Don’t align with Satan in your marriage

Your enemy has plans to blow-up your marriage.  The Bible says in John 10:10 that Satan is out to “steal, kill, and destroy”, so make no mistake.  The devil is working diligently to take down both you and your husband.  He may relentlessly tempt your husband to view pornography, and your husband may cave into the temptation.  Your heart will definitely be bruised if your husband falls into that trap.  But Satan wants more than that.  The enemy will relentlessly tempt you to treat your husband with scorn and disgust so that your marriage implodes.

This is where you have a choice.  You can cooperate with the devil and give in to his temptations.  You can allow him to have the victory.  You can align yourself with his evil plans and watch your marriage get flushed down the toilet.  Or you can refuse to cooperate with the devil.  Even when your husband does something that seriously disappoints you, you can tell your husband that you are still “for him”…that you believe he has a good heart…that you are not giving up on him.

I remember the time several years ago that a friend of mine found out that her husband had slipped up and viewed porn after over a year of being free from pornography.  Of course, she was devastated, but she chose wisely in that moment.  She chose to speak words of life to her husband.  I’d love to share the text she sent me shortly after his confession:  “So thankful he was honest.  Still hurts.  But the enemy will not win!  My marriage is worth fighting for”.  What a fantastic attitude!  She refused to cooperate with the devil.  How about you?

This is toxic in marriage!

Do you keep replaying your husband’s past mistakes over and over again in your mind?  Do you find yourself dwelling on how he’s disappointed you in the past?  Let it go!  Thoughts like that become toxic…to you and your marriage.  Hebrews 12:15 makes this point:  “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”  If you keep rehearsing your husband’s past failures, you will end up growing more and more resentful of your husband.  The resulting bitterness acts like poison to your own heart.  You become a dried up, miserable woman. 

Even more damage is caused when you verbalize those past mistakes to your husband.  Yet many wives do that.  They repeatedly bring up their man’s past mistakes and almost wield them as a weapon against their husband.  His heart gets sliced and diced in the process.  His heart becomes poisoned against his wife as well.

It’s time to decide to release your husband from his past failures. The Bible is pretty clear about your need to release bitterness and resentment. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…”  Sochoose to exercise the same grace God has given you!!  News flash:  You’re not perfect either.  By the way, releasing your man from his past mistakes doesn’t mean you should ignore current sin.  If he is currently sinning against you, determine to respectfully confront him and work through the problem, perhaps with the help of a counselor or pastor.

What conflict avoiders must know!

I’m an expert conflict avoider.  How about you?  I grew up in a household where there was a lot of yelling and rage and verbal abuse.  As a result, everything within me always tried desperately to avoid anything in my marriage that could have resulted in tension, raised voices, or anything remotely resembling conflict.

However, avoiding conflict is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.  I learned that the hard way in my first marriage, which failed.  Here’s the thing.  If you don’t address the things that are really bothering you about your husband or your marriage, a seed of bitterness is planted in your heart.  That seed slowly takes root and grows, and after months and years go by, you will most likely grow to despise your husband and want a divorce!  Not good.

So, commit to respectfully, lovingly, and diligently address the things that are bothering you within your marriage.  Hebrews 12:15 warns us not to let “any bitter root grow up among you to cause trouble…”  So, ask God to give you the courage to gently and respectfully discuss your concerns with your husband.  Ask God to give you the courage to express your needs and desires to your husband.  Do not become invisible.  When you start stuffing your feelings and immediately cave in during disagreements, toxic resentment will start to grow inside you. Don’t let that happen!

This is toxic in relationships

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. Stop hitting the replay button on past hurts!  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.”

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Blame-shifting

Isn’t it so very easy to see your husband’s faults?  Isn’t it super simple to see the wrongs of your mother-in-law or your co-worker?  Yep.  I can clearly see another person’s sin, but rarely do I take an honest look at my own shortcomings!

In a marriage, this tendency to only see another’s sin can be deadly.  If you allow yourself to focus on your spouse’s failures or flaws, you will start becoming resentful, depressed, discouraged and hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean a wife shouldn’t ask for changes if her husband is sinning against her. She may indeed need to set firm boundaries.  However, this DOES mean that she should also take a serious look at her own behavior!

My husband and I have met with many couples over the years and, tragically, we’ve seen far too many wives eagerly point out their husband’s shortcomings while failing to seriously acknowledge their own flaws.  Many wives will say the words “Oh, I know I’m not perfect either”, but then their next 10 sentences are filled with complaints about their husband. There is rarely a serious inventory of their own shortcomings or ways in which they may have contributed to problems in the marriage.

Let’s do better! Let’s stop blame-shifting.  Yes, we often engage in blame-shifting, which means we blame someone else for our own wrong behavior!  For instance, a wife will blame her husband’s flaws for why she became disrespectful or why she rudely refused to talk to him at all, treating him as if he was invisible and worthless.

Ladies, let’s ask God to show us our own faults and weaknesses so that we can change for the better.  Let’s stop shifting the blame for our own unkind or sinful behavior. Not only will your husband appreciate this new humility and honesty, but you will likely thrive as well!  Proverbs 28:13 puts it this way:  Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

P.S.  Yes, I know that husbands also can engage in blame-shifting, but for the purposes of this devotional, I’m writing to wives!

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 ways for wife to stop negative thoughts

After many years of listening to couples in distress, I’ve learned something really interesting.  There often seems to be a tendency for one or both spouses to make negative assumptions about the motivations of their mate or to jump to the most negative conclusions during communication!

I believe both these tendencies are instigated by the devil who would like nothing more than to get you to think negative, unflattering thoughts about your husband.  The devil WANTS you to jump to the most negative conclusions about your husband. The devil WANTS you to misunderstand what your husband is saying so that you will be hurt, frustrated and anxious. 

The first step in fighting against this tendency is to realize what the enemy is up to!  We must be alert to his tactics.  1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Applying this verse in our marital communication means that we continually check ourselves to see if we’ve started jumping to negative conclusions and assigning negative motives to our spouse.

Secondly, if we notice that we are reaching a negative assumption during communication, we ask for clarification from our spouse!  We don’t just start internally grumbling inside about what a jerk our husband is.  We don’t verbally attack them for being a horrible person. We actually pause and ask them to clarify what they meant when they said ___________.  Sometimes it’s not even the words that were said but the facial expression or tone of voice.  Again, ask for clarification.  You might say something like, “When you said that, I felt like you were letting me know that I’m not a good mother.  Is that what you meant to say?”

Thirdly, we must start training our minds to assume the most gracious motivations of our spouse instead of the worst!  It’s so easy to jump to negative motivations though, isn’t it?  Your husband forgets to do a task you asked him to do, and you mumble “He doesn’t care about anyone but himself”.  Your husband struggles with pornography, and you mumble “He’s a disgusting person who would instantly stop looking at porn if he really loved me”.  However, both these events could be framed in our minds completely differently!  When he forgot to do the task, you could say to yourself “I know he didn’t intend to forget. I bet he got busy.”  When you caught him looking at porn, you could say to yourself “I know he doesn’t intend to hurt me. He probably has an actual addiction and needs help.”

Let’s be proactive in examining our thoughts ladies!  2 Corinthians 10:5 take every thought captive to obey Christ

Beware of this marriage-killer

From both personal experience and counseling wives in crisis, I can say with certainty that allowing resentment to go unchecked spells doom for a marriage!  Think about it.  If you are really upset with your husband about something, or really frustrated with him, or hurt by his behavior…do you respectfully discuss your feelings and concerns with him?  Do you courageously deal with the issue, or do you tend to stuff it under the rug, hoping things will just magically get better?

If you’re a conflict avoider, it’s so very easy to stuff instead of confront!  It FEELS safer and more peaceful to just hope that your husband changes his behavior.  That way you won’t have any tense moments and you won’t get in a “fight”.  Unfortunately, if you say nothing, nothing is likely to actually change.  Sometimes a husband doesn’t even know what his wife is upset about!  And here’s the real problem.  If you don’t address your resentment, it will grow bigger and bigger and bigger until you are likely to explode months or years down the line.  That resentment will have turned your heart cold and hard toward your husband, and you may end up saying those fateful words “I’m done”.  Don’t let it get this far!

Your husband needs you to calmly and respectfully explain why you are upset and what you are asking him to change.  He may disagree, but then you guys can talk about it.  Talk it through.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you courage and the timing and the right words to bring up the concern with your husband…soon.  Seek a counselor’s help if you need to.  Just make sure you don’t let your resentment go unaddressed.  As Hebrews 12:15 say, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”   Don’t let a bitter root start growing that ends up causing big trouble!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW