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”….

10 words your guy needs to hear

Many powerful and influential male leaders have attributed much of the reason for their success to their wives.  Billy Graham is one of those leaders.  When his wife died in 2007, he told reporters “My work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.” 

Your husband needs your encouragement and esteem in order to have the boldness and confidence to accomplish great things.  In Genesis 2:18, God makes it clear that women were created because men need help.  God said “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  That helper is you, and one of the biggest ways you can help your husband is by encouraging him with your words. 

With that in mind, here are 10 words/phrases that your man longs to hear from you:

  1. I need you
  2. Thank you for taking such good care of me
  3. I’m so proud to be your wife
  4. You have a good heart
  5. I believe in you
  6. You’re so strong
  7. I know you can do it
  8. You’re a good provider
  9. I trust you
  10. You’re a good man

12 words a wife shouldn’t say!

Husbands battle the world every day at their jobs.  Co-workers stab them in the back.  Other men put them down in order to look more important.  The culture tells your man he is a failure if he doesn’t own a Mercedes and he can’t dunk like LeBron James.

So when your man comes home to you, the last thing he needs is to feel like a failure in your eyes too.  However, our words often unintentionally communicate just that!  Perhaps this is why God felt it necessary to actually instruct wives in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife must respect her husband”. 

Even if your husband has disappointed you, you can still be respectful as you address his behavior, request changes, and establish boundaries.  However, if you condemn him and belittle him in that moment of disappointment, you shred his heart.  As a result, he will likely turn his heart away from you, self-medicate his pain in destructive ways, or simply stop trying to be a good man since you don’t see anything good in him anyway!

With the need to respect your husband in mind, here are 12 words you should never say to your man:

  1. You always….(insert complaint)
  2. You never… (insert complaint)
  3. Why don’t you ever…?
  4. I don’t respect you
  5. I feel like your mother
  6. If people only knew what you are really like
  7. You don’t make enough money
  8. How many times do I have to tell you…?
  9. That’s not the right way to do it
  10. I don’t need you
  11. I’ll never be able to trust you
  12. You’re a jerk

How to become a confident wife

Do you lack confidence in handling disrespectful or sinful behavior by your husband (or boyfriend)?  If so, there are some common reasons.  Perhaps you avoid conflict because you grew up in a home filled with rage and verbal abuse.  Maybe you’re so insecure about your own worth that you can’t stand up for yourself if your husband is treating your poorly.  However, you need to recognize this truth.  If you remain insecure and scared of confrontation, it’s likely nothing will ever change in your marriage.  You’ll keep getting what you’re getting right now.

There is a solution.  First, ask God to give you courage to confront any sinful behavior in your marriage.  He will be glad to answer that prayer! Throughout the Bible, God continually tells his people to be strong and courageous.  In fact in Joshua 1:9, God says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Helpful hint:  When I need courage, I ask God’s Holy Spirit to be the one who actually does the confrontation.  I ask Him to simply use me as his mouthpiece.

If insecurity is the issue for you, then ask God to reveal your true worth and identity in His eyes.  Meditating on what God says in Zephaniah 3:17 is a good place to start.  He says, “The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”  In addition, take a moment to close your eyes and ask God to speak one word into your mind about how He views you.  You will likely be amazed at the loving, encouraging word He has for you.  You may hear the word “beautiful” or “chosen” or “adorable” or “strong”….

Staying attractive to husband

Here are three things I learned over my years of marriage to Raul about becoming a beautiful wife in the eyes of my husband, regardless of the aging process.

1)  Put effort into looking your best for your husband, just like you did when you were dating him!  There are many healthy decisions you must choose to make on a daily basis so that you can look your best.  For instance, build into your schedule a 30 minute walking or bike-riding time perhaps 4 days a week.  Even if you have young children, there is a way to make this work. Put the kids in a stroller or have them ride their bike with you.

2) Shed insecurity and choose to have a confident attitude about your appearance and value.  My husband told me several times that a woman’s confidence is VERY attractive to men.  Flirt with your husband.  Give him some playful, sexy, sass!  He will find that quite attractive, whether or not you have a poofy abdomen following childbirth or wrinkles on your face!

3) Embrace 1 Peter 3:4 which tells wives their beauty comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit”.  When I asked my husband what this verse means, he said it means that a wife is FOR her husband and not fighting him every step of the way.  It means she interacts with her husband in a peaceful way and treats her husband with respect, even if she needs to confront him about a problem behavior.

Every wife wants to remain beautiful to her husband.  So, ask God to grow you in self-control, confidence, peacefulness, and respect for your man.

Take authority against the devil

We have an enemy.  1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and sober-minded. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  The devil and his demons are looking for ways to destroy your marriage, destroy you, destroy your husband and destroy your children.  However, there is good news if you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior!  In 1 John 4:4, God says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”   We just need to take authority against the enemy.  So often, we forget to do that!

Ladies, we have a critical role to play in spiritual warfare.  One of the first things we need to do is be alert to those moments when the devil is goading us to be critical, rude, grouchy or disrespectful to others.  Don’t take the bait!!  Realize the enemy wants to destroy your relationships!  In those moments, I picture the devil is sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear all his vile temptations for me to give in to my temper or toxic resentment.  Then I literally take my hand and (pretend) knock him off my shoulder with a loud shout of “BAM”!! 

If you’re married, a second thing you need to do is to pray EVERY DAY for God to protect your husband, to purify your husband’s heart, to give your husband boldness to take a stand for the Lord.   You also need to take a stand against the enemy….every day.  Jesus makes it clear that we do get to take authority in the invisible, spiritual realm.  Jesus tells his followers in Luke 10:19, “I give you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”   So, in Jesus’ name, command all evil spirits to leave your husband, your children, your home, and yourself.  Then, ask God to fill you and your loved ones each day with His Holy Spirit.  

Let’s all agree to take bold authority against the enemy, and let’s commit to doing this on a daily basis.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

One of the top needs of husbands

Did you know you can enhance the relationship with your husband by allowing a gap for him to fill?   It’s true.  So often, women zoom in to fill all voids in leadership, responsibility, or tasks.  There’s something that needs to be handled, and you might even ask your husband to do it, but if he doesn’t jump off his chair and do it in the next 2 seconds, you do it yourself!  In a nutshell, you subtly communicate that you don’t really need him.  But your man wants to be needed by you. That’s one of the top needs of your husband! He wants to be your hero.  He wants to be your knight in shining armor. 

Your man is wired to crave your admiration and respect.  That’s likely why God tells wives in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must respect her husband“.  One of the ways your husband will feel respected is when you demonstrate that you value and need his abilities, strength, and character.

Start thinking of ways you can let your man know that you need him.  Do you have a bad headache?  Ask him to pray for you.  Do you have a heavy box that needs to be moved?  Ask him if he can lift it for you.  Let him know he is needed.  He will feel better about himself as he senses that you truly value him and need his strength, abilities, and character.

Do 4 things when he disappoints you

Every wife is going to have moments (or weeks or months!) that she’s disappointed with her husband.  No man is perfect, and your husband is bound to frustrate you, annoy you, or fail to meet your expectations from time to time.  The question is:  How can you keep from being seriously discouraged or resentful during those times?  I have found 4 things to be really helpful:

1) Clearly communicate your expectations and desires!  Men are not mind-readers, yet often wives expect their husbands to “just know”!  So, think about the areas in which you’ve been frustrated or disappointed. Then calmly and clearly tell your husband what you desire or need, as well as how much you’d appreciate him making an effort to meet those needs and desires.

2) Be grateful for what he does right!  Isn’t it strange how most wives tend to gravitate to focusing on what their husband is doing wrong, but barely give a second thought to what he’s doing right?!  Stop right now and ask God to help you see the many good things about your husband and the positive things he does.  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 thing.”

3) If your husband is actually sinning against you, it’s time to stop wringing your hands and it may be time to take action!  In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to confront the person who sins against us, and to even get others involved if necessary.

4) Pray, and never give up!  Prayer truly can move mountains, and Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1 that we “should always pray and not give up“.  So go to battle in prayer, and ask God to reveal His love to your husband and to mold and shape your husband’s heart.

How your mood affects him

I realized the most interesting thing one day several years ago in my marriage!  I was having one of those super frustrating days, where everything seems to be going wrong.  It was the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall!  Am I the only one who has ever felt that way?  🙂

Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day.  Then something strange happened.  He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration.  It really bothered him that I was upset. My bad mood became contagious!!  He could not be at peace because I was not at peace. It reminded me that our husbands really do want their wives to be content and at peace.  In fact, 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.   Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances?  The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us!  Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

So, I began refusing to allow the frustrating moments of life to sour my mood.  I began laughing off Satan’s attempts to goad me into being irritable and sharp with everyone around me.  I pivoted to God in those challenging moments and asked Him to strengthen me, equip me, and give me His peace.  Interestingly, when I started choosing to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only did I become peaceful and content, but I enjoyed the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

How to keep him thinking of you!

Yes, there are a lot of temptations facing your husband every day.  He will likely see beautiful women, either at work, at the espresso stand, or at the sandwich shop on any given day.  If you have cable TV, Hulu, or Netflix, he will certainly view gorgeous women there.  There’s just no getting around it.  But there’s one thing he won’t regularly encounter with those women.  They’re not waiting at home for him with a passionate kiss at the end of his exhausting day!

The way to ensure your husband is thinking about you during his day is to take a moment before he leaves for work and whisper into his ear some of the “plans” you have for him that evening!  The bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs models this for us!   Here is just one excerpt of the arousing words she spoke to her groom in anticipation of them coming together intimately… “Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (Song of Songs 4:10) 

So, what erotic thing could you whisper to your husband as he heads off to work?  You might say something like this:  “I’m getting a sitter for the kids tonight and I’ll be waiting for you in the kitchen, wearing an apron and nothing else.”  Be creative.  Of course, you can’t do this every day.  However, if you do it every few weeks, he’ll be dreaming of the next time you have a pleasant surprise waiting for him.  He will be thinking of you!