Wifey Wednesday: 10 Not-So-Helpful Things To Do for Your Spouse

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can comment or link up your own posts below! Today welcome guest author, Beth Steffaniak from Messy Marriage, who is a frequent linker-upper to Wifey Wednesdays.

10 Not-So-Helpful Things To Do for Your SpouseRecently I wrote a post about the subject of helping my husband. You can refer to it here, if you’d like.  But the idea got me to thinking … there are lots of ways I can help my husband but …

There are also a lot of ways that I think I’m helping my husband when I’m really hurting him or blocking his growth.

So I’m going to list some of those not-so-helpful ways for you today.

My not-so-helpful list:

  1. When I point out how my husband needs to grow or change before looking at my own need for growth.
  2. When I think that sarcasm is a funny way to get my point (or criticism) across to my hubster.
  3. When I think that suffering silently is an unselfish way of giving to him, when it’s really taking away his chance to minister to a need in my life.
  4. When I bite my tongue before saying my thoughts (which can be good/helpful) but hold onto the resentment that sparked the thought in the first place.
  5. When I think I’m getting to the heart of the matter by assuming his motives, instead of just asking him what he meant or did—then believing him when he tells me!
  6. When I withhold information in an effort to avoid a fight … The end does not justify the means!
  7. When I “guilt him” into doing something for me that might be good/helpful … Again, end doesn’t justify means!
  8. When I vent to God and friends about him, thinking I’m releasing my frustrations and addressing the problem.
  9. When I keep score on how much he’s given to me versus how much I’ve given him, in an effort to “balance” the scales in our marriage.
  10. When I feel like arguing over a matter will convince my husband of the truth my truth, when actually God is calling me to a higher place of grace. 

Now, remember, my list is not exhaustive, so perhaps you could add a few more of your own in the comment section below! If you would, that would be super, fantastic and extra-splendilly-ishesly helpful to me as well!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Beth H and SBeth Steffaniak is a pastor’s wife, counselor, life-coach and mom to three budding young men. She blogs at messymarriage.com, where her heart is to be “Real, Raw and Redemptive” about the messiness of life and marriage. She believes that God calls us to see the ugly, broken, desperate mess from His perspective—the eternal, unseen, redemptive side.

Now, what thoughts do you have for us today? Link up a marriage post in the linky below, or leave a comment!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!

Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.

Reader Question of the Week: Why Isn’t My Husband More Affectionate?

'Questions?' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Every weekend I like to post a question someone sends in and let you readers have a go at it. This week’s question comes from a reader, who wants to grow closer with her husband:

Is it fair to have ask for and have expectations of our spouse (not referring to the obvious: monogamous, no abuse, love one another, etc.)

Is it fair to ask and then expect your husband to not to look at other women in your presence? My husband is so obvious when he is drooling and seriously cannot seem to stop himself. It has affected my self esteem and I’ve asked him to stop in my presence. We can be in conversation and he has to look away because there is an attractive women. Really?

How about asking/expecting him to share small affectionate acts toward you because you like/need it not because it is his style? I don’t want to keep asking for everything I need/want. It would feel so good to have it freely given. I’m just referring to 1 or 2 times each day.

What about expecting him to take time to call or text you at least 1 time each day to fill each other in? I always have to initiate and it gets old.

Is it fair to ask/expect him to ignore his phone (calls and texts) during dinner or while we are driving in the car together? These are places that I like to share conversation with him. I feel so unimportant when he is on the phone at these times.

I seem to set myself up for disappointment and yet I feel that I’m not asking for too much. When I ask for these things, he can deliver for a few days but that is it. These few things are really important to me and definitely affect how I end up communicating and feeling toward him. Please share thoughts !?!

What do you think? How can she effectively communicate and grow closer with her husband?

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!

Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.

Will You Still Love Me If…?

'Session - Ana y Hugo - Palermo - Buenos Aires - Argentina' photo (c) 2010, Emiliano Horcada - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Today, we welcome guest author, Jamy Whitaker, who shares about acceptance in marriage.

As women, we long to be wanted and accepted. However, many times our insecurities seem to sabotage us. The lies that we are not good enough creep in. Then one day that special someone comes into our lives and we feel that sense of being chosen and accepted.

Whether you are a newlywed or have been married for several years, I am sure that you would attest to the fact that your insecurities do not disappear as soon as you say, “I do.” In many cases, our insecurities are actually heightened. We start to wonder; will you still love me if I gain weight? If I lose my job? If the house isn’t cleaned? Or if dinner isn’t perfect? The list can go on and on. I know these things can run through women’s minds because they run through mine.

After my first husband left me with three small children, I was almost overtaken by the shouts of my insecurities, maybe if I was thinner or the house was cleaner or the meals were gourmet then he would have stayed. What was so wrong with me? It wasn’t until later that I realized it did not have anything to do with me. The void he was trying to fill could only be satisfied with God.

Fast forward. God brought an incredible man into the lives of my kids and me. He met everything I could have ever hoped for and more. It wasn’t long before we were married and all a family. No matter how incredible my husband is, the voices of my insecurities starting rising to the top; He can’t possibly love you, you’ve been divorced, You aren’t good enough to keep your first husband what makes you think this one will stay?

When these thoughts start creeping into your mind, the first thing you need to do is take them captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). You cannot let the enemy get this foothold in your mind. It can lead to destructive, self-defeating thoughts and a downward spiral in yourself, which can affect your relationship with your spouse. Do not let these thoughts and feelings go unchecked.

I recommend having an open and honest conversation with your husband. He needs to know what is going on in your mind. Your husband, like mine, can reassure you that these are not true and where improvements, if any, need to be made. Communication is the key in a healthy, strong marriage.

After having a conversation with your husband, start working on replacing Satan’s lies with God’s truth. I will start you off with one truth you can claim; as soon as we call upon the name of Jesus, we are accepted by Him (1 Corinthians 1:2). As Christians, we are set apart to have a relationship with Christ. Anyone who calls on the name of Jesus has the distinction of being an accepted child of God.

Whether we care to admit it or not, being accepted is important to us. The feeling of acceptance can also be present within marriage. The key is not to get hung up on being accepted by people. Do not let this mold and shape who you are around your spouse. By doing so, you are simply putting on the mask of acceptance. He is accepting who you appear to be, not who you really are. Our Heavenly Father has graciously bestowed acceptance upon us. All we need to do is call upon His name.

Our acceptance is also seen in Acts, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21 NIV). Look closely at the wording of this verse; it says everyone. Not just the good ones, or the ones who have it all together or dress a certain way or fill in the blank, but everyone.

The identity of being accepted makes me think of young children. For the most part, children do not see fat or thin, pretty or ugly, smart or dumb; they see people for whom they really are inside. Our Heavenly Father freely gives this same kind of acceptance to us. God graciously extends acceptance to anyone who calls upon His name. We might as well take down the mask we are hiding behind because God sees us and accepts up just the way we are.

Once the lies have been replaced, you will be a healthier and stronger partner in your marriage, which in turn will grow. This is not to say that dealing with insecurities is a one-time thing. Satan knows our weaknesses, but we need to be on guard and ready to disregard his lies and replace them with the Truth.

JamyThe issue of our insecurities is addressed in my book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask. For more information, please check out my website, www.jamywhitaker.com, or my facebook page, www.facebook.com/AuthorJamyWhitaker.

Jamy Whitaker graduated with a degree in English from Indiana State University. She lives in Indiana, in a picturesque, rural setting, lovingly referred to as Whit-Akers, with her husband and five children. Visit www.jamywhitaker.org to learn more about Jamy, her writing and speaking.


Rocking the Boat

Rocking the Boat: Resolving Family Conflict
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario and Saskatchewan. This week’s is on resolving family conflict, and is a reprint from 2007.

We’re a week past Christmas now and as we take down those lights and dismantle the tree so we can sit in the living room again many of us are breathing a sigh of relief. We made it through a family dinner without any fights! Hallelujah and pass down that Christmas angel.

Families often pride themselves on the absence of conflict, as if not fighting means that we’re close. But I wonder, instead, if the opposite is actually the case. Think about it this way: in order to have a close relationship with someone, you have to be sharing your true self, which the other person then has to accept. And, of course, this sharing goes both ways. Sitting in a room together as you chat about the weather and the price of gas and did you see the colour Aunt Ruth dyed her hair? is not sharing yourself. It’s passing time. And the more we engage in this kind of surface relationship with people with whom we should have more intimacy, the more we build walls between us. It may buy us time, it doesn’t buy us peace. That’s because real peace isn’t not fighting—remember the Cold War?—it’s knowing someone and accepting them anyway.

Serious as this problem may be with extended family, it’s even more grave with our immediate family. We don’t confront our spouse on things that we consider serious, because we’re scared of the reaction. Instead, we bottle it up, pretend nothing’s wrong, and add more bricks to that wall. But is this really what we want for our relationships? If we want true intimacy, we’re going to have to share what’s in our hearts, what’s bothering us, even secrets that we’re afraid may cause that boat to keel over. There’s little lonelier than sharing your life with someone who doesn’t even know you.

Spouses, though, aren’t the only ones we hide from. How many of us really fight for that relationship with our kids, especially our teens? Too often we allow them to push us away, because we’re afraid that if we confront them, we’ll find out how alienated they really feel from us, or we’ll push them away even farther. We’d rather have the semblance of a relationship than acknowledge that there are severe problems. But how can we deal with those problems unless we name them? And most children, though they may not admit it, appreciate being fought for, rather than being allowed to do anything and everything just so you don’t have conflict.

Of course, some of us aren’t in the position to open up and share what we’re thinking and feeling. The relationship itself seems so fragile that sharing may be the final straw. When you’re afraid the person may bolt, opening yourself up just doesn’t seem worth it. But I wonder if settling for the shell of a relationship is really the better course? Only you can be the judge of that, and waiting for the right time to deal with something big may be appropriate. But putting something off indefinitely won’t build you the kind of relationship that your heart dreams about. Sometimes we need to go through a period of conflict in order to get to the other side. Taking bricks down is messy, but think about how wonderful it will look later on.

Nevertheless, while rocking the boat may be necessary, it shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself. We want intimacy, not just fights! So as you share, remember that you don’t get extra points for being loud or angry or making the other person look like a fool. That’s not removing bricks; that’s adding more. So calm yourself down, search your heart, and figure out what you want. Then decide how you’re going to get there. Letting things go on as they always have isn’t necessarily going to help. It’s going to build more walls. And then, who will be there to help you tear them down?

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Wifey Wednesday: What Your Husband Wishes You Knew


It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up! I’m taking the summer a little easier these days, so I’ve asked Rob Thorpe of Huzband to guest post today, to let us in on men’s minds.

A Thinking Manphoto © 2011 Wesley Nitsckie | more info (via: Wylio)


I Corinthians 7:33-34 says, “one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Pleasing one’s spouse assumes you know what it takes to please them – you know their needs and are deliberate about trying to meet them. Husbands and wives both have needs, and they get way off base assuming their spouse has the same ones they do. Sadly, most wives today think their man only has one need….want to hazard a guess? Yes, he does have that need, and it is a God-given physical and emotional need. But today, let’s talk about another need he is much more reluctant to discuss.

Deep down inside your husband has the same basic needs that you do – spiritual, emotional and relational. His physical needs may get top billing, but God created him with deep needs in other areas. Truth is – he doesn’t usually know how to articulate them, or is embarrassed to do so.

You already know that women tend to be more emotionally open than men….and women are more comfortable with their emotions. But your husband has real emotional needs too. Women tend to see feelings and behavior as the same. They act on their feelings. If a woman is angry, she behaves in that way. If she is elated, it’s expressed in her behavior. Usually a woman’s behavior is an open window to her emotions. But most men are not that way. They tend to hide their emotions. Men tend to embrace the philosophy that says that real men control of their emotions. This was usually reinforced early in his life by his father, grandfather, teachers and coaches.

Truth is – men are very emotional…we can be deeply moved by movies, music and beauty! Like you, we also have a deep need both to love and feel loved. And the love that is most precious to us, other than God’s love, is our wife’s love.

In Shaunti Feldhan’s great book, For Women Only, she reports the results of a large survey of husbands that were asked the question – “What is the primary thing you wish your wife knew?” The overwhelming response was – “How much I love her”.

Over several years of counseling and mentoring husbands, I have heard firsthand accounts of husbands saying things like – “I want her to know that I love her with all his heart and soul.” Others have said repeatedly, I love it when she is happy and hate it when she is sad or hurting.” We may not admit it to our friends, or even speak it to you – but, the love of our wife is critical to our survival!

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl shared the account of his time in a concentration camp during World War II. He says that one particularly chilling night he and the other exhausted prisoners were forced to walk through snow to work the frozen ground with pickaxes until morning. Though few words were spoken, one of the emaciated men whispered, “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what’s happening to us.” Silence followed the man’s remark, but Frankl writes, “…

each of us was thinking of his wife…..I looked at the sky where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.”

Next to an abiding faith in God, Frankl says the love of their wives gave men strength to rise from their crowded cots and face another pain-filled day. You see, contrary to popular opinion, men do have emotional needs….they need to feel loved by their wives if they are to go out and “slay the dragon” each Monday morning. We husbands may not face Nazi prison camps…but as Thoreau put it men live “…lives of quiet desperation” as we face the hopelessness and exhaustion and a hard-edged world week in and week out.

So wives, please look behind the facade. We desperately need a wife who loves us so well that the memory of your smiling face and the echo of her encouraging words will keep us going in the face of our daily adversity. We need you more than you know.

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

Rob Thorpe
Author – “husband”: A User’s Guide, and Renewed – A 30 Day Devotional Challenge for Husbands. Moderator of the largest blog devoted to husbands – http://huzband.wordpress.com

Look Me In the Eyes

Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here’s this week’s!

In downtown London, England, the city government has installed padding on the lampposts so that texters don’t bash themselves while walking and texting at the same time. Tokyo has painted footprints on the sidewalk to direct texters where to walk. I’m sure chiropractors will be pretty busy over the next few decades dealing with all the people who spend their days texting, chins bowed against their chests.
All too many of us have adopted the habit, but that can’t be good for your spine.

As a society, we have forgotten how to look up. We have forsaken eye contact in favour of paying attention to such all-important text messages as “wassup?”. We’re spending all our time communicating inanities with all our pseudo-acquaintances, rather than smiling at strangers. That little bit of courtesy that brightens people’s days is becoming all too scarce.

I often see teens outside the local high school during breaks, texting nonstop, while simultaneously chatting. Some believe this is a badge of multi-tasking honour. I wonder, though, about what kind of relationships are being formed, when one is never giving 100% of one’s attention to another human being? How does this bode for future relationships? Will our children grow up to be able to look their spouse in the eye when they rarely look anyone in the eye now? Not just that, but are we losing the ability to pay attention to one individual at a time, if conversations in real time have to be punctuated by checking for new text messages?

Tuesday nights are our technology free family nights. No computers, no televisions, just our family, huddled around the table, playing board games. I have to admit I didn’t really want to participate this week, because I was busy. But we had decided at the beginning of the year that nothing would interfere with family night, and so I took a deep breath and shut down my computer. And I have not laughed as hard in a long time. That night, while playing the Game of Life, I landed on the square which required me to shell out $5000 to decorate the nursery, even though I spent the rest of the game driving around the board without ever actually having a child. I held out hope for the twins, but it was all for nothing. Nothing, that is, except a new inside joke in our family, and tons of laughter, culminating with various individuals falling out of chairs.

It’s that same atmosphere that makes me love family dinners—minus the falling out of chairs part, of course. When we sit down, even if it’s just for ten or fifteen minutes, we all connect. Looking straight into my loved ones’ faces, I see any tiredness that’s there. I detect sadness. I can see excitement or triumph. And we share and laugh. How can this happen if people bring cell phones or iPods to the table? You’re not connecting. You’re ignoring, even if there is conversation going on.

We are losing the ability to look people in the eyes, and as we do that, we give the message that “I only pay attention to what is important to me. And you are not important.” Modern communication seems to have little to do with common courtesy, or kindness, or respect anymore; it is simply about entertainment and my own personal desires. That makes for an extremely selfish society.

Yes, cell phones and iPods are fun. But it’s ever so much more rewarding to spend time with real, live people, eye to eye. Let’s not forget that, and let’s make sure our loved ones are forced, at least during some of the day, to look us straight in the eye.

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