Caution. Caution. In fact, I urge you to envision yellow caution tape (like you see around a dangerous construction zone) every time this thought comes into your mind. The thought is “I deserve a different husband”. That is a thought emanating straight from the pit of hell.
When Satan dangles that thought in front of your mind, he’s basically trying to entice you into believing that you have been ripped off and that you are entitled to trade in your man for a better model. I should know. I bought that lie from the enemy, hook, line, and sinker at the end of my first marriage. You know who else fell for this kind of thinking? Eve. She fell for Satan’s lie that God was ripping her off by withholding fruit from one of the trees and he got her to believe she was entitled to more than God had given her. That story didn’t end well either.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. If your husband is an unrepentant, serial cheater or if he has a pattern of abuse and is not seeking serious help, then God may very well release you from your marriage. However, MUCH of the time, the enemy tries to get us to focus on every shortcoming of our husband, every flaw, every way he does not meet our expectations for a perfect husband. Then Satan seals the deal by whispering to us that we deserve a different husband…a husband who would be so much better. That’s usually a complete delusion! I can almost guarantee you that if you were to dump your husband and get a new one, he would have “issues” as well! So don’t fall for Satan’s schemes and delusions. Remember what the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14…”Satan masquerades as an angel of light”.
So, instead of buying the lie that you need to dump your inferior man and get a better model, how about if you do these three things instead? 1) Look for the good qualities of your man and be thankful 2) Respectfully confront any sinful pattern of behavior on his part and establish boundaries if necessary 3) pray daily for Jesus to mold and shape your husband into a godly man of integrity.
When you think of the curses placed on Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden apple, you probably think of Adam having to toil to bring food to the table and you likely think of Eve having to endure pain in childbirth. However, there is another curse placed on Eve that may have escaped your notice. It’s found in Genesis 3:16 where God says “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“. That word “desire” in the original Hebrew means “to run to, to stretch out after, to have a vehement desire for”. Oh my. This explains a lot!
Almost all women struggle with almost an insane, overwhelming desire to secure a man. And this starts early! In fact, over the years, as I’ve observed my granddaughters at toddler age, they have tended to gravitate to their grandpas, dads, and boy cousins. Hmmm.
My point is this. If we recognize this curse, we will be more able to deal with it. The curse may explain why it’s so difficult for most women to establish and enforce boundaries with their husbands when their men are sinning against them by using pornography, drinking excessively, gambling large sums of money, spending time with other women, etc. If we do indeed have a deep instinctive desire (curse) to desperately hang onto our guy, we believe we can’t do anything to threaten our grip! This explains a lot, doesn’t it? Knowledge is the beginning of understanding. Ask Jesus to give you clarity about how your thoughts and actions are being affected by the curse. Then ask Him to give you courage and strength to make wise decisions. Tip: When you stop making a man the most important thing in your life and make Jesus your main relationship, then you will have the courage and confidence to set wise boundaries in your marriage (or dating relationships)!
If you and your husband are followers of Jesus, then you are both being sculpted. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God is molding and shaping us each and every day.
God uses many tools to shape us. He sometimes allows us to make foolish decisions and then experience the natural consequences of those decisions. Hopefully, we learn something valuable from those painful lessons! But when it comes to your husband, God has another powerful tool in his tool belt…you! As a wife, you have the unique ability to encourage your man. You can choose to be the voice that points out his good qualities. When you do that, most husbands seem to grow 2 inches taller. Your words of encouragement often become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for your man. As you affirm his good character qualities, talents, and spiritual gifts, he feels emboldened to step into those things with more confidence and vigor.
God may even want to use you as a tool to lovingly but firmly confront your husband if he is entrenched in a pattern of sin. You know your husband better than anyone else, so you’re the one who will likely notice if he is caught in a sinful pattern. Pray and ask God if he wants you to have a loving conversation with your husband about that sin pattern. Does God want you to request your husband see a counselor, attend a 12-step group, meet with the pastor, join a men’s ministry? Does the Lord want you to draw a firm boundary with your husband, thereby putting pressure on him to do whatever it takes to get free from this sin? (Read Matthew 18:15-17 for more guidance on this)
Will you be a tool in God’s tool belt? Pray and ask the Lord to show you if and how he wants you to be a tool!
I don’t know about you, but I am often reactionary in my relationships. I get upset or frustrated or worried, and I react emotionally. Sometimes, this doesn’t cause any damage, but other times, it’s not exactly helpful or beneficial!
I’m trying to operate under a new and improved system, and I’m finding it works far better, probably because it’s God’s plan for his people. Hah! I’m earnestly seeking to submit myself to God moment by moment and I’m asking his Holy Spirit to nudge me and instruct me during every single interaction with others. In other words, I’m inclining my heart and spirit to listen intently for the gentle whispers and nudges of the Holy Spirit every time I interact with family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers, church members, and even the grocery store clerk and the UPS delivery guy!
God designed us to operate this way. Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God. This is such an inspiring word picture! We are designed to be so watchful and intent to notice the Lord’s slightest instruction to us that we immediately obey.
Let’s commit to seeking the Lord’s guidance through his Holy Spirit, moment by moment, especially in marriage and family relationships. This will likely be life-changing, and in a good way! God alone knows how to improve every relationship, how to truly help others, and how to advance his kingdom here on earth. We need his guidance.
None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak. Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage. We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband! But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth. In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.” Fantastic.
However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours. First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world“. That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering. It will be glorious beyond our imagination!
Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before. When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close. Very close. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“. If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!
So many of us struggle with fear and anxiety, and sometimes that struggle escalates to a full-blown anxiety attack. We know that God does not intend for us to live in debilitating fear, but how do we break free?
I’ve personally found much relief by applying these 6 Bible verses:
2 Corinthians 10:5 “we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”. This means when fear-based, hopeless, defeatist thoughts enter my mind, I need to examine them and ask whether this is something God would say!
1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” This means when I notice my thoughts are becoming hopeless or fearful, I need to recognize the devil is whispering those thoughts to me! I must take a stand and refuse to align my thoughts with the devil! Sometimes I even hold out my hand and shout “NO”.
Isaiah 41:10 “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” This means I remind myself that I am not walking through my challenges and worries alone. Jesus is right there beside me all the time and all the way.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love him” This means that I remind myself that even if my worst fear comes to pass, God can still bring something good out of that situation. That brings me comfort.
Psalm 139:16 “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” This means that when fear-based thoughts enter my mind, I choose to remind myself that God already knows my future and my kid’s future. Nothing that happens to me or my kids will take God by surprise! He knows the future. He’s already there.
James 4:8 “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” This means I choose to pivot from the fear and turn toward God in a very deliberate way. When I do that, He comforts me! “Drawing near to God” could mean everything from turning on a worship song, to reading the Bible, to calling a faith-filled friend, to hugging my actual Bible as I lay down to go to sleep at night.
Does your husband wrestle with a destructive addiction? Is your husband carrying way too much stress from his job? Does your husband seem depressed? Is your man uninterested in pursuing God? It’s easy for you to sink into despair, but instead, I challenge you to pray for him continually, and with total faith in our powerful God!
I’m not saying that prayer is the only thing you should do, but it is one of the most powerful things you can do for your man. Yet, often we tend to do more whining to our girlfriends than praying for our men. We often spend too much time drowning in a pool of self-pity instead of saturating our days with earnest prayer.
Seek godly counsel from a pastor or wise female mentor to gain insights into whether you need to take specific action with your husband. Those actions may include establishing boundaries and refusing to enable a continuing pattern of sin. Perhaps you will be directed to see a counselor yourself. Maybe your pastor will schedule a talk with your husband to see if he can help. However, your main job as your husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) is to pray for him. Pray for him throughout the day. God says in James 5:16 that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective“. So get on your knees and get busy praying. I have seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to earnest, continual prayer. I have even seen the Lord change a husband’s heart! Yes, God can change a person’s heart. Read Ezekiel 36:26.
If you were to regularly pray 3 specific Bible verses on behalf of your husband, I believe you would see your man and your marriage and your whole family reap amazing benefits! Here are the 3 Bible verses: Ephesians 3:17-19, Proverbs 3:5-6, and James 4:7. These verses ask God to reveal his love to your husband at a deep level, ask God to cause your husband to have a deep trust in God, and ask God to prompt your husband to submit himself to God. When those 3 things happen, your man is completely transformed!
Here’s what this looks like:
Ephesians 3:17-19 “I pray that Jesus would come and dwell in ___________’s heart by faith, and that _____________, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and that ___________ would know this love that surpasses knowledge, that _________ would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “I pray that you would work in _____________’s heart so that he would trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not on his own understanding. In all his ways, I pray that ____________ would acknowledge you Lord, so that you make his path straight.”
James 4:7-8 “I pray that you convict ______________ of the need to fully submit himself to you, God, and I pray that you would show _____________ how to resist the devil, so that the devil flees from _______________.
Most of the time, being a woman of wisdom is an excellent attribute. You may have been blessed with the ability to make smart financial decisions or relationships decisions. That’s awesome!
But human wisdom is not the highest goal, and it can sometimes lead us astray from God’s perfect plan in our lives. Think of Noah, for instance. According to human wisdom, he must have been viewed as an idiot! Wisdom would tell him there was no need to build an ark. It was utter foolishness. Many “wise” people of his community must have mocked him and probably shook their heads in disbelief. Some were probably aghast at his “foolishness”. But Noah decided to go against conventional wisdom and follow the promptings of the Lord. It’s a good thing he did!
Listen to what 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
What I’m trying to say is this. Don’t put God in a box. He often operates outside the box and colors outside the lines! In Isaiah 55:9, God says: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. I have known women who were told by wise counselors to leave their unfaithful husbands and yet, some of these women heard God tell them to stick with their marriage, and in the long run, their marriage was restored. I, personally, have experienced God telling me and my husband to do “unwise” financial things in order to carry on full-time ministry, and yet God rewarded our obedience to his “outside of the box” instructions!
So, consult God. Ask Him for direction when you are at a crossroads. Get quiet before Him and ask Him to speak guidance to your spirit. Wise counselors are fine, but God has the ultimate wisdom, and He alone can see what lies ahead. God says this in Isaiah 48:17, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Don’t be so wise that you forget to consult God and follow his perfect guidance!
For you and I to become confident, dignified women who refuse to put up with disrespect or abuse in marriage or any relationship, we must begin to see ourselves the way God sees us. Emotionally-bruising words may have been spoken to you as a child and those hurtful words can easily become your identity. Perhaps you made some major mistakes as a teen or young woman, and you started calling yourself a loser or hopeless or unlovable.
God wants you to listen for His voice above all the other voices we hear both externally and internally. In John 10:27, Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus wants to speak to you! He wants to let you know how He sees you and how much he delights in you. Here are 2 things that can help you truly comprehend how God sees you:
1) Meditate on Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”
2) Be still and ask God to whisper a word to your spirit about how he sees you. Have faith that He WILL speak to you. Be receptive, and listen. He loves you!