6 Things You Can DO Today to Change Your Marriage…

May I offer a tangible piece of hope today instead of chocolate and flowers? 

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There’s no calories in this, but it might be the most rich piece of anything you get today.

And it applies to literally every relationship you are in, not just your marriage. :) 

There’s a ton of talk right now online about the “Titus 2 Curse” being levied against women. For the record, YES, we cite that verse, but for us, it’s all about the “older women teaching the younger women how to love their husbands,” and modeling Christ to a new generation of women – to being more like Him, not better housekeepers. And yes, I recognize that like anything else in the bible, there are people who throw verses around to demean and control women (and men, for that matter). However, instead of glorifying lies, we deal with this the same way we deal with the enemy, acknowledging the existence of these things, but not paying a lot of attention to it, because as you’ve heard me say before, “Whatever we pay attention to grows.” God’s given me a mission on the practical side of things – starting with relationship with Him. You may have noticed that I don’t spend a ton of time getting wrapped up in man-made labels because I believe the whole bible is true. More on that here and here. I am not interested in growing dissension or giving voice for people to beat on Christians or malign the Word. I feel called to speak about what is true, and He asks me to call women to a higher standard – that of Christ’s.

Someone needs to acknowledge that the Christian life is submissive. It’s putting God’s will above our own.

A lot of people don’t like that.

But I digress.

Regarding the Titus 2 verses, as we talk about in The Respect Dare and in Daughters of Sarah, the word “love” expressed there is “phileo love” – FRIENDSHIP love. Honestly, I don’t understand all the hub-bub and conflict – I thought it was rather obvious in 1 Peter 3:1-7 that Peter leaves the details of who does what up to individual couples. And Sarah was a bold, brave woman, not someone consumed with washing dishes. NOWHERE in the bible are specific chores laid out or dictated as commands.

The part of the Titus 2 verse that has some riled up is the “busy at home” phrase – men are also told to not be lazy, so I guess I could take what Titus says personally, or I could know who I am in Christ and realize this verse is more about not being a lazy drunk and being a good influence, and that uber-spectacular verse about being friends with our husbands – it prevents divorce. So I’m going to focus on that, instead of getting my knickers in a knot about whose supposed to do the dishes. We, like the bible, leaves that up to individual couples to figure out, which IMHO is pretty smart.

On to what’s important… Here’s the skinny: research shows that the most important thing you can be with your spouse is his or her FRIEND. 70% of happily married couples say this is the most important part of their marriage.

If your marriage is an unhappy place, research also shows that happy couples have 5 positive interactions to each negative one. 

5:1

What’s YOUR ratio?

 

Want to overhaul your marriage starting right now? CREATE positive interactions.

We spend a ton of time helping women do this in Daughters of Sarah, but here’s just a couple you can do today:

  1. Text “I’m so glad I married you!”
  2. Email, “I was thinking about your strengths today… my favorite is your ability to …”
  3. Do an act of service for your beloved – and let him/her know you did it by saying, “Hey, I was thinking of how much I love you today and so I (whatever you did) for you.”
  4. Put your arms around your beloved and say, “I am thankful we are together.”
  5. Spend TIME with your beloved today, doing anything you and s/he enjoy.
  6. Buy him or her a small thing that says, “I was thinking of you today.”

So your dare today, to START turning things around is to first CREATE positive interactions, 5/day-style for the quick-start version.

Do this for 3 months.

Because it takes a while to change habits and perceptions.

We’ll be sharing step 2 in upcoming blog posts – and be giving you tips on dealing with conflicts and differences of opinion in the meantime. Know also that he may not notice, and so you can’t wrap your identity up in his reactions.  He’ll need your help moving on to step 2.

Want to REALLY be effective at this? Start doing The Respect Dare with us – it will unhook your perception of yourself from your husband’s behavior. Want to get a bigger bang for your buck with the 5 positives? Learn your beloved’s love language – and do things that speak to that. Here’s a great place to find out what it is.

And subscribe to the blog. Monday we start Dare #5 as we’re blogging our way through The Respect Dare. 

And if you are a guy, here’s our list that you’ll find uber-helpful, just click on the below…

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Hope you’ll subscribe to the blog over on the sidebar to the right and stick it out as we walk through The Respect Dare, remembering that perseverance grows mature faith. If you missed the three broadcasts a while back with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine of FamilyLife Today, you might listen to those here – they’re great as a foundation.

Monday, you can link up and we’ll pick some to share over the weekend. And Debbie will talk to parents of tweens and teens. Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll talk about the same dare in different contexts with Leah and Debbie. You can also follow us on Facebook® where there’s tons of additional dialogue, daily tips, and other resources. Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter @NinaRoesner – there’s a button on the sidebar for that, too.:) And Pinterest, too. :)

At any rate, we’re interested in what you think, so please join us, share wildly (as a Titus 2 person of influence) and comment.

And remember…

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Love to you,

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We hope you’ll subscribe and join us on this journey of hope and encouragement. As our gift to you, I hope you’ll sign up for the free marriage tips below. And know we’ll never share your email with anyone else for any reason.

Comments

  1. says

    Catherine:

    Girl time really is important. If we get some of our emotional needs met by talking to another woman, then our husbands reaction/behavior is not so all consuming. It should be a Christian woman and someone who has some understanding of what you are dealing with. It should be someone who believes in marriage and looking at our own behavior and attitudes. It can change. You are doing the right thing by reaching out on-line. Praying you will find that supportive friend. I go out for coffee with a girlfriend once a week, and it has really helped my marriage. Can’t explain it all. It just works. Praying that God will put the right person in your path.

    • Catherine says

      Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful advice and prayers. You are absolutely right, girlfriends are such a blessing. Thank you for your encouragement…it means a lot.

  2. Catherine says

    I love your ideas for change but am wondering if you have any advice for a woman who feels so beaten down with criticism from her husband that she doesn’t even “like” him right now? She feels like she has to walk on eggshells or she might be criticized again. He has been consistently in a bad mood about life and takes it out on her. How can a woman turn her attitude towards her husband around when she feels so unloved, disrespected and ignored consistently? She also carries the responsibility of homeschooling/caring for her three children at home and is pregnant with a fourth. So she is very tired and weary already and her husband’s behavior just tears her up inside. What steps could she take to turn her weary heart around and toughen it up to fully accept how her husband treats her but demonstrate love for him anyways when her heart is so broken and hurt? Thank you for any advice and prayers.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Catherine –
      I’m so sorry you are in this spot right now. And I get this. Worked part time, homeschooling, all the unloved feelings… YES. I get this. Been there. Done that. I know you are exhausted. I know you are tired. I know you are broken hearted and I pray for you right now, baby, right now.

      Here’s what I am praying. That you persevere in this journey of coming to know God so deeply that your identity is wrapped up in His opinion of you, not the shabby treatment another human provides. That you spend time every day, asking Him, “How do I know You, teach me, guide me, help me get it, because if this is all there is, it ain’t much…” and that you then be open to what He’s about to do. I pray you surround yourself with other women, at LEAST once a week, dragging your homeschooling kiddos with you to coops, bible study, SOMETHING, to get you some girl time – we can’t do this life without it. Relying on that guy doesn’t work. He’s not capable of fulfilling you – but your girlfriends will provide you with encouragement, rest, and love on you. And I pray that through doing these things for a time, (and then forever continuing to do them) you will be stronger. And that God will teach you to SEE the way He does. That you’ll see beyond the lies of this culture and the human-led Christian culture to what is His Truth: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy and excellent, and then find your contentment, so you can have His strength – to do all things. Phil 4:8-13. That your life will then be filled with such gratitude that you can THEN be whole enough to HELP this man love you better. That you can encourage him to go be with other men, that you can then not receive his criticisms, but gently coach him when he hurts you into a better response, not as his mother, but as his sister and co-heir to the throne of grace. I pray that you have the strength you need if a confrontation of his sin against you (and he IS, baby, he is) is in order, Matthew 18-style, or if you are to simply pray him through it while God uses someone else and you are out of His way. I ask for boldness, bravery, comfort and great faith for you, in Jesus’ name-style.

      And, the steps? You see the first in today’s blog post. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to encourage one another. Whether or not your husband receives your encouragement is HIS issue, not yours. Look for ways to be a blessing, but not because you are trying to change him – but rather because you are being obedient to the One True God. And someday, this side of heaven, you may be able to be of help to this hard man. But do NOT own his criticism. His sin says volumes about him, and less about you.

      Hang in there. Stay with us. Get your girltime going. Pursue the King. He’s waiting for you!! SO very glad you are here!!

      Also, if you didn’t catch this one, here’s a post on dealing with critical people: http://ninaroesner.com/2014/01/31/how-to-deal-with-critical-people/

      Know you are loved,
      ~Nina

      • Catherine says

        Nina, thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. Sometimes I just get so stuck in the mud…thank you for reminding me that the most important thing that matters is what God thinks (even though sometimes it’s hard for me to understand this without having something tangible to feel, you know?) and that I stay obedient to Him. God Bless and thank you again.

        • Nina Roesner says

          Catherine –
          I do know. :)
          That’s what girlfriends, sisters, moms, are for (consistently, at least) because they will usually bring empathy to the table.
          Hang in there, beautifuly!
          Love to you,
          ~Nina

  3. Aixa says

    Thank you for those tips, Nina. I actually left a note for my husband to find before he leaves for work. Something to let him know I’m thinking of him and look forward to spending time with him when he returns. I will make note of that 5:1 ratio; it is a good way to counteract the effect of a negative interaction and stay focused on strengths rather than weaknesses. I definitely have to work on creating more positive interactions.

    Funny you’re talking about Titus 2 today because I have been studying it and actually feel empowered by it. I really do not see a negative connotation in it. I see it as an invitation to live a godly life and to serve as guidance to younger women. I find it both encouraging and empowering. I also love what it says about living in a way so that ‘no one will malign the word of God’. It is all about living according to His Word.

    To ‘be busy at home’ does not necessarily refer to domestic work, but to stay active in whatever pertains to your home life; to be an active presence in your home, whatever your responsibilities may look like. The verse also talks about submission and that is a pretty hot button as well. I have to admit I am still dealing with becoming submissive, yet I know that submission the way God means it is a good thing, and for our benefit. God knew what he was doing when he designed marriage and we must trust Him. I believe our ego gets hurt when we hear about submission and society has made sure our ego is well fed. We have to choose instead to feed ourselves with the Word of God, not with the world’s ways.

    Thank you for providing this platform to interact with you and express ourselves respectfully. I admire your work and enjoy reading your blog. I just got the Respect Dare book and look forward to joining you in the dares. I have some catching up to do as you are starting on Dare 5, but I look forward to it!

    God bless.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Good for you, baby! I love your name, btw. :) I also find Titus 2 empowering. Those who don’t fully grasp (and I confess, I sometimes forget and end up here myself!) identity in Christ take issue with all sorts of things in the bible, this being no exception.

      Submissive is being “Sub MISSION” meaning, we choose to put ourselves under the mission of God. I agree with your comments about ego and society.

      Anything you admire, btw, is HIM. I’m trying to stay out of His way. :)

      Love to you, and don’t worry about the catch up – you’ll get there in your own time, baby!
      ~Nina

      • Aixa says

        Thanks for your reply! I never saw submission as sub-Mission. I love that point of view on putting ourselves under God’s mission. I will remember that!

        Thanks for your encouraging words! May the Lord keep blessing and using you for His glory.

        Have a great day!
        Aixa.

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