The One Thing That Wives Need to Stop Doing

The One Thing That Wives Need to Stop Doing

Ruth Bell Graham once said, “It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision.”

If you’ve ever put those kinds of expectations on your husband, put your hand up. 

Okay, I’m putting my hand down now, and if your hand is up, you can put it down too.

The one thing that wives need to stop doing is expecting their husbands to fulfil the role that only Christ Himself can fill.

I love my husband dearly, but he comes second in my life. First and foremost I have a Saviour who is perfect in every way. His grace is unfailing and His patience unending. Michael could never live up to that ideal and I shouldn’t expect him to. 

What I do see is a man who’s growing in grace, and I love what I see.

But I haven’t always seen him this way. In fact I remember the first time we ever had a real argument. I was crushed. It was a few years after we were married. Yes–it took three years for us to blow up at each other. And when we did have that fight, I was left feeling confused.

How could he possibly treat me with such impatience if he really loved me? Why wasn’t he coming in to apologize? And why did his words sting so much in the first place? 

I probably should have been asking myself why I was so impatient and harsh myself, but I didn’t. I probably should have been asking myself why I wasn’t standing in the other room apologizing to him that very minute, but I didn’t do that either.

Why? Because I expected him to be stronger than I was myself. I expected to be served rather than to step out and serve.

Have you ever expected your husband to be stronger than you? And have you ever wondered why he didn’t measure up to the man that you hoped he would be?

Here’s the thing… we don’t have the power to change another person, in fact people can barely change themselves. How can we possibly hope to reshape them? We can’t, but as a wife, we have the opportunity to influence our husbands in a powerful way. 

There’s a difference between expectations and influence. Expectations are powerless, while influence is a powerful force. 

“Influence” comes from the Latin word, “influere” which means “to flow into.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)

When we influence someone we speak life to them. We pour out encouragement. We give of ourselves tirelessly. We pray for them daily. We fill up their love tanks.

It’s like gently pressing your hands into Play-Doh and leaving your fingerprints there.

Influence is the opposite of self-centred love which expects to be satisfied in every way. Self-centred love wants to be served, while perfect love desires to serve.

So where do we go when we need to be filled? Where should we run when we need encouragement?

We should be running into the arms of our Saviour day in and day out, spending time in the Word and enjoying some time in prayer.

That’s where we find our fulness of joy. That’s where we discover His perfect and unfailing love.

For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17:8

Have a question or comment? Click here to join the discussion.

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

P.S. Today is the last day of the marriage challenge. If you’re following along with us, don’t forget to give your husband a back massage today. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it!


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  • Lindsey @ Simply Lindsey

    I absolutely love that quote by Ruth Bell Graham! It’s so important for us to keep our relationship with the Lord #1. When my husband proposed, he actually mentioned something along the lines of, “I hope you don’t mind being number 2 forever, because I will always put my relationship with the Lord before you.” I am SO thankful that he does this, and it sets a great example for me too.

  • Michele Ewing

    I too love the quote from Ruth Graham, I think it is very fitting and so very true. I am guilty of expecting my husband to be “perfect” which is an impossible request to be placed on someone. I love him so and I know that he loves me and its more than just a feeling, it is something so much greater than that and I have to realize just as I ask him to forgive me for failing him, he is going to fail me. our hope and faith should be in God not man, we will always let down and be let down because there is no perfect person on this earth. The sooner we realize that the better our marriage will be as well as our home. Thank you for sharing!

  • Carolann

    “When we influence someone we speak life to them. We pour out encouragement. We give of ourselves tirelessly. We pray for them daily. We fill up their love tanks.
    It’s like gently pressing your hands into Play-Doh and leaving your fingerprints there.”
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this reminder…it has touched me deeply.

  • Marie

    Very insightful post. I agree that in a marriage, each person should seek to serve instead of seeking to serve but I have two questions though? When you say your husband is growing in grace, does it mean he is doing his best with the help of the Holy Spirit to adhere to the Bible’s advice of loving one’s wife like Christ loved the church? Is it unrealistic to expect this of the Christian man you marry?

    • Darlene Schacht

      Yes, my husband is growing by the Word and with the Holy Spirit, but we can never expect absolute perfection. I think it’s the ideal that every man should strive toward, and thankfully many do. But will they walk perfectly 24/7? As long as we are in our bodies we will always struggle against the temptation of the flesh. Even the disciples of the early church weren’t perfect. Peter and Paul had words with each other. And in Romans Paul said, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:19

      We can’t expect men to be Christ, but we can hope that they walk in His steps building virtue upon faith.

  • SarahJoy

    I personally have not been Struggling with this, about a year ago, I found my roots in his Peaceful Healing Springs! However, My Husband struggles with this DEEPLY. While it is my Deepest Desire to Fill him full, every lil crack in the Deepest part of him. I am Painfully aware that this is an IMPOSSIBLE Task for me to do! Only God Can. With our Current situation, I find myself becoming Frustrated that he relays Solely on ME to fulfill him in most Every way. My husband is a Beautiful Believer and Follower of Christ, Without his faith I know we may have never met (until the day we Both surrendered) I have Done my Very best to be a loving Sensitive understanding wife and Encourage him to “Seek first the Lord”. he seems to do fine for a while, but once things in his surroundings become unstable, so does he and he Clings to our Marriage for dear life! It hurts me to see him Struggle and to witness him allowing FEAR to consume him! I don’t know what else to do to help him. I pray over him Daily! Hourly!!! I have given him Scripture, Prayers i have prayed, told him(when he asks my help) what worked for me, how i was able to “let go and let God” but my influence is weak, for his Struggle with his Expectaions of me have grown deeper. I don’t want to be his ONLY foundation, I don’t want to be his “saving Grace” I Desperately want him to Seek God for Every need when I can not provide and even when I can I know I will ALWAYS fail in comparison to Gods Unfailing Love! I do not know what to do to help him find a peace and life long comfort in ALL of God’s provision!

  • Anna

    Thank you for this reminder. Your email/post really helped sink this concept deeper into my soul.

    Thank you, thank you!!!

  • Nicole

    For three years I have prayed to be a virtuous wife- being the woman my husband needs. I’m reading Messy Beautiful Love and I’m realizing that this journey for me is NOT about being the perfect wife — but the submissive daughter to God. It’s not about me forgiving my husband but rather looking at myself and seeing my flaws / quirks/ weaknesses and conquering them so I CAN love my husband more freely and completely.
    Your daily words of hope – your book- your sites to visit … Are all helping me and many women see our worth in the eyes of husband and more importantly on the Palm of HIS hand.

    Thank you for being bold in sharing your truth and for seeking our Heavenly Father for guidance in your ministry.
    Blessings from Texas.

  • R K

    I understand the importance of a spiritual connection to our Creator, however I cannot help but see the incredible imbalance in your article. I understand that high expectations are a recipe for disappointment in ANY relationship, however I disagree with the idea that we are here to serve and service the “men”, without some expectation of reciprocal return.

    That draconian mentality has been holding women back for millennia, and is not only outdated, but is unacceptable in a society that should hold men AND women in equal status. We are not here solely to prop them up, blindly support them and then forgive them as they stray (since there was no expectation that that shouldn’t). This is a time of unequivocal feminine energy, a time to declare that we have had enough of the subservient expectations of our spouses and a time to prop up our fellow women that have the courage to seek leadership roles.

    We can no longer be a society built upon a hierarchical system of male domination and female enslavement. We are more than brood mares and eye fodder for the perversity of stray males. We are the strong, intelligent and compassionate gender, and our unity with each other is the only feasible way to return balance to a society that has been dominated by the self-proclaimed “stronger sex”. It is time for women to become more than servants to their men, their bosses and the world. We are the next generation of leaders, and it’s high time we start acting like it!

    • Darlene Schacht

      RK We’re all called to serve, men and women alike. Jesus Christ came to earth as a man. He took on the role of a servant. To serve, and not be served. Husbands and wives should focus on giving to a relationship. When our focus is merely about getting something from each other we are living selfishly.

      Love is patient and kind never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love doesn’t demand it’s own way and doesn’t get angry when others do it wrong. (1 Cor. 13)

      Because I write a blog for women, I address women in particular. That doesn’t mean that men are excluded from living according to scripture.

  • Rochelle

    As I reflect on some of the above comments, I am reminded of something that God has been showing me lately. Marriage is only ordained by God. It is a a Godly institute, yet many people use try to live in marriage according to the world’s standards. Marriage was designed so that spouses can experience God’s love while here on earth. Therefore as wives we are called to love and serve our husbands unconditionally. Just as Jesus gave his all for us. Remember he died for those who hurt him, denied him, and betrayed him. Yet he didn’t say a mumbling word! Therefore, who are we to say that we won’t love and serve because our husbands aren’t doing their part. It is not about us! It is about God’s kingdom and us daily denying ourselves so that God gets the glory!!

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    This is so important, Darlene! I remember being a new bride and a milk-drinking Christian at 17 years old and unable to understand how or why I could love Jesus more than my new husband. All these years later, I have learned the hard way that if Jesus isn’t number one, our marriages will suffer on every front. Understanding how He loves us is a huge part of a blessed marriage because we have all we need in Him and our husbands are just the icing on the cake, so to speak. I enjoy and agree with everything that you write, but this is one of the best because it is such an important point. Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you and yours.

  • Imelda

    Thank you for pointing me to Christ.
    This is great reminder for me to priorotize my time with Him and listening to Him.

  • Katie Hamilton

    Wow. This was amazing, by the grace of God! I am utterly single, but while I read this post, I could see myself and the way I hope/imagine my husband-to-be to treat me, and was like “whoops! I even KNOW better than that– and accidentally DO IT ANYWAY!”
    This was hard-hitting, yet precious! I appreciate this blog and your ministry. I know it’s focus is on married women, but young single ladies hoping to be a wife one day can REALLY glean much from this site that will aid us later on if God blesses us with husbands!
    Thanks so much! <3