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We have all heard that “communication is key” but what are the keys to good communication?
What makes communication break down in the first place? I remember hearing a radio talk show many years ago, a man was describing how he and his wife had two totally different views about how you take care of a sick person. He was down with a cold, and asked her for some orange juice, she came back with what he thought to be a thimble full, and his expectation of a big tumbler full was unfulfilled. The two  were raised differently, one with small glasses of O.J.  being left alone to sweat it out, the other being pampered with lots of juice, soup and attention. Case in point, communication is not just words, and it is also important to note that whatever it is, goes through a sort of prism of our own personal experiences, thought processes, and communication styles.

What goes out of our mouth, hits the ear of the hearer, goes through the filter of their point of reference, bents, insecurities, etc. and they take it the way they do according to that. Each person has their own filter.  What the difficult task is , is to be completely vulnerable in exposing our filters to the people around us, so they understand our communication styles. This of course includes our insecurities, anxieties, fears, opinions etc.  My husband grew up in a large, loud, Spanish speaking  family.  They all spoke over one another, and nobody took it with any offense.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where you didn’t communicate at all, and children were to “speak when spoken to” ” seen and not heard”.  No noise at the dinner table etc, so when I first experienced my husband loud talking, I thought he was angry with me, and broke down crying.  He and my children to this day speak with passion, a bit loud, but I understand this to be their style.  They on their part, speak to me with a softer tone, and try to be mindful of my need for a  less robust conversation.

How do we find the best way to speak to each other? I tried to think of the best communicator of all time, and  of Jesus, it is said: (John 1:1)” in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was GOD….and vs 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us” The very word of God, came to earth and became a man so that we would know how to live in this world amongst each other in a bond of love and in humility.

In the book of John, Christ used the term ‘ Verily, Verily I say unto you’… no less than 18 times. In one book!  When a word is spoken twice, it means listen carefully.  I think we have to take notice of this first off, as he knows our  propensity to listen with only half of our attention.  We need to be sure that the person is really taking a hard listen if we have an important thing to impart to them.  Don’t expect them to be listening intently to your heart felt outpourings if you don’t get their undivided attention first. Also notice, we may need to repeat ourselves.

Jesus spoke to the disciples, and crowds  in Parables ( stories which teach lessons ).  Jesus used things very familiar to the people around Him to paint mental pictures so that they would understand the things He was trying to impart to them.  Many times, we need to find a thing that our spouse, or child, friend etc. can relate to, and use that to paint a picture of how something may be affecting us, or maybe what we may need from them.  Whether it is using children’s toys or a husbands computer program, or car engine, golf game etc. There is a way to ‘story tell’ so that making a parallel using that imagery will help them connect with you.  Reading the Parables will help understand what I mean here.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, from what I have read about this, Jesus being a Rabbi, would have understood that  sacrifices and blessings were made with an application of salt. Salt was used to preserve, to purify, to bless, and to flavor.  When we communicate anything to one another, let us keep in mind, that we are called the salt of the Earth, which should heal one another, and purify, when one is in the wrong, salt will draw out the poison of sin ( in 2 Kings 19 Elisha threw salt into the poison well to heal it, and turn the water sweet)  apply the words of restoration to them in love = salt, Blessing = salt we should be blessing each other by actions, and words, every day, without fail. Jesus is our example, and He gives us all we need to carry out loving one another in this way… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

He has given us the key, He knows us- each one of us Intimately, our very  hairs are numbered, he knows our hearts,  our failings, and the things we have endured.  We can trust that He will give us the wisdom to use the keys He has given us to lovingly, communicate with one another.  As we desire to do what is in the best interest of the people we love, We can’t go wrong in seeking Him for guidance and wisdom in the process.

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‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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Wherever you look throughout scripture, we are told to walk in truth, not to lie, not to bare false witness, that ‘the truth shall set you free’ yet somehow, we figure out a way to compartmentalize our lives to include God in some places , and not in others.  When it comes to keeping a matter from a spouse for instance, so as not to rock the boat, that would be an area we need to discuss. I suggest reading through the book of Ephesians, it is a wonderful book to get a grip on this area.  For now, I will address the various ways we keep things from one another to our own hurt, and what to do to avoid it.

A secret  withheld from a loved one, should have a reason, good or bad.  Of course, for reasons of joyful surprise, or the reasons given in this link, a wonderful article I found on lying :http://parablemania.ektopos.com/archives/2004/08/lying.html The rest of the time, secrets are destructive little devices which create division, and damage to the soul, spirit, and lifestyle.

First,  the secrets between  spouses, whether it be the husband keeping mismanagement of finances, gambling, or the loss of a job… or a wife hiding secret charge accounts, workplace flirtations, or even an affair perhaps. There are some darker, more taboo secrets I won’t address in this article, when I am ready, I will talk about those separately.  Whatever the secret may be, it is going to break down your relationship- Guaranteed.  If you ponder for a minute, having secrets from your spouse is living a lie.  In our society today, “little white lies” that so called ‘keep things from getting complicated’ are totally acceptable.  “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” Our propensity to be willing to ‘cover our own butts’ in any given situation, rather than exercise integrity is alarming. How did we get so lazy about personal responsibility?    Destructive and ugly, and able to tear away at the very foundations of a marriage; husband , if you have a habit as many do, of secretly looking at porn online, and don’t think it has no bearing on your relationship with your wife.  Soon she will not measure up to your desires, you will lust for more from her, your expectations will go unfulfilled, and soon emptiness will be all you have left.  God created her for you, and if you are satisfied in her alone, God will bless you in ways you will be unable to believe if you have eyes for her alone.  If any of these areas are ones you struggle with, confess to your spouse, and work through it together.  Yes, it will be difficult, but not impossible.

Next, secrets you may have with your child, between them and you, excluding your spouse.  Again, if it isn’t for a surprise you are planning, it will teach that child some very bad lessons.  The worst of which, is the art of lying and manipulation, working one parent against the other.  You will show the child a weakness of character in yourself, that you are willing to keep things from your spouse. Remember that a child feels most secure when they know that their parents have a solid relationship. You also have the best defense against whining, rebellious, and manipulative children if you have a united approach to your children’s upbringing, and don’t do things behind one another’s back.  This is especially hard for divorced parents sharing custody, trying not to give ammunition to a contentious ex-spouse leaves little choice, but to have good communication, and strong will to avoid letting the child(ren) get in the middle of the two of you. The best policy is to always stand in the light of truth, and full disclosure, so there is no room for accusation, misunderstanding, or manipulation.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Revealing what should be (secret) things personal to you and your spouse, to friends, or family members should be avoided.  What I am talking about is: your private things should be kept private, don’t go to mom ladies with your frustrations about hubby, it will make him look bad to your parents, which is destructive in itself.  Talking about your sex life to your friends in a “just for fun” way is never good either.  This goes for both of you… Do you love ,respect, and cherish your partner, or think of your spouse as a way to get your needs satisfied?  Mutual respect and cherishing your spouse is so important to keeping  your relationship on the right track to deepening and growing stronger over time, as opposed to diminishing and wondering what can be done to ‘get back that lovin’ feelin’ .  It isn’t hard to understand, these aren’t really secret things, but cherished things between you two, or private things, like your difficulties.  If you as a couple need to get some advice, the best thing to do is… don’t go to mom & dad at all.  It is hard for mom and dad to separate themselves emotionally, not taking a side.  Go to a pastor, or someone you can trust, who you have admired their marriage a long time.  Try first just talking it out from a different place, looking at things through that other persons vantage point.  Conflict management should be handled on an individual basis for sure, but if you know that you are for one another, or at the very least, can commit to  look out for one another, have that persons back, start from there.  Whatever you do though, don’t embarrass them by revealing all the personal stuff only a spouse would know, is that something you would like them to do to you?

Whatever the secret may be, it doesn’t belong. You can justify in your mind why you may be keeping that secret, but once you reveal it, and deal with it, healing and reconciliation is possible.

1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jo 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is able, don’t think any situation is too bleak to fix, or any lie or secret is too wretched to be forgiven.  He does forgive, as will the person who has been offended, if they also will seek the Lord and His power to forgive. Please feel free to email me with prayer requests or questions, they will be confidential.

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Pressure, Stress, Expectations… add emotions and fears, and you have a recipe for explosive confrontation. If  you and your spouse are in the same place,(stress wise )it intensifies the power of that explosion. First, I have to say by way of reminder, you are each others best advocate and cheerleader. If you haven’t become that for your spouse, it is high time you did.

Proverbs 18:14-22 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But {as for} a broken spirit who can bear it?
The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men.
The first to plead his case {seems} right, {Until} another comes and examines him.
The {cast} lot puts an end to strife And decides between the mighty ones.
A brother offended {is harder to be won} than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.
With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.

If you are tearing each other down because of your own stress, insecurities and fears, chances are very good you will break the spirit of the other.  Take a moment to BREATHE I am speaking figuratively here, but take a deep breath too.  Take care of those things you can, know that the rest will be there, and will work out.  As you see in the Proverbs I share with you here, a person can endure sickness, but not a broken spirit.  So… Lift each other up, pray together.  Have you ever actually Prayed Together? Out loud? Show how much you love each other, it will all turn out fine.   The mind of the prudent gets knowledge, and wise men seek advice from people who know better than themselves.  Seek counsel from a financial counselor, pastor, marriage counselor, etc. The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.  In other words, don’t jump to conclusions, always listen to all the facts, and both sides of the story before you make any determinations about a matter.  A brother offended is  like a strong city, or (a fortified city) contentions like the bars of a citadel.  Let’s look at that picture a minute, if you offend him/her, basically the walls go up.  It is hard to break down those walls, or break into that bastion of personal security (the citadel).  The citadel was a stronghold in a walled city, think about the movie ‘The Two Towers’ in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, there is a great example of this.  The Rohirrim under King Théoden, who had taken refuge in the mountain fortress of the Hornburg at Helm’s Deep.  The King commanded his people to be taken into the depths of the  city, into the citadel of the city, and when it got really intense, into the ‘keep’  I apologize if this example is a bit “geeky” but what a mental picture of what happens to us when we are offended.  We draw back into our very own place of fortification against future hurt.  We harden our hearts, we even give up entirely. I have done this before, hardened my heart to any more hurt or future offense.  It is a tragic state, you are a prisoner of your own false security.  It takes losing your life to find it- Luke 17:33 ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’

Death and life are in the power of the tongue… I won’t belabor this one here as I wrote a whole blog on the subject earlier.  However, since it goes with our subject, and prefaces the next verse, I will say this, Is your tongue full of poison or honey.  Are you breaking the spirit, or uplifting?   Are you offending your partner or being their greatest advocate? Are you inside the Citadel, protecting your broken spirit?  Have you given up?

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.  You need to believe this husband, You need to live this wife. Be For Each Other!

“They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other”

(Steven Stills)

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A nagging wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Proverbs 27:15) Drip, drip, drip… it makes you go crazy!  Have you ever been around couples, where the husband is passive, and the wife just drips continually?  Throughout the Proverbs, Solomon teaches his son about women, finding a good wife, among so many other things, he says this about that nagging woman: “It is better to live on the corner of the rooftop, than in a house with a quarrelsome wife” Prov 25:24.

So why the nagging? Is it fun? Do you just think he deserves to be shot machine-gun like with choice morsels of cleverly formed jabs, so he will be sure of your disapproval?  Don’t think I am only going to address how this applies to your marriage.  If you are nagging him, you are nagging your kids too.  Track with me for a minute, there is something at the core of this,  Much of it can stem from the poor modeling, you grew up with a “Hover Mother” constantly on you for this or that.  You could just be very unhappy with life, disappointed with how things have panned out, you are taking that frustration out on those around you…maybe you don’t even realize you are doing it.  Are you being accused of nagging?  You are undoubtedly frustrated with people not listening to you, not doing what you ask them to do, but how are you communicating?

There should be good communication between you and your spouse, if there is something you are having difficulty with, you need to talk it over while you are both in a good place, not when the issue becomes heated.  If, after he/she is spoken to, knows how you feel, and doesn’t respond, it is your turn to offer help, or just take it to God.  Many times God will change us, and our attitudes, before He changes someone else s’ bad habit.

Let’s address those core issues for a second. You need to so some soul searching here.  If things are coming out pear shaped because you are disappointed with your life, feel let down, you have unresolved bitterness, these things need to be dealt with. How?  The first step is recognize that they are there, next, you need to take them to God, he can heal you of those things, you should also talk with someone you trust, and pray with them about it.  I always say that the skeleton when left in the closet, has the power to get scary, but bring him into the light, and all he is, is old, lifeless, bones. Bring old “boney” out, and deal with the core issues, you will feel so much better!

For the life of me I just do not understand couples who cut each other down.  Worse yet, is when they do it in front of a room full of people.  It is like a dagger in MY gut, when I hear couples tear each other apart, or humiliate their spouse.  The entire room turns frigid with the lack of love, discretion, and prudence.  It makes you wonder what kind of relationship a person has, that they would cast their spouse in the worst possible light, rather than present the best side of them, knowing every flaw intimately, privately.  Being the most important person in your life, you want to be sure that people see the good in your spouse, not exposing those flaws, they are yours to know, you are one flesh.  You have each others backs, you will defend them and honor them to the end. That is how it should be!

So they don’t pick up after themselves, they have bad habits, you have things you have to put up with,old boney is rattling your cage, Yeah, So? I have only one thing left to say:

1Cr 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8 Love never fails; but if {there are gifts of} prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away.
1Cr 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
1Cr 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
1Cr 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1Cr 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1Cr 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Let the Love of Christ do it’s perfect work in us, we only have this short time with our family, with no “do-overs” don’t waste it nagging.

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Sgs 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it.

Yesterday I wrote about something personal, I had shared with you how I had been unwise with my words, tearing my husband down, making him feel hollowed out- ready to give up. As I had said, everything worked out, we are closer than ever. So what is the key? How do you survive the storms that beat against the very soul of your marriage? For one, I think it is important for us to remember that we all grow, and change, but the core of our who we are is always there. If you don’t spend time discovering what is going on inside your spouse, you should. Most men change career paths at least once in their adulthood and sometimes many more . If he is changing careers often, maybe he is on a path to self discovery. Are you supporting him, helping him find out who he is, and what his passions are? Where he may be lacking fulfillment? Husband, are you loving her and trying to understand her need for nesting, for security, and stability? As a woman, she has these needs instinctively, because she bares the children. God put it in her nature to be the nurturer, the ‘nester’ (Oh Geez, I sound like Grandma Moses here, but it’s true)! You pay close attention to the in ‘unspoken’ between the lines, after reading this, and you will catch my drift. There is also her personal dreams and aspirations, are you encouraging her in her talents? Do you know what her dreams are?  The other key is that each one of you are important, you should be just as interested in your partners dreams and aspirations, and be equally involved in the process.  Have you ever sewn a garment, and had the tension on the sewing machine be out of calibration, your top stitches may seem to be just fine, but the moment you expose the underside, you see the missing thread, and it causes the seam to come apart as it had not been passed through at all. Tension in a marriage is a good thing, it draws us into intimate conversation, into deeper trust for one another as we battle through the times of discord.  I love the chorus from a song by Sixpence which goes…

“but tension is to be loved
when it is like a passing note
to a beautiful, beautiful chord ”

I love that!  It is so true, tension passes in and out of our relationships, and as it does, it creates a symphony of beautiful and wonderful harmonies which would never be possible without it. In these times though, it is so easy to play the blame game, trying to project your frustrations onto your spouse for your own  lack of fulfillment, or you  bring up issues that were supposed to be forgiven and forgotten, going down an ever growing laundry list of wrongs you have suffered at their “cruel hand”.  This one is good, The I have to get my point across, even if it has no relevance to what you are talking about.   How about the silent treatment?  Going to bed not talking to one another- or worse, sending your spouse to the proverbial “dog house”  (The Couch).  God’s word says “don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry” Eph. 4:26. There is great wisdom in this, number one, talk it out before bed. Number two, if you are able, I mean size wise, get a queen size bed, no larger, if you have your foot touch when you are still cooling after a feud, there isn’t much chance of staying upset for long. Besides, it cuts down on your heating bill. : )

We have seen far too many people get divorced after 20+ years of marriage, saying that they just grew apart, or they just didn’t love one another any more. I for the life of me can’t imagine how I could ever live without my husband, our love grows deeper as we grow older. I can certainly understand what the causes may be however, which would bring the failure of a long term marriage. First, along the journey together, you go through many phases, or chapters of your life together. The newlywed years, traveling, no kids, then the babies, working allot, spending much of your time focused on these things. Then the years where you have teens, and aging parents at the same time, then all the graduations, weddings…eventually the empty nest. Where did time go? Who are you? They didn’t kindle the fire of their love at every opportunity. Did they get away for romantic weekends? Did they have a date night, or was date night in front of the boob tube with a beer watching bowling for dollars? Look, if you are as poor as dirt, you can pack little picnic  supper of finger foods, a blanket,  and have a very romantic evening under the stars somewhere.
Keep the fires of romance burning, and the communication happening. No matter where you are on the road map in your marriage, you must take romantic respites.  We would go camping over a weekend, farmed out the children to friends, later we would rent a home at the coast. Whatever you do, for an evening, or weekend, you need to keep the home fires burning, and that candle of romance lit! Oh, and have you made a good play list for your ipod? your special play list of slow dance music?  You can slow dance together when the kids go to sleep… Isn’t it romantic?

One thing my husband and I do, we go on walks every evening. Ever since we were first married, since we didn’t get a honeymoon, we have had a thing where we ask each other: ” If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” We then proceed to paint a scenario together of a grand fantasy vacation, of course, we are walking at quite a clip, I don’t know if I am hyperventilating because of the speed we are walking, or because I am in my fantasy world! It is things like this that we have that just make the tough times seem more than bearable, they are endearing, and special to us.  I have covered allot of ground here today, and in summing things up in my mind, what I learned through the tension we have been through lately, is that we are going into another chapter of our lives.  My husband is in pursuit of something we aren’t sure what yet, but he is so creative, it may take many more tries to find it out.  Furthermore, that tension brought me into a more intimate knowledge of who he is, and I love him even more,  and I am excited to see what is in store. On his part, there isn’t a single thing he wouldn’t do for me or support me in. I wouldn’t be able to share any of this without his careful and consistent affirmation over the years.

Couples, love is a choice, and a commitment you make, but when it is the two of you facing the world and it’s challenges together, rather than being faced off against each other, (or in it for yourself), time passes quickly, and you still feel like newlyweds, only without all the uncertainties. Now , go get that icechest,  and whisk that special someone off to a romantic evening…don’t forget the blanket!

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Things have been hard in the world lately. It has been hard to hang on to what we have, whether it be a job, house, relationship, it is just intense these days! I was reflecting this morning on how hard it has been on my husband, he has allot of pressure on him. The times when we are in the crucible of trials is when we need someone to be solidly behind us. We need words of affirmation, and the confidence building that assures them that everything is going to be O.K. Think about the marriage vow, “… in richer and in poorer, in sickness and in health” a commitment and promise was made that assured that other person that you wouldn’t let them down , even in the worst of circumstances.
In Ephesians chapter five, Paul states no less than three times that the man should love his wife, and once that he should “cleave to her”. It is not there for arbitrary reasons, and three times?
We can be hard to love sometimes, we can nitpick him, nag, place all sorts of heavy expectations on him. We make excuses for it, like “I am having PMS” or “Menopause” or “I am having your child!” What does Paul say to us women? “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto The Lord” (Eph. 5:22)
Ladies, he makes mistakes, men, you make mistakes, but we have to bring those to the Lord, and HONOR you with solidarity and affirmation. We are partners, we are in this together, a team. If one is down, that other team member must be there to pick the other up. ( Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
Ecc 4:10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. )
It is so easy to break the spirit of your spouse. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is so easy to tear down, and hollow them out to the brink of complete despondency. If this is learned before it is too late, it can make a world of difference. One pastor said one Sunday, that the best thing that parents can do for their children is to love one another, and be affectionate toward each other. This teaches the children what a nurturing marriage should look like, and theirs will have that much more chance of success. I have to confess, I have not been a nurturing and affirming wife lately, and have never seen my husband so hollowed out. He is usually the most confident, upbeat, inspiring person you will ever meet. My words have torn him down to the very core of his being, and I have a heavy heart. I am thankful our children are grown. All that I share with you is from experience, and forty nine years of learning at the University of Hard Knocks. I am confident my best friend and I will get all things sorted out, we always have these thirty years, but what I learned through this situation is that I never want to see my best friend and husband lacking in my affirmation and support ever again.

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