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.”
Our husbands need our 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 us, and one of the biggest ways we can help our husbands is by encouraging them with our words.
With that in mind, here are some words that your man longs to hear from you:
Our 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 some words you should never say to your man:
Some women bottle up their frustrations in marriage and in life in general. These women are uncomfortable working through conflict and try to ignore the problem, defaulting to a cold war or silent treatment. However, some women find themselves at the other extreme. When they get irritated or frustrated with their husband, they let him have it! They often speak critical, bitter words to their men, and those words cut their men deeply. The wound is especially deep because a man is wired to crave respect. That’s why the Bible instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband“.
So, what can you do if you’ve tried to stop spewing mean, harsh, bitter words, and your attempts seem to fail most of the time? Well, the Bible gives us a big clue on what you need to do. Luke 6:45 says “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” The cure for a quick temper or critical tongue is to pray for God to change your heart! Ask God to fill your heart with love and compassion and patience for your husband. Pray this daily.
P.S. In addition to praying for a heart of love, make sure you don’t have major unaddressed issues with your husband. If you hang onto resentment over unresolved conflict, that’s like covering a skillet of oil with a tight lid, setting it to simmer and then walking away expecting it to stay at a calm simmer. Without a vent, it will eventually explode, splattering the scalding oil everywhere! If you have unresolved conflict with your man, decide to respectfully and gently confront these issues so your simmering heart doesn’t explode through your mouth!
Good grief! Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again! In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem! How about you?
Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble. That’s because we have a common enemy. Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues! Jesus is stronger than the enemy. 1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Hallelujah!
So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today. I asked him to help me remember to pause before I speak to my husband, especially when I’m angry or frustrated! I asked God to remind me during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if I’m asking my husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain my frustration. I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words. Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”
Will you join me in praying for God to help us catch ourselves the minute we’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward our husbands?
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)
I’m learning lately that I can’t give away much of anything to anyone else, including my husband and my children, if I’m not filled up myself! So the question is: how do we get filled up? Well, certainly part of the answer is spending time reading God’s Word and asking Him to help us truly know His love for us. You might want to meditate on Ephesians 3:17-19 which says, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
However, I believe we also need to take time to fill up our senses with all that God has created for us to enjoy! I’ve noticed that when I literally take a few minutes to sit in the sun and gaze at the beauty of God’s creation, I get filled up. I’ve noticed that when I snuggle my granddaughter in my arms and read her a favorite story, I get filled up. I’ve noticed that when I sit in front of a crackling fire with a cup of tea, I get filled up, in a good way.
We all need to take time to enjoy what God has created. It’s not a guilty pleasure if it’s done in moderation, and as long as it’s not a sinful action according to the Bible. These things fill us up, and when we are filled up, we actually have energy and joy that we can give away to others. So, what fills you up? What brings you joy and a sigh of contentment?
I’m coming to believe more and more that we would all benefit from living a more natural lifestyle…as in the way God created things to be! Let me give two examples that might apply to you as a wife:
1) Did you know that most husbands, when surveyed, say they prefer their wives to wear less makeup? The clear majority of men say they actually like their women to wear either no make-up at all or just light make-up. In other words, they prefer a natural look…the appearance that God gave you in the first place!
2) If you’ve been battling your weight, did you know that going all-natural can greatly assist you in dropping those extra pounds? Let me tell you from personal experience, it’s true!! For over 6 years now, my husband and I have been eliminating all refined and processed foods from our diet, and wow! We are enjoying wonderful whole grain foods, cheeses, meats, fruits, veggies, etc. We have both lost a lot of weight and we feel great!
Maybe God knew best when he created us 🙂 Deuteronomy 32:4 says “He is the Rock, his works are perfect…” Maybe it’s time we got back to living the way God intended when he created us!
There is a particularly vicious cycle that can start in a relationship. It’s super common but also super subtle. Trust me. You don’t want to enter this cycle. The cycle goes like this:
My husband does something wrong, so I feel completely justified in my critical and disrespectful response. Or my husband does something that really annoys me so I feel totally justified doing that certain thing that I know really annoys him. In both cases, of course he responds with his own counter move, and the vicious cycle has begun. We give into the subtle, destructive temptation to “hurt him just like he hurt me”. We feel justified in our reactions, but we’ve just escalated the war. Unfortunately, in this war, there are no winners…just losers.
I know! Here’s an idea (yes, you noted some sarcasm there!). How about if we decide not to play the justification game anymore? How about if we, as our husbands’ helpers, decide to respond to our husbands with grace, love and respect, even when they annoy us? How about if we choose to stop trying to punish them every time they upset us? Romans 12:18-19 directs us to live this way…”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord”.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean we keep totally quiet all the time. You may need to establish boundaries on sinful behavior. However, even if you’re confronting your husband or establishing boundaries, you can do so with love, compassion, respect, and gentleness!