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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Marriage Is Hard, Part 3 (A Challenge)

Marriage Is Hard, Part 1 - Pursuing Godliness
Marriage Is Hard, Part 2 - Advice From Wise Women
Marriage Is Hard, Part 3 - A Challenge
Marriage Is Hard, Part 4 - A Refuge

This Christmas, give your spouse something eternal - a gift of affirmation. Here is my Homemade Christmas challenge for you:

Write your husband a letter that details (very specifically and genuinely) why you respect him. Perhaps you can think of ten reasons you admire him, look up to him, or trust him. If you are single, consider writing a letter to your future husband sharing with him how you long to love him well by respecting him, and how you hold it a dear privilege to one day have him to honor.

“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband..." Ephesians 5:33

If you struggle respecting your husband, ask the Lord to show you areas that in his life that are respectable Think upon those things and then write with a heart of love. Remember, God doesn't ask us to respect our husbands, He requires us to, whether we think they are worthy or not.

Respect - To regard highly; think much of; to consider worthy of esteem; to regard with honor.

Sometimes the affirmation and encouragement from a wife is just what a husband needs to step up and be a man worthy of respect.

Here are some very practical tips to help you respect your husband from the article Living Ephesians 5: Wives, Respect Your Husband: (I recommend taking the time to click on the link and read the whole article. Below is just an excerpt.)

Respect him Verbally, Intellectually, and Physically.


Cut out (ok…cut back) complaining and add in compliments.If you want to have a peaceful, happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Compliments are like magnets and the more you compliment your husband the more he will be attracted to you. Begin to notice when he does it right and verbally encourage him by complimenting him at least once a day. If you are having a hard time thinking of anything to admire, consider these categories: physical traits, mental skills, financial strengths, spiritual growth, or healthy relationships with others (children, parents, or friends). You may be asking “Hey, why should I compliment him when he NEVER compliments me?” Because, if you want your marriage to grow and bloom, you’ll have to water it with kindness and encouragement. Then, as he sees your sincere efforts, he will begin to change too. Don’t give up.If you do need to bring up a difficult issue, place it between two compliments, also known as a “Compliment Sandwich.” Here’s an example, “Honey, I know how hard you work for our money and that Sally’s braces will be expensive, but I need your decision before her appointment tomorrow. I hope we can do this for her, but if you want to wait, I trust your judgment. What should I tell the orthodontist? ”


Men like to solve problems and fix things. So appeal to his intelligence by asking him to help you solve a problem. Instead of saying “This garage is a mess, clean up your camping stuff!” Try, “I’d like your help with something. Could you figure out a storage system for all the camping supplies?”Don’t imply that he isn’t smart. Instead of saying “I think you are wrong about…” Say, “I’m confused about…please explain it again” (Remember to keep your tone of voice sarcasm-free.)Request his help on Spiritual matters too. Ask him to explain a passage of Scripture or ask him to pray for you when you are going through a difficult time. If your husband is not the spiritual leader in your home, continue to pray for him and ask him if there is anything you are doing that is hindering his relationship with God.Men don’t give a lot of weight to feelings -- show them facts and they’ll be more likely to listen. For example: if he wants to buy a car that you think is too expensive, don’t launch into a hissy-fit, write out your monthly expenses and ask him what other things should be cut out in order to buy his car. Let the facts speak for you. When you cannot reach an agreement, instead of trying to wear him down by nagging or crying say, “Is that your final decision or can I still try to convince you?" If it’s his final decision, then honor it. It’s freeing — let him carry the responsibility of your family.


Physically -- ask what he would like you to do and then, do it. Find out what his top three needs are. Ron likes the laundry done, physical intimacy a least twice a week (guaranteed) and he likes me to keep my “girly-make-up stuff” off of the bathroom counter. If these top needs are met, he’s content and easy to get along with. I know it sounds simple, but each of us have different things that make us feel loved and appreciated. You won’t know what he wants unless you ask him.Be aware of your body language. You can communicate disrespect by rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or slamming doors. Reflect your new decision to respect your husband in your heart, mind, and body.

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Renee said...

This is good, Sarah, and much needed for all of us. Thank you.

MamaHenClucks said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It's really, really good stuff :)

Christy said...

Just want to let you know how much I appreciate what you are sharing. These truths and encouragement are something that I need to be reminded of. Thanks for being real and honest.

Bobbie said...

Thank you for this!!!! I appreciate you sharing so honestly and openly. You have become one of my best girl friends!

I asked my husband what he would like me to do around the house most and he thought a minute and said... close the kitchen cabinet doors when you are through with them....

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

FINALLY! I gift I can afford that my husband will LOVE. :) I will work on this on Saturday...I can't wait. THANK YOU for the challenge!!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Another great post! I will definitely do the letter - love it! However, I will have to explain to my hubby why I wrote the letter as he will be stressed thinking that I am expecting a letter from him - LOL!

I think I know what his needs are, but I should check again. And even though I know them - I still fall short.

Anonymous said...

This is such an excellent topic! I could go on and on about it. This right here is HUGE:

Sometimes the affirmation and encouragement from a wife is just what a husband needs to step up and be a man worthy of respect.

Good word Sarah Mae!

P.S. I was so excited to see my friend Amy join our 5AM club on Facebook! We're friends in real life! :)

Amanda Vargas said...

I wrote carlos a letter just like this a few weeks ago and he said it was the nicest letter he ever got it really meant alot to him to hear the positive things instead of all the things he does wrong!

Gayle said...

Great post Sarah Mae! I've been working on changing my tone of voice and how I react to my husband. Respect is a big issue.

I think I will write my husband a letter and put it in his stocking. =)

Anonymous said...

Good Stuff!! Great Blog!

RN and OSHP said...

Wow, did I need to read this! I "stumbled" upon your blog and this is exactly what I needed to read. Aside from that I have a daughter 3 next month. A son 2 next month and am due March 5th with another boy....sound familiar? I am looking forward to reading your blog and joining your 5:16 club!

Anonymous said...

Though I just read this post on 5/30/2009, I noticed that the date it was written was Dec 11th, 2009 -- our 14th anniversary.

God's timing, as usual, is impeccable as I really need to be reading these admonishments and encouragements NOW. Later, I will count up how many 'prayer notes' I cut & pasted to my journal... For now, I will bask in the solid, Biblical truths you have spelled out for us.

Thank you!