(My devotions will focus on marriage for the month of February. If you’re not married, I encourage you to read them anyway! And while you’re reading, pray for your friends that are married. Believe me, they will appreciate it. Also, give a special blessing by passing these devotions along to them! Here we go…)
“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word, nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it,” (Ephesians 4:29 Amplified).
I talked to a friend of mine about what went so wrong in his marriage that led to divorce. Girlfriend, we need to pay attention to his response.
“When I met Jona at the beach retreat,” Don explained, “I was struck by her vivacious, fun attitude. Oh and did I mention, she looked great in her purple bathing suit? (This is 20 years later and he still remembers the color!) She stole my heart and as soon as we got home from the retreat, I called and asked her out.”
I had always been a people pleaser. At first I was always trying to please my parents, then I moved to pleasing my friends, and when I met Jona, I always tried to please her as well. We were soon married and I couldn’t have been happier. She was so encouraging, loving, and supportive. After a few years of marriage and several poor financial decisions, I began to see her lose her respect for me. That was most evident in the words she spoke.”
“In the past everything I touched turned to gold. I was president of the student body, won athletic awards, and succeeded in business. As a result, I over promised to Jona and expected her to trust me. Jona was the one person I wanted approval from and the one person from whom I was not getting it. She grew frustrated, angry and bitter towards me. She also withdrew physically, which was the crowning blow to my manhood.”
Jona said things like, “If you cared about us, you wouldn’t make all these bad decisions, you’re a loser, you’re worthless.”
“I’m not putting all the blame of our past marriage problems on Jona. I was shooting for the moon instead of a ten yard gain. I was trying to hit a homerun instead of a base hit. But honestly, once I realized Jona had lost respect for me, I felt the marriage was over. Her words cut too deep and no bandage could stop the bleeding.”
I asked Don what could have made a difference and prevented the eventual separation and divorce.
“If she had said, ‘I’m with you, Don,’ or ‘Let’s work on this together’ or ‘How can I help?’ it would have made all the difference in the world. I didn’t feel like we were on the same team. Instead, she said, ‘If you don’t fix it, I will.’ Instead of constantly pointing out my failures, because believe me, I knew what they were, encouraging words would have made all the difference.”
“At one point,” Don said with tears in his eyes, “I found a list of 80 things that Jona didn’t like about me and 3 things she did like. That list broke my heart. She had no intention of me finding the list, but I happened across it one day when I was looking for something. That was the final nail in the coffin. Jona had nothing but disdain for me. A marriage without respect is no marriage. I saw no hope.”
After Don and Jona’s divorce, he met a woman who gave him all the adoration and encouragement that his wife had not. She was gentle, soft spoken, affectionate, hung on his shoulder, smiled at him, and was very affirming. Her beautiful spirit was a breath of fresh air.
“Don,” I asked, “what advice do you have for a woman who is withholding encouraging words or perhaps cutting her husband down with critical jabs?”
“I don’t think any single thing takes away a man’s strength of character more than the loss of respect,” he said. “Don’t dwell on his weakness, but dwell on the positives. Men are in a fight for our lives. We are at war mentally. We’re out there trying to conquer the world. A man needs to know that home is a safe place to be instead of feeling like you’re leaving one battle for another.”
Maybe you have not been giving encouraging words to your husband lately? Perhaps it has been so long you’ve forgotten how? I hope Don’s and Jona’s story stirs your heart to build up that man of yours and become the woman of his dreams.
Think back to when you were dating. What did you admire about that young man that captured your heart? Look for an opportunity to praise him, but make sure it is genuine. Find one attribute, character trait or task that he does well and begin there. If you are out of practice, this may be difficult at first. But I can promise you, it will become easier with time, especially when you see the results on your husband’s face and his attitude towards you.
Lord, oh how easy it is to see my husband’s flaws and ignore my own. Help me to use my words to plant seeds of love and encouragement and not weeds of bitterness and discouragement. I commit this very day to not use my words to tear my man down, but only to build him up. Help me to be like Job and put my hand over my mouth if any negative words attempt to escape my lips (Job 40:4). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What do you Think?ow It’s Your Turn
Are you feeling brave? Really brave?
If so, look up the following verses: Proverbs 11:22; 19:13; 25:24; 21:19; 27:15-16
Now, if you are willing to not be a dripping faucet this week, click over to my blog page and leave a comment that says, “I’m not going to be a drip today!”
If you read to the end of today’s devotion, I’m proud of you! You will have a special surprise. Don and Jona reconciled and were remarried! If you’d like to read about how that happened, click over to my website and read the article God Can Resurrect Your Marriage from the Ashes.
14-Day Romancing Your Husband Challenge: How would you like to join your girlfriends in a 14-day Romancing Your Husband Challenge? Click over to www.localhost/sjold, click on the challenge sign-up button in the right column of the home page, and your 14-day challenge emails will begin. Come on girlfriend, February is the love month – it’s time to spice up your marriage.
February is a wonderful time to contemplate our marriages. Do you want to become the woman of your husband’s dreams? The woman who makes him sorry to leave in the morning and eager to come home at night? Then you’ll want to read Becoming the Woman of His Dreams for an insightful look at the wonderful, unique, and God-ordained role only you have in your husband’s life.