Do 4 things when he disappoints you

Every wife is going to have moments (or weeks or months!) that she’s disappointed with her husband.  No man is perfect, and your husband is bound to frustrate you, annoy you, or fail to meet your expectations from time to time.  The question is:  How can you keep from being seriously discouraged or resentful during those times?  I have found 4 things to be really helpful:

1) Clearly communicate your expectations and desires!  Men are not mind-readers, yet often wives expect their husbands to “just know”!  So, think about the areas in which you’ve been frustrated or disappointed. Then calmly and clearly tell your husband what you desire or need, as well as how much you’d appreciate him making an effort to meet those needs and desires.

2) Be grateful for what he does right!  Isn’t it strange how most wives tend to gravitate to focusing on what their husband is doing wrong, but barely give a second thought to what he’s doing right?!  Stop right now and ask God to help you see the many good things about your husband and the positive things he does.  This is the essence of Philippians 4:8… “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thing.”

3) If your husband is actually sinning against you, it’s time to stop wringing your hands and it may be time to take action!  In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to confront the person who sins against us, and to even get others involved if necessary.

4) Pray, and never give up!  Prayer truly can move mountains, and Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1 that we “should always pray and not give up“.  So go to battle in prayer, and ask God to reveal His love to your husband and to mold and shape your husband’s heart.

This could change your marriage

I wonder what would happen if you asked God to transform your character into His character and then you actually began striving to display His character in your marriage?  I bet your marriage would begin to thrive!

God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”   Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage.  What if you started displaying grace toward your man?  Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.

I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life.  However, I am recommending that you work to extend kindness to your husband even when they’ve annoyed you or disappointed you in small ways.  In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you?  What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt?  Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!

Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!

How to pray for your husband

You may have an “impossible” situation going on in your marriage, such as a husband who doesn’t believe in God, or who is an alcoholic who refuses to get help, or who is harsh and critical with the kids, or who is hooked on pornography.  I would certainly recommend that you establish some serious boundaries and consequences if your husband is sinning against you or the kids, but here’s the thing you and I need to realize.  Only God can change your husband’s heart.  That’s where your prayers make a gigantic impact.  Prayers that are offered in line with God’s will can accomplish the seemingly impossible!

That’s why praying actual Bible verses is so powerful!  We know Bible verses are in line with God’s will.  If your “impossible” situation involves your husband, let me point you to a list of suggested Bible verses to pray for your husband on the “Free Resources” tab at www.squadronofsisters.com.   It’s a free PDF that you can print.  I urge you to do so, and begin praying for your marriage, your husband, and your family.  Your prayer offered in faith and trust in God is extremely powerful.  Jesus says in Mark 11:23, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” 

One more thing.  Don’t grow weary in praying.  Sometimes it takes months or years of praying before you see results.  Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 to get inspired to press into sustained prayer for your “impossible” situation.

The power of a wife’s words

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.

Is he better than you thought?

I remember being convicted several years ago when I overheard 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, for years, my husband gave my feet a little massage every night before I went to sleep.  I thought he enjoyed doing that!  He also ran ALL the errands that needed to be done for us.  I thought he liked to run errands!  He also made sure there was always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one ran 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“?

Prayers for the frustrated wife!

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.

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.

Praying for your marriage

I’m going to propose a radical shift in perspective.  Some of you might not be ready, but I’m hoping you are.  Here it is.  Instead of praying for God to change your husband so that you’re happier, pray that God’s will be done in your marriage and in your husband.  In other words, pray that God accomplishes what HE wants to do in your husband’s life.  Catch the vision of partnering with God in prayer for the things HE wants to do in your man! 

Where did I get this shift in perspective?   Right smack in the middle of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10  “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

What does this mean in your marriage?  It means that you stop focusing on getting God to change your husband so that he does things your way and makes you happy.  Instead, you ask God what HIS will is for your husband, and you start praying fervently for God to mold and shape and transform your husband into the mighty man of God that the Lord wants him to be! God doesn’t intend for your husband to be an unbeliever who is stuck in sinful patterns with no joy or peace!

Here are 3 things we know to be God’s will for your husband, so start praying these 3 things in addition to whatever else God reveals to you: 

  • That he would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4  God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth)
  • That he would turn from sinful patterns and surrender to God’s leadership.  (2 Peter 3:9  He does not want any to perish, but that all should reach repentance)
  • That he would find joy, peace and hope in his relationship with Christ.   (Romans 15:13   May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)

An awesome benefit of praying this way is that God will slowly transform your husband in just the right ways that will be a blessing to you and the whole family!

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

How prayer changes your husband

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?

If facing marriage difficulties…

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)

3 keys if asking husband to change

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 resentful and cold toward your husband. That choice will slowly kill your marriage!  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.

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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