I feel like I’m the only one trying in my marriage. Help!

I read the book you recommended [Love & Respect] and I loved it, read it in two days 🙂 Things did get better after I read the book, but I’m having a hard time respecting my husband unconditionally because I feel like I am the only one putting effort into our relationship. And sometimes I pray that God give me patience and to help me respect him unconditionally, but it’s hard knowing that he’s not putting effort. Help! What should I do?

Yes, it’s hard and of course you feel discouraged. That’s natural; that’s normal. There’s no shame in that. Know that the Lord sees your faithfulness even if your husband doesn’t. Know that God will honor your faithfulness. Scripture talks about doing all our work (and marriage, particularly when it feels so one-sided, is most certainly work) as unto the Lord. You are being a witness to your husband, but ultimately you are serving the Lord. And you are not alone.

(Check out that whole passage in 1 Peter. It’s great. Start in chapter 2, verse 11 and go through chapter 4 which starts out with the helpful and encouraging exhortation: “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him.”)

It is hard. You’re right. But your efforts will never be for nothing. You are becoming a better human being if nothing else, with greater capacity for love and respect in general. God promises that nothing is wasted when we place it in his economy.

Stay in there. Persevere. Fight. The Lord is with you always.

I’m glad you enjoyed Love & Respect and find it helpful and insightful. You may want to read through all of it or parts of it again for encouragement. May I also suggest reading through the whole Bible. It’ll change your life. Here’s a plan to help, or if you have a smart phone, there are several Bible apps that have very helpful reading plans. Don’t worry about not being able to stick to the schedule all the time; hardly anyone is able to do that, especially the first time through. When you miss a day, don’t worry; just keep going!

I remain yours prayerfully,
Renea

What other advice would you give this young woman?

How else would you encourage her?

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