I was reading the creation story the other day and was struck once again at how easily Satan deceived Eve. Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
What struck me in this account is that the cunning serpent (the devil) was wise enough to whisper enticing words of deception to Eve when she was all alone. Adam wasn’t on the scene. Why was the devil so effective? It would appear that part of the reason for his success in tempting Eve to make a horribly wrong decision is because she was not with Adam. She consulted no one about the temptation she had received. She consulted no one during her deliberation as to whether to actually eat from the forbidden tree of good and evil. She consulted no one before making a huge, life-changing decision. It seemed beneficial to her. So, she just did it!
We can learn from Eve’s mistake. If you’re considering a major decision in life (quitting your job, leveraging all your savings on a new money-making idea, separating from your husband, bailing your teen out of natural consequences of bad decisions, etc), pause before acting! Consult a godly mentor. Better yet, pray with several wise and godly people in your life. Ask them all to seek guidance from the Bible and the Holy Spirit. You will often spare yourself unnecessary pain in the long run!
Did you know a huge majority of men struggle with feeling inadequate on almost every level? It’s true. Since God designed men to be leaders in revealing the nature of God, it’s to be expected that Satan would try to destroy that mission by making men feel like they’re not up to that challenge! Satan is constantly whispering to your man that he is a failure, that he’s not good enough, that he’s not smart enough, and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a godly leader, husband, father or provider. These are all lies! Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is “the father of lies“.
Unfortunately, when a husband starts believing these lies, he often decides to either give up trying to be a good husband or he may numb out by using pornography or alcohol, or by becoming a workaholic.
However, a man’s wife has the ability to counteract the voice of Satan! Ladies, why don’t you start telling your husband that you believe in him? Tell him that he CAN do it. Let him know that you see good qualities in him. Remind him about his unique talents and spiritual gifts. Show him the respect that God commands wives to display in Ephesians 5:33. As you affirm him and esteem him, you may likely find that your man becomes more confident and becomes an even better man than he is now.
It may give you a little thrill, but it leads downhill! The thrill I’m talking about is that little rush women get when we draw the attention of a man. It feels SO good! This is all completely fine as long as the man is your husband, but often we go out in public dressed in such a way that other men are tempted to lust over our bodies.
When we wear skin-tight clothes, cleavage-displaying shirts, extremely short skirts or midriff-baring tops, we are leading other men downhill. The attention might feel good, but do you really want to lead these men into the sin of lust? In Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.” Also, 1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.
Let’s pledge to dress modestly instead of provocatively around our male co-workers, men at the store, and men at church. Let’s not be the downfall of the men around us. Think of it this way. Would you like it if another woman was dressing provocatively in front of your husband?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman. In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable. However, over the years of my marriage to Raul, I realized something very important to the health of my marriage. I needed to allow my husband to be needed by me! When I acted like he wasn’t needed, I could sense that he felt emasculated. Your husband probably might feel that way too.
Men are wired by God to be leaders. In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife! “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead. Avoid making all the decisions for your family. Ask him to make some decisions. Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects. Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture. (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)
In my current Bible reading, I’ve been struck with how many times God used women to take a bold, courageous, and wise stand against the enemy. There are so many occasions where a woman steps out to lead or help God’s people when the enemy is attacking. Here are some of the examples: Abigail (in 1 Samuel 25) acts wisely when her husband did not. Rahab (Joshua 2) hides God’s people from the enemy. Deborah (Judges 4) courageously leads the people of God into war against the enemy. Esther (Esther 4 & 5) boldly intercedes for God’s people even though it was dangerous for her to do so. The wise woman (2 Samuel 20) reasoned with an enemy who was about to destroy her city and her wisdom saved the city.
What can we learn from these women? They were all very alert to the enemy’s schemes and they all boldly chose to take action against the enemy, trusting in God for the outcome. So here is the question for you: Do you see the enemy attacking your husband, your marriage, your family, or individual children? If you do, are you going to just wring your hands in despair, or are you going to take action? Hopefully, you will become a courageous woman of action! What does God want you to do? Do you need to relentlessly pray for God to intervene? Do you need to boldly confront an issue? Do you need to get wise counsel from a godly woman? Do you need to establish firm boundaries in a relationship? Do you need to ask others to pray with you?
You likely know your husband better than anyone. As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper. This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”. Then God created woman! Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.
Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol? Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time? Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise? Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?
If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things. First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make. Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.
Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch). This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”. When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.
One of my super humbling moments as a newly divorced woman actually reminds me of a vital marriage principle. Here’s the event forever etched in my memory from December of 2002:
It was nearing Christmas and I had just gone through a divorce after 18 years of marriage. My children were 16 and 14 at the time and I wanted to keep as many Christmas traditions in place as possible, so I announced that I was taking the kids to cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm. Just before we took off, I realized I didn’t have any way to tie the tree to the top of my SUV. But hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, or so I thought. lol I wasn’t going to let anything deter me!
So I searched my new house for something resembling rope or a bungee cord. Alas, there was no such thing on hand. All I had was some….sewing thread. Hmmm. Well, maybe a whole bunch of thread would work?
Off we went to pick out our beautiful Christmas tree. My son cut it down. Unlike me, he apparently knew how to handle this part of the operation. We hoisted the tree to the top of my SUV and then I carefully wove my spool of thread back and forth across the tree to secure it to the roof. My kids just shook their heads in disbelief. Then we took off, and we actually made it about a half-mile before the tree took a slow, inelegant slide from the top of the car to the road. Splat!
Why am I sharing this story with you? I’m using it to remind both you and me that a tiny thread is not sufficient to hold anything heavy when the wind starts blowing against it. In the same way, we need a super strong rope to hold a marriage together when we are slammed by the wind of miscommunication, frustration, and unmet expectations in marriage. We need a rope of three strands…you, your husband and the Lord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Sit down with your husband and brainstorm ideas on how you can keep God in the center of your marriage. You will need Him to help hold you guys together when you encounter the inevitable adversity and challenges that hit every marriage! Invite a third party into your marriage…the Holy Spirit!
As a wife, you want your husband to cherish you and be drawn to you. The question is: once you get married and the intoxication of new love wears off, how do you keep your man drawn to you? Of course, you want to do what you can to stay attractive, and you likely know a robust sex life with him is super important, but here are 2 other simple things that will tend to draw your husband to you.
1) Listen intently to him when he talks, especially when he talks about his hopes, his dreams, his plans, and the things he loves to do. If you engage him in conversation about his dreams and passions in life, he will feel understood, accepted, and valued for who he is at his core. Valuing his hopes and dreams is a sign of respect, and Ephesians 5:33 says, “The wife must respect her husband.” This doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with some of his more far-fetched dreams, but you can certainly explore with him why that specific dream or passion is exciting to him. Perhaps you can even brainstorm ways to satisfy those longings in practical ways.
2) Make plans for fun outings together and then make time in your schedule to have fun with him! You used to do this when you were dating, and you need to keep connecting with him through fun activities and hobbies during your marriage. Golf together. Try doing a workout video together. Start a pillow fight. Watch funny movies. Take a hike. Go sledding in the winter and kayaking in the summer. Invite a fun couple to your house once a month to play table games. Your husband will bond with you and be drawn to you when you have fun together.
I’m outing him. I’m exposing one of Satan’s main strategies for tripping up wives and potentially destroying their marriages. I can speak from experience because, a couple decades ago, I got caught in this scheme. Ugh. Here it is. The enemy will subtly lure you into a “friendship” with a man other than your husband. It will start very innocently. It may evolve very slowly. But here’s what I know. Once you start sharing your feelings, your troubles, and your hopes with a man, you start emotionally bonding with that man. Once a man starts sharing his burdens and his feelings with you, you start to bond with that man. Now you’re in treacherous water, and it’s only a matter of time before you get sucked into an actual affair.
I know some of you don’t believe me, but trust me, this has happened to countless women, including wonderful Christian ladies. It happened to me at the end of my first marriage. I never would have believed it could happen to me! For me, it took over 10 years for Satan to build a strong enough emotional bond with the man for me to be ensnared, but apparently the devil is pretty patient. Don’t let this happen to you. Refuse to spend time alone with another man, even at a public location. Refuse to discuss your marriage or your husband with another man, unless it’s a pastor or counselor. God instructs us in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be self-controlled and alert because the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour“. Be smart. Be alert to this scheme from the pit of hell!
You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc. The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him. Hmm. That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!
The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction. You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him. What do I mean by “speaking words of life”? I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle. Your words are so very important. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.
Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife. Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him. He needs to hear words of hope for the future if he commits to doing the hard work to break free from the addiction.