When 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)

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

If desperate for guidance or help

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!

5 keys to a great marriage

One thing I’ve learned over my many years is that a great marriage doesn’t just magically happen.  Being “in love” when you exchange vows on your wedding day isn’t going to be enough.  You must be intentional.  Please allow me to share 5 simple but profound keys to building a strong, lasting, healthy marriage.  Conveniently, God gave me this acrostic to help both you and I remember these 5 keys!  Together, the letters spell G-R-E-A-T.

G:  stands for God, as in making sure that God is your number one relationship instead of trying to get your husband to meet all your emotional needs and expecting him to be your source of happiness.  (Matthew 22:36-37)

R: stands for resentment, as in making sure that you address resentment quickly so that it can’t choke the life out of your marriage.  (Hebrews 12:15)

E:  stands for effort, as in being diligent to speak your husband’s love language, pay attention to him, create fun moments with him, do small things he appreciates, and build a vibrant sex life with him!  (Proverbs 13:4)

A: stands for ask God to show you how YOU need to change, grow, and eliminate old unhealthy patterns in your own life such as conflict avoidance or having a critical tongue.  (Colossians 3:5-10)

T:  stands for treasure, as in purposely reminding yourself of the good qualities you can treasure in your husband instead of allowing yourself to dwell on his imperfections.  (Philippians 4:8)

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

Try God’s unusual formula for your marriage

Recently, God has prompted me to consider who is truly on the throne in my life.  Am I really putting God at the center of my focus, or is everything actually about me?  Drat.  I have to be honest and say that when it comes right down to it, I tend to filter everything in my life and my marriage through the question “what will make me happy”.  How about you?

What if we changed the question?   I am suggesting that we start looking at our husbands, our marriage, our children, our work, and everything through the question “how can I please God at this moment?”  I believe this could radically change our relationships.  In Matthew 6:33 Jesus reminds us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well“.  In other words, we should strive to please God in all we do and we can trust Him to meet all our needs in return.

The world tries to convince you to focus on you.  The message is “you should focus on what makes you feel happy at the moment and you will be fulfilled.”  Unfortunately, this “formula” almost never works.  The Bible turns that equation upside down.  God tells us to focus on pleasing Him even when it doesn’t seem like you will be happy, and then you will indeed find true fulfillment and joy. 

What if you were to ask the Lord to show you how HE wants you to treat your husband this week and how HE wants you to handle difficult situations with your husband?  I wonder how your marriage would change?  Shall we try God’s upside-down formula this week? 

How affirmation changes your hubby

Did you know almost all men struggle with feeling inadequate on almost every level?  It’s true.  Since God designed men to be leaders in revealing the nature of God, it’s to be expected that Satan would try to destroy that mission by making men feel like they’re not up to that challenge!  Satan is constantly whispering to your man that he is a failure, that he’s not good enough, that he’s not smart enough, and that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a godly leader, husband or father.  These are all lies!  Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is “the father of lies“.

Unfortunately, when a husband starts believing these lies, he often decides to either give up trying to be a good husband or he may numb out by using pornography, alcohol, or becoming a workaholic.

However, a man’s wife has the ability to counteract the voice of Satan!  Ladies, why don’t you start telling your husband that you believe in him?  Tell him that he CAN do it.  Let him know that you see good qualities in him.  Remind him about his unique talents and spiritual gifts. Show him the respect that God commands wives to display in Ephesians 5:33.  As you affirm him and esteem him, you may likely find that your man becomes more confident and becomes an even better man than he is now.

Dealing with a husband’s addiction

You have two choices if your husband is struggling with an addiction to alcohol, porn, gambling, drugs, video games, etc.  The first choice is to wring your hands in despair, whine to your friends, tell him how disgusted you are in him, allow yourself to grow resentful, and eventually divorce him.  Hmm.  That doesn’t sound like the best choice for your family!

The second choice is much more likely to result in his eventual release from the stranglehold of the addiction.  You can choose to pray for him daily, lovingly ask him to seek help through counseling or a 12-step program, set firm boundaries on any behavior that adversely impacts you or your family, and continue to speak “words of life” to him.  What do I mean by “speaking words of life”?  I mean reminding your husband of his many good qualities; reminding him that God has great plans for him; and reminding him that you still love him and that you are willing to stand next to him in this battle.  Your words are so very important.  Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.

Your husband will be much more likely to put in the hard work to break free from his addiction if he feels supported, encouraged and loved by his wife.  Yes, you must have firm boundaries, but he still needs to know you are for him.

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

This could make hubby an even better man

Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life!  Whether we realize it or not, every time we criticize our husband or correct our husband or point out flaws in our husband’s ideas, we are crushing his spirit.  Every time we crush his spirit, we are making him feel 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!

Are you too serious?

There have been so many times that I have lost my cool over a trivial mistake I’ve made!  I beat myself up and feel disgusted with myself. Perhaps you’ve done the same thing a time or two.  What makes the situation even worse is then I become a grump around my husband and children. Because I have worked myself into a foul mood, it infects them as well. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that we need to be able to laugh at some of our mistakes.

Sometimes, we take ourselves too seriously!! Often, we feel we have to be “right” all the time.  Many times in the past, my pride has kept me from being able to laugh at myself when I made an error.  How about you?  Are you too serious?  Are you a perfectionist? 

These days, I’m trying to let go of my pride and admit I’m a human being who isn’t perfect 100% of the time!  You know what I’ve found?  Everyone, including my husband, seems to like me better.   Humility is such an attractive quality.  Psalm 18:27 says “You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.”  Let’s work on being humble this week.  When we mess up, and we will, let’s LOL. 

Recognizing physical abuse in a relationship

I was talking with a wife the other day who has endured physical abuse from her husband for years.  It began so slowly that it she didn’t realize she was the victim of domestic violence until her injuries had become pretty serious.  I was reminded that wives, especially Christian wives, need to be alerted to what actually constitutes physical abuse. 

Theses things constitute physical abuse:  Punching, slapping, shoving aggressively, kicking, trapping physically (as against a wall), twisting arm painfully, throwing objects at you aggressively, biting, pulling your hair painfully, a pattern of refusing to allow you to sleep, regularly requiring you to work until exhaustion or while sick, tying you up against your will, forcing you to perform sex acts against your will, forcing himself on you sexually against your will, forcing you to use alcohol or drugs, denying you medical care.

If your husband or boyfriend is currently doing any of those above things, call 911 and seek immediate protection at your local domestic violence shelter.  If these behaviors are not currently occurring but have occurred fairly recently, you still need help.  I strongly urge you to call your local, confidential domestic violence hotline.  It’s time for Christian wives to stop excusing or tolerating abuse!  The Bible makes it clear that husbands are to treat their wives kindly.  1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to be considerate of their wives and to treat them with honor as the weaker vessel.  Furthermore, Ephesians 5:11 says “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them”.  So, don’t cover up your husband’s or boyfriend’s abuse.  He is not your enemy, but he needs to be stopped, both for his own good and for your welfare.

If your husband seems selfish

When a husband is clearly sinning against you through something like verbal abuse or an affair with another woman, it seems pretty clear that you should take a stand, draw boundaries, and maybe even have a time of separation.  However, the Christian wife isn’t always as certain about how to handle a husband who simply seems to be selfish.  This is the kind of husband who almost always does exactly what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, with little regard for the desires of his wife or children.   What’s a wife to do?

First, realize that your husband’s selfishness is not okay with God, and thus, it shouldn’t be okay with you.  In the famous love passage in 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible says love is not “self-seeking“, and in Philippians 2:4, the Bible says “each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interest of others.”

Second, you must realize that nothing is likely to change unless you sit down with your husband and bring the problem to his attention. Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away isn’t going to work.  You’ll grow resentful and eventually explode!

It’s time to gently and calmly tell your husband the truth about how you are being negatively impacted by his focus on doing what he wants without regard to your wishes.  Ephesians 4:15 says we should “speak the truth in love“, so gently explain the problem. Then directly ask him if he is willing to begin considering your desires when the two of you don’t agree on something.  Ask him if he is willing to work with you to forge a compromise the next time you disagree.  Hopefully, by bringing the problem to his attention, he will begin considering your interests.  If he doesn’t, it’s probably time to ask him to go with you to meet with a pastor or counselor.