Body image matters!

We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it!  But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image?  Almost every man really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular.  This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles!  He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong!

Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body.  Here are some examples of what she tells him:  Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.”   Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”

When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength?  When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are?  Your husband craves those comments!  As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!

Husbands find this disrespectful

If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance that you may sound too much like a “mother” instead of a wife when talking to your husband, at least from time to time.  I caught myself sounding like my husband’s mother the other day.  He was heading out the door and for some reason, I felt compelled to say, “Don’t forget to eat some breakfast before you go”.   Really?  Did I need to say that?!   Did my husband really need me to point out that he should remember to feed himself?  What?  Is he 3 years old or something?  Oh brother.

When we remind our husbands about things that would be obvious to any adult, we’re actually being disrespectful.  Ouch.  It’s as if we’re telling our husbands that we don’t think they’re capable of making basic, reasonable decisions.  We sound like we’re talking to a toddler!  “Don’t forget to take a coat.”…”Be careful that you don’t hurt yourself with that hammer”…”Let me explain to you how to do _________.”

Let’s keep in mind the Bible’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33, where God says “the wife must respect her husband“.  Men crave the respect of their wives just like women crave chocolate. 🙂  Don’t communicate disrespect to your husband by talking to him like he’s an ignorant or helpless child who needs a mother to guide him.

Reducing anxiety in your home

Who would have thunk it?  (Yes, I know thunk is not a word).  Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting.  Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess!  I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.

She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems.  She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job.  Their relationship was going well.  So what could be the problem?  Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household.  So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!).  She didn’t do all the chores herself.  She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could stay relatively tidy and clean.

The result?  Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared!  Wow!  I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out.  In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity!  P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!

Pride can be good!

Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride.  I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

But here’s the thing.  I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves.   He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant.  God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility.   However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them.  That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant.  It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient! 

In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action.  When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband.  He longs to hear those words.  It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm.  Our men need our encouragement!

This hit home for me recently.  My husband took the time to tell me that he feels tremendously encouraged when I occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife.  That tiny little statement builds him up.  It helps him press back into the challenges that await him.  It helps him feel like he can slay dragons.  His wife is proud of him.  She believes in him.  He has the courage and confidence to keep moving forward.  Your words are powerful!  Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately?  Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?

Consider Proverbs 14:1  A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands a foolish woman tears hers down.  Are you building up your husband, and thereby, building up your marriage and family?  Or are you tearing down your husband and demolishing your home?  Something to ponder!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Deciding to remove your mask

Have you ever felt trapped in a dysfunctional part of your marriage?  Do you struggle with feeling hopeless about something in your marriage?  Do you hide your insecurities in general behind a “I’m just fine” mask? Well, over the years, I’ve learned that I begin to break free from that hopelessness and oppression when I drag the problem into the light!  Here’s what I mean by that.  I mean doing something extremely courageous by revealing the problem, your insecurities or your frustrations to a godly friend or counselor.  This means, not only revealing what your husband is doing, but also bravely revealing your own part in any dysfunction. 

Proverbs 28:13 says this:  “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”   This is a wonderful verse to live by!  You will most likely find that as you begin to drop your “everything is just fine at our house” mask, that other women will begin dropping their masks as well.  You will find it comforting to realize you’re not the only one struggling with issues.

You will also find that dropping the mask means you will be more open to receiving godly wisdom and direction.  Instead of pretending that everything’s great, you’ll be in a position for God to speak counsel into your life, through both the Bible and wise people.  This doesn’t mean you go around telling everyone about your husband’s faults!  It means getting real with a few trusted, wise, godly women or a trained counselor who can help you apply Biblical principles to your marriage challenges.  You will also receive encouragement, prayer support, and hope in the process!

Must I have a “gentle & quiet spirit”?

1 Peter 3:4 instructs wives to have a gentle, quiet spirit.  Hmmm.  Why do so many of us rebel against that idea?  Well, for me, I think it boils down to 2 things.

First, I fear that being quiet and gentle means I’m going to be controlled by my husband or become a weak doormat kind of wife!  Personally, I fear being controlled.  It’s because I was hurt by people who controlled me when I was young.  So, I rebel at anything that even smells like control!  But here’s what both you and I need to know.  Just because we allow our husbands to lead, does not mean that we are weak and have no voice.  It is something we get to CHOOSE to do to bring honor to God and honor to our husbands.  Also, I am not a doormat because I DO get to speak up respectfully and establish boundaries if my husband is sinning against me. (Matthew 18:15-17)

Second, I fear that if I strive for a gentle, quiet spirit that I’m going to have to change my personality!  But that’s just not true!  You can still be playful, joyful, and flirty with your husband.  You just don’t yell at him, argue with him about everything, boss him around, and demand your own way all the time.  🙂

Teasing your husband

I’m always giving my husband a hard time about his driving!  If your husband is like mine, he treats driving as a competition…all the time.  As soon as he puts the key in the ignition, the race is on!  It’s a guy thing.  A lot of wives tell me their husbands are like that too.  🙂

Well, because it’s a “guy thing”, I’ve teased my husband about it.  I meant the teasing to be playful, and funny, and charming.  I thought it was being received that way, and perhaps it was….when it was just the two of us.  However, on our drive yesterday, my husband mentioned that my teasing about his driving isn’t so funny when I tease him in front of other people.  He said it makes him feel that I’m telling everybody he’s a terrible driver.  Holy cow!  I never meant it that way at all, but that’s how he took it.

This is just another reminder for all of us ladies.  Be very, very (as in “extremely”) careful when you tease your husband in front of others, even if you think you’re being playful and flirty.  He so needs you to always show him respect and admiration in public.  Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband”, and while we should do that all the time, it’s critical when in public.  Let’s commit to looking for opportunities to affirm our men in front of others, and totally avoid any kind of teasing about his flaws, mistakes, or idiosyncrasies!

Repairing a fractured marriage

Dog-gone it.  Sometimes marriage is so hard.  Sometimes, the imperfections of our spouse end up hurting us…deeply.  Your husband may have wounded you with an anger problem.  He may have cheated on you with porn or a real-life woman.  He may have spent more time with his hobbies than he did with you and the kids, and that really hurt.  Hopefully, he’s no longer doing those things.

However, even if he has made some positive changes, the wounding can be so severe that your heart might feel a little like a cracked egg. It’s kind of like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and went splat!  Even if your husband repents, how can your heart be put back together again?

Here are two thoughts that may help.  First, ask God to give you the same kind of compassion for your husband that God extends to us when we mess up.  You might want to meditate on Colossians 3:12-14 which says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 

Second, use this moment to examine your own actions and see if there is something God wants you to learn.  During some of the times in my life when I was most hurt by others, God gently showed me ways I contributed to the mess.  Have you been reacting to your husband’s behavior in disrespectful ways?  Have you avoided conflict and let resentment become toxic?  You and I probably both have some things we should learn.  Let’s commit to being humble and teachable.

Don’t fall for these big fat lies!

I am on the war path…against the devil!  I will not stand idly by while he tries to destroy the marriages of beautiful Christian wives who fall for his diabolical schemes.  I should know all about his schemes because I fell into them in my first marriage.  So heed my warning.  I know from first-hand experience that Satan wants to lure your thinking down the wrong path.

You’ve probably heard the verse in John 10:10 where Jesus reveals Satan’s mission to “steal, kill and destroy“.  Well, a primary tool of Satan is big, fat, rotten lies!  Jesus reveals this in John 8:44 where, referring to the devil, he says, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Be on high alert for the devil to whisper lies that might sound something like this:  “Your husband is a total jerk”, “Your marriage is hopeless”, “You deserve a different husband”, “You should file for divorce because God could never change your husband”, “Your kids would be better off if you divorce”, “You don’t need to listen to advice from your church friends who think you should work on your marriage.”, etc.  These are big, fat, rotten lies from the pit of hell.  Don’t be impulsive.  Don’t rush into a divorce.  Give God time to work on your husband…and on you!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 ways to pray for your husband

If you were to regularly pray 3 specific Bible verses on behalf of your husband, I believe you would see your man and your marriage and your whole family reap amazing benefits!  Here are the 3 Bible verses:  Ephesians 3:17-19, Proverbs 3:5-6, and James 4:7.  These verses ask God to reveal his love to your husband at a deep level, ask God to cause your husband to have a deep trust in God, and ask God to prompt your husband to submit himself to God.  When those 3 things happen, your man is completely transformed!

Here’s what this looks like:

Ephesians 3:17-19   “I pray that Jesus would come and dwell in ___________’s heart by faith, and that _____________, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and that ___________ would know this love that surpasses knowledge, that _________ would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Proverbs 3:5-6  “I pray that you would work in  _____________’s heart so that he would trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding.  In all his ways, I pray that ____________ would acknowledge you Lord, so that you make his path straight.”

James 4:7-8  “I pray that you convict ______________ of the need to fully submit himself to you, God, and I pray that you would show _____________ how to resist the devil, so that the devil flees from _______________.