Dear wife who’s married to a jerk,
Nitty Gritty Love is a conversation. So when we hear the same feedback from readers, I want to address it.
We spend a lot of time here encouraging women, and we are equally encouraged, but when we get this question, I will admit, I sink a little inside.
What if I’m married to a jerk?
It seems some people want us to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Alright. You got us. You are correct. Divorce that creep.”
But you will never hear us say that, even though it is tempting. Why? Because we believe marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for the church, and Jesus isn’t going to divorce us for being jerks. If He did, we would all be left high and dry. His love for us is amazing and relentless, it’s almost too hard to believe. But I do feel for people who are unhappy and lonely and discouraged because it’s sad. By no means are we trying to be calloused or unfeeling. We started this blog because we care about marriages and want to support other wives and encourage them by sharing our own experiences. We are not professionals, but we are married, so we can relate with [to] each other.
That said, if you are married to an insensitive jerk who isn’t kind, won’t keep a job, plays video games all the time, and is basically rude and uncaring, I’m sorry. I really and truly mean that. I didn’t make that description up. We hear about that guy every week from angry wives who are ready to give up. It makes me mad and I wish I could tell him off for you.
Instead, I spend hours and hours writing to faceless people, hoping that just a handful will snap out of it and start treating their spouse as a gift. Because that is what a wife, and a husband, is. A GIFT. You are not OWED a spouse, so if one has agreed to spend their life with you, be thankful! Yes, the thankfulness should go both ways. In a perfect world it would, but as we know, this world is not perfect.
Maybe your husband missed that memo. Maybe he is self-centered and you can’t even stand looking at his face. Maybe you are on the brink and can’t take another day. If your spouse feels more like a cruel joke than anything else, then you have a longer, tougher road. You do. But it’s not hopeless. With Christ, all things are possible. I have seen marriages transformed, and let me tell you, it never gets old witnessing changed lives.
But back to the problem of your mean husband. I am sure you didn’t grow up dreaming of being ignored and disregarded after marriage. Zero people daydream of one day being demeaned by their spouse. Little girls don’t imagine sitting sadly on the couch while Prince Charming plays video games. And then watches TV. And then goes to bed without saying goodnight. What a shock to find out you are married to a checked-out jerk. It is unfair. It isn’t what you bargained for.
But people can only be loved where they are at. They can’t really feel your love when expectations are looming over their heads. You are probably right in being mad. But the vicious cycle kicks in and then it goes from bad to worse. The more frustrated he knows you are, the less he tries, because what is the point? And then you get more angry and justified and bitter, which makes him retreat. Around, and around it goes.
There must be a reason you chose him. Find that reason. Sit and think about that reason. Force that reason to the surface and try to love him for that one thing he does well. Tell him you love him for that one thing. Tell him you love him for who he is. I imagine you have all sorts of changes you would like to see happen before you trust him or love him, but we have to start small in situations like this. And remember, God loved us while we were yet sinners. We were not a beautiful, perfect Bride. But His love changes us over time!
If your husband will not let up, reach out and talk to healthy, stable, people. Because you matter. Let others, and Scripture, remind you of who you are in Christ, and if you need to create a bit of space, then do so, with some help from a counselor or your pastor. Find things that make you feel happy and do them. It can’t hurt trying to love your husband as best as you are able, while you keep yourself in a good place. Get the support you need and don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do it all by yourself. Just don’t go try to find a less jerky guy. You don’t need more stress.
Thank you for communicating with us. We stand with you, and we pray for your marriages. Your tough situations tug at us and we feel much empathy for you in your struggles. We also celebrate with you when you see small victories. We prayerfully consider how difficult it is, and we want you to know you aren’t alone.
He may be acting like a jerk. But he is your jerk and you are his best chance at being loved well. At least you can rest your head at night knowing you are showing unconditional love, and that makes you a woman whose heart is soft, and who is bringing God glory. I can’t think of a more beautiful woman than that.
**This post originally appeared on Nitty Gritty Love.