see and I'm worn out from working too hard, why don't you give me a break. I know that lately things ain't been so good, I'll make it up just like I told you I would but I'm tired and I want to sit down, to ease this old backache.

You say you're having trouble figuring me, I don't believe I'm such a mystery. Baby what you get is what you see. I am a simple man. I want a job and a piece of land, three squares in my frying pan. Don't seem so hard for me to understand, I am a simple man.

I had to laugh. Misunderstood: husbands and wives feel it. Faith says it matters to her when there is no talking or touching. Ricky Van says I know things haven't been good lately but I am working as hard as I can, I am just a simple man.

If being misunderstood is the question, what is the answer? The answer is to be Jesus to my man. I am to offer respect when I feel wronged, show grace when I don't feel like grace is deserved, and demonstrate love when it seems I have no love to give.

Jesus offers all this, and more, to me everyday. Respect, grace, and love many times aren't easy to demonstrate. However, in God's economy you give a little and get a lot, maybe not the exact return you desire at that moment, but abundant blessings from your Heavenly Bridegroom.

Dear Lord, help me to demonstrate Your great respect, grace, and love even when it is not easy. Forgive me for wanting the focus to be on me. Help me to remember that life is not about me, but about making you known. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

For more marriage encouragement, visit Wendy's Blog

Out of the Mouths Babes, by Wendy Pope

Capture His Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

What a Husband Needs from His Wife, by Melanie Chitwood

Application Steps:
Ask your husband to talk with you about his immediate needs. Ask him to talk with you at a time that would not interfere with other plans he has. (Remember, Ricky Van wanted to sit down and rest his backache.) Pray, asking God to show you how you can meet those needs. Try not to be oversensitive.


Do I really listen when my husband speaks or is my own agenda playing out in my head as he speaks?

What can I do to make our home a peaceful place for him to rest "his backache”?

Power Verses:
I Corinthians 13:1,"Love is patient, love is kind." (NIV)

I Corinthians 13:13, "Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." (NIV)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your message is right on. I discovered recently on Valentine's Day that when I GAVE what I wished to receive, rather than HOPING, NAGGING, BEGGING, PLEADING, or trying any other futile attempts at communication, then surprising I ended up getting what I wanted in the first place! Yes, it's important to communicate our needs, but it's more important to focus on giving rather than receiving. I know this sounds like backward thinking compared to the message from the world, but it works. I wish I could be more like Jesus every day, because when I am, I am happier more fulfilled.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, how the Lord knows I needed this exact message TODAY! Thank you for serving the Lord and bringing the words that I have needed for some time, as my husband has been starting a new business. I know that i need to focus on his needs, as he is serving as he feels God wants him to, providing for our family. It is so easy, sometimes, to want to focus on my own needs, and your message has helped me to bring things into perspective - that i need to make sure that I AM placing my spouses' needs above mine, as the Lord would want me to do, and that God will make sure that my real needs are met as well.
Thanks for being the vessel that God has made you. This message was truly a blessing to me!
Hugs and Prayers!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This message was for me today. My husband had oral surgery and spent the entire day yesterday throwing up. When I finally got home from work, I just wanted to do "me" things. However, I went to the store for soda and popsicles, slept on the couch so that he could rest more comfortably, all the while thinking what a good wife I was being. When in reality, I was just going through the motions to keep him comfortable so that I could focus on me. Thank you for the eye opener!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, on my way to work I was praying exactly that prayer you wrote at the end. I have been reading His word, and other Christian based books about how to love a spouse and have a strong marriage and this post just fits right in with where I think God needs me to be right now. I'm trying to save my marriage, actually, so right now the most I can do is to show my husband what a loving wife looks like, and what God's love looks like. Thank you for the clear reminder, yet again. ~em

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to em- you will be in my prayers. all you can do is take care of your relationship with the Lord. you cant fix anyone else. for so long i prayed for my husband to just go to ss and church with me and lead our family like he is supposed to. all those prayers have finally come to fruition. not without many storms though. now, he is not only going - but teaching. for so long i tried to make my husband happy and put him first. you see MY problem. our God is a jealous God and ONLY GOD can be in first place. humans will let us down. we are all sinners. once i started working on me (and stopped nagging him so much) things got better. i had expected him to take God's place. he cannot be perfect. it wasnt fair to him, me or especially God. i didnt realize what i had done till it was almost too late. we, as wives, have to give them room to try and yes sometimes fail. but love them like Jesus regardless. many blessing to you. stay in THE WORD, pray diligently, and guard your heart. hang in there. my prayers are with you. -another em

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