Apr 122016 14 Responses

A Litmus Test for His Love

Everyone lies. Long before the fictional character Gregory House on the medical drama House, MD said it, the Bible illustrated it. Part of human nature is a natural tendency to use our words to deflect, hide, appease, or manipulate others.

We all lie:

  • The fish wasn’t as big as we said
  • The score wasn’t as low as we claimed
  • The ball was actually inside the line and not out

Everyone lies.

  • No we aren’t “fine.”
  • We weren’t only 5 minutes away.
  • We didn’t just need a minute of your time.
  • And yes, you do look fat in that dress.

Everyone lies.

But there is a difference between the normal (although unnecessary and still sinful) lies which people tell on a daily basis and intentional deceit which can destroy a relationship. (See: Can You Tell Your Spouse the Truth?)

While everyone might lie to some degree, not everyone:

  • hides an addiction
  • conceals an affair
  • tells you whatever you want to hear
  • covers where they’ve been or who they’ve spoken with
  • takes out secret loans
  • acts in a way completely contrary to what they have said

If I had to narrow down love to a single litmus test, it would be this:

Does your husband do what he says?

I don’t simply mean he gets on the honey-do list without you nagging (although that might be one characteristic). I am saying, when he says “I’m sorry,” does he back up that apology by doing his best to change his course of action? When he says, “I want to get better,” does he take concrete actions steps to make better choices? When he says, “I want us to have a good marriage,” does he take initiative in growing and learning positive skills which will impact your marriage?

If the answer is no, he doesn’t love you. (See: 4 Lies to Never Tell Your Spouse)

When his actions don’t match his words, it’s a sign he is simply saying what you want to hear. He is trying to appease you instead of loving you. He is attempting to look good while putting no effort into the relationship. It’s a sign he loves himself and not you.

Love motivates us to action. It includes words, but it doesn’t consist solely of empty words. It’s backed up by movement. When a man is truly in love, his actions prove his devotion.

A man who is in love (or better stated, a man who is choosing to love) acts differently than someone who is not acting out of love. When a man is not in love, he will say whatever is necessary in the moment to appease whomever is before him. If he needs to say “I’m sorry,” he will, but since it isn’t sincere, he will quickly repeat the same action which required the apology. If he needs to make promises, he will make them, but he will never back up his words with actions.

Does your husband do what he says?

This one characteristic radically changes marriage. (See: Trust Is Everything in Marriage)

If a spouse lies, conversation is useless. A couple can talk about an issue and find an appropriate resolution, but there is no trust present because they both know that one of them will never live up to their end of the bargain. Countless couples repeatedly face the same issue not because they can’t negotiate a common ground, but because one spouse refuses to back up words with actions.

Yet when truth is a defining characteristic of communication, everything changes. Any issue can be discussed because both spouses know the conversation will be fruitful. Even if they can’t find a shared viewpoint on a point of controversy, they can take one another at their word and understand the opposing viewpoint. They can rest in whatever resolution is decided knowing the other spouse will do what they said.

A healthy relationship is built on trust and trust is born from truth. When your husband does what he says, it is a sign he loves you. When he consistently fails to do so, it is a sign the relationship has a deeper problem than whatever specific issue is being discussed.

14 Responses to A Litmus Test for His Love
  1. Julie Reply

    “He loves himself and not you.” Great article, Kevin. I concur with all the words. (In this article, not literally all the words. I don’t want to lie.)

  2. Linda Reply

    This article is straight to the point. Saw so much of my reality. The only problem is you don’t say what you can do if your husband fails the test time after time. You can not change a person or make them love you. Is your only option to live a life never having known what it is to be truly loved by a man?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I think I would invite him to counseling. Say you can’t live in the current conditions and you want things to be better. Go to the counseling with him and find ways to make things better. Or if he refuses, go without it and start figuring out what life without him will be like because he is refusing to do his part within the marriage.

  3. Wren Reply

    My dilemma is that he takes steps like joint and individual therapy, men’s accountability group, book reading, etc. But things only improve briefly and the lies keep coming. I’m so confused . He also has lots of self pity and anxiety, even though he ‘says’ he is owning his stuff. I always think ” this time is different”.

  4. Wren Reply

    Thanks for your reply!

  5. Wren Reply

    I’ve been told that being honest is going to be a long journey, because lying is a “well worn path” for him and he can’t change overnight. I was kind of floored by that but tried to be empathetic to it. Maybe I’m getting snowed again. So many promises to changes and pleas to stay married.

  6. Shell Reply

    Wren, I feel for your situation. It sounds similar to mine. I’ve recently discovered my husband has cheated on me with various people and to varying extents. I still don’t know the whole truth. He is adamant he wants us to stay together. I’ve told him I need the truth. I can’t imagine him changing now although he promises this. How can someone betray another so badly, and yet want to be with them?

  7. Scopes_owl Reply

    Shell – I’m in a similar situation, and I’m still skeptical whether I’ve gotten the whole truth from my husband regarding his infidelities. As for your question about betrayal, I can only say that it comes down to your husband (and my own) wanting to have his cake and eat it, too.

  8. Christina Reply

    This article changed my entire perspective, it was a much needed paradigm shift, Thank you. It’s one of your absolute best!

  9. […] 5. Betray Him. Our first thought on betrayal is sexual and that’s serious, but there is a hidd... kevinathompson.com/5-things-not-to-do-to-your-husband-in-public
  10. Sandy Reply

    Wow, another article of yours that hit the nail on the head and gives me relief to know I’ve made the right decision very recently by ending the relationship that we’ve tried to make work for over 5 years. Too exhausting and not worth it anymore as too many issues, especially with this exact issue of ”Actions don’t match his words” amongst the absolute laziness in our relationship.

  11. GG Reply

    Thank you for this article and other articles addressing lying, finances, immaturity & betrayals in marriage. God has used your articles to speak to me (& probably many others too). You speak truth and also recommend counseling. I sought Christian counseling during many marriage crisises over the last 5 years. As a Christian woman, I have come to the agonizing decision to separate with the intent to divorce my husband of 12 years. You and my counselor have given me clarity to see that I have enabled my husband in his self-destructive behaviors. Our marriage has been more of a parent/child relationship from the beginning. He’s a spender and fills his days watching TV, surfing &’shopping on the internet, and shopping at a major discount chain 2 out of 3 days while I have been working at a middle income job. (He was forced into an early retirement when the company he worked for downsized only 2 years after we married.). The last straw happened when he depleted his 401k to purchase high priced ticketed recreational vehicles without discussing it with me. He said his reasoning for not discussing it with me was because he knew I would have said no and besides, it was his retirement savings.

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