Stop Comparing Your Marriage to Some Fictional Ideal {Construction School for Wives}

Construction School Button It’s Wednesday here at Quiet Graces and that means today is the day where wives are digging in to the dirt in our own marriage and, with God’s grace, growing to be better wives. Today Rosanne is visiting from Divine Ordinary. She’s making a shocking omission and giving us wives who have husbands who travel some fantastic tips!


My husband, the Coach, is not my best friend, nor is he my soul mate.


There. I said it. I know you’re shocked. Or maybe, you’re just a little bit relieved that you aren’t alone.


For a lot of years, I felt sad or cheated or somehow lacking because women would wax poetical about their husbands, and how they were best friends, completed each others sentences and basically lived in each others pockets.


But that wasn’t my reality.


Before we go any further, I have to tell you I admire the Coach more than anyone else. He is a wonderful father and a good husband. He loves God, and works in full time Christian education and has coached (hence the name) for years.


He’s the kind of guy that gets up in the middle of the night with sick kids, and will clean up puke because I can’t. In 20 years of marriage, he has never once raised his voice at me. He rarely gets upset and is always willing to listen to my views or opinions.


The Coach is a great guy.


The thing is, especially during basketball season, my husband is gone. A lot. Maybe you can relate. You have a husband who is in ministry or the military or in law enforcement or truck driving – or maybe he’s a coach, too.


Whatever the reason, your husband is gone from your home. Like me, maybe date nights are a thing of myth and legend. Maybe you’ve also learned that you need to rely on yourself and be pretty independent.


Did I also mention my husband and I have very little in common? We are opposites in so many ways, and we just don’t enjoy the same activities.


For instance, I am not really into sports. God has a sense of humor though because I have two sons and they are BOTH sports nuts, so I spend a lot of time watching various games played with various kinds of round objects – baseballs, soccer balls and basketballs top the list. While I will willingly support my kids and my husband at their games, I draw the line at watching sports at home.


So, my menfolk spend a lot of time gathered around ESPN while I find other ways to entertain myself – ways that generally include either a book or a good Jane Austen flick.


For years, though, I fought the reality of my life. I spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself because of what I didn’t have (or at least thought I didn’t). I read every book on marriage I could get my hands on because I wanted to fix the problem –but that was part of the problem. I was trying to make my husband into one of those portrayed in those books – and he didn’t fit the mold. At all.


While I appreciate the Godly wisdom that is in many marriage books, many of them have this unwritten formula that bugs me. It’s this idea that if I just do xyz, then my husband will do what I want him to, that he’ll fall into line with my wants and desires.


But it is an exercise in frustration (which can lead to bitterness and resentment) in trying to control someone else’s behavior. The only person’s behavior you can control is your own (and sometimes not even then – especially when it involves chocolate!).


Finally, God got a hold of me and asked me to let go, to let go of the idol I had made of this ideal marriage I had created in my mind. It was hard because letting go felt a lot like giving up. I hate being a quitter.


When God finally pried my grubby little fingers off the idol I had made of my idea of marriage, it was only then that I found the joy, the peace and the freedom to develop the marriage I actually had and to truly love MY husband – not the marriage or husband of books and seminars.


I had to accept who my husband was, and that his hours weren’t changing. My husband isn’t a talker. He isn’t emotional. He works hard and doesn’t do relaxed very well. But, he has integrity. He’s trustworthy, and he is kind.


The Coach is one of the few people I know who actually live out their life verse instead of just quoting it.


When I finally stopped focusing on what he wasn’t and started to focus on who he was and all the good things about him, a funny thing happened.


Instead of feeling like I was missing out on something, I felt lucky. Lucky to have a husband who was kind. Lucky to have a husband that never raised his voice. Lucky to have a husband that gave me a lot of freedom and autonomy to be myself. (I’m somewhat of a free spirit and like to have time to myself).


God knew exactly the type of husband I needed, even though I whined and kicked against that reality because I thought what I wanted was the one in all those books.


Having a husband that is gone a lot is not always easy, but if you find yourself in the same situation, can I just share a few things that have helped me?


  1. Stop trying to change who your husband is. Would you want your husband to change your personality? I didn’t think so. He needs to know you love him just like he is. (the only caveat I will throw in here is if your husband has addiction problems or is abusive – that is an entirely different kettle of fish, and I would encourage you to see a professional counselor that can help you deal with that)
  2. Stop guilting your husband for the time he is gone. Spending the little time you do have together complaining about when he isn’t there is not going to bring you closer together. It will certainly not encourage him to look forward to coming home!
  3. Enjoy the time you do have together. Instead of bringing up every problem and every negative thing, focus on positives and just enjoy each others company.
  4. Set up a time to go over business. It’s inevitable that you need to go over business type things in your household. I know it sounds terribly unromantic, but I often send my hubby a list of items in an email.
  5. Be open to unusual schedules. I’m pretty private but I will tell you that our “close” times together often happen in the middle of the night because, well, that’s the only time we have with two teenagers in the house.
  6. Don’t run your hubby down to others. It’s easy to start blaming him for various things because “he’s never home.” Resist the temptation. Ban this type of talk in front of your kids. I did a lot of things wrong, but I never, ever bashed my husband to my children.
  7. Don’t make excuses for him. At the same time, he’s an adult. Don’t make excuses for him and let him be accountable for his answers. It’s easy for my hubby to shade into being a workaholic. If he has to answer for himself, it helps him to be accountable when he could be home more.
  8. Develop a social life for yourself. My husband is so busy that when he is home, entertaining isn’t high on his list, so I have learned to have my own social life. I love to have people over or go out. I love to have my kids’ friends over and enjoy all that youthful energy. I do try to be aware of the times my husband will be home and plan around them though, so he isn’t overwhelmed by hordes of people.
  9. Be intentional about planning time together. If you don’t plan it, it probably is not going to happen. While we need to accept our husbands’ schedules, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan on taking a weekend away once a year or putting some other time together on both your calendars. Take advantage of car rides or other spare moments to build that connection.


The bottom line is I enjoy my husband and my marriage a zillion times more once I accepted who my husband was and the reality of our life together. When I finally stopped trying to make my husband and our marriage over into what I thought was the ideal, we actually became much closer. Who knew letting go would lead to loving more?


Rosanne Bowman has been a story lover almost since birth, and has been writing stories in various forms since she could hold a pencil. She believes that stories have the power to change people by encouraging and inspiring them. Rosanne has been married for 20 years to the Coach and has two boys, ages 12 and 15, who are also sports nuts. She currently blogs about God making a daily difference in ordinary lives at  Rosanne Bowman has been a story lover almost since birth, and has been writing stories in various forms since she could hold a pencil. She believes that stories have the power to change people by encouraging and inspiring them. Rosanne has been married for 20 years to the Coach and has two boys, ages 12 and 15, who are also sports nuts. She currently blogs about God making a daily difference in ordinary lives at