Have you ever had this thought…”I don’t respect my husband”? Honestly, I had that thought quite often in my first marriage, and because I didn’t FEEL respect, I didn’t ACT particularly respectful. Unfortunately, I just went with how I felt. I rolled my eyes at his ideas. I took control of most everything in our family because I didn’t think he was capable. I corrected him a lot. And…..after quite a few years, he turned to other women for validation.
I learned many lessons after that failed marriage. One of them is that a man desperately needs the respect of his wife. He needs to know that she believes in him and is FOR him. Now, this doesn’t mean she is supposed to ignore destructive and sinful choices in his life. No, she needs to gently, but firmly, confront him if he is caught in a pattern of sin. But, even then, she can be loving and kind and respectful!
In my 2nd marriage to Raul, I began pressing into this Biblical command (Ephesians 5:33) for wives to respect their husbands. And oh my, what a difference it made! He told me many times that he wouldn’t be able to tackle the things he was doing in life and for God if it weren’t for me being FOR him. In fact, he often got tears in his eyes when I treated him respectfully because it was a new thing for him as well…and he desperately craved my respect. All men do. Try it and see what happens in your marriage. Have you already tried it? How has it impacted your marriage?
I am filled with righteous indignation today, and frankly, I’m on the war path! I keep on discovering more and more marriages that are slowly being destroyed due to pornography. The stories women tell me often reveal very similar downward spirals. Their husband’s use of porn has evolved into online sex chat rooms, actual encounters with other women, or even sex crimes. Then there’s a whole other group of women who feel unloved because their husbands rarely, if ever, want to make love to them anymore. The reason? Their husbands are busy satisfying their sexual needs with pornography and masturbation.
I say ENOUGH! It’s time that women everywhere step up with courage and dignity and declare war on pornography! Ephesians 5, verse 3 says “among you there must not even be hint of sexual immorality” and in verse 11, God instructs us “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” It’s time that all women adopt a zero tolerance standard for pornography use by their men (and themselves as well). I’m NOT saying to declare war on your husband. He is not the enemy. However, we can no longer wring our hands in defeat and stand by helplessly as our marriages and families crumble.
What should you do if your husband is viewing pornography? Respectfully, but firmly, tell him you will not tolerate that anymore. Ask him if he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stop. If he says yes, then work with him to find help. There are some great programs out there. For instance, in the Bellingham, WA area, men are being helped at Band of Brothers For Christ and another group called Prodigals. If your husband refuses to sincerely seek help or continues looking at porn, then you may have to establish a firm boundary in the relationship. You may even have to separate for a time. Take a stand, ladies! If you don’t, you and your marriage will likely end up being destroyed.
Are you and your husband at odds? Are you discouraged in your marriage? Pray. Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage? Pray. Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making? Pray. Prayer really can change everything! It can produce a miracle! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”
I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings. I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas. I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time. I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time. I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!
Here’s the thing. I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles. I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts! In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Awesome! So, seek God in prayer. Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children. Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God. He can even change hearts.
I realized the most interesting thing one day several years ago in my marriage! I was having one of those super frustrating days, where everything seems to be going wrong. It was the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall! Am I the only one who has ever felt that way? 🙂
Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day. Then something strange happened. He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration. It really bothered him that I was upset. My bad mood became contagious!! He could not be at peace because I was not at peace. It reminded me that our husbands really do want their wives to be content and at peace. In fact, 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. Hmmm. Interesting. So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances? The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us! Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
So, I began refusing to allow the frustrating moments of life to sour my mood. I began laughing off Satan’s attempts to goad me into being irritable and sharp with everyone around me. I pivoted to God in those challenging moments and asked Him to strengthen me, equip me, and give me His peace. Interestingly, when I started choosing to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only did I become peaceful and content, but I enjoyed the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!
If you love your children, one of the MOST important things you can do for them is to keep your marriage healthy and intact! Not to scare you, but the research regarding children from divorced families is alarming. Perhaps this is one reason the Bible says in Malachi 2:16, “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce”. God knows the devastating impact of divorce on children’s lives.
Research by Focus on the Family has found that teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families. Also, kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile. Plus, research from the Heritage Foundation found that children of divorced parents perform more poorly at school and have higher drop-out rates.
Yes, God can heal a child’s heart following a divorce, but the scars will remain. So, work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong. Pray every day for your husband and pray daily for marriage guidance from the Lord. See a counselor if you guys are fighting a lot or if you are growing increasingly resentful. Don’t let your heart grow hard. Fight for your marriage. Your kids will thank you!
In case you weren’t yet aware, pornography is a gigantic cancer that is rapidly destroying marriages and entire families. Hundreds of millions of men regularly view pornography (and many women too), and even among Christian men, the problem is rampant. Goodness, even a majority of pastors admit to struggling with temptations to view porn. Back in 2001, a survey found that 54% of pastors had viewed pornography in the past year. I’m sure the numbers are much higher these days.
Why is pornography such a big deal? Well, marriage counselors will tell you, and I will tell you from counseling many women in crisis in their marriages, that pornography usage almost always escalates into something truly horrific. When a man starts viewing pornography, he almost always progresses to more and more perverse pornography as he chases that “buzz” from viewing something sexually arousing. Unfortunately, in many cases, the man can no longer get his “fix” from pornography and ends up committing sexual acts outside of marriage. In either case, the marriage is often destroyed and families are torn apart.
What are some signs of a possible porn problem for your husband? Some common signs include no longer being interested in sex with you, coming to bed after you or exiting the bedroom in the middle of the night, and requesting increasingly perverse or odd sex acts from you. If you notice some of these signs, it may be time to have a serious talk with your husband. However, don’t approach him as an enemy. Approach him in love, as his helper. Remember, in Genesis 2:18, God says “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.” Approach your husband kindly, but firmly, and let him know you want to help him tackle this problem that could harm both him and your family. Insist that he seek serious, long-term help and accountability.