Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

TAKE TIME TO LAUGH

21 Jun

TAKE TIME TO LAUGH

Bildad the Shuhite didn’t get many things right in his conversation with Job, but he did make at least one accurate statement.  He told Job that God “will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing” (Job 8:21).  Laughing is crucial for building a close relationship, and that’s as true in marriage as it is anywhere.  Consider a few ideas on how to bring a smile on your mate:

*  Become a student of what pleases your mate.  What brings a smile to the face?  What tickles the funny bone?  Keep a list filled with ideas on what makes your partner happy.

*  What made your spouse laugh in the first place?  You don’t always need new material!  This “audience of one” will appreciate the old gags, expressions, and words that first sparked laughter in your relationship.

*  Do something absolutely unplanned and positively spontaneous.  Marriage has robbed many a relationship of its fun.  We forget what it’s like to drop everything and do something for the sheer fun of it.

*  Relive the times you have enjoyed the most pleasure and fun together.  Some of the great laughs came about spontaneously because you were together doing fun stuff.

*  Learn the art of not taking each other or life too seriously.  Life has a way of becoming heavy and weighing you down.  If you’re not careful, you will lose the sheer joy of being together.

*  Spend focused, regularly scheduled time together.  Barbara and I have a Sunday night date.  Often we do the same things we did while dating.  Because we are together, away from the usual distractions and pressures, there’s a good chance we will have some fun.

*  Read your spouse a funny story.  Call from work to share a humorous situation.  Don’t be guilty of always dumping heavy emotional loads on your spouse!  Liberally sprinkle the dust of comic relief.

*  Do something frivolous with your spouse.  When was the last time you did something very silly with your wife or husband—something that couldn’t help but provoke laughter?  You took those risks when you dated.  Why not try them again?

Laughter is a gift that helps keep life in balance and put some frosting on the joy God has promised us even in the middle of difficult times.  Ecclesiastes says there is an appointed time for everything—and that includes a time to laugh (Ec. 3:4).

NOTE:  This article is from the book Family Life and Marriage Bible by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage be a success.

CLOSETING YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT

20 Jun

CLOSETING YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT

We know all too well the mindset that prompted Job to cry out, “May the day perish on which I was born, and the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived'” (Job 3:3)

Both Barbara and I have on occasion closeted our discouragement.  Instead of working out the dark emotions, we try to tuck it all away, like a box full of Christmas ornaments in an obscure closet.  The problem is that unresolved discouragement and disillusionment can easily replace faith and expectancy.  We’ve found that it’s much healthier, spiritually speaking, if we open the closet door, bring them out and discuss our disappointment.  With God first, but also with another.

Do you closet your own disappointment with God?  Do you ever become dishonest with God and put on an external spiritual veneer that says, “All is well”?

Unprocessed discouragement results in mistrust—and at this critical point the enemy of our souls has us exactly where he wants us.  Paralyzed in unbelief from the neck down, our eyes see and our minds know what we ought to believe, but the faith of our hearts lies frozen.  And a subtle mistrust of God sets in.

Dealing with “Why did God allow that?” is never easy.  But in a relationship where expectations have gone unmet and discouragement has taken up residence, it is essential that the problem be processed.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

NOTE:  This article is  from the Book “Family Life and Marriage Bible” by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

INGREDIENTS FOR AN EPIC MARRIAGE

19 Jun

INGREDIENTS FOR AN EPIC MARRIAGE

We all need to know the beneficial ingredients for compromise because we all face disagreements in marriage.

First, your relationship with your spouse needs to be your primary concern.

Marriage is for life, and this is something that you are doing together, not against each other.

God put you together to help you accomplish things through life with each other.

Self-sacrifice aides in marital compromise.

According to Eva Marie Everson in her article for “MARRIAGE PARTNERSHIP”, she writes, “Seeking to know your spouse’s preferences, and being willing to change in accord with those preferences, directs a marriage toward mutual compromise and greater intimacy.”

Phil.2:3-5 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;  but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

This verse tells us to think of others, like our spouse, as more important than ourselves and to give up our own rights for the sake of peace.

These principles are so vital to the marriage relationship.

In an article by “Christianity Today” they presented four teaching points from this verse.

  1. With humility of mind, regard your spouse as more important than yourself.
  2. Seek to know the desires of your spouse and be willing to give up your own rights for the sake of peace.
  3. Humbly communicate your desires to your spouse and be willing to change.
  4. Compromise by giving preference to one another in honor.

In Stephen R. Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families”,  there is a chapter called WIN-WIN.

In the book it suggests that we should try to make it WIN-WIN-WIN.  That means that you win, your spouse wins, and then your family wins.

In life it means to seek first the interest of the other, to understand the other person’s needs, wants, and concerns.

Are you constantly having ego battles with your spouse?

Are you more concerned about who is right rather than what is right?

If you both don’t win, then the whole family loses.

Win-win is the only pattern of thinking and interacting that builds a relationship of trust and unconditional love.

Marriage and family are all about “We” not “Me”.

A good marriage and a good family require service and sacrifice.

An independent mind-set will not work in an interdependent relationship.

In her book Lucky in LoveThe Secrets of Happy Couples and How Their Marriages Thrive, Catherine Johnson shares her research regarding factors that make marriages happy and long-lasting.

  1. Both partners stop being single at heart and become married at heart.  As they become one, they see each other as his or her best friend.
  2. They care more about the health of the relationship than they do about winning arguments.  They are self-aware and can hear and evaluate themselves from their partner’s perspective.

Can you see each other as constantly changing and growing and acting in good faith?

If you can keep the end in mind, you’ll have the motivation it takes to always go for win-win.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

ESSENTIAL QUALITY FOR A SUPER MARRIAGE

18 Jun

ESSENTIAL QUALITY FOR A SUPER MARRIAGE

The word “humility” means a modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance or rank.

Humility is the most essential quality of the Christian as it allows you to respond as you are being led by Christ.

Rom.12:3 “…do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

This is telling us to live our lives, in our marriage, pleasing to God and not to desire the high praises of men.

Compromise is what marriage is all about so be careful with issues related to being opinionated.

Do you find yourself having to do things your way and not listening to your spouse?

If you want to be esteemed in God’s eyes, in Isaiah there are three things God revealed that are first necessary.

 “This is the one I esteem:

He who is humble and

Contrite in spirit, and

Trembles at my word.” Isa.66:2

When we humbly accept the love of God, our pride is challenged.

Humility will give you a deeper realization of your unworthiness.

Do you accept your God-given role of being subordinate to your husband?  Keep in mind that God blesses us for submitting to this God-given role.

How do you respond when your spouse rebukes you?  With anger?

You need to carefully consider the areas that have your spouse upset.

How do you act when your spouse disagrees with your opinion?  Do you slander your spouse?

Do you try to understand the view point of others while realizing that God made everyone to think differently.

Phil.2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

 You need to have a humbling view about yourself, because you know your own secret faults and you know the true you.

Don’t selfishly give yourself glory thinking that you are wiser, more talented or more gifted than your spouse.

You need to rejoice in the blessings of your spouse.

God often allows us to go through humiliating circumstances in our life.

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 2Cor.12:7

Paul could not avoid or remove his fleshly thorns because they were necessary for his spiritual well-being to develop and maintain humility.

Let’s take time to look at what our source of humiliation is?

It is healthy for us to have sources of humiliation.

Humiliating the proud is part of Jesus’ ministry.

They tried to kill Jesus because he humiliated them.

They needed to be humiliated if they were ever to be saved.

What is your source of humiliation?  Spouse?  Children?  Siblings?  In-laws?  Work?  Co-workers?  Friends?  Finances?  Marital Status?

The “Great Physician” may be trying to save your marriage by giving you medicine of humiliation.

Take your medicine!

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

BATTERED BY OUTSIDE CIRCUMSTANCES

17 Jun

BATTERED BY OUTSIDE CIRCUMSTANCES

 The meaning of “confrontation” is the hostile disagreement face-to-face resulting from a clash of ideas or opinions.

2Cor.7:5-6 NKJV “Our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side.  Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”

Sometimes  we feel so battered by outside circumstances that we have no control over.

Many of us feel so beaten down by life itself at different intervals.

This happens in marriage many times when we feel like we can’t seem to communicate with understanding to our spouse.

It is so easy to fall into depression when we feel that there is no way out.

If we fall into the self-preservation mode, we have now cut ourselves off from the people who can help us.

Let’s look at some of the pitfall of confrontation so that we do not make the mistakes other marriages have made.

Statistics show that 96% of the time, you can predict the outcome of a conversation based on the first 3 minutes of the 15 minute interaction.

If you begin a conversation with harsh speech, you are doomed for failure.

The following negative interaction principles are taken from John M. Gottman and Nan Silvers article on “How I predict divorce.”

Negative interactions are lethal to a marriage relationship.

Here is a list of four negative interactions:

  1. Criticism

A complaint only addresses the specific action at which your spouse failed.

A criticism is more global—it adds on some negative words about your mate’s character or personality.

2.     Contempt

Sarcasm and cynicism are types of contempt.

This is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust.

3.     Defensiveness

When conversations become so negative, critical and attacking, you will end up defending yourself.

4.     Stonewalling

In marriages where criticism and contempt lead to defensiveness, which leads to more contempt and defensiveness, eventually one partner tunes out.  This behavior is far more common among men.

Any of the above actions, will cause confrontation.

Job 30:27 “My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.”

 In this verse we see how Job is so upset that he is boiling on the inside and can find no rest.

This is exactly what happens to you and I when we enter a conversation harshly.

Here are three goals that we must use before we start a conversation that is very controversial.

First, use HUMILITY.  1Pet.5:5 “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”   This is a must in a controversial conversation.

 Second, COMPROMISE.

Don’t go into the conversation with the attitude that you will get everything your way.  Make it a WIN-WIN situation.  That is where you will be able to have some things your way but be flexible enough to allow his concerns to be taken care of also.

Third, use DIALOGUE.  Jas.1:19 “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

Your spouse talks, while you listen.

The secret to good communication is listening.

It is a tool.

Listening and talking at the same time guarantees that you are going to miss important facts and details.

Win the “first place” position for listening.

** To make sure you have listened to his point, ask, “Is this what you are trying to tell me?”

To be a good “helpmate” you need to know his opinion and position.

Communication is a prerequisite to success.

God has good plans for your marriage.

He knows what you need and he lovingly provides it for you.

Do not withdraw from God in the middle of distress and confrontation.

His helping hands want to help you in the time of need.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

ARE YOU A NAG?

16 Jun

ARE YOU A NAG?

A wife’s actions speak way louder than her words.

1Pet.3:1-2 “”…Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husband; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

In Rick Renners book “Sparkling Gems from the Greek”, he encourages wives to “not be preachy”.

We will be using some of his findings in this post today.

He gave an example of a new bride that was trying to encourage her husband to be the spiritual leader in the home but her approach was having just the opposite effect that she desired.

Instead of causing her husband to feel closer to her, she was pushing him far away by constantly preaching at him and putting high spiritual expectations on him.

This NEW bride started her marriage with a husband that looked down cast and was very depressed.

CASE AND POINT:  Several years ago I had a friend that I had met professionally who did not come to my church. On occasion she would call me to talk.  She only knew her husband a few months and got married unexpectedly.  After a couples of months, I heard they were already talking divorce.  She asked me to meet with her and I already knew that she needed some biblical encouragement.    When I asked her how the marriage was going, her response was that she is finally training him to submit.  She said how every morning, she arranges candles and they both have to pray and read the word together.  At first, he literally fought her “tooth and nails” on that issue and many others as well.  After he couldn’t take the scratches anymore, he decided to let her have her way.  Needless to say, he is one miserable husband.   I told her to let me know when she decides to have a biblical marriage where she is submitting to him.  My comment did not go well but neither has their marriage.

If you want to preach at your husband, remember that it is going to be a big turn-off.

Men resent having a corrector and a boss for a wife when they expected her to be his GREATEST supporter.

Remember, he married you to be his cheerleader, his companion, his friendly friend.

What happened????

Do you demonstrate unconditional love or do you just TELL him you love him?

Are you a NAG?

To an unsaved husband, your preaching at him sounds like nagging and complaining.

That is why Apostle Paul told the wives with unsaved husbands to “knock it off.”

So, “knock it off.”   CHILL!!!

Paul then told them that their method of evangelism had to be one of living a Godly life.

Many Christian wives PRESSURE their husbands to change by pestering, nagging, pleading and begging.

You can try every method, but if God doesn’t touch his heart, all the complaining is a lost cause.

The Holy Spirit draws and calls hearts to Himself so you can either help or hinder that PROCESS.

As you grow in your relationship with God, you will understand how to love your husband the way God loves you.

In the phrase “…coupled with fear…” the word “fear” refers to respect.  Peter is commanding wives to do everything they can do to show respect.

As you learn to keep silent , your husband will learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Walk the talk.

Peter is telling you how to WIN the game of positively influencing your husband without even opening your mouth.

You can do it!!   You go girl!!!

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

THE MYSTERY INSIDE YOUR HUSBAND

15 Jun

THE MYSTERY INSIDE YOUR HUSBAND

Most of the comments made in this post were taken from the book “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn.  The author has taken many surveys in order to come up with the statistics that are included in her books.  This survey was done by four hundred anonymous men across the country, ranging in age from twenty-one to seventy-five.  They answered two dozen questions about their lives and about how they think, what they feel, and what they need.  Feldhahn then conducted a more informal follow-up survey of another four hundred churchgoers.  Across all these there were very few differences in the answers by secular men and Christian men.

The author has listed seven revelations that are the results of her surveys which she felt were important but there are other areas.

As we go through these areas, keep in mind that every area of a man’s life, AFFECTS the other areas.

The inner life of a man is a package, with these elements melded and wrapped up inside.

These revelations are also backed up by EVIDENCE—a groundbreaking professional survey .

  1. Men need respect

Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected.

2.  Men are insecure

Despite their “in control” exterior, men often feel like impostors and are insecure that their inadequacies will be discovered.

3.  Men are providers

Even if you personally made enough income to support the family’s lifestyle, it would make no difference to the mental burden he feels to provide.

4.  Men want more sex

Your sexual desire for your husband profoundly affects his sense

of well-being and confidence in all areas of his life.

5.  Men are visual

Even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women.

6.  Men are unromantic clods

Actually, most men enjoy romance (sometimes in different ways) and want to be romantic—but hesitate because they doubt they can succeed.

7.  Men care about appearance

You don’t need to be a size 3, but your man does need to see you making the effort to take care of yourself—and he will take on significant cost or inconvenience in order to support you.

Feldhahn’s ground rules

First, Don’t male-bash, because these men shared their heart with her.

Second, this is focusing entirely in how we relate to men, not the other way around.

Third,  keep in mind that there are always exceptions to the rule.

Fourth, this is addressing what is normal inside men.

Fifth, some of the enclosed insight may be distressing because it affects our view of the men in our lives and our view of ourselves.  These are things that men often weren’t willing or able to say directly to their spouses or girlfriends.

Because your husband is wired as a man, this is why you love him.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

THE GIFT OF COMPASSION

14 Jun

THE GIFT OF COMPASSION

WHEN JOB LOST NEARLY EVERYTHING he had–his children, his possessions, his reputation, and his health–that’s when he needed his wife to step in and give him her unconditional support.  But this is what he got: “Then his wife said to him ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity?  Curse God and die!”‘ (Job 2:8,9).  These were obviously not the words Job needed to hear from his wife.

Don’t leave your spouse alone to deal with his own personal tragedies.  Whatever he is facing, he needs you to face it with him.  He needs your compassionate, consistent, and tireless belief in him.  It’s in these moments when you will experience what Proverbs 18:21 teaches, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”    Your words have enormous power in the life of your spouse.  Find ways to use your words to encourage his faith, not his unbelief.

Talk about the context of his life and together gain an understanding of what has shaped him.  The more you fully grasp the context of your mate’s journey to adulthood–and express compassion for where he has been–the more freedom he will feel to pour out his heart.  Remember that parents, coaches, teachers, ears, siblings, and other significant people gave him a personal heritage of either success or failure.

Tell him that you are unlike those who have rejected him, your commitment is unwavering and your love is consistent.  In this climate of compassion and patience, he will begin to feel free to take risks and to move ahead without fear of rejection.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

NOTE:  This article is from the book Family Life and Marriage Bible.

WHO WILL BUILD YOUR HOME?

13 Jun

WHO WILL BUILD YOUR HOME?

Who will be the builder of your marriage?  King David warned, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it”  (Psa.127:1).

Several years ago I met a husband and wife who had been married for fourteen years, but one might say they had been married for one year, fourteen times!  Despite the appearance of success, their home was riddled with conflict.  Both harbored massive resentments against the other.  The builder of the home was clearly Self.

Even when they attended a Weekend to Remember conference, they fought the whole time.  Yet somehow, at home, they committed their lives to Christ and asked Him to be the Architect and Builder of their marriage.

A year later they told me their story.  They reported leading their seven-year-old and ten-year-old children to Christ, clear signs of the Master Builder at work in their marriage.  In fact, that first year they began building their home on God’s wisdom, they changed the day they celebrated their wedding anniversary to the date of their first conference!  When people ask them today how many years they’ve been married, they reply, “Since 1988,” even though they actually walked down the aisle thirteen years before.

God really does renovate and rebuild homes!  No matter what you are facing, no matter how difficult the challenge, He is able to do exceedingly, above all that you can ask or think (Eph.4:20).

NOTE:  Daily their is a new post to help your marriage succeed.

NOTE:  This article is from the book Family Life and Marriage Bible by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

WHOSE THE LEADER OF THE PACK?

12 Jun

WHOSE THE LEADER OF THE PACK?

When my husband and I were missionaries in England in the 80’s, we saw that the road rules were different than in the USA.  Over there they have round-abouts, which you don’t see here much.  Instead of a stop sign at most intersections,there is a round road in the middle.  As you approach, you look to see if any cars are on the round-about that are close to your car.  If not, you have the right of way to get on to the round about and get off on the street of your choice.

What is cool, is that you don’t have to stop.  You just time the cars on the round about, and get on where there is an opening of no cars.  Here in the U.S. almost all the cars stop at a round about when they don’t have to.  I never stop; instead I step on the gas and go.  That is the beauty of a round-about.

Traffic rules are set up for our benefit and protection.

We will continue with what the bible says wives do to blaspheme God’s word.

Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be… obedient to their own husbands…”

In the New Testament, at least SIX times there is a mention of the responsibility of the wife to her husband.

God is trying to keep order in the “marriage unit.”

I did a blog on submission which taught the wife that submission is a MISSION.

Submission is being on a mission for God to honor your marriage with the utmost reverence.

“You wives willingly obey your husbands in everything, just as the church obeys Christ.”

Can I be obedient to my spouse only when I feel like it?  No, in everything!

Can I be obedient to my spouse only when I agree with him?  No, in everything!

Can I be obedient to my spouse only when he treats me with Christ-like love?  No, in everything!

There is no excuse for disobeying God’s word and you must answer to God for your own actions.

Why does he want you to be obedient in this area?  IT GLORIFIES GOD!!

It gives God a chance to show you off and He gets the glory.

Parents LOVE to show their kids off and God also loves it when His children do well.

Because we know that parents love to show off their children to family and friends, we try to do all sorts of children events at church so parents can.

At WORK your husband must have to face an array of frustrations and setbacks.

He probably gets criticized, lied to and many other problems that he doesn’t share with you as not to upset you.

God made the man to LEAD and he resents any tactics of trying to dominate or to manipulate to him.

If your husband is treated at home the same way he is treated at work, he may try to find another form of enjoyment outside of the home.

Girls, listen to me!!  YOU DON’T WANT THAT!!

Just like the YIELD right of way sign is to protect you, so is your obedience to husband and God is a great protection.

Even women with unsaved husbands are told to be obedient to them so they will come to Christ by the behavior of the wife.

How much more are us women who have saved husbands, are to RESPOND to this command.

You go girl!!  The Holy Spirit wants to guide you through this.

NOTE:  Daily there is a new post to help your marriage be a success.