Are you stuck in suffering even though God has a better plan?

Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth.  They are inevitable.  In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.”   Sometimes, the trouble is inside our marriage, and when that’s the case, we often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV).  Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.

However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering.   Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is sinning against us.  We always need to be respectful and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person.

So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships.  However, it occurs to me that perhaps the best time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they are working to turn away from that pattern of sin.  I guess my question to you is this:  Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children?    Have you drawn clear boundaries on what you will accept and have you followed through with appropriate consequences when necessary?  If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will.  Pray about it and see what God reveals.

Something husbands want their wife to say

We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it!  But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image?  Most, if not all men, really want to be perceived as strong and muscular.  This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles!  He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular!

Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body.  Here are some examples of what she tells him:  Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.”   Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”

When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength?  When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are?  Your husband craves those comments!

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Prideful words can actually be helpful!

Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride.  I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

But here’s the thing.  I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves.   He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant.  God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility.   However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them.  That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant.  It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient!

In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action.  When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband.  He longs to hear those words.  It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm.  Our men need our encouragement!

This hit home for me recently.  My husband took the time to tell me that he feels tremendously encouraged when I occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife.  That tiny little statement builds him up.  It helps him press back into the challenges that await him.  It helps him feel like he can slay dragons.  His wife is proud of him.  She believes in him.  He has the courage and confidence to keep moving forward.  Your words are powerful!  Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately?  Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?

How to lower anxiety in your home!

Who would have thunk it?  (Yes, I know thunk is not a word).  Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting.  Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess!  I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.

She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems.  She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job.  Their relationship was going well.  So what could be the problem?  Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household.  So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!).  She didn’t do all the chores herself.  She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.

The result?  Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared!  Wow!  I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out.  In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity!  P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!

God’s instructions for wives to have a “gentle & quiet spirit”

1 Peter 3:4 instructs wives to have a gentle, quiet spirit.  Hmmm.  Why do so many of us rebel against that idea?  Well, for me, I think it boils down to 2 things.

First, I fear that being quiet and gentle means I’m going to be controlled by my husband or become a weak doormat kind of wife!  Personally, I fear being controlled.  It’s because I was hurt by people who controlled me when I was young.  So, I rebel at anything that even smells like control!  But here’s what both you and I need to know.  Just because we allow our husbands to lead, does not mean that we are weak and have no voice.  It is something we get to CHOOSE to do to bring honor to God and honor to our husbands.  Also, I am not a doormat because I DO get to speak up respectfully and establish boundaries if my husband is sinning against me. (Matthew 18:15-17)

Second, I fear that if I strive for a gentle, quiet spirit that I’m going to have to change my personality!  But that’s just not true!  You can still be playful, joyful, and flirty with your husband.  You just don’t yell at him, argue with him about everything, boss him around, and demand your own way all the time.  🙂

Communication tip #2: Teasing

I’m always giving my husband a hard time about his driving!  If your husband is like mine, he treats driving as a competition…all the time.  As soon as he puts the key in the ignition, the race is on!  It’s a guy thing.  A lot of wives tell me their husbands are like that too.  🙂

Well, because it’s a “guy thing”, I’ve teased my husband about it.  I meant the teasing to be playful, and funny, and charming.  I thought it was being received that way, and perhaps it was….when it was just the two of us.  However, on our drive yesterday, my husband mentioned that my teasing about his driving isn’t so funny when I tease him in front of other people.  He said it makes him feel that I’m telling everybody he’s a terrible driver.  Holy cow!  I never meant it that way at all, but that’s how he took it.

This is just another reminder for all of us ladies.  Be very, very (as in “extremely”) careful when you tease your husband in front of others, even if you think you’re being playful and flirty.  He so needs you to always show him respect and admiration in public.  Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband”, and while we should do that all the time, it’s critical when in public.  Let’s commit to looking for opportunities to affirm our men in front of others, and totally avoid any kind of teasing.

How to begin repairing a fractured marriage

Dog-gone it.  Sometimes marriage is so hard.  Sometimes, the humanness of our spouse ends up hurting us…deeply.  Your husband may have wounded you with an anger problem.  He may have cheated on you with porn or a real-life woman.  He may have spent more time with his hobbies than he did with you and the kids, and that really hurt.  Hopefully, he’s no longer doing those things.

However, even if he has made some positive changes, the wounding can be so severe that your heart might feel a little like a cracked egg. It’s kind of like Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and went splat!  Even if your husband repents, how can your heart be put back together again?

Here are two thoughts that may help.  First, ask God to give you the same kind of compassion for your husband that God extends to us when we mess up.  You might want to meditate on Colossians 3:12-14 which says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Second, use this moment to examine your own actions and see if there is something God wants you to learn.  I know during some of the times in my life where I was most hurt by others, God also showed me ways I contributed to the mess.  Have you been reacting to his behavior in disrespectful ways?  Have you avoided conflict and let resentment become toxic?  You and I probably both have some things we should learn.  Let’s commit to being humble and teachable.