I want to be your deep heart-to-heart friend. You know, the kind of friend who looks at you with grace and gently speaks truth to you. A friend who loves you too much to see you take a road that is less than God’s best for your life.
Friend, I think we are accepting less than God’s best in our marriages. And I think if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that we’re part of the problem. God desires for our marriages to flourish. He divinely designed marriage to be a living example of His relationship with His church. But there are a lot of marriages that don’t look anything like that. That, instead, look like a battle field with both sides trying to gain critical ground but losing lifeblood in the process.
Your husband is not your enemy.
Oh, it feels like he is sometimes. Believe me, I know. Maybe he’s irritable, maybe he’s not leading your family the way you want, or maybe you just want him to change a diaper for goodness sake. Or maybe his flaws are much bigger than that. Maybe he refuses to keep a job, maybe he’s an alcoholic, or maybe he’s suffering from another type of painful addiction.
Whatever it is, he is not the enemy. Don’t allow Satan to deceive you. Satan is the enemy and he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I believe that a primary way Satan attacks women is through our relationships with our husbands. Our men have the ability to wound us with a few words, a sarcastic tone, or even just a certain look. I’m not saying that our husbands are controlled by the devil. I’m merely recognizing that if the devil’s trying to throw a woman off her game, a good place to start is in her home with a few choice words from her husband.
God designed a man and his wife to be partners and teammates. We’re supposed to sharpen each other and help each other become the best possible versions of ourselves. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t always feel like that’s happening at my house.
So let’s imagine that you and I are sitting together in our favorite coffee shop, or our kids’ favorite playground, or at your dinner table. And we ask each other, “Well, what are we going to do about it?” and we decide to fight against the spiritual battles that weaken our marriages.
We know we can’t change our husbands. But God can. We have to trust that when we do what God asks, He acts. So together, let’s decide that we are going to work towards becoming the wives that God has asked us to be. And that we’ll trust Him to work in our husbands’ hearts and lives.
Here are a few things you and I might commit to try together:
- To treat our husbands like people we respect.
Really hear me on this one. Don’t just move on to the next one because it sounds like a cliché.
Envision someone you’ve truly respected, maybe a supervisor or a teacher. Now imagine how you may react if that person disagreed with you about how to load the dishwasher. Are you thinking about it?
Now, how does that compare to how you react to your husband about similar issues?
I’ve definitely got some work to do in this area…
- To share specific praise with him at least once a day.
Do this as early as you can in the day, before life gets too messy! When the day has already taken a turn towards irritability, this becomes super hard to do. But do it anyway. Ask God to help you.
Notice what your man does right and call it out to him. Even if he doesn’t return the favor. Even if he acts like he doesn’t care. He does care. This is good for him because your praise acts as a mirror that reflects the best of him. It’s also good for you, because it conditions your mind to focus on strengths instead of weaknesses.
- Insert his name into our Bible reading
When we come across commands in the Bible, we can train ourselves to insert our husband’s name. It takes the command from general to deeply personal and convicting.
John 15:12: This is my commandment: That you love [Paul] as I have loved you.
Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to [Paul], tenderhearted, forgiving [him] as God in Christ forgave you.
Romans 12:18: If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with [Paul]
These commitments will not be easy. To accomplish them, we will have to die to ourselves daily and consciously lie down our pride. God honors obedience. By loving our husbands with a Christlike love, we can win spiritual battles and experience victory in our marriages.