Is your husband a fixer-upper?

True confession:  I sometimes find myself wanting to jump in and “fix things” for my husband.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear his mood will grow ugly if I don’t take steps to improve his circumstances.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear that his ministry could stumble if he doesn’t do things the “correct” way.  Sometimes, I do this because I fear he isn’t handling a relationship correctly and needs me to run interference for him. Sometimes, I do this because I fear…..

Hmmm.  When it comes right down to it, fear is the common feeling behind all of the times I jump in to act as my husband’s savior or try to fix him.  Unfortunately, fear usually causes us to act unwisely.  Proverbs 29:25 says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

You and I need to know that every time we jump in to “fix” things for our husbands, we actually prevent our men from turning to God for help.  Every time we try to prevent our husbands from feeling any discomfort or pain, we might be preventing them from digging down deep roots into God’s nourishment for their souls.   Resist the urge to be your husband’s savior.  There is only one perfect savior anyway.  His name is Jesus Christ.

Top 10 Bible verses for wives!

Believe it or not, God has better marriage advice than Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ellen Degeneres or Kim Kardashian. He created us, so he probably knows how to make relationships work!  He has provided profound relationship principles in the Bible…and when wives apply these principles, amazing things happen!  Broken marriages begin to heal and mediocre marriages begin to thrive.  Here are my Top Ten Bible verses for wives, in no particular order.  As you read these verses, ask God to show you the principle he wants you to apply in your marriage:

1)  Genesis 2:18 “It is not good for man to be alone; I will create a helper suitable for him”

2)  1 Peter 3:4 tells wives to have “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight”

3)  Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”

4)  Titus 2:4-5 “Urge the younger women to love their husbands and children and to be self-controlled and pure”

5)  Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness”

6)  Ephesians 5:33 “The wife must respect her husband”

7)  Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” 

8)  Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no bitter root grows up among you to cause trouble and defile many.”

9)  1 Corinthians 7:2-3 “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.”

10)  Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord”

Confront selfishness

Selfishness. It’s such an unattractive character quality, 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 prayer changes your marriage

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?

Is your clothing attractive to him?

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!

How to improve your marriage quickly

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!  You can quickly and dramatically improve your marriage simply by being intentional each day in terms of nurturing it! In other words, actually pause for a moment and ask God how you can nurture your marriage today.

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!

His idea 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. 🙂

Is there collateral damage in your family?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get pretty grumpy when events become challenging in my day.  When the internet goes down while I’m trying to work on my computer, I get super frustrated.  When I accidentally drop a bunch of flour on the floor while baking, I get grouchy.   When I get an unanticipated bill in the mail, I get really irritated.  Unfortunately, if my husband happens to walk by at that particular moment, I inflict collateral damage!  Collateral damage is a military term where civilians, who were minding their own business, are injured unintentionally by a military strike.  Hmmm.  Yes, my husband is sometimes that innocent civilian who is injured by the bullets coming from my mouth and the darts shooting from my eyes during moments of irritability!

How can you and I prevent this collateral damage?  Here are two possible remedies: 

1)  Pause before you react!  Before a word comes out of your mouth, pause.  During this pause, remember who your enemy is.  Your enemy is NOT your husband…or your children.  Your enemy is Satan and he is TRYING to provoke you!  1 Peter 5:8-9 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”  

2)  Claim two specific Bible promises and pray that God would fulfill those promises for you in this moment…Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon forged against me will prevail” and Romans 8:28 “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose“. 

When facing marriage difficulties

It’s so very easy to sink into self-pity, despair or flat-out depression when you become disappointed in your marriage.  It happens when your husband doesn’t have the same perspective as you, or when he doesn’t meet your expectations, or when he does something hurtful. 

However, you do have a choice in how you’re going to view this challenge in your marriage.  You can choose to feel sorry for yourself and become consumed with resentment and hopelessness….or you can choose to do much more productive things!  You can choose to make the most of your hardship by….

1. Praying without ceasing for God to intervene in the situation. (read Luke 18:1-8) 

2. Seeking guidance from God on what possible actions you should take.  Sometimes God may want you to extend grace, realizing that your husband will never be perfect, just as you will never be perfect. Other times, God may want you to courageously establish boundaries with your husband, especially if he is sinning against you.  Consult the Lord for guidance through His Word and through listening prayer. (read Psalm 32:8)

3. Asking God what He wants you to learn through this situation so that you grow in character and faith. (read Romans 5:3-5).  Is he trying to teach you patience?  Is he trying to teach you how to communicate your frustration in a more respectful way when your husband upsets you?  God is always trying to mature us!

4. Seeking God through Bible-reading and worship so that you can experience his comfort at a new and deeper level than you ever knew was possible!  (Psalm 34:18)

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Dealing with laziness

I bet you are checking this out because you think I’m talking about your husband’s laziness…but I’m not.  I’m actually talking about our own tendency to become lazy in terms of putting effort and intentionality into our marriages.   

Laziness is kind of like lighting a really long fuse.  You don’t really notice anything for the longest time….that is, until the explosion!   Many a wife has been burned, ending up with a husband who seeks attention from other women or who even ends up divorcing her.  We can’t afford to be sluggards in our marriages!  The Bible has lots to say about sluggards.  Proverbs 13:4 says “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”  This can be applied to your marriage!  Only when you are diligent in investing in your marriage are you likely to have the kind of marriage you desire.

What can you do to strengthen your marriage?  Do you need to get a babysitter and go on more dates with your husband?  Do you need to find out his love language and start speaking that language more often?  Would your marriage be strengthened if you looked for ways to encourage your husband every day and show him respect?