In This Series:

1. When Expectations Meet Reality
2. Why Isn’t Marriage the Way I Thought It Would Be?
3. Why Isn’t My Wife the Person I Thought She Was?

  1. Viewing Your Wife in a New Light
    5. Why Isn’t My Husband the Person I Thought He Was?
    6. Viewing Your Husband in a New Light
    [7. Did I Marry the Wrong Person?](]
    8. How Can I Change My Spouse?

Carl and Barbie were opposites—and always had been. "Opposites attract" may be a common phenomenon but doesn’t necessarily lead to a strong marriage. Far too often what seemed irresistible in the swirl of hormones and emotional highs during a fast courtship turns out to be irritating in the 24/7, "up close and personal" daily life of husband and wife.

The mature and responsible guy seems to become a stiff, nit-picking perfectionist, boring and sexually uninteresting. The girl who appeared to be such a wonderful, bouncy, free spirit now looks like an irresponsible, immature twit with no depth at all. Is that what’s happened with your wife? The truth is that she’s the same woman you fell so much in love with. But you have changed—stripped of your illusions about her. You’re disappointed.

So what should you do?

You might find it helpful to sit down and list the reasons why you chose this particular woman to be your wife. Think of all her attributes that you enjoy and value. Think of yourself as the author of the Song of Solomon, writing about your bride. Shift your focus from the negative and critical to the positive and appreciative.

Then make a date to share these thoughts with her.

If this seems impossible, consider the very real possibility that your marriage is at a crossroads. Disappointment may be making you vulnerable to the attentions of others, who you might imagine would better meet your needs and expectations. Or you may just be resigning yourself to years of regret about your choice of a spouse, bitter that you’re obligated to stay in a marriage without any hope of realising your dreams.

If this describes you, it’s past time for you and your wife to seek marriage counselling. Find a Christian professional who won’t reinforce the lie that happiness lies just around the corner if only you escape from this mistake and move on to something new.

Your situation is not at all hopeless. But it does require a fresh perspective and some tools to employ in developing a more mature relationship.

© 2006 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published in Focus on the Family’s Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage published by Tyndale House Publishers.

Next in this Series: Why Isn’t My Husband the Person I Thought He Was?

Phillip J. Swihart

Phil Swihart is director of counselling services and community relations for the counselling department at Focus on the Family.

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