This could make husband better

Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life!  Whether you realize it or not, every time you criticize your husband or correct your husband or point out flaws in your husband’s ideas, you are crushing his spirit.  Every time you crush his spirit, he ends up feeling like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying.  I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”.  When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat.  He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father.  He no longer even believes that’s possible,

On the other hand, ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father.  He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well.  A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!

Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.”  One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager!  Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures.  Choose to encourage him instead.  Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness!  You’ll both be happier!

Does your marriage need this Rx?

All work and no play make Jack and Jill….grumpy.  Could this be the case for you and your husband?  Most American couples are way too busy.  We’re working exhausting hours outside the home to make more money.  We’re running the kids to 12 different activities so that they have a chance to “excel” in something.  We’re throwing dinner together while doing laundry and helping the kids with algebra homework.  We’re running on empty and then we wonder why we’re grumpy!  Duh!  We need to give ourselves permission for a mental time-out.

When is the last time you and your husband let the house chores wait and decided to watch a funny movie?  When is the last time you guys invited some adult friends over for “game night”?  You need to give yourself permission to play every once and awhile.  Your brain and your body need a rest.  You need to have fun and spend some time laughing.  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“.   Maybe your marriage needs a spoonful of this medicine…the medicine called fun and laughter.  It’s a great antidote for grumpiness.  🙂

The “power of one” in a marriage

Each weekday, I offer a devotional intended to help wives. Yet, I have a funny feeling that some of you might be questioning why I’m always urging wives to change their behavior, look for ways to bless their husbands, and be more selfless in their marriage.  I can almost hear you asking, “What about him? Am I the only one who’s supposed to work on this marriage?”

Well, here’s a news flash for all of us.  We can’t change our husbands!  Only God can change a man’s heart.  We can establish boundaries.  We can encourage our men and offer wise counsel to them, but at the end of the day, we can’t control them.  We can only control us!  However, by changing the way we interact with our men, we can dramatically and positively impact them.  It’s the amazing power of one person to make a difference!

So, let’s all commit to working on ourselves.  Let’s look for ways to encourage our men, help our men, respect our men, and serve our men.  If your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin against you or your kids, commit to respectfully and lovingly setting boundaries on that behavior.  As you continue doing this week after week and month after month, I bet you’ll see a change in your husband and an improvement in your relationship. 

Don’t give up. Don’t be pessimistic.  Press on.  Meditate on this wonderful promise found in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

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.

Dealing with husband’s flaws

You may be a wife like me…a wife who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving.    To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing.  In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus.  I mean, after all, he is a Christian, for heaven’s sake!

Hmmm.  On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect.   Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one“.   So, perhaps it’s time for both you and me to take our husbands off the hook.  I’m not saying that we should give them a free pass on blatant, destructive sin.  Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us.  You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17. 

However, I do believe it’s time we started being gracious to our husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks.  Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like?  Maybe we can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!).  Does he often have a hard time sharing his deep thoughts and feelings?  We can be gracious about that too.  Does he sometimes snap at you when he’s stressed.  That makes him human!  Let’s remember he is a flawed person, just like us!  We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.

How prayer can change your man!

Do you have a continuing issue with your husband?  Does he lack a certain desirable character quality?  Prayer can make all the difference!

I have seen persistent prayer accomplish what I cannot do on my own.  I don’t have any ability to change my husband’s heart.  I can set boundaries on certain behavior, but I can’t change his heart.  Only God can do that, and praise the Lord, he DOES do that!  In Ezekiel 36, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”   Awesome!

If you’re wondering where to start in terms of praying for a change in your husband’s heart, I would suggest inserting your husband’s name in 2 specific Bible verses as you pray.  I’ve been praying these 2 verses for quite some time now, and I’ve seen God slowly molding and shaping my husband’s heart.  Here are the verses, with your husband’s name inserted.  Psalm 51:10 “Create in _____________ a clean heart and renew a right spirit within _____________.”   Psalm 103:8  Mold ____________ to be like you…”compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love”.

Feel like giving up on your marriage?

Do you feel tempted to throw in the towel regarding your marriage?  I know it can be tempting to just bail out, but please let me encourage you to do everything you can to fight FOR your marriage!

When you’re going through a serious challenge in your marriage, it seems right to choose the path where the pain can be quickly relieved.  In a nutshell, it often seems best to choose divorce.  But I’ve been through divorce, and I can honestly say that even though some of your pain will be relieved, you’ll be faced with a whole new set of problems and heartbreak.

So, maybe you should try something else.  What if you were to seek outside counsel for your marriage? What if you were to spend time on your knees crying out to God on behalf of your marriage? What if you were to courageously, but respectfully, confront your husband if he is seriously out of line in some area?  That could be the beginning of a turn-around in your marriage.

And also, please consider that other people are watching how you handle challenging times. Your children are watching how you handle this.  Are you teaching them to bail out of situations and relationships when the going gets tough, or are you showing them how to persevere and do the hard work to restore the relationship?  Meditate on Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…”

Yes, sometimes ending the marriage may be the right path, especially if there has been a pattern of affairs or abuse. But often, we choose to end a marriage because of resentment or unmet expectations or because “he’s not making me happy”. Please, please, please work to address the issues that are prompting you to consider divorce. There may be a way to develop a healthier perspective and a healthier relationship. This will likely take work, and the process could be painful, but often good things happen when we persevere through the pain!

Is your husband a fixer-upper?

True confession:  I sometimes find myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear his mood will grow ugly if I don’t take steps to improve his circumstances.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear that his ministry could stumble if he doesn’t do things the “correct” way.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear he isn’t handling a relationship correctly and needs me to run interference for him. Sometimes, I do this because I fear…..

Hmmm.  When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jump in to act as my husband’s savior or try to fix him.  Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely.  Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

You and I need to know that every time we jump in to “fix” things for our husbands, we actually prevent our men from turning to God for help.  Every time we try to prevent our husbands from feeling any discomfort or pain, we might be preventing them from digging down deep roots into God’s nourishment for their souls.   Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior.  There is only one perfect savior anyway.  His name is Jesus Christ.

Is your husband better than you thought?!

I was convicted the other day when I heard 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, my husband gives my feet a little massage every night before I go to sleep.  I thought he enjoyed doing that!  He also runs a lot of the errands that need to be done for us.  I thought he liked to run errands!  He also makes sure there’s always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one runs 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”?

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Confront selfishness

Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are.  However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women.  In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life.  She may think things like this:  My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right?  My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore.  I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy!  And the thoughts go on and on. 

I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”.  Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them.  It is so counter-intuitive!  However, it is also so Biblical.  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does.  How could you bless him this week?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?”  Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first?  I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you.  Are you willing to give it a try?