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,
Another Thought About Marriage….(part 3) March 9, 2012
One wonderful thing I have noticed in our marriage is that when I pay attention to my husband, listen to his stories and really care about things he is interested in, he really knows I love him.
I am not saying that you have to pretend to love football just because your husband does, but I do think it is important to show interest in things that are important to him. Since we have been married, almost two years now (WOW!), I have learned many, many things about bow hunting, scouting, paintball, and concrete.
These are not all things I would normally look into myself, but because they are part of his life, I try to be fairly knowledgeable. I read the hunting magazines that come into the house before he does and can carry on an intelligible conversation about deer, bows, and scouting.
Your husband wants to know that you care about the things that mean something to him and that you take an interest in him. It is so nice to be able to talk about things that interest him. I think about that song Toby Keith sings...”I Wanna Talk About Me.” It is easy, especially for women to start talking about everything they are interested in and what is going on in their lives and to rarely ask their husband questions about their interests. I have not met very many men who talk as much as their wives. It is wonderful to be able to draw out your husband and really pay attention to his stories about their hobbies and such.
It strengthens the marriage relationship when both husband and wife feel valued, and here is one way to show it! So ladies, start asking questions and listening to the answers. It is nice to surprise your man later when you remember something he told you!
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,
How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Year February 13, 2012
Here we go all you married couples out there, a list of inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day just in case you are stumped this year! It really isn’t about gifts or extravagance…it’s about celebrating your love for each other. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
1. Build a fort.
Yes, I said build a fort. Get some blankets and chairs and fashion a quilt fort that you can spend the night in. Rent a movie or read a book together, buy some yummy Heart-Day treats and light some candles. This actually is really romantic and just fun, not to mention inexpensive! It feels like you are going away, but really you are just moving to a different room. Be sure to sleep in your fort to get the full experience!
2. Go see a romantic movie.
Usually there are many romantic movies coming out around Valentine’s Day. My suggestion would be The Vow this year.
3. Make dessert together.
Spend the evening in the kitchen making chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes. This is sweet because you can spend time together and celebrate the day of love with foods.
4. Candlelit Dinner.
Husband’s this is for you! If you really want to impress your wife, cook her dinner, set the table with flower, candles and a tablecloth, and play some romantic music! She will LOVE it! Here are some great recipes for a romantic dinner:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 ounces dry bread crumbs
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 3/4 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheeseDirections
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
- Pour egg into a small shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then into the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce into a 7×11 inch baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top and return to the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound broccoli floretsDirections
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, brown sugar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the broccoli florets, and toss until evenly coated with the seasoning. Spread the broccoli florets out onto an baking sheet with a rim.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the broccoli is just browned on the top, 10 to 15 minutes.
- 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 pound fresh strawberries with leavesDirections
- Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
- Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.
5. Go for a drive and star gaze in the country.
Make sure to dress warmly, and take lots of blankets if you live in a cold climate! It is always sweet to star gaze with your honey and it’s fun to snuggle in the cold too!
6. Write love letters.
Sit together at the table and write each other a love letter, a poem, a song or make a list of why you love your spouse. It is fun to read these out loud to one another.
I know it’s freezing outside…it is February after all, but picnics can be inside too. Set up a picnic in a room of your house that you don’t normally eat in. Actually pack a picnic basket and lead them to your romantic picnic. This is nice because you can light candles, sit on pillows, have flowers and so much more. Your imagination is the limit on this! It is a nice surprise for your husband or wife too, they will be thoroughly impressed!
8. Decorate your bedroom.
Make the bed, set out candles, rose petals and what not and celebrate love! Your spouse will love this because you put forth effort to make it special.
Give one another massages. It is sweet and free!
10. Board Games.
Play board games or cards together. You can play for different things like winner gets a kiss and loser has to do the dishes after tomorrow’s supper.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget that marriage is glorifying to God so take the time and celebrate the love He has given you for your spouse. Let them know how much they mean to you!
Blessings In Christ,
Boundaries… December 30, 2011
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its ow, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails.
These above verses are the most popular verses in the Bible when it comes to looking at love. This is the purest kind of love there is and completely impossible without the Holy Spirit. Someone who doesn’t have Jesus is not capable of loving like this, so self-sacrificially. I think it is important to set boundaries for your marriage. Before we got married, we had lovely premarital counseling with this amazing couple and it really helped us to set up some rules for ourselves. These rules have helped us to stay happy. Here are some examples of rules that may be beneficial to your relationship.
1. Don’t spend time alone with members of the opposite sex.
2. Do not email, call, or text members of the opposite sex without your spouse being present and comfortable with it.
Especially do not email, call, or text ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. This will create tension between you and your spouse that can easily be avoided. When you get married you forsake all others! It is not okay to continue like you would if you were single.
Genesis 2:21-24 (NKJV)
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said:
‘This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.’
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and they shall become one flesh.”
3. If something makes one of you uncomfortable then it makes both of you uncomfortable. You are no longer yourself, you are two joined into one. This makes you sensitive to the other person and you surely do not want to hurt them. When you hurt your spouse you are hurting yourself. The Bible also says that if you have doubts about something, it is wrong. We should do all things in faith or it is in sin…
Romans 14:23 (NKJV)
“But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”
4. Never put yourself in a compromising situation.
For instance, if your husband is home by himself and a woman comes to the door, he should answer it, but should talk to her outside unless it is a close family member of course. It would create a compromising situation for him to be alone in the house with someone. If someone becomes offended it is okay to let them know why you are not letting them in the house. Most people will really respect this rule and admire you for protecting your marriage this way. This is how rumors are started and it can be harmful to your marriage to put yourself in situations where these can develop.5. God is first.
Putting God first is the most important rule to have. God is meant to be the center of your life and if your marriage is composed of three, God, husband, wife, then it will succeed. God created marriage and he should be involved! Read the Word together, pray, talk, study, learn, daily! You should be focusing on God daily, not just once a week. It is important to be strong spiritually and to do this together! It helps to find a good devotional like Nightlight by Dr. James Dobson, and read every night before bed, or every morning at breakfast. Make time with God a routine!6. Be open and honest: No secrets.It is important to be open and honest with your spouse. Secrets always come out anyways and it is better to let them know before they find out something the hard way. You should feel comfortable enough with your spouse to be open with them about anything and everything. If you are having a problem with something, even being tempted, tell your spouse and pray through it together. It is your spouses job to help protect you. Let them!Luke 16:10 (NKJV)
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much: and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV)“The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”7. Don’t go without him/her.Make it a point not to attend dances or go to bars (we go to bars sometimes to line dance) alone. Temptation seems to be rampant here, and it is not a good idea to go without your spouse, nope, not even with friends. Don’t dance with anyone over age ten or with anyone who is under the age of your grandparents, unless they are sisters or brothers…