Dealing with a husband’s addiction

You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc.  The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him.  Hmm.  That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!

The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction.  You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him.  What do I mean by “speaking words of life”?  I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle.  Your words are so very important.  Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.

Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife.  Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him.

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

If your husband seems selfish

When a husband is clearly sinning against you through something like verbal abuse or an affair with another woman, it seems pretty clear that you should take a stand, draw boundaries, and maybe even have a time of separation.  However, the Christian wife isn’t always as certain about how to handle a husband who simply seems to be selfish.  This is the kind of husband who almost always does exactly what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, with little regard for the desires of his wife or children.   What’s a wife to do?

First, realize that your husband’s selfishness is not okay with God, and thus, it shouldn’t be okay with you.  In the famous love passage in 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible says love is not “self-seeking“, and in Philippians 2:4, the Bible says “each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interest of others.”

Second, you must realize that nothing is likely to change unless you sit down with your husband and bring the problem to his attention. Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away isn’t going to work.  You’ll grow resentful and eventually explode!

It’s time to gently and calmly tell your husband the truth about how you are being negatively impacted by his focus on doing what he wants without regard to your wishes.  Ephesians 4:15 says we should “speak the truth in love“, so gently explain the problem. Then directly ask him if he is willing to begin considering your desires when the two of you don’t agree on something.  Ask him if he is willing to work with you to forge a compromise the next time you disagree.  Hopefully, by bringing the problem to his attention, he will begin considering your interests.  If he doesn’t, it’s probably time to ask him to go with you to meet with a pastor or counselor. 

Avoid this crazy cycle in marriage

In every marriage, there will certainly be times where you find yourself disappointed or frustrated with your husband.  The question isn’t…how can you and I avoid those challenging times?  The question is…how are we going to respond to the challenge?

I’ve met many wives who allow themselves to sink into self-pity or get all riled up with anger toward their husband.  Neither one of those responses is helpful!  In fact, a crazy cycle begins in the marriage.  The wife lets her husband know how disappointed she is in him…he feels like a failure so he either responds with mean words or withdraws…she gets even more disappointed…and the cycle continues!  Please allow me to suggest a couple of new ways to look at those times when your husband has frustrated or disappointed you:

Instead of focusing solely on what he’s doing wrong, choose to rejoice in what he’s doing right.  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 things.”  In other words, instead of developing a sour taste in your mouth by dwelling on his every fault, choose to look at your husband as a work in progress.  God doesn’t transform a person overnight (including you!).  So, choose to relish in the sweetness of every good thing your husband does and every good choice he makes.  For your soul, it will be like sipping on sweet lemonade instead of sucking on bitter lemons.

P.S.  You’ll look a lot more attractive to your husband when your mouth isn’t puckered up like you’ve been sucking on sour lemons!

P.S.S. If your husband is WAY out of bounds with his behavior and actually sinning against you, you may need to establish some firm boundaries, while at the same time choosing to remind yourself of his good qualities as well!

6 Bible verses for anxiety attacks

So many of us struggle with fear and anxiety, and sometimes that struggle escalates to a full-blown anxiety attack.  We know that God does not intend for us to live in debilitating fear, but how do we break free?

I’ve personally found much relief by applying these 6 Bible verses:

  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 “we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”. This means when fear-based, hopeless, defeatist thoughts enter my mind, I need to examine them and ask whether this is something God would say!
  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”  This means when I notice my thoughts are becoming hopeless or fearful, I need to recognize the devil is whispering those thoughts to me!  I must take a stand and refuse to align my thoughts with the devil!  Sometimes I even hold out my hand and shout “NO”.
  • Isaiah 41:10 “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  This means I remind myself that I am not walking through my challenges and worries alone.  Jesus is right there beside me all the time and all the way.
  • Romans 8:28 “And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love him”  This means that I remind myself that even if my worst fear comes to pass, God can still bring something good out of that situation.  That brings me comfort.
  • Psalm 139:16 “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  This means that when fear-based thoughts enter my mind, I choose to remind myself that God already knows my future and my kid’s future.  Nothing that happens to me or my kids will take God by surprise!  He knows the future.  He’s already there.
  • James 4:8 “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you”  This means I choose to pivot from the fear and turn toward God in a very deliberate way.  When I do that, He comforts me!  “Drawing near to God” could mean everything from turning on a worship song, to reading the Bible, to calling a faith-filled friend, to hugging my actual Bible as I lay down to go to sleep at night.

— or view this topic as a 5 min VIDEO HERE

Handling the key moment during conflict

I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships.  Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him.  Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him.  In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding.  Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship!  It is the KEY moment!

The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18  “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”   It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words!  So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds.  Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment!  (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!)  You may even need to leave the room during this pause.

By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!!  Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back.  “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!

What to do if your husband is controlling

Many women struggle with following the leadership of their husbands because their men seem to be controlling, manipulative, or inconsiderate.  When is it proper to submit to such “leadership” and when is it appropriate to respectfully draw a boundary?

Well, according to the Bible, a godly husband will love his wife in a selfless way (Ephesians 5:25) and will treat his wife with consideration and respect (1 Peter 3:7).   These verses give us a pretty clear picture of what a godly husband looks like.  As a result, it seems pretty clear that a controlling husband, one who bullies or intimidates his wife and children, is NOT behaving in the way that God intended.

I believe a wife can respectfully confront a husband who is trying to control, intimidate, bully, or manipulate her.  She may need to lovingly, but firmly, establish boundaries on what she will tolerate. This might mean simply walking away when he begins to start bullying or controlling.  If he continues to follow you, it could mean even leaving the home for awhile. I would add that it would be very wise to consult with other godly women, a pastor, or a counselor before moving forward in establishing boundaries.  It’s always best to make sure that you are evaluating the situation clearly.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Dealing with anger during disagreements

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.”

If your husband or boyfriend treats you disrespectfully…

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.

Dealing with fear over the coronavirus

I’m sure most of you feel like I do.  You feel like this is all surreal…a nightmare perhaps…and that we’re all going to wake up and realize it was just a horrible dream.  Tragically, it is all too real.  Covid-19 is here and it is killing people, mainly people in my age group and older. (Yes, I just turned 60).

If you’re a young adult in your 20’s or 30’s, you don’t have nearly as much to worry about in terms of dying from this thing, and therefore, you are likely incensed that the restaurants are closed, and you have to find childcare for your children who no longer have school, and maybe your job and steady income is now in jeopardy.  I get it.  And yet, we must all sacrifice right now, because if we don’t take serious and painful action, it is very likely that many of your moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas will be taken out by this virus.  Yes, that is what’s at stake.

So, how do we deal with the fear that comes from this insidious disease…fear of death, fear of financial collapse, fear of a lost job?

First, we do what we must in terms of practical steps that can protect us and our loved ones from getting this disease.  We minimize our contact with others, we wash or sanitize our hands every time we touch a common surface used by others, and we definitely self-quarantine if we or our kids are showing any sign of sickness.  We have to be smart.  These are tough measures, but essential.

Second, after we’ve done all the practical things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe, we turn to the Lord and ask Him to protect us.  We ask Him to be in complete control of our lives, our health, our finances, everything.  We put all our trust in Him.  He has performed mighty miracles on behalf of his people in the past, and He certainly has the power do it again.  He can make a way for you to pay your bills, or for some of your bills to be forgiven at this time.  He can supernaturally heal you.  He can make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! Ask Him!

Would you join me in praying these things?

  • I have specifically felt led to pray that God would cover every doorway of every believer’s home with the blood of Jesus, so that the angel of death would pass by just as he did for the Israelites during Passover. (Exodus 12:23)
  • Pray that God would leverage this crisis to draw the hearts of many unbelievers to Him. I think of Genesis 50:20 “You intended this for evil, but God meant it for good, for the saving of many lives.”
  • Pray that God fills you afresh with the knowledge of His tender love for you. When you realize how much He cares for you, your fear will start to fade away.  1 Joh 4:18  “Perfect love casts out all fear.”
  • Pray that, as you set your heart on seeking Him above all else, He will provide for all your needs in His own very creative way. Matthew 6:33  “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Trust me when I say I have witnessed God do some crazy, creative things in the past when I needed Him to provide a financial miracle!)
  • Pray that God would fill your heart with peace, knowing that even if you were to be taken from this earth today, it would be a magnificent upgrade! Luke 23:43  “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”