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 – Ways We Erode Our Relationship

There are many issues that tear down a marriage that can be avoided. We simply need to be forewarned in order to be forearmed.

 

When we put our mate down in front of other people, this public humiliation is hurtful and uncalled for in every sense of the word. These “jokes” may make us feel better, or get a laugh; but they devastate our mate and should be avoided at all costs.

 

This habit causes resentment and develops into anger that seethes within our partner’s soul. It reveals pettiness and a lack of honor and respect for one another. Men are particularly negatively affected by public “put downs”, but wives want to feel loved, admired and complimented as well.

 

When we go behind each other and make decisions in secret that also affects their life, we erode our relationship as a couple. We make our partner feel devalued and overlooked.

 

Using superlatives such as “never” and “always” may make each other feel helpless and useless and cause us to want to give up trying. We never feel “good enough”; we start to believe that we will never measure up, so why try?

 

Blaming our spouse for our bad mood or lack of accomplishment in some area; expecting him/her to meet all the needs of our body, soul and spirit; postponing our fulfillment in life until the children leave the nest; holding resentment for unexpressed expectations, etc. will drive a wedge between both parties of the couple.

 

Complaining about the material possessions our spouse brings or fails to bring to the marriage will erode his/her desire to work and to help provide for our joint goals and aspirations.

 

Comparing our spouse to our neighbor or that model couple at church will cause disappointment and discouragement. It is better to inform our spouse of the areas in our relationship where we feel slighted, unappreciated, pressured or overwhelmed, and work together to build one another up.

 

Prayer:

Father God, reveal to us that talking curtly or “down” to one another devalues our mate in his/her heart. They feel discouraged and overwhelmed rather than complimented and built up. Stop us from continually finishing our mate’s sentences and remind us to allow them to tell their own version of the “story” from their perspective, even if we disagree with their facts.

 

Help us to see that when we make an attempt to do something nice for one another, and this gesture is not appreciated, we feel less like trying again. Open the eyes of our understanding so that You, rather than the devil, will influence our behavior and attitude in our marriage.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we constantly attempt to “teach” or change or correct each other, or always show our mate a better way to do things, it gives the message that they are “not good enough”; if we badger each other about petty issues or unmet expectations, we turn into nags and complainers, and we start to avoid each other’s company; it is so much better when spouses dwell together in unity.

 

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.

 

A Happy Marriage – Simplifying Life

Happily ever after is a misnomer. Marriage is tough by any standards. Some marriages are better than others, but we all struggle with disagreements from time to time. Let’s face it, we even frequently argue with our self.

 

Arguing is not really a negative issue. It is how we argue that makes it a problem. We can mildly disagree, vehemently disagree or destructively disagree. These destructive fights tear the fabric of our marriage, which affects our society as a whole.

 

Family life is stressful at best and almost impossible at its worst. We allow our children to be involved in more activities than they can bear, which puts a strain on the whole family.

 

Attempting to watch 4 different ball games played by 4 different children at 4 different gyms or parks all played at the same time is an example of the crazy conflicts that can stress us out.

 

The best rule of thumb is to sign up our children for one extra-curricular activity at a time, and to make sure that their schedules do not conflict. If they are interested in various hobbies and venues, this will be so much easier.

 

The financial strain on marriages today is enough to break the back of the strongest couple. With both partners working fulltime, the stress of homemaking and child rearing is also daunting, especially if everyone needs their own room, TV and smart phone.

 

Simplifying life can be overwhelming, but will drastically reduce the amount of stress on the family. With a more fluid schedule, we have more time to enjoy each other’s company.

 

Spending time together allows relationships to evolve on the same level and in more mutually satisfying ways. We weather the shifting winds of life as a family rather than alone.

 

Staying healthy emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually demands that we follow God’s will for our individual and corporate life. He has a perfect plan that sustains us through troubled waters and allows these trials to strengthen rather than to dissolve our relationships.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the only way to achieve lasting peace and joy in our life is to follow Your Spirit’s direction each moment of the day. As we increase our intimacy with You, our intimacy with others improves as well. Teach us to keep our focus on our own fallacies and idiosyncrasies rather than allowing our spouse’s issues to take precedence in our mind.

 

Remind us that we tend to blow their faults out of proportion unless we humbly compare them with our own flaws. Please change us from the inside out; keep us healthy in body, soul and spirit; strengthen us as individuals, a family and a society. Allow us to be that shining beacon of light to help others avoid the jagged rocks on the coastline of life. Help us to continually work on changing one aspect of our life at a time that will improve our relationships.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we take a searching moral inventory and decide what will make us more fulfilled as a Christian and as an individual, we will strengthen our personal life, our marriage and our family unit, and insure that we can better respond to the grace of God in the midst of every conflict.

 

 

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.

 

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