A Good Marriage – Loved and Cherished – Part 1

Marriage is a covenant between two different and unique people that should never be questioned or dissolved. It is a sacred vow before God to be united for life.

 

There is nothing in a marriage that cannot be resolved if both parties of the couple are humble enough to be flexible, to forgive slights – no matter how huge or earth shattering they are – and to lay down our life for one another.

 

If the circumstances are unbearable, a period of separation for the purpose of reconciliation is much better than getting a divorce. We cannot “move on with life”, but we can trust God to bring about a resolution in His perfect way and timing.

 

If our spouse is abusive, we can get a new phone number, and have a friend read his/her mail before we do, if we fear it is abusive. We can change jobs if necessary, and alert our friends to keep our business private. We do not need to live with abuse.

 

However, divorce is a blight on society and a lifelong wound on our life that never heals. It impacts the children of divorced parents and weakens their resolve to continue in their own marriage and to work out issues with compromise and preferring one another.

 

Cherishing one another is the greatest guarantee against divorce. To cherish means to look at one another with affection and loving consideration; we consistently show love beyond measure; adore one another; dote on each other and cherish one another from deep in our heart.

 

Rather than competing with one another, or expecting our mate to function outside of their calling and provision from God, we can discover our mate’s gifts and talents and depend on them for these traits.

 

We can hire a mechanic or handyman, if our mate is not gifted in that area, or engage a housekeeper or share the chores if our wife works too many hours to keep our home to the standard that we like it.

 

Communicating honestly and brainstorming together to find alternative methods, thinking and behavior is a healthy habit, which prevents bitterness from tearing apart our commitment to one another.

 

If both members of the couple are humble enough to make the effort to change our behavior, as well as to communicate more honestly with each other, then a Pastor, a successfully married older couple, or a counselor may help to improve our communication with one another.

 

We all bask in the Sonshine of a heart-felt compliment. Making each other feel loved and cherished is the best gift we could ever give to one another, to our family and to our children’s future mates.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we have a choice each day to build up or to tear down our relationship with one another. Help us to make it our goal to act loving, to quickly forgive slights, and to readily and patiently bear with one another’s fears and foibles. Remind us not to withhold love or approval, so that we do not compound one another’s self-doubt.

 

Give us Your wisdom to stop enabling one another’s insecurities. Help us to help each other to overcome the lies Satan planted in our heart during our childhood. Help us to help one another to feel unconditionally loved and cherished, not only by You, but by each other as well.

 

Thought for the Day:

We can prevent jealousy and insecurity in our relationship by speaking honestly about what we did with our day, who we were talking to on the phone and why we said or did something with another person in a particular manner that may have appeared as flirting or inappropriate for a married person.

 

A Good Marriage – Common Ground

Winning is not the ultimate prize of life; it is the manner in which we finish the race that counts the most. It is often the last straggler across the finish line that receives the most attention, because they persevered to the very end.

 

Winning an argument is not necessary to feel validated either. We can concede that we are wrong, if indeed we are, without any shame or recrimination.

 

We have a viewpoint that differs from our employer’s, friend’s, neighbor’s, child’s, parent’s or spouse’s perspective; but no less right or wrong than theirs.

 

There is nothing heroic about destroying a marriage, because we soon realize that we were acting as pawns on Satan’s game board, playing right into his hands and wreaking havoc for generations to come.

 

If both parties in a disagreement are willing to bear with one another and to lay our life down for each other, there is always a way to peacefully resolve all issues and to avoid fighting and drama.

 

Neither of us is the enemy, we are simply fellow sojourners in this life with equal rights and privileges in the family of God. Quickly apologizing from the heart for any hurt we cause during a disagreement goes a long way in keeping unity in our relations.

 

Repairing our relationships is so much more mature than rending them in half and going our separate ways – leaving a trail of broken hearts and lives behind us. A trained counselor can help us to negotiate our differences.

 

Seeking wisdom from God’s Word and His Spirit during times of prayer can also help us to breach any gaps in our unity. We negotiate until we find common ground on which to stand.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You remind us not to separate what You bind together. You admonish us not to break any vow that we make, but to honor our commitment to one another with charity, patience and kindness. You want us to work together to find an equitable solution to any conflicts in our marriage, as well as in our affiliations at work and in Your Body.

 

Give us Your wisdom to maintain peace and to show Your agape love to those who wound us; to turn the other cheeks and to bear with one another’s idiosyncrasies and foibles. Give us patience to love one another as Christ loves the church; so we can represent living sacrifices as a testimony to an unbelieving world.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is nothing heroic in winning at the cost of someone else’s expense; but in laying down our life and serving one another with the love of our Father toward us.

 

It is Never too Late

Jesus told a parable about the lord of the vineyard who told his steward to hire laborers throughout the day (Matthew 20:8-20). At the end of the day, the landowner gave all of the workers the exact same amount of money.

 

Those who worked the longest hours in the hottest sun were mortified and bitter at what they perceived as the owner’s unfairness. They believed they deserved more money than those who worked in the cooler part of the day for just a few hours.

 

We learn from this parable that God is not interested in how long we live in His service. We can rejoice in the fact that the people who come to Christ later in life are accepted by our Father with the same love as those of us who come to the Lord as a child or teenager.

 

We recently had the privilege of helping a couple who were both over 90 to come to faith in Christ. Other senior Saints were on death’s door when God used us to share His gospel with them.

 

There is no greater feeling than to snatch people from Satan’s hand in their last years/moments of life. We will spend eternity with them and rejoice around God’s throne together.

 

It is never too late to humble our self under the mighty hand of God and submit our life to His capable hands. As we yoke with Him, He carries half our load; and when we are weary, He will even carry it all.

 

God provides for our every need – even the minutest details that consume our thoughts and emotions. He is trustworthy and deserves all of our praise and thanksgiving.

 

God’s love consumes us as we stop worrying about the particulars of our life. We rest in His peace and know without a shadow of a doubt that as we cast our cares on Him, He really does care for us ().

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for loving us enough to free us from our earthly bondage. We know that You listen to our prayers and answer us when we call on You in our trials and distress (Psalm 86:6-7). Remind us that You will always give us Your faith to live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to You.

 

The moment we take our eyes off You, fears and complications arise in our life, and we get entrenched in the carnal issues of this world. We want Your Word to fill us fully with Your Truth; so that we can encourage each other with thankfulness in our heart for all that You do for each one of us (Colossians 3:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we compare our life to others, we will be discontent; but when we focus on the life God provides for us, we realize the multitude of blessings He provides for us each and every day.

 

Seeking and Finding God

Only by coming to God can we experience His true light within us. It is impossible to have a relationship with God without first repenting of our sins and asking Jesus Christ to be our Savior and King.

 

If we seek God, we shall find Him. If we knock, He will open a door for us. If we ask Him to abide within us, He will answer us.

 

If we are convicted of our sin and pray a prayer, it is valid only if we are truly converted. Otherwise, we simply said a prayer with no lasting spiritual fruit.

 

We know we are converted if we experience a hunger for holiness and God’s truth. There is a change in our life that leads to repentance and gradual spiritual maturity.

 

Justification transfers our sin onto the cross of Christ and the righteousness of Christ into our spirit. God’s Spirit begins His sanctifying process in our soul and teaches us that we are a new creation (Romans 8:29).

 

God sets us free from the destructiveness of sin (Romans 6:22) and calls us to walk worthy of our new name and the calling into His family that we receive (Ephesians 4:1).

 

He implores us to take the narrow road and to forsake the broad road in life (Matthew 7:13-14). We submit to God’s will as a living sacrifice and a spiritual act of worship, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we mature in Christ, we trust You more and completely surrender to Your call on each moment. Remind us to listen when we pray, as well as to praise and make our requests known to You. We do not reap the full benefit of prayer if we do not sit still and contemplate You as the God of our life (Psalm 46:10).

 

Prevent us from being pulled from Your presence by the lies and temptations of the flesh, the world and the devil. We love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We draw near to You, knowing that You will also draw near to us (James 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:

All the riches in the world, which are desirable and sought after, are not even close to comparing to the gift of Christ in our life. – Job 28:15; Psalm 19:10, 119:127

 

A Good Marriage – The Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine

Over the years of marriage, we recognize who our partner is and what they are not. We also develop a better understanding of our self and why we respond to people and events the way we do.

 

We come to identify what triggers negative reactions in one another, so we can avoid these issues whenever possible. We make concentrated efforts on working together to find mutually acceptable plans when our original personal preferences conflict.

 

We also fearlessly attack our personal issues and give the Holy Spirit full reign in our life, so that He can transform us with the mind of Christ. One way to recognize our faults is to pay attention to what our spouse complains about – do we procrastinate, withhold affection, watch too much TV, neglect to help one another with projects or daily chores?

 

Small adjustments in our schedule or habits will make a big difference in marital bliss and harmony. We can learn one another’s love language and show each other love in ways that will fulfill our mate’s needs and allow them to feel nurtured and cherished.

 

This will erase the small irritations which eventually erupt into major disharmony – the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). Do we expect too much from one another, forgetting that we are only human?

 

Do we greet one another as we would our best friend, or do we take one another for granted? We all appreciate being greeted with enthusiasm as someone who is highly cherished.

 

Do we agree to disagree or do we always feel like we are right and our partner is wrong? Do we need to have the last word, or do we stop talking when we have made our point?

 

No one like to live with condemnation, condescension, griping or constant belittlement. It is so good and pleasant when we dwell together in harmony (Psalm 133:1). This unity draws us closer to one another and makes us want to spend more time together.

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to recap once we calm down after a disagreement. Help us to honestly relate how we felt during the “fight” and what thoughts were going through our mind that we did not take the time to articulate. These thoughts fueled our emotional response during our discussion, and our spouse deserves to understand why we reacted as we did to their comment, behavior or reply.

 

Remind us to seek You in all of our decisions and discussions; not to rely on our own understanding, but to allow You to direction our thoughts, words and actions. Help us to be led by Your Spirit rather than to react in our flesh; but if we do act carnally, encourage us to ask for forgiveness from one another and to calmly discuss the situation until we find an equitable solution.

 

Thought for the Day:

Looking into each other’s eyes during a discussion enables us to see within the windows of each other’s soul; speaking honestly about how our partner’s words and actions make us feel will help us to understand one another better too and to make our interactions more intimate and productive. – Matthew 6:22-23

 

No Longer a Sinner – Conformed to Christ’s Image

God’s glory within us increases incrementally as we cooperate with His Spirit’s discipline and direction. We reflect this glory to the world around us and draw people to Him who want more of Him in their life as well.

 

His sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

As God’s Spirit transforms us with the mind, likeness and divine character of Christ, we change from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is not a matter of Him changing us from one stage of sinner to the next.

 

We are no longer a worm, but a butterfly soaring in the spiritual realm of life. Our inner man is drawn by the Spirit of God into ascending realms of spiritual maturity, rather than Him dragging us out of our penchant toward one sin and then another (Ephesians 4:13).

 

This sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

Our cooperation with God’s Spirit insures that our perfection continues without disruption until we are completely conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

 

Christ, who is the image of God and abides within us (John 1:14, 14:9), gives us both the desire and power to work out our salvation in cooperation with God’s Spirit (Colossians 1:15; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 1:3).

 

As we focus on Christ, as if looking in a mirror at His image in us, we reflect increasing stages of His glory. We realize that our carnal nature is all but dead, and that Christ is our whole life (Ephesians 3:3-4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, reveal to us that only the veil of sin, which so easily hinders us if we take our mind off Christ, will thwart our personal journey into perfection. Help us to allow Your Spirit to cut away the dead skin of the flesh, so that we walk in unity with Your Spirit and in the likeness of Christ in us.

 

Remind us to continually focus on Your glory reflected on the face of Christ within us. Fill us daily with Your Spirit and allow us to totally submit until He takes full possession of our body, spirit and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. Our whole desire in our life is to reflect Your glory to the world around us and to draw everyone in our sphere of influence to a closer walk with You.

 

Thought for the Day:
Our dark and sinful soul is transformed into the image of Christ as we consistently walk in His marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

 

A Good Marriage – Love Languages

Marriage is about the union of two people – two families of people. It brings them together in a legally binding relationship which God intends to last a lifetime.

 

Life happens, though; the death of a spouse, or of the marriage, sidetracks our best intentions. Our negative emotions influence whether or not we can forgive each other, or if we harbor anger and resentment.

 

It is best to investigate right away whenever we feel anger toward our spouse. We cannot allow hurt, anger or bitterness to accumulate in our heart and erect walls between us and those who love us.

 

These negative emotions prevent unconditional love, appreciation and respect from growing in our marriage. Emotional stress added to the stresses of daily living will encourage the desire in us to escape from our marriage.

 

Satan will certainly, gladly provide us with the opportunity to destroy what God has joined together. Do not be surprised when controversy, disagreements and arguments erupt in your marriage.

 

These do not indicate a problem in the relationship; but merely a normal adjustment between two very different people. God puts opposites together so that we can stretch, grow, and learn from one another.

 

God desires that we appreciate one another’s individual strengths, and that we allow them to overcome the weaknesses in each other. No one spouse has all the answers.

 

It is only as we really listen to one another, consider each other’s opinions, feelings and needs – and then compromise our desires that we can find equitable solutions to the issues that will most certainly arise.

 

Our goal in any argument is never to run each other down, wound with critical words, bring up the past in a hurtful manner or stoop to abusive verbal or physical behavior.

 

We simply hash out our disagreements in an honest and harmonious manner, striving to find common ground, giving in on matters that are not really important to us, and standing firm about the things which mean the most to us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave each of us a unique personality, made from genetics, upbringing, personality and learned qualities. Remind us that we all need to receive love in different ways: words of affirmation, physical or emotional attention, acts of service, romantic gifts and gestures, or a conglomeration of these. This special language is all our own and allows us to feel loved and nurtured by our spouse.

 

Help us to understand that if we withhold these gifts of affection from one another, we are undermining our relationship and sabotaging our marriage – setting our self up for a cold and distant existence. Yet if we shower each other with love, we are ensuring that our marriage will go the distance and last a lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

Everyone has their own unique love language that fulfills them and allows them to feel understood, appreciated and cherished; make it a point to ask your mate what his/her love language is and then give him/her expressions of that love some time duringĀ  every single day.

 

 

 

 

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