My best friend wrote a book! Three and a half years ago Ashby Duval had the idea to start a praying wives club. The words weren’t even out of her mouth and I said I would host it. In a time of little kids, little sleep and countless responsibilities it’s easy for marriage to take a dangerous back seat. This is something we needed, a way to fight for our marriages and link arms with our sisters in the process.
How is your marriage right now? Are you growing together or apart? Do you take time to invest in this covenant relationship or hope it will remain in tact on its own? No matter where you stand, God can turn things around. He cares about the covenant He created and will fight with you and for you. But you have to invite Him in. That’s why we need prayer.
Ashby wrote weekly emails to the growing group. These were not just random thoughts or copies of articles; these were special and inspired pieces. This group is something God wanted her to do and he provided the material. It is the only way to explain how a mom of four little boys could sit down and write these extraordinary letters week after week.
Our group meets once a month, but many of the women are from out of state. So the letters were what tied us together and gave us weekly encouragement to keep seeking the Lord, to continue investing in our relationships and praying for each other.
“The premise of the group was for each woman to examine her own heart in light of the Word in stead of focusing on trying to change her spouse’s,” Ashby says in her book. “The surprising result included marriages turning away from divorce, spouses finding freedom from pornography and substance abuse, cold roommates becoming loving spouses again, forgiveness and grace replacing resentment and anger, and respect and love becoming the new normal.”
The best news is that you can do this too! Her book, “The Warrior Wives Club,” contains 52 of her letters, a whole year’s worth of inspiration on how to better your marriage.
My friend is a learner, avid reader and listener. Her book is so chock full of Godly advice and wisdom on marriage I cannot recommend it more. She includes so many voices and practical suggestions that marriages with decades under their belts will still blossom from it.
You could start your own group with the help of this book or do it on your own. You can become a prayer warrior for your marriage! Because that’s when things start changing — when we invite God in and bring Heaven down to Earth.
Our covenant friendship
This is how you can typically find Ashby and I, sitting on the couch, talking about what God is teaching us, with several kids running circles around us.
We’ve been friends for about a decade now. Her husband and my husband washed windows together and had a hysterical/serious bond. Marcello didn’t speak English well and Spencer took him under his wing.
When Spencer died suddenly due to an undetected large heart, Ashby was five months pregnant. She came to live with Marcello and I for a year or so. I became pregnant as well! (Yes, Marcello lived with two pregnant women and our neighbors were very confused!) Read more of her story here.
We raised our babies together and continued growing and inspiring one another in our faith. It was beyond clear God made us friends. In fact, I did a covenant study by Kay Arthur and the more I read about the promise between David and Jonathan, the more I realized Ashby and I are under a promise, we just didn’t know the word for it.
It’s not a word we use often nowadays, but a covenant is a promise God takes seriously. God has made covenants with humans — the final one being the promise of His son redeeming humankind — and humans can make them with one another with God as the judge.
We have made covenants with our spouses. By entering into a relationship God designed, marriage, we are making a promise with God as the mediator. This serious commitment requires work and sanctification (becoming more like Jesus, self editing).
Ashby has remarried and God has given her a fire in her heart to fight for marriages. This is a Spirit-driven thing and you can benefit from her wisdom!
No topic is off limits. She talks candidly and with a variety of voices and examples on the subjects of pornography, sex, in-laws, divorce, flirting. She’s even going to share one of her letters from the book with you!
An excerpt from Warrior Wives Club
The Power of Your Words (Week 4)
Dom and I were watching “Cinderella Man” with Russell Crowe and Renee Zelwegger the other night. It’s an older movie about a boxer in the Great Depression trying to provide for his family.
There was a really touching part in the movie where all the bills were overdue and they were struggling with keeping the heat on in the dead of winter and how they would feed their three children. He looked at his wife with great defeat and sadness and told her how sorry he was. She looked back at him and smiled and said “No. No. No.” and climbed on his lap and kissed him. She was such a support to him, always had his back and the two were a genuine team in both life and parenting.
I realized (although it was just a movie) that she had two choices there: Kick him while he was down by sharing her fears or frustrations or take the opportunity to remind him he was loved and she was proud of him and that they were in it together.
We often have the same choice. When they come home from the grocery store with the wrong items, when they parent a way that might be different than we would do it, when they don’t manage their time well or do something unwise in our eyes … all opportunities. At the end of the day, our husbands don’t want to fail us. They want our love and respect more than they could probably ever describe to us. Our words are so powerful. They can lift him up or tear him down and too often we tear down out of hurt, frustration, resentment or exhaustion.
These verses in the book of Proverbs were very convicting to me:
- There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
- Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
- Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27
- A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11
Women speak an average of 13,000 more words than men in any given day. I think because of that we have to be extra cautious of what is coming out of our mouths. I have often thought how much more gracious and thoughtful Dominic is with his words towards me. I tend to be the one to say something unnecessary or hurtful or rashly. I want to be a wife whose words edify and encourage him. That he would know by my tone and my tongue that he is loved, respected and that I am on his side. This doesn’t mean I never say something difficult to him or that we will never argue, but ideally I would love to listen more, speak less and that the Holy Spirit would fill me with grace and love in those difficult and frustrating scenarios.
Sometimes it’s not saying something at all but just taking a bit of time to pray through it. Sometimes it’s apologizing for saying something that was hurtful after the fact when we have those human (and let’s face it … hormonal!) moments.
Last week I met with a young widower whose wife had past away from cancer four months ago. With tears in his eyes he said he felt like part of him had died. Boy did I remember that feeling all too well. The death of your spouse is like being ripped in half because technically as one flesh, you ARE. It reminded me of what a privilege it is to be “one flesh” and married and that what we speak over them, we are essentially speaking over ourselves as well. We don’t know what our last words will be to anyone, and I certainly don’t want mine to be nagging or unthoughtful. The night Spencer died our last words were “love you baby.” I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been if they had been anything different.
The truth is, we will mess up and that we absolutely can’t do this in our own strength so below is a prayer for our sweet little group:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of marriage. That it is a covenant that represents your love for the church and for us individually. Thank you for the “one flesh” verses that remind us how serious this commitment is and that we are a part of one another in a way no other relationship will ever compare on this earth. Forgive us for using our words to hurt rather than heal and give us extra conviction to know when those times are and conviction if there is something right now we need to ask forgiveness for.
Give us grace to speak life over our husbands. Give us grace to hold our tongue when needed, to speak the hard words in love when needed and to know how to encourage them in a way only we as their wives can.
Will you give us insight this week into what they need? Will you give us YOUR eyes to see them and understand them? Will you speak to them and love them through us?
We are your precious daughters and willing vessels and we want to love your sons you have given us to walk through this life with well and in a way that blesses them and pleases you.
It’s in your powerful name we pray theses things. Amen
Warrior Wives Rules
Now I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t this turn into a husband bashing session? Nope! We have three rules in the group and bashing or gossip is not allowed. We’ve been clear about it from the beginning and have never had a problem with it. These are the simple rules:
- What happens in Warrior Wives Club stays in Warrior Wives Club.
- Never shame or “uncover” your husband.
- Commit to not only praying for your spouse, but other marriages as well.
I would highly, highly encourage you to start your own group with exact instructions in the book. I can’t explain what a blessing it is to have a monthly refresher on making marriage a top priority, examining your own character and encouraging sisters along the way. You leave with a new high, ready to do better!
This book will change your marriage. Check out some of the reviews!
So much of your content are discussions that women in general don’t actually have … things that we keep to ourselves or discuss half heartedly with one close friend or sister, but still in fragments, never the whole feeling/truth. For whatever reasons.. shame, embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy & vulnerability, loneliness.. so many reasons actually to hold it all in & keep these thoughts and feelings bottled up. But you so beautifully write about so many things that are so raw and truthful that you managed to embrace and just put it all out in the open exposing that we all experience some aspect of a little bit of all of these major topics. That’s what makes it so inspiring and significant. It’s perfect.
I re-read the “lonely” email last night and had tears in my eyes. So beautifully written, yet you still managed to lighten it with your wit. It truly is inspiring and incredibly real & insightful. I love it.
I truly 100% mean it that your book is BEST. I am highly critical! Highly! You cannot improve on your book because it’s real, covers so many aspects of issues, and does not preach but shows us what we need to do, how to do it, and to step away and simply trust God. I ‘m amazed a woman of your age could be so deep! God bless this ministry of yours!!!!!!!
Almost done. Amazing & so thought provoking & brilliant & funny & I just love it. Many congratulations on your beautiful masterpiece.
Ashby, your book is excellent! I have scores of similar books in my library. Truly, yours is the absolute best! You write everything that needs to be read & learned, in such a way that sticks! Truly! Practical for ALL wives no matter how long we have been married! God bless you and all your guys!!!!!
See my Instagram post below to see how you can get a free copy!
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🎉 GIVEAWAY! My best friend @ashbyann and I are giving away 3 copies of her new book, The Warrior Wives Club! To enter all you have to do is leave a COMMENT here and SHARE this post in your stories! We will pick three random winners Saturday at 3 p.m. . . 💌 To share this photo, click the send icon (looks like a paper airplane) under this photo and select “add post to your story.” . . 📖 This book will change your marriage! There are 52 weekly devotionals focusing prayer and examining our own hearts in light of the Word. We’ve got work to do! . . 🙋🏼♀️ My friend is a learner, avid reader and listener. Her book is so chock full of Godly advice and wisdom on marriage I cannot recommend it more. She includes so many voices and practical suggestions that marriages with decades under their belts will still blossom from it. . . ➡️ To buy Ashby’s book, visit the Amazon link in my bio. . . ✨ To read an excerpt from the book, read reviews and hear Ashby’s amazing, sometimes heart-wrenching story, visit the latest story on my blog. . . 💗 Now go share this photo and get the word out! In a time of little kids, little sleep and countless responsibilities it’s easy for marriage to take a dangerous back seat. This is something we needed, a way to fight for our marriages and link arms with our sisters in the process.