Are you suffering unnecessarily?

Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth.  They are inevitable.  In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.”   Sometimes, the trouble is inside your marriage, and when that’s the case, you often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV).  Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.

However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering.   Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is actively sinning against us.  We always need to be respectful and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person who stubbornly continues in a pattern of sin against us, refusing to make changes.

So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships, especially when your husband has asked for forgiveness and is working to break free from a pattern of sin.  However, you may be “longsuffering” unnecessarily if you have never directly confronted your husband about a sin pattern and insisted that he make changes. The appropriate time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they show evidence of trying to turn away from that pattern of sin.  I guess my question to you is this:  Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children?  Have you drawn clear boundaries on what continuing behavior is unacceptable? If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will.  Pray about it and see what God reveals.

Have your husband read this!

99.9 percent of my Bible-based insights are designed to help women personally and in their marriages. But I know that many husbands also read these messages, so I want to take a moment to give you an important insight about the woman in your life!  Ladies, if you’re the one reading this, perhaps you can tell your husband that I’m asking him to read this as well. 😊

God tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  And later, in verses 28-29, God says “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”.

So, God is calling you to love your wife in a self-sacrificing way…and to cherish her.  Please allow me to explain 3 key things that virtually every wife needs from you to feel loved and cherished:

  1. She longs to feel beautiful.  That means she needs you to notice her hair, her make-up, her outfit and tell her how beautiful she is…that she looks amazing today.  It also means that if she finds out you’ve been looking at pornography, she is deeply scarred.  The unspoken message she receives is that she is NOT attractive enough, that she doesn’t measure up, that every time you want to make love, you’re envisioning being with another woman who you view as more beautiful than her. That’s why I’m begging you to get help if you’re addicted to pornography.  Every time you look at porn, you’re slicing your wife’s heart.
  2. Every woman craves security. We’re just wired that way. She longs to feel financially secure and relationally-secure.  That’s why she gets freaked out when you talk about quitting your job or spending money on a new S-U-V.  She desperately needs to feel secure. 
  3. She needs you to be loving and gentle and involved with her children (whether those kids are your bio kids or step kids).  Nothing will break a wife’s heart quicker than to witness her husband being harsh or disrespectful or critical with her children.  That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push-over who doesn’t discipline the children, but she needs you to do so with love.  She needs to know that you deeply care about her children.

A wife’s laughter

Here’s something I’ve learned along my journey of being a wife.  Husbands desperately crave respect from their wives, ESPECIALLY in front of other people.  I’ve also learned that one of the things that crushes a husband is when his wife disrespects him in front of other people my making fun of his failures or laughing about his blunders.  Granted, some of his mistakes might be kind of funny, but sharing those “funny” mistakes with other people only serves to emasculate your husband.

I feel like a broken record because I’m constantly referring wives to Ephesians 5:33, but hey, we need constant reminders!  We so easily forget a man’s need to be respected by his wife.  Ephesians 5:33 simply says “the wife must respect her husband.”  Period.  No qualifiers.  God doesn’t say “show respect only when you feel respect”.  Nor does God say “show respect, except for when your husband makes a mistake”.  God simply and concisely instructs wives to BE respectful in their interactions with their husbands. This is a decision you get to make.  From personal experience, I can tell you that your decision to treat your husband with honor, respect and esteem (especially in front of other people), will draw his heart to you and encourage him to live up to your expectations of actually BEING an honorable and respectable man.  Try it!

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 ways to handle a bad day

Sometimes, life just gets plain hard.  You forget to pay a bill on time and get hit with a giant “late fee”.  You catch your husband looking at pornography.  You teenager lies to you.  Your child accidentally drops an entire jog of milk on the kitchen floor.  Ugh!

At times like these, it’s easy to feel weighed down.  It’s so common for us to give into despair and depression.  But instead of conceding defeat, we can regain our spiritual equilibrium by practicing 3 things: 

1) Recognize this is a scheme of the enemy to try to steal, kill or destroy your joy  (John 10:10 “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy“)

2)  Remind your soul of the enemy’s inability against our mighty God (1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.“)  *Sometimes I even laugh at Satan’s pitiful attempts to drag me down!  I like putting him back in his place!

3) Trust that God will carry you through this challenge and even redeem the circumstances so that something good comes about in the long run. God is an expert at turning lemons into lemonade! (Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”)

A way your husband could help you

For over a dozen years, I tended to constantly pick at a dysfunctional relationship in my life.  It drove me a little crazy that I was estranged from some relatives.  I kept on feeling like I needed to “fix it”.  This went on for so many years!  And I think Satan had my number on this.  Just when I thought I had sorted through my responsibility in the situation and had come to the conclusion that I had done everything I should, Satan whispered into my ear once again “this is your fault”…”you aren’t handling this correctly as a Christian”…blah, blah, blah.  And the cycle repeated itself every few months…for years!

I was feeling that way again a couple of years ago, and I rehashed that fractured relationship once again with my husband.  Bless his heart!  I’m so thankful that he was actually be patient with me as I talked through that situation over and over again every few months.  Anyway, he quickly reminded me that I had done everything I could.  He helped me to see the situation objectively.  Where I was consumed with emotions and doubt, he could see more clearly and objectively.  As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

Sometimes, you and I really do need our husband’s counsel.  Often, they are less emotional than we are.  Many times, they can see the situation much more objectively and correctly assess how it should be handled.  Plus, our husbands love it when we come to them for advice, because it signifies that we actually respect their opinion.  Is it time to seek your husband’s counsel on a situation in your life?  Two are often better than one!

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 still remember the time a few years ago that I caught myself sounding like my husband’s mother.  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 desire to be deeply cherished.  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.

Is this virus hurting your family?

This old saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!!   I found that out several years ago when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day.  My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task.  I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that.  I am so busy I can hardly breathe.”   Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof.  He got increasingly agitated on the phone.  It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious!  I was spreading the stress virus.

Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our family members or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress was directly tied to mine.  As I pondered this with God, I concluded that I needed to re-examine my schedule and my priorities.  Perhaps I needed to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level would drop. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him.  This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.  Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus.  Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42:  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”   

Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules.  Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities.  Maybe we need to spend less time scrolling through social media and checking the latest news, so that we are not so squeezed for time to do the tasks in front of us.  Maybe we need to start each day by meditating on God’s Word and bringing all our concerns to Him in prayer.  For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my whole family!  How about you?  Are you stressed out a lot?  Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule? Would your anxiety and stress level drop if you spent more time with the Lord?

**or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

How to decrease 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 become 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!

Strive for this kind of pride

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 a couple of years ago in my marriage to Raul.  My husband took the time to tell me that he felt tremendously encouraged when I would occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife.  That tiny little statement built him up.  It helped him press back into the challenges that awaited him.  It helped him feel like he could slay dragons.  His wife was proud of him.  She believed in him.  He had 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!