Revive Our Hearts Podcast

30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband

Leslie Basham: Do you ever feel like nothing is going right? That’s how a woman named Lorraine describes a season in her life.

Lorraine: It was just life things all caving in at once.

Leslie: Her family had lost their home during a series of bad storms.

Lorraine: In 2004.

Leslie: They didn’t have insurance and lived with family for a couple years. Then Lorraine’s husband lost his job, and she totaled the car.

Lorraine: How did we wind up here, you know?

Leslie: Lorraine wondered what God was trying to say though all this. Maybe God was disciplining her husband for something.

Lorraine: And I actually was questioning was he walking with God.

Leslie: So she and her husband got some counsel.

Lorraine: I was taking it upon myself to take this to our pastor.

Leslie: The pastor spent a few days thinking and looking at Scripture. They got back together and he addressed some questions. Lorraine thought that would be the end of the conversation.

Lorraine: But then . . .

Leslie: Her pastor made an observation she hadn’t asked for. He said,

Lorraine: "Every time I tried to talk with your husband you interrupted."

Leslie: This pastor opened Ephesians 5:33. “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

This pastor identified a problem that was deeper than housing and vehicle issues. Lorraine wasn’t respecting her husband, and she was convicted by her pastor’s observation. So she did a Google search on this phrase.

Lorraine: How to respect your husband.

Leslie: The results of that Internet search deeply affected this couple. Lorraine discovered a 30-day challenge from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Lorraine: It is life changing.

Leslie: It’s a challenge that is transforming marriages everywhere.

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

Julie: You’d be surprised at how these little things not only affect him but they would affect you.

Woman 1: He really thinks I’m important, and he thinks what I have to say is important.

Woman 2: It was just like a whole big turnaround.

Dayana: I was so fascinated and shocked by the difference in our home. It was so amazingly beautiful.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, February 4.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: At Revive Our Hearts we constantly get emails from women who have heard about the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge that we offer.

In case you may have missed it, here is the challenge:

  • For the next 30 days, purpose not to say anything negative about your husband—to him, or to anyone else about him.
  • And every day for the next 30 days, take some time to let your husband know something that you appreciate or admire about him.

We get a steady stream of emails from women who have taken this challenge. Some of them admit that they didn’t make it through the whole 30 days, a few tell us they didn’t see any significant change in their husband, but most of them tell stories of change of husbands responding to affirmation with acts of love and of wives who have learned to look for the best in their husbands.

Today we’ll hear several of those stories. We’ll get a picture of what it’s like to take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge. And we’ll be sharing excerpts from a new resource we’ve developed called, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

This booklet has been designed to guide you through the 30-day challenge. It offers a variety of practical suggestions to help keep the challenge varied and meaningful.

We’d like to send you a copy of this booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband as a way of saying "thank you" when you donate a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the program.

Leslie: As we explore 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband, Nancy's going to be reading some passages from this booklet that our team created. But we’ll start this exploration of the 30-day challenge by returning to the story of Lorraine. When her pastor suggested that her disrespect was affecting her marriage, she looked back at her past and noticed some patterns.

Lorraine: My parents divorced when I was 13.

Leslie: And Lorraine sometimes threatened to leave during conflict with her husband.

Lorraine: Just the first thing I would think of was that was what you were supposed to do. I was just immature.

Leslie: But there was a bigger issue.

Lorraine: It was more questioning in my mind his decisions.

Leslie: As Lorraine second-guessed her husband and tried to take over practical matters of running a home, her husband tended to step back and let her take over.

Lorraine: When we met and married, I was 21 and just very independent. I didn’t know how to lean on him or to look to him because I could pretty much figure out things and do things on my own. I wasn’t putting any trust or faith in anything that he was doing. I was not valuing him or valuing his decisions.

I actually was questioning if he was walking with God, and all the while I was not even looking at me. I just kept looking at him and trying to find out what he had done wrong. I was not looking at my part in it.

Leslie: These long-standing patterns were about to be rocked when Lorraine did an online search for the words “How to Respect Your Husband.”

She ended up at ReviveOurHearts.com and signed up for the 30-day challenge. It’s the same challenge you’ll embark on when you get a copy of the booklet 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Lorraine: I have my original copy right here in front of me, and I said, “I began today, June 19, 2006.

Leslie: As she began the study, Lorraine was struck by Proverbs 31:11-12.

Nancy: “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (NKJV). 

Lorraine: That was the very first verse that convicted me the most because my husband didn’t trust me, and I certainly wasn’t doing him any good. That was the first time looking at myself that I had a part in this, too.

Leslie: So Lorraine continued the challenge to say nothing negative about her husband. And she continued speaking life, using ideas in the booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Lorraine: I noticed a difference in him by like the fourth day. I was like, “He has changed.”

Leslie: Lorraine had been struggling with an issue at their son’s school. Early in the challenge, her husband took initiative, stepped in, and started solving that problem.

And more change was still to come, especially in the area of finances.

Nancy: Day seven: Money is the root of much marital discord. Ask yourself, “Am I being negative toward my husband in the area of finances?”

Lorraine: And in my notes, I’ve written, “I have been.”

Nancy: Determine not to speak evil of your husband in this area. Discover ways to encourage and help him instead.

Lorraine: He just started handling some things.

Nancy: If he’s weak in this area, encourage any good decisions that he does make.

Lorraine: And he took this on quietly and started doing things. Again, it was just something I had to stay out of and let him deal with. It was hard not to do it. But he stepped right in.

At the beginning it was hard because I didn’t know if he was capable of taking on the responsibility. I had to trust God to work through my husband.

God kept asking me, “Lorraine, do you trust Me?” I was like, “Yes, Lord, You know I do.” Then He’d say, “Trust your husband.”

It was really hard to let go, to let him do it his way. That’s why it was hard at first to trust, because his way is different than my way.

Nancy: Men respond to women who respect them. What do you respect about your husband?

Lorraine: That respect caused him to rise up and take that responsibility and that role.

Nancy: Nearly every man has some core characteristic that can be nurtured and respected.

Lorraine: It’s been wonderful. It was a big turning point for him when I started doing these things. It is life changing.

Leslie: After completing this challenge, Lorraine found out that her husband had been praying for this kind of breakthrough for years.

Lorraine: He couldn’t change me, so he had quietly turned me over to God and let the Lord fix me.

Leslie: And we’re thankful God chose to use 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Lorraine: It’s been kind of a joke between us—who changed the most. I can finally see that it was me that needed to change the most.

Leslie: As we explore the power of encouragement, we turn to a woman named Julie. She longed for her husband to lead her family in godliness, so she let him know her expectations.

Julie: A lot of it was me pushing him, especially on the spiritual side, to be a spiritual leader that we all long for.

Leslie: And he didn’t respond exactly as she hoped.

Julie: Because of my husband’s upbringing and his involvement in the church and his relationship with Christ, he was never really taught how to be a leader.

I’m in ministry, and he is not. So he sometimes feels as if I am trying to instruct him or minister to him instead of allowing him to minister to me.

Leslie: So when she talked with him about growth opportunities, it sounded like this.

Julie: “Hey, there’s this class at church” or “Hey, there’s this Bible study,” constantly just kind of pushing him.

Leslie: And Julie’s husband didn’t jump at all these opportunities at church. She interpreted his response this way.

Julie: Typical male reaction of dig in your heels and get resentful. A lot of times he would verbalize that saying, “You don’t think I’m spiritual enough” or “You’re judging me” or “You make me feel as if I’m not doing my job.”

Leslie: Julie was about to be challenged to change her tactics. Last year, she attended True Woman, the conference hosted by Revive Our Hearts.

Julie: They had a video at the conference of a pastor’s wife.

Leslie: The pastor’s wife on that video was Kim Wagner.

Kim Wager (from True Woman video): I didn’t realize that I was emasculating my husband.

Leslie: One point in Kim Wagner’s story stood out to Julie.

Julie: That it was her job as a helper to help him change.

Kim (from True Woman video): I thought the helper role was: You help your husband improve. I could help him with his grammar. I could help him think more logically. I could help him to be more organized.

Julie: Myself as well as the ladies I was with at the conference were really struck to the heart of how maybe we don’t outwardly say some of the things she had said to her husband, but the attitudes of our hearts were pretty close to her attitude.

Leslie: She visited ReviveOurHearts.com and signed up for the 30-day challenge. Here’s what she read on day one.

Nancy: Day one. To refresh your memory, here’s the challenge. For the next 30 days, you can’t say anything negative about your husband, to your husband, or to someone else about your husband.

Leslie: Julie didn’t think she spoke negatively to her husband, but she did complain about him to other women.

Julie: It quickly brought to mind a lot of conversations and a lot of comments I had made. I was like, “Oh! Those are what that’s talking about.”

Leslie: Not long after starting this challenge, Julie was with a group of wives. When they started complaining about their husbands, Julie realized she couldn’t participate.

Julie: I chose instead to say, “Guess what he did last week?” I would chose to find something he did well.

Leslie: Julie was also struck by another paragraph from day one of 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband.

Nancy: Have you ever thanked your husband for choosing you above all other women?

Julie: He took the initiative, and he chose me. Am I making him feel good about his choice? Or am I making him regret that he chose me instead of someone else?

Nancy: He found you attractive as a person and appreciated you.

Leslie: This especially meant a lot to Julie since she and her husband married when she was in her mid-thirties.

Julie: I was waiting to be found. A lot of people were like, “Oh, I can’t believe you can’t find a man.” And I’m like, “I’m not looking. I’m waiting to be found.

I just said, “You went through your whole twenties, and you could have chosen someone then, and you didn't. I'm just so thankful that you waited for me, and that you fought for me and pursued me when we did meet." So I just thanked him for being courageous in doing that. 

Leslie: As a result of the challenge, Julie backed away from pressuring her husband to grow in leadership.

Julie: I wouldn’t appreciate if my husband would find me a book on how to lose weight. It’s the same thing as buying your husband a book for spiritual leadership. It's like, "What are you really saying?" 

Leslie: And God was working on the heart of Julie’s husband, encouraging him to become more of a leader. Julie can see how this process was enhanced by her month-long focus on encouragement.

Julie: The 30-day challenge really added more fuel to the fire of him feeling uplifted and more appreciated.

I think as wives we sometimes drain our husbands because we want all this stuff from them—we want them to love us, we want them to care for us, we want them to protect us, we want them to listen to us. We take a lot from them. If they are trying to lead the best that they can, sometimes it can become very draining. So I felt like the 30-day challenge really gave him wind in his sails.

Leslie: Julie’s husband is now involved in a year-long leadership training class at church. A decision he made without pressure from his wife. And Julie is trying to make encouragement a regular part of her life.

Julie: You would be surprised at how those little things not only affect him, they affect you.

Leslie: As we explore this 30-day challenge, we'll hear from a woman who at one time could not stand to be in the same room as her husband.

Dayana: Like, him in one room and me in another. We really tried to avoid each other as much as possible.

Leslie: Dayana grew up hearing about God, but she had a lot of misconceptions about Him.

Dayana: I never thought that God loved me. I thought, “Yes, He loved the world; He gave His Son, but I’m sure He doesn’t really care about me as a person.”

Leslie: Early on she experienced panic attacks and a lot of anxiety. These only got worse after getting married. Her husband didn’t know how to handle these episodes.

Dayana: It really got to the point where due to the stress and anxiety and panic that I had in me, I couldn’t even eat. This was the hardest part for him. He would sit with me at the table every night with a spoon trying to feed me, and me crying and throwing up the food. I couldn’t do it. It was just so hard for him.

The way he would treat me wasn’t the guy that I had married. He was a totally different man. I was like, “Did they switch him one night when I was sleeping? Is this his evil twin brother?” He was just so crazy and harsh all the time.

Leslie: This marriage was marked by serious conflict. When tensions rose, Dayana was very harsh with her husband.

Dayana: There was a lot of screaming, a lot of yelling, a lot of harsh words. There was so much distance between me and him.

I used to wake up in the morning everyday arguing and complaining and fighting. Our day just started off like that. From the moment we opened our eyes, we were arguing; we were fighting; we were discussing until we fell asleep. It was like that every single day.

My reaction toward him was unrespectful. I think it really made him feel like he was not the man in the house. He just retracted more and more and more and more away from me, from our home. He was staying out at work later. He just wanted to be as far away as possible

Leslie: In her darkest time, Dayana realized the only place she could turn was to God.

Dayana: I said, “I don’t know if You care about me, I don’t know if You are holding on to me, but I am going to hold on to You because You are all I’ve got.”

I said, “I need to start feeding myself with His Word.” So I starting listening to 89.3, and that’s where I heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss for the first time. I started to listen to Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: And the Word of God that she heard on the program had a huge effect on her.

Dayana: I began to see God as what He is—a loving Father, someone that loved me and cared for me. I knew that He wanted to change my life and wanted to help me. I would listen literally eight hours a day to all her programs.

I would go back into the archives and listen and listen and listen to God’s Word and see it in front of my eyes.

I used to work at a doctor’s office doing billing. My desk was a corner desk. I would fill up all of my wall with Scriptures. All of it—from bottom to top—full of Scripture. The whole day I was filling my mind with the truth about God’s Word.

There’s no way that you can be exposed to the Word of God and there not be a change. Everything began to change with me.

Leslie: As Dayana filled her mind with God’s Word, the panic attacks subsided.

Dayana: To the point where I am today, that’s just a faded away memory in my life.

Leslie: As a Revive Our Hearts listener, Dayana sometimes heard Nancy issue the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge, and Dayana wasn’t interested.

Dayana: I really did not want to do it. I didn’t think he deserved for me to do that. But Nancy would talk about how I am responsible for my own actions and attitudes regardless of how the other person acts.

I keep using him as an excuse not to change and take responsibility for my actions. God began to change my heart—little by little. After that I said, “This is something I need to do, and if he responds to it well, fine. And if he doesn’t, that’s fine, too."

I did what I was responsible for before God, and the rest I just left in His hands. I took that challenge and said, “Okay, Lord, I'm going to do this. I’m doing it for You because I need to be the woman that You want me to be.” But I really did not expect it to have the impact that it did.

I remember one day the challenge talked about writing him a letter. I wrote him this very beautiful letter, and I read it to him. It was crazy, he was teary eyed. I saw him in a way that I had not seen him look at me for such a long time.

He said on that day some of the most beautiful words I had ever heard him say in my life. He told me how much he loved me, how much he cared about me, how much he thanked God for me, how I was an extraordinary woman. It really just touched him to get home and feel like he was the man in the house. I’m never going to forget that day. It is like a picture in my mind.

Everything about him changed. I think he really saw God. There was just this new passion for the Lord, that he had never had, began to flourish. He became that leader that I had always longed for but I had never let him be.

I just saw him open up in every area of his life because he saw what God could do in my life. I think that really encouraged him to say, “If God can do that her, He can do it in me.” He can do it in any other marriage, and in any other couple.

It really felt like we were boyfriend and girlfriend all over again. We were having fun. We were going out for little, late dinners. I felt all the excitement and all the butterflies and all the freshness that I would feel when we had just started our relationship, and he felt the same way. Just a few days into the challenge it was like this newness in our relationship, this refreshment, this sense of not wanting to be apart for a minute. It was just puppy love all over again.

Leslie: Dayana first took that challenge three years ago, and the change she experienced has been lasting.

Dayana: We’re just like any other couple. We have our arguments, we have our troubles, we have our areas where we don’t agree, but definitely our home is completely different. I was able to see him for the man he could be in Christ and the man he wanted to be in God. Instead of in my worldly flesh eyes seeing him as just another person and that’s it. I was so fascinated and shocked by the difference in our home. It was so amazingly beautiful.

Leslie: Well, what more can I say except, “Take the 30-day challenge”?

To help you through the process, we’d like to send you the resource you’ve been hearing about. Nancy Leigh DeMoss is back with the details.

Nancy: I don’t know where you are in your marriage. You may still be in the honeymoon period, or you may feel like your marriage is hanging by a thread, or somewhere in between. But I can hardly think of a more powerful tool to sustain a healthy marriage or to bring healing to one that’s been broken than the gift of encouragement.

I really believe that as you step out to express encouragement to your mate that God will breathe fresh life into your marriage. That’s why I hope that every married woman who’s listening to my voice today will take the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge that we’ve been talking about all this week.

Just as a means of extra accountability, I’d like to encourage you to contact us here at Revive Our Hearts and let us know that you’re taking this challenge. You can email us through ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can post a comment on our listener blog. Just say, “I’m in. I’m taking the challenge.” Let me encourage you to get back in touch with us over the next 30 days and let us know how it’s going and what God is doing in your life.

In order to help you stay consistent with this challenge, we’ve produced this special booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. As you are in this 30 day journey, you may find that you need some fresh ideas. This booklet will provide exactly what you need. It will also give you some Scriptures to meditate on and space for you to journal your progress throughout this challenge.

We’ll be glad to send you this booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. We’ll also send you the book called, For Women Only, written by Shaunti Feldhahn who was a guest here on the broadcast earlier this week.

When you make your donation, be sure to ask for both resources. Just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1-800-569-5959.

Leslie: We’ve been hearing about the power of a wife’s words in the life of her husband. Monday we’ll continue looking at the words we use and the way they affect everyone around us. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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