Are you disappearing?

I often talk and write about how wives were created to be their husband’s helper, and while that’s true, I feel it’s necessary to make a clarification.  Yes, a wife should help her husband by showing him respect, allowing him to lead the family, and assisting him as he seeks to follow God’s promptings in his life.  However, that doesn’t mean a wife should give up her own individual identity in the process.

Submitting to your husband’s leadership does not mean that you become a doormat which has no value.  Helping your husband does not mean you sacrifice doing the things that bring you great joy.  Respecting your husband doesn’t mean he’s always right and you’re always wrong.  If you go too far in that direction, you will become an empty shell.  It’s as if your heart doesn’t matter.   God doesn’t intend that for you.  In fact, He says in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”

Spend some time in prayer with God and ask Him to reveal if there are any areas of your life where you have lost your true identity.  Have you stopped doing some things that bring you fully alive?  Is it time to sit down with your husband and talk about how you can both live in a way that brings joy and fulfillment?  Don’t allow yourself to disappear in the relationship.

Marriage tips from your dog!

Have you ever noticed how a man loves his dog?  Maybe it’s partly because the dog is clearly devoted to his man and shows it by jumping around with giddy delight the moment his man walks in the door.  Maybe it’s because the dog is his loyal companion.  Maybe it’s because the dog seems to just accept his man, despite his flaws and isn’t bent on criticizing his every move. J   

I can’t help but think wives could learn something from a man’s dog. (Yes, I’m saying this a bit tongue in cheek, but maybe a bit seriously too!)  What if you, as a wife, rushed to the door and greeted your husband with love and excitement, just as a dog greets its owner when he comes in the door at the end of the work day?  What if you, as a wife, were as eager to please as a man’s dog?  What if you were as much a faithful companion to your husband as dogs are for their owners?  What if you, like a lap dog, made it a practice of snuggling up close, without talking?  The Bible actually has something to say about that.  In 1 Peter 3:1, God says that “husbands may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”  Hmmm. 

Now, don’t get all bent out of shape. I’m just using the dog analogy to make a point. I’m NOT saying you should expect nothing from your husband, and that you should “wag your tail” with excitement even when he’s treating you disrespectfully! However, the points I mentioned earlier are worth pondering, aren’t they? Maybe there truly are a few tips we can gain from “a man’s best friend”….

10 words your guy needs to hear

Many powerful and influential male leaders have attributed much of the reason for their success to their wives.  Billy Graham is one of those leaders.  When his wife died in 2007, he told reporters “My work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.” 

Your husband needs your encouragement and esteem in order to have the boldness and confidence to accomplish great things.  In Genesis 2:18, God makes it clear that women were created because men need help.  God said “It is not good for man to be alone.  I will create a helper suitable for him.”  That helper is you, and one of the biggest ways you can help your husband is by encouraging him with your words. 

With that in mind, here are 10 words/phrases that your man longs to hear from you:

  1. I need you
  2. Thank you for taking such good care of me
  3. I’m so proud to be your wife
  4. You have a good heart
  5. I believe in you
  6. You’re so strong
  7. I know you can do it
  8. You’re a good provider
  9. I trust you
  10. You’re a good man

12 words a wife shouldn’t say!

Husbands battle the world every day at their jobs.  Co-workers stab them in the back.  Other men put them down in order to look more important.  The culture tells your man he is a failure if he doesn’t own a Mercedes and he can’t dunk like LeBron James.

So when your man comes home to you, the last thing he needs is to feel like a failure in your eyes too.  However, our words often unintentionally communicate just that!  Perhaps this is why God felt it necessary to actually instruct wives in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife must respect her husband”. 

Even if your husband has disappointed you, you can still be respectful as you address his behavior, request changes, and establish boundaries.  However, if you condemn him and belittle him in that moment of disappointment, you shred his heart.  As a result, he will likely turn his heart away from you, self-medicate his pain in destructive ways, or simply stop trying to be a good man since you don’t see anything good in him anyway!

With the need to respect your husband in mind, here are 12 words you should never say to your man:

  1. You always….(insert complaint)
  2. You never… (insert complaint)
  3. Why don’t you ever…?
  4. I don’t respect you
  5. I feel like your mother
  6. If people only knew what you are really like
  7. You don’t make enough money
  8. How many times do I have to tell you…?
  9. That’s not the right way to do it
  10. I don’t need you
  11. I’ll never be able to trust you
  12. You’re a jerk

Staying attractive to husband

Here are three things I learned over my years of marriage to Raul about becoming a beautiful wife in the eyes of my husband, regardless of the aging process.

1)  Put effort into looking your best for your husband, just like you did when you were dating him!  There are many healthy decisions you must choose to make on a daily basis so that you can look your best.  For instance, build into your schedule a 30 minute walking or bike-riding time perhaps 4 days a week.  Even if you have young children, there is a way to make this work. Put the kids in a stroller or have them ride their bike with you.

2) Shed insecurity and choose to have a confident attitude about your appearance and value.  My husband told me several times that a woman’s confidence is VERY attractive to men.  Flirt with your husband.  Give him some playful, sexy, sass!  He will find that quite attractive, whether or not you have a poofy abdomen following childbirth or wrinkles on your face!

3) Embrace 1 Peter 3:4 which tells wives their beauty comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit”.  When I asked my husband what this verse means, he said it means that a wife is FOR her husband and not fighting him every step of the way.  It means she interacts with her husband in a peaceful way and treats her husband with respect, even if she needs to confront him about a problem behavior.

Every wife wants to remain beautiful to her husband.  So, ask God to grow you in self-control, confidence, peacefulness, and respect for your man.

Take authority against the devil

We have an enemy.  1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and sober-minded. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  The devil and his demons are looking for ways to destroy your marriage, destroy you, destroy your husband and destroy your children.  However, there is good news if you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior!  In 1 John 4:4, God says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”   We just need to take authority against the enemy.  So often, we forget to do that!

Ladies, we have a critical role to play in spiritual warfare.  One of the first things we need to do is be alert to those moments when the devil is goading us to be critical, rude, grouchy or disrespectful to others.  Don’t take the bait!!  Realize the enemy wants to destroy your relationships!  In those moments, I picture the devil is sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear all his vile temptations for me to give in to my temper or toxic resentment.  Then I literally take my hand and (pretend) knock him off my shoulder with a loud shout of “BAM”!! 

If you’re married, a second thing you need to do is to pray EVERY DAY for God to protect your husband, to purify your husband’s heart, to give your husband boldness to take a stand for the Lord.   You also need to take a stand against the enemy….every day.  Jesus makes it clear that we do get to take authority in the invisible, spiritual realm.  Jesus tells his followers in Luke 10:19, “I give you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”   So, in Jesus’ name, command all evil spirits to leave your husband, your children, your home, and yourself.  Then, ask God to fill you and your loved ones each day with His Holy Spirit.  

Let’s all agree to take bold authority against the enemy, and let’s commit to doing this on a daily basis.

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

Do 4 things when he disappoints you

Every wife is going to have moments (or weeks or months!) that she’s disappointed with her husband.  No man is perfect, and your husband is bound to frustrate you, annoy you, or fail to meet your expectations from time to time.  The question is:  How can you keep from being seriously discouraged or resentful during those times?  I have found 4 things to be really helpful:

1) Clearly communicate your expectations and desires!  Men are not mind-readers, yet often wives expect their husbands to “just know”!  So, think about the areas in which you’ve been frustrated or disappointed. Then calmly and clearly tell your husband what you desire or need, as well as how much you’d appreciate him making an effort to meet those needs and desires.

2) Be grateful for what he does right!  Isn’t it strange how most wives tend to gravitate to focusing on what their husband is doing wrong, but barely give a second thought to what he’s doing right?!  Stop right now and ask God to help you see the many good things about your husband and the positive things he does.  This is the essence of Philippians 4:8… “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thing.”

3) If your husband is actually sinning against you, it’s time to stop wringing your hands and it may be time to take action!  In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus instructs us to confront the person who sins against us, and to even get others involved if necessary.

4) Pray, and never give up!  Prayer truly can move mountains, and Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1 that we “should always pray and not give up“.  So go to battle in prayer, and ask God to reveal His love to your husband and to mold and shape your husband’s heart.

How your mood affects him

I realized the most interesting thing one day several years ago in my marriage!  I was having one of those super frustrating days, where everything seems to be going wrong.  It was the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall!  Am I the only one who has ever felt that way?  🙂

Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day.  Then something strange happened.  He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration.  It really bothered him that I was upset. My bad mood became contagious!!  He could not be at peace because I was not at peace. It reminded me that our husbands really do want their wives to be content and at peace.  In fact, 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.   Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances?  The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us!  Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

So, I began refusing to allow the frustrating moments of life to sour my mood.  I began laughing off Satan’s attempts to goad me into being irritable and sharp with everyone around me.  I pivoted to God in those challenging moments and asked Him to strengthen me, equip me, and give me His peace.  Interestingly, when I started choosing to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only did I become peaceful and content, but I enjoyed the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!

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

Beauty tip for non-super models!

Most women are totally insecure about their bodies.  Our thighs are too big.  Our breasts are too small.  The list of insecurities goes on and on.  The problem only gets worse after we’ve had children!  Stretch marks.  The extra poof of your abdomen that never seems to go away.  Sagging boobs after you’ve stopped breast feeding.  You know what I’m talking about!  It’s kind of difficult to feel sexy around your husband.

But I’m going to challenge you to change your outlook.  Yes, we do need to do what we can to be attractive.  If we need to drop 50 lbs, we need to work on that. If we need to exercise to tone up the flab, we need to work on that.  However, once we make a reasonable effort to look our best, our attitude changes the rest!  You’ve got to rock what you’ve got!  Think sexy!  View yourself as sexy when you’re with your husband.  Be spunky and playful and maybe even a little bit sassy with him.  Don’t be ashamed of your body.  Your confidence in who you are will be very sexy to him!  In Proverbs 23:7, the Bible says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  In other words, when you start viewing yourself as sexy and attractive to your husband, you will become sexy and attractive to him!

Are you familiar with the actress Queen Latifah?  She’s not thin at all.  In fact, she’s probably carrying an extra 30 or 40 lbs.  But she’s viewed as sexy because she has that feisty, confident attitude that basically says “I know I’m sexy”.  You can do it too.  Rock what you’ve got!

Priorities for wives & moms

I’m rather slow to learn some lessons in life and as a wife.  One of the things I wish I had realized earlier is that it is entirely too easy for a mom to get so focused on nurturing her children that she subconsciously pushes her husband aside.  In fact, in my first marriage, I remember thinking to myself…”My husband is an adult so he can take care of himself.  It’s my kids who really need all my attention.”  Not good thinking!

Of course, moms need to take care of their children’s needs and we do need to spend time nurturing and disciplining them.  However, our children can become idols in our life. When our world revolves around our kids’ successes and failures…and on their activities and their schedule…well then we’ve made our children into idols.  When anyone or anything besides God becomes our focus in life, then it has become our idol and our god.  One of the big 10 commandments addresses this!  Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

One of the casualties of this idolizing of our kids is our husbands.  The bizarre thing is that the very children we were determined to protect end up severely wounded as mom and dad become distant, begin to argue, and often end up divorcing each other.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Be intentional about spending quality time with both your husband and your children.  Even more important than that, spend quality time with God.  He must truly be your number one focus in life!

** or view this topic as a 2 minute video below