The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 – 27, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Well, over the years of my marriage to late husband Raul, I didn’t always obey that instruction and my disobedience was almost disastrous! One occasion comes to mind as a good example. My husband had acted in a way that really bothered me. I was steaming for hours and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him about it because I feared we’d get embroiled in a huge conflict. So, I went to bed early, by myself. I went to bed by myself, wrapped in a blanket of resentment, bitterness, and ugly thoughts about my husband. As I lay there steaming, that resentment started morphing into thoughts such as “I’d be better off without him” and “He’s such a jerk. I’m going to be cold as ice toward him from now on.”
I am so thankful the Holy Spirit finally broke through and prompted me to get out of bed and go speak with my husband. I sensed that I was giving the devil a “foothold” in my marriage through me stuffing the issue and letting resentment grow. So, I went and found my husband in the living room, knelt by his side as he was sitting on the couch and told him that I truly do see so many good qualities in him. I also told him why his behavior had bothered me.
I know you’re thinking he agreed with my assessment, but he didn’t!!! However, a good thing did happen. We calmly acknowledged our difference of opinion, and I was able to go to sleep in peace. There was no wedge between me and my husband. Don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your marriage. Resist the temptation to go to sleep with simmering anger and resentment.
I’m going to propose a radical shift in perspective. Some of you might not be ready, but I’m hoping you are. Here it is. Instead of praying for God to change your husband so that you’re happier, pray that God’s will be done in your marriage and in your husband. In other words, pray that God accomplishes what HE wants to do in your husband’s life. Catch the vision of partnering with God in prayer for the things HE wants to do in your man!
Where did I get this shift in perspective? Right smack in the middle of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
What does this mean in your marriage? It means that you stop focusing on getting God to change your husband so that he does things your way and makes you happy. Instead, you ask God what HIS will is for your husband, and you start praying fervently for God to mold and shape and transform your husband into the mighty man of God that the Lord wants him to be! God doesn’t intend for your husband to be an unbeliever who is stuck in sinful patterns with no joy or peace!
Here are 3 things we know to be God’s will for your husband, so start praying these 3 things in addition to whatever else God reveals to you:
That he would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4 God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth)
That he would turn from sinful patterns and surrender to God’s leadership. (2 Peter 3:9 He does not want any to perish, but that all should reach repentance)
That he would find joy, peace and hope in his relationship with Christ. (Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.)
An awesome benefit of praying this way is that God will slowly transform your husband in just the right ways that will be a blessing to you and the whole family!
Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are. However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women. In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life. She may think things like this: My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right? My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore. I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy! And the thoughts go on and on.
I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”. Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them. It is so counter-intuitive! However, it is also so Biblical. Philippians 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 interests of others.” Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does. How could you bless him this week?
P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?” Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first? I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you. Are you willing to give it a try?
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, husbands are imperfect themselves, and something could happen to take them away from you! Therefore, a husband can’t be a reliable source of security for you.
I believe we would benefit by frequently meditating on 3 particular Bible verses. They are great reminders of how God sees us and who He is to us. The first one is 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.
The second verse reveals that God is our loving father, so even if your own parents have let you down, God will remain faithful! Psalm 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. God will never leave you! This makes me feel so much more secure. And the third verse reveals God as our husband and protector. Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name. Wow! The maker of heaven and earth, the commander of heaven’s army of angels is your husband. Relax. He will take care of you. You have an all-powerful, heavenly husband!
Are you in the middle of a really difficult challenge in your marriage or in some area of your life? Are you consumed with worry or outright fear about the future? It’s at those times in our lives that we need to press into prayer in a more earnest way. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, we see that when God’s people were extremely troubled or worried or bewildered, they sought God with every fiber of their being by…fasting.
What is a fast? It’s a time where you go without some types of food or all food for a specific period of time in which you seek God with your whole heart. Sometimes, people give up something other than food, such as media. I remember a time when I fasted from all food for 3 days as I earnestly sought God’s counsel regarding a relationship. At the very end of that fast, God gave me a vision that made my path very clear. Praise God!
In Ezra 8, we read that the Israelites fasted and implored God for a safe journey through enemy territory and Ezra says, “God listened to our entreaty“. Is it time for you to enter a time of earnest prayer and fasting of some type? Please consult your doctor if you have health issues that could be adversely affected by fasting from food, but otherwise, fasting may be just what you need for a breakthrough in prayer!
Wounds received by a person in close relationship with you are especially damaging. Whether it’s your mom, your husband, your sister or your grandpa….when a loved one says something or does something hurtful, the wound cuts exceptionally deep. After all, you were supposed to be able to trust that relative to love you! As a result, we’re often stunned when their behavior cuts like a knife instead.
As a believer, we know we’re instructed by God to forgive those who sin against us, but that’s quite a heavy-lift when the person who sinned against us was supposed to be a person we could totally trust. So, how do we forgive a relative who has sinned against us? Here are 4 quick insights from the Bible.
It’s essential that you remind yourself that both you and that relative are sinners and you both are in need of mercy and grace! Sometimes, we conveniently forget that we have also let people down or sinned against people in the past. Once you remind yourself that you too are a sinner, it’s much easier to forgive that other person, because they kind of resemble you! Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Pray for God to give you a compassionate heart and unconditional love for that relative, because that’s how God treats you and I, even though we are sinners. Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
Make the decision to release that relative from your desire to punish them or seek revenge for what they did to you. This is what God instructs in Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Because trust has been broken in a close relationship, ask God (and perhaps some godly mentors) whether you should have any boundaries with that relative moving forward. If staying in close relationship with this person could cause serious physical, emotional, mental or spiritual harm to you, God may want you to keep your distance, at least for a period of time. Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.
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)
I was reading the creation story the other day and was struck once again at how easily Satan deceived Eve. Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
What struck me in this account is that the cunning serpent (the devil) was wise enough to whisper enticing words of deception to Eve when she was all alone. Adam wasn’t on the scene. Why was the devil so effective? It would appear that part of the reason for his success in tempting Eve to make a horribly wrong decision is because she was not with Adam. She consulted no one about the temptation she had received. She consulted no one during her deliberation as to whether to actually eat from the forbidden tree of good and evil. She consulted no one before making a huge, life-changing decision. It seemed beneficial to her. So, she just did it!
We can learn from Eve’s mistake. If you’re considering a major decision in life (quitting your job, leveraging all your savings on a new money-making idea, separating from your husband, bailing your teen out of natural consequences of bad decisions, etc), pause before acting! Consult a godly mentor. Better yet, pray with several wise and godly people in your life. Ask them all to seek guidance from the Bible and the Holy Spirit. You will often spare yourself unnecessary pain in the long run!
It may give you a little thrill, but it leads downhill! The thrill I’m talking about is that little rush women get when we draw the attention of a man. It feels SO good! This is all completely fine as long as the man is your husband, but often we go out in public dressed in such a way that other men are tempted to lust over our bodies.
When we wear skin-tight clothes, cleavage-displaying shirts, extremely short skirts or midriff-baring tops, we are leading other men downhill. The attention might feel good, but do you really want to lead these men into the sin of lust? In Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.” Also, 1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.
Let’s pledge to dress modestly instead of provocatively around our male co-workers, men at the store, and men at church. Let’s not be the downfall of the men around us. Think of it this way. Would you like it if another woman was dressing provocatively in front of your husband?