Do you need a spiritual partner?

I was reminded recently of how valuable it is for Christian women to gather with other godly women.  A wife recently told me that, beyond learning valuable insights from God’s Word during Bible studies, what has really helped her is the encouragement, support and accountability from other godly women. 

It’s true.  Sometimes, we need that kick in the pants from another woman when we have wandered off track.  Sometimes, it’s that empathy and warm hug from another woman when we are going through a challenging situation.  Sometimes, what matters most is knowing friends in your women’s group will be praying for you during the week.

God’s Word tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25… “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” Our adversary wants us to isolate because then we’re more vulnerable!  Without encouraging voices in our ear, all we hear are the enemies whispers of discouragement and hopelessness.  So, the question is:  Are you acting as a lone ranger or are you carving out time in your schedule to meet regularly with other godly women?  We need each other.  We are stronger together

Do you need encouragement?

Life often seems like a winding highway full of potholes.  We get bounced around by people who disappoint us.  We disappoint ourselves.  Satan loves to plant that seed of doubt about whether we can make it through current challenges in our marriage, with our kids, at our job, etc.  We wonder if we can handle what’s around the bend.

That’s why we need encouragers in our lives!  1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “encourage one another and build each other up.”  My question for you is:  Do you have a friend who encourages you?  Or do you spend a lot of time with women who are negative, critical, and “downers”? 

If you don’t have an encouraging woman in your life, ask God to reveal a woman who seems to have the gift of encouragement.  Then ask her if you could regularly get together, perhaps once a week or every other week, just to chat and mutually encourage each other.  That’s right.  You can be her encourager too.  We all need it!  Let’s link arms together ladies!

Husbands are drawn to cheerleaders

I thought the title of this devotional would get your attention!!  🙂   However, I’m not talking about guys lusting after scantily-clad Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.  Instead, I’m talking about how men are naturally drawn to women who are cheerleaders in the sense of being their supporters and encouragers.  So let me ask you this question.  Does your husband sense that you are his cheerleader?

Most men struggle with feeling inadequate.  Most men wrestle with feeling like a failure.  Many men may never put effort into being a better father, husband, employee, or disciple of Jesus because they fear failure.  In other words, they’d rather not try at all if it means they could risk the embarrassment of people noticing them failing in their endeavor.  Perhaps this is why God instructed Joshua over and over again to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9). Joshua’s natural bent was to fear failure instead of stepping out with courage.

This is where a wife can make a huge difference!  By speaking words of encouragement and affirmation and respect, your husband may find the courage to move forward.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “encourage one another and build each other up“.   By becoming your husband’s cheerleader, your man may risk failure to step out and seek to be become a stronger, and more godly leader of your family.   Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

How affirmation changes men

Did you know a huge majority of 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, father or provider.  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 or alcohol, or by 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.

The healthy way to seek advice

If you’re going through some challenges with your husband right now, it’s really wise to seek godly counsel from another woman. Often another woman can see the situation more objectively.  A godly woman can encourage you to persevere through challenges instead of giving up.  Sometimes, another woman can help you see the need to set wise boundaries on unacceptable behavior.   It’s also really wise to reach out to a few godly women who you know will pray for you and your husband.

However, there’s a fine line between seeking godly support and husband-bashing!  Sometimes, we go beyond seeking advice and prayer support and we start gossiping and whining about our husbands.  That’s not constructive and it’s very disrespectful to your husband.  Let’s keep in mind God’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33…”The wife must respect her husband“.

So check your heart before you pick up that phone to whine to a friend.  Check your motives before you start complaining about your husband to another woman. Are you telling dishonoring stories about him in great detail and listing all of his faults…or are you actually looking for guidance and prayer support? Pay attention to the words you’re texting or speaking.  Are they disrespectful or honoring to your husband? 

This is essential to flourish

Marriage is not one continuous fairy tale.  Your husband is not perfect, and neither are you.  Therefore, you will experience times of disappointment, frustration, and even heartbreak.  The question is…what will you do during those “valley” times in your marriage?  How will you rally yourself and stay in the game?  Where can you find the motivation to fight for your marriage?

One powerful key to battling all the way through those valley times is to receive encouragement from other godly wives.  You NEED encouragement!  You NEED fellowship with other Jesus-seeking women. 

The enemy is constantly whispering discouragement to you.  He wants you to leave your husband.  He wants to destroy your family.  In John 10:10, Jesus says the enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy“.  But we can counteract the enemy’s schemes by asking godly friends to speak truth to us.  Seek friendships with godly women who know the truth of God’s Word and who are encouragers.  Be an encourager in their lives as well. You might have to be the one to initiate this time together, but it’s worth it!  Ask a woman to coffee.  Ask another woman to be your prayer partner and make an appointment to pray weekly for each other over the phone or in person.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  You need encouragement to stay in the battle!  It’s worth it.  Jesus has a good plan for your marriage.  He has come that you “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)