Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Building Your Home

Leslie Basham: Where does your husband end up on your to-do list? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you’re not having the time to talk with your husband, to minister to him, to serve him, to bless him, to encourage him, then there are perhaps some things in your schedule that you need to evaluate and say, “Maybe this isn’t the season of life to be doing this.”

Leslie Basham: It’s Monday, February 21, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

You can create a perfect floor plan, select beautiful furniture, maintain your property, and make sure everyone takes off their shoes when they come in the door and still destroy your home. Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains how in the series, Becoming a Woman of Virtue.

Nancy: There’s a verse in the Book of Proverbs that God often uses to challenge and convict my own heart as a woman. Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her hands.”

A woman who is a wise woman is a builder. She’ll be building up her home. She’ll be building up the people around her. Not just in her literal, physical home—though of course that is her first priority—but in her workplace, in her church, in the community. She is going to be edifying, building up the lives of the people around her, if she is a woman of wisdom.

The foolish woman, on the other hand, by her heart attitudes, her values, her demeanor, her lifestyle, is going to be tearing down her home, tearing down her environment. I wish there was some neutral ground, but there really isn’t. At any given moment I am either being a wise woman, or I am being a foolish woman. I am building up my home, or I am tearing down my home.

I believe the reason that you’re here today is because you want to be a wise woman. I know I do, and I’ve sensed that in many of your hearts as we’ve talked and shared together. You want to be wise women. The question is: How can we be wise women?

I think it’s really helpful today for us to examine some practical aspects of building up or tearing down our homes. As I’ve reflected on this whole matter of how we live out this matter of wisdom or foolishness, the Lord has brought to my heart some questions for us to ponder, some questions that help us evaluate where I am in relation to wisdom or foolishness. Am I building up my home? Or am I tearing it down?

Some of these questions will apply particularly and specifically to married women.

I’m not a married woman, but I have sat so many times over the years and looked into the eyes and listened to the hearts of women who are married. As I hear them talking about ways that they have built their husbands and their homes up and ways that they have regrets about having torn down their husbands, their children, and their homes, I’ve tried to make some of these questions focus on practical applications for wives.

In fact, many of the first questions we’re going to look at today will relate specifically to married women. As we ask these questions, I’m asking myself and I’m asking you to ask yourself to be honest in answering these questions.

We can pray, “Search my heart, O God” not “Search my husband’s heart” not “Search my children’s hearts or my neighbor’s heart or my friend’s heart who is sitting next to me in this room” but “Lord, search my heart.”

So as we walk through these questions, if you’re in a place where you can just perhaps jot down the particular points that the Spirit kind of pricks your heart and says, “This one’s for you,” then make a particular note of those individual questions.

The first question, in a general sense for all of us, is this one: Am I building up my house, or am I tearing it down? Again, your house may be—if you are a married woman, your house is—your husband, your marriage. If you’re a mother, your house involves your children and your relationship to them.

Your “house” is the sphere of relationships that God has placed you in. Your house involves your relationships at church, your influence in your church. It involves your relationships at work and your influence there. It involves your relationships with people in your community, with other moms at your kids’ school. That’s all part of your “house.”

So as you think about your sphere of influence, the place where God has put you at this season of your life—some of you may be empty-nesters, and your home is a little different. But there are grandchildren, even though they may live states away. Think about the people who are part of your life and ask yourself, “Am I a builder, or am I tearing down?”

So as you think about the rooms of your home, so to speak, the different places where your life interfaces with others, ask in each of those places, “Am I building up my home? Am I speaking words that lift up and edify and encourage? Or am I tearing down with critical words, with negative words, with negative attitudes, with harshness, with a demanding spirit? Am I building up my house, or am I tearing it down?”

Let me focus for these next moments on some questions that will relate particularly to women who are married. As you think about your marriage, the first and most important relationship that God has given you next to your relationship with the Lord Himself is your husband. Ask yourself these questions:

Am I investing in my marriage? Am I nurturing the heart of my marriage? We’re all investing our time somewhere. The question is: Are you investing what you need to be in your marriage? Are you putting more time and attention and effort into other relationships than you are into your marriage?

You may have been investing in your marriage at one time, but things can just slip away from us, and we can forget our sense of priorities and what’s really important just in the course of the busyness of life.

Here’s a practical question for those who are wives: Do I frequently express admiration and gratitude to my husband? Now, I know some women who have told me that they think these things and they feel these things (the admiration and the gratitude), but gratitude needs to be expressed.

Your husband, in case you haven’t learned it yet, cannot read your mind. You knew that. Sometimes it bugs you. But you need to remember that when it’s in your heart, it needs to be expressed.

In fact, I’ve encouraged women over the years to take a 30-day challenge: that over the next 30 days they will think of some particular positive thing that they appreciate about their husband each day, and they’ll verbalize it to him. They’ll thank him. They’ll express appreciation.

You say, “I can’t think of 30 things that I appreciate about my husband.” Well, then think of one thing and repeat it every day for the next 30 days. But somehow get in the habit of verbalizing, taking time to express admiration, appreciation, and gratitude to your husband.

I know so many wives who have a wounded spirit because their husband doesn’t express these things to the wife. But ask yourself, when you’re feeling a little wounded about maybe your family not expressing gratitude as much as you wish they would, “Am I expressing gratitude?”

Does your husband bring home a paycheck? You say, “Yes, every two weeks.” When is the last time you thanked him for that?

Think about the little things. There may be a ton of things in your mate or your marriage that are uncomfortable or disturbing or difficult for you. But don’t focus on those things.

Ask yourself, “Am I focusing on that which is good and true and praiseworthy?” as Paul says that we should in Philippians 4:8. Not only are you thinking on those good things, but are you expressing admiration and gratitude to your husband?

There are perhaps widows in this room who would give anything to have another opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to that man. Do it now while you can. Do it while you have him. Watch him blossom as he is encouraged by your words of admiration and gratitude.

Here is another question for wives: Am I reserving the best of my physical and emotional energy for my family? I meet so many women today who are just plumb tired. There’s nothing wrong with being tired if it comes in the way of doing that which God has put on your plate to do.

But I meet women who just perpetually seem exhausted and drained. The problem is that the best time and effort and energy they have, they’re pouring into someone else’s family or someone else’s workplace—someplace other than their home.

What happens to their family? Their family is getting this exhausted, fragile, frustrated, angry, impatient mom because she has been under pressure somewhere else all day long. Priorities in the will of God will never conflict. God will not put you in a position where you cannot give what your family needs for you to give to them.

Number one, with your husband: If you’re not having the time to talk with your husband, to minister to him, to serve him, to bless him, to encourage him, then there are perhaps some things in your schedule that you need to evaluate and say, “Maybe this isn’t the season of life to be doing that.”

Maybe there’s some clutter that needs to be cleaned out so that you can have the time to do the things that you know God wants you to do—to reserve the best of your physical and emotional energy for your family.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you how to build your home and avoid tearing it down. In that message Nancy mentioned a challenge that she’s often given women. For 30 days refrain from saying anything negative about your husband and during that time say one encouraging thing about him.

We’ll walk you through that process by sending you the booklet, 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband. This book can transform marriages that are really struggling, and it provides a tune-up for solid marriages.

Marsha is taking the challenge right now and wrote to tell us her progress. She said, “I’ve been married 32 years, and it’s so good to be reminded of specific ways to encourage my husband. It’s like a honeymoon. He’s so affectionate and extra sweet because of the affirmations that he’s getting from me.”

We’ll send 30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just call 1-800-569-5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy will continue explaining how a wife can build a home that will last.

Nancy: We’ve been considering the difference between a wise woman and a foolish woman. Proverbs tells us that the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her hands. We’re asking ourselves some questions to help us determine whether we are wise or foolish women, whether we’re building up our homes or we’re tearing them down.

We’re particularly focusing in this session on questions that apply to women who are married. We want to begin by asking this question: Am I creating a climate in my home, through my words, my actions, my attitudes, that makes my husband want to be at home? When he is at work, does he find himself wishing that he could be at home?

Now some of that is up to him, but a lot of that is up to the woman in the home. We women are like thermostats. We set the temperature. We control the climate in our homes in so many ways, sometimes without even saying a word.

You know that your husband can walk into your house and sometimes before you’ve said anything, he can know exactly how you’re feeling—what the temperature is and how careful he needs to be as he walks in that home. Ask yourself this question: Am I creating a climate in our home that makes my husband want to be at home?

Here is another question for wives and moms: Am I content to have my life center around my family—for that to be my realm, my sphere of influence? Am I finding my fulfillment through reverencing and serving my husband and my family?

You say, “Does that mean that if I’m a godly, wise woman I’ll never do anything outside of my home?” Of course it doesn’t mean that. But as we look in the Scripture, we see that a wise woman is one whose heart is at home. No matter what she is out doing—it may be chauffeuring kids back and forth to school or piano lessons—her heart is still to be building her family. She is looking for ways to serve and honor and bless her family.

Many women today are not content to be in that place. They’re looking for satisfaction in something that can be offered to them outside of their family. I’ve talked with so many of these women, many of them with tear-streaked faces, acknowledging that they have not found the satisfaction that they were looking for.

Now, let me say this: It’s not your family that can satisfy you. God is the only one who can satisfy the deepest needs and longings of your heart. But if you want to be a truly fulfilled, happy woman—if God has called you to be a wife and mother—your greatest fulfillment will come through filling the role that God created for you.

That’s true of any woman, by the way. Married, single, children, no children, empty nest, grandmother, widow—whatever your station in life, joy comes from embracing the season of life where God has put me and accepting the responsibilities that go with that season of life. So we ask, “Am I choosing the pathway of contentment?”

That doesn’t mean, “Do you love everything about your family?” It doesn’t mean, “Does your family always make you happy, or do you just love always doing things for them?” Contentment is embracing and saying, “This is the season for this, so that’s where I will choose to find my fulfillment.” In that way, you will find the pathway to joy.

Here’s another question for married women: Do I reserve intimate communication, looks, words, and touch for my husband? There are things that are appropriate and right and good to say to your husband that should not be said to other men. Let me say that there are things that are appropriate to discuss with your husband that are not appropriate to discuss with other women.

Now, there may be a situation where a wise woman of God can help you learn how to be a more godly wife, as you share with her some of the scenario in which you find yourself; but be careful about sharing intimate details of your marriage with anyone—another woman, another man, or with your children, as sometimes happens.

Are you reserving intimate communication, intimate looks and words, and physical touch for your husband? There are appropriate ways to touch your husband that you ought not to touch another man.

This seems like it would be so obvious, but in our generation some of these things just aren’t so obvious anymore. That’s why not only do we need to understand them, but we need to be teaching other women these matters.

Another question along that line: Am I giving of my emotions, my attention, or my affection to a man other than my husband? Are you reserving your best and most intimate emotions for him, or are you finding yourself giving some of your emotional energy, some of your attention, mental focus, and affection to a man other than your husband? If you are, then be honest about it and acknowledge that you are being a foolish woman and you are tearing down your home.

You say, “I don’t intend to tear down my husband.” You may not intend to, but I’m saying that will be the effect if you practice that foolish giving of your emotions or attention or affection to a man other than your husband.

By the way, this happens so often in the workplace. One of the very dangerous side effects of all that is that women have been put into situations where it’s natural to cultivate emotional attachments to men who are not their own husbands.

If you’re in a situation where you’re faced with that possibility, there is one solution: Get out. Don’t think that you can handle it. Don’t think that you can deal with it. Don’t even try.

If you find yourself sharing of your emotional energy and affection with a man other than your husband . . . It may be in a counseling situation, and you find yourself opening up intimate parts of your heart to a male counselor. I don’t care if he is your pastor or your therapist or what he is.

If it’s not your husband that you’re opening your heart to, and you’re sharing parts of your heart with a man who is not your husband that you’re not sharing with your husband or that should be reserved for your marriage, then get out of the relationship. You say, “This won’t be dangerous.” It will be dangerous.

By the way, whatever a mother excuses in moderation, her children are likely to excuse in excess. As you plant those seeds, remember that your children are watching. They’re learning. They’re being discipled by your example.

Another question for married women: Am I meeting my husband’s sexual needs? Two things I would point out about this. First of all, the New Testament teaches us that the wife’s body does not belong to herself; it belongs to her husband. The husband’s body is not his own; it belongs to his wife. Wives, you have a responsibility to be meeting the sexual needs of your husband.

Could I just say this? If you don’t or won’t, there are other women who will be more than happy to. Don’t put your husband in a position where you make him more vulnerable than he may already be because of bitterness or anger or hardness of heart that makes you unwilling to give yourself physically and sexually to your husband. If you refuse to meet his sexual needs, you will be a foolish woman who will be tearing your house.

Now, if he goes and acts on his desires and is unfaithful, he takes the responsibility for that. But don’t put him in a position where you make it more difficult for him and where you give him more of an open door to find sexual satisfaction that God intended for him to be able to experience in the marriage relationship.

Another question that relates to wives: Am I a trustworthy wife? Are you hiding anything from your husband? Is there someone that you’re being drawn to and you have not been honest with your husband? Can your husband trust that you are being honest with him?

Then here’s another question that is an important one for married women: Does my husband have the freedom to be totally honest with me? I’ve heard women express an utter inability to understand their husband’s sexual struggles, the moral things that their husbands struggle with. Women and men are just wired differently. We need to accept that and trust that it’s true.

Some of those women—when their husbands have struggled with moral issues—some of those women have been so disgusted, so repulsed by those struggles which they can’t understand that they’ve created a climate where their husband does not feel free to be honest with his wife—the one that he most needs to be honest with, the one that could most help him with her encouragement and her prayers.

But he can’t feel the freedom to be honest because he knows if he tells her where he’s really struggling, she’s going to tear him down. Your husband needs to know that you are a safe place—that he can be honest with you and that you will work with him through his struggles, that you will pray for him, that you will lift him up, that you’re not going to go talking to other women or other people about those issues but that you can be trusted.

Now, let me say that we’ve talked about some tough areas here. Some of you are going to be tempted to say, “I’m going to go home and be that wise woman who builds up my house. I’m going to be this perfect wife. I’m going to do all these things just right.”

You may find that you haven’t been home ten minutes before you’ve fallen flat on your face. That just proves a point that is all through the Scripture, and that is that you cannot be—I cannot be—a wise woman apart from the power of Christ and His Holy Spirit enabling me to be that woman.

So remember as you go home from this place that you’re going in dependence upon God, upon the power of His Spirit. Cry out to Him and say, “Lord, I can’t be this wife, but I know that You can love and minister to and build up that man through me.”

Leslie: I don’t want to tear down my home. How about you? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing wives how to build their home in the series, Becoming a Woman of Virtue. She’ll pick that series back up tomorrow.

How do you usually observe the Easter season? Focusing on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is so important for every believer. Last year Nancy experienced the season in a deep way by reading the book The Incomparable Christ by Oswald Sanders.

Nancy: I know that for me last year, when it came to the actual observance of Passion Week, the fact that I’d spent those weeks leading up to that week reading this book gave me a lot greater focus during Passion Week. It gave me a lot greater sense of the wonder of who Christ is and why He came.

This is why a year ago I started saying, “This is a book, this is a study we need to share with our listeners. I want them to experience what I experienced as I walked through this book for the first time myself.”

Leslie: So we’ve created the Revive Our Hearts edition of that book that so deeply affected Nancy. We’re letting you know about it now so that you can read one chapter each day along with other listeners. While you’re reading you can follow along as Nancy teaches through the outline in this book beginning March 9.

We’ll send you The Incomparable Christ when you make a donation of any amount. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Loud and defiant. Those words are celebrated in a lot of circles, but do they describe a biblical woman? We’ll discuss it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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