I have been blessed to be happily married for over a decade but I realize that there are millions of couples who have not enjoyed the benefits of a lasting, faithful marriage. In my historical christian fiction novel Twiceborn I examine the effects of infidelity in married couples but over the next three posts I would like to identify compelling causes for infidelity on the part of men and strategies that women can use to fight back.
Despite the negative stigma that surrounds cheating in marriage, according to a 2015 survey cited by NPR (National Public Radio) 1 in 5 Americans admit to being unfaithful and 41% of men have thought about having an affair. (Click here for source). While the numbers may or may not be high in your perspective, the reality is that infidelity is an undeniable problem that has the potential to devastate relationships and crush individual lives.
Please note that in no way am I condoning or excusing infidelity. I believe that Christ and good character both work to keep a relationship strong, however identifying causes and taking appropriate action will serve to mitigate the problem that confronts many marriages today.
Problem: In contemporary American society, men are often the subject of ridicule in films and entertainment and they are subliminally and overtly portrayed as less-important or less-capable than women. In too many cases, this atmosphere of female sexism creates an emotional tinderbox for the husband in the relationship.
If a wife consistently criticizes or infringes on her husband’s need for respect and instinctive dominance she is actually pushing him away from herself and towards the arms of another woman. If his wife won’t respect him, perhaps the next woman will.
Solution: Make your husband feel that he is the king of the home. Despite popular thought, female submission in a marriage is not a bad thing. A woman who submits to her husband is both strong and wise. Not only is she giving him the room to be a leader, but she shows her confidence in his judgement and her respect for him. This in turn will cause the husband to respect and trust his wife making him more likely to acquiesce to her requests.
Speaking of a virtuous wife, Proverbs 31:11 tells us:
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
After a battle in the ancient times, women taken from vanquished tribes were often part of the “booty” or “spoil” (see 1 Samuel 30). But the Bible tells us that a virtuous woman treats her husband with such honor that he trusts her and will not need any other woman in his life. Clearly there is a direct link between respect, trust and fidelity.
If you want your husband to treat you like a queen, then you must first make him feel like a king.
In school we teach young children that when we give respect, we earn respect. It’s too bad that adults forget that important lesson at the altar. Modern women often demand respect and men do not see the need or the reason to give it. A better approach is to give him the respect that he craves, knowing that you will in turn receive the respect and love that you need.
There is also another childhood principle that gives succinct marriage advice: Respect is not earned, it is given. I admit that every man should strive to be a husband and leader that his wife is proud of-secretly almost every man wants to be his wife’s hero-but they need to be given the space and opportunity to do so. My wife and I refer to this as “space and grace.” How can a man show his wife that he has what it takes to make sound emotional and financial decisions if she is “running the show?”
Have you ever been in a car with someone who tries to drive from the passenger seat? If so, how romantic do you feel towards that person at that moment? Probably not very much.
The same can be applied to a marriage. Women, show your husband that you are strong enough to submit. Respect him enough to give him the “steering wheel” of your home and life together. Even if he makes a wrong turn, don’t berate him or belittle him. Just encourage him to get back on the right road. If you take this approach, with prayer and faith, you’ll make it to your destination….together.
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