The path to less stress and more peace!

In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me.  He asked me this simple question.  Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory?  Another way of putting this is:  Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother” etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do to bring HIM glory?

Oh man!  Busted.  To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes.  I become exhausted and stressed in the process.  The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers.  Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want.  Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes.  The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?

I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace!  We would be free of performance-exhaustion.  Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music!  God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace!  (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.”  And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

What a Christian husband is supposed to be like

Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands.  In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband?  Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.

Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands.  It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

 Wow!  That’s a pretty high standard!  Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church.   My husband isn’t Jesus (lol), and I bet yours isn’t either, but our men are supposed to be seeking to become more like Jesus every day.  This means a husband should seek to serve the best interests of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO HERE

Nothing repels your guy quicker than this!

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 destruction a man’s 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!

Signs your hubby may have porn problem

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.

One secret to building emotional closeness

I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago!  I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in our marriage.  But I’ve discovered it’s true!  There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit.  Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices.  Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…”  Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.

Just recently, we built a fire pit in our backyard.  It cost less than $100.  We thought it would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs.  But it turns out that my husband and I are enjoying it ourselves…immensely!    As the sun goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be.  Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry.  Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them.  Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas.  Try building a fire pit.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!

Being appreciated for all you do!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!) when I do something sacrificial for my husband and he doesn’t even seem to notice.  For me, even though both my husband and I work full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more.  I did this for a several month stretch last year.

Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets?  No, I did not.  Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day?  Yes, I did.  But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”.  However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all.  What!?!

It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased.  I know that God is pleased whenever I serve my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it!  In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our husbands sacrificially.  That right man is Jesus.

Do not share your girlfriends!

At the risk of you thinking I’m totally looney, may I suggest that you talk with your husband about clear boundaries regarding your female friends?  In other words, he should not be a “friend” of any of your own girlfriends!  I know this might seem old-fashioned or even ridiculous, but many affairs start out with a husband “just talking” with another woman.  We need to be careful and alert to the schemes of the enemy!

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober-mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  So, be alert to the enemy’s scheme to get your husband emotionally entangled with one of your friends.  He should not spend time with her without you.  He should not even be spending time on the phone with her giving advice or listening to her woes.  Without him intending to do so, he will slowly find himself developing an emotional bond with your friend, and she will start bonding with him.   Danger lies ahead!