Recipe to Heal an Unhappy and Crumbling Marriage

Recipe to Heal an Unhappy and Crumbling Marriage

“Mother Dearest” comments once in a while on my blog. I don’t know who she is but she is a wise woman! Here is another comment of hers that deserved a post of its own. It’s a lesson on building up your home instead of tearing it down. It’s the secret to having a good marriage.

Lori, my mother told my sisters and me about a wife who married and moved to a village where all marriages were happy but hers. For years, she tried and tried to make things work, but her husband seemed to be working against her.

At her wits’ end and as a last-ditch effort, she went to consult with the oldest woman in the village (who was reputed to have been married the longest and was said to have the happiest marriage of all) regarding her unhappy and crumbling marriage. In frustration, this young wife related her tale of woe in detail to the elderly woman with nary an interruption and with many bitter tears. She told of how her husband never did this and instead always did that.

She cried as she retold all their daily shouting matches, how he was controlling and unfair, ungrateful and inconsiderate and that lately he’d taken to avoiding home as much as possible, leaving early for work and staying later thereafter. After getting it all off her chest, both women sat quietly for a while as the young wife continued to sob and wipe her tears away occasionally.

The old lady then cheerily declared that she had just the thing to solve all this woman’s problems once and for all. She assured the young wife that indeed there was a secret to her own long and happy marriage and that it had worked for all the marriages in the village without fail. Needless to say, the young wife was eager to get her hands on it.

Placing a small ordinary earthen pot onto the palm of the young wife’s right hand, the old woman instructed her saying that in the little pot was a small amount of water from a famed well that dried up the year the old woman was born, but her great grandmother had saved some to give to struggling young wives who were in thoroughly horrible marriages like hers and in need of desperate measures to save said marriages.

Growing very somber, and in the sternest tone she could muster, the old woman instructed the young wife to see to it that she was never without a mouthful of the precious water whenever her husband was home. Furthermore, the young wife was to see to it that she neither swallowed nor let out a drop of the water unless her husband was asleep or away from home.

At the end of the fortnight, the young wife was to return for more special water. Once more, the old woman stressed how crucial it was that the mouthful of water be held intact in the young wife’s mouth the whole time the husband was “in residence” and awake. The young wife thanked her hurriedly and wondered how hard it could be to keep such simple instructions. She was anxious to see the solution at work, surely now that ungrateful, unrepentant husband of hers would get what he had coming to him, just like all the other husbands in the village had been “fixed.”

That evening, she had the meal ready and kept an eye on the path leading up to their home. As soon as her husband appeared, she quickly did as she had been instructed. He walked past her in the usual way and she was aghast that he didn’t say so much as a “hello” so she got ready to tell him off but for the sake of the precious water, she kept her mouth shut. She made him a plate and anticipated all his needs and comforts that evening to avoid him “starting a quarrel” because she couldn’t speak.

The whole family sat down to an unusually quiet, peaceful meal and a calm night. Her husband asked her if she was poorly because she was not moaning and nagging about anything or complaining about something he did or didn’t do, but she sat there quietly, seeing to the children and refreshing his cup as and when he asked.

Keeping the old woman’s instructions was proving to be much harder than she had expected because her husband was being his usual annoying self but as time went by, she got better at anticipating his ways. If and when he expressed displeasure, she quietly and quickly did what he wanted because she was determined to see the fortnight through if only to inform the old woman that some men are simply lost causes.

After a fortnight of similar days, the young wife sat before the old woman regaling her with what magical powers the special water held and how her husband had showed signs of amendment from the very first evening. She further mentioned that her entire family life was transformed now: the children were mild mannered, her husband spent more time at home, he was not cross anymore. In fact, he was attentive to her, smiled, and didn’t provoke her with his little annoying remarks about her moaning and complaining. He actually found ways to make life easier for her at home with ingenious handmade installations here and there.

She was surprised how much her husband knew about life just hearing him speak so often and happily the last fortnight. She was sure that with another fortnight’s supply of special water, she might just succeed in perfecting her husband once and for all. At the end of her enthusiastic narration, the young wife handed over the earthen pot for a refill.

The old lady looked her straight in the eye and calmly but firmly explained that there was no such thing as special water and that the trouble was that this wife was destroying her marriage with her own mouth. Her incessant criticism, nagging, her want of gratitude or respect for her husband, her desire for her own way, and refusal to submit and listen to her husband, had been evident on that first consultation with the old woman. The water only served to keep the wife’s mouth shut at all times in her husband’s presence rather than to vent the first thought that popped into her mind.

The young wife was stunned, embarrassed and deeply remorseful. “So, you mean to say, all these wives in our village who are happily married….” The young wife’s voice trailed off as the old woman smiled and nodded in agreement. “Yes, I taught them the same key to happiness in marriage, as I did you,” the old woman patted the younger’s hand. “Now you know, so go and do right by your husband. One day, you will help out a young wife, too, but only if your marriage is exemplary enough for your help to be sought after.”

No wife has ever won her husband to herself by talking, preaching, scolding, or nagging him. God tells us that wives are to win their husbands by their godly behavior which includes a meek and quiet spirit. I believe having a quiet spirit includes not speaking our minds and not always having to give our opinions, but actually being quiet.

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 21:19

27 thoughts on “Recipe to Heal an Unhappy and Crumbling Marriage

  1. I LOVED this! My precious husband and I just had some marriage counselling at a Christian retreat this past week and this ties in perfectly with what I learned. Thankyou Mother Dearest and Lori. My husband and I enjoyed this post. He playfully asked when I was going to “have my water”. ?

  2. Excellent story from Mother Dearest! Sadly, I don’t meet too many women that demonstrate a meek and gentle spirit. You’re one of the few older women, that I know of, who obey scriptures and teach the younger women. I read other blogs about you and some of the stuff they say is filled with hate. But all that does is reinforce my belief that you do walk faithfully with the Lord because God said in His Word that we will be hated by the world for obeying Him. My prayers are with you and your family.

    On a side note, Deepstrength has got an article that runs parallel to this post, called “Wives will never win their husbands with words.”

  3. Oh Lori this is what I exactly needed to read this morning!!! I was praying to the Lord how to restore my marriage and then came across this article. Such simple instructions. I actually just wrote I Peter 3:1,2 and 4 on a card so I can see it throughout the day. I am going to start by keeping my mouth shut!

  4. It takes commitment and selflessness. Submission instead of a power struggle.
    Devotion to putting him and your kids first, not your ego or some sense of outside career.

  5. Amen! That was a good story. There are definitely times to voice your opinion but sometimes just being quiet makes for such a peaceful marriage. Constant bickering and always be questioned is not healthy.

  6. Ooooh, boy. This one gonna explode in the comments. Can’t wait to see the reaction from the progressive feminist side. I’ll comment more later, probably.


  7. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautifu!

    I love what Martha Peace says in her book, The Excellent Wife. Take 100% responsibility for your fault in the marriage. The sad fact is many women are only partially responsible for the bad marriage, but if they will take 100% responsibility for their “small” percentage, they can turn things around. It’s not their job to make sure their husbands are doing their job, it’s their responsibility to make sure they do their own.

    Many women object, bc their husbands are “most of the bad,” and the fact is, the Bible doesn’t dispute that. That’s why the passage in 1 Peter was written!

    I will be saving this to share with women in this situation. God blessed me with an incredible marriage and I have many women come to me for help. I will be using this!

    Thank you!

  8. There’s a good reason that God wants women to have meek and quiet spirits, Steffanie. There are so many verses about our tongue, what we say, and being slow to anger and slow to speak. Proverbs is full of them!

  9. Thank you, Daniel. I will have to look that post up! I ignore all those who write slanderous things about me. It’s not beneficial in any way.

  10. This is an excellent story! I have never heard it before! It’s so easy to visualize and thus practice! I have been happily married for 37 years, and putting this wisdom to use more often would certainly make my home even happier and more blissful!

    I love you Lori! I read your blog everyday! I bought your recent book, and plan on sharing it with the women in my church! ❤️

  11. Thank you, Kelli! Even after being married for many years as both of us have, we still need to be encouraged to be the wives God calls us to be. We never stop learning and becoming more like Christ!

  12. I was very fortunate growing up in that I had parents who firmly enforced this in our home. It saved our marriage so many problems that could have sprouted up if I hadn’t had them.

  13. Do not read this story practicing what it preaches: the water in your mouth will end up all over the screen.

    Humorous and insightful! Great story!

  14. Wow, such a powerful story. I can’t believe that such a simple thing as a woman not talking would result in such a drastic change. It’s almost unbelievable.

  15. This was awesome! And it is so contrary to the ways of the “modern woman”.
    It takes a real woman to put aside her ego, her emotions, to resist the itch to nag, and submit to God, by submitting to her husband. A recipe from God that works wonders!

  16. Yes! I learned so much about my responsibility and not worrying about his (hubby) when reading The Excellent Wife. Thanks for sharing this story with us Lori!

  17. A wise woman told me a similar story – it was true.
    A young woman went to her for help in her marriage – she was unhappy, constantly being criticized, and ready to leave. This wise woman listened and empathized with the young woman and said absolutely she should leave, but she should really punish her husband first. If she left him now, because they were so miserable, her husband wouldn’t be upset at her leaving. So to really punish him, and make him miss her and realise how lucky he was to have her, she should be as nice as she could to him, for 2 weeks. Smile at him. Speak kindly. Bite her tongue. Serve his favourite meals. Really go out of her way to spoil him so when she left, he would truly miss her and beg her to come back.
    Well you can guess what happened. After two weeks, the couple were happier than they’d been in years, and she no longer wanted to leave.
    I love remembering that story.

  18. As He ordained, I now obey my man. My relentless bickering and complaints have taken away from our marriage. What a thoughtful story! Praise these words!

  19. I stumbled upon your website from a news article speaking on your controversial view of marriage. What a blessing to come across this website to encourage me in my new marriage. Needed to hear this too. Thank you Lori love from Australia

  20. What a simple answer! Love this!

    Wouldn’t it be great if there was something we could put in our mouths that paralyzed the tongue so we couldn’t speak? I mean, why did God give us one anyway? Helpmates don’t need tongues!

    Nor brains apparently.

  21. I am so guilty of this, although I am always striving to be better! Just last night I was laying in bed, grumpy that my husband had spent nearly all Sunday playing video games instead of doing the things that I THINK are important, or paying attention to me!

    Well, I have married a very wonderful man who works extremely hard and deserves to relax. Moreover, I’m a big girl – I don’t need him to pay attention to me 24/7! That’s not his job!

    Luckily instead of saying anything that might cause a fight and ruin our weekend, I stayed silent and went to sleep. If something is really important, of course I’ll talk to him about it, but I’ve noticed that 90% of the things I want to “discuss” (ie., nag him about) just don’t matter very much. Better to have a happy and peaceful home.

  22. What a wonderful allegory! And I am more than heartened by the positive responses from other wives. I didn’t think such women existed in America any more! Many times I have longed to move into a “corner of the roof” to get a little peace from a wife who is constantly trying to prove that she is “the one in charge.” I’m left with the choice to either become a bully, a wimp, or leave. Very sad!

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