Being appreciated for all you do!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a poopy mood (yes, I just used the highly technical term “poopy”!) when I do something sacrificial for my husband and he doesn’t even seem to notice.  For me, even though both my husband and I work full-time in ministry, I decided that, for a while, I would do all the household cleaning chores so that my husband would be freed up to serve God even more.  I did this for a several month stretch last year.

Did I enjoy vacuuming, dusting, cleaning toilets?  No, I did not.  Did I sometimes feel grumpy when I cleaned the house after already working a full day?  Yes, I did.  But then I thought, “well, at least my husband will sing my praises when he gets home and notices all I’ve done”.  However, even though I subtly pointed out to him what I had done, much to my shock, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all.  What!?!  

It’s at that time that God graciously reminded me that He noticed all I had done and he was pleased.  I know that God is pleased whenever I serve my husband because God instructs us in Matthew 9:35 that “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”  

God always notices what we’re doing even when no one else sees it!  In Matthew 6:4, the Bible reminds us that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Let’s take heart that we are pleasing the “right” man when we serve our husbands sacrificially.  That right man is Jesus.

What he needs to feel loved

You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”.  It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love.  The love languages are:  words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.  Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment.  Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.

Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day.  When you do these small things, he feels loved by you.  So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him?  By purposely withholding what he needs to feel loved, could it be that we’re actually sinning?  Listen to what God says in James 4:17: “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  Oh my.

Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch.  Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store.  Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by.  Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen.  Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss.  Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV.  Run your fingers through his hair.  These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!

Your girlfriend shouldn’t be his too

At the risk of you thinking I’m totally looney, may I suggest that you talk with your husband about clear boundaries regarding your female friends?  In other words, he should not be a close friend of any of your own girlfriends!  I know this might seem old-fashioned or even ridiculous, but many affairs start out with a husband “just talking” with another woman.  We need to be careful and alert to the schemes of the enemy!

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober-mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  So, be alert to the enemy’s scheme to get your husband emotionally entangled with one of your friends.  He should not spend time with her without you.  He should not even be spending time on the phone with her giving advice or listening to her woes.  Without him intending to do so, he will slowly find himself developing an emotional bond with your friend, and she will start bonding with him.   Danger lies ahead!

Defusing argument before it can start

I’m on a journey of learning how to do relationships in a healthier, God-directed way!  I don’t know about you, but when I get really disappointed in my husband or anybody, I tend to go in one of two unhealthy directions.  1) I avoid the potential conflict entirely by clamming up, putting up an ice shield, and then spiraling down into toxic resentment or 2) I let my tongue run wild and blast the person with both barrels!  Neither one of these options yields good results.

God’s way is so much different and better!  He says in Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.  Gentle words.  Gentle words.  Gentle words.  I need to remind myself of this!  God is saying that we can avoid a nasty argument if we speak gently and kindly and maybe even assume the best about the other person instead of giving full vent to our anger.

I got to practice this a little while ago.  My husband was really stressed as we were on a long-distance drive.  I was attempting to help with googling a gas station, but my phone ran out of data.  Ugh.  Then he started getting really sharp with me in his tone.  I mean…REALLY sharp.  I felt disrespected.  And oh boy, I decided that I didn’t deserve that tone and that I was going to tell him what a jerk he was.  Yeah, pastor’s wives don’t always have gracious thoughts apparently. Sigh.

Anyway, somehow God got my attention before I blasted him and God reminded me of Proverbs 15:1.  So, I bit my tongue until we got all the way home, and as my husband was about to exit the car, I turned to him, laid a hand softly on his arm and said gently, “I know you love me and you would never intend to hurt me, but the way you talked to me back there was not okay.  Please don’t talk to me like that again.”  And that was that.  No big blow-up.  He didn’t feel condemned because I affirmed that I know he loves me.  With God’s prompting, I was able to defuse the nasty argument before it could start.  Gentle words.  Gentle words. Gentle words.  Let’s all remember that!

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Do NOT make major decisions if…

You may have heard of the acronym H.A.L.T.  It stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired.   It is a caution often used in addiction recovery where people are urged not to make any drastic decisions when one of those 4 conditions applies.

That’s a really good caution for wives as well!  Don’t make any major decisions about leaving your husband, filing for divorce, or even giving full vent to your temper if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  However, I would like to add one more condition.  Don’t make any major decisions when….it’s that time of the month!!  Women are often so overly-emotional in the days leading up to their period, that we become drama queens!  Everything happening around us is exaggerated in intensity.  So, even though you feel like reacting in a dramatic way, remind yourself to pause and see if you still feel the same way 3 or 4 days later.

This verse comes to mind.  James 1:19-20  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

3 ways to kiss your husband

Okay – I’ll come clean.  This might not be exactly what you expected.  I’m not going to attempt to teach anybody how to kiss well…in the literal sense!  However, God reveals something interesting in His Word about kisses.  He says in Proverbs 24:26, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips“.  Wow!

What if we were to bless our husband (almost as good as a passionate kiss!) and be honest with them?  According to God, being honest with our men would be very well received and appreciated!  Here are 3 ideas on how we can start being more honest with our guys:

1) Stop hinting and decide to directly and clearly state your needs, desires, and ideas.

2)  Be transparent about your past failures and even your current struggles instead of pretending you’re perfect.

3) Be respectful but honest if something is really bothering you, as opposed to stuffing your true feelings and allowing bitterness to close down your heart toward your husband

Feel like giving up on your marriage?

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…”

Yes, sometimes ending the marriage may be the right path, especially if there has been a pattern of affairs or abuse. But often, we choose to end a marriage because of resentment or unmet expectations or because “he’s not making me happy”. Please, please, please work to address the issues that are prompting you to consider divorce. There may be a way to develop a healthier perspective and a healthier relationship. This will likely take work, and the process could be painful, but often good things happen when we persevere through the pain!

Learning to trust him again

Betrayal in marriage is so devastating.  Betrayal takes many forms…adultery, use of pornography, excessive gambling, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.   If your husband betrayed you in some way, you know the resulting heartbreak first-hand.  If your husband has finally repented of this behavior, praise God!  However, there’s almost always a secondary, deep issue that needs to be dealt with…regaining trust.  That’s because betrayal is almost always engulfed in lies.  The husband who has an affair does so in secret and deceives his wife about his whereabouts.  The husband who has an alcohol problem usually drinks secretly and lies about his drinking. 

So, how does a wife learn to trust after betrayal?   Well, the first part is up to you.  You must clearly communicate what you need from your husband in order to begin to trust him again.  Here is what I suggest.  Let him know you will only be able to begin trusting again if you see him taking actual steps toward serious accountability and recovery.  I would also let him know that he needs to show that he is willing to do the hard work of recovery over the long haul, not just a few weeks.  This is the essence of Matthew 3:8, which instructs us to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” 

You need to see fruit, week after week and month after month.  That “fruit” may involve long-term counseling, a treatment program, long-term involvement with a 12-step group such as AA, etc.  The fruit should also mean willingness on his part to honestly account for his time, money, and computer use.

All that being said, remember to treat your husband with the same kindness, compassion and humility that you would want him to treat you if you were struggling with an addiction or had stumbled in some major way.  Your husband is NOT your enemy!  He needs you to encourage him, while also firmly requesting that he do the hard work to regain your trust.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Simple ways to show respect

If you’re a wife and a mom….life can get pretty busy!  If you’re a wife and mom and you work outside the home, well then life can be pretty chaotic and crazy!!

Sometimes in that busyness, we can get so caught up in chores and children that we unintentionally ignore our husbands!   So, here’s something I’m trying to remember to do.  When my husband enters the house after work, I’m trying to remember to actually pivot toward him and make eye contact.  I even try to throw in a smile as an extra bonus! Sometimes, I even take the 3 extra seconds to run over and give him a little kiss. J

I know this isn’t rocket science, but we often are so intent on our children or cooking or cleaning, that we don’t even glance our husband’s way.  That leaves him feeling unimportant and disrespected.  Remember, respect is a really big deal to men.  That’s why God instructs us in Ephesians 5:33, “The wife must respect her husband.”

So, give it a try.  Make eye contact with your husband when he comes home from work, and actually any time he enters a room you’re in.  Smile.  Make him feel happy to be in the same room you. He will feel more honored and respected. You will draw his heart to you and strengthen the bond between you. J

Avoid these 2 traps of the past!

There are a lot of dangers for a wife who gives into the temptation to look backward.   Allow me to reveal two specific ways in which we tend to look backward, as well as the resulting danger.

1)  Since almost the beginning of creation, we’ve had a tendency to want to look back at our past.  I think of Lot’s wife who looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and suffered for that decision by being turned into a pillar of salt!  God may have asked us to move forward in serving him, or perhaps we’ve entered a new relationship, but we tend to look back with longing at how things used to be.  In modern day, many wives are tempted to “look back” at their old high school boyfriend by checking them out on Facebook.  But that is dangerous.  It opens the door to make a connection that can slowly develop into something that pulls you away from your husband. 

2)  As wives, we also tend to “look back” at the past failures or sins of our husbands.  We often replay the hurtful incident over and over again, even 10 or 20 years later!  That always ends badly.  Resentment rises up again and causes continuing damage in the relationship.  We need to have a forward gaze.  Philippians 3:13-14 says, ” Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”   Deal with any sinful behavior going on today, but let’s decide to leave the past in the past.