Marriage is not one continuous fairy tale. Your husband is not perfect, and neither are you. Therefore, you will experience times of disappointment, frustration, and even heartbreak. The question is…what will you do during those “valley” times in your marriage? How will you rally yourself and stay in the game? Where can you find the motivation to fight for your marriage?
One powerful key to battling all the way through those valley times is to receive encouragement from other godly wives. You NEED encouragement! The enemy is going to be whispering discouragement to you. He wants you to leave your husband. He wants to destroy your family. In John 10:10, Jesus says the enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy“. But we can counteract the enemy’s schemes by asking godly friends to speak truth to us. Seek friendships with godly women who know the truth of God’s Word and who are encouragers. Be an encourager in their lives as well.
Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” I’m strongly encouraging you to be an encourager for other women and to purposely spend time with several godly, female friends who encourage you. You need encouragement to stay in the battle! It’s worth it. Jesus has a good plan for your marriage. He has come that you “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
You’ve heard the expression “You are what you think”. Well it’s true, and unfortunately many women stay stuck in oppression, poverty, chaos, and loneliness because of the stinking thoughts the enemy has whispered to them repeatedly over the years. Often these women truly did suffer a wounding event in the past, but the enemy piles on by getting them to believe lies about their identity, their abilities, God’s ability, and their future.
These lies, that then become our “stinking thinking”, may sound something like this: “I’m unlovable”… “I can’t handle this”… “I’ll never get over this”… “I’m broken”… “I’m not able to”… “It’s hopeless”… “God doesn’t seem to care”… “I can never trust anyone”…
It’s time we start bossing around these thoughts! The minute you hear one of those thoughts in your head, remind yourself that the enemy of your soul WANTS you to embrace that stinking thinking so that he can keep you oppressed! Jesus WANTS you to have the opposite…a fulfilling life! John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ladies, it’s time we take a stand and refuse to align our thoughts with the devil. The moment those negative, hopeless thoughts enter your mind, immediately coach your soul with the truth. Here are a couple of truths to get you started: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-Philippians 4:13…”He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”-Psalm 40:2…..”If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”-Romans 8:31-32…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”-Proverbs 3:5-6
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Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope! You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening. You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions. You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability. Now what?
Well, first, don’t give up praying. In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” So, keep asking God for a miracle. However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses. Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done. Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue. Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:
1) Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?
2) How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?
3) Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?
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 imposing consequences. 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.
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.”
Holy cow! The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!! I found this out recently when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day. My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task. I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that. I am so busy I can hardly breathe.” Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof. He got increasingly agitated on the phone. It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious! I was spreading the stress virus.
Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine. So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities. Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him. This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules. Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities. For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my husband’s health. How about you? Are you stressed out a lot? Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule?
Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth. They are inevitable. In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.” Sometimes, the trouble is inside our marriage, and when that’s the case, we often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV). Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.
However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering. Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is sinning against us. We always need to be respectful and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person.
So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships. However, it occurs to me that perhaps the best time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they are working to turn away from that pattern of sin. I guess my question to you is this: Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children? Have you drawn clear boundaries on what you will accept and have you followed through with appropriate consequences when necessary? If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will. Pray about it and see what God reveals.