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 – 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

 

A Good Marriage – Draw Together or Pull Apart

 

Marriage is designed by God, but is usually an uphill battle. When we put two or more people together, there is inevitably conflict of some sort. Let’s face it, we often cannot even get along with our self, much less with other people.

 

Life happens, challenges arise and situations change. These often attack our marriage as well. Not only do we have to adjust, but we have to bear the consequences of our spouse’s attempting to adjust as well.

 

If we face life’s challenges together as a unit, we can change and adapt together and at the same time. This makes for a much smoother transition. When we include God in the decisions and problem solving efforts, He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28; Ecclesiastes 4:12).

 

God saw that man was alone and this was not good. So He created marriage to bless us and to lighten our load in life. He helps us to enjoy our marriage rather than to endure it. He provides faultless fruition for every need.

 

This requires that we spend time together as a couple, unified in the Spirit and with one another in prayer. God never promises us a window into our future, but He does promise to walk with us and in us through its challenges.

 

Taking advantage of our days off, vacation times, free week-ends, and an occasional afternoon or evening without prior commitments, we can make time to watch a movie together, listen to a political debate, follow our favorite team on the sport’s channel, read a book together, snuggle beneath the sheets, have dinner at a restaurant instead of at home, join friends for coffee and dessert, etc.

 

In Christ, we find joy in our marriage partner and solace in their care for us. We find fulfillment in helping them to fulfill their needs as God supplies us with everything we need. We enjoy life with the mate He gives to us (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life is never, ever easy; but You make all things possible as we have faith in Your faithfulness. You have arms long enough to save us and ears that always hear our cries (Isaiah 59:1; 1 John 5:15). Help us to commit every moment to You, rather than to follow our own path in life.

 

Everything You do remains forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). As we walk in obedience to Your Spirit, we reap the rewards of righteousness rather than the consequences of our sin and disobedience. Remind us to draw together as a couple and to lean on You for strength to face life’s challenges.

 

Thought for the Day:

Let us make a conscious effort to add more romance to our marriage; to put an end to pessimism, skepticism, criticism, etc; and to deal with negative emotions before they get deep seated in our soul – confessing our sins to God and to one another.

 

Marriage is designed by God, but is usually an uphill battle. When we put two or more people together, there is inevitably conflict of some sort. Let’s face it, we often cannot even get along with our self, much less with other people.

 

Life happens, challenges arise and situations change. These often attack our marriage as well. Not only do we have to adjust, but we have to bear the consequences of our spouse’s attempting to adjust as well.

 

If we face life’s challenges together as a unit, we can change and adapt together and at the same time. This makes for a much smoother transition. When we include God in the decisions and problem solving efforts, He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28; Ecclesiastes 4:12).

 

God saw that man was alone and this was not good. So He created marriage to bless us and to lighten our load in life. He helps us to enjoy our marriage rather than to endure it. He provides faultless fruition for every need.

 

This requires that we spend time together as a couple, unified in the Spirit and with one another in prayer. God never promises us a window into our future, but He does promise to walk with us and in us through its challenges.

 

Taking advantage of our days off, vacation times, free week-ends, and an occasional afternoon or evening without prior commitments, we can make time to watch a movie together, listen to a political debate, follow our favorite team on the sport’s channel, read a book together, snuggle beneath the sheets, have dinner at a restaurant instead of at home, join friends for coffee and dessert, etc.

 

In Christ, we find joy in our marriage partner and solace in their care for us. We find fulfillment in helping them to fulfill their needs as God supplies us with everything we need. We enjoy life with the mate He gives to us (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life is never, ever easy; but You make all things possible as we have faith in Your faithfulness. You have arms long enough to save us and ears that always hear our cries (Isaiah 59:1; 1 John 5:15). Help us to commit every moment to You, rather than to follow our own path in life.

 

Everything You do remains forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). As we walk in obedience to Your Spirit, we reap the rewards of righteousness rather than the consequences of our sin and disobedience. Remind us to draw together as a couple and to lean on You for strength to face life’s challenges.

 

Thought for the Day:

Let us make a conscious effort to add more romance to our marriage; to put an end to pessimism, skepticism, criticism, etc; and to deal with negative emotions before they get deep seated in our soul – confessing our sins to God and to one another.

 

From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

A Good Marriage – In Crisis

A crisis in a marriage calls for immediate action. We can either drift apart ending in bitterness, unforgiveness and probably divorce; or we can pull together, brainstorm for an equitable solution and pray together as we walk in the Spirit.

 

Divorce is never an option. It destroys lives – especially the life of the children involved in the marriage. They often feel abandoned, at fault for the divorce, and they inevitably question their parents’ love for them.

 

They never learn to resolve conflict in their own relationships and often end up with the same results. Thankfully, a few of them will make wise choices and find mates that balance their personality or are willing to compromise and find common ground.

 

There is nothing more fulfilling in this earthly realm than to have a mate that cherishes us and thinks of us above him/her self. One that will laugh with us – not at us, enjoy hobbies together and serve God right alongside each other.

 

There is no fear in this type of love. We have the confidence that our partner will not throw us away like a sack of trash. They will help us to overcome our fears and insecurities and to love us in spite of them.

 

It is hard to feel secure when our partner does not allow unconditional love to flow from them to us. We are always on edge and never sure of our place in their heart, because we feel their condescension and derision.

 

God’s love is unconditional. A commitment of Agape love in our marriage, shown in action and especially in word, will eradicate our fears and insecurities and give us a solid faith on which to stand (1 John 4:18).

 

We can count on Him to walk in and with us through every trial we experience in our marriage (Isaiah 43:1; Psalm 23:4). He infuses both marriage partners with His fruit in order to dwell together with understanding and unity.

 

Prayer:

Father God, an anxious heart wears us down, but consistent love from our mate goes a long way in building us up (Proverbs 12:25). Remind us not to allow discouragement in a troubled marriage to tear us down, because You are always with us and in us regardless of where we are and with whom we live (Joshua 1:9).

 

Help us not to worry when our mate grows distant from us, because You care for us and will work in our life for our ultimate good (Matthew 6:34; Romans 8:28; Isaiah 35:4; Luke 12:22-26). We humble our self before You and leave all of our worries in Your capable hands, because You care about us and will deliver us in Your timing and way (1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 55:22; Deuteronomy 31:6).

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord is our Savior, not another person, vocation, place or thing; only He can provide us with the security and fulfillment that we long to possess during this lifetime. – Psalm 27:1

 

Creative Conflict in Marriage

 

A good marriage takes effort. When two – usually opposite – personalities combine under one roof, they often end up donning the boxing gloves and duking it out! Of course there is a simpler solution.

 

God gives us these diverse personalities and gifts, because together we can make wiser decisions. When we are at an impasse, we take the best from both of us and make a third, mutually agreeable choice which makes so much more sense.

 

By keeping our eyes on Jesus, we find God’s perspective and will, and we walk together in peace through His Spirit. We find comfort and wisdom from God’s Word and encourage one another (Psalm 119:71, 75-76).

 

We join our strengths and help one another to overcome our individual weaknesses. This takes humility, and pride will only gum up the works. Having to be right and the need to have one’s own needs met first are no basis for wise decisions – they are part of our insecurities.

 

Together we help each other overcome our idiosyncrasies and failings and guarantee that our unified decisions are in God’s will. Rather than accuse and fight when we disagree, we can brainstorm for that third alternative.

 

Trials and tribulation are easier to handle when faced together. Our frustration, discouragement and disappointments are shared by someone who loves us unconditionally. We comfort each other in our self-doubt.

 

God has a purpose in every trial, and He plants the seed for a miracle in each one of them (1 Peter 4:12). He works out all of them for our ultimate good. Both partners in the marriage are blessed as we keep each other strong and face life’s devastating events as lovers and friends.

 

Our intimacy with God and with one another strengthens through every trial, which we face together. We learn to depend on one another rather than to fight one another; and together we depend on God’s goodness more than on our own resources.

 

Prayer:

Father God, the difficulties and perplexities of life often wear us down and cause us to adopt defense mechanism, which cause negative issues in our marriage. Help us to heal from our personal, unresolved conflicts and to dwell with each other with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). Satan may influence our past, but we do not have to allow him to continue to hinder our present or future life. Help us to draw near to You and to resist Satan’s lies, so he will flee from us (James 4:7).

 

Thank You for linking us with a mate who will strengthen our weaknesses, help us to heal from our past hurts and challenge us to seek Your joy and comfort. Teach us not to attempt to change our mate, but to change our self and to rely on You to meet our needs. Help us to work together as a couple to live in unity with Your Spirit and with one another.

 

Thought for the Day:

Momentary trials lead to long-term blessings, which last a lifetime when we depend on one another and on God to see us through them.

 

The Miracle of Prayer

Prayer is communication between God and His people. The Bible encourages us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We do not need a kneeling position in order to pray. We can pray throughout every activity of our day.

 

When we do, we find that we are communicating with God’s Spirit on the best way to perform the task at hand. We walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh, and we find our self in the center of God’s will all day long.

 

Miracles happen when we pray. Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still so the Israelites could win the battle, and God did just that. Gideon prayed for the animal skin to be wet and then dry, and God used that prayer to confirm His call on Gideon’s life.

 

Daniel prayed and the angel Gabriel appeared in less than three minutes as an answer to that prayer. But another time Daniel prayed, and due to spiritual warfare, it took weeks before the angel was able to deliver his answer (Daniel 10:12).

 

Satan attempts to hinder the answers to our prayers; but Matthew reminds us that everyone who asks receives, those who seek will find; and if we knock, God will open every door that we need in order to perform His will for our life (Matthew 7:8).

 

God always answers prayers, even if His answer is “wait” or “no”; and we can be assured that His answer has our best interest at heart. With faith in God’s faithfulness, nothing can stop us from accomplishing God’s will for our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we build our life on the rock of Christ, no storm shall prevail against us. We know that even if our enemies fight against us, or if Satan turns out all the demons of hell to stop us, greater is Christ within us than the god of this world (1 John 4:4). You have a perfect plan for our life, and we flourish with success and fulfillment as we walk in Your will (Ephesians 2:10).

 

We may fight a formidable enemy; but You triumph in every instance by making us overcomers who enjoy the victory of a life spent in Your presence, regardless of where we live or the circumstances around us. Remind us to pray without ceasing and to stand still and wait on Your salvation (Exodus 14:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Prayer is not therapy for the soul, but a connection of our spirit to the Spirit of God; prayer transcends human power, wisdom and ability and moves mountains in the spiritual world, and if necessary, in the physical world as well.