Avoiding the crazy cycle in your 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!

Overcoming Satan’s plot to destroy your marriage!

Let’s not be ignorant.  Satan is dead-set on destroying your marriage and killing your joy.  Jesus explains in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.  Furthermore, Jesus reveals in John 8:44 that one of Satan’s favorite schemes to destroy you entails lying to you.

He will try to plant lies in your mind such as this:  Your husband doesn’t love you. You deserve a different husband.  You will never be happy with your husband.  You better not challenge any sinful behavior by your husband because if you do, he will leave you and you won’t be able to take care of yourself.  Do any of these lies sound familiar?

Thankfully, Jesus also tells us the way to stand against the enemy’s plans to destroy us and our marriages.  It’s a four-part recipe.  First, ask God to reveal lies of the enemy that you’ve been buying!  When negative, critical, or fearful thoughts enter my head, I try to remember to pause and ask myself, “Does this sound like something God would say, or is this a lie of the enemy?”

The next 2 steps are found in Revelation 12:11 which says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.”  So, proclaim Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as sufficient to overcome the enemy’s plans!  Also, tell others about how God has answered your prayers or displayed his power in your life in the past.  This serves to remind both us and our listeners that Jesus’ power over the enemy is enough to defeat him!

Finally, Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19 that we get to take authority over the enemy in Jesus’ name!  Meditate on this verse which says “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  Do you need to start taking authority over the devil in your home?  One way to do that is by commanding all evil spirits to leave your home “in the name of Jesus” and then asking God to fill your home with the Holy Spirit and surround your home with His angels.

This specific thought will kill a marriage!

Caution.  Caution.  In fact, I urge you to envision yellow caution tape (like you see around a dangerous construction zone) every time this thought comes into your mind. The thought is “I deserve a different husband”.  That is a thought emanating straight from the pit of hell.

When Satan dangles that thought in front of your mind, he’s basically trying to entice you into believing that you have been ripped off and that you are entitled to trade in your man for a better model.  I should know.  I bought that lie from the enemy, hook, line, and sinker at the end of my first marriage.  You know who else fell for this kind of thinking?  Eve.  She fell for Satan’s lie that God was ripping her off by withholding fruit from one of the trees and he got her to believe she was entitled to more than God had given her.  That story didn’t end well either.

Not only is it a lie that you deserve a different husband…it’s also a delusion from Satan.  I can almost guarantee you that if you were to dump your husband and get a new one, he would have “issues” as well!  So don’t fall for Satan’s schemes and delusions.  Remember what the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14…”Satan masquerades as an angel of light”.

So, instead of buying the lie that you need to dump your inferior man and get a better model, how about if you do these three things instead?  1)  Look for the good qualities of your man and be thankful  2) Respectfully confront any sinful pattern of behavior on his part 3) pray daily for Jesus to mold and shape your husband into a godly man of integrity.

A simple way to develop “team” in your marriage

We all would like to feel more emotional intimacy and connection with our husbands, but often we end up drifting apart as the years of marriage pass by.  This is especially true when children come on the scene.  You get super busy and absorbed with the kids and your husband feels unimportant, unvalued, and un-needed.

However, there is one simple step you can take to begin changing that dynamic.  Start asking your husband for his opinion!  Ask him his thoughts on the right number of activities for the kids.  Ask him his thoughts on how to best arrange the living room furniture.  Ask his opinion on what is most important to him in terms of cleaning and tidying the house.  (You might be surprised that most men would prefer you focus on keeping the home tidy rather than clean).

By asking your husband for his opinion, you’re communicating that he matters.  You’re communicating that he is a needed and valued team member.  You’re communicating that he is respected by you!  He needs that respect.  He’s wired to crave your respect.  That’s why God gave a clear instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33.  It simply says “The wife must respect her husband.”  So, start respecting your husband by asking his opinion and truly considering his thoughts and desires.  You will find that he likes being around you more, and you will develop a powerful sense of “team” in your marriage.

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 touching of breasts, 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.”

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Husbands need this from their wife…

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story.  The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud.  In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.

Your husband and my husband are both like that little train. They face an uphill battle.  The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough.  Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys.  As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually.  They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families.  Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography.  But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men!  We can say, “I think you can”.  “I know you can”.  “I believe in you”.  “I’m behind you.”  Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us.  It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

We can help our husbands move from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by our words of encouragement.  Will you help your husband be the little engine that could?  I think you can.  I think you can.  I think you can.