Changing your internal “spouse-talk”

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!

Dealing with your husband’s flaws

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.

What your prayers for your husband can do!

Do you have a continuing issue with your husband?  Does he lack a certain desirable character quality?  Prayer can make all the difference!

I have seen persistent prayer accomplish what I cannot do on my own.  I don’t have any ability to change my husband’s heart.  I can set boundaries on certain behavior, but I can’t change his heart.  Only God can do that, and praise the Lord, he DOES do that!  In Ezekiel 36, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”   Awesome!

If you’re wondering where to start in terms of praying for a change in your husband’s heart, I would suggest inserting your husband’s name in 2 specific Bible verses as you pray.  I’ve been praying these 2 verses for quite some time now, and I’ve seen God slowly molding and shaping my husband’s heart.  Here are the verses, with your husband’s name inserted.  Psalm 51:10 “Create in _____________ a clean heart and renew a right spirit within _____________.”   Psalm 103:8  Mold ____________ to be like you “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love”.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

A man’s need to process requests & emotions

Have you ever noticed a blank look on your husband’s face when you suddenly bring up a heavy topic, voice a frustration, or ask him to change a behavior?  Or does your husband seem to get defensive very quickly in those moments?  I’m discovering that the reason for the blank look or the immediate defensiveness is because a man thinks differently than a woman!

Women process thoughts, ideas and feelings at lightning speed.  We are ready to engage in a deep conversation at the drop of a hat.  We can verbalize how we feel instantaneously!  Men, on the other hand, need time to process their thoughts and feelings.  So…..when we suddenly bring up a deep topic, or state how we feel, or ask them to make a change in behavior, or heaven forbid, ask them how they feel, our men become like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”!   Often they default to the blank look on the face or they become defensive because they feel pressured to do or say something, and they haven’t yet had a chance to think things through.

Here’s what I’m trying to learn to do.  I need to bring up a concern or state my feelings on an issue and then let my husband have some breathing room to process it.  I need to say “let’s talk more about this later after you’ve had a chance to think about it.”  Most men need some space to process their thoughts and feelings.  Maybe this is a good opportunity for us to practice patience!  Ponder these two Proverbs.  Proverbs 19:11  “A person’s wisdom yields patience…”  Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is patient has great understanding….”

If concerned he’s headed in the wrong direction…

Sometimes, we will notice a trend in our husband’s behavior or reactions that are concerning.  He might not be engaged in something hugely sinful, but you are concerned about the harsh way he’s interacting with the kids or the resentment that he holds toward his boss, etc.  In other words, you fear that if he continues down that path, significant damage will be the result.  Hmmm.  What’s a wife to do in those moments where she senses her husband is headed the wrong way?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but let me share two things that have been effective in my own relationship.  1)  Pray earnestly that God will convict your husband through his Holy Spirit so that your husband will see that he needs to make some changes.  Jesus makes it clear that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict people when they are off track.  Jesus says of the Holy Spirit in John 16:8 “when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”

2) If you feel like God is nudging you to talk to your husband about your observations, quietly come to your husband, take a humble posture by perhaps kneeling beside him while he’s sitting, and gently tell him of your concerns. Take this opportunity to speak words of life to him.  Tell him about the good qualities you see in him.  Remind him that God is transforming him into a man who has Christ’s character, which is “gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8).  Tell him you’re proud of him for seeking to become more like Christ and for allowing God to mold and shape him.

The prayers of a wife and mom can change everything!

Are you and your husband at odds?  Are you discouraged in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making?  Pray.  Prayer really can change everything!  James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”

I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings.  I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas.  I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time.  I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time.  I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles.  I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts!   In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Awesome!  So, seek God in prayer.  Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children.  Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God.  He can even change hearts.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

This one thing could change your marriage!

I wonder what would happen if we asked God to transform our character into His character and then we actually began striving to display His character in our marriages?  I bet you tons of marriages 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 we started displaying grace toward our men?  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 we work to extend kindness to our husbands even when they’ve annoyed us or disappointed us 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.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Resist this urge in your marriage!

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…..

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.  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.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Relax and trust God to do the heavy-lifting!

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.