This choice could change your marriage

I wonder what would happen if we asked God to transform our character into His character and then we actually began striving to display His character in our marriages?  I bet you tons of marriages would begin to thrive!

God describes His own character in Psalm 103:8, where the Bible says “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”   Even just pressing into one of those 4 qualities could make a huge impact in your marriage.  What if we started displaying grace toward our men?  Grace simply means giving someone undeserved favor and loving kindness.

I’m not saying you should ignore destructive patterns of sin in your husband’s life.  However, I am recommending that we work to extend kindness to our husbands even when they’ve annoyed us or disappointed us in small ways.  In fact, what if you were to extend grace by choosing to believe that he didn’t mean to disappoint you?  What if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt?  Extending that kind of grace could change your whole attitude toward your husband…and could draw his heart toward you!

Perhaps, we could sum it up this way. The appreciated wife leaves a fragrance, not an odor!

How teamwork can help your marriage

I was reflecting recently about how many affairs happen between people who work closely together.  The boss has an affair with his long-time female assistant.  The female newscaster has an affair with the male newscaster who works in the same studio every day.  The pastor has an affair with his long-time secretary.  I realized something profound.  These people ended up having an affair because a super strong emotional bond was created as they worked together as a team over many years.

There is great bonding power when a man and woman work side by side as a team toward a common goal.  As they fight together through challenges and adversity, they bond.  As they work side-by-side over many years, they develop a history of shared experiences and memories that only they know about…and that creates a special bond.  The power of team is highlighted in the well-known verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 4:  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Thought for you:  How can you take this knowledge of the “power of team” and use it to foster an even deeper bond between you and your husband?  Can you intentionally begin working together on some common projects or goals?  Think about it…because the “power of team” can create a super strong glue for your marriage.

Using words to impact your husband

Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”.  Oh my.  Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!

It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact.  The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.

What kind of words are you speaking to your husband?  Are you his biggest cheerleader?  Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis?  He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him.  By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you.  However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful.  You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.

Is your husband better than you thought?!

I was convicted the other day when I heard my husband tell some other men that he sometimes does things for me that he doesn’t feel like doing…just because he knows I will appreciate it.  This was news to me!  I hadn’t thought about it that way.  I thought he WANTED to do those things!  For instance, my husband gives my feet a little massage every night before I go to sleep.  I thought he enjoyed doing that!  He also runs a lot of the errands that need to be done for us.  I thought he liked to run errands!  He also makes sure there’s always a fresh toilet paper roll waiting for me in the bathroom just in case the current one runs out.  Nice! 

Here’s the thing.  We often take for granted our husbands.  Could it be that your husband is doing things he doesn’t really want to do just to please you?  Could he be acting selflessly and you just didn’t realize it?  Is he more noble than you thought?  Hmmm.  Could your husband be doing kind things for you that you didn’t even realize were a sacrifice for him? For instance….if he comes home from work exhausted and yet takes time to play with the kids or help you with some chores, that’s something to truly appreciate! Think about it and ask God to show you ways that your husband may be more noble than you thought.

Bottom line:  Maybe your husband is really doing a pretty good job fulfilling God’s command to husbands in Ephesians 5:25 where he tells men to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.   The question is: How are YOU doing in fulfilling God’s command to wives in Ephesians 5:33 where he tells women “the wife must respect her husband”?

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Top 10 Bible verses for wives!

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ellen Degeneres or Kim Kardashian. He created us, so he probably knows how to make relationships work!  He has provided profound relationship principles in the Bible…and when wives apply these principles, amazing things happen!  Broken marriages begin to heal and mediocre marriages begin to thrive.  Here are my Top Ten Bible verses for wives, in no particular order.  As you read these verses, ask God to show you the principle he wants you to apply in your marriage:

1)  Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper suitable for him”

2)  1 Peter 3:4 tells wives to have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight”

3)  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

4)  Titus 2:4-5 “Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be self-controlled and pure”

5)  Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

6)  Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband”

7)  Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” 

8)  Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”

9)  1 Corinthians 7:2-3 “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

10)  Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Confront selfishness

Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are.  However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women.  In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life.  She may think things like this:  My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right?  My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore.  I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy!  And the thoughts go on and on. 

I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”.  Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them.  It is so counter-intuitive!  However, it is also so Biblical.  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does.  How could you bless him this week?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?”  Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first?  I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you.  Are you willing to give it a try?

How to improve your marriage quickly

So many women (like me) grow up thinking once they find their Prince Charming, they’ll get married, he’ll be perfect, and they’ll live happily ever after.  It’s as if we think we’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust or something and our marriages will thrive with no hard work on our part.  Not true!

We MUST intentionally work on our marriages.  When I start neglecting my husband, or when I fail to remember to press into the Bible instructions for wives….well, my relationship with my husband starts to get a bit more like we’re roommates who simply tolerate each other.  It happens so slowly that we often fail to notice the slow crumbling of a once-vibrant marriage.  Don’ let this happen to you!  Be intentional.  Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  So, be diligent in working on your marriage.  Wives who intentionally nurture their marriages have the most fulfilling and joy-filled marriages!  You can quickly and dramatically improve your marriage simply by being intentional each day in terms of nurturing it! In other words, actually pause for a moment and ask God how you can nurture your marriage today.

Here are just a few ideas on how to nurture your marriage. Ask God every morning how you can bless your husband this day, perhaps with a small act of kindness or a word of appreciation.  Ask God if there’s any small seed of resentment toward your husband that’s taking root in your heart.  If there is, ask God for wisdom in respectfully addressing this issue with your husband.  Carve out time for date nights or date lunches with your man every single week.  You may have to trade babysitting with another woman, but do whatever it takes to intentionally nurture your marriage.  Also, make sure you create opportunities to laugh together and have fun together. Those kind of moments are very bonding.

Great marriages don’t just happen.  They take effort….and it’s worth it!

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?

My gift to my husband in 2021

When’s the last time you said it?  You probably think I’m asking about the last time you told your husband “I love you”, but that’s not where I’m leading.  My question is this:  When is the last time you admitted to your husband that you were wrong?  We like to pretend as if we’re never “wrong”, but that’s not only prideful, it’s not true!

Think about it.  Have you been disrespectful toward your husband by rolling your eyes or by using cutting sarcasm?  Have you given him the look that basically says “you’re a jerk” or “you disgust me”?  Have you been stressed or frustrated about something unrelated to him and lashed out at your husband because he happened to be present?  (I did that just yesterday!  Ugh.)

If you want to be even more beautiful to your husband, be humble and admit when you are out of line or just plain wrong.  You might believe that confessing your wrongs will put you in a weak position in your marriage, but the opposite is true.  Proverbs 28:13 says “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”  Oh, and by the way, instead of simply saying “I’m sorry”, go a step further in humility by saying “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”