1. Live a virtuous life.
Kind words and gestures can soften a hardened heart than any harsh word or judgmental remark towards another can (Proverbs 15:1). As wives, we are encouraged to be “pure” and “reverent” not only to our husbands, but most importantly to God. We must strive to always bless our spouses with words and in deeds.
- Actions speak louder than words.
If you are married to a believer, your own Christ-like behavior will further encourage your husband to deepen his relationship to God.
If you are married to a non-believer, your own Christ-like behavior will encourage your husband to want to know the Reason behind your loving words and actions. It will encourage him to also want what you have — that is, a relationship with Jesus Christ –– in his own life.
My husband Dong noticed a change in my behavior just a few short weeks after the Lord regenerated me and created a new Nikka in September 2013. So much so that he said sometime in October last year that:
“I am enjoying this, whatever it is you are doing. I am reaping all its benefits. I wish for more married couples to experience this. I want you to blog about your journey. Write your own version of the Peacefulwife’s blog for the Philippines. Our country is in dire need of role models to follow. I am sick and tired, too, of hearing about husbands and fathers saying that the worst thing that can happen to a man is to get married and have kids. Why do most men feel that way? Shouldn’t we feel happy that we got married and have children?”
2. Practice self-restraint and let your husband lead.
A man will feel more manly if he is allowed to act and think like a man. A wife wearing the pants in the marriage and ordering him around does nothing to encourage and affirm his manhood. In fact, it emasculates him and demotivates him to fulfill his God-ordained leadership role in the family.
My husband Dong clearly got badly affected by my controlling behavior, before the Lord regenerated me and showed me the error of my ways. Below are some of the things he emotionally told me in various occasions:
“It is not that I am not doing anything. I am just confused and paralyzed as to what to really do. Since you are doing so well, I feel that my own contribution would be useless.”
“I don’t know why I am like this but if you are doing something already, I feel like I should just support you. Parang gumagalaw ka na e, ikaw na muna. (You are already moving, so I just let you lead.) “
“I don’t know what my role is in this family anymore! Siguro dapat umalis na lang ako (Maybe I should just leave!)… but I pity the kids, they need me.”
“All of these are your choices! If I were in charge, we’d still have a good life, but maybe a simpler one! You think I cannot lead our family? You think that you can do everything by yourself! Masaya ka ba na ako nasa baba tapos ikaw nasa taas, di tayo nagtutulungan? (Are you happy that you are on top and I am left below, and we are not helping each other?) Shouldn’t marriage be about helping each other?
We must let our husbands lead us. The way to encourage them to become the men of courage God wants them to be, is by being the woman in the marriage. By this, I mean, to step aside, let God work in your husband, and focus on your own role — that is as his helper and supporter, not his boss or leader.
Bible Verse to Live By:
4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
3. Be his best friend and prayer warrior.
Why is it so easy to forgive or look over our girl friends’ faults but so hard to not judge our husband’s failures? By virtue of marriage, we are ONE with our spouses, which is not the case with our friends.
We do not have a covenant with our friends, although Jesus did teach us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Why then is it so hard to apply this to somebody whom we promised “to love and to cherish, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”? It does NOT make much sense, right?
It is easier for us to excuse the faults of others, but we are very, very quick to condemn our husbands!
In order to encourage our men to be men of courage in the home, we cannot be their worst adversary. The home should not be a battleground or a hell house, where even before they step inside its premises, our husbands would first have to breathe in and breathe out, and say, “Alright, here we go again…” as though they would rather be anywhere else but home!
It should be a respite from the daily stresses of life; a welcoming embrace; and not THE most stressful part of their day; a penance! They should have the COURAGE to fight for their wives and families, NOT the “courage” to emotionally wrestle and fight with their wives who constantly berate them!
Cultivate a deep friendship with your husband who (if both of you are lucky), would be with you for many, many years still. What would you rather do, sleep with your enemy or sleep with your best friend (Assuming that your husband is your best friend.)?
And more than simply developing a friendship with him, you should also be his prayer warrior. We should always pray for our husbands. Since we are one with them, praying for them is also praying for ourselves. Let us always maintain a spirit of humility whenever we do lift our husbands up in prayer, and not a judgmental, self-righteous attitude. Prideful hearts are opposed by God, and so don’t be surprised if one’s “prayers” are not heard or answered when in this sinful state.
Just recently, my husband shared with me his heart, saying:
“What I love about us is that we are the opposite of each other. We help each other become better people. What I lack, you have; what you lack, I have — so we learn from each other all the time. It never gets boring. I wouldn’t want to be with somebody who will just say “yes” to what I have to say all the time. I want somebody with substance, who can contribute to my improvement.”
Bible Verses to Live By:
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Minus my bondages and issues (in the past), I was actually quite cheerful. It did not take much to make me smile or laugh. I think I have been blessed with a sweet disposition, but there would be numerous times in the past, when that bubbly exterior would be clouded by depression, anxiety, worry and fear. The world was still very much in my spirit and the devil piggy-backed on my very many insecurities.
We would be having a remarkable time, when out of the blue, I would remember for instance, that I was anxious about the bills we had to pay, or that Dong did not have the job that I wanted for him, and I would immediately, as though a needle pricked a balloon, stop smiling and sulk. Oftentimes, I would just cry.
When I was extremely happy, Dong would tell me, “Sigh. I wonder how long this would go on,” knowing that I could easily slip into depression just after a very happy experience.
Or when I was quiet or giving him the silent treatment because of perceived hurts against him due to my unfulfilled expectations of him, he would tell me, “What is wrong?! What did I do wrong again this time?”
These were some of the things Dong told me at the height of my controlling behavior, and before I gave my life to Christ in September 2013:
“When you are sad, I feel like a failure. Because for me, my role is to make you happy.”
“I am afraid that you will find yourself another man who has more money, who can provide for you or make you happy!”
There was one crazy PMS episode (I have since conquered my PMDD with God’s Help since my conversion!!! Before, I would usually border on the side of psychotic and crazy.) when I was crying myself silly in the bathroom. He was so frustrated with me! He said in a loud voice,
“What is YOUR problem?! I am already employed, right? Why couldn’t you be happy?!”
That time, I was like, “How did THAT enter this conversation? How does my being depressed have anything to do with my husband being employed?”
Apparently, in my husband’s mind, if he would do what I wanted, which was to be in a “stable” job, I would be happy… and yet I wasn’t! Nothing would please Ms. High-And-Mighty Nikka. Nothing was enough. I was a bottomless pit of discontentment! 🙁
Now I have realized after the Lord opened up my spiritual eyes, that there is a reason why we are called“Ilaw ng Tahanan” (Light of the Home). We lighten up the home with our joyful and cheerful attitudes and dispositions. Our homes should be a haven for our weary family members, not a hellhole or a place to detest. Now, I am joyful and able to bring joy to my husband and family 24/7, as the Spirit continues to fill up my heart with peace and joy, which stems from finally turning my life over to Jesus Christ. 🙂
Bible Verses to Live By:
1 Peter 1: 8-9
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Proverbs 15:13, NIV A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 17:22, ESV A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
5. Be his Number One Fan.
We should be our husbands’ supporters, cheerleaders and encouragers. Usually, we believe in the abilities of everybody else’s but theirs! How did that happen?!
By being their Number one fan, too, we are only called to cheer them on, not to coach them or tell them what to do.
I used to think I was my husband’s number one “cheerleader”. A cheerleader who told him what I wanted him to do in the way I wanted it done. For sure though, I would be clapping for him and congratulating him, if and when, he had done it “right” (based of course on my standards)! That’s not cheering, that’s jeering! That was not encouraging, that was dictating! That was not helping, that was demanding!
I see this particular scene played too often (as I was guilty of this too in the past) — Somebody tells you about your husband’s faults and instead of defending him (if the charge isn’t true) or just keeping quiet (if the charge is true) so as not to disrespect him in front of the accuser, you even side with that person and go into a fault-finding spree!Just because we can point out their flaws does not make us saints. In fact, that makes us “judges”, which the Lord clearly detests, for “nobody is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12) , and save for God’s Grace and Jesus’ Redemption, we would all be rotting in hell.
Dong blurted this out to me at one emotional discussion we had in the past, after I told him that he was not doing his best to help me provide for the family:
“I am very limited. But I know I am not a bad person! I know I am not lazy. I just don’t have energy to do a lot of things. I know I am not a people person. I know I am not one who would climb the corporate ladder. I wish I were, that would simplify things, but I am not. I am very simple. Just having you and the kids makes me happy. But you cannot write that in your resume — “Contented father and husband.” “
We should be our husbands’ helpmeets, their helpers, their better halves. The Bible clearly tell us what the role is of wives in their families.
Nikka’s interviews with Dong, her husband