Finding the Hero in Your Husband: Surrendering the Way God Intended

( 14 )

Overview

The reissue of Dr. Slattery's indispensable guide to creating a happy marriage. Now updated with questions for individual or group study use, this book offers practical steps to help women enjoy holy matrimony.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback (With Expanded Study Guide)
$10.98
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$12.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $6.98   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Finding the Hero in Your Husband: Surrendering the Way God Intended

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$12.95 List Price

Overview

The reissue of Dr. Slattery's indispensable guide to creating a happy marriage. Now updated with questions for individual or group study use, this book offers practical steps to help women enjoy holy matrimony.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
After feeling the same frustrations as many other married women, Christian wife, mother, and psychologist Julianna Slattery has come to a conclusion about Christian men: "Each one of them is a hero." She presents meaningful insights into modern Christian relationships and shows Christian women how they can use the power they have in their relationships to encourage their husbands' potential instead of destroying it.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757302343
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Edition description: With Expanded Study Guide
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 564,824
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Julianna Slattery's articles appear in Christian magazines like Marriage Partnership and Today's Christian Woman. A teacher and speaker on psychological issues affecting families and children, Dr. Slattery lectures frequently at churches, organizations, schools and conferences. She is a regular guest on local and national Christian radio shows, including Moody Broadcasting Network's Midday Connection. Dr. Slattery and her husband are the parents of three young boys and live in Ohio.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Do You Believe in Fairy Tales?

I'm so tired of trying to make this marriage work! Year after year, we have had the same old arguments. Now, we rarely even talk about our problems. It's almost as if we have settled for a cold war. No passion. No excitement. Certainly no intimacy.

I always knew marriage wouldn't be perfect, but I expected it to be more fulfilling than this. John just doesn't seem to care anymore. He gets more excited about the latest football scores than he does about our relationship. He's more upset about losing a golf game than hurting my feelings. Even when he does something nice, I can tell he does it out of duty, not love. This isn't what marriage is supposed to be. I'm not sure I ever would have married had I known this is what I would get.

Sometimes I am so angry with John. We seem just a couple steps away from happiness, but we never get there. Why can't he realize how insensitive he is to my needs? Why can't he value the marriage as much as I do? Sometimes I don't even feel like it's worth trying any more. Did I make a mistake when I married him? Is there any hope for us?

ùKara

In my counseling practice, I hear far too many wives whose feelings would be expressed by this session with Kara. Hoping to find true love, they have found true frustration. Looking for happily ever after, they have endured enough disappointment to last a lifetime. Shattered dreams and unmet needsùwhat woman can't relate to them? With all that can be said of and for marriage, it rarely lives up to the dreams of many hopeful brides.

Emily had dreamed of marriage since she was a little girl. Her parent's marriage had lasted a mere four years after Emily was born. Even as a young child, she remembered the arguments and the yelling. She could only imagine what it would be like to have a mom and dad who loved each other. Emily's hope for a loving family were soon invested in her dreams for intimacy and marriage. She wondered what kind of man she would marry and vowed that they would never be divorced.

After Emily grew up, her dreams were no less vivid. The drawers of her desk at work were stuffed with bride's magazines and romance novelsùsymbols of her longing for the perfect marriage. She hoped that everything bad about her life would disappear in the face of a wonderful marriage. The loneliness and pain would melt away when she was enveloped in the unconditional love of her "hero."

When Emily was twenty-five, her fantasy finally began to materialize. She met someone who appeared to be the man of her dreams. After a whirlwind courtship, the two were engaged with every hope of a match made in heaven. He seemed to complement her in every way, as his strengths compensated for her weaknesses. For awhile, her loneliness disappeared. Her fiancT seemed perfect, attentive to her thoughts and dreams.

The long-awaited day finally arrived. Walking down the aisle, Emily looked more beautiful than even she had imagined. Her prince was breathtaking in his tuxedo, his eyes filled with hope. In the secret recesses of her heart, she hoped that maybe she had discovered the impossibleùtrue love. Their family and friends waved good-bye as the newlyweds fled to a romantic honeymoon getaway.

As the days and weeks of their new marriage wore on, the conflicts began to emerge. Emily's new husband was not nearly as attentive to her as he had been before they married. He spent hours in the garage, rebuilding an old car. Sometimes on Friday nights he went out with the guys after work and came home after midnight. Emily felt the first shock of disappointment as the luster on her prince's armor began to tarnish. How could she be married, yet still have the same feelings of loneliness she had fought all of these years? Not wanting to make her husband angry, she swallowed her hurt and did every thing she knew to do to keep peace in the marriage.

By the time a year had passed, their marriage had become little more than a casual friendship. As Emily lay in bed one night, quietly sobbing into her pillow, she asked herself, "Did I marry the right person?" Every quality of her prince that had once reassured her now seemed to be collapsing into a heap of weaknesses. Panic seized her as she realized that her marriage was becoming just like that of her parents. Her fairy tale had evaporated.

This example highlights the contrast between the romantic expectations of too many women and the reality of marriage. A nanve young woman like Emily, determined not to make the same mistakes her parents had made but not knowing how to avoid them, would seem destined for disappointment. Her expectations for her husband were unrealistic. She did not anticipate conflict, anger and trials to be a part of her marriage. She was naturally crushed when the feelings of love began to waver.

But what about the older and more mature? Are they immune from unrealistic expectations and therefore more likely to be satisfied in marriage? Although they may be less surprised at the difficulty of marriage, older women are just as likely to be frustrated that their marriages are not more intimate.

Becky and Gene were in their mid-thirties when they got married. Because they wed later in life, they had fairly realistic expectations of what marriage would be. They had dated for over two years and had a good handle on their respective strengths and limitations. They knew that their big disagreements would always be over the issues of in-laws and money. Becky and Gene were prepared for marriage. They had every reason to be optimistic about their union and trusted God to bless their new family.

Becky came to me for counseling two years into the marriage. After only a few minutes she collapsed into tears. "I am beginning to realize that Gene is never going to change. He will always be obsessed with work and he will never understand that I need more from him! I can't imagine living our whole lives together feeling this lonely. The worst part is that he doesn't even notice anything is wrong!"

Even if, like Becky, a woman thinks she is prepared for marriage, there will almost certainly come a point where she feels cheated. Something inside of her screams, "I deserve better than this!" Every thoughtless comment, forgotten birthday or sarcastic attitude reminds her of how broken her dream of fulfilling love seems to be. She wonders, "Is it my fault? Am I trying too hard or not hard enough? Why isn't this working the way it's supposed to?"

Marriage has been described as "a romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter." Many women, like Emily and Becky, are deeply wounded to learn that their dream of "the prince" exists only in fantasy. They may look enviously at other marriages and idolize husbands who are not their own, concluding that they simply picked the wrong man. They flock to seminars and workshops that promise three-step solutions to happiness, thinking, "if only I kiss my frog, he will turn into a prince." Like Cinderella in her dirty work clothes, they hope, "Somewhere is a fairy godmother who can make me beautiful enough to be cherished." The fantasy lives onùand so does the letdown.

Overcoming the disappointment of marriage is a tremendous obstacle to building true intimacy. Often our understanding of love and marriage is unrealistic and incorrect. When we confront the real-life work of marriage, including disagreements, arguments and failures, we feel as if we have missed out on what we were promised.

Modern culture both influences our thinking and reflects our misconceptions about marriage. Think about much of the entertainment marketed for women, both young and old. Movies, television programs, cartoons and romance novels consistently tell a story of a woman searching for love. Finally, she finds "Mr. Right." The stories almost always end when the man and women proclaim their love, with a wedding or at least a kiss to solidify their commitment. The message is clear: find the prince and you will become a princess. His love will rescue you. You will live happily ever after. No wonder girls and women alike often have an inaccurate view of both marriage and lasting love.

We recently took our two children to the magical land of Walt Disney World. At Cinderella's castle, we ate breakfast with many of the Disney characters. Cinderella and her handsome Prince Charming fluttered through the room. When they got to our table, I playfully asked them about the state of their marriage. Prince Charming looked lovingly into his bride's eyes, held her hands, and said, "We have been married for 50 years and are still madly in love." I asked, "What is your secret?" "Living in Walt Disney World!" the Prince replied. Of course! Cinderella and Prince Charming are frozen in time. They have not aged or faced the realities of life. For fifty years they have lived on their wedding day. In fact, they still wear the same clothes.

On the surface, their marriage seems perfect. The problem is that there is nothing more than the surface. Imagine that it were possible to live every day in the ecstasy of intoxicating new love. Fifty years of it. Never a fight or disagreement because there is never an issue to discuss. What a shallow existence! There has to be more to love than Cinderella's castle every day for fifty years.

Of course there is more to love. But it is never realized through escaping the reality of disappointment and conflict.

Newspaperman and novelist Edgar Watson Howe once said, "Marriage is a good deal like a circus: There is not as much in it as is represented in the advertising." Over time, most wives learn to live with their broken dreams and unfulfilled expectations. They accept that princes and princesses are fairy tales for children. "Adults live in the real world, with real relationships," they tell themselves. "Intimacy is simply unrealistic." Those who refuse to accept this reality may flit from marriage to marriage, hoping someday to win the lottery of love. Very few choose to believe that God can work wonders right in the middle of their all-too-human marriage. Why does God allow us to experience such disappointment? Why did he give us desires for love and intimacy that are destined to lead to disappointment?

One of the greatest mysteries of human relationships is the miracle that God is able to work through a man and a woman who follow his design for marriage. The dream of the fairy tale stems from desires that God can fulfill. Our longings for love and intimacy highlight our need for relationships that go beyond the scope of the "normal" marriage. It is only through dependence on God and obedience to his plan (which is sometimes difficult) that we can get a glimpse of what real intimacy and love are all about. We are likely to find that mature love bears little resemblance to the "tingles" often mistaken as intimacy.

We long for intimacy, for the kind of love that believes and bears all things. We are starved for it. Although fairy tales and fantasies only serve to foster unrealistic hopes, the dream of intimacy is real and alive today. We live in homes, not castles, and there are no real dragons for our husbands to slay. But God has placed the yearning for intimacy in our hearts for a reason. He did not intend for us to be continually frustrated in our marriages. However, lasting intimacy does not develop based on the intoxication of new love.

God's plan is that marriage is love in its infancy, not its maturity. Intimacy can only grow and develop over a lifetime of living together within the safety of a committed love. Working through conflicts and differences, weathering storms, admitting selfishness and anger are all the necessary difficulties that allow genuine intimacy to grow. Unfortunately, many couples believe that such disappointments signal the end of intimacy instead of the beginning. But the fairy tale must end for the potential of true intimacy to begin.

I once heard a pastor say at a wedding ceremony, "There are hard marriages and there are bad marriages." Indeed, marriage takes hard work. It does not happen as naturally as falling in love. It is only through the longing for meaningful intimacy that people are reminded to work, to trust, to believe and to hope. A wife's desire for something deeper is often the engine that drives the couple to seek fulfillment. However, if she allows her longing to turn into bitterness, she will contribute to the stifling loneliness she dreads.

God has designed the mystery of intimacy to be achieved through two very imperfect humans. Couples exchanging their wedding vows are ordinary men and women who have normal weaknesses, vulnerabilities and insecuritiesùno matter how much they may wish to hide these inadequacies from each other. Both of them will soon learn the inevitability of disappointment. It is only through the acceptance of each other's faults that the love they dream of can begin to become a reality.

A woman never marries the man of her dreams.

She helps the man she marries to become the man of his dreams.

One of my most enjoyable assignments as a counselor is working with engaged couples. Premarital counseling sometimes feels like what a doctor must experience when delivering a new baby. These young adults have not made any mistakes yet. Their lives together are a clean slate filled with possibility and potential. The most exciting aspect of premarital counseling is the passion that they feel for each other. Their eyes see nothing but the strength and promise of their love.

Typically, I ask the future bride to discuss some concerns she has about her fiancT. More than once, a young woman has been unable to identify even one weakness of her future husband. Of course, her infatuation will not last. A day will soon come when this new bride will not have to think hard to pinpoint her husband's limitations.

Before the wedding, a woman sees a bright hope in her fiancT. She may see glimpses of his sensitivity, his strength and his commitment. After the wedding, she inevitably sees his weaknesses. Her disappointment may initially feel like a crashing blow. It becomes painfully obvious to her that he cannot meet all of her needs. She can't believe how rude and insensitive he can be. Now she has a choice: to respond in anger to his weakness, or to invest with faith in his strength. For intimacy to grow, she must believe in his potential. She can invest in the real-life prince that lies hidden beneath his doubts and insecurities.

The secret of intimacy in marriage is not finding a "hero" to be your husband, but finding the "hero" in your husband. This is a tremendous and difficult task, particularly when a wife's reaction to her disappointment has been resentment. God has given each woman the power to help her husband grow, over time, into the godly man that he can become. Unfortunately, many women are so devastated by what he is not today that they refuse to invest in the man he could become tomorrow.

What a Real Hero Looks Like

"Finding the hero in your husband. What does that mean?" There is a lot of talk today about what makes a hero. How does one become a hero? Through special talents or athletic prowess? Superhuman feats? Daring rescues? If these are the criteria, where is the "hero" in the average husband?

The essence of heroics is the consistent choice to sacrifice for others. War heroes put their lives on the line for a military cause. Police officers and firefighters willingly place themselves in harm's way to protect others. "Unsung" heroes give up their own glory or desires in order to allow others to flourish. Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero. Not only did he give his life on the cross, but he spent his days on earth sacrificially ministering to the needs of others. This is exactly the role to which God has called every husband. He is to give himself to his wife just as Christ gave himself for the church. A husband's job is no easier than a wife's. He is called to be a daily hero.

Robertson McQuilkin's life represents the hero that every woman longs to discover in her husband. After forty years of marriage, his wife Muriel fell prey to Alzheimer's. At the time, Robertson was the president of Columbia International University. As Muriel's health faded, Robertson was forced with the choice of either putting her in an institution or retiring from his position to care for her full time. Here are his own words about his decision:

As she needed more and more of me, I wrestled daily with the question of who gets me full-time-Muriel or Columbia Bible College and Seminary. . . . When the time came, the decision was firm. It took no great calculation. It was a matter of integrity. Had I not promised, forty-two years before, 'in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part?' This was no grim duty to which I was stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn. Such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt. . . . She is such a delight to me. I don't have to care for her, I get to.

I have been startled by the response to the announcement of my resignation. Husbands and wives renew marriage vows, pastors tell the story to their congregations. It was a mystery to me, until a distinguished oncologist who lives constantly with dying people told me, 'Almost all women stand by their man; very few men stand by their women.' Perhaps people sensed this contemporary tragedy and somehow were helped by a simple choice I consider to be my only option.

It is all more than keeping promises and being fair, however. As I watch her brave descent into oblivion, Muriel is the joy of my life. Daily I discern new manifestations of the kind of person she is, the wife I always loved. I also see fresh manifestations of God's loveùthe God I long to love more fully (Christianity Today, "Living by Vows").

Robertson McQuilkin is a hero. He did not save any lives, but he chose to use his as a reflection of God's love. He is an example of the heroic love wives long for in their husbands.

Finding the hero is not about depending on your husband for fulfillment. Ironically, it is only through letting go of the dream of his unfailing love that a woman can invest in the hope for true intimacy. It is not your husband that you must worship. The hero in your husband is only his capacity to image God's loving kindness, mercy and grace. To find that hero, you must know the God your husband was created to image. The fairy tale is not marrying Prince Charming. It is helping the man you married to become the godly man he is created to be.

As a wife, you have tremendous influence to either bring out the hero in your husband or bury it deeper within his anger and insecurity. God has given you the power to call forth your husband's valor or to highlight his faint-heartedness. Proverbs 14:1 (NIV) says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Are you using your influence to promote intimacy or to destroy any chance for it? The purpose of this book is to help you grasp the important role that you play in contributing to a fulfilling marriage. My prayer is that God will use these words to empower you in the challenging, lifelong tasks of building your home ùof calling forth the hero in your husbands.

Regardless of the state of your "fairy tale," do not give up hope of fulfillment. God's plan for intimacy is real. It is available to those who seek the wisdom of his design for husband and wife. Nothing can guarantee a happy marriage. You cannot force your husband to love you, nor can you make your marriage an intimate one. You can only do your part. However, through your commitment to wisdom and faithfulness, you can participate in building your marriage rather than contributing to its destruction.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Proverbs 14:1, NIV

Questions for Discussion and Reflection

  1. Try to remember back to your wedding day. What hopes and expectations did you have for your marriage? Which were realistic and which were not?
  2. Which of your romantic dreams have come true? How have you been disappointed?
  3. Why do you think God gave women the desire to be loved so completely only to be disappointed in marriage?
  4. Read Proverbs 14:1. How might a wise woman build her house? How might a foolish woman tear hers down with her own hands? Why might she be so destructive to her own family?
  5. Read Proverbs 1:24-32. What will happen to the woman who continues to ignore wisdom?
  6. Read Proverbs 4:7-9, 9:10, 19:20, 2:6, and 8:34. How can a foolish woman become wise?



(c)2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Finding the Hero in Your Husband by Julianna Slattery, Ph.D.. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: HCI, 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One

Do You Believe in Fairy Tales?

I'm so tired of trying to make this marriage work! Year after year, we have had the same old arguments. Now, we rarely even talk about our problems. It's almost as if we have settled for a cold war. No passion. No excitement. Certainly no intimacy.

I always knew marriage wouldn't be perfect, but I expected it to be more fulfilling than this. John just doesn't seem to care anymore. He gets more excited about the latest football scores than he does about our relationship. He's more upset about losing a golf game than hurting my feelings. Even when he does something nice, I can tell he does it out of duty, not love. This isn't what marriage is supposed to be. I'm not sure I ever would have married had I known this is what I would get.

Sometimes I am so angry with John. We seem just a couple steps away from happiness, but we never get there. Why can't he realize how insensitive he is to my needs? Why can't he value the marriage as much as I do? Sometimes I don't even feel like it's worth trying any more. Did I make a mistake when I married him? Is there any hope for us?

-Kara

In my counseling practice, I hear far too many wives whose feelings would be expressed by this session with Kara. Hoping to find true love, they have found true frustration. Looking for happily ever after, they have endured enough disappointment to last a lifetime. Shattered dreams and unmet needs-what woman can't relate to them? With all that can be said of and for marriage, it rarely lives up to the dreams of many hopeful brides.

Emily had dreamed of marriage since she was a little girl. Her parent's marriage had lasted a mere four years after Emily was born. Even as a young child, she remembered the arguments and the yelling. She could only imagine what it would be like to have a mom and dad who loved each other. Emily's hope for a loving family were soon invested in her dreams for intimacy and marriage. She wondered what kind of man she would marry and vowed that they would never be divorced.

After Emily grew up, her dreams were no less vivid. The drawers of her desk at work were stuffed with bride's magazines and romance novels-symbols of her longing for the perfect marriage. She hoped that everything bad about her life would disappear in the face of a wonderful marriage. The loneliness and pain would melt away when she was enveloped in the unconditional love of her "hero."

When Emily was twenty-five, her fantasy finally began to materialize. She met someone who appeared to be the man of her dreams. After a whirlwind courtship, the two were engaged with every hope of a match made in heaven. He seemed to complement her in every way, as his strengths compensated for her weaknesses. For awhile, her loneliness disappeared. Her fiancé seemed perfect, attentive to her thoughts and dreams.

The long-awaited day finally arrived. Walking down the aisle, Emily looked more beautiful than even she had imagined. Her prince was breathtaking in his tuxedo, his eyes filled with hope. In the secret recesses of her heart, she hoped that maybe she had discovered the impossible-true love. Their family and friends waved good-bye as the newlyweds fled to a romantic honeymoon getaway.

As the days and weeks of their new marriage wore on, the conflicts began to emerge. Emily's new husband was not nearly as attentive to her as he had been before they married. He spent hours in the garage, rebuilding an old car. Sometimes on Friday nights he went out with the guys after work and came home after midnight. Emily felt the first shock of disappointment as the luster on her prince's armor began to tarnish. How could she be married, yet still have the same feelings of loneliness she had fought all of these years? Not wanting to make her husband angry, she swallowed her hurt and did every thing she knew to do to keep peace in the marriage.

By the time a year had passed, their marriage had become little more than a casual friendship. As Emily lay in bed one night, quietly sobbing into her pillow, she asked herself, "Did I marry the right person?" Every quality of her prince that had once reassured her now seemed to be collapsing into a heap of weaknesses. Panic seized her as she realized that her marriage was becoming just like that of her parents. Her fairy tale had evaporated.

This example highlights the contrast between the romantic expectations of too many women and the reality of marriage. A naïve young woman like Emily, determined not to make the same mistakes her parents had made but not knowing how to avoid them, would seem destined for disappointment. Her expectations for her husband were unrealistic. She did not anticipate conflict, anger and trials to be a part of her marriage. She was naturally crushed when the feelings of love began to waver.

But what about the older and more mature? Are they immune from unrealistic expectations and therefore more likely to be satisfied in marriage? Although they may be less surprised at the difficulty of marriage, older women are just as likely to be frustrated that their marriages are not more intimate.

Becky and Gene were in their mid-thirties when they got married. Because they wed later in life, they had fairly realistic expectations of what marriage would be. They had dated for over two years and had a good handle on their respective strengths and limitations. They knew that their big disagreements would always be over the issues of in-laws and money. Becky and Gene were prepared for marriage. They had every reason to be optimistic about their union and trusted God to bless their new family.

Becky came to me for counseling two years into the marriage. After only a few minutes she collapsed into tears. "I am beginning to realize that Gene is never going to change. He will always be obsessed with work and he will never understand that I need more from him! I can't imagine living our whole lives together feeling this lonely. The worst part is that he doesn't even notice anything is wrong!"

Even if, like Becky, a woman thinks she is prepared for marriage, there will almost certainly come a point where she feels cheated. Something inside of her screams, "I deserve better than this!" Every thoughtless comment, forgotten birthday or sarcastic attitude reminds her of how broken her dream of fulfilling love seems to be. She wonders, "Is it my fault? Am I trying too hard or not hard enough? Why isn't this working the way it's supposed to?"

Marriage has been described as "a romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter." Many women, like Emily and Becky, are deeply wounded to learn that their dream of "the prince" exists only in fantasy. They may look enviously at other marriages and idolize husbands who are not their own, concluding that they simply picked the wrong man. They flock to seminars and workshops that promise three-step solutions to happiness, thinking, "if only I kiss my frog, he will turn into a prince." Like Cinderella in her dirty work clothes, they hope, "Somewhere is a fairy godmother who can make me beautiful enough to be cherished." The fantasy lives on-and so does the letdown.

Overcoming the disappointment of marriage is a tremendous obstacle to building true intimacy. Often our understanding of love and marriage is unrealistic and incorrect. When we confront the real-life work of marriage, including disagreements, arguments and failures, we feel as if we have missed out on what we were promised.

Modern culture both influences our thinking and reflects our misconceptions about marriage. Think about much of the entertainment marketed for women, both young and old. Movies, television programs, cartoons and romance novels consistently tell a story of a woman searching for love. Finally, she finds "Mr. Right." The stories almost always end when the man and women proclaim their love, with a wedding or at least a kiss to solidify their commitment. The message is clear: find the prince and you will become a princess. His love will rescue you. You will live happily ever after. No wonder girls and women alike often have an inaccurate view of both marriage and lasting love.

We recently took our two children to the magical land of Walt Disney World. At Cinderella's castle, we ate breakfast with many of the Disney characters. Cinderella and her handsome Prince Charming fluttered through the room. When they got to our table, I playfully asked them about the state of their marriage. Prince Charming looked lovingly into his bride's eyes, held her hands, and said, "We have been married for 50 years and are still madly in love." I asked, "What is your secret?" "Living in Walt Disney World!" the Prince replied. Of course! Cinderella and Prince Charming are frozen in time. They have not aged or faced the realities of life. For fifty years they have lived on their wedding day. In fact, they still wear the same clothes.

On the surface, their marriage seems perfect. The problem is that there is nothing more than the surface. Imagine that it were possible to live every day in the ecstasy of intoxicating new love. Fifty years of it. Never a fight or disagreement because there is never an issue to discuss. What a shallow existence! There has to be more to love than Cinderella's castle every day for fifty years.

Of course there is more to love. But it is never realized through escaping the reality of disappointment and conflict.

Newspaperman and novelist Edgar Watson Howe once said, "Marriage is a good deal like a circus: There is not as much in it as is represented in the advertising." Over time, most wives learn to live with their broken dreams and unfulfilled expectations. They accept that princes and princesses are fairy tales for children. "Adults live in the real world, with real relationships," they tell themselves. "Intimacy is simply unrealistic." Those who refuse to accept this reality may flit from marriage to marriage, hoping someday to win the lottery of love. Very few choose to believe that God can work wonders right in the middle of their all-too-human marriage. Why does God allow us to experience such disappointment? Why did he give us desires for love and intimacy that are destined to lead to disappointment?

One of the greatest mysteries of human relationships is the miracle that God is able to work through a man and a woman who follow his design for marriage. The dream of the fairy tale stems from desires that God can fulfill. Our longings for love and intimacy highlight our need for relationships that go beyond the scope of the "normal" marriage. It is only through dependence on God and obedience to his plan (which is sometimes difficult) that we can get a glimpse of what real intimacy and love are all about. We are likely to find that mature love bears little resemblance to the "tingles" often mistaken as intimacy.

We long for intimacy, for the kind of love that believes and bears all things. We are starved for it. Although fairy tales and fantasies only serve to foster unrealistic hopes, the dream of intimacy is real and alive today. We live in homes, not castles, and there are no real dragons for our husbands to slay. But God has placed the yearning for intimacy in our hearts for a reason. He did not intend for us to be continually frustrated in our marriages. However, lasting intimacy does not develop based on the intoxication of new love.

God's plan is that marriage is love in its infancy, not its maturity. Intimacy can only grow and develop over a lifetime of living together within the safety of a committed love. Working through conflicts and differences, weathering storms, admitting selfishness and anger are all the necessary difficulties that allow genuine intimacy to grow. Unfortunately, many couples believe that such disappointments signal the end of intimacy instead of the beginning. But the fairy tale must end for the potential of true intimacy to begin.

I once heard a pastor say at a wedding ceremony, "There are hard marriages and there are bad marriages." Indeed, marriage takes hard work. It does not happen as naturally as falling in love. It is only through the longing for meaningful intimacy that people are reminded to work, to trust, to believe and to hope. A wife's desire for something deeper is often the engine that drives the couple to seek fulfillment. However, if she allows her longing to turn into bitterness, she will contribute to the stifling loneliness she dreads.

God has designed the mystery of intimacy to be achieved through two very imperfect humans. Couples exchanging their wedding vows are ordinary men and women who have normal weaknesses, vulnerabilities and insecurities-no matter how much they may wish to hide these inadequacies from each other. Both of them will soon learn the inevitability of disappointment. It is only through the acceptance of each other's faults that the love they dream of can begin to become a reality.

A woman never marries the man of her dreams.

She helps the man she marries to become the man of his dreams.

One of my most enjoyable assignments as a counselor is working with engaged couples. Premarital counseling sometimes feels like what a doctor must experience when delivering a new baby. These young adults have not made any mistakes yet. Their lives together are a clean slate filled with possibility and potential. The most exciting aspect of premarital counseling is the passion that they feel for each other. Their eyes see nothing but the strength and promise of their love.

Typically, I ask the future bride to discuss some concerns she has about her fiancé. More than once, a young woman has been unable to identify even one weakness of her future husband. Of course, her infatuation will not last. A day will soon come when this new bride will not have to think hard to pinpoint her husband's limitations.

Before the wedding, a woman sees a bright hope in her fiancé. She may see glimpses of his sensitivity, his strength and his commitment. After the wedding, she inevitably sees his weaknesses. Her disappointment may initially feel like a crashing blow. It becomes painfully obvious to her that he cannot meet all of her needs. She can't believe how rude and insensitive he can be. Now she has a choice: to respond in anger to his weakness, or to invest with faith in his strength. For intimacy to grow, she must believe in his potential. She can invest in the real-life prince that lies hidden beneath his doubts and insecurities.

The secret of intimacy in marriage is not finding a "hero" to be your husband, but finding the "hero" in your husband. This is a tremendous and difficult task, particularly when a wife's reaction to her disappointment has been resentment. God has given each woman the power to help her husband grow, over time, into the godly man that he can become. Unfortunately, many women are so devastated by what he is not today that they refuse to invest in the man he could become tomorrow.

What a Real Hero Looks Like


"Finding the hero in your husband. What does that mean?" There is a lot of talk today about what makes a hero. How does one become a hero? Through special talents or athletic prowess? Superhuman feats? Daring rescues? If these are the criteria, where is the "hero" in the average husband?

The essence of heroics is the consistent choice to sacrifice for others. War heroes put their lives on the line for a military cause. Police officers and firefighters willingly place themselves in harm's way to protect others. "Unsung" heroes give up their own glory or desires in order to allow others to flourish. Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero. Not only did he give his life on the cross, but he spent his days on earth sacrificially ministering to the needs of others. This is exactly the role to which God has called every husband. He is to give himself to his wife just as Christ gave himself for the church. A husband's job is no easier than a wife's. He is called to be a daily hero.

Robertson McQuilkin's life represents the hero that every woman longs to discover in her husband. After forty years of marriage, his wife Muriel fell prey to Alzheimer's. At the time, Robertson was the president of Columbia International University. As Muriel's health faded, Robertson was forced with the choice of either putting her in an institution or retiring from his position to care for her full time. Here are his own words about his decision:

As she needed more and more of me, I wrestled daily with the question of who gets me full-time-Muriel or Columbia Bible College and Seminary. . . . When the time came, the decision was firm. It took no great calculation. It was a matter of integrity. Had I not promised, forty-two years before, 'in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part?' This was no grim duty to which I was stoically resigned, however. It was only fair. She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn. Such a partner she was! If I took care of her for 40 years, I would never be out of her debt. . . . She is such a delight to me. I don't have to care for her, I get to.

I have been startled by the response to the announcement of my resignation. Husbands and wives renew marriage vows, pastors tell the story to their congregations. It was a mystery to me, until a distinguished oncologist who lives constantly with dying people told me, 'Almost all women stand by their man; very few men stand by their women.' Perhaps people sensed this contemporary tragedy and somehow were helped by a simple choice I consider to be my only option.

It is all more than keeping promises and being fair, however. As I watch her brave descent into oblivion, Muriel is the joy of my life. Daily I discern new manifestations of the kind of person she is, the wife I always loved. I also see fresh manifestations of God's love-the God I long to love more fully (Christianity Today, "Living by Vows").

Robertson McQuilkin is a hero. He did not save any lives, but he chose to use his as a reflection of God's love. He is an example of the heroic love wives long for in their husbands.

Finding the hero is not about depending on your husband for fulfillment. Ironically, it is only through letting go of the dream of his unfailing love that a woman can invest in the hope for true intimacy. It is not your husband that you must worship. The hero in your husband is only his capacity to image God's loving kindness, mercy and grace. To find that hero, you must know the God your husband was created to image. The fairy tale is not marrying Prince Charming. It is helping the man you married to become the godly man he is created to be.

As a wife, you have tremendous influence to either bring out the hero in your husband or bury it deeper within his anger and insecurity. God has given you the power to call forth your husband's valor or to highlight his faint-heartedness. Proverbs 14:1 (NIV) says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Are you using your influence to promote intimacy or to destroy any chance for it? The purpose of this book is to help you grasp the important role that you play in contributing to a fulfilling marriage. My prayer is that God will use these words to empower you in the challenging, lifelong tasks of building your home -of calling forth the hero in your husbands.

Regardless of the state of your "fairy tale," do not give up hope of fulfillment. God's plan for intimacy is real. It is available to those who seek the wisdom of his design for husband and wife. Nothing can guarantee a happy marriage. You cannot force your husband to love you, nor can you make your marriage an intimate one. You can only do your part. However, through your commitment to wisdom and faithfulness, you can participate in building your marriage rather than contributing to its destruction.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Proverbs 14:1, NIV

Questions for Discussion and Reflection

  1. Try to remember back to your wedding day. What hopes and expectations did you have for your marriage? Which were realistic and which were not?
  2. Which of your romantic dreams have come true? How have you been disappointed?
  3. Why do you think God gave women the desire to be loved so completely only to be disappointed in marriage?
  4. Read Proverbs 14:1. How might a wise woman build her house? How might a foolish woman tear hers down with her own hands? Why might she be so destructive to her own family?
  5. Read Proverbs 1:24-32. What will happen to the woman who continues to ignore wisdom?
  6. Read Proverbs 4:7-9, 9:10, 19:20, 2:6, and 8:34. How can a foolish woman become wise?

(c)2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Finding the Hero in Your Husband by Julianna Slattery, Ph.D.. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: HCI, 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2004

    Necessary for all wives

    Wow - what incredible insight! This book so transformed my outlook on my marriage and my husband that we are beginning a women's study at my church based on this book. I recommend that every wife or wife-to-be read it. You will learn how to foster an atmosphere in the home where your husband is encouraged to be all God has called him to be and where you can be an instrument through which God's grace is extended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2008

    wow

    I think I absolutely love this book. I have to wait until my husband gets back from his ¿trip¿ in order to ask him though, because I don¿t like to make decisions on my own. I hear a lot about women trying to fulfill the ideas in this book, but to be honest I have not found it very difficult. I am pretty sure I was born, no created, to fulfill the role of a submissive wife because I am not that smart. Don¿t get me wrong, I took some college courses and stuff (don¿t want my kids to think their mother¿s an idiot), but always had a hard time. Anyway, when I found this book I was struggling to support myself in a job that was kind of out of my league, haha, and it gave me the perfect out. I have always been a church going person and any book that talks about God can¿t be all that wrong, right? After 4 years and 2 months and 3 weeks (but who¿s counting?), my husband and I now live in our own version of wedded bliss, and I must admit that its all because of this book. Because I never question his judgment, we never have any arguments. I just want to share a few of the ways my commitment to submission has enriched my life. Infidelity is probably one of the worst problems any marriage can face, but since I stopped complaining about his gambling, he no longer has enough money to spend on prostitutes. Miracles sure do happen in mysterious ways!!! Of course, husbands and wives are not islands, and I am very grateful to those kind people on the street that give of their own change so that my children and I can eat, since my husband thinks having me work outside the house would be quite the scandal.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Awesome and Informative!!!

    This is truly a wonderful book. It is FULL of so much insight into both the male and female's way of thinking. It doesn't point fingers, nor does it place blame. I was so captured by this book, from the first chapter to the very last. There was not one chapter that didn't speak to me. The book really caused me to examine myself and the way I treat, view, and value my husband - and myself to an extent. I HIGHLY recommend this book! It is the most comprehensive book I've ever read on marriage. 'I especially got a lot of insight from the 'Headache' chapter.' If you're looking to be the wife - and/or husband - that will make your marriage all that it should be 'according to God's plan', this is definitely the book to get. This is one of those books I will add to my daughters' - and son's 'for my daughter in-law-to-be' - hope chest. 'My children are currently 2, 4, and 10. So, they have plenty of time to read this it's an ageless book'.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    an eyeopener

    I really enjoyed the book all the way from the beginning. It showed me what personality I am and I liked how she refered to scriptures out of the bible also.After starting to read that I tried looking at my husband different and find his dreams.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2002

    Great book

    Not only is it a very enjoyble read, but the author gives some great insights that will really help build my marriage.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)