When Tom and I first started The Romantic Vineyard there weren’t many marriage blogs focusing on the positives of married life–romancing your spouse, date night ideas, honoring and respecting your spouse. Most were focused on the struggles marriages encounter and how to deal with them. Both are good. Both are needed.
But things have changed.
Marriage blogs are all over the internet now, offering advice from the benefits of staying physically fit to how to recover when your spouse has been unfaithful. There are thousands of tips on how to manage your finances to how to romance your spouse. You can find any information needed and not all of it is good.
If you endorse same sex marriage, you can find a blog that supports your conviction. If you believe having a girlfriend and a wife is okay, there are blogs to support it. You can even find blogs that say that pornography in marriage can be a useful tool for a healthy sex life., or that sexual bondage is a good thing.
Really? Yes, really. We live in the age of information, and blogs allow anyone to give information whether it’s true or not, whether it’s healthy or not. This can cause guilt to abound, even in those marriages where you are genuinely wanting what’s right that will help your marriage last a lifetime.
So it matters what blogs you read.
It matters what information you absorb, because information stored becomes what convicts the heart when failure to adhere to that standard happens.
Our standard is established in the Bible. It didn’t originate with us; it’s God’s plan for a marriage that glorifies Him. We believe marriage isn’t for our happiness as much as it’s for God’s glory. We are a reflection of Him and His love for the church. So how we treat each other should mirror that eternal relationship. This is Truth to store and from which to draw to grow your marriage.
I know there are times when you just don’t want to work on another problem or face another issue in your relationship. Sometimes you want to escape from it all and simply enjoy life. I get it. Marriage is hard work. It takes a willingness to make yourself do what you may not feel like doing.
For instance, I remember a time when I was not in the mood for Tom’s affectionate advances. I knew he was wanting intimate time with me, but my feelings were no where in “the zone”. I wanted space. I wanted to do what I wanted and not give in to what he wanted. So I gave hints to that effect…not responding to his touch or kiss. Sighing when I knew he would hear me, etc.
It pains me to confess this, but if I’m going to be a marriage blogger, it’s my responsibility to be honest and open. Tom and I haven’t arrived. Our marriage is still a work in progress. We need daily grace and daily forgiveness. We must resist our selfish tendencies and humble ourselves for the good of the other. Why? Because God has ordained our relationship to be an example to others, our children, our grandchildren, our friends and those who know us from afar.
We know that some of our posts can make you want to click over to Words With Friends or Candy Crush and just.not.think.about.it. And sometimes it’s okay to do that. Why? Because absorbing truth for lasting change takes a lifetime. Hearing Truth is like pouring water on parched ground. As it sits, it seeps, and the ground is eventually softened making the next watering easier to absorb.
I don’t know where you are in your marriage vineyard. You may be well on your way to growth and you’re starting to reap the fruit. You may be past the harvest and having to crush some grapes to extract what’s good and throw away what’s not. You may be realizing that not all on which you’ve built your marriage is good ground. There may be times where you both have to dismantle some of what you’ve built, and conviction is the first step.
Our encouragement to you is to resist the temptation to avoid hearing the truth. When truth hurts it’s usually because there’s an area that needs to hear it.
God knows the areas in which our marriage needs to grow. And when He focuses on the sore spot our first tendency is jerk away. Instead of doing that, try digging deeper and see if the pain doesn’t lessen.
Consider a child with a splinter in her hand–when her parent tries to use tweezers to remove it, she pulls her hand away not wanting it to hurt. But the hurt of removing the splinter is exactly what she needs to find relief, not in pulling away.
What marriage topics cause you guilt? Is the guilt godly or does it stem from wrong beliefs? Once you know the guilt is valid, then we encourage you to hold your hand still and let God do what only He can do–that’s when the healing begins.
Love it, Debi!
Thanks Jolene. It’s good to hear from you.
so good! keep up the good!
Thank you so much! We plan to keep doing what God has called us to. We appreciate your encouragement.
What a great post! Thank you! Such truth!
Thank you for the encouragement. Truth is refreshing to those who love it.
Straight talk. I often tell my readers, my husband and I are learning as we go. In fact my recent post on marriage revealed one time not long ago when I goofed.
My standard is the Bible and I do not endorse anything God does not, neither does my husband. One topic that could cause me guilt is yielding completely to my husband, I often reserve maybe due to my past and expectations. But again, I lean on God for help.
That’s what I love about God–He trains us slowly and consistently. He is patient and helps us grow and change over time. We are the ones who tend to be impatient with the process–either with my husband or with myself. You hit a big one when you said, “expectations.” That’s what gets so many couples in trouble. We have expectations that our spouse never knows about, that is until they fail to meet them. It’s not fair to them to not communicate what we’re hoping for concerning any given situation. Communication, or lack of it, is the source of so many conflicts. Learning how to do it right will help a marriage mature in a way nothing else will.
Excellent comment! Thanks for sharing,
Thanks for your thoughts. It’s true that what you read becomes a part of who you are and that instead of reading things online all the time, I should read more of the Bible as my primary source of information for my relationship.
I notice you say that your relationship hasn’t arrived.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the journey. When I first started dating the man I was to marry, we just enjoyed ourselves and took our time. When we got engaged and I had the stress of planning a wedding and the stress of changing my life, I just wanted to be married.
And being married was great–still is. But now I’m looking towards the next big thing, anxious for it to commence and I realize that it’s okay not to arrive yet. I shouldn’t spend so much time wishing I were in the future, but I should enjoy my life right here and now, even imperfect. Enjoy the journey.
Sorry to take a soap box 🙂 This was advice for me, not to preach to you. That’s what I’ve been working on in my life right now.
Excellent comment! So much of marriage could be enjoyed more if we kept our focus on the “here and now” like you said. We live in such a fast-paced society that we’ve forgotten how to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. This is why regular date nights are so healthy for a marriage. That is if you set parameters about what you will and won’t discuss. We made it a rule to not talk about our schedule, (unless it was for the first 30 minutes to make sure we’re on the same page for the week), work, school, family or church issues. We would talk about us. I always loved it what Tom would ask me after a nice dinner, “So how are you doing?” Ah! It brings tears to my eyes realizing how much care is expressed in this simple question. I feel more loved and present in the moment when we connect on this level.
Thanks for your “soap box” advice. I know you’re not the only one who has felt the same way.
This is my first visit – I came from “Messy Marriage”, and I’m glad I found you.
As a fellow marriage blogger, I’ve often felt the weirdness of writing positively about things that have gone wrong in my own marriage, and that may never be wholly repaired.
I guess that the message I want to get across is that while marriage is a choice – love is a commandment. We can’t back away from it, saying “I don’t like my spouse right now, how can I possibly love her?”
How, indeed. We’re human, after all, and can’t command our emotions.
But maybe love is not an emotion. Perhaps it’s an action, in what we do, how we live, and most importantly how we pray.
And that’s the message. Jesus’ Great Commandments both involved love, and I read them many times, looking foir an “only applies if you feel like it” loophole.
I’m afraid it ain’t there…
Your comment is so helpful. Love what you said, “But maybe love is not an emotion. Perhaps it’s an action, in what we do, how we live, and most importantly how we pray.”
I believe if marriages followed this one truth, it would help them make it through the emotionless times. When we vowed we didn’t promise to “feel” a certain way, we promised to “act” a certain way. Emotions should always follow action, not the other way around. One is subjective the other objective, and it makes all the difference in marriage.
Thanks so much! Glad you “found” us!
Oh how this post resonates with me, Debi! God has been convicting me recently about the battlefield that my mind is and the importance of “walking circumspectly”. I am wincing as He’s working on me, and I definitely feel the urge to jerk away.
I can relate too! I’m so glad you’ve commented! I clicked over to your blog and love your current journey as it resonates with what the Spirit is doing in my heart as well.
May God help you hold your hand still as He sanctifies you for His glory!
Well said! And this is one of the blogs I not only read, but point to. I have always appreciated your romancing your spouse posts because this is something I do not do well.
Which is the same reason we send links your way because what you do is invaluable in a way we could never come close to equaling. So why try when you guys rock. Love you both!
BTW, we’ll be closer to you than we usually are–vacationing in Northern CA for starting tomorrow. Of course, we’ll be visiting the wine country. Look for posts on romantic ideas.