But I heard Jen Weaver speak at a conference last summer and read a summary of her book, A Wife’s Secret to Happiness and my curiosity won me over. I’m so grateful it did. In the pages of her easy to read book with online #wifestyle bonuses, I found myself inspired with practical new ways to intentionally involve God in my marriage. I also experienced conviction that some of my marital struggles had more to do with my lack of trust in God than the earthly man who’s walked beside me for almost 14 years.
In my counseling office, I often meet women discouraged because their husbands won’t attend marriage counseling with them and longing to discover a way to make thing better. I love that this book focuses on one partner. Family therapists have said for years that change occurs in relationships if either person changes. This book provides 11 practical ways for all us to allow God to be more involved in our marriages and encourages positive approaches to marriage both in the good times and difficult days.
My favorite practical tool was the suggestion that every time I was annoyed with my husband, I would ask God to bless him instead of wallowing in my frustration. As I executed this practice more often than I would have liked to, I began to experience freedom and a release of control accepting what I really could not change and looking to God to our source and guide. Jen talks about a braided wife (husband, wife, and God make three strands) as one who is whose #wifestyle is spent praying instead of complaining.
I’d encourage you to try it for even just a week. Pray first and ask second. Will it heal a marriage no longer with a foundation of trust where two people no longer want to hear what the other person has to say in a very short time? Probably not, but it just might change your perspective and allow God to… who knows. Recently, a couple I’ve worked on and off with for over a decade returned to my office to share with me that they now “get it.” Through some pretty amazing circumstances, God is now active in their individual souls, their marriage is now supported by a church family that feeds and encourages them and their once despondent now animated faces lit up as they shared how He had been at work and it had made all the difference.
Interview with Jen Weaver & Book Giveaway
What's your favorite scripture in this season of life and why?
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
I’m so grateful I don’t have to figure everything out. When my brain can’t make sense of what God is doing, I rest in the truth that He knows the best way. The Lord is fully aware of the strategy of His own plans.
I love that His word does not return to Him empty, it always accomplishes the purpose He has for it. This is my prayer: more of His words and less of my own. I want the words I speak and write to be more of His voice than mine. I want my speech toward my son and my conversation with my husband to be more Jesus. My words fail all the time, but God’s words always accomplish their purpose. Even in writing A Wife’s Secret to Happiness, I asked the Lord to guide each word that would end up on the page. So now, I trust that the words I have out there in the world will accomplish His purpose. I don’t have to define success or figure out how to make it happen. I get to trust that God’s ways are higher and His will prevails.
What is one of the most meaningful conversations you've had with your husband recently?
As wives, we often wish our husbands could read our minds and know what we want before we tell them. It’s more romantic if he just knows. I learned a long time ago that I’d rather tell Jared what I’d like instead of leaving him to guess and then feel disappointed if he speculated incorrectly. Jared knows this truth as well, so he approached me a few weeks ago with a question. He wanted to get me a gift to celebrate the book launch and wondered what I’d like. I shared that I’d love a gift that spoke to him about something I wrote and how he’s seen that theme in our marriage (he was my first reader and he’s probably read the book three or four times by now). J
Our meaningful conversation came in a coffee shop parking lot the day of my launch party. Sitting in our car, he pulled out two small packages, simple bracelets he purchased on Amazon. One was a woven leather band that spoke to him of being a tightly woven cord of three strands and how he’s seen me bring Jesus into our interactions through prayer (chapter 1). The other was a metal bracelet that reminded him of tent pegs and how I’m not willing to let the enemy into our camp (chapter 11). His simple words and thoughtful gifts meant so much to me. Once upon a time, I would have felt let down that he simply did what I wanted instead of thinking of the idea himself. But I’ve stopped letting my foolishness discount his thoughtfulness. He considered me, heard me, and demonstrated love by responding to what I said. What a gift!
I work with a lot of women as a professional counselor who are very discouraged because they feel like their husbands are not interested in investing in their marriage anymore. What words of wisdom would you share with them?
If you’re in this situation, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your heartache and ask God in this moment to comfort you and bring peace to your heart and relationship.
My encouragement for you is this: God is not detoured. He, the King of Heaven is investing in your marriage, in your husband, and in you. Don’t be discouraged if it seems like the answers to your prayers are a long way off. When it can be so easy to focus on what your husband is not doing, tune your attention to what your heavenly Father is doing. How is He showing Himself gracious, loving, compassionate, strong, and considerate? What work is He doing in your heart? What ways is He affecting a change in your relationship? Keep seeking Jesus. God is not discouraged. He is far from done.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman who is engaged (besides signing up for your wonderful three months of encouragement), what would it be?
My first piece of advice is to check out the free 3 Months of Encouragement for the Bride-To-Be resource on my website! #engaged couples #premarital resources
Okay, and now for a real piece of advice … Often times, the engaged and newlywed season is one of celebrations, relative ease, and peace. In this time, I encourage you to be intentional in bringing Jesus into your relationship, weaving your marriage together with Jesus as the 3rd strand. Seek God in prayer—both when you’re together, and when you’re apart. Be intentional about asking for God’s guidance in your decision making. As you go about life as a wife, invite Jesus into your daily habits, conversations, and interactions.
Ecclesiastes 4 is a commonly quoted verse in wedding ceremonies, “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” But consider the circumstances discussed about in the verses that come before it.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12)
Two are better than one when they work, when one falls, when they’re trying to keep warm in the cold, and when under attack. It’s more difficult to fortify a cord in trying circumstances. Build up the strength of your cord now, weave your relationship tightly into the presence of Jesus so you can rely on its strength should you face harder seasons down the road.
Thanks again Jen for sharing your wisdom with us. You can learn more about Jen by visiting her website: http://thejenweaver.com/
I'd love to hear how you hold onto hope in your marital relationship and infuse more of God in what often looks like a twist between two people instead a of that braided cord of three strands. Comment below about this post or any wisdom you'd like to share.