Teaching our Boys to Pray for Their Future Wife

A few weeks into dating my husband, he let me in on the secret that he had been praying for me every day of the summer before we met. That blew me away. I mean, he didn’t know me–we had never met, but he knew I was out there and that God would lead us together at just the right time. So there, on the big white board in the little room he used as the youth pastor of a small church, Dave wrote the words “PRAY FOR HER.”

Teaching our Boys to Pray for Their Future Wife via The MOB Society

The summer before we met was a pretty huge time for me spiritually. God was getting my attention–pulling me back to him and away from a lot sin in my life. I believe that my future husband’s prayers were powerful that summer.

Shortly after he told me about the secret of the whiteboard prayer, Dave confessed that this wasn’t his original idea…nor were these the first prayers he had prayed for me. In fact, he had been praying for me since he was five years old! It was all thanks to his mom. Dave’s mom taught him from a young age that the girl he would marry was out there…somewhere…and that God had a plan. She taught him to think of me and to pray for me every day.

Hearing that news pretty much blew my mind. I felt so loved.

I believe that as Dave prayed for me, he began to prepare for me. He considered me in the decisions he made–from dating, to jobs, to ministry. He knew that he would share this life with another person. I became someone very real and very important to include in his life plans.

Fast forward eighteen years. Dave and I are now married with four boys of our own, and you better believe I am following in my mother-in-law’s footsteps.

I have begun teaching my own boys to pray for their wives. Unless God calls them to remain single, we can be sure that there is a girl out there that they will one day marry…and she needs prayer.  Not only does she need prayer, but our boys need what they will gain from this awesome habit of praying for their future wives.

By praying for their future wives, our sons’ hearts are prepared for her role in their life.

My husband and I talk to our boys about the men that they are becoming, and how important it is to cultivate the character qualities that will make them excellent husbands and fathers such as learning to appreciate and understand women, looking forward to a partnership that will require dedication and hard work, but will be worth it all.

Some Topics We Teach Our Boys to Pray About

1. That their future wives would come to know the Lord at a young age and that God would guide and lead her every day.
2. That our boys themselves would stay close to the Lord and follow Him in all of their ways. This includes keeping themselves pure and honoring their future wives in all that they do.
3. That our boys would meet the right girl at just the right time and that the two of them would build a relationship with the Lord at the center.

It is never too soon to start talking, dreaming, and praying with your boys about their future wives.  Keep it light when they are young, but making it a very open and comfortable topic will pay off in the years to come. And trust me when I say that their wives will one day thank you!

Five Practical Tips To Raise Our Boys to Be Excellent Men

His chocolate brown eyes peeked over my elbow as I typed, attempting to sneak-in a few words during a rare, quiet moment.

“Mom, this girl in my class . . . she won’t stop looking at me. It makes me feel embarrassed,” he confessed.

“Why do you think she’s looking at you?” I asked him, suspecting there might be more to the story since he occasionally plays the role of class clown.

“I think she has a crush on me,” he answered. Ever so casually he added, “And she’s really not my type.” I have to look away,  just for a moment.

Five Practical Tips To Raise Our Boys to Be Excellent Men via The MOB Society

We don’t stress the boy/girl thing much in our house, but I’m not too shy when it comes to letting my boys know they’re in-training to someday become great husbands. It can be difficult for their six and seven year-old minds to grasp this because according to both of them, they want to live with mom and dad forever. I suspect they’ll change their minds, so I suppress my chuckle and file it away for a cute story to be shared at future graduations and weddings.

While my sons may not have much interest in girls now (thankfully!), someday they will.

Of course, there is so very much I want my boys to know about how to treat the hearts of women, but here are five ways I’m training them now:

1. Refuse to allow your son(s) to speak to you disrespectfully. Just as a father models how his daughter should be treated by her future husband,  mothers do the same for their sons. If you allow your son to speak to you with sarcasm, unkindness and general disrespect, it’s possible he will do the same with his future wife.

I once attended a workshop presented by Dr. Kevin Leman and he stressed the following point more than any other:

“Mothers,” he said with the seriousness of a Supreme Court Judge, “DO NOT allow your sons to speak to you disrespectfully.”

Not stopping disrespectful behavior now will result in one sad wife later.

2. Teach your sons this rule: The role of boys is to help and protect girls, not hurt and reject girls. We’ve all read the horrible stories of girls being assaulted by boys after their drinks had been intentionally laced with drugs at a party. As if that weren’t awful enough, there were also boys who watched these assaults happen and never stepped in to help or try to stop them.

We must strive to raise boys who will step-in when help is needed not step-out when things get heated. We must purpose to raise boys who will become men of courage–men willing to speak up even when it’s not popular; boys who will help and protect all women and it starts with their mothers and sisters. In our house, this is practiced by reiterating that my boys are to help and protect their sister no matter what. If you have tween and teen boys, I would suggest having a very frank discussion with them about 1) what an assault actually is and 2) what to do if they ever witness one taking place.

3. Make your sons help you carry-in groceries from the car. Obviously, this isn’t limited to groceries. The point is to teach them to get up and help their future wives when she comes home from the store because this communicates love and appreciation. Every time I have groceries in the trunk, I beckon my boys (and my daughter for that matter!) and ask, “Why does Mommy make you carry-in groceries?” Sometimes they answer with enthusiasm and sometimes not, but they always reply, “Because we’re learning to be good husbands!”

4. Insist your son say thank you for the things you do for him. It’s so easy to take each other for granted in a marriage, isn’t it? I want my boys to be used to saying “thank you” for the acts of service their wives will one day do for them. Teaching our sons to be thankful will not only set them up to clearly communicate their appreciation to their future spouse, but will also make them more joyful. Double bonus!

5. Talk to your son(s) about a girl’s/woman’s heart. I don’t think it’s any secret that God made women to be the more relational gender, do you? Relationships are very important to us and our hearts can be delicate–especially during the middle school and high school years. I want my sons to understand that playing mind games, leading girls on or making fun of them is not okay. This goes back to helping and protecting girls and women. If they see a boy/man making fun of a girl/woman, they’re expected to help and protect.

I’m sure I will add to this list as my boys get older but for now, these are practical ways we can prepare our sons to become good husbands. However, there is one more thing we could add to this list . . .

Pray for his future wife. Without ceasing. Pray for your son’s heart development. And pray for him to become a man of courage and integrity that will help and protect women.

Dear Lord, thank you for entrusting us with our sons. You have made them so uniquely and we know you love them even more than we do. We place the hearts of our boys in your hands and we ask that you show us ways to best encourage their growth so they become men of courage, integrity and love. Amen.

Natalie-SnappNatalie Chambers Snapp is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, then wife to Jason, and mom to one spunky daughter and two spirited sons that keep her young on a daily basis. She is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of Jesus and encouraging women to be free. Natalie lives in the Midwest with her crew and writes about finding faith in the everyday mundane. She blogs at www.nataliesnapp.com in the free moments between shuttling children and writing the outpourings of her heart. Her first book, Heart Sisters: Be The Friend You Want To Have, will be released by Abingdon Press on April 21, 2015.

 

 

 

 

Love, Honor, and Cherish: Teaching Boys How to Treat a Woman

Love, Honor, and Cherish: Teaching Boys How to Treat a Woman via The MOB Society

Remember that Bryan Adams song, How You Really Love a Woman?

It was popular when I was in high school (revealing my age, here…) and I loved it. I dreamed of a man who would treat me with respect,make me feel wanted, safe, and secure. But really, knowing how to treat a women starts way before romance ever becomes a part of the equation.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our boys to love, honor, and cherish women starting in our own homes. So in the month of February, the MOB Society will be exploring this topic more fully, giving you practical tips for leading the boys in your life.

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Even When A Mom Messes Up

It all began with the child at my breast, choking on the too-heavy flow of milk. My let-down came over and over again in quick succession, and he simply wailed between the sputtering attempts to drink. Amidst all the lactation consults and tearful nights, online searches, and heartfelt prayers, I simply couldn’t breastfeed my son. I was broken to pieces, and felt like such a failure.

“I should have tried harder, done a better job on the day of his birth with those first few latches…” My mind was racing, my heart was aching, fearing the health problems and attachment issues my child would surely have if he couldn’t nurse.

Even When A Mom Messes Up via The MOB Society

Then The Lord, in His kindness, whispered these words: “You can’t thwart the plans I have for your son.”

Nine years later, and that child of mine is the most attached of all three brothers, and he’s only had 1 ear infection his entire life due to swimmer’s ear! Though my nursing problems were not a result of my own sin, I’ve thought of God’s comforting promise each time I do screw-up royally as a mom, “You can’t thwart the plans I have for your son.”

Don’t get me wrong, we may send them sideways in their search for God, mislead and confuse their young hearts about His extravagant love for them when we act in less-than-loving ways, but we will not, CAN NOT thwart God’s powerful purposes for our children’s lives.

“… if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”(2 Timothy 2:13)

It’s amazing to me that God is King over even our screw-ups as parents. Our mistakes do not take Him by surprise.

Look at Samson in his direct disobedience to the Lord, giving up the secret source of his strength to Delilah. Yes, even Samson in his mighty folly could not bring down the plans of a sovereign God! God’s plan had always been for Samson to use his heavenly might to free Israel from the oppressive rule of the Philistines. Later, on the other side of Samson’s sin, blinded, lame and ashamed, God gave him all that was needed to finish the good work he was made for.

Though Samson sinned, still God accomplished His purpose and plan for the children of Israel.

Though we sin, though we may have failed even today, rest assured that God can and will still accomplish His good plans in and through our life and the lives of our children.

Dear Lord, You know the plans You have for our sons, and the good works you’ve prepared for them from the foundation of the world. We thank You for being faithful to your purposes even when we mess up. You are sovereign and we are grateful. Amen

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

 

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When Evil is Repaid With Evil

One of the earliest verses my firstborn and I memorized together was Romans 12:21 which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Over and over again we’d quote it when someone did wrong.  When a child dumped sand on my son’s head at the park, I’d remind my three year old, “What are we to do when someone does evil toward us?” His sweet brown eyes would soften as his high-pitched toddler voice sang out, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When Evil is Repaid With Evil via The MOB Society

Here at THE MOB Society this month we are reading through the book of Judges and finding new ways to apply God’s Word to our lives. Today we’re looking at chapter 16, where Samson takes revenge upon the Philistines, not for righteous reasons this time, but out of pure, evil spite.

Samson had been wronged by his father-in-law who was a Philistine. In return, Samson burned down the wheat harvest.  To get back at him, the Philistines killed Samson’s father-in-law along with their entire family, then they marched into the land of Judah to hunt down Samson…

Where does revenge stop?

Years have passed since my toddler memorized that verse, but it’s gotten harder to practice.  He has a couple of little brothers now.  Recently, the boys were trying to outdo one another with angry words and evil looks, nasty name calling and muscular punches.  It was the end of Christmas break and the boys were ready for routine to give order to our days.

Even as we took down the twinkling Christmas lights and played the last few Christmas carols, a spirit of evil was rising amongst my sons. It all started when one of them did something mildly annoying. A brother pushed back with an elbow, causing the first to scream. My third son then joined the fray, offended by the noise and hollered for his brothers to “Shut Up!!!” Suddenly a mole hill transformed into a mountain.

I came into the room, tangled in tinsel, and sent them each to their corners. ding ding ding. I was going to end this match before it hit round two.

As they cooled off I went to the dry erase board in our kitchen nook and picked up a marker, then I wrote these words in thick bold strokes:

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (Thessalonians 5:15)

A few minutes later all three boys were seated round the table, with angry eyes and feet moving just a smudge too close to one another, ready to go at it again. My oldest read the verse above, then his middle brother took a turn, followed by the six year old. After that I asked them which verse it reminded them of and they all said Romans 12:21. It was hidden in their memories… but hadn’t made it’s way quite to their hearts perhaps.

So I took my fat black marker and made the smallest bump, like a little hill or a “mole hill” below the verse.

“This is how small a little offense can be. A joking insult. A lightsaber fight where someone gets hurt by accident. A heart unwilling to share or include.”

I drew another hill, slightly bigger this time, on top of the first.  “Then guess what happens?  The brother who’d been wronged does evil back…this time it’s a little meaner, a bit nastier… What do you think has to happen next?” I asked simply.

“We find a way to be louder and stronger and hurt the other person more.”

“That’s right” I exclaimed, as I drew a bigger hill over the first two.

My six year old caught on at this point and yelled, “So I came in and shouted SHUT UP!”

I nodded, “Yep, you made a big mountain. And it was ugly and hurtful and I won’t have it in this house. Do you understand?”

He did.

They all did.

And I did too.

Because sometimes I join in the tussle and start paying back evil for evil.

Moms, don’t join the fight. Let’s teach our sons how to overcome evil with our good.

Samson was strong. So are these boys!  Teach them these verses, draw for them this visual, and model goodness yourself.

“Dear Lord, Give us wisdom to see what’s happening when our sons are angry, help us to not march in with our own angry discipline, but slow down to teach them.  Help us to be patient and wise, so that we can overcome their evil with our good – Your good, shining through us each mothering day. Amen.”

Do you ever catch yourself joining in the fight?  Tell me of a time you were able to remain gentle, and overcome their evil with your good, or perhaps a time when you dearly wish you had.

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com