While it’s true that every woman is different, in general, women and men tend to have certain sin struggles. As women, these sin struggles, if left unchecked, can reach toxic levels that drive away the men in their lives. Our love, devotion, helpfulness, and respect can quickly dwindle to jealousy, insecurity and contempt if we aren’t aware of what we’re doing.
Understanding what drives away men is a great way to make sure you don’t end up along the same path. Whether you struggle with none of these or many, there is always room for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to change your heart and mind and conform you more into the likeness of Christ.
Here are 10 things that many men claim will drive them quickly away from their loved ones.
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1. Assuming He Knows What You're Thinking
Hoping your spouse or boyfriend knows exactly what you’re thinking, feeling, and needing is unfortunately unrealistic. Be upfront and clear about what you need or what you’re thinking, and give him a chance to respond accordingly.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Colossians 4:6
2. Comparing Him to Other Men
Nothing good comes from comparison. God has made each of us uniquely, and wears away what God has called "good." Be careful of comparing him to other men in your family, or past relationships. You wouldn't want him to do the same to you. Spend more time noticing and praising God for the qualities that make him who he is.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. – Galatians 6:3-5
3. Trying to Change Him
Trying to change anyone, especially your significant other, is a great way to frustrate a relationship. When you make a choice to be with someone, that will also include choosing to be with their weaknesses, funny quirks, or bad habits. Don't enter a relationship in the hopes of changing him. Focus on what is good and ask God to soften your heart toward the things you wish you could change.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12
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4. Speaking Out of Pride and Impatience
If we don't watch our hearts or our attitudes, our pride, frustration, or impatience will quickly come through in our speech. Think about how you would want someone to speak to you, especially when you've made a mistake and are feeling embarrassed or discouraged. Your boyfriend or husband is bound to make mistakes—just like you—so before you point it out to him, consider how you would want to be treated if you were in his place. People are more tender than we often realize. Use your words to build up, not to tear down. Times when couples feel frustrated with one another are often the greatest opportunities for trust to be built. Don't miss or abuse those moments.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
5. Becoming Passive Aggressive
It’s frustrating, I know – you’ve asked him to do something several times and though he’s promised to get around to it, it’s still staring you in the face day after day. Whatever that thing might be, it’s tempting to become passive-aggressive about it. But while that may be a shortcut to getting your point across, that kind of communication is never helpful, or kind, and can only wear on someone. If his inability to do something the way you want it done increases your frustration, consider the posture of your heart—whether it's really important enough to cause such frustration—and then have a candid conversation about it.
[S]weetness of speech increases persuasiveness. – Proverbs 16:21
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6. Pushing Away His Offer to Help
It may be tempting to want to do things on your own, especially if you prefer your way of doing things. But there's a reason two are better than one. Let your man be a part of things. Resist the urge to accomplish everything on your own. For some people, helping is their way of showing love. Consider what you're trying to do on your own, and whether it's truly necessary. Allow your man to be a blessing when he offers to help. You'll affirm his affections and show him how much you value his partnership in your life.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
7. Overanalyzing His Actions
No one likes being held under a microscope. Sometimes your man isn't thinking through a situation a hundred different ways. So overanalyzing their choices or actions may be setting you up to find problems that aren't necessarily there. When you find yourself questioning every little move he makes or criticizing his choices, step back and consider whether you would want him to do the same to you. If you're confused about his choices and actions, trying to understand his motivations and the way he thinks may help build trust between you.
A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike. Trying to keep her in check is like stopping a wind storm or grabbing oil with your right hand. – Proverbs 27:15-16
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8. Never Giving Each Other Time Alone
We all need time to ourselves to decompress. No matter how much we love someone, each one of us needs time alone to gather our thoughts, process conversations and deeper issues, and to pray and spend time with the Lord—where the most important heart work takes place. For many couples, especially if one or both are introverts, time spent constantly with one another can drain each other's capacity to give the other quality attention. Remember that it's okay, even good, to step back from one another and offer each other time to recharge. Go spend time with friends or others in your community circle, and come back to one another refreshed.
A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. – Proverbs 14:1
9. Being Quick to Jealousy
If trust is not well established between you and your man, there are many possible pitfalls in relationships that can lead to unnecessary bouts of jealousy. If you believe you have reason to feel jealous, then honest communication and counseling needs to take place. But if your significant other has proven again and again that he is someone you can trust, you may need to start asking where the tendency toward jealousy is coming from. There may be underlying reasons for both of you to talk through, or for you to bring to a trusted counselor or mentor. Make sure you talk to God and someone wise about it—you don't want jealousy taking up room in your heart.
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? – Proverbs 27:4
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Originally published Wednesday, 21 July 2021.