Our men are bombarded daily with temptations to lust. They drive down the freeway and there is a billboard featuring a sexy woman. They go to work and encounter a female co-worker showing too much cleavage. It seems like there is no safe place to avoid the temptation to lust!
However, your home could be one of those safe places, especially if you choose to avoid watching TV shows that feature scantily-clad women! Personally, I would love to watch Dancing With The Stars. I so enjoy watching a dancing novice grow into a fabulous dancer in just a few weeks. But I know that watching that show with my husband will likely cause a huge challenge for him regarding lust. So, I choose not to watch that program. The same thing is true for many other shows. We apply the same rule of thumb to the movies we watch. I check beforehand to see if a movie features sexual scenes or partial nudity. We don’t watch those movies.
Are you helping your husband avoid sexual temptation through your choices of media? 1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“. Are you allowing things into your home that could cause your husband to stumble? For instance, I called Victoria’s Secret many years ago and asked them to stop sending their catalog to our home. That magazine is soft porn to men and boys! Should you make similar changes at your home?
When you think of the curses placed on Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden apple, you probably think of Adam having to toil to bring food to the table and you likely think of Eve having to endure pain in childbirth. However, there is another curse placed on Eve that may have escaped your notice. It’s found in Genesis 3:16 where God says “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“. Oh my. This explains a lot!
Almost all women struggle with almost an insane desire to secure a man. In fact, I was observing my 2 year-old granddaughter yesterday. Even at that tender age, she gravitates to men and boys. She likes her female cousins, but oh boy, she practically worships her boy cousins. She wants to hug them. When my husband and I walk in the room, she might glance at me but she runs to my husband Raul. Hmmm.
My point is this. If we recognize this curse, we will be more able to deal with it. The curse may explain why it’s so difficult for most women to establish and enforce boundaries with their husbands when their men are sinning against them by using pornography, drinking excessively, gambling large sums of money, spending time with other women, etc. If we do indeed have a deep instinctive desire (curse) to desperately hang onto our guy, we believe we can’t do anything to threaten our grip! This explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Knowledge is the beginning of understanding. Ask Jesus to give you clarity about how your thoughts and actions are being affected by the curse. Then ask Him to give you courage and strength to make wise decisions. Tip: When you stop making a man the most important thing in your life and make Jesus your main relationship, then you will have the courage and confidence to set wise boundaries in your marriage (or dating relationships)!
If you’re going through some challenges with your husband right now, it’s really wise to seek godly counsel from another woman. Often another woman can see the situation more objectively. A godly woman can encourage you to persevere through challenges instead of giving up. Sometimes, another woman can help you see the need to set wise boundaries on unacceptable behavior. It’s also really wise to reach out to a few godly women who you know will pray for you and your husband.
However, there’s a fine line between seeking godly support and husband-bashing! Sometimes, we go beyond seeking advice and prayer support and we start gossiping and whining about our husbands. That’s not constructive and it’s very disrespectful to your husband. Let’s keep in mind God’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33…”The wife must respect her husband“.
So check your heart before you pick up that phone to whine to a friend. Check your motives before you start complaining about your husband to another woman. Are you telling dishonoring stories about him in great detail and listing all of his faults…or are you actually looking for guidance and prayer support? Pay attention to the words you’re texting or speaking. Are they disrespectful or honoring to your husband?
Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly? Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do? Well, here’s a news bulletin. He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman! In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.” Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!
Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed. But you do. Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job. You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!
I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you. He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships. Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week. You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations. (Just one caution though. Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)
One way to bond with your husband (and your children) is to share fun, wacky, or unique times together. When we laugh together, we bond. When we share a silly or wacky moment together with others, then we bond. When we share a unique adventure or event, we bond. Sharing those fun moments brings a smile to our face….and that smile is very healing for relationships! In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
To obtain this good “medicine” for your marriage and your family, you need to be intentional. Get out your calendar and make a note at least every other month to plan a special, wacky, or unique event! Let me give you some examples of things our family has done together.
We have all dressed up in our PJs and gone to Dairy Queen for ice cream. We have hosted costume theme parties where the entire family gets dressed up and comes together for dinner. We have had dinner with a “lights out” theme, where we could use no appliances for cooking and we had to eat by candlelight. We did a caveman dinner where all the food had to be eaten without utensils, even pork ‘n beans!! Be creative. Be silly. Laugh. You will bond and create warm memories.
If you and your husband are followers of Jesus, then you are both being sculpted. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God is molding and shaping us each and every day.
God uses many tools to shape us. He sometimes allows us to make foolish decisions and then experience the natural consequences of those decisions. Hopefully, we learn something valuable from those painful lessons! But when it comes to your husband, God has another powerful tool in his tool belt…you! As a wife, you have the unique ability to encourage your man. You can choose to be the voice that points out his good qualities. When you do that, most husbands seem to grow 2 inches taller. Your words of encouragement often become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for your man. As you affirm his good character qualities, talents, and spiritual gifts, he feels emboldened to step into those things with more confidence and vigor.
God may even want to use you as a tool to lovingly but firmly confront your husband if he is entrenched in a pattern of sin. You know your husband better than anyone else, so you’re the one who will likely notice if he is caught in a sinful pattern. Pray and ask God if he wants you to have a loving conversation with your husband about that sin pattern. Does God want you to request your husband see a counselor, attend a 12-step group, meet with the pastor, join a men’s ministry? Does the Lord want you to draw a firm boundary with your husband, thereby putting pressure on him to do whatever it takes to get free from this sin? (Read Matthew 18:15-17 for more guidance on this)
Will you be a tool in God’s tool belt? Pray and ask the Lord to show you if and how he wants you to be a tool!
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story. The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud. In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.
Your husband and my husband are both like that little train. They face an uphill battle. The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough. Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys. As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually. They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families. Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography. But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men! We can say, “I think you can”. “I know you can”. “I believe in you”. “I’m praying for you.” “God’s going to give you the strength”. Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us. It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
We can help our husbands move from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by our words of encouragement. Will you help your husband be the little engine that could? I think you can. I think you can. I think you can.
Good grief! Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again! In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem! How about you?
Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble. That’s because we have a common enemy. Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues! Jesus is stronger than the enemy. 1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Hallelujah!
So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today. I asked him to help me remember to pause before I speak to my husband, especially when I’m angry or frustrated! I asked God to remind me during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if I’m asking my husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain my frustration. I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words. Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
Will you join me in praying for God to help us catch ourselves the minute we’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward our husbands?
Most women love words. We love to talk. We love to communicate. Thus, for most women, praying to God comes fairly easily. After all, prayer is communication.
On the other hand, most men don’t enjoy talking as much as women, and many men find it challenging to express their deepest thoughts and feelings. As a result, when a husband hears his wife praying an articulate, expressive, lengthy prayer…he can end up feeling intimidated. The wife doesn’t mean to intimidate her husband spiritually, but she ends up doing just that!
If this could be the case for your man, seriously consider shortening up your prayers and using simple words. Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT saying your husband is stupid. I’m simply saying that women need to be careful that we’re not “showing off” our vocabulary as we pray! This reminds me of something Jesus said in Luke 20:47. He had harsh words for people who “for show make lengthy prayers”. So, let’s be super humble and pray concise, simple, heart-felt prayers. You may find that your man is more eager to pray with you in the future.
After many years of listening to couples in distress, I’ve learned something really interesting. There often seems to be a tendency for one or both spouses to make negative assumptions about the motivations of their mate or to jump to the most negative conclusions during communication!
I believe both these tendencies are instigated by the devil who would like nothing more than to get you to think negative, unflattering thoughts about your husband. The devil WANTS you to jump to the most negative conclusions about your husband. The devil WANTS you to misunderstand what your husband is saying so that you will be hurt, frustrated and anxious.
The first step in fighting against this tendency is to realize what the enemy is up to! We must be alert to his tactics. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Applying this verse in our marital communication means that we continually check ourselves to see if we’ve started jumping to negative conclusions and assigning negative motives to our spouse.
Secondly, if we notice that we are reaching a negative assumption during communication, we ask for clarification from our spouse! We don’t just start internally grumbling inside about what a jerk our husband is. We don’t verbally attack them for being a horrible person. We actually pause and ask them to clarify what they meant when they said ___________. Sometimes it’s not even the words that were said but the facial expression or tone of voice. Again, ask for clarification. You might say something like, “When you said that, I felt like you were letting me know that I’m not a good mother. Is that what you meant to say?”
Thirdly, we must start training our minds to assume the most gracious motivations of our spouse instead of the worst! It’s so easy to jump to negative motivations though, isn’t it? Your husband forgets to do a task you asked him to do, and you mumble “He doesn’t care about anyone but himself”. Your husband struggles with pornography, and you mumble “He’s a disgusting person who would instantly stop looking at porn if he really loved me”. However, both these events could be framed in our minds completely differently! When he forgot to do the task, you could say to yourself “I know he didn’t intend to forget. I bet he got busy.” When you caught him looking at porn, you could say to yourself “I know he doesn’t intend to hurt me. He probably has an actual addiction and needs help.”
Let’s be proactive in examining our thoughts ladies! 2 Corinthians 10:5 take every thought captive to obey Christ