4 marriage myths you should know

  1. Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part.  Not true!  I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy.  Philippian 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 interest of others.”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:

2. Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness.  (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)

3. Happy couples never have conflict.  (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)

4. If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen.  (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)

— or view this topic as a 4 minute VIDEO BELOW

A core need of most husbands

Men are wired differently than women.  Duh!  One of the ways most men differ from us is that, instead of sitting and talking about their feelings and deepest longings, they like to do stuff.  You may not realize it, but most husbands really want their wives to do stuff with them!  They want to spend time with you.

This is really made apparent way back at the creation of the world.  Right after God created man, He said in Genesis 2:18, “It’s not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  God knew Adam needed companionship!

Make it a point this week to show some interest in joining your husband in one of his hobbies or activities or even one of his errands.  Does he like to golf?  I bet he would love for you to go with him and watch him, or have him give you a lesson on how to play golf if you don’t already know.  Does he like to ride a bicycle?  Get a bike and take a ride with him.  Does he like to tinker with fixing up old cars?  Sit and watch him and ask if he can explain what he’s doing.  Maybe you can hand him a tool as he works.  Does he need to pick up some paint at a home improvement store?  Ask if you can tag along.

Bonus:  You’ll likely find that as you’re doing something together, men find it easier to talk to you!  Look forward to some actual conversations.  🙂

Dealing with disrespect from your guy

I keep bumping into beautiful, intelligent women who, for some bizarre reason, allow their husband or boyfriend to treat them horribly.  One gorgeous young woman had her boyfriend spit in her face and she still stayed with him!  What’s up with that?  Do women no longer have any dignity and self-respect?

A wife’s dignity is actually a quality that is highly valued in the Bible.  When describing the wife of “noble character” in Proverbs 31, the Bible says in verse 25 “she is clothed with strength and dignity“.  So, what does the word “dignity” really mean?  The dictionary defines dignity as displaying poise and self-respect.  In other words, a woman of dignity respects herself enough to refuse to be treated disrespectfully!

Don’t believe the lies of the enemy.  Don’t believe that you need to tolerate disrespectful treatment, verbal abuse, or emotional abuse by your man.  That’s a lie!  A dignified woman doesn’t tolerate that.  She confidently, but lovingly, puts boundaries in place and refuses to allow herself to be treated in a dishonoring manner.  A confident woman of dignity trusts God to take care of her even if she has to take drastic steps to protect herself such as breaking up with a disrespectful boyfriend or separating from a verbally-abusive husband.  Be courageous. Choose to carry yourself with dignity and self-respect. 

Root causes of some illnesses & addictions

I had a bit of a revelation awhile back.  A medical doctor appearing on my talk show (Rita Hancock) said much pain and many addictions stem from lies we have believed since childhood.  These lies can serve to cause such depression, stress, or heavy burdens that we end up carrying the weight of the lies in our body (physical pain) or we end up trying to escape the burden of the lies by numbing out through various addictions, such as overeating, alcohol, etc.

So I tried the simple exercise she suggested for those who have chronic pain, illness or addiction problems.  She said to sum up your current emotions in just one word. For me, the word that popped into my mind was “worry”.  Then she said to reflect back on when you recall feeling that same emotion for the very first time in childhood.  Bam!  I was taken right back to about 5 years of age when I recall feeling worried about the fighting and verbal abuse in my family.  And, I suddenly realized that, at the tender age of 5, I felt like I needed to solve the problem.  For some reason, I believed the lie that I was personally responsible for making peace between people and making everyone happy.  What a lie!  I guess we shouldn’t be shocked that Satan would enter a painful moment of our childhood and give us a wrong interpretation. After all, Jesus describes Satan in John 8:44 this way…”When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Fast forward to current day, and I can see how I’m still subconsciously carrying this same wrong burden.  And it’s too heavy!  And it isn’t my responsibility!  I am not responsible for the relationships between my children or between my husband and my children.  I am not personally responsible for my husband’s “happiness” or my kids’ “happiness”.  The question for you is:  Have you believed a lie that has caused you to carry some kind of burden that God never intended you to carry?

A husband’s need for physical intimacy

I have interviewed quite a few men who are marriage conference speakers and they all say the same thing…a man deeply needs his wife to be interested in a robust sex life with him.  They agree that a husband feels more like a man, has a more positive attitude, and accomplishes more in life when his wife fosters an active sex life.

Conversely, when a wife neglects her husband sexually or makes it clear she’s barely tolerating sex…then Satan has a huge opening to begin tempting your husband to satisfy his desires with porn or another woman.  1 Corinthians 7:5 makes this clear when it says “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Most women don’t need frequent sex with their spouse the same way that a man does.  It’s one of the many ways we’re wired differently.  But if you want your husband to feel like a man, to be bonded to you, and to be so pumped up that he can go out and slay dragons, then you need to think about building a healthy, robust sex life with him.  I know you have 101 other things you need to do, but can you leave some dirty dishes in the sink or wait to tidy up the house until the morning?  Your husband needs you tonight!

Is your clothing attractive to him?

You probably think I’m going to give fashion advice, but you would be incorrect.  I’m certainly no fashionista!  The kind of “clothing” I’m talking about is not material.  It’s our attitude, character and behavior.  The Bible has a lot to say about how we “clothe” ourselves in that regard!

Colossians 3:18 tells us what we should put on every morning:  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Wow! Think about how attractive you would be to your husband (and your children, and your friends, and your mother-in-law and your co-workers) if you were to put on these qualities every morning as you start your day. 

Think about it.  How would your marriage be changed if you decided to be gentle and humble and kind and compassionate toward your husband?  I bet he would truly look forward to coming home to you each night!  Even if you need to broach tough subjects with your husband, he will be much more likely to listen if you clothe yourself with humility and gentleness and compassion.   Try it.  Humility…compassion…gentleness…kindness.  These are fashion accessories that never go out of style!

Understand the seasons of marriage

Since we all know what to expect with each season of the calendar year, we can prepare ahead.  However, when it comes to the seasons of a marriage, most of us are completely ignorant!  In our ignorance, we are easily caught off guard. We haven’t adequately prepared.  So, let’s be intentional about preparing for each season.  As Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…”

So, let me offer a little insight into the seasons of a marriage, now that I’ve seen some seasons come and go 🙂   The first season is an exciting sprint to the altar.  We are giddy with excitement and anticipation.  As a bride, we are the center of attention.  The world revolves around us.  We feel like the princess in a fairy tale.  We love this season.  It feels like summer, when everything is in full bloom and the sun warms your skin.

However, once we return from the honeymoon, and life goes back to “normal”, we can feel let down.  It’s not all about me anymore!  Often, husbands feel like they’ve won the prize and get to relax now.  Sometimes the romance falls away.  We plug along, but it’s beginning to feel like fall.  The leaves are falling off the trees.  If we don’t pay attention, our marriage can become stripped of its vitality.

Then, children enter the picture.  We’re so excited, just like we enjoy the first snowfall of the winter.  It’s beautiful.   Sometimes this “winter season” is wonderful, but often we pay too much attention to the children and little or no attention to our marriage during this time.  If we don’t intentionally nurture our marriage, Satan sneaks in to cause trouble just like a cold draft sneaks under a poorly sealed door. 

Ah, but then there’s spring.  If we’ve made it through those challenging winter months, and if we’ve been nurturing the relationship with our husband, our marriage begins to really bloom again!  The kids are growing up or are already out on their own, and you have some free time available.  You now have time for shared hobbies, shared adventures, shared pursuit of ministry opportunities, shared smiles with the grandchildren.  Spring is a wonderful reward for paying attention to your marriage during the other seasons.  It might include a little rain now and then, but hey, the rain helps bring new life.

His idea of spending time together

Many wives are familiar with the Bible’s account of creation and know that after creating Adam, God said “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  (Genesis 2:18)   If you really think about this verse, it becomes clear that one of a husband’s core needs is to spend time with his wife so that he is not alone!

That sounds easy to accomplish. Right?  I mean most wives are totally willing, and even eager, to spend time with their husband….sitting on the couch, staring into each other’s eyes, and deeply sharing their feelings, thoughts, and hopes.  Ummm.  That’s not exactly how most men think about “spending time” with their wife!

A man’s version of spending time together typically involves physically doing stuff together, such as attending a sporting event, going hiking, playing golf, going fishing, walking through the home improvement store together, and yes, having sex.  That’s a man’s version of companionship.   This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your husband to spend some time with you in meaningful conversation from time to time, but it does mean you should consider engaging in his version of quality time periodically as well.  Try it, and see if he doesn’t fall just a little more in love with you. 🙂

2 things husbands want you to know

My husband regularly talks with other men as the leader of a large men’s ministry called Band of Brothers For Christ.  Recently, I asked my husband what 2 things he believes most husbands wish their wives understood about men.  Here’s what he said:

1) That he needs to be valued by you.  In other words, he wants you to notice and be thankful for all the things he does for you and the family.  He needs to be needed.

2) That you would appreciate and admire his efforts….efforts to grow spiritually and in character, and that you would be patient and encouraging during that process.  My husband said it takes time for a man to break free from all the temptations of the world and the lusts of his flesh, and that it’s super helpful if his wife acknowledges any forward progress he’s making, no matter how small.

After my husband explained this to me, it occurred to me that wives will automatically start filling these needs in our men when WE seek to follow God’s instructions on “how to love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

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