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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Husband Encouragement Challenge: FINALE

This is it! Our last day of coming together on a regular basis. Thank you all, ladies, for encouraging me throughout this challenge. You have been a blessing to me and my husband. And I hope I've been something of the same for you. I can't wait to hear your responses today!

June 30--DAY 30--
The Challenge Finale! (well, sort of...)

30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge
By Nancy Leigh DeMoss

". . . This is my beloved, and this is my friend . . ." Song of Solomon 5:16b

Friends can be completely honest with each other, but friendships are strained when truth is not spoken in love. How are you speaking to your beloved? Are you so "used" to him that you don't appreciate the wonder of his friendship? That is your challenge today. Is your sweetheart your best friend? Does he know this? Have you told him, or do you assume he "just knows"?

Friendship is something that is cultivated through the good times and the bad. Friends can share their hearts, but they don't step on each other's hearts. The way to have and be a good friend is to cultivate and celebrate the relationship. As you end this "30-Day Encouragement Challenge," celebrate your friendship with your husband. Get alone and reflect on your beloved friend. Write him a letter, listing the qualities you admire and appreciate about him. If you are creative with words, write and frame a poem about him.

Perhaps you can prepare a special meal, just for the two of you, and read the letter or poem to him. Ask if you can pray for him, and if he is willing, thank God for your love and friendship, asking for His blessing on your home.

Encouragement, as you have seen these past 30 days, is a synonym for love in action.
How has this challenge changed your heart and life, dear friend? Did God encourage you as you planned ways to encourage your husband? Were there difficult days where you simply needed to trust that God was working? Days when it was hard to leave the results to God?

Remember that God is faithful, and He will bless you for your willingness to obey Him. His ways are not our ways, and perhaps He will honor you in ways you do not expect, but one thing is sure—you will never be the same because of your commitment to be more like Christ!

What kinds of victories have you experienced in your home since you started the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge"? Would you take a moment to share these victories with us?

Reflections on the challenge...
This was such a great challenge to do and a great way to motivate change in my heart and life! In these 30 days I have learned to think before I speak. To focus on everything Kevin is instead of what he's not. To be more verbal in how I praise him. To maintain a more positive attitude in all of my day, not just when I'm speaking to my husband, because my mood directly affects those around me. To think before I speak. To build up Kevin to others. To look at my words and actions from the outside and be more aware of how I'm responding to my husband. To think before I speak. To ask and allow God to help me be His kind of wife.

There have been and will continue to be days that are more difficult than others, times when I just want Kevin to know he's done something wrong! But I found that if I let the issue sit for awhile, when I came to it later, it's no longer the big deal I had thought it was.

Now at the end of these 30 days, I feel much happier with our marriage. There is much less stress because we aren't bickering about the little things that don't even matter. It's just all-in-all very pleasant being together. I'm no longer demeaning him with comments about how he's driving or how he's using his time or that he's eating another bowl of cereal, etc These things may still drive me crazy, but they're not worth the damage such comments do to my husband's dignity. I'm excited to continue with all we've learned this month and to see our how marriage continues to flourish!

And now for the homework questions...

* Write a list of 10 specific goals you want to keep working on:
  1. Start each day with a prayer and devotional, even if it's something small like "Dear God, please give me the strength and patience to be a good wife and mother today, to be encouraging and respectful with my words. Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may bring peace and love to our home. Amen." I believe starting each and every day with God's strength will make a huuuge difference in the rest of the day, in our marriage, and in my role as a mother.
  2. Pray for Kevin daily, according to the book The Power of a Praying Wife or this article Praying for Your Husband: 31 Days of Prayer
  3. Practice major self-control by thinking before I speak, so that I'm only saying positive things to Kevin and not being disrespectful with my words.
  4. Find at least one thing daily to praise Kevin for, aside from Thank You's.
  5. Big or small, find something special to do for Kevin every day to show that I appreciate him and all he does for our family. I could maybe make a list so I always have ideas--could be a pie since he LOVES pies or just making a pitcher of sweet tea, leaving a note for him on his pillow when he comes home from night shift, putting a fresh towel out for him, fixing a special dinner with all of his favorites, "letting him" take an afternoon nap, doing dishes even after I've cooked, etc.
  6. End each night on a happy note rather than still being upset about something.
  7. Get up a little earlier so I can see Kevin for just a few minutes before he leaves for work at 6:00am.
  8. In my conversations with others, find ways to mention Kevin and some nice things he's done lately.
  9. Maintain a more positive attitude not only to Kevin but just in general, specifically with Eli so that my frustrations don't spill over affecting others in the house.
  10. Especially build up Kevin in his interest areas, i.e. his Jeep, by making compliments, initiating time for him to do something fun, listening carefully and asking questions when he talks about it.
* Pick 5 favorite Bible passages that strengthen you in your role as a wife.

Okay, I couldn't narrow it down, so I have 6 verses here...

Proverbs 12:4
A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Proverbs 31:10-31
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Ephesians 5:33
Nevertheless, let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.

1 Peter 3:1-4 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and find clothes. instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

Titus 2:4,5 ...train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, to that no one will malign the word of God.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

* Decide how you are going to hold yourself accountable to your actions. (journal? blog? friend?)
  1. Make a schedule of the daily things I will do for Kevin to show love and appreciation.
  2. On Thankful Thursdays, start including a section that mentions the specific things I'm grateful for just about him.
  3. Continue with Christine's 30-Day challenge at Fruit in Season even though I kinda missed it this week.
So there we go! That's all I have for you today. So without further ado, let's hear what you have to share!


Servant Becca said...

This challenge has been good for me! I pray that the work will continue, not just end after 30 days. God is good, and I want to glorify Him -- even in my relationship to my husband!

Take a peak at my homework:

Anonymous said...

I really feel I have benefited from this 30 day challenge. I can really tell the difference in our communication. If I slip up and say something I shouldn't have, I realize just how terrible it is. Whereas before I knew but I didn't really think it had that great of an impact. The arguments have decreased tremendously. There always over stupid things, so what is the point. I think only once during this challenge I have just left the room and went upstairs. We usually work things out. I also have been compromising on different things. A lot of times before I wanted things my way, but I have learned we both have to give a little. I have also learned the importance of waiting that 5 sec before you might say something you regret. If something didn't work out as planned, then I'll try and tell Shawn thank you for trying anyways. I have been telling Shawn "thank you" for even the smallest things he has done for me. I believe our marriage is much stronger now! I believe I bring much more happiness to our home. I don't feel I nag as much as before. I know Shawn has seen a great improvement in my attitude toward him. Our marriage is stronger and happier after this challenge! I am so thankful. Sarah, thank you so much for taking on this 30 day challenge and posting it on your blog. You have helped me and many wives. I really am grateful! Thanks! Goals are below.

1.) To keep negative words to Shawn at a minimum.
2.) Try and do something small or big for Shawn each day.
3.) Speak praise about Shawn to others.
4.) Thank Shawn when he does something for me. Tell him how much I appreciate him.
5.) Give Shawn more free time to do what he would like to do even if it means I am not able to do something or get something done... To be unselfish.
6.) Listen to Shawn carefully when he is speaking to me.
7.) Do not go to bed upset.
8.) Speak with a calm voice if I am upset.
9.) Concentrate on Shawn's good qualities.
10.)Maintain our goal of reading each night together.

I am going to keep myself accountable by keeping a journal. I plan on writing in this before I go to bed each night. I also will be keeping myself accountable through a friend.

Angie said...

10 Specific Goals, in random order!
Each morning when Ben wakes up, ask him "How can I help you today?" so that
I am fulfilling my biblical role as a help mate and not pursuing my own

-Keep a list of things that I have problems with/sin issues that Ben tells me about so that I can actually work on them instead of just sweeping themunder the rug.

-Even when I feel like something is my fault, don't say it is as it undermines Ben's leadership and makes him feel like I'm the one who is responsible for everything in our house. (He has told me this!)

-Think before I speak. Check my heart, asking myself what my intention is in saying whatever it is I might say. Am I seeking to build up or tear down? If it is tear down, DON'T SPEAK!

-Keep the house under control so that I don't get so overwhelmed that I'm constantly asking him to help me clean up my domain. This will provide a
peaceful home for my husband, a place where he will want to be.

-Encourage Ben daily to take time for him--golf, go to the coffee shop, read about the Reds, play his play station, etc. Do this after I've thanked him
for working so hard at his job that day.

-Share with him willingly what I've been doing/learning in my quite times. Ask for prayer in certain areas.

-Rise before him willingly (not holding bitter resentment) and tend to my needs: physical exercise, shower, quiet time. Do these all before Caleb wakes up so that I can focus on meeting their needs the rest of the day.

-Pray daily for Ben, asking him for requests and also using the Power of a Praying Wife as a guide.

-Complement him on his father and husband skills daily to his face.

5 Favorite Bible Passages to Strengthen my role as a wife.

Proverbs 31: 10-12, 15, 26-28, 30

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Colossians 4:6 (to remember when I speak to Ben)
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that
you may know how to answer everyone.

Genesis 1:26-28 (God has given me a domain--my house, my role as mom, etc. and I am to be the mistress over it! I need to make decisions regarding these things that will be a blessing to others (esp. Ben and Caleb) and
bring glory to God.)

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Genesis 2:18-24 I am Ben's helper and completer. God designed me specifically for him to help and complete him.

Genesis 3:20 I am a life giver or a death dealer. Sure I physically birth my children, but do I give life to my children and husband everyday with my
words and actions?

20 "Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living."

Proverbs 9:10a I want to be a lady of wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord.

10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."

1 Corinthians 11:7-9 I am the glory of Ben and Ben is the glory of God. I bring glory to God by bringing glory to my husband.

"For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake."

*Check back in my journal everyday to make sure I've achieved my goals.
*Email this list to Tami & Katie & Sarah (duh!) to have them pray specifically for me in these areas.
*Ask Tami to review "5 Aspects of Woman" with me next year for our one-on-one