My heart and prayers go out to you my brother.
I love how you started out with "married to your best friend". Nice to say, but really difficult to live in truth. With friends prior to marriage, we can come right out and say things that are on our mind, with the expectation of hearing the truth right back at us. Normally, this happened when it really didn't concern the other (friend), but dealt with circumstances or other people we both might know in our lives that we needed to talk about in order to relieve the pressure that was building up inside of us. Keeping in mind you (both of you) were then willing partners to hear out every concern each of you might have. After three years of marriage, there is something about what was just said, which no longer seems possible to do with that friend and spouse you still love so dearly, but find difficult to like. Our concern had less to do on how the other person was going to react, but now that has changed! We never have the right words when we speak them, or it's the wrong time! Because now it's not about other people or circumstances, but about each other.
When we are going through the storms of life, rarely if ever do we say "yeah, this is as it should be, and I'm happy with all this turbulence in my life". As a believer we know that much that happens in our lives, since Christ Jesus has become our King and Savior, has to do with growth, in walking and living in the Spirit. This of cause includes your marriage. What did our Lord say to the Pharisees concerning the joining of a man and a woman? Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
You as you have stated do not want to divorce, which of cause is not something that God wants for you at all. That's not the part I want you to look at just yet. The first part of what our Lord said that I want you to focus on is "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh." So from what I gather in your post and what you've communicated so far is your half of the story. What you need to be able to do, is to communicate her half of the story, probably even better than your own. Why? Because with both halves you have what? Exactly. A whole story and with God as truly the Head of Household, with the Holy Spirit as the guide, you will, with some turbulence, manage to navigate through the difficult times that have happened and may yet happen still in your marriage. And this happens how? Not as you & her, but as "One". She hurts, you hurt, she's frustrated, you're patient (thought I was going to say frustrated didn't you? ) and many more besides these to. Now what to do? Pray, which you've been, but how has that prayer been? Do you pray for your understanding, and her change, and her understanding, and your change? Pray as a servant my brother. Guide me God to be the husband that she will respect, love, and honor, so that you may cherish her as Jesus does the church which you both are a part of. Love her as you would love yourself. Most important part to remember....."DON'T TAKE IT BACK AND FIGURE YOU CAN'T DO IT BETTER THEN THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!" Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Much of what I've written is done in a general context. The reason, it is so, is except for what you've written, I really don't know either of you. Example: children? does she work? what are the relationships of both of your parents like? Married still, widowed, divorced etc. The reason the latter is important is that many preconceived notions of marriage are set by the examples we have seen in others. Normally, the ones that are close to us when we're growing up or esteem highly as examples of what marriage should or should not be affect us the greatest later in life. (Happened with my wife & me.)
You've been given some great advice here on things to do. Trying to reignite the passion of your marriage is one way. Another, you might find to be a bit more difficult but even more important which is to "Listen!" Come home and as trying a day as you might have had. As much as you want some quiet time, or want to get things off your chest as well. Start with "let me get us something to drink and you can tell me all about your day." Take it outside if it's nice. At the kitchen table, even if you have to take things off it to find a clean spot. Shoot on the carpet, or a patch of dirt, and pat the spot next to you for her to sit down. If she's too agitated to sit you sit and watch her pace. Most important is listen! You probably don't even have to comment, unless she says something like "are you listening to me?" Then your answer is what? "Of cause. What can I do to help?" She may look at you like you're crazy, but then you might say "Honey (or what ever special name you might have for her) you know I love you. What can I do to help?" Be sincere brother! If it's hard to be sometimes, then ask God to help you. Show concern, and be dedicated in making this happen.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Don't get the above passage wrong dear brother. Many versions will describe it as exactly as most see it. That the woman is weaker than the man. I've looked at this verse and feel moved to tell you that this isn't saying that she's the weaker vessel! "...giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel...." If you know a little of women, you will realize that they are anything but weak, at least no more so, than any of us, be we man or woman. What are we together? "heirs" Not one first and the other second; "together".
Remember, Christ Jesus went all the way to the Cross, for not only you, but for your wife as well! Can we do less for one he so loves, who just happens to be the one we also love?
I could probably go on and on, but I'd start repeating myself. Just remember that leadership, doesn't always require words. You may also lead by example even if you don't think it's getting through, trust me women don't miss much! They just don't let on much :angel:
My prayers are with you both my brother.
P.S. For those women at work or anywhere else that seems to give you the thought that they could be or are better than your wife, besides the fact that God placed your wife in your life and not them as spouse. Don't ever think that the grass is greener on the other side. It too will need to be mowed.
I will leave you with this. After 30 yrs and looking at my wife now with the increased wrinkles, all grey hair. She is even more beautiful to me then when I first met her! I also don't spare in telling her that either! You shouldn't either!
Your wife is not the person you first married. She won't in 10 years be the person that she is now. We all change. Just allow the change in you be a Spirit led one, and with your prayers, so will the changes in your wife.
Don't look down. Look up!!!!!
Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.