Love, respect and admiration. The three most important things for a husband to receive, yet often the three most difficult things for a wife to give.
In fact, right this moment, you may be thinking “But my husband doesn’t deserve my respect and admiration, much less my love!” …. “If you knew what he did last week/month/year, you would understand why I don’t respect him” ….. “He neglects my needs, so why should I bother fulfilling his” …. “He never compliments me, so why should I try to encourage him” … “I don’t think I love him anymore / I should have married someone else.”... and so on.
Friend, you are not alone. Although these are not thoughts we are proud of, and we may never speak them out loud, they are thoughts that can drip deadly poison into a marriage.
There is no such thing as a perfect husband, and at times husbands do behave in ways that chip away at their credibility or make it hard for a wife to respect them. Unfortunately this happens in way too many marriages to some degree, but when it becomes harder and harder to desire to meet our husband’s needs, even if for justified reasons, it is time to get back to the biblical basics of marriage, and time to believe that God can do what we think is impossible.
My Proverbs 31 devotion published today called Building Up Your Marriage talks about this topic of respecting the man we married, how a wife’s words can have powerful impact, and how God spoke to my heart about improving my marriage years ago. Today I’m giving away a copy of the book I referenced in the devotion called The Man Whisperer written my friend Rick Johnson (see below for how to enter to win).
All too often, respect is given if/when earned, not because God’s Word commands it, and I had fallen into that habit. Maybe you have too. In fact, most wives don’t really appreciate the fact that God commanded us to respect (much less submit) to our husbands! But it is still God’s command, nonetheless. And He always knows best.
My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years, and for many of those years, I struggled with giving these three gifts to my husband. I found it hard to willingly give gifts that my heart wanted to withhold. I felt I was justified in my disobedience to God’s command because of things that had happened, but when I began following God’s instruction, rather than my own emotions, I saw positive change in more ways than one.
A wife’s tendency is usually to want to change her husband in ways that she feels would make the marriage thrive and make her feel more fulfilled in the relationship, but I came across a quote recently that said this: “The most damaging problems are not solved by correcting behavior. They must be solved by a change of character, a change of morality, a change of heart.” Simply put, all the disrespect in the world can’t change a mans heart, but God can.
We have an important choice to make every day. We can choose to build up the men in our lives, or tear them down, But if we choose the latter, we have to also accept that as we are tearing down the man, we are simultaneously tearing down the marriage, and maybe even the family, as a result.
The enemy hates marriage, and he loves nothing more than to see them fall apart. Let’s bind together in breaking the cycle by inviting God to do amazing things in us, our husbands, and our marriages. I want to invite you to participate in this 14 day marriage challenge (weekdays only) in the hopes that God will use at least one of the fourteen posts to stir something in your heart.
Believe me, I will be working through this challenge right along with you, and hope we can encourage each other with our comments, transparency, and friendship. It may not be easy, and some challenges may step on our toes, but it will be worth it.
I will post a new post with an accompanying challenge each day to empower you to focus on your marriage in a brand new way. As a special incentive, I will be giving away several books by popular authors and possibly other items throughout the challenge, so check each daily posts to find out how to enter to win! If you are not a regular subscriber to my blog, you can sign up today (on the right sidebar) so you won’t miss any of the marriage posts. You can unsubscribe after the challenge if desired. If you are already a subscriber, you’re all set!
If your heart’s desire is for your marriage to become stronger than ever, you are ready to trust God in this adventure of marriage and you’re willing to truly believe in His power of restoration, then leave a quick comment that says “I’m in!” Just two words that will hopefully be the first step towards helping your marriage be the best it can be.
One random winner will be drawn from all the comments, and will win a copy of The Man Whisperer (winner announced Monday 3/11/13)
The ’14 Days To A Better Marriage’ Challenge begins on Monday, March 11th! Are you with me?