Do you feel tempted to throw in the towel regarding your marriage? I know it can be tempting to just bail out, but please let me encourage you to do everything you can to fight FOR your marriage!
When you’re going through a serious challenge in your marriage, it seems right to choose the path where the pain can be quickly relieved. In a nutshell, it often seems best to choose divorce. But I’ve been through divorce, and I can honestly say that even though some of your pain will be relieved, you’ll be faced with a whole new set of problems and heartbreak.
So, maybe you should try something else. What if you were to seek outside counsel for your marriage? What if you were to spend time on your knees crying out to God on behalf of your marriage? What if you were to courageously, but respectfully, confront your husband if he is seriously out of line in some area? That could be the beginning of a turn-around in your marriage.
And also, please consider that other people are watching how you handle challenging times. Your children are watching how you handle this. Are you teaching them to bail out of situations and relationships when the going gets tough, or are you showing them how to persevere and do the hard work to restore the relationship? Meditate on Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…”
I’m coming to believe more and more that we would all benefit from living a more natural lifestyle…as in the way God created things to be! Let me give two examples that might apply to you as a wife:
1) Did you know that most husbands, when surveyed, say they prefer their wives to wear less makeup? The clear majority of men say they actually like their women to wear either no make-up at all or just light make-up. In other words, they prefer a natural look…the appearance that God gave you in the first place!
2) If you’ve been battling your weight, did you know that going all-natural can greatly assist you in dropping those extra pounds? Let me tell you from personal experience, it’s true!! For over 5 years now, my husband and I have been eliminating all refined and processed foods from our diet, and wow! We are enjoying wonderful whole grain foods, cheeses, meats, fruits, veggies, etc. We have both lost about 25 pounds and we feel great!
Maybe God knew best when he created us 🙂 Deuteronomy 32:4 says “He is the Rock, his works are perfect…” Maybe it’s time we got back to living the way God intended when he created us!
The perfect gift for your husband…whether it’s Christmas, father’s day, his birthday or your anniversary….is super inexpensive. Give him the gift of respect! The Bible makes it clear that a wife is to respect her husband. This instruction is found in Ephesians 5:33 which simply says “the wife must respect her husband”, and most wives know that a man craves his wife’s respect. However, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to communicate that respect. It’s especially difficult if your husband isn’t perfect! We naturally gravitate to focusing on what’s wrong with our men as opposed to what’s right.
I’m not saying we should ignore a husband’s blatant sin or destructive patterns. We definitely need to pray about confronting disrespectful, destructive, or immoral patterns of behavior. However, we can’t ONLY focus on his areas of weakness. Our men need to know that we believe in them. They need to know that we notice their strengths too!
A simple way to communicate respect is to voice appreciation for the big and small things your husband does for you and your family. Does he go to work each day? Tell him how much you appreciate his hard work. Does he set aside some time each day to play with the kids? Let him know how much you appreciate that. Does he refrain from stopping at the bar on the way home from work? Tell him how much you appreciate that he comes straight home to his family. A great gift you can give to your husband is your daily appreciation for all he does. It’s a sign of respect.
I don’t claim to be the authority on the Bible’s instruction for wives to submit to their husbands, but after spending considerable time studying God’s Word, here’s what I have come to believe on this controversial subject. God definitely plans for all of us to live under authority. I would imagine He knows this prevents chaos from breaking loose! So, in a family unit, God has placed the man as the authority, and the wife and children are under his authority. If we used a business analogy, it’s rather like your husband is the general manager who must make the major decisions on the policy and ground rules for how the business will operate.
So what does this look like for a wife? This means choosing to treat your husband respectfully and allowing your husband to lead you and your family. Instead of you jumping into to take over leadership, and instead of you deciding how everything should go, you allow your husband to lead. However, just as in a business, a wise husband will value the input and sage counsel of the wife who is usually more intimately involved with handling family matters each day.
Now, where “submitting” to your husband can go haywire is when the husband veers off course morally or Biblically. When the husband starts leading the family (or requesting the family) to engage or support wrong behavior, then the wife need not submit to such decisions. Her first allegiance is to God and His commands. God is the ultimate authority. I believe that is why the Bible includes a “qualifier” in one of the instructions for the wife to submit to her husband. It is found in Colossians 3:18, which says “the wife must submit to her husband, as is fitting in the Lord“. If your husband is asking you to do something that is not “fitting in the Lord”, I don’t believe you must submit to such leadership. I believe a wife can respectfully draw the line. In addition, it’s my belief, from studying all of God’s Word, that “submission” does not mean the wife must be a doormat who tolerates disrespectful or even abusive behavior by her husband. Such behavior by the husband is not “fitting in the Lord” either. Submission is not being a doormat.
I was reminded recently of how valuable it is for Christian women to gather with other godly women. A wife recently told me that, beyond learning valuable insights from God’s Word during Bible studies, what has really helped her is the encouragement, support and accountability from other godly women.
It’s true. Sometimes, we need that kick in the pants from another woman when we have wandered off track. Sometimes, it’s that empathy and warm hug from another woman when we are going through a challenging situation. Sometimes, what matters most is knowing friends in your women’s group will be praying for you during the week.
God’s Word tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25… “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” Our adversary wants us to isolate because then we’re more vulnerable! Without encouraging voices in our ear, all we hear are the enemies whispers of discouragement and hopelessness. So, the question is: Are you acting as a lone ranger or are you carving out time in your schedule to meet regularly with other godly women? We need each other. We are stronger together
In any relationship, especially a marriage, there are going to be times when the two of you are in conflict. Perhaps your husband is breaking your heart through wrong behavior. At each of those times, we have to make really big decisions. Should I confront my husband on an issue where he appears to be out of line? Should I keep quiet and press into prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit to work in my husband’s heart? Should I compromise on an issue where we’ve been in conflict?
At these times, counsel from other godly women is very helpful, but honestly, my very best guidance comes from God himself. I just need to take a few moments to be quiet with Him and ask Him to speak direction into my mind and heart. Psalm 142:3 says “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way.” Thank you Lord!
I did this recently on an issue between me and a close relative. I thought for sure I should make a certain decision, but once I spent just a few moments quieting myself and asking God to speak His counsel into my mind, I received guidance to go the exact opposite direction! He even allowed me to see why my original idea was flawed. Try this yourself. God is waiting at the door of your mind and heart. Open the door and let Him in.
We’ve all seen that couple at a restaurant…that couple that hardly speaks a word to each other throughout the whole meal. Don’t be that couple! You and your husband may not be used to revealing your hearts to each other, but give it a try, and don’t just talk about the kids. Here are two helpful hints in terms of making your husband comfortable in opening up his heart to you in conversation: 1) Show an actual interest in what your husband shares 2) Do not criticize, point out flaws, or roll your eyes at the things he shares! Philippians 2:4 instructs…”Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interest of others.” So, really listen to the hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and feelings of your husband.
Here are 4 questions you could use as date night conversation starters:
1) What makes you feel most fully alive…as in what do you so enjoy doing that you feel great satisfaction or delight and you easily lose track of time?
2) If you had 100 million dollars and didn’t have to work for a living, what would you love to do with your time and money?
3) What are the 2 or 3 most impactful moments of your life?
4) What was the best part of your day and what was the most discouraging part of your day?