True confession: I sometimes find myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband. Sometimes, I do this because I fear his mood will grow ugly if I don’t take steps to improve his circumstances. Sometimes, I do this because I fear that his ministry could stumble if he doesn’t do things the “correct” way. Sometimes, I do this because I fear he isn’t handling a relationship correctly and needs me to run interference for him. Sometimes, I do this because I fear…..
Hmmm. When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jump in to act as my husband’s savior or try to fix him. Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely. Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
You and I need to know that every time we jump in to “fix” things for our husbands, we actually prevent our men from turning to God for help. Every time we try to prevent our husbands from feeling any discomfort or pain, we might be preventing them from digging down deep roots into God’s nourishment for their souls. Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior. There is only one perfect savior anyway. His name is Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. Oh my. Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!
It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact. The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.
What kind of words are you speaking to your husband? Are you his biggest cheerleader? Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis? He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you. However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful. You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.
I was convicted the other day when I heard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it. This was news to me! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought he WANTED to do those things! For instance, my husband gives my feet a little massage every night before I go to sleep. I thought he enjoyed doing that! He also runs a lot of the errands that need to be done for us. I thought he liked to run errands! He also makes sure there’s always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one runs out. Nice!
Here’s the thing. We often take for granted our husbands. Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you? Could he be acting selflessly and you just didn’t realize it? Is he more noble than you thought? Hmmm. Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.
Bottom line: Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband”?
Are you weary of trying to get your husband to do the things you want him to do? Are you tired of trying to handle everything? Are you getting discouraged that God doesn’t seem to be changing your husband or your kids as you have asked him to do?
Maybe it’s time to stop pushing your agenda! Perhaps it’s time to stop trying to control everything. 🙂 Maybe it’s time to trust God. This means, even the way we pray might need to change. Of course, we should always pray for our family members, but maybe it’s time to stop telling God what to do! Maybe God is asking you to give your concerns to him and to simply trust him to do what is best in the lives of your husband and children…and on his timeline. Instead of trying to control people and situations, what if you were to give your concerns to God in prayer, and then actually leave those concerns with him instead of snatching back those concerns and prayers when God doesn’t move as quickly as you want?!
Consider Isaiah 30:15….This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
This week, would you consider simply lifting the names of your loved ones to our heavenly Father and then asking Him to work deeply in their lives in the way He knows is best? Then relax and choose to trust God. He is all powerful and all loving. He is able to do the heavy-lifting where you are unable! You can trust Him. Pray, and then relax, rest, and trust.
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?
It’s so very easy to sink into self-pity, despair or flat-out depression when you become disappointed in your marriage. It happens when your husband doesn’t have the same perspective as you, or when he doesn’t meet your expectations, or when he does something hurtful.
However, you do have a choice in how you’re going to view this challenge in your marriage. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself and become consumed with resentment and hopelessness….or you can choose to do much more productive things! You can choose to make the most of your hardship by….
1. Praying without ceasing for God to intervene in the situation. (read Luke 18:1-8)
2. Seeking guidance from God on what possible actions you should take. Sometimes God may want you to extend grace, realizing that your husband will never be perfect, just as you will never be perfect. Other times, God may want you to courageously establish boundaries with your husband, especially if he is sinning against you. Consult the Lord for guidance through His Word and through listening prayer. (read Psalm 32:8)
3. Asking God what He wants you to learn through this situation so that you grow in character and faith. (read Romans 5:3-5). Is he trying to teach you patience? Is he trying to teach you how to communicate your frustration in a more respectful way when your husband upsets you? God is always trying to mature us!
4. Seeking God through Bible-reading and worship so that you can experience his comfort at a new and deeper level than you ever knew was possible! (Psalm 34:18)
If your husband has an addiction or often engages in some kind of destructive or sinful behavior, you have 2 choices. Choice # 1: You can wring your hands in despair and do nothing…which means that his disturbing behavior will likely continue, and your heart will slowly grow cold toward your husband. Choice #2: You can courageously talk to your husband and request him to change his behavior (or get help in changing his behavior). From personal experience, I highly recommend choice #2!
Here are 3 keys that are especially important if you choose to address this issue with your husband.
Be very specific about what you’re asking your husband to do in order to change his behavior. For instance, if he has a drinking or pornography problem, he will almost certainly need help in disentangling himself from this addiction. So search out helpful 12-step programs or reputable counselors in your area ahead of time and tell him that in order for you guys to keep moving forward in your marriage, you need him to attend a specific number of sessions over a specific period of time. I would certainly recommend that he attend some kind of program/counselor at least once a week for at least 6 months. Addictions and other sinful patterns are hard to break. He will need sustained help.
Expect your husband to be unhappy about this request! Many husbands will try to blame you or other circumstances for their personal problems. Many husbands will also attend a program or see a counselor for one or two sessions and then say “it isn’t helping me”. That’s usually just an excuse. Don’t accept that answer, unless they are willing to try a different program or counselor right away.
Balance your request with words of hope and encouragement. Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Remember, you’re asking your husband to do some very hard work, so speak life-giving words to him. Tell him that you see good qualities in him, and that you will do anything you can to help him on his journey to break free from addiction
You likely know your husband better than anyone. As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper. This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”. Then God created woman! Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.
Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol? Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time? Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise? Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?
If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things. First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make. Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.
Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch). This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”. When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.
There’s a fine line between confronting someone who is sinning against us and confronting someone about their sin in general. As I read the Scriptures, it is pretty clear that we are supposed to confront our husbands or anyone who is sinning directly against us. Jesus gives us this instruction in Matthew 18:15-17 and also in Luke 17:3.
However, sometimes we go too far and start to act like we’re the Holy Spirit! It is not our job as a wife to convict our husbands of each and every one of their sins. God says that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. In John 16:8, Jesus says the Helper (Holy Spirit) “will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”.
This means it’s not your job to be constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws, reminding him of his imperfections, and chastising him for falling short of God’s perfect standard. A wife is NOT Mrs Holy Spirit! In fact, when we start acting like we are the Holy Spirit, we start to become that quarrelsome wife mentioned throughout Proverbs. She is compared to a constant dripping of a leaky roof. Hmmm.
When you think of the curses placed on Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden apple, you probably think of Adam having to toil to bring food to the table and you likely think of Eve having to endure pain in childbirth. However, there is another curse placed on Eve that may have escaped your notice. It’s found in Genesis 3:16 where God says “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“. Oh my. This explains a lot!
Almost all women struggle with almost an insane desire to secure a man. In fact, I was observing my 2 year-old granddaughter yesterday. Even at that tender age, she gravitates to men and boys. She likes her female cousins, but oh boy, she practically worships her boy cousins. She wants to hug them. When my husband and I walk in the room, she might glance at me but she runs to my husband Raul. Hmmm.
My point is this. If we recognize this curse, we will be more able to deal with it. The curse may explain why it’s so difficult for most women to establish and enforce boundaries with their husbands when their men are sinning against them by using pornography, drinking excessively, gambling large sums of money, spending time with other women, etc. If we do indeed have a deep instinctive desire (curse) to desperately hang onto our guy, we believe we can’t do anything to threaten our grip! This explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Knowledge is the beginning of understanding. Ask Jesus to give you clarity about how your thoughts and actions are being affected by the curse. Then ask Him to give you courage and strength to make wise decisions. Tip: When you stop making a man the most important thing in your life and make Jesus your main relationship, then you will have the courage and confidence to set wise boundaries in your marriage (or dating relationships)!