The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 – 27, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Well….I almost gave the devil just such a foothold in my marriage the other day. My husband had acted in a way that really bothered me. I was steaming for hours and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him about it because I feared we’d get embroiled in a huge conflict. So, I went to bed early, by myself.
I am so thankful the Holy Spirit prompted me to get out of bed and go speak with my husband. I sensed that I was giving the devil a “foothold” in my marriage through me stuffing the issue and letting resentment grow. So, I went and found my husband in the living room, knelt by his side as he was sitting on the couch and told him that I truly do see so many good qualities in him. I also told him why his behavior had bothered me.
I know you’re thinking he agreed with my assessment, but he didn’t! But you know what? We calmly acknowledged our difference of opinion and I was able to go to sleep in peace. There was no wedge between me and my husband. Don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your marriage. Resist the temptation to go to sleep with simmering anger and resentment.
Most women wrestle with insecurity, and when we live in a place of insecurity, we often make unhealthy choices. We tend to put up with disrespectful behavior. We tend to look to other people for our value and become codependent in relationships.
Well, I have found that meditating on these 3 Bible verses helps me start to feel more secure and grounded. I become more confident in both my value and the decisions I need to make in life. I begin to relax and feel safe. As a result, I can approach all my relationships in a much healthier way! Here are the 3 verses:
1) He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5) *you are his adopted daughter! Awesome!!
2) Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) *He will always be by your side! Awesome!!
3) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24) *He will guide me in all my decisions and he is preparing a fantastic future for me in eternity! Awesome!!
Selfishness and self-centeredness. They are such unattractive character qualities, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are. However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women. In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life. She may think things like this: My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right? My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore. I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy! And the thoughts go on and on.
I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”. Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them. It is so counter-intuitive! However, it is also so Biblical. Philippians 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 interests of others.” Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does. How could you bless him this week?
P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?” Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first? I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you. Are you willing to give it a try?
One of the things that will bond you together with your husband is….laughter! When you share a common funny experience, it is very bonding. I still vividly remember an incident several years ago when my husband and I attended a Seattle Seahawks football game. I remember clearly and think back on this incident fondly because we bonded through belly laughter! You see, there was a very vocal young man behind us who was actually quite funny. He wasn’t crude, just extremely loud, and some of the things he yelled tickled our funny bones! My husband and I would look at each other for hours afterward and burst out laughing about one of this guy’s funny comments. When I think of periods in my marriage where my husband and I have laughed a lot, those memories bring very warm feelings. I feel “connected” with my husband. Shared laughter is very bonding.
Do you play and laugh and flirt with your husband? Do you try to find humor in daily life? Do you take yourself seriously all the time or can you laugh at your own little mistakes? Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” If your marriage feels kind of dried up, perhaps it needs an infusion of laughter. Maybe it’s time to start flirting with your husband like you used to. When is the last time you pinched his tush? Maybe you need to watch some funny TV shows together. Lately, my husband and I have been watching “Mom” and “Last Man Standing”. They’re pretty clean shows and the characters are sometimes so funny! Aaaah. Shared laughter with my husband. It’s good medicine for our marriage!
Prayer really is powerful! You might be concerned about your husband’s actions or decisions. You may be distressed about his lack of attention or affection toward you or the children. If the offense is serious enough, you may need to establish boundaries, but at the end of the day, the truth is…you can’t CHANGE your husband. However, the good news is that God DOES have the power to change your husband’s heart! Ezekiel 36:26 lets me know God can change your man’s heart because that verse says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”. I love to encourage wives to pray that verse for their husbands if their men appear to be off course in some area of their life. Then, we have to be patient while we wait for God to answer our prayers for our men. We also have to be intentionally watchful or we may even miss the answer to our prayer.
I was just thinking back about prayers I lifted to God several years ago regarding my husband. Just recently, I suddenly realized that God had actually answered those prayers! The changes happened so slowly and over such a long period of time that I hadn’t really noticed! Hmmm. It’s a good reminder to pray persistently, as Jesus instructs us to do in Luke 18, and then be watchful and alert for his answers. Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” So, don’t let an answered prayer slip by unnoticed. We don’t want to miss out on thanking God and rejoicing in His faithfulness.
Looking back, can you see God making slow changes in your marriage, in you, or in your husband as a result of your long-time prayers?
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Are you feeling weary, discouraged or burdened? Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated with others or even yourself. This remedy might seem strange, but God says that when we meditate on His principles and begin applying them in our lives, our souls will be refreshed! Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
Maybe your soul is weary or discouraged because you’ve been trying to handle difficult people and circumstances with your own wisdom. Maybe it’s time to search out God’s wisdom instead. For instance, if you are depressed about your husband’s continuing verbal abuse toward you and your children, maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for dealing with someone who is sinning against you. You might want to read Matthew 18:15-17.
Perhaps you’re dealing with a rebellious child who isn’t responding to your explanations about why he or she should listen to you. Maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for molding your children into people of character. You might want to read Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
You probably think I’m going to give fashion advice, but you would be incorrect. I’m certainly no fashionista! The kind of “clothing” I’m talking about is not material. It’s our attitude, character and behavior. The Bible has a lot to say about how we “clothe” ourselves in that regard!
Colossians 3:18 tells us what we should put on every morning: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Wow! Think about how attractive you would be to your husband (and your children, and your friends, and your mother-in-law and your co-workers) if you were to put on these qualities every morning as you start your day.
Think about it. How would your marriage be changed if you decided to be gentle and humble and kind and compassionate toward your husband? I bet he would truly look forward to coming home to you each night! Even if you need to broach tough subjects with your husband, he will be much more likely to listen if you clothe yourself with humility and gentleness and compassion. Try it. Humility…compassion…gentleness…kindness. These are fashion accessories that never go out of style!