If husband seems headed wrong way

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 the 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. However, don’t ONLY 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.

Waiting for God’s timing & help!

When we feel angered, or disappointed, or frustrated with our husband, it’s so natural to immediately give in to our emotions and let our husband know exactly what a failure he is!  We feel entitled to unleash our fury and it actually feels kind of cathartic for a moment.  It lets the pent-up steam out of our bodies. Whew!

However, the damage we cause to that person in the process of our “venting” can have the opposite effect of what we desired.  We were hoping the person would immediately grasp how wrong they’ve been, quickly apologize, cheerfully repair the damage they’ve done and humbly seek to win back our trust and respect.  Unfortunately, when we give full vent to our anger and disappointment, without waiting on God’s timing, we can crush that other person with condemning words spoken in the heat of the moment.  In response to our anger and harsh words, that other person usually becomes defensive and lashes back at us…or withdraws from us and goes off to self-medicate in an unhealthy way.  Neither option is good!

It’s so much better for us to pause before venting our anger!  During that pause, you might have to leave the room to spend a moment with God, but it’s so worth it!  Ask God to show you when to speak to your husband, what exact words to use, and how to offer encouragement and hope…even if you’re asking for him to change his behavior.

Here are 4 Bible verses that might be worth printing out for yourself.  They remind us to be patient, to wait for the Lord’s guidance and to do what HE says you should do instead of reacting impulsively!

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.     I will advise you and watch over you.”

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Improve marriage by sharing these

Have you and your husband been butting heads lately?  Can you sense resentment against him growing in your heart?  Does he seem frustrated with you?  Well, the good news is that you’re not alone.  This is pretty common in marriage.  The bad news is that if you don’t do something about this, it will likely ruin your marriage!

As my husband and I have mentored couples, we’ve found a little tool to be really helpful.  We ask the husband and wife to sit down over a series of “dates” and discuss each other’s expectations in all sorts of areas; everything from the balance of responsibilities for chores to what Christmas celebrations should be like.   We all hold subconscious expectations in these areas but we rarely intentionally reveal those expectations to our spouse.  Then we get frustrated and annoyed that they don’t meet our undisclosed expectations!

How about if you bless your spouse by initiating a series of dates to honestly discuss expectations.  Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips”.   By each of you being honest and open about your desires and hopes, you will grow more intimate and truly begin to understand each other.  Visit the “free resources” tab on our website (www.squadronofsisters.com) to print out a list of topics for your husband and you to discuss.

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Husbands need to hear these words

Many powerful and influential male leaders have attributed much of the reason for their success to their wives.  Billy Graham is one of those leaders.  When his wife died in 2007, he told reporters “My work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.” 

Our husbands need our encouragement and esteem in order to have the boldness and confidence to accomplish great things.  In Genesis 2:18, God makes it clear that women were created because men need help.  God said “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  That helper is us, and one of the biggest ways we can help our husbands is by encouraging them with our words. 

With that in mind, here are some words that your man longs to hear from you:

I need you

Thank you for taking such good care of me

I’m so proud to be your wife

You have a good heart

I believe in you

You’re so strong

I know you can do it

You’re a good provider

I trust you

You’re a good man

These words crush a husband!

Our husbands battle the world every day at their jobs.  Co-workers stab them in the back.  Other men put them down in order to look more important.  The culture tells your man he is a failure if he doesn’t own a Mercedes and he can’t dunk like LeBron James.

So when your man comes home to you, the last thing he needs is to feel like a failure in your eyes too.  However, our words often unintentionally communicate just that!  Perhaps this is why God felt it necessary to actually instruct wives in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife must respect her husband”. 

Even if your husband has disappointed you, you can still be respectful as you address his behavior, request changes, and establish boundaries.  However, if you condemn him and belittle him in that moment of disappointment, you shred his heart.  As a result, he will likely turn his heart away from you, self-medicate his pain in destructive ways, or simply stop trying to be a good man since you don’t see anything good in him anyway!

With the need to respect your husband in mind, here are some words you should never say to your man:

You always….(insert complaint)

You never… (insert complaint)

Why don’t you ever…?

I don’t respect you

I feel like your mother

If people only knew what you are really like

You don’t make enough money

How many times do I have to tell you…?

That’s not the right way to do it

I don’t need you

I’ll never be able to trust you

You’re a jerk

Using words to impact your husband

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.

My gift to my husband in 2021

When’s the last time you said it?  You probably think I’m asking about the last time you told your husband “I love you”, but that’s not where I’m leading.  My question is this:  When is the last time you admitted to your husband that you were wrong?  We like to pretend as if we’re never “wrong”, but that’s not only prideful, it’s not true!

Think about it.  Have you been disrespectful toward your husband by rolling your eyes or by using cutting sarcasm?  Have you given him the look that basically says “you’re a jerk” or “you disgust me”?  Have you been stressed or frustrated about something unrelated to him and lashed out at your husband because he happened to be present?  (I did that just yesterday!  Ugh.)

If you want to be even more beautiful to your husband, be humble and admit when you are out of line or just plain wrong.  You might believe that confessing your wrongs will put you in a weak position in your marriage, but the opposite is true.  Proverbs 28:13 says “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  Oh, and by the way, instead of simply saying “I’m sorry”, go a step further in humility by saying “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

Simple way to avoid frustration with spouse

Even if you have a great marriage, we will all experience moments of frustration with our husbands from time to time.  Well, one key to resolving those frustrations (and avoiding them in the future) is to understand the cause.  In my experience, the cause is typically “unmet expectations”.   We consciously or even subconsciously expect our husbands to act in a certain way, and when they don’t, we get really frustrated!

So, here’s a nugget of wisdom that may be the remedy for you and for me.  Clearly communicate your expectations to your husband!  Duh!  I know this sounds too simple, but honestly, we are often at fault for holding expectations but failing to clearly reveal those expectations to our men.    We act like our husbands are mind-readers and should “just know”.  News flash:  Most men don’t “just know”.  They don’t think like women and they don’t know what you expect and desire from them.  In fact, when we fail to communicate what we want, we’re not really being honest with them. 

Let’s bless our husbands by being honest about our expectations.  Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips“!!  Start to clearly communicate your expectations to your man.  Now, your husband may disagree with your expectations, and that’s okay.  That’s an opportunity for the two of you to sit down and discuss your respective opinions and work toward a compromise.  But at least you’ll be on the same page and understand each other’s expectations!

How affirmation changes your hubby

Did you know almost all men struggle with feeling inadequate on almost every level?  It’s true.  Since God designed men to be leaders in revealing the nature of God, it’s to be expected that Satan would try to destroy that mission by making men feel like they’re not up to that challenge!  Satan is constantly whispering to your man that he is a failure, that he’s not good enough, that he’s not smart enough, and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a godly leader, husband or father.  These are all lies!  Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is “the father of lies“.

Unfortunately, when a husband starts believing these lies, he often decides to either give up trying to be a good husband or he may numb out by using pornography, alcohol, or becoming a workaholic.

However, a man’s wife has the ability to counteract the voice of Satan!  Ladies, why don’t you start telling your husband that you believe in him?  Tell him that he CAN do it.  Let him know that you see good qualities in him.  Remind him about his unique talents and spiritual gifts. Show him the respect that God commands wives to display in Ephesians 5:33.  As you affirm him and esteem him, you may likely find that your man becomes more confident and becomes an even better man than he is now.

How to speak to hubby about concerns

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.  

Tips: 

  • 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.