Be a man and go first.
I suspect many of you have seen the saying “The beatings will continue until morale improves”. We laugh because it’s so wrong – beating people to make until feel better, or at least act like they feel better. Unfortunately, I see a lot of men and women doing something very similar in their marriages. Not beating each other, but denying, limiting, and holding back from each other until they feel sure their spouse is a committed to change as they are. It’s “you go first, then I will follow” and when both spouses do it, no one will ever go first, and the marriage is going to suffer greatly – and very possibly end in divorce
So suck it up and go first, guys. Be a man. Take the risk. Do what you should do even without any guarantee that it will work. Choose to love, forgive, serve, sacrifice and care for her, regardless of what she does or does not do in response. Keep doing that until you can’t do it anymore, and then ask the Lord to help you keep doing it a while longer.
Is this my usual “I’m talking to men, not women, so I am telling men what they can do, not what women can or should do?” Yes, that does apply here, but there’s something more behind this one. I am convinced, both from what I read in the Bible and from what I have seen in many marriages, that women are far more likely to respond to their husband “going first”. I think God made women to respond, and made men to initiate. That does not mean every women will respond, some won’t. It also does not mean a wife should just wait for her hubby to act – if you are a woman reading this, do what is right because it is right.
Bottom line: If your bride did not enter marriage significantly damaged, and if you have not been to horrible to her, there is a very, very good chance that she will respond in kind if you start working to be the best husband possible.