Chapter 14 in Wife School is called What To Do When Your Husband Mistreats You. What an important chapter in Wife School. I recommend rereading this chapter until these skills are second nature to you.
Week Fourteen, Day One
Safeguarding Against Affairs
Affairs are happening everywhere. I hardly go a week without hearing about someone who has had an affair and now the marriage is in crisis. Couples can forgive a lot, but this breach of trust seems to be the one that draws a line in the sand and is the most difficult marriage violation from which to recover. I know couples do recover (all things are possible with God), but if you can prevent your marriage from experiencing this horror, it is wise to think about how you might do that
Years ago I heard a radio Christian personality say that the best insurance against an affair is intimacy in the marriage. When I heard that, I thought, “Right on. We should be emotionally close. Woohoo!” But what I didn’t realize then is that intimacy for women looks different than intimacy for men. What this radio speaker should have said was that the best insurance against an affair was that the needs of each spouse are met in the marriage, which of course, leads to intimacy. David and I read His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr. thirty years ago and then recently took an incredible marriage enrichment course studying those needs. (The premise of this book is that if you can figure out your spouse’s top needs and then meet those top needs, then that person is satisfied in the relationship.)
In addition, you have already studied in Wife School Online the needs that humans experience on a deep level, such as to be deeply listened to, to be affirmed, to receive attention, to be understood, to have kindness expressed toward us, and to have someone show they care about us with actions as well as words. These human relationship needs cross every culture and every generation and stand at the very foundation of close relationships. These gifts tie heart-strings around your spouse’s heart and yours, which helps guard against affairs.
Obviously, the temptation to have sex outside the marriage is easier to resist if those needs are met in the marriage. You are learning many relationship skills and I’m sure your marriage is better all the time. However, the temptation to have sex outside the marriage still exists, even with great marriages, because we are dust. So you have to be exceedingly wise here. There is no substitute for doing the work of loving your husband with the 8 A’s, but a little discussion with your husband about affairs doesn’t hurt either. Let me explain.
Many people who have had affairs and have seen their marriages blow up, will say, “If only I had known the consequences…” It’s sad to see how many people fall into an affair, without realizing what consequences would follow. To them at the time, it’s just a slip or an accident. So to help prevent this accident from accidentally happening (although there is no iron-clad guarantee), I have repeatedly talked to David about the subject of affairs during our marriage. If he or I slip, it will not be because we were not informed of the heartache or consequences.
The inevitable subject of affairs comes up regularly, as we hear about couples in which one spouse has cheated. I say to David something like, “How that would break my heart if you had an affair. I would be paralyzed with such a hurt. I don’t know how I would get over it. Can you imagine if I had an affair? Can you imagine how much that would hurt you if I did that to you?” I can picture my sweet husband right now, sadly shaking his head, as he pictures me having an affair, and how that most horrendous breach of trust would undo him.
I don’t stop there. I continue with things like, “I heard he came home and his wife was in the bed with his best friend. Can you imagine how hurtful that would be if you came home and your spouse was in your own bed with a friend? How do you navigate that kind of hurt? How do you recover?” I leave these word pictures in his mind, making him think about how devastating an affair would be to him…or to me.
Friends, I want him to see how devastated he would feel if I had an affair, so he would get in his heart how devastated I would be if he had one. We probably have had some version of this conversation fifty or more times in the last 30 years. I don’t want an affair to creep up on us. That’s why early in the marriage, we agreed that David would never hire or work closely with a woman that was in the temptation category. Having a woman around in the temptation category is like trying to be on a diet and being surrounded by key lime pie and brownies all day long. Zig Ziglar used to say that kids did drugs exactly proportionately to how often they were offered drugs. Multiple exposures to temptation predict a fall. Keep the brownies out of the house if you are dieting and try to keep the hot mamas out of your husband’s daily work life. It’s a temptation your husband doesn’t need to battle, if it can be avoided (and this is not always possible, of course).
Men who have tanks full of the 8 A’s and who are understood, cared for, and respected at home have much more concrete in their “Just Say No” boxes. Fill him with the 8 A’s, talk to him about what it would feel like if either of you had an affair, and discuss his situation concerning working alone with hot mamas. If your husband travels with an attractive woman, and has multiple opportunities to be alone with her, that is a volcanic explosion waiting to happen. Head that one off, friends. In any situation where a man and woman are alone (unless she is thirty years older than he is), chemistry will occur and sparks will fly. That is how the human body reacts to a person of the opposite sex.We are engineered to have chemistry. A wedding ring does not change that chemistry. So you have to be wise and take precaution that you or your husband are not repeatedly and extensively alone with members of the opposite sex.
Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say don’t give a woman a ride unless she is over 80 or under 8. He understood the nature of a man. No one is immune to this temptation. Don’t be offended that your husband is sexually attracted to other women. This is how God made men. Of course he is called to keep himself pure, but it is helpful if wives understand what is going on below the surface in your husband’s body. To be honest, you have to admit that you are still attracted to men who make you feel wanted and beautiful. So let’s wise up. Let’s make some decisions so we don’t accidentally get led like an ox going to slaughter (Proverbs 7:22).
Affairs wreck a marriage. Affairs break hearts. Attempt to protect your marriage from this awful occurrence.
We all have regrets. We all make mistakes. And if you or your husband have already failed in this area, there is beauty for ashes with the Lord. I am thinking of a beautiful woman I know right now that experienced this horror years ago and has one of the most lovely and giving hearts I know. Even though her marriage took a hard hit when this happened, God is restoring her marriage after this land-mine explosion. Don’t give up if this has happened to you. You can recover, too.
The book of Proverbs is a gift to humans from God to tell us how to receive blessings (the path of the righteous) and how to avoid curses (the path of wicked). God didn’t leave us without instructions on how to live. You’ve got to go after the wisdom though. It doesn’t come knock on your door. A very basic tenet in Wife School is, “God feeds the birds, but doesn’t put the worms in the nest.” Prov. 2:1-5 can be summed up as, “Look for (wisdom) as for silver.” Wise up on this whole situation with your husband and his huge sexual desire. He is a M.A.N. and you need to strongly consider the temptation he faces daily.
I heard a non-Christian say, “Men need many women for one need, and women need one man for many needs.” As sinful as that thought may be, there is some truth in that sentence because in their flesh, men do desire multiple partners. The fact that your husband is sexually faithful is enormous!! Gigantic!! Stupendous!! Write it down, circle it, and star it. Sometimes women don’t appreciate the huge gift that faithfulness is from a man.
We were at an event recently and an up-front Christian man was checking out a woman’s legs. Okay, he’s a man. I’ll give him a pass. Then, at the next event, he was checking out some other women who were dressed immodestly. (He would die if he knew I was watching his eyes.) If your husband makes an effort to guard his eyes, you might say to him, “I know how men long to look at women’s bodies. And it so honors me the way you try to guard your eyes. I know how difficult this is for men, and I appreciate it so much that you try to fight the battle. Thank you.” Try to acknowledge and appreciate the effort he makes to fight this normal temptation that men face. You need to know that if your husband is in the 80%, he’s eaten up with sexual desire a lot of the time. Thank him for his sexual faithfulness. Thank him for guarding his eyes. Thank him for fighting the good fight. Don’t take his faithfulness for granted. Appreciate it!! Applaud it! Reward it!!
Do not think you are immune to this problem and that your precious husband would never do this. When I was in my twenties, one of Memphis’ finest female Bible teachers said this about a young preacher: “He’s the catch of the century.” Knowing this young man, I agreed. He was godly, handsome, winsome, and an inspired teacher of the Word. Guess what happened to him? He married and went into the ministry. And as a pastor, he started counseling. And then…he had an affair with one of the women from his church that he counseled. Friends, this is as common as March winds and April showers. Don’t take your husband for granted in this area.
All through the Scripture, God seems to have a special problem with the sin of sexual immorality, in which category, of course, adultery falls. I mean, why does this sin rip apart the hearts of spouses? I have thought about this a lot, and if I may, I’d like to go out on a limb and tell you my opinion why God hates sexual immorality so much.
If marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church, then sex inside the marriage is a picture of something very wonderful. I’m not sure what, but that kind of fusing, that kind of oneness is a picture of something very spiritual. Is it being born again? Is sex in marriage a picture of how we are to constantly unite with the Lord and walk with Him, being grafted into the Vine? Is it a picture of when we will be one with the Lord in heaven? Again, this is only my opinion and my speculations. But I think adultery or sex outside the marriage is a picture of apostasy. It is a picture of us leaving our supreme Lover, and going off to other lower-case gods. It is a picture of us turning our backs on God and becoming disloyal to Him. I know there are scholars who have better educated opinions than I, but I offer this to you to see the severity of adultery. It is not a spill or an accident than you can get a mop and bucket and just clean up. It is lifetime devastation to many marriages, unless the Lord brings monumental healing (which of course, He can and does). Do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen in your marriage.
Hebrews 3:14 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Week Fourteen, Day Two
When Your Husband Doesn’t Understand You
When women and men’s brains were hooked up to a computer to measure their internal response after they heard a sad story, almost six times as many neurons were affected in women’s brains as compared to men’s. That scientific fact can help your marriage.
God made women with neurons that respond to emotional situations. Think about how you understand your children and your friends. We often bash our husbands because “they don’t get it” and that they don’t have feelings like they should. (Again, only 80% of couples are like this and 20% are opposite, so no worries if your marriage is in the 20% and you are the unemotional one.)
In general, God created men to respond less strongly to emotional stimuli. If your husband doesn’t understand how important something emotional is to you, it’s because he has one sixth less neurons firing about the same event. How that helps us give him a break! How that helps us not be disappointed that he does not understand and respond with the intensity we feel the situation deserves. And it makes us see that just as we have to teach children the multiplication facts, we have to teach our husbands how to understand our emotional natures.
When you feel yourself becoming disappointed because of his less-than-perfect emotional response to a situation, remember that you appreciate the way he can be logical about many decisions that impact your family. I have learned that when I am stirred up by my twirly-swirly female thought life, my fewer-neurons-flaring husband can often bring clarity to the situation that I, at first, miss.
When a husband doesn’t emotionally respond like a wife does, wise women adopt another perspective on the situation. First, these women focus on what is good about their husband (by re-reading their TJ lists). They tell their husbands that they appreciate “how he knows how long things will take, that he understands if the logistics are right, or that he understands the manpower needed to sustain a long-term goal.” They tell their husbands how they appreciate the less-emotional brain because he can often see through what is clouded by her emotions. God made men and women to balance each other in this area. They each pull the other one to a more sane norm.
Of course, since we are all self-deceived sinners, we think our way is the right way (husbands and wives both think this). We think he is a dope for thinking like he does and he thinks we are ridiculously emotional. (Just a warning here: If you treat a man like you think he’s a dope, I can guarantee that he will soon want out of the marriage. He may be trapped or he may have Christian values that won’t let him escape, but I am telling you that he will want out. No man can tolerate a woman that makes him feel stupid.)
Your husband will not get some pretty important emotional feelings that you have (feelings about relationships, children, the home, etc.). Over time, you can gently teach him that this is how women respond. Be prepared for him to not get it for a looonnnngggg time. Tell him again, gently, and then, probably twenty to fifty to a hundred more times. In marriage, it’s okay for us to take years to deeply understand each other.
One young girl told me that when she explained to her husband how she felt about one of her issues, the husband said, “I don’t think you should feel that way. After all, it was only x, not y. Shouldn’t you give it to the Lord and let it be over? How often are we going to have to talk about this?”
She explained to me the utter disappointment in that this was the man that she was given to love, and how he completely didn’t get her heart. One of the main expectations we have from our husbands is to be understood, right? And when his 5/6 less neurons don’t flare like ours do, we feel totally misunderstood. And unloved. And unhappy.
A friend’s husband recently wrote her a poem on her fiftieth birthday. The poem had five stanzas, one for each major concern in her life: her children, her health, her work, her ministry, etc. In the humorous poem, though, was the deep understanding that he knew who she was and how she felt. She told me that he could not have written this poem ten years ago, much less twenty. He gets her now at this deep level, because she has persevered with teaching him how she feels, never bashing him. Because she has his open heart, and has had it for years, eventually he understood her. Young wives, right now your husband is nothing like he will be after years of you treating him with understanding, the 8 A’s, and a godly spirit. He will eventually get you, even if he has 1/6 as many neurons flying as you. You just have to stay in the game, keep attempting to teach him without anger or disgust, and keep playing the playbook. Love never fails.
On a side note, men do love and appreciate the way women can feel deeply. Men think your childlike emotions are adorable, as long as they are positive and sweet. The way you are tender with little children, the way you are kind to old people, the way you are sad about a dead puppy…it is all very womanly and beautiful. It’s the negative, upset, cross words that come from negative emotions that slay a husband.
Not too many things are more satisfying than a marriage where you feel understood, loved, and protected. But as you smart students in Wife School now know, most men don’t come into the marriage knowing how to do any of that. A wise woman builds her house, and she has the long-sightedness to build her marriage with great relational skills and great character. She knows that Season 1 is for sowing and Season 2 is for reaping. She records her husband’s sweetness, and becomes very grateful for all he does get right, while she continues to persevere in teaching him her heart. Beautiful, absolutely, beautiful results happen down the road!
Week Fourteen, Day Three
When You Have Been Mistreated
Over and over again, I have tried to stress the importance of O-LAT-ing (Over Looking A Transgression, Proverbs 19:11) in a close relationship. Mature people overlook and forego; immature people get offended easily and are always demanding their rights.
But that said, there comes a time when we need to “speak the truth in love” when we have been sinned against in a significant way. The following two examples are not from marriage, but from the workplace.
A friend of mine is a masseuse. Another masseuse took a couple of her clients and scheduled them for herself. Obviously, the first masseuse was extremely upset. Another example of being mistreated concerns a saleswoman in an antique jewelry store. One rare item was on hold for a recurring customer of hers. The rule in the store is if you want to sell an item that another salesperson has on hold, you have to first call the salesperson who is holding the item so they can offer it to their customer first. The owner had a customer who wanted to buy the item, so she just sold it, without first calling the salesperson who had it on hold. The original salesperson was furious with the owner.
We are called to speak the truth in love when people sin against us. Not bashing them, cussing them, or condemning them. But as unemotionally as possible, confronting them in love. This conflict is not fun or easy and most of us hate it. We all realize this.
But what about your husband? What if he sins against you? Your first go-to behavior is to forego, if you can. But sometimes, a discussion must be held. An example would be if he spends a large sum of money on something without consulting you, or if he has lunch alone with another female, or if he speaks disrespectfully to you, or a trillion other examples.
Talking to your husband in a calm voice is imperative. Even though he has sinned against you, you must still remain respectful. You can tell him in a calm voice that you were hurt, that you were grieved, that it upset you. Don’t go into a hissy, a meltdown, or a “no way, buddy” voice. Don’t become the mother, correcting the bad little boy in a stern, lecturing voice.
Conflict is uncomfortable and we certainly will have conflict in our marriages. If you are focusing on the 8 A’s, then you have built up deposits and the relationship can withstand the respectful confrontation.
One husband quit his job and came home and said they were moving back to his hometown, where his parents lived. They were going to move in with his parents until he could get a job, get back on his feet, etc. When I heard this story, I wanted to scream, so I can imagine how the wife felt.
The wife didn’t like it (obviously) and she got out her fire hose, letting the emotional turmoil rip. This couple is now divorced (of course, many other issues were involved). I completely understood the rage this woman felt when her husband sinned against her by not consulting her on such a major decision. But what if she had responded with a sane approach, trying to figure things out, without the emotional tsunami? Wise women get hit with pies in the face, too, but they don’t drop to emotional hysteria and anger. So if your husband brings home the slap-in-the-face news, don’t go berserk. Of course you have to confront and discuss the situation, but keep your cool. Keep your anger from saying those things that you will later regret.
One friend of mine told me that her husband, the owner of a business, gave all his employees a raise, but didn’t take one for himself, since it had been a lean year. This wife had been scraping and pinching pennies to get by, and was appalled by this decision from her husband. She blasted him, telling him how inconsiderate of him that was to her. She said, “Why didn’t you consider me and how I’ve had to sacrifice?!” She admitted her tone was dripping with venom. “Blasted” might be understating it, she said. Anyhow, she told me that her tirade took months to heal. She told me that the damage her tongue did in three minutes was like when the hurricane ripped through the houses in New Orleans. Utter destruction. Friends, you are not free to randomly unload. You must communicate in a wise way, because unloading has terrible consequences for your husband’s affection for you.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). I’m sorry if your husband is insensitive and inconsiderate, but honestly, it’s not that infrequently that I hear these stories. If you can be calm, guard your tongue, and discuss the issue without hysteria, you can often avoid an oncoming train wreck. Speak the truth, but in love.
One time during a terrible disagreement between David and me, we went to the bedroom away from the kids to see if we could solve it. I started the conversation with, “We are both terribly upset with the other one. We are as mad as we have ever been. But no one is going anywhere. We both know we are not divorcing. We will work this out somehow. We both really care about the other one.” David immediately calmed down. But do you want to hear something funny? I remember saying all that, but I don’t remember what the fight was about! What seems horrible to you at the moment will fade, but how you treat each other will not fade. Don’t let an intense situation make you give in to emotional hysteria. Instead, speak the truth in love.
Bill and Cathy Ivey once taught a brilliant course on marriage and I distinctly remember one thing they said. It was this: “You have to go through conflict to get to intimacy.” I like that. I like that it is the norm to have conflict in marriage, because we certainly have had our share. But remember, during the storm of conflict, carefully watch your words and tone. Mean and hurtful words are hard to forgive. Don’t say them. Just don’t.
It is important to buy some time in these radically upsetting and surprising moments—until you can get your thoughts together. One way is to gently shake your head and calmly say, “I am tremendously upset by this” while you wither with sadness and grief (not anger). Then you can add something like, “I don’t see how this is going to work for me.” Again, it is important that you speak from sadness and grief, not anger. Use sentences like these for times when you receive pies in the face. Remain calm. Remain sane. Buy a little time until you can get your head together. However, know that you are not a rag doll that he bought at the toy store that takes unquestioned orders. Yes, he is the leader of the family, but ordering you around without any input is emotionally abusive. And of course, he can never hit you or physically intimidate you. (Oh my word, do I even need to say that? You need to get help from your pastor or a Christian counselor if your husband ever attempts to do that.)
I constantly warn against using word pictures too often, but the time to use them is when he mistreats you. A woman with dignity is humble, but she does not allow herself to be mistreated.
If you are rocking the 8 A’s, with a godly, gentle, and quiet spirit, and your husband is insensitive to your need/desires, you can say, “I’m sure you don’t realize this, but when you said (or did) x, it really hurt me. I was very grieved by that.” Sweetly, you tell him. Softly, you tell him. Not like a boss, who would sit down, man-to-man, and say, “Joe, some things need to change around here.” No, you are a woman, so act like a woman.
If he lights up around another woman at a party, then say, “I’m sure you didn’t mean to hurt me like this, but tonight at the party, when Heather was talking to you, you got all excited. I felt so hurt by that. (Word picture coming here…) I know it would hurt you if I got all excited talking to (name someone he doesn’t like).” When men hear word pictures like this, they get it. They understand. Learn to do word pictures exceptionally well and save them for your biggies.
Your husband can’t mistreat you. But communicate with a spirit of grief, not anger. Tell him you are hurt. Remain in a womanly mode, not a commander-mode. Men respond to women much better than to drill sergeants.
And btw, husbands mistreat wives all the time. The best husbands mistreat wives and have to be corrected. Don’t let this upset you too much. Just know that you have the skills to tell him without damaging the relationship.
Men are sinners. They mess up. Tell them, but tell them softly. And be sure their tanks are loaded to the max when you do.
In Chapter 14 in Wife School, the Genie instructs Jessica when and how to use “The Big Guns” and the “Mother May I?” technique. Please re-read that section for review.
Let’s talk briefly about people other than your husband that mistreat you. If you have someone in your life who continually interrogates, criticizes, demands, or pushes you, you will have to learn the skill of speaking the truth in love. When these people pull their stuff, ask them politely not do that, and if they don’t abide by your wishes, tell them you are busy and will have to talk later. People do not get to mistreat you repeatedly. They do not get continual access to you just because they want it. You can withdraw and set appropriate boundaries, calling or visiting less. One woman told me that her mother would not quit giving her advice, telling her what to do about her kids, her health, her finances, and criticizing her severely. The young woman tried and tried to speak the truth in love, but nothing worked with this mother. So after years, the daughter had to eventually change the relationship and try to talk about subjects such as the weather and Super Bowl quarterbacks. This is not desirable, but when we attempt to speak the truth in love with extended family members or co-workers or whoever, and they refuse to listen or get it, backing it up with appropriate boundaries is the only solution as you cannot get out of relationship with them.
It can be difficult to navigate inconsiderate parents/in-laws/co-workers. Honor them, and treat them respectfully, but don’t feel you have to tell them everything or always be available. If you speak the truth in love, and it is not heard, you can eventually—again, as in the game Mother, May I?— take two giant steps backward.
None of us like conflict. We all desire the fantasy of living on a tropical island with flowers, sunshine, love, and happiness. But actually we are broken people handling broken people. No one ever said it was going to be easy. In fact, in John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” Don’t be surprised at how difficult life can sometimes be. And handling the crummy stuff—being mistreated—is part of it.
Week Fourteen, Day Four, Part A
Talking behind Your Husband’s Back
One thing you should never do is talk about your husband behind his back in a negative way. Always pretend he is there, listening, when you talk about him. He is your primary relationship, and should receive your most fierce and devoted loyalty. Your family of origin or your best friends, no matter how wonderful those relationships are, are second as far as to whom you owe loyalty. There are some girls I know who have very godly mothers, and when they go to their mothers for advice, their mothers always tell them some form of “deny yourself and give to your husband.” This section is not written to those girls. This is written to the girls who go and babble off to their mothers/sisters about something the husband does wrong and then the family of origin all offer some version of “how horrible/how terrible/I wish he were different.” Unless your mother is one of the few who always directs you back to the Lord and always directs you back to being the giver/lover in your marriage, then you may need to resist the urge to tell your mom everything. I know that’s hard for some of you to do. But you will forgive and forget as far as your husband’s transgressions but it is likely that your mother/sister will have more difficulty doing that. Be very selective in anything you say about your husband that is negative.
Your husband is your first relationship and again, it is disloyal to him for you to talk behind his back. Talk to him directly. Or talk to a wise Christian counselor or to a trustworthy, older godly woman, if you need help (and there are certainly times you will!). Certainly, never talk bad about your husband to a (gasp!) group. If you will think about it, his reputation is yours. Why would you want to air your dirty laundry for others to hear and see? You and your husband are one and you are telling everyone “your” issues when you talk about your husband.
Week Fourteen, Day Four, Part B
Throw Your Husband a Homerun Pitch
This summer Donna and David Libby came over to visit David and me. My husband, David, knew the Libby’s before he knew me, so they all have a strong friendship. The four of us sat in the den, enjoying each other’s company. The Libbys have been married for over 40 years. I watched a real Marriage Pro, that day, although if you knew humble, demure Donna, she would definitely deny that title.
She was telling a story, and then she said to her husband (both husbands are named David), “David, why don’t you tell the rest?” He jumps in and happily finishes the story. Then later in the conversation, she says (to her husband), “David, tell David and Julie about x.” He jumps in again and happily goes down the trail.
FYI, Donna is not new to these advanced wife skills. When I was a newlywed, I called Donna because I barely knew how to cook and she was an expert. I said, “How do you cook eggs?” Her answer was, “Just the way he likes them.” We have laughed for thirty years over that great marriage advice: Just the way he likes them.
So next time you’re with your husband’s parents, give your husband a homerun pitch. Say, “Honey, tell them about that promotion/award you got at work.” And if he leaves out that there were 300 other men in the contest, throw that in. Praising your husband in public is a wonderful thing to do. (Just be careful not to do this too much in front of your friends. It comes off as braggy and obnoxious). Do it in front of his parents or in front of the kids. When your kids are assembled, say to your husband, “Tell the kids about that big case you’re involved in…” or “Tell the kids about that great lesson you taught last Sunday in Sunday School.” Throw your husband some homerun pitches.
If you are thinking, “Well, what about me? No one throws me homerun pitches,” then go back and re-read your prior WSA lessons. You should now be able to slap your own wrist when you hear that self-pity thinking. These advanced lessons are for those who have nailed the 8 A’s and are ready to move on. Of course you are not ever going to be perfect, but recognizing your wrong thoughts is one gigantic step in the Marriage Champion direction.
Week Fourteen, Day Five
What Makes Wives Happy in the Marriage
John Gottman, a secular marriage counselor, said that a woman is satisfied in the marriage according to how much her husband allows her to influence him. Think about that. That’s a pretty insightful statement…and a very helpful statement. We do not want to be just concubines, maids, and babysitters. We want to be “bone of his bones” (Genesis 2:23) and share a closeness where we operate as one flesh (Mark 10:8). We want to influence our husbands.
Wife School teaches you to gain influence with your husband. The 8 A’s and a gentle and quiet spirit begin to break down the shield that covers your husband’s heart.
Let’s discuss the influence you have on your husband.
It is true that men are to hear from God and get their marching orders from Him. But even the wisest man on the planet, Solomon, could not resist the influence of his wives. In a perfect environment, the Garden, Adam could not resist the influence of Eve (“Honey, eat this”). Bowing to a wife’s negative influence is definitely not good, but of course, having a wife with godly influence is a fantastic benefit to a man (Esther, right?) I am assuming that you are influencing your husband in a godly direction.
Wise wives will learn to influence their husbands for good. I cannot make your heart good; only you can repent of your greed, sloth, worldliness, self-pity, lusts, pride, and other sins (to name a few of my major areas of struggle…). But I can teach you how to gain influence with your husband. And more influence means more happiness for you in your marriage.
Only the Holy Spirit can let you know if you are influencing your husband for good or for harm. Proverbs 31:12 says about the virtuous wife, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”. Are you bringing your husband good?
I get rather weary sometimes, with so much responsibility, so much giving to do, and so many people who pull on me. I feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 63 that says, “…earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water”. That’s how I feel, Lord, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I’m not sure what I need. Maybe I need a good night’s sleep. Maybe I need a friend to truly listen to me, and encourage me. Maybe I need a touch from You, saying You understand and You care. All I know is that I’m weary.
Fill this empty tank up one more time, Lord. It drains so easily. May I focus on the joys I do have, instead of the obvious holes in my life. May it be true that “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” (Psalm 4:7)
In Jesus name,
- Have you and your husband ever discussed affairs? What were your thoughts on this section?_________________________________________________________________
- Does it help you to know that your husband has 1/6 fewer neurons flying about emotional issues? Does this help you give him a break?__________________________________________________________________
- No one wants to be mistreated. What were your thoughts about this section?__________________________________________________________________
- Do you have a personal rule that you never talk behind your husband’s back? What did you think about this section?__________________________________________________________________
- Are you good at throwing your husband a homerun pitch? Explain.
- How would you describe your ability to influence your husband at this stage in your marriage? Have you examined your heart before the Lord to see what kind of influence you are to him? __________________________________________________________________