1 Rule Husbands Should Break for a Happy Marriage

1 Rule Husbands Should Break for a Happy Marriage5 min read

There are rules to a happy marriage. I’ve written about those before. But, there’s one rule you husbands should break if you want your marriage to thrive.

Here’s something that might surprise you. There are times in my marriage when I act more like a child than and adult.

A Game Without Winners

If I put my own children together for very long, I might hear stuff like this:

  • “It’s not my turn!”
  • “I did it last time!
  • “Mom, he/she did it to me again!”

If you’d hang out with me and my wife during some of our weak moments, you might hear stuff like this:

  • “I work hard all day, it’s my turn to relax.”
  • “I’ve been dealing with problems all day; you deal with the children.”
  • “There you go again! You never listen to what I’m saying.”

It’s a lot like what my kids might say, but with an “adult” flavor. Statements like these don’t contribute to a happy marriage. Make statements like these often, and your marriage will be quite unhappy.

It’s a way of keeping score. But in this game there are no winners. Husband and wife try to weigh everything in the balance, to make sure everything is divided evenly.

I do this score-keeping much less than I did earlier in my marriage. But it still springs up from time to time. It’s a behavior that comes naturally. If we don’t reign it in it’ll develop into a bad habit.

It needs to stop.

If you’re a husband whose marriage is caught in this cycle, you can break it.
– Don’t expect your wife to feel fulfilled while barricading yourself behind the expectation that she owes you something.
– Don’t remind her that she has a duty to serve you, and expect her to love you.
– Don’t give gifts to her, and then insist that she give sex to you.

Break the 50/50 Rule

A marriage can’t thrive if it’s stuck on the 50-50 rule. The rule might work well for roommates. But roommates are sharing space, a marriage is for love. True love hopes and longs to be loved in return as much as it gives. But true love gives without holding back. True love never insists on a return for its investment.

God designed that in marriage, the two would become one flesh.

Men hear that and the first thing that comes to mind is two bodies tangles up together in passionate sex. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

To become one flesh is to unite around a single purpose. That purpose is a thriving, loving relationship. A marriage flourishes when both spouses voluntarily commit themselves to giving 100% to their marriage. The 50/50 rule is for two people who want to keep themselves separate from each other.

The purpose and goal of marriage, is to unite as one.

Don’t wait for your wife to take the initiative. You asked her to marry you (I hope). Now, show her what it means to be married.

The 50/50 rule might seem to work for a while, but nobody wins this kind of stand-off. At best you’ll be roommates. But the likely outcome is for your wife to wither emotionally and physically, like a poorly nurtured plant. That’s not something worth waiting for.

A fruit tree must be nurtured before it will bear fruit. The quality of the fruit depends heavily on the quality of the care it receives. Imagine a gardener who says, “I won’t care for this tree until it produces good fruit.” He won’t be a gardener for long. He won’t be a happy gardener. If he gets any fruit, the quality will be poor. Eventually, his tree will shrivel up and die.

But what if the gardener nurtures the tree with everything he’s got, and it still produces sad-looking, poor-tasting fruit?

How Much is Your Marriage Worth?

The biblical role of the husband is clearly stated by in the Bible by Paul. He wrote, husbands are called to love their wives as Jesus loves His church, giving His life for His bride–His people (Ephesians 5:25).

For thousands of years Jesus has pursued His people with passionate love. He continues to love them, even when His people reject His love. At times, His people have rejected His love for strange gods. His people went so far as to hand Him over to the Romans who crucified Him. Yet, Jesus persisted, and persists, in His love for them.

Married couples, especially husbands, are called by God to love their wives at all costs. To me, that means loving when there’s no love in return.

It’s an impossible task, if you try to do it on your own.

That kind of love is only possible if you receive God’s love first.

Most marriages pass through periods where one spouse will not–or cannot–give to the marriage. Such a period may follow a major disappointment, a miscarriage, the death of a child, illness, a lost job, an affair. Those periods may last hours, weeks, or years. When at least one spouse is fully committed to the marriage, the odds of that relationship surviving, and recovering from difficult times are good.

The chances of a man finding a woman who doesn’t need nurturing in a marriage are slim.

Don’t be the kind of man who keeps looking for the perfect wife. You’ll keep finding disappointment. A perfect wife is one that’s loved and protected by her husband.

Break the 50/50 rule. Give your marriage all you’ve got.

Love at all costs.

Jon Beaty

I'm a counselor, writer and believer in the power of God to help you thrive in your marriage and family. I live with my family, a small herd of Boer goats, and thousands of honeybees near Portland, Oregon.

  • Jed says:

    Yes, yes, yes! The 50/50 rule has to go. This is such a great reminder that we are to bear one another’s burdens. Most certainly there are times when I have felt overwhelmed. I’m thankful that Jenny made room for grace and didn’t insist that I carry my half. And hopefully I’m doing the same for her. Congrats on the upcoming book too. I’ve been enjoying the previews you are sending out!

    • Jon Beaty says:

      Hey Jed,

      I like your reference to carrying each other’s burdens. Thanks for your comment on this post and my book. Have a great day!

  • Janet says:

    Awesome post, Jon! It’s so easy to blindly accept the “rules” we hear repeated over and over and over, without really taking the time to consider whether they are man’s rules or God’s rules! Thanks for shining some great light on this one!

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