How to respond when your spouse makes decisions you don’t like.

Our marriage has always had themes.  Our consistent points of contention are over money.  We have dealt with many large car repairs.  On our best year we totaled $7,000 in car repairs.  Our current home’s theme is water.  Every home repair has centered around a water leak or septic problems.  Our relationship has suffered from a consistent battle of the wills.  He sees things clearly and wants to conquer.  I see things clearly too and want to wait and come to a decision.
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Communication has been a key factor in our relationship and the lack of it has caused more trouble than I care to admit.  We are both driven, matter of fact, blunt people.  He can dish it out and I can dish it right back.  We don’t mince words when we are angry, but fail to discuss sensitive matters gently.  We are goal focused, but our goals are very different.  It makes for an interesting life and a trial by fire where God proves who is in charge and who isn’t.
My husband gets angry over a car repair and trades the car the next week.
I am frustrated because I can’t get the job that I want so I go back to college.
He tells one of the kids he is buying them a car with the tax check without talking to me.
I sign up for another activity and don’t run it by him.
He has ambitions and dreams and I don’t listen to him.
He decides to rebuild a car and won’t listen to my concerns about the finances.
He says it’s okay to spend this money and I fret because it’s not in the budget.
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After twenty eight years I could make a long list.  I am sure your list is impressive too.  So how do we apply God’s instruction for wives to respect their husbands and husbands to love their wives.  Here are some principals that I think we can apply in everyday life to help us navigate the journey of marriage and keep our relationship healthy and growing.
Respect your husbands–  As mush as possible logically discuss the situation and make your concerns known in an unemotional way.  Discuss the matter and seek to come to an agreed upon solution.  If your husband trades the car even though you disagree respect his lead and move on.  This isn’t about us getting our way.  You don’t have to like it and we shouldn’t punish him for the decision he made.  This means that you will seek to respect the man he is outwardly and inwardly and strive to unite with him despite what he does.
Husband’s love your wives-When I went back to college to get my MBA my husband approved, but I found out later he didn’t really understand.  We are both concerned about the student loans.  He said he agreed that I could go because he knew it made me happy.  He loved me.  I will respect his concerns by taking action to ensure the debt gets paid off.
Love your neighbor-We are to love others more than ourselves.  If only we could grasp this.  Our spouse is our neighbor, but even more.  We are physically united to them.  We are growing as one.  So we must strive to think more of their needs than ours.  My husband ultimately wants to make decisions to help our family and even though I don’t agree with them sometimes I need to think more of what he is trying to do then of getting my own way.
Trust God-It always seems to come back to this.  A month before our oldest daughter got married my husband surprised me by trading his truck to get me a small cute car.  When I came home from work he said look what I got you.  I was mortified.  I was so worried about paying for the wedding that the thought of buying a car terrified me!  How could he do this.  Yet I had to trust that the God who made us could take care of this.  God is bigger than car payments and budgets.  If our spouse is wrong it is for God to right and what a comfort that is.  Where I would want to fix things out of spite and anger God can fix things out of love and mercy and seeing all of eternity.
Unite-Sex between a husband and wife is not a bargaining tool.  We are not to use sex as a weapon to get what we want.  Years of abusing this will not end well and right when you decide you just might really enjoy sex your spouse may decide they aren’t interested. Respecting and loving our spouse should lead to us uniting as one on a regular basis despite disagreements.  It’s a beautiful and fun way of getting back on the same page.  I know that we have forgotten many arguments after we have united for the mere fact of sharing a joyful and intimate moment.
In the milieu of life it’s simply not worth it to do anything less than accept the fact that we make decisions others don’t like.  Our parents do this to us, our children do, co-workers, and friends.  Life is not about getting our way so to make this journey the best that we can we need to be ready to accept that sometimes he is going to trade the car in and sometimes I am going to take some classes.  At the end of the day it has ALWAYS worked out.  God is pleased when we seek to obey Him and helps us to find joy even when things aren’t going as planned.
This person that you think you may not always love is much more important than you can imagine.  Cherish them and make it your job to uplift them to be the best that they can be.
For HIs glory and because of His grace,
Marcy Pedersen

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