If you’re a wife and a mom….life can get pretty busy! If you’re a wife and mom and you work outside the home, well then life can be pretty chaotic and crazy!!
Sometimes in that busyness, we can get so caught up in chores and children that we unintentionally ignore our husbands! So, here’s something I’m trying to remember to do. When my husband enters the house after work, I’m trying to remember to actually pivot toward him and make eye contact. I even try to throw in a smile as an extra bonus! Sometimes, I even take the 3 extra seconds to run over and give him a little kiss. J
I know this isn’t rocket science, but we often are so intent on our children or cooking or cleaning, that we don’t even glance our husband’s way. That leaves him feeling unimportant and disrespected. Remember, respect is a really big deal to men. That’s why God instructs us in Ephesians 5:33, “The wife must respect her husband.”
So, give it a try. Make eye contact with your husband when he comes home from work, and actually any time he enters a room you’re in. Smile. Make him feel happy to be in the same room you. You will draw his heart to you and strengthen the bond between you. J
Does your mouth often cause trouble between you and your husband (or between you and other people)? If you’re one of many women who end up “venting” on their husband or saying harsh words you later regret, God’s Word gives us 3 clues on how we can respond appropriately when we start to feel our anger rising.
1) Pause. Just stop. Leave the room for a moment if you need to. Don’t react in the moment because your gut-level reaction will almost always cause trouble! James 1:19 puts it this way, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” So pause before you react verbally.
2) During the pause, consult the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how to love and respect your husband with your response. Would your husband be positively impacted by a gentle and encouraging word from you? Would your husband be more willing to make changes that you’re requesting if you showed him respect by asking him to help you understand his perspective? Philippians 2:4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
3) When you’re ready to address the issue with your husband, say a silent prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one speaking to your husband by using your mouth. Trust me. The Holy Spirit will come up with much better words than you ever could, and will utter those words in a much more respectful way! When speaking to his disciples, Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
The perfect gift for your husband…whether it’s Christmas, father’s day, his birthday or your anniversary….is super inexpensive. Give him the gift of respect! The Bible makes it clear that a wife is to respect her husband. This instruction is found in Ephesians 5:33 which simply says “the wife must respect her husband”, and most wives know that a man craves his wife’s respect. However, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to communicate that respect. It’s especially difficult if your husband isn’t perfect! We naturally gravitate to focusing on what’s wrong with our men as opposed to what’s right.
I’m not saying we should ignore a husband’s blatant sin or destructive patterns. We definitely need to pray about confronting disrespectful, destructive, or immoral patterns of behavior. However, we can’t ONLY focus on his areas of weakness. Our men need to know that we believe in them. They need to know that we notice their strengths too!
A simple way to communicate respect is to voice appreciation for the big and small things your husband does for you and your family. Does he go to work each day? Tell him how much you appreciate his hard work. Does he set aside some time each day to play with the kids? Let him know how much you appreciate that. Does he refrain from stopping at the bar on the way home from work? Tell him how much you appreciate that he comes straight home to his family. A great gift you can give to your husband is your daily appreciation for all he does. It’s a sign of respect.
Have you ever noticed a blank look on your husband’s face when you suddenly bring up a heavy topic, voice a frustration, or ask him to change a behavior? Or does your husband seem to get defensive very quickly in those moments? I’m discovering that the reason for the blank look or the immediate defensiveness is because a man thinks differently than a woman!
Women process thoughts, ideas and feelings at lightning speed. We are ready to engage in a deep conversation at the drop of a hat. We can verbalize how we feel instantaneously! Men, on the other hand, need time to process their thoughts and feelings. So…..when we suddenly bring up a deep topic, or state how we feel, or ask them to make a change in behavior, or heaven forbid, ask them how they feel, our men become like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”! Often they default to the blank look on the face or they become defensive because they feel pressured to do or say something, and they haven’t yet had a chance to think things through.
Here’s what I’m trying to learn to do. I need to bring up a concern or state my feelings on an issue and then let my husband have some breathing room to process it. I need to say “let’s talk more about this later after you’ve had a chance to think about it.” Most men need some space to process their thoughts and feelings. Maybe this is a good opportunity for us to practice patience! Ponder these two Proverbs. Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience…” Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is patient has great understanding….”
— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE
Many women struggle with following the leadership of their husbands because their men seem to be controlling, manipulative, or inconsiderate. When is it proper to submit to such “leadership” and when is it appropriate to respectfully draw a boundary?
Well, according to the Bible, a godly husband will love his wife in a selfless way (Ephesians 5:25) and will treat his wife with consideration and respect (1 Peter 3:7). These verses give us a pretty clear picture of what a godly husband looks like. As a result, it seems pretty clear that a controlling husband, one who bullies or intimidates his wife and children, is NOT behaving in the way that God intended.
I believe a wife can respectfully confront a husband who is trying to control, intimidate, bully, or manipulate her. She may need to lovingly, but firmly, establish boundaries on what she will tolerate. This might mean simply walking away when he begins to start bullying or controlling. If he continues to follow you, it could mean even leaving the home for awhile. I would add that it would be very wise to consult with other godly women, a pastor, or a counselor before moving forward in establishing boundaries. It’s always best to make sure that you are evaluating the situation clearly.
I went out to dinner with a couple girlfriends recently, and it was….ahhh…refreshing! We talked and laughed and talked some more. Words were flying around faster than a cheetah on steroids. Even though I love talking with my husband, it was so delightful to have an extended chat with some females for a change, and thus, I’ve decided to become more intentional about scheduling get-togethers with other women.
How about you? Do you have at least 2 deep friendships with other God-believing women? Do you have at least 2 women in your life who encourage you or make you laugh? We NEED each other! My husband cannot possibly meet all my relational needs. Men aren’t wired the same as women. In case you haven’t noticed. Most women need to talk about all the things happening in their lives, and we need listeners who will empathize with us! Most men are not wired to listen to a lengthy discussion and they generally aren’t wired to express a lot of empathy either. But a good female friend can fill that void for you, and you can do the same for her. We need another woman to speak sweet words of empathy and encouragement in a way that most men just don’t understand. Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
So, be intentional about making some solid female friendships. Invite a woman from church or work to coffee. Be a good listener yourself. Ask her to tell you about herself, her children, her challenges, her successes, her spiritual gifts, her hobbies. Be a good listener. You’ll be on your way to developing a good friendship.
I don’t claim to be the authority on the Bible’s instruction for wives to submit to their husbands, but after spending considerable time studying God’s Word, here’s what I have come to believe on this controversial subject. God definitely plans for all of us to live under authority. I would imagine He knows this prevents chaos from breaking loose! So, in a family unit, God has placed the man as the authority, and the wife and children are under his authority. If we used a business analogy, it’s rather like your husband is the general manager who must make the major decisions on the policy and ground rules for how the business will operate.
So what does this look like for a wife? This means choosing to treat your husband respectfully and allowing your husband to lead you and your family. Instead of you jumping into to take over leadership, and instead of you deciding how everything should go, you allow your husband to lead. However, just as in a business, a wise husband will value the input and sage counsel of the wife who is usually more intimately involved with handling family matters each day.
Now, where “submitting” to your husband can go haywire is when the husband veers off course morally or Biblically. When the husband starts leading the family (or requesting the family) to engage or support wrong behavior, then the wife need not submit to such decisions. Her first allegiance is to God and His commands. God is the ultimate authority. I believe that is why the Bible includes a “qualifier” in one of the instructions for the wife to submit to her husband. It is found in Colossians 3:18, which says “the wife must submit to her husband, as is fitting in the Lord“. If your husband is asking you to do something that is not “fitting in the Lord”, I don’t believe you must submit to such leadership. I believe a wife can respectfully draw the line. In addition, it’s my belief, from studying all of God’s Word, that “submission” does not mean the wife must be a doormat who tolerates disrespectful or even abusive behavior by her husband. Such behavior by the husband is not “fitting in the Lord” either. Submission is not being a doormat.