Biblical Love Language

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We’ve heard so much about the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and it is a good book. But there are reasons it falls short to some degree. 

First of all, when we place expectations on our spouse to love us the way we want to be loved, our focus is in the wrong place–ourselves! Instead our attention must be on loving our spouse and giving 100% to the marriage to bless them.

Secondly, when our spouse makes efforts to express love to us, but it isn’t “my love language”, it’s easy to jump to the unfair conclusion that my spouse just doesn’t get me. Those thoughts are also focused in the wrong place–ME!

Thirdly, the love languages are meant to be a helpful tool, not the 5th gospel of the Word of God. Use it only as a means to study your spouse and to help you love them in more meaningful ways, but don’t use it to judge your spouse’s efforts.

Finally, focus on loving your spouse using the highest love language of all–The Biblical Love Language. Not sure what that is? It’s loving our spouse in the same way God through Christ has loved us. It’s not self-focused, but rather focused on doing all we can to express the fruits of the Spirit towards our mate: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I’m certain that if you love your spouse in this way, with a heart to glorify God, your marriage will grow stronger and your love will grow sweeter as the years pass.

Read the following verses evaluating how well you’re loving your spouse speaking this eternal love language:

  • John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
  • 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
  • Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
  • Galations 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

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*Focus on loving your spouse using the highest love language of all–The Biblical Love Language found in Galations 5:22-23

*If you love your spouse with a heart to glorify God, your marriage will grow stronger and sweeter as the years pass.

*When we place expectations on our spouse to love us the way we want to be loved, our focus is in the wrong place-ME.

*When my spouse expresses love to me, but it isn’t my love language, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that my spouse just doesn’t get me.

*The love languages are meant to be a helpful tool, not the 5th gospel of the Word of God. Use it only as a means to study your spouse.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Fruits of the Spirit, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged | 1 Comment

Happy Hour

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What better way to spend your weekend then investing in great blogs offering sound, biblical advice and help for your marriage. This is why we call it “Happy Hour”. Cheers!

Hot, Holy and Humorous

Live Your Best Marriage

  • Are You “Hearing” Your Spouse?<<This is the first time we’ve highlighting this blog, but you’ll see that Whitney has a much needed message. Communication is all that is needed–it’s a two way street requiring speaking as well as listening.

Marriage Missions International

  • Tucking Away Good Memories<<Have you ever felt like you had a kindred spirit, one who thinks and talks like you? Well, Cindy Wright is just that friend to me. This post is a prime example of how our lives, though lived far apart, are very similar.

The Generous Husband

The Generous Wife

  • Make It Positive<<Oh, I love this reminder. We all need it when life comes crashing in and we forget to set a guard at our mouth. It matters how we say things.
  • Dream Come True<<We are so excited for this new chapter in Paul and Lori’s life. If you aren’t aware of their new adventure, don’t miss this post. They need your prayers and financial support if you’re able.
Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 3 Comments

A Slice Of Our Life–At Home, At Church And In Our Ministry

I love to bake pies. It’s something I’ve done since we were first married in 1979 due to the kindness of an older woman who lived in our condo complex. She took me under her wing and taught me how to bake all sorts of homemade treats. Pie is by far my favorite, and my family is grateful!

Today I’ll be baking Tom’s favorite, a Triple Cherry Pie, for his birthday (which is tomorrow btw). On a side note: I’d love it if you would be so kind as to leave a birthday wish for him in the comments that I can share with him tomorrow night. :-) 

A pie looks great as a whole, but the true quality of the pie is revealed when you slice the first piece.

Photo Credit: OKC.net

Photo Credit: OKC.net

If it’s too runny, the filling spills out the sides. If it’s too thick the filling is sticky or worse–gummy. But when you get it right there’s nothing like it! I wish we could have you all over to celebrate Tom’s special day and have some pie with us, but I’m afraid that’s not possible. However, I can share with you a slice of something else–our life.

What We’ve Been Up To…

In Our Home:

As you may or may not remember, our youngest daughter moved into her own apartment in May thrusting us into the empty nest stage of life. With all the changes we’ve been through lately–our two older kids and all our grandchildren moving away–I thought entering into this season would be sad for me, but it hasn’t been at all! I’m so happy for our daughter to launch out on her own and see what God has in store for her life. And I’m loving having my husband and our home all to ourselves. It’s wonderful!

We’ve been busy putting in new carpet, redecorating bedrooms, setting up a home office for Tom (something he’s always wanted, but never had the space to do), throwing away junk, giving away items in good condition that we no longer need, and repurposing other things. It’s been freeing and refreshing, not to mention so much fun!

In Our Church:

We’re on our fourth month of hosting a small group in our home for the purpose of mentoring marriages. We have six couples in the group, including our pastor and his wife, and it’s been a wonderful time of growth and encouragement for all involved, including us! The plan is for this group to meet for six months and then start up another group for six months. We’re hoping to keep doing this as long as the Lord leads and for all the marriages in our church to be reached and encouraged wherever they are on this journey. The hardest part will be ending it; We have come to love and care deeply for these couples.

In Our Marriage Ministry:

I was recently interviewed by Belah Rose of the Delight Your Marriage podcast. She reached out to see if I’d be willing to share with her and all who might listen some things God has taught us in our 36 years of marriage. I love telling the stories of what God has done, because I know if He’s done it for us, then He can do it for others. God loves to take two lives and teach them how to live together as one flesh.

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There are actually two 30 minute podcasts, and I’ve provided the links for your convenience. I’d love it if you could take some time and listen to them, and I know Belah would be grateful as well.

Thanks so much!

Delight Your Marriage podcast: Beware Of Critical Judgements

Delight Your Marriage podcast: Don’t Waste Your Hardships

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Open Nest, Seasons of Life, Slices, Wisdom in Marriage | 4 Comments

Considering This Question Could Change Your Marriage–What Identifies You?

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I’ve been thinking about my identity in Christ and how it informs the way I treat my husband. When I have my focus upward and not inward I tend to see difficulties and conflict in a way that places God’s glory first and my preferences second. When I have my focus on myself and what I think I deserve then all kinds of dissensions arise.

Paul Tripp in his book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, states:

“A large part of the biblical story is about identity. It reveals the wrong reactions that come when we forget who we are, as well as the godly responses that come with remembering. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, bought into his lies, and ate the forbidden fruit because they forgot their true identity. They were God’s creatures, intended to live within the boundaries God had designed for them.

…Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, with walls of water on either side, because he remembered who he was…

…Who you tell yourself you are has a very powerful impact on the way you deal with the big and small issues of daily life. In the same way, where you find your identity will have everything to do with how you respond to the hard work of relationships with others. Either I get my identity vertically, out of my sense of who God is and who He has made me in Christ, or I will seek to get my identity horizontally, out of my circumstances, relationships, and successes.” (pg. 58-59)

As you can see when we choose to listen to the voices that tell us we deserve better, that we shouldn’t have to serve or lay down our lives for our spouse, that we should have never married in the first place, we are forgetting this important fact and missing the one thing necessary to take our marriage to a lasting place of safety and trust.

Christ laid His life down for us when we were at our worst.

When He asks us to do the same in our marriage, He doesn’t leave us to ourselves to do it. He is the Good Shepherd who has promised to walk with us through the valleys, through the difficulty, and give us His love, His compassion to love our spouse beyond our natural ability to do so. This circumvents our past experiences and helps us rise above our emotions. It takes us to a deeper level of love and care.

When we live out of a sense of who we are in Christ, we live our lives based on all we have been given by Christ. This keeps us from seeking to get those things from the people and situations around us…In almost thirty years of counseling, I have talked with countless women in difficult marriages who said, ‘All I ever wanted was for my husband to make me happy.’ My first thought is invariably, Well, then, he’s cooked!

No human being was ever meant to be the source of personal joy and contentment for someone else. And surely, no sinner is ever going to be able to pull that off day after day in the all-encompassing relationship of marriage! Your spouse, your friends, and your children cannot be the sources of your identity. When you seek to define who you are through those relationships, you are actually asking another sinner to be your personal messiah, to give you the inward rest of soul that only God can give.

If you’ve been doing this to your spouse, you most likely are not satisfied with the way they are right now.

How do I know? Because we married imperfect sinners saved by grace.  They haven’t arrived in the perfection department and they won’t in this life. When God the Father looks at us He sees us clothed with the righteousness of Christ. If we are viewing our spouse based on this fact we will be more likely to do what 1 Peter 4:8 says: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (ESV)

I can only love my husband earnestly because I’m aware daily of the love Christ has for me and for him.

Tom is God’s son, and my brother in Christ, and we serve and love Him together. Knowing this helps inform my disappointments when he doesn’t do something I want or act in a way I had hoped. I’m not dependent on Tom for my joy or happiness–although God allows him to be a big part of what brings me joy and happiness in this life.

How about you? Are you expecting too much from your spouse? Are you currently disappointed or tempted to believe you missed God’s will? I encourage you to do an identity check in your own heart. It may be the problem is vertical, and not horizontal.

Tweet this:

  • Considering this question could change your #marriage–What identifies you?
  • When I have my focus on myself and what I think I deserve then all kinds of dissensions arise.
  • When I have my focus upward and not inward I tend to see difficulties in a way that places God’s glory first and my preferences second.
  • Christ laid His life down for us at our worst. When He asks us to do the same in our #marriage, He doesn’t leave us to ourselves to do it.
  • I can only love my husband earnestly because I’m aware daily of the love Christ has for me and for him.
Posted in Christian Marriage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Hour

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It’s that time when we share with you great blogs posts from the past week. We pray you have a relaxing weekend, take your wife/husband on a date, read some great marriage encouragement, and remember there’s no time like the present to make the most of your time together. Enjoy…

Bonny’s Oyster Bed

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • Q & A With J: Contraception without Condoms?<< Are you trying to figure out what or if  you should use contraception? Add this post to your list for research–J does a great job and she provides link to other bloggers with worthwhile advice too.

Intimacy In Marriage

The Forgiven Wife

  • Do You Let Your Emotional Wounds Fester?<<Chris provides needed wisdom for all who tend to push their hurts to the back burner. The advice is simple Don’t.d0.it! But read this post for more motivation than a command. She seeks to draw your heart into a desire to stop.

The Generous Husband

  • Driven By Hormones<< Excellent post addressing men this time. Yep, you read that right! Men deal with hormones too. Go ahead and read it–I dare you…

The Generous Wife

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 4 Comments

Marriage A Mess Worth Making – Part 2

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If you missed the first post in this series…you need to click here so as not to miss the flow of today’s post.

The book, Relationships A Mess Worth Making, goes on to provide “seven tendencies of the sinful heart that are damaging to relationships, disruptive of God’s purposes, and require persistent battling. Ask yourself if any of them are evident in your [marriage]…” (NOTE: The Scripture references are all taken from Ephesians chapter 4).

I might add that it takes a willingness to be gut-level honest with yourself as you evaluate whether or not any of these tendencies are evident in your heart. Your marriage is worth such vulnerability, and it is how your relationship goes to the next level of intimacy.

1. The tendency toward self-indulgence (vv. 19-24). My behavior in the relationship is driven by what I want and not God’s purpose.

2. The tendency toward deceit (v. 25). I will manipulate the truth to get what I want out of the relationship.

3. The tendency toward anger (vv. 26-27). I want to control the relationship by venting my anger or by holding it over you to control you.

4. The tendency toward selfishness (V. 28). I want to protect what I have rather than offer it to serve you.

5. The tendency toward unhelpful communication (vv. 29-30). Rather than use my speech to make you feel better and put you in a better position, I speak to make myself feel better and ensure that I am in the top spot.

6. The tendency toward division (v. 31). I give in to the temptation to view you as an adversary rather than a companion in the struggle of relationship.

7. The tendency toward an unforgiving spirit (v. 32). I want to make others pay for their wrongs against me.

As you can see, this list hits us hard in the secret places where we don’t usually allow others to see, much less admit. But I encourage you to pay attention to your heart as you read this list. Is there an area where the Holy Spirit seems to be nudging you to see? Then, go after it and allow Him to reveal to you the motivations of your own heart that may be opposing God.

It takes manning up to admit our failures. It takes humility and a willingness to change.This is the place where the mature stand out from the immature. 

This is how strong, lasting marriages are forged; it requires a desire on the part of both husband and wife to do the hard work necessary to see their own faults and then to humbly confess, repent and seek the help of the Holy Spirit to change for God’s glory.

We are all tempted by these tendencies. We are not immune even as believers. Paul is writing to Christians because he assumes that these will be critical areas of struggle. The amazing part is that this entire passage promises grace for every area. One of the first places we see the evidence of God’s grace personally is in the realization that relationships demand hard work. We become willing to enter the struggle rather than avoid it because we start to see that this is where God is present and active. We begin to run toward others rather than away, and we begin to experience the following:

  1. How much wiser God’s plan is for us than our plan for ourselves (vv. 19-24)
  2. The life-changing power of truthfulness (v. 25)
  3. The healing benefit of gentleness, patience, and love (vv. 26-27)
  4. The joy of serving the needs of someone else (v. 28)
  5. The value of loving and wholesome communication (vv. 29-30)
  6. The beauty of functional unity in a relationship (v. 31)
  7. The freedom of practicing forgiveness (v. 32)

As you can see the list above goes with the first list in providing the benefit of evaluating your own heart in regard to your marriage. We pray this will help all of us on the road to a deeper, more intimate marriage where Christ is the center, not our own selfish demands.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Marriage A Mess Worth Making – Part 1

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Marriage can be messy. If you’re fairly new to it, you may be discouraged thinking something is wrong with yours. If you’ve been married for awhile, you may discouraged thinking this is all there is, and maybe even tempted to think you married the wrong person.

I have good news for you–Marriage is messy because this is how God intended it to be.

Wait, what? You heard me right. God uses the mess of relationship to forge in us a strength we wouldn’t find if everything always went our way.

Paul Tripp and Tim Lane have written a book titled, Relationships, A Mess Worth Making, that offers powerful wisdom to those who are in the middle of the mess.

We think things are going well only if we are getting along with others. But God says that it is also when we are not getting along with others that He is accomplishing His purposes! For example, if you quit at the first sign of fatigue when you exercise, you miss the chance to become more fit. Exercise after exhaustion is the most efficient and productive time for physical fitness. This is true of relationships as well. God has designed our relationships to function as both a diagnosis and a cure. When we are frustrated and ready to give up, God is at work, revealing the places where we have given in to a selfish agenda (the diagnosis). He then uses that new awareness to help us grow precisely where we have struggled (the cure).

Have you given into this mindset? Do you think you’re only doing well in your marriage if things are running smoothly? Have you missed the benefit there is in the relational struggles you’ve faced as a couple? The authors go on to explain why we buy into this lie…

We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns. But God wants high personal cost and high God-defined returns. And although we frequently disagree with God, His plan is better. Beneath all our conflict with others lies a deeper conflict between these two agendas: ours and God’s.

This isn’t an easy concept to accept because it requires an honest evaluation of what it is that motivates the way we love and treat our spouse.

If you find yourself often disappointed or even angry with your spouse over seemingly small things, there may be something deeper in your heart you’ve been missing. It may have nothing to do with what your spouse does or doesn’t do as much as it has with what’s in your heart.

Ephesians 4:17-32 is an excellent place to start as you seek God’s perspective on your relational mess. We shouldn’t be surprised by it, but rather thank God that we are seeing an area in need of being renewed by putting off the old man, and embracing the new. Take some time to read this portion of Scripture and pray for God’s help in honestly evaluating where you are in this process.

What messes do you regularly find yourselves in as a couple?

Join us tomorrow as we continue with more on this important topic.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Happy Hour

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It’s that time again–each week seems to fly by doesn’t it? That’s why I love taking time to slow down with these Happy Hour posts–to help us not miss some of the most important blog posts of the week.

Spend some time this weekend enjoying the following words of wisdom to help your marriage grow stronger to last a lifetime. 

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • J has been away most of the month of July, but she’s coming back fierce for the month of August. Starting tomorrow you won’t want to miss her Q and A with J posts – including lots of giveaways.

Intimacy In Marriage

  • When Bad Language Is A Turn On During Sex – Before you begin to debate the title of this post–read what everyone has to say in response to it. In our day and age we must be ready to answer such questions after considering it from both sides.

Journey To Surrender

One Flesh Marriage

  • The Broken Bedroom – Kate shares why sex is such a big deal in marriage–do you agree? If you struggle with answering yes, please read her post. Your marriage depends on it!

The Generous Husband

  • What I Believe – It’s always good to read the convictions of another, especially a marriage blogger who has widespread influence. Read Paul’s tenants of faith and you’ll see why he is a leading voice on advocating marriage for God’s glory.

The Generous Wife

  • Team Up – I love this idea of team work in marriage. Are you facing a huge challenge? Have you tapped into the gift your spouse is in helping you find a solution?
Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 1 Comment

Haunted By The “If Only’s” In Your Marriage?

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

Photo Credit: Todd Rowley

If only…

two little words that can leave a huge dent in your marriage. Are you haunted by these two words? Are they the first ones that come to mind when your spouse fails you in some way? Maybe they forgot to do something that’s very important to you…something you’ve told them about time and time again. Maybe they didn’t take the hint of what you wanted for your birthday and got you something…dare I say it…practical? Or worse, maybe they forgot it all together! Maybe they aren’t as thoughtful as your best friend’s husband…forgetting to open the door or stand when you get up from the table?

Maybe…just maybe, the “if only” question is being asked of the wrong person.

Maybe we should ask ourselves the “if only” questions…

Wait! 

What?

You read that right.

I’ve heard it said that when one spouse dies the “if only” questions often haunt the spouse left behind.

  • If only I hadn’t been so critical.
  • If only I had said I love you more.
  • If only I had not taken the things they did right for granted.
  • If only I had been more of an encourager.
  • If only I had celebrated all the little moments and not made such a fuss over the big ones messed up.
  • If only I had been a better wife/husband.

You get the idea.

“If only”–two very powerful words that can do great harm or great good in a marriage depending on who it is you’re focusing.

But your spouse is still very much alive and you want to change. How do we turn the tables on these two words and use them for the good of our marriage?

Ask yourself the “What if” questions…

  • What if I treated my spouse today as if it were our last day together.
  • What if I remembered that it’s more important to give than to receive.
  • What if I realized that my spouse isn’t like my girl or guy friends–and they never will be–and this is a good thing.
  • What if I cherished every small act of kindness done for me, even if it’s not what I’d hoped for, or how I wished it was done?
  • What if I made the most of all the things they do right and minimize the mistakes they make.
  • What if I maximized my mistakes and sought to grow and change with the same energy and zeal I used to go after theirs?
  • What if I made today the best day of our marriage?

How do you think these questions would change your today…your tomorrow…and the rest of your lives together?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Posted in Christian Marriage, Perspective in Marriage | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

On Turning 56

yescapades.com

yescapades.com

Today is my 56th birthday.

Fifty-six years ago my Mom and Dad were busy getting ready to add one more baby to their family of four. They thought they were finished, but God had other plans. I understand why she wasn’t happy when she found out I was on the way (she was 37), but I’m grateful she accepted me as God’s will for our family.

Both of my parents are resting in the Lord now. It’s on days like these when I miss them most. Mom’s been gone over two years, Daddy over 11.  I learned so much from them and wish I could pick up the phone to ask my Dad a quick question or pick Mom up to go get a Gabriel’s tuna sub–one of our all-time favorites. But I can’t. What I can do is reflect back with thanksgiving on the thousands of memories we made together. We didn’t waste our time, and as a result I have no regrets.

Life has a way of throwing unexpected events our way. We have to learn to accept them with grace or wrestle with God, which opens our heart to bitterness and resentment of all sorts. When put that way, of course we want to do the former. But change and our reactions to it can be difficult to handle on our best days. When it happens in an already challenging season we are prone to all kinds of temptations–to bitterness, anger, resentment and depression. The effect this has on a marriage can be devastating if communication doesn’t happen and understanding isn’t reached.

I am grateful for a husband who loves me, listens to me and seeks to understand me, even when he can’t relate to what I’m going through. You see, he still has a close relationship with his parents. They talk on a regular basis, and we get with them as often as our time will allow. We’re still in the process of making those special memories we’ll cling to when it’s no longer possible.

I am even more grateful to God for walking with me through these 56 years. He knew my frame when I was being formed in secret. He held me close then, and He is holding me close now. In this world of ever-changing circumstances–God is the only constant. He never changes. But He continues to change me so I’m not the same woman at 56 that I was at 55. I am growing little by little, and I’ve noticed something important this year. These changes don’t have the sting in my heart they once did. I think I’m finally adjusting to my new normal and it’s good!

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Encouraging Your Spouse | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Do You Wish You Could Quit?

God Will Restore

If you answered yes to this question, I get it.

Marriage is hard work. But the problem isn’t that marriage is too hard; the problem is we didn’t fully understand what marriage entailed when we stood on the altar giving our vows. I have a feeling that if all pre-marriage counselors addressed this issue before the wedding there would be fewer marriages and those that made it would succeed.

You see our society has placed an unrealistic expectation of what lasting love looks like. It’s not a happily ever after–although it can be. It’s not a bed of roses with sparkling champagne, although it may happen from time to time.

Marriage is the joining of two different people for the purpose of our holiness, not necessarily our happiness. 

Our pastor of 30 years begins his initial pre-marriage counseling session with the question, “What will it take for you to quit the marriage?”

He’s always met with shocked looks and almost an offense. This isn’t what they expected, but they’ll later learn that it was exactly what they needed. He has them consider questions like these:

  • What if one of you has a debilitating injury and becomes completely dependent on your love and care? Would you want to quit?
  • What if your spouse is unfaithful to you? Would you walk out the door?
  • What if you have a child that has special needs and you realize it’s a lifelong commitment to love and care for them? Would you leave?
  • What if you find out your spouse is unable to have children?

These are a few of the hard questions he confronts them with to crack their rose-colored glasses. Only God knows what life holds in store for a newlywed couple, and most of them only see the “better” not the worse the future may hold.

Marriage is hard work, but when it endures by God’s sustaining grace for His glory, it is a beautiful thing!

We pray that wherever you are on your marriage journey that you will stay committed until death parts you. If your marriage is in a good place, work hard to keep it growing in the same direction. If your marriage is in a rough spot, find the help you need to get you past the trouble. If your marriage has been difficult from the beginning and you don’t know where to begin, start with your own heart humbled before God asking for His wisdom and mercy. God is in the business of restoring broken relationships. It’s never too late to renew those vows no matter how many years it’s been since you spoke them.

Chris August wrote a song that inspired this post. Take a few minutes and let the words seep deep into your soul. Your marriage will thank you!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Troubled Marriage

Happy Hour

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It’s the time of week when we share with you the marriage blog posts that we’ve found helpful and worth sharing. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy your time here–you’re always welcome! :-)

Intimacy In Marriage

  • What Is Destroying Sex In Your Marriage – Julie invited marriage bloggers to add their thoughts and wisdom about this topic. She’s providing a new post each day. We encourage you to visit her site daily to glean from the variety of topics discussed.
  • Is Your Past Destroying Sex In Your Marriage? – We’ve heard it said not to let the past define your future. This can be applied to your sexual intimacy as a couple.

Journey To Surrender

Marriage Missions International

  • Quotes To Note – Cindy does an excellent job sharing how the wisdom others have learned in their marriage have had a positive impact on her own marriage.

One Flesh Marriage

  • Sticks And Stones And Broken Bones – Brad offers great insight to this old adage that isn’t true. Words hurt! If you struggle with saying things you later regret read.this.post!

The Generous Husband

  • Choose To Fake It – This doesn’t sound like wise counsel, but read what Paul has to say. It’ll make you want to “fake it” too.

The Generous Wife

  • You Pick – I absolutely love the tip Lori offers in this post. It might just change how you view each other’s decisions–for the good!

To Love, Honor And Vacuum

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour

Stretching Our Romantic Muscles – A 21 Day Challenge

Meme by Taraleigh Davis

Meme by Taraleigh Davis

I’ve been doing something consistently that I had all but given up ever doing again. I started exercising. For those of you who have always been physically active you can’t possibly understand what I’m talking about. It is a way of life for you. However, for all the others who have set exercising aside for all sorts of reasons, I’m sure you understand.

Without going into all the details, I have had pain and injuries that has prevented me from doing any physical activity without lots more pain. So I wouldn’t do it. I assumed about three years ago that my life would never be what it once was.

I was wrong.

You see I had bought into the lie that if it hurts I shouldn’t do it.

But one day I had an aha! moment. I realized that all athletes have pain, but what’s different about them is they push through it. I gave birth to three children–it hurt like crazy, but by God’s grace I pushed through it. What if I had given up saying it was too painful? I shudder to think of it!

So why was I so quick to throw off exercising? Was it only because it hurt? No, the honest answer was even more painful–I didn’t really want to do it. I hid behind my excuses thinking it was my lot in life. And I stayed there for three years!

Fast forward to April. I was given a challenge to try exercising daily for three weeks! I was tired of feeling tired all the time. My metabolism had all but shut down. I wondered if I could jump start my lazy body once again, and to my surprise I did!  It hurt, but I discovered that doing this to my body each day increased my strength little by little. I saw progress, and it motivated me to keep going.

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe we can do the same thing when it comes to romance in marriage.  

We get into ruts and stay there because at one time it was comfortable. There comes a time however, when the rut grows deeper, and you can’t see anything in front of you or behind you. There is no vision and the Bible says without a vision we perish.

Romance is the metabolism of the marriage relationship.

You have to keep it going to nourish the lifeblood of your relationship. What you call romantic and what I call romantic may be two completely different things, but that shouldn’t deter us from stretching our romantic muscles on a daily basis.

The program I’ve been doing physically is called The 21 Day Fix. What if we were to give our marriage 21 Days of Romance? Would we see much needed changes for the lasting good of our relationship? I believe we would.

Below is a list of ideas on how to practice daily romance. I challenge you to pick one each day for the next 21 days. Don’t tell your spouse you’re doing it, let them notice on their own. I believe if you haven’t been stretching your romantic muscles lately, you’ll feel awkward, maybe even painfully uncomfortable, but do it. For 21 days express your love in this way and see what kind of effect it has on your relationship.

Are you willing to give it a try? If so, comment and let me know so I can be praying for your success. In this day and age we need marriages that endure for a lifetime. The next generation is watching and learning much from our good (or bad) examples.

My coach sends me encouraging memes everyday. Here’s one to keep close at hand to keep you motivated.

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Daily Romantic Exercises

  • Make your spouse’s coffee and take it to them in bed or while they’re getting ready in the bathroom.
  • Write a heart-felt letter to your spouse and mail it to them as if you were living miles apart.
  • Take on a practical act of service such as cleaning their closet, detailing their car, to bless them in an unexpected way.
  • Hire a job done around the house that they have been dreading.
  • Make them their favorite meal for no special reason, and call them during the day to tell them you have a surprise for them when they get home.
  • Plan an outing for them with their friends and make all the arrangements. Send them off with your blessings.
  • Before you go to bed tell them you’re giving them the next morning off and they’re allowed to sleep in.
  • Draw them a bath complete with candlelight, soft music and wine.
  • Go for a ride in the country or on the beach. Stop whenever you see something interesting to explore.
  • Read a book aloud to each other.
  • Plan a movie marathon one afternoon.
  • Go for a walk in the rain.
  • Set up a tent in your bedroom and go camping. ;-)
  • Do something adventurous together–horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking
  • Use our iPhone app, or check out our Date Night questions and pick several to talk over coffee one night.
  • Ask your spouse what they would love to do in the bedroom sexually, and do whatever you can to make it happen.
  • Find ways to compliment your spouse physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. Choose to do one each day of the challenge.
  • Every time you think of your spouse during the day, send them a quick text telling them so.
  • Brush your spouse’s hair, rub their shoulder, massage their feet, whatever non-sexual physical touch your spouse enjoys do it often throughout the challenge.
  • Purpose to put your spouse’s needs and requests at the top of your to-do list.
  • Be intentional in pursuing them like you did when you were dating.
  • Don’t assume you know all their is to know about your spouse. Ask them good questions to understand them on a deeper level.
  • Have fun together and find ways to laugh out loud!

What would you add to the list? Share them so we can encourage each other in our quest to stretch our romantic muscles.

Let’s do this!

Posted in Boredom, Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Overlook

Rhodos

We’re at our cabin this week for the 4th of July with most of our family who will arrive for a long weekend. The mountains are beautiful this time of year, and it’s the first time we’ve actually seen the wild rhododendrons in full bloom adjoining our property since purchasing Barefoot Cabin two years ago. I had begun to think that maybe they didn’t bloom, but was I wrong! They are breathtaking.

If you have ever taken a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway you are regularly greeted with invitations to stop at overlooks on the side of the road.

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

This probably serves two purposes–one, to give you the opportunity to see something you might otherwise miss. And two, get you off the road so you don’t cause an accident when you take your eyes off of the road to see the view you didn’t stop to see. :-)

This made me think about the following verse found in Proverbs 19:11

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. ESV (emphasis mine)

Maybe when we choose to overlook an offense it’s like this…

  • …we act on good sense stopping along the road for the safety of our marriage. Doing so allows us to pause and consider what really matters–it’s our relationship that matters most–not winning the argument.
  • …we are given the opportunity to see something we might have missed if we continued driving full speed ahead into a conflict. How often I have realized that what I thought was intentional on Tom’s part in a conflict was really nothing more than a misunderstanding. Pausing to see and reflect gives us a clearer picture of what we’re facing. And you know what? Most of the time what I discover is so precious it takes my breath away. I come away with a deeper understanding of the man I married and what a gift our differences are to our relationship, not a hindrance.

Have you ever chosen to “overlook” an offense, stopping to appreciate the view on your road of marriage thus far? Or have you experienced the pain of forging ahead holding tightly to your steering wheel determined to white-knuckle your point of view? I have done both, and to be honest the former is the good sense Proverbs is talking about. And I’ve seen some things I’m so grateful I didn’t miss.

What’s the view like on your marriage journey? I encourage you to take those invitations to stop and overlook often. The views are amazing!

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Growing Strong Marriages | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Slow To Speak

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I am married to a man who has learned the wisdom of speaking slowly. It’s not because he’s slow of thinking. In fact, it’s just the opposite. He ponders his thoughts before sharing them with others. And he often chooses not to share what comes to mind because he realizes it isn’t profitable. I want to be more like him.

How I wish I could say the same for many on social media these days, both Christian and non-Christian alike.

The U.S. Supreme Court changed the course of history on Friday of last week when they ruled in favor of homosexual marriage. Ever since, social media sites have been soaked in the colors of the rainbow by those who are for it, and a plethora of words by those who oppose it. I’m sure our readers know where we stand, but you won’t hear us join the fray–at least not yet.

James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Charles Spurgeon had this to say about these verses, and we do well to listen–

“Because it is by the Word that we are begotten: let us be swift to hear it. “Slow to speak,” because there is so much sin in us that the less we speak the better. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. Great talkativeness is seldom dissociated from great sinfulness.”

For now, we are praying…

  • for our nation as it faces unchartered waters
  • for those who believe with all their hearts that this is the freedom for which they have been searching
  • for Christian leaders who must speak on this all-important issue to a mocking world
  • most of all, that God will be glorified in His Church even in the midst of such opposition.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, The Gospel & Marriage, Wisdom in Marriage | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Peeking In Your Bedroom

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No, it’s not what you think. 

What I’m talking about is something to help you and your marriage. It’s not difficult to do and you don’t need to study to figure out how to do it. All you have to do is DO IT.

If I were to visit your home this afternoon and take a peek in your bedroom, what would I find? Would it be free from clutter? A place obviously set aside for the grown-ups in the house. Would it be free from toys? Work? Dust? Is the bed made? Is it inviting?

These are questions we often fail to ask ourselves because our bedrooms become too comfortable, but not necessarily relaxing.

Making Your Space Comfortable AND Relaxing

It’s Summer. The perfect time to work on putting things where they belong. Getting rid of the things that don’t and reclaiming your romantic space. This is your haven, your place of retreat. Why not take some time and make it something you’re proud of? With Pinterest there is no lack of ideas of how to do this on any budget. Once you get started you may be surprised at how easy it is.

The most difficult part of any task is getting started.

So why not start now? Give yourself a deadline by which you want to finish and then, plan a special treat for you and your spouse to celebrate your accomplishment.

Your marriage is worth it. 

Take a minute and let me know if you’re up for the challenge. I’d love to see before and after pictures. Plus, it’s good to have some accountability to help you do what you’ve set out to do.

Meme credit: sayingimages.com

Meme credit: sayingimages.com

Posted in Christian Marriage, Priorities, Romance in Marriage, romanticizing your master bedroom | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Happy Hour

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It’s Friday. It’s 5:00. It’s time for our weekly celebration of all the great marriage content being shared this week. Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive–but it’s full of posts we’ve read and highly endorse. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading for the good of your marriage. And, if you’re a dad–HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! :-)

Hot, Holy and Humorous

  • Dating Advice I Gave Teen Girls<<J does a great job sharing her wisdom with us about this difficult road. If you have teens, or pre-teens even, please read this post! You’ll be glad you did!

My Beloved Is Mine

  • Gamer or Husband?<<If you have time to only read one post on this list–make it THIS ONE! It should be read by all husbands who love video games. Even if you think you have your love under control, take time to read this post! Better yet, ask your wife to read it too, and then have a serious discussion about your own marriage. It’s that important!

One Flesh Marriage

The Generous Husband

  • A Thought On Grumpiness<<We couldn’t agree more with Paul on this one. It’s important to define your terms biblically to understand what the issue is you’re dealing with. Most times grumpy translates to discontent or angry on simmer.

The Generous Wife

  • I’m Buying A New Vent Cover<<Oh, I love this one by Lori! She shares a moment we’ve all experienced and demonstrated to her husband genuine kindness, no venting!

The XY Code

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | 4 Comments

Elisabeth Elliot 1926-2015

Photo Credit: The Gospel Coalition

Photo Credit: The Gospel Coalition

This morning at the age of 88, Elisabeth Elliot went to be with the Lord. Oh to see the reunion of her with her first husband Jim as she tells him what happened with the Auca Indians after his death. Imagine the enjoyment she’s having right this minute, no longer waiting to meet her Savior face-to-face. She is there! Her life and ministry here has ended, yet her legacy will continue through the many books she’s written.

Elisabeth Elliot quotes worth remembering and pondering:

  • “This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way of being constructive.
    Love is not possessive.
    Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
    Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
    Love is not touchy.
    Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
    Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.”
    ― Elisabeth ElliotLet Me Be a Woman
  • “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
  • “When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!”
    ~Jim Elliot”
    The Journals of Jim Elliot
  • “We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.”
  • “I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.”
    ― Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
  • “God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”
  • “Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
  • “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”

If you are unfamiliar with Elisabeth’s story, here is her testimony as told by Steven Curtis Chapman:

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Seasons of Life, Testimonies | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy Hour

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Each week we enjoy sharing with you what other marriage bloggers are posting. The following are our picks for you to read and from which to glean. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and spend time reading this weekend. We’ll see you next week!

Intimacy In Marriage

One Flesh Marriage

  • My Wall Of Shame << Kate shares a very vulnerable post in the hopes of helping other women who are facing a similar experience. Read it and respond as needed.

The Forgiven Wife

The Generous Husband 

  • Lack of Knowledge: The 3 G’s – I love this series because it hits so many points where we all live as husband and wife.
  • Lack of Knowledge: Sex – This one area causes more trouble in marriage and also provides the most opportunity for intimacy in a way no one else can meet.
  • Lack Of Knowledge: Spiritual Things – This post is a MUST READ for all couples. Don’t neglect this above all else!
  • Lack of Knowledge: We Need Others – A perfect way to end this series…Paul says, “A husband or wife with no friend to help them deal with marriage issues is in a dangerous place.” Seek friends, true friends who can help you see things you may be blind to.

The Generous Wife

  • Honor Growth and Change << I love this idea. We all too often focus on the negative and miss the good change that has occurred.

To Love, Honor And Vacuum

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Happy Hour | 2 Comments

Romantic Movie Moments

Photo Credit: Jeff Salz.com

Photo Credit: Jeff Salz.com

Have you ever been enjoying a movie when a scene happens that affects you to the core? 

I have had this happen a few times–they’re called touchstones, where a scene touches a part of your heart and allows you to identify with the scene/words on a deeper level. This is why I love good movies and good music, for that matter. They have a way of helping you see a certain situation, difficult or a blessing, with fresh eyes.

Most of you have read our blog long enough to know that You’ve Got Mail is one of those movies for me. There are so many touchstones that I can’t count them all. I watch this movie at least once a year and usually cry to my heart’s content. I even bought the soundtrack because I love the music!

One song in particular isn’t well known. It plays at the end of the movie while the credits are scrolling, and it’s by far one of my all-time favorite artists, Carole King. The song is titled, Anyone At All, and basically tells our love story. I had been in a long-term relationship that ended unexpectedly after two years. It was the hardest thing I had been through at that time of my life, but it was a God-thing. After four months of heartache and sadness my phone rang one day, and it was just like the song says, “an old friend calling out of the blue! I’m so glad it was YOU!”

That phone call took place 37 years ago this month! And what a gift Tom has been to me. I can’t imagine who I would be if it weren’t for his love and care. And now I can see that the heartache I was experiencing was leading me to the one God had planned for me to marry all along.

It has helped me to see that often the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful views that we would otherwise miss.

Take a few minutes and enjoy this song. I’m so glad Carole King made this video recently, it brings the movie and the song to life! Enjoy…

We’re linked with Messy Marriage’s Wedded Wednesday.

Posted in Testimonies, Thankfulness | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment