Finding true comfort during distress

All wives inevitably hit a rough patch or two in their marriage.  In fact, there will likely be moments when you think “Why did I even marry this man?!”  He may break a little piece of your heart when he forgets your anniversary, or is overly harsh with the kids, or develops a habit of satisfying himself while viewing pornography instead of making love to you.  At these moments, you need comfort for your broken heart.

It’s our tendency to reach for something easy and tangible as a source of comfort.  You might try to find some joy in buying lots of new clothes. YouI might turn to excessive food.  But neither one of those choices truly comforts us.  They actually lead to additional grief in the long run!  Instead, we need to train ourselves to run to God at those heart-breaking moments.  He is waiting with open arms.  Plus, Jesus knows what it feels like to suffer grief, betrayal, and a broken heart.

I love these two verses of comfort.  Psalm 103:2-4 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  And Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.  Meditate on those 2 verses and ask God to come close to you.  He will, and I believe you will experience the warmth of his love! 

One additional tip:  I’ve found it especially helpful to find a quiet place of solitude (no cell phone, no noise!) where I can just sit with the Lord in stillness for 5 or 10 minutes, letting his peace and comfort wash over me.

Little things that draw his heart

You want a quick and easy way to show respect to your husband and improve your marriage?  Just notice a few small things your husband seems to appreciate and then…..do them!  What a concept!  I mean, why wouldn’t a wife want to please her husband?  Why wouldn’t a wife want to be kind and thoughtful?  Colossians 3:12 tells us “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  So, if you could do just a couple things differently, in a way that your husband prefers, why wouldn’t you extend that kindness to him?

Let me give you some examples.  My husband always insisted that if we loaded the dishwasher in a certain way, it cleaned the silverware better.  (I didn’t think it made any difference!).  But, I did it the way he liked…because it pleased him.  I knew my husband loved it when I left a little note of encouragement for him on the kitchen counter at least once a week.  So I intentionally did that every week.  I knew my husband really appreciated a clean kitchen counter, so I tried to keep the counters tidy. Why wouldn’t I want to please him in such a small way?  I’m not saying a wife should have no opinion and should simply be a doormat for her husband.  But I think God would be pleased if we stopped only thinking of ourselves and started thinking a little more about blessing others…in this case, your husband!

How about you?  Could you intentionally take note of a few things your husband really appreciates, and then actually do some of those things?  It would make him feel respected.  It would draw his heart to you. It would likely improve your marriage.  Sometimes, it’s the little things…

Creating intimate moments with hubby

I learned something when the covid pandemic started in spring of 2020.  When the stay-at-home orders first hit, my husband and I had nothing better to do in the early hours of the morning than pull up 2 chairs in front of the fireplace and start quietly talking about God, family, priorities, hopes, fears and dreams.  We held our cups of coffee and talked for 30 or 40 minutes as night gave way to dawn.  Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we’d enjoy quiet moments of just being together.  It was…special.  It was intimate.  It was bonding. It was precious.

After the main lock-down ended, we engaged in that kind of special moment from time to time, but with no real regularity.  Life got busy again.  We both went to work, and we picked up the rapid pace of life once again. 

But one day about a year later, I realized we had lost those precious, quiet moments together. So, I decided to be more intentional.  Good things don’t usually happen unless we put in a little effort!  So, even though it was a little chilly on a May morning in Bellingham, WA, I told my husband I’d love to join him for a sunrise chat in our backyard as birds were beginning to chirp and the sun was beginning its slow rise for the morning.  It was beautiful.  It was peaceful.  It was quiet.  We had a soft and lovely conversation, sitting there bundled in jackets and enjoying the first rays of sunshine on our faces.  It reminded me that Jesus told his followers to seek out a quiet place from time to time because their soul needed that rest and refreshment.  Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

I encourage you to think about carving out time for a peaceful, quiet, morning conversation with your husband.  I think you will find it is bonding.  I know it will refresh your marriage.

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.

Reasonable boundaries in bedroom

Insist on being yourself in the bedroom, ladies!  What do I mean by that? Well, unfortunately, I frequently hear stories from women about how their husbands are asking them to do increasingly bizarre things in the bedroom.  Their guys want them to perform rather perverse sex acts, or dress like a stripper and do a pole dance, or dress like a dominatrix with whips and chains.

Why are many husbands asking these things of their wives?  It’s likely because they’ve seen such stuff in pornography and they’re trying to replicate it with you!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this is ok.  Does it seem right that your husband would use you to try to recreate a fantasy featuring another woman he saw on a porn site?  At that point, your husband isn’t even making love to you.  It’s only about the sex act and you’re just playing a role.

The Bible instructs husbands in 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  It is not respectful for your husband to ask you to play the role of some fantasy character from a porn site!  I believe it’s right for you to insist that you get to be yourself in the bedroom.  Yes, as a wife, you can wear sexy lingerie and be adventurous and playful in the bedroom, but let’s agree that a wife should be herself, and not play some fantasy role of a high school cheerleader or dominatrix!  That’s my take on the subject. What do you think?

Dealing with husband’s anger

Does your husband tend to give full vent to his temper when you disagree with his opinion or his desires?  When you guys have a conflict, does he end up yelling at you or saying mean things?  When this happens, deep heart wounds occur.  There must be a better way to handle conflict!  Here are a couple things you can do to help put out his anger fire before it scorches you:

1) If a disagreement is starting to get a bit ugly, YOU can simply stop arguing! Tell your husband that you love him and you want to take a time-out before discussing the issue further.  Tell him that you’re going to think and pray about his perspective and that you’d love him to do the same for you.  Then agree to talk about it again later that day or tomorrow.  

2)  Remain calm even if your husband does not.  Refuse to match his loud volume or hurtful comments.  In fact, if he becomes emotionally abusive, calmly tell him you do not allow anyone to speak to you that way, and then walk away.  If he follows you and continues the emotional abuse, get in your car and drive away.  Do not tolerate aggressive, harsh, or wounding treatment from your husband during conflict.  That is not God’s plan for how a wife should be treated.  Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” 

How to handle financial stress

So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money.   They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.

You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions!  I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages.  Allow me to summarize those principles for you.  (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).

Bible Principle 1:  Live intentionally below your means!  (Hebrews 13:5)  So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget.  They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!

Bible Principle 2:  Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life.  The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)

Bible Principle 3:  Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so!  (Malachi 3:10).  I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not.  The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!

Oddest tip for a great marriage

I’m going to give you the oddest, most counter-intuitive tip for your marriage.  You’re not going to want to hear this tip, let alone do it!  However, I urge you to give it a chance; maybe even do an experiment and try it for a few weeks straight.  I learned in my marriage to Raul that this tip was powerful and transformative, and it drew my husband’s heart to me.  Here is the tip, and it is a Biblical principle:  Die to self.  I know. I told you it was counter-intuitive!  In short, this principle could be summed up like this:  It isn’t all about me! 

  • Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24  No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  
  • Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Here’s what I know.  When I focus on myself, and what I want, and what I think I need, and how the people in my life aren’t making me happy or perfectly meeting my needs….I grow depressed and resentful.  I become an irritable, sour-faced woman!  No one, including a husband, wants to be around that!!  But, if I focus on serving God, responding to his prompts on loving and serving others….I feel fulfilled and joyful.  In marriage, if you focus on being a blessing to your husband, his heart is drawn to you and your heart, believe it or not, is drawn to him. The marriage grows stronger!  By the way, being a blessing to your husband can mean many things.  It can mean being kind even though he’s in a bad mood from a stressful day…or getting up early to make him a great breakfast even though you’re headed off to work too…or lovingly and respectfully asking him to seek help if he has a personal problem that is spiraling out of control. 

Try it for a few weeks.  Ask God every morning to help you die to self-centeredness and ask Him for direction on how to be a blessing to your husband this day.  Let me know how it goes!

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

God sees your distress and cares

We all go through challenging days…whether in your marriage, with your kids, with finances, at your job, etc.  It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone.  We desperately need to know that God notices our distress.  We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.

Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story!  I find so much comfort in these verses:

  • The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
  • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
  • You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
  • Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.  Psalm 103:2-4

Learning to wait patiently!

Are you in a waiting phase?  Maybe you’re waiting for God to answer your prayer regarding your husband.  Maybe you’re waiting for your rebellious child, stubborn child to finally become mature.  Maybe you’re waiting for your heart to heal after being betrayed by your husband.  Whatever the thing you’re waiting for, I think we can all agree that waiting is hard!  It’s hard because we have to be patient, and let’s be honest; most of us aren’t very good with the whole patience virtue.  These two realizations have helped me learn to be a bit more patient when I have to wait. 

1)  God’s timing is often very different than what I think it should be, yet He is always faithful to show up.  Psalm 40:1-2  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth…” 

2)  Some of the great women of the Bible had to wait and wait and wait before finally experiencing a HUGE answer to their prayers.  Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Rachel, and more all had to wait ridiculously long periods of time before God finally allowed them to give birth.  But when their prayers were finally answered, oh my!  They gave birth to some of the giants of the Bible:  Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Joseph.  In other words, what they experienced in the end was well worth the wait. 🙂