Strengthening Intimacy with Your Husband

Strengthening Intimacy with Your Husband

I don’t believe there’s any person in the world who knows my husband as I do. There are many who are close to him, several who spend hours each day with him in a work environment. Family members adore him as much as me, but each shares different types of relationship with him.

 

I’m the one who best knows the nucleus of his personality, his drive, his insecurities, strengths, and challenges. He shares his heart with me, casts vision, and ponders dreams. I can look in his eyes and sense from his tone of voice when something is bothering him, or when he’s overjoyed or angry.  He lets his guard down when he’s home with me and invites me to partner with him in mulling over circumstances and decisions.

 

Therefore, it stands to reason that I can pray for him like no one else. I have the role and ability to seek the Lord’s help in areas that no one else understands. I can discern areas where he’s challenged by more than situations—where the enemy might be trying to gain access or shoot fiery darts in his direction.  When I pray on his behalf, I can share a level of closeness and familiarity.

 

Mirror and Strengthen Intimacy

 

Praying for my husband mirrors the intimacy that I have with God as well as with my life-long partner. Through prayer, I can also stand in the gap for him and resist the schemes of the evil one over his life. This strengthens my intimacy with the Lord and in a supernatural, spiritual sense, the closer I draw to the Lord, the more intimate our marriage relationship becomes.

 

This is the fourth urgent reason to pray for our husbandsTo mirror and strengthen intimacy.

 

I enjoy praying Ephesians 6:10-12 which says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places ” (ESV).

 

I pray it like this

“Father, please strengthen Mike in You and in Your might. Help him put on the full armor of God every day so that he can resist and stand firm against the schemes of the enemy. We know, Lord, that our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in unseen realms. Equip him to walk in ways that are pleasing and honoring to you.”

 

When we draw near to the Lord, He draws near to us and we can draw closer to one another as husband and wife. We mirror our intimacy with the Lord through prayer and strengthen our intimacy with each other.

If this post has encouraged you, will you please share it on social media to encourage others?

 

May you find strength in the Lord Word,

 

 

 

 

 

Give Your Husband Precedence

Give Your Husband Precedence

When we look back, it’s easy to see where we went wrong. Years ago when Mike and I nearly lost our marriage, each of us were so wrapped up in advancing our own careers that we neglected one of our most important gifts: each other.

 

At the time, we couldn’t see it. We believed that we had a firm grip on things at home and were successfully balancing our careers, our relationship, and the needs of our kids. I’m embarrassed to say we were one of those supercilious couples that sincerely believed we had it all together. And that’s when the bottom fell out of our marriage.

 

We began taking each other for granted. We wrongly believed we could let go of the wheel and let our marriage drive itself. Each of us stopped expressing appreciation or even acknowledgment of one another. While we were far too close to the situation to see it, we’d allowed our relationship, which should have had a place of prominence, to slip out of position. We let other things capture our focus.

 

It’s not only work and striving toward separate goals that can take our attention off our husbands. It can be valuable activities and things we share that can misalign our priorities. Such as engagement with children’s activities, or caring for elderly parents, or work out schedules, hobbies, or social calendars.

 

In this current blog series, we’ve emphasized several urgent reasons to pray for our husbands. So far, we’ve discussed the needs of softening our heart toward him and building him up with our words and actions. Today’s discussion takes us to the third point: giving our husband precedence.

 

Give Your Husband Precedence

 

No, we can’t always give 100% of our time to our marriage. That’s not reasonable. And God has assigned us multiple roles and purposes as we live our lives.  But we can find ways to actively communicate and express how essential our husband is to us. We can do more than tell him he’s important. We can show him.

 

One incredible way to do that is to pray for him, often and regularly both while he’s with you and when he’s not. Then find subtle ways to let him know you did.

 

A go-to verse that I use as I pray for Mike is Psalm 37:30-31 which says,

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; 

his tongue speaks what is just. 

The instruction of his God is in his heart; 

his steps do not falter” (HCSB).

 

I pray it like this:

 

Lord, let Mike’s tongue speak with wisdom and share with is just. Cement your instruction in his heart so that his steps will not falter.

 

 

By dedicating the time to pray for him and letting him know that I’ve prayed, I am giving my husband honor and priority and establishing the importance of our marriage. You can do likewise. 🙂

 

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it on social media. You’re sure to encourage others—sharing is caring! 

 

May God’s Word strengthen you in marriage today,

 

 

 

 

Give Your Husband Precedence

 

Give Your Husband Precedence

Support Your Husband Through Prayer

Support Your Husband Through Prayer

Mike and I often spend time with couples who banter back and forth with one another. It seems good-natured and humorous, until a critical comment stings. It’s evident when watching facial expressions and body language. It’s confirmed by a change in tone and a shift in mood. I’ve been there, and I’m so relieved to have realized how valuable it is to support your husband through prayer.

 

Those are the moments when I think, “I’ve been there.” Words can wound, and I’ve certainly inflicted my share of injuries with a sharp tongue.

 

Years ago, while socializing with other couples, I’d jab and criticize my husband with jesting and sarcasm. But there was truth to my complaints. I knew it. Mike knew it too. Criticizing our spouses in social settings is a habit that many of us fall into.

 

The Lord began to show me how I was tearing my husband down with my words. I started to notice the look in his eyes when I’d jab. Or his defensive posture when I’d deliver a sarcastic remark. I suppose that’s why I’m so sensitive all these years later when I see it in others.

 

Build Others Up

 

The Bible teaches that we should 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” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).

 

I used to believe that meant that I shouldn’t swear or use foul language. But unwholesome talk also includes sharp words, coarse jesting, sarcasm, and critical remarks. I realized that by poking “fun” of my husband and tearing him down, I was behaving in opposition to this Biblical instruction.

 

I had a hard time breaking the habit at first, but as I began to conquer my tongue, we started to have a better experience in our social settings. They were more relaxed, with laughter and fun flowing freely. Our friends even seemed to sense a difference and soon I noticed that they weren’t jabbing each other as often, either. Our alone-time connection saw improvement, too. This one change in my behavior had an impact far beyond what I would have imagined.

 

That leads us to the second urgent reason to pray for our husband: Our prayers build him up. (Click here to read the first urgent reason).

 

Support Your Husband Through Prayer

 

Why is this urgent? Because the world tears us all down. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, measuring our abilities with unrealistic expectations. As wives, we are given the role and responsibility to show honor and respect to our husband. Building up at home is a noble calling we’re wise to not forsake.

 

When I pray for Mike, I thank the Lord for the countless blessings he brings to our family. I can share my heart—just between God and me—and express all the ways I see him reflecting Jesus in his life.

 

There has never been a time when I’ve mentioned to Mike that I prayed for him that he wasn’t genuinely grateful. And when I pray for him aloud while we’re together, he can see my respect for him in a new light. I would never say things to the Lord that I don’t mean with my whole heart. As I earnestly share with the Lord, my words do as Ephesians 4:29 instruct – they build him up according to his needs and benefit him as he listens.

 

Consider praying 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 which says, “ I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge.   In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you,  so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful;  you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (HCSB).

 

Pray it like this:

 

Lord, I thank you for _____ (your husband’s name) and the grace he has in Christ. Enrich him, Father, in all he does so that he does not lack in any spiritual gift. Strengthen him in all things so that his way will be blameless. Help him see the fellowship he has with you and the calling you’ve placed on His life.

As you pray, watch with expectation at what the Lord will accomplish in your marriage.

 

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it on social media. You’re sure to encourage others—sharing is caring! 

 

May God’s Word strengthen you today,

 

 

 

 

Support Your Husband Through Prayer

 

 

 

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5 Urgent Reasons to Pray for Your Husband

5 Urgent Reasons to Pray for Your Husband

Wouldn’t it be great if we could reach a healthy, joyful place in marriage then put our relationships on auto-pilot and coast through a lifetime of togetherness and agreement?

Instead, marriage is one of the most difficult relationships in life. It’s challenging—sometimes agonizing—to keep a marriage on track. We experience highs and lows, periods of agreement, and seasons of head-butting. Since we live in an imperfect world with genuine struggles and enticing temptations, it’s safe to say that nothing is automatic.

But one thing I know—the effort to hold together in wedlock is #worthit. Even with as much work as it requires, I wouldn’t trade the sense of wholeness, purpose, and partnership that marriage offers.

 

Surviving in a Disposable World

Ours is a “throw away” society. If the microwave dies, we buy a newer, fancier brand and dispose of the worn-out model. When our car needs expensive repairs, we’re apt to trade it in. And sadly, when marriages encounter troubled times, our social norms point to giving up and finding a new spouse who’s easier to live with.

But God designed marriage as an unbreakable relationship. It’s the ultimate example of covenant love between Christ and the church. Therefore, God provides all we need to thrive (not just survive) within the institution of marriage. Strength, joy, satisfaction, and fulfilling partnership are ours to enjoy.

When we invite the Lord into our marriages, we can embrace the hope of Jesus Christ. He actively redeems, heals, and restores—if we allow it. Mike and I have learned that surrender to God and His ways bring His partnership. He alone can provide and protect our relationship, walking alongside us through every season and struggle of life. He cares for us, for our marriage, for our family, with tender mercy.

I wish we’d known that years ago. The road to discovery was long and painful, plagued with near-fatal mistakes. To reach a point of surrender, we had to walk an excruciating journey. May I encourage you to learn from our mistakes?

 

Pray for Your Husband

There’s a simple way to reach a point of surrender, to avoid some of the perils and pitfalls of marriage, and grasp the help of Jesus. If you have a desire to flourish in your family life, there is an urgent need for you to pray. Immediately. Begin right this minute and never stop.

I can almost hear you moan. If your marriage is badly wounded, it’s a challenge to find the heart, or the words to pray. It’s one thing to pray for your marriage. But taking it a step further and praying for your husband can be a lot to ask, since you may not like him very much right now.

And that leads us to the first of many compelling reasons to do it anyway:

 

Praying for your husband softens your heart toward him. 

As you talk to the Lord about your husband, you’ll begin to see a shift if your view of him. The Lord will help you see your spouse from a heavenly perspective, as someone who was created in the image of God. It’s a supernatural experience, yet one that happens slowly and gradually. Over time your heart will soften and you’ll feel less prideful and resentful toward him. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll see your prayers transition from “change him, Lord!” to “help me love Him as You do, Father.”

Here’s a good place to start. As you lift your husband in prayer today (dare I say right now?) ask for his peace.  John 14:17 says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (HCSB).

 

Pray it Like this:

 

Father, fill _____ (your spouse’s name) with peace. Not peace from the world or circumstances, but with the peace that comes from following wholeheartedly after You. Keep his heart free from trouble or fear and consume it with Your great love in Jesus’ name.

 

I hope you’ll join me over the next several posts. I look forward to sharing four more urgent and inspirational reasons to lift your husband in prayer.

If this post blessed you, please consider sharing it on social media to encourage others!

May you find strength in God’s Word,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calming Anxiety in Marriage

Calming Anxiety in Marriage

Let’s be honest. Matrimony sometimes feels like a place of discouragement and disappointment.

 

Marriage was created by God as an institution of security, love, friendship, and lifetime partnership. But anyone who’s married knows it doesn’t always fit such descriptions.

 

When struggles arise, as they do in any marriage, it’s common to sense anxiety rising. In the past, I have worried that I was failing to be a good wife or provide what my husband needed. At times I felt nervous thinking perhaps our marriage wouldn’t survive and that my kids would grow up with divorced parents. I have felt the anxiety of financial concerns and the burden of caring for our home and family while working full time.

 

There’s no doubt about it. Marriage can generate mountains of stress if we allow it to. I spent years allowing thoughts of “maybe” and “what if” cause more anxiety in my marriage than I care to admit.

 

Navigating Fear and Insecurity

 

It’s easy to see, now, how I worried to excess and allowed my tendency of overthinking rob me of peace and joy in my marriage. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t have the tools I needed to navigate my own fears and insecurities. In my early marriage, I was just learning to follow the Lord and didn’t understand the concept of surrender.

 

I received wise counsel such as “just give it to God,” or “let go and let God work it out.” But I had no idea how to put those phrases into practice. Truth be told, I didn’t even have an effective prayer life at that time. In church, I heard that God would help us but in the reality of my daily struggles, I couldn’t see evidence of His aid or comfort.

 

I didn’t know how to talk to my husband about what I was feeling. Communicating my insecurities was a terrifying thought. After all, I might find that each one was completely true, and then where would I be? So, I suppressed my worry and provided an environment in my thought life for anxiety to flourish.

 

That wasn’t fun for anyone.

 

The Truth of God’s Word

 

I had to learn to rely on God’s Word and allow its truth to fill my heart and mind. In doing so, I discovered the calming and peaceful impact that Scripture could have on my daily life.

 

My husband and I reached a point in our relationship where we separated. It was there, alone in different homes, that each of us began to pray. In our division, at last, God led us to an incredible act of unity. As we started to pray for each other, for our marriage, and ourselves, God revealed His nearness and unceasing activity in our lives.

 

Prayer delivered such peace and calm to my anxious heart that I could finally begin to see the future of joy and fulfillment that lay ahead. It restored my hope and taught me how to lay my concerns at the foot of the cross, surrendering worry and anxiety to the Lord. Through His goodness and power, God restored our relationship and brought wholeness that we’d never experienced.

 

That was twenty-five years ago. And with God’s help, we have enjoyed and thrived in a peace-filled marriage.

 

Praying Scripture for Your Marriage

 

In celebration of God’s goodness and aiming to help others calm anxiety in their own marriages, I created a 31-day prayer devotional for marriage. Each day provides Scriptures with prayer guidance that will invite the Lord to do a mighty work in your relationship.

Prayer Devotional for Marriage

The impact that these Scriptures have had on our marriage is nearly indescribable. We’ve transitioned from struggling and considering divorce to a fulfilling life-long commitment with open communication and unwavering trust for one another.

 

31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage is more than just a list of Scriptures. It provides practical application pointers and hands-on guidance for growth in your prayer life. I believe, wholeheartedly, that it can help calm anxiety and stress in your marriage. It certainly had a God-sized impact in mine.

 

May you feel the Lord’s nearness today,

 

 

 

 

Calming Anxiety in Marriage

 

Calming Anxiety in Marriage

 

 

 

 

Letting Go of Let Downs to Aim for Amazing  –  FIVE Practical Life Lessons for the New Year

Letting Go of Let Downs to Aim for Amazing – FIVE Practical Life Lessons for the New Year

That’s a wrap!

The old year is behind us. Are you excited to embark on new adventures in a new year?

Between Christmas and New Year each year, I try to spend some time reflecting on the prior 12 months. Recollections brought heart-warming memories, satisfying recollections, and a few feelings of disappointment and discouragement. They helped me think through several life lessons for the new year. 

I’ve shared with you many times that I’m somewhat of an “obsessive” thinker. It’s hard for me to let go of negative thoughts. My tendency is to dwell on the past and focus on the ugly. Yuck.

As I continually work to grow through that—to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and to reframe my thinking—one practice I work hard to adopt is that of writing down what I’ve learned from both good and bad situations. The process helps me keep my focus on Christ, knowing that He works all things together for our good. It helps me let go of my let downs and aim for the amazing things God has in store.

Since I know that your year was filled with good, bad, beautiful and ugly just like mine, I thought I’d share several practical life lessons.

Five Life Lessons For the New Year

I trust these lessons will encourage us both as we embrace the joy of the Lord even in our jumbled lives:

photo credit: Delaney Dawson on unsplash

Celebrate the Little Things.

I set my sights high – pursuing big goals and lofty dreams. And that means I often overlook small victories. I’m learning to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. In rejoicing over even the tiny wins (like keeping my kitchen clean for 2 consecutive days or finishing an assignment on time), I find I’m more motivated to keep marching toward the bigger accomplishments, and I feel a lot more joyful in the process. (Consider Ecclesiastes 3:12 – “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life.”)

Trust in God’s Good Plan.

Disappointments come daily. We all know this. Some are mild while some seem to punch us straight in the teeth. When I’m feeling the sting, I allow myself a short window of sadness while I cry out to the Lord. Next, I try to recall some of the wonders and tremendous goodness He has faithfully shown. This helps me move to a place of trust and anticipation for the goodness He will surely bring. Jeremiah 29:11 helps point my heart in a stronger direction: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I trust that His plan is good.

photo credit: Annie Spratt on unsplash.

Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection.

A friend recently shared this verse: Ecclesiastes 7:16 “Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself?” Those are such wise words! Pondering the verse helped me evaluate my motivation for pursuing perfection – is it for the sake of righteousness? To prove myself worthy of God’s love? To bring glory and honor to myself? Perfection is not an attainable goal, nor is it pure in motivation. Instead, I’m learning to pursue excellence, which helps me avoid the feeling of failure and enjoy the satisfaction of doing my best and doing it all for His glory. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Know God, Not Just Know About Him.

God gives us a hunger to encounter him, not just know about Him. I continue to learn to experience Him in deeper ways that He reveals and encourages in His Word. When I practice stillness before Him (Psalm 46:10), meditate on His Word and His ways (Psalm 1:2-3), and draw near to Him with the fullness of faith (Hebrews 10:22), I encounter His presence and there receive His fullness of joy. Our journey of knowing and encountering God will never be fulfilled on this earth, but striving to meet with Him and accept all that He has for us brings encouragement and blessing that fuels my passion for Him. I expect to share much more about this in the future.

photo credit: Ken Treloar on unsplash

Cling to My Why in my Lessons for the New Year

Why—the reason behind our work and purpose—is a powerful motivator. No matter the size of the dream, goal, resolution, or lifestyle change that I pursue, a why promises powerful impact. It propels my “want to” into “willpower” that will yield strong habits and healthy, joy-filled attitudes. When I cling to why, reaching goals feels easy, even during hard work, and immensely satisfying.

How About You?

Which of these life lessons resonate most with you? What life lessons did you learn in 2017 and how will you carry them forward into the new year?

Let’s step into the New Year with eager anticipation of what the Lord will do. Let’s use all that He’s helped us learn to let go of let downs and aim for amazing!

Blessings,

 

 

 

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