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!
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.
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE
You likely know your husband better than anyone. As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper. This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”. Then God created woman! Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.
Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol? Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time? Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise? Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?
If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things. First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make. Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.
- Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch). This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
- Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
- Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
- You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”. When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.
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.
Pretty much anyone who has entered the arena of blended families and step-parenting knows that it is like trying to walk across a field of landmines. Typically, the biggest problem is that the step-parent thinks the step-child should love and respect them just like they would their biological parent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.
Here’s the best piece of advice I ever heard on this subject. As the step-parent, take the time (perhaps years!) to sow nothing but love into the relationship with your new stepchild. Resist the desire to step in as disciplinarian and let the biological parent handle that. As a couple, talk with your spouse behind closed doors about how “situations” and discipline should be handled, but then let the biological parent actually carry it out.
The idea of sowing love into a person before expecting that person to love you in return is actually demonstrated by Jesus. The Bible says “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We need to model this as step-parents. Your step-child needs to see you demonstrate love for a sustained period of time before believing you actually have their best interests at heart. This may truly take years, especially if the child is over the age of about 5 when you first enter the new marriage. Be patient.
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!
— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE
All men crave respect, and husbands especially crave the respect of their wives. In fact, the Bible even commands wives to respect their husbands! You can find this instruction in Ephesians 5:33. The question is: How can you offer respect to your husband in a meaningful way?
Here is one way to show your husband honor and respect. Ask his opinion about how he would like things to go in your home and in your marriage relationship, listen attentively, and actually carry out his requests that are within reason. When you do this, you are showing him that he matters! You are also carrying out another instruction to wives found in Ephesians 5:22 where God says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord”.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. Have you asked your husband how he likes you to dress or fix your hair? Why not honor him by doing these things the way he likes? Have you asked your husband what’s most important to him when he walks through the door at the end of his workday? Would he like you and the kids to greet him at the door with kisses, or would he prefer to have 10 minutes of peace and quiet to unwind? Have you asked your husband how many activities he thinks is ideal for the children?
Ask him, listen to his opinion, and begin incorporating his desires into your routine. This will communicate respect, and when he feels your respect, your whole marriage relationship will likely improve!