Wisely influencing your husband

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story.  The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud.  In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.

Husbands are like that little train. They face an uphill battle.  The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough.  Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys.  As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually.  They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families.  Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography.  But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men!  We can say, “I think you can”.  “I know you can”.  “I believe in you”.  “I’m praying for you.”   “God’s going to give you the strength”.   Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us.  It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

You can help move your husband from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by your words of encouragement.  Will you help your husband be the little engine that could?  I think you can.  I think you can.  I think you can.

Creating richer intimacy with hubby

Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures?  Most of us are in “hiding”.  You’re afraid that if anyone, including your husband, was to discover your flaws, they wouldn’t love you anymore.  Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you.  Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.

Satan is a liar.  I know from experience that the opposite is true!  When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming.  It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me.  We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage!  How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband.  Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past.  Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care.  I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man.  Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!

A way to soften his heart

You want to know a sure-fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you?  Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him!  I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time!  Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful. 

Let me give some examples.  You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something.  You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations.  You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking.  You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores. 

When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection.  So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect.  Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize.  A powerful apology contains these words:  “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”.  Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart.  Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning.  Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Reducing anxiety in your home

Who would have thunk it?  (Yes, I know thunk is not a word).  Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting.  Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess!  I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.

She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems.  She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job.  Their relationship was going well.  So what could be the problem?  Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household.  So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!).  She didn’t do all the chores herself.  She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could stay relatively tidy and clean.

The result?  Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared!  Wow!  I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out.  In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity!  P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!

How to conquer insecurity

I’m a fairly confident, secure woman….most of the time.  But there are still moments where that awful insecurity shows up.  How about you?  For me, it often relates to the way I look.  I compare myself to other women and fall way short.  Sometimes, I’m insecure in terms of whether friends or even relatives really like me.  Other times, I get down on myself about whether anything I do really matters.  Ugh.  I hate feeling so insecure!

So, how do we become more secure?  Well, for me, it means turning to God for my “value”.  I need to remember the only audience that really matters is an audience of one.  God is the one with whom I will spend eternity.  He is the one who created me to be in relationship with Him.  He is really the only one I need to please, and what he says about me is really all that matters.

Meditate on these Scriptures and if you’re anything like me, you will feel a warm blanket of security envelop you.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing.

Hebrews 13:5

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you

Nothing repels a man quicker

Nothing will repel your husband (or boyfriend) more quickly than….you acting all self-righteous!  However, this is exactly how women act much of the time.  We don’t intend to come across as self-righteous, or “better-than”, or arrogant, or “experts” on everything, but we can definitely come across that way to our men!  Having that kind of attitude ruins relationships.  As Proverbs 18:12 says: “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

So let’s examine ourselves.  Do you often correct your husband, giving the impression that you know more than he does?  Do you give long-suffering sighs when he forgets to do something, giving the impression that YOU would never do such a thing?   Do you make sure you let him know he has disappointed you, while being quick to defend yourself if he says you’ve disappointed him?

Maybe it’s time we stopped acting “better-than” our men!  We are ALL a work in progress.  Let’s strive this week to display a humble spirit.  Instead of repelling our husbands, our humility will draw our husbands toward us.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be a fragrance in my husband’s life than an odor!

How to bounce back

We’re all going to encounter some tough times in our marriage.  We’re all going to experience heartbreak and challenge in our lives in general.  The question is this.  Why are some people able to bounce back from adversity relatively quickly, and why do others seem to remain stuck?

At the risk of you hating me 🙂 …I’ll be honest and let you know that I tend to be very resilient.  After an initial period of shock and grief, I’m usually able to quickly pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward.  After pondering this ability with God, allow me to share a 3 word insight that might help you become more resilient too.

I trust God.  Period. Three little words that mean everything!  I have decided to believe that God of the Bible is indeed in control and that His ways are perfect.  I have decided to believe that God can and will bring something good out of my hardship.  This is what we learn at the end of Joseph’s painful story in Genesis, where Joseph proclaims in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…”   I also take heart from Romans 8:28, where God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I can bounce back because I trust God and because He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.  (Hebrews 13:5) Do you truly trust God?  It’s a decision you get to make, and it makes all the difference.

Becoming confident & unshakeable!

Do you wish you could be a more courageous woman, a more secure woman, a more confident woman, and a woman who is able to stand strong under pressure or hardship?  I think I’ve found the answer.  We must go beyond just accepting Christ as our Savior, and truly decide to make Christ our Lord!

When I think about the ladies I know who are strong, confident and unshakeable Christian women, they all have something in common.  They have made the courageous decision to surrender their lives to Jesus and they’ve truly committed to following him as the leader and master of their lives.  This is, in fact, what the Bible calls us to do in Romans 10:9…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  It’s important to note that this Bible verse tells us to declare Jesus as “Lord”, which means “master” in the original Greek.

Have you truly made Jesus your master?  Maybe that’s the missing piece in your life.  I can tell you from personal experience that once you truly make a heart decision to make Jesus your Lord and master, all His promises to love you, comfort you, and counsel you start to come alive in your spirit.  You begin to realize that you can trust his leadership 100%.  Once that happens, you’ll find yourself strong, confident and unshakeable!

Learn the skill of waiting 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. 🙂

How to become a confident wife

Do you lack confidence in handling disrespectful or sinful behavior by your husband (or boyfriend)?  If so, there are some common reasons.  Perhaps you avoid conflict because you grew up in a home filled with rage and verbal abuse.  Maybe you’re so insecure about your own worth that you can’t stand up for yourself if your husband is treating your poorly.  However, you need to recognize this truth.  If you remain insecure and scared of confrontation, it’s likely nothing will ever change in your marriage.  You’ll keep getting what you’re getting right now.

There is a solution.  First, ask God to give you courage to confront any sinful behavior in your marriage.  He will be glad to answer that prayer! Throughout the Bible, God continually tells his people to be strong and courageous.  In fact in Joshua 1:9, God says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Helpful hint:  When I need courage, I ask God’s Holy Spirit to be the one who actually does the confrontation.  I ask Him to simply use me as his mouthpiece.

If insecurity is the issue for you, then ask God to reveal your true worth and identity in His eyes.  Meditating on what God says in Zephaniah 3:17 is a good place to start.  He says, “The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”  In addition, take a moment to close your eyes and ask God to speak one word into your mind about how He views you.  You will likely be amazed at the loving, encouraging word He has for you.  You may hear the word “beautiful” or “chosen” or “adorable” or “strong”….