Are you hurting yourself through destructive resentment?

We’ve all been betrayed and we’ve all betrayed others.  I can almost guarantee this is true for all of us, although we only seem to remember the times when we’ve been betrayed.  We conveniently “forget” the times we’ve betrayed others, in big and small ways.

Here’s the thing.  When we allow our focus to remain on the deeply hurtful things people have done to us, it’s as if we tie a heavy chain around our ankles and toss ourselves into a deep, dark lake.  We slowly sink deeper and deeper into murky darkness.  We’re starved for life-giving oxygen.  We slowly drown in self-pity.  We become enveloped by resentment and that resentment becomes a poison to us and everyone around us!

Cut the chains of bitterness and resentment!  Come up for air.  Drop the “victim” attitude.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:15 to “see to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many”.  Your choice to embrace and coddle your bitterness will surely be the death of your joy and the joy of those around you.

How can you get rid of this super destructive attitude of resentment? Here are some insights. Choose this day to be thankful for what you do have.  Make a choice to have compassion on your offender, realizing that you’re not perfect either!  If the resentment stems from current behavior, then seek godly counsel on establishing boundaries in that relationship.  Finally, ask God to redeem your painful experience in some kind of way.  He loves to do that!  Romans 8:28 promises us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.”

This could make your husband an even better man!

Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life!  Whether we realize it or not, every time we criticize our husband or correct our husband or point out flaws in our husband’s ideas, we are crushing his spirit.  Every time we crush his spirit, we are making him feel like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying.  I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”.  When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat.  He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father.  He no longer even believes that’s possible,

On the other hand ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father.  He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well.  A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!

Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.”  One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager!  Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures.  Choose to encourage him instead.  Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness!  You’ll both be happier!

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

One key to gaining joy, purpose & fulfillment

I seem to bump into quite a few women who seem to either struggle with discouragement and mild depression or simply feel unfulfilled.  When it comes to both these conditions, there aren’t necessarily simple answers, but I do believe taking one particular step could bring significant help.  That step is to get outside yourself and begin serving those less fortunate!  Yes, really.

This is God’s instruction to us all.  In fact, He says in Isaiah 58 that the kind of “fasting” that he desires is not to look all religious by denying yourself food or pleasure.  Instead he desires us to “loose the chains of injustice…to share your food with the hungry…to provide the poor wanderer with shelter. He says “then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear” (Isaiah 58:8)

Is it time to stop focusing on what’s wrong with your circumstances and to look for opportunities to serve those in need all around you?  I can almost guarantee that you WILL become more fulfilled when you begin helping others.  Try it!

What you need to know about your big emotions

Do you tend to get loud when you get upset?  Are you prone to big, dramatic displays of your emotions, whether joy, frustration or sadness?  Well you might not know this, but most men are really uncomfortable with big displays of emotion.  This isn’t true for ALL men, but for most men.

In other words, if you’re a drama queen….your husband will likely try to escape your presence!  He just doesn’t know what to do with your larger-than-life emotions.  Maybe this is why 1 Peter 3:4 advises wives to have the beauty that comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit“.

Most men much prefer that their wives discuss their emotions, fears, disappointments, frustrations, and joy in a calm manner.  Your husband will be much more likely to engage in a meaningful discussion with you if you can speak in a normal tone of voice, without waving around your arms.  Try it!

One way to give your husband the respect he craves

All men crave respect, and husbands especially crave the respect of their wives.  In fact, the Bible even commands wives to respect their husbands!  You can find this instruction in Ephesians 5:33.  The question is:  How can you offer respect to your husband in a meaningful way?

Here is one way to show your husband honor and respect.  Ask his opinion about how he would like things to go in your home and in your marriage relationship, listen attentively, and actually carry out his requests that are within reason.  When you do this, you are showing him that he matters!  You are also carrying out another instruction to wives found in Ephesians 5:22 where God says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord”.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.  Have you asked your husband how he likes you to dress or fix your hair?  Why not honor him by doing these things the way he likes?  Have you asked your husband what’s most important to him when he walks through the door at the end of his workday?  Would he like you and the kids to greet him at the door with kisses, or would he prefer to have 10 minutes of peace and quiet to unwind?  Have you asked your husband how many activities he thinks is ideal for the children?

Ask him, listen to his opinion, and begin incorporating his desires into your routine.  This will communicate respect, and when he feels your respect, your whole marriage relationship will likely improve!

God has a plan to bring beauty from your pain

No one really embraces heartbreak or suffering.  We usually do everything we can to avoid it, and we often complain to God when He doesn’t put an end to it at our first request.  But maybe he is allowing the suffering for a really good reason.  Maybe He has purpose even when he allows us to experience disappointment or even heartbreak.

I think of several stories from the Bible.  Joseph’s story in Genesis, chapters 37-50, is a prime example.  Even though Joseph endured great suffering for many years as he wrongly spent time in prison, God had a masterful plan he was executing behind the scenes….a plan that would involve Joseph rising to great power in Egypt and helping his family gain food during a famine in Israel.  I also think of the great apostles Peter and Paul.  They were beaten and thrown into prison, but God later miraculously freed them from prison and their story inspired many to follow Christ.

The Bible reveals that there is purpose in suffering and heartbreak.  Romans 5:3-5 says “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”   So, perhaps instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling anger toward God, maybe you and I should choose to trust God even in the midst of heartbreak.  Maybe we should ask God to use our suffering to build our character.  God won’t waste your heartbreak.  He will use it to do something beautiful.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

These things constitute emotional abuse

Yesterday, we examined what constitutes physical abuse within a marriage.  Today, let’s explore something much more subtle and overlooked…verbal and emotional abuse.  Once again, I strongly urge women to take a stand against abuse of any kind.  Keep in mind, you are showing your children (especially your daughters) that either women are supposed to be weak, helpless, perpetual victims or that women can be confident and strong while still displaying love and kindness.

After doing much research, here’s a fairly comprehensive list of behavior that constitutes verbal or emotional abuse:  Frequently calling you obscene names, often yelling in rage, a pattern of constantly criticizing you and putting you down, prolonged periods of refusing to talk to you at all, pattern of ridiculing or making fun of you, pattern of mocking you or mean-spirited sarcasm,  verbal threats of violence, intimidation through displaying knives or guns, constantly accusing you of wrongdoing, forbidding you to talk to parents or siblings, preventing you from leaving the house, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone, forbidding you from speaking to friends or neighbors.

Again, I urge you to take a stand against this kind of abuse.  You are a valuable woman.  You are God’s daughter and precious in His sight.  Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally pummeled.  You will slowly be destroyed.  That is NOT God’s plan for you.  In fact, God instructs us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23….”Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life“.  If you are suffering this kind of abuse, please talk to your pastor, pastor’s wife, or a certified counselor.  Your husband may be upset, but you must protect your heart.  By the way, if you fear for your physical safety as a result of revealing the emotional abuse, then take protective measures such as moving to a friend’s home or a domestic violence shelter while you work through the issues with your husband.