3 Secrets to Building Real-Life Romance in Your Marriage

man holding a bouquet of flowers

Real romance is all about selflessness, thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity.

Sadly, we sometimes miss out on appreciating things that actually could be extremely romantic, if only we decided to look at them that way.

We are conditioned by our culture (and advertisers) to recognize certain specific things as romantic:

  • Flowers
  • Dinner out at a fancy restaurant
  • Pricey cards
  • A trip out of town
  • Diamonds
  • Jewelry

These things definitely can be romantic and very special treats that we can enjoy from our husbands, at times.

But the truth is, anything your husband does for you to benefit you, or your children, is a gift. And anything he does out of love, thoughtfulness, and consideration for you is special. Even if it is free.

If it costs him time, effort, energy, and/or money, he is generously extending love to you.

Don’t let his love go unnoticed, my dear sister!

SECRET #1 – APPRECIATION

Here’s a secret to experiencing greater romantic connection in your marriage:

Anytime your husband does something sweet for you—big or small— decide to receive his loving act toward you as something very romantic.

Because it is!

So if he does something loving like he:

  • Gives you a compliment.
  • Tries to cheer you up.
  • Brings in an income to help provide for your needs.
  • Fixes your car.
  • Runs to the store to get tissues and medicine when you are sick.
  • Stays home with the kids so you can do something to recharge.
  • Helps you with a chore.
  • Tries to protect you from harm in some way spiritually, financially, emotionally, or physically.
  • Invites you to go for a walk, or is willing to go for a walk with you when you ask him to.
  • Comes home to spend the evening with you instead of hanging out with friends or working late.
  • Chooses a movie he knows you’ll like or avoids one he knows you’ll hate.
  • Makes a sacrifice so you can have or do something important to you.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Smile! Let your face light up with delight.
  • Use a friendly tone of voice as much as possible.
  • Thank him with words and maybe a hug or kiss.
  • Appreciate his loving gesture and cherish it in your heart and mind.
  • Maybe even think about ways you could do something special for him that he would appreciate, too.

There is something extremely lovely and feminine about a wife graciously and joyfully receiving a gift her husband gives her. Your delight over what he did for you is a precious gift to him!

Romance in real life is found in appreciating the little things.

For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

1 Cor. 16:18

SECRET #2 – GRATITUDE

Attraction and real life romance need nurturing. They are much like a garden. You have to pull the weeds, water, provide sunlight, monitor the temperature, and fertilize at the right times.

If you focus on the good and on being thankful for the good things you notice in your husband, romance will naturally begin to grow.

Some proven ways to nurture real-life romance and attraction:

  • Focus on the things you respect and admire about your husband.
  • Keep an ongoing list of things for which you are grateful about your husband and about things he has done for you.
  • Speak positively about him to yourself, to others, and to him.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thess. 5:18

(There are times we need to address sin. But, in general, if there is not major unrepentant sin going on, we want to focus on the good things.)

SECRET #3 – SOFTNESS

One of the most attractive things about women, to our men, is our softness. Yes, we have soft, lovely curves, generally. But more than that, when we respond and act with feminine gentleness, softness, and openness, that is beautiful and magnetic to our men, too.

Another way to be soft is to be responsive. Be responsive and open to his words, his loving acts, his gifts, and even to his touch. Melt into him when he touches you.

We want to avoid a few things that kill our softness:

And we want to invite God to help us be empowered by the Spirit (Gal. 2:22-23) to be:

  • Peaceful.
  • Patient.
  • Joyful.
  • Kind.
  • Gentle.
  • Self-controlled.

These godly responses draw our men to us, make them feel more masculine and protective of us, and tend to increase the attraction and romance in our marriage over time.

When we seek romance and our own feelings first, we end up sabotaging real-life romance. But when we seek Christ first and seek to honor Him as we relate to our men, romance generally results as fruit from being properly cultivated.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Pet. 3:4

When you are spiritually healthy, then you are able to provide the most conducive atmosphere for your marriage to thrive.

There are more secrets to building real-life romance and attraction in marriage, but let’s start with these. Then we can build from there.

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What (rated G) secrets have you learned about how to increase romance and attraction in a real life marriage? We’d love to hear your insights.

(Note, if you are on the home page, you may need to click on the title of the post to go to the individual post’s page. Then you can scroll down to the comment box and search bar.)

Much love! <3

RESOURCES

NOTE – If you are facing severe issues in your marriage like uncontrolled mental health issues, abuse, violence, major addictions, etc… please seek experienced, trustworthy, godly help from a counselor, the police, a doctor, or whoever is appropriate. My posts are not written specifically for wives in extreme situations like this.

Does God Really Have One Specific “Soul Mate” for You?

bride and groom holding hands

You know how the movies and books go, they often describe how a man and woman magically find each other out of all of the billions of people in the world, and they instantly know that they were destined for each other.

Sparks fly. Fireworks erupt. The world stands still.

They know that they are meant to be soul mates, and that they will complete each other and fulfill each other like no one else ever could. They just know they will be completely perfect for each other. Together, they will have unending bliss in this lifetime. They will feel totally in love every moment of every day. Infatuation will never end for them.

They won’t even have to work at nurturing the romance. It just magically happens without effort or problems.

A lot of us believe this idea.

But is this worldly idea of one perfect soulmate in all the world for each of us biblical?

There are four areas I want to address with this issue:

  1. Is there actually a person who can completely fulfill us, never disappoint us, give us total security, peace, joy, eternal happiness, and perfection?
  2. What kinds of fruit does the soul mate idea bear?
  3. What does the Bible say?
  4. What does the Bible not say?

The truth is, there is no perfect human

There is no completely flawless human soul mate who will never hurt us, always completely understand us like Hollywood portrays, and who can meet our deepest spiritual and emotional needs every second of every day forever.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23

If we try to put a man on the throne of our hearts like this, we are making him into an idol. The problem with idolatry is, it always destroys us and it always destroys the relationship we have with the person we idolize. (Another way of describing this kind of relationship would be “codependent.”)

  • It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps. 118:8
  • Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord… Jer. 17:5-6

Once we marry a man, that person is to be our spouse for life. We are to work on that relationship and nurture it out of love and honor for God and for the marriage covenant and our husband.

Marriage is a good gift. It is a blessing. God intends for each marriage to portray a living picture of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33).

But marriage is also hard. There are difficulties. This doesn’t mean we abandon our marriage covenant. Check out what the Bible says about divorce.

But there is a perfect God who can fulfill us

What we really need is Jesus. We need the perfect Creator of the universe, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of lords, the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Heavenly Bride Groom. He is the only one who can meet our deepest spiritual needs all the time. He is the only one who will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us.

If we have Him, we have the Greatest Treasure in all the universe!

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jer. 17:7-8
  • For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jer. 2:13
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matt. 22:36-40

In Him, we truly can have absolute security, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, and our identity.

The problem with the world’s soul mate idea

When we have a mindset that a person can take the place of all that only Jesus can do for us, when we depend on a human man to be our soul mate, this is what happens:

  • We marry a man we idolize, with all these unrealistic expectations and then realize that he is not perfect. Even if he is a strong Christian, he sins and stumbles at times. And we are shocked and appalled. We begin to resent him and disrespect him.
  • We assume that we married the wrong person and we need to divorce this guy and find our real soul mate so we can be happy. We are angry at God for allowing us to marry a man who is not the soul mate we wanted more than anything.
  • With the soul mate mindset, our primary hope is in a flawed human being, not in Christ.
  • Our goal is our own momentary happiness (which is one of the greatest idols in our culture) rather than holiness or exalting Jesus above all and seeking His glory above everything else.
  • The marriage covenant and God’s commands for us as believers and as spouses become secondary to our feelings and desire for Hollywood style romance.

I believe this kind of soul mate concept is very dangerous to our marriages.

In reality, any Christian man we marry is not going to be perfect. And any Christian woman a man marries is flawed, as well. That includes us! We will have plenty of opportunities to give and receive grace, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love and respect. We all have a steep learning curve in marriage. And we all need the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit to build a strong, godly marriage.

What should happen when we realize our spouse is not perfect, is—it should remind us that only Jesus can truly meet our every spiritual need. And it should remind us of our own sin and how much we are completely dependent on Christ because on our own, none of us have any good in us. And it should also make us remember that the only one we can completely trust to be faithful all the time is Jesus.

What does the Bible say?

Is there only one man for you out there? One specific man that you have to find among the billions of others?

  • Well, for Adam and Eve, there was definitely only one potential spouse for them. It was pretty obvious who God’s will was for them to marry!
  • And for Eleazer, who was looking for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, he did pray for God to show him the wife He wanted for Isaac and God answered his prayer. (Although, Rebecca was certainly not perfect.) We can certainly pray for God to lead us to a godly spouse.

But for us as followers of Christ, what are the qualifications we need to have for choosing a spouse?

  • A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 1 Cor. 7:39
  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? I Cor. 6:14

So really, the main thing is, we are to choose someone who is committed to living for Jesus. The rest is pretty much up to us.

In biblical times, most marriages were arranged. Sometimes the spouses didn’t even meet before the wedding. Or they were betrothed from infancy. There was no dating like we know in our culture.

Of course, for those who are already married to an unbeliever, God’s will is for them to stay with that spouse if possible and seek to influence the other one for Christ.

What does the Bible not say?

There are no verses that say things like:

  • Seek the one true love that God has for you among all of the other people in the world. Don’t marry anyone but him. If you marry some other Christian man, you are doomed to misery forever.
  • There is only one man for you that is perfect for you. Pray for God to help you find him. If you can’t find him, God can’t do anything of value with your life.
  • If you realize you married someone who is not perfect for you, divorce him and search the world for your real God-given soul mate so that you can be happy.

God’s will is for us, as Christian women, is for us to remain single and completely devoted to Christ or for us to marry a believing husband and remain completely devoted to Christ and faithful to our marriage covenant.

Did you know that we will not be married to our human husbands in heaven? Marriage is temporary for this lifetime. In heaven, all of the members of the Body of Christ make up the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bride Groom. We will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb together and be one in Spirit eternally together with Jesus. Earthly marriage is just a temporary picture that foreshadows heaven.

Again, only Jesus can promise happily ever after in heaven. There is no 100% happily ever after on earth. In fact, Scripture promises that on earth, and in earthly marriage, there will be trials.

  • those who marry will face many troubles in this life, 1 Cor. 6:28

But here is our hope in Jesus:

  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

FOR A HEALTHIER WAY TO VIEW THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES, please check out this post by www.gotquestions.org.

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How has the soul mate concept impacted you? Has it been helpful or hurtful? What scriptural support do you find for your beliefs on this issue?

(If you can’t see the comment space below, click on the title at the top of the post and then scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

Much love! <3

RELATED

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I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband an Idol – Guest Post

How to Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him

Is Your Spouse Responsible for Your Happiness?

The Idol of Happiness

Oneness in Marriage (overcoming codependency)

Closeness in Marriage Is Not What I Expected – by A Fellow Wife (also about overcoming codependency)

Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

open double door

Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.

As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.

He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.

In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:

  • We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
  • We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.

We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.

Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.

This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.

  1. Get rid of the spiritual poison.
  2. Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

Demonic Possession

Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

  • Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
  • Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
  • Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
  • And other things, as well.

Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.

But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.

Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.

But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.

We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.

Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.

Demonic Oppression

Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:

  • Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
  • Intense fear.
  • A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
  • Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
  • Physical illness, at times.
  • No appetite for God or His Word.
  • Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
  • Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
  • Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
  • Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.

Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.

All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.

We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.

  • Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
  • Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
  • Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
  • Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
  • Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.

We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.

But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

  • The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
  • Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
  • Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
  • Playing with temptation.
  • Fascination with demons.
  • Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
  • Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
  • Isolating ourselves from other believers.
  • Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
  • Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
  • Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
  • Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).

Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.

Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

  • Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
  • Yielding my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
  • Speaking the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
  • Singing praise songs to Jesus.
  • Thinking about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
  • Resisting Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
  • Praying for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
  • Other believers praying for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
  • Getting rid of any lies and replacing them and rebuilding our lives on God’s truth
  • Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)

Freedom in Christ

The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.

When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.

They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.

When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.

I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.

Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.

Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.

The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.

We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.

We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.

We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

Radiant’s story of spiritual oppression due to believing demonic lies that resulted in severe illness, to the point of being almost an invalid.

Radiant’s story of the spiritual healing that is available to each of us in Jesus.

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life

If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.

What If Your Husband Doesn’t Care about Your Feelings?

sad man standing by window

Recently, we talked about 6 Scenarios Where We May Need to Break Contact with Others. Then we talked about “What If You Want Your Husband to Cut Ties with Someone?” I shared ways that wives can influence their husbands respectfully if we feel our husbands are involved with someone who may be toxic.

Generally, wives can simply, politely, vulnerably share their concerns with their husbands:

  • I’m concerned about this.
  • I don’t feel comfortable with that.
  • I have a bad feeling about this woman.
  • I’d appreciate it if you try to avoid contact with this person out of respect for our marriage and me.
  • I’d rather our children not be around him because I don’t trust him.

Where things get really dicey is when a husband doesn’t seem to care about his wife’s feelings.

There are several possible scenarios:

1. He may actually care but you may not see it.

2. He may actually care but he may not be showing it.

  • He may not feel safe emotionally with you.
  • He may be hurting too much in the marriage to be able to focus on your pain, feelings, or concerns.
  • He may be feeling really disrespected which makes him feel unloved and demoralized. He may be reacting to his perception of your attitude toward him. He may not realize that you don’t understand that his masculine need for respect is just as strong as your feminine need for love. He may find it impossible to believe that you don’t know what feels disrespectful to him.
  • He may be sick, tired, stressed, irritable, or grumpy so he may act like he doesn’t care. But this is not truly how he means and wants to act. His flesh may be weak and he may be struggling to act like the man he wants to be.
  • He may feel that “he can’t win” no matter what he does. If he tries really hard to please you, and you are still usually upset or critical, he may decide it’s just impossible to try to make you happy.

3. He may not be capable of caring right now.

  • He may be so spiritually wounded (or spiritually dead – meaning he doesn’t have a saving relationship with Christ) that he is not capable of loving and caring as he should, even if he wants to.
  • He may have a mental/spiritual illness like depression, anxiety, or there may be spiritual warfare going on.
  • He may be addicted to something and it may be the addiction running his life, not the real man you know.
  • He may be crushed under the weight of shame due to wrong thinking, fear of failure, or a sin that he is struggling to overcome.
  • He may be crushed under the toxic messages of our culture. He may feel that he is evil just for being a man. That he doesn’t matter. That he has no voice. He may not understand God’s beautiful and good purposes for him and for masculinity.

4. He may have chosen not to care.

  • There may be significant sin in his life, and/or severe emotional/spiritual pain that may entice him to purposely choose not to care about your feelings. He may be acting in the worst part of his sinful nature. He may believe the voice of the enemy.
  • He may have tried and tried to show love and has burned out. Perhaps he has come to a breaking point where he feels things are hopeless. A switch flipped and now, he doesn’t want to be who he was anymore. He has decided he is “done.”

The best approach for you to take depends on the root cause of the problem.

If your husband really does care but you don’t see it, he may be very frustrated that he can’t open your eyes to see his love for you. He may have tried everything he knows to do to reach you, but he can’t give you the spiritual awakening you need.

The amazing thing is – God CAN do this for you! If you are willing, God can and will absolutely heal your mind and soul.

If your husband doesn’t feel safe with you, thinks things are hopeless or he is not doing very well, himself, your feelings may not be at the top of his priority list.

His own pain may be the only thing he can see right now.

In fact, your words may actually repel your husband from you and from the Lord, especially if he feels you are trying to control him, mother him, nag at him, preach at him, or look down on him.

In the next post

I plan to share how you can approach your husband depending on which category y’all are in from this post.

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What general principles have you learned about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives here?

Let’s not get into the details of a husband’s sin in a public forum like this out of respect for the Lord, our husbands, and our marriages, please. But let’s definitely encourage each other with stories of God’s provision, wisdom, and the power of prayer. <3

Do you need prayer, encouragement, or more resources? Please let us know!

If you need private counseling:

RELATED

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ Jesus

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved

What Speaks Disrespect to Husbands?

How Do You Respect Your Husband without Idolizing Him?

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

To Speak or Not to Speak?

My Husband Doesn’t Spend Enough Time with Me

My Husband Doesn’t Speak My Love Language

Why Is My Husband So Skeptical of the Changes I Am Making?

Influencing an Unbelieving Husband (or One Who Is Far from God) for Christ

When Your Husband Says, “I’m Done.”

Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness

BOOKS

For Women Only – by Shaunti Feldhahn – to help you better understand how men think.

The Peaceful Wife – by April Cassidy

A Wife Begins a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words

I am so thankful to this precious sister in Christ who has allowed me to share some of what God has been doing in her life and heart. It’s a blessing to get to hear from wives in every stage of this journey. Perhaps you may want to join her with this amazing idea? In fact, this would be a WONDERFUL Valentine’s gift to your husband!
Remember – the goal is not to change to get your husband to change, but to allow God to transform you! Check out this wife’s journal and observations for the first 10 days or so of her journey:
———
I have been reading your blog posts and realizing some things. I actually have even started a corporate fast (for 21 days) with my church but instead of food…
I have decided to fast from the following:
It has been 3 days of doing none of this to my husband and it has been HARD but I told myself if I mess up the fast I do not get my morning coffee (which is my favorite and the first thing I thought to fast). None-the-less I actually already notice a change in him a bit. His demeanor has actually been quite different like even after just a few days of this. I do have to say I am shocked. I always realize probably 80% of the things I say to my husband involve the above. But I think I am on the right track?
DAY 4
Sometimes I feel so empowered and close to God and then other times I feel like so low and dumb like why do I have to change and he doesn’t but I understand fully that is not the right mindset. It’s just hard.
My husband is cuddling me a lot more lately though.
DAY 5
He is still sleeping now at noon (after staying out very late with friends – again). I am with my coffee and Bible and praying for God to get me through today. I know I can’t continue mothering him. I know he has to make his own choices. It just hurts. To him, it is no big deal at all. He works 50+ hours a week and provides well.
I can tell you this much. I am not even going to bring up the fact he came home late. I’ve done it a million times in the past and where did it get me? Nowhere!
Time to try something new.
This will be so hard and I will want to be sarcastic! In the past I’ve even taken stabs at his manhood bc he has chose staying out late with guys over his wife, what kinda man does that? I’d say… “a gay guy?” I’m sure that didn’t help. I really can be so mean to him but it’s because things hurt me.
Even though I am upset, I am determined to stick with this fast.
I want change in my heart and my husband’s, so I know something has to change. Maybe when he realizes I no longer bring it up and nag and complain he may actually be able to hear God say it’s wrong? Or hear his own thoughts on things? Like you were saying.
DAY 6
I began reading “The Surrendered Wife,” by Laura Doyle and gave the finances over to my husband as she instructed. (From Peaceful Wife – this book helped me in so many ways in my own journey, but there are some things that are not biblical that have to be filtered out.)
He didn’t take it well. I mean he didn’t say much but just, “Ok,” and ended up leaving without telling me bye. When I called him he just said he was a little confused and that he would talk to me about it later when he got home.
  1. I control everything.
  2. I monitor what he does and spends.
  3. It creates that mother/son type relationship I hate.
  4. I thought he’d be happy to give all that up but I’m thinking he probably just is looking at it like he now has more work.
Laura instructs to just simply say, “I know you’ll fine time, you’ll do much better than me,” and leave it at that but now I feel like I should explain to him since he seemed upset.
LATER THAT DAY
After he came home I continued to be my “new” self and he didn’t ask about it. He took me on a date and never brought it up. I just kept practicing receiving and being sweet. On the way home he did tell me a whole long story about why he spent so much money yesterday helping a friend. 😂 He probably thinks I was mad about that and decided to give him all the financial burden as a punishment. I do things like that. But I just said, “Oh, that was nice of you!”
Idk, I actually feel very far from my husband right now. It’s almost like he has a wall up. He may feel very confused or that I am very different but I thought it would draw him towards me but he seems very distant.
Some things I am praying for as I fast:
  • Radical change for me. Extreme peace in my heart, that come only from the Lord, relinquishing control and idolatry of my husband. Being peaceful and fun and not uptight, worried, mad, and stressed all the time.
  • Radical change in my husband. His walk with the Lord and how he hears him, radical change in how he sees and handles finances.
  • Passion and intimacy to be restored in our marriage.
I actually, right now, feel far from my husband but close with the Lord.
It’s interesting. I feel a peace from God since I haven’t been controlling. I thought it would be a lot harder, and maybe it will be at times,  but I am a goal setter and I set out to not complain, criticize, judge, or be sarcastic for 21 days and I’m sticking to it. Throw in releasing control and being feminine and I think my husband is very confused.
I wish I could just tell him what’s going on and ease his mind to try to draw him close to me. Because right now is almost seems I know something he doesn’t and we feel distant but I know that’s probably not the best.
I’ve been reading your posts and the 8  Powerful Keys to Peace have been amazing to learn. Will be reading more today as I spend my quiet time with God!
I know this will be a hard road. And won’t always be easy. I got to this point where I realized I was upset I even married my husband and was trying to almost justify a divorce. And I realized that was so wrong and unnecessary and I was willing to change if that’s what God wanted. I am ashamed I thought that way. Especially after being able to, for the first time in a long time, see glimpses of what a good man my husband is and can be. (And I do mean only mere glimpses) but still they are there. And I’m taking this as God opening my eyes. And changing what I see.
DAY 7
I am really desiring intimacy, and even though I’m changing and being much better, it’s just still not there. But I am trying to remember, like you said, it’s been years of disrespect so he may not come around (quickly).
Also, this is strange, but as I’ve been spending more time with God on this subject of me as a wife it’s almost as if all these past incidents are being brought my mind, times when, at the time I saw myself as completely justified and mistreated and now I’m seeing myself as an ugly beast. Ways I’ve treated my husband in the past, and hateful things I’ve said.
Gosh, this is so embarrassing and I feel deeply like I want to cry and repent to him but I’m afraid to do because I’m not even sure myself if I’ve changed 100% and I don’t want to risk saying sorry and then doing something so disrespectful and harming again.
I feel as if I’ve truly harmed my marriage. And destroyed intimacy.
I haven’t apologized yet! I am just sticking to my fast and trying to hear from the Lord.
My husband has been in our bedroom all night with the door closed playing video games. I do know he had a hard day at work. He works outside and was very cold today. I had a homemade dinner waiting for him.
Before he went up to play he:
  1. Hugged me and kissed me and squeezed me.
  2. Fixed up the TV for me so I could watch a show I wanted to watch.
  3. And smiled at me.
I was super thankful!
That’s great and I didn’t complain about him saying he was going to go play for a little but I feel myself feeling all that aggression toward him again for choosing things over me. For not pursuing me sexually or wanting to spend time with me instead of video games.
10 STEPS BACKWARDS
To be honest, I completely messed up last night. My husband came home and cuddled me for like 2 hours, while he watched a movie. He did cuddle me, but I didn’t go for it. The whole time all I was thinking was I just want to get up and do something. I’m so annoyed this is every night he just wants to sit here and watch TV.
Finally, I brought this all up. I told him he’s never romantic. It was like word vomit and after almost 2 weeks of being respectful, I caved. He seemed mortified and told me I don’t want real life. Real life is him coming home from a long day and cuddling me when I want. Candles and flowers – that’s just not real. I get it but every now and then? He said he was sick of always feeling like he’s doing something wrong.
A BIG SURPRISE A FEW DAYS LATER
I decided to not say anything about the night before! Though he slept in, I got up and cleaned, had some Bible time and to be honest really felt some anger brewing in my heart. He hasn’t been seeking God the way I wish he would be. And then seeing him stay up late once again for something silly like video games was getting to me. I didn’t feel like even being near him.
THEN I started a gratitude journal. I wrote down all the things recently he’s done that’s made me happy, proud or impressed me:
  • He asked me to pray for his desire to read his bible.
  • He fixed our car when it was broke down.
  • He recently bought a book about prayer.
  • He’s been working so hard at work.
  • He’s been taking over the finances better than I ever thought he would!
After this, I felt a desire to go lay with him in bed. His sleepy eyes saw me and the first thing I did was SMILE. He smiled back, and I was so shocked by this but he immediately started kissing me and making love to me.
It had been about 3 weeks.
I think he is attracted to my quietness, my not having an opinion about EVERYTHING. My smile.
I wasn’t even thinking about sex at all and he made it happen! I was taken back but thankful for my time of being thankful because it completely changed my mindset!
(From Peaceful Wife – Our husbands are much more attracted to us when we act soft, gentle, feminine, and peaceful than if we throw verbal knives at them!)

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If you would like to share some of your journey and things you have learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it!

Or, if this wife’s story has encouraged you to try something similar, we’d love to hear about your plans, as well.

Note – I will be responding to the comments (Peaceful Wife), not the author. Thanks! <3

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (my book that outlines how to start this journey)

Stages of This Journey

Apologizing Stories – why some wives apologize immediately, and some wait until later

Why It May Be Wise to Keep This Journey Secret at First

Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Try to Change?

Respect, Biblical Submission, and Intimacy  – Yes! There is a connection!
Let’s Talk about Sex! (a link to all my posts about sex)

Contentment on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up, ladies! With all the pressure and expectations that come along with it.
Sometimes, we may be tempted to judge our husband’s love for us or the strength of our marriage based on if we get just the right gift. Special, costly gifts and things our husbands give us can be fun. But let’s remember that our relationship, marriage, motives, and how we treat our husbands are far more important than exactly how we celebrate on one day.

Appreciating Our Own Husbands

Our husbands show love in many ways that advertisers never portray. Everyday kinds of ways. And sometimes, heroic kinds of ways. These gestures of love are important! Probably more important, in the light of eternity, than whether they pick just the right card that we would like or whether they give us a new diamond necklace.
I’m so glad our worth as women doesn’t have to all hang on this one day!
Our worth comes from Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice for us. Anything else is icing on the cake! Each husband has his own strengths, talents, and ways of showing love.
Thankfully, we can learn to receive love in the ways they give love.
It is amazing how much more loved we feel when we learn to see and appreciate what our men do to try to show us love. Even if it is not our favorite way of receiving love. We might discover, their ways are pretty amazing, too. They do things for us all throughout the year. Think about the kind things your particular husband does for you – and write them down.
Consciously choose to be thankful for the man you have.
In Christ, we don’t have to measure our husband’s love by whether they meet all of the standards of advertisers on TV and billboards for this day. We can be free from worldly expectations and dictates. We can choose to love, appreciate, respect, and honor our men for the ways they show love to us every day of the year. We don’t have to compare them to anyone else – real or fictional.
We get to decide whether we will set the emotional thermostat in our marriages to warm and inviting or cold and resentful. We can also learn to give love to our men in the ways that are meaningful to them.

The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude

We can approach this day with a grateful heart and contentment.

Instead of focusing on ourselves or on our culture’s very rigid expectations for this day, I’d love to see us take some pressure off of our husbands – and ourselves. Sure, we can sweetly ask for things we would enjoy. (With a pleasant tone of voice and a smile):
  • Babe, I would really love to do X.
  • Honey, I would like a box of X chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
Let’s also ask our husbands what would be special to them. If we choose to celebrate this day, let’s make it about appreciating our unique marriage in our own unique way as a couple. Why let some strangers we don’t even know – who will financially benefit if we do what they want us to do – put demands on us or our men? And why allow some marketing executives to get us to resent our guys if they find their marketing plan unpalatable? 
 
The Most Important Ability Is Flexibility
This is my Sunday School teacher’s favorite saying. And it is so true! So if someone gets sick with the flu or finances are tight and doing something elaborate is not possible, we can be flexible. This is life sometimes. We can roll with it. God can give us the power! We don’t have to freak out or get upset. We can enjoy:
  • A homemade meal or take out at home together on the couch.
  • Making our husband’s favorite dish or dessert. Just to bless him.
  • Snuggling on the couch together.
  • Thanking our men for all they do for us and our families.
  • Sharing a few reasons we admire them.
  • Doing something fun with the kids.
  • Making homemade decorations for the supper table with the kids.
  • Taking cookies to a single mom, a pregnancy crisis center, or an elderly widow/widower.
  • A walk through the neighborhood.
  • A relaxing bath together after the kids go to bed.
  • Some time together another day if schedules don’t work out on the 14th.

Contentment IS Possible!

Paul is such an incredible example of contentment for us to follow. He was able to be content in Christ in the midst of violent persecution for his faith, imprisonment, suffering, illness, injuries, and all kinds of trials (Phil. 4:11-12). Surely, because we have the same power of Jesus in us, we can be content no matter what may happen on Valentine’s Day.
Look at the standard of contentment God has for us:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8
God calls us to be content with godliness, food for the day, and clothing for the day. Wow. That is very different from the messages we receive in our culture. But it is extremely freeing!
We can respond graciously and with respect and self-control even if things don’t go the way we would really like on Valentine’s Day. We can bring joy and delight to our husbands by being understanding, patient, peaceful, joyful, considerate, and thankful for them.
With an attitude like this, we are bound to savor Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Much love!
 
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What secrets have you found to approaching Valentine’s Day in a way that is a blessing to your husband, your family, and yourself? We’d love to hear about it!
 
RELATED
Let’s Talk about Sex – links to every post I have on this subject
BOOKS

How Wrong Praying Destroyed My Faith in God – By Nikki

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

Today’s post is a guest post by a precious sister in Christ, Nikki. She is from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I’m so thankful for her willingness to share a bit of her story. I believe it may be a blessing to many other women:

I’m sharing with you an account of how I completely lost my faith in God by praying for my family. I was facing some severe family problems and began to pray in earnest.

Old Approach to Prayer

Below is list of the advice I followed during that period of my life:

  • I sprinkled my entire house and all of my possessions with holy water and blessed salt.
  • I said dozens of novenas (Note: a novena is a Catholic tradition of saying a prayer every day for 9 days). I bought a book of novena prayers and each one said at the bottom “This is a very powerful novena that has never been known to fail.” I said novena after novena expecting and hoping for some change and things only got worse and worse.
  • I was told to buy a particular type of cross and get it blessed by a particular monk and place it over the front door of my home.
  • I went to church more than once a week, expecting that God would be obligated to obey me because of that.

Bad Advice

Everyone I went to for advice suggested a different prayer or ritual. No one advised me to check my own heart and clear it of any pride, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness or idols. The more I prayed and performed these gimmicks, the worse things in my family got and I ended up completely heartbroken, bitter and angry at God. I hated God and wanted nothing to do with him for almost 10 years…until I had a stranger approach me on a beach and led me to pray and give my life to Christ.

When I started to rebuild my relationship with Christ, I prayed for my family very hesitantly and with a lot of fear. I was terrified of getting my heart broken again. I wanted more than anything to preserve my relationship with God first and foremost, regardless of how other aspects of my life were going.

Losing your faith in God through following gimmicks is not isolated among Catholics. I know many Protestants who lost their faith in God through gimmicks like sending “seed money” to particular TV-evangelists or pastor, by “naming and claiming” things that they want, or by writing down a list of the things that they want and putting it in the centre of their Bibles.

Red Flags for Prayer

Because of my horrific experience, I would like you all to be aware of these red flags that you may be praying in the wrong way:

  • Do you want your prayer request more than you want God? If you do, that is idolatry. Your idols will always destroy you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. So please work daily to identify any idols in your heart and tear them down. Don’t even allow your husband or children to be on the throne of your heart. Set Jesus alone on the throne of your heart.
  • Do you trust the words of the prayer itself or the rituals you are participating in more than you trust God? No prayer is powerful and fail-proof. Only God is powerful. No prayer should be trusted. Only God deserves your trust. Keep that in mind when you are praying. (From Peaceful Wife, we pray to have communication with the Lord and to present our needs and requests before Him. Prayers should not be looked upon as “spells.”)
  • Are you hanging on to any anger, unforgiveness, revenge or hatred? God is more concerned with the condition of your heart than whatever prayer you are saying. He will not answer our prayers if we are harbouring sinful anger and hatred in our hearts. (Ps. 66:18)
  • Are you ignoring your God-given role? Husbands are advised to fulfil their role to love their wives so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Similarly, children should fulfill their role to honour their parents and married women should fulfill their role to respect their husbands so that nothing can hinder their prayers.
  • Are you attempting to manipulate or force God to do what you are asking Him to do? God is not a genie in a bottle who submits to us. We are meant to submit to Him. If we treat God like some sort of cosmic Genie and think that if we do/say the “right words,” He will be forced to obey us and give us what we want, we are praying with very sinful motives.
  • Are you praying for others in an attempt to control them or force them to change their ways to suit you? God does not allow us to have ultimate control and authority over anyone. Only He is sovereign. (From Peaceful Wife – even He doesn’t force people to obey Him, but gives people free will.)

Green Flags for Prayer

I have learned a lot about prayer and God over the past few years and I would like to share with you some green flags that prove that you are praying in the right way:

If we pray in this way, we will be standing on the Solid Rock and we will have hope and joy even in the midst of great trials, whether God gives us what we want or not.

Trusting God in Trials

Right now, I am facing trials of many kinds, but rather than sinking into a pit of despair, hopelessness, and heartache, I am at peace and growing in my faith because I know that God loves me and is in charge of everything.

I actually focus 95% of my time with God on reading the Bible and discovering the truth and beauty of God’s Word and only about 5% of my time praying for specific outcomes for myself, my marriage and my family. My primary focus is on loving Jesus and building my relationship with Him, and not on my circumstances.

Habukkuk 3:17–19 sums up what our attitude should be:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

 

I’m sure that Habukkuk would have wanted the fig trees to bud, the fields to produce ample food, and many strong, healthy animals in his land. He didn’t have any of those things, but his love for God lifted his spirits, gave him strength, and filled him with joy.

Praying with Humility:

And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.” Luke 7:6-7

I hope that you can all learn from my story of misplaced hope and my discovery of what prayer is really about. I really would love all of us to have great relationships with Christ and rejoice together in heaven, which will be the ultimate prayer-fest!

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Can you relate to Nikki’s story? What were some approaches you have used with prayer in the past that were unhealthy? What wisdom has God given you about prayer as you have grown in your faith in Christ?

Note – We will use the comments on this post to discuss praying to God rather than debating various theological differences between Christian denominations. Christ prayed in John 17:21 that all Christians will be one and that is what this blog strives to foster. Thanks for understanding!

RELATED
Posts about idolatry

Posts about prayer

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

 

Killing Bitterness

Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

I have quite a few posts on bitterness – but it has been awhile since I talked about this critical topic. So let’s do a refresher together! We can’t possibly have God’s supernatural peace if we cling to bitterness. It is God’s will that all of His children be completely free from this snare.

Bitterness is one of the most toxic of all spiritual poisons.

Definition of Bitterness – from www.gotquestions.org:

Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility toward others… Bitterness refers to a mental or emotional state that corrodes or “eats away at.” Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief or anything that acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind that willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment.

Bitterness can be held against anyone – other people, God, or ourselves. All of it is toxic.

What Does Bitterness Do?

Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hatred open the door of our hearts to the enemy. They give him a “foothold.” Once I leave the door cracked for him long enough, he can eventually get into my heart and mind and set up a spiritual base camp. Then he can attack me and those around me through my thoughts, my words, and my actions as I succumb to the temptation of hatred.

One person’s bitterness can end up becoming contagious and may “defile many.” Bitterness spreads like gangrene in a family, a church, a community, or even across an entire nation.

Bitterness leads to greater and greater sin. When it goes unchecked, it eventually leads to hatred, malice, threats, violence, and even suicide/murder.

Bitterness destroys our fellowship with God, our fellowship with other people, and our witness for Christ. Our bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit and repels other people. It is prickly and unpleasant to be around.

Our bitterness teaches our children to be bitter, as well. Our children learn from our example and our own root of bitterness begins to grow in their hearts. They learn very unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of relating to people and will learn our destructive approach.

  • “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26-27
  • See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Heb. 12:15
  • For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

Killing Bitterness:

Let’s talk about how to tear out every “root of bitterness” in our hearts so that it does not destroy us.

  1. We must identify every bitter thought we have in our minds and hearts. I suggest writing them all down whenever you notice you are feeling resentful. Try to take a block of time and come up with every single angry, bitter, resentful, unforgiving thought you can find in your thinking. We can’t tear things out until we know what all of the bitter roots are. I would love to try to get through this part of the process fairly quickly. Dwelling on bitter thoughts for very long is not going to be healthy.
  2. We must test our thoughts. I can’t just accept every thought I have. Sometimes my anger has a correct basis and other times the basis of my anger is faulty.
    • Has there simply been a misunderstanding?
    • Could my thinking be skewed, sinful, and/or unbiblical?
      • Is it possible that the reason for my bitterness and resentment stems from unbiblical thinking on my part? Am I upset with someone because I feel they expect something of me that they shouldn’t, but it actually is a biblical expectation they have of me?
        • Am I idolizing this person? Is it possible that I am expecting him/her to meet needs in my life that truly only Jesus can meet?
        • Do I expect my husband to be responsible for my happiness?
        • Am I idolizing my happiness?
        • Am I justifying sin in my own heart because I am in pain?
        • Have I been deceived by ungodly thinking from my culture?
          • Maybe I feel really angry with my husband simply because he is a man and many women hate all men today. Is that a reasonable cause for me to be bitter?
          • Maybe I believe subconsciously that women are superior to men and that is why I feel resentful toward my husband?
          • Maybe I have been wrongly taught that the Bible teaches that women are inferior to men and that is why I feel bitter toward God or toward my husband.
          • Maybe I don’t think God’s promises are for me or I don’t feel like God is close to me, and I feel bitter because I don’t know who God really is and what is true, sound doctrine?
        • Am I taking responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual wellbeing?
        • Am I in right standing with the Lord, myself? Have I allowed God to help me examine my own spiritual eyes to see if there is a beam there (Matt. 7:1-5)?
      • If something like this is the real issue, then I need to take the time to correct my skewed thinking or address my own sinful thoughts (There is an entire chapter on this subject in “The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation on Christ As Lord” that is available on Amazon, Christian Book, and Barnes and Noble online. The whole first half of the book would be helpful for any believing woman in Christ, even those who are not moms.)
    • Do I have righteous or unrighteous anger?
      • Was I genuinely sinned against by someone?
      • Where are my motives now? Are they righteous or unrighteous?
      • If my anger is righteous, what does God desire me to do with it? How can I honor Him?
      • If my anger is unrighteous, am I willing to repent to the Lord, and possibly to the other person if appropriate?
      • I can remember that I don’t have to trust someone if they are not trustworthy. Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Forgiveness is an unconditional command the Lord gives all believers but trust of another person is conditional and broken trust must be rebuilt.
  3. Wherever we have sinned, we repent to the Lord and to others.
  4. If we have been sinned against, we decide to give the situation to the Lord and seek to honor His wisdom and His way of handling things.
    • If someone has truly sinned against me, I can acknowledge that what the person did was wrong and was not okay. I can acknowledge my pain and God’s pain. I can agree with God that what that person did was sin and that it needs to be paid for. I can understand that there will be justice in the end – either Jesus’ blood will adequately cover that sin when that person repents or that person will pay for that sin forever in hell, according to God’s Word. And I can desire to see that person repent and be in right relationship with God and with me.
    • God says that vengeance belongs to Him. He will repay. I can acknowledge that ultimately, all sin is against God. And I can accept that it is God’s place to take vengeance and to exact justice on other people.  (Rom. 12:19)
    • If someone has committed a crime against me, I need to report it to the proper authorities. We have God-given authorities in the government, the police, at church, at work, etc… to help protect people from being mistreated and abused. I can let go of bitterness and forgive someone for rape, murder, stealing, etc… in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the police still need to know about it and that person needs to face appropriate earthly consequences.
    • God gives us a specific framework for handling conflict within the Body of Christ. We should approach someone else’s sin/hurtful actions against us in the way that God prescribes.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me to forgive this person who hurt me. Not because they deserve forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness. But I forgive because I want to obey God and continue to be in right relationship with Him.
    • I can respectfully ask for what I need and for the person to stop sinning against me. I can respect myself properly in God’s eyes – but I can do this without sinning against the person who hurt me.
    • I may have to put up appropriate boundaries if a person refuses to stop sinning against me, in accordance with God’s Word and as I follow the leading of the Spirit. But I can be free from any grudges, bitterness, or resentment as I choose to live in the Spirit.
  5. We replace the bitter thoughts with God’s love, God’s perspective, kindness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s wisdom.
    • I can ask God to cleanse me of every sin in my own life and then invite His Spirit to fill me completely and to empower me to approach this difficult person and situation in His ability not in my sinful flesh.
    • I can pray and invite God to do something amazing in that person’s life for God’s glory.
    • I can pray for God’s healing in me and for God to use this painful trial to help me grow spiritually and to bring honor to the Lord in my life.
    • I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and refuse to think bitter, evil thoughts.
    • I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things in my life.
    • I can count my trial as joy.
    • I can seek to have God’s eternal perspective.
    • I can write down kind thoughts and prayers of blessing over the person who sinned against me and plead for God to reach their souls and to rescue them from the enemy and to heal them. (Isa. 61:1Luke 6:28, Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can ask God what good things He may desire me to do in response to the evil so that I can overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
    • I can remember that people are not my real enemies. My real enemies are spiritual enemies and this is ultimately a spiritual battle for which I must use the spiritual weapons God gives me.(Eph. 6:10-17)
    • Dealing with a Broken Relationship (YouTube video about how to think and pray for someone who has broken fellowship with you and you want to see reconciliation.)

NOTE – If you are dealing with an abusive relationship and you or your children are not safe, please seek appropriate, experienced, godly help in person ASAP.

Lord,

We need Your help to get rid of our bitterness. It is Your will that we be completely free from all sin, including this one. Shine Your Light on our hearts, help us to open up the darkest parts to You. Help us to identify and tear out every thought that is lifting itself up against the knowledge of Christ in our hearts! Help us to use the spiritual weapons and truth You give us to be set free from all bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness so that we can grow like crazy in our faith and love for You. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to allow Jesus to live in and through us and to be glorified in our thinking, our motives, our words, and our actions.

Amen!

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How has God helped you to get rid of bitterness? You are welcome to send me a response on my Contact Page if you have something you think might be helpful in a post for our sisters.

 

Verses about Getting Rid of Bitterness

  • Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Col. 3:8
  • Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Col. 3:13
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
  • Verses about bitterness
  • Verses about anger
  • Verses about forgiveness

What Does the Bible Say about Bitterness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Revenge? by www.gotquestions.org

Righteous VS Unrighteous Anger

Posts about Forgiveness  from my blog

Respect, Submission, Forgiveness, and Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video to clarify each of these concepts and to clarify confusion

To Trust or Not to Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage through Your Thought Life

Posts about Dealing with Conflict – from my blog

Do You Struggle with Vanity? Take the Quiz!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Vanity is an issue we all must address as followers of Christ, especially in our culture today. But before we can really assess properly whether we have an issue with vanity, we need to have a good definition of what vanity is. Here is the biblical definition according to www.biblestudytools.com:

Vanity is defined as excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements. The biblical usage describes vanity as having no ultimate meaning… Vanity is recognizing only the accomplishments or appearance of oneself without the humility to appreciate the merit of others, including God. If faith is allowed to focus on God, rather, true meaning and joy are to be found. Learn more from our list of Bible verses about vanity!

The world constantly bombards us, as women, with messages about our external appearance being of greatest importance – so that is going to be my primary focus in this post. We see commercials for cosmetics, hair dye, clothing, jewelry, toiletries, surgical procedures, gym memberships, exercise equipment, shape wear, and lingerie that all communicate the message that our physical attractiveness is a measure of our worth as women.

It can get a bit confusing, because we obviously do have to wear clothes, fix our hair, and try to look like respectable members of society. We don’t want to be sloppy, or careless with our appearance for work. We want to look lovely for our husbands. We want to be clean, well-groomed, and properly dressed. We need to take good care of our bodies and our health. But the problem is that we can take things too far – to the point that we are actually sinning and may not even realize it.

Clothes, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles aren’t the real issue. The issue God is most concerned with is our hearts and our attitudes. He wants to help us examine our priorities and set us free from any toxic thinking that would be harmful to us.

How can we tell if we struggle with vanity?

VANITY QUIZ:

  1. Do I feel I must wear the most fashionable clothing or I am somehow “less than”?
  2. Do I feel ashamed, afraid, “naked,” or insecure to leave the house without makeup/nails done?
  3. Do I hate myself if I am not a specific dress size?
  4. Do I depend on people’s compliments and approval of my looks for a sense of wellbeing?
  5. Do I tend to spend inordinate amounts of time on grooming and getting ready in the morning?
  6. Do I choose clothing that will cause people (other than my husband) to pay attention to my figure and to notice my curves and beauty?
  7. Am I willing to sacrifice significant amounts of time/money/energy to have a specific figure, face, hair, or beauty – even if my husband thinks it is unnecessary?
  8. Do I feel pressured by my husband to look a certain way and do I fear that if I am not beautiful enough, he might leave?
  9. Do I compare myself a lot to how other women look and rate myself and them against some subconscious “perfect worldly standard”?
  10. Do I feel better about myself if I think I am the most beautiful woman at a gathering?
  11. Do I feel jealous and resentful if I think another woman in the room is more beautiful than I am?
  12. Do I try to get the attention of men by my appearance, my figure, or flirting, in order to be sure “I still have ”it'”?
  13. Am I willing to do anything to try to keep my husband’s attention and attraction? Even if it involves a lot of money, dishonesty, addictions, or sin?
  14. Do I have a food/exercise addiction (or anorexia/bulimia)?
  15. Is it impossible for me to feel confident in myself, my identity, and my femininity if I don’t look a certain way?
  16. Do I think I am unloveable or worthless if I don’t meet some specific measure of physical beauty?
  17. Do I overspend and break our family’s budget in order to look as good as possible, even if it means the family suffers or my husband is disappointed in our financial situation?
  18. Do I become irrationally jealous if I think my husband notices that there are women in the world who could be more beautiful than I am?

If we can answer yes to any of these questions above, we probably have an issue with vanity.  Vanity or beauty can become our idols. This means that we try to find our worth, value, content, identity, purpose, and security in our looks, our appearance, and in externals rather than in Jesus. The problem is, these things are empty and fleeting. They are not eternal sources of worth. They are deceptive.

What is the difference between vanity and simply being a good steward of our bodies?

It’s not a sin to doll ourselves up for our husbands sometimes. It’s not wrong to dress nicely, although Scripture encourages us not to dress too extravagantly. It’s not wrong to brush our hair and make it look pretty. The real question is our motive. What is on the throne of our hearts? Is it Jesus alone, or is some other desire competing with being the most important thing to us?

Is my greatest goal to bring glory to myself or glory to the Lord?

What is the opposite of vanity?

The opposite of vanity is modesty. My favorite definition of modesty is:

Modesty is humility in clothing.

What does the Bible say about modesty?

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4
  • For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

The goal of modesty is to exalt the Lord in every area of my life.

If I choose to live modestly:

  1. I choose to take the spotlight off of myself – my face, my hair, my body, my clothes, and my jewelry.
  2. I no longer depend on expensive, extravagant attempts at outward beauty to feel like a beautiful woman. I don’t want anything to distract people from Christ.
  3. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to my brothers in Christ – or to my sisters – by the way I dress and present myself.
  4. I seek to look respectable and feminine in a way that causes people to focus on the Spirit of God radiating from my life.
  5. I don’t seek to be the most beautiful woman in the room or on the planet.
  6. I treat my body with respect and honor because I reverence my Lord, Jesus Christ and I want to honor and glorify Him more than anything.
  7. My goal is to be a godly steward of my body rather than flaunting my body or finding security in my looks.
  8. I want to point the attention toward Him and away from me.
  9. I find my worth, identity, purpose, value, and security in His love for me and what He did for me on the cross.
  10. I can be secure in my identity and value as a woman even if I don’t have on makeup, I am not in fancy clothes, and even if my hair is not fixed in a glamorous way.
  11. I am free from the snare of people pleasing.
  12. I don’t try to grab everyone’s attention for myself.
  13. I focus on Jesus and on sharing His love and truth with others and I want to see others find the abundant life of Christ.
  14. I don’t compare myself to other women.
  15. I seek to be beautiful in God’s eyes in my inner self more than seeking outer beauty.
  16. I seek to honor my husband if there are certain things he appreciates me doing – like having a certain hair length (if possible), or dressing up sometimes, or taking good care of my body with healthy diet/exercise. But this is simply just to be a blessing to him, it is not because I look to his approval for my worth and identity.
  17. I know who I am in Christ and I cling to what He says about me.
  18. My eyes are fixed on the eternal rather than the temporary.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

As I live in modesty and yield my heart completely to the Lordship of Christ, I find my security, identity, purpose, and lovability in Jesus alone.

NOTE – Exactly how we choose to dress, how we do our hair, and whether we decide to wear makeup or not are issues that I believe fall under “personal convictions.” Those things are personal between each believer and the Lord. Romans 14 admonishes believers to keep matters of personal conviction private so that we do not create stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. My concern is our hearts and that we would seek to honor the Lord above all else just because we love Him and want to please Him more than anything.

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Has God given you a breakthrough in this area concerning motives that you would like to share? Or are you struggling and need more resources or prayer support? Please leave us a comment. <3

 

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