The Many Faces Of Empty

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Source: Anthony Ianniciello

Empty.

It’s a funny word when you say it by itself. It sounds like two letters of the alphabet “M” and “T”. I don’t know about you, but it’s a word I use often, and it has many faces. Think about it…

  • Empty is how my bed feels when Tom is out of town on business.
  • Empty is how my stomach feels when I haven’t planned dinner because of too many distractions.
  • Empty is how my wallet stays most times.
  • Empty is how my arms felt when we had a miscarriage early on in our marriage.
  • Empty is how my gas tank becomes more often than I’d like to admit.
  • Empty is what Tom does to our garbage twice a week–I’m grateful, so grateful he doesn’t need to be reminded for this one.

But there’s one “empty” we haven’t experienced in our home in over 33 years. It’s one we’ve heard others lament over and one we’ve been reluctant to experience. What empty are we talking about?

Our youngest daughter moved out this month, and we are officially EMPTY nesters. 

I’m filled with such a mixture of emotions.

  • I’m sad that she no longer comes through our door at night, but I’m happy she has the joy and fun of setting up her own place with a friend.
  • I’m sad I don’t get to see her as often, but I’m happy she calls me on a regular basis–and she texts!
  • I’m sad the time of having children in our home is over, but I’m happy she has become such a godly woman in her own right. (The goal of parenting, right?)
  • I’m sad to see her room empty, but I’m happy to have more space to welcome others into our home to stay for a night or a week.
  • I’m sad to no longer cook for three, but I’m happy I get to cook for two.
  • I’m sad if I dwell on me and how her move affects me–but I’m happy when I focus on her and how good this is for her.

So, another major life change has occurred in our home, and God is helping me see it as a good change.because.it.is! One thing that has never been empty since the day we said, I do, and that is our hearts. God has filled us with more of Himself as well as His good gifts to us than we could have ever imagined.

We are grateful to be filled with such goodness, such mercy, such kindness, as what God has given us in Christ.

Now it’s time to go cook dinner–for two!  Woo Hoo!

This song has been on my heart all day…

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Open Nest, Seasons of Life, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Summer Post Roundup

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Summer is almost upon us, and you’re most likely dreaming of things to do to make this year special. One thing is sure–if you don’t plan a great Summer, it will be gone before you can blink. Planning is essential to success.

We’ve shared lots of ideas through the years since we’ve been blogging, so why not round-up some of our best Summer Ideas for your convenience? Following are some of our favorite posts about Summer and Vacations. We pray you’ll take some time to read them all and consider your own plans…

  1. Hello To Summer Date Night
  2. Making Vacations Memorably Romantic 1
  3. Making Vacations Memorably Romantic 2
  4. Summer Sizzlin’ Date Ideas
  5. Expect-cations
  6. Unpacking For Vacation
  7. Let’s Take A Walk
  8. The Romantic Gourmet Date Night Idea
  9. Boredom Breakers
  10. 7-11 Date Night Idea – You can do this one any date of the year. :-)

Let us know what you think. And if you have ideas of your own, please share them with us! Variety is the spice of life-right?

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Happy Hour

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I know we haven’t provided a Happy Hour post in a long time. I’ve missed taking time to read what other marriage bloggers are saying–and you know what? There’s some really good Truth being shared. So…here’s to your weekend. Grab your favorite drink and spend time reading these excellent posts.

HOT, HOLY AND HUMOROUS

  • A Romance Book You Can Read – Summer is fast approaching and finding good books to read is a top priority. Check out J’s new offering with a fresh twist.

INTIMACY IN MARRIAGE

JOURNEY TO SURRENDER

  • The Gift Of As You Wish – Love this idea from Jenni Means, Scott’s wife. We don’t hear from her often–so when we do, it’s worth reading. She has a gift for showing her husband love and honor that’s worth emulating!

ONE FLESH MARRIAGE

  • My Husband, My Jesus – Kate provides a healthy reminder about the difference between the two loves of our lives.

THE GENEROUS HUSBAND

THE GENEROUS WIFE

  • What I’m Reading And More – I love how Lori shares her life in such a transparent and real way. She is busy, and what’s she’s doing matters. This is a great reminder for us as well. God is in the details of all our days.
  • Kindness Got Your Tongue? – The title says it all!

The XY Code

  • Sex With A Man Over 25 – Paul of the XY Code is the same as Paul of The Generous Husband. He offers helpful information for all men (and their wives) who are growing older and what to expect. Sometimes knowing what’s “normal” helps you navigate the changes that aging brings. Check out all his posts–he’s very candid, which is so helpful.
  • Why Is My Husband Passive-Aggressive?  – Paul shares helpful research on this common term you may or may not understand.
  • Dealing With A Passive-Aggressive Husband – And the follow-up to the above post.

SEX WITHIN MARRIAGE

  • Sex Leads To More Sex – An very interesting and helpful article about the importance of having regular sex in marriage. Also, sign up to receive new posts via e-mail and receive an excellent resource: 37 Questions For Spouses To Ask Each Other About Sex.

Don’t forget Mother’s Day is May 10th. We have a list of romantic ideas to help give you ideas on how to bless the mother of your children. 

 

Posted in Blog Love, Christian Marriage, Happy Hour | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The Value Of Friends

  
We have been away this week with friends. It’s not the first time we’ve done this; in fact we’ve done it many times with them.

We’ve been to Alaska, Europe, Napa Valley, Quebec City and Bermuda together just to name a few. We have history together, but the trips themselves are not what make our friendship special. It’s the conversations that spring up over a bonfire, or the quick observation made about how Tom and I interact when discussing any number of issues. It’s being known so well that they recognize when we’re struggling. It’s being able to laugh at our mistakes and not taking offense. It’s being able to cry and laugh without explaining why. 

The thing is all marriages need such relationships. It helps to have someone who can help you see unhealthy patterns before they cause lasting damage. To have someone that says, “Can we talk?”

Do you have such friends? If you don’t, Tom always says you have to be the one who pursues them. You never know when that couple you’re reaching out to on Sunday will become the friend you can’t live without in 20 years.

This post got interrupted with one of those conversations that does your soul and your marriage good. We pray that you’ll seek out such friends. It makes the journey called marriage so much better!

Posted in Christian Marriage | 7 Comments

Finding Love Right Where You Are

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You may be familiar with a current hit song by Ed Sheeran titled, Thinking Out Loud. In it he talks about all the mundane seasons of a relationship–growing older, yet loving each other more through these everyday moments.

Think about how much your marriage has changed through the years.

Tom and I have been married over 36 years now. We recently watched some old family videos of when our children were little. It seemed like a lifetime ago when we were in the throes of raising children and learning to love each other in that very busy season.

We’re about to embark on another unfamiliar season, but one we’ve anticipated for years–our youngest daughter is moving out next month. We haven’t lived alone for 33 years! It is full of mixed emotions for both of us, but we’re grateful to God that we have discovered what it looks like to find “love right where we are”. It isn’t enough for our love to be how it used to be. We’re not the same; We have changed, and so has our love. As our seasons change so must the way we relate to each other–the way we care for each other–the way we love each other.

We pray you will discover what it means to find love in the midst of whatever challenges you are currently facing. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It takes a willingness to bend and stretch and accept the new season. This is the secret to a successful marriage…it’s not finding lasting love, but committing to love your spouse in a way that endures through all seasons.

We pray you’ll enjoy this acoustic version of this hit song–and then find practical ways to apply it to your own marriage.

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Seasons of Life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Are You Spontaneous?

  

How spontaneous are you?  Some people avoid it at all costs, others thrive on it. I’d say Tom and I are quite spontaneous. In fact some of our best memories were totally unplanned.

We’re on our way to our cabin as I’m writing to take care of a some repairs. Tom was going to go alone, but when one of Tom’s friends found out he offered to go with him. Then, his wife said she wanted to go too–so here we are on a road trip to a spontaneous adventure with a couple of our best friends.

We have no plans, no expectations, just a desire to have great fellowship with lifelong friends. Oh and to get some repairs done on the cabin. 😉

Spontaneity is like that, it takes what was supposed to be mundane and makes it something special, memorable even.

May we encourage you to be spontaneous? Say “yes” to the unexpected and see what adventures you discover. You may end up liking the results.

Posted in Christian Marriage | 2 Comments

21 Day Fix For Marriage

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Three Weeks. 

Three weeks pass quickly, especially when you’re on an extended vacation. Ah! Doesn’t a three week cruise sound wonderful? But it’s not happening for us and probably not for you either. <sigh> But three weeks really does go by fast!

You’ve most likely heard of the 21 Day Fix nutritional and fitness program created by Autumn Calabrese. It’s the 3 week program to jump start your metabolism through exercise and eating clean. I’ve been on it for a week now, and I am feeling good so far. I love that she doesn’t have ready-made food for purchase in the grocery stores that costs a bunch of money. Instead, she gives you the food groups and quantities allowed based on your caloric intake, then you create your own recipes (or find them on-line) using the ingredients. The best part is, I love most of the choices, making my meals fun to create.

This got me thinking…if three weeks can help someone learn how to eat better and care for their bodies, how would a similar “fix” be for marriage? Imagine if each couple that signed up committed to be intentional towards their marriage for 21 days. What would be the effect?

I’m sure you’d see positive changes begin to take place. But it wouldn’t change completely.

There is a theory that has been shared over and over by respected people like Zig Ziglar who say it takes only 21 days to form a new habit. I read this interesting article about how this isn’t true and why. I won’t go into all the details, but it is a fascinating read. The conclusion is that is takes a MINIMUM of 21 days to see a new habit formed. It could take almost a year depending on the habit and the extenuating circumstances. It just goes to show that nothing is foolproof.

To fix your marriage or form new habits that will help it grow requires:

  • First of all, a LIFELONG COMMITMENT. You have to be all in or it will be too easy to quit when it gets difficult.
  • Secondly it requires a willingness to ADMIT WHEN WE ARE WRONG, because many times we’ll treat our spouse in a way that isn’t loving and kind. We’ll sin against them no matter how much we said we were committed to improve our marriage yesterday.
  • Thirdly, it requires a willingness to FORGIVE OVER AND OVER AGAIN. When we realize how much God has forgiven us through Christ, it helps us do the impossible and treat our spouse in the same manner. Like I said at the beginning of this post, habits sometimes take a long time to form, and bad habits can take an even longer time to change. If 21 days is our goal we’ll quickly become discouraged and lose our resolve in staying with the program. Asking God to help you do this is key to lasting change.

As you both do these things you’ll discover that a lifetime commitment reaps even greater benefits than a healthy diet or exercise program, because you’re not in it for the beach body marriage for the summer–you’re in it

till death parts you…

to glorify God…

to grow old together…

…as you watch your children, grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren grow up and have full productive lives. What a privilege it is to display this kind of marriage to those coming up behind us. This is our goal, and we hope our goal will inspire yours.

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, Growing Strong Marriages, Purpose, Seasons of Life, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

To the Well-Intentioned but Ignorant Parents of Teenagers.

Debi Walter:

Today I’m doing something I hardly ever do–I’m reblogging. It’s a message for all our readers who are parents about the importance of being current as to what you allow your children to do on the internet. I need say no more, because this post is from a teacher of teens who knows first hand the temptations our teens are facing today. I pray it will help sound the alarm for all parents to stay involved and aware in their children’s lives.

Originally posted on Kayla Nicole's Blog:

I’ve been mulling over this topic for quite some time, but this morning it became increasingly clear to me that I must say something. Folks, stranger danger is a real thing. And even more real today than it was ten years ago thanks to, you guessed it, the internet.

I speak specifically to the parents of kids old enough to be on social medias. Of course, I am no such parent, but I am a teacher of those kids. I am also only 6-10 years older than the high school students I teach. Maybe that makes me unqualified to speak out, but maybe it makes me the most qualified candidate. Many of my colleagues and the parents of my students are old enough to be my own parents, so I tend to share a comraderie with my students. And yet, I am far enough removed to be able to speak in ways that…

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Posted in Christian Marriage

The Lord Is Risen…

Photo Credit: Compass Point blog

Photo Credit: Compass Point blog

Happy Easter! We encourage you to take Christ at His Word when He said, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” – John 8:36

Are you walking in this freedom? Is your marriage? Take your burdens to Him this morning, and let the power of God that raised Christ from the dead, raise you and your marriage to what He intends for it to be. He is still in the miracle-working business, and it’s not too late.

Father, We come to you today thanking You for the sacrifice of Your Son so that we could approach Your Throne of Grace today and everyday. It is a privilege we never want to take for granted. Today I pray for all who will read this post. If they are lonely, comfort them. If they are disappointed, fill them with fresh hope. If they are in conflict, may Your Holy Spirit lead and guide them to a place of resolve. You can do this, but often we struggle to believe You will. We pray for fresh faith to believe You are actively at work in the situations we’re facing even when we can’t see it.

Thank You for another Easter celebration. Thank You for grace. Thank You for mercy. Thank You for hope. And thank You for every marriage represented on The Romantic Vineyard. May Your light shine brightly on them today.

In Jesus’ precious name,

Amen.

 

Posted in Christian Marriage, Holidays, Thankfulness, The Gospel & Marriage

When Pain Feels Good

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No one likes to feel pain. We  avoid experiencing it as much as possible. But there are times when pain is necessary. 

I’m currently going through physical therapy for an impinged left shoulder, and it isn’t fun. Each time I go there’s something that feels good about it in a weird sort of way. I got the injury doing something stupid at the gym–something I saw someone else doing and thought I could do it too. I should have known better.

That was a year ago. I kept thinking my shoulder would get better, but it didn’t. I did exercises on my own. I even allowed my doctor to try a cortisone shot for the inflammation, which might have worked had it not gotten infected. As a result, my impinged shoulder shut down. The orthopedic doctor called it a frozen shoulder.

Yeah, I paid money to hear I’ve been given a cold shoulder. <sigh>

He told me I wouldn’t need surgery–good news! However, the only way to unfreeze a frozen shoulder is to force it out–think Frozen’s opening scene–and that about sums up what pain I’ve been experiencing for the past 6 weeks.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World's Frozen

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World’s Frozen

It’s ironic that something good for you can be so painful. It makes me wonder how this truth might apply to marriage.

I tend to avoid conflict in much the same way I avoid pain. I’m not a risk taker. I like things to go as planned. I don’t like interruptions. Chances are you’re a lot like me. It’s part of human nature to seek comfort.

This is why many couples become disillusioned when their marriage becomes difficult. They are tempted to think something is wrong, when actually it’s a sign that things are right–you’re getting to really know the person you married, and they’re not perfect! Neither are you (me) for that matter.

Pain is an indicator that tells us something is off and needs to be fixed. Imagine the danger if we didn’t have this built in warning system.

We know of a man who had neuropathy in his feet due to the effects of diabetes. One day he played a round of golf with his buddies. At the end of the day when he took his shoes off, he saw his foot was bleeding a lot! He discovered he had played the entire round of golf with a golf ball inside the toe of his shoe. He couldn’t feel it, so he didn’t know of the danger. He ended up having to have some toes amputated as a result.

Pain is God’s way of letting us know we need to act.

What pain are you currently experiencing in your relationship? Is it physical? Spiritual, Emotional? Intellectual? Whatever it is, don’t ignore it! Trust me, it won’t go away. It will most likely grow worse, and may even cause you to give your spouse a cold shoulder, which only masks the real problem making it more of a challenge to resolve.

The next question is where to you go for help? It’s not like you can make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor like I did to get their medical expertise. But there is help! There is a plethora of excellent books we can recommend for all areas of marriage to give you specific biblical counsel in the comfort of your own home. But sometimes the damage is too much for you to fix on your own. Most couples have been in the place if they’re honest. This is why being connected to a local church helps so much. There are pastors and lay leaders who devote their lives to helping marriages not just survive, but thrive. We recommend you get plugged in, not only for the good of your marriage, but for the good of your soul.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

Posted in Christian Marriage | 1 Comment

Crossroads

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We all know what’s it’s like to be at a crossroad–that’s where two roads intersect and you have to decide which way to go. If you’ve set your course ahead of time, then the decision is easy–hardly noticeable. If you’re simply enjoying the ride, a crossroad can be an unexpected adventure. If there’s an accident causing a delay, a crossroad can provide a needed detour. If you’re in a hurry, a crossroad can offer a shortcut. But if you are on an unfamiliar road and not sure where you’re going, a crossroad can cause stress. What if you choose the wrong way and end up lost? What if the road isn’t safe, or leads no where? These are all valid concerns for the responsible driver.

I remember when Tom and I first used a GPS years ago on a trip to California. We were going to be driving a rental car on the LA Freeway and thought “Joyce, The Voice” would help us know which road to take and thus avoid getting lost. What we didn’t realize is that even GPS systems can have inaccurate data. Case in point, on our trip, we managed to navigate 12 lanes of heavy traffic, at rush hour no less! We were doing everything that Joyce in her monotoned voice told us to do. Imagine our dismay when we heard her proclaim confidently, “You have arrived at your destination,” only to be smack in the middle of….nowhere. We felt the most lost we have ever felt before. We were in an unfamiliar state, going to a place we had never been, and our guide had led us astray. Now what?! We had to stop and ask directions the old fashioned way, that’s what.

We eventually made it to where we wanted to go–in fact we weren’t far at all–as the crow flies. But there were no direct roads between where we were and where we wanted to be. Joyce didn’t know that. She thought she had led us exactly where we wanted to go.

Every  marriage experiences crossroads from time to time. How you handle the decision is key as to where you end up at the end of the conflict. 

  • If you are a lover of adventure then each crossroad will provide you with an adrenaline rush that will propel you into the future with elation.
  • If you like to be in control, the crossroad will be fine if you’re the one calling the shots.
  • If you like to know what to expect, the crossroad will most likely cause you anxiety and maybe even fear.
  • If the turn didn’t lead you to where you hoped to go, the crossroad can make you angry.
  • If you like to be on-time, the crossroad can bring a much needed escape or provide an undesirable delay.

However you process these crossroads, it’s important to realize your spouse most likely doesn’t see them the same way you do.

Imagine a couple in the same car going to the same destination but with completely different expectations as to how they’ll get there. What if one was punctual and wants to get there as fast as possible and the other is hoping for adventure? What if one was expecting the road to lead one way, only to discover the other had chosen a completely different stopping point? Or what if you both like to be in control, calling each turn as you see fit?

All these are set-ups for what can be huge conflicts in a marriage. And if you aren’t expecting the struggle, it can be devastating.

But what if we took a different look at the crossroads of life. What if we let go of our bent to do things “my way”, and embraced the ways of Another? What if we trusted God to be our navigator? What if we allowed Him to give us direction on the unexpected turns in our life?

After 36 years of marriage, we have learned to value of doing life this way. It takes the pressure off of both of us to perform, and allows us to enjoy the ride. It also has taken us to places we would have never chosen to go on our own. Some roads were bumpy and dark, but led to a beautiful view we didn’t know was there. Some roads were dangerous where we learned the value of having each other and God to cling to for hope and help. Some roads didn’t lead where we had hoped they would, but allowed us to see important things from a different vantage point. And only eternity will reveal the times God helped us avoid a fatal collision.

As we navigate the paths of life together as husband and wife, we must remember Who is leading the way. God knows the plans He has for us, and it’s to give us a future and a hope. And the hope He provides never disappoints, but accomplishes exactly what He desires.

Pin It

Pin It

(photo credit: You’re History blog)

Posted in Christian Marriage, Conflict, Difficulty, The Gospel & Marriage | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Survey Invitation For The Effects Of Menopause On Your Sex Life

 

keyboardHappy Wednesday!

I’ve been asked to provide a guest post for Julie Sibert of Intimacy In Marriage blog on the effects menopause has had on the sex life of a healthy marriage. This is why I’m sending you this invitation to take a survey. It allows you to answer 10 questions completely and honestly with total anonymity. If you are currently facing this season of life, or if you already have, won’t you take a few minutes to fill it out for me? The more respondents I have the more informed I’ll be in writing this post. And if you know someone else who could offer their perspective, please forward this post on to them as well.

Thank you for your help and for helping hundreds of marriages who are experiencing this now or who will experience it soon, face this season with knowledge and hope.

To take the survey simply click the link in the box below. :-)

https://www.surveymonkey.com/jsEmbed.aspx?sm=edkgnIdJ2oENiU_2bXPM2yBQ_3d_3d

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

And in case you missed it, check out our guest post on Engaged Marriage blog this past Monday. It’s titled: Squeezing Romance Out Of A Busy Life.

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

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 , , , , | 4 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