Becoming a strong, unshakeable woman!

Do you wish you could be a more courageous woman, a more secure woman, a more confident woman, and a woman who is able to stand strong under pressure or hardship?  I think I’ve found the answer.  We must go beyond just accepting Christ as our Savior, and truly decide to make Christ our Lord!

When I think about the ladies I know who are strong, confident and unshakeable Christian women, they all have something in common.  They have made the courageous decision to surrender their lives to Jesus and they’ve truly committed to following him as the leader and master of their lives.  This is, in fact, what the Bible calls us to do in Romans 10:9…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  It’s important to note that this Bible verse tells us to declare Jesus as “Lord”, which means “master” in the original Greek.

Have you truly made Jesus your master?  Maybe that’s the missing piece in your life.  I can tell you from personal experience that once you truly make a heart decision to make Jesus your Lord and master, all His promises to love you, comfort you, and counsel you start to come alive in your spirit.  You begin to realize that you can trust his leadership 100%.  Once that happens, you’ll find yourself strong, confident and unshakeable!

Oddest tip for a great marriage

I’m going to give you the oddest, most counter-intuitive tip for your marriage.  You’re not going to want to hear this tip, let alone do it!  However, I urge you to give it a chance; maybe even do an experiment and try it for a few weeks straight.  I learned in my marriage to Raul that this tip was powerful and transformative, and it drew my husband’s heart to me.  Here is the tip, and it is a Biblical principle:  Die to self.  I know. I told you it was counter-intuitive!  In short, this principle could be summed up like this:  It isn’t all about me! 

  • Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24  No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  
  • Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Here’s what I know.  When I focus on myself, and what I want, and what I think I need, and how the people in my life aren’t making me happy or perfectly meeting my needs….I grow depressed and resentful.  I become an irritable, sour-faced woman!  No one, including a husband, wants to be around that!!  But, if I focus on serving God, responding to his prompts on loving and serving others….I feel fulfilled and joyful.  In marriage, if you focus on being a blessing to your husband, his heart is drawn to you and your heart, believe it or not, is drawn to him. The marriage grows stronger!  By the way, being a blessing to your husband can mean many things.  It can mean being kind even though he’s in a bad mood from a stressful day…or getting up early to make him a great breakfast even though you’re headed off to work too…or lovingly and respectfully asking him to seek help if he has a personal problem that is spiraling out of control. 

Try it for a few weeks.  Ask God every morning to help you die to self-centeredness and ask Him for direction on how to be a blessing to your husband this day.  Let me know how it goes!

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

4 marriage myths you must know

  1. Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part.  Not true!  I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy.  Philippian 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:

  • Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness.  (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)
  • Happy couples never have conflict.  (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)
  • If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen.  (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)

3 ways to protect your marriage

When we first pledge our love to each other on our wedding day, we never think either one of us could possibly end up having an affair years later.  Tragically, it happens quite frequently, and even among Christian couples.  We can’t be ignorant of Satan’s mission revealed by Jesus in John 10:10 where He says Satan is out to “kill, steal, and destroy”.  Satan would like nothing better than to rip apart your marriage.  He is always plotting ways to get you or your spouse connected with someone of the opposite sex.  That’s why we have to be vigilant from day one!

James 4:7 advises us…”Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  One of the ways we can resist the devil’s schemes to destroy our marriages is to talk with our husbands about rules we will both follow relating to the opposite sex.  Agree that you will never spend time alone with another man and your husband will never spend time alone with another woman.  If your job requires you to be in a one-on-one meeting with someone of the opposite sex, agree that the door will always be left open.  Agree that you will never share anything personal about your marriage with a member of the opposite sex.  If at all possible, agree to never work as a two-person team with a member of the opposite sex on a project or at your job.   That feeling of being a “team” is extremely bonding!

Safeguard your marriage.  You may think you don’t need all these strict rules, but I know from personal experience that you do.  Many solid Christians have fallen into Satan’s trap by failing to follow these safeguards.  Don’t let your marriage be another notch in the devil’s belt.

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

Understand the seasons of marriage

Since we all know what to expect with each season of the calendar year, we can prepare ahead.  However, when it comes to the seasons of a marriage, most of us are completely ignorant!  In our ignorance, we are easily caught off guard. We haven’t adequately prepared.  So, let’s be intentional about preparing for each season.  As Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…”

So, let me offer a little insight into the seasons of a marriage, now that I’ve seen some seasons come and go 🙂   The first season is an exciting sprint to the altar.  We are giddy with excitement and anticipation.  As a bride, we are the center of attention.  The world revolves around us.  We feel like the princess in a fairy tale.  We love this season.  It feels like summer, when everything is in full bloom and the sun warms your skin.

However, once we return from the honeymoon, and life goes back to “normal”, we can feel let down.  It’s not all about me anymore!  Often, husbands feel like they’ve won the prize and get to relax now.  Sometimes the romance falls away.  We plug along, but it’s beginning to feel like fall.  The leaves are falling off the trees.  If we don’t pay attention, our marriage can become stripped of its vitality.

Then, children enter the picture.  We’re so excited, just like we enjoy the first snowfall of the winter.  It’s beautiful.   Sometimes this “winter season” is wonderful, but often we pay too much attention to the children and little or no attention to our marriage during this time.  If we don’t intentionally nurture our marriage, Satan sneaks in to cause trouble just like a cold draft sneaks under a poorly sealed door. 

Ah, but then there’s spring.  If we’ve made it through those challenging winter months, and if we’ve been nurturing the relationship with our husband, our marriage begins to really bloom again!  The kids are growing up or are already out on their own, and you have some free time available.  You now have time for shared hobbies, shared adventures, shared pursuit of ministry opportunities, shared smiles with the grandchildren.  Spring is a wonderful reward for paying attention to your marriage during the other seasons.  It might include a little rain now and then, but hey, the rain helps bring new life.

Be a smart, intentional wife!

So many women (like me) grow up thinking once they find their Prince Charming, they’ll get married, he’ll be perfect, and they’ll live happily ever after.  It’s as if we think we’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust or something and our marriages will thrive with no hard work on our part.  Not true!

The smart wife MUST intentionally work on her marriage.  When you start neglecting your husband, or when you fail to remember to press into the Bible instructions for wives, your relationship with your husband starts to get a bit more like you’re roommates who simply tolerate each other.  It happens so slowly that wives often fail to notice the slow crumbling of a once-vibrant marriage.  Don’ let this happen to you!  Be intentional.  Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  So, be diligent in working on your marriage.  Wives who intentionally nurture their marriages have the most fulfilling and joy-filled marriages! 

Here are just a few ideas on how to nurture your marriage. Ask God every morning how you can bless your husband this day, perhaps with a small act of kindness or a word of appreciation.  Ask God if there’s any small seed of resentment toward your husband that’s taking root in your heart.  If there is, ask God for wisdom in respectfully addressing this issue with your husband.  Carve out time for date nights or date lunches with your man every single week.  You may have to trade babysitting with another woman, but do whatever it takes to intentionally nurture your marriage.  Also, make sure you create opportunities to laugh together and have fun together. Those kind of moments are very bonding.

Great marriages don’t just happen.  They take effort….and it’s worth it!

5 keys to a great marriage

One thing I’ve learned over my many years is that a great marriage doesn’t just magically happen.  Being “in love” when you exchange vows on your wedding day isn’t going to be enough.  You must be intentional.  Please allow me to share 5 simple but profound keys to building a strong, lasting, healthy marriage.  Conveniently, God gave me this acrostic to help both you and I remember these 5 keys!  Together, the letters spell G-R-E-A-T.

G:  stands for God, as in making sure that God is your number one relationship instead of trying to get your husband to meet all your emotional needs and expecting him to be your source of happiness.  (Matthew 22:36-37)

R: stands for resentment, as in making sure that you address resentment quickly so that it can’t choke the life out of your marriage.  (Hebrews 12:15)

E:  stands for effort, as in being diligent to speak your husband’s love language, show respect to him, pay attention to him, create fun moments with him, do small things he appreciates, and build a vibrant sex life with him!  (Proverbs 13:4)

A: stands for ask God to show you how YOU need to change, grow, and eliminate old unhealthy patterns in your own life such as conflict avoidance or having a critical tongue.  (Colossians 3:5-10)

T:  stands for treasure, as in purposely reminding yourself of the good qualities you can treasure in your husband instead of allowing yourself to dwell on his imperfections.  (Philippians 4:8)

What capable wives need to know!

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman.  In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable.  However, over the years of my marriage to Raul, I realized something very important to the health of my marriage.  I needed to allow my husband to be needed by me!  When I acted like he wasn’t needed, I could sense that he felt emasculated.  Your husband might feel that way too.

Men are wired by God to be leaders.  In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife!  “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead.  Avoid making all the decisions for your family.  Ask him to make some decisions.  Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects.  Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture.  (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)

2 ways to keep husband attracted

As a wife, you want your husband to cherish you and be drawn to you.  The question is: once you get married and the intoxication of new love wears off, how do you keep your man drawn to you?  Of course, you want to do what you can to stay physically attractive, and you likely know a robust sex life with him is super important, but here are 2 other simple things that will tend to keep your husband attracted to you.

1)  Listen intently to him when he talks, especially when he talks about his hopes, his dreams, his plans, and the things he loves to do.  If you engage him in conversation about his dreams and passions in life, he will feel understood, accepted, and valued for who he is at his core. Valuing his hopes and dreams is a sign of respect, and Ephesians 5:33 says, “The wife must respect her husband.” This doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with some of his more far-fetched dreams, but you can certainly explore with him why that specific dream or passion is exciting to him.  Perhaps you can even brainstorm ways to satisfy those longings in practical ways.

2)  Make plans for fun outings together and then make time in your schedule to have fun with him!  You used to do this when you were dating, and you need to keep connecting with him through fun activities and hobbies during your marriage.  Golf together.  Try doing a workout video together.  Start a pillow fight.  Watch funny movies.  Take a hike.  Go sledding in the winter and kayaking in the summer.  Invite a fun couple to your house once a month to play table games.  Your husband will bond with you and be drawn to you when you have fun together.

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