Are you crossing this line when seeking advice?

If you’re going through some challenges with your husband right now, it’s really wise to seek godly counsel from another woman. Often another woman can see the situation more objectively.  A godly woman can encourage you to persevere through challenges instead of giving up.  Sometimes, another woman can help you see the need to set wise boundaries on unacceptable behavior.   It’s also really wise to reach out to a few godly women who you know will pray for you and your husband.

However, there’s a fine line between seeking godly support and husband-bashing!  Sometimes, we go beyond seeking advice and prayer support and we start gossiping and whining about our husbands.  That’s not constructive and it’s very disrespectful to your husband.  Let’s keep in mind God’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33…”The wife must respect her husband“.

So check your heart before you pick up that phone to whine to a friend.  Check your motives before you start complaining about your husband to another woman. Are you telling dishonoring stories about him in great detail and listing all of his faults…or are you actually looking for guidance and prayer support? Pay attention to the words you’re texting or speaking.  Are they disrespectful or honoring to your husband?

The power of your casual advice to him!

My. My.  I guess I’m reminded once again about the power of our words.  A few days ago, I wrote a devotional about the power of pausing during a heated conversation with our men so that we refrain from responding with words that are harsh or mean….something we’ll likely regret later.  Well, today I was reminded of another reason to pause.  As women, we need to pause before we offer casual bits of advice or “wisdom” to our husbands.

I don’t think we realize how our guys are greatly influenced by us!   We might think they aren’t really paying that much attention to a casual suggestion we toss out, but often they are.  In fact, many husbands in the Bible were greatly influenced by something their wives said, and the wives rarely had good advice!  I think especially of Sarah telling Abraham to sleep with her servant in order for him to have a son, since she was getting impatient waiting for God to fulfill his promise to give her children! Read the story in Genesis 16:1-4 and you will find out Sarah’s decision didn’t turn out so well!

So, let’s think twice before we offer a morsel of our brilliant counsel during a conversation with our men.  I did this recently, and my husband acted upon it.  I hadn’t really even thought it through, let alone prayed about it. Thankfully, there was no harm done, but it got me to thinking about the need to really pause and pray about any suggestions or counsel I decide to pass on to my husband.  How about you?

Is it time to take off your mask?

Have you ever felt trapped in a dysfunctional part of your marriage?  Do you struggle with feeling hopeless about something in your marriage?  Well, over the years, I’ve learned that I begin to break free from that hopelessness and oppression when I drag the problem into the light!  Here’s what I mean by that.  I mean doing something extremely courageous by revealing the problem to a godly friend or counselor.  This means, not only revealing what your husband is doing, but also bravely revealing your own part in the dysfunction.

Proverbs 28:13 says this:  “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”   This is a wonderful verse to live by!  You will most likely find that as you begin to drop your “everything is just fine at our house” mask, that other women will begin dropping their masks as well.  You will find it comforting to realize you’re not the only one struggling with issues.

You will also find that dropping the mask means you will be more open to receiving godly wisdom and direction.  Instead of pretending that everything’s great, you’ll be in a position for God to speak counsel into your life, through both the Bible and wise people.  This doesn’t mean you go around telling everyone about your husband’s faults!  It means getting real with a few trusted, wise, godly women or a trained counselor who can help you apply Biblical principles to your marriage challenges.  You will also receive encouragement, prayer support, and hope in the process!

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Don’t feel guilty about this need!

I’m learning lately that I can’t give away much of anything to anyone else, including my husband and my children, if I’m not filled up myself!  So the question is: how do we get filled up?  Well, certainly part of the answer is spending time reading God’s Word and asking Him to help us truly know His love for us. You might want to meditate on Ephesians 3:17-19 which says, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

However, I believe we also need to take time to fill up our senses with all that God has created for us to enjoy!  I’ve noticed that when I literally take a few minutes to sit in the sun and gaze at my flower garden, I get filled up.  I’ve noticed that when I snuggle my granddaughter in my arms and read her a favorite story, I get filled up.  I’ve noticed that when I sit in front of a crackling fire with a cup of tea, I get filled up, in a good way.

We all need to take time to enjoy what God has created.  It’s not a guilty pleasure if it’s done in moderation, and as long as it’s not a sinful action according to the Bible.  These things fill us up, and when we are filled up, we actually have energy and joy that we can give away to others.  So, what fills you up?  What brings you joy and a sigh of contentment?

Don’t fall into these 2 traps when looking back!

There are a lot of dangers for a wife who gives into the temptation to look backward.   Allow me to reveal two specific ways in which we tend to look backward, as well as the resulting danger.

1)  Since almost the beginning of creation, we’ve had a tendency to want to look back at our past.  I think of Lot’s wife who looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and suffered for that decision by being turned into a pillar of salt!  God may have asked us to move forward in serving him, or perhaps we’ve entered a new relationship, but we tend to look back with longing at how things used to be.  In modern day, many wives are tempted to “look back” at their old high school boyfriend by checking them out on Facebook.  But that is dangerous.  It opens the door to make a connection that can slowly develop into something that pulls you away from your husband.

2)  As wives, we also tend to “look back” at the past failures or sins of our husbands.  We often replay the hurtful incident over and over again, even 10 or 20 years later!  That always ends badly.  Resentment rises up again and causes continuing damage in the relationship.  We need to have a forward gaze.  Philippians 3:13-14 says, ” Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”   Deal with any sinful behavior going on today, but let’s decide to leave the past in the past.

Top 10 Bible verses for the Christian wife

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Dr Phil, Oprah or Ellen Degeneres. 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”

Marriage reminder from Christmas tree fiasco!

One of my super humbling moments as a newly divorced woman actually reminds me of a vital marriage principle.  Here’s the event forever etched in my memory from December of 2002:

It was nearing Christmas and I had just gone through a divorce after 18 years of marriage.  My children were 16 and 14 at the time and I wanted to keep as many Christmas traditions in place as possible, so I announced that I was taking the kids to cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm.  Just before we took off, I realized I didn’t have any way to tie the tree to the top of my SUV.  But hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, or so I thought. lol  I wasn’t going to let anything deter me!

So I searched my new house for something resembling rope or a bungee cord.  Alas, there was no such thing on hand.  All I had was some….sewing thread. Hmmm. Well, maybe a whole bunch of thread would work?

Off we went to pick out our beautiful Christmas tree.  My son cut it down.  Unlike me, he apparently knew how to handle this part of the operation.  We hoisted the tree to the top of my SUV and then I carefully wove my spool of thread back and forth across the tree to secure it to the roof.  My kids just shook their heads in disbelief.  Then we took off, and we actually made it about a half-mile before the tree took a slow, inelegant slide from the top of the car to the road. Splat!

Why am I sharing this story with you?  I’m using it to remind both you and me that a tiny thread is not sufficient to hold anything heavy when the wind starts blowing against it.  In the same way, we need a super strong rope to hold a marriage together when we are slammed by the wind of miscommunication, frustration, and unmet expectations in marriage. We need a rope of three strands…you, your husband and the Lord.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Sit down with your husband and brainstorm ideas on how you can keep God in the center of your marriage. You will need him to help hold you guys together when you encounter the inevitable adversity and challenges that hit every marriage!