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

Dealing with laziness

I bet you are checking this out because you think I’m talking about your husband’s laziness…but I’m not.  I’m actually talking about our own tendency to become lazy in terms of putting effort and intentionality into our marriages.   

Laziness is kind of like lighting a really long fuse.  You don’t really notice anything for the longest time….that is, until the explosion!   Many a wife has been burned, ending up with a husband who seeks attention from other women or who even ends up divorcing her.  We can’t afford to be sluggards in our marriages!  The Bible has lots to say about sluggards.  Proverbs 13:4 says “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”  This can be applied to your marriage!  Only when you are diligent in investing in your marriage are you likely to have the kind of marriage you desire.

What can you do to strengthen your marriage?  Do you need to get a babysitter and go on more dates with your husband?  Do you need to find out his love language and start speaking that language more often?  Would your marriage be strengthened if you looked for ways to encourage your husband every day and show him respect?

3 keys when asking him to change

If your husband has an addiction or often engages in some kind of destructive or sinful behavior, you have 2 choices.  Choice # 1: You can wring your hands in despair and do nothing…which means that his disturbing behavior will likely continue, and your heart will slowly grow cold toward your husband.  Choice #2:  You can courageously talk to your husband and request him to change his behavior (or get help in changing his behavior).  From personal experience, I highly recommend choice #2!

Here are 3 keys that are especially important if you choose to address this issue with your husband.

  1.  Be very specific about what you’re asking your husband to do in order to change his behavior.  For instance, if he has a drinking or pornography problem, he will almost certainly need help in disentangling himself from this addiction.  So search out helpful 12-step programs or reputable counselors in your area ahead of time and tell him that in order for you guys to keep moving forward in your marriage, you need him to attend a specific number of sessions over a specific period of time.  I would certainly recommend that he attend some kind of program/counselor at least once a week for at least 6 months.  Addictions and other sinful patterns are hard to break. He will need sustained help.
  2. Expect your husband to be unhappy about this request!  Many husbands will try to blame you or other circumstances for their personal problems.  Many husbands will also attend a program or see a counselor for one or two sessions and then say “it isn’t helping me”.  That’s usually just an excuse.  Don’t accept that answer, unless they are willing to try a different program or counselor right away.
  3. Balance your request with words of hope and encouragement.  Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Remember, you’re asking your husband to do some very hard work, so speak life-giving words to him. Tell him that you see good qualities in him, and that you will do anything you can to help him on his journey to break free from addiction

2 tips for a disappointed wife

If you find yourself disappointed with your husband, ask yourself this question:  Is he sinning against me or am I just disappointed with him?  If he is actually sinning against you (looking at porn, being abusive, drinking excessively, etc), then consult with God and perhaps a godly mentor to determine if you should respectfully confront your husband and establish boundaries, using the Biblical model laid out in Matthew 18:15-17. 

However, if you’re simply disappointed with your husband because he’s not meeting your expectations, then try these two things:  1) Simply and clearly let him know what you desire….because he is not a mind-reader!  It’s so funny how we expect our husbands to meet all our needs and desires because “he should just know”.  Lol  Well, guess what?  He doesn’t “just know”.  Sometimes, you need to actually tell him what you’re hoping for and what your expectations are.

2) If he still doesn’t fulfill your desires and expectations, take a moment and remind yourself that he can’t be perfect and he can’t perfectly meet all your needs!  Now, if someone were to ask us if we expect our husbands to be perfect, we would answer “of course not!”, and yet, at a subconscious level, most of us DO expect our men to be perfect. We pretty much expect them to be Jesus!  It’s time to let them off that hook.  After all, God makes it clear in Psalm 53 “there is no one who does good, not even one”. 

So, maybe it’s time you stop expecting your man to be perfect in every way. How about, instead, you decide to be thankful for the good things about him?  In fact, every time I start to get disappointed with my own husband, I try to stop and begin to list the things that he does right. Let’s see. He works hard to provide for me.  He doesn’t drink or drug. He has stopped looking at porn.  He reads the Bible every day. Wow!  I’m not so disappointed anymore!

If he doesn’t notice your efforts

Have you found yourself really frustrated with your husband because you put a bunch of effort into making a great dinner and he didn’t voice appreciation?  Have you found yourself really bummed out because you took great pains to dress up for date night and your husband didn’t seem to really notice?  What gives?

First, it’s important for you to realize that just because he didn’t voice appreciation, doesn’t mean he could care less about what you’ve done!  I bet he loved your dinner and I’m sure he liked the way you looked for date night.  Here is the possible reason for the disconnect.  Men are wired to be providers.  God created men to work and take care of creation (Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”)  It’s only natural that men are focused on their work.  So, when they step through the front door at the end of their work day, their brain is still engaged in work.  They are still thinking about their job and what’s coming up tomorrow at work.  They may be physically present at home, but their minds are often still back on the job. 

So, instead of getting frustrated, tell your husband how much you appreciate his hard work for your family.  Be his chief encourager.  Then, after he’s had awhile to unwind from his day of work, ask him how he liked the dinner.  Tell him you put some extra effort into your hair and makeup and ask him if he likes it.  I know you feel like you shouldn’t have to prompt him with these questions.  You would like your man to notice and voice appreciation without your prompting, but most men simply aren’t wired that way.  So simply ask him, and then listen to his response. More than likely, he will say the dinner was good.  More than likely, he will say you look great.  Accept the compliment!  Embrace the compliment, even though it may come with little emotion and yes, even though he had to be asked. 😊

A wife’s guide to controlling her mouth!

Some women bottle up their frustrations in marriage and in life in general.  These women are uncomfortable working through conflict and try to ignore the problem, defaulting to a cold war or silent treatment.  However, some women find themselves at the other extreme.  When they get irritated or frustrated with their husband, they let him have it!  They often speak critical, bitter words to their men, and those words cut their men deeply.  The wound is especially deep because a man is wired to crave respect.  That’s why the Bible instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband“.

So, what can you do if you’ve tried to stop spewing mean, harsh, bitter words, and your attempts seem to fail most of the time?  Well, the Bible gives us a big clue on what you need to do.  Luke 6:45 says “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”   The cure for a quick temper or critical tongue is to pray for God to change your heart!  Ask God to fill your heart with love and compassion and patience for your husband.  Pray this daily. 

P.S.  In addition to praying for a heart of love, make sure you don’t have major unaddressed issues with your husband.  If you hang onto resentment over unresolved conflict, that’s like covering a skillet of oil with a tight lid, setting it to simmer and then walking away expecting it to stay at a calm simmer.  Without a vent, it will eventually explode, splattering the scalding oil everywhere!   If you have unresolved conflict with your man, decide to respectfully and gently confront these issues so your simmering heart doesn’t explode through your mouth!

Don’t miss out on your life!

We are all so prone to dwell on what we don’t have.  For instance, you might spend lots of mental time and energy longing for a more romantic husband.  Or maybe you rehearse over and over again the many qualities your husband lacks!  You may be a single woman reading this devotion, and you may be spending lots of energy and time trying to capture a man who can become your husband!

Here’s the thing.  We can easily spend so much time focusing on what we don’t have…and trying to manipulate people and circumstances to get what we want…that we don’t even enjoy the many blessings God has actually given us.  We can miss out on the life we have!

Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  You and I need to focus on the many things for which we can be thankful.  What good people has God placed in your life?  How has God provided for you?  Dwell on those things and be thankful.  When you stop focusing on what you don’t have, you’ll finally be able to truly enjoy all the blessings that you do have!

An experiment every wife should try

I teach women about the Bible instruction for wives to display a respectful attitude toward their husbands (Ephesians 5:33), but apparently I haven’t perfected this myself!  The other day, I was in the process of texting back and forth with two different women about a need within the Squadron of Sisters wives’ ministry…when my husband came into the room and stood in front of me.  I didn’t look up right away because I just wanted to finish my text and be done with that task.  My husband turned around and left the room, obviously a bit irritated.  My thought was…”huh? What just happened?”

Later, I asked my husband why he was upset.  In a nutshell, it turns out that he felt as if he didn’t matter to me.  He felt that other things came before him.  He had wanted to talk with me about something important and I didn’t even look up when he stood in front of me.  He felt disrespected.  Oops. 

I’ve been discussing this with God since that time, and I believe he’s showing me that respecting my husband means treating him with great honor.  In fact, the original Greek translation of that word “respect” in Ephesians 5:33 means “to have reverence for” or “to be in awe of”.   Wow!  Those words seem applicable to how a servant would treat a king!  Hmmm.  Maybe God wants me to treat my husband as if he is as important as a king or prince.  I’m going to try an experiment this week.  I’m going to attempt to honor my husband, and pay attention to my husband, as if he were the president or a prince (without making it too goofy or weird!!).  Are you willing to try this “respect experiment” too?  I can’t wait to see how my husband will be impacted and how our marriage may be changed for the better!

Communicating through kisses!

My question for you today has to do with the way you kiss your husband!!  Do you kiss him in a way that communicates to him that he is wanted and desired?  If so, you are a wise woman who is breathing life into her marriage.  On the other hand, do you kiss your husband reluctantly or in a passionless way?  If so, you could be contributing to the slow death of your marriage.

Your husband needs to feel desired by you.  He wants to be your sexual hero.  Your response to his kisses tells your man a lot.  When you press into the kiss with passion, he feels wanted and becomes a more confident man.  The bride in the Song of Songs understood this.  She made sure her groom knew how much she loved his kisses.  In Song of Songs 1:2 she says “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is more delightful than wine.”

So, this week I challenge you to kiss your husband deeply, as in more than one second!!  Press into the kiss with passion.  Not only will this be a blessing to him, but I bet you will reap some benefits as well.  As he revels in your love, he will likely be more attentive toward you. 🙂   In fact, you might want to intoxicate him with your love, as the Bible mentions in Proverbs 5:18-19.  A husband who is intoxicated with his wife does not stray!

3 ways to fall back in love

It’s so easy for a married couple to become more like roommates than lovers!  Once the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon fade away, the everyday stresses like finances, children, housework, etc. can start to suck that warm and fuzzy feeling right out of your marriage!  Well, here are 3 things that will help to rekindle that loving feeling:

1)  Start to do the things you used to do when you were dating.  In the Bible’s book of Revelation, the church in Ephesus received this rebuke, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”   That church needed to get back to doing the things that kept them in close fellowship with Christ, and we need to do the same things in our marriage.  Did you go to the movies?  Did you go out to dinner once a week? Did you go snowboarding in the winter or hiking in the summer?  Then, carve out some time to have that kind of fun with your husband now! 

2)  Kiss your husband with passion (like you used to)!  Seriously.  Give it a try and see if some sparks start to fly.

3)  List at least 7 good things about your husband.  Philippians 4:8 says “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.”     So, think of as many positive things about your husband as you can.  Write them down.  Look at that list every day.  As you do so, your heart will become warmer toward him.