Are you giving the devil this foothold?

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 – 27, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Well….I almost gave the devil just such a foothold in my marriage the other day.  My husband had acted in a way that really bothered me.  I was steaming for hours and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him about it because I feared we’d get embroiled in a huge conflict.  So, I went to bed early, by myself. 

I am so thankful the Holy Spirit prompted me to get out of bed and go speak with my husband.  I sensed that I was giving the devil a “foothold” in my marriage through me stuffing the issue and letting resentment grow.  So, I went and found my husband in the living room, knelt by his side as he was sitting on the couch and told him that I truly do see so many good qualities in him.  I also told him why his behavior had bothered me. 

I know you’re thinking he agreed with my assessment, but he didn’t!  However, a good thing did happen.  We calmly acknowledged our difference of opinion and I was able to go to sleep in peace.  There was no wedge between me and my husband.  Don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your marriage.  Resist the temptation to go to sleep with simmering anger and resentment.

Becoming a more secure, confident woman!

Most women wrestle with insecurity, and when we live in a place of insecurity, we often make unhealthy choices.  We tend to put up with disrespectful behavior.  We tend to look to other people for our value and become codependent in relationships.  We grow super disappointed and resentful when other people (such as a husband!) don’t make us feel secure, happy, and content!

Well, I have found that meditating on these 3 Bible verses helps me start to feel more secure and grounded.  I become more confident in both my value and the decisions I need to make in life.  I begin to relax and feel safe.  As a result, I can approach all my relationships in a much healthier way!  Here are the 3 verses:

1) He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5) *you are his adopted daughter!  Awesome!!

2)  Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) *He will always be by your side! Awesome!!

3) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24)  *He will guide me in all my decisions and he is preparing a fantastic future for me in eternity! Awesome!!

Signs your husband has a problem online

I believe one of Satan’s most successful schemes to destroy marriages and families is….pornography.  Glancing once or twice at porn might seem relatively harmless, but it can rapidly become an addiction.  Once a person becomes addicted, they find they need to move to progressively more perverse types of porn in order to achieve the same arousal.  Then, even perverse porn no longer gives the same satisfaction and they often end up acting out in real life situations, sometimes ending up with prostitutes or same-sex encounters.   Marriages are torn apart in the process.  Plus, of course, your husband looking at another woman’s naked body is not okay with God!  Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, “If anyone looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

We can’t be ignorant to this pornography epidemic in America.  Even among Christians, HUGE numbers of both men and women are ensnared by habitual porn use.  In fact, a survey of pastors done back in 2001 revealed that almost 40% say pornography is a struggle for them!  As wives, we need to be alert to the signs that our husbands could be addicted to pornography.  Here are some common signs of habitual porn use:

  • Your husband no longer seems interested in having sex with you
  • Your man is becoming rough during sex or wants you to engage in perverse sexual acts
  • Your husband seems to be on the internet a lot, especially when you are out of the room
  • Your husband is very secretive and seems to be avoiding straight answers about activities

If your husband shows some or most of these signs, you may need to lovingly address the possibility of a pornography problem with him.  Keep in mind your husband is not the enemy, and if you make him feel like he is your enemy, he won’t feel safe to discuss this problem with you.  Be gentle, loving, and respectful, but DO address this issue.  Take action to fight for your marriage!

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

Confront selfishness

Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are.  However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women.  In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life.  She may think things like this:  My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right?  My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore.  I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy!  And the thoughts go on and on. 

I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”.  Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them.  It is so counter-intuitive!  However, it is also so Biblical.  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does.  How could you bless him this week?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?”  Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first?  I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you.  Are you willing to give it a try?

Do you have this glue in your marriage?

One of the things that will bond you together with your husband is….laughter!   When you share a common funny experience, it is very bonding.  I still vividly remember an incident several years ago when my husband and I attended a Seattle Seahawks football game.  I remember clearly and think back on this incident fondly because we bonded through belly laughter!  You see, there was a very vocal young man behind us who was actually quite funny.  He wasn’t crude, just extremely loud, and some of the things he yelled tickled our funny bones!  My husband and I would look at each other for hours afterward and burst out laughing about one of this guy’s funny comments.  When I think of periods in my marriage where my husband and I have laughed a lot, those memories bring very warm feelings.  I feel “connected” with my husband.  Shared laughter is very bonding.

Do you play and laugh and flirt with your husband?  Do you try to find humor in daily life?  Do you take yourself seriously all the time or can you laugh at your own little mistakes?  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”   If your marriage feels kind of dried up, perhaps it needs an infusion of laughter.  Maybe it’s time to start flirting with your husband like you used to.  When is the last time you pinched his tush?  Maybe you need to watch some funny TV shows together.  Lately, my husband and I have been watching “The West Wing” on Netflix.  Neither one of us had ever watched this show when it first came out. It’s an excellent political drama, but the characters are sometimes so funny!  Aaaah.  Shared laughter with my husband. It’s good medicine for our marriage!

How prayer changes your marriage

Prayer really is powerful!  You might be concerned about your husband’s actions or decisions.  You may be distressed about his lack of attention or affection toward you or the children.  If the offense is serious enough, you may need to establish boundaries, but at the end of the day, the truth is…you can’t CHANGE your husband.  However, the good news is that God DOES have the power to change your husband’s heart!  Ezekiel 36:26 lets me know God can change your man’s heart because that verse says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”.  I love to encourage wives to pray that verse for their husbands if their men appear to be off course in some area of their life.  Then, we have to be patient while we wait for God to answer our prayers for our men.  We also have to be intentionally watchful or we may even miss the answer to our prayer.

I was just thinking back about prayers I lifted to God several years ago regarding my husband.  Just recently, I suddenly realized that God had actually answered those prayers!  The changes happened so slowly and over such a long period of time that I hadn’t really noticed!  Hmmm.  It’s a good reminder to pray persistently, as Jesus instructs us to do in Luke 18, and then be watchful and alert for his answers.  Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”  So, don’t let an answered prayer slip by unnoticed.  We don’t want to miss out on thanking God and rejoicing in His faithfulness.

Looking back, can you see God making slow changes in your marriage, in you, or in your husband as a result of your long-time prayers?

Is your clothing attractive to him?

You probably think I’m going to give fashion advice, but you would be incorrect.  I’m certainly no fashionista!  The kind of “clothing” I’m talking about is not material.  It’s our attitude, character and behavior.  The Bible has a lot to say about how we “clothe” ourselves in that regard!

Colossians 3:18 tells us what we should put on every morning:  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Wow! Think about how attractive you would be to your husband (and your children, and your friends, and your mother-in-law and your co-workers) if you were to put on these qualities every morning as you start your day. 

Think about it.  How would your marriage be changed if you decided to be gentle and humble and kind and compassionate toward your husband?  I bet he would truly look forward to coming home to you each night!  Even if you need to broach tough subjects with your husband, he will be much more likely to listen if you clothe yourself with humility and gentleness and compassion.   Try it.  Humility…compassion…gentleness…kindness.  These are fashion accessories that never go out of style!

How to refresh your weary soul

Are you feeling weary, discouraged or burdened?  Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated with others or even yourself.  This remedy might seem strange, but God says that when we meditate on His principles and begin applying them in our lives, our souls will be refreshed!  Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”

Maybe your soul is weary or discouraged because you’ve been trying to handle difficult people and circumstances with your own wisdom.  Maybe it’s time to search out God’s wisdom instead.  For instance, if you are depressed about your husband’s continuing verbal abuse toward you and your children, maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for dealing with someone who is sinning against you.  You might want to read Matthew 18:15-17.  

Perhaps you’re dealing with a rebellious child who isn’t responding to your explanations about why he or she should listen to you.  Maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for molding your children into people of character.  You might want to read Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” 

How to receive God’s guidance

We all want to receive guidance from the Lord. You may need to make a decision in your marriage or with your children or regarding your work situation, and you wonder which way to go.  Well, the good news is that God promises to guide us!  Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to access his counsel!

Here are two primary ways to access his wisdom and his counsel.  The first is….spending time reading His Word.  Duh.  But how many times do we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or energy to spend much time reading the Bible?  Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and DECIDE to make Bible reading a priority in your life.  I bet you make time to brush your teeth and take a shower, so why can’t you carve out 15 minutes for reading the Bible every morning?  😊  Reading the Bible will give you direct guidance on so many decisions you’ll need to make throughout any given day.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Next, spend time worshipping God and in “listening prayer”.  When we worship God, he draws near, and he longs to whisper to us through His Holy Spirit if we will strain to listen for that whisper to our souls.  1 Kings 19:12 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  So try this.  Put on some worship music, or start singing a worship song. As you praise Him, close your eyes and envision God with you.  Now ask Him to whisper guidance to your heart.  Strain to listen. Did he give you a vision or nudge your heart in some way?  I believe He will guide you.  Just make sure that anything you believe you hear from God does not contradict what He says in the Bible.

Understand the seasons of marriage

Since we all know what to expect with each season of the calendar year, we can prepare ahead.  However, when it comes to the seasons of a marriage, most of us are completely ignorant!  In our ignorance, we are easily caught off guard. We haven’t adequately prepared.  So, let’s be intentional about preparing for each season.  As Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…”

So, let me offer a little insight into the seasons of a marriage, now that I’ve seen some seasons come and go 🙂   The first season is an exciting sprint to the altar.  We are giddy with excitement and anticipation.  As a bride, we are the center of attention.  The world revolves around us.  We feel like the princess in a fairy tale.  We love this season.  It feels like summer, when everything is in full bloom and the sun warms your skin.

However, once we return from the honeymoon, and life goes back to “normal”, we can feel let down.  It’s not all about me anymore!  Often, husbands feel like they’ve won the prize and get to relax now.  Sometimes the romance falls away.  We plug along, but it’s beginning to feel like fall.  The leaves are falling off the trees.  If we don’t pay attention, our marriage can become stripped of its vitality.

Then, children enter the picture.  We’re so excited, just like we enjoy the first snowfall of the winter.  It’s beautiful.   Sometimes this “winter season” is wonderful, but often we pay too much attention to the children and little or no attention to our marriage during this time.  If we don’t intentionally nurture our marriage, Satan sneaks in to cause trouble just like a cold draft sneaks under a poorly sealed door. 

Ah, but then there’s spring.  If we’ve made it through those challenging winter months, and if we’ve been nurturing the relationship with our husband, our marriage begins to really bloom again!  The kids are growing up or are already out on their own, and you have some free time available.  You now have time for shared hobbies, shared adventures, shared pursuit of ministry opportunities, shared smiles with the grandchildren.  Spring is a wonderful reward for paying attention to your marriage during the other seasons.  It might include a little rain now and then, but hey, the rain helps bring new life.