Blessing Your Husband: Understanding and Affirming Your Man

Blessing Your Husband: Understanding and Affirming Your Man

by Debra Evans

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Overview

Blessing Your Husband: Understanding and Affirming Your Man by Debra Evans

In Blessing Your Husband, Debra Evans brings wise scriptural insights and true stories of the amazing transformations that can happen when a wife chooses to make blessing her husband a priority. By understanding her husband’s unique characteristics, how he thinks, and what matters most to him, a wife can learn how to affirm her husband and develop a more satisfying marriage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604828474
Publisher: Focus on the Family
Publication date: 10/14/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

Read an Excerpt

BLESSING Your HUSBAND

Understanding and Affirming Your Man
By Debra Evans

TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.

Copyright © 2003 Debra Evans
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-58997-478-4


Chapter One

Married Outside of Eden

* * *

Marriage is not simply the luck of the draw, or something that we get involved in which just unfolds before us like a long movie. Good marriages, like good individual lives or good art, are conscious creations. They are made. Kevin and Marilyn Ryan

Do you sometimes wish you could once and for all insulate your marriage from failure and frustration, that you could shockproof your sacred bond? Do you ever long for spiritual shortcuts on the road to holiness together?

Our easily distracted human heart seeks the easy detours. Whether living our life or loving our husband, we prefer wide, paved roads to the rugged, step-by-step path that requires us to continually seek and submit to God's will, pray about everything, get help when we need it, thank God for all He has done, and travel on.

But marriage, of course, isn't a smoothly paved, predictable journey; it's a bumpy love-in-action relationship filled with disorienting roadside challenges and constant surprises. Wedded life requires strenous, openhearted endurance—a continuing, conscious effort to remain obedient to God's transforming work in our life—over hundreds of months and thousands of days. A healthy marriage can't be built immediately, but it can be built. Couples committed to creating one must carefully construct and cement their bond, layer by layer.

Arduous Demands and Astonishing Surprises

"The divine design is no mistake," writes Gladys Hunt, author of Ms. Means Myself. "The mutual attraction of male and female calls us to confront our aloneness, out of our independence to see that we need each other. It is the foundation of human history. We are meant to enhance each other, to affirm the other's personhood and to discover that in our mutual dependence we solve the mystery of our existence."

The exclusive intimacy marriage requires is obviously part of God's plan for us. Even so, loving our husband—genuinely loving him according to the way love is defined in the New Testament—doesn't come naturally for any of us. When our husband disagrees with us, offends us, or annoys us, our desire to continuously care for and cherish him is challenged. This, too, is part of God's plan for us: learning what love is, and what it's not, within the incredibly instructive context of marriage.

"Scriptures give us careful, meticulous descriptions of the many aspects of love," Stuart and Jill Briscoe point out in Living Love. "It's important to take a close look at the sixteen descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and not get sidetracked when reading it simply because it is so familiar or so beautiful. There are rugged, abrasive qualities in this passage that describe what love really is when it is in operation.... Love is not primarily something that you feel. You cannot love with God's love, merely by oohing and aaahing over the 'love chapter.' The Scriptures require action."

Marriage is full of staggering wonder and risk, incomprehensible mystery and surprise, unique joys and sorrows. Over the course of a marriage, life can be amazingly serene at certain moments, completely exasperating at others. Given the imperfect, fallen world we live in, every day we face the startling possibility that we will experience the effects of sin, loss, and disappointment. As Eve's daughters, our marriage makes its way outside of Eden.

The apostle Paul expressed this reality well when he wrote, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time" (Romans 8:22). What a powerful statement! As a veteran childbirth educator and the mother of four children, my heart almost skips a beat when I read this Bible passage. The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth as it awaits its final redemption from the effects of the Fall—and it still is. Can you hear the groaning?

Though it's easy on difficult days to forget our ultimate goal, our labor and our groans are deeply productive where God's eternal purpose for us is concerned: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

The Real Task at Hand

Do you believe God is productively and perfectly working for the good of your marriage, for your husband, and for you? Do you daily trust God to shape and design your husband's life—and also your own?

I don't know about you, but when I experience frustration or anger regarding my husband's attitudes or actions, I usually slip into Control Mode. I tend to cope with both big and small concerns about my spouse by subtly (or not so subtly) attempting to redirect, reorganize, and redecorate him. When things start getting messy, I want to straighten up my husband's life.

For example, when David drives too fast, I tend to sigh loudly, raise my eyebrows in disapproval, and point out the obvious speed limit signs. Even though I know my tendency will fail to transform his riving, I would like to spare both of us the embarrassment and expense of a traffic citation. It's hard for me not to say anything to my husband, even though one well-timed speeding ticket would have a far greater effect on David's driving than all my sighs, eyebrow raising, and finger pointing combined. As you can imagine, this same principle applies to any number of areas of our life together.

I realize my behavior seems fairly ridiculous. After all, what educated woman treats her husband as if he were a continuing interior design challenge? I can't help but think that if Eve had been completely content with Adam, God, and herself, she might never have presumed to eat the forbidden fruit, nor would she have offered "just a tiny bite" to her husband.

Perhaps you, too, see the problem. This age-old behavior pattern concerning husband improvement is, I suspect, something I share with many women, including my famous foremother from the Garden of Eden.

Regardless of how much we love our husband, we will dislike certain things about him, as he will dislike certain things about us. If we lay down our desire to control, however, and open our heart to see our husband as he really is rather than focusing on who we want him to be, our ability to love and forgive and bless him will grow. When we accept the responsibility of understanding and appreciating our husband's uniqueness—the sum total of his singular spiritual, physical, psychological, and social attributes—our focus remains where it belongs: on God, and on His unchanging purposes and promises for our marriage, our husband, and ourself.

The inconstant world where we negotiate our en route existence is not what it once was, nor what it will one day be. Life, like labor, is full of arduous demands and astonishing surprises. We live in a physically, emotionally, and spiritually trying environment that C. S. Lewis, the inspired British writer and philosopher, called "the shadowlands." Our daily pilgrimage unfolds in a varied landscape of not-yet-fully illuminated places that continually challenge us to go deeper, go further, with God. If we rise to the challenge, we can expect to see and understand better His life-giving, glorious reality.

Focus Points

• Wedded life requires a continuing, conscious effort to remain obedient to God's transforming work in our life. God is productively and perfectly working for the good of your marriage, for your husband, and for you.

• Given the imperfect, fallen world we live in, every day we face the startling possibility that we will experience the effects of sin, loss, and disappointment. But our labor and our groans are deeply productive where God's eternal purpose for us is concerned.

• If we lay down our desire to control our husband—if we open our heart to see him as he really is rather than focusing on who we want him to be—our ability to love and forgive and bless him will grow.

• When we accept the responsibility of understanding and appreciating our husband's uniqueness, our attention remains where it belongs: on God and on His unchanging purposes and promises for our marriage, our husband, and ourself.

Words to Remember

• The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. (Psalm 145:13)

• Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

• Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. (Psalm 119:73)

• Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. (Ephesians 5:1)

Real Guys

"Kind, helpful, and unselfish actions always lift my spirits emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. But one thing transcends the attention focused upon me. I have heard friends of my wife comment, 'What a great husband you have!' Others tell me directly, What a wonderful relationship you and your wife must have.' You see, it's not only that she has done something to me to be a blessing, but that she has acknowledged to other people the blessing of what we have together."—Jim

Personal Reflections

1. At what point in your marriage, if ever, do you first remember thinking, "This is harder than I thought it was going to be"? How did God help you keep going? What have you learned along the way?

2. Complete these thoughts in your journal:

The destination we're aiming for in our marriage is ... On difficult days, it helps to remember ... God met me at a point of need in my marriage when ...

3. If you're currently struggling with an annoying character trait or habit that's really bugging you about your husband and it's clear he isn't interested in making a change right now, what will you do to relieve your feelings of anger, hurt, or frustration? Record your thoughts and feelings and prayers—for your eyes only.

Prayers

Praying God's Blessing for Our Marriage

God, be gracious to us and bless us and make your face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.—Psalm 67:1-2

Praying God's Blessing for My Husband

God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip my husband with every good thing for doing your will, and may you work in my husband what is pleasing to you, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.—Hebrews 13:20-21

Closing Prayer

O God of patience and consolation, give us such goodwill, we beseech Thee, that with free hearts we may love and serve Thee and our brethren; and, having thus the mind of Christ, may begin heaven on earth, and exercise ourselves therein till that day when heaven where love abideth shall seem no strange habitation to us. For Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.—Christina G. Rossetti (1830-1895)

Blessings Now

• Open your heart to seeing your husband as he is in his Father's eyes rather than thinking about who you want him to be.

• Nurture emotional as well as physical intimacy. Touch your husband while silently praying for his physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

• Admit it when you realize you're wrong: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16).

• For at least one day, set aside thoughts of your husband's faults or shortcomings. Focus instead on God's unchanging promises and purposes for him.

• Try to understand your husband's opinion during a disagreement or dispute. Aim to make allowances for the differences between you.

• Extend grace in place of negative criticism: Identify one thing about your husband that really bugs you and decide from this day forward you will avoid trying to change this particular behavior.

• Encourage your partner to play. Ask him what he would like to do with his evening, then help protect his time by taking his phone calls and limiting interruptions.

• Avoid taking your husband for granted today. Express your appreciation for your beloved by putting your love into action on his behalf in some noticeable, new way.

• Slow down. Savor a quiet moment together behind closed doors.

• Boldly go where no woman has gone before: Invite your husband to imagine a future with you in which you picture growing old together. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and fears about turning 30 ... 40 ... 50 ... 60 ... 70 and beyond.

For Further Reading

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954.

Stuart and Jill Briscoe. Living Love. Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw, 1993.

Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey. How Now Shall We Live? Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1998.

Larry Crabb. The Marriage Builder. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982, 1992.

James Dobson. Love for a Lifetime. Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah/Questar, 1993.

Bill and Lynne Hybels. Fit to Be Tied. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991.

Al Janssen. The Marriage Masterpiece. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 2001. Donald M. Joy. Bonding: Relationships in the Image of God. Waco, Tex.: Word, 1985.

C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York: Macmillan, 1943.

Mike Mason. The Mystery of Marriage. Portland, Ore.: Multnomah, 1985.

Gary Smalley and John Trent. The Gift of the Blessing. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993.

John R. W. Stott. Christian Counter-Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1978.

Charles Swindoll. Strike the Original Match. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1990.

Gary Thomas. Sacred Marriage. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. TouchPoints for Couples: God's Answers for Your Daily Needs. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 2000.

Walter Trobisch. I Married You. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Walter Wangerin. As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from BLESSING Your HUSBAND by Debra Evans Copyright © 2003 by Debra Evans. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................1
1. Married Outside of Eden....................9
2. The Only Love We Have....................19
3. One Perfect Husband....................29
4. Less Fear, Lighter Hearts....................41
5. The Blessings of Right Priorities....................55
6. The Blessings of Self-Care and Spiritual Growth....................67
7. The Blessings of Forgiveness and Mercy....................79
8. The Blessings of Friendship and Tenderness....................91
9. The Blessings of Lovemaking....................105
10. Crisis and Commitment....................121
11. Prayer and Patience....................137
12. The Unbreakable Three-Strand Cord....................149
Appendix 6.1....................161
Appendix 6.2....................165
Appendix 8.1....................167
Appendix 8.2....................173
Appendix 9.1....................179
Appendix 9.2....................181
Notes....................183
Bibliography....................187

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This is a must-read for any wife wanting to discover the marriage of her dreams. The tender approach that Debra Evans takes lets her readers know she has walked through the same tough places many of us find ourselves in. Filled with hope, grounded in truth, and woven together with a fresh vision for marriage, Blessing Your Husband is not a book you’ll want to read and pack away. I plan to read this treasure over and over again.

Lysa TerKeurst

This is a must-read for any wife wanting to discover the marriage of her dreams. The tender approach that Debra Evans takes lets her readers know she has walked through the same tough places many of us find ourselves in. Filled with hope, grounded in truth, and woven together with a fresh vision for marriage, Blessing Your Husband is not a book you’ll want to read and pack away. I plan to read this treasure over and over again.
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

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