As I write this post, we are on our way to our 12th wedding anniversary. Our marriage is awesome, but like all marriages, it has its good days and bad days. I can honestly say that Dana’s accountability partner experiment over the last year has been a huge step in keeping our marriage moving in the right direction. If you are married you may have noticed that after a certain stage it is a lot easier to get lazy and stop working on your marriage. To get a little more short with them and a little less caring and serving. You get in a rut. We both get in a rut. Here are a few ways that I’ve seen Wife Accountability help our marriage out of the rut and on to even better places.
Love Her, Don’t Fix Her
It takes away the urge for me to try to fix her. It’s like if you are eating with someone and they have a big chunk of spinach in their teeth. You feel like you should tell them, right? So I tell her. Again and again. “Hey hon, did you know that when your eyes turned to fire and you shouted rage across the room that you may have hurt your son’s feelings? And when you told me to ‘Go fly a kite’ that may have come across as slightly disrespectful or unloving?” Um yes, she probably actually already knows. The beauty of accountability is that I know that she knows. It’s as if she has said, “I know I have some spinach between my teeth. I used to have a lot more, and I got rid of that, and I tried to get rid of this piece, but I couldn’t quite get it. But, I will work on it this week and discuss it with a friend on Sunday, and we will keep repeating that cycle to help me remove it. Trust me, I’m trying!” Then I will say, “Never mind, I can handle a little spinach, let’s just enjoy our dinner and not worry about it right now!” Of course I still have a responsibility to lead her in an understanding, kind way. But it takes away the urgency.
There is hope that things will get better. Human beings can endure almost anything if there is hope that there will eventually be an improvement. Not to paint a too grim picture of marriage, but there are some days that don’t look much like the honeymoon. In those days I can draw hope from the fact that my wife loves me enough to be accountable to someone else. I know that she is working on it, and there is hope that there will be improvement. (I’m not saying that everything is her fault. Or even that it is 50% her fault. But I’m trying to be real about the fact that sometimes I wish we could give each other the attention that we gave each other pre-kids. Can you relate?)
These two things let me just relax, forgive, and support her…rather than trying to fix her. And that’s huge!
Another benefit to Wife Accountability is creativity – Two heads are better than one. They spend time actually focused on meeting my needs, whatever those are. And they have come up with some awesome ideas!
Words of wisdom for the husband of an accountability partner wife:
Don’t talk to your wife’s accountability partner about the things that they talk to each other about. Even though they are talking about you, it is not any of your business. And it is a little weird. And you want to keep safe boundaries to keep your marriage strong.
Try not to think about the very personal details that she knows about you. It won’t do you any good, and honestly, you have nothing to hide. So just pretend like she doesn’t know a thing.
Pray! Pray for their relationship. Trust me, the strength of their relationship will greatly help your wife and by extension will help you. Pray for your wife! Get in the ring and pray!
Tell her how much you appreciate the effort she is putting into the marriage. There will be days where she will be tempted to just let it slide and go back to normal. Your words of encouragement help her to keep working at it.
Start looking around for an accountability partner of your own. Chances are you could use one to. You might not have a friend who knows you well enough for you to start spilling your guts, but pray about it and evaluate the friends that you have. If you identify a likely candidate, start small by getting together to play golf or some other game, ask them to help you work on a project, or have their family over for dinner on Sunday night. After you build into this friendship for a while, then accountability is possible.
I can honestly say that Dana’s commitment to her accountability partner has helped us write an amazing new chapter in our marriage story. I hope that you will be inspired to do the same for yours.