Marriage is challenging. Trust me, I am only three years in and I have already experienced so much heartache. There have been moments where I have truly wanted to throw in the towel and walk away. But I keep fighting because all hope is not lost.
I am taking every step necessary to invest in my marriage because I believe in transformation. I hold on to the hope that God is able to breathe life into and resurrect the broken pieces of my marriage and your marriage too. All hope is not lost.
Call me crazy, but I believe it! I will not back down on praying, investing and challenging myself as well as others to grow and mature in our marriages.
If you are experiencing a rough patch in your marriage, I invite you to join this challenge. Sometimes shifting our focus and mindset may help us look at our marriages differently. This challenge has forced me to put Jesus at the center of it all, instead of being consumed with negativity and sadness. Within the past two weeks, my husband and I have experienced a lot of growth and goodness. We still have a long way to go, but this has been a good start! Join in!
SNAPSHOT OF THE CHALLENGE:
- The purpose of the challenge is to encourage your husband!
- Your decision means that you truly want to be a blessing in your home.
- This challenge will also result in spiritual growth in your own life.
- For thirty days, don’t say anything negative to or about your husband. Also, say something positive to and about your husband each day.
I have posted days 11-15 below. Here is the link for the remaining days from Revive Our Hearts!
Day Eleven: The Power of Respect
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. —Ephesians 5:22
Women who are constantly negative toward their husbands—especially by speaking evil of them to others—show great disrespect. Determine not to do that today (or ever!). This challenge to encourage is closely connected to submission.
Men respond to women who respect them. What do you respect about your husband? Is it his ability to plan, lead, show mercy, mediate peace, or delegate? Does he keep things organized or invest in others? If you feel there is nothing to respect, search harder . . . nearly every man has some core characteristic that can be nurtured and respected. In any case, you must still cultivate a submissive spirit to his position of leadership “as to the Lord.” Part of showing respect includes submission to his authority: “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Eph. 5:23).
Action Step: Demonstrate respect.
Show your respect in public by listening to him and smiling at him when he speaks. Place your hand in his as you walk together. Seek his opinion on decisions you need to make or conversations you need to have with others. Tell him that you need his support, insight, care, and love.
A Wife’s Prayer
Heavenly Father, I have had trouble in the past respecting my husband. Forgive me for the ways I have not honored the marriage structure you created. Help me, Lord, Jesus, to grow in respect and to practice showing respect so that our marriage is a vibrant picture of Your relationship with Your Bride, the Church.
Day Twelve: Heart Check
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. —Ephesians 4:2
Part of the difficulty you may face as you continue in this 30-day challenge to encourage your husband is that you really are struggling to find positive things to praise. Perhaps the problem is not with your husband. Have you checked your own heart?
Sometimes we get disillusioned because of our own unreasonable or unrealistic expectations (Pro. 13:12). It may not be that our mates are doing something wrong; it’s simply that we expect too much in some areas.
Our expectations must be met in God alone, and then we will have the right perspective to ask God for the healing and grace we need to respond to others.
Action Step: Release him from overly demanding expectations.
Spend time in prayer, asking the Spirit to search you and know your heart for any unreasonable or unrealistic expectations you are holding over your husband. Today, try to look at your husband through eyes of grace. Verbally thank your husband for what he is already doing, and release him from any overly demanding expectations the Lord has shown you.
A Wife’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, search my heart for any ways I’ve been expecting too much from my husband. Help me to come to You with my unmet needs; teach me to not hold my husband’s failings against him. Soften my heart so that Your grace is at work.
Day Thirteen: Don’t Settle for a Passionless Marriage
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. —Song of Songs 7:10
If you were to describe your sexual relationship, would it you say it’s passionless or passionate? The health of your sexual relationship is one of those determining elements—along with money and children—that can make or break a marriage. Many women struggle with the sexual component in their marriage, settling for passionless. But God intended marital intimacy to be a vibrant and regular expression of love.
Let’s get practical here. Is your husband a good lover? Have you told him so? Be specific. Let him know when he pleases you. Most husbands genuinely want to please their wives, especially in this important area of marriage. Realize that your husband wants intimacy with you . . . his desire istoward you.
There are many common areas of struggle that women face. For example, in moments of intimacy, do you find your mind wandering? This can change as you focus on something wonderful about your husband. Many women have exacerbated their sexual struggles through negative comments. Negativity destroys intimacy, but encouragement builds and strengthens the marriage bond. Wherever your marriage falls on the passion scale today, seek God’s help for growing the passion in this all-important area.
PS: For some of you, the situation may be reversed—you are more interested in sex than your husband is. This is a difficult situation, and one that doesn’t have an easy answer. First, pray. Then pray some more. Ask God to give you insight into the reason behind your husband’s lack of interest and wisdom and sensitivity to know how to address it with him. Look for other ways to connect with him and how you can be an encouragement to him with your words and actions. Know that the situation will require patience and lots of love on your part. Things won’t change overnight. But don’t give up—there is hope!
Action Step: Show some passion.
Does this area of your marriage need some work? Remember that this is a sensitive area for men. Be sure to encourage his lovemaking and masculinity in positive ways. Demonstrate that your desire is for your husband and that you want to spend time with him. Give me wisdom on how to be an encouragement to my husband in this area—and bring encouragement to my heart as well!
A Wife’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, no matter how I have struggled in the past, I don’t want to settle for a passionless marriage. Make me healthy and whole in this area; free me from wrong thinking and release in me a great desire for my husband.
Day Fourteen: A Man of Integrity
The righteous man walks in his integrity. —Proverbs 20:7
Every week there are news reports about men who gave in to temptations and compromised what they said they believed. We hear countless reports about dishonest business dealings, hidden infidelity, and hypocritical leaders. It’s so easy to focus on these things and ignore those who are being honest, faithful, and genuine. As you continue in the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge, determine to look for ways that your husband stands against the culture.
Is your spouse a man of integrity? Is he fair in his dealings with people? Does he understand the meaning of justice? Is he honest in business? Genuine in his faith? Consider all the ways a man can live in integrity, and praise your husband for one of them.
Action Step: Strengthen the hedges in his heart.
Pray regularly for your husband’s sense of integrity, that he would be sensitive to the Spirit in all his ways. As you have the opportunity—as it is appropriate—share examples of your husband’s honesty and integrity with others. Your prayers and compliments will serve to strengthen the hedges of morality he has in his heart.
A Wife’s Prayer
Heavenly Father, would You make my husband’s heart more sensitive to Your Spirit? Let him be aware of weak spots in the hedges around his heart. Show him how to walk in integrity by fortifying his resolve through prayer, accountability, and right choices. Protect him from evil. Show me how to praise him and encourage him to stay strong in his actions.
Day Fifteen: His Pursuit of God
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 3:18
Sometimes we live so close to our spouse that we fail to see him as others do; we only see our husband’s faults. Today, take a step back. Look for ways that he is pursuing God and living a life of faith. Perhaps he is growing spiritually in ways you have failed to appreciate!
How can you encourage his growth in a fresh, new way? Remember, your husband is accountable to God for his spiritual development. You are accountable to God to encourage and not hinder that growth.
Action Step: Look for expressions of faith.
Can you identify an area of spiritual strength in your husband? Does he pray or read his Bible regularly? Does he like to read about or discuss spiritual matters? Does he go to church with you? Is he a spiritual leader? What do others say about him? If you can identify a specific area, praise him for that.
If you can’t find something to praise, pray earnestly that God will work in his heart, and watch for signs of spiritual growth in the future.
A Wife’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, more than anything else I want my husband to have a fruitful and growing relationship with You. Give him a desire for knowing and honoring You in every area of life. Forgive me for ways I have criticized his faith walk instead of encouraging him to pursue You. Thank You for loving him more than I do and wanting to be in relationship with him.
My hope is that this challenge will center our hearts on praying for our husbands often. Someone once said that it takes 21 days to turn something into a habit. I hope this challenge turns into a way of life for many of us, instead of just a one month challenge. My prayer is that over the course of time our marriages will be renewed, healed and strengthened in Christ through the power of love, prayer and encouragement.
Thank you for joining in! Follow me on Facebook every morning to learn how the challenge is going for me and share your experiences as well. I look forward to journeying with you!
© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission. http://www.ReviveOurHearts.com.
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