One key to getting your joy back

I know this might sound too simple.  I know you could be rolling your eyes as you read this. But give this a chance.  A huge key to regaining some of your joy during challenges or after a heartbreaking event is…to focus on the things for which you can be thankful.

All of us tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have.  By doing so, we become bitter, jealous, and depressed women.  Now if you actually enjoy being bitter and depressed, you just go right on concentrating on what’s wrong in your life.  However, there is a better way to live.  God recommends it in the Bible.  It’s called being thankful for what you do have.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances“.  This means disciplining your mind to focus on what is good and right and beautiful. God puts it this way in 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 things.”

Do you have shelter and plenty of food to eat each day?  Wow! You’re in the top 10% of the entire world!  Do you have someone in your life (husband, mother, friend, child) who loves you?  Wonderful!  Do your legs and hands work?  Can you see, hear, and taste?  Thank God for the health that not everyone enjoys.  Has God made himself known to you and drawn your heart to him?  Awesome!  That means he thinks you’re special and he decided before the beginning of the world to select you to adopt as his child!

Yes, there is a time to grieve losses in our lives.  But we can’t stay camped out there!  Let’s make a concerted effort to focus our minds on being thankful.  Little by little, you may find your joy returning, even during hard times.

Is your husband happy to see you?

Who does your husband encounter when he walks through the door at the end of the day?  Is he happy to be greeted by a warm, gentle, loving wife…or does he encounter a “drip”? Who wants to be considered a “drip”?  That’s not very flattering!  However, the Bible assigns that label to a wife who is always complaining and criticizing and arguing.  Proverbs 27:15 says “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.”  Uh-oh.  Could that label belong to you?

I’m not saying that you should sweep any sinful behavior by your husband under the rug.  So don’t get the wrong impression that you must never confront immoral or destructive behavior in your marriage. If your husband is engaged in a pattern of actual sin against you, follow the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 and seek godly counsel.   What I am saying is that we need to be careful that we don’t become a constant critic of our husband!  No man wants to come home to that.

Did you know that anonymous surveys of men reveal that most guys are actually very insecure and fear failure most every day?  What they need from their wives is encouragement, not complaints and criticism.  Make a commitment to find something good about your husband every day this week and then tell him how much you appreciate those good qualities.  Use a gentle and loving voice when you talk with him.  He will actually enjoy being around you!  Let’s be an “anti-drip”!!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

4 marriage myths you should know

  1. Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part.  Not true!  I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy.  Philippian 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 interest of others.”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:

2. Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness.  (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)

3. Happy couples never have conflict.  (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)

4. If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen.  (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

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

Becoming a more secure, confident woman!

Most women wrestle with insecurity, and when we live in a place of insecurity, we often make unhealthy choices.  We tend to put up with disrespectful behavior.  We tend to look to other people for our value and become codependent in relationships.  We grow super disappointed and resentful when other people (such as a husband!) don’t make us feel secure, happy, and content!

Well, I have found that meditating on these 3 Bible verses helps me start to feel more secure and grounded.  I become more confident in both my value and the decisions I need to make in life.  I begin to relax and feel safe.  As a result, I can approach all my relationships in a much healthier way!  Here are the 3 verses:

1) He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5) *you are his adopted daughter!  Awesome!!

2)  Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) *He will always be by your side! Awesome!!

3) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24)  *He will guide me in all my decisions and he is preparing a fantastic future for me in eternity! Awesome!!

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?