In the Love and Respect Live Marriage Conference DVDs Emerson Eggerichs repeatedly talks about “good willed” husbands and wives. I think we all need to think through this.
Do you think your husband wants what is best for you? Is he doing things he believes will make marriage better for you? Regardless of how poorly he may be doing, do you think his desire is to be caring and loving? If so, he is good willed. If you think he is just out for what he can get from you with no desire to bless you, he is not good willed.
How should you treat a good willed husband? How much forgiving and grace are reasonable with a good willed husband? I would say he should receive plenty of both! Always give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he intends love unless you have overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When one of you is upset, assume one of you misunderstood the other. Of course, he can hurt you without meaning to, but if he is good willed you do not need to protect yourself 24/7.
Being good willed is an across the board thing – either he is or he is not. Do not tell yourself he is good willed in most areas, but is not good willed in a few. If he is good willed, areas where he does not seem good willed are not intentional. In those areas he must be clueless, wounded, or both. If he is good willed, you can expect he will change if he comes to understand or gets healed. Nagging and threats are a bad plan if your husband is good willed, because you are telling him you think he is not good willed.