Okay, we’re gonna get real here today! I have an embarrassing confession to make: When JJ and I got married 15 years ago, I took out the words “honor and obey” from my marriage vows. While I’m confessing, you should also know I didn’t say I would submit to my husband either. I said I would “submit my ideas and dreams” to my husband and trust God’s leadership in our marriage. I was a baby Christian, but mainly I was measuring my words to make sure God and my witnesses didn’t catch me in a lie.
Oh, I had some serious issues going into marriage (and sometimes still do). Boy has God done a work on me though. Like many women, I was terrified that if I submitted to my husband I’d become a doormat and lose myself somewhere in the middle of letting my husband lead. I regretfully remember one time JJ told me it was easier to let me lead because it wasn’t worth the argument to him.
You’d think that’s what I wanted – to get my way. But it wasn’t what I wanted because JJ became apathetic. Soon I realized I was losing respect for my husband and it was mostly my fault. I wanted him to lead, but when he tried I’d often criticize how he led. It was a mess.
One day I was praying God would change JJ and make him more decisive, more confident, more protective and well, just more what I wanted him to be. God strongly impressed on my heart that my criticism wasn’t getting me any closer to my desired result. In fact, my frustration with JJ only contributed to the condemnation of his own insecurities and doubts as a man. (You know they have doubts, too). God also showed me I was fueling Satan’s flaming darts aimed at my husband’s heart. Here I was joining forces with the one who wanted to take out JJ as the leader of our home.
Through prayer, God showed me that my husband needed me to be his greatest cheerleader, his biggest supporter and to use the power of my words to build up and not tear down my man. He wanted me to keep my mouth closed when JJ was doing something I didn’t like or leading in a way I didn’t want to follow. He wanted me to be verbally, emotionally and spiritually encouraging when I saw things I appreciated. I was to find things I respected about JJ and let God take care of things I didn’t.
I started doing what God told me. I looked for and found things in JJ that I’d never really noticed before; I discovered things that were worthy of respect. It all started over 10 years ago. We’ve been through so much together now, and followed many of his decisions that scared me: job changes I didn’t want him to make; financial investments that seemed too risky; parenting issues that were hard.
I can say with joy that my husband is now the leader of our home. It’s taken commitment and many choices to honor him in big and small ways. And although he isn’t perfect, he’s more the man I dreamed of marrying than I ever hoped he’d be!
As I promised in my P31 devotion today, I wanted to share some practical ways we can honor our husbands and strengthen our marriages:
- Tell your husband that you believe in him!
- Don’t point out his mistakes, just fill in the gap.
- Ask God to show you ways to serve your husband.
- Don’t ever say “I told you so.”
- Say “I’m sorry” and mean it when you dishonor him.
- Say “I forgive you” and mean it when he dishonors or hurts you.
- Tell your husband that you thank God for giving him to you (and be sure you do).
- Let him overhear you telling someone something you appreciate about him.
- Support and encourage his decisions.
- Praise him when his decisions turn out well and encourage him when they don’t.
- Tell you husband each day about one thing you are thankful for – about his character, his work ethic, his provision, his humor or something his adds to your family.
- Pray for your husband every day.
Several of these ideas came from my friend Melanie Chitwood’s book, “What a Husband Needs from His Wife.”
For a chance to win this great marriage book, filled with insights, encouraging ideas and powerful stories, enter my drawing by clicking on the word “comments” below. Then type your name and email address (so I can notify you if you win) in the white box. Choose anonymous if you want to be – just come back to see if you won. I’ll announce the winner on Friday. And I’d love to know is if you have any embarrassing or fun marriage stories to tell. If not, what is one thing that makes your husband feel honored? Be sure to ask him if you don’t know the answer.