Respect Your Husband’s #1 Need

Image-1For years now my husband and I have been working with couples to help them find the amazing marriage that God has designed for them to live.  Many of the lessons I have learned came from a 20-year failed marriage.  After spending 20 years learning what not to do, I have spent the next decade learning what to do from the best teacher of all, the Bible.  Yes, I have done research in other books and from other great teachers but the ultimate lessons about marriage still come from the God that created marriage in the first place.

Wives, your husband’s number one need is for respect.  Believe me when I tell you I was the queen of disrespect for 20 years and didn’t even know it.  I have many times had to apologize to my ex-husband for being so disrespectful.  I have spent countless hours learning how to be respectful.  Yes, I’m still in the respect school, but God has used my amazing husband and partner in everything, Steven to help me learn.  He has also given me a great group of male pastors to work everyday with who are great at helping me identify disrespect in my life (they do it because I ask them to).  The reason I need this help is because disrespect can  be so sneaky and subtle.  I often times find myself being disrespectful without even realizing it.  You see girls, disrespect to a guy is much different than to us.  I’m getting so much better, but I’m confident it will be something I have to continue to work on for the rest of my life.

In my Bible study today I read Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good andbeneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (AMP)

One thing I have learned is that most disrespect comes straight out of your mouth.  If we can get better at living out Ephesians 4:29, we can decrease our disrespectfulness by so much.  In James 3:2 tells us that if we don’t offend with our tongues we are a perfect manor in this case a perfect woman.  We can learn to be respectful in our speech.  We can meet the number one need of our spouses.  Watch what comes out of your mouth.  Live out Ephesians 4:29.  As you do you will begin to see your marriage become a living example of God’s design.

Ulterior Motives

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 6.48.56 AMMany times in our marriage we can find ourselves attributing our spouse’s behavior to a specific ulterior motive.  If the ulterior motive is “they love me and really want to be a great spouse,” then you are probably enjoying a great marriage.  Honestly, more times than not this is not our default concept of our spouse’s motives.

For many years now Steven and I have utilized a concept that for the most part, helps us maintain right thoughts, attitudes, and interpretations about each other’s words and behavior.  We do this by applying this very simple principle, “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”    When you encounter any situation where you find yourself angry, disappointed, hurt, or feeling condemned, applying this simple technique can prevent you from charging head-long into a full on assault or sliding completely into a pit of hurt feelings and despair.

Many times, the behavior of our spouse is influenced by many things and these can manifest in behaviors that are confrontational or hurtful when this is truly not what they are intending to communicate.  Consider this idea.  If you have had a bad day at work, you were caught in traffic, late for a meeting, or perhaps were treated unfairly by your boss, you may have trouble letting it go when you come home.  Because you’re already in a stressed state, you are more likely to find fault or have your feelings hurt by something simple that your spouse says, does or doesn’t do.  While your spouse may intend no ill will or have no negative ulterior motive, you still perceive it as an assault or attack.  It is during these times that it is important to take a step back, breath, and ask yourself a simple question “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”  This one simple technique when applied can prevent many unnecessary problems in your marriage.

So I ask you today, What is the intent of your spouse’s heart?

Families Can Be Funky

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 6.22.36 AMI was on Facebook recently and I saw a sign that said “As two families are becoming one, we ask that you choose a seat not a side.”  I’m would love to give credit to the person who made that statement originally but in my research I was unable to figure that out so if you know please share it with me.

As I thought about this statement, I thought about the magnitude of the truth it conveyed.  Being a wife, mother, and a mother-in-law, I have found myself on both sides of the coin.

When two people get married it often brings with it two very different families and therefore two very different family cultures.  While in most cases, the guys are less likely to bring their family into the marriage, girls are highly likely to.  I remember my mom would always say “You have a son until he takes a wife, you have a daughter all your life.”  This is true a lot of the time.  This is not necessarily bad or good but can many times be one or the other.

Before you get married is the best time to take a good look at what each family can bring to the marriage.  It is important to discuss such things as family culture, family holiday traditions, and religious beliefs and practices.  By doing this you can save yourselves a lot of unnecessary problems.

If you are the parent or parent-in-law/family member or family-in-law member I encourage you to do your best to not choose sides but choose the side of promoting a healthy, loving, God-centered marriage.  Making this choice, you will not only help the marriage but you will help impact future generations.  Your support can and will make a difference.

Sex is a BIG Deal in ALL Marriages

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 8.57.56 AMMost women when asked, would respond that the most important need of a man is sex.  While respect/honor is actually the primary need of man, sex is a very close second.  Yet sex is one of the biggest areas in many marriages that cause a lot of conflict.  For many women I work with, this very conflict causes a great deal of pain.  Finding ways to navigate the balance of desire for sex between husbands and wives can be very complex.  However, by have some very open conversations with your spouse about where they are both coming from can help this area of your life come into balance.  Beginning that conversation often means wading through unmet expectations, hurts, feelings of failure on both sides, and even the releasing of using sex as a punishment or reward.  While this is can be a path least taken, it is a path that can lead to a more satisfying marriage then you have ever dreamed of.  I encourage all couples to have open, honest, and loving conversations about where there marriage stands in relationship to their sexual intimacy.

I recently read a blog Holy Hot and Humorous which addresses one of the big issues in marital sex.  Just Because He Stopped Asking Doesn’t Mean He’s Stopped Wanting.  This blog poses some great ideas.  These ideas could be used to initiate a conversation that would help wives begin to discover exactly where their husband is in relationship to sex in their marriage.  I encourage you to do a check up on your intimate relationship with your husband.  It will be one of the most life giving things you will ever do.

Feelings Follow

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 10.59.35 AMMany of you have heard my story of my relationship with my dad.  However, for those of you haven’t I just wanted to share something that I learned years ago that still to this day is an important part of my life.  I grew up in a home where everything was based on appearances.  How other people saw us was very important.  Because I was a very strong willed child and my dad had a pretty strong personality we had a pretty volatile relationship.  That is a nice way of saying we fought a lot.  I grew up feeling like I wasn’t the daughter he wanted. Let me just state here for the record, I was the daughter he wanted.  In fact, after he passed away I found a precious note he had written to me telling me so.  At any rate, perception is reality.  My perception was that I never really measured up.

As I grew older, I hung onto this perception.  It wasn’t until after my mother passed away after a long battle with breast cancer that I begin to work through my feelings about my dad.  I was angry, hurt, and depressed.  I had gotten to the point that I would tell God that if He didn’t do something, I would rather just be done.  It was at this point that God began to walk me though a healing process that would not only change my heart toward my dad but my heart toward many things in my life.  God began to challenge me to do some things that I certainly didn’t want to do.  God asked me to start doing simple things, like calling my dad every day just to talk.  I can assure you I DIDN”T FEEL LIKE calling my dad.  Sometimes though, you find yourself in such a place of desperation that you will do anything.  For weeks I called my dad every day just to talk.  I hated it, I complained to my husband and God about it.  Interestingly though, over time I began to feel less hostile about calling him.  I even got to the point that I began to enjoy our conversations.  I noticed that as I began to value and honor my dad, he began to value and love me in a way that I could receive his love.  The biggest lesson I learned was that when you do the right thing when you don’t feel like it, your feelings will begin to come into line with what you are doing.  I suppose it’s the law of sowing and reaping in action.

How does this story work in marriages?  I talk to wives nearly every day who tell me I just don’t feel like being respectful to my husband, or I just don’t feel like having sex, or I just don’t feel like I love him anymore.  Here is the real truth when we quit living by our feelings and letting them drive our behavior we will find that we can see some pretty amazing things begin to change.  The best of which may just be our feelings.

Love and respect are choices that we make.  We choose to love.  We choose to be respectful and honoring.  Too many times we decided that we will only do them if we feel like it.  This is truly one of the biggest lies that we buy into.  I challenge you today, begin to make right choices to do the right thing whether you feel like it or not.  As you continue to do this, I guarantee that you will see your feelings come into line with your actions.  Begin to pray and ask God to show you areas in your life where you have let  your feelings dictate your behavior and begin to ask God to help you make the right choice and watch Him work in your life like never before.

Have you struggled with this and made the decision to do the right thing when you didn’t feel like and then saw changes in how you felt?  I would love to hear from you.  Share your story and together we can help and encourage others.

What is the Intent of His Heart?

 

Respectful Women in the Workplace

Have you ever had a day at work where you just lost it?  Have you found yourself in tears in the middle of a meeting with men that you work with?  I have for sure.  Let me tell you about a wonderful display of disrespect I made last year at work.  As many of you know, I work at Victory Church in Oklahoma City.  I must admit this is a great job and I love the people I get to work with everyday.  I am fortunate to work with some of the most gifted people on the planet.  Many of them are men.  Having said that working at a mega church can be stressful at times.  Contrary to popular beliefs we do not float around on clouds in a prayerful state all day.  It is probably the hardest job I have ever had as the Director of Small Groups.  At any rate, last year I had the opportunity to go to the Bahamas on a vacation.  I was frantically working to get all of my work done so everything would be covered before I left.  Two days before I was scheduled to leave I found out about a change that was going to be made that would really affect some of the groups that meet at my church.  Let me go on record as saying the fact that I got left out of the loop on something that affect my department was completely an oversight and not anything that was intentional AT ALL.  However, because of the amount of stress I felt I was under to get everything done at work and at home and getting my family ready to travel for a week and making arrangements for a house sitter for our dogs, you know the usual mom/wife/travel agent role we women play, I was not as aware of my emotions as I should have been.  To say that I didn’t handle this situation well is quite the understatement.  I lost my cool and added an unnecessary amount of emotion to every conversation I had all the way up the food chain.  (Never ever ever ever a good idea)  I was wrong wrong wrong.  I will say that the men I worked with did extend a great deal of grace to me but I really believe I could have gotten much better results had I taken a few minutes and collected my thoughts and used a much more professional approach.  Lesson learned.  I have been much more diligent from then on to stay on top of my feelings in the office.  I admit I am not perfect but I am improving.

Today I found an amazing podcast from Focus on the Family by Shaunti Feldhahn.  I have loved her book For Women Only for many years.  When I was busy learning about respect and submission in my marriage, her book gave me great practical insight.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be respectful, I just didn’t know what it looked like.  Her book gave me real, practical ideas about some changes that I needed to make to be more respectful.  It was really the beginning of the journey for me that led me to where I am today.  If you haven’t read For Women Only, buy a copy and read it soon.  So back to this post, the podcast I ran across was about how men perceive disrespect in the workplace.  Even more the concept of how we as women unknowingly hinder ourselves by being disrespectful with the men that we work with.  This was a great extension to the idea of being a respectful wife.  So I am sharing the podcast with the hopes that it will give other women some insight that will help them as much as it has me.  If after listening to the podcast if you are interested in finding out more you can pick up Shaunti’s new book For Women Only in the Workplace.  Becoming a a respectful employ will be beneficial to women everywhere.

Women, I would love to hear your feedback on how you handle emotional situations at your workplace or trials that you have encountered working with men. I would also love to have feedback from men who have experienced women who are emotional at work.  You opinion matters, please share it.