If husband seems headed wrong way

Sometimes, we will notice a trend in our husband’s behavior or reactions that are concerning.  He might not be engaged in something hugely sinful, but you are concerned about the harsh way he’s interacting with the kids or the resentment that he holds toward his boss, etc.  In other words, you fear that if he continues down that path, significant damage will be the result.  Hmmm.  What’s a wife to do in those moments where she senses her husband is headed the wrong way?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but let me share two things that have been effective in my own relationship.  1)  Pray earnestly that God will convict your husband through the Holy Spirit so that your husband will see that he needs to make some changes.  Jesus makes it clear that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict people when they are off track.  Jesus says of the Holy Spirit in John 16:8 “when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”  

2) If you feel like God is nudging you to talk to your husband about your observations, quietly come to your husband, take a humble posture by perhaps kneeling beside him while he’s sitting, and gently tell him of your concerns. However, don’t ONLY tell him of your concerns.  Take this opportunity to speak words of life to him.  Tell him about the good qualities you see in him.  Remind him that God is transforming him into a man who has Christ’s character, which is “gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8).  Tell him you’re proud of him for seeking to become more like Christ and for allowing God to mold and shape him.

Waiting for God’s timing & help!

When we feel angered, or disappointed, or frustrated with our husband, it’s so natural to immediately give in to our emotions and let our husband know exactly what a failure he is!  We feel entitled to unleash our fury and it actually feels kind of cathartic for a moment.  It lets the pent-up steam out of our bodies. Whew!

However, the damage we cause to that person in the process of our “venting” can have the opposite effect of what we desired.  We were hoping the person would immediately grasp how wrong they’ve been, quickly apologize, cheerfully repair the damage they’ve done and humbly seek to win back our trust and respect.  Unfortunately, when we give full vent to our anger and disappointment, without waiting on God’s timing, we can crush that other person with condemning words spoken in the heat of the moment.  In response to our anger and harsh words, that other person usually becomes defensive and lashes back at us…or withdraws from us and goes off to self-medicate in an unhealthy way.  Neither option is good!

It’s so much better for us to pause before venting our anger!  During that pause, you might have to leave the room to spend a moment with God, but it’s so worth it!  Ask God to show you when to speak to your husband, what exact words to use, and how to offer encouragement and hope…even if you’re asking for him to change his behavior.

Here are 4 Bible verses that might be worth printing out for yourself.  They remind us to be patient, to wait for the Lord’s guidance and to do what HE says you should do instead of reacting impulsively!

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.     I will advise you and watch over you.”

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Improve marriage by sharing these

Have you and your husband been butting heads lately?  Can you sense resentment against him growing in your heart?  Does he seem frustrated with you?  Well, the good news is that you’re not alone.  This is pretty common in marriage.  The bad news is that if you don’t do something about this, it will likely ruin your marriage!

As my husband and I have mentored couples, we’ve found a little tool to be really helpful.  We ask the husband and wife to sit down over a series of “dates” and discuss each other’s expectations in all sorts of areas; everything from the balance of responsibilities for chores to what Christmas celebrations should be like.   We all hold subconscious expectations in these areas but we rarely intentionally reveal those expectations to our spouse.  Then we get frustrated and annoyed that they don’t meet our undisclosed expectations!

How about if you bless your spouse by initiating a series of dates to honestly discuss expectations.  Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips”.   By each of you being honest and open about your desires and hopes, you will grow more intimate and truly begin to understand each other.  Visit the “free resources” tab on our website (www.squadronofsisters.com) to print out a list of topics for your husband and you to discuss.

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3 Bible principles reduce financial stress

So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money.   They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.

You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions!  I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages.  Allow me to summarize those principles for you.  (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).

Bible Principle 1:  Live intentionally below your means!  (Hebrews 13:5)  So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget.  They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!

Bible Principle 2:  Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life.  The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)

Bible Principle 3:  Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so!  (Malachi 3:10).  I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not.  The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!

What dogs can teach wives…

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 questioning 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 we, as wives, rushed to the door and greeted our husbands 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 we, as wives, were as eager to please as a man’s dog?  What if we were as much a faithful companion to our husbands as dogs are for their owners?  What if we, 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.  That’s something to ponder.  Yep, perhaps there are a few lessons to learn from “a man’s best friend”….

Husbands need to hear these words

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:

I need you

Thank you for taking such good care of me

I’m so proud to be your wife

You have a good heart

I believe in you

You’re so strong

I know you can do it

You’re a good provider

I trust you

You’re a good man

These words crush a husband!

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:

You always….(insert complaint)

You never… (insert complaint)

Why don’t you ever…?

I don’t respect you

I feel like your mother

If people only knew what you are really like

You don’t make enough money

How many times do I have to tell you…?

That’s not the right way to do it

I don’t need you

I’ll never be able to trust you

You’re a jerk

How your mood affects your husband

I’ve realized the most interesting thing!  The other day, I was really frustrated, as in 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.  It reminded me that our husbands really do want us to be content.  They desire a peaceful wife. 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.”

And interestingly, when I choose to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only do I become peaceful and content, but I enjoy the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!

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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”!!

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Beauty tip for non-supermodel wives

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!