Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this life, for the gift of love, and the blessing of our marriage. We give you praise for the joy you’ve poured into our hearts through this love, for the contentment of family, and the happiness of our home. May we always treasure the experience of loving each other in this holy union. Help us to remain forever committed to our vows, those we made to each other, and to you, Lord.
We will need your strength daily Lord, as we live together with the goal of following and serving you. Develop within is us the character of your Son, Jesus, that we might love each other with the love he demonstrated—with patience, respect, understanding, honesty, forgiveness and kindness.
Let us always be a support to one another—a friend to listen and encourage, a refuge from the storm, and most importantly, a warrior in prayer.
Holy Spirit, guide us through the difficult moments of life and comfort us in our grief. May our lives together bring glory to you, our Savior, and testify of your love.
In Jesus’ Name.
Prayer For Your Marriage March 13, 2012
Fighting Fairly In The Marriage Relationship….part 4 March 10, 2012
I think it is unrealistic to assume you will never get into an argument with your spouse, or that you will never disagree over something important. Arguing is healthy if it is done right. It is important to discuss issues and it is okay to disagree with each other, but it is all in how you handle the argument. Fighting fair is essential in keeping your marriage together. Here are some rules to go by for fighting fairly with your spouse.
1. Focus on the present problem.
This is harder than it seems sometimes. When you are arguing with your spouse it is so important to focus on the present. Bringing up past mistakes will not benefit anyone. It will only escalate the problem. Also, bringing up the past means you are still dwelling in it. When you have hashed out your problem you should forgive one another and not use it as a weapon in your next argument.
2. Don’t use destructive or critical words.
Our words are meant to build one another up, not tear each other down. When you are arguing it is important not to use an accusatory tone or to demean your husband or wife. When you argue it should not be an attack on your spouse’s character. An argument should never become verbally abusive, or physically. I am sure that everyone knows it is never acceptable to bring physical harm to your spouse. If you are in that sort of a situation, seek help immediately!
Also, on a side note, do not give your spouse the silent treatment. This is one of the most juvenile things ever. It does not show maturity on your part to refuse to speak to your spouse. Be willing to talk and get your feelings out there…
3. Be willing to take responsibility.
If you have done something hurtful to your spouse, own up to it! There is nothing more irritating than having your feelings discounted or written off. Imagine that you are in their shoes. How would you want them to handle the situation if your roles were reversed? It is a good idea to consider your spouse and how they may be feeling. Focusing just on yourself is selfish and does not show a sacrificial love for your husband or wife. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes shows empathy and your marriage will benefit from it greatly.
Listen to what your spouse has to say and take it to heart. They are not telling you just to hear themselves talk. They are striving to better the relationship by solving the problems that have created tension within your marriage. If you are not going to listen to what they have to say and strive to change, your marriage is not going to be a happy one.
5. No distractions.
When you talk things out there should be no distractions. You should focus on one another and give your full attention. Your marriage should be the second most important thing in your life (God comes first), and you should be doing everything within your power to make amends when something goes amiss. If you are texting, or watching television instead of actively working to solve your issues, then nothing good is being done.
6. Fight Naked
Haha just kidding! This was some marital advice from my cousin at my bridal shower. :) Apparently it is hard to stay angry when you are naked.
There is so so much more I could add to this list about fighting fair, but I think you can figure out the rest on your own. This should give you a good start.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.”
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Please bless the marriage of anyone who reads this blog. Help them to build the
foundation of their lives, of their marriage on You. Give them love for one another
and joy that runs over. Thank you for the divine institution of marriage
and for giving us a glimpse of the heavenly relationship between Christ and
the church. Help each of us to recognize that we are sinners and nothing in our
lives, including our marriages will succeed without Your guiding hand.
In Your Precious Name,
Blessings In Christ,
…Things I Have Learned…part 2 March 6, 2012
1. Do not have unrealistic expectations for one another.
If you got married thinking your husband or wife would be perfect, then you are in for, or have already experienced a terrible disappointment. No one but Jesus is perfect, and setting unrealistic expectations can be fatal to your relationship. You should expect realistic things from your marriage. You can expect your husband or wife to love, honor, and cherish you. You can expect them to be faithful, to protect and to provide. You cannot expect them to do things exactly the way you want them all the time. You can’t expect them to never get angry with you and you cannot expect them to never hurt your feelings. We are all sinners and therefore cannot have a perfect relationship. Your relationship will be as wonderful as you want it to be. You have to work at it to make it work.
2. Never use the D-word.
Never ever threaten your spouse with divorce or separation. This is a sure-fire way to destroy trust. The Bible says divorce is acceptable if there is abuse or infidelity, but if you are threatening divorce every time you disagree on something or argue, you are really damaging your relationship. Marriages are built on trust and it is hard to trust someone if they are always threatening to break the covenant you have made with them that is supposed to last a lifetime. Marriage is serious business. It is sacred, holy, and ordained by God. It is not something to take lightly.
3. Be vulnerable.
Be vulnerable with your spouse. Let them into your heart. Share your thoughts and feelings with each other. If you aren’t willing to share your hearts with one another then you are missing out on true, beautiful intimacy with your spouse.
4. Don’t go to parents.
When you are having problems, don’t take them to your parents. Parents are biased and will typically not give you the kind of help you need. It is too easy for parents to take sides, and defend you. It is so important to go to a pastor, or a godly couple for advice when you are going through a rough patch. I am not encouraging you to discredit your parents’ advice, but I do think it is important to keep your problems between you and perhaps a counselor or Christian adviser.
5. Defend your spouse.
If someone is speaking negatively about your spouse in front of you, speak up! You are their other half, their champion, and you should never let someone put them down in front of you. I have learned that is important not to complain about your spouse to others either! Speak of your husband or wife with praise, and do not let others do differently either. It can be really easy to fall into criticizing your spouse to others after an argument or something, and friends are easy to talk to and willing to listen, but it is a dangerous thing!
6. Don’t abstain from sex.
The Bible very clearly tells us not to withhold sex from our spouse…
1 Corinthians 7:5-“5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”Of course there are things like illness and other physical conditions, but it is important to follow God’s will for sex within your marriage. We are supposed to protect our marriages from Satan, and one way of doing this is guarding our spouse from temptation. This verse clearly states that abstaining allows Satan some room to wiggle in there. Sex within marriage is a beautiful gift from God, it is very important to the relationship, and helps couples truly become one in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual sense.
Some things I have learned from marriage….
1. Read the Bible and pray together everyday.
I cannot express the importance of this enough. God should be the number one priority in both of your lives and you should be pursuing Him together. If God is at the center of your marriage, then you are not going to fail. Reading the Word together gives your relationship a deeper meaning. When you discuss God and what He expects from you, you are in His will. The Bible is what God gives us to help us get through life on earth. It is filled with everything we need to know and how we should be living. God tells us how we should be as husbands and wives and what our relationship should look like. Marriage is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church and our relationship with our spouse should be a glimpse of that heavenly relationship. Reading the Bible and praying is how we learn to love like Christ. Marriage can be a wonderful ministry! For our first year of marriage we read a book of devotions by Dr. James Dobson called Nightlight. It was wonderful for drawing us closer to one another and the discussion questions at the end of each section really helped us talk about important issues.
2. Be humble.
Being willing to forgive and to say I am sorry is an important part of being humble. Christ showed amazing humility. I am constantly drawn to John 13 when I think of humility and how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in love. He knelt down as a lowly servant would have and ministered to his disciples. We should be constantly willing to do this for our spouse even when we aren’t “feeling” the love. I think it is extremely important to note that Christ washed the feet of Judas Iscariot in LOVE. He knew Judas was about to betray Him, yet he lovingly washed his dirty feet. We should be like this with our spouses striving to serve them in any way and to do so lovingly.
P.S.- The Bible tells us to never let the sun go down on our anger. Always resolve issues before going to bed. Do not just brush over them because then the anger, frustration and hurt continue to build until the problem feels irreconcilable.
Prioritizing is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage. Your priorities should be God, your spouse, your children, etc. When your priorities are not straight, your marriage will begin to crumble. Let your spouse know with your words and your actions that they are your top priority under God. If you are telling them that they are your top priority and then spending all your time with your friends, or pursuing your hobbies, then you are shattering their trust in you and you are alienating them. If something or someone is getting in the way of your relationship with your spouse, drop that person or that activity. Nothing is more important than God and your marriage.
4. Pray FOR one another.
Praying for one another is different than praying with one another. This is not an easy task, but we should be constantly lifting our spouse up in prayer even when we don’t feel like it. If you have never read The Power of a Praying Wife or The Power of a Praying Husband, then you should.
5. Invest Time.
When you are dating, your are investing so much time in your relationship. When you get married it is easier to quit investing as much time in one another. Set time aside each day to spend with your spouse. Make this time when you are completely focused on one another. If you have children, wait until you have put them to bed. Use this time to talk and to strengthen your relationship. It is also a good idea to set aside one night of the week as your date night. We prefer Sunday evenings to be our date night. We don’t spend much money, and we usually stay home, but it is necessary for us to have this time together to just have fun. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the problems of life that your time together becomes tension filled. It is nice to set aside problems one night a week and just enjoy one another’s company. I have another post coming soon about date night ideas that don’t cost much!
This is all I have time for tonight, but I will be posting more about marriage this week and the things I have learned so far. I feel that marriage is one of the most important things in this world and we should constantly be encouraging one another and other couples in their marriage relationship.
Blessings In Christ,
Words of Praise February 28, 2012
If I had a dime for every complaint I have ever uttered, I would be rich. It saddens me to think how often I offer complaints instead of thanksgiving, criticism instead of praise, or hurt instead of healing. Our tongues are what cause the most sin in our lives. How often have I said things I wish I could take back…
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Most things I say are pointless. We will be judged by the words we have spoken. That is a promise from God (Matthew 12:37). God cares about what we say. He cares about what words we use and how we use them. Let praise for God overflow from our mouths and let us carefully weigh what we want to say before we actually do it. I have always been told, “God gave you two ears and one mouth.” That is so true! Those ears are for listening and we should listen twice as much as we speak. I will be working on this for the rest of my life I am sure, and I will fail often, but it is something we need to be very aware of. I will be looking at the words Jesus spoke. They were harsh, always constructive, glorifying to the Father, healing, true, and sure. He was confident in the words he spoke because they were good. Jesus spoke with purpose. He is the perfect example and we should be following in His footsteps in every way, even in our speech. I hope you will join me and strive to speak only things that are glorifying to God!
Blessings In Christ,
A Place To Pray….A Family Altar February 26, 2012
I recently felt as though we needed a designated area in our home for God. He should be at the center of our lives and should hold a special place in our homes as well. I was reading a book this past week and it talked about establishing a family altar in the home. I LOVE this idea! A place in the home reserved just for Jesus. A place to pray together, read the Bible together, and discuss together. I think it is important to do these things all throughout the day and in many different places of the home, but putting together an altar is a way to draw your family together to worship, and a wonderful reminder of how you should be living daily. There are altars throughout the Bible and in churches everywhere. Why not have one at home too? I know we spend way more time at home than we do at church. Here are some pictures of our simple altar….
I placed a Bible box next to our family altar to make the Word accessible. Make your family altar part of your daily routine and place important emphasis on the time you spend there. We have been reading two chapters of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament each evening, then discussing them and then praying together. It is wonderful to worship God together as a family and if you have children to show them the way through example. They learn from watching parents…think about what you want them to take away from you as they grow and mature into adults themselves. Set your sights on things not of this world, but focus on that which is spiritual! Be set apart!
Blessings In Christ,
The Fallen-ness of Earth February 22, 2012
S-i-n. Such a tiny three-letter word that stands for so much. The separation from God, the exile from His presence. Three little letters that hold so many in bondage that keep them from grasping the salvation promises. Sin comes in so many forms and it is so sneaky. Are you aware of all the sin in your life? Have you examined yourself lately? Ask His forgiveness. Repent and draw ever closer to the Father. Banish the sin from your life and let Jesus heal you from the damage it has done. It is never too late to turn your life around and begin living for the Lord…
When you think, or speak, or read, or write,
When you sing, or walk, or seek for delight,
To be kept from all wrong when at home or abroad,
Live always as under the eyes of the Lord.
Whatever you think, never think what you feel
You would blush, in the presence of God to reveal;
Whatever you speak in a whisper or clear,
Say nothing you would not like Jesus to hear.
Whatever you read, though the page may allure,
Read nothing unless you are perfectly sure
Consternation would not be seen in your look,
If God should say solemnly, “Show Me that book!”
Whatever you write, though in haste or in heed,
Write nothing you would not like Jesus to read;
Whatever you sing, in the midst of your glees,
Sing nothing His listening ear would displease.
Wherever you go, never go where you’d fear
God’s question being asked, “What doest thou here?”
Turn away from pleasures you’d shrink from pursuing,
If God should look down and say, “What are you doing?”
-Excerpt from God’s Ideal Woman by Clifford Lewis
Blessings In Christ,