Monthly Archives: October 2012

His Finances – Giving and Getting

To me, this chapter is a bit odd. I know in our family, I handle all of the finances. My husband either deposits his checks on his way home from work or gives them to me to do it, and then that’s the last dealings he has with it. I create the budget, fill the envelopes (more on this later!), pay the bills, give to the church and charity, transfer money into savings and make sure everything runs smoothly. I know this may not be the case with your family, but we have always considered the money “ours” even though I do not work a normal job (because we all know being a mom is HARD work!) and don’t actually earn money (just hugs and kisses. :)). So for me to pray for “his finances” is a weird concept.

I agree, though, with what Stormie writes:

“Much of who your husband is and what he experiences in life is wrapped up in how he relates to his finances. Is he giving or miserly? Is he thankful or envious of others? Is money a blessing or a curse? Is he wise or reckless with what he has? Is he in agreement with you as to how it is to be spent, or does your marriage exhibit financial strife? Nothing puts more pressure on a marriage than financial irresponsibility, lack of money,  and huge debt. Only when we recognize that all we have comes from God and seek to make Him Lord over it can we avoid the pitfalls that money, or lack of it brings.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 55)

I agree, we need to pray for our husbands and they way they relate to money. When my husband and I were first married, he leaned more toward miserly. As the years passed and I prayed, he is much more willing to give. He is incredibly thankful for all that we have; I tend to be the more envious one. Money is definitely a blessing for him. He is one of the wisest people I know when it comes to money (sometimes his patience and the time it takes for his to research each purchase drives me crazy!).

We are usually always in agreement about how the money is spent. He trusts me to take care of the money, although this has not always been the case.  When we were first married, I would come home and tell him that I had bought some new clothes, then the interrogation would begin.

How much did you spend?

Did we have the money to buy that?

It was incredibly hurtful because I could tell he did not trust me. After time, he stopped asking. He knew I managed our finances well, and if I had spent money on something, it was because I had budgeted for it. I prayed for a long time that he would trust me. He knows now that if an unexpected expense pops up, I will adjust our budget and make things work.

The remainder of this chapter, Stormie writes mostly about giving. I agree that it is important to be obedient and give when you feel the Holy Spirit prompt you, but I do not believe that giving guarantees any kind of monetary blessing. The verse she uses is Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse” and see if He “will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” 

I have heard this verse used way out of context and I think it can be damaging to a person who is giving to the Lord, but still struggles to pay their bills or get ahead. The Lord promises that He will take care of us. We will have what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT. Giving does not guarantee will will have everything we want. God is not a vending machine. You don’t give Him your money and then choose what blessing you want. He knows exactly what we need and He is faithful to provide for us.

Matthew 6:25-33 says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Six months into our marriage, my husband left his teaching job at the end of the school year and could not find another job, the lease was up on our apartment and we were going to have to move in with his parents. Neither of us were too thrilled with that idea. We had just started attending a new church and the weekend before we were going to move, we went to a get together at the pastor’s house to get to know the leadership of the church. We had mentioned our situation to the pastor and the next thing you know, he tells us we can live with him and his wife, rent free, for as long as we needed to!

The next weekend we moved the contents of our apartment into a storage unit and a handful of the things we thought we would really need into the pastor’s 10′ by 10′ guestroom. My husband and I lived there for almost 6 month. During that time, the Lord provided work for him as an electrician’s apprentice, and he worked at night in grocery stores auditing shelves and re-arranging different sections of the stores. The Lord stretched the little money he was making and we never went without what we needed.

Oh it was not comfortable. Because of my health problems, I can only sleep on a memory foam mattress and since our king size bed was in storage, I moved my pre-married twin size mattress to the floor next to the queen size bed my husband slept on in our little room. So, for the last half of our first year of marriage, we never slept in the same bed. We never did feel quite at home, afraid we would disturb our pastor and his wife, we kept to ourselves. It was one of the loneliest time of my life. My husband would be gone all day (and most evenings) and I would be there alone, in a new city where I didn’t know anyone. No, it was not comfortable, but God took care of us. We had absolutely everything we needed. The Lord was faithful!

One thing I think Stormie leaves out (except for the prayer at the end of the chapter) is being a good steward of our money (God’s money!) in other ways than just giving. I think it is important for us to pray that we are seeking the Lord when it comes to spending money, saving money and giving money. God is interested in every detail of our lives; He wants us to be wise in all aspects of our finances.

My next post I will be discussing how we budget, the tools I use to do this, the envelope system and ways you can implement them into your finances. I realize your husband may take care of all of your money, but I think that there is a time to pray, and there is a time to act. Suggesting some tools to help your finances run more smoothly may be exactly what God will use to strengthen your marriage.

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His Work – Rest And Enjoyment

“If you husband is a hard worker, make sure he has times of rest and enjoyment – to do things that entertain him  give him a reprieve from the weight of a lifetime of supporting his family. Men need periods of refreshing. If they don’t have them, they are prone to burn out and temptation of all kinds. Your prayers can help your husband understand the true meaning of life doesn’t come from work, it comes from following God. Let’s pray for our husbands to find that perfect balance.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 52)

Does your husband have times of rest and enjoyment? I know for my husband, those times are few and far between. I happen to be an extrovert. I am energized when I am around people – girls’ night out, fellowship at church, even a trip to Target with my mom and sis. I would never pass up a party! I start to become very discouraged and a little depressed when I am home by myself for long periods at a time (and for me, a long period is about 3 days!). My husband, on the other hand is an introvert. It is crucial for him to be alone. For a long time, I didn’t understand this! When he would come home after a long week, I would have our whole weekend planned out with lots of outings and visiting people; I could see the disappointment on his face. He would say, “I’ve been gone all week, I just want to stay home.” Then I would say, “Well, I’ve been home all week, and I just want to be out!” This became an issue we had to work though. He tries to be understanding and will rarely tell me no when I ask him to attend a party or go out with me; I think this is because I have been more understanding of his feelings before I ask him. I choose the most important things I would like to attend. I will also attend things by myself (with our son) so my husband can have alone time to rest and energize.

My husband does not have many friends. His hobbies are a bit esoteric; he is a musician, he builds wooden clocks, he builds guitar pedals and rolling ball sculptures. He doesn’t like sports (at all!) and isn’t into guy stuff like cars. He prefers to read for long periods of time or make music lesson videos to put on his Youtube page (http://www.youtube.com/user/drumennut?feature=guide – yes, shameless plug! :)) and he doesn’t like being around large groups of people.

Your husband may be the complete opposite and it may take some study to figure out what he needs so he can rest and have fun. Either way, find out what he loves to do and make sure he takes time for himself. He will be happier and healthier for it!

Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” Now we know that God didn’t need to rest, He’s God! But he rested to be an example to us. The Lord knows us so intimately and knows that if we don’t rest, we will get burned out, and like Stormie said, we will be prone to temptation of all kinds. I know my husband has mentioned he is more tempted (and falls to more temptation) when he is tired. Its the perfect time for Satan to attack him. He is less alert and it’s harder for him to fight temptation when his body and mind are exhausted.

We must pray for our husbands’ work. But we must also pray that we are able to help him find times of rest and enjoyment. Below are two pictures I found that I love. The introvert poster helped me to effectively minster to my husband. I hope one of the posters helps you too!

His Work – Specific Prayers

“Even if your husband has a successful career, it’s still good to pray the he is where God wants him to be and that everything will continue to go smoothly. My husband, who is a song writer and record producer, said he felt my prayers have prevented him from working with the wrong clients. He has never worked with anyone who is difficult, weird, evil, or unsuitable, which is nothing less that a miracle in his business. He knew I always prayed that God would lead him to the right people and remove from his path those who would be trouble. While our prayers cannot ensure a trouble-free road for our husbands, they can certainly steer them clear of many problems.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 52)

My husband is a music teacher, band director, Bible teacher, P.E. teacher, and children’s pastor at the small Christian school he works at. (As well as a private music lesson teacher and worship pastor at our church) He is amazing in all of these rolls, but there are days when he texts me and asks for prayer. Juggling so many hats, he gets burned out quickly and because he works so many hours, he doesn’t sleep much and his immune system gets compromised and he catches everything his students bring to school with them. It’s so hard for me to watch him struggle. Sometimes I wonder if my prayers even make a difference, especially when I get up in the morning, hit my knees and pray that he would have extra patience with his students, that he would speak kindly to them, and that the Lord would give him energy and strength, and at my lunchtime call from him, he tells me that he’s been very impatient with his students, he had to apologize for being harsh with a student and that he is exhausted and doesn’t know how he’s going to make it through the day.

But I have believe that my prayers make a difference. Just knowing that I’m praying for him provides my husband with strength and support. He knows that even when he has a bad day, I’m at home lifting him up to the Lord; I’m in his corner. And when he has an awesome day, we praise the Lord together, knowing that our prayers have been answered and that the Holy Spirit was working in my husband.

A few years ago, my husband was offered a position at a church as a youth pastor. After meeting with the Pastor, we committed the idea to prayer. We prayed separately about the offer and after about a week, we came together and shared what the Lord had told us. I knew after a couple days that the answer was no; so did my husband. If I had not been praying about it, my husband may have doubted the answer he got from the Lord; I know that he appreciated the support and commitment I made to pray about the decision. I know my husband depends on me and my prayer time with the Lord to help lead him in decisions when it comes to work. I take that very seriously. I am so blessed that the Lord chooses to work in my husband’s life through me!

This week, ask your husband what you can be praying for in particular regarding his work; you may learn about struggles he is having that you were not aware of, and you maybe feel confirmation that you have been praying for the right things. I know your husband would appreciate knowing you are praying for his work!

His Work – Extremes

In this chapter, His Work, Stormie tells of two different men and how they relate to work. The first man, Bill, seldom works, leaving his wife to support the family; the second man, Steven is a workaholic, never resting and enjoying the success of his labor. She says that the root of each of these behaviors is fear. One fears he will never find the perfect job and get stuck working in a job he hates. The other fears that if he ever stops working, he will lose his worth in everyone’s eyes. She writes:

“These extreme examples of how a man can relate to his work. On one hand is laziness – avoiding work out of selfishness, fear, lack of confidence, depression, or apprehension about the future. Of the lazy, God says, ‘As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed’ (Proverbs 26:14). ‘Drowsiness will clothe a man with rags’ (Proverbs 23:21)….In other words, a lazy man will never get anywhere, he will never have anything, he will have a rough road ahead, and it will ultimately destroy him. The opposite extreme is workaholism – obsessing over work to the exclusion of all else and losing one’s life in the process. Of the workaholic God say, ‘ So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of it’s owners’ (Proverbs 1:19) ‘I looked on all the the works my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 2:11) In other words, workaholism is draining and pointless.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, pages, 49,50)

I could not imagine how difficult it would be for a woman to commit to praying for her husband’s work if he is lazy and chooses not to work, especially if this has been going on for a long time and the wife feels the burden of financially providing for her family. It would be easy for the wife to feel so much resentment toward her husband that praying for him would be that last thing she would want to do. And it would be equally as difficult for the wife whose husband works too much and is never home, leaving all responsibility to care for the children and manage the home with no support from him, being constantly disappointed by his absence and having to explain to her children why daddy is never there. Her loneliness and disappointment could result in resentment also. In both of these seemingly hopeless situations, the prayers of these wives could be the catalyst the Lord uses to make a change in their husbands’ heart and actions.

“Neither extreme promotes happiness and fulfillment  Only a perfect balance between the two, which God can help a man find, will ever bring that quality of life. What causes a man to go to either extreme can be, oddly enough, the dame reason: fear. That’s because a man’s identity is often very tied up in his work. He needs to be appreciated and he needs to win, and his work is often a means of seeing both happen. It frightens him to think he may never experience either. If he is doing work that is demeaning to him, he feel devalued as a person. If his work is not successful, he feels like a loser. God recognizes that a man’s work is a sourse of fulfullment to him. he says there is nothing better than for a man to ‘enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God’ (Ecclesiates 3:13) The fact that many men are not fulfilled in their work has less to do with what their work is than with whether or not they have a sense of purpose.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages, 50, 51)

It may be because I am a woman, but I didn’t understand for a long time that my husband’s identity was tied up in his work. I know my husband ultimately finds his identity in Christ, but when he is feeling demeaned at work or he feels his work has not been successful, it can crush him. I appreciated him at home, trying my best to make him feel loved and valued here. But it didn’t seem like it mattered, at least like it mattered enough. After having some heart to heart conversations with my husband, though, I began to understand.

I believe this is why praying for his work is so important. I couldn’t imagine feeling that weight on my shoulders everyday, knowing that I am responsible to financially providing for my family, but feeling unhappy and unfulfilled at my job. Maybe your husband loves his job, but I assure you he will have bad days. If he isn’t his own boss, he will experience  the result of decisions he had no say in. If he works with other people, he will experience the irritation of coworkers. Maybe he feels like he is stuck in a job he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. He could be afraid of disappointing you. In every work situation, we need to continually lift our husbands up before the Lord!

“You can pray for his eyes to be opened to see what God wants him to do, and where God is leasing. Your prays can help him feel appreciated and encouraged enough to recognize he has worth no matter what he does. You can assure him that God has uniquely gifted him with ability and talent and He has something good ahead for him. Then pray for God to reveal it and open the door of opportunity which no man can shut. You can pave a path for him.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 52)

With All Due Respect

“It’s interesting that God requires the husband to LOVE his wife, but the wife is required to have RESPECT for her husband. ‘Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband’ (Ephesians 5:33). I assume no woman would marry a man she didn’t love, but too often a wife loses respect for her husband after they’ve been married awhile. Loss of respect seems to precede loss of love and is more hurtful to a man than we realize.” (The Power Of  A Praying Wife, Page 41)

Have you ever been out in public and heard a wife speak to her husband disrespectfully, making sure the world knows what an idiot he is? I have and it makes me cringe! Ever wonder if anyone has heard you speak to your husband and had the same reaction? There have been times when I have spoken to my husband with disrespect, not usually in public, but definitely in our home in the middle of an argument, and I have even made myself cringe!

Stormie writes about the consequences of losing respect for your husband. Queen Vashti’s refused her husband, the king’s request to put on her royal clothes and crown and make an appearance at his feast.

“The result was that Vashti loss her position as queen. She not only wronged her husband, the kin, but the people as well. Unless a wife wants to lose her position as queen of her husband’s heart, and hurt her family and friends besides, she mustn’t humiliate her husband no matter how much she thinks he deserves it. The price is too high. If this has already happened to you, and you know you’ve shown disrespect for your husband, confess it to God right now.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 42)

I am so thankful for the Lord’s grace! We are never too far gone; He can work miracles in our marriages when we are obedient to Him.

Last year my husband came home with this set of CD entitled Love And Respect. It was an audio book written by Dr.Emerson Eggerichs. I didn’t really know what it was going into it, but I was excited that my husband was interested in enriching our marriage. We listened to the CDs on our was to and from church twice a week. What an eye opener! I highly recommend reading the book with your husband, and if he’s not interested, read it for yourself. It has completely changed our marriage. Below is a link to the Love and Respect website. Take a look around and read some of the articles. You can even order the book from there or find a Love and Respect conference.

http://loveandrespect.com/

You will be amazed at the change in your husband’s responses when you speak respectfully to him. I realized I spoke to my husband disrespectfully because I was feeling unloved by what he said or did;, he would then feel disrespected and treat me unlovingly, resulting in me being disrespectful to him. Dr. Eggerichs calls this the Crazy Cycle. We’ve been caught in it a time or two.

Something we have found extremely helpful in our marriage is when I feel like my husband is acting unloving, I ask him if I did something to make him feel disrespected. When I am acting disrespectful, he asks me if he has done something to make me feel unloved. This way, neither of us is blaming the other for what is going on, we are able to easily hash out (most of the time) the original unloving or disrespectful thing that was said or done and be able to apologize for it before feelings and words escalate. You may find this helpful too.

I have so many things I want to say about this, but the fibromyalgia is really making me foggy (please forgive me!), so please please please pick up Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Respecting our husbands is so extremely important and I wish I could express myself well today. Maybe tomorrow I can revise this post if my mind is working better.

I will leave you with this:

“When you are praying for yourself – his wife- remember with model of a wood wife from the Bible  It says she takes care of her home and runs it well. She knows how to buy and sell and make wise investments. She keeps herself healthy and strong and dressed attractively  She work diligently and has skills which are marketable. She is giving and conscientiously prepares for the future. She contributes to her husband’s good reputation. She is strong, solid, honorable, and not afraid of growing older. She speaks wisely and kindly. She doesn’t sit around doing nothing, but carefully watches what goes on in her home. Her children and husband praise her. She doesn’t rely on charm and beauty but knows that the fear of the Lord is what is most attractive. She supports her husband ans still has a fruitful life of her own which speaks loudly for itself (Proverbs 31). This is an amazing woman, the kind of woman we can become only through God’s enablement and our own surrendering. The bottom line is that she is a woman whose husband trusts her because ‘she does him good and not evil’ all the days of her life.’ I believe the most important ‘good’ a wife can do for her husband is pray. Shall we?” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages, 43, 44)

His Wife – Letting Go Of Expectations

Alright, I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t really want to write about this topic today!!! Letting go of expectations is extremely difficult for me and it has been one of the biggest struggles my husband and I have had in our marriage.

“I think if I could help a new wife in any area, it would be to discourage her from coming unto her marriage with a big list of expectations and then being upset when her husband doesn’t live up to them. Of course there are some basics that should be agreed upon before the wedding date, such as fidelity, high moral standards, physical and emotional love, and protection. When you don’t get those things, you can ask for them. When you still don’t get them, you can pray. But when it comes to the specifics, you can’t require one person to meet all your needs. The pressure to do that and fulfill your dreams at the same time can be overwhelming to a man. Instead take your needs to God in prayer and look to HIM for the answers. If we try to control our husbands by having a big list for them to live up to and then are angry and disappointed when they can’t, WE are the ones in error. The biggest problem in my marriage occurred when my expectations of what I thought Michael should be or do didn’t coincide with the reality of who he was.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 40,41)

When we got married, I didn’t realize I had a big list of expectations for my husband…that is, until he didn’t meet those expectations and I was feeling disappointed and angry all the time! My husband had the basics down; he was faithful, he had high moral standards, he was an awesome provider and he loved and protected me. There were a few things I expected him to do because that’s what I thought husbands did. One of these things being bringing me flowers. I have to tell you, my husband is not very romantic. This is something I knew going into our marriage, but I guess I expected him to be once we got married. I can’t tell you how many times he would be late coming home from work and I would automatically come up with this lovely scenario in my head about how he stopped off at the florist and bought me a dozen red roses, how he would hide them behind his back and then pull them out with such flourish that I would swoon and fall even more deeply in love with him.

When he would walk in the door empty handed complaining about the homeless guy at the gas station who was mad that my husband only gave him change instead of dollars (since, of course, he was getting gas after work, not buying me roses), I would be angry and disappointing. It sounds silly now, but it became a big problem. I felt myself being disappointed a lot because my husband didn’t live up to my expectations. Those were unrealistic expectations that I placed on him and it made us both miserable.

Even this week I found myself feeling upset with him because he has a habit of taking off his socks and leaving them all over the house. For most people this would be a little irritating, for me it was hurtful, both emotionally and physically.  Having to bend down and pick things up off the floor is really hard on my back, and I expected Mike to realize that and so his leaving his socks all over the place meant that he didn’t care about me. Stormie talks about how when you don’t get those basics you agreed upon when you got married, you can ask for them. And if you don’t get them, you can pray about them. I think this goes for things like my sock situation too! I prayed about how to approach my husband about it (my normal MO would be to scold him) and asked the Lord to show me when and how to ask him to pick up his socks and why I was asking it of him. I found an appropriate time to talk to him about it and he was so receptive! He said he didn’t realize that he even did it, and he also said that it hadn’t crossed his mind how difficult it would be to have to pick them up and that he would do his best to make sure he put them in the hamper! It’s been three days and I have not had to pick them up once! If I had approached him in my usual way, there would have been a fight and nothing would have been resolved. Praising God for His work in me!

There is another expectation I put on my husband that was unrealistic, though, and the Lord really had to work in my heart regarding the issue. I needed more help around the house and I pretty much demanded it of my husband. I pleaded my case, gave him all the reasons why he should help me. That conversation did not end well. For us, the expectation for him to help me more around the house is unrealistic, at least in this season of our life. Like I said in yesterday’s post, he is out of the house an average of 73 hours a week and then he also works close to 12 hours a week at home on church stuff and school stuff. He has no time for himself, let alone time to help me with the house. Any extra moments he has, he spends with Samuel and me. The compromise we worked out (after the harsh words, tears, conviction, repentance, apologies and forgiveness ) was again what I talked about yesterday – 3 important things he would like done, and also me relaxing a little bit and not expecting perfection when it comes to how my home looks.

We will always have expectations – the key is to pray about which ones are unrealistic and the ones that aren’t. Ask the Lord to allow you to give up the unrealistic ones and give you the wisdom to know how and when to talk to your husband about the realistic ones. Chances are your husband might just be a little clueless about them and will be receptive if you approach him the right way. He loves you and wants to show you. He may just not know how.

I guess even though I didn’t want to write about this topic today, I had plenty to say. I pray you can glean something good from my ramblings! Praying for you!

His Wife – Creating A Home

I am excited to write about today’s topic! It is something I feel really passionately about. I believe it is extremely important  for a wife to make her home a sanctuary for her husband and to take care of herself for him (and for her children!).

“I don’t care how liberated you are, when you are married there will always be two areas that will ultimately be your responsibility: home and children. Even if you are the only one working and your husband stays home to keep the house and tend the kids, you will still be expected to see that the heart of your home is a peaceful sanctuary- a source of contentment, acceptance, rejuvenation, nurturing, rest and love for your family. On top of this, you will also be expected to be sexually appealing, a good cook, a great mother, and physically, emotionally and spiritually fit. It’s overwhelming to most women, but the good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. You can seek God’s help.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 37)

Anyone else feel overwhelmed reading that? Oh, good! I’m not the only one! Being a wife (and mother) is a hard job! I’m so glad the Lord doesn’t ask us to do it in our own strength! Believe me, I’ve tried, with terrible results!

I just calculated how many hours my husband is gone out of the house each week, driving, working, and going to school. Seventy three. That’s a lot of hours away from home!  When he comes home after working so hard all day (and evening!), I want him to feel safe, accepted, nurtured, and relaxed. He will not feel this way if he’s tripping over toys, or there are no clean underwear in his drawer, or there are dishes over flowing in the sink. He definitely isn’t going to think I’m a sexy mama if I smell because I haven’t showered that day or I’m in a bad mood because my day didn’t go smoothly. This does not mean that the house must be spotless. Nor does it mean I need to be wearing sexy lingerie when he walks in the door. It does mean that I need to be intention with my day. I need to shower and do the things I know are important to my husband. I asked him to give me three things that he really wants done when he comes home. He wants Samuel to be taken care of, the dishes to be done (dirty dishes gross him out) and he wants to have clean clothes for the next day. This can be a challenge with a toddler or when my Fibromyagia is flared up and its too painful to move off the couch. My husband is understanding, but I am going to do my absolute best to do those things that are important to him.

I also need to do those things with a good attitude. The wife sets the tone of her home. If I’m stress and in a bad mood when my husband gets home, then that is going to rub off of him, along with my toddler who mirrors my emotions. If I am in a good mood, and I greet him with a hug and kiss, then he is going to be in a good mood and feel relaxed. That makes everything run more smoothly!

I challenge you to ask your husband what things he would like done by the time he gets home. It may be wise to ask him to give you 3 things (or a number you feel is manageable!) he would like done. There are some days I bust my butt making sure the house is dusted or vacuumed and he doesn’t even notice! Keep the house generally tidy, but make sure those important things are done when he gets home! It will make a world of difference because he will feel relaxed and loved when he gets home.

Stormie addresses how we need to not only take care of our home, but how we need to take care of ourselves.

“Everything I’ve said about the home goes for your body, soul, and spirit as well. Some effort must be put into maintain them. I once heard a radio talk show where a woman called into complain to a popular psychologist that her husband told her he no longer found her attractive. The host said, ‘What are you doing to make yourself attractive?’ The caller had no answer. The point is, being attractive doesn’t just happen…We have to ask ourselves the same question. ‘What am I doing to make myself attractive for my husband? Do I keep myself clean and smelling good? Do I see that my internal self is cleansed and rejuvenated with regular exercise? Do I preserve my strength and vitality with a healthful diet? Do I dress attractively? And most important: Do I spend time along with God everyday? I guarantee that the more time you spend with the Lord, the more radiant you will become. ‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised’ (Proverbs 31:30). You can’t afford not to make this investment in yourself, your health, and your future. It’s not selfish not do it. It’s selfish NOT to do it. Pray for God to show you what steps to take and then enable you to take them. Invite the Hold spirit to dwell in you AND your home.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 39)

I believe that each of the things she mentioned will make you a better wife- keeping yourself clean and smelling good, regular exercise, healthy diet, dressing attractively (or how about getting dressed at all, fellow stay at home moms!),  and most importantly spending time with the Lord. This list can be a little daunting, I know. Keeping up on the house and keeping up on ourselves can be exhausting. At least they are for me. I know I struggle with chronic fatigue and in constant pain, but I imagine even without those things, I am sure it’s difficult. And sometimes it’s hard for me because I don’t always get credit for the things I do. Sometimes my husband doesn’t notice, or he notices the things I didn’t get done. Again, this is a heart issue. I need to be working for the Lord. I need to be obedient to what He has called me to even if I don’t get the applause I want. And I need to do it with with HIS strength, not my own. Even if all the things don’t get done, or get done perfectly, if I’m working for the Lord and in His strength, I am not going to be a in a bad mood, or feel super overwhelmed. I’m still a work in progress and He is molding and shaping me everyday to be more like Him. I’m so thankful for his grace and leading!

His Wife – Shut Up And Pray

Although I hate the phrase “Shut up” (It has always been a no no in our home growing up and currently), I completely get where Stormie is going with this! There are definitely times when it is better to remain quiet about an issue and pray your heart out than to speak your mind and make matters worse. This is something I struggle with often.

She writes:

“There is a time to speak and a time NOT to speak, and happy is the man whose wife can discern between the two….A wife has the ability to hurt her husband more deeply than anyone else can, and he can do the same to her. No matter how much apology, the words can not be erased. They can only be forgiven and that is not always easy. Sometimes anything we say will only hinder the flow of what God wants to do, so it’s best to, well, shut up and pray.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 32)

Did you catch that last sentence? Really take it in. ” Sometimes anything we say will only hinder the flow of what God wants to do, so it’s better to, well, shut up and pray.” 

This is where I struggle. Have you ever had these thoughts?

“Well, I’m only trying to help!”

“If I don’t tell him what he’s doing wrong, how will he know?”

“Maybe he doesn’t understand what I’m saying; I better tell him for the 100th time.”

Oh, sweet sister, he understands what you’re saying and he’s getting fed up hearing it a bunch of times! How do I know? My husband’s told me this many times! I’m guilty of arguing for hours and saying the same thing over and over again. I am sure the Lord would be able to work in the situation if I would just keep my mouth closed and pray the prayer from yesterday’s reading!

There are also times when we aren’t in an argument that I should still keep my mouth shut; times when I’ve asked my husband to do something and after a few days (or weeks), it isn’t done.

“It took me a number of years to learn what millions of women have learned over the centuries. NAGGING DOESN’T WORK! Criticizing doesn’t work. Sometimes, just plain talking doesn’t accomplish anything either. I’ve found that prayer is the only thing that ALWAYS works. The safe guard you have with prayer is that you have to go through God to do it. This means you can’t get away with a bad attitude, wrong thinking, or incorrect motives. When you pray, God reveals anything is your personality that is resistant to His order of things.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 32,33)

Can you relate to this? I can! She says that prayer is the only thing that works. When I first read that I was thinking, “I’ve prayed before that Mike would do things and he still has not done them! Prayer doesn’t always work!” Well, prayer doesn’t always work the way I want it to. She clarifies by saying that since we have to Go through God to pray, He straightens everything out. Maybe we are praying with a bad attitude or with wrong motives; it is possible that we are praying with right motives, but our prayer just doesn’t align with God’s plan.

“My husband will not do something he doesn’t want to do. And if he ends up doing something he doesn’t want to do, his immediate family members will pay for it. If there is anything I really want him to do, I’ve learned to pray about it until I have God’s peace in my heart BEFORE I ask. Sometimes God changes my heart about it, or shows me a different way so I don’t have to say anything. If I do need to say something, I try not to just blurt it out. I pray first for God’s leading.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 33)

When I read that last paragraph, I started to get angry. She talks about how when her husband is pressured into doing something he doesn’t want to do, his family suffers. I can relate. I’ve pressured my husband into doing things and he finally does them and he isn’t happy about it and I know it. He can have a bad attitude about it or be distant. That isn’t right! But you know what I learned this week? I can not control him. It’s not my job! (Though sometimes I feel like it is….God is working on my heart!) I can’t control his actions or words or attitudes. I can control mine though! And that is what is required of me. The Lord will work on my husband’s heart.  I need to let Him work on mine and continue to pray for my husband.

I’ll leave you with this today:

“While honesty is a requirement for a successful marriage, telling your husband everything that is wrong with him is not only ill-advised, it probably doesn’t reveal the complete truth. The total truth is from God’s perspective and He, undoubtedly, doesn’t have the same problem with some of your husband’s actions as you do. Our goal must not be to get our husbands to do what WE want, but rather release them to God so He can get them to do what HE wants…If you DO have to say words that are hard to hear, ask God to help you discern when your husband would be most open to hearing them. Pray for the right words and for his heart to be totally receptive. I know that’s difficult to do if you have a few choice words you’re dying to let loose. But hard as it may seem, it’s best to let God hear them first so He can temper them with His Spirit.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 34,35)

His Wife – The Ultimate Love Language; I Don’t Even Like Him…

“Talking to God about your husband is an act of love. Prayer gives rise to love, love begets more prayer, which in turn gives rise to more love. Even if you praying is not born out of completely selfless motives,  your motives will become more unselfish as prayer continues. You’ll find yourself more loving in your responses. You’ll notice that issues which formerly caused strife between you will no longer do that. You’ll be able to come to mutual agreements without a fight. This unity is vital.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 29)

I have truly found that as I pray for Mike it does give rise to love, my responses are more loving and things do tend to run more smoothly in our home. So why don’t I pray for Mike all the time, knowing the results? Well Stormie addresses this issue in the next section of this chapter, entitled, I Don’t Even Like Him- How Can I Pray For Him? Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I do like my husband, but there are times when he has hurt me with his words or making light of something that is very important to me and because I am feeling unloved, I don’t want to pray for him. I want to give him a piece of my mind.

Stormie writes-

“Have you ever been so mad at your husband that the last thing you wanted to do was pray for him? So have I. It’s hard to pray for someone when you’re angry or he’s hurt you. But that’s exactly what God wants us to do. If He asks us to pray for our enemies, how much more should we be praying for the person with whom we have become one and are supposed to love? But how to we get past the unforgiveness and critical attitude? The first thing to do is be completely honest with God. In order to break down the walls in our hearts and smash the barriers that stop communication, we have to be totally up front with the Lord about our feelings. We don’t have to ‘pretty it up’ for Him. He already knows the truth. He just wants to see if we’re willing to admit it and confess it as disobedience to His ways. If so, He then has a heart with which he can work.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 30,31)

The above paragraph is refreshing to me! I’m not alone! Other wives get angry at their husbands too. Have you ever seen those couples who are so wonderfully in love that you can’t imagine them ever fighting? I have had people tell me that Mike and I look that way! Ha! We disagree sometimes, but we can also hide it really well when we are in public. I love that even when I am angry and hurt, I can go to the Lord with complete honesty. I can tell Him exactly how I feel and know that if I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me (1 Jn. 1:9). Can I get an Amen!?!?! I am so thankful for His grace in my life!  He can now work on my heart and make me a more loving, forgiving wife.

I am ready for God to work in my heart and my marriage. I love the prayer Stormie writes in the middle of this section.

“Lord, nothing in me wants to pray for this man. I confess my anger, hurt, unforgiveness, disappointment, resentment, and my hardness of heart toward him. Forgive me and create in me a clean heart and right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, forgiving attitude toward him. Where he has erred, reveal it to him and convict his heart about it. Lead him through the paths of repentance and deliverance. Help me not to hold myself apart from him emotionally, mentally, or physically because of unforgiveness. Where either of us needs to ask forgiveness of the other, help us to do so. If there is something I’m not seeing that is adding to this problem, reveal it to me and help me to understand it. Remove any wedge of confusion that has created misunderstanding or miscommunication. Where there is behavior that needs to change in either of us, I pray you would enable that change to happen  As much as I want to hang on to my anger toward him because I feel it is justified, I want to do what YOU want. I release all those feelings to You. Give me a renewed sense of love for him and words to heal this situation.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Page 31)

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to print out a copy of this prayer to keep it in my night stand so I can reference it when I’m feeling angry with Mike. Sometimes I can get so angry I don’t have the words to even pray. This will be helpful for me to have so I can read it and pray these wonderful, honest words!

His Wife- My Favorite Three-word Prayer; Who, Me?…Change?

“I thought I had married a man who was close to perfect, and what wasn’t perfect was cute. As time went on, cute became irritating  and perfect became driving perfectionism  I decided that what irritated me most about him had to be changed and then everything would be fine. It took a number of years for me to realize my husband was never going to conform to my image. it took a few years beyond that to understand I couldn’t make him change in any way. In fact, it wasn’t until I started going to God with what bothered me that I began to see any difference at all. And then it didn’t happen the way I thought it would. I was the one God worked on first. I was the one who began to change. my heart had to be softened, humbled, pummeled, molded and reconstructed before He even started working on my husband. I had to learn to see things according to the way God saw them – not how I thought they should be. Gradually I realized it’s impossible to truly give yourself in prayer without first examining your own heart.” (The Power of A Praying Wife, Page 26)

 

This was one of the passages of this chapter that I highlighted and read through a couple times. I can so relate to what she is saying! Can you? Before Mike and I got married, many of his quirky habits were cute, then when we got married, over time, those cute things did become irritating. Many of them still are. I have prayed “Change him, Lord” more times than I can count. I still struggle with wanting Mike to be conformed to the image that I want him to look like, but it’s so true what she says, God wants to work on us first. We can not completely give ourselves to prayer  for our husbands without examining our own hearts.

I have to be honest. This is the part of the journey I am not looking forward to. Oh I want wonderful things for my marriage and for my husband, but having God changing my heart, motives and actions is going to be painful! I know the results will be worth it, but asking the Lord to reveal any impure way in me (Ps. 139:23,24) is difficult. I like to keep the ugly parts of me hidden away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? God wants to work in my heart, to make me not only a better wife, but more importantly a better disciple, more reliant on Him, desperately seeking His will for my life, even when the process is painful.

When Mike and I have an argument, it’s so incredibly easy for me to see how he is in the wrong, to see his shortcomings and how he needs to change. It is a little tougher to see when I’m wrong and how I need to change, that is, until the argument is over and I’m crying in my bed. Then very often I have the same conversation with God that Stormie writes about.

 

“Do you see the way he is, Lord?”

“Do you see the way YOU are?”

“Lord, are You saying there are things you want to change in me?”

“Many things. Are you ready to hear them?” 

“Well, I guess so.”

“Tell me when you’re really ready.”

“Why me, God? HE’S the one that needs to change.”

“The point is not who NEEDS to change. The point is who is WILLING to change.” 

“But God, this isn’t fair.”

“I never said life is fair, I said I am fair.”

“But I. . .”

“Someone has to be willing to start.”

“But. . . . “

“How important is preserving your marriage?”

“Very important. The other options are unacceptable.”

“I reast my case. Let’s get on with changing you.”

“Help me to have a good attitude about this, Lord.”

“That’s up to you.”

“Do I have to pray for my husband even if he’s not praying for me?”

“Precisely.”

“But that’s not. . . okay, okay, I remember. Life’s not fair. YOU’RE fair!”

(Silent nodding from heaven)

“I give up. Go ahead. Oh, this is going to be painful! Cha . . . change. . .  I can’t believe I’m saying this.

(Deep Breath) “Change me, Lord.”

 

Mike and I even got into an argument last night. He offended me so I lashed out and offended him, so he bit back with a harsh reaction, so I reacted harshly…..on and on. I am embarrassed to say I never did apologize for how I spoke to him; while I was typing that last paragraph, Mike sent me a text message that read, “I love you baby. Sorry we were arguing last night.” Boy, have I got a lot to learn. So here goes….”Change me, Lord.”