The TMB survey for last week asked men and women if their marriage got better or worse in 2013, and what they expected for 2014. You can find the full report on TMB if you like. Here I want to focus on hopeful signs.
Overall, women said their marriages were getting better, their husbands were more loving last year, and their sex lives got better. Women were also rather optimistic about their marriages in 2014, with 60% saying they are very hopeful, and only 6% completely disagreeing with that statement. Women generally gave their husbands higher marks on being loving than they gave themselves.
I know there are women who aren’t like this (they did show up on the survey) but they’re not the norm. Many women feel their husband is trying, and they expect it to get better.
When asked what they want to change in 2014, the top answers were as follows:
- 15% said they wanted improved communication
- 11% Want more and/or better sex
- 9% Want more time together (with date nights getting a couple of mentions)
What I see in this is that many women who are open to efforts to make their marriage better. I know some of you are thinking, “That’s nice for other men, but my wife doesn’t care what I do.”
I get that, really I do. She doesn’t respond to anything you do, and she won’t tell you what she wants. It looks like she’s given up and is unwilling to do anything to make the marriage better. There’s a very small chance she has a borderline personality disorder, but more likely she’s acting out of some fear or has figured out how to get what she needs from others.
One man asked in the comments, “When is it her turn to be responsible?”
It’s always her turn, just as it is always his turn. When both husband and wife are willing to work at it, change is much easier. However, change is possible even when only one of you is willing to work at it.
Is there a point at which you are justified in giving up? I certainly can’t support that idea biblically. There is a place for reasonable boundaries, which might mean not pushing as hard, but I think we’re called to do all we can for as long as we can.
For what it’s worth, you all have my prayers in this. I know it can be difficult and painful. I know it can feel hopeless. I pray you each find the strength to keep going.