Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
“How can I live with a man who doesn’t love me but won’t leave me?” This is a question I am being asked more and more of late by women married to men who live in the same house with them, share children with them, and share the same bed with them but do not actively demonstrate love to them. These women are lonely and struggle with feelings of abandonment.
Typically, there is quite a bit of manipulation in attempt to force his love which is not effective or helpful. Women who have tried to make their husband’s love them have used tears, threats, yelling, and the silent treatment all to no avail.
The prospect of being in a loveless marriage can lead a woman to have a bleak outlook on the future, but it doesn’t have to. There are things she can do even in such a relationship that will bring joy and contentment into her heart and life.
If this is what you are looking for today, the counsel I offer is to begin by building your relationship with God. While your positional relationship is secure in Christ, you may want to learn who your Lord is beyond being your Savior and King. It is hard to love someone you barely know and so few Christians ever take the time to know Him as their God, Father, or lover of their soul. Determine to make an investment of time in learning who God is. Learn His character, His attributes, His thoughts on various subjects, and what brings Him glory (1 Cor 6:17; Col 2:10)
As you learn these things about God, you will realize that a woman who is in Christ is not alone, her maker is her husband and can be the love of her life. The majority of women will admit to this Scriptural reality yet live as though they are alone and unloved. Listen, He loved you enough to ransom you from hell; don’t you think He is interested in your daily life? Jesus can be your closest friend and the One to whom you can tell the deepest hurts and secrets your heart bears.
Sadly, few take this counsel seriously and persist in living in self-pity. Some will discard the marriage because they (wrongly) think that God wants them to be happy. Even worse, this counsel is ignored because the woman does not believe in her heart that the Lord can truly be enough for her. She longs for an earthly husband to supplement her heavenly one. She wants Jesus with skin on and is not content to live in the situation God has placed her in.
If this describes you today, I urge you to repent of your unbelief and confess it to God. Turn from this wickedness in your heart and begin to be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Romans 12:2). There is no mistake in the situation you find yourself in right now, God knows exactly what it will take for you to have to face the unbelief in your heart and is using your marriage to reveal issues within you that He wants you to address.
I would also suggest you make it a point to meet regularly with an older Christian woman who will help you in getting the logs out of your own eye with respect to your failings in your marriage, and who will challenge you to deal biblically with those sinful issues as they are uncovered. Ask her to encourage you in spiritual growth and change, and willingly place yourself under her wise tutelage. You would do well to be transparent with her and allow her access to the parts of you that you would rather keep hidden away. It is of course, essential that she is a trustworthy woman who will keep your confidences and that she is also someone who will not shrink away from confronting you in love.
None of this will bring the love you desire from your husband; I know that full well. However, increasing your interaction with God through His Word and prayer will enable you to think biblically about your marriage and your husband. Hiding His Word in your heart will help you to function in a manner that glorifies God even when you are feeling lonely and abandoned by your earthly husband.