Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Loving Your Husband
GOOD MORNING! I’m so Happy to be here! NOW, you must remember – I’m NOT a Speaker. I’m NOT a Teacher. I’m a TALKER. I’ve prayed that God would give me a message for you today and I will trust Him I “Talk!”
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. —Colossians 3:12-15
PRAY --- Lord, this is a testimony today – a testimony of your grace and mercy to me – in my life, in my marriage, and in my heritage through my children and grandchildren. Without the cross, the blood of Christ, I would have no testimony – I would have no marriage. So let that be central to all that I say and all these women hear. To You I give Glory and Honor and Praise!
Ladies Let me continue to introduce myself a bit more. This is my 73rd year and I have been married for almost 52 years to Paul Tattersall. But, I have only been a Christian for 39 years, so my first 13 years of marriage were without Christ! I was saved at a Christian Women’s Club luncheon in Wash. DC and I fell in love with Jesus on the spot. And He stepped in and Paul backed off. Paul was not a Christian, so you can imagine the foundation we had laid. And I was 7 months pregnant with our second daughter on that eventful day, Jan 17, 1973, so all four of us got a new start. We were nice, church-going folks, but there wasn’t a hint of Biblical foundation or understanding to be found. We were of the world! And have you heard that opposites attract?
Well, Paul and I were opposites, all right, which was nice for awhile – but eventually it created problems.
|Loves ocean||Loves desert|
|Planner(let'sget it done)||Procrastinator(what's the rush?)|
Now the last one may seem a little silly to mention – But when you move 11 times and you want the candlesticks over here on the mantle and your husband wants them here, it’s not so silly!! I do think the differences are God’s way of calling us to complement each other and create a better whole. BUT REMEMBER -- we weren’t thinking “God’s Way.” So these differences were a big deal in our marriage.
I mention these things to add to my “credentials” as I dare to stand before you and talk to you about loving your husbands. God has refined me and changed me and taught me and blessed me in my marriage. And I want to testify to His LOVE and His POWER and His PERFECT PLAN for our marriages. And I feel privileged and excited to do that today. Marriage is WORK – life is WORK. But we have a GREAT Savior who enables what He requires.
There are 4 things that are central to our Faith, our Hope, our Joy, and our Marriages.
- The Sovereignty of God
- The Centrality of the Cross
- The Sufficiency of Christ
- The Glory of God.
And -- for me -- my life verse: Prov. 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your way acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” This morning I want to talk about 2 things:
- First --Your relationship with Christ and
- Second -- your relationship with your husbands.
Our love is inconsistent, short-lived, and follows our moods and inclinations. God’s love is huge, constant, sweet, deep, not calling on our feelings but our heart – the new heart filled with faith.
FIRST: I married an imperfect man – and he married an imperfect woman. You might even call me wicked – certainly, at times, totally self-centered, impatient, greedy, wanting my own way – not Paul’s or God’s, -- conniving, speaking ungodly words in ungodly ways, impure motives -- and on and on. BUT GOD has provided the cross. He has saved you and me by it, called us to it again and again and allowed us to see His grace and mercy and forgiveness and love for us -- and each time He has renewed an amazement and gratitude in MY heart that overflows into my marriage. God’s grace HAS BEEN – and is! -- sufficient and abundant! The love that God declared by sending His Only Begotten Son to live and die and rise again – for me – changed everything!!
I have learned that His Sovereignty covers over our 11 moves, all the money problems, all the pregnancy sorrows, promotions, demotions, making new friends, tears leaving old friends and wonderful homes. I can’t play old tapes and blame Paul for pain of the past – it was all part of God’s Sovereign plan for us - and, oh, how He has blessed us! And it has been sweet to see God’s hand on our marriage over the years and be able to thank God for things I might have cursed Paul for (and sometimes did) in our marriage.
So, Ladies, the first way to love your husband is to trust our Sovereign, Great God and visit the cross often – daily – constantly. Why? You must remember and rejoice over God’s grace and mercy toward YOU. You have been forgiven, washed; everyday His mercies are new. He knows everything about you – even the hairs on your head – and STILL loves you. So how can you say there isn’t an abundance of grace and mercy and forgiveness and love from your heart toward your husband? And, maybe today, some of you don’t feel like you’re in need of God’s help. Well, you are --!! You always are. Just remember the limits of your flesh. And just remember what God has said about our GREAT need of Him!! Ask God to work in your heart to bless your husband by being filled with Christ-like love toward him – the kind of love you’ve received from God!! If you go to the cross – if it is central in your marriage (AND IT MUST BE), you will have a different, wonderful marriage and a HOLY love for your husband! I guarantee it – so does God!
A critical aspect of God’s Sovereign plan is who God has made us to be and how that effects our marriages. Let me read Gen. 2:18-23
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:18-23
Did you hear that little, BIG, word -- HELPER? Ezer in Hebrew. God’s plan was that we would be man’s helper – our husband’s helper. We have a “Helper” design. How does that sound to You? Is being a helper good enough? Big enough? Strong enough? That’s God’s design for us – Helper. God, Himself, is called “Helper” in Scripture – He is our EZER – a helper for his people. Now you have to realize that if you don’t have this view, this God-given view of YOU in your marriage (as Helper) –( the Complementarian view) – you have the culture’s view, and that is a very different view and your expectations and goals for your marriage will be unbiblical and unrealistic because they will not be God’s! Ladies, this is such a strong, sure way to love your husband. Be his helper, encourager, supporter, cheerleader. Speak words of respect to your husband; speak words of respect and teach your children to respect their father and their mother in their Biblical, God-designed, God-ordained roles.
As You know, Ladies, trials reveal the condition of our hearts. And God is the only One to change your heart. So, if you have a hard heart toward your husband, ask God to change it – and He will! And He will give you love for your husband; He has done it for me and He has promised to do it for you. Do you want to see God powerful and faithful and good? (As you know He is!) Invite Him to work in your marriage. I did and He has.
From early in my Christian life, I have ministered to women, mostly single women. Each one longed to be married. They wanted, and still want, many of them, the gift God has given you – A Husband and Marriage. Do you see your husband as a gift from God? -- Chosen by God for you. And if, like me, one or both of you were not Christians when you were married, He is still God’s gift. In His Sovereign power and plan, God’s intention is that you remember the Cross, your Helper Design, and pray that your marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church.
I went back to my notes from the Sermons that Pastor John preached on marriage and pulled these few quotes:
- “Staying married is not about love – it’s about covenant keeping.”
- “Marriage is built and lived at the cross. Christ cancelled all debt. It’s FINISHED.”
- “Marriage needs a foundation that we can stand together on – Forgiveness and Forbearance.”
- “Husbands are called to be like Christ – NOT Christ!”
- “We will honor God best when we call on Him most.”
Ladies, God is working to strengthen and restore and bless marriages -- and Satan is at work to undo and destroy them!
One thing that I believe is foundational to a good marriage is good communication! When Paul and I were first married, when I got angry with him, I’d withdraw, wouldn’t talk for hours or days. It was AWFUL, STUPID -- I tried to punish him – no talk, no sex, no kindness. Well, after a few years of this we tried to wait awhile and then express our anger and frustration and disagreement in kind words. It helped! And when you talk about hard things it’s helpful to repeat back to your spouse what you think they’re saying. AND OFTEN YOU’RE WRONG! -- But this is cooling and can work wonders. The old adage “stick and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is a lie. Words can hurt AND are remembered. Put that guard over the door of your lips, ladies – even ask for time to think things thru before you continue. Pause and pray. Love your husband by wise, kind words – even if they’re difficult. I know for some of you there isn’t time or energy for lots of adult communication – but it’s critical. So work on it together.
I know it could be opposite in your marriage – but I’m the talker and Paul’s the thinker. So I’m often the one who suggests we talk – about kids and grandkids, vacations, home repairs, conversations after the movies, at dinner. I’ve learned that Paul loves to have me talk and fill him in and give him my ideas and tell him what I’m thinking – as long as I let him jump in when he wants! Encourage your husbands with words that will invite him to talk and express his feelings. Paul often says he doesn’t know how he feels about something – and, of course, I ALWAYS know how I feel about everything. But we have worked hard on letting us be us – it’s a great way to love your husband.
Ladies, Don’t deny problems in your marriage – the older I get, the quicker I am to identify “bumps” in our road. I see a great benefit in counseling for some problems. And I see a great help and blessing for struggling couples to meet with an older couple for counsel and maybe go thru a good marriage book together or just hear how the older couple worked through hard times in their marriage. At the first Bethlehem Marriage Retreat the speaker suggested that we find another couple or two that we would be willing to take into a counseling session and meet with them on a regular basis for accountability and growth in our marriage. We did that and it was a huge blessing – and fun.
When we moved to Chicago in 1988, after living in Edina for 13 years and raising our two daughters there, I was so sad. Paul was excited about his job, so he thought it was great. BUT I left church and ministry and friends and home – and it was hard. We arrived in Chicago with one angry and sad, “going into 10th grade” girl, Sarah, our youngest. And I understood her sadness – I shared it! BUT, my first job was to be supportive and encouraging to Paul. BUT I also had to be supportive and encouraging to Sarah, and not deny her feelings – I shared them – but help her get over her anger, which was all directed toward Paul. It was a painful, challenging and critical time – and I prayed a lot. AND I learned through it all that no matter what the issue, Dad is leader and we must stand with him – and speak words of honor and respect and gratitude It is sometimes hard to let your children know your husband comes first – but it is Biblical and essential. And God blesses it. Sarah learned how to turn to her Heavenly Father and believe His Word and accept His Sovereign plan. Teach your children to honor and respect your husband in word and deed. Encourage them to come and greet him when he comes home from work. Remind them that he is caring for them and teach them to be grateful to their Dad.
Another way to love your husband is to know and encourage his Spiritual Gifts – and know and use yours. Since our gifts are God-given and purposed, it’s critical that we know and use them. You can see why it’s important to our marriages that we are sensitive to each other’s spiritual gifts. I’ve been given the gift of prophecy; it’s a hard gift and easily misused. Paul has the gift of mercy. So, you can see that we need to be sensitive to each other’s gifting and step back and listen up. BUT it’s incredibly helpful to do. By the way, it’s good to know what your children’s gifts are, too – and “raise them up in the way they should go.”
Moving on to Sex – I’m sure you all know some of the standard differences and difficulties here. Sex is part of God’s design for us – I believe for procreation AND pleasure. But, it’s easy for Sex to become a “problem area.” So – talk about it together (not with your friends!), Pray about it, Plan it, Learn to enjoy it. Believe it’s OK to lock your bedroom door for the night – or part of the night (to keep the “intruders” out!). Lead your husband to comfortable conversation about sex (preferably BEFORE bedtime!). Coming from Christian homes -- where sex, perhaps, was never a subject of discussion and, therefore, remained a mystery and TABOO -- can create “frigidity.” Believe your sexual relationship is good, created by God and for pleasure – AND WORK ON IT!
Love your husband by making your home a haven, a place that he looks forward to coming to. And be the woman there he is anxious to see. Comb your hair, some lipstick – perfume. Be willing to ask him how he likes to enter, what he loves when he opens the door. –Hugs and kisses, a happy “HI” and space, a picked up place -- or chaos and screaming kids. And I know -- he’ll get the chaos sometimes anyway! Paul did.
And don’t greet him with tales of woe – Just invite him in to shake off the world and job responsibilities – and he’ll want to thank God for you and for your children.
Another thought – don’t send your husband out in the morning with arguments or complaints. Try – “Have a great day – live it for Jesus.” If you’re not close enough for a goodbye kiss, shout out your loving goodbye. And teach your kids to do the same. This has always been a BIG one for me – after learning the hard way.
Another way to love your husband is to stand with him when he does hard things. Be willing to sit with him when he makes a hard phone call or writes a difficult letter. Stand with him when he loses his job, or gets a promotion or job change he doesn’t want. And stand with him when he disciplines your children. A UNITED FRONT – remember, you can always talk and disagree later!
Pray for your husband. I’m sure most of you do. I encourage you to pray two ways. Pray from the Word for him – let God’s word instruct you concerning his needs and God’s desires for him – in your marriage, in parenting, in the church, in the workplace. Also, ask him for his prayer requests – and ask him about answered prayer at the end of his day. And one more thing concerning praying for your husband. We all know that only God can truly change us -- so pray for the change you desire in your husband (and hopefully, God desires, too) and YOU stop trying to change him.
Keep your husband in the loop of your life. If you don’t have much to talk about, add your hopes and dreams. Engage him and draw him into your life. A good movie or book or Bible Study is a great way to get inside one another’s heads – and hearts, too.
I think there are times in our lives – at least there were for me – when our husbands seem to be consumed with their work, preoccupied. Those are days when our sufficiency, more than ever, must be in Christ. And, no pouting or punishing!!
I was occasionally heartbroken over my children and Paul. Matt. 5:46 says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Parenting and marriage are sanctifying fires. Although Paul and the girls have never been my enemies, at times I felt they were. God was my strong tower, my refuge, my rich reward. And on the other side of such hard times, I saw God faithful and I saw growth in me. We must turn to God and love Him in order to love our children and our husbands well.
Love your husband by listening to him. Make a time and a place to do that. You probably have to wait ‘til the children are in bed – and, I know, by then you’re tired. Try sitting in your living room or some cozy place, light a candle, create some atmosphere and try to ask probing questions and LISTEN. You might have to “ease into” this – maybe start by suggesting the idea. Maybe you could delay dessert and have dessert and coffee (decaf, of course!) and talk. You need to have adult love time without sex sometimes. Just to focus on one another. You start some personal questions and just watch – he’ll follow.
For sure, you and your husband should have a “date night” regularly. Weekly might sound impossible and be impossible. But if you don’t plan it – if it isn’t a regular happening – you can go for months without much good communication between you or just having some fun. Paul and I did this for years – usually when the girls were at Youth Group. And we tried not to spend the whole time talking about the kids or bills or problems.
Love your husband by laughing with him. Look for funny things to tell him; remember funny stuff the kids do or something the neighbor says or the guy at the grocery store says. Keep laughter in your home – work to do it.
Proverbs 27:15 says “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.” Isn’t that awful?! Don’t easily argue. State your case – learn to let it go. Don’t be in competition, don’t turn situations into win/lose. And, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
Just for clarification – Ephesians 4:11-16 calls us to “speak the Truth in love.” By “Truth” Paul means Gospel and Sound Doctrine. SO, beware you TRUTH SPEAKERS. And speak first to yourself!
Be willing to love and serve your husband in his sickness. We chuckle and say that men are babies when they’re sick – maybe they are, but they love to be cared for. So, go for it, Ladies, when necessary.
For some of you, there’s nothing more boring than listening to work talk. Paul and I met at IBM so we both were involved and interested in the company, it’s products, all the computer stuff. I stopped working before we had the girls, but I tried to keep somewhat up- to- date with what Paul’s job involved. He’s really appreciated that. Do you ask questions about your husband’s job? -- Now, on the other hand, he may come home and NEVER want to talk about his job. Either way – be sensitive and wise in what an interesting conversation for him is about – PROBABLY SPORTS!! Sometimes the “together times” need to wait for weekends. But let your husband know you want to plan things to do together with him – with or without children. And help him to grow in his relationship with his kids. Maybe it’s letting him take them alone and you stay home.
Keep short accounts – with God and your husband. I John 1:8 says “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Be first, be quick, to confess an offense – relieve the pressure. Paul feels so freed up when I move to begin hard, repentant conversations.
Now I know that God doesn’t get hung up on the outer appearance – He looks at the heart. BUT I know our husbands do see our outward appearance and we need to work on that. Superficial, too worldly, you think? I believe it’s part of our testimony and we need to prayerfully care for our appearance – weight, hair, maybe make-up, perfume (unless he – or you – are allergic). Consider this area that speaks volumes to your husband about loving him. DHarvey
Just a few closing thoughts
- If Christ weren’t groom we wouldn’t be His bride.
- If Christ weren’t Sovereign, we might not be married to our husbands. -- Or married at all!
- If Christ didn’t impart life, we wouldn’t be Moms
- If Christ isn’t our joy – our satisfaction – our hope – our sufficiency – -- -- our marriage will lack love.
- Without Christ, we will not have a marriage that reflects Him and His Bride, the church. And, that’s what God wants – DO YOU? And, remember, God enables what He requires.
I hope God will use my words to excite your heads and encourage your hearts and cause you to plead for more of Christ in your marriage.
PRAY: God, your mercy is GREAT – your grace ABUNDANT – Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Fill us with faith Lord – we want to be women who love our husbands and serve them well because YOU love us and have given us the greatest gift in your Son. Let our love for Him – and His GREAT love for us – radiate a new joy and contentment in our hearts as WIVES and MOMs. And let it all be for your Glory, Lord, and our Everlasting Joy.