Improve marriage by fixing this

Have you and your husband been butting heads lately?  Can you sense resentment against him growing in your heart?  Does he seem frustrated with you?  Well, the good news is that you’re not alone.  This is pretty common in marriage.  The bad news is that if you don’t do something about this, it will likely ruin your marriage!

As my husband and I mentored couples over man years, we found a little tool to be really helpful.  We asked the husband and wife to sit down over a series of “dates” and discuss each other’s expectations in all sorts of areas; everything from the balance of responsibilities for chores to what Christmas celebrations should be like.   We all hold subconscious expectations in these areas, but we rarely intentionally reveal those expectations to our spouse.  Then we get frustrated and annoyed that they don’t meet our undisclosed expectations!

How about if you bless your spouse by initiating a series of dates to honestly discuss expectations.  Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips”.   By each of you being honest and open about your desires and hopes, you will grow more intimate and truly begin to understand each other.  Visit the “free resources” tab on our website (www.squadronofsisters.com) to print out a list of topics for your husband and you to discuss.

Marriage tips from your dog!

Have you ever noticed how a man loves his dog?  Maybe it’s partly because the dog is clearly devoted to his man and shows it by jumping around with giddy delight the moment his man walks in the door.  Maybe it’s because the dog is his loyal companion.  Maybe it’s because the dog seems to just accept his man, despite his flaws and isn’t bent on criticizing his every move. J   

I can’t help but think wives could learn something from a man’s dog. (Yes, I’m saying this a bit tongue in cheek, but maybe a bit seriously too!)  What if you, as a wife, rushed to the door and greeted your husband with love and excitement, just as a dog greets its owner when he comes in the door at the end of the work day?  What if you, as a wife, were as eager to please as a man’s dog?  What if you were as much a faithful companion to your husband as dogs are for their owners?  What if you, like a lap dog, made it a practice of snuggling up close, without talking?  The Bible actually has something to say about that.  In 1 Peter 3:1, God says that “husbands may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”  Hmmm. 

Now, don’t get all bent out of shape. I’m just using the dog analogy to make a point. I’m NOT saying you should expect nothing from your husband, and that you should “wag your tail” with excitement even when he’s treating you disrespectfully! However, the points I mentioned earlier are worth pondering, aren’t they? Maybe there truly are a few tips we can gain from “a man’s best friend”….

2 things husbands want you to know

My husband led a large men’s ministry called Band of Brothers For Christ for many years, and as a result, he got to talk to hundreds of husbands about their marriages.  One day, I asked my husband what 2 things he believes most husbands wish their wives understood about men.  Here’s what he said:

1) That he needs to be valued by you.  In other words, he wants to hear you appreciate the things he does for you and the family.  He needs to be needed.

2) That you would appreciate his efforts….efforts to grow spiritually and in character, and that you would be patient and encouraging during that process.  My husband said it takes time for a man to break free from all the temptations of the world and the lusts of his flesh, and that it’s super helpful if his wife acknowledges any forward progress he’s making, no matter how small.

After my husband explained this to me, it occurred to me that wives will automatically start filling these needs in our men when WE seek to follow God’s instructions on “how to love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

This is essential to flourish

Marriage is not one continuous fairy tale.  Your husband is not perfect, and neither are you.  Therefore, you will experience times of disappointment, frustration, and even heartbreak.  The question is…what will you do during those “valley” times in your marriage?  How will you rally yourself and stay in the game?  Where can you find the motivation to fight for your marriage?

One powerful key to battling all the way through those valley times is to receive encouragement from other godly wives.  You NEED encouragement!  You NEED fellowship with other Jesus-seeking women. 

The enemy is constantly whispering discouragement to you.  He wants you to leave your husband.  He wants to destroy your family.  In John 10:10, Jesus says the enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy“.  But we can counteract the enemy’s schemes by asking godly friends to speak truth to us.  Seek friendships with godly women who know the truth of God’s Word and who are encouragers.  Be an encourager in their lives as well. You might have to be the one to initiate this time together, but it’s worth it!  Ask a woman to coffee.  Ask another woman to be your prayer partner and make an appointment to pray weekly for each other over the phone or in person.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  You need encouragement to stay in the battle!  It’s worth it.  Jesus has a good plan for your marriage.  He has come that you “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

What he needs to feel loved

You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”.  It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love.  The love languages are:  words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.  Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment.  Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.

Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day.  When you do these small things, he feels loved by you.  So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him?  By purposely withholding what he needs to feel loved, could it be that we’re actually sinning?  Listen to what God says in James 4:17: “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  Oh my.

Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch.  Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store.  Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by.  Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen.  Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss.  Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV.  Run your fingers through his hair.  These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!