God’s guidance for your marriage

If you’ve hit a rough patch in your marriage, and if you’re a believer, you’re likely dying to know what God wants you to do in this marriage challenge.  You desperately need his guidance and counsel!  The good news is that He loves it when his children seek his guidance.  He loves his people to inquire of him!

The question is how.  How do you receive his guidance for the issue in your marriage.  Well, the first and most obvious answer is to study God’s Word.  He has placed so many super helpful instructions on relationships in the Bible.  2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

Secondly, it’s almost always helpful to consult a godly mentor or counselor or pastor.  Sometimes we need someone who can look at our marriage situation more objectively than we can, as well as someone who will remind us of God’s instructions for relationships.  Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

But thirdly, and often most importantly, we should seek guidance from the Holy Spirit because God is the only one who actually knows the future.  He’s the only one who knows if your husband is going to change.  He’s the only one who knows exactly what to do and when.  John 16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

So ask God specific questions about specific issues in your marriage.  Ask what He wants you to do and then strain to sense the nudges from the Holy Spirit.  You probably won’t hear God speak out loud, but Jesus does say his sheep will hear his voice.  John 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  So pray, and then be quiet and listen for those nudges from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus wants to guide you!

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

Repairing a fractured marriage

Dog-gone it.  Sometimes marriage is so hard.  Sometimes, the imperfections of our spouse end up hurting us…deeply.  Your husband may have wounded you with an anger problem.  He may have cheated on you with porn or a real-life woman.  He may have spent more time with his hobbies than he did with you and the kids, and that really hurt.  Hopefully, he’s no longer doing those things.

However, even if he has made some positive changes, the wounding can be so severe that your heart might feel a little like a cracked egg. It’s kind of like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and went splat!  Even if your husband repents, how can your heart be put back together again?

Here are two thoughts that may help.  First, ask God to give you the same kind of compassion for your husband that God extends to us when we mess up.  You might want to meditate on Colossians 3:12-14 which says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 

Second, use this moment to examine your own actions and see if there is something God wants you to learn.  During some of the times in my life when I was most hurt by others, God gently showed me ways I contributed to the mess.  Have you been reacting to your husband’s behavior in disrespectful ways?  Have you avoided conflict and let resentment become toxic?  You and I probably both have some things we should learn.  Let’s commit to being humble and teachable.

This attitude is a marriage-crusher

Nothing will repel your husband (or boyfriend) more quickly than….you acting all self-righteous!  However, this is exactly how women act much of the time.  We don’t intend to come across as self-righteous, or “better-than”, or arrogant, or “experts” on everything, but we can definitely come across that way to our men!  Having that kind of attitude ruins relationships.  As Proverbs 18:12 says: “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

So let’s examine ourselves.  Do you often correct your husband, giving the impression that you know more than he does?  Do you give long-suffering sighs when he forgets to do something, giving the impression that YOU would never do such a thing?   Do you make sure you let him know he has disappointed you, while being quick to defend yourself if he says you’ve disappointed him?

Maybe it’s time we stopped acting “better-than” our men!  We are ALL a work in progress.  Let’s strive this week to display a humble spirit.  Instead of repelling your husband, your humility will draw your husband toward you.  Wouldn’t you much rather be a fragrance in your husband’s life than an odor?!

Do 4 things when he disappoints you

Every wife is going to have moments (or weeks or months!) that she’s disappointed with her husband.  No man is perfect, and your husband is bound to frustrate you, annoy you, or fail to meet your expectations from time to time.  The question is:  How can you keep from being seriously discouraged or resentful during those times?  I have found 4 things to be really helpful:

1) Clearly communicate your expectations and desires!  Men are not mind-readers, yet often wives expect their husbands to “just know”!  So, think about the areas in which you’ve been frustrated or disappointed. Then calmly and clearly tell your husband what you desire or need, as well as how much you’d appreciate him making an effort to meet those needs and desires.

2) Be grateful for what he does right!  Isn’t it strange how most wives tend to gravitate to focusing on what their husband is doing wrong, but barely give a second thought to what he’s doing right?!  Stop right now and ask God to help you see the many good things about your husband and the positive things he does.  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 thing.”

3) If your husband is actually sinning against you, it’s time to stop wringing your hands and it may be time to take action!  In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to confront the person who sins against us, and to even get others involved if necessary.

4) Pray, and never give up!  Prayer truly can move mountains, and Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1 that we “should always pray and not give up“.  So go to battle in prayer, and ask God to reveal His love to your husband and to mold and shape your husband’s heart.

This is toxic in marriage!

Do you keep replaying your husband’s past mistakes over and over again in your mind?  Do you find yourself dwelling on how he’s disappointed you in the past?  Let it go!  Thoughts like that become toxic…to you and your marriage.  Hebrews 12:15 makes this point:  “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”  If you keep rehearsing your husband’s past failures, you will end up growing more and more resentful of your husband.  The resulting bitterness acts like poison to your own heart.  You become a dried up, miserable woman. 

Even more damage is caused when you verbalize those past mistakes to your husband.  Yet many wives do that.  They repeatedly bring up their man’s past mistakes and almost wield them as a weapon against their husband.  His heart gets sliced and diced in the process.  His heart becomes poisoned against his wife as well.

It’s time to decide to release your husband from his past failures. The Bible is pretty clear about your need to release bitterness and resentment. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…”  Sochoose to exercise the same grace God has given you!!  News flash:  You’re not perfect either.  By the way, releasing your man from his past mistakes doesn’t mean you should ignore current sin.  If he is currently sinning against you, determine to respectfully confront him and work through the problem, perhaps with the help of a counselor or pastor.

This could change your marriage

I wonder what would happen if you asked God to transform your character into His character and then you actually began striving to display His character in your marriage?  I bet your marriage would begin to thrive!

God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”   Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage.  What if you started displaying grace toward your man?  Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.

I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life.  However, I am recommending that you work to extend kindness to your husband even when they’ve annoyed you or disappointed you in small ways.  In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you?  What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt?  Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!

Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!

Is he better than you thought?

I remember being convicted several years ago when I overheard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it.  This was news to me!  I hadn’t thought about it that way.  I thought he WANTED to do those things!  For instance, for years, my husband gave my feet a little massage every night before I went to sleep.  I thought he enjoyed doing that!  He also ran ALL the errands that needed to be done for us.  I thought he liked to run errands!  He also made sure there was always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one ran out.  Nice! 

Here’s the thing.  We often take for granted our husbands.  Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you?  Could he be acting selflessly, and you just didn’t realize it?  Is he more noble than you thought?  Hmmm.  Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.

Bottom line:  Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her“.   The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband“?

Praying for your marriage

I’m going to propose a radical shift in perspective.  Some of you might not be ready, but I’m hoping you are.  Here it is.  Instead of praying for God to change your husband so that you’re happier, pray that God’s will be done in your marriage and in your husband.  In other words, pray that God accomplishes what HE wants to do in your husband’s life.  Catch the vision of partnering with God in prayer for the things HE wants to do in your man! 

Where did I get this shift in perspective?   Right smack in the middle of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10  “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

What does this mean in your marriage?  It means that you stop focusing on getting God to change your husband so that he does things your way and makes you happy.  Instead, you ask God what HIS will is for your husband, and you start praying fervently for God to mold and shape and transform your husband into the mighty man of God that the Lord wants him to be! God doesn’t intend for your husband to be an unbeliever who is stuck in sinful patterns with no joy or peace!

Here are 3 things we know to be God’s will for your husband, so start praying these 3 things in addition to whatever else God reveals to you: 

  • That he would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4  God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth)
  • That he would turn from sinful patterns and surrender to God’s leadership.  (2 Peter 3:9  He does not want any to perish, but that all should reach repentance)
  • That he would find joy, peace and hope in his relationship with Christ.   (Romans 15:13   May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)

An awesome benefit of praying this way is that God will slowly transform your husband in just the right ways that will be a blessing to you and the whole family!

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

If facing marriage difficulties…

It’s so very easy to sink into self-pity, despair or flat-out depression when you become disappointed in your marriage.  It happens when your husband doesn’t have the same perspective as you, or when he doesn’t meet your expectations, or when he does something hurtful. 

However, you do have a choice in how you’re going to view this challenge in your marriage.  You can choose to feel sorry for yourself and become consumed with resentment and hopelessness….or you can choose to do much more productive things!  You can choose to make the most of your hardship by….

1. Praying without ceasing for God to intervene in the situation. (read Luke 18:1-8) 

2. Seeking guidance from God on what possible actions you should take.  Sometimes God may want you to extend grace, realizing that your husband will never be perfect, just as you will never be perfect. Other times, God may want you to courageously establish boundaries with your husband, especially if he is sinning against you.  Consult the Lord for guidance through His Word and through listening prayer. (read Psalm 32:8)

3. Asking God what He wants you to learn through this situation so that you grow in character and faith. (read Romans 5:3-5).  Is he trying to teach you patience?  Is he trying to teach you how to communicate your frustration in a more respectful way when your husband upsets you?  God is always trying to mature us!

4. Seeking God through Bible-reading and worship so that you can experience his comfort at a new and deeper level than you ever knew was possible!  (Psalm 34:18)

Laziness problem in marriage

I bet you are checking this out because you think I’m talking about your husband’s laziness…but I’m not.  I’m actually talking about our own tendency to become lazy in terms of putting effort and intentionality into our marriages.  

Laziness is kind of like lighting a really long fuse.  You don’t really notice anything for the longest time….that is, until the explosion!   Many a wife has been burned, ending up with a husband who seeks attention from other women or who even ends up divorcing her.  We can’t afford to be sluggards in our marriages!  The Bible has lots to say about sluggards.  Proverbs 13:4 says “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”  This can be applied to your marriage!  Only when you are diligent in investing in your marriage are you likely to have the kind of marriage you desire.

What can you do to strengthen your marriage?  Do you need to get a babysitter and go on more dates with your husband?  Do you need to find out his love language and start speaking that language more often?  Would your marriage be strengthened if you looked for ways to encourage your husband every day and show him respect?

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