I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago! I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in our marriage. But I’ve discovered it’s true! There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit. Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices. Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.
Just recently, we built a fire pit in our backyard. It cost less than $100. We thought it would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs. But it turns out that my husband and I are enjoying it ourselves…immensely! As the sun goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be. Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry. Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them. Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas. Try building a fire pit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!) when I do something sacrificial for my husband and he doesn’t even seem to notice. For me, even though both my husband and I work full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more. I did this for a several month stretch last year.
Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets? No, I did not. Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day? Yes, I did. But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”. However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all. What!?!
It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased. I know that God is pleased whenever I serve my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it! In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our husbands sacrificially. That right man is Jesus.
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By withholding what he needs to feel loved, we’re actually sinning! James 4:17 says, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!
At the risk of you thinking I’m totally looney, may I suggest that you talk with your husband about clear boundaries regarding your female friends? In other words, he should not be a “friend” of any of your own girlfriends! I know this might seem old-fashioned or even ridiculous, but many affairs start out with a husband “just talking” with another woman. We need to be careful and alert to the schemes of the enemy!
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober-mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So, be alert to the enemy’s scheme to get your husband emotionally entangled with one of your friends. He should not spend time with her without you. He should not even be spending time on the phone with her giving advice or listening to her woes. Without him intending to do so, he will slowly find himself developing an emotional bond with your friend, and she will start bonding with him. Danger lies ahead!
I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes get consumed with the “what if” questions. What if my husband were to pass away? What if we lost our income? What if my kids make a really bad life-altering decision? What if my husband becomes attracted to another woman? When I start thinking this way, my serenity level plunges and my anxiety level shoots through the roof!
Well, here are some decisions that both you and I can make in order to regain peace of mind:
1) We must decide to follow the instructions given in Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we need to tell God all our concerns and ask Him to be in control!
2) We need to decide to trust Jesus with all things! I mean, seriously, do we believe God loves us and that He is perfect in all His ways? If we REALLY trust Him, then we can relax and realize that, even in difficult circumstances, He has a plan to bring about good thing in the lives of those who love Him. This is the essence of 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.”
— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE
Do you have a continuing issue with your husband? Does he lack a certain desirable character quality? Prayer can make all the difference!
I have seen persistent prayer accomplish what I cannot do on my own. I don’t have any ability to change my husband’s heart. I can set boundaries on certain behavior, but I can’t change his heart. Only God can do that, and praise the Lord, he DOES do that! In Ezekiel 36, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…” Awesome!
If you’re wondering where to start in terms of praying for a change in your husband’s heart, I would suggest inserting your husband’s name in 2 specific Bible verses as you pray. I’ve been praying these 2 verses for quite some time now, and I’ve seen God slowly molding and shaping my husband’s heart. Here are the verses, with your husband’s name inserted. Psalm 51:10 “Create in _____________ a clean heart and renew a right spirit within _____________.” Psalm 103:8 Mold ____________ to be like you “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love”.
You may have heard of the acronym H.A.L.T. It stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. It is a caution often used in addiction recovery where people are urged not to make any drastic decisions when one of those 4 conditions applies.
That’s a really good caution for wives as well! Don’t make any major decisions about leaving your husband, filing for divorce, or even giving full vent to your temper if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. However, I would like to add one more condition. Don’t make any major decisions when….it’s that time of the month!! Women are often so overly-emotional in the days leading up to their period, that we become drama queens! Everything happening around us is exaggerated in intensity. So, even though you feel like reacting in a dramatic way, remind yourself to pause and see if you still feel the same way 3 or 4 days later.
This verse comes to mind. James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.