Susan recently shared with me that there were times early in our marriage when she could not keep up with what I wanted from her. She felt that what I expected from her was constantly changing from week to week—she called it the “flavor of the week.”
For example, some weeks I wanted her to encourage me. Other weeks, I wanted her to do things for me. Other times it was more affection that I asked for.
In those times when Susan was striving to be my “flavor of the week,” she constantly felt like she couldn’t do things right. Like Susan, there have been moments in all of our marriages when we’ve said, “I feel like I can’t do anything right!” We think it’d be easier to simply give up trying. But instead of getting stuck in this mind-set, I encourage you to take these 3 steps when you feel like you can’t do anything right in your marriage:
1. Define what “Right” is.
First, it’s important that you and your spouse agree on a definition of what’s “right.” I remember a time when I had washed, dried, and folded all the laundry and was so excited to show Susan and get her applause. But when I brought her into the laundry room, she simply looked at the clean piles of clothes and said, “Oh, that’s fine,” before turning and walking away. I couldn’t believe it! In my eyes, I had done everything right. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t thrilled. As we reflected on the situation, I came to understand that Susan simply wanted encouraging words from me. Her love language is words of affirmation. Compliments were her idea of what was “right,” not nicely folded laundry. As you look at your marriage, be sure that you and your spouse are in alignment on what is “right.”
2. Communicate with your spouse.
If you’ve observed the situation and unsuccessfully attempted to figure out what the issue is, it may be time to communicate directly with your spouse. Share with them that you’re frustrated at not knowing how to give them what they want. Ask your spouse, “How can I best show my love for you?” Hopefully, they will respond with a clear answer and the conversation will open your eyes to what your spouse really needs from you.
3. Find a mediator.
Finally, there may come a time when seeking outside counsel is best. Finding a marriage counselor, a pastor, or even a close friend to mediate may bridge the communication gap between you and your spouse. Another pair of eyes and ears will be helpful in giving you a fresh perspective on your marriage.
- 4 Ways to Know When It’s Time for Marriage Counseling
- Finding a Good Marriage Counselor: Stacking the Deck in Your Favor
Where are some areas in your marriage where you feel like you can’t do anything right? How can you communicate with your spouse to strengthen those areas? Feel free to leave a comment.