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!
Having a rough time in your marriage? Do you wish you’d never married your husband? Our society makes it very easy to throw in the towel and divorce. Divorce might seem very tempting, but let me tell you from personal experience; it’s really hard on your children. Actually, it’s devastating for them. Yes, God can heal them over time, but your children will always carry a deep emotional scar. Whoever started the rumor that kids can bounce back from divorce was lying!
I’m not saying that a woman should never divorce her husband. The Bible certainly gives a clear allowance for divorce in Matthew 19:9 where Jesus says “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Jesus clearly states that when a spouse has cheated on you sexually, divorce is permissible. After many years of studying the Bible, I also believe God permits a woman to divorce her husband when he grossly sins against his wife through continuing physical or emotional abuse. After all, God instructs us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life“. After years of severe emotional or physical abuse, a woman can become a mere shell of a human being. I don’t believe that is God’s will for anyone. Throughout the Bible, we see that God is more concerned with mercy than merely following rules.
All this being said, please do everything you can to fight for your marriage. Don’t give up easily. Don’t let bitterness grow. Work to resolve issues before your heart grows so cold that you don’t feel like working to save your marriage. You may possibly need to separate from your husband in order to bring his attention to the seriousness of the problem, but your goal should be reconciliation and restoration of your marriage. Find a good counselor. Get a mentor couple. Read the Bible. Pray continually. Don’t give up on your marriage too easily. If for no other reason, fight for your marriage on behalf of your children.
Are you having one of those weeks or months? Has your husband broken your heart? Are you an emotional wreck over a situation with one of your children? Don’t try to carry that burden alone! It’s too heavy.
Even though it would be so helpful to reach out to some godly female friends, many of us tend to isolate during really hard times instead. Unfortunately, that only makes it easier for Satan to beat you down. With no other voices speaking hope into your life, he has free realm to whisper one lie right after another.
Jesus describes Satan this way in John 8:44: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The lies may sound like this: No one really loves you. Your life sucks and there’s no hope. You should have never married your husband. God doesn’t really care about you. You’re a failure as a mom compared to all the other moms. There is no way in the world to recover from your financial mess. God could never change your husband’s heart. Blah, blah, blah.
One of the keys to drowning out the voice of the enemy is to listen to other voices! Spend time reading God’s Word. Also, spend time with godly women who can speak truth, wisdom, and hope into your life. If you don’t know any women like that, then it’s time to start building new friendships. I know you might be scared to tell another woman what’s really going on in your marriage and family. However, you might be surprised to find that other women will start opening up to you and sharing their own challenges as you begin sharing yours. Just keep in mind that the point is to encourage each other and pray for each other…not to trash talk your husbands!
Can a Christian woman be too helpful? Can she be too nice? I believe the answer is yes. When we are so “nice” that we enable our husband or adult children to act irresponsibly or to stay immature, we are being too nice. And many of us fit this description. We are too helpful. We are codependent. We train our loved ones to be dependent on us, instead of God. We train them to rely on us to do things for them that they should really do themselves as responsible adults. Often, we also train them to expect us to bail them out of the natural consequences of their foolish or sinful decisions.
Why are many women codependent? We become codependent when we subconsciously depend on others to meet a deep emotional need of our own, such as feeling loved, secure, or important. Instead of looking to the Lord for love, security and significance, we exhaust ourselves trying to get people to meet those needs. Then, because we pin all our hopes on these people, we MUST cater to them in order to keep them in the relationship with us. We fear that our “source” of love and security will leave us or withdraw their love if we don’t cater to them. We start walking on eggshells. We bend over backwards to keep them happy because we fear losing them. However, the Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be loving and kind. Of course, we should. However, we go too far when our “kindness” enables immature and irresponsible and even sinful behavior in others. We go too far when we try to spare our loved ones from consequences and when we carry their responsibilities. We go too far when we become neurotic people-pleasers in the relationship just so the other person is more likely to make us feel better about ourselves!
Here are 2 questions you can ask yourself today:
1) Are my actions preventing my husband or children from becoming mature and responsible?
2) Am I expecting my husband or child to meet my deepest emotional needs or am I seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord to meet those needs?
While reading the Bible in recent days, I have stumbled upon several women who had tremendous influence over their husbands, but who, unfortunately, used that influence to satisfy their own selfish desires. It reminded me that, as women, we have a powerful allure with men. God wired men to be extremely attracted to the female body. This is awesome when we use that attraction to stay bonded to our husband and when we use that attraction with pure motives. Unfortunately, we don’t always do that.
We can learn what NOT to do from a few women in the Bible. Two that come to mind are Delilah and the daughter of Herodias. Delilah’s story is in Judges 16. The mighty man Samson is so intoxicated with the beauty of Delilah that he finally gives in to her badgering about the source of his power and he tells her his secret. The result? He loses his power, his eyes are gouged out by the enemy, and this once mighty man of God becomes completely ineffective.
The daughter of Herodias is featured in Mark 6. She is beautiful and dances erotically for King Herod. He is so enthralled with her that he becomes stupid! He offers her anything she wants…up to half his kingdom!! She ends up asking for the head of John the Baptist. The result? A mighty man of God, the messenger who paved the way for Jesus Christ, is killed.
Ladies, let’s be careful to wisely use the powerful sex appeal God has given us. You might find it exciting to turn men’s heads by wearing tight or revealing clothes in public, but think twice before you do that. You may destroy another woman’s marriage. You might think it’s cool that you can manipulate your husband through what you do or don’t offer him sexually. Think twice before you do that too. You may end up destroying your man and your own marriage.