After years of working alongside my husband to counsel and mentor couples in distress, I’ve noticed a common issue. Even though many of the husbands have greatly disappointed or frustrated their wives, the wives come across as condemning and arrogant. Ouch!
When a wife is perceived as being arrogant and self-righteous, the husband usually avoids her, becomes passive aggressive, and self-medicates his pain through destructive choices such as alcohol, pornography, or even other women.
What if you were to choose to deal with your frustration and disappointment in a different way? What if you were to display humility, kindness and love…even when confronting destructive behavior? One quality that will really endear you to your husband is humility, and it’s Biblical! Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but the interest of others.”
Catch yourself if you start talking down to your husband or start treating him like he is disgusting or inferior to you. In that moment, ask God to give you His perspective on your husband. Ask God to remind you that you’re not perfect either and that you’re both a work in progress…in the master’s hands.
I don’t know about you, but I fall into a really crazy and unproductive pattern when I seek God for advice and direction. I intend to be a good listener, but instead of quieting myself and really straining for God to speak to me through his Holy Spirit, I keep….talking! In fact, one second after I ask God the question “What should I do about …..?”, I start mulling over the options. My thoughts start ricocheting in my head and after a few minutes, I feel like I’ve boiled down the choices to 3 or 4 options for God to choose from. Yikes!
The other day I found myself doing this again. This time, however, I heard God speak a word of correction (or what some might call rebuke!). I heard him say “Why are you multiple-choicing me?” He reminded me that He doesn’t need me to lay out options from which to choose. He reminded me that, often, his answer or direction is not even listed among my multiple-choice options! I heard him whisper to my spirit, “What if my answer is “e” and you have only given me A-D from which to choose?”
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that I need to do less talking and more listening. This is the essence of James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”
By the way, one tip that has helped me quiet my thoughts so I can actually hear the Lord’s whisper of guidance is this: Close your eyes and envision being with the Lord. (I like to envision walking beside him in a beautiful meadow next to a quiet stream). Then, while your mind is occupied with that vision, ask your question. Within a few moments, I usually sense Him whispering a word to me, or giving me a vision, or bringing a Bible verse to mind that will guide me.
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?!
Are you in the middle of a really difficult challenge in your marriage or in some area of your life? Are you consumed with worry or outright fear about the future? It’s at those times in our lives that we need to press into prayer in a more earnest way. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, we see that when God’s people were extremely troubled or worried or bewildered, they sought God with every fiber of their being by…fasting.
What is a fast? It’s a time where you go without some types of food or all food for a specific period of time in which you seek God with your whole heart. Sometimes, people give up something other than food, such as media. I remember a time when I fasted from all food for 3 days as I earnestly sought God’s counsel regarding a relationship. At the very end of that fast, God gave me a vision that made my path very clear. Praise God!
In Ezra 8, we read that the Israelites fasted and implored God for a safe journey through enemy territory and Ezra says, “God listened to our entreaty“. Is it time for you to enter a time of earnest prayer and fasting of some type? Please consult your doctor if you have health issues that could be adversely affected by fasting from food, but otherwise, fasting may be just what you need for a breakthrough in prayer!
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman. In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable. However, I’ve realized something very important to the health of my marriage. I need to allow my husband to be needed by me! When I act like he isn’t needed, he feels emasculated. Your husband probably does too.
Men are wired by God to be leaders. In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife! “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead. Avoid making all the decisions for your family. Ask him to make some decisions. Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects. Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture. (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)
Did you know most men really like to be needed? I know. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle. But you know what? Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask. Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed. Remember, men don’t think the same way women do! They usually focus on only one thing at a time.
Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!
This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us. They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills. They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem. They want to be our heroes. The problem is this. We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”.
Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply. Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through. I bet he will love being your hero.
99.9 percent of my Bible-based insights are designed to help women personally and in their marriages. But I know that many husbands also read these messages, so I want to take a moment to give you an important insight about the woman in your life!
God tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And later, in verses 28-29, God says “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”.
So, God is calling you to love your wife in a self-sacrificing way…and to cherish her. Please allow me to explain 3 key things that virtually every wife needs from you to feel loved and cherished:
She longs to feel beautiful. That means she needs you to notice her hair, her make-up, her outfit and tell her how beautiful she is…that she looks amazing today. It also means that if she finds out you’ve been looking at pornography, she is deeply scarred. The unspoken message she receives is that she is NOT attractive enough, that she doesn’t measure up, that every time you want to make love, you’re envisioning being with another woman who you view as more beautiful than her. That’s why I’m begging you to get help if you’re addicted to pornography. Every time you look at porn, you’re slicing your wife’s heart.
Every woman craves security. We’re just wired that way. She longs to feel financially secure and relationally-secure. That’s why she gets freaked out when you talk about quitting your job or spending money on a new S-U-V. She desperately needs to feel secure.
She needs you to be loving and gentle and involved with her children (whether those kids are your bio kids or step kids). Nothing will break a wife’s heart quicker than to witness her husband being harsh or disrespectful or critical with her children. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push-over who doesn’t discipline the children, but she needs you to do so with love. She needs to know that you deeply care about her children.
You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”. It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment. Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.
Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day. When you do these small things, he feels loved by you. So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him? By withholding what he needs to feel loved, we’re actually sinning! James 4:17 says, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch. Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store. Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by. Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen. Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss. Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV. These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!
We all inevitably go through stretches in our marriages (or with kids, finances, health, etc!) that are pretty rough on our hearts. Yes, we can persevere, pray, and trust in God during those times, and all those things are super important. But sometimes, we just plain need comfort. We need to sit in the lap of our heavenly father and have Him hold us tight.
Here is what I have discovered. Reading the Psalms slowly and out loud is like a warm embrace from my heavenly Father. As those words roll off my lips, I can almost feel His love and compassion flow over me. I sense the tenderness of His heart toward me. I gain hope once again.
Try it for yourself. I would suggest some of these Psalms: Psalm 103, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, and Psalm 37. God longs to comfort you. He loves you. As Psalm 103 says, “Our Father is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
When we face a challenge, a dilemma, or even a crisis…we tend to search high and low for the easy answer. We cry out to God, asking him to give us the magic pill that will make it all go away! We call our mom or our girlfriends and we whine and complain about the problem, hoping they will have the magical, painless answer to our situation. Well, here’s the thing. The answer isn’t easy, but it is simple. Seek God’s counsel and then actually pause to listen.
Proverbs 18:13 says “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.” Yet, that is exactly what many of us do. We complain to God. We pray that he would magically fix our situation in the way that WE say is best, and yet, we don’t actually consult the Bible to see what guidance he has for us. We pray that God would tell us what to do about the problem, yet we don’t actually pause to listen for the Holy Spirit’s quiet whisper of guidance.
The answer is simple. Dive into God’s Word. It will guide you. Psalm 119:105 says. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ask God to give you direction through the Holy Spirit, who is our counselor. John 14:26 says (in the Amplified Bible), “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things.”