31-Day Prayer Challenge for Wives

Have you ever noticed that stuff isn’t built to last as long these days as it used to be? Unfortunately, the same thing can be said of modern marriages. Couples are splitting, families crumbling all around us — even those whose relationships seemed to be solid and good.

31-Day Prayer Challenge for Wives (with free printable)

That makes me sad, but it also makes me determined to safeguard my own marriage in every way I can. In addition to forgiving freely and prioritizing oneness, I believe one of the most powerful things a wife can do to protect her marriage is to pray for her husband daily.

If you’re not in the habit of doing so already, I’d encourage you to begin right away. This very minute. Here’s a 31-day list of Scripture-backed prayer requests to get you started:

  1. Ask God to give your husband WISDOM
    “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously…”
    (James 1:5)
  2. Pray that he’d be a man of INTEGRITY
    “A righteous man who walks in his integrity—how blessed are his children after him.”
    (Proverbs 20:7)
  3. Ask God to teach him to LOVE like Christ
    “A new command I give you: Love one another.”
    (John 13:34)
  4. Pray that your husband would be blessed with good HEALTH
    “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you…”
    (3 John 1:2)
  5. Pray that God would fill his heart with JOY
    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
    (Philippians 4:4)
  6. Pray that God would be your husband’s STRENGTH
    “The LORD is my strength & my shield; my heart trusts in Him, & He helps me.”
    (Psalm 28:7)
  7. Ask God to bless the WORK of his hands
    “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”
    (Colossians 3:23)
  8. Pray that your husband’s UNDERSTANDING would increase
    “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding.”
    (Proverbs 2:2)
  9. Pray that his CONFIDENCE would be rooted in Christ
    “…in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence…”
    (Ephesians 3:12)
  10. Pray that GENEROSITY might characterize his life
    “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes will himself be refreshed.”
    (Proverbs 11:25)
  11. Ask the Lord to give your husband REST
    “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
    (Matthew 11:28)
  12. Pray nothing would tarnish his WITNESS for Christ
    “We… testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
    (1 John 4:14)
  13. Pray that your husband would walk in the TRUTH
    “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation…”
    (Psalm 25:10)
  14. Pray that he’d model the ATTITUDE of Christ
    “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
    (Philippians 2:5)
  15. Ask God to make him an attentive FATHER
    “He will turn the hearts of fathers to children & of children to their fathers.”
    (Malachi 4:6)
  16. Ask God to increase your husband’s PATIENCE
    “…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
    (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
  17. Pray that your husband would learn to love MERCY
    “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
    (Luke 6:36)
  18. Pray that God’s PEACE would reign in his heart
    “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
    (Isaiah 26:3)
  19. Pray your husband would embrace HUMILITY
    “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
    (James 4:10)
  20. Ask God to give him a heart of COMPASSION
    “…be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate & humble.”
    (1 Peter 3:8)
  21. Pray that God would grant him BOLDNESS
    “..we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
    (Hebrews 13:6)
  22. Pray that your husband’s AFFECTION would endure
    “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
    (Romans 12:10)
  23. Pray that your husband would honor God with his FINANCES
    “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
    (Proverbs 10:22)
  24. Pray that your husband would be known for his KINDNESS
    “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other…”
    (Ephesians 4:32)
  25. Ask God to add GOODNESS to your husband’s faith
    “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness & to goodness, knowledge…”
    (2 Peter 1:5)
  26. Pray that he’ll pursue HOLINESS in his thoughts, words, and deeds
    “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”
    (1 Peter 1:15)
  27. Pray that your husband would live in OBEDIENCE to Christ
    “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
    (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  28. Ask God to teach him FAITHFULNESS in all things
    “Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much.”
    (Luke 16:10)
  29. Pray that your husband would be known for his GENTLENESS
    “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
    (Colossians 3:12)
  30. Ask God to give him an extra measure of SELF-CONTROL
    “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love & self-control.”
    (2 Timothy 1:7)
  31. Pray that your husband would walk in VICTORY over sin
    “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    (1 Corinthians 15:57)

At the request of one of my readers, I converted this list to a free, one-page printable for easy reference. To download your copy (pictured below), follow this link.

Free Printable: 31-Day Prayer Challenge for Wives

Do you pray regularly for your husband? If not, I hope you’ll take this 31-day challenge. Lift him up in prayer every day for a month, then when the next month rolls around, start all over and do it again.

And if you have any other advice for fortifying your marriage, I’d love for you to share it in the comment section below.

“Bad” Advice that Might Save Your Marriage

"Bad Advice that might Save Your Marriage
I spotted an article earlier this week entitled “The Worst Marriage Advice of Every Decade Since the 1900s.” Curiosity compelled me to click through and read.

I’ll admit that the advice from the most recent decades truly was horrible. No wonder so many marriages end in divorce, if the guidelines couples are attempting to live by these days revolve around keeping secrets until their deathbed or saying one thing while doing another.

But the earlier advice from bygone eras? Not surprisingly, many of those recommendations were actually spot on. In fact, I suspect marriages would fare much better if more folks adopted such attitudes toward their mates as were so highly prized in past generations.

Once source referenced was particularly good, I thought. It was a piece written by Abigail van Buren in 1965 called The Ten Commandments for Wives.

She wrote a companion column devoted to the Ten Commandments for Husbands, then later combined the two, but as this is the one referenced in the above article, I’ve chosen to reprint it in its original form, along with some of my own thoughts about what Abby advised:

10 Commandments for Today’s Wives

  1. “Defile not thy body neither with excessive foods, tobacco, or alcohol, that thy days may be long in the house which thy husband provideth for thee.”
  2. Doctors, health gurus, and the Word of God all agree: overeating and excessive drinking are bad for us (as is smoking). Why then would encouraging wise choices in these areas constitute bad advice for married women? Shouldn’t it be easier to “live happily ever after” in good health than in poor?

    “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.” – Proverbs 23:20-21

  3. “Putteth thy husband before thy mother, thy father, thy daughter, and thy son, for he is thy lifelong companion.”
  4. If you want your marriage to succeed, you must make it your priority to nurture your relationship. That’s why most marriage vows include the promise to “forsake all others and cleave only unto thee.” You can’t just toss your spouse an occasional scrap of attention and expect love to flourish.

    “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

  5. “Thou shalt not nag.”
  6. This advice is both sound and Biblical. Not only does the husband benefit when his wife refrains from nagging, but she will be much happier, as well, when she learns to identify and be grateful for all the blessings in her life rather than focusing her thoughts solely on the irritations.

    “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” – Proverbs 21:19

    “…Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

  7. “Permit no one to tell thee that thou art having a hard time of it; neither thy mother, thy sister, nor thy neighbor, for the Judge will not hold her guiltless who letteth another disparage her husband.”
  8. Be faithful to your husband in word and deed. You would not want him to say disparaging things about you to his friends, so treat him as you’d want to be treated — even when he’s not around to hear what you’re saying.

    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

  9. “Thou shalt not withhold affection from thy husband, for every man loveth to be loved.”
  10. Be a generous lover. As I’ve said many times before, you are the only person on earth who can rightfully meet your husband’s need for intimacy. When you starve him sexually, you shoot yourself in the foot.

    “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another” – 1 Corinthians 7:3-5

  11. “Forget not the virtue of cleanliness and modest attire.”
  12. This is good advice, whether you are married or not.

    “Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

  13. “Forgive with grace, for who among us does not need forgiveness?”
  14. I know of nothing that will destroy a marriage faster than bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. Let all those things go, for your own sake as much as for his.

    “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

  15. “Remember that the frank approval of thy husband is worth more to thee than the admiring glances of a hundred strangers.”
  16. Some people go to far greater lengths to bless and impress friends and coworkers than they do to please their own spouse. If you are going to concern yourself with gaining the admiration and approval of anybody, shouldn’t it be the man you married?

    “My beloved is dazzling and ruddy; he stands out in comparison to all other men. ” – Song of Solomon 5:10

  17. “Keep thy home in good order, for out of it cometh the joys of thy old age.”
  18. Keeping an orderly home goes far beyond making sure your house stays neat and tidy. It includes raising your children to be respectful and obedient and honoring the Lord in the way you relate to your husband and extended family members.

    “She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.” – Proverbs 31:27

  19. “Honor the Lord thy God all the days of thy life, and thy children will rise up and call thee blessed.”
  20. This, of course, is straight out of Scripture, as well. Glorifying God is what we were created to do in the first place. If we will honor Him in the way we love and serve our family, and they will love and praise and honor us, as well.

    “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:28-30

"Bad Advice that might Save Your Marriage

How to Date a Husband Who’d Rather Stay Home

Tips for Dating a Husband who'd Rather Just Stay Home

Below is a follow-up question I received in reference to the Date Night post I published a few months back. This writer raises a good point! Here’s the whole scoop, along with my response:

QUESTION:

I really love this [Date Night] post! I’ve been reading your blog for a few days now and using your “praying from head to toe” printables daily. They’re really helping change my attitude towards my husband in a good way!

I do have a question about the planning it yourself aspect — my husband REALLY doesn’t want to go out and has told me so. So what if I take the initiative [to plan a nice date], and then he gets upset at me for “forcing the issue”? I could see it going either way.

ANSWER:

I understand your concerns and agree: There is a big difference between planning a date for a husband who is willing but busy, and forcing the matter with a husband who has made it clear he prefers not to go out under any circumstances.

Some husbands are extremely introverted and do not enjoy being in a crowd. Others are stressed by financial burdens, and don’t see how they can find money for expensive dates on a regular basis. Still others are just tired after their long day at work and would rather relax at home.

If something like that is at work in your marriage, I suggest you discuss with your husband some acceptable alternatives.

  • If he doesn’t like crowds, pick something isolated.
  • If he’s concerned about spending money, pick something cheap.
  • If he’d rather stay at home, find something you can do together there that will draw you closer together.

Dates do not have to mean candlelit dinners or blockbuster movies. Consider his interests. Would he like to go fishing, just the two of you? Does he like cars? Maybe you could go to a local showroom and take a test drive. Gardening? Pull weeds together and visit while you do. Monday night football? Learn the rules of the game, make a big bucket of popcorn, and sit on the couch beside him cheering on his favorite team. You get the idea. Adapt yourself to him, and learn to take enjoyment in the things that interest him.

Want more ideas for date night at home? Here are fifteen of our favorites:

  1. Cook a meal together.
  2. Throw something on the grill for a casual picnic on your patio or go gourmet and serve it on fine china with fresh flowers and crystal stemware.

  3. Read a book together.
  4. Take turns reading aloud from the same book or sit side-by-side reading different books and discussing the best parts.

  5. Take a walk together.
  6. Amble around the block, through the gardens, or just to the mailbox and back. Hold hands and enjoy each other’s company.

  7. Play a game together.
  8. Bananagrams, Chess, Scrabble, and Stratego are a few of our favorites and none of them need more than two players.

  9. Watch a documentary together.
  10. Pick a topic that interests you both and learn more about it. Or if documentaries aren’t your thing, try a foreign film with subtitles.

  11. Set some goals together.
  12. Where would you like to find yourself in twelve months? Five years? Ten years? What should you do now to make those dreams a reality?

  13. Do a project together.
  14. Whether it’s changing the oil in your car, cleaning out the garage, or taping off a room and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, find a task that needs to be done and tackle it as a team.

  15. Get some exercise together.
  16. Try a new workout video or see how many jumping jacks and sit-ups you can do. You can hold his feet and count for him, then trade places and let him do the same for you.

  17. Reminisce over old times together.
  18. Break out the photos albums, scrapbooks, or family movies and go through them page by page and frame by frame. Which memories are your favorites? Which do you hope to never go through again?

  19. Take a bath together.
  20. A long soak in a tub of warm water (bubbles optional) is very relaxing and provides a great opportunity for talking about your day. If you don’t have a bathtub big enough for two, try taking a hot shower together.

  21. Gaze at the stars together.
  22. Head outdoors once the sun goes down and admire the full moon or watch for shooting stars. Sit on the porch steps, break out the lawn chairs, or relax in a hammock and soak in the sights and sounds of the evening. If you have access to a good telescope, so much the better.

  23. Plan a vacation together.
  24. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Get out a map and chart a course. Google your destination and discuss what kind of activities you’d do once you got there. Planning a trip is half the fun of going, so enjoy this process, even if it’s unlikely you’ll actually take it anytime soon.

  25. Say your prayers together.
  26. Did you know that couples who pray regularly together have less than a 1% incidence of divorce? If you and your spouse have not already made it a habit to pray together, start now — date night or no.

  27. Do something creative together.
  28. Paint some pictures. Sculpt with clay. Compose a song. Take up whittling. Write something from the heart, then trade what you’ve written and edit each other’s work. Sign up for an online class and learn a new craft together.

  29. Get naked together.
  30. Throw the lock on the bedroom door and do what married couples should do — enjoy that one-flesh union God so marvelously designed, every chance you get!

As you read through this list of suggestions, you will see that together is the optimal word in all of them. Our lives are full of mundane activities that can be magically transformed into memorable dates when we do them alongside the one we love. The trick is to keep your eyes open and look for opportunities to cultivate that sense of togetherness and belonging.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but is designed to get you thinking in the right direction. What activities would you add for spending time with a husband who doesn’t like to “go out”?

6 Great Benefits to Kissing Your Mate

It's Kiss Your Mate Day!

There was a song that was popular when I was in high school, and for thirty years, I’ve thought they were singing, “Your Kiss is on My Lips.” It wasn’t until recently that I learned the words of that song actually read: “Your kiss is on my list... of the best things in life.” And you know what? I like those words even better!

The lyrics go on to say: “Because your kiss (your kiss) I can’t resist/ Because your kiss is what I miss when I turn out the light.”

Shouldn’t that be my goal as a wife? To make a habit of kissing my husband so often and so passionately that he would consider my kiss one of the best things in life? To routinely give him the kind of soft, sweet, sensual kisses that he finds irresistible? To make our nights together at home so memorable that he really misses me whenever we’re apart?

I once read about an interesting study conducted in Germany. Researchers found that men whose wives kissed them goodbye every morning were more successful than men who weren’t kissed. A simple farewell kiss was the one consistent factor that set high achievers apart from the rest. Can you imagine that?

The fact is, success and respect often go hand-in-hand, so if you want to communicate respect for your husband, be sure to send him off right, and don’t forget to greet him with a kiss when he returns home, for good measure.

In addition to improving your husband’s earning potential, kissing offers many powerful health incentives — and these hold true for both participants:

  1. Kissing prevents cavities and tooth decay by increasing saliva production, which in turn helps to wash away plaque.
  2. Kissing reduces stress and anxiety by helping to lower blood pressure and relieve tension.
  3. Kissing strengthens health and immunity by triggering the release of oxytocin and many other disease fighting chemicals into the bloodstream.
  4. Kissing counteracts the signs of aging by firming up facial muscles, plumping lips, and precipitating a rosier, healthier complexion.
  5. Kissing improves cardiovascular health by raising your heart rate (at least potentially) and providing total body conditioning.
  6. Kissing boosts confidence and self-esteem by improving your state of mind, balancing your mood, and raising your happiness level.

And if all that is not reason enough to smooch your spouse, there is also this: Kissing fulfills a Biblical injunction. In 2 Corinthians 13:12, we are told very plainly to “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”

As it happens, April 28th is “Kiss Your Mate Day.” Does that mean kissing should be a once-a-year activity? No way! With so many benefits riding on it, you’ll want to pucker up at every opportunity.

Tips for incorporating more kissing into your marriage:

  • Get up early enough to brush your teeth and swish a little mouthwash before your husband leaves for work, so you’ll be ready to offer him a proper goodbye kiss at the door.
  • Perhaps you are the one who’s leaving home and returning later. It’s still a great practice to seek him out before you go, tell him you’re leaving and plant one on him.
  • As one of my readers suggests, don’t just limit your kissing to goodbyes. “Couples should also kiss each other hello. And goodnight. And OFTEN! Kissing is fun!”

Of course, you may find that kissing your spouse is like eating Doritos — you can’t stop with just one. That’s okay, too. If kissing leads to more intimate expressions of affection, so much the better. You’ll reap even more benefits when you make that a priority in marriage, as well. 🙂


Note: This post has been adapted from the chapter “Kiss Him Goodbye” in my award-winning book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband.

Winston Churchill Gives Sound Marriage Advice

A Little Marriage Advice from Winston Churchill

April 9th is Winston Churchill Day. This year marks the 53rd anniversary of Churchill’s being made an honorary U.S. citizen, so it seems fitting to spend a few minutes today reflecting on some of the words of wisdom for which he is so well known.

Apparently, Churchill exercised the same dogged determination in love as he exhibited in war: Despite the pivotal role he played in WWII, he often boasted that his “most brilliant achievement” was persuading his wife to marry him. When Churchill passed away at the age of 90, he and Clementine had been married 56 years.

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the British Bulldog. Had Churchill been a marriage counselor rather than a Prime Minister, I imagine his marriage advice would have sounded something like this:

  • “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
  • Want a great marriage? Don’t just twiddle your thumbs, waiting for your spouse to create it for you. Take responsibility. Take ownership. Do everything in your power to make your marriage the best it can be.

  • “The first quality that is needed is audacity.”
  • A great marriage requires bold risk-taking. It takes a hundred-percent, sold-out, do-or-die commitment. No holding back. No hedging your bets. You’ve got to give it your all, pouring body, soul, and spirit into making your relationship everything God intends for a marriage to be.

  • “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
  • This is true in every area of life, and marriage is no exception. Want a happy marriage? Cultivate a happy heart. Dwell on the positive. Be loving, patient, cheerful, kind, and quick to forgive.

  • “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
  • Marriage is more about making a life than making a living. When you focus on what you can GIVE rather than on what you can GET, you stand a better chance of making that life wonderful in every way.

  • “‘No comment’ is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.”
  • Don’t feel obligated to spout off everything that pops into your mind. Some things are better left unsaid. Be slow to speak. Weigh your words carefully. If you can think of nothing worthy to say, say nothing.

  • “Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”
  • Do hardships send you spiraling to the ground? Pressures spin you out of control? Stay anchored and work together. You’ll rise above the buffeting winds and soar higher than you ever thought possible.

  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
  • Push through your misery — don’t sit down and wallow in it. Just as the joy of holding a newborn follows the intense pain of childbirth, couples who pull together and work through their problems report feeling far happier and more deeply satisfied afterward than those who let difficulties drive them apart.

  • “Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never.”
  • This was Churchill’s strategy in dealing with the enemy during WWII. Let it be yours, as well. If your marriage is to survive, you must repel anything that would threaten to destroy it — “great or small, large or petty” — with unyielding tenacity.

Every marriage will face adversity sooner or later. How will you respond when it comes? Will you panic, throw up your hands in despair, and watch your marriage crumble before your eyes? Or will you do as Churchill urged and meet each new challenge with “intense vigilance and exertion,” doing all that is necessary to protect and preserve life on the home front?

Could your marriage use a dose of that kind of moxie? What’s your favorite Churchill quote, and how might you apply it to your own situation?