It’s natural during disagreements with your husband to believe you’re right, he’s wrong, and you must convince him of that! However, if you stay stuck in that mindset, the battle only heats up. He gets defensive. You get defensive. Usually, the situation either evolves into yelling and ugly accusations or a silent, but deadly cold war. There is a better way, and it begins with rethinking your end goal.
What if your goal was not to “win” the argument or change his mind? What if the goal was to reach a compromise or solution that addresses the biggest concerns of you both? Seriously. Think about it. Now you both win and there are no losers. This means that you both agree to consider the other person’s perspective, fears, values, and concerns. From there, you begin to present ideas that might address both of your main concerns. Philippians 2:4 reminds us “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, the next time you and your husband start to have a significant disagreement, suggest that you would like to sit down together and better understand his perspective and concerns. Then gently share your concerns, and ask him to join you in brainstorming a solution or compromise that would be the best fit for both of you.
I don’t quite remember where I heard this, but it has stuck with me even though I heard it 20 years ago. Make it your aim to fill your house with so much love and joy that the laughter of your family bounces off the walls! Wow! Don’t we all want that? I know I do.
So how do we get there? I believe the Bible reveals several keys to bringing joy and laughter into our homes. First, choose an attitude of hope instead of dwelling on a big, hairy list of all the things that are wrong in your life! Proverbs 10:28 says “The hope of the righteous brings joy“. Second, eliminate some things from your schedule if you are becoming grumpy due to exhaustion and stress. Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” And third, have a sense of humor! Be playful. Allow yourself to be goofy sometimes! Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“.
Oh, and one more thing. If you are holding bitterness and resentment against your spouse, deal with that. If it is the result of something that happened a long time ago, you need to let it go!! If it’s the result of an ongoing pattern of sin against you, then you will need to respectfully confront your husband. Ongoing resentment will suck all the laughter and joy out of your home.
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, 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)
Recently, God has prompted me to consider who is truly on the throne in my life. Am I really putting God at the center of my focus, or is everything actually about me? Drat. I have to be honest and say that when it comes right down to it, I tend to filter everything in my life and my relationships through the question “what will make me happy?”. How about you?
What if we changed the question? I am suggesting that we start looking at our husbands, our marriage, our children, our work, and everything through the question “how can I please God at this moment?” I believe this could radically change our relationships. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus reminds us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well“. In other words, we should strive to please God in all we do, and we can trust Him to meet all our needs in return.
The world tries to convince you to focus on you. The message is “you should focus on what makes you feel happy at the moment and you will be fulfilled.” Unfortunately, this “formula” almost never works. The Bible turns that equation upside down. God tells us to focus on pleasing Him even when it doesn’t seem like you will be happy, and then you will indeed find true fulfillment and joy.
What if you were to ask the Lord to show you how HE wants you to treat your husband this week and how HE wants you to handle difficult situations with your husband? I wonder how your marriage would change? Shall we try God’s upside-down formula this week?
Even if you have a great marriage, we will all experience moments of frustration with our husbands from time to time. Well, one key to resolving those frustrations (and avoiding them in the future) is to understand the cause. In my experience, the cause is typically “unmet expectations”. We consciously or even subconsciously expect our husbands to act in a certain way, and when they don’t, we get really frustrated!
So, here’s a nugget of wisdom that may be the remedy. Clearly communicate your expectations and desires to your husband! Duh! I know this sounds too simple, but honestly, we are often at fault for holding expectations but failing to clearly reveal those expectations to our men. We act like husbands are mind-readers and should “just know”. News flash: Most men don’t “just know”. They don’t think like women, and they don’t know what you expect and desire from them. In fact, when we fail to communicate what we want, we’re not really being honest with them.
Maybe it’s time to bless your husband by being honest about your expectations and desires. Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips“!! Start to clearly communicate your expectations to your man. Now, your husband may disagree with your expectations, and that’s okay. That’s an opportunity for the two of you to sit down and discuss your respective opinions and work toward a compromise. But at least you’ll be on the same page and understand each other’s expectations!
You likely know your husband better than anyone. As his wife, you’re also called to be your husband’s helper. This is made clear in Genesis 2:18 when God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”. Then God created woman! Well, one of the many ways you can truly “help” your husband is to gently, humbly and lovingly voice your concerns when your husband is clearly heading off course in some area of his life.
Is your husband drinking more and more alcohol? Is your husband spending increasing overtime hours at work to the detriment of his health or family time? Is your man overly busy and unable to squeeze in any time for exercise? Is your guy coming up with reasons why he can’t make it to church lately?
If you see your husband’s life getting out of balance, you can do two things. First, pray that the Holy Spirit would convict your husband about his decisions or behavior and that the Holy Spirit would make your man aware of the correction he needs to make. Secondly, ask God if He wants you to gently bring up the concern for discussion with your husband.
Take a lower physical position than him (such as kneeling beside him while he sits on the couch). This position comes across as very humble and gentle and he will likely become less defensive.
Tell him some things you really appreciate and admire about him, and say “I am for you”.
Tell him something like “I’m in this with you. I’m your partner. How can I help you?”
You might also say “I’m struggling with some stuff too (tell him about your own struggle) so maybe we can help each other”. When you display humility, he will likely be much less defensive about the concerns you’re raising.
Pretty much anyone who has entered the arena of blended families and step-parenting knows that it is like trying to walk across a field of landmines. Typically, the biggest problem is that the step-parent thinks the step-child should love and respect them just like they would their biological parent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.
Here’s the best piece of advice I ever heard on this subject. As the step-parent, take the time (perhaps years!) to sow nothing but love into the relationship with your new stepchild. Resist the desire to step in as disciplinarian and let the biological parent handle that. As a couple, talk with your spouse behind closed doors about how “situations” and discipline should be handled, but then let the biological parent actually carry it out.
The idea of sowing love into a person before expecting that person to love you in return is actually demonstrated by Jesus. The Bible says “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We need to model this as step-parents. Your step-child needs to see you demonstrate love for a sustained period of time before believing you actually have their best interests at heart. This may truly take years, especially if the child is over the age of about 5 when you first enter the new marriage. Be patient.
Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband? Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication. Here they are:
1) Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need. They don’t respond to hints. They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind. They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.
2) Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short. They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details. Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds! So get to the point quickly. Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder. It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.
3) All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“. This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor. No eye-rolling! It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him. Oh, and one more thing. It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when he comes in the door at the end of the day before you launch into a big discussion!
Are you familiar with the term “woke” as used in our culture today? It gets tossed around a lot and a huge number of people seem to be pretty proud to declare that they are “woke”. Basically, the word (as it is being applied in today’s culture) means awakened to social injustice and unfairness and the lack of equity for all people.
Well, I’m probably going to offend the “woke” crowd by what I’m about to say. While the Lord is indeed a God of justice, and he does call his people to make sure justice is carried out for the oppressed, he does not tell his followers to fight for fairness and equity in their own relationships! Instead, he actually calls his followers to be more concerned for other people than for themselves! Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
What I’ve learned along my journey in marriage is that self-sacrifice and working to serve the other person is that secret sauce to a great marriage! And if you BOTH do that, wow! Your marriage will be amazing! However, if you focus on getting that other person to meet your needs, and wait for them to give equally back to you, you’re going to be a miserable, resentful, disappointed person.
Maybe it’s time to try God’s way of doing relationships. Try being anti-woke. Don’t wait for the other person to give to you and meet your desires. Give to them. Look for ways to bless them. It’s the secret sauce to a great marriage, and even if your marriage doesn’t improve right away, you’ll know that you’ve been a great representative of the Lord. After all, that’s how he treats us! He is definitely anti-woke in the way he interacts with us. He gives a whole lot more than he receives.
In every marriage, there will certainly be times where you find yourself disappointed or frustrated with your husband. The question isn’t…how can you and I avoid those challenging times? The question is…how are we going to respond to the challenge?
I’ve met many wives who allow themselves to sink into self-pity or get all riled up with anger toward their husband. Neither one of those responses is helpful! In fact, a crazy cycle begins in the marriage. The wife lets her husband know how disappointed she is in him…he feels like a failure so he either responds with mean words or withdraws…she gets even more disappointed…and the cycle continues! Please allow me to suggest a couple of new ways to look at those times when your husband has frustrated or disappointed you:
Instead of focusing solely on what he’s doing wrong, choose to rejoice in what he’s doing right. This is the essence of Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” In other words, instead of developing a sour taste in your mouth by dwelling on his every fault, choose to look at your husband as a work in progress. God doesn’t transform a person overnight (including you!). So, choose to relish in the sweetness of every good thing your husband does and every good choice he makes. For your soul, it will be like sipping on sweet lemonade instead of sucking on bitter lemons.
P.S. You’ll look a lot more attractive to your husband when your mouth isn’t puckered up like you’ve been sucking on sour lemons!
P.S.S. If your husband is WAY out of bounds with his behavior and actually sinning against you, you may need to establish some firm boundaries, while at the same time choosing to remind yourself of his good qualities as well!