Do you have a strong tribe?

I was reminded recently of how valuable it is for Christian women to gather with other godly women.  A wife recently told me that, beyond learning valuable insights from God’s Word during Bible studies, what has really helped her is the encouragement, support and accountability from other godly women.

It’s true.  Sometimes, we need that kick in the pants from another woman when we have wandered off track.  Sometimes, it’s that empathy and warm hug from another woman when we are going through a challenging situation.  Sometimes, what matters most is knowing friends in your women’s group will be praying for you during the week.

God’s Word tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25… “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” Our adversary wants us to isolate because then we’re more vulnerable!  Without encouraging voices in our ear, all we hear are the enemies whispers of discouragement and hopelessness.

So, the question is:  Are you acting as a lone ranger or are you carving out time in your schedule to meet regularly with other godly women?  Even during covid-19, we can meet together in small numbers.  You could plan a walk with a few Christian women.  You could bring your Bibles and study together.  Squadron of Sisters is beginning to meet again, with safety guidelines in place.  Determine today that you WILL plan time with other Christian sisters.  We need each other.  We are stronger together.

How respect impacts your husband

Have you ever had this thought…”I don’t respect my husband”?  Honestly, I had that thought quite often in my first marriage, and because I didn’t FEEL respect, I didn’t ACT particularly respectful.  Unfortunately, I just went with how I felt.  I rolled my eyes at his ideas.  I took control of most everything in our family because I didn’t think he was capable.  I corrected him a lot.  And…..after quite a few years, he turned to other women for validation.

I learned many lessons after that failed marriage.  One of them is that a man desperately needs the respect of his wife.  He needs to know that she believes in him and is FOR him.  Now, this doesn’t mean she is supposed to ignore destructive and sinful choices in his life.  No, she needs to gently but firmly confront him if he is caught in a pattern of sin.  But, even then, she can be loving and kind and respectful!

In my 2nd marriage to Raul, I am pressing into this Biblical command (Ephesians 5:33) for wives to respect their husbands.  And oh my, what a difference it makes!  He has told me many times that he wouldn’t be able to tackle the things he’s doing in life and for God if it weren’t for me being FOR him.  In fact, he will often get tears in his eyes when I treat him respectfully because this is a new thing for him as well…and he desperately craves my respect.  All men do.  Try it and see what happens in your marriage.  Have you already tried it?  How has it impacted your marriage?

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Simple way to keep hubby interested in you!

Won’t your husband be surprised when you….flirt with him?!  It will be a pleasant surprise, I’m sure!  C’mon ladies.   Why do we greet our children, our dog, our cat, or our gerbil with more excitement than we greet our husband?  Why are we more concerned with getting our girlfriends to really like us than our own husbands?  Did we even notice the slow and subtle decline of affection and flirtation in our marriage?

Let’s start revving up the romance and excitement of our marriages once again.  Maybe we should take a clue from the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs.  For instance, in chapter 7, she flirts with her man and tells him what she has planned for him sexually! “Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.  Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded….there will I give you my love.” 

Start flirting with your husband, and do it at least once every day.  It could be a pinch on his tush, or a playful lifting of your shoulder, or a sassy smile that says I’m looking forward to being intimate with you later, or even a wink at him across the lobby at church.  The simple act of flirting with your husband on a regular basis will help to rekindle romance, excitement, and his interest in you!  What do you have to lose?

Shaping a powerful legacy

Watching the news each night on television makes me shudder.  We learn of more people dying from covid-19.  We hear of horrific murders.  We watch towns leveled and lives taken by earthquakes and hurricanes.  Life on this earth is so short and we never know when we will be living our last day in these bodies.  It causes me to reflect on the legacy I would leave if I were to be called home to be with Jesus today.  It is something for you to ponder too.  In what condition would you have left your marriage?  What legacy would you have left in that regard?  Would your children say they had an excellent role model for what a godly wife is supposed to look like?  Or would they say mom was cold and bitter toward dad and seemed to always point out something he had done wrong?

The Bible wisely instructs us “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”  (Ephesians 4:26).   So, perhaps today is a good day to take inventory on your relationships.  Have you let anger and bitterness creep into the relationship with your husband, or your children, or other loved ones?  Do what you can to respectfully address the issues that have prompted bitterness or anger.  The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  So, do what you can today to make peace. Don’t wait until tomorrow.  I don’t mean to be theatrical, but truly, none of us has an ironclad guarantee of another sunrise.  Let’s leave a godly legacy.

A game-changer during marriage conflict!

Conflict and disagreement is inevitable in marriage.  However, conflict need not lead to the formation of two enemy camps!  Here’s something that can greatly change the dynamics during conflict and actually move you closer to resolution.  Pause and ask God to help you see the situation through your husband’s eyes. Ask the Lord to show you what is truly prompting your husband to say what he’s saying or do what he’s doing. Is he stressed?  Is he discouraged?  Is he still affected by emotional wounds from his childhood?  Does he simply have a different idea on how something should be done, and could his idea actually make sense?

When we intentionally pause and try to consider the vantage point of our husbands, we begin to have compassion, or at least an understanding of why he is thinking or acting the way he is. Instead of only focusing on our desires, Philippians 2:4 instructs us, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  When you truly stop and try to look at the situation from his perspective, you may see some actual merit to your husband’s point of view!  You might also start to realize how your husband’s past hurts in life (or current fears) are playing a role in his actions or reactions.

When we ask Jesus to help us see the situation through our husband’s eyes, we start to soften and feel compassion.  As we have compassion and understanding, it will be much easier to compromise or find resolution.  Try it!

The temptation to make your husband suffer!

There is a particularly vicious cycle that can start in a relationship. It’s super common but also super subtle.  Trust me. You don’t want to enter this cycle.  The cycle goes like this:

My husband does something wrong, so I feel completely justified in my critical and disrespectful response.  Or my husband does something that really annoys me so I feel totally justified doing that certain thing that I know really annoys him.  In both cases, of course he responds with his own counter move, and the vicious cycle has begun.  We give into the subtle, destructive temptation to “hurt him just like he hurt me”.  We feel justified in our reactions, but we’ve just escalated the war.  Unfortunately, in this war, there are no winners…just losers.

I know!  Here’s an idea (yes, you noted some sarcasm there!).  How about if we decide not to play the justification game anymore?  How about if we, as our husbands’ helpers, decide to respond to our husbands with grace, love and respect, even when they annoy us?  How about if we choose to stop trying to punish them every time they upset us? Romans 12:18-19 directs us to live this way…”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean we keep totally quiet all the time.  You may need to establish boundaries on sinful behavior.  However, even if you’re confronting your husband or establishing boundaries, you can do so with love, compassion, respect, and gentleness!

Going deeper in your conversation on date nights

We’ve all seen that couple at a restaurant…that couple that hardly speaks a word to each other throughout the whole meal.  Don’t be that couple!  You and your husband may not be used to revealing your hearts to each other, but give it a try, and don’t just talk about the kids.  Here are two helpful hints in terms of making your husband comfortable in opening up his heart to you in conversation:  1) Show an actual interest in what your husband shares  2) Do not criticize, point out flaws, or roll your eyes at the things he shares!   Philippians 2:4 instructs…”Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.”  So, really listen to the hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and feelings of your husband.

Here are 4 questions you could use as date night conversation starters:

1)  What makes you feel most fully alive…as in what do you so enjoy doing that you feel great satisfaction or delight and you easily lose track of time?

2)  If you had 100 million dollars and didn’t have to work for a living, what would you love to do with your time and money?

3) What are the 2 or 3 most impactful moments of your life?

4) What was the best part of your day and what was the most discouraging part of your day?

— or  view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Receiving guidance when you need to know what to do!

In any relationship, especially a marriage, there are going to be times when the two of you are in conflict.  Perhaps your husband is breaking your heart through wrong behavior.  At each of those times, we have to make really big decisions.  Should I confront my husband on an issue where he appears to be out of line?  Should I keep quiet and press into prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit to work in my husband’s heart?  Should I compromise on an issue where we’ve been in conflict?

At these times, counsel from other godly women is very helpful, but honestly, my very best guidance comes from God himself.  I just need to take a few moments to be quiet with Him and ask Him to speak direction into my mind and heart.  Psalm 142:3 says “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way.” Thank you Lord!

I did this recently on an issue between me and a close relative.  I thought for sure I should make a certain decision, but once I spent just a few moments quieting myself and asking God to speak His counsel into my mind, I received guidance to go the exact opposite direction!  He even allowed me to see why my original idea was flawed. Try this yourself.  God is waiting at the door of your mind and heart.  Open the door and let Him in.

Handling something daunting or overwhelming

If we could all truly embrace the Biblical principle of taking just one day at a time, we would all be better off!  Yes, this is a Bible principle.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  In other words, instead of worrying and fretting about the “what if…” questions, Jesus tells us to just focus on doing what we should do today.

How does this apply to you?  If it seems overwhelming to you to put your marriage back together after betrayal, just choose to move forward, one day at a time.  If you tend to avoid confronting your husband or establishing boundaries on wrong behavior because you fear the possibility of future tension, trust in Jesus and move forward, one day at a time.  If it seems daunting to take off the 50 pounds you’ve gained in recent years, don’t think about how hard this is going to be for the rest of your life. Just choose to eat healthy today and take it one day at a time.

Worrying about the future is pointless.  Being consumed by the “what if…” questions will only keep you trapped in fear.  Let’s do what Jesus says.  Let’s decide each morning to do what we know we should do that day, and let’s trust God to handle tomorrow.

What to do if husband’s plans seem crazy!

Are you bewildered by the amount of time your husband spends surfing online to check out the latest, fastest motorcycles available, or talking about quitting his job to open a risky new business, or dreaming about buying a huge boat and sailing around the world?  Apparently, you’re not alone!  Many wives report being frustrated, bewildered, and maybe even scared about their husband’s “crazy” ideas to spend way too much money on a hobby or to take a gigantic risk on some new money-making adventure or wild life-style change.  So, what’s a wife to do?  Let me give you two thoughts:

1)  Since a wife is to show respect to her husband (Ephesians 5:33), avoid the tendency to ridicule his plans, but instead come to him gently and with a true desire to understand how his idea would work.  You can simply say, “Tell me more about your idea…”  Then, you can ask gentle, respectful follow-up questions, such as, “How are you thinking we would handle the financial part of that idea?” or “Do you have some thoughts on how we would pay our mortgage while your new business is getting started?”

2)  Also, ask your husband if he will take the matter to God in prayer to seek God’s guidance on his dreams and plans. By the way, it will be super helpful if you’re humble and ask your husband if he has any concerns about the way that you spend your free time or about the things you tend to focus on.  When we are humble, our husbands are much more willing to accept input and gentle correction.  Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”