3 keys when asking him to change

If your husband has an addiction or often engages in some kind of destructive or sinful behavior, you have 2 choices.  Choice # 1: You can wring your hands in despair and do nothing…which means that his disturbing behavior will likely continue, and your heart will slowly grow cold toward your husband.  Choice #2:  You can courageously talk to your husband and request him to change his behavior (or get help in changing his behavior).  From personal experience, I highly recommend choice #2!

Here are 3 keys that are especially important if you choose to address this issue with your husband.

  1.  Be very specific about what you’re asking your husband to do in order to change his behavior.  For instance, if he has a drinking or pornography problem, he will almost certainly need help in disentangling himself from this addiction.  So search out helpful 12-step programs or reputable counselors in your area ahead of time and tell him that in order for you guys to keep moving forward in your marriage, you need him to attend a specific number of sessions over a specific period of time.  I would certainly recommend that he attend some kind of program/counselor at least once a week for at least 6 months.  Addictions and other sinful patterns are hard to break. He will need sustained help.
  2. Expect your husband to be unhappy about this request!  Many husbands will try to blame you or other circumstances for their personal problems.  Many husbands will also attend a program or see a counselor for one or two sessions and then say “it isn’t helping me”.  That’s usually just an excuse.  Don’t accept that answer, unless they are willing to try a different program or counselor right away.
  3. Balance your request with words of hope and encouragement.  Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Remember, you’re asking your husband to do some very hard work, so speak life-giving words to him. Tell him that you see good qualities in him, and that you will do anything you can to help him on his journey to break free from addiction

This will endear you to your husband

After years of working alongside my husband to counsel and mentor couples in distress, I’ve noticed a common issue.  Even though many of the husbands have greatly disappointed or frustrated their wives, the wives come across as condemning and arrogant.  Ouch!

When a wife is perceived as being arrogant and self-righteous, the husband usually avoids her, becomes passive aggressive, and self-medicates his pain through destructive choices such as alcohol, pornography, or even other women.

What if you were to choose to deal with your frustration and disappointment in a different way?  What if you were to display humility, kindness and love…even when confronting destructive behavior?  One quality that will really endear you to your husband is humility, and it’s Biblical!  Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but the interest of others.”

Catch yourself if you start talking down to your husband or start treating him like he is disgusting or inferior to you.  In that moment, ask God to give you His perspective on your husband.  Ask God to remind you that you’re not perfect either and that you’re both a work in progress…in the master’s hands.

Men are drawn to cheerleaders

I thought the title of this devotional would get your attention!!  🙂   However, I’m not talking about guys lusting after scantily-clad Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.  Instead, I’m talking about how men are naturally drawn to women who are cheerleaders in the sense of being their supporters and encouragers.  So let me ask you this question.  Does your husband sense that you are his cheerleader?

Most men struggle with feeling inadequate.  Most men wrestle with feeling like a failure.  Many men may never put effort into being a better father, husband, employee, or disciple of Jesus because they fear failure.  In other words, they’d rather not try at all if it means they could risk the embarrassment of people noticing them failing in their endeavor.  Perhaps this is why God instructed Joshua over and over again to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9). Joshua’s natural bent was to fear failure instead of stepping out with courage.

This is where a wife can make a huge difference!  By speaking words of encouragement and affirmation and respect, your husband may find the courage to move forward.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “encourage one another and build each other up”.   By becoming your husband’s cheerleader, your man may risk failure to step out and seek to be become a stronger, and more godly, leader of your family.   Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

What capable wives need to know

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman.  In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable.  However, I’ve realized something very important to the health of my marriage.  I need to allow my husband to be needed by me!  When I act like he isn’t needed, he feels emasculated.  Your husband probably does too.

Men are wired by God to be leaders.  In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife!  “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead.  Avoid making all the decisions for your family.  Ask him to make some decisions.  Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects.  Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture.  (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)

3 things husbands want in communication

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! 

— or view this topic as a 2 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.

Recognizing physical abuse in a relationship

I was talking with a wife the other day who has endured physical abuse from her husband for years.  It began so slowly that it she didn’t realize she was the victim of domestic violence until her injuries had become pretty serious.  I was reminded that wives, especially Christian wives, need to be alerted to what actually constitutes physical abuse. 

Theses things constitute physical abuse:  Punching, slapping, shoving aggressively, kicking, trapping physically (as against a wall), twisting arm painfully, throwing objects at you aggressively, biting, pulling your hair painfully, a pattern of refusing to allow you to sleep, regularly requiring you to work until exhaustion or while sick, tying you up against your will, forcing you to perform sex acts against your will, forcing himself on you sexually against your will, forcing you to use alcohol or drugs, denying you medical care.

If your husband or boyfriend is currently doing any of those above things, call 911 and seek immediate protection at your local domestic violence shelter.  If these behaviors are not currently occurring but have occurred fairly recently, you still need help.  I strongly urge you to call your local, confidential domestic violence hotline.  It’s time for Christian wives to stop excusing or tolerating abuse!  The Bible makes it clear that husbands are to treat their wives kindly.  1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to be considerate of their wives and to treat them with honor as the weaker vessel.  Furthermore, Ephesians 5:11 says “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them”.  So, don’t cover up your husband’s or boyfriend’s abuse.  He is not your enemy, but he needs to be stopped, both for his own good and for your welfare.

Consider this when talking about your hubby

It’s actually a really awesome thing when you talk about your husband in public! Well, it’s really awesome IF what you’re sharing is complimentary! In fact, it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your husband. Men are wired to crave respect and affirmation. That’s why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to “respect their husbands”. I have seen my husband begin glowing (in a masculine sort of way!) when I affirm him in front of his friends or our family members.

However, there is a flip side to this business of speaking publicly about your guy. My husband tells me one of the very worst things a wife can do is to disclose some of her husband’s failures, character deficiencies or mistakes in front of friends and family. He says when a wife shares her husband’s personal failings, he’s absolutely devastated and emasculated. Don’t emasculate your man! If he begins feeling that way, he will likely subconsciously gravitate toward another woman who will build him up instead of tearing him down.

One other note: Obviously, if your husband is engaged in a pattern of sin, it’s appropriate to disclose those kinds of personal failings to a counselor or pastor as you two are seeking help in your marriage. Just don’t go broadcasting his mistakes and failures during gatherings with friends, family, co-workers, or church members!

2 qualities husbands find attractive

When men are surveyed about what makes a woman attractive, other than classically beautiful features, a strong majority say….her confidence!  So, if you want to be attractive to your husband (or to your boyfriend), work at developing confidence.  Work at becoming secure. 

I believe you do this by spending time meditating on God’s love for you!  He loves you so much he actually adopted you as his beloved child!  He is your Papa!  Meditate on this Scripture from Galatians 4:  “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

The second quality that is extremely attractive is…humility.  Most men run from a woman who is self-righteous and judgmental.  A husband is repelled by a wife who conveys that she thinks she’s better than him!  However, a husband’s heart is drawn to a wife who is humble, kind and compassionate. The Bible instructs us to be this kind of person!  Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

P.S  Yes, you can carry yourself with confidence, while at the same time displaying humility!  This means having self-respect and dignity, but refusing to act like you’re superior to your guy.

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

Taming your tongue!

Good grief!  Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again!  In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc.  Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem!  How about you?

Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble.  That’s because we have a common enemy.  Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues!  Jesus is stronger than the enemy.  1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Hallelujah!

So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today.  I asked him to help me remember to pause before I speak to my husband, especially when I’m angry or frustrated!  I asked God to remind me during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if I’m asking my husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain my frustration.  I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words.  Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”

Will you join me in praying for God to help us catch ourselves the minute we’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward our husbands?