The Path to Less Stress… for Both of You


Gary and Norma Smalley discuss reducing marital stress by diminishing expectations.

You and your marriage will experience less stress if you understand that men tend to be challenge oriented and often lose interest once they’ve conquered or met the challenge. That’s why they can be so romantic before marriage and afterward show little interest in romance. You can motivate your husband to love you by learning to be a courageous, persistent, and patient wife. As a completer and helper, you will need courage to help motivate change, gentle persistence to make sure it continues, and patience to wait on the Lord when change is long in coming.

Your husband needs to be made aware in creative, loving ways of how to meet your needs. Realize that your husband may well think he knows what you need. This perception can lead to frustration and discouragement for both of you. The more you clarify what you truly need, the more he will be able to love you. Remember, you’re in the process of sharing with him how to love you, and he’s in the process of learning. If you’re on the same train, don’t expect him to get to the destination before you do.

A woman’s native ability in the area of relationships is her greatest resource. With it, she can lovingly and persistently help her husband fulfill life’s most important responsibilities and reach the most crucial biblical mile- stones in life. Don’t feel hurt and condemn your husband because he doesn’t speak the language of relationships very well. To him, it’s like a foreign language. Instead, help him learn to use it as fluently as you do.

Diminishing your expectations and not expecting your husband to provide a level of fulfillment that only God can give you frees your husband of a burden you otherwise force him to bear, and you free yourself from unnecessary disappointment. This doesn’t mean ignoring your needs or wants, just getting rid of your time limit and preconceived ideas about when and how those expectations will be met.

A man’s competitive nature, when turned toward gaining a successful relationship, can cause dramatic growth in his marriage. Once the knowledge and skills of good relationships are in sight, he can go after them the same way he conquers a project at work.

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