There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a confident and capable woman. In fact, I usually feel pretty strong, confident, and capable. However, over the years of my marriage to Raul, I realized something very important to the health of my marriage. I needed to allow my husband to be needed by me! When I acted like he wasn’t needed, I could sense that he felt emasculated. Your husband probably might feel that way too.
Men are wired by God to be leaders. In fact, in Ephesians 5:22-24, God makes it pretty clear that the husband is the leader, not the wife! “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
So, even though you are a strong capable woman, give room for your husband to lead. Avoid making all the decisions for your family. Ask him to make some decisions. Even though you’re perfectly capable, ask him to help you with some projects. Yes, you can re-arrange the living room furniture without his help, but he will enjoy being needed by you if you ask him to lift the heavy furniture. (And don’t forget to admire his muscles!)
I’m outing him. I’m exposing one of Satan’s main strategies for tripping up wives and potentially destroying their marriages. I can speak from experience because, a couple decades ago, I got caught in this scheme. Ugh. Here it is. The enemy will subtly lure you into a “friendship” with a man other than your husband. It will start very innocently. It may evolve very slowly. But here’s what I know. Once you start sharing your feelings, your troubles, and your hopes with a man, you start emotionally bonding with that man. Once a man starts sharing his burdens and his feelings with you, you start to bond with that man. Now you’re in treacherous water, and it’s only a matter of time before you get sucked into an actual affair.
I know some of you don’t believe me, but trust me, this has happened to countless women, including wonderful Christian ladies. It happened to me at the end of my first marriage. I never would have believed it could happen to me! For me, it took over 10 years for Satan to build a strong enough emotional bond with the man for me to be ensnared, but apparently the devil is pretty patient. Don’t let this happen to you. Refuse to spend time alone with another man, even at a public location. Refuse to discuss your marriage or your husband with another man, unless it’s a pastor or counselor. God instructs us in 1 Peter 5:8 to “be self-controlled and alert because the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour“. Be smart. Be alert to this scheme from the pit of hell!
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! You may love your husband, but I bet you don’t think of treating him like you “revere” him!
I wonder how your marriage would be impacted if you really sought to revere your husband? Hmmm. Well, first we need to better understand the word “revere”. Webster’s dictionary says revere means to treat with deferential honor or to regard as worthy of great honor. Are you starting to get the picture?
Here’s my challenge to you this week. 😊 Would you be willing to strive to treat your husband as if everything he says is really worth your complete attention? Yes, this means actually paying attention when he speaks and treating 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? Treating him with honor might mean asking his opinion on how things should run in your family and then actually incorporating his ideas! Treating him with “awe” might mean taking a few seconds to actually walk over and greet him with a smile and a kiss when he comes home…as if he’s important!
I wonder how your marriage would be impacted if you started showing respect to your husband (whether you FEEL like it or not)? I have a sneaking suspicion that your guy would stand a little taller, feel more confident, enjoy emotional intimacy with you much more, and maybe even be more courageous in seeking to honor God!
It is so incredibly easy to get out of balance as a wife, a mother, an employee, a ministry leader, a homemaker, a boss, etc. We can let our “roles” consume us. We compare ourselves to other women in those roles and feel we’re somehow lacking. Then we start picking up self-help books, we google “how to become a better __________”, we attend classes and workshops, we beat ourselves up for not being as “good” as other women, we relentlessly push ourselves to be better! And the whole time, we push our relationship with God farther and farther away. I mean, who even has time for God when we are completely focused on being the best ___________.
Sometimes we need to pull back and refocus our attention and adoration on God. We need to readjust our heart posture. We need to go back to square one and spend time worshiping the creator of the universe…the one who created you! Colossians 3:1-2 says “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
I find when I spend time worshiping God and spending some quiet moments just sitting with Him, I gain a whole new perspective on what’s important. I am better able to choose how to use my limited time and energy. I don’t feel so driven to compete with the other wives and moms and ministry leaders. Spend 10 minutes every day this week simply worshiping God. Crank up the worship music if that helps. As you focus on the majesty and love of Christ, you will develop a heart posture that brings balance….and peace.
Your enemy has plans to blow-up your marriage. The Bible says in John 10:10 that Satan is out to “steal, kill, and destroy”, so make no mistake. The devil is working diligently to take down both you and your husband. He may relentlessly tempt your husband to view pornography, and your husband may cave into the temptation. Your heart will definitely be bruised if your husband falls into that trap. But Satan wants more than that. The enemy will relentlessly tempt you to treat your husband with scorn and disgust so that your marriage implodes.
This is where you have a choice. You can cooperate with the devil and give in to his temptations. You can allow him to have the victory. You can align yourself with his evil plans and watch your marriage get flushed down the toilet. Or you can refuse to cooperate with the devil. Even when your husband does something that seriously disappoints you, you can tell your husband that you are still “for him”…that you believe he has a good heart…that you are not giving up on him.
I remember the time several years ago that a friend of mine found out that her husband had slipped up and viewed porn after over a year of being free from pornography. Of course, she was devastated, but she chose wisely in that moment. She chose to speak words of life to her husband. I’d love to share the text she sent me shortly after his confession: “So thankful he was honest. Still hurts. But the enemy will not win! My marriage is worth fighting for”. What a fantastic attitude! She refused to cooperate with the devil. How about you?
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? Almost every man really wants 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!
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! As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!
If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance that you may sound too much like a “mother” instead of a wife when talking to your husband, at least from time to time. I still remember the time a few years ago that I caught myself sounding like my husband’s mother. He was heading out the door and for some reason, I felt compelled to say, “Don’t forget to eat some breakfast before you go”. Really? Did I need to say that?! Did my husband really need me to point out that he should remember to feed himself? What? Is he 3 years old or something? Oh brother.
When we remind our husbands about things that would be obvious to any adult, we’re actually being disrespectful. Ouch. It’s as if we’re telling our husbands that we don’t think they’re capable of making basic, reasonable decisions. We sound like we’re talking to a toddler! “Don’t forget to take a coat.”…”Be careful that you don’t hurt yourself with that hammer”…”Let me explain to you how to do _________.”
Let’s keep in mind the Bible’s instruction to wives in Ephesians 5:33, where God says “the wife must respect her husband”. Men crave the respect of their wives just like women desire to be deeply cherished. Don’t communicate disrespect to your husband by talking to him like he’s an ignorant or helpless child who needs a mother to guide him.
Have you ever felt trapped in a dysfunctional part of your marriage? Do you struggle with feeling hopeless about something in your marriage? Well, over the years, I’ve learned that I begin to break free from that hopelessness and oppression when I drag the problem into the light! Here’s what I mean by that. I mean doing something extremely courageous by revealing the problem to a godly friend or counselor. This means, not only revealing what your husband is doing, but also bravely revealing your own part in the dysfunction.
Proverbs 28:13 says this: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” This is a wonderful verse to live by! You will most likely find that as you begin to drop your “everything is just fine at our house” mask, that other women will begin dropping their masks as well. You will find it comforting to realize you’re not the only one struggling with issues.
You will also find that dropping the mask means you will be more open to receiving godly wisdom and direction. Instead of pretending that everything’s great, you’ll be in a position for God to speak counsel into your life, through both the Bible and wise people. This doesn’t mean you go around telling everyone about your husband’s faults! It means getting real with a few trusted, wise, godly women or a trained counselor who can help you apply Biblical principles to your marriage challenges. You will also receive encouragement, prayer support, and hope in the process!
1 Peter 3:4 instructs wives to have a gentle, quiet spirit. Hmmm. Why do so many wives rebel against that idea? Well, I think it boils down to 2 things.
First, some wives fear that being quiet and gentle means they’re going to be controlled by their husband or become a weak doormat kind of wife! Personally, in my marriage to Raul, I feared being controlled. It’s because I was hurt by people who controlled me when I was young. So, I rebelled at anything that even smelled 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, you are not a doormat because you DO get to speak up respectfully and establish boundaries if your husband is sinning against you. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Second, some wives fear that if they strive for a gentle, quiet spirit that they’re going to have to change their 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. 🙂
If you’ve hit a rough patch in your marriage, and if you’re a believer, you’re likely dying to know what God wants you to do in this marriage challenge. You desperately need his guidance and counsel! The good news is that He loves it when his children seek his guidance. He loves his people to inquire of him!
The question is how. How do you receive his guidance for the issue in your marriage. Well, the first and most obvious answer is to study God’s Word. He has placed so many super helpful instructions on relationships in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Secondly, it’s almost always helpful to consult a godly mentor or counselor or pastor. Sometimes we need someone who can look at our marriage situation more objectively than we can, as well as someone who will remind us of God’s instructions for relationships. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
But thirdly, and often most importantly, we should seek guidance from the Holy Spirit because God is the only one who actually knows the future. He’s the only one who knows if your husband is going to change. He’s the only one who knows exactly what to do and when. John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
So ask God specific questions about specific issues in your marriage. Ask what He wants you to do and then strain to sense the nudges from the Holy Spirit. You probably won’t hear God speak out loud, but Jesus does say his sheep will hear his voice. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. So pray, and then be quiet and listen for those nudges from the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to guide you!