One of my super humbling moments as a newly divorced woman actually reminds me of a vital marriage principle. Here’s the event forever etched in my memory from December of 2002:
It was nearing Christmas and I had just gone through a divorce after 18 years of marriage. My children were 16 and 14 at the time and I wanted to keep as many Christmas traditions in place as possible, so I announced that I was taking the kids to cut down our Christmas tree from a local tree farm. Just before we took off, I realized I didn’t have any way to tie the tree to the top of my SUV. But hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, or so I thought. lol I wasn’t going to let anything deter me!
So I searched my new house for something resembling rope or a bungee cord. Alas, there was no such thing on hand. All I had was some….sewing thread. Hmmm. Well, maybe a whole bunch of thread would work?
Off we went to pick out our beautiful Christmas tree. My son cut it down. Unlike me, he apparently knew how to handle this part of the operation. We hoisted the tree to the top of my SUV and then I carefully wove my spool of thread back and forth across the tree to secure it to the roof. My kids just shook their heads in disbelief. Then we took off, and we actually made it about a half-mile before the tree took a slow, inelegant slide from the top of the car to the road. Splat!
Why am I sharing this story with you? I’m using it to remind both you and me that a tiny thread is not sufficient to hold anything heavy when the wind starts blowing against it. In the same way, we need a super strong rope to hold a marriage together when we are slammed by the wind of miscommunication, frustration, and unmet expectations in marriage. We need a rope of three strands…you, your husband and the Lord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Sit down with your husband and brainstorm ideas on how you can keep God in the center of your marriage. You will need him to help hold you guys together when you encounter the inevitable adversity and challenges that hit every marriage! Invite a third party into your marriage…the Holy Spirit!
As a wife, you want your husband to cherish you and be drawn to you. The question is: once you get married and the intoxication of new love wears off, how do you keep your man drawn to you? Of course, you want to do what you can to stay physically attractive, and you likely know a robust sex life with him is super important, but here are 2 other simple things that will tend to keep your husband attracted to you.
1) Listen intently to him when he talks, especially when he talks about his hopes, his dreams, his plans, and the things he loves to do. If you engage him in conversation about his dreams and passions in life, he will feel understood, accepted, and valued for who he is at his core. Valuing his hopes and dreams is a sign of respect, and Ephesians 5:33 says, “The wife must respect her husband.” This doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with some of his more far-fetched dreams, but you can certainly explore with him why that specific dream or passion is exciting to him. Perhaps you can even brainstorm ways to satisfy those longings in practical ways.
2) Make plans for fun outings together and then make time in your schedule to have fun with him! You used to do this when you were dating, and you need to keep connecting with him through fun activities and hobbies during your marriage. Golf together. Try doing a workout video together. Start a pillow fight. Watch funny movies. Take a hike. Go sledding in the winter and kayaking in the summer. Invite a fun couple to your house once a month to play table games. Your husband will bond with you and be drawn to you when you have fun together.
Ladies, your words are so very powerful and influential in your husband’s life! Whether you realize it or not, every time you criticize your husband or correct your husband or point out flaws in your husband’s ideas, you are crushing his spirit. Every time you crush his spirit, he ends up feeling like more and more of a failure until he eventually gives up trying. I have lost track of how many husbands have told me and my husband in a counseling session “I can’t do anything right”. When a husband says this, he has pretty much conceded defeat. He no longer has the motivation to strive to be a better husband and father. He no longer even believes that’s possible,
On the other hand, ladies, a husband who is frequently affirmed and encouraged by his wife gains the courage and the motivation to do the hard work to become an even better husband and father. He can tell his wife believes in him, so he begins believing in himself as well. A wife’s kind, encouraging, affirming words can actually esteem her husband to greatness!
Ladies, in Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone: I will create a helper suitable for him.” One of the best ways you can help your man is by being his chief encourager! Resist the urge to point out his faults and failures. Choose to encourage him instead. Catch the vision of esteeming your husband to greatness! You’ll both be happier!
Here’s something to ponder. The Bible instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33 to respect their husbands. But what does that really mean? Well, when I looked up the original Greek word for respect, it means “to be in awe of” or “to revere”. Oh my! I love my husband, but I confess I don’t usually treat him as if I “revere” him!
I wonder how my marriage would be impacted if I really sought to revere my husband? Hmmm. Well, first we need to better understand the word “revere”. Webster’s dictionary says revere means to treat with deferential honor or regard as worthy of great honor. Ok, I’m starting to get the picture.
Here’s how I’m going to try to press into this Bible instruction this week. I am going to strive to treat my husband as if everything he says is really worth my complete attention. Yes, I’m going to actually pay attention when he speaks and treat his thoughts, feelings and ideas as very important. That’s how a person should respond if they think someone is worthy of great honor. Are you doing this with your husband?
I wonder how your marriage and my marriage would be impacted if we started showing respect to our husbands (whether we FEEL like it or not)? I have a sneaking suspicion that our men would stand a little taller, feel more confident, enjoy emotional intimacy with us much more, and maybe even be more courageous in seeking to honor God!
Let’s not be ignorant. Satan is dead-set on destroying your marriage and killing your joy. Jesus explains in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Furthermore, Jesus reveals in John 8:44 that one of Satan’s favorite schemes to destroy you entails lying to you.
He will try to plant lies in your mind such as this: Your husband doesn’t love you. You deserve a different husband. You are not loveable. You will never be happy with your husband. You better not challenge any sinful behavior by your husband because if you do, he will leave you and you won’t be able to take care of yourself. Do any of these lies sound familiar?
Thankfully, Jesus also tells us the way to stand against the enemy’s plans to destroy us and our marriages. It’s a four-part recipe. First, ask God to reveal lies of the enemy that you’ve been buying! When negative, critical, or fearful thoughts enter my head, I try to remember to pause and ask myself, “Does this sound like something God would say, or is this a lie of the enemy?”
The next 2 steps are found in Revelation 12:11 which says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” So, proclaim Jesus’ shed blood on the cross as sufficient to overcome the enemy’s plans! Also, tell others about how God has answered your prayers or displayed his power in your life in the past. This serves to remind both us and our listeners that Jesus’ power over the enemy is enough to defeat him!
Finally, Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19 that we get to take authority over the enemy in Jesus’ name! Meditate on this verse which says “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Do you need to start taking authority over the devil in your home? One way to do that is by commanding all evil spirits to leave your home “in the name of Jesus” and then asking God to fill your home with the Holy Spirit and surround your home with His angels.
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 originating 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.
Most women have extremely busy schedules these days. I don’t know if life has always been so chaotic for women, but it sure is that way in 2021! If you’re a wife and a mom, you’re likely running around like crazy trying to take care of the kids and your man and the household and schooling (possibly at home) and maybe even a full-time job. Whew. I get stressed out just listing all your roles.
Let’s not kid ourselves. None of us is Super Woman. You have limited time and physical energy. You also have only so much you can give mentally, emotionally and spiritually before you’re completely drained. That’s why it’s vital for you and me to take a break during each and every day to refresh ourselves. We do NOT need to feel guilty about this. Even Jesus “often withdrew to desolate places” (Luke 5:16) to take a break from the demands of people and refresh his soul. We also need to step out of the desert and onto a lush oasis for a half hour or so in order to rehydrate our souls. We just need to make sure we choose a healthy oasis.
What is your oasis? What recharges your batteries? What refreshes your soul? Reading a good novel (not a smutty one though!)? Lying on your bed surrounded by fluffy pillows? Drinking a cup of coffee while writing in your journal? Reading a chapter in the Bible and then closing your eyes to meditate on what God is saying to you? Taking a bubble bath? Scrapbooking? Listening to worship music while sitting in front of the fireplace? Checking out tasty recipes on Pinterest? Dancing to 70’s music in your living room while no one is watching?
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?
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.
All work and no play make Jack and Jill….grumpy. Could this be the case for you and your husband? Most American couples are way too busy. We’re working exhausting hours outside the home to make more money. We’re running the kids to 12 different activities so that they have a chance to “excel” in something. We’re throwing dinner together while doing laundry and helping the kids with algebra homework. We’re running on empty and then we wonder why we’re grumpy! Duh! We need to give ourselves permission for a mental time-out.
When is the last time you and your husband let the house chores wait and decided to watch a funny movie? When is the last time you guys invited some adult friends over for “game night”? You need to give yourself permission to play every once and awhile. Your brain and your body need a rest. You need to have fun and spend some time laughing. Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“. Maybe your marriage needs a spoonful of this medicine…the medicine called fun and laughter. It’s a great antidote for grumpiness. 🙂