The path to less stress and more peace!

In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me.  He asked me this simple question.  Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory?  Another way of putting this is:  Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother” etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do to bring HIM glory?

Oh man!  Busted.  To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes.  I become exhausted and stressed in the process.  The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers.  Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want.  Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes.  The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?

I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace!  We would be free of performance-exhaustion.  Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music!  God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace!  (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.”  And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

What a Christian husband is supposed to be like

Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands.  In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband?  Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.

Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands.  It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

 Wow!  That’s a pretty high standard!  Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church.   My husband isn’t Jesus (lol), and I bet yours isn’t either, but our men are supposed to be seeking to become more like Jesus every day.  This means a husband should seek to serve the best interests of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO HERE

Signs your hubby may have porn problem

In case you weren’t yet aware, pornography is a gigantic cancer that is rapidly destroying marriages and entire families.  Hundreds of millions of men regularly view pornography (and many women too), and even among Christian men, the problem is rampant.  Goodness, even a majority of pastors admit to struggling with temptations to view porn.  Back in 2001, a survey found that 54% of pastors had viewed pornography in the past year.  I’m sure the numbers are much higher these days.

Why is pornography such a big deal?  Well, marriage counselors will tell you, and I will tell you from counseling many women in crisis in their marriages, that pornography usage almost always escalates into something truly horrific.  When a man starts viewing pornography, he almost always progresses to more and more perverse pornography as he chases that “buzz” from viewing something sexually arousing.  Unfortunately, in many cases, the man can no longer get his “fix” from pornography and ends up committing sexual acts outside of marriage.  In either case, the marriage is often destroyed and families are torn apart.

What are some signs of a possible porn problem for your husband?   Some common signs include no longer being interested in sex with you, coming to bed after you or exiting the bedroom in the middle of the night, and requesting increasingly perverse or odd sex acts from you.  If you notice some of these signs, it may be time to have a serious talk with your husband.  However, don’t approach him as an enemy.  Approach him in love, as his helper. Remember, in Genesis 2:18, God says “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.”  Approach your husband kindly but firmly, and let him know you want to help him tackle this problem that could harm both him and your family.

When you’re too exhausted for physical intimacy!

For many women, especially moms of young children, making love to their husbands seems like yet one more thing on their to-do-list!  For an exhausted wife and mother, the idea of carving out time to be physically intimate with her husband sounds about as thrilling as running 15 miles on the treadmill at the gym at 5 o’clock in the morning!

But here’s the thing.  We know that most men have an extremely high sex drive.  It isn’t their fault.  God made them that way.  🙂  So, one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our husbands is to meet their sexual needs.  We need to strive to build a robust sex life with our husbands.  To be honest, if we don’t, we’re setting our husbands up for temptation to stray to pornography or other women.  That’s why Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

The question is: How does the exhausted wife (and mother) build a robust sex life, and do it cheerfully?   Well, I believe she takes a really good look at her schedule of activities and responsibilities to see if there are any things she can cut out.  I bet there are some things she could reduce or cut completely!  Secondly, she asks her husband for help!   Can he put the kids to bed so that she has time to wind down and prepare herself to become a sexy wife?  Can he do the dishes after dinner or help the kids with their homework so that she can decompress and maybe take a bubble bath before she and her husband head to bed?

Ask your husband if he would be willing to help with some tasks in the evenings so that you are more able to build a robust sex life with him.  I bet it is a trade he is willing to make!

Changing your inner “spouse-talk”!

We’ve all heard of self-talk, but allow me to introduce a different kind of internal narrative that can be just as negative as your self-talk. It is the internal talk about your spouse!

The things you say, whether out loud or in your head, greatly influence the way you feel and act.  In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”.  In other words, when your inner spouse-talk is constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws or rehearsing the past ways he’s let you down…your words reinforce a negative attitude and behavior toward your husband.  If not corrected, this negative attitude and behavior on your part can eventually lead to prolonged bitterness, depression, and even the death of your marriage.

Ladies, we must do what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5…”take every thought captive”.  Start noticing the things you are saying in your head about your husband.  If a negative thought enters your mind, don’t give it room!  Instead, look for something positive to say about your husband.  He DOES have some positive qualities.  Make sure you spend time engaging in positive inner spouse-talk more than the negative kind!

Dealing with your husband’s flaws

You may be a wife like me…a wife who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving.    To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing.  In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus.  I mean, after all, he is a Christian, for heaven’s sake!

Hmmm.  On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect.   Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one”.   So, perhaps it’s time for both you and me to take our husbands off the hook.  I’m not saying that we should give them a free pass on blatant, destructive sin.  Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us.  You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17.

However, I do believe it’s time we started being gracious to our husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks.  Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like?  Maybe we can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!).  Does he often have a hard time sharing his deep thoughts and feelings?  We can be gracious about that too.   Let’s remember he is a flawed person, just like us!  We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

One secret to building emotional closeness

I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago!  I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in our marriage.  But I’ve discovered it’s true!  There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit.  Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices.  Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…”  Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.

Just recently, we built a fire pit in our backyard.  It cost less than $100.  We thought it would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs.  But it turns out that my husband and I are enjoying it ourselves…immensely!    As the sun goes down, we light the fire, and then my husband asks what the topic of the night should be.  Sometimes, we talk about our dreams for ministry.  Some nights, we talk about our concerns for our children and we pray for them.  Other nights, we talk about our dream vacation ideas.  Try building a fire pit.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!