Is this curse affecting you?

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)!

Healthy way to seek marriage advice

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? 

Why doesn’t my husband understand?

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.)

Help for a wife with past sexual abuse

Unfortunately, there’s a high likelihood that many wives reading this devotional have experienced past sexual abuse, either in childhood or due to a forced sexual situation as an adult woman.  I can relate to this myself.  I was sexually abused by several men over many years of my childhood.  As you probably know, this can cause real problems for you in terms of desiring to be sexually active with your husband.  Yet, it’s so vitally important to build a vibrant sex life with your husband.  What’s a wife to do?

Here are 5 things that have helped me along my journey:

1) Determine in your heart and mind that you will not let evil steal from you yet again.  Evil stole your innocence once before, but decide that you will not cooperate with Satan’s plan to steal the sex life from your marriage.

2) Coach your soul.  The psalmist David often talked to his soul and reminded his soul of truth.  We can do the same thing.  Remind your soul that your husband cares for you….that he will not hurt you…that you are not being forced…that you will actually enjoy loving touch from your husband….that you can relax in your husband’s arms.

3) Ask your husband if he will allow you to be the one who initiates sex.  That way, you will not feel like someone is suddenly forcing himself on you.  (However, you do need to initiate then!)

4) Ask your husband to progress slowly, giving you plenty of time to truly warm to his touch.  In other words, you might need extra time before transitioning from kissing to fondling, etc.  Also, ask him to stop for a moment if you say stop.  You need to know that, unlike your childhood experience where you had no control, this time you have control over your body.

5) Decide not to dwell on the past, but choose to focus on what is good and right and pure in your husband and in your marriage.  This is what Philippians 4:8 tells us:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Creating a strong bond

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.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

3 ways to stop negative thoughts in marriage

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

— view this topic as a 4 minute video below

Creating richer intimacy with your spouse

Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could stop spending energy trying to hide all our flaws, fears, and failures?  Most of us are in “hiding”.  We’re afraid that if anyone, including our husbands, were to discover our flaws, they wouldn’t love us anymore.  Satan has convinced us that we need to hide who we really are. He whispers into your ear that your husband will look at you with disgust if he were to discover the real you.  Satan tells you your husband might even leave you.

Satan is a liar.  I know from experience that the opposite is true!  When my husband revealed all of his flaws (and I mean ALL) on our first date, even though I was shocked by his transparency, I found it completely refreshing and heart-warming.  It made me feel like I could trust him to be honest in the future…that he wouldn’t hide stuff from me.  We gained a kind of deep intimacy on that first date that some couples never experience in decades of marriage!  How wise to live out Proverbs 28:13 in your marriage, which says “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

So, my challenge to you is to take a baby step forward in being “real” with your husband.  Tell him that you’d like to be able to share with him a deep fear or failure from your past.  Tell him that you need to be able to trust him to handle this revelation with tender care.  I believe you may discover a rich new level of intimacy with your man.  Also, by you going first, he may feel more comfortable revealing more of his true self to you in return!

Recognize & resist this scheme from the devil

You and I can’t afford to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes to destroy our marriages.  We must be on guard.  Just as 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, we must “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

Here is one of the most common schemes of the devil to take out Christian marriages:  getting one or both spouses isolated from other believers.  We must not be like an antelope that strays away from the rest of the herd out on the prairie.  Apart from the herd, that antelope is easy picking for that hungry mountain lion lurking in the high grass.  But this is exactly what many believers do.  We allow ourselves to get overly busy, so we drop out of the women’s Bible study.  Our husbands spend too many hours at work or in pursuit of hobbies, and slowly drop away from the men’s fellowship at church.  We drift away.  We no longer hear the encouragement and admonishment of other believers to stay the course.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing”   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.”  We MUST fight to remain in close fellowship with other believers.  I have seen too many marriages begin to crumble when one or both spouses drift away from regular weekly fellowship with believers of the same gender.  Are you staying connected with godly women every week?  Maybe it’s time to get back into a weekly Bible study meeting and/or the fellowship at Squadron of Sisters.

Does your guy have dry bones?

Recently, I asked my husband what one thing most husbands really wish their wife would understand.  Here is what he said.  Most men long for their wife to notice something good about them and to tell them what they see!  It could be a positive character quality he displays.  It could be the fact that he works hard to provide for the family.  It could be a talent he has.  It could be the way you notice him submitting himself to God.

According to my husband, men desperately need this validation because they feel like a failure much of the time.  In fact, my husband described men as being a bit like dry bones in a desert, in desperate need of water.  Your words can provide water for those dry bones and breathe life back into your man!  Proverbs 16:24 puts it this way, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Will you commit to finding something to affirm about your husband every day for the next 7 days?  Will you commit to actually telling him about the good you see?  He will soak up those words like a sponge, and it will bring life back into the dry bones of his spirit.

— view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Overcoming the fear of setting boundaries

Have you ever caved in when you should have set boundaries in a relationship because of the “what if” questions?  What if he leaves me?  What if he leaves me and I won’t be able to take care of myself?  What if he gets really upset if I confront him?  What if….?

When you find yourself paralyzed with fear because of the “what if” questions, it usually means one of three things.  Either you don’t really trust God when he says in Hebrews 13:5 that he will “never leave you nor forsake you”.  Or it means you have allowed the spirit of fear to dominate your thoughts.  Or it could mean that you have become your own worst enemy and convinced yourself you’ll never be able to set boundaries and stick to them.  In other words, you’ve pummeled yourself with negative self-talk!

You CAN overcome these paralyzing fears.  How about choosing to trust God’s promise to never leave your side (Hebrews 13:5)?  Maybe it’s time to command the spirit of fear to leave you, in the name of Jesus (2 Timothy 1:7).  Perhaps you need to stop telling yourself that you’ll fall to pieces if you respectfully draw a firm boundary. Coach your soul just like King David did throughout the Psalms.  Tell yourself you will not crumble.  Remind yourself you will not fall apart.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  With Jesus by your side, you have all you need.  You’re not doing this alone!