Praying effectively for your husband

You may have an “impossible” situation going on in your marriage, such as a husband who doesn’t believe in God, or who is an alcoholic who refuses to get help, or who is harsh and critical with the kids, or who is hooked on pornography.  I would certainly recommend that you establish some serious boundaries and consequences if your husband is sinning against you or the kids, but here’s the thing you and I need to realize.  Only God can change your husband’s heart.  That’s where your prayers make a gigantic impact.  Prayers that are offered in line with God’s will can accomplish the seemingly impossible!

That’s why praying actual Bible verses is so powerful!  We know Bible verses are in line with God’s will.  If your “impossible” situation involves your husband, let me point you to a list of suggested Bible verses to pray for your husband on the “Free Resources” tab at www.squadronofsisters.com.   It’s a free PDF that you can print.  I urge you to do so, and begin praying for your marriage, your husband, and your family.  Your prayer offered in faith and trust in God is extremely powerful.  Jesus says in Mark 11:23, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” 

One more thing.  Don’t grow weary in praying.  Sometimes it takes months or years of praying before you see results.  Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 to get inspired to press into sustained prayer for your “impossible” situation.

Are you giving room for the Holy Spirit?

The other day, a relative said some things about a person I love that I really found hurtful.  My first instinct was to emotionally withdraw from that person…but that’s a dysfunctional behavior I’m trying to end.  So, I started to tell that person what I really thought about their comments!  Thank God, the Holy Spirit gently stopped me.

You see, sometimes God wants us to confront someone who is sinning against us or doing something wrong.  But other times, God wants us to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the convicting in that other person’s heart, especially if that person is a believer.  In John 16:7-8, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”   Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, and he explained that one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin.

What I’m learning is that I need to pause and consult God when someone is doing something that wounds me or bothers me.  I need to ask God for direction.  Does God want me to respectfully and lovingly confront that person, or does God want me to step back and allow His Holy Spirit to do the confronting. 

Back to my story. When God stopped me from laying into my relative the other day and I decided to leave the “confrontation” up to the Holy Spirit…that relative actually came to me and apologized within a few hours. Today’s question for you:  Do you pause long enough to get guidance from God before reacting?

Finding hope when life is hard

We’re all anxious right now…maybe even downright fearful.  How will we recover from financial setbacks from the coronavirus outbreak?  Will we lose our job, our home, our cars?  Will I be one of the people who catches covid-19?  And if you’re not worried about that, then there are a myriad of other things that might be stealing your joy and your hope.  Perhaps your marriage is falling apart or your kids are making poor decisions. 

The truth is that, until we get to heaven, we will all experience tough times here on earth.  And of course, Satan loves to pile on by whispering negative, hopeless thoughts into our minds when he sees that we’re struggling.  We tend to start reciting a list of complaints and fears…about people in our life, health problems, finances, the way we look, and on and on.  Instead of reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us, our facial expression portrays “woe is me”.

For a believer, that’s ridiculous!  If you’ve made Jesus your Lord, you have his protection and power at your disposal.  Your prayers are powerful!  James 5:16  “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective”.  And even if your prayers aren’t answered EXACTLY how you think God should, you can trust Him to redeem every hardship in your life.  I love what He tells me in Psalm 103:4 “He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  When life gets discouraging…when anxiety starts eroding your hope…bring your concerns to Jesus and relax into his strong arms.  

I grasp hope and peace when I choose to trust in Jesus.  He is at work!  His ways are perfect.  Seek His perspective on all that’s happening. Ask him to help you understand what he’s doing in this challenging moment.  Ask him to redeem your seemingly hopeless situation.  He’s so creative!  He’s working behind the scenes right now. 

Is your husband a fixer-upper?

True confession:  I sometimes find myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear his mood will grow ugly if I don’t take steps to improve his circumstances.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear that his ministry could stumble if he doesn’t do things the “correct” way.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear he isn’t handling a relationship correctly and needs me to run interference for him. Sometimes, I do this because I fear…..

Hmmm.  When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jump in to act as my husband’s savior or try to fix him.  Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely.  Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

You and I need to know that every time we jump in to “fix” things for our husbands, we actually prevent our men from turning to God for help.  Every time we try to prevent our husbands from feeling any discomfort or pain, we might be preventing them from digging down deep roots into God’s nourishment for their souls.   Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior.  There is only one perfect savior anyway.  His name is Jesus Christ.

Top 10 Bible verses for wives!

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ellen Degeneres or Kim Kardashian. He created us, so he probably knows how to make relationships work!  He has provided profound relationship principles in the Bible…and when wives apply these principles, amazing things happen!  Broken marriages begin to heal and mediocre marriages begin to thrive.  Here are my Top Ten Bible verses for wives, in no particular order.  As you read these verses, ask God to show you the principle he wants you to apply in your marriage:

1)  Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper suitable for him”

2)  1 Peter 3:4 tells wives to have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight”

3)  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

4)  Titus 2:4-5 “Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be self-controlled and pure”

5)  Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

6)  Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband”

7)  Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” 

8)  Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”

9)  1 Corinthians 7:2-3 “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

10)  Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Becoming a more secure, confident woman!

Most women wrestle with insecurity, and when we live in a place of insecurity, we often make unhealthy choices.  We tend to put up with disrespectful behavior.  We tend to look to other people for our value and become codependent in relationships.  We grow super disappointed and resentful when other people (such as a husband!) don’t make us feel secure, happy, and content!

Well, I have found that meditating on these 3 Bible verses helps me start to feel more secure and grounded.  I become more confident in both my value and the decisions I need to make in life.  I begin to relax and feel safe.  As a result, I can approach all my relationships in a much healthier way!  Here are the 3 verses:

1) He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5) *you are his adopted daughter!  Awesome!!

2)  Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) *He will always be by your side! Awesome!!

3) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 73:24)  *He will guide me in all my decisions and he is preparing a fantastic future for me in eternity! Awesome!!

This helps you overcome insecurity

Most women are plagued by insecurity.  As a result of our insecurity, we end up putting up with rude or abusive behavior from others.  Our insecurity leads up to covet what other women have.  Our insecurity prompts us to put other people down so we look better in comparison.   When we are drowning in insecurity, we tend to expect a man to be the “answer”.  We seek and catch a husband and then expect him to make us feel better about ourselves by constantly telling us that we’re beautiful, desirable, smart, funny, intelligent, etc.   However, our husbands are imperfect themselves!  They can’t be our source of security.

I believe we would benefit by reading aloud one particular Bible verse every morning.  It is a great reminder of how God sees us.  It’s a reminder that He loves us and even delights in us!  This verse portrays the picture of a loving father tenderly cradling his daughter in his arms.  Here is the verse.  Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”   Close your eyes and picture God smiling at you as he holds you.  Hear him whispering those words to you.  Ah. So good.  I feel so much more secure.  How about you?

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, 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)

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

What is considered emotional abuse?

Yesterday, we examined what constitutes physical abuse within a marriage.  Today, let’s explore something much more subtle and overlooked…verbal and emotional abuse.  Once again, I strongly urge women to take a stand against abuse of any kind.  Keep in mind, you are showing your children (especially your daughters) that either women are supposed to be weak, helpless, perpetual victims or that women can be confident and strong while still displaying love and kindness.

After doing much research, here’s a fairly comprehensive list of behavior that constitutes verbal or emotional abuse:  Frequently calling you obscene names, often yelling in rage, a pattern of constantly criticizing you and putting you down, prolonged periods of refusing to talk to you at all, pattern of ridiculing or making fun of you, pattern of mocking you or mean-spirited sarcasm,  verbal threats of violence, intimidation through displaying knives or guns, constantly accusing you of wrongdoing, forbidding you to talk to parents or siblings, preventing you from leaving the house, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone, forbidding you from speaking to friends or neighbors.

Again, I urge you to take a stand against this kind of abuse.  You are a valuable woman.  You are God’s daughter and precious in His sight.  Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally pummeled.  You will slowly be destroyed.  That is NOT God’s plan for you. Yes, the Christian wife is supposed to submit to her husband’s leadership, but husbands are told by God in Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” Also, God instructs us to guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23….”Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life“.  If you are suffering this kind of abuse, please talk to your pastor, pastor’s wife, or a certified counselor.  Your husband may be upset, but you must protect your heart.  By the way, if you fear for your physical safety as a result of revealing the emotional abuse, then take protective measures such as moving to a friend’s home or a domestic violence shelter while you work through the issues with your husband.

One way to show the respect he craves

All men crave respect, and husbands especially crave the respect of their wives. In fact, the Bible even commands wives to respect their husbands! You can find this instruction in Ephesians 5:33. The question is: How can you offer respect to your husband in a meaningful way?

Here is one way to show your husband respect and honor. Ask his opinion about how he would like things to go in your home and in your marriage relationship, listen attentively, and actually incorporate his opinion within reason. When you do this, you are showing him that he matters! You are also carrying out another instruction to wives found in Ephesians 5:22 where God says “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.”

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about. Have you asked your husband how he likes you to dress or fix your hair? Why not honor him by doing things the way he likes? Have you asked your husband what’s most important to him when he walks through the door at the end of his workday? Would he like you and the kids to greet him at the door with kisses, or would he prefer to have 10 minutes of peace and quiet to unwind? Have you asked your husband how many activities/sports he thinks are ideal for the children? Ask him, listen to his opinion, and begin incorporating his desires into your routine. This will communicate respect, and when he feels your respect, your whole marriage relationship will likely improve!