Why I Keep Saying “Yes” to Sex

This is a great post on sex and why it is important to a marriage.

Loving Life at Home

Why I Keep Saying Yes to Sex | a word to wives from lovinglifeathomeAuthor Leah Holder wrote a terrific post this week for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which she entitled Why I Keep Saying “No” to Sex.

The gist of the article is this: She says “no” because she is not yet married.

Sexual purity is important to her because it is important to God, and she has therefore made a commitment to save sex for marriage, however unpopular or difficult such a decision has sometimes seemed.

The Bible is very clear in its stance regarding sex outside of marriage. (Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:4)

The reason we have the skyrocketing rates of STDs, abortion, divorce, and single-parent families we see today is because far too many people have ignored God’s guidelines in the area of sex for far too long.

But there is a flip-side to the coin: The Bible also speaks clearly about what our attitude…

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The Answers to Our Own Darkness

Let there be light

Real answers for darkness. Thoughts that plague our mind. Relentless anger, resentment, shame or guilt. Everyone deals with it. How can it be overcome?

This is a break from the “Living By Faith” series. I believe the Bible is real, practical and helpful to teach, confront and encourage. The Bible says -My people perish for lack of knowledge. And we truly do suffer in aspects of our lives because of our lack of knowledge of the spiritual things.

I want to take this opportunity to give you practical application from the Bible for dealing with your own “demons”. Whatever you deal with, whether it is thoughts, accusations, addictions, etc. I wish I had the space to write in detail about each issue.  I will get to them eventually. Check back.

The Bible is our road map. God gives us all the answers to live a life of freedom. The secret is really not secret. Just apply the principles Jesus gives us.

I read a post from one of my favorite blogs, Peacefulwife.com, “What’s the story on ‘My Demon’ now?

As I was reading, my heart was stirred for the many people that deal with the same issues. We all deal with them in some form or fashion. Here’s the answers to overcoming them.

1. Your thoughts do not define you.

We beat ourselves up so much for thoughts that run through our mind. Maybe you’re like me and even thought “Am I really that bad of a person to have those kind of thoughts?!” I spent much of my time condemning myself for thoughts that were just temptations. Shame, guilt and self criticism would then consume me. Even if I didn’t act on those thoughts I believed it revealed something maybe I had hidden that made me a bad person.

You are not every thought that goes through your head.

We can discern our thoughts and take captive the thoughts that are negative, sinful or just plain depressing.

2. Thoughts reveal a hidden hurt or self identity that arose from a hurt or sin (either our own or what someone did against us)

Any memory that has pain in it is an opportunity for God to heal. If it causes pain, regret, shame or guilt, God wants to heal it.

3. Here’s the secret (not really a secret, God gives us step by step directions)

Ephesians 4:26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil.

How do we “give place” to the devil? When we sin but do not repent (turn away) quickly or forgive quickly the other person.  That gives the devil a foothold in our lives. We give him permission to enter a portion of our lives. That results in temptation, bad thoughts, negativity, anger, resentment, shame, regret, guilt, etc.

Let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer…

Matthew 6:9-9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Verse 12&14 &15 in the Amplified: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses their (reckless and willful sins,leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive others their trespasses (reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses. 

When I read this for the first time in the Amplified version it changed the way I think about the word “forgiveness”. It includes the action of “letting go”. We will discuss how to do this in a minute.

First, let’s look at why forgive…

In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a story about a man who was forgiven a debt he could not pay but refused to forgive a fellow servant a small amount.

34“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.35“My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Jesus is describing the result of the Ephesians 4:26 we discussed earlier. Giving “place” to the devil is like being turned over to the “torturers”. The devil has a foothold in our lives and causes pain, hurt, grief, strife, etc. (I’m sure you can fill in the blanks)

If I understand the consequences of unrepented sin or unforgiveness in my life as the permission for the devil to steal, kill, and destroy in my life, it will change the way I live. The consequences are not just going to hell as so many people see it. Far off into the future some place that we don’t really understand the existence. But, it happens right now. My life is affected by my actions now.

Jesus gave us the answer in the Lord’s Prayer. He did not leave us defenseless or without knowledge.

He tells us to forgive or repent (whichever is called for).In verse 13, the NLT translation ends with…

Matthew 6:13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

The forgives releases rescue and deliverance from our life’s enemy. I want that freedom from the clutches of the devil. I don’t want him having any foothold in my life.

4. Let it go (this is when healing begins and the bad thoughts begin to leave)

How? it’s simpler than you think. Forgiveness is a choice. You make choices all day, everyday. Forgiveness is just like any other choice you make. And you don’t have to feel like you forgave. You will notice a change over time. Feelings can be deceiving.

Forgiving someone does not mean you condone their behavior or validate what they did to you. What do you gain by holding onto unforgiveness? It doesn’t hurt the other person. It only hurts you.
Jesus didn’t say “forgive if you feel like it” or “as long as the sin wasn’t really horrible”, no, he said do it all the time, all day long if necessary.

“My demons” as discussed in the blog post linked above is common among humans, period. Jesus gave us the answer. All we have to do is obey.

Are you tired of hearing those thoughts? Are you tired of feeling guilt, shame, regret? Are you tires of the anger?

Step 1

Pray a forgiveness prayer for any person who has hurt you. Spouses have a lot of pain that needs forgiveness. Forgive for each situation that causes painful memories.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive __________(name) for doing______ or making me feel ________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Easy huh? The hardest part is taking the first step. Our unforgiveness sometimes feels like a security blanket. It brings false comfort thinking we got something over on someone. It’s a lie.

Step 2

Forgive yourself. This is usually the hardest part. Forgive yourself for any mistake you hold against yourself. Forgive yourself for being duped by someone. You feel stupid? Forgive yourself.

“Heavenly Father, I choose to forgive myself for doing _____________. I let it go. Cleanse me from all that hurt and shame. Heal my heart and mind.”

Step 3

Discern your thoughts. Think about each thought. Is it good or bad? Decide where it comes from. If it’s bad throw it out. Don’t dwell on it.

This takes practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes.

I have a very active imagination. When I start thinking bad thoughts against my spouse I can get really carried away. I even start to feel angry for something done the day before or a year before. I now recognize that I am rehashing old situations and encouraging bad thoughts. I then forgive my spouse for what he did and I move on. Sometimes I have to think purposely about good things or declare good things over him. Almost immediately my attitude changes. The anger leaves.

Here is a link to a post that may help related to this. (here) How to Overcome the Past

Live a forgiving life you will find you joy and peace in your life.

For Wives Only

Promotional art for Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004) by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Promotional art for
Superman vol. 2, #204 (April 2004)
by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Wikipedia)

Kryptonite and Superman

(adapted from Peacefulwife.com and Daniel Robertson “God’s Help for Marriage”)

“You NEVER…!”

“You ALWAYS do that!”

“I can’t believe you…!”

“What were you thinking?”

“I don’t think you can do….Don’t we need to call…..?”

“Just ask for directions!”

Patronizing “Wow, you took out the trash. I’m so proud of you!”

Nagging (constant reminders because you think he isn’t doing something on your time frame.)

Insults (destroy trust and demoralize)

Cutting Sarcasm: How many kids do you have? “3 if you count my husband.”

Would you ever say these things to Superman? But Lois Lane did to Clark Kent. 

Do you treat your husband like Lois Lane treated Clark Kent? Or like  Lois Lane treated Superman? There was a big difference in how she perceived each one. Maybe you are like me..I just want to yell at the TV screen “They are the same person! Why can’t you see that!”

Sometimes that’s how I feel about my husband.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Words are Kryptonite

Prov 18:21 The tongue holds the power of life and death

Speaking life                                                   Speaking death

Praise                                                          Negativity             Criticism

Bless                                                           Complaining          Sarcasm

Judgmental

 

 

What can I say?

Stages of changing your words and thoughts.

  1. Surprised: Realization that most of what comes out of your mouth and thoughts in your head is disrespectful, negative and hurtful.
  2. Quite Mode: Can’t say anything at all. Every thought and every word seems disrespectful. Especially when you can’t think of anything good to say.
  3. Searching: Questioning God, reading the Bible, asking others, reading books trying to find out what respectful words sound like.
  4. Awkward: Saying all those good things when you don’t feel like it seems strange and abnormal.
  5. Filter: Begin to filter words before you say them. Begin to process what words are good and what is not.
  6. Comfortable: Saying positive things and not negative things becomes normal and the usual. Still mess up sometimes but able to recognize it quickly. Still make the decision to say it though.
  7. (Not there yet)

 “The more time you spend with God, the more you take on His character and His thoughts about what matters.  True selflessness is a reflection of God’s character and comes only as a result of time spent with Him.” From Nina Roesner in The Respect Dare:

Learn to filter with discretion and wisdom
Proverbs 18:2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:1  An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Proverbs 6:22 Anyone who has understanding is a fountain of life, but foolishness brings punishment to fools.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:18  A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirs up strife: but he that puts his trust in the LORD shall be prospered.

Proverbs 25:15  By patience a prince shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.

Luke 6:45 – NKJV)A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Emotionally Fueled Words

You CAN express your emotions – but keep in mind that when you are responding to a situation where it could be easy to jump to conclusions, or if you are communicating something important to your husband that you really want him to hear – he will be better able to hear you with fewer words and less emotion.

And when you do share your emotions, if you can share them in a non-blaming, fairly calm way – that allows your husband to hear your heart much more accurately.  That’s why I like Laura Doyle’s method (The Surrendered Wife) of speaking our desires and feelings very simply.  Less words and less emotions actually get our message across many times much more effectively with men:

  • “I want X”
  • “I don’t want Y.”
  • “I feel sad.”  ”I feel afraid.”  ”I feel nervous.”  ”I feel upset.”  ”I feel lonely.”

ie: “I feel lonely. Would you please hold me for a  few minutes?”  or “I feel lonely.  I’d love/I want to cuddle for a few minutes, please”  work MUCH better than, “You never spend any time with me!  You obviously don’t love me at all!”

And, remember to share your positive emotions, too! Your emotions are VERY POWERFUL to your husband.  Using them in a constructive way will help you bond and become even closer.   I like to share all of my emotions with my husband – that helps him know me better and understand my heart more.

  • “I’m so happy being here with you!”
  • “I feel very safe with you.”
  • “I’m so glad we got to do X!”
  • “I really appreciate all you have done for me.”
  • “Thank you!!!!!!!!!”    *“I’m so full of joy!”

 

Positive Words:

Humbleness is a virtue. Refusing to say these words just because you are right or feel validated only makes things worse.

 “I love you.” Should be said daily and sincerely.

“I’m sorry.” Sometimes even when you still feel mad or hurt. It soothes the wounds.

”I really appreciate…”Gratitude does a lot to put both in a good mood. Motivates more than nagging.

“Thank you” Almost as good as the previous one.

“What can I do to help?” It’s all about serving your partner. Serve him=serving God.

“How are we?” for a quick marriage checkup or not so quick if your spouse feels like venting. Don’t ask if you aren’t prepared to listen.

“Let’s pray{ about that}” Be careful if your husband is not a believer. Don’t say things like this if it makes you sound more spiritual or could sound like you’re putting him down.

“Do you want a back rub/foot massage/etc?” Who doesn’t like that!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for speaking words of death over my husband and our lives together. I choose now to speak words of blessing and life to my husband and about him and our marriage. Help me to speak truth with grace and mercy. Give me the wisdom to speak when necessary and a guard over my mouth when I should be quiet. Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me discipline my will over my tongue. Give me more understanding about respectful words that can be healing to my husband’s heart.

The Comparison Trap: Marriage

comparison 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of “Er”

“If I was pretty-er..”                   “If I was thin-er…”                         “If I was rich-er…”    

“If I had  more-er.”                   “If I was lucky-er..”                        “If I was smart-er..”

…I would be…Happy-er…Fun-er…Bett-er………..

I was recently listening to Andy Stanley. He preached a great lesson on the comparison trap and the Land of Er. While listening to this I realized there was a great connection for marriages. Read on as I share the connection and how your marriage can be healed.

Here’s a link to Andy Stanley’s messages: http://northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Who do you compare yourself to?

Why do we compare ourselves to anyone?

Down deep inside is a part of us that needs to feel successful, accepted, and okay.

We just want to know we are OK. And how do we know we are OK? We compare ourselves to people around us that seem OK or not oK and we say “well I’m not as OK as that person, but I’m better than that person. So I am OK.” Because there is always someone better and always someone worse off.

And we compare everyone in our lives to other people too. We compare our children to everyone else’s children. “My children aren’t as smart as her kids.” “My children act better than her kids.” “My children can’t play sports like those kids.” “My son is…My daughter is…compared to….” “MY baby is prettier than all other babies!”

Who do the perfect parents compare their kids to?

Who does God compare you to? As his kid. He compares us to no one. He loves and accepts us just the way we are. You are not compared to sister so & so in the front pew. Your holiness or lack thereof or shortcomings are not compared to anyone.

When your child does something wrong you don’t love him less. When you correct him you do it for his own good. To help him live a better life as he grows up. You don’t expect him to know it all. You teach him and he develops good habits and such over time.

The Garden of Life

garden

I picture my life as a beautiful garden.

Each lesson that we learn is to pluck out the roots that cause the ugliness in our lives. Roots are being plucked out: Bitterness, unforgiveness, traumas, etc.

Think of your life as a garden. Do you want ugly weeds in your garden?

The light has to shine on it. Show that it’s there. Then we can deal with it with God’s help and healing.

We all want our Garden of Life to be beautiful-filled with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, beauty, etc.

So is there one more root that has to come out?

Comparison

 

Parable of the Talents (money bags)

Matthew 25:14

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  • 1.    Each servant was distributed his portion to care for. Entrusted “his wealth”

2.    Each servant had to answer for his actions.

3.    Only one servant placed blame.

           a.       He was called “wicked and lazy”.

           b.     Can we be that way sometimes in our marriage? It’s easier to complain and criticize and compare than to do something positive?

4. Suffer the Consequences

           a.  Not living the way God intended results in frustration, fear, and torment.

           b.  And results in no peace.

How does this apply to marriage?

1.    God entrusted one of his most precious treasures to us–our spouse. God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made. To love, honor and cherish. God’s Treasure.

2.    In the most holy bond on earth-husband and wife united as one.

3.    How we respond to what was “entrusted” is up to us. The blame is not on God if we feel we got a bad lot. We can’t say…if only my spouse was like ….. or…if only my spouse was this or that…

               a.    The 3rd servant blames the master for his actions. “If you had given me more I could have done more with it. I didn’t have the 5 or even the two.

                You gave me just one, how am  I to make that into something great?” With God all things are possible and maybe what you look at as a “bad lot” and less than ideal                   may be the best you could ever imagine if you changed your perspective. Sometimes it is our perspective that is off not God handing you a bad situation. Sometimes                its our own sin and mess ups we pay for. But even our own mess-ups can be made into something great if we fully rely on God to so something with it. 

4.    We compare our “lot” or “spouse” to others just like we do our house, car, job, money and our children.

            a.    We say “if my husband acted better I would act better” “If my wife was..” “If he acted like so & so…” “if wasn’t as lazy as…” or “if he would just do this …”

5.    Sometimes we contributed to the way our spouses respond to us through our own disrespect, dishonor, superiority, criticism.

Living in the Land of Comparison “ER” is dangerous. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. That is a lie. 

How do we move out of the land of “Er”?

  1. Be thankful. Recognize that God gave you that husband. (and everything else you have). His precious treasure that he shares with you.
  2. Ask God to show you what you can learn with your spouse. There is always a lesson. God is developing something in you. Look for it. Learn it. Live it.

Peace will be found when you move out of the land of “Er”. That is what we seek. PEACE

The Christian life was never meant to be just a get out of Hell free card. Jesus didn’t just give his life for that. He gave his life so we could live free and abundantly. With peace and joy. In whatever situation it is.

Don’t just say “Oh, I can be thankful because my spouse could be a lot worse.”

Instead “I am thankful because my spouse is…” Be specific. If you can’t think of anything then because “he/she is loved by God and God will save him, renew him, etc.”

Don’t let the bitterness cause you to resent your marriage. Or cause you to blame God for everything wrong in your life or marriage.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for not treasuring my spouse, for not honoring him/her in my thoughts and actions. I repent for every blame I have ever put on you Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be thankful for my spouse. Help me to praise him for things he does. Help me to recognize the gift and talents you have put in him. I repent for any resentment I may have. I trust in you Sovereign God that you give good things to your children and you do good for us all our days. I trust that my spouse is your Best for me. I will start to look at him/her in that way. I am willing to learn from him/her the lessons you want to teach me. Holy Spirit, show me what you will have me to learn.

If he/she is not saved I ask you to open his eyes and show him/her your truth. Help him/her to walk in your ways. Turn his/her heart to you. You change the heart of a man from stone to flesh. Change it Lord. Send someone to him/her to minister. Help me be the light that will shine for you and point to your grace and mercy every day.

I pray blessings over my spouse. That he/she is strong in you, that he/she is highly favored. That he/she hears your voice and follows you. That you protect him/her everywhere he/she goes. 

For Women Only

We can learn a lot about being a good wife by looking at what NOT to do by some of the “Bad Girls” of the Bible. 

The Bible is living, alive and sharp. Any situation you will encounter…I guarantee there is something useful in the Bible about it.

Today, I want to talk about Delilah and Samson. This is a great story of love and betrayal. Then read on as I link this to how we can be in our marriages.

Judges 16:4-20 story of Samson and Delilah.

Verse 4: Some time later, he fellin love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah…

The Rulers of the Philistines hated Samson because he had killed so many of their people. The Israelites and Phillistines were always at odds with each other and hated each other.

Samson had long hair because God told his parents that he would be set apart as a Nazirite and must not cut his hair. He was stronger than any other man. He had supernatural strength given by God. He used that strength to fight the Philistines.

When the Philistines found out that Samson was in love with Delilah they went to her to make a deal. “We will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver”  (the equivalent of 275 slaves, a very large amount) (Jesus was betrayed by Judas for just 30 pieces of silver) to find out the source of his great strength. She must not have had a reputation for honesty and purity.

She said yes. She then began to question Samson about his strength. “if you love me you will tell me…” was the line she used. The first time he told her to bind him with seven fresh thongs. She did it while he was sleeping and woke him up saying “the philistines are upon you!”. Samson broke the thongs easily. He didn’t tell her the truth. He did this several more times and each time she would bind him in whatever way he said. The same way she would wake him up with Philistine leaders hidden in the room ready to take him away. After much pleading Samson finally told her the truth. That his hair has never been shaven and he cannot cut his hair. She shaved his head and sure enough, when she woke him up his strength had left him. The Philistines bound him and gouged his eyes. (This is the short version.)

This is a popular story. But I want to look at it from a different point of view…that of a wife.

If you look at this from a marriage perspective, what can we learn? How does this story apply to our relationships with our husband?

Story: 2 very close friends meet for lunch. Their conversation almost always ends up at the subject of their husbands. Each tells the other something stupid or silly or just plain aggravating her husband did this week. The complaints take center stage of the topics. Each lady believes this time of discussing the topic of husbands is just “girl talk”. Harmless talk about your husband is just a way that we women bond. Right?

Proverbs 31: 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.12  She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.

Ask yourself:

Can my husband truly trust in me?

Do I share any of his secrets?

Do I honor him everywhere I go and with everyone I talk to?

Have you ever thought about how you talk about your husband to your girlfriends, mother or sisters?

Did you ever consider if you honor your husband with your words?

Have you ever made fun of him in front of his friends or family? Or your friends and family and her knew about it? Even if it was just “harmless” teasing or sarcasm?

A.      Venting

It’s easy to vent to other wives. And especially to women who are not married to “warn” them what marriage is really like.

In the book “Marriage on the Rock” it talks about not talking about your husband to your family. Your family will always take your side. They are YOUR family. Even though your mother or sister may understand, they will always have a tainted view of your husband. This serves no purpose in your marriage other than your need to vent. However, a selfish act of venting has just dishonored your husband.

Yes, venting is selfish. We all do it. It makes US feel better. It doesn’t help any situation we feel is bad or unfair. It doesn’t make anything any better. It serves no other purpose except for us to tell our frustrations to someone who will listen, probably reassure us how bad we have it but it will get better. If we are not careful who we vent to our friend may just say divorce is the best option “why don’t you just leave him?”

We say we need to vent because we are women. We talk it out. Talking out loud sometimes helps me think through problems. However, be careful who you talk to.

Honor your husband with your words. You dishonor your husband when you talk about him behind his back. How would you feel if he talked about you? Maybe he has. But that doesn’t mean we return sin for sin. Dishonoring our husbands is sin. We talked a few weeks ago about love. Love does will treat others the way you want to be treated. You want to be honored. You don’t want your faults and failures to be discussed and flaunted. Even if your husband dishonors you in this way you must rise above that and not do it to him.

B.      Do I build up or tear down?

1 Thessalonians  5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

“Be a safe place for your man to fall. When the entire world seems like it is out to get him, he’’ll home running home to you!” The Respect Dare, Nina Roesner

The story in the Respect Dare says:

Time walked in and set his computer backpack next to the table. Without saying a word, he hung up his coat and sat down in his easy chair with newspaper. He usually greeted his wife, Maxine, as she prepared dinner, but tonight the energy required for niceties and human connection completely escaped him.

Maxine, hearing him arrive and wondering where he was, came around the corner, wiping her hands on a dish towel.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.

For a moment, he simply sat and stared at her. Later she found out that this moment lasted so long because an internal war waged within his mind. He experiences in letter her know his frustration in the past frequently ended up badly. She took things personally even thought they seldom had anything to do with her. So he sat and looked at her, debating whether or not to open up and confide in his wife.

Finally, he spoke. “things are ad with the business. I had to lay off six of our team today—all of them have been with me since we started the company. They understood, but I still feel bad about it. Financially, I’m uncertain as to how we’re going to get through the next three months, even after laying people off.”

Now it was her turn to start at him. After a moment, she spoke. “Wow. I didn’t know things were that bad. You’ve always taken good care of us, though, honey. We’ll get through this too. Do you want to talk about it?”

Gone were the insinuations of his lack of managerial skills, and this time there were no cutting remarks about his ineptness at dealing with people. Her tone was kind, gently, and compassionate. He took a risk and poured his heart out to her, and all she did  was listen. He found it a complete relief and sensed that, somewhere along the line, a burden had been lifted.

Maxine felt privileged to sit and listen to her husband’s troubles. Her entire goal for the day was not to be critical, to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. While she now had some concerns about their financial situation , she realized that her husband was fully capable of dealing with it and that, if he needed her assistance, he would ask. In the meantime, she would simply trust God and not worry about whether they would be taken care of  or not. Later, her husband told her that this conversations was a real turning point in their marriage—one that paved the way for deeper intimacy and greater trust between them.

Think about recent times when your husband may have tried to confide in you about something. How did you respond?

Were you trusting of his ability to handle it? Did you criticize him? Were you critical of him?

How do you think he feels about telling you when he fails at something?

C.      Be supportive

In the book “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldman—she shares insights from men. 84% of men feel uncertain about themselves at work. Some said “I’m always being judged”

Men admitted that they frequently feel insecure, uncertain and vulnerable. Imagine if your man feels this way frequently but always acts like he has it all together and knows everything.

Be careful to always be supportive and reassure him how much confidence you have in his ability. Be specific about things he does well. Ex: he is smart, he is creative, he is good at solving problems.

Don’t just tell him what he is not good at. Chances are he beats himself up about those things.

Create a safe haven in your home that he knows when everything else goes wrong that you will always have his back.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for every time I have dishonored my husband with my words. Forgive me for talking about my husband’s faults to my friends and family. Lord, help me to watch my words. Help me to build my husband up and not tear him down. I ask your Holy Spirit to show me my ways that are not pleasing to you or honoring to my husband. Lord, help me to talk to you about my problems and not other people. Give me wisdom when I talk to my husband. Help me keep my mouth closed when I shouldn’t say things. Help me to be a helper to my husband and for him to trust safely in me. Help me to forgive him for times in the past that he did not honor me or did not build me up. I forgive him for each time. I choose not to hold that against him. Since I look to you for my joy, peace and identity, I know that when I can’t depend on someone else to build me up I still know that you are always there and what you think of me and that you give me strength, security and confidence. Help me to be that for my husband whether he can do the same for me or not.

Lesson 5: Praying for your Spouse: Be the example

Be the Godly example.

This is the hardest part. (for me anyway, because I’m stubborn and I want vendication)

1 Cor 7:13-14   And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

You can’t be the example as a “holier than thou” “throw it in your face” type of christian. You are the example when you retaliate and respond in love and forgiveness rather than bitterness, strife, anger, or resentment.

1. Fight against the evil of resentment.

It will start as a “Keeper of Wrongs”. Keeping a list of every unkind deed or word he ever did. It will grow to resentment and eventually into bitterness.

It’s fairly easy to determine if you have resentment in your heart right now. Start praying for God to show you any resentment or unforgiveness you may have.

Ask yourself a few questions.

1. How does my spouse treat me?

If all you can thing of are the bad things, then you have kept a record of only wrongs. You need to start thinking of the good things. Maybe it’s only “he provides partial financial help”. Maybe it’s a stretch for you but start with something.

2. How much do I love my spouse?

Depending on how long you have been dealing with issues in your marriage and how severe the issues are this could result in various answers.

I remember a time when I knew I loved my spouse but I couldn’t say that I respected him. This is very serious. This is a sign that you are in trouble and need God’s help. Seek God’s help and seek godly counseling if at all possible.

Ultimately, you must come to a place where you realize that “love” the way the world views love is very different from the way God views love.

You must realize that “love” is a commitment not a feeling. Unconditional love doesn’t only return love when it “feels loved”. Unconditional love will love no matter what. This type of “agape” love is difficult when you are more concerned about yourself and how you “feel”.

The world will tell you that you deserve better. You deserve this…that…You deserve nothing but to keep your marriage together and sacrifice whatever is necessary for it. We don’t even understand what true sacrifice is anymore. That is why the divorce rate is just as high in churches as it is in the non-church world.

2. Fight against the temptation of bitterness

Hebrews 12:15    Make sure that everyone has kindness from God so that bitterness doesn’t take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many of you.

Bitterness will feed hate into a struggling marriage until separation or divorce seems the answer. Your spouse may succumb to this but you can’t.

Bitternesss starts as unforgiveness, then it turns into resentment, anger, and frustration. Then if it you don’t let God deal with this in your heart it turns into a hard wall that is only seen by harsh words and thoughts that say “I could kill you” “I wish you were not around” “You are…(fill in the blanks)”.

If you already see the fruits of this in your life then you are already ahead of the enemy. You “see” the problem. Now God can begin to heal this in your life.

Read the “Prayer for Bitterness”. This is a good start.

Jesus can set you free from all the bitterness. Once you are free you can effectively pray for your spouse.

Lesson 4: Proclaim in Faith (praying for your spouse)

Proclaim what is not yet as though it is.

Hebrews 11:1     Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

1. Caught being good!

Not only do you proclaim the truth of God over your spouse in prayer but also proclaim it to your spouse. Not in a condescending manner or taunting.

Proclaim his identity traits in Christ at every opportunity.When he shows patience in the smallest form praise him for it. Tell him “you are so patient” when he shows patience. When he shows love, praise him for it. “I feel so loved when you do that”, “I am so thankful I have you in my life. “ Even if the trait is faint and hard to see, find ways to tell him how wonderful he is. He may not be wonderful yet but God is changing him from the inside out.

2. Watch your words

The words you use daily are very important to your husband’s spiritual walk. If you use words that tear him down, disrespect or dishonor him whether in private or in front of people will negate everything God is trying to do.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Another verse that is helpful to remember is…

Proverbs 12:18 ESV   There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We are to bring healing by using words that are in line with the Word of God. Healing is what your spouse requires. And while we can’t heal or change anything. God is the only one that can. We can be helpful or we can hinder it.

Ask yourself before you speak…”Will this help to bring healing to my spouse?” If not, then keep your mouth shut.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to put a guard over your mouth to help you say what is helpful or to not say anything at all if it will hurt.

The Lord will help you of you allow him to.

Lesson 3: Pray the Word of God in Faith

3. I learned how to pray the Word of God.

I don’t know how I missed this in 13 years of marriage. Being raised in a christian home, I was taught so much as a Pastor’s daughter with a Dad and Mother that were godly people that lived what they preached. But somehow, I missed this truth of praying the WORD!

It was years later and even now I am still learning how to pray effectively.

At some point I will write about the power of prayer and the various types of prayer. Prayer in faith to our Heavenly Father is the single most important action you will ever do in a day. This is where you fight the war!

I am not usually disciplined enough to pray as I should. But with God’s help that is changing. If I want a godly family, husband and life, I must PRAY!

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Use that Sword!

God does not leave us without defense. He gave us everything we would ever need to defeat the enemy in our lives and our family. One of those is the Sword of the Spirit, The Word of God. It can be an offensive weapon or a defensive weapon. Go on the offensive for the your husband.

1. Study

Search out scriptures to find every verse that applies to your situation. Write them down so that you remember them. Underline/highlight, whatever you need to do.

2. Pray with Faith

My Mom used to say “Say it like you mean it.” That’s the way you should pray the Word for your husband. In sincerity and like you believe God will accomplish what His Word says He will accomplish. You don’t fight-God fights for you when you pray. It’s FAITH!

3. Pray with Authority

You and your husband are “one”. The Bible tells us that. (Eph 5:31)

When you pray for your husband it is as if he is praying for himself. That’s how much authority you have over the things of the enemy when you pray for your husband.

Pray those scriptures over your husband daily. This is spiritual warfare and effectual prayer.

Example:

2 Peter 3:18 (ESV) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
“I pray that my husband (name) will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That he will glorify him both now and for eternity.”
Proverbs 3:7 (ESV) Be not wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

“I pray that my husband (name) will not be wise in his own eyes but fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

Acts 26:18(NIV) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

2 Cor 4:4-6 (NIV) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of glory of Christ, who is the image of God. …For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

“I pray that you open the eyes of my husband and turn him from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God; so that he may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ shine in his heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of god that is in Christ Jesus.”

Pray the Fruits of the Spirit over your husband (or any other Word of God). Start by placing his name in front of each fruit (trait) …”John is patient, John is kind, etc…”

Don’t grow weary in well doing. Keep praying.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Just because you don’t see any OUTWARD changes keep trusting in God that HE is working inwardly in your husbands heart.

Prayer for Bitterness (from Praying for Spouse)

Prayer for Bitterness–

Father, forgive me for not forgiving my spouse as you commanded me to forgive. (Matt 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.) You placed no limit on the amount of times we forgive. So forgive me and forgive me for keeping a record of wrongs.

I forgive (name) of every wrong he ever committed and every offense against me (list every one you can think of) I choose to forgive completely just as you forgive me and to remember those sins no more as far as the east is from the west. i release hm from any debt that is owed to me. He owes me nothing from this point on. I am due no repayment for wrongs against me. In place of anger, hurt, resentfullness, regret and bitterness I pray your great compassion and boundless love abides in me. I pray for grace that is sufficient in all circumstances. I declare that joy is my inheritance in all situations.Thank you for moving on my behalf in this marriage covenant. I Jesus name, Amen.

Lesson 1: Because You Know Better

“Praying for Your Spouse” was posted earlier. In the next few posts I plan to share with you details of each lesson learned.

Like I said earlier, I tend to learn things the hard way. My hope is that what I learned the hard way will help someone to make better decisions and have a joyful, godly marriage.

I asked God this question. Inquiring minds want to know…

 “Why must I always be the one to say “I’m sorry” or to take the “high road”?

God’s answer to me… “Because you know better”.

My question included…”Why must I be the one to pray about it, to try to fix it, to educate/gain knowledge from the Word? Why can’t my spouse help with this?”

The responsibility for correcting the situation (applying God’s truth to the situation) falls to the spouse to which the problem is revealed. If you have an understanding of the cause and effect of the offensive behavior, you must be the one to war against the enemy on behalf of your spouse and your marriage.

There is a war for your marriage…to divide and conquer. The enemy of your soul is also the enemy of your marriage.

There are 3 problems I face to obey this truth from the Lord.

1. I have trouble controlling my tongue.

My mouth tends to run at a fast pace. Many times it out runs my better judgement.

I speak before thinking.

Proverbs 15:1 (NET) A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

Proverbs 15:33 (ESV)”To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!”

Proverbs 18:21 (Amplified Bible)”Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”

I am in management over 80-90 employees. Everyday I make quick decisions and snap judgements. My opinion at work is important (or so I think) and necessary to the business. However, at home my opinion is not necessary if it will divide, hurt, or offend. Sometimes what I want to say is not what I need to say.

This also includes “attitude”. How you say it is often more important than what you say.

You can create life or death in your marriage relationship. You can divide and drive a wider gap between yourself and your spouse and also between your spouse and God. Watch what you say and how you say it so you create life.

 2. I am prideful.

This is the most difficult to deal with. I am a Type A, get it done, I have all the answers personality.

1 Cor 13:4  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Did you catch that? “boastful, proud, or demand its own way…and endures…”

I don’t want to follow God’s truth. I don’t want to be the only one to work on the problem and humble myself. I want to yell out everything my spouse does wrong. I want my problem validated and prove that I am in the right and my spouse in the wrong. I demand satisfaction!

You may be the only one right in your marriage. You really may have the answers to correct the problem. But we only see through our eyes of flesh and understand with a limited mind. We fail to remember that God, in His infinite wisdom, is the only one with all the answers. “Fixing” the problem is not “enforcing” biblical wisdom, it is “following” it.

3. I put more trust in fixing problems myself instead of trusting God.

Trust God.

Yelling, fussing, nagging, opinions, derogatory comments, bad attitudes…they will not help your situation. It feels good (sometimes). It feels like we are doing something, anything to correct the issues. We feel validated to express our opinions.

However, none of those things are mentioned in the Bible as possible solutions to any problem. In fact..

Prov 27:15 A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day;

How annoying and counterproductive.

To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This also includes relationships. You can also refer to it as the biblical law of “reaping and sowing”. If we change our actions to line up with the Word of God then we will see different reactions from our spouse.

In that moment when God answered my question I knew he heard every prayer ever prayed for my marriage. He also let me know that I am on the right track…putting it in HIS hands. Of course, that puts some responsibility back on me to search out His Word and practice it.

This may be difficult to do but your marriage is worth the effort.

 

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