Your husband’s “nothing box”

Sometimes, men are so hard to understand!  When we first see our husbands at the end of our work day, whether working away from home or inside the home, we LOVE to talk about how the day has gone.  We eagerly await our husband’s arrival so that we can share the details about the children, the crazy thing the neighbors did today, the weird stuff that happened at work, etc.  We LOVE to verbally process the day with our husbands.  But guess what?  Most men are not exactly excited about having a long conversation with their wives as soon as they walk in the door.  They long to spend some time in their “nothing box”.  Huh?

It’s hard for women to understand a man’s need for his “nothing box” because most women don’t even know what one is!  I’ve had a few men explain it to me in two different ways.  It can refer to most men’s uncanny ability to think about absolutely nothing…to completely zone out! It can also refer to a man’s need to have down time where he can veg.  Here’s the basic idea.  After a long day at work, most men need to enjoy either quiet or mindless activity in order to decompress from their day.  This means your husband probably doesn’t want to hear the fascinating details of your day as soon as he walks in the door and he probably doesn’t want to talk about his day either…at least not for a while.

So, give your husband some space when he first walks in the door.  Greet him with a smile and a kiss and then allow him some time in his “nothing box”.    You will become more beautiful to him.  God says this to wives in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”

Don’t confide in your relatives

I’ve learned something pivotal over my many years of helping women navigate marriage problems.  In general, don’t share your husband’s faults and failures with your family of origin!  The reason is simple.  Your parents, siblings and grandparents not only love you, but are often overly-protective when it comes to you.   They can’t stand the thought of anyone wounding a member of their family.  Now don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  However, their allegiance to you can often turn into the vilification of your husband!

Allow me to explain.  Once a wife openly shares the faults, failures or sins of her husband with her relatives, he may be forever stained in their eyes.  Many parents and siblings will begin treating the husband as the enemy.  Sometimes, those relatives develop deep resentment toward the husband.  Once those strong feelings have developed, it’s often hard to turn that ship around, even if the husband has repented of wrong-doing!  He will always have a black mark next to his name.

This is what I would suggest doing.  You definitely SHOULD seek advice and wise counsel as you’re working through difficult seasons in your marriage, but, in general, avoid confiding in your relatives.  If you sense that your relatives are quick to forgive and refuse to hold onto resentment, perhaps you can safely confide in them.  Otherwise, seek counsel elsewhere, such as a women’s ministry leader, Christian counselor, or wise older Christian woman in your life.  You need the kind of wisdom described in James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

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If husband seems headed wrong way

Sometimes, we will notice a trend in our husband’s behavior or reactions that are concerning.  He might not be engaged in something hugely sinful, but you are concerned about the harsh way he’s interacting with the kids or the resentment that he holds toward his boss, etc.  In other words, you fear that if he continues down that path, significant damage will be the result.  Hmmm.  What’s a wife to do in those moments where she senses her husband is headed the wrong way?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but let me share two things that have been effective in my own relationship.  1)  Pray earnestly that God will convict your husband through the Holy Spirit so that your husband will see that he needs to make some changes.  Jesus makes it clear that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict people when they are off track.  Jesus says of the Holy Spirit in John 16:8 “when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”  

2) If you feel like God is nudging you to talk to your husband about your observations, quietly come to your husband, take a humble posture by perhaps kneeling beside him while he’s sitting, and gently tell him of your concerns. However, don’t ONLY tell him of your concerns.  Take this opportunity to speak words of life to him.  Tell him about the good qualities you see in him.  Remind him that God is transforming him into a man who has Christ’s character, which is “gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8).  Tell him you’re proud of him for seeking to become more like Christ and for allowing God to mold and shape him.

Top 10 Bible verses for wives!

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ellen Degeneres or Kim Kardashian. He created us, so he probably knows how to make relationships work!  He has provided profound relationship principles in the Bible…and when wives apply these principles, amazing things happen!  Broken marriages begin to heal and mediocre marriages begin to thrive.  Here are my Top Ten Bible verses for wives, in no particular order.  As you read these verses, ask God to show you the principle he wants you to apply in your marriage:

1)  Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper suitable for him”

2)  1 Peter 3:4 tells wives to have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight”

3)  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

4)  Titus 2:4-5 “Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be self-controlled and pure”

5)  Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

6)  Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband”

7)  Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” 

8)  Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”

9)  1 Corinthians 7:2-3 “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

10)  Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

How to speak to hubby about concerns

You likely know your husband better than anyone.  As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper.  This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”.  Then God created woman!  Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.

Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol?  Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time?  Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise?  Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?

If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things.  First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make.  Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.  

Tips: 

  • Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch).  This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
  • Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
  • Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
  • You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”.  When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.

Consider this when talking about your hubby

It’s actually a really awesome thing when you talk about your husband in public! Well, it’s really awesome IF what you’re sharing is complimentary! In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your husband. Men are wired to crave respect and affirmation. That’s why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to “respect their husbands”. I have seen my husband begin glowing (in a masculine sort of way!) when I affirm him in front of his friends or our family members.

However, there is a flip side to this business of speaking publicly about your guy. My husband tells me one of the very worst things a wife can do is to disclose some of her husband’s failures, character deficiencies or mistakes in front of friends and family. He says when a wife shares her husband’s personal failings, he’s absolutely devastated and emasculated. Don’t emasculate your man! If he begins feeling that way, he will likely subconsciously gravitate toward another woman who will build him up instead of tearing him down.

One other note: Obviously, if your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin, it’s appropriate to disclose those kinds of personal failings to a counselor or pastor as you two are seeking help in your marriage. Just don’t go broadcasting his mistakes and failures during gatherings with friends, family, co-workers, or church members!