I’m outing him. I’m exposing one of Satan’s main strategies for tripping up wives and potentially destroying their marriages. I can speak from experience because I got caught in this scheme. Ugh. Here it is. The enemy will subtly lure you into a “friendship” with a man other than your husband. It will start very innocently. It may evolve very slowly. But here’s what I know. Once you start sharing your feelings, your troubles, and your hopes with a man, you start emotionally bonding with that man. Once a man starts sharing his burdens and his feelings with you, you start to bond with that man. Now you’re in treacherous water, and it’s only a matter of time before you get sucked into an actual affair.
I know some of you don’t believe me, but trust me, this has happened to countless women, including wonderful Christian ladies. It happened to me at the end of my first marriage. I never would have believed it could happen to me! For me, it took over 10 years for Satan to build a strong enough emotional bond with the man for me to be ensnared, but apparently the devil is pretty patient. Don’t let this happen to you. Refuse to spend time alone with another man, even at a public location. Refuse to discuss your marriage or your husband with another man, unless it’s a pastor or counselor. God instructs us in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be self-controlled and alert because the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour“. Be smart. Be alert.
Do you tend to get loud when you get upset? Are you prone to big, dramatic displays of your emotions, whether joy, frustration or sadness? Well you might not know this, but most men are really uncomfortable with big displays of emotion. This isn’t true for ALL men, but for most men.
In other words, if you’re a drama queen….your husband will likely try to escape your presence! He just doesn’t know what to do with your larger-than-life emotions. Maybe this is why 1 Peter 3:4 advises wives to have the beauty that comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit“.
Most men much prefer that their wives discuss their emotions, fears, disappointments, frustrations, and joy in a calm manner. Your husband will be much more likely to engage in a meaningful discussion with you if you can speak in a normal tone of voice, without waving around your arms. Try it!
Yesterday, we examined what constitutes physical abuse within a marriage. Today, let’s explore something much more subtle and overlooked…verbal and emotional abuse. Once again, I strongly urge women to take a stand against abuse of any kind. Keep in mind, you are showing your children (especially your daughters) that either women are supposed to be weak, helpless, perpetual victims or that women can be confident and strong while still displaying love and kindness.
After doing much research, here’s a fairly comprehensive list of behavior that constitutes verbal or emotional abuse: Frequently calling you obscene names, often yelling in rage, a pattern of constantly criticizing you and putting you down, prolonged periods of refusing to talk to you at all, pattern of ridiculing or making fun of you, pattern of mocking you or mean-spirited sarcasm, verbal threats of violence, intimidation through displaying knives or guns, constantly accusing you of wrongdoing, forbidding you to talk to parents or siblings, preventing you from leaving the house, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone, forbidding you from speaking to friends or neighbors.
Again, I urge you to take a stand against this kind of abuse. You are a valuable woman. You are God’s daughter and precious in His sight. Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally pummeled. You will slowly be destroyed. That is NOT God’s plan for you. Yes, the Christian wife is supposed to submit to her husband’s leadership, but husbands are told by God in Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” Also, God instructs us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23….”Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life“. If you are suffering this kind of abuse, please talk to your pastor, pastor’s wife, or a certified counselor. Your husband may be upset, but you must protect your heart. By the way, if you fear for your physical safety as a result of revealing the emotional abuse, then take protective measures such as moving to a friend’s home or a domestic violence shelter while you work through the issues with your husband.
Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures? Most of us are in “hiding”. We’re afraid that if anyone, including our husbands, were to discover our flaws, they wouldn’t love us anymore. Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you. Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.
Satan is a liar. I know from experience that the opposite is true! When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming. It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me. We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage! How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband. Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past. Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care. I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man. Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!
You want to know a sure-fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you? Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him! I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time! Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful.
Let me give some examples. You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something. You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations. You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking. You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores.
When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection. So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect. Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize. A powerful apology contains these words: “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”. Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart. Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning. Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Many of us come into marriage with broken sexuality. You may have been sexually abused as a child. You may have slept with some prior boyfriends. Your husband may have been sexually molested as a child or slept around before making a commitment to you. All of that stuff from the past can cause us to be somewhat broken or scarred when it comes to our sexuality.
However, God is in the business of redeeming and restoring! If you or your husband are haunted by the memories of former lovers or pornographic images, confess that to each other, and, prior to making love, pray together for Jesus to heal you. Jesus can and will heal your broken sexuality. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
If you or your husband are sexually scarred due to past sexual abuse, pray together before making love and ask Jesus to heal you sexually. Ask him to restore your innocence. Ask him to allow you to totally delight in physical intimacy with your spouse. Jesus is the great healer. Claim Isaiah 53:5 “by his wounds, we are healed”
And one additional benefit of praying together before making love is that it is one of the most intimate things you can do! Beautiful spiritual and emotional intimacy occurs when you open your heart before your spouse and pray for God to enter into broken places.
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 our 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 goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be. Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry. Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them. Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas. Try building a fire pit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!
It is not okay for your husband (or anyone) to treat you disrespectfully. Let me just say that again. It is not okay. I know far too many beautiful, kind Christian women who, for some reason, allow themselves to be verbally, emotionally, or physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s heartbreaking. I heard yet another story from a highly-intelligent, gorgeous woman recently. She came to me in despair, wringing her hands over her abusive situation. Yet, she didn’t clearly see that she needed to draw a firm boundary and impose consequences on such behavior. In her case, she needed to leave until he showed serious, sustained repentance.
Ladies, do you think God winks at a man who is abusing his wife or girlfriend? Absolutely not. In fact, God tells husbands they are to lay down their lives for their wives. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” If your husband or boyfriend is emotionally, verbally, or physically abusing you, you need to take a stand. If you don’t take action, you’re basically enabling his destructive behavior to continue. Read Matthew 18:15-17 and ask God to reveal His plan for you to take a stand when someone is sinning against you.