A dear friend of mine has counseled a LOT of Christian woman over the years; and she, herself, has a very happy, long and successful marriage. She posted these tips on Facebook and I asked her if I could share them on my blog. Many who read this might may not be of the Christian Faith, however, I am confident you will find these tips chock full of wisdom. Thank you, dear Ellen, for sharing these with all of us!
What I’ve learned from counseling MANY women – and wish they would share in Bridal Shower Devotionals for all wives:
1. He will disappoint you. All the time. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or that he’s stupid – it means that he’s human. Love and respect him anyway! You will disappoint him in many other ways, but you just won’t know it.
2. EXPECTATIONS! Are yours realistic? Could any man meet them? If he really said and did all your expectations, would you actually like it, or would you wish he’d be himself again? He will not look, talk, act like someone from a movie each day. Trust me – neither will you. Love and respect him anyway!
3. No matter how long your courtship lasted, you do not understand each other as well as you think you do. You cannot read each other’s thoughts and feelings even a fraction of how well you think you can. Tell him what you are thinking, feeling, hoping for. Do not expect him to be able to verbalize what he thinks, feels, and hopes for as well as women do. Pay attention and you will learn that in other ways.
4. Your husband cannot fulfill all your conversational needs – it’s healthy for both of you to have friends of your own sex to be with and relate to. Girlfriends are like a sister for life
5. You have not arrived. Keep on studying God’s Word and applying it to your life. Always be working on your own spiritual growth. Your husband’s spiritual growth is between he and the Lord – he is NOT accountable to you. Release control to God in this area, and ask God to continually be making you into the woman He wants you to be, and working in your husband’s life to make him the man God would have him be.
6. Marriages have highs and lows. It is not the end – it’s only a season. If you feel like you are in the darkness with no hope – KNOW THIS – and I mean it – there IS light, and joy, at the end of this. Do NOT give up – keep on praying – keeping on working on your own spiritual life – there is greater joy than you’ve ever experienced ahead. Don’t miss it by wallowing in the now and losing sight of the future. Seek wise counsel – look for someone who will hold you accountable – not just someone to sympathize.
7. During the highs and lows come DANGEROUS TIMES. Satan and his demons know what’s happening in your marriage – and they will send temptation. BE READY. During a few lows in our life, men would come out of the woodwork – even when I looked like Medusa – and ask me on dates at the library (with our 3 young children!), the gas station, whatever. Don’t fall for this! About ½ the Christian wives I counsel stumble into some form of adultery at this phase, with the comment, “But my husband was being so unloving to me for so long!” DON’T FALL. Each pregnancy, women at my husband’s job came onto him very directly. Instead of justifying that he loves me, etc, he answered their whispered offers with loud exclamations, “Eww! What kind of person are you?!? That is WRONG! Get away from me!” End of problem. Be ready, ladies. Attacks will come. Do NOT give in and destroy your life. Remember – there is light ahead – wait for it.
8. Did you get along with your siblings every moment in blissful joy? Didn’t think so. Did you love each other forever anyway? Yup, marriage will sometimes be like that. Be Patient. Be Kind. Be Self-Controlled in what you say. Be loving in what you say & do. Remember the little things that matter to show him you love him. Be gentle – his ego is more fragile than you think. He may seem like a rock – but he needs encouragement and building up after being beaten down by the world all day as he works hard to provide for you. Be Peaceful – don’t be a wife who nags or picks fights. Do you really want to be that person?!? When you serve your husband you are serving the Lord Himself. He craves your respect. Give it to him!
9. God commands husbands to love their wives. Let’s face it girls, we’re often not acting very lovable. God also commands wives to respect their husbands. Though they don’t always act respectable, it’s our gift to the Lord, and to our husband, to give him that respect anyway. Make a list of all the things you appreciate about him. Read it often. Does he provide for you? Keep you safe (& not beat you!)? Do you know that makes you in the top percentage of wives in the world?!? All the little things you appreciate about him are God’s blessing to you.
10. Women – hold each other accountable. Christian wives should not be bashing their husbands. Admonish each other in love to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, to be walking in the truth of God’s Word, to be focused on being the best wife you can be. What our husband is like is between he and the Lord.
11. Don’t agree on child-rearing? Don’t become obsessed with it. Pray about it – that God would show you where you are wrong, and that He would bring truth to your husband’s mind and show him any areas he should change. If you are blessed to be a stay at home mom, you have a tremendous amount of time to raise your children effectively to the Lord. Leave the rest in God’s hands – you can trust Him.
12. Look for the JOY in your journey together. Neither of you are perfect, but the gift of walking through life together, standing against the trials of life shoulder to shoulder, is a tremendous blessing. Great joy lies ahead for you – the more you respect and love your husband, the more he will shower the love you crave in return. Pray for and thank God for your husband each day!
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