Men need time to process requests

Have you ever noticed a blank look on your husband’s face when you suddenly bring up a heavy topic, voice a frustration, or ask him to change a behavior?  Or does your husband seem to get defensive very quickly in those moments?  I’m discovering that the reason for the blank look or the immediate defensiveness is because a man thinks differently than a woman!

Women process thoughts, ideas and feelings at lightning speed.  We are ready to engage in a deep conversation at the drop of a hat.  We can verbalize how we feel instantaneously!  Men, on the other hand, need time to process their thoughts and feelings.  So…..when we suddenly bring up a deep topic, or state how we feel, or ask them to make a change in behavior, or heaven forbid, ask them how they feel, our men become like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”!   Often they default to the blank look on the face or they become defensive because they feel pressured to do or say something, and they haven’t yet had a chance to think things through.

Here’s what I learned to do.  I learned to bring up a concern or state my feelings on an issue and then let my husband have some breathing room to process it.  I learned to say “let’s talk more about this later after you’ve had a chance to think about it.”  Most men need some space to process their thoughts and feelings.  Maybe this is a good opportunity for us to practice patience!  Ponder these two Proverbs.  Proverbs 19:11  “A person’s wisdom yields patience…”  Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is patient has great understanding….”

Your prayers could change everything

Are you and your husband at odds?  Are you discouraged in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making?  Pray.  Prayer really can change everything! It can produce a miracle! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”

I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings.  I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas.  I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time.  I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time.  I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles.  I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts!   In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Awesome!  So, seek God in prayer.  Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children.  Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God.  He can even change hearts.

Husbands want you to notice this!

We all know women are pretty obsessed with their appearance, but men care about how they appear as well.  Specifically, they want to appear strong.  Your guy probably isn’t going to tell you this, but most husbands want you to appreciate their strength.  They want you to notice and be in awe of their muscles!

It’s in a man’s DNA to want to exude physical strength.  When God first created man, the Bible says in Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”   Those instructions to cultivate the garden involve strength and power.  So, affirm your husband’s strength.  The next time he lifts something heavy, notice his strength and let him know it!  If you actually see a bulging bicep, treat it like eye-candy and tell him his biceps are sexy.  I bet you’ll see your husband’s eyes light up a little bit, and more importantly, I believe you’ll also see him grow in confidence.  He wants to be your hero.  He needs to be your hero.

Managing your allure

While reading the Bible in recent days, I have stumbled upon several women who had tremendous influence over their husbands, but who, unfortunately, used that influence to satisfy their own selfish desires.  It reminded me that, as women, we have a powerful allure with men.  God wired men to be extremely attracted to the female body.  This is awesome when you use that attraction to stay bonded to your husband and when you use that attraction with pure motives.  Unfortunately, wives don’t always do that.

We can learn what NOT to do from a few women in the Bible.  Two that come to mind are Delilah and the daughter of Herodias.  Delilah’s story is in Judges 16.  The mighty man Samson is so intoxicated with the beauty of Delilah that he finally gives in to her badgering about the source of his power and he tells her his secret.  The result?  He loses his power, his eyes are gouged out by the enemy, and this once mighty man of God becomes completely ineffective.

The daughter of Herodias is featured in Mark 6.  She is beautiful and dances erotically for King Herod.  He is so enthralled with her that he becomes stupid!  He offers her anything she wants…up to half his kingdom!!  She ends up asking for the head of John the Baptist.  The result?  A mighty man of God, the messenger who paved the way for Jesus Christ, is killed.

Ladies, let’s be careful to wisely use the powerful sex appeal God has given us.  You might find it exciting to turn men’s heads by wearing tight or revealing clothes in public, but think twice before you do that.  You may destroy another woman’s marriage.  You might think it’s cool that you can manipulate your husband through what you do or don’t offer him sexually.  Think twice before you do that too.  You may end up destroying your man and your own marriage.

How to persevere during challenges

It’s inevitable.  You will eventually hit some rough patches in your marriage, and in your life in general.  So how do you hang on and press through those storms?  If your husband is caught in a pattern of sin against you, you will need to respectfully confront the problem.  If you guys just plain disagree on how to handle something, you’ll have to work for a compromise.  But when the situation in your marriage seems hopeless, or when a challenge in life feels insurmountable, that’s when we have to learn to persevere.

One huge key for me in terms of perseverance is reflecting on the many times in the past that God has answered my cries for help.  When I look back and take an inventory of the miracles he’s performed in my life and the times when he clearly orchestrated events…then my faith is increased.  As my faith increases, I can more easily persevere through the current crisis.  By recalling the past deeds of God in my life, I find peace knowing that He was in control then and He’s still in control now.  This is the counsel given to us in Psalm 77:11-12 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

One of the best ways to remember the past deeds of the Lord is to write down “God-sightings” in a journal. I have a journal filled with little notes about answered prayers or “God-wink” moments where I can see that God orchestrated something amazing in my life.  I re-read these entries several times a year, and my faith is increased once again.  As my faith in God builds, I can persevere more easily during my current trial.  Do you have a “God-sighting” journal?

This draws your husband’s heart

After years of working alongside my husband to counsel and mentor couples in distress, I’ve noticed a common issue.  Even though many of the husbands have greatly disappointed or frustrated their wives, the wives come across as condemning and arrogant.  Ouch!

When a wife is perceived as being arrogant and self-righteous, the husband usually avoids her, becomes passive aggressive, and self-medicates his pain through destructive choices such as alcohol, pornography, or even other women.

What if you were to choose to deal with your frustration and disappointment in a different way?  What if you were to display humility, kindness and love…even when confronting destructive behavior?  One quality that will really endear you to your husband is humility, and it’s Biblical!  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but the interest of others.”

Catch yourself if you start talking down to your husband or start treating him like he is disgusting or inferior to you.  In that moment, ask God to give you His perspective on your husband.  Ask God to remind you that you’re not perfect either and that you’re both a work in progress…in the master’s hands.

Is your mouth hurting your marriage?

Some women bottle up their frustrations in marriage and in life in general.  These women are uncomfortable working through conflict and try to ignore the problem, defaulting to a cold war or silent treatment.  However, some women find themselves at the other extreme.  When they get irritated or frustrated with their husband, they let him have it!  They often speak critical, bitter words to their men, and those words cut their men deeply.  The wound is especially deep because a man is wired to crave respect.  That’s why the Bible instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband“.

So, what can you do if you’ve tried to stop spewing mean, harsh, bitter words, and your attempts seem to fail most of the time?  Well, the Bible gives us a big clue on what you need to do.  Luke 6:45 says “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”   The cure for a quick temper or critical tongue is to pray for God to change your heart!  Ask God to fill your heart with love and compassion and patience for your husband.  Pray this daily. 

P.S.  In addition to praying for a heart of love, make sure you don’t have major unaddressed issues with your husband.  If you hang onto resentment over unresolved conflict, that’s like covering a skillet of oil with a tight lid, setting it to simmer, and then walking away expecting it to stay at a calm simmer.  Without a vent, it will eventually explode, splattering the scalding oil everywhere!   If you have unresolved conflict with your man, decide to respectfully and gently confront these issues so your simmering heart doesn’t explode through your mouth!

Controlling your mouth!

Good grief!  Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again!  In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc.  Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem!  How about you?

Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble.  That’s because we have a common enemy.  Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues!  Jesus is stronger than the enemy.  1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Hallelujah!

So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today.  Would you be willing to ask God to help you remember to pause before you speak to your husband, especially when you’re angry or frustrated!  Maybe you would benefit from asking God to remind you during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if you’re asking your husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain your frustration.  I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words.  Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”

Will you courageously begin praying for God to help you catch yourself the minute you’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward your husband?