Choosing your battles in marriage!

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the primary message of this saying is that mom’s attitude affects the whole family, I think a secondary message is just as significant.  If a wife conveys to her husband through her constant complaints and criticisms that she’s not happy, her husband begins to feel like a failure and starts to close his heart to her.

Unfortunately, many wives get stuck in this dynamic.  We tend to point out one disappointment after another to our husbands.  We remind him that we notice he forgot to take out the garbage.  We point out that he hasn’t communicated in our love language recently.  We remind him that he hasn’t played with the kids in a while.  In short, we can’t seem to resist pointing out his flaws.  Adding insult to injury, we then get really upset that he seems emotionally withdrawn from us!

Perhaps it’s time to pick our battles more carefully.  Maybe we should let the small stuff slide.  Proverbs 12:16 says, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”  Let’s ask God to help us affirm what our husbands do right, overlook the small imperfections, and only confront our husbands if they are truly sinning against us and/or the children. EVERYBODY in the family will be happier!

Don’t feel guilty about this!

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?

This will repel your husband!

Nothing will repel your husband (or boyfriend) more quickly than….you acting all self-righteous!  However, this is exactly how women act much of the time.  We don’t intend to come across as self-righteous, or “better-than”, or arrogant, or “experts” on everything, but we can definitely come across that way to our men!  Having that kind of attitude ruins relationships.  As Proverbs 18:12 says: “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

So let’s examine ourselves.  Do you often correct your husband, giving the impression that you know more than he does?  Do you give long-suffering sighs when he forgets to do something, giving the impression that YOU would never do such a thing?   Do you make sure you let him know he has disappointed you, while being quick to defend yourself if he says you’ve disappointed him?

Maybe it’s time we stopped acting “better-than” our men!  We are ALL a work in progress.  Let’s strive this week to display a humble spirit.  Instead of repelling our husbands, our humility will draw our husbands toward us.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be a fragrance in my husband’s life than an odor!

Physical intimacy for the exhausted wife!

For many women, especially moms of young children, making love to their husbands seems like yet one more thing on their to-do-list!  For an exhausted wife and mother, the idea of carving out time to be physically intimate with her husband sounds about as thrilling as running 15 miles on the treadmill at the gym at 5 o’clock in the morning!

But here’s the thing.  We know that most men have an extremely high sex drive.  It isn’t their fault.  God made them that way.  🙂  So, one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our husbands is to meet their sexual needs.  We need to strive to build a robust sex life with our husbands, and more than likely, you’ll enjoy it too!  To be honest, if we don’t have a vibrant sex life within our marriage, we’re setting up each other to subconsciously look for that excitement with someone else.  That’s why Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

The question is: How does the exhausted wife (and mother) build a robust sex life that both she and her husband enjoy?   Well, I believe she takes a really good look at her schedule of activities and responsibilities to see if there are any things she can cut out.  I bet there are some things she could reduce or cut completely!  Secondly, she asks her husband for help!   Can he put the kids to bed so that she has time to wind down and prepare herself to become a sexy wife?  Can he do the dishes after dinner or help the kids with their homework so that she can decompress and maybe take a bubble bath before she and her husband head to bed?

Ask your husband if he would be willing to help with some tasks in the evenings so that you are more able to build a robust sex life with him.  I bet it is a trade he is willing to make!

Dealing with your husband’s flaws

You may be a wife like me…a wife who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving.    To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing.  In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus.  I mean, after all, he is a Christian, for heaven’s sake!

Hmmm.  On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect.   Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one”.   So, perhaps it’s time for both you and me to take our husbands off the hook.  I’m not saying that we should give them a free pass on blatant, destructive sin.  Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us.  You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17.

However, I do believe it’s time we started being gracious to our husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks.  Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like?  Maybe we can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!).  Does he often have a hard time sharing his deep thoughts and feelings?  We can be gracious about that too.   Let’s remember he is a flawed person, just like us!  We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.

Receiving appreciation for your efforts

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!) when I do something sacrificial for my husband and he doesn’t even seem to notice.  For me, even though both my husband and I work full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more.  I did this for a several month stretch last year.

Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets?  No, I did not.  Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day?  Yes, I did.  But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”.  However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all.  What!?!

It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased.  I know that God is pleased whenever I serve my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it!  In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our husbands sacrificially.  That right man is Jesus.

What your hubby needs to feel loved

You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”.  It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love.  The love languages are:  words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.  Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment.  Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.

Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day.  When you do these small things, he feels loved by you.  So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him?  By withholding what he needs to feel loved, we’re actually sinning!  James 4:17 says, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch.  Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store.  Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by.  Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen.  Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss.  Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV.  These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!

Reaping the benefits of stillness

If you’re like most women, you’re busy…REALLY busy.   Most of us are multi-taskers to the max.  We are trying to balance housekeeping, with nurturing children, with investing in our marriage, with maybe even working full-time outside the home.  Oh, and you might be trying to help out at the local food bank or your church too!  More than likely, you’re exhausted, stressed, and maybe even a bit cranky.  Did I hit that nail on the head?

How about if we all intentionally slow down?  What if you and I were to ask God in prayer for His direction on where we can cut something out of our busy lives?  Is there a better way to divide responsibilities in our home?  Should you cut out one of the kid’s activities?

Do you simply need to take 15 minutes twice a day to be still with God?  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”.  Maybe it’s time for us to carve out some time to be still.  I have a feeling that we will find our stress drain away as we enter a time of stillness, and as we become less stressed, everyone around us will benefit!  In fact, your husband may become the biggest fan of your “be still” time with God!  You’ll probably be less cranky.

3 ways to kiss husband in ways he’ll appreciate!

Okay – I’ll come clean.  This might not be exactly what you expected.  I’m not going to attempt to teach anybody how to kiss well…in the literal sense!  However, God reveals something interesting in His Word about kisses.  He says in Proverbs 24:26, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips”.  Wow!

What if we were to bless our husband (almost as good as a passionate kiss!) and be honest with them?  According to God, being honest with our men would be very well received and appreciated!  Here are 3 ideas on how we can start being more honest with our guys:

1) Stop hinting and decide to directly and clearly state your needs, desires, and ideas.

2)  Be transparent about your past failures and even your current struggles instead of pretending you’re perfect.

3) Be respectful but honest if something is really bothering you, as opposed to stuffing your true feelings and allowing bitterness to close down your heart toward your husband

Super easy way to show respect to husband

If you’re a wife and a mom….life can get pretty busy!  If you’re a wife and mom and you work outside the home, well then life can be pretty chaotic and crazy!!

Sometimes in that busyness, we can get so caught up in chores and children that we unintentionally ignore our husbands!   So, here’s something I’m trying to remember to do.  When my husband enters the house after work, I’m trying to remember to actually pivot toward him and make eye contact.  I even try to throw in a smile as an extra bonus! Sometimes, I even take the 3 extra seconds to run over and give him a little kiss. J

I know this isn’t rocket science, but we often are so intent on our children or cooking or cleaning, that we don’t even glance our husband’s way.  That leaves him feeling unimportant and disrespected.  Remember, respect is a really big deal to men.  That’s why God instructs us in Ephesians 5:33, “The wife must respect her husband.”

So, give it a try.  Make eye contact with your husband when he comes home from work, and actually any time he enters a room you’re in.  Smile.  Make him feel happy to be in the same room you. You will draw his heart to you and strengthen the bond between you. J