God can change your marriage.
Saturday, my husband and I sat down and had a three hour conversation about MONEY. And plans for the farm.
I didn’t get triggered, the conversation was awesome, and it was wild fun to dream together about what we’re doing.
Might not sound like much, but it’s evidence of what God can do, if we just keep believing and keep doing what He has for us. Most couples struggle with money talks.
We have, too.
But not this time!
I’m living proof of that, along with a ton of women and couples I have worked with over the years who are connecting, handling conflict, dreaming together, and navigating life completely differently than they used to.
I want that for YOU.
When I wrote The Respect Dare in 2009, there were a few things I didn’t know. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, “What to Say & How to Say It,” or are in our classes, or have heard me on the radio, you know this already. What’s also true is that it was what God led me to do at the time, and many women have come forth talking about how it has changed their marriages. Some of these people are or have been on our team. What’s also true, and I didn’t know this at the time, is that the book isn’t a “full fix” for your marriage. If you don’t know how to respect your husband, yes, it is helpful in that space. If you are bossy and steam roll over him, it’s super useful. Unfortunately, I’ve been that, as you already know. Many of the stories are my own, and you know that, too.
What’s missing from The Respect Dare is the whole picture of what a woman needs in her marriage. I have found, as I’ve been on this journey, that there are wrong ways to execute the elements of what’s needed, and there are right ways. I think I’ve done both!
Here’s the whole enchilada: (as I currently see it)
- Respect for yourself is foundational. We refer to this as “The Basics,” because women are awesome at throwing themselves under the bus instead of taking care of themselves.
- Spend time with the Word and the Lord daily
- Sleep 7-9 hours a night
- Stay hydrated
- Eat whole foods and avoid processed stuff, close to the way they were created
- Spend time with friends and on a hobby weekly or at least twice a month
- Exercise (as your doctor allows)
- Be grateful multiple times a day style
- Respect for your spouse and others, not based on their behavior but because YOU are a respectful person… that means you are kind, gentle, honest, have self-control (aren’t an emotional mess), and don’t yell.
- Boundaries for yourself and the relationship based on Biblical principles of what is useful in relationships. Not being harsh, for example, or letting your “yes,” be “yes,” and your “no,” be “no,” and being kind, gentle, honest, when acting on these boundaries.
- Femininity – being direct is a male way of communicating. We may not like that, but it is true. Women can have more influence if we are kind and gentle when being honest. Not trying to be a man is also useful… think of all the ways we women try to be something we are not. We should be proud of being women, we can do things men will never be able to do! It’s not about what we wear, but how we act. Anyone can put on a skirt and mascara, that doesn’t bring forth the essence of femininity. We are nurturing, gentle, relational.
That’s a broad brush of what’s needed to change your marriage. The nitty gritty is written about here on this blog, and is dished weekly and with personal interactions about your specific situations in our courses. What’s also true is that implementing these changes takes time – your marriage didn’t become a mess overnight, you won’t be able to fix it overnight. If you’ve been around a minute, you already know that, too.
Divorce is certainly an option many consider when they think they’ve tried everything. The problem with divorce is that it doesn’t solve the issues. You’ll still have to deal with your spouse if you have kids, and, if you remarry, you’ll just take the you who helped create this current mess into that marriage. You’ll get two years of bliss if you are lucky, then the problems show up. That’s why second and third marriages fail at an even higher rate than first marriages. I know you are hurting, but divorce is usually not the option that fixes things. It gives you temporary escape, but not solid solutions.
I’ve seen a few people divorce because they were led by God to do so. I’ve seen God, over time (longest I’ve seen is a decade) bring a couple back together and create something beautiful. It isn’t the first strategy, and it certainly is the most difficult path to take, one I’ve seldom seen Him employ with confirmation.
All these years, I’ve believed God. Even when I knew there was something I didn’t know, I believed Him. I believed He wanted to save our marriage. I believed He would bring about the changes in me that were useful to creating an environment where things even could change.
And He did.
And I believe He’ll do that for you, too. It will take a minute. Maybe even a decade.
But He is faithful. 100% of the women I’ve seen employ all of what I mentioned above have saved and improved their relationship with the Lord, and turned their marriages into something that honors Him. Even if their spouse isn’t fully engaged with the process, they don’t hurt any more. They have wild joy in their lives. Are they perfect? NOPE. Me neither. Mistakes still occur – but they happen less, and that is a wild blessing!
And God isn’t done with their marriage!
So bottom line, HANG IN THERE. Learning during this period of struggle is your opportunity right now. And you aren’t alone. I’ve probably made many of the mistakes you’ve made, too. I believe God redeems the land the locusts have stolen – if we will follow Him and obey!
Love to you,
PS… if you want to join trained mentors, coaches, and other women just like you in this journey of God healing you and your relationships, you can join our free space at https://greaterimpactwives.org, or sign up for the actual course if you feel led.