When fear for our children grips us, we often look for something “new” to help us deal with it. But instead, we must rely on the true and the tried strategies from God’s Word. They are:
Prayer: “...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Promises: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Saints throughout the centuries have leaned on God’s promises and called out to Him in prayer. And each and every time, they have found Him to be faithful. “I sought the Lord,” David tells us, “and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
So let’s follow the example of David and that “great cloud of witnesses.” Let’s seek God through constant prayer, and in the space of His promises, let’s park our souls.
2010 at 9:35 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
A while ago, on the Desiring God blog, John Piper provided an insightful and provoking answer to this question. (By the way, this video might be a good one to watch together with your husband.)
“So I would say a wife’s role is to see all that God enables her to see and then ask the Lord for wise and humble and submissive ways to share, to bring into her husband’s life her perspective on things. And it’s his job as a leader to be humbly receptive to those kinds of things and then to take action.”
2010 at 2:01 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12
Before we become discouraged by our utter inability to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman’s standard, we must first remember that the picture here is not one of perfection but of consistency and faithfulness.
All of us have no doubt fallen short many times. There are often days where in one way or another I fail to do good to my husband—whether by sins I commit against him, or opportunities to do him good that I miss or ignore.
But we can grow to resemble more and more this portrait of the Proverbs 31 woman—even after our failures, in spite of our weaknesses and temptations, and in the face of great trials or challenges in our marriage. We can persist in doing our husband good.
To answer this question, we can turn to Psalm 23:6. There, the Psalmist declares the truth of God’s faithfulness to him: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Here is not only consistency but perfection: all. Here is not simply good intentions but certain fulfillment: surely. Here we find not only acts of goodness but abundant, overwhelming goodness—because this goodness is from God Himself, come to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I once heard John Piper explain that the word “follow” in this verse could be more accurately translated “pursues.” God, with goodness and mercy in hand, pursues us. He hunts us down, in the midst of our sins, failures, in the midst of the trials and difficulties in our marriage.
He is eager to give us conviction for sin, forgiveness in Christ, a renewed desire to do our husband good, strength to persevere (even in a difficult marriage) and faith to see Him working all things for our good.
So how do we do our husband good? First and foremost remember that God has and is pursuing us with His goodness and mercy all the days of our lives.
And now, according to them, it does not. Not financially, not sociologically, not personally.
Ms. Bennet and Ms. Ellison’s aversion to marriage, as with many in our generation, can be traced back to childhood:
“We are also the so-called entitled generation, brought up with lofty expectations of an egalitarian adulthood; told by helicopter parents and the media, from the moment we exited the womb, that we could be ‘whatever we wanted’—with infinite opportunities to accomplish those dreams. So you can imagine how, 25 years down the line, committing to another person—for life—would be nerve-racking.”
Nerve-racking, maybe. But so much more satisfying, fulfilling, beautiful, and rewarding than they imagine.
“The Bible compels us to see marriage as essential to human happiness, health, and infinitely more,” insists Dr. Mohler. So the author of Hebrews exhorts us: “Let marriage be held in honor among all” (13:4).
How can we honor marriage in a culture that treats it with such disdain?
We can start by loving our husbands—passionately, tenderly, faithfully. We can cheer on the singles who honor marriage by walking in purity. We can encourage married couples who remain faithful to their vows. We can raise children, not to be “whatever they want” but to be what God wants them to be. We can pray for God’s mercy, that He would preserve the institution of marriage for the glory of the gospel.
And next time we get a wedding invitation? Celebrate! Because marriage will always make sense.
For ten years, my husband’s and my favorite way to spend a dollar…
Dear Ann Landers: Last weekend, we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. This morning, they left on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii. They were as excited as if it were their honeymoon.
When my parents married, they had only enough money for a three-day trip 50 miles from home. They made a pact that each time they made love, they would put a dollar in a special metal box, and save it for a honeymoon in Hawaii.
Dad was a policeman, and Mom was a schoolteacher. They lived in a modest house and did all their own repairs. Raising five children was a challenge, and sometimes, money was short, but no matter what emergency came up, Dad would not let Mom take any money out of the “Hawaii account.” As the account grew, they put it in a savings account, and then, bought CDs.
I can remember Dad coming home and telling Mom, “I have a dollar in my pocket,” and she would smile at him and reply, “I know how to spend it.”
When each of us children married, Mom and Dad gave us a small, metal box and told us their secret, which we found enchanting. All five of us are now saving for our dream honeymoons. Mom and Dad never told us how much money they had managed to save, but it must have been considerable, because when they cashed in those CDs, they had enough for airfare to Hawaii, plus, hotel accommodations for 10 days, and plenty of spending money.
As they told us goodbye before leaving, Dad winked and said, “Tonight, we are starting an account for Cancun. That should only take 25 years.”—A Loving Daughter in Abilene, Texas
2010 at 3:12 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Several weeks before each of her daughters got married, Mom took us away for a mother-daughter overnight. She wanted to have one final conversation before giving us away to our husbands.
Her counsel was simple: give yourself freely, passionately, completely to your husband.
The essence of our conversation is included in Mom’s book, Feminine Appeal:
“Marital sex is the pinnacle of human bonding. It is the highest form of the communication of love—a language that expresses love without words. It calls for the deepest, most powerful emotions. It creates intimacy within marriage like nothing else. In fact, as we give and receive the gift of lovemaking, this intimacy will grow stronger and more precious as the years go by. Each encounter will lead us to a deeper ‘knowing’ of the one we love.”
Sex “creates intimacy like nothing else.” All the shared joys and trials, all the deep and meaningful communication, certainly contribute to marital intimacy, but no experience can match the deep, inexplicable closeness that comes from a loving physical union within the confines of marriage.
“It’s a mystery,” I remember Mom saying. And so it is. This intimacy, this “knowing” that results from the physical relationship is beyond my ability to describe in words (although Solomon do so eloquently in his Song).
What I do know is that while I share fellowship and labors, joys and trials with many others, sex is something I share only with my husband. It’s our own little world, closed to all. Not even the dearest friend or family member can enter. We are on a journey, the two of us. An exclusive journey. A journey of love. We are creating memories known only to us. Secrets only we share.
The further we go on this journey, the bond between us grows more powerful and intense. The “knowing” grows deeper. The love grows sweeter.
Ten years after that conversation, I have to say—Mom, you were right.
As Justin Taylor explains, “Unlike some other similar books, this one is saturated with Bible and sound biblical theology, along with lots of good sidebar quotes about the power and purpose of prayer.”
Here’s Mom’s endorsement.
“Charles Spurgeon said we can do our husband ‘no truer kindness in the world’ than to pray for him. Yet as wives, we often struggle to pray consistently for our husbands. We forget in the busyness of life; or when we do remember, our prayers may lack clarity and direction. That’s what makes this book such a valuable tool for any wife who wants to grow in praying for her husband-and isn’t that all of us? Prayers of an Excellent Wife will inspire you to pray faithfully and fervently, and instruct you how to pray according to Scripture. I hope many wives will use these prayers to lavish their husbands with kindness.”
We hope many of you will benefit from this helpful tool for wives. (And hey, great gift idea for a friend!)
2010 at 5:36 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
When I was a young wife, Elisabeth Elliot mentored me through the pages of her book, Let Me Be A Woman. Then, when my daughters were teenagers, I used the book to teach them about biblical womanhood. I still refer back to it often, and recently came across this little gem. May it inspire you to embrace your God-given role in marriage today:
“It is the woman’s delighted yielding to the man’s lead that gives him freedom. It is the man’s willingness to take the lead that gives her freedom. Acceptance of their respective positions frees them both and whirls them into joy.” (Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman, p.185).
“Feelings of love follow acts of love…. A woman of dominion is not pushed around and bullied by her feelings and emotions. On the basis of her solemn covenantal commitment to her husband, she loves him.” p. 164-165
On October 15 of the year 1998, it was a few short weeks before my wedding. Brian had already moved to Chicago in September of that year and I remained in Maryland until our wedding day (November 7). I remember how much I missed him those nine weeks we were apart. But I was busy packing up my room, finalizing our wedding plans, attending my bridal shower and excitedly anticipating our new life together.
November 7 was a wonderful day—everything I had hoped it would be. We went on a glorious week-long honeymoon to Florida, before flying back to Chicago to begin our new life together.
Then “real life” blew in with the harsh Chicago weather. I was still deeply in love with Brian, but I also began to realize the magnitude of the decision I had made. I had left my family, friends, and the only church I’d ever known to follow my husband. Everything was new and unfamiliar: my home, friends, job, grocery store, and especially the weather!
Brian has joked that we should have bought stock in Kleenex, given how much I cried that first winter. Eleven years later, I am more grateful than ever for the godly, patient, man I am married too.
My experience as a new bride, missing home, was a helpful lesson: feelings are unreliable! But chapter ten of Womanly Dominion was a great reminder of what’s important for us as wives: to respect, be grateful for, and passionately love our husband—regardless of how we may feel at times. When, by the grace of God, we choose to love our husband, we will reap the sweet rewards of ever-growing affections.
I was freshly challenged by this chapter. I want to continue to grow in showing love to my husband. I’m inspired to thank Brian once again for his faithful love and care for me. And I am going to ask him: what is one way I can grow in expressing my love for you?
So will you join me? Whether you are a new bride or celebrating your fiftieth anniversary, let me encourage you to ask your husband this question, and do one thing to show him your love today (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
2009 at 5:40 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
We don’t want you to miss this! If you are a married couple who has conflict (and who doesn’t?) you need to hear this biblical advice from Dr. David Powlison. Nine years ago in our pre-marital counseling, my parents shared this wisdom with Steve and me. Few things have served us more in helping us to resolve conflict, have fewer conflicts, and grow in grace together. So listen, and for further study, buy this book.
My friend Rita sent me this letter from John Newton to his wife, Mary. The author of Amazing Grace was sixty years old when he wrote these words. He and his wife—whom he loved very much—had been married for thirty-five years. She would pass away five years later and he would live for another seventeen years after that.
CJ and I have been married for thirty-four years, so I feel I can relate to much of what John Newton writes about this season of life. His beautiful letter is long, I know, but it is worth taking a few moments to read.
Let pastor, husband, author, and Christian John Newton instruct all of us in the joys of marital fidelity and love, the peace of trusting in the faithfulness of God, and the hope of future grace for the journey.
August 6, 1785
My dear wife,
I long to hear that you had a comfortable journey to Southampton, and that you are now with our dear friends. Nothing has taken place among us that can be properly called new; which is a great mercy. For, though you have been gone but one day, a single day, or a single hour—may produce painful alterations in a family. The Lord has preserved us through a long course of years, and in different situations, from various calamities which have overtaken others. Our obligations to thankfulness are singular and numerous.
When the carriage drove past the corner, my heart seemed to go away with it. It contained what was of more value to me than the cargoes of a whole East India fleet. Tell our niece Eliza that I love her very dearly. She would soon be well—if I could make her so. But she is in better hands than mine! I have a comfortable hope that her illness has been, and will be, sanctified to an end far more desirable than health or life itself. Therefore I leave her to the wise and merciful direction of the Lord, who loves her better than I can.
I cannot write a long letter tonight. What could I, indeed, say, if I had more time, that I have not said a thousand times over? Yet there still is, and will be, something unsaid in my heart, which I have not words to express. May the Lord bless this little separation to quicken us to mutual prayer, and to lead us to a thankful review of the mercy and goodness which have followed us through the many years we have been united.
How many changes have we seen! Under how many trials have we been supported! How many deliverances have we known! How many comforts have we enjoyed! Especially, what great advantages have we possessed, in knowing those things which pertain to our everlasting peace!
The years we have passed together—will return no more. The afflictions are gone, the pleasures likewise are gone, forever. The longer we live, such pleasures as this world can afford, will, more and more, lose their power of pleasing. Only our love, I trust, will exist and flourish to the end of life—yes, beyond it! It will always be a truth, that the Lord, in giving you to me—gave me the best temporal desire of my heart. But the shadows of the evening advance. Old age is creeping in upon us, and the days are approaching when we shall have no pleasure—but what we can derive from the good Word of God, and the consolations of his Holy Spirit. These, if we are favored with them, will sufficiently compensate for the abatement, or the loss, of all the rest. The streams may run dry—but the fountain of living waters will always flow! May His presence be near our hearts—and then all will be well.
I am too fully employed to feel time hang heavy upon my hands in your absence; and, if I am permitted to come to you, the thoughts of the journey’s end will make the journey pleasant.
2008 at 8:17 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Here’s the final batch of ideas…
My husband has been quoted as saying, “The 5AM Club is the greatest thing for our marriage!” After reading Shopping for Time, I have adopted this habit and it HAS been so good for our marriage. I currently work outside of the home, so the only time I seem to be able to care for our home is briefly after work…if we don’t have a home community or date night. When I get up, I’m able to read, pray, plan and care for our home before I even walk out the door to go to the office. When I’m done at 5pm, I’m ready to come home and give my husband my all…not my left-overs.
Only by God’s grace (and my sister-in-laws calls each morning) am I able to get out of our warm bed and get my day started off right. Sitting at Jesus’ feet first thing sets the tone for my day, leaving me still joyful and energized after a long day at work. I get to focus on my man instead of the dishes and that makes him happy. The sacrifice from 5:00 to 5:05 before the coffee kicks in becomes well worth it when my husband feels like he gets my full attention at night.
One thing I like to do is to completely clear a Saturday for my husband. He works so hard during the week, and I usually have a ‘honey do” list for him on the weekends. I like to give him a “honey do” list that has nothing on it. I take away any of my own expectations of what I wish/hope he will do, I take care of our son and allow him to do whatever he wants to do. Starting the day out with a breakfast with just the two of us makes it special too.
For Valentine’s Day one year (but could be for no reason at all) I decorated my husband’s office door with 10 reasons why I love him. I used butcher paper and each of the 10 reasons were on a different heart. He still talks about that as his favorite gift that I’ve ever given him.
I’ve also left a new CD with a card in the seat of his car during the work day.
Keep a husband prayer journal. Date entries and what your husband is needing prayer for and PRAY. This encourages my husband very much. For him to know that I am aware and asking and praying for his heart. That Jesus would continue his work in my husband and that I am not to be the one to change my husband, but that I trust God to sanctify him.
Schedule social commitments, appointments, projects, and household tasks to happen when he is gone. So that when he is home, you have preserved time, your heart, and your body for giving to him.
When you are with him, pursue his heart with curiosity. Know what questions show him you are paying attention to him. When you ask him a question, look in his eyes, don’t do a task!
Send an email or a text message especially if he has a difficult meeting or conflict to deal with, letting him know that you are with him.
Have a family dinner that honors him, kids make cards thanking daddy for his work for the family and for God.
Make his favorite cookies and take them to his car while he is at work and leave them on a plate with a sweet note on his seat, for him to find when he gets off work.
Prepare your mind and body during the day to plan on making love. So, if he pursues you have prayed, prepared, and are ready to respond lovingly.
Pursue him sexually!
Know his schedule so that you can pray for him throughout his day.
Find old love letters and photocopy them. Write a sequel to the old one, finding new ways to express the same sentiment. Showing that as God has continued to bless your marriage, your love and commitment is deeper and your respect continually renewed for him. This can rekindle romance to think back to the intial “in love” feelings.
My husband doesn’t always take initiative in setting up get-togethers with his guy friends. So once in awhile I’ll gently suggest that he invite some of them over so he can have an enjoyable time with his buddies. I leave the house to them for a few hours but before I go, I whip up a big batch of chili, taco soup (Paula Deen’s recipe is available online and is absolutely the best!), or some pulled pork in my slow cooker, and dish up all the sides and toppings on the buffet. The guys have a great night together, are well-fed, and I get an evening to myself at the local Starbucks, where I curl up with a good book! This is a fun way to “do him good” while exercising my own interests in hospitality and cooking in a unique way.
2008 at 2:28 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
More creative ideas from some excellent wives…
My husband works evenings and gets off work at 11pm. I have all the kids toys picked up, kitchen cleaned, sink wiped out, coffee ready for morning (he hates to have to make coffee in the morning), and I leave on some accent lighting so that he feels the calm, welcoming, serenity of home even if it’s after the day is done and we’re all in bed.
When he comes home and I’m already asleep (I really try to stay up for him though), I sometimes leave little love notes on his pillow for him to find when he comes to bed.
I am always complementing his physique and telling him how handsome I think he is.
I pray for him and sometimes I tell him when I’m praying for him so that he knows.
Last night I asked my husband what I do to do him good. He responded by telling me that I spend our money very wisely. I had never thought that was a way of doing him good, but I’m so glad that he has told me. I would have never thought that spending the money that he works so hard for daily, in a wise fashion, was doing him good. I praise God for such a godly husband!
One way I try to do my husband good is to have a snack plate made for him every so often when he arrives home from work. It is usually simple…some sandwich meat rolled up, a few crackers, some cheese slices, and his favorite, pickled okra. I have a drink waiting for him as well, like a glass of iced tea. I have it waiting for him in our bedroom, so it is a nice surprise when he goes in there. He has mentioned that he really appreciates it and shows him that I understand his need to have a few minutes at the end of the day to regroup before being "on" with me and the kids.
My husband loves things neat and tidy, which is a struggle for me with 3 very small children. I asked him to call when he’s about 15 minutes from home and we have a fun “get ready for daddy” clean up session! It really doesn’t take that much effort, and the reward of a peaceful living room and pleasing my husband is great.
Every morning (at least I try - depending on how the night with the kiddos goes…) I send him an email at work. I try to get it to him before he is able to sign on to this computer. It has the same subject line each time (an acronym code that I had engraved on his wedding ring) and in it I encourage him, thank him for all that he does for our family, let him know that the boys and I are praying for him, etc and that we can’t wait to see him. I also greet him with something beautiful about the morning drive in.
He LOVES chocolate chip cookies and milk. Sometimes I make them as a surprise, and other times I make time if he asks me to. Either way, when they are finished baking and slightly cooled, I bring him 4 cookies on a plate with a big glass of milk to dunk them in. Always makes him smile!
DH is a student at SBTS. He really gets excited by his classes, so I whenever he gets home I ask him to tell me about the class and he just goes on and on and on about them. He’s especially excited that I’m interested in what he’s learning - esp. when I ask questions of him about something he or the prof. said.
Anytime I ask my husband what he would like for his birthday or Christmas or how I could serve him, the answer is always the same. Some form of physical intimacy is always at the top of his list. (It’s his favorite thing to do and it doesn’t cost a thing!) In fact, if I asked him how I could “do him good” he would quickly turn that into a very funny sexual innuendo.
So one Valentine’s Day I made him a little coupon book. Each coupon had a different, creative, intimate experience. Of course the coupons weren’t necessary because it is a part of our daily lives, but he loved the idea that I was thinking along the same lines that he was and was taking creative initiative. If I think about it, invest time, thought, and energy into it and add a little creativity to it he is very blessed.
Name Not Submitted
The idea is to let my husband know the many reasons that I love or appreciate him. I decorated a little box that sits on his desk at work. It says "How do I love you?" on the top. Then, about once a week, I put a little piece of paper (cute or plain) into his lunch with a short description of one way that I love or appreciate him. His box slowly fills up and he can look at them whenever he needs some encouragement during his workday! I’ve found that it’s helpful to keep track of what I’ve already given him so that I don’t repeat things.
2008 at 11:13 am | by Janelle Bradshaw
Another list of great ideas. You guys are good at this!
As a mother of little ones, a friend and I were feeling challenged in the area of romance so we took turns surprising our husband by planning a surprise romantic evening. I dropped my little ones off at a friend’s house before my husband got home from work. He came home to a dark candlelit house with notes leading up to the bedroom. It was a lot of fun my husband enjoyed it.
I bought a book of postcards that I can address to his office. I am horrible at writing notes but it is really easy to tear out one of the postcards and jot a quick “I love you!” down and toss it in the mail.
When my husband has a late meeting and is not able to come home for dinner, I bring dinner to his office.
I put the ESV Bible onto an iPod, and bought and iTrip so it would run through the speakers of his truck. He travels a lot from job site to job site each day, and he listens to hours and hours every day of Scripture. He says he has never felt more spiritually fed. I also put lots of good audio books & sermons on his iPod. He continually thanks me for this little thing!
Love-making, love-making, love-making, love-making! I highly recommend this as a "doing your husband good" idea!!! (it’s worth 100 times more than a note in the lunch box, he says!!! haha)
Stay current and age appropriate in clothing, hair and makeup. (We both think the husband is honored when the wife cares about her appearance)
Be a student in your areas of responsibility. Research home organization, meal planning, scheduling, packing for travel, moving and camping. My husband says this frees his mind that I’m serving in these areas, thinking through details and streamlining things.
Take Naps! Or do whatever it takes to be happy and refreshed when he gets home.
Keep lingerie fresh and interesting (don’t save money here, thinking no one will see this bra I’ve had for 5 years, I’ll spend money elsewhere. He sees it!) I’ve coordinated lingerie costumes to holidays and he anticipates the surprise.
Plan a romantic stay at home for him, find a place for the children to go for the entire evening, on the way home from dropping them off, pick up great take out food, tidy, not clean the house, create a special I’m all yours look and surprise him when he walks in the door.
Every time at the grocery, pick up something especially for him, nuts, olives, drinks, pastries, a football magazine etc.
Be available to go out to lunch with him during the week.
Back massages or scratches.
Love and enjoy the children, tell him evidences of grace in their lives from that day besides the areas they need to grow in.
Have his favorite snacks or treats for watching sports.
Be on time.
Love God more than anything!
When he comes in from work, no matter what the kids and I are in the midst of, we all stop and run to the door to greet him. He has said that this makes him feel loved and erases the memory of a bad day quickly.
When I make him a lunch, I usually tuck in a note of encouragement. (an oldie but a goodie!!)
My husband travels often. I try to tuck in a card or note without him noticing. Also, adding a Hershey’s Kiss for every night he is gone is fun. That way, he still gets a kiss every night. (Make sure to put the chocolate in a separate baggie. Otherwise, he will be spending a few extra hours on the road in the laundromat.)
My husband LOVES football. I can remember grumbling about this addiction (oh, I mean passion) just a few years ago. I am so grateful to God for helping me to see even this as a way to love my husband. I now show an interest in the games (either by watching them with him or releasing him to go to a friends house with a better TV than ours) and have even made a few fantasy football decisions for him.
My husband is an economist, and he was always wanting to talk to me about work. I didn’t really understand all of what he wanted to share, so I bought some books on economics and studied up so I could understand what he was sharing. My husband loved that I took the time to learn about what was so important to him.