Insecurity in Marriage and How to Fix it

Isn't marriage is supposed to be where two people love each other unconditionally.” SO true, Jimmy! Gold star to you! But as we probably have realized by now, we most certainly do not live in a perfect word. That man over there that we said some vows to a few years ago isn’t anywhere near perfect either. (Aaaand, neither are we). What about unconditional love?

So in a perfect world, someone might read this and wonder, “Why would anyone be insecure in their marriage? Marriage is supposed to be where two people love each other unconditionally.”

SO true, Jimmy! Gold star to you!

But as we probably have realized by now, we most certainly do not live in a perfect word. That man over there that we said some vows to a few years ago isn’t anywhere near perfect either. (Aaaand, neither are we).

Read any good books recently?

I’ve recently started reading the book This Momentary Marriage. To be honest, it’s hard for me to hold back the tears when I read such words of wisdom from a truly humble couple (I also kind of just tear up at everything). BUT this book is so good. I hope to finish it soon and write a (raving) review but my book review cue has been getting bigger and bigger recently so it may happen later than planned.

ANYWAY. John Piper writes a chapter titled “Naked and Unashamed” in which he explains that there are 2 causes for shame in marriage. (Paraphrasing here…) 1. Knowing that you, yourself, are in imperfect being and (if you’re a Christian) feeling guilt (and shame) for your imperfection and sin. And reason number 2. Knowing that your spouse is imperfect and incapable of complete selfless and unconditional love and therefore feeling as though they cannot be fully trusted to love you completely.

Piper illustrates these 2 points with the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible where they eat the fruit that God told them not to eat in the garden. After they ate, they realize their sin and then felt ashamed because their eyes were opened to their sin. As a result of both sinning, they felt guilt and shame for their own sin and a mistrust of each other knowing now that their spouse was selfish.

Does all that make sense?

In other words, we know that we’re imperfect, so we feel insecure about ourselves and our imperfectness (yes, it’s a word, I checked). We know that our husbands are imperfect and might not (probably won’t) love us unconditionally all the time. Therefore, we feel insecure.

Ok, now it’s starting to make sense…

Maybe you can relate…

Here’s an example of how this might show up in my own marriage and maybe yours too:

Body image. Enough said, right? I know that sometimes I can be lazy and/or impulsive with my eating habits and fitness routine. But even now, when Josh and I have changed our eating habits a TON and have been trying to exercise regularly, I still feel this way. I know that my body is less than perfect. And even though my husband tells me he loves me and tells me I’m pretty I know that there are “prettier” girls out there and my husband could be prone to find them more attractive, because I know he’s not perfect therefore can’t fully have a perfect selfless love for me.

So, my trust in my husband’s love falters and my insecurity grows…

How to deal…

So how do we get over the rough cycle of being imperfect and being married to an imperfect person?

DON’T DO THIS:

It is so popular these days to have a “My way or the highway,” “Take it or leave it” attitude in relationships. Yeah, I’m talking to you, strong women. I searched “Strong Women” quotes on Pinterest and these are a couple of the most popular ones. Raise your hand if you’ve seen these anywhere on the socials:

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I’m going to be really honest here. This mindset is really selfish. And who wants a man who’s a pushover? Yes, he needs to be kind and love you and give you grace. God calls husbands to lay down their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5). But he also calls them to lead. I’d like to think that my husband is smart enough and loves me enough to tell me when I need to change and if I can improve. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for actually respecting your husband. So there’s that.

DO this:

Know and understand that both we and our spouse are incapable of unconditional and selfless love on our own. Yes, have standards for your spouse, but know that he’s a human. When he messes up and doesn’t love you like he should, remember Christ. He (sacrificially) loved us enough to die for us knowing just how imperfect and unlovable we were going to be. Jesus set the example of what a perfect and complete love is willing to do.

So, when we feel our spouse is being unlovable, remember what Christ did for him, what he did for you, and let that inspire you and give you strength and confidence in how much you are so loved by Christ and how you can go on to love your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it. We can allow Christ to fill in those imperfect gaps, remembering His example of how He loved and died for us (and rose again, defeating death and imperfection).

If you allow yourself to know that Christ can make up your imperfections and that you are fully and ALWAYS loved by Him, no matter what your spouse does, it will give you the strength you need to feel secure and love your spouse no matter what. Now that’s a strong woman!

Getting a bit personal:

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, Josh used to struggle pretty frequently with anger. He’s never been violent, but I would find myself shocked at how rapidly his demeanor would change and how he could be so unloving at times. Since he’s a man who, despite his anger, loves God,  he would always feel remorse for his anger and come to me seeking forgiveness.

After a while, I began to get sick of forgiving him. I got so tired of the same apology and always having to try to trust him again. At one point, I found myself thinking,”Why should I forgive you? You’re just going to do it again. Why would I be so stupid as to let myself be close to you after I know what you’re going to do again?” And in that moment, God honestly spoke to my my heart and said, “Because I did that for you…” After I lost it and cried for a while I made a decision in my heart that I was never going to hold back my forgiveness for my husband again. Even in the moment, if I was angry, I would still decide to forgive Josh, and then eventually the feelings would follow.

This verse, although (unfortunately) used lots of times to defend sin, rings in my mind with what I think it was actually intended for in those moments when I am choosing to forgive Josh, or anyone for that matter.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

Let’s be real, forgiveness in marriage is so hard and so humbling. And it takes a ton of strength to be able to do. But we can call on God for that strength and the results are so beautiful!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

In marriage…

Confidence + Humility = Love

I love you guys and I’d love to hear your own stories and struggles of overcoming insecurity and imperfection in your own marriages. If this post spoke to you or if you’d like to share with a friend, hit one of the share buttons at the bottom and remember to follow on social media!

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    Comments

    Karissa

    This is a great post.
    As a lifetime member of the insecurity club, I know what you mean. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own flaws, however real or imagined they might be. I never really put much thought into the correlation between insecurity and mistrust. Good points.
    I can totally relate to having a hard time forgiving the anger. It seems to be a pretty typical male struggle-I’ve seen it in my husband, my dad, his dad, my brothers…
    Kind of strange and incredible that there are reminders of God’s steadfast love in the tougher parts of a relationship- like forgiving.
    & in the spirit of preserving true feminism: You CAN be a strong woman and a loving wife at the same time! I have found that being a strong and independant woman does not mean I am cruel, uncompromising, and unforgiving, but true strength comes from the wisdom in knowing when to be forgiving, to compromise, and to put your needs last. /endrant.
    ANYWAY. I should probably stop, because I might go on forever.
    You keep doing you Chelsea, because you’re doing it marvelously.
    <3
    -Karissa

    Bree

    I can definitely relate to this. My insecurities have been a hurdle in our marriage more than once. My husband is incredibly affirming, but I still struggle. I’ve heard of This Momentary Marriage before and now I want to check it out even more. Two other books that were eye-opening and helpful for me in the area of insecurities were For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. Thank you so much for sharing and for your transparency!

    A

    I am dealing with some insecurity right now. My husband made a series of small stupid desicions that lead up to him cheating on me 4 months ago. Wow. Was it really only 4 months?! Anyway, he is genuinly remorsefull (I think it tore him up more then me if that is even possible) and by God’s grace and strength we (and I) have made some incredible strides towards healing and putting our marriage back together. I seriously cannot expess how much God had done for us. I still struggle with some insecurity sometimes. But God has brought me this far and I know He will bring me the rest of the way. One thing that has really helped me is knowing we are all capable of the same sins. We are all human. I’d like to say I would never do this or that but reality is I am a sinner. And just as in the case of my husbands mistake we can so easily fool ourselves with the little choices that don’t seem like a big deal and progressivly open doors to more and more poor choices until we find ourselves in that very place we swore we’d never be. I have never cheated on my husband but I am just as much a sinner as he is. God has forgiven me my sins. He has forgiven my husband his sins. Who am I to withhold forgiveness?

    Tonya

    Wow. Tears are flowing right now. I struggle with insecurity daily, made worse by my husband’s travel schedule. Will be looking into this book and the others mentioned in the comments!

    Laura

    I have also dealt with insecurity in my marriage- there’s been so many things in our 10 years being married that have added up. I’ve been reading so many things about insecurity and trying to pump myself up….. The thing that has helped me is:

    -getting my sense of worth from the right source. We should not be depending on our spouses or anybody else to determine who we are. Only through God can we be reminded who we truly are and how very much He loves us- that is enough for me.. God is enough for me.
    -I’ve had to make a conscience decision to be OK with uncertainty. Life is always uncertain. No matter what happens, I will be just fine because God is in charge and He cares very much about my happiness.

    Those 2 things have greatly impacted me and help me overcome my feelings of insecurity. I trust God, I know that as long as I am trying my best to love my husband and be the wife that He intends me to be for him, then whatever happens…. Come what may.

    I love God more than anything, and I Love my husband.. Those two are not at odds, loving God and putting him first and putting my complete trust in Him allows me to love my husband more completely and I’m able to see him through God’s eyes. Trust me, I’ve tried many times to try and show my husband love or even feel love for him when I feel he doesn’t deserve it but I get nowhere except becoming more bitter, resentful and more hurt. Turning to God for help and placing my insecurities, pain, and problems in His hands strengthens me.

    That’s the end of my novel. Haha

    Newcomer

    Agreed on some points, not agreeing on others. You’re absolutely right about forgiveness and being understanding of our imperfections. But there are situations where it can be misused to disastrous effects. Let’s say someone’s husband, (or wife) cheats on him, then feels remorseful, asks for forgiveness, you forgive him. Then after a month he is cheating on you again. Will you forgive him? again,and again and again? How long before you forgive just for your peace of mind and faith in God, and stop trusting him altogether. Will that be much of a married life? Or worse yet, lets say your husband abused you, felt sorry, you forgave him, then he abuses you again. How many times should you forgive?
    Reason for this long rant is that, this happens, people die from suffering domestic abuse, should they be forgiven too? As for you comment on strong woman quotes, it’s not meant for those who are secure in their life and marriage, its for those who are suffering and a little more courage to stand up for themselves.
    Forgiving is good and graceful, but we have to know when to forgive and when we are doing a disservice to ourselves by letting things go on as it is.

    Melissa

    Thank you for this post. It is a great reminder of how we are both imperfect and both of us need unconditional love and forgiveness. I needed this today.

    Becca

    This is such an amazing post! I needed to hear this today and I’m glad I took the time to read! My husband and I deal with the same struggle but now I have a better way to look at it and to keep forgiving. Thank you so much.

    Stephanie S.

    For some time, I have felt increasingly isecure about my relationship with in-laws. I feel unable to relax and uncomfortable during family gatherings and deal with it by isolating myself (helps me calm down, but bad idea, I know). I really want to feel accepted by his family, but often feel uninvolved or left out. The social pressure when I’m around everyone feels aweful and it’s difficult for me to speak up to make conversation with someone. I don’t see his family much because I work a fulltime job and a part time job, but I am at several family events throughout the year. His family is all very close (vastly different from the way mine is) and the large family gatherings definitely overwhelm me. It would be ideal to build relationships with his family just a couple members at a time so I’m relaxed, open, and not feeling under pressure. But my schedule is so full that I feel rather hopeless about having the time to get to know all of them to the point that I feel comfortable at family gatherings.

    Brenda

    I am a GODLY woman but my husband is not which have a tugging effect on many factors in our marriage . I have come to the conclusion that my husband is narcissistic which also puts a tough spin on things or outcomes . I had just done some FBI work and found out that my husband had made a dating profile in Dec 2013 . He lied to me and said well someone must have hacked my yahoo acct . He has lied to me countless times and I am left with the thought of who is this demon I married ? How about some advice on how to deal with not both spouses being Christian. I burned a folder with accounts of abuse and stuff to take to a divorce judge but that scripture of not keeping account of injury from John hit me so I burned all of it . After burning the items in my folder I felt like weights of the world were taken off my shoulders and I could some what breathe again . Since I have dealt with some heart crushing ordeals and have asked GOD to rein my day and thoughts to keep me straight. I wouldn’t have made it 3 years without GOD & JESUS .

    LBb

    Oh my and actually that’s just how I feel in r/g to Insecurities!!! And it hurts so much until you don’t know what to do with the pain! All I can do is cry and call on God! Not my mamma but God!!! I constantly ask why did you marry me and then hurt within 5mos of being married to me. I’ve never been married before and I don’t want to ever get married again! I find myself tripping about everything he does. My mind says he can’t do this to me again!!!, I’ll catch it before it’s too far

    @chelsealeighdamon