Revive Our Hearts Podcast

30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband

Leslie Basham: If you’re married, can you relate to any of these situations?

Allison: We had really lost any emotional connection.

Cindy: We got into that rut.

Leslie: Can anything be done to improve marriages like these?

Allison: We really had become polarized. We were on different sides of the fence. We were standing against each other.

Leslie: If you relate to these situations, keep listening. You’ll hear stories of hope for true change.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, February 28.

A lot of people talk about romantic love here in the second month of the year. But this February has represented something far deeper for a lot of marriages—true, Christ-like love and real change.

Nancy, throughout the month we’ve been airing stories from women who have been deeply affected by your 30-day challenge.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s been so encouraging hearing the response of people who have taken that challenge. By way of reminder, here’s the challenge: Don’t say anything negative about your husband for the next 30 days. And during that time, do something to encourage him each day.

Leslie: A couple weeks ago we heard the story of Dayana, whose marriage looked hopeless.

Dayana: From the moment we opened our eyes in the morning, we were arguing; we were fighting. We were discussing until we fell asleep. And it was like that every single day.

Leslie: Dayana’s heart was changed by God’s Word. Then her marriage was transformed while she took the 30-day challenge.

Dayana: It was like we were boyfriend and girlfriend all over again. We were having fun.

Nancy: And the day that story aired, a woman made a comment at ReviveOurHearts.com. She said, “I can’t believe how much I’m like this lady. It’s like she’s describing me.” And she was thankful for the hope God had given her for real change.

That day, another listener wrote, “I have failed miserably in this area, but want to take this challenge. I think you are right on!”

Leslie: This month we also heard from Debbie, who was very controlling toward her husband. Eventually he moved out.

About a year later, God spoke to her heart and she contacted her husband.

Debbie: It's just been revealed to me that I've been wrong. I've been praying that God would change you and fix you, and He needed to change me and fix me.

Leslie: The day he moved back was Debbie’s first day of the husband encouragement challenge.

Debbie: It made him feel loved and respected and needed, and he responded to that. He doesn't feel that he's going to be attacked at everything that comes out of his mouth.

Nancy: And the day we aired that story, a listener wrote, “This is so me. I’ve done a lot of damage with my thoughtless words.”

Another listener told us that Debbie’s story took her back 20 years when she asked her husband to move out. Thankfully, this couple is still together, but she realized she had never made things right.

She wrote and told us,

I was headstrong, controlling, ill-tempered and had my priorities out of order. The Lord used Debbie’s story today to convict me of this sin and that I need to ask my dear husband’s forgiveness. I can’t believe I’ve never done it before. I can’t wait to get to my husband and tell him how sorry I am.

Leslie: And as women have begun the 30-day challenge this month, they’ve written to let us know their progress.

Nancy: One woman wrote us when she was on day 7 of the challenge to say, “I have never felt like I was being discouraging to my husband before, but I am realizing just how discouraging I have been.”

Leslie: Another woman expressed the same idea, saying, “I didn't realize how much I'd been tearing my husband down rather than building him up.”

Nancy: Here’s another one:

My husband and I are separated, and he says he's not coming home. I know that my attitude and lack of respect has been a lot of the problem. I'm going to take the 30-day challenge, and I would appreciate your prayers.

Leslie: Someone else wrote, "I'm in! Hearing today’s program was a real eye opener. It’s God's answer to my prayer for direction in a very troubled marriage. I feel very hopeful."

Nancy: We could go on and on, but I’ll just give you one more. A woman wrote, “I need this so very much. I feel as if I have broken the camel’s back.” She then describes her husband’s hurt and lack of trust. She says, “Please pray that God will work a miracle in my heart and my marriage.”

Let me say that I’m so thankful that we have a God who truly can and does work miracles. I’m so thankful for the prayer team here at Revive Our Hearts that takes requests like these that are sent in to our ministry and lifts them up in prayer to the only One who can do this kind of miracle.

Leslie: These women have been responding to Revive Our Hearts programs throughout the month of February. If you missed any of these important messages, you can hear them at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy: I hope you’ll get a copy of the booklet we’ve created to walk you through this challenge that is transforming so many marriages. It’s called 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

The booklet will help you to remember to keep from saying things that might tear down your husband or your marriage. It will also provide some really practical, helpful ideas to encourage your husband. We’ll send a copy when you make a donation of any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or when you call 1-800-569-5959.

Now, the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge has been so helpful to so many women, that before this month comes to an end, we decided to focus on the topic one time. You’re about to hear about the power of God to transform women and relationships.

Leslie: Our team put together the booklet 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband, and as we listen to these stories, Nancy will be reading some lines from the booklet.

Nancy: Day 9: Simply listen.

Allison: It was almost like a devotional tool, too.

Leslie: We’ll start with a wife named Allison. She describes the layout of the material that you can find in the booklet 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Allison: It had the Bible verse.

Nancy: "Be swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19, NKJV).

Allison: And then it had the thought or the point for the day.

Nancy: We are often so busy speaking that we don’t take time to listen. We are so quick to offer a comment—negative or positive—that we don’t really “hear” our husband’s heart.

Allison: That really piqued my interest and really helped me to keep up with it daily.

Leslie: Allison took the 30-day challenge after her husband had come out of an addiction recovery program. God was doing something in his heart and was about to work in their marriage.

Allison: My husband and I, our relationship was transitioning and changing. I looked at it as an opportunity for the Lord to help give me some direction in that.

Leslie: Back when her husband was making bad choices due to his addiction, this couple set some communication habits.

Allison: We had become polarized. We were on different sides of the fence. We were standing against each other. He wanted to do his addiction and I was saying no to that.

When the addiction was broken and he wasn’t struggling with that any more, we didn’t know how to relate to each other. We didn’t know how to talk to each other as a team. We were so used to talking to each other as opponents.

It was like everything he said was a lie, or everything he said was an excuse. I got into the very bad habit of saying, “Let’s cut to the chase. Just stop lying, stop giving me excuses. I just don’t want to hear them anymore.”

This really forced me to look at that and say, “I need to break this old habit. I need to step out of it and not hear him through the filter of ‘what’s he lying about?’” But to hear him completely and honestly for what he’s trying to say.

It forced me to slow down. I found that when I slowed down and forced myself to hear him without any filters, then a lot of time the Holy Spirit had time to speak to me and show me and change my perspective.

Leslie: Allison was struck by Day 9 of 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Nancy: If listening is a real problem for you, play a game with yourself. See if you can listen to your husband for one whole day, only speaking when asked a question.

Allison: I was like, “Okay, let me try this.” When he went to tell me something, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t comment, and I didn’t respond.

Nancy: If your husband notices the difference, explain that you are learning to listen more—not only to God, but also to him.

Allison: He was kind of shocked that I hadn’t said anything. He was taken aback. But he didn’t ask me what I thought. He didn’t ask me my opinion like I was dying to throw out my opinion, but he didn’t give me an opportunity to do it.

Later he came back and said, “Well, what did you think of that?” or “What do you want to do?” That gave me the opportunity to share. But it also made me slow down to take time to pray about it and realize what I was saying. Too many times I say things and I don’t realize how they are coming out, and I don’t even realize what I’m saying. So it made me catch myself a lot more.

Leslie: 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband definitely gave Allison a new appreciation for the weight of her words.

Allison: I never felt like what I said or what I did to him was important. This really changed my perspective. He really thinks I’m important, and he thinks what I have to say is important. Whether he likes it or not, he does give it weight and value. So I can either use that for him and ultimately for myself, or I can use that to tear him apart. When I tear him apart, I’m only tearing myself apart, too. So that was very helpful.

Leslie: We’re thankful to Allison for sharing her story.

Most women who’ve heard about the husband encouragement challenge have heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss offer it over the radio. Or they’ve read about Nancy’s challenge online.

But Shaunti Feldhahn heard it directly from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. They were in the recording studio many years ago, taping for Revive Our Hearts.

Shaunti Feldhahn: We were taking a break, and she said, “Shaunti, we have a lot of hurting women who call in to us. So I’m going to give them a challenge that I’ve done before. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it.

When the technical stuff was done and we went back and recorded that part of the broadcast, I was just stunned.

Nancy (from For Woman Only program): I thinks it’s time for us to re-issue a challenge that we have given several times before on Revive Our Hearts and its always . . .

Leslie: We aired that classic interview a few weeks ago. Well over 1000 of our listeners have responded over the last few weeks ordering Shaunti’s book, For Women Only.

When Shaunti first heard that challenge from Nancy, it made a big impression. So she started offering the challenge to the women she met.

Shaunti: The reason the women need to take the 30-day challenge is that it will be one of the most powerful tools they will ever have for changing their feelings.

In Philippians 4, God tells us through Paul to rejoice. “Rejoice . . . and again I’ll say, rejoice!” (verse 4, NASB). You think, “How do you do that?” Just a few verses later, starting in verse 8, comes the answer to that, “Think on whatever is lovely and pure and excellent and honorable and worthy of praise. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (verses 7-8, paraphrased). 

The more you practice that, the more contented and happy you will be in your situation.

Leslie: Throughout the month of February, we’ve brought you stories of lives and marriages changed by the Husband Encouragement Challenge. Many of these marriages were in desperate situations. But this challenge is also excellent for those that just need a tune-up.

When Cindy started dating her husband, her car broke down. In order to find the right part to fix it, he needed to look at the salvage yard. Cindy went with him.

Cindy: It’s like you go and you just talk. It was quiet. Before you know it, you’ve just spent like an hour or so there.

Leslie: While spending hours in the quiet of the junk yard, their friendship deepened.

Cindy: I would do something he enjoyed, and then he would go and do something I would enjoy. And we found out we had a lot of common interests. You have to be friends before you do anything to build on the relationship.

Leslie: After they got married, Cindy always tried to do special things for her husband. Before he left for work, she packed a lunch and wrote a note on his napkin every day.

Cindy: So when he opened up his lunch, something was in there for him—like a little note, or just like “hi.”

Leslie: Years went by and Cindy and her husband started working together on their farm. But even though they now spent all their time together, they stopped doing the special things that added romance to life.

Cindy: We sort-of just got into a rut.

Leslie: Their extended family lived very close by, which was nice. But they often talked about the family and not very much about each other.

Cindy: We never really talked much about different things. It was always about the farm, the cows, and the family. We weren’t really talking about any other interests like we used to.

Leslie: Cindy decided to take the 30-day husband encouragement challenge. And her story points out something important. The challenge is helpful for marriages that are in meltdown, but it’s also for good marriages that just need some new life.

Nancy: Day 4: A wise wife will make her husband feel that she values and appreciates his work.

Cindy: At the end of the day I would go over I would pat him on the back and say, “You did a great job,” or “You took extra time with that cow.” Just noticing a little bit more of the details that he did.

Nancy: Let him know that you are glad that he’s a hard worker.

Cindy: I’d give him that little bit of encouragement. I saw the he really started picking up and getting more of his spark back.

Nancy: Day 10: Does your husband know that you think he’s attractive? What was one of the characteristics in your husband that first drew you to him? Was it his gentle, compassionate eyes?

Cindy: What always struck me was his eyes. The first thing that struck me was his eyes. So I always tell him about his eyes and his gentle heart.

He was becoming more talkative. One day he came home and said, “We haven’t gone and taken a ride in quite a while.” So we went up and we got lunch. He said, “It’s so early that we don’t really have to be back. Let’s go to Binghamton.” So we went to Binghamton for a ride and we talked. It wasn’t just about the farm; it wasn’t about the family.

He said, “You know, we haven’t gone to the junk yard.” So we went to this one junk yard that we used to like to go to. I know it sounds weird. We just spent the day just walking around looking at the cars. It was just nice to get out and do that like we used to.

Once a week we try to go out, just the two of us. I’ll pack a lunch, and we’ll just pull over on the side of the road at a rest stop or something and have a nice lunch and have a nice day out like a “date” date. We got back into touch by doing that.

Leslie: The booklet 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband is an excellent resource for marriages like Cindy’s—couples that are in a rut and need some new adventure.

But it also helps couples who feel like they’ve reached rock bottom. Erin tells her story of transformation.

She grew up in a family that followed a strong religious tradition. And her husband’s family followed a different tradition.

Erin: It’s what defined him, almost.

Leslie: These differences caused family stress, even on their wedding day.

Erin: I think I should have known at that point that that was going to be a big issue in our marriage.

Leslie: When their daughter was born, their religious differences continued to be a source of conflict. They had to decide which church their daughter would be brought up in. These conversations were marked by . . .

Erin: My quick temper. I was very impatient, and I guess I was just talking down to him a lot; talking just very disrespectfully. “How could you do that, that way?” “That’s wrong. This is how you do it.” I was just acting like I knew what was best—especially when it comes to our daughter.

Right about when she was one year old, we started becoming disconnected and just slipping away from each other. We had really lost any emotional connection, and our marriage was in disarray.

I think I started resenting him. He was able to go out and work and be around other adults, and I was at home all the time taking care of the baby and taking care of the home. It was something I thought I always wanted to do. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. It was something I always admired. Once I was in it myself, I realized that I needed more than that.

I was having an emotional affair with another man—finding what I needed emotionally from him. I was really in a very dark place because I was living a lie. I was constantly coming home to my husband and lying to him about different things. I was creating lie after lie. So I felt like my life was becoming a sham.

I was at my rock bottom in my marriage, in my life. My husband was pleading with me, “I want to make this work. We need to make this work.” I decided that day that I needed to go to church.

Leslie: On this day they didn’t choose a church based on their past traditions. They found one that encouraged them to have a personal relationship with Jesus. The message was from James 1. “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (verses 2-4, ESV). 

Erin: And we were just sitting there holding each other’s hands and squeezing every time something spoke to us in the message. We were just squeezing each other’s hands. We decided to stick with the marriage.

Leslie: An important step was ending the inappropriate relationship.

Erin: I had to cut that off completely. It wasn’t something that I even look back on.

We started to go to counseling. That’s when I heard about the 30-day challenge. I began that as part of my healing process, a part of my mending of my marriage.

Leslie: As Erin acted on the 30-day challenge, refusing to say anything negative about her husband, she noticed a change.

Erin: He just seemed more relaxed around me. He was very grateful for the little things I would do.

Leslie: As part of the challenge she was also encouraging and affirming her husband, using the opportunity to ask forgiveness for hurts in the past.

One day of the challenge stands out in her mind.

Nancy: Day 5: Do you praise your husband to his relatives and yours? Does your husband’s mother know how much you love him? How about your dad? Be creative in letting your relatives know that you respect your husband, love him and support him—in spite of whatever flaws and weaknesses he may have.

Erin: I had sent a note to his parents and my parents about what he was doing at that point. He had just taken on becoming a board member of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. He was doing all these great things. So I sent his parents and my parents an email expressing how much good he was doing and asking them to pray for him while he took on this responsibility—just praising him to them.

I never intended for him to see this email, but my dad decided to respond to it and attached and copied him on the email. So he did end up seeing it, and it left him so elated that I would speak of him to someone else, especially his family, like that. I think that was the highlight of the whole challenge.

Leslie: It not only left her husband elated. It also changed Erin’s attitude.

Erin: It made me realize that he really is a great guy. I think I knew that before, but I was looking for the negative. I was seeking the negative out, even though there were so many positive things about him.

Leslie: Erin and her husband now attend that church where they heard James chapter 1 preached. And Erin’s still encouraging her husband even though she finished the 30-day challenge.

Erin: I especially want to be a good example to my daughter. She needs to see a good marriage and a good relationship. That’s what I want for her in the long run.

Leslie: Thanks to Erin and to all the women who have told us about God’s ability to bring struggling marriages back to life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss is here to tell you about the resource God has used to affect the women we’ve heard from today.

Nancy: All month we’ve been talking about the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge and letting you know about this new resource we’ve developed called, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. I’ve been so encouraged by the response. Our team has been busy sending these booklets to women everywhere who want God to do a fresh work in their marriage.

If you have not yet taken this challenge, let me encourage you to contact us and get a copy of the booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. Whether you are in the honeymoon stage of your marriage or your marriage is hanging by a thread or likely something in-between, I hope that every married woman who is hearing my voice today will take this challenge.

We’ll be glad to send you the booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband, when you send a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or you can make your donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Anne Ortlund and her husband always said they wanted to die together, holding hands. But that desire did not become reality. Get perspective and hope for widowhood, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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