Friend, I have been there before.
In my previous marriage, when I was trying so hard to be the godly, submissive wife, there was still quite a rift and I didn't know what to do about it.
Despite what I felt were my best efforts, it seemed like my husband wasn't trying at all. There would be some good days, when I would thank God and pray, asking, "Why can't all of our days be this peaceful and fun?" Then there would be days when he would come home late and drunk, or wake up in the morning already angry with me.
I was doing all I knew how to do, and I felt like it was just on him at this point. He needed to step up. He needed to make an effort. He needed to love me as Christ loved the Church, the way a godly husband is instructed to love his wife!
God revealed something to me in that season. He reminded me that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Before we even knew who Jesus was, He died for us.
Before we even had the chance to love Him, He died for us.
Even now, when we do know Him and have promised to love Him, yet still reject Him through our sin and disobedience, He continues to pursue us, being faithful, gentle, and loving.
So why should we go first in our marriage?
Because, sweet sister, our goal is to be more like Jesus. Not more like our husbands.
We are not to emulate the behavior of sinners. We are to emulate the behavior of our Savior.
Jesus went first. Jesus continues to pursue.
That means we are to go first. We are to continue to pursue.
I know it sounds daunting, impossible even, at times. But we know that God equips us when He instructs us. He doesn't expect us to figure it out on our own, nor does He leave us to gather the strength and ability to make it happen. He offers us His strength to accomplish His will.
Our job is to accept His strength and use it.
One thing we can do for our marriages, that I'm sure you're already doing, is pray. We need to pray unceasingly.
Another thing we can do is find a way to show our husbands respect and kindness every day.
You might be asking yourself how exactly to do that, and I have a gift I'd like to share with you.
I've created a 31 Days of Random Acts of Kindness For Your Husband calendar that you can download and print out.
You can choose to do all of these, or pick a few, or maybe just allow them to inspire you to come up with your own kindnesses to offer your husband.
My prayer is that this will be a tangible tool for you in your marriage, to strengthen the bond between you and your husband.
You can grab your copy of the calendar HERE.
Tell me in the comments if you find it easy to "go first", or if this has been a struggle for you.
NOTE: if you are experiencing abuse in your marriage, that is an entirely different topic. We are NOT called to submit to abuse. If this is happening to you, please first ensure your safety and that of your children, and seek wise, godly counsel.