Beware of this specific thought!

Caution.  Caution.  In fact, I urge you to envision yellow caution tape (like you see around a dangerous construction zone) every time this thought comes into your mind. The thought is “I deserve a different husband”.  That is a thought emanating straight from the pit of hell.

When Satan dangles that thought in front of your mind, he’s basically trying to entice you into believing that you have been ripped off and that you are entitled to trade in your man for a better model.  I should know.  I bought that lie from the enemy, hook, line, and sinker at the end of my first marriage.  You know who else fell for this kind of thinking?  Eve.  She fell for Satan’s lie that God was ripping her off by withholding fruit from one of the trees and he got her to believe she was entitled to more than God had given her.  That story didn’t end well either.  

Now please don’t misunderstand me.  If your husband is an unrepentant, serial cheater or if he has a pattern of abuse and is not seeking serious help, then God may very well release you from your marriage. However, MUCH of the time, the enemy tries to get us to focus on every shortcoming of our husband, every flaw, every way he does not meet our expectations for a perfect husband.  Then Satan seals the deal by whispering to us that we deserve a different husband…a husband who would be so much better.  That’s usually a complete delusion!  I can almost guarantee you that if you were to dump your husband and get a new one, he would have “issues” as well!  So don’t fall for Satan’s schemes and delusions.  Remember what the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14…”Satan masquerades as an angel of light”.

So, instead of buying the lie that you need to dump your inferior man and get a better model, how about if you do these three things instead?  1)  Look for the good qualities of your man and be thankful  2) Respectfully confront any sinful pattern of behavior on his part and establish boundaries if necessary 3) pray daily for Jesus to mold and shape your husband into a godly man of integrity.

Helping your husband avoid lust

Our men are bombarded daily with temptations to lust.  They drive down the freeway and there is a billboard featuring a sexy woman.  They go to work and encounter a female co-worker showing too much cleavage.  It seems like there is no safe place to avoid the temptation to lust!

However, your home could be one of those safe places, especially if you choose to avoid watching TV shows that feature scantily-clad women!  Personally, I would have loved to watch Dancing With The Stars over its many seasons.  I so enjoy watching a dancing novice grow into a fabulous dancer in just a few weeks.  But I knew that watching that show with my husband would likely cause a huge challenge for him regarding lust.  So, I chose not to watch that program.  The same thing is true for many other shows.  We always applied the same rule of thumb to the movies we watched over the years.  I checked beforehand to see if a movie featured sexual scenes or partial nudity.  We didn’t watch those movies.

Are you helping your husband avoid sexual temptation through your choices of media?   1 Corinthians 10:32 says “Do not cause anyone to stumble“.   Are you allowing things into your home that could cause your husband to stumble?  For instance, I called Victoria’s Secret many years ago and asked them to stop sending their catalog to our home.  That magazine is soft porn to men and boys!  Should you make similar changes at your home?

Blame-shifting in marriage

Isn’t it so very easy to see your husband’s faults?  Isn’t it super simple to see the wrongs of your mother-in-law or your co-worker?  Yep.  I can clearly see another person’s sin, but rarely do I take an honest look at my own shortcomings!

In a marriage, this tendency to only see another’s sin can be deadly.  If you allow yourself to focus on your spouse’s failures or flaws, you will start becoming resentful, depressed, discouraged and hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t mean a wife shouldn’t ask for changes if her husband is sinning against her. She may indeed need to set firm boundaries.  However, this DOES mean that she should also take a serious look at her own behavior!

My husband and I have met with many couples over the years and, tragically, we’ve seen far too many wives eagerly point out their husband’s shortcomings while failing to seriously acknowledge their own flaws.  Many wives will say the words “Oh, I know I’m not perfect either”, but then their next 10 sentences are filled with complaints about their husband. There is rarely a serious inventory of their own shortcomings or ways in which they may have contributed to problems in the marriage.

Let’s do better! Let’s stop blame-shifting.  Yes, we often engage in blame-shifting, which means we blame someone else for our own wrong behavior!  For instance, a wife will blame her husband’s flaws for why she became disrespectful or why she rudely refused to talk to him at all, treating him as if he was invisible and worthless.

Ladies, let’s ask God to show us our own faults and weaknesses so that we can change for the better.  Let’s stop shifting the blame for our own unkind or sinful behavior. Not only will your husband appreciate this new humility and honesty, but you will likely thrive as well!  Proverbs 28:13 puts it this way:  Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

P.S.  Yes, I know that husbands also can engage in blame-shifting, but for the purposes of this devotional, I’m writing to wives!

This curse on women explains a lot!

When you think of the curses placed on Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden apple, you probably think of Adam having to toil to bring food to the table and you likely think of Eve having to endure pain in childbirth.  However, there is another curse placed on Eve that may have escaped your notice.  It’s found in Genesis 3:16 where God says “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“.  That word “desire” in the original Hebrew means “to run to, to stretch out after, to have a vehement desire for”.  Oh my.  This explains a lot!

Almost all women struggle with almost an insane, overwhelming desire to secure a man.  And this starts early!  In fact, over the years, as I’ve observed my granddaughters at toddler age, they have tended to gravitate to their grandpas, dads, and boy cousins.  Hmmm.

My point is this.  If we recognize this curse, we will be more able to deal with it.  The curse may explain why it’s so difficult for most women to establish and enforce boundaries with their husbands when their men are sinning against them by using pornography, drinking excessively, gambling large sums of money, spending time with other women, etc.   If we do indeed have a deep instinctive desire (curse) to desperately hang onto our guy, we believe we can’t do anything to threaten our grip!   This explains a lot, doesn’t it?  Knowledge is the beginning of understanding.  Ask Jesus to give you clarity about how your thoughts and actions are being affected by the curse.  Then ask Him to give you courage and strength to make wise decisions.  Tip:  When you stop making a man the most important thing in your life and make Jesus your main relationship, then you will have the courage and confidence to set wise boundaries in your marriage (or dating relationships)!

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

How to seek marriage advice

If you’re going through some challenges with your husband right now, it’s really wise to seek godly counsel from another woman. Often another woman can see the situation more objectively.  A godly woman can encourage you to persevere through challenges instead of giving up.  Sometimes, another woman can help you see the need to set wise boundaries on unacceptable behavior.   It’s also really wise to reach out to a few godly women who you know will pray for you and your husband.

However, there’s a fine line between seeking godly support and husband-bashing!  Sometimes, we go beyond seeking advice and prayer support and we start gossiping and whining about our husbands.  That’s not constructive and it’s very disrespectful to your husband.  Let’s keep in mind God’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33…”The wife must respect her husband“.

So check your heart before you pick up that phone to whine to a friend.  Check your motives before you start complaining about your husband to another woman. Are you telling dishonoring stories about him in great detail and listing all of his faults…or are you actually looking for guidance and prayer support? Pay attention to the words you’re texting or speaking.  Are they disrespectful or honoring to your husband? 

Help for wives with past sexual abuse

Unfortunately, there’s a high likelihood that many wives reading this devotional have experienced past sexual abuse, either in childhood or due to a forced sexual situation as an adult woman.  I can relate to this myself.  I was sexually abused by several men over many years of my childhood.  As you probably know, this can cause real problems for you in terms of desiring to be sexually active with your husband.  Yet, it’s so vitally important to build a vibrant sex life with your husband.  What’s a wife to do?

Here are 5 things that have helped me along my journey:

1) Determine in your heart and mind that you will not let evil steal from you yet again.  Evil stole your innocence once before, but decide that you will not cooperate with Satan’s plan to steal the sex life from your marriage.

2) Coach your soul.  The psalmist David often talked to his soul and reminded his soul of truth.  We can do the same thing.  Remind your soul that your husband cares for you….that he will not hurt you…that you are not being forced…that you will actually enjoy loving touch from your husband….that you can relax in your husband’s arms.

3) Ask your husband if he will allow you to be the one who initiates sex.  That way, you will not feel like someone is suddenly forcing himself on you.  (However, you do need to initiate then!)

4) Ask your husband to progress slowly, giving you plenty of time to truly warm to his touch.  In other words, you might need extra time before transitioning from kissing to touching of breasts, etc.  Also, ask him to stop for a moment if you say stop.  You need to know that, unlike your childhood experience where you had no control, this time you have control over your body.

5) Decide not to dwell on the past, but choose to focus on what is good and right and pure in your husband and in your marriage.  This is what Philippians 4:8 tells us:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Why doesn’t my husband understand?

Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly?  Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do?  Well, here’s a news bulletin.  He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman!  In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.”  Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!

Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed.  But you do.  Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job.  You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!

I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you.  He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships.  Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week.  You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations.  (Just one caution though.  Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)

**or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

God can use you to mold husband

If you and your husband are followers of Jesus, then you are both being sculpted.  The Bible says in Isaiah 64:8  “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  God is molding and shaping us each and every day.

God uses many tools to shape us.  He sometimes allows us to make foolish decisions and then experience the natural consequences of those decisions.  Hopefully, we learn something valuable from those painful lessons!  But when it comes to your husband, God has another powerful tool in his tool belt…you!  As a wife, you have the unique ability to encourage your man.  You can choose to be the voice that points out his good qualities.  When you do that, most husbands seem to grow 2 inches taller.  Your words of encouragement often become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for your man.  As you affirm his good character qualities, talents, and spiritual gifts, he feels emboldened to step into those things with more confidence and vigor.

God may even want to use you as a tool to lovingly but firmly confront your husband if he is entrenched in a pattern of sin.  You know your husband better than anyone else, so you’re the one who will likely notice if he is caught in a sinful pattern.  Pray and ask God if he wants you to have a loving conversation with your husband about that sin pattern.  Does God want you to request your husband see a counselor, attend a 12-step group, meet with the pastor, join a men’s ministry?  Does the Lord want you to draw a firm boundary with your husband, thereby putting pressure on him to do whatever it takes to get free from this sin?  (Read Matthew 18:15-17 for more guidance on this)

Will you be a tool in God’s tool belt?  Pray and ask the Lord to show you if and how he wants you to be a tool!

Prompting empathy from husband

Are you often really disappointed in your husband because he doesn’t seem to have a lot of empathy in your times of stress or sadness?  Do you find yourself longing for him to comfort you during times of discouragement or heartbreak, but he doesn’t seem to notice your distress or understand what you need?  Well, join the club! 

For most of my marriage to Raul, I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated that he didn’t comfort me when I needed comfort or even seem to notice that I needed empathy!  Then one day about 2 years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and say, “He doesn’t know what you need unless you spell it out to him.”  What?!  I remember thinking that if I have to tell him exactly what I need in those moments of despair or frustration, then his attempt to comfort wouldn’t be meaningful.  You might think the same thing.  However, I was wrong.

When I finally spelled out to my husband EXACTLY what I needed in moments of heartbreak, discouragement, or stress, he followed through.  He actually thanked me for TELLING him what I needed.  And guess what?  Even though I told him what I needed, it was still very comforting when he did what I instructed him to do.  Just in case you’re wondering what I asked him to do.  I said “Come up to me and wrap me in your arms and hold me tight.  Then pat my back gently 3 times and say ‘I can understand how that would make you feel and it’s going to be okay’.”  It was amazing!  I was comforted!

Husbands are not mind-readers!  If you need something, tell them!  Otherwise, your husband will sense that he’s failing you but be unsure of what to do.  Explaining exactly what you need is actually an act of compassion toward your husband.  This reminds me of the verse in Colossians 3:12  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Your husband needs your voice

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story.  The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud.  In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.

Husbands are like that little train. They face an uphill battle.  The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’re not good enough.  Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys.  As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually.  They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families.  Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography.  But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men!  We can say, “I think you can”.  “I know you can”.  “I believe in you”.  “I’m praying for you.”   “God’s going to give you the strength”.   Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us.  It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

You can help move your husband from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by your words of encouragement.  Will you help your husband be the little engine that could?  I think you can.  I think you can.  I think you can.