Don’t give Satan this foothold in your marriage!

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 – 27, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Well….I almost gave the devil just such a foothold in my marriage the other day.  My husband had acted in a way that really bothered me.  I was steaming for hours and couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him about it because I feared we’d get embroiled in a huge conflict.  So, I went to bed early, by myself.

I am so thankful the Holy Spirit prompted me to get out of bed and go speak with my husband.  I sensed that I was giving the devil a “foothold” in my marriage through me stuffing the issue and letting resentment grow.  So, I went and found my husband in the living room, knelt by his side as he was sitting on the couch and told him that I truly do see so many good qualities in him.  I also told him why his behavior had bothered me.

I know you’re thinking he agreed with my assessment, but he didn’t!  But you know what?  We calmly acknowledged our difference of opinion and I was able to go to sleep in peace.  There was no wedge between me and my husband.  Don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your marriage.  Resist the temptation to go to sleep with simmering anger and resentment.

When a spouse is self-centered…

Selfishness and self-centeredness. They are such unattractive character qualities, right?! I’ve always thought most men are pretty selfish, and perhaps many are.  However, God’s been convicting me of my own selfishness! Ugh. It can be a very subtle thing for women.  In fact, selfishness is often found in a woman’s thought-life.  She may think things like this:  My husband should be more romantic toward me. How can I convince my husband that my way is right?  My husband isn’t really making me happy anymore.  I married him because he’s supposed to make me happy!  And the thoughts go on and on.

I’m becoming convicted neither wives nor husbands will find much joy in marriage when we only look out for what we want and what we think will make us “happy”.  Actually, true joy comes from serving others and thinking of how we can bless them.  It is so counter-intuitive!  However, it is also so Biblical.  Philippians 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 interests of others.”  Maybe you should try to look at life from your husband’s perspective this week and really try to understand his point of view during disagreements. Maybe you could intentionally build him up each day and voice your appreciation for big and small things he does.  How could you bless him this week?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Why should I be the only one doing this? What about my husband?”  Well, how about if you clean up your side of the street first?  I have a strong hunch that your entire marriage will improve and your husband’s heart will be drawn to you.  Are you willing to give it a try?

How your prayers can change your husband!

Prayer really is powerful!  You might be concerned about your husband’s actions or decisions.  You may be distressed about his lack of attention or affection toward you or the children.  If the offense is serious enough, you may need to establish boundaries, but at the end of the day, the truth is…you can’t CHANGE your husband.  However, the good news is that God DOES have the power to change your husband’s heart!  Ezekiel 36:26 lets me know God can change your man’s heart because that verse says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you”.  I love to encourage wives to pray that verse for their husbands if their men appear to be off course in some area of their life.  Then, we have to be patient while we wait for God to answer our prayers for our men.  We also have to be intentionally watchful or we may even miss the answer to our prayer.

I was just thinking back about prayers I lifted to God several years ago regarding my husband.  Just recently, I suddenly realized that God had actually answered those prayers!  The changes happened so slowly and over such a long period of time that I hadn’t really noticed!  Hmmm.  It’s a good reminder to pray persistently, as Jesus instructs us to do in Luke 18, and then be watchful and alert for his answers.  Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”  So, don’t let an answered prayer slip by unnoticed.  We don’t want to miss out on thanking God and rejoicing in His faithfulness.

Looking back, can you see God making slow changes in your marriage, in you, or in your husband as a result of your long-time prayers?

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Is your clothing attractive to your husband?

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!

A husband’s version 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. J

Making it through 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.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

How to become a smart, “intentional” wife!

So many women (like me) grow up thinking once they find their Prince Charming, they’ll get married, he’ll be perfect, and they’ll live happily ever after.  It’s as if we think we’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust or something and our marriages will thrive with no hard work on our part.  Not true!

We MUST intentionally work on our marriages.  When I start neglecting my husband, or when I fail to remember to press into the Bible instructions for wives….well, my relationship with my husband starts to get a bit more like we’re roommates who simply tolerate each other.  It happens so slowly that we often fail to notice the slow crumbling of a once-vibrant marriage.  Don’ let this happen to you!  Be intentional.  Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  So, be diligent in working on your marriage.  Wives who intentionally nurture their marriages have the most fulfilling and joy-filled marriages!

Here are just a few ideas on how to nurture your marriage. Ask God every morning how you can bless your husband this day, perhaps with a small act of kindness or a word of appreciation.  Ask God if there’s any small seed of resentment toward your husband that’s taking root in your heart.  If there is, ask God for wisdom in respectfully addressing this issue with your husband.  Carve out time for date nights or date lunches with your man every single week.  You may have to trade babysitting with another woman, but do whatever it takes to intentionally nurture your marriage.  Also, make sure you create opportunities to laugh together and have fun together. Those kind of moments are very bonding.

Great marriages don’t just happen.  They take effort….and it’s worth it!