What a Black and Blue Dress Can Teach Us About Marriage

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As most of you are probably aware, social media is ablaze with a debate about whether this dress white and gold or black and blue? Ask everyone near your computer and you’ll most likely get both answers.

How.is.this.possible?

It’s a matter of perception based on how God created you to see things. I hadn’t heard about it until some good friends of ours posted on FB that they needed a marriage counselor with the hashtags #blackandblue #thedress #sheswrong. Of course, with such a desperate plea, I had to check into it, and what a debate!

It seemed at first to be a clever marketing ploy of the dress manufacturer to get their product going viral. But in all honesty, this has taken the dress maker, Roman Originals, completely by surprise.

So why is it some people see a black and blue dress and others see it as white and gold? I could go into the scientific explanation for you, but I’ll leave that to the experts–click here if you really want to know. What I’d like to highlight is how to handle such a conflict.

What do you do when you see the opposite side of a conflict with your spouse?

  • Do you dig your heels in and demand agreement or no peace will be reached?
  • Do you try to see the situation the way your spouse does?
  • Do you cower and pretend your view doesn’t matter at all?
  • Do you pretend you see it the way your spouse does and don’t tell them what you see?

I think most couples if they’re honest, will say they’ve used all four options at one time or another. And hopefully as the years pass you’ve come to realize the wisest and most biblical way to approach a disagreement is the second option–try to see the situation the way your spouse does.

Tom and I have learned that we grow in our understanding of each other and the world around us if we take the time to look at life from the other’s perspective. It can be a gift or a curse, depending on how we view our differences.

What it comes down to is this–there are some things in marriage that are non-negotiable. There is a right way and wrong way {period}, and you must come to a resolve over these issues. This is why we believe pre-marital counseling is so important. Asking yourself and your fiancé’ what those non-negotiables are and then agreeing about them will make the hard work of marriage much easier.

As the year’s have passed I have come to enjoy seeing many things from Tom’s perspective rather than my own–like how I keep our home. He grew up in a very ordered home, where there was a place for everything. I grew up in a home that was more “casual” as I liked to call it. Tom would call it messy. I have learned to keep our house in a way that is comfortable to both of us, but for us it has never been a non-negotiable. We are flexible, which is always a good quality.

What areas are hot spots right now for you and your spouse? How has that affected the peace in your home? Are they negotiable?  If so, maybe it’s time to agree to disagree then kiss and make-up. Because it doesn’t really matter if the dress is black and blue or white and gold as long as you are together and get to enjoy a date night out on the town.

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What Marriage Is And Isn’t To Us

Photo Credit: kenareashenaei.blogfa.com

Photo Credit: kenareashenaei.blogfa.com

Today is our 36th anniversary–3 dozen years! It’s been quite the journey, and we couldn’t be more grateful to God who has made it all possible.

In 36 years we’ve learned about what marriage is and what it isn’t. If it were possible, we would love to have you over to our home, put on a pot of coffee or hot tea and sit in our kitchen talking about what we’ve learned all these years. We would love to help you see the big picture of marriage and not just what you’re facing today. We would love to encourage you on all the reasons it’s worth the effort. But this isn’t possible. So, we’ve decided to do the next best thing–have you fix your own beverage of choice, find a comfortable seat and listen in as we share with you what we’ve learned in the hopes of helping you stay the course for a lifetime.

At the end of this post we’ve added a form we would like for you to fill out. We started collecting the anniversary month and years of our readers. We believe each anniversary is to be celebrated, for it’s proof that marriage can and does last a lifetime. Won’t you take a moment to share your anniversary with us? And then, follow us on Facebook where each month we do a shout out to all the couples celebrating their years together that month. It’s a small way to make a big statement–Marriage Works!

And now for our list…

What Marriage Isn’t:

  • It isn’t a place for selfishness to grow.
  • It isn’t two separate people co-habiting.
  • It isn’t something to take lightly.
  • It isn’t easily disposed of.
  • It isn’t permission to treat another in an unbiblical way.
  • It isn’t the place where you can share your thoughts without regard for how it will affect your spouse.
  • It isn’t a relationship to be shared with another.
  • It isn’t an inconvenience when the road becomes difficult.
  • It isn’t for quitters.
  • It isn’t about your happiness only.
  • It isn’t for the immature.
  • It isn’t for self-gratification.
  • It isn’t for trying it out to see if it works.
  • It isn’t for the children alone.
  • It isn’t a bond that should ever be severed, unless in the case of unfaithfulness or abuse.

What Marriage Is:

  • It’s a covenant between one man and one woman to live together for the purpose of procreation and to honor and glorify God.
  • It’s a mirror of Christ’s love for the church.
  • It’s knowing you have a partner to help you navigate every road life sends your way.
  • It’s being committed to one person more than anyone else you know.
  • It’s having one person to show your affection and love
  • It’s being known fully and knowing another completely without shame.
  • It’s learning to be transparent in all areas–no secrets.
  • It’s having someone who will pray for you as if their life depended on it.
  • It’s covenant–a promise made to God before witnesses that you are in this for the long haul.
  • It’s a privilege to be named among those who have gone before you and make your mark as to what marriage looks like to all those coming after you.
  • It’s a responsibility to be faithful to every word you said on your wedding day.
  • It’s a duty, but one that brings the most delight.
  • It’s friendship in the truest sense of the word. Having a friend who loves you for who you are, not what you do.
  • It’s being sexually active with one person for as long as you both shall live.
  • It’s enjoying being naked and not ashamed.
  • It’s believing the best about your spouse, even when they’ve let you down.
  • It’s helping your spouse believe the best about themselves when they’ve forgotten.
  • It’s making plans for the future and allowing each other to dream big dreams.
  • It’s having a family together and raising them in the knowledge and fear of God.
  • It’s making the most of the time we’ve been given in life in ways that count for eternity.
  • It’s where the miracle happens–two people become one.

 

Posted in Celebrations, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Purpose, Seasons of Life, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day

Sometimes there are parts of movies that stay with you forever. The following clip is one such movie…May you have a wonderful life night. ;-)

And when you finish watching this clip…enjoy this new song by JJ Heller and her husband. Such a sweet song about real life and life-long marriage.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Valentine's Day

Everyday Romance – Life Giving Words

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Today’s idea was founded centuries ago when men of old were writing letters of encouragement to other brothers and sisters in Christ. What they didn’t know was how the Holy Spirit was infusing every Word with the life-giving power of The Gospel.  Such a gift we have been given in The Holy Bible.

Have you ever considered using the words of Scripture to romance your spouse? Is that an idea that is foreign to you? It shouldn’t be because marriage, love and romance were God’s idea in the first place. He loves it when we love each other completely and without shame. He loves it when we “encourage one another day after day as long as it is called today.”

Following are some Bible verses and prayers for you to share with your spouse today to encourage their walk with Christ. You can e-mail them the entire list, or only the ones that are particularly meaningful to you. You could write them out in your Valentine card, or you could text them. However you choose to communicate your love through God’s Word, we pray you will do so. These verses are just the start…

  • “Love is patient,” and I thank God for the patience you have shown me through the years. In return, I pray you will sense His patience with you and the areas where you feel you are falling short. God has promised He will complete the work He’s begun in you.
  • “Love is kind,” and I thank God for allowing me to be on the receiving end of your daily kindnesses to me. What a gift your love is, and I will never tire of telling you so.
  • “Love rejoices with the truth,” and I thank God for giving me an honest partner with whom to walk this journey. Your honesty has propelled my own, both with you and with God. Thank you for being transparent and helping me to be the same.
  • “Love bears all things,” and I thank God for how you listen to my troubles and help me carry the load by praying for and with me. But most important of all you lift my eyes to see Christ at work in me–in us–and it gives me the faith I need to take the next step of obedience.
  • “Love believes all things,” and I thank God that you have believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. You have helped me keep my dreams alive, and I know that when I see them fulfilled you’ll be my biggest fan. Thank you for also believing the best about me even when I gave you reason to doubt. You are not only my spouse, but my dearest friend.
  • “Love hopes all things,” and I thank God for the hope that lives within us. It is the hope that what we do everyday in our home, in our work, in our marriage matters for eternity. I pray you will be filled with hope today in all that is on your to-do list. And most importantly I pray you will sense the hope of the Gospel. It is the reason we do what we do, and I’m grateful.
  • “Love endures all things,” and I thank God that even when we’ve walked through difficult and dark paths, you were right there with me, holding my hand. I know that all we face in life is ordained by a loving God who cares for us. I see His care most clearly when I see you committed to walk with me day after day, year after year, no matter what it is we’re facing. Thank you for choosing US.
  • “Love never fails,” and I thank God that I am confident you will never leave me. You have proven your commitment to our marriage vows years after year, and I pray you have felt the same from me. Our love will last because of the lasting love we’ve been given in Christ. His love is eternal, and it’s only by His power at work in us, to change us from one degree of glory to another, that we can be confident of this. Thank you for loving me when it wasn’t easy to do so. Thank you for your unfailing love.

If one or more of the above stand out to you and makes you want to dig deeper, we’ve provided links to longer posts when we did our series on 1 Corinthians 13 titled, Love Is…

What Bible verses has God used in your marriage to encourage you both? 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Encouraging Your Spouse, Growing Strong Marriages, Holidays, Love is, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, Spiritual Intimacy, The Gospel & Marriage, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Everyday Romance – How Sweet It Is

Photo Credit: Enchanting Quotes blog

Photo Credit: Enchanting Quotes blog

Today’s idea is another one that is easy to do, but will hopefully leave a lasting impression on your spouse’s mind and heart. 

Have you ever thought about the names of the candies sold in stores? They provide a great springboard for romantic/sexy messages to give to your sweetie. Not sure what I mean? Check out the following list, then choose one or several to pick up today as a tangible love note for your spouse. This is a gift they’ll enjoy today and tomorrow! I’ll let you interpret what each candy means… ;-)

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Once you’ve selected your candies, write a note that uses the candy names in it. Or to make it a bit more fun you can number the candy bars with a black sharpie and insert the candy number in the love note, so they have to look at the candies to see what it is you’re saying to them.

You could also take these candy bars and put them in a bouquet if you’re feeling motivated to go the extra mile. Click the picture below for detailed instructions on how to make a professional quality candy bouquet using a coffee mug as a container.

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We hope this idea is one you’ll try. Let us know how it goes too! We love to hear how God is helping you romance your spouse in creative ways.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day Eve, and we’ll offer one more idea for you to try. Until then, keep those home fires burning. Here’s a live performance for you to enjoy…

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Romance, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, romanticizing your master bedroom, Sexual Intimacy, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Everyday Romance – Remember When

Graphic Credit: Alan Jackson lyrics

Graphic Credit: Alan Jackson lyrics

Today’s challenge is short and sweet–Find a picture from one of your favorite times together. Take some time to write out what you loved most about this time in your history.

To Help You

Think of what you were doing that day, what your were thinking, how you were feeling, and what you remember most and why. Your spouse may be surprised at the things that meant the most to you.

Take the photo and send it to them either through e-mail, text or private message on Facebook. Or place it on the dash of their car, on their pillow, or under their plate at dinner.

The following song by Alan Jackson is titled, Remember When, and celebrates the blessing it is to have someone through the years with whom to remember all the seasons of life.

Come back tomorrow for another idea to help you make the most of your love this Valentine’s Day.

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Holidays, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, Seasons of Life, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Everyday Romance – Hidden Notes

Photo credit: blendingbeautiful.com

Photo credit: blendingbeautiful.com

Today’s romantic challenge is to write a group of notes to your spouse telling them something specific in stages and hiding them where you know they’ll find them. Or you can give them the first one that provides a hint where to find the next one and so on, until all the notes have been found.

♥ One idea is to copy the stanzas of a poem on separate notes that share your thoughts toward your love. Here is a list from which to choose:

♥ Another idea is to start with a note that compliments their head, next their neck, next their shoulders (husband), breasts (wife), and continue down until you end with a note you’ve written for them to find in your underwear (the ones you’re wearing) Use a sticky note, or write on your skin. You’ll have your spouse anticipating that last note at the end of the day. You could even incorporate the childhood song: the head bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone… for a fun way to lead them to where you want them to go. :-)

♥ You could also take a picture of the two of you and cut it into 7 large puzzle pieces. Take this poem, by Alexandra Garfield (I’ve re-written to fit from one spouse to another) and write one line on the back of each piece. Then, hide each piece for them to find throughout the day.

Do you realize how blessed we are?
We may have our problems
But we fit together
Like what one is lacking is made up by the other
Some force their love like mismatched puzzle pieces
But we are blessed
We fit

Let’s practice fitting our pieces together? ;-)

♥ You could celebrate the senses and write a note telling them how your love affects each of your senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Then let the last note be an invitation with a blindfold to play Blindman’s Bluff that night.

We’ll post our next idea tomorrow at 6:00a. so you can have time to do it. Most of all–have fun. That’s one of the benefits of lasting love, being able to ENJOY each other completely and without shame.

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , ,

Everyday Romance – Romantic Text

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Valentine’s Day is Saturday. You may be giddy with excitement; you may be dreading another expectation on your horizon; or you may be indifferent and could care less. Whatever your mindset, the fact is–you are married; you love your spouse; and hopefully you enjoy making them smile. We want to encourage you to make the most of the time you’ve been given to love your spouse well.

We would like to offer a little inspiration for you this year. Each day this week we’re going to provide a post that will provide a way to make your spouse smile that day. They won’t be difficult or expensive, just thoughtful ways to let your spouse know how you feel towards them.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:

TEXT YOUR SPOUSE A HEART-FELT SENTIMENT

Choose one or more from the list below:

  • This week I’m purposing to show you in specific ways how much your love means to me. This is just the start. (Follow with another text from the list below).
  • If I could do it all over again, I would still choose you.
  • Please let me know what I did to deserve you…I want to make sure I keep on doing it. Love you.
  • I thank God for making the two of us one. I’m a better me with you.
  • I love you so much. No matter where our lives take us I will always be by your side. XOXO
  • And there ain’t no nothing we can’t love each other through. What would we do baby, without us?
  • Life is full of romance, passion and surprises, but it would mean nothing without you by my side.
  • Thank you for giving me the strength I need to walk this road. I can’t imagine life without you–grateful I don’t have to.
  • You are my sunshine my only sunshine. Your voice brightens my day and lightens my load. Thank you.
  • I love you in the morning, in the middle of the day, in the hours we are together, and the hours we are apart. xoxo
  • You are my partner and best friend, and I’m grateful to live life by your side.
  • Good morning beautiful/handsome. Have an amazing day. I love you.
  • Oh so lucky to have you. => You and me tonight. ;)
  • You’ve seen me at my best and my worst, yet love me anyway. It’s awesome to be your (nickname/husband/wife).
  • The moon is beautiful tonight, and it made me think of you.
  • Hey (nickname) Can’t wait to kiss you when we see each other later today. Love you.
  • I’m having one of those days that make me realize how lost I’d be without you… Just wanted to let you know. Love you (nickname).
  • Love inspires me to live life with you as we were meant to: with truth, passion, romance, and intimacy. XOXO
  • The shortest word I know is “I”. The sweetest word I know is “LOVE”. And the person I never forget is “YOU”.
  • Sex is awesome, but it’s the emotional, spiritual, & physical intimacy we have that makes it mind blowing!
  • Good morning beautiful/handsome! Can’t wait to set my eyes on you again tonight.
  • I’m thinking about when you wear __________ as it totally turns me on!
  • Our love is like a fine wine, as it ages it just gets better & better.
  • I don’t say it often enough, but I want you to know that I love you.
  • Remember that place where we had sex…(insert place)? I kind of want to go there again. ;)

(Thanks to One Extraordinary Marriage for providing much of this list.)

NOTE: If you haven’t made plans for Saturday yet, check out our monthly post on the Engaged Marriage blog today–it’s titled, Dinner and a Movie–It’s Not What You Think. This post is part of the CMBA Challenge to write a post about date night ideas. valch

Posted in Date Night Ideas, Growing Strong Marriages, Holidays, Movie Dates, Romance in Marriage, romancing your spouse, Romantic Ideas, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Can We Talk?

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Last night at our small group meeting a couple shared something they had recently gone through that they thought would be helpful to the rest of us. It was. It provided a spring board for an entire evening of dialogue. I won’t go into the details, but the main part of the story was how this couple was having a great night out together. The conversation had been good, and they both enjoyed themselves very much.

But then the test came.

A heated incident occurred which sent them both reeling down a familiar path including outbursts of anger and lack of self-control. They went from “we’re doing great,” to “have we not changed at all?!” in less than 60 seconds. Their immediate impulse was to succumb to the discouragement and sulk in their defeat.

But then grace came.

It came rushing in like a flood and within minutes they remembered how far they had come. This was a test, reminding them of who they were before the grace of God rescued them from their own sin. This was an attack of the enemy of their souls trying to get them to think they hadn’t changed a bit. But they both knew they had. This is what made the fall feel bigger than it was. The truth is, it wasn’t a fall at all; It was more like a faulty step that threw them both off balance.

But God caught them in the midst of the stumble and helped them stay standing.

We’ve all experienced nights like these. Conflict comes out of no where and what was once a pleasurable evening becomes heated and leaves us discouraged. All of the couples in the room shared similar conflicts. The guys related to the anger over the situation. The girls related to the anger at the husbands for getting so angry. It became a bit of a “yeah, we know just what you mean,” scenario.

Then, one husband spoke truth. He said, “There comes a point where we have to stop and realize what we’re lacking is the Fruit of the Spirit. And we can’t just say, this is who I am to our wives and let them deal with the outcome. No, we must go after our own reactions and ask for God to help us grow and change. We need the Holy Spirit to mold us into the image of Christ.”

We couldn’t agree with him more! Once all the “atta boys” were done high-fiving, attempting to make a tense conversation seem more casual and light-hearted, I said,

“Can I ask a question? Do you ever go back after such conflict and talk about what happened? Do you ask your spouse what you could have done differently in that situation to have helped them not react the way they did?”

We continued talking about how easy it is to never go back because you’re afraid you’ll just bring up the conflict and things will repeat as they did. This too is a lie from the enemy. Going back and talking about it is where growth and change takes place. It’s by being objective and looking back where we see how we tripped.

The hope is that next time, maybe–just maybe we’ll see the familiar trap and by the strength God provides avoid it at all costs. 

Have you ever experienced an unexpected conflict that left you both dumbfounded at how you got there? Did you take the time and go back to talk about what happened? We encourage you to consider doing so. Realize though, it takes a mature commitment to growth and change in your marriage in order for this type of conversation to be fruitful, but this is how marriages grow. Ignoring the issues won’t make them go away, they’ll only fester and spread.

So, when was the last time you asked your spouse, “Can we talk?”

This post is featured on…

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Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

On Guard For Good

Graphic Credit: www.singsnap.com

Graphic Credit: http://www.singsnap.com

We recently went to see the movie Unbroken, and unfortunately got there in time to see the previews of upcoming films. We were shocked to see the trailer to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey, rated R, which is set to release on Valentine’s Day, being previewed in a film that is rated PG-13. I am one who is affected visually, so I have to guard strongly the things I let myself see. Needless to say, I closed my eyes through most of the trailer. What is appalling to me is the fact that 13 year old children can legally see this preview and be drawn into the web of sensuality and BDSM by their own curiosity. In much the same way young boys and girls are drawn into pornography via the internet. Not to mention the adverse effect this movie could have on struggling marriages.

This brings up the need for us to sound the alarm once again!

We have already covered the many reasons we strongly disapprove of this book’s–and now this movie’s–message. Read Stop Grey From Becoming The New Black And White. We’ve also written a positive antidote to this movie’s message in a series we did titled 50 Shades of Grace in Marriage. Click the picture to read…

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We love marriage. We love God.

We desire to our children and grandchildren grow up to embrace a life-long commitment to love and cherish their spouse. We pray daily that they will grow to love God with all of their heart, mind and spirit. It is a legacy to which we are committed for as long as we will live.

What about you? Have you given much thought to the danger of such movies and/or books? We pray you will think long and hard about it. The future health of the church as well as our culture depends on it.

If you would like to see a movie on Valentine’s Day we recommend a new Indie film titled, Old Fashioned. We watched the trailer, and it didn’t even make me close my eyes. It celebrates what true love looks like in a relationship, and looks like it will be an enjoyable movie.  Click here to watch it yourself. :-)

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Showing Honor | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Are You Free To Do This In Your Home?

 

It is greatly needed in every home, yet oftentimes life gets so serious that months can go by and we haven’t even thought about it much less found a reason to do it. But we encourage you to find venues to help you do this every day!

We are talking about…

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That said, do we have a treat for you–especially the wives/moms who read our blog! We want to introduce you to a young mom, who happens to be a good friend of our daughter’s in GA, who writes an amazingly funny blog called…

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Her name is Jordan Watts. She will tell you stories from her own life that will make you cry tears of sympathy (or empathy if you’ve experienced similar circumstances), joy and unbelievable laughter–the kind that makes your belly ache. Her writing is par-excellence, and once you read her posts you will anxiously look forward to the next one, at least I do.

But her posts are more than just hilarious; they are full of lessons with which we can all relate.

I’ve selected five of my favorites below to make it easier for you to find the best of the best. Her desire is to reach as many people as she can to help them laugh and learn in the midst of trying situations. Every story has a lesson, and Jordan does this well as you’ll see.

The Day I Was Banned From Chick-Fil-A << This post has gone viral–read it and you’ll understand why. This is my favorite of the five!

Silent Night? << This post will cause anyone who has given birth to remember and wince at the memories, but the lesson Jordan brings home at the end will cause you to think of Christmas in a fresh, real way.

Unplug << Talks about the need to not only get away with your spouse on a regular basis, but to unplug as well.

Awkward Family Double Takes << This one is a brilliant idea as a gift for grandparents who have more than one child. You’ll have to check it out to see what I mean.

Wax On, Wax Off << Be warned, this post is a bit more graphic (and hilarious!), suited best for the ladies. However, the lesson Jordan learned makes this one of my favorite posts.

To end my introduction to you of Jordan Watts, there is no better way than for you to see her in action. Check out her latest venture–a self-produced and written parody about when your family gets the flu. Hilarious! Warning on this one…you’ll be singing the song the rest of the day, but with that will come more laughter making it worth it. Right? ;-)

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, humor, Parenting, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Kind Are You? Does It Matter?

Today is our monthly post on the Engaged Marriage blog. This month’s title is…The Role Kindness Plays In Romance. I’d love for you to click over and read about what God has been saying to me recently in regard to this Fruit Of The Spirit.

 

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Fruits of the Spirit, Romance, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , , ,

Time To Trade In Your Old Marriage For A New One?

This is how we treat our cars, our furniture, our things. But it isn’t how we are to treat our marriage.

Tom and I will soon celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. We’ve been through many seasons–newlyweds, becoming parents, home-ownership, raising three children (including one miscarriage), homeschooling, church planting, small group leadership in our church, small business owners, becoming in-laws, becoming grandparents, saying goodbye (in this life) to terminal parents (Debi’s), caring for elderly relatives, practicing retirement. You name it, we’ve most likely experienced it. The only thing still on the horizon that we’ve yet to go through is old age, and it seems more real than ever lately.

Maybe it’s because it’s the start of a new year. 2015! How can it be that we’re already 15 years into the 21st Century? Time does seem to fly.

We can remember as if it were yesterday the Y2K craze. We were cautious, but not overly ridiculous about the switch from one millennia to the next. Tom was sharing with a friend yesterday how his biggest mistake was buying a very expensive phone system for our business because he was told they wouldn’t work when the calendar switched from 12.31.1999 to 01.01.2000. They were wrong, but we were the ones out the money. It was a lesson we learned, but hopefully won’t have to experience again in our lifetime.

Fear always makes us think irrationally. It takes us to the worst-case scenario causing us to respond in panic, not common sense. Fear is not to be trusted. Fear is our enemy and destroyer. Who, by fear, ever saved themselves? Fear robs us of today because it paralyzes our every thought, word and deed.

Back to the thought of experiencing old age. As young couples or middle-aged couples it’s easy to look at those older than you and think growing old is romantic and sweet. But there’s nothing sweet about our bodies wearing out. There’s nothing romantic about “when death do us part.” Just watch The Notebook and see how difficult it is to let go of a lifelong love.

Why do I bring this up? Because we do well to consider these facts. Ignoring them doesn’t make time stand still. In fact, it makes time seem to go faster. We need to be intentional with everyday, every moment that God gives us together. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. Our marriage is precious and so is our time on this earth.

Are you feeling like it’s time to trade in how you’ve been living to embrace something new? Then, we encourage you to seek The Lord while He may be found. He is the One who created us and breathed life into our souls. It is for Him that we live on this earth. Our marriage, our spouse is a gift to be enjoyed. But God is the only One who will never leave us. This is a promise we can cling to when facing fearful times.

Marriage is good–so good! But our relationship with God is to be foremost above all others. He will lead and guide us into the new year and into all the seasons of marriage yet to come–one step at a time.

It’s not a new marriage we need, but a new way of looking at our marriage and at each other.

“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Lessons From An Unbroken Man

Movie poster by www.imdb.com214

Movie poster by http://www.imdb.com214

You’ve most likely heard about the new movie, Unbroken, based on the true-life story of Louis Zamperini. What you may not know is that his story is not only one of survival, but of forgiveness.

Louis said that hatred does more damage to the one who hates than anyone else.

It is a disease that will destroy relationships.

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Mr. Zamperini was ill-treated and brutally beaten for two long years. Yet, when he got home he realized that he needed to let go of the past in order to embrace the future. This “letting go” required him to travel back to Japan to tell his former captors that he had forgiven them for what they had done. His forgiveness wasn’t dependent on their apology. I don’t know if they ever admitted wrong to him, but he knew it was necessary for him to forgive.

I’ve heard it said that if we’ve been wrongly treated and the person hasn’t come to us to ask our forgiveness, our responsibility is to get to the place where if they did ask, we would be able to forgive them. We must posture our hearts to forgive, and in so doing it releases us from the damaging effects of harboring bitterness and hatred in our hearts.

I realize that during the Christmas season there are many families who deal with issues that are difficult to face. If there is unforgiveness it is nearly impossible to ignore. It screams in your mind of all the reasons you are justified in how you feel. But these thoughts hurt no one as much as they hurt you.

Hatred and bitterness paralyze, which in essence prevents you from moving on with your life. 

Louis passed away this year at the age of 97. He believed God kept him alive so that he could see his story told by both author (Laura Hillenbrand) and director (Anglina Jolie). His life impacted theirs forever. And their lives impacted his. Forgiveness has a way of spreading healing to all who encounter it.

Photo Credit: olympictalk.nbcsports.com

Photo Credit: olympictalk.nbcsports.com

In 2015, let’s purpose to walk in forgiveness. It’s a choice, and if Louis Zamperini can forgive the horrific prison guards who so violated him, certainly there’s a place for forgiveness in our hearts towards those who have wronged us.

NOTE: If you are in a physically abusive relationship, we are in no way condoning an acceptance of this at all! We encourage you to seek refuge and help.

Finally, I invite you to take a few minutes and listen to this excellent interview where Mr. Zamperini tells his story. It’s heart-warming and inspiring. Great motivation for the start of this new year.

Happy New Year!

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

It’s Complicated

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You may wonder what I’m talking about with the title of today’s post. Actually, I’m talking about life.

We have been in an extended season of change and challenges. There are no easy answers, only learning to adjust to a new normal, while waiting for unresolved issues to find their solution. In the meantime, my emotions don’t take a backseat. In fact, I feel as if they’ve taken over the wheel completely, leaving me breathless and exhausted. If you’re like me, you are tempted to imagine what could happen, before all the facts are known. This is never good to do. It leads to all sorts of fears and worries. It’s true…

Life is complicated.

I mentioned to Tom the other day that it felt like I didn’t have the grace to go through this. That’s when he said something profound–like a nugget of Truth hitting me right where my heart was hurting, bringing needed relief–He said, “You don’t have the grace to go through this because you’re not going through anything yet. God provides grace in your time of need, and you’re imagining the worst case scenario, instead of trusting God for the unknowns.

It was something I knew, but was having trouble remembering.

Tom spoke the truth to me in love in the moment when I needed to hear it, and I was helped.

What complicated situations are you facing today? Are you allowing your spouse to walk with you through the unknowns? Or are you tempted to pull away?

I encourage you to let them speak to your weary heart. Give them access to the painful places, and see how it draws your hearts closer together.

If this is an area you struggle with in your relationship, being vulnerable enough to let your spouse know the weak and hurting places, then I encourage you strongly to get outside help. There is a rich treasure in cultivating such a safe and loving relationship with your spouse. They have the ability to speak Truth to you when your heart is being tempted to think otherwise.

Posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Difficulty | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours!

Posted in Christian Marriage

What’s The Romantic Temperature In Your Home?

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Every month (the second Monday) we are featured on the Engaged Marriage blog. Our topic is romance in marriage. Following is this month’s post…

If marriage is like a house, then romance is the central air and heat.

Think about it. A marriage can make it without romance–many couples have proven this fact, just as you can live in a house without central air and heat. It may be do-able, but it certainly won’t be as enjoyable.

When things get difficult in your life–trouble with work, children, schooling, relationships–it’s nice to know your spouse is there to let you vent about the struggle. It’s even better if your spouse plans something special, romantic even, to help you get your mind off the trouble at hand.

Romance is NOT foreplay, but it can be.

Any husband or wife, who is using romance as a way to get what they want in the bedroom, is abusing this very special gift.

Romance is like a comfortable chair in your favorite room of the house. It feels right.

Romance has the ability to cool a heated situation or heat up your relationship when the air has chilled.

Romance is something you share with your spouse alone. No one else has the privilege of romancing you, and vice versa.

Do you see romance as more of a privilege or an obligation?

How you answer this question is key to how successful showing romance to your spouse will be. (Read more…)

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Romance, Romance in Marriage | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Christmas Infused Marriage

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Infusion is a popular term used today in regards to the craft of making a good cup of tea. It’s the process of steeping to promote strength and character. 

I love to look up the definition of words from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. He was the first person in the New World to commit to recording the definitions of the words used at the time using the Bible as his primary source. It is a rich resource that gives deeper meaning to words that have lost their original definition in our culture.

Infusion is one such word. Take a look at the modern definition:

: the addition of something (such as money) that is needed or helpful

: a drink made by allowing something (such as tea) to stay in a liquid (such as hot water) : a drink made by infusing something

: the act of infusing something

Now look at how Mr. Webster defined it nearly 200 years ago:

INFU’SION, n. s as z. The act of pouring in or instilling; instillation; as the infusion of good principles into the mind; the infusion of ardor or zeal. 

How can Christmas infuse your marriage with greater ardor or zeal? It’s simple really, but something you may not have considered.

Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ. He entered our world, clothed in humanity to embrace our limitations. He experienced life as we do, yet because He was God, He lived without sin. It was His life, death and resurrection that has opened the way for us to know God in a way we couldn’t before Christ appeared. God is holy. Only those who are holy can approach His throne without fear. If you belong to Christ, then you have an open door of access to the Father. What a gift!

How does this Truth effect our marriage? It makes it possible for two sinners to love another in the same way Christ has loved us. He takes two separate individuals and makes them one flesh. No longer do we live for our own interests and pursue our selfish desires, but our heart and mind find great enjoyment in seeing our spouse blessed and loved.

A marriage infused by Christmas is strong and able to withstand the difficulties along the way.

  • It is able to forgive when sinned against.
  • It is able to serve when tired.
  • It is able to love when the feelings have waned.
  • It is able to pursue the good of another at great sacrifice to your own desires.
  • It is able to humbly admit when you’ve sinned and ask for forgiveness.
  • It is able to give and give and give, even when you don’t feel like it.

Best of all, a marriage that has been infused by Christmas, shines like the Star of Bethlehem over your relationship. Others see the way you love each other and notice. Others are surprised by the affection that exists between you two. They make comments which point to the strength your relationship with Christ has secured. They may not realize why your marriage stands strong in a culture where marriage isn’t valued, but you know why it is so.

And when this happens all glory goes to God in the Highest. He is exalted when we let His Word, His Son, His power shine brightly through our relationship. We are jars of clay, and left to ourselves would be worthless. But when Christ entered our world and won our hearts, the impossible became possible. Suddenly worthless objects had eternal value.

It is our privilege to make much of Christ at Christmastime and all year long. If you know Christ and love Him He will infuse your marriage with strength and hope that will satisfy and glorify Him for a lifetime.

How has Christmas infused your marriage in specific ways? Spend some time this evening talking about it with your spouse over a hot cup of infused tea.

Posted in Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Do You Know How To Dad?

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Face it, a big part of marriage involves raising kids. They have a way of consuming all of our time and energy, if we let them. This is why priorities must be established in order to keep our marriages strong and healthy during the child-rearing years.

There will be a day when our kids are grown and move away. Every mom tears up when she considers this thought. Every dad shutters when he considers walking his daughter down the aisle to place her hand in another’s. This is life. It slows down for no one, but it is perfectly measured so we can find the rhythm and walk with purpose and stride–confident that what we do each day matters.

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I recently discovered a video that celebrates what being a Dad looks like in very practical, everyday sort of ways. It’s powerful, fun, will make you laugh, but most importantly will make you think. It may even make you want to run out and buy a box of Peanut Butter Cheerios just to support this great commercial!

Do you know how to dad? This guy gets it…

Forward this post to all the dads you know, and thank them for their willingness to be all this and more. Let’s celebrate the men who know how to dad!

#howtodad

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

Happy Thanksgiving

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Six of our seven grandchildren. The littlest one was sleeping. We are thankful to God for the joy they bring to our lives.

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Posted in Christian Marriage | 4 Comments