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)!
If you and your husband are followers of Jesus, then you are both being sculpted. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God is molding and shaping us each and every day.
God uses many tools to shape us. He sometimes allows us to make foolish decisions and then experience the natural consequences of those decisions. Hopefully, we learn something valuable from those painful lessons! But when it comes to your husband, God has another powerful tool in his tool belt…you! As a wife, you have the unique ability to encourage your man. You can choose to be the voice that points out his good qualities. When you do that, most husbands seem to grow 2 inches taller. Your words of encouragement often become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for your man. As you affirm his good character qualities, talents, and spiritual gifts, he feels emboldened to step into those things with more confidence and vigor.
God may even want to use you as a tool to lovingly but firmly confront your husband if he is entrenched in a pattern of sin. You know your husband better than anyone else, so you’re the one who will likely notice if he is caught in a sinful pattern. Pray and ask God if he wants you to have a loving conversation with your husband about that sin pattern. Does God want you to request your husband see a counselor, attend a 12-step group, meet with the pastor, join a men’s ministry? Does the Lord want you to draw a firm boundary with your husband, thereby putting pressure on him to do whatever it takes to get free from this sin? (Read Matthew 18:15-17 for more guidance on this)
Will you be a tool in God’s tool belt? Pray and ask the Lord to show you if and how he wants you to be a tool!
Recently, I asked my husband what one thing most husbands really wish their wife would understand. Here is what he said. Most men long for their wife to notice something good about them and to tell them what they see! It could be a positive character quality he displays. It could be the fact that he works hard to provide for the family. It could be a talent he has. It could be the way you notice him submitting himself to God.
According to my husband, men desperately need this validation because they feel like a failure much of the time. In fact, my husband described men as being a bit like dry bones in a desert, in desperate need of water. Your words can provide water for those dry bones and breathe life back into your man! Proverbs 16:24 puts it this way, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Will you commit to finding something to affirm about your husband every day for the next 7 days? Will you commit to actually telling him about the good you see? He will soak up those words like a sponge, and it will bring life back into the dry bones of his spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel my shoulder and neck muscles getting really tight. My head starts to throb. I even sometimes feel a little short of breath…or like I can’t even draw a full breath. These are all warning signs that I am filled with toxic anxiety and worry! These are also signs that I’ve started to repeat some of the devil’s whispered lies that God is not there for me or he isn’t going to help me.
What is the remedy for anxiety and worry. Well, the solution is often really quite simple (although hard to remember to do!). We must remind ourselves that Jesus loves us and that he is completely trustworthy! We need to speak truth to our souls!
King David, who wrote many of the Psalms. often talked to his soul. In tough situations or when he was consumed with fear, he would basically give a pep talk to his soul. He would remind his soul of the truth about God. For instance, in Psalm 42:5, David writes “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Is it time to talk truth to your soul?
I regain peace when I remind my soul that God is loving, God is powerful, God is wise, and God is in control! Try reading and maybe even memorizing Psalm 23. God is your shepherd. He is watching over you. You are not alone!
You’ve heard the expression “You are what you think”. Well it’s true, and unfortunately many women stay stuck in oppression, poverty, chaos, and loneliness because of the stinking thoughts the enemy has whispered to them repeatedly over the years. Often these women truly did suffer a wounding event in the past, but the enemy piles on by getting them to believe lies about their identity, their abilities, God’s ability, and their future.
These lies, that then become our “stinking thinking”, may sound something like this: “I’m unlovable”… “I can’t handle this”… “I’ll never get over this”… “I’m broken”… “I’m not able to”… “It’s hopeless”… “God doesn’t seem to care”… “I can never trust anyone”…
It’s time we start bossing around these thoughts! The minute you hear one of those thoughts in your head, remind yourself that the enemy of your soul WANTS you to embrace that stinking thinking so that he can keep you oppressed! Jesus WANTS you to have the opposite…a fulfilling life! John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ladies, it’s time we take a stand and refuse to align our thoughts with the devil. The moment those negative, hopeless thoughts enter your mind, immediately coach your soul with the truth. Here are a couple of truths to get you started: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-Philippians 4:13…”He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”-Psalm 40:2…..”If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”-Romans 8:31-32…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”-Proverbs 3:5-6
Does your husband wrestle with a destructive addiction? Is your husband carrying way too much stress from his job? Does your husband seem depressed? Is your man uninterested in pursuing God? It’s easy for you to sink into despair, but instead, I challenge you to pray for him continually, and with total faith in our powerful God!
I’m not saying that prayer is the only thing you should do, but it is one of the most powerful things you can do for your man. Yet, often we tend to do more whining to our girlfriends than praying for our men. We often spend too much time drowning in a pool of self-pity instead of saturating our days with earnest prayer.
Seek godly counsel from a pastor or wise female mentor to gain insights into whether you need to take specific action with your husband. Those actions may include establishing boundaries and imposing consequences. Perhaps you will be directed to see a counselor yourself. Maybe your pastor will schedule a talk with your husband to see if he can help. However, your main job as your husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) is to pray for him. Pray for him throughout the day. God says in James 5:16 that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective“. So get on your knees and get busy praying.
I have seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to earnest, continual prayer. He can even change your husband’s heart! (Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart)
Each weekday, I offer a devotional intended to help wives. Yet, I have a funny feeling that some of you might be questioning why I’m always urging wives to change their behavior, look for ways to bless their husbands, and be more selfless in their marriage. I can almost hear you asking, “What about him? Am I the only one who’s supposed to work on this marriage?”
Well, here’s a news flash for all of us. We can’t change our husbands! Only God can change a man’s heart. We can establish boundaries. We can encourage our men and offer wise counsel to them, but at the end of the day, we can’t control them. We can only control us! However, by changing the way we interact with our men, we can dramatically and positively impact them. It’s the amazing power of one person to make a difference!
So, let’s all commit to working on ourselves. Let’s look for ways to encourage our men, help our men, respect our men, and serve our men. If your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin against you or your kids, commit to respectfully and lovingly setting boundaries on that behavior. As you continue doing this week after week and month after month, I bet you’ll see a change in your husband and an improvement in your relationship.
Don’t give up. Don’t be pessimistic. Press on. Meditate on this wonderful promise found in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
If you were to regularly pray 3 specific Bible verses on behalf of your husband, I believe you would see your man and your marriage and your whole family reap amazing benefits! Here are the 3 Bible verses: Ephesians 3:17-19, Proverbs 3:5-6, and James 4:7. These verses ask God to reveal his love to your husband at a deep level, ask God to cause your husband to have a deep trust in God, and ask God to prompt your husband to submit himself to God. When those 3 things happen, your man is completely transformed!
Here’s what this looks like:
Ephesians 3:17-19 “I pray that Jesus would come and dwell in ___________’s heart by faith, and that _____________, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and that ___________ would know this love that surpasses knowledge, that _________ would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “I pray that you would work in _____________’s heart so that he would trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding. In all his ways, I pray that ____________ would acknowledge you Lord, so that you make his path straight.”
James 4:7-8 “I pray that you convict ______________ of the need to fully submit himself to you, God, and I pray that you would show _____________ how to resist the devil, so that the devil flees from _______________.
We’ve all heard of self-talk, but allow me to introduce a different kind of internal narrative that can be just as negative as your self-talk. It is the internal talk about your spouse!
The things you say, whether out loud or in your head, greatly influence the way you feel and act. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”. In other words, when your inner spouse-talk is constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws or rehearsing the past ways he’s let you down…your words reinforce a negative attitude and behavior toward your husband. If not corrected, this negative attitude and behavior on your part can eventually lead to prolonged bitterness, depression, and even the death of your marriage.
Ladies, we must do what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5…”take every thought captive”. Start noticing the things you are saying in your head about your husband. If a negative thought enters your mind, don’t give it room! Instead, look for something positive to say about your husband. He DOES have some positive qualities. Make sure you spend time engaging in positive inner spouse-talk more than the negative kind!
You may be a wife like me…a wife who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving. To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing. In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus. I mean, after all, he is a Christian, for heaven’s sake!
Hmmm. On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect. Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one”. So, perhaps it’s time for both you and me to take our husbands off the hook. I’m not saying that we should give them a free pass on blatant, destructive sin. Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us. You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17.
However, I do believe it’s time we started being gracious to our husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks. Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like? Maybe we can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!). Does he often have a hard time sharing his deep thoughts and feelings? We can be gracious about that too. Let’s remember he is a flawed person, just like us! We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.