This could make husband better

Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life!  Whether you realize it or not, every time you criticize your husband or correct your husband or point out flaws in your husband’s ideas, you are crushing his spirit.  Every time you crush his spirit, he ends up feeling like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying.  I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”.  When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat.  He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father.  He no longer even believes that’s possible,

On the other hand, ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father.  He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well.  A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!

Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.”  One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager!  Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures.  Choose to encourage him instead.  Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness!  You’ll both be happier!

3 things husbands want in communication

Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband?  Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication.  Here they are:

1)  Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need.  They don’t respond to hints.  They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind.  They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.

2)  Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short.  They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details.  Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds!  So get to the point quickly.  Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder.  It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.

3)  All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“.  This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor.  No eye-rolling!  It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him.  Oh, and one more thing.  It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when

How to avoid “crazy cycle” in marriage

In every marriage, there will certainly be times where you find yourself disappointed or frustrated with your husband.  The question isn’t…how can you and I avoid those challenging times?  The question is…how are we going to respond to the challenge?

I’ve met many wives who allow themselves to sink into self-pity or get all riled up with anger toward their husband.  Neither one of those responses is helpful!  In fact, a crazy cycle begins in the marriage.  The wife lets her husband know how disappointed she is in him…he feels like a failure so he either responds with mean words or withdraws…she gets even more disappointed…and the cycle continues!  Please allow me to suggest a couple of new ways to look at those times when your husband has frustrated or disappointed you:

Instead of focusing solely on what he’s doing wrong, choose to rejoice in what he’s doing right.  This is the essence of Philippians 4:8 “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.”  In other words, instead of developing a sour taste in your mouth by dwelling on his every fault, choose to look at your husband as a work in progress.  God doesn’t transform a person overnight (including you!).  So, choose to relish in the sweetness of every good thing your husband does and every good choice he makes.  For your soul, it will be like sipping on sweet lemonade instead of sucking on bitter lemons.

P.S.  You’ll look a lot more attractive to your husband when your mouth isn’t puckered up like you’ve been sucking on sour lemons!

P.S.S. If your husband is WAY out of bounds with his behavior and actually sinning against you, you may need to establish some firm boundaries, while at the same time choosing to remind yourself of his good qualities as well!

Does your marriage need this Rx?

All work and no play make Jack and Jill….grumpy.  Could this be the case for you and your husband?  Most American couples are way too busy.  We’re working exhausting hours outside the home to make more money.  We’re running the kids to 12 different activities so that they have a chance to “excel” in something.  We’re throwing dinner together while doing laundry and helping the kids with algebra homework.  We’re running on empty and then we wonder why we’re grumpy!  Duh!  We need to give ourselves permission for a mental time-out.

When is the last time you and your husband let the house chores wait and decided to watch a funny movie?  When is the last time you guys invited some adult friends over for “game night”?  You need to give yourself permission to play every once and awhile.  Your brain and your body need a rest.  You need to have fun and spend some time laughing.  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“.   Maybe your marriage needs a spoonful of this medicine…the medicine called fun and laughter.  It’s a great antidote for grumpiness.  🙂

The “power of one” in a marriage

Each weekday, I offer a devotional intended to help wives. Yet, I have a funny feeling that some of you might be questioning why I’m always urging wives to change their behavior, look for ways to bless their husbands, and be more selfless in their marriage.  I can almost hear you asking, “What about him? Am I the only one who’s supposed to work on this marriage?”

Well, here’s a news flash for all of us.  We can’t change our husbands!  Only God can change a man’s heart.  We can establish boundaries.  We can encourage our men and offer wise counsel to them, but at the end of the day, we can’t control them.  We can only control us!  However, by changing the way we interact with our men, we can dramatically and positively impact them.  It’s the amazing power of one person to make a difference!

So, let’s all commit to working on ourselves.  Let’s look for ways to encourage our men, help our men, respect our men, and serve our men.  If your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin against you or your kids, commit to respectfully and lovingly setting boundaries on that behavior.  As you continue doing this week after week and month after month, I bet you’ll see a change in your husband and an improvement in your relationship. 

Don’t give up. Don’t be pessimistic.  Press on.  Meditate on this wonderful promise found in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Marriage communication tip #1

You might recall the opening theme to the original Superman TV series.  The announcer proclaims that Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet”. Well, God has been showing me how a part of me is also faster than a speeding bullet….and can cause as much damage as a live round of ammunition.  That part of me is my mouth!

You may have the same challenge as me.  Do you often get impatient when your husband is trying to express himself and end up finishing his sentences? I do.  Do you interrupt your husband when he pauses mid-sentence?  I do.  Do you sometimes jump in and tell him how he should handle something as he’s trying to explain a challenging situation?  I do.  Do you get frustrated with him and react with harsh, disrespectful words that you can’t take back?  Hmmm. 

Let’s pray that God would give us the ability to be good listeners, patient talkers, and respectful communicators!  This is definitely God’s will for us, as revealed in James 1:19:  “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”   The first step is to coach ourselves at the beginning of conversations with our husbands.  Remind your soul…”I will honor the Lord and my husband by listening quietly and responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…(repeat as necessary!!).

How prayer can change your man!

Do you have a continuing issue with your husband?  Does he lack a certain desirable character quality?  Prayer can make all the difference!

I have seen persistent prayer accomplish what I cannot do on my own.  I don’t have any ability to change my husband’s heart.  I can set boundaries on certain behavior, but I can’t change his heart.  Only God can do that, and praise the Lord, he DOES do that!  In Ezekiel 36, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”   Awesome!

If you’re wondering where to start in terms of praying for a change in your husband’s heart, I would suggest inserting your husband’s name in 2 specific Bible verses as you pray.  I’ve been praying these 2 verses for quite some time now, and I’ve seen God slowly molding and shaping my husband’s heart.  Here are the verses, with your husband’s name inserted.  Psalm 51:10 “Create in _____________ a clean heart and renew a right spirit within _____________.”   Psalm 103:8  Mold ____________ to be like you…”compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love”.

Avoid this communication pitfall!

How many times have you muttered to yourself “He should just KNOW!”.  Most wives have muttered this time and time again.  I know I have, and just the other day, my husband and I were counseling a couple where this communication pitfall rose to the surface so clearly.  She needed her husband to romance her a little before physical intimacy and he had no clue!  She started getting resentful.  He most definitely felt her cold shoulder, but was oblivious to the problem!!

Expecting your husband to know what you want and need without clearly telling him…is a common communication pitfall.  Unfortunately, your husband doesn’t just “know” because he doesn’t think like a woman and most men have no idea what a woman wants or needs from her husband.  We can’t assume our husbands know what we want!

Avoiding this communication pitfall is so easy.  As a wife, clearly, concisely, and directly tell your husband what you want. Clearly tell him what you need.  Let him know the specifics as well!  Let me give a simple example.  Let’s say you have company coming over and the house is a mess.  Plus, you’re trying to make a dessert to serve.  So, you’re feeling stressed.  Meanwhile, your husband is oblivious to your inner turmoil. He’s contentedly watching ESPN.  In most cases, the wife would finally say “Hey, can you vacuum the house please?”.  To which the husband says, “sure” and continues watching ESPN.  At this point, the wife blows a gasket in frustration.  Here’s the thing.  She didn’t give him the details of what she was asking for.  Instead of simply asking, “Can you vacuum?”, she needed to say “Can you vacuum right now?”  She needed to clearly spell out what she was asking for and when.

Clear, honest communication is a gift to your husband!  It reminds me of Proverbs 24:26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

A wife’s need for talk & empathy

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.

Conquering negative self-talk

Don’t you sometimes wish you could silence the voices in your head?  You may hear the voice that runs you down and reminds you of your failures…or conversely, you may hear a voice that tells you your husband is a loser and you’re doomed to a life of misery.  Either kind of thought is from the pit of hell!

We MUST examine every thought rolling around in our heads and determine whether it’s true or whether it’s a twisting of the truth that’s inspired by Satan.  Remember, Satan’s mission is “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).  He wants to slowly crush you with the weight of his lies about your value, your future and your husband.

2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take every thought captive” and we really need to do that.  The next time a self-deprecating thought enters your mind, stop and ask God if this is really true.  (I bet it won’t be!)  The next time a hopeless thought enters your mind, ask God if it’s true. (I know it won’t be!).  The next time you have the thought that your husband is beyond redemption, ask God if that’s true.  (Absolutely not!).  It’s time we stopped believing every thought that pops into our minds!  We must intentionally pause and ask God whether that thought is true or from the devil. Here’s a simple, but hugely clarifying, question to ask yourself in that moment:  “Does this sound like something God would say?”