I originally wrote this post to speak to and encourage other women, but the more I wrote, the more I realized I’m talking to both husbands and wives. I want wives to see themselves as worthy through their husband’s eyes. And I want husbands to look at their wives and see something beautiful and precious and worth fighting for.
This isn’t meant to be one of those posts that’s controversial or steps on toes, but as I read through it again, I realized it might accomplish both of those things. I’m okay with that. I pray about each one of my blog posts, and I want to make sure the words I speak are spirit-led and not Leah-led.
Here’s the post in its original entirety.
Women, show of hands. How many of you have ever felt worthless? Like you can never measure up no matter how hard you try or how many plates you juggle. Like you’re a failure as a mom. A failure as a wife. How many of you have ever wondered if your family would be better off without you?
Yikes. Those are hard questions, but the purpose of this blog is to have transparency and to help, however we can. And if I’m being completely transparent and honest, I can tell you I can answer yes to every one of those questions. Even the last one.
A wife’s number one need in marriage is to feel secure. To know her husband is willing to sacrifice everything for her and lay down his life if necessary. To know that he belongs only to her and no other woman. To know she can trust him with anything, no matter how dark her thoughts or how sinful her actions, and know that he will listen and offer comfort, his love, prayer, and if needed, his forgiveness.
That security, or lack thereof, is often tied to our self-worth as women and wives. And if security is broken in any way, it’s devastating both physically and psychologically. There are things both spouses can do to build trust and security in their marriage, but both have to be willing to make the sacrifice to do so.
I’ll be honest with you, Scott spent 26 years in law enforcement and 20 years single. Privacy and secrets were worn like a second skin to him, and it wasn’t until recently that we finally had the conversation about “Secrets,” “Privacy in Marriage,” and “Boundaries.”
For twenty years, he never had to answer to any woman in a relationship, but now he has a wife. The rules aren’t the same. For one thing, there’s accountability. For another, there shouldn’t be privacy or secrets in marriage. He was living his life as he always had been, and because of it, I was filled with insecurity.
Those behaviors are not going to sustain very long in a marriage. You can either protect your privacy, or you can protect your marriage. You can’t do both. Don’t ever let your spouse wonder. You’ll tear them up inside, and I promise, communication will start to break down. They’ll question, you’ll deny or get defensive about your privacy, and then your spouse will shut down because part of them knows there’s truth in the reason they had to question in the first place. Wondering hurts.
Secrets will kill a marriage faster than anything else. Come clean. There’s no place for deception in marriage. And let me tell you, God will not allow certain secrets to continue for long, no matter how great at deception you are. Marriage is a holy covenant, and when a spouse is being sinned against, God will make sure they find out eventually. It’s going to be painful and emotional, and there’s going to need to be a lot of prayer and healing. There’s going to need to be Godly change in the one who sinned. And there’s going to have to be true forgiveness in the other. But God works miracles every day, and He’ll do it in your marriage too.
If you’re a secret keeper, pray for God to work on your heart to change you. Your spouse should be your safe place. You should be able to tell them anything and know there will be only support and acceptance, never judgement or admonition. If you have secrets, share them. If you have sins, confess them.
Here are a few things you can do to give security to your spouse (men and women):
1.) Passwords, passwords, passwords. You should each have access to every account you both have, whether it’s Facebook, your cell phone, your bank account, or the credit card that’s only in your name for shoe emergencies.
2.) Keep in touch with each other throughout the day. Whether you call or text, stay connected. It doesn’t take much effort or time to let your spouse know you’re thinking about them.
3.) Social media and phone transparency. How many of you have experienced walking up to your spouse and having them quickly change the window on their computer or close their text messages? If there’s something you don’t want your spouse to see, you probably shouldn’t be looking at it or messaging it. We see a lot of couples who have one joint Facebook account. This is a smart course of action. Facebook has gotten a lot of marriages in trouble. This doesn’t work for Scott and I because of our public profiles, but we do have passwords to all of each other’s social media accounts and cell phones. This goes back to accountability.
4.) Wandering eyes. I’ve been out to dinner with groups before and seen wandering eyes from men and women. I’ve seen women, in front of their husbands, point out the “hotness” of a nearby male. And I’ve seen a man’s head swivel almost 180 degrees to follow the progress of a woman walking past him. In front of his wife. Let your spouse know you only have eyes for them.
5.) Keep Christ at the center of your marriage. Pray with your spouse. If there’s something that’s keeping you from praying with your spouse, you need to ask yourself why and get to the root of the issue. Is it because you’re hiding something? Because you’re afraid of what might come out? Or maybe you’re just afraid that you won’t pray “right” in front of your spouse. Open your heart with your spouse and let God in. He’ll start changing things, and working in your lives.
Franklin Graham said something pretty powerful when we saw him speak last month. He was talking about prayers of the righteous. (This is probably one of those statements that’s going to step on toes). If you’re living in sin and praying once on Sunday for God to make everything amazing like he’s some kind of magical genie, and if you’re not praying righteous, heartfelt prayers that are filled with repentance and thanks, God is going to swat those prayers back to earth before they get to Him. If you can’t be honest in prayer, when can you be honest? Go to Him with sincerity in your heart. He’ll always listen. And when you pray with your spouse, you have to be just as sincere. You can hide under the illusion of prayer, but you won’t be able to do it for long.
I’ll give you an example of insincere prayer, and what an unrepentant heart looks like. And this is probably going to be another blog post I’ll expand on at a later date. I know a woman who was having an affair with a married man. And the whole time she was committing this act of sin, she’d say things like, “I know the Lord put me in his life for a reason.” And things like, “God put me in his path, I just need to find out my purpose in his life.” And then she’d top things off by saying things like, “I’m praying for him and his wife.” Then she’d make arrangements to go meet the man in secret so the wife wouldn’t find out.
Let me tell you, that woman was the devil’s mouthpiece. In no way, shape, or form did God send her to this man. Satan sent this woman, and she and the man were doing satan’s work. Because satan hates marriage. He wants to destroy it however he can. And one of the best ways to do that is through adultery. How repentant does this woman sound? How well received do you think this woman’s prayers were?
Okay, time to get back on topic…
Be intimate with your spouse on a level that is so deep that it’s impossible for satan or sin to come between you. Trust isn’t freely given, it has to be earned. And look, if your spouse has lost trust in you because of something you did, you’re going to have to go out of your way to build that trust back. It’s going to be uncomfortable and you’re going to feel like your privacy is invaded. You might be on the offensive. Do it anyway. This is your marriage you’re talking about. And your spouse deserves to know that you’re going above and beyond to rebuild that trust.
Society is wreaking havoc on marriages. I’ve had women and men both tell me before they’ve given their spouse a “free pass” for a certain person where there’d be no consequence if they cheated. I know married couples who think watching pornography together is the way to keep spice in their marriage. I also know married couples who have an “open” marriage.
There is no such thing as an open marriage.
Sexual sin is rampant in this world, to the point where sex means nothing at all to a lot of people. And sex should mean something. It’s such an incredible way for you and your spouse to connect, and sex is God’s design for marriage. Ask yourself a question, “Has sex outside of marriage made your life better or more complicated?” Your answer should pretty much tell you why God designed sex to “only” be for marriage.
If there’s been sexual sin in your life, you’re going to have to work hard to understand and experience what sex with your spouse should be like. You’ll have to work at being intimate. This is not going to be like flicking on a light switch and saying, “Oh, I get it, I’m going to be free from sexual sin and have the intimate relationship with my spouse that God wants.” It’s going to take TIME, WORK, EFFORT, PATIENCE, and PRAYER on both sides. Lots and lots of prayer. I’m going to do another blog post on this, because it’s a topic in itself.
There’s scientific evidence that men who have their first sexual experience outside of marriage imprint on the lust of illicit sex. Those who experience their first sexual experience in marriage imprint on their wife.
Here’s a scenario I copied from an article about sexual promiscuity and the psychological damage it does:
Boy gets girl to let him fondle her in the back seat of a car. Soon he is undressing her. His heart is pounding as it becomes clear that she will allow him to have sex with her. The windows are steamed, he is now in a major hurry (lest she changes her mind or someone catches them). He experiences an adrenaline rush not unlike a thief experiences when he first steals or a thrill seeker gets when jumping from an airplane. He then enters her body and experiences his first sexual experience with a woman.
This incredible experience leaves a major “imprint” on him. Now (possibly for the rest of his life) he is likely to view sex in the context of “lust” and “naughtiness”. This is the man who will constantly be pushing his wife to try some outrageous new behavior, take sexual risks or constantly role-play – all in an attempt of re-living that experience that has had such a profound impact on his psyche. This is the guy who wants to “do it” in the elevator or in the backyard or in some semi-public place. This is the guy who needs his wife to pretend she is a cheerleader or a naughty nurse before he can get excited as he tries to re-create his sexual imprinting. He is not really interested in the girl; he is interested in the sex.
What about women? Sex outside of marriage does much more psychological damage to women than it does to men. When women have sex, oxytocin is released in the system, much like it is when women are pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s a bonding agent. So when women have multiple sex partners, they lose that ability to bond over time.
Scott has a great blog post about sexual sin you can check out here: Men, Get Your Mind Right: Stop Cheating
DO NOT DESPAIR! THERE IS HOPE!
If you have sexual sin in your past or your present, the bible gives you a way out. How can you make things different? Change the way you think! Only God can wash away your sins and give you a clean start if you ask for forgiveness.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2
We took a little bit of a side trip there, but it’s an important topic. Statistics show that 41% of marriages have one or both spouses admitting to either physical or emotional infidelity. That’s a staggering percentage, and it almost seems like our culture has become desensitized to it because it’s so common. But I can assure you, the other spouse doesn’t feel desensitized. Your children don’t feel desensitized. It goes back to those “social norms.” Just because the world says it’s okay doesn’t mean God says it’s okay. Reprogram your mind. Live in sexual purity with your spouse.
In a different vein, I also know married couples who keep separate bank accounts and separate everything else because it makes things easier “just in case of divorce.” Let me tell you, if the words “just in case of divorce” come out of your mouth before you get married, don’t get married. Because words have power. If you plan for divorce, you’re going to be divorced.
I know I’m stepping on a lot of toes right now. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with my beliefs not being accepted as the social norm. I only have to worry about what God thinks, because in the end, that’s all that’s going to matter. And if I’m stepping on your toes and you’re feeling a twinge of uneasiness, I hope you take a step back and try to figure out why you have that twinge. Pray about it.
The social “norms” of today are in no way God’s norms as written in His Word. The bible tells us everything we need to know to be good husbands and wives, and how important our marriage is to God. If you’re living outside God’s design for marriage, you’re living in sin. There are no shades of gray. It’s all black and white. The bible is the best marriage manual we could ever hope for.
I do want to take a moment and speak directly to women. Because this is a struggle for me, and something I pray daily about. I told you before about being insecure in my marriage, but my confidence and worth doesn’t come from my husband. It comes from my relationship with God. This is something that’s a work in progress for me.
And it doesn’t matter that I’m successful in my professional life. That I built a business from nothing with blood, sweat, tears, and sheer determination. That I’ve had people not talk to me at conferences because they felt I was too intimidating (I swear, I’m not! I’m just introverted. Please come talk to me. I love it). None of that matters, because in my personal life, I have those moments where my confidence is shattered, and my worth is non-existent, all because I’m relying on another human (a sinner) to give me those things instead of Christ.
I want to share something my good friend Chermaine Stein told me that God once spoke to her. Colossians 2:10 says You are complete through your union with Christ who is the head over every rule and authority. Having a spouse will not complete you. A spouse will certainly complement you (God created woman to be a helper to her husband, and each of you will bring strengths the other lacks to the table). But only God will complete you.
A couple is made of two WHOLE people.
My prayer times have been intense lately. My relationship with Christ is growing, and I’m exposing areas of darkness in my life that are finally having light shined upon them, because that’s the only way for true healing to begin. I’m learning to rely on Christ first, for Him to be my main source of security. I need to feel secure in my marriage to Scott, and he should strive to give me that security in our marriage, but God has to be the source of ALL of my security.
Let’s face it. Marriage is hard. There is nothing more beautiful than marriage if the relationship is lived how God designed it to be. But there is nothing more painful and heartbreaking than a marriage that is not following God’s Word. I know that from experience, so I can say it with absolute authority.
Marriage is the most holy covenant in the bible. The FIRST thing God did after creating man was to create woman and marriage. The FIRST miracle Jesus performs in the book of John (chapter two), is at a wedding. It’s no coincidence. Marriage is of utmost importance to God.
The last two months, our marriage has been tested. We’ve gone through some pretty devastating events that are going to take time for me to heal. And Scott has some healing to do as well. But we’re committed to our marriage, and we’re committed to making Christ the center of our marriage. Remember what I said before about how a couple is made of two WHOLE people? We’re working on that.
As a woman, I’m committed to strengthening my personal relationship with Christ and learning to lean on Him and lay my burdens at His feet. I’m learning what I’m really made of. I’m learning to handle things with grace and humility. I’m learning to set my pride aside and be humble. And I’m learning that above all else, I’m a precious daughter of our one true savior. Nothing and no one can ever take that away from me. I will keep my head held high, my arms lifted with praise, and I will stand beside my husband, through thick and thin.
In my prayer time a couple of days ago, I sat crying and feeling the Holy Spirit wash through me and my grief. When something traumatic happens in your life, it’s like a death, and there is a grieving process. I have really great days where everything seems normal. But I also have days where the grief is so heavy I can barely breathe. That day in my prayer time was one of those days.
While I was praying, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well popped into my mind. This was a woman who’d been married five times, and who was living with a man in sin. She was seen as immoral and was considered an outcast. She based her security on men instead of on Christ.
John 4:13-14 – Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The lesson I drew from this is that when something happens in my life or in my marriage that takes my security away–something that makes me feel unloved or unwanted– something that makes me feel less than or unworthy–when I have those moments where I can’t even see value in myself–I can take comfort in the fact that by drinking from His well, I will never be thirsty again. That I have eternal life.
At that moment in my prayer time I began to sing Fill My Cup, Lord. And I’m going to post the words below because there is such absolute power in them. And for those of you who have never heard this song before, here’s a link to a recording: Fill My Cup, Lord
Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from my well that never shall run dry”.
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!
Believe me, my version in my prayer time didn’t sound like recording above, but God didn’t care about the delivery, only the content of my heart.
I want to talk to those who are hurting in their marriages. I know there are a lot of you because we get message after message on Facebook and email. You are not alone, and I want you to know I pray for you and weep with you. I want you to know I’ve been at the bottom, feeling like I’m gasping for air and that nothing will make the pain better. There are days I’m still there.
But I also want you to know that God will quench the thirsting in your soul. Let Him fill your cup. Only He can make you whole. You are so worthy. You are the child of a King.