I tend to constantly pick at a dysfunctional relationship in my life. It drives me a little crazy that I am estranged from some relatives. I keep on feeling like I need to “fix it”. This has been going on for years! And I think Satan has my number on this. Just when I think I’ve sorted through my responsibility in the situation and come to the conclusion that I’ve done everything I should, Satan whispers into my ear once again “this is your fault”…”you aren’t handling this correctly as a Christian”…blah, blah, blah. And the cycle repeats itself every few months…for years!
I was feeling this way again last night, and I rehashed that fractured relationship once again with my husband. Bless his heart! I’m so thankful that he can actually be patient with me as I talk through that situation over and over again every few months. Anyway, he quickly reminded me that I have done everything I can. He helped me to see the situation objectively. Where I was consumed with emotions and doubt, he could see more clearly. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
Sometimes, you and I really do need our husbands counsel. Often, they are less emotional than we are. Many times, they can see the situation much more objectively and correctly assess how it should be handled. Plus, our husbands love it when we come to them for advice, because it signifies that we actually respect their opinion. Is it time to seek your husband’s counsel on a situation in your life? Two are often better than one!
Who would have thunk it? (Yes, I know thunk is not a word). Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting. Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess! I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.
She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems. She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job. Their relationship was going well. So what could be the problem? Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household. So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!). She didn’t do all the chores herself. She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.
The result? Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared! Wow! I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out. In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity! P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!
Are you and your husband at odds? Are you discouraged in your marriage? Pray. Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage? Pray. Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making? Pray. Prayer really can change everything! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”
I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings. I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas. I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time. I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time. I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!
Here’s the thing. I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles. I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts! In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Awesome! So, seek God in prayer. Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children. Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God. He can even change hearts.
I’ve realized the most interesting thing! The other day, I was really frustrated, as in the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall! Am I the only one who has ever felt that way? 🙂
Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day. Then something strange happened. He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration. It really bothered him that I was upset. It reminded me that our husbands really do want us to be content. They desire a peaceful wife. In fact 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. Hmmm. Interesting. So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances? The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us! Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
And interestingly, when I choose to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only do I become peaceful and content, but I enjoy the unexpected benefit of my husband becoming more peaceful too!
I don’t quite remember where I heard this, but it has stuck with me even though I heard it 20 years ago. Make it your aim to fill your house with so much love and joy that the laughter of your family bounces off the walls! Wow! Don’t we all want that? I know I do.
So how do we get there? I believe the Bible reveals several keys to bringing joy and laughter into our homes. First, choose an attitude of hope instead of dwelling on a big, hairy list of all the things that are wrong in your life! Proverbs 10:28 says “The hope of the righteous brings joy“. Second, eliminate some things from your schedule if you are becoming grumpy due to exhaustion and stress. Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” And third, have a sense of humor! Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“.
Oh, and one more thing. If you are holding bitterness and resentment against your spouse, deal with that. If it is the result of something that happened a long time ago, you need to let it go!! If it’s the result of an ongoing pattern of sin against you, then you will need to respectfully confront your husband. Ongoing resentment will suck all the laughter and joy out of your home.
You know the saying “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy”? It’s so true! So if you’ve noticed your kids have been acting up a lot and/or your husband is grouchy, one possible reason is because YOU are not peaceful. Your mood and your stress are contagious.
Ask God to reveal to you what things may be causing a foul mood or extra stress in your life, and then ask Him to show you if there are things you can do to improve the situation. Is there something stressful in your life that you should eliminate? Do you need to ask God to help you forgive someone instead of holding bitterness and resentment?
Do whatever it takes to regain a peaceful and gentle spirit. God instructs wives to have such a demeanor in 1 Peter 3:3-4 where He says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Let’s become beautiful to our husbands and children by cultivating that gentle and quiet spirit. You may have to make some changes in your schedule, but it will be worth it!
One way to bond with your husband (and your children) is to share fun, wacky, or unique times together. When we laugh together, we bond. When we share a silly or wacky moment together with others, then we bond. When we share a unique adventure or event, we bond. Sharing those fun moments brings a smile to our face….and that smile is very healing for relationships! In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
To obtain this good “medicine” for your marriage and your family, you need to be intentional. Get out your calendar and make a note at least every other month to plan a special, wacky, or unique event! Let me give you some examples of things our family has done together.
We have all dressed up in our PJs and gone to Dairy Queen for ice cream. We have hosted costume theme parties where the entire family gets dressed up and comes together for dinner. We have had dinner with a “lights out” theme, where we could use no appliances for cooking and we had to eat by candlelight. We did a caveman dinner where all the food had to be eaten without utensils, even pork ‘n beans!! Be creative. Be silly. Laugh. You will bond and create warm memories.