4 marriage myths you must know

  1. Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part.  Not true!  I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy.  Philippian 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 interest of others.”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:

  • Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness.  (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)
  • Happy couples never have conflict.  (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)
  • If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen.  (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)

3 ways to protect your marriage

When we first pledge our love to each other on our wedding day, we never think either one of us could possibly end up having an affair years later.  Tragically, it happens quite frequently, and even among Christian couples.  We can’t be ignorant of Satan’s mission revealed by Jesus in John 10:10 where He says Satan is out to “kill, steal, and destroy”.  Satan would like nothing better than to rip apart your marriage.  He is always plotting ways to get you or your spouse connected with someone of the opposite sex.  That’s why we have to be vigilant from day one!

James 4:7 advises us…”Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  One of the ways we can resist the devil’s schemes to destroy our marriages is to talk with our husbands about rules we will both follow relating to the opposite sex.  Agree that you will never spend time alone with another man and your husband will never spend time alone with another woman.  If your job requires you to be in a one-on-one meeting with someone of the opposite sex, agree that the door will always be left open.  Agree that you will never share anything personal about your marriage with a member of the opposite sex.  If at all possible, agree to never work as a two-person team with a member of the opposite sex on a project or at your job.   That feeling of being a “team” is extremely bonding!

Safeguard your marriage.  You may think you don’t need all these strict rules, but I know from personal experience that you do.  Many solid Christians have fallen into Satan’s trap by failing to follow these safeguards.  Don’t let your marriage be another notch in the devil’s belt.

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Leave room for the Holy Spirit

The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful.  My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end.  So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about their comments!  Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.

You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong.  But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer.  In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”   Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.

What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me.  I need to ask God for direction.  Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting. 

Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you:  Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?

3rd core need of husbands

Men are wired differently than women.  Duh!  Most wives know that husbands have a deep need for respect.  You probably also know that most husbands desire a vibrant sex life!  But most husbands also have a third core need.  One of the ways most men differ from us is that, instead of sitting and talking about their feelings and deepest longings, they like to do stuff.  You may not realize it, but most husbands really want their wives to do stuff with them!  They want to spend time with you. Their 3rd core need is your companionship.

This is really made apparent way back at the creation of the world.  Right after God created man, He said in Genesis 2:18, “It’s not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  God knew Adam needed companionship!

Make it a point this week to show some interest in joining your husband in one of his hobbies or activities or even one of his errands.  Does he like to golf?  I bet he would love for you to go with him and watch him, or have him give you a lesson on how to play golf if you don’t already know.  Does he like to ride a bicycle?  Get a bike and take a ride with him.  Does he like to tinker with fixing up old cars?  Sit and watch him and ask if he can explain what he’s doing.  Maybe you can hand him a tool as he works.  Does he need to pick up some paint at a home improvement store?  Ask if you can tag along.

Bonus:  You’ll likely find that as you’re doing something together, men find it easier to talk to you!  Look forward to some actual conversations.  🙂

Your signature temptation

About 25 years ago, I heard a line in a sermon that will always stick with me.  The pastor said we all have a “signature sin”…a sin that has our name written all over it!  Do you have a signature sin or temptation?  Is there one particular thing that trips you up all the time?  Yes, that’s what I thought.  And I’m sure Satan laughs his butt off every time you and I give into that temptation.

Well, we all might have a signature sin or a specific temptation that seems insurmountable, but Satan doesn’t get the last laugh!  Jesus promises to provide a way out of every temptation.  I just need to ask Him to give me eyes to see the avenue of escape and for Him to give me the strength to turn from my old patterns and take that escape exit.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says “…God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

I’ve learned that the first step in overcoming that signature sin in my life is this: discovering the lie I’ve believed!  For me, the “way out” of temptation to eat the wrong food is uncovering the ridiculous lie I’ve believed about food.  God is showing me that I have somehow been deluded into thinking that eating a boatload of sugary treats and a ton of french fries would make me feel better!  That’s a lie.  The truth is that eating healthy will make me feel better, so that’s what I’ve been choosing to do for the last 8 years.  And you know what?  I feel great…physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Do you keep repeatedly falling into the same temptation because you’ve believed a lie?  It’s food for thought (pardon the pun!).

Use the power of team in marriage

I was reflecting recently about how many affairs happen between people who work closely together.  The boss has an affair with his long-time female assistant.  The female newscaster has an affair with the male newscaster who works in the same studio every day.  The pastor has an affair with his long-time secretary.  I realized something profound.  These people ended up having an affair because a super strong emotional bond was created as they worked together as a team over many years.

There is great bonding power when a man and woman work side by side as a team toward a common goal.  As they fight together through challenges and adversity, they bond.  As they work side-by-side over many years, they develop a history of shared experiences and memories that only they know about…and that creates a special bond.  The power of team is highlighted in the well-known verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 4:  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Thought for you:  How can you take this knowledge of the “power of team” and use it to foster an even deeper bond between you and your husband?  Can you intentionally begin working together on some common projects or goals?  Think about it…because the “power of team” can create a super strong glue for your marriage.

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Finding hope when life is hard

We’re all a bit anxious right now…some are even downright fearful.  How will we make it through skyrocketing inflation that’s draining our bank account?  Will I be one of the people who gets seriously ill from covid-19?  Are we on the verge of World War 3?  And, if you’re not worried about that, then there are a myriad of other things that might be stealing your joy and your hope.  Perhaps your marriage is falling apart or your kids are making poor decisions. 

The truth is that, until we get to heaven, we will all experience tough times here on earth.  And of course, Satan loves to pile on by whispering negative, hopeless thoughts into our minds when he sees that we’re struggling.  We tend to start reciting a list of complaints and fears…about people in our life, health problems, finances, the way we look, and on and on.  Instead of reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us, our facial expression portrays “woe is me”.

For a believer, that’s ridiculous!  If you’ve made Jesus your Lord, you have his protection and power at your disposal.  Your prayers are powerful!  James 5:16  “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective”.  And even if your prayers aren’t answered EXACTLY how you think God should, you can trust Him to redeem every hardship in your life.  I love what He tells me in Psalm 103:4 “He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  When life gets discouraging…when anxiety starts eroding your hope…bring your concerns to Jesus and relax into his strong arms.  

I grasp hope and peace when I choose to trust in Jesus.  He is at work!  His ways are perfect.  Seek His perspective on all that’s happening. Ask him to help you understand what he’s doing in this challenging moment.  Ask him to redeem your seemingly hopeless situation.  He’s so creative!  He’s working behind the scenes right now. 

Handling disrespect by husband

I keep bumping into beautiful, intelligent women who, for some bizarre reason, allow their husband or boyfriend to treat them horribly.  One gorgeous young woman had her boyfriend spit in her face and she still stayed with him!  What’s up with that?  Do women no longer have any dignity and self-respect?

A wife’s dignity is actually a quality that is highly valued in the Bible.  When describing the wife of “noble character” in Proverbs 31, the Bible says in verse 25 “she is clothed with strength and dignity“.  So, what does the word “dignity” really mean?  The dictionary defines dignity as displaying poise and self-respect.  In other words, a woman of dignity respects herself enough to refuse to be treated disrespectfully!

Don’t believe the lies of the enemy.  Don’t believe that you need to tolerate disrespectful treatment, verbal abuse, or emotional abuse by your man.  That’s a lie!  A dignified woman doesn’t tolerate that.  She confidently, but lovingly, puts boundaries in place and refuses to allow herself to be treated in a dishonoring manner.  A confident woman of dignity trusts God to take care of her even if she has to take drastic steps to protect herself such as breaking up with a disrespectful boyfriend or separating from a verbally-abusive husband.  Be courageous. Choose to carry yourself with dignity and self-respect. 

Resist the urge to rescue him

True confession:  Often in the past, I found myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband.  Sometimes, I did this because I feared his mood would grow ugly if I didn’t take steps to improve his circumstances.  Sometimes, I did this because I feared that his ministry could stumble if he didn’t do things the “correct” way.  Sometimes, I did this because I thought his relationship with our kids would suffer if I didn’t intervene.  Sometimes, I did this because I feared…..

Hmmm.  When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jumped in to act as my husband’s savior.  Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely.  Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Here’s something to ponder.  Every time you jump in to “fix” things for your husband, you actually prevent your man from turning to God for help.  Every time you try to prevent your husband from feeling any discomfort or pain, you might be preventing him from changing unhealthy behavior and finally turning to God!   Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior.  There is only one perfect savior anyway.  His name is Jesus Christ.

Best question when frustrated

There’s a golden phrase I discovered many years ago.  When I started using it, I found it helped prevent my husband from getting defensive when I was upset or frustrated about something he had said or done.  Instead of accusing him of doing something wrong, I learned to kindly and sincerely ask this question: “Help me understand why…”

This simple question prevents the monster of defensiveness from raising its ugly head.  By asking your husband to “help me understand”, you’re communicating two things to your husband.  1) You really do care about his perspective and feelings, and 2) You’re acknowledging there may actually be a legitimate reason for why he did or said whatever.  At least, you’re giving him a chance to explain himself before you start arguing with him or condemning him!!  

By asking your husband to help you understand his behavior or perspective, you’re avoiding a foolish argument.  Proverbs 18:2 says “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”  By asking your husband to help you understand his perspective, you’re pleasing both God and your husband by living out the instructions in Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should consider not only your own interests, but also the interests of others.”

Try this phrase when you sense a potential ugly argument is headed your way.  You can not only use this phrase with your husband, but with your children, your in-laws, your co-workers, your boss, and more.  Again, the phrase (actually a question) is….”Help me understand why…”

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