How to bounce back

Almost every wife will eventually encounter a tough time in her marriage.  We’re all going to experience heartbreak and challenge in our lives in general.  The question is this.  Why are some people able to bounce back from adversity relatively quickly, and why do others seem to remain stuck?

At the risk of you hating me 🙂 …I’ll be honest and let you know that I tend to be very resilient.  After an initial period of shock and grief, I’m usually able to quickly pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward.  After pondering this ability with God, allow me share a 3-word insight that might help you become more resilient too.

I trust God.  Period. Three little words that mean everything!  I have decided to believe that God is in control and that His ways are perfect.  I have decided to believe that God can and will bring something good out of my hardship.  This is what we learn at the end of Joseph’s painful story in Genesis, where Joseph proclaims in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...”   I also take heart from Romans 8:28, where God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I can bounce back because I trust God and because He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Do you truly trust God?  It’s a decision you get to make, and it makes all the difference.

Easy boost for emotional intimacy

I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago!  I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in marriage.  But I’ve discovered it’s true!  There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit.  Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices.  Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…”  Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.

We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes.  They cost less than $100.  We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs.  But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids!    As the sun went down, we lit the fire, and then my husband asked what the topic of the night should be.  Sometimes, we talked about our dreams for ministry.  Some nights, we talked about our concerns for our children and we prayed for them.  Other nights, we talked about our dream vacation ideas.  Try building a fire pit.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!

Becoming a strong, unshakeable woman!

Do you wish you could be a more courageous woman, a more secure woman, a more confident woman, and a woman who is able to stand strong under pressure or hardship?  I think I’ve found the answer.  We must go beyond just accepting Christ as our Savior, and truly decide to make Christ our Lord!

When I think about the ladies I know who are strong, confident and unshakeable Christian women, they all have something in common.  They have made the courageous decision to surrender their lives to Jesus and they’ve truly committed to following him as the leader and master of their lives.  This is, in fact, what the Bible calls us to do in Romans 10:9…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  It’s important to note that this Bible verse tells us to declare Jesus as “Lord”, which means “master” in the original Greek.

Have you truly made Jesus your master?  Maybe that’s the missing piece in your life.  I can tell you from personal experience that once you truly make a heart decision to make Jesus your Lord and master, all His promises to love you, comfort you, and counsel you start to come alive in your spirit.  You begin to realize that you can trust his leadership 100%.  Once that happens, you’ll find yourself strong, confident and unshakeable!

Creating intimate moments with hubby

I learned something when the covid pandemic started in spring of 2020.  When the stay-at-home orders first hit, my husband and I had nothing better to do in the early hours of the morning than pull up 2 chairs in front of the fireplace and start quietly talking about God, family, priorities, hopes, fears and dreams.  We held our cups of coffee and talked for 30 or 40 minutes as night gave way to dawn.  Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we’d enjoy quiet moments of just being together.  It was…special.  It was intimate.  It was bonding. It was precious.

After the main lock-down ended, we engaged in that kind of special moment from time to time, but with no real regularity.  Life got busy again.  We both went to work, and we picked up the rapid pace of life once again. 

But one day about a year later, I realized we had lost those precious, quiet moments together. So, I decided to be more intentional.  Good things don’t usually happen unless we put in a little effort!  So, even though it was a little chilly on a May morning in Bellingham, WA, I told my husband I’d love to join him for a sunrise chat in our backyard as birds were beginning to chirp and the sun was beginning its slow rise for the morning.  It was beautiful.  It was peaceful.  It was quiet.  We had a soft and lovely conversation, sitting there bundled in jackets and enjoying the first rays of sunshine on our faces.  It reminded me that Jesus told his followers to seek out a quiet place from time to time because their soul needed that rest and refreshment.  Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

I encourage you to think about carving out time for a peaceful, quiet, morning conversation with your husband.  I think you will find it is bonding.  I know it will refresh your marriage.

Learning to wait patiently!

Are you in a waiting phase?  Maybe you’re waiting for God to answer your prayer regarding your husband.  Maybe you’re waiting for your rebellious child, stubborn child to finally become mature.  Maybe you’re waiting for your heart to heal after being betrayed by your husband.  Whatever the thing you’re waiting for, I think we can all agree that waiting is hard!  It’s hard because we have to be patient, and let’s be honest; most of us aren’t very good with the whole patience virtue.  These two realizations have helped me learn to be a bit more patient when I have to wait. 

1)  God’s timing is often very different than what I think it should be, yet He is always faithful to show up.  Psalm 40:1-2  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth…” 

2)  Some of the great women of the Bible had to wait and wait and wait before finally experiencing a HUGE answer to their prayers.  Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Rachel, and more all had to wait ridiculously long periods of time before God finally allowed them to give birth.  But when their prayers were finally answered, oh my!  They gave birth to some of the giants of the Bible:  Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Joseph.  In other words, what they experienced in the end was well worth the wait. 🙂

How to become a confident wife

Do you lack confidence in handling disrespectful or sinful behavior by your husband (or boyfriend)?  If so, there are some common reasons.  Perhaps you avoid conflict because you grew up in a home filled with rage and verbal abuse.  Maybe you’re so insecure about your own worth that you can’t stand up for yourself if your husband is treating your poorly.  However, you need to recognize this truth.  If you remain insecure and scared of confrontation, it’s likely nothing will ever change in your marriage.  You’ll keep getting what you’re getting right now.

There is a solution.  First, ask God to give you courage to confront any sinful behavior in your marriage.  He will be glad to answer that prayer! Throughout the Bible, God continually tells his people to be strong and courageous.  In fact in Joshua 1:9, God says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Helpful hint:  When I need courage, I ask God’s Holy Spirit to be the one who actually does the confrontation.  I ask Him to simply use me as his mouthpiece.

If insecurity is the issue for you, then ask God to reveal your true worth and identity in His eyes.  Meditating on what God says in Zephaniah 3:17 is a good place to start.  He says, “The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”  In addition, take a moment to close your eyes and ask God to speak one word into your mind about how He views you.  You will likely be amazed at the loving, encouraging word He has for you.  You may hear the word “beautiful” or “chosen” or “adorable” or “strong”….

Gaining more emotional intimacy

Many women get so discouraged about the lack of emotional connection with their husbands.  Wives desperately desire their husbands to open up and share their deepest thoughts and feelings, but often it just doesn’t happen.  Well, one of the things I’ve learned is that most men will do almost anything to avoid looking weak or being vulnerable to criticism.  So, they don’t share their hearts.  They don’t want to risk your scoffing or criticism.  They’re like a turtle that tucks its head inside a protective shell.

But there is a way to prompt your husband to take the risk of sharing his heart with you.  You need to be a safe place for him to share his heart!  What do I mean by that?  Well, I’ll tell you what it looks like if you’re NOT a safe place.  Do you roll your eyes at his ideas?  Do you explain why he’s wrong when he shares his thoughts, beliefs, or ideas?  Do you criticize him or complain all the time?  Those kinds of words and actions don’t exactly make him feel safe in terms of opening up his heart at the deepest level! 

God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “the wife must respect her husband.”, and if you consistently show that respect…day after day…and month after month….your husband may start feeling it’s safe to risk opening up his heart to you.  Starting today, try looking for ways to encourage your husband.  Listen attentively to what he talks about.  Ask gentle (non-snarky) questions to dig a little deeper into his thoughts and dreams.  Affirm him in any way you can.  You might find that he will enjoy talking to you a whole lot more!  And that turtle just might poke his head out from underneath the shell.

Defeating the demon of insecurity

Virtually every woman wrestles with the persistent and often debilitating problem called insecurity.  It can start so early in life as a 5 or 6 year old girl hears the neighbor girl described as beautiful, while nothing at all is said about her.  It can develop when other kids easily bring home straight A’s in middle school, but you struggle to maintain a B average.  It can suck the life out of you when no one asks you to the sophomore dance or senior prom, and you start telling yourself that you’re ugly and no one wants you.

What I’ve learned over the years is that the enemy is often the one whispering discouragement and ugly lies into our minds and we end up quietly repeating those lies over and over again until we sink into a pit of despair!  Enough of that!

We can begin to defeat the demon of insecurity when we start coaching our souls with the truth.  The truth is found in the Bible and what God says about us.  Did you know in Romans 9:25, God says “Her who was not beloved, I will call beloved”?  Wow!  That rocks my boat!  How about you? God says you are his beloved.  That word is a healing balm to my wounded heart.  That word “beloved” means God cherishes me and dearly loves me.  Yes!!  I needed to hear that.

God also tells us in Hebrews 13:5 that “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.  That means that no matter what crazy or oppressive circumstance I’m in, God will never leave my side. He is with me through all struggles and trials.  Yes!  I needed to hear that too!

Don’t listen to the voice of the enemy, and for heaven’s sake, don’t repeat his lies! Start coaching your soul with truth from God’s Word.  That’s when you’ll triumph over the devil’s plans to oppress you and begin to truly flourish as a woman of confidence!

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

Use the power of team in marriage

I was reflecting recently about how many affairs happen between people who work closely together.  The boss has an affair with his long-time female assistant.  The female newscaster has an affair with the male newscaster who works in the same studio every day.  The pastor has an affair with his long-time secretary.  I realized something profound.  These people ended up having an affair because a super strong emotional bond was created as they worked together as a team over many years.

There is great bonding power when a man and woman work side by side as a team toward a common goal.  As they fight together through challenges and adversity, they bond.  As they work side-by-side over many years, they develop a history of shared experiences and memories that only they know about…and that creates a special bond.  The power of team is highlighted in the well-known verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 4:  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Thought for you:  How can you take this knowledge of the “power of team” and use it to foster an even deeper bond between you and your husband?  Can you intentionally begin working together on some common projects or goals?  Think about it…because the “power of team” can create a super strong glue for your marriage.

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

3 Bible verses that heal insecurity

Most women are plagued by insecurity.  As a result of our insecurity, we end up putting up with rude or abusive behavior from others.  Our insecurity leads up to covet what other women have.  Our insecurity prompts us to put other people down so we look better in comparison.   When we are drowning in insecurity, we tend to expect a man to be the “answer”.  We seek and catch a husband and then expect him to make us feel better about ourselves by constantly telling us that we’re beautiful, desirable, smart, funny, intelligent, etc.   However, husbands are imperfect themselves, and something could happen to take them away from you!  Therefore, a husband can’t be a reliable source of security for you.

I believe we would benefit by frequently meditating on 3 particular Bible verses.  They are great reminders of how God sees us and who He is to us.  The first one is a reminder that He loves us and even delights in us!  This verse portrays the picture of a loving father tenderly cradling his daughter in his arms.  Here is the verse.  Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”   Close your eyes and picture God smiling at you as he holds you.  Hear him whispering those words to you.  Ah. So good. 

The second verse reveals that God is our loving father, so even if your own parents have let you down, God will remain faithful!  Psalm 27:10  Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.   God will never leave you!  This makes me feel so much more secure.  And the third verse reveals God as our husband and protector.  Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name.  Wow! The maker of heaven and earth, the commander of heaven’s army of angels is your husband.  Relax.  He will take care of you.  Yes!

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