Dealing with husband’s anger

Does your husband tend to give full vent to his temper when you disagree with his opinion or his desires?  When you guys have a conflict, does he end up yelling at you or saying mean things?  When this happens, deep heart wounds occur.  There must be a better way to handle conflict!  Here are a couple things you can do to help put out his anger fire before it scorches you:

1) If a disagreement is starting to get a bit ugly, YOU can simply stop arguing! Tell your husband that you love him and you want to take a time-out before discussing the issue further.  Tell him that you’re going to think and pray about his perspective and that you’d love him to do the same for you.  Then agree to talk about it again later that day or tomorrow.  

2)  Remain calm even if your husband does not.  Refuse to match his loud volume or hurtful comments.  In fact, if he becomes emotionally abusive, calmly tell him you do not allow anyone to speak to you that way, and then walk away.  If he follows you and continues the emotional abuse, get in your car and drive away.  Do not tolerate aggressive, harsh, or wounding treatment from your husband during conflict.  That is not God’s plan for how a wife should be treated.  Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” 

This is toxic in marriage!

Do you keep replaying your husband’s past mistakes over and over again in your mind?  Do you find yourself dwelling on how he’s disappointed you in the past?  Let it go!  Thoughts like that become toxic…to you and your marriage.  Hebrews 12:15 makes this point:  “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”  If you keep rehearsing your husband’s past failures, you will end up growing more and more resentful of your husband.  The resulting bitterness acts like poison to your own heart.  You become a dried up, miserable woman. 

Even more damage is caused when you verbalize those past mistakes to your husband.  Yet many wives do that.  They repeatedly bring up their man’s past mistakes and almost wield them as a weapon against their husband.  His heart gets sliced and diced in the process.  His heart becomes poisoned against his wife as well.

It’s time to decide to release your husband from his past failures. The Bible is pretty clear about your need to release bitterness and resentment. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…”  Sochoose to exercise the same grace God has given you!!  News flash:  You’re not perfect either.  By the way, releasing your man from his past mistakes doesn’t mean you should ignore current sin.  If he is currently sinning against you, determine to respectfully confront him and work through the problem, perhaps with the help of a counselor or pastor.

Handling disrespect by husband

I keep bumping into beautiful, intelligent women who, for some bizarre reason, allow their husband or boyfriend to treat them horribly.  One gorgeous young woman had her boyfriend spit in her face and she still stayed with him!  What’s up with that?  Do women no longer have any dignity and self-respect?

A wife’s dignity is actually a quality that is highly valued in the Bible.  When describing the wife of “noble character” in Proverbs 31, the Bible says in verse 25 “she is clothed with strength and dignity“.  So, what does the word “dignity” really mean?  The dictionary defines dignity as displaying poise and self-respect.  In other words, a woman of dignity respects herself enough to refuse to be treated disrespectfully!

Don’t believe the lies of the enemy.  Don’t believe that you need to tolerate disrespectful treatment, verbal abuse, or emotional abuse by your man.  That’s a lie!  A dignified woman doesn’t tolerate that.  She confidently, but lovingly, puts boundaries in place and refuses to allow herself to be treated in a dishonoring manner.  A confident woman of dignity trusts God to take care of her even if she has to take drastic steps to protect herself such as breaking up with a disrespectful boyfriend or separating from a verbally-abusive husband.  Be courageous. Choose to carry yourself with dignity and self-respect. 

Handling selfishness

Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are.  However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women.  In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life.  She may think things like this:  My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right?  My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore.  I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy!  And the thoughts go on and on. 

I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”.  Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them.  It is so counter-intuitive!  However, it is also so Biblical.  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does.  How could you bless him this week?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?”  Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first?  I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you.  Are you willing to give it a try?

Do you act like Mrs. Holy Spirit?

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.

Wives: Beware of this thought!

Caution.  Caution.  In fact, I urge you to envision yellow caution tape (like you see around a dangerous construction zone) every time this thought comes into your mind. The thought is “I deserve a different husband”.  That is a thought originating straight from the pit of hell.

When Satan dangles that thought in front of your mind, he’s basically trying to entice you into believing that you have been ripped off and that you are entitled to trade in your man for a better model.  I should know.  I bought that lie from the enemy, hook, line, and sinker at the end of my first marriage.  You know who else fell for this kind of thinking?  Eve.  She fell for Satan’s lie that God was ripping her off by withholding fruit from one of the trees and he got her to believe she was entitled to more than God had given her.  That story didn’t end well either.  

Now please don’t misunderstand me.  If your husband is an unrepentant, serial cheater or if he has a pattern of abuse and is not seeking serious help, then God may very well release you from your marriage. However, MUCH of the time, the enemy tries to get us to focus on every shortcoming of our husband, every flaw, every way he does not meet our expectations for a perfect husband.  Then Satan seals the deal by whispering to us that we deserve a different husband…a husband who would be so much better.  That’s usually a complete delusion!  I can almost guarantee you that if you were to dump your husband and get a new one, he would have “issues” as well!  So don’t fall for Satan’s schemes and delusions.  Remember what the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14…”Satan masquerades as an angel of light”.

So, instead of buying the lie that you need to dump your inferior man and get a better model, how about if you do these three things instead?  1)  Look for the good qualities of your man and be thankful  2) Respectfully confront any sinful pattern of behavior on his part and establish boundaries if necessary 3) pray daily for Jesus to mold and shape your husband into a godly man of integrity.

Blame-shifting

Isn’t it so very easy to see your husband’s faults?  Isn’t it super simple to see the wrongs of your mother-in-law or your co-worker?  Yep.  I can clearly see another person’s sin, but rarely do I take an honest look at my own shortcomings!

In a marriage, this tendency to only see another’s sin can be deadly.  If you allow yourself to focus on your spouse’s failures or flaws, you will start becoming resentful, depressed, discouraged and hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean a wife shouldn’t ask for changes if her husband is sinning against her. She may indeed need to set firm boundaries.  However, this DOES mean that she should also take a serious look at her own behavior!

My husband and I have met with many couples over the years and, tragically, we’ve seen far too many wives eagerly point out their husband’s shortcomings while failing to seriously acknowledge their own flaws.  Many wives will say the words “Oh, I know I’m not perfect either”, but then their next 10 sentences are filled with complaints about their husband. There is rarely a serious inventory of their own shortcomings or ways in which they may have contributed to problems in the marriage.

Let’s do better! Let’s stop blame-shifting.  Yes, we often engage in blame-shifting, which means we blame someone else for our own wrong behavior!  For instance, a wife will blame her husband’s flaws for why she became disrespectful or why she rudely refused to talk to him at all, treating him as if he was invisible and worthless.

Ladies, let’s ask God to show us our own faults and weaknesses so that we can change for the better.  Let’s stop shifting the blame for our own unkind or sinful behavior. Not only will your husband appreciate this new humility and honesty, but you will likely thrive as well!  Proverbs 28:13 puts it this way:  Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

P.S.  Yes, I know that husbands also can engage in blame-shifting, but for the purposes of this devotional, I’m writing to wives!

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

Beware of this marriage-killer

From both personal experience and counseling wives in crisis, I can say with certainty that allowing resentment to go unchecked spells doom for a marriage!  Think about it.  If you are really upset with your husband about something, or really frustrated with him, or hurt by his behavior…do you respectfully discuss your feelings and concerns with him?  Do you courageously deal with the issue, or do you tend to stuff it under the rug, hoping things will just magically get better?

If you’re a conflict avoider, it’s so very easy to stuff instead of confront!  It FEELS safer and more peaceful to just hope that your husband changes his behavior.  That way you won’t have any tense moments and you won’t get in a “fight”.  Unfortunately, if you say nothing, nothing is likely to actually change.  Sometimes a husband doesn’t even know what his wife is upset about!  And here’s the real problem.  If you don’t address your resentment, it will grow bigger and bigger and bigger until you are likely to explode months or years down the line.  That resentment will have turned your heart cold and hard toward your husband, and you may end up saying those fateful words “I’m done”.  Don’t let it get this far!

Your husband needs you to calmly and respectfully explain why you are upset and what you are asking him to change.  He may disagree, but then you guys can talk about it.  Talk it through.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you courage and the timing and the right words to bring up the concern with your husband…soon.  Seek a counselor’s help if you need to.  Just make sure you don’t let your resentment go unaddressed.  As Hebrews 12:15 say, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”   Don’t let a bitter root start growing that ends up causing big trouble!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Help, my husband is strong-willed!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all husbands were gentle with their wives, always asked for their wife’s input, and took great care to meet the needs and desires of their wife?  Yep, that would be great, but unfortunately, both husbands and wives are still in the process of being sanctified (made holy) and we all have a way to go before we reach perfection!  Your husband won’t be perfect.  YOU aren’t perfect. 

That being said, a wife doesn’t need to settle for a husband who continues to run rough-shod over her, ignoring her needs and desires, dismissing her input and suggestions, and doing whatever he wants with little regard to how his decisions and behavior affects her!  In fact, 1 Peter 3:7 says… Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.   And Ephesians 5:25 says Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Clearly, God is calling husbands to self-sacrifice for their wives; to treat their wives with respect and consideration; to value their wives.  So, what does this mean for you if your husband is very controlling, strong-willed and ignoring your needs or input?  I believe it’s totally appropriate to pray for the right timing and the right words to respectfully ask him to consider your needs, desires, opinions and input on matters that affect your relationship and your family.  If he agrees, great.  If he doesn’t make any changes, then its likely time to ask him to go to a marriage counselor with you.  If you don’t address your lop-sided relationship, you will likely find your heart slowly withering and becoming colder and harder toward your husband.  Don’t wait until that happens to act!  Act now.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 ways to handle a bad day

Sometimes, life just gets plain hard.  You forget to pay a bill on time and get hit with a giant “late fee”.  You catch your husband looking at pornography.  You teenager lies to you.  Your child accidentally drops an entire jog of milk on the kitchen floor.  Ugh!

At times like these, it’s easy to feel weighed down.  It’s so common for us to give into despair and depression.  But instead of conceding defeat, we can regain our spiritual equilibrium by practicing 3 things: 

1) Recognize this is a scheme of the enemy to try to steal, kill or destroy your joy  (John 10:10 “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy”)

2)  Remind your soul of the enemy’s inability against our mighty God (1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”)  *Sometimes I even laugh at Satan’s pitiful attempts to drag me down!  I like putting him back in his place!

3) Trust that God will carry you through this challenge and even redeem the circumstances so that something good comes about in the long run. God is an expert at turning lemons into lemonade! (Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”)

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW