I don't want to step on any toes here, but I think it's also safe to say that many of us don't want to always be the first one to work on things in our marriages. Wouldn't it just be easier if husbands just automatically did everything their wife wanted them to do, say, think, or feel?? :)
But...they are not robots. They are humans. With real feelings, real emotions, real insecurities, real fears, real hopes, and real dreams...just like us.
So, for at least today, let's let husbands off the hook for a moment, and look at what we can do to improve our marriage!
1. Be dependent on God instead of on your husband - this can be tricky because we view our husbands as our knight and shining armor, but then we're not supposed to depend on him? We can actually allow our husbands to be more of the man he is intended to be when we are not suffocating him to give us our self-worth and validation. It's as if we free him up and allow him to breathe from that burden of trying to serve us in ways he was never intended to serve us. When we have gone to God through prayer and in His Word all throughout the day we can come to our husbands full of confidence and strength already in front of us.
Ephesians 5:28 says, That is how husbands should treat their wives, loving them as parts of themselves. For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself a favor and loving himself when he loves his wife! (LBE)
When we are healthy emotionally from God, our husbands can love us more healthy emotionally from his heart. Fill your worth and purpose through Christ, and you will be doing your husband a favor!
2. Model good and kind behavior - if we don't like a character trait in our husbands or their behavior is even offensive to God, the last thing a husband is going to want is a scolding from his wife! It also will not help the marriage if we join in to negative behavior with our husbands and go against God's will of goodness, mercy, and love in all that we do. Sometimes I fall into the trap of gossiping to my husband. I justify my gossip by telling myself that it's safe with my husband, because he's my husband! Aren't we supposed to share in everything...and after all, he won't tell anybody! But God's Word says not to gossip. Period. So, I dishonor God and His good will of my life and our marriage when I go against His Word in our marriage.
1 Peter 3:1 says, Wives, fit in with you husbands' plans; for then if they refuse to listen when you talk to them about the Lord, they will be won by your respectful, pure behavior. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. (LBE)
Peter is telling us that our actions speak louder than words! When we are showing godly behavior and following God's Word, our husband's will notice. And they may follow in our footsteps. A husband and a wife following God's will and path makes a strong marriage! If at least one in the marriage is solid on following God's will and Word it will still be a stronger marriage than if neither one in the marriage is following God's Word.
3. Serve to Avoid Temptations - Paul was just upfront and honest in 1 Corinthians when he talked about the temptations from the world that come into a marriage. His advice - don't hold back in serving each other so you won't be tempted!
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5 LBE)
4. Strive Your Best to Get Along with Your Mother-in-Law - This isn't about who is right and who is wrong. What she said or what she did. This isn't about denial and covering up hurts on either end - yours or your mother-in-laws. Some hurts within the family are very real, and very hurtful.
But Romans 14:4 tells us, For God has accepted them to be his children. They are God's servants, not yours. They are responsible to him, not to you. Let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. and God is able to make them do as they should. Paul was talking about some who thought is was okay to eat certain meat, while others thought it was wrong to eat certain meat. Paul seemed to be saying - don't let something like a piece of meat cause you to sin!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What things are causing you to not bear the fruits from the Spirit within your family...with your mother-in-law? Be assured - God sees your heart and he sees your mother-in-laws heart. Don't let a chunk of meat...or a chunk of insignificant bickering cause your heart to sin!
This bickering can also cause strife in a marriage. If you're trying to force your husband to take a side - either team wife or team mom, then you've turned your family into a game. God doesn't want games in our life, He wants unity. Ruth stood by her mother-in-law, Naomi, through thick and thin and Ruth was blessed because she did so. Your marriage will be blessed as well if you stick to unity instead of games with your mother-in-law.
5. Give him your trust and respect- Proverbs 31:11 says, Her husband can trust her, and she will richly satisfy his needs. She will not hinder him but help him all her life. Husbands are perfectly joined with their wives as one. (Ephesians 5:31) If a wife talks badly about her husband to others, she is in effect talking badly about her own self! Let's strive to not hinder our husbands in any way! Give your husband your trust and respect - let him know when you are with him or without him your words will only be pleasant words about him. He will most likely do the same for you!
These are just a few suggestions straight from God's Word to improve your marriage today. I personally think number 1 - being filled with confidence and purpose from God - is the most important. Acts 17:28 says, 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' I encourage you to pray and ask God to lead you through the Bible to discover more ways God may be nudging you to strengthen your marriage.
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