This summer we are focusing on helping each of us experience a “rewrite” in our relationship with God. For those of us who are married, no relationship simultaneously exposes and transforms our spirituality more than our relationship with our spouse. Whether you have been married a few months, a few years, or a few decades, your marriage can still grow and change. What’s the second act for you and your husband? What’s God’s vision for your future together?
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
God’s plan for marriage is that it should be powerful, a friendship where each partner is helping the other conquer and succeed. Are you and your husband winning any battles? Are you fighting together, or fighting each other?
To “inspire” means to fill someone with the desire or urge to do something. A wife can bring incredible power and confidence to her marriage. We know from the above scripture in Ecclesiastes that your husband can’t be as powerful alone as he can be with you, and vice versa. Have you been inspiring your husband, or trying to control him? Do you build his faith, or criticize his flaws?
Personally, I tend way more toward the controlling side than the inspiring side. Luckily, the Bible has some great wisdom for us. Here are 5 creative ways to inspire your husband’s faith, in the form of a few do’s and don’ts:
1. Do practice self-control
11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
Proverbs 31:11-12 (NLT)
One thing that will greatly enrich your husband’s life is if he can trust you. Can he trust your emotional state? Does he worry about how you will be doing when he comes home? Does he feel afraid to tell you things for fear of your reaction?
One very important way to become trustworthy is to have a relationship with God that makes you stable emotionally. Your husband knows you will take your feelings and thoughts in prayer to God instead of dumping them on him. This is how we get spiritual self-control – we have a healthy outlet for our emotions so we have room to consider how our spouse is doing.
You’re only human, so you will have good days and bad days. That’s why we need a relationship with God. Without God’s help we have little ability to constantly be giving and considerate. We’ll end up takers instead of givers, even if we started with the best intentions of being a loving wife.
To build this kind of relationship with God, start to pray daily and begin to let your emotions lead you closer to God instead of farther away.
2. Don’t neglect the little things
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
One thing I’m learning is that little things in marriage go a long way. A friend of mine recently came up with the idea that we could challenge ourselves together each week to do something encouraging for our husbands, instead of complaining that they don’t do enough for us. I’ve noticed that when I actively practice unselfishness in my marriage, I feel a lot happier and so does my husband.
When was the last time you planned a special date night for your husband? What are the little things that encourage him? Like folding the laundry for him, or going out of your way to make a meal he loves, or sending him scriptures to build his faith? Do you stop what you’re doing when he comes in to say hi and ask how his day was? Sometimes we focus much more energy on what our husband is not doing for us instead of focusing on what we can be doing for him.
3. Do expect yourself to obey scriptures
One day after an argument with my husband, a friend asked me, “Do you expect yourself to be unselfish in your marriage?” I realized I don’t … if I “feel” like being loving then maybe I will be, but I don’t have a conviction that I need to be unselfish and considerate towards my husband (even if I don’t feel like it) in the same way that I expect it of myself in other relationships. I expect myself to be respectful and giving at work, for example, but not always at home.
With the help of friends I’ve been working to memorize and obey Proverbs 31:11-12 and quote it to myself when I’m tempted to be irritable or selfish in my marriage. It’s been really cool to see how much of a difference this makes in our conversations.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of your personal example
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.
1 Peter 3:1-2 (NLT)
One thing my husband said inspires him is when I work hard at my faith – not necessarily when I work hard at changing his faith. The Bible does make it clear that sometimes the best way to inspire your husband is by your personal example and without any words.
How much effort have you been putting into your own relationship with God and your own faith? Are you aware of what you are like without any faith? Do you become negative, selfish, bitter, and prioritize other people more than your family? When I am in that state, it’s hopeless to try to change my husband because I can’t see clearly what I am bringing to the table. Taking responsibility for my own faith brings hope and power that God can change my marriage.
5. Do find a purpose bigger than yourself
They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
Living a generous life to help other people is inspiring. My husband tells me he gets inspired when he sees me have a genuine heart to care for someone in need. It’s very easy for me to forget this and focus most of my energy on making my own life happy and comfortable.
To find out more about what your bigger purpose is, we invite you to join us for our annual expo entitled “Second Act.” Through classes and spiritual friendships we’ll focus on helping each of us identify the bigger purpose God has in store for us and how our personal experiences and talents can help change the lives of people around us.