The critical moment in conflict

I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships.  Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him.  Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him.  In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding.  Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship!  It is the KEY moment!

The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18  “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”   It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words!  So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds.  Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment!  (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!)  You may even need to leave the room during this pause. 

By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!!  Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back.  “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!

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

Capturing your man’s heart

So you’re married, but after 2 years or 22 years, the excitement and romance can easily fade, especially when children enter the picture!  How can a wife continue to capture her husband’s heart year after year?

1 Peter 3:1-4 gives us some clues.   Read verses 1 through 4 slowly.  Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Two insights popped out at me.  How about you?  First, a husband is drawn to a wife who chooses to yield/submit to his leadership.  This is such a huge sign of respect in a man’s eyes!  And so many surveys of men reveal that they all yearn for respect.  Secondly, a wife will have unfading beauty if she interacts with her husband in a soft, gentle way.  This is also super respectful in a man’s eyes.  No man is drawn to an aggressive, argumentative, critical wife who challenges him at every turn!

And I would like to add one more insight that I’ve simply learned from experience.  Carry yourself with confidence and self-respect.  Men are repelled by a woman who is clingy and needy, and they are drawn to women who are strong and confident (and maybe even a bit playfully sassy!), and yet who allow the man to “rescue” her from time to time. 😊

Are you considering divorce?

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.

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.

Is your husband happy to see you?

Who does your husband encounter when he walks through the door at the end of the day?  Is he happy to be greeted by a warm, gentle, loving wife…or does he encounter a “drip”? Who wants to be considered a “drip”?  That’s not very flattering!  However, the Bible assigns that label to a wife who is always complaining and criticizing and arguing.  Proverbs 27:15 says “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.”  Uh-oh.  Could that label belong to you?

I’m not saying that you should sweep any sinful behavior by your husband under the rug.  So don’t get the wrong impression that you must never confront immoral or destructive behavior in your marriage. If your husband is engaged in a pattern of actual sin against you, follow the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 and seek godly counsel.   What I am saying is that we need to be careful that we don’t become a constant critic of our husband!  No man wants to come home to that.

Did you know that anonymous surveys of men reveal that most guys are actually very insecure and fear failure most every day?  What they need from their wives is encouragement, not complaints and criticism.  Make a commitment to find something good about your husband every day this week and then tell him how much you appreciate those good qualities.  Use a gentle and loving voice when you talk with him.  He will actually enjoy being around you!  Let’s be an “anti-drip”!!

Beauty tip for non-super models!

Most women are totally insecure about their bodies.  Our thighs are too big.  Our breasts are too small.  The list of insecurities goes on and on.  The problem only gets worse after we’ve had children!  Stretch marks.  The extra poof of your abdomen that never seems to go away.  Sagging boobs after you’ve stopped breast feeding.  You know what I’m talking about!  It’s kind of difficult to feel sexy around your husband.

But I’m going to challenge you to change your outlook.  Yes, we do need to do what we can to be attractive.  If we need to drop 50 lbs, we need to work on that. If we need to exercise to tone up the flab, we need to work on that.  However, once we make a reasonable effort to look our best, our attitude changes the rest!  You’ve got to rock what you’ve got!  Think sexy!  View yourself as sexy when you’re with your husband.  Be spunky and playful and maybe even a little bit sassy with him.  Don’t be ashamed of your body.  Your confidence in who you are will be very sexy to him!  In Proverbs 23:7, the Bible says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  In other words, when you start viewing yourself as sexy and attractive to your husband, you will become sexy and attractive to him!

Are you familiar with the actress Queen Latifah?  She’s not thin at all.  In fact, she’s probably carrying an extra 30 or 40 lbs.  But she’s viewed as sexy because she has that feisty, confident attitude that basically says “I know I’m sexy”.  You can do it too.  Rock what you’ve got!

Reason to persevere in marriage

Are you in a season within your marriage where you’re feeling battle-weary?  Do you feel like you’ve done everything you can, you’ve prayed with everything you’ve got…and still, your husband is making choices that are extremely disappointing?  First, I want to say my heart goes out to you.  You are definitely in a desert place.  But I want to encourage you to take a different perspective.

You see, awhile back, my husband and I were talking about the ripple effect of our lives.  We may work and work to make a difference with a specific person (such as your husband), and feel greatly discouraged if we see no change.  But here’s the thing, OTHER people are watching how you’re handling this challenge in your marriage.  Perhaps you have children, and they are watching.  Maybe your mother-in-law is watching.  It could be that one of your friends is being affected by how you are dealing with this situation.  As you strive to reflect Jesus in your marriage, others are drawn to Christ.  This is the essence of Matthew 5:16 which says “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I know it’s tempting to feel defeated, but please realize that you ARE making a difference in the lives around you.  If you are respectfully, but firmly, drawing a line on immoral behavior in your marriage, you are blessing your children by providing a great role model for how a wife should act.  If your mother-in-law is an unbeliever, she may be attracted to the “Jesus” she sees in you.  Your efforts to be a shining light for Jesus do have a ripple effect….and that’s worth it!

Is your clothing attractive?

You probably think I’m going to give fashion advice, but you would be incorrect.  I’m certainly no fashionista!  The kind of “clothing” I’m talking about is not material.  It’s our attitude, character and behavior.  The Bible has a lot to say about how we “clothe” ourselves in that regard!

Colossians 3:18 tells us what we should put on every morning:  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Wow! Think about how attractive you would be to your husband (and your children, and your friends, and your mother-in-law and your co-workers) if you were to put on these qualities every morning as you start your day. 

Think about it.  How would your marriage be changed if you decided to be gentle and humble and kind and compassionate toward your husband?  I bet he would truly look forward to coming home to you each night!  Even if you need to broach tough subjects with your husband, he will be much more likely to listen if you clothe yourself with humility and gentleness and compassion.   Try it.  Humility…compassion…gentleness…kindness.  These are fashion accessories that never go out of style!

How a wife stays attractive to him

When men are surveyed about what makes a woman attractive, other than classically beautiful features, a strong majority say….her confidence!  So, if you want to be attractive to your husband (or to your boyfriend), work at developing confidence.  Work at becoming secure. 

I believe you do this by spending time meditating on God’s love for you!  He loves you so much he actually adopted you as his beloved child!  He is your Papa!  Meditate on this Scripture from Galatians 4:  “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The second quality that is extremely attractive is…humility.  Most men run from a woman who is self-righteous and judgmental.  A husband is repelled by a wife who conveys that she thinks she’s better than him!  However, a husband’s heart is drawn to a wife who is humble, kind and compassionate. The Bible instructs us to be this kind of person!  Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

P.S  Yes, you can carry yourself with confidence, while at the same time displaying humility!  This means having self-respect and dignity, but refusing to act like you’re superior to your guy.

How to help him avoid lust

Our men are bombarded daily with temptations to lust.  They drive down the freeway and there is a billboard featuring a sexy woman.  They go to work and encounter a female co-worker showing too much cleavage.  It seems like there is no safe place to avoid the temptation to lust!

However, your home could be one of those safe places, especially if you choose to avoid watching TV shows that feature scantily-clad women!  Personally, I would have loved to watch Dancing With The Stars over its many seasons.  I so enjoy watching a dancing novice grow into a fabulous dancer in just a few weeks.  But I knew that watching that show with my husband would likely cause a huge challenge for him regarding lust.  So, I chose not to watch that program.  The same thing is true for many other shows.  We always applied the same rule of thumb to the movies we watched over the years.  I checked beforehand to see if a movie featured sexual scenes or partial nudity.  We didn’t watch those movies.

Are you helping your husband avoid sexual temptation through your choices of media?   1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.   Are you allowing things into your home that could cause your husband to stumble?  For instance, I called Victoria’s Secret many years ago and asked them to stop sending their catalog to our home.  That magazine is soft porn to men and boys!  Should you make similar changes at your home?