Does Your Husband Understand You? {Two Small Things That Would Make A World of Difference}

Does Your Husband Understand You - Two Small Thinge That Would Make a World of Difference
My husband and I talk a lot about how hard it is for men to understand women. We wives are so hard to figure out.

John once asked an older man if he understood his wife,

After all these years, do you understand your wife?

“Understand her—no way,” this sage man responded- “enjoy her, yes!”

His comment made my husband roar in laughter, but it also encouraged him.

In thinking about this I have found an image, which I hope, might help your husband or other men as they seek to understand our needs.

Lights

Picture for a moment a flashlight. One that takes 2 “Double A” batteries.

Over time it’s easy for these batteries to grow dim. They just get worn down. Sometimes one will go out before the other. Soon the flashlight will begin to flicker and the light will fade. It’s time to recharge, to put new batteries into your flashlight.

We women need two batteries to keep us bright.  Our “Double A’s” are appreciation and affection. These qualities can be rare in our worlds.

Appreciation. A 4 year old is not likely to say to his exhausted Mom, “Wow, Mom, you are doing a good job raising me.” There’s not a lot of appreciation for laundry done, dinner fixed, clothes washed.   It’s a rare husband who says, “Thanks honey for carpooling the kids all over the place today. I appreciate you.” A comment like that would do wonders to increase our battery life!

Affection is the second of our batteries that can become depleted. It’s hard for us women to get excited about sex if we haven’t experienced affection. It can make us feel cheap or used. Simply greeting us with a hug at the end of the day and saying, “I missed you today,” can help to recharge our battery. Give us a hug in front of the kids while exclaiming, “I love this woman, ” and you hit the jackpot! A phone call or text message just to say, Hope you are having a good day, can make a huge difference.

It’s a wise man who asks himself if his wife’s batteries need to be recharged. They probably do! As you men take steps to recharge them don’t be discouraged if we women don’t respond right away. Sometimes it takes repeated efforts. Just persist and we will lighten up in due time!

I hope you ladies will pass this along to your husband. It just might help him to realize that you are normal!

Blessings,

Susan Alexander Yates

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Handle-With-Care: Instructions For the Parent of A Challenging Child

Handle With Care - Instructions for The Parent of a Challenging Child
I get the shudders just thinking about it.

Even still after all these years.

How at only 8 years old, she would sit on our neighbors’ fence. Wait for their horses to come galloping by so she could make the jump. How she would ride bareback through their pasture and how the neighbors never even knew about it.

And neither did I.

Not until later when she confessed.

Oh, child of mine.  What am I supposed to do with you? 

Savoury-135

Except she’s no longer a child anymore.

She’s all of 20 and quite grown up.

She’s a lovely, caring person. A dreamer and a writer. Talented and smart.

But how could I have known all that back then?

Back when she was a screamer. A fighter. An unpredictable phenomenon.

I kid you not.

She was a challenge. What some might call “a handful.” A high-maintenance child.

And she was mine.

She’s the one who would fall off her chair in the middle of the room. Plop! Onto the floor. For no apparent reason. She’s the one I’d say, “Focus, Savoury. Focus!” numerous times every day.

Her happy place was sitting deep in a mud puddle. I would look out in the backyard and feel that twinge of guilt. “You really should call her in,” I’d say to myself.  But I’ll confess that I didn’t want to. She was safe. And better yet, she was surprisingly content there.

And it gave me a break.

I used to ask God about her. Mostly wondering what He could possibly have been thinking to make me her mom? And ask Him why she didn’t come with set of instructions? A guidebook of some kind?

Why would He give this no-rules, all-heart, free-spirit child . . . to a structured, organized, pull-it-together mom such as me?

I loved her, of course. But at times I struggled to like her, if you know what I mean. I had to pray about that one. Plead with God to help me understand her. To accept her. To truly enjoy her.

But just so you know? I do like her now. Like her and love her. A lot.

She’s one of my very best friends. 

Something I couldn’t have known when she was sitting there happily splashing in the mud puddle. Spontaneously falling off her chair. Or freely riding bareback around the neighbors’ property.

How could I have known back then?

Avonlea at Hospital

Coming Home

This is also the same girl I called last week to say that her young special-needs sister was going into emergency surgery. Just to update her so she could pray.

But that wasn’t good enough for her.

She told me, “Mom, I’m going to get someone to cover my shift at work and I’m coming home.”

I tried to protest, “Oh, I don’t want you to jeopardize your job, Honey.”

But she ran right over the top of me (see? a wonderful quality at times). “I can always get another job. I’m coming home because you’re going to need help.”

And it turned out that she was right. We did need help and she was there for us.

She sat in the hospital room with her sister for hours. Even when we brought her home, Savoury slept on the lumpy couch that night, so she could be right there in case her sister woke up and needed something.

These are all things that you don’t realize when you’re a mom and your kid is happiest sitting in a mud puddle. And you wonder if she’s ever going to get along in the “real world” or if she will ever learn to stay in a chair.

So if you’re a parent of a challenging child, I thought I’d pass along a few things I wish someone would have told me. A simple set of instructions for you and for that child. 

Our daughter Savoury

Handle-With-Care Instructions For the Challenging Child

Accept your child for how God made him/her.

Don’t try to change your child. Sure, guide them and instruct them. Secretly scratch your head over them, but embrace their quirky, out-of-the-mold selves. Don’t express disappointment or disapproval. Instead, point out the positives and look for bright points. Believe me, there are lots of them!

Gently help your child to learn to function in the “real world.”

Gently. Your child might need some help in the social graces or relationship skills or even the simple basics of doing what needs to be done. So a loving parent will patiently teach those things – possibly stuff that comes more “naturally” to other children. Just don’t squeeze them so hard to try and make them “fit in.”

Determine to laugh more than you cry.

Quite honestly? I wasted tears over this child. Now that we have a younger son who has some similar characteristics, I mostly laugh and hug him a lot. I’m excited to see how his strong personality traits will play out as he grows older—convinced that he’s going to do something really wonderful some day!

Never give up on your child.

I recently asked our dear girl what was the hardest thing when she was a child? She said it was when I threw up my hands over her. When I said things like, “I give up” or other such expressions of despair. And it nearly broke my heart to hear it.

I was so focused on my own frustration that I didn’t realize the impact it would have on her own young life.

So if you have a challenging child? 

Make sure you communicate how thrilled you are with your child. They need to know that you believe in them and have confidence in the plans God has for them. And they need to hear it more from you than from anyone else.

Remember to handle their hearts with care. 

In His grace,

Signature small

 

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5 Tips for When He Is Wrong and You’re In the Right

5 Tips for When He Is Wrong and You're In the RightIf he would just listen to me – really hear me out – then we could be done with this argument and move on with our life!

Ever been there? Ever had those kind of thoughts?

I would venture to say we have all found ourselves in the position where we knew for a fact we were right and our husbands were wrong. If you’re like me, sometimes you want to grab him by the shoulders and give him a gentle – maybe not so gentle – shake and say, “I’m right!”

Fortunately, I don’t know many people who that has actually worked for. If they tried, I’m sure the complete opposite of what they wanted would happen.

So what’s a Christian girl to do?

Couple Drifted Apart

These are my 5 tips when he is wrong and you are right . . . some may surprise you.

1. Prayer. This is absolutely the best thing we can do.

We may indeed be right, but the only way for our husbands to see that is through a good old-fashioned heart change. A heart change from the only one who can, God. I have found that there is always a change of heart, but it may not be my husbands…it may be mine.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

2. An appeal. Once heated words have fizzled, try approaching him again, but in a humble way.

This should not be about pride or proving oneself. State your reason for why you feel a certain way then leave it at that. This is not, “Giving in,” but is kind, reverent, and thought-provoking.

3. Submission. There is such power in submission.

When we can yield to another even when we feel the urge to stomp around is delightful in the eyes of the Lord and is the ultimate use of self-control.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

4. A quiet and gentle spirit.

I’ve tried nagging and it doesn’t work. In fact, it’s one of the quickest way to put a barrier up. Our husbands need and deserve our respect no matter what we feel in our hearts. Sometimes we just have to obey the Word of God and trust Him.

1 Peter 3:4 …but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

5. Captivate your thoughts.

When those of thoughts of shaking his shoulders flood through our mind we must take them captive immediately before they penetrate our hearts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

The arguments and disagreements will come—it’s inevitable. There must be a line that we as faithful women draw, a boundary.

We have to prayerfully know when to back down and trust God and let Him do His thing.

Our husband’s heart may change in the process, or it may be our own. The most important thing we can do is to invite Jesus in on it, on all aspects of our life. When we do this, the arguments are no longer in vain, but can be used for the glory of God to reveal hearts and bridge the differences together.

*How about you? Have you been in a similar situation and gave it to God? What changed?

Brittany, Sweet Country Roots

Brittany StyronBrittany Styron lives life in North Carolina. She is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, and momma to four amazing kids. She has a passion for country living, cooking, any thing vintage, gardening, homeschooling, and encouraging women in their roles as wives and mothers. She blogs honestly about all these things at Sweet Country Roots. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/sweetcountryroots

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Proverbs 31:25,26

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Is Your Perfect Way…Getting In the Way of His Perfect Story?

Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of His Perfect Story? Our first home together was a 1930’s bungalow, the only remaining vestige of a farm in Crozet, Virginia.

When we moved in, then, it had about 50 nearly-new spec homes around it, transforming it from a charming farmhouse into the gangly outlaw of the neighborhood. In exchange for reduced rent, we stripped wall-paper and sanded floors and painted trim. We also added a pull-down staircase into the attic in a harried attempt to compensate for the hole our friend made in the ceiling as he foisted our boxes up into “storage.”

Most of those boxes were Nate’s; I brought only a small dowry to our union.

I thought he must be a pack rat, then (you know, all those guesses you make about this person whose ring you’re wearing but whom you still barely know). Poetry anthologies and historical biographies and more works of C.S. Lewis than I knew he wrote.

We loaded up that cob-webbed crawl-space in the ceiling with box after box of books that didn’t have titles like “Growing Your Heart for God” or “How to Change the World for God” which were the only kind of books that I read at that time.

The attic concealed them, so I ignored them.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting In the Way Of His Perfect Story?

When we moved again three years later into the home that didn’t have an attic, but a basement, and one into which we walked through every day from our garage up to the first floor,

I remembered the books.

The boxes of books.

“Can’t we just sell them?” I inquired with an added edge.

I now knew he wasn’t a pack rat, but he had another habit I didn’t quite get. Nate loved story and verse and layers that unfolded over pages — ideas, but not the kind that were quick to digest. The ones that took time to unfurl.

I, on the other hand in that season in life, had little tolerance for this.

Who had time for layers, unfurling, when there were souls to save? And there was always Cliffs Notes anyway.

One day, either with words or with looks or with the stone cold indifference that a wife who’s fixed on what she wants can wield, I’ll convince him to drop this hobby and give his time to something of actual significance.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting In the Way of His Perfect Story?

Ten years later and I’m out of Nate’s sight, down the hall, but close enough to hear it all.

One child’s heart is sunken and their words are all tangled in pain and hurt and anger. Nate’s fielding them in the family room.

It’s the child I’ve been zeroed in on — praying for in the early hours and talking, long, with in the afternooons. I need to tell him what I’ve been doing with this one, I thought. Five children and laundry and dinner and math worksheets and piano practice and I hadn’t briefed him yet on this particular child.

Before I could walk through the door of our bedroom, he’s responding. Oh no, I thought. This wasn’t my approach. This isn’t what I would do. How do I intercept this?

History or the Holy Spirit stopped me.

The books. The boxes of books. 

Several years into our marriage — several years of storing those books — and I’d felt a nudge: read. Read a story. I padded down to the basement and rummaged through those boxes and blew the dust off the volumes that were well-loved, dog-eared and inked.

And as I read those stories, I remembered a young girl — a young me — with pig-tails who rode her bike to the Reading Railroad and to the library only to return and spend hours buried in story in the corner swivel chair of her parents’ sunroom.

She hadn’t yet taught herself that life was a set of rules, with clocks on every wall and boxes to be checked.

She had vigor, then.

Zest.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of His Perfect Story?

I married Nate for his passion to share gospel to the ends of the earth.

I wanted a leader who wouldn’t tire and who would leave behind him a ripple of impact. I liked the parts of him that were just like me and the ones that weren’t, I ignored in hopes that they would go away. Becoming one was becoming “same,” to me then.

Yet this leader of mine — God — used my husband to bring out sides of my heart and my hunger for Him that were long-latent.

At twenty-three, I didn’t see that my driven-self needed to get lost in the Love Story of all ages and stop approaching it like it was a playbook. Those books in our basement and the man who bought them and read them and shared them widened my lens to see the layers of God’s beauty.

I never read the Bible or my heart the same again, afterwards.

A decade and a half later and down the hall — with a house full of squeals and giggles and squabbles, not just books — and that man who approached my child’s heart from a different angle than I would have, was doing the same all over again.

I could interrupt and correct him or I could press my knees against the floorboards and ask God to use this mixture of different persons into one union to bring crazy glory for Him.

Is Your Perfect Way Getting in the Way of HIS Perfect Story

Dear bride — married for 3 months or 20 years — might it be time to loosen your clutch and consider that your perfect way is getting in the way of His perfect story? Seems like too big of an ask, as the laundry list of things you’d like to change about that man is ever-growing?

Then, start with one.

Pick one area you’ve had your eye on for that man of yours to change and ask these two questions of God:

1) What is it in me that you want to reach while I’ve been biting my nails and staring at him?

and 2) Will You turn this one spot of friction into a place where I fall more in love with You?

Your man who’s not budging may be revelatory of the unrelenting hand of God to reach new places of your heart.

A friend I’d prayed for for years, came to know Jesus after reading my book — the book I wouldn’t have cared to write had it not been for the man God used to unlock me, this little evangelist, with dreams — and stories — I’d never knew I had.

~ Sara Hagerty

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Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet4Sara Hagerty is the author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things.  “This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. Sara Hagerty is a particularly gifted writer (she has the most lovely writing style!) and her story touches the deepest of places. I found myself stopping many times while reading and just staring off as I pondered the truth of what she had to say. Inspiring, convicting, and touching. I highly recommend this book!” ~ Lisa Jacobson

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The Words Your Child Is Longing to Hear

The Words Your Child Is Longing to HearI grew up with a Dad who was both physically and verbally affectionate.

A quiet man by nature, he was in my child’s eyes a rock of security.

Firm with discipline, yet generous in love.

I was the eldest of four strong-willed kids and I was tough to raise—bossy, opinionated, sassy, and frequently in trouble.

Once I shot a neighborhood boy with a friend’s “bb gun” simply because I didn’t like him!

I was furious with my Mom when she came home from the hospital with a second brother and would not speak to her for days because I didn’t like the first brother who had usurped my position as “only child” at age four. A few years later Mom redeemed herself by giving me a sister.

I’m not quite sure how Mom and Dad survived those tumultuous early years of my childhood.

However, there is a vivid memory of my Dad that surpasses all others and it is one that still impacts my life today.

On many occasions I remember Dad sitting in his old easy chair, setting aside his carefully folded newspaper as he pulled me into his arms. Perhaps I was in tears from a recent punishment, or happy because I was invited to a play date, or beset by childhood fears.

Yet in his lap I felt safe.

And once again Daddy would say,

“Susan, I love you so much.”

“Why Daddy?” I responded.

“Just because you are mine,” he replied.

It wasn’t because I’d been good or bad. Most likely I’d been bad.

It was simply because I belonged to him.

That was enough.

This one statement, often repeated, gave me security and acceptance. Love from my earthly Father has enabled me to understand more clearly how my heavenly Father feels about me.

Daddy’s love for me wasn’t perfect. My heavenly Father’s love for me is perfect.

Daddy didn’t even know all the naughty things I got away with. My heavenly Father knows everything. Yet His response is still,

“I love you just because you belong to me.”

You may not have grown up with a Dad like mine. But the good news is that you can be the first of a generation of healthy families. Pull that young child into your lap. Whisper in his ear,

“I love you son. Do you know why?”

“It’s just because you are mine. You belong to me.”

Our world screams that performance earns love. Jesus says belonging to me ensures love and acceptance.

When guilt, failure, self-condemnation, and feelings of being unlovable creep into your head—rest in the truth that your heavenly Father is saying to you,

“I love you.”

Our little voice answers, “How could you?”

And He responds, “Just because you are mine. Period.”

In His lap you are safe.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young. ~ Isaiah 40:11

Blessings,

Susan Alexander Yates

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How Do You Show Value for Your Child’s Voice?

How Do You Show Value for Your Child's Voice

Have you ever heard yourself talk and listening to it made you cringe?

I have.

Except, most recently I wasn’t actually the one talking.

I heard myself in a stranger. A fellow mom of girls.

I recently sat next to her as we both hustled through afterschool responsibilities with our daughters. She was tired and there were endless amounts of homework to be done.

Her daughter on the other hand was energetic, chipper and a bit chatty—seemingly oblivious to the mounds of worksheets, journals and textbooks that surrounded her. With each irrelevant word, she was begging her mother to venture into the various parts of her day with her.

In between word problems, she shared the details of her lunch table conversations, her struggles at her locker and her excitement for an upcoming field trip. This sweet girl just could not contain it all and she was literally bubbling over—right into her mother’s frustrated ear.

I could relate.

With each of her words, her mother’s response lost another notch of patience. I recognized the look of annoyance as she counted down the available minutes and visualized the growth of a never-ending to-do-list, with this particular time-slot being dedicated to homework.

I imagine she was thinking, “If not now then, when?”

As a result, her responses became short, her tone snappy, and her pleasant demeanor vanished.

She lost it.

Eventually notebooks were forced back into the backpack, smiles tucked themselves behind tears and a once chipper little girl sat in shame.

We sat side by side without saying a word to each other, yet we shared so much.

I cringed.

Not because I judged this mother’s parenting, but because I recognized it.

I listened to her responses and I heard myself.

My girls have sat in shame because of my impatience. They have been forced to hush their giggles because of my exhaustion and they have cried because of my harsh words.

I was ashamed and it made me cringe.

Embarrassed, this mother glanced in my direction and I smiled.

This particular day it was her.

The day before, it was me.

Has it ever been you?

How Do You Show Value for Your Child's Voice

I am grateful to know that God offers mercy in moments of regret. He extends grace in seasons of struggle and a steadfast love to cover me through it all.

I want my girls to know that I value their voice.

I enjoy the details that make their days fun and I cherish each invitation they extend my way.

My prayer for the stranger I sat next to – for you and for myself – is that the voices that make our hearts cringe would ultimately lead us to God’s Word in search of change.

When you are struggling to balance between precious moments and your to-do-list, here are 3 Ways God’s Word can lead you to change:

  1. Pray for patience.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)

  1. Allow for time for you and your child by adding empty timeslots on your to-do-list.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

  1. Pray for grace and accept God’s mercy.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Blessings,

Wynter, For Girls Like You

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You can read the full descriptions of each of the 12 sessions and see the line-up of wonderful speakers for this Homemaking Ministries Online Conference HERE!