Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Accountability - Just Do You!

Accountability. What is that exactly? You may have heard of having accountability partners, being accountable for your actions and someone being held accountable. Well this post is going to focus on being accountable to God and God alone for your behavior as a wife.

Before I ever met my husband, God started instructing me on the role of a wife. You see, He knew I came from a divorced home and had never seen a Godly example of a relationship or a successful marriage. I had expressed my desire to Him to learn His ways, so that I can break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships in my family. The more I started to learn about submission, respect and unconditional love the more I knew I needed the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill my role. Getting married sounded great, but being a wife didn't sound all the great!

Then, I came across Ephesians 5:22, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord". WOW! That scripture jumped out at me and I received the revelation that everything I do for my husband I do it as unto the Lord. So, that means it can't be because he has earned it, it can't be because I feel like it, and it can't be so that I can get something in return. NO. I will submit to my husband because God says so.

My perspective changed that day. I made up my mind that I would be the wife that despite her husband's actions or non-action I would embrace my role and do what pleases God!

We are all not going to be blessed with husbands that are submitted to the Lord and make it easier for us to be respectful, loving and respectful. Some wives have unbelieving husbands or husbands who go to church, but aren't living for the Lord. In these cases it can be tempting to say, "Well, when he starts doing right, I'll start doing right". Sorry dear sister, that is not going to cut it! We are accountable to God for our actions and we can't wait on hubby to get on board.

Ultimately, you have to know that what you are doing as a wife is pleasing to the Lord. No one, not even your husband can come between your relationship with God. Did he stop going to church? Are you going to stay home, too? Is he not providing for the family as he should? Are you going to talk bad about him and disrespect him because of it? The flesh answers both of those questions with a "yes", but the Spirit says "no".

Occasionally, on the Wisdom 4 Wives facebook page, I get comments that go something like this, "Wives sure have a lot to do", "what about the men?" or "when he does ___, I'll do _____." Ladies, this is not the thinking of a mind that is renewed to Christ. Everything that God requires of us is not going to be on our husband's list. Are you going to get stuck on his list or are you going to get busy making sure your list is covered?

Knowing my role and fulfilling it daily is what gives me joy and peace. I can be sure I am not giving the devil a foothold in my marriage if I am doing things God's way. Plus, I am inviting blessing into my marriage and not a curse. When I stand before God He is not going to ask what I did in result of my husband doing what he's supposed to do. I will have to answer for myself. I have the knowledge, so I will be held accountable for it.

When my husband and I were dating we pulled out our bible's and read Ephesians 5:21-33 together and he asked me do I agree with what the Word says and will I do what it says. I said yes. He said yes as well. Praise God that we were in agreement with Him! Now if for some reason he decides to start being selfish and doing his own thing, nowhere in the bible does it say I can too. No, I must continue to submit as unto the Lord. God is my accountability Partner. There is a blessing in obedience! Don't miss out on what God wants to do for you and through you because of feelings or your husband's behavior.

Ephesians 5:23-11 (NLT)
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c]32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Set the Atmosphere

As wives, we set the tone in our household. If we are in a bad mood it seems the kids are cranky and the husband is distant and/or grumpy. If we are in a good mood the kids are smiling and the husband is enjoying our company and showing affection. Now we all have bad days and it can be hard to come home with a smile everyday, but on most days what kind of attitude are you displaying?

It's a decision you make to create an atmosphere of love, kindness, and affection. The kind of atmosphere that your husband looks forward to coming home to and your children will look back on with fond memories. Doing this requires you to be in relationship with Jesus, selfless and determined. No wife who is thinking "what about me?" while reading this post can create this type of atmosphere. You have to focus on improving your attitude for the greater good of the family.

The following is a scenario that plays out in many households around the world:

Wife has picked up the kids and is home helping with homework and starting dinner. She had a busy 8 hour day and now she comes home to her other full-time job as wife and mother. Wife complains about how Husband is not home helping and yelling at the kids for not doing the homework correctly. Husband hung around the office talking to this person and that person, he takes the scenic route home and then makes a stop at a friend's house before heading home. By the time he arrives, the kids have finished their homework, eaten dinner, bathed and winding down for the night. Wife hardly acknowledges Husband when he comes through the door, but rattles off a list of things Husband needs to do. He plops down on the couch and turns on the TV. The kids come in to talk to Dad and he eagerly greets them and plays with them, but Mom shushes them and tells them it's bedtime. Wife puts the kids to bed and goes to the bedroom for the rest of the evening. Husband warms up his food in the microwave and falls asleep on the couch.

Does this sound familiar? If so, there is hope and you do have the power to change the atmosphere in your home. Get to the bottom of what has you angry or why you have a bad attitude. You may need to seek Christian counseling, spend more time in God's presence, and/or have a conversation with your husband about how he is contributing to your bad mood.

I guarantee if you work on your attitude, smile more, look to the joy that God provides despite of our circumstances you will see a change in your demeanor and your children and husband will notice it too.

What will you do set the atmosphere in your home?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Sermon on the Mount and Your Marriage

I recently read an article found in the July issue of In Touch Magazine titled, "Who is Your Neighbor?". It inspired me to write this post and got me thinking of how I could apply Jesus' teachings to marriage. The complete Sermon on the Mount can be found in Matthew 5-7, but I will focus on the version found in Luke 6:27-38.

1. Love your enemies  (v. 27).  Well, hopefully your first thought was not that your husband is the enemy. If it was, I will have to address that in another post (smile). Enemies of marriage come in all forms. I know for some it may be in-laws, the ex-wife, your husband's single friends or his boss that mistreats him at work. As Christians, we are called to love some of the most difficult people and in spite of how he or she may treat us. How can you love someone who causes tension in your marriage, disrespects you or contributes to an unhappy husband? Pray for them. It is hard to dislike someone you pray for. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. Don't respond in a tit-for-tat way. God will deal with them in His time. Just make sure you are doing what He requires of you.

2. Bless those who mistreat you (v. 28). Does your husband ever snap at you after having a stressful day at work? Maybe he responded sarcastically to something you've said? Either of these can be hurtful and our first reaction might be to give him a piece of our mind in a not so nice Christian wife way. But Jesus said we are to do the exact opposite. Next time this occurs do your best to reply back with kindness. You may have to say a silent prayer and just say nothing. Trust that God sees all and will deal with your husband in His time. Remember "a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare" (Proverbs 15:1).

3. Don't demand your rights (v. 29). The New Living Translation states, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also”. Now of course, Luke is not suggesting you let your husband slap you. What he is saying is keep giving, doing for, loving, and respecting your husband even if he does not respond in kind. Now this has to be done in the Lord’s power, so pray over this if you are facing this situation in your marriage.

4. Give to everyone who asks of you (v. 30). You may have heard that marriage is 50/50. Let me tell you that is not true. Marriage should be 100/100. Each partner giving ALL of him/herself. There will be times though, that your husband may not be in the position to give his all. Maybe he is ill, lost his job, or in a depression. Don’t let that stop you from giving your 100%. God sees all and knows all and He will not let any good deed done for Him go unrewarded. And one more thing, please don’t throw it in hubby’s face that you are doing more than you feel he is. The tables can turn at anytime.

5. Treat everyone the same way you’d want them to treat you (v. 31). This is a fairly easy one. Do you like when people are rude, cut you off when you are talking, roll their eyes or disregard your feelings in any way? No, of course not. So remember, anything you don’t want your husband to do to you or say to you; don’t do or say it to him. Period.

6. Do good to those who’ve done nothing for you and won’t repay you (v. 33). The Bible tells us that if we are kind and good to those that are kind and good to us we have not done anything special. The real test comes if we can respond to our husband with love and respect when he has raised his voice, been sarcastic or hurt our feelings in some way. Let me present this another way. Do you show your husband love and affection only when he is acting the way you want him to? Do you say “yes” to making love only when you think he deserves it? Sorry, but that behavior has selfish written all over it.

7. Freely share what you have without expecting anything in return (v. 34-35). Give to your husband and marriage with no ulterior motive. Don’t play the game of-- well I will let him go play golf this weekend, so that when I want to do something for me he’ll have to say yes. Or maybe perhaps, you make more money than he does? Do your marriage a big favor and don’t think that means you are now head of the household. Don’t tell your friends and family how you pay the mortgage and all the bills and blah blah blah. If you look for your reward from men, you will not receive the one from the Lord.
                “…expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.” (Luke 6:34-24 AMP)

8. Be merciful to people who are ungrateful---even those who are evil (v. 36). I know there are some ungrateful husbands out there. You take care of the house, the kids, your husband and never get a thank you. That can be very hurtful and discouraging. And yet, God has called us to be sympathetic, tender, responsive and compassionate towards the ungrateful, even to the evil. Why? Because He is all of these to us. Ask the Father to touch your husband’s heart in this area of ungratefulness.

9. Don’t judge or condemn anyone, even if he deserves it (v. 37).  “I told you so”. Those four words are gasoline to the fire already raging in your husband when he has made a mistake. Don’t point out his failures or criticize his faults. Instead, lovingly encourage him as he picks himself back up. Remember that none of us are perfect and how will you want him to treat you when you make a mistake?

10. Recognize the immeasurable blessing of giving without reservation (v. 38). I can’t give a better explanation of this than the one given in the Message Bible. Please read this and apply it to your role as a wife and your marriage.
                Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." (Luke 6:38 MSG)

In closing, I know these may seem overwhelming and maybe impossible. However, God would not have asked them of us if He didn’t think we could achieve it. A lot of prayer and yielding to the Holy Spirit will be required. Marriage is hard work, but the reward of doing it God’s way is so much sweeter than doing it the easy way.

So, I would like to hear from you. Which of these can you start working on today? Which of these do you already see yourself doing?

Be blessed my sisters!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sighs, Rolling Eyes, & Slamming Gates

Before I was married I read countless number of books on marriage, what it means to be a wife, and how to treat my husband. Love & Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is one of my favorites and was a real eye-opener into the needs of men and women. I was so gung-ho about respecting my future husband! Woohoo! I got this, I can do this!

I had asked God to show me how to be a wife and there it was in black and white in the book, Love & Respect and in His Word. Ephesians 5:33 says,”…and the wife must respect her husband.” Instructions directly from the Creator of marriage.

Well, remember this was all before I was a married woman. And now, that I have been married for all of 3 months I can already see this is not as easy as I thought it would be. Can, I get an amen? I mean I have the BEST intentions, I have the knowledge and I have the desire to be respectful to my husband, but for some reason I struggle with this from time to time.

For example, when I am in the kitchen and I am making my husband’s plate or I am cooking something he has requested; this sound comes from deep inside me. It’s a sigh! Yes, an innocent sigh. But, it can be seen as more than that from my husband because the truth is that sigh is an expression of my displeasure in what I am doing.

And then, sometimes when he is not looking; I roll my eyes at what he says. Yep, sure do. Is that respectful? No way!

We have a gate outside that if you are not careful and hold it the gate will make a loud noise as it slams back into place. Normally, we hold the gate and let it go back slowly as to not let it slam. But, if I’m not in the best of moods or again unhappy with hubby--- I’ll let that gate go and BAM, take that!

Ohhhhh, but THANK GOD for His conviction! The Holy Spirit, speaks to me and says “now, that’s not right, daughter.” I must remember what He taught me. Yes, being respectful is the big stuff like not speaking rudely to him in front of the children, not going behind his back and making your own decisions, but it is also the little things like maintaining a good attitude even when he asks us to do things for him that we don’t “feel” like doing.

Showing our husbands respect is what we are called to do by God. And since He has called us to do it, that means it can be done. In His strength and His power. We must not be fooled and think we are going to be respectful apart from God. So press into Him more and more and rise above your feelings. Something that works for me is the thought of him treating me that way. The old Golden Rule. Yep, the one wayyyy back in elementary still keeps me in check.

So, ladies, please share what those little dare I say “disrespectful” attitudes and actions that you may have and how you overcame them or what God is doing to help you overcome?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dare To Be Different

This morning while listening to the Anointed Wives Ministry (AWM) prayer call I was reminded how I don't have many friends who have made up in their mind & heart to be a Godly wife. This prayer call is a lifeline to women around the country dedicated to being a Godly wife. At times, I long for a female friend my age willing to walk with God in her marriage.

The types of conversations I normally hear regarding marriage are not positive ones. Complaints about not helping around the house, not helping with the kids, not being loving, not listening etc., etc. are common. Very rarely do I get to partake in conversations about what a blessing having a husband is, how great it is to have a lifelong companion and so on.

In contrast, the two times I have listened to the AWM prayer call I have been amazed at what I heard. One woman said "Lord, help me to be an obedient wife" and she even asked her husband if he thought she was obedient and in what area could she improve. WHAT?! I was shocked! Just this morning, wife after wife shared their husband's strengths, while asking for prayer regarding their own weaknesses. This truly blessed me and let me know I am not alone in my quest to be the wife God has called me to be. Not the one I FEEL like being at the moment.

Many wives have decided to do marriage their own way or really not do anything with it at all. This saddens me because I know by not choosing God's way they are setting themselves up to fail. It is a hard truth, but it is true. This goes back to my testimony of how God prepared me to be a wife even before I met my husband. All I had to do was ask Him with a sincere heart and He answered swiftly. God has given me the information and I am determined to use it. The bible says:

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 NLT

Wives, I want to encourage you to dare to be different. Dare to be the wife who happily submits to her husband, who takes pride in her gentle & quiet spirit and looks to Proverbs 31 as her guide.

If a "friend" laughs at you because you say, "I have to check with my husband and get back to you"...SO WHAT.

If a "friend" rolls her eyes because you say, "I don't mind picking up after my husband because he works so hard for the family"...SO WHAT.

If a "friend" pressures you to stay out late and hang with the girls and calls you whooped and you say, "I'm leaving. My husband is waiting on me to get home"....SO WHAT.

Have you ever felt alone in your walk as a wife? Please know that you are not. Whether you have to get on facebook, twitter, this blog or the AWM prayer line to fellowship with likeminded women; know that we are out there and we love and support you.

Lastly, please comment and share your experience of striving to be a Godly wife and if you have found that less and less women are walking the same path. What pushes you to keep going and to get better?

Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Proverbs 31 Breakthrough

Today being the 31st, I listened to Proverbs 31 via the Daily Audio Bible app on my iPhone on my way to work as I do everyday. While listening to the familiar verses of this perfect wife and mother, something strange happened. I stopped focusing on all the things she does that I don’t do or can’t do!

Talk about a breakthrough! Thank You, Jesus!

You see, if you are anything like me you have not found much encouragement in the scriptures defining “A Wife of Noble Character” as titled in the New Living Translation. It has been more like a to-do list and a smack down on my abilities as a wife. A new wife at that, geez!

But not today! Today the Holy Spirit said enough is enough. He gently reminded me that I am a well able and capable wife! So, like God so lovingly reminded me; I want to encourage you to look at Proverbs 31 and see where you ARE succeeding and not where you might be lacking.

Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:11-12

            YES! This is me! My husband has told me many times over how much he trusts me and that I have added to his life since we met.

….she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

            YES! Me, again! My husband loves the calmness I have about life and that I don’t get all riled up over the tests and trials that we face.

So, as to not drag on with how close I am to being a “Wife of Noble Character” I will stop there LOL!! I promise I am kidding J

But really, ladies, look over Proverbs 31 and share with me the verses you see yourself succeeding at and how your husband and/or children have affirmed this.

Be blessed my sisters!

Read Proverbs 31 here

Monday, July 30, 2012

He's "Supposed" to Do That

So what are the chores, responsibilities and duties that your husband is “supposed” to be doing? Taking out the trash, opening doors, providing for the family? Your list may include these and some more.

Over the weekend, my husband worked Saturday and Sunday after he had already worked Monday thru Friday. He has his own business, which often calls for him to work on weekends and also has a full-time job during the week. Whew! I am already tired just typing that! Well, when he told me he would be working both days I was a little sad because neither of our sons would be over and I was looking forward to time alone with him. But then, I was gently reminded by the Holy Spirit that we have been praying for God to increase his business, so CHEER UP!

While at home relaxing, running errands, attending church and getting plenty of rest I thought of my husband out in the Texas heat working hard to provide for his family and sacrificing his time and rest. This made my heart smile! You see, before meeting my husband I dated men who could not keep a steady job. I was often left picking up tabs, helping THEM pay THEIR bills and coming to THEIR rescue when in financial trouble. Therefore, my husband’s work ethic is something I greatly appreciate. God had so much better for His daughter!

My husband works very hard and he never complains about it. His mother instilled the importance of working at a very young age and it has stuck with him. Thank You, Jesus! There are some wives who take what their husbands do for granted. They may believe no “thank you” is due for something he is “supposed” to do anyway. Not true, ladies! Yes, I know the scripture that says, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But PLEASE, don’t use that against your husband. That’s not how God intended that scripture to be used.

Be grateful for everything your husband does. There is nothing too small to say “thank you” for. He may tell you that you don’t have to thank him, but do it anyway! I promise you it makes a difference to him. So many wives are suffering with having to provide for their families because the husband is unwilling to work or maybe can’t find a job in this economy. Thank our Heavenly Father for your husband who knows his role as provider and gets enjoyment out of doing it!

There are many ways we can show our appreciation. Learn your husband’s love language and express your love and appreciation accordingly. For a bonus, don’t stop at one language; pick two or three!

For example, my husband’s primary love language is Quality Time, so I:

Quality Time – I watched the Olympics with him and went to bed when he went to bed instead of staying up and watching TV in the living room.

Acts of Service – I cooked a great meal! Yes, I cooked on a Saturday! LOL

Words of Affirmation – I sent him a text thanking him for his sacrifice and letting him know what a blessed wife I was.

So, now it’s your turn! What “supposed” to do thing will you thank your husband for and how?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Communicating Your Needs to Your Husband

How many of us have had the following thought: "Well he should know ______"?

I believe we all can fill in the blank with something there. Well, the truth is, he doesn't know unless you tell him. Communicating our needs can be very difficult because we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Just the idea of sharing something that we need from our husband can cause some wives to become anxious and nervous, then decide to just keep it to themselves.

The outcome of keeping it inside can cause resentment and anger toward our husband and he won't even know why. That's not fair to him our healthy for the marriage.

Just this past Sunday, I was fuming in the car after church because my husband did not compliment me on my perfume, my dress or how I looked at all. Matter of fact, it had been 3 days since he had given me a compliment and I was silently simmering in the passenger seat! That's right, I am keeping count! You may laugh, but my love language is Words of Affirmation and this is very important to me. In my head I was thinking of all the ways I could tell him how he did not compliment me and when he was talking to me I was not responding to him in a respectful way. I'm sure he was thinking what is wrong with her??

Right then I begin to pray: Lord, please talk to this man about how he needs to compliment me. I do not want to be mad at him over this. Thank you, Lord. Amen. Well, while we were still riding in the car he tells me I look good in my dress and he likes my shoes and calls me a FOX! LOL I was on cloud 9. (Thank You, God!) Then yesterday, he sends me a text and calls me "Good Lookin"....God is sooo good! Exceedingly, abundantly ABOVE ALL we can ASK or THINK! Do you all know that scripture? It's Ephesians 3:20-21.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

So here are some ways to communicate those needs:

  •    Praise. When he does that thing that you love so much; praise him for it. "Honey, I love it when you do that" will go a long way! He wants to please you and wants to know how.
  • Text/Write/Email. Sometimes it can be much easier to write down something we need to say. Just make sure you pay attention to the tone of your words. We don't want to come across negatively. I am a firm believer that using a term of endearment such as Baby, Honey, Sweetie Pie...makes everything after sound much better!
  • Pray. No one can reach your husband like God can. Go to your Father in Heaven and ask Him to speak to your husband about what you need from him. God is so faithful to these types of prayers. He answers them speedily! I can testify to it in my marriage.

So, ladies please comment with a need you have and how you will communicate that need to your husband. I would love to hear your praise report!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

God Will Teach Us

When we turn our life and will over to the care of GOD, He will guide us on the journey to become the person that we were meant to be. For He has promised; I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)

This scripture is one of many I can testify to. I have had the desire to be married for many years, but didn't know the first thing about being a wife. I can remember praying and asking God to teach me how to be a wife and what it means to be married. He answered swiftly and through the counsel of the Holy Spirit led me to scriptures, books, sermons and mature Christians to educate me on what I needed to know. Ladies, do not think God will send you one of His sons if you are not one of His daughters. It won't happen.

I encourage you, if your experience is like mine where all you have seen or been apart of is divorce and dysfunctional relationships, to seek God for His instruction on marriage.

Please share some wisdom that God has revealed to you about being a wife.

Thanks for reading!