Ten Choices That Will Help Get Your Marriage to the Finish Line

0427170702aHappy Friday y’all!  I’m here today with a brand new post as we finish out this week talking about marriage.  So far this week we’ve discussed roller coaster days, making more deposits in your relationship than withdrawals, and the high cost of foolish choices. Today I want to talk about wise choices and how they will effect your home.

Many women were so very grieved this week to hear of a well-loved Bible teacher announcing her divorce to her husband.  Serious infidelity and substance abuse got a grip in her husband’s life, bringing their marriage to an end.  I don’t know all the details, of course, but it has impacted the world with its sad ending.  I’m afraid that some women will hear that, and then feel helpless themselves.

“If her marriage is falling apart, and she’s a famous Bible teacher, how can I ever hope to have a happy marriage?

When you consider the trials, the disagreements, the financial woes, the verbal misunderstandings, the pride, the emotions, the daily pressures, and the parenting conflicts, it’s a miracle that any marriage survives, but it can!  

But how?  I believe with all my heart it’s  through the presence of the Lord and His guidance, His example of love, and the counsel of His Word that allows a Christian couple to remain together for a lifetime.

Satan wants to destroy our homes, but God is greater, friends!  I’d like to share with you some choices we have to make to see our marriage to the Finish Line.

  1. Stay on your knees in prayer for your mate and your marriage.  Think about it – if you’re not praying for your husband, who is? Pray for ~
    • His heart for God
    • His purity
    • His protection from Satan’s attacks
    • A tender heart to sin
    • A fear of God
    • A desire for God’s house
    • His leadership in your home – Note:  Talk to the Lord about this – not him!
  2. Keep the fun in your relationship.  Don’t stop laughing, flirting, dancing in the grocery store aisle, or any of the things that made you smile when you were dating!
  3. As your children grow up, release more and more of that attention they were getting and lavish it on your husband!  A wife who makes her children the center of her attention even after they’re able to care for themselves is pushing her husband out of her life, and that is a dangerous action.
    • Send the child back to their bed.
    • Put them on a schedule and spend time with your husband.
    • Leave them with a caregiver and go on dates.
    • Be excited about your empty nest rather than crying on Facebook about how you miss your little boys! I know I’m stepping out on a limb on that one, but I love you, ladies, and someone needs to tell you to build a bridge and get over it.
    • Don’t make your children the center of your world – make your husband the center.  Doing so will give your children the security of parents who love each other and are going to stay together forever.
  4. Keep the tenderness in your relationship.
    • Use tender words, rather than angry, cross ones.
      • Make sure your conversation is more than about who’s picking up the gallon of milk.
    • Use tender touches.  Hold hands.  Kiss goodbye and hello.  You never know when that might be your last kiss.  We’re not promised tomorrow!
  5. Be first.  To forgive.  To serve.  To love.
  6. Be thoughtful.  Pick up his favorite treat.  Make a nourishing breakfast before he leaves.  Ask what he would like for supper.  Ask if there’s an errand you can do for him, or a way to lighten his load.
  7. Do what he enjoys doing on his day off.  I”m not much of a hiker, but I think my husband’s favorite date in recent years was a January birthday hike I planned, complete with a picnic lunch of homemade soup in Mason jars..  It was freezing cold and snowy., but we had so much fun!
  8. Make plans for the days ahead.  Doing so says, “I’m planning on spending all my life with you, and it’s going to be wonderful!  What do you want to be like as you age?  What trips could you dream about?  What goals could you write down and look forward to as your lives change in the years ahead?
  9. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses as to why you prefer to be slouchy at home.  It is possible to be comfortable and look great for your husband.   I’ve seen one too many videos of wives saying, “Yeah, my hair looks awful; I haven’t washed it in a week.”  Really?  Shampoo is cheap, and it doesn’t really take that long to get your hair cleaned.  Men are visual – give him something great to look at!
  10. Make a play list of all the love songs you listened to while dating.  Let your hearts spin along with the music and remember where it all started between you both!

Because there is a God in heaven, there is hope for our marriages.  Don’t let yourself feel in despair or like there is no chance that your marriage can be awesome!  Which of these suggestions do you need to start on?  Ask God to help you and see what a difference it can make in your home!

Refresh your marriage!

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Foolish Choices that Could Destroy Your Marriage

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Someone told me recently that they had enjoyed reading my blog until they began reading my posts about The Foolish Woman! They were teasing, but the implication was that it’s not always easy to read things that hit home and bring conviction. I trust that you will read on anyway, and consider the description of the foolish woman from Proverbs 7.

Proverbs 7:6-10 reads, “For at the window of my house I looked through my casement. And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her (the foolish woman’s) corner, and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot and subtil of heart.”

I see here that another foolish characteristic of this woman is the choices she makes. She’s going out in the evening when it is dark outside. This is a romantic setting and she is setting herself and this foolish man up for a huge fall by being out at this time of night. She has no concern how this might look to others who might see her standing on the street alone with this man.

What a warning this must be to us! We have to let our mind run ahead to look out for situations that could put our testimony at jeopardy. Some potential danger zones would be:

  • Having a man in your home when you are there alone.
  • Listening to a man tell you about his marriage problems or you talking to him about yours.
  • Sending private emails to men (Why not send a carbon copy to his wife?).
  • Having chats with men on the Internet.
  • Riding alone in the car with a man.

Some may say, “My goodness! Are you suspicious of everyone?” No, but we need to make good, wise choices before we are in a situation that destroys our testimony and possibly our marriage.   What seems harmless could lead to other things.

If we guard our hearts and are also thoughtful enough to protect the men around us, we will know that our choices will label us as wise instead of foolish.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Make wise choices and guard your marriage.

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When Your Marriage Feels Like a Roller Coaster

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No one wants to be forced to ride a roller coaster – especially when it’s an emotional one caused by stress in marriage.  But, if we’re honest, we’ve all been there at one time or another.  We feel like life is spinning and twisting out of control and all we can do is hang on and hope for a safe and eventual landing.

That Marriage Roller Coaster ride can also make you feel helpless, alone, and desperate. In the middle of a marital crisis, you can “feel” like you will never be happy again, that there’s no hope for your relationship, or that it would just be better if your marriage was over. These can all be dangerous emotions/actions, if not handled biblically.

How about if we just stop together and get a biblical perspective for those kinds of days?

  1. Realize that your spouse is not your enemy.  Satan is the one attacking your home.  But the biblical perspective is, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”  (I John 4:4) God is stronger and greater.  He can get you past this hurdle, and that’s all it is – a hurdle.  The good news is that hurdles are meant for jumping over!
  2. Struggles are not a sign that your marriage is done.  Jesus told us, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer – I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  Since He has overcome, so can we!  When two sinners live together, there’s bound to be difficulty at times.  Add to the mix, children, who are also sinners, and you can have a house full of struggles!  But, as in the roller coaster analogy, you don’t just jump off when you’re climbing the steepest incline of the ride!  You sit tight, hold on (to the Lord and one another!), close your eyes (in prayer), and do the next right thing.  Soon you’ll be pulling into the very place the ride started, renewed in your love and softer and gentler with one another.
  3. Ending the marriage is not God’s answer to the struggle.  Seek for restoration. Humble yourself and do what is necessary to obey Romans 12:18.  Sincerely ask the Lord to show you if you are in the wrong.  Seek the biblical advice of a godly friend who will love you enough to be honest with you and tell you what you need to hear – not what they know you want to hear.  Lovingly talk to your spouse, when the time is right.  Share your heart.  Ask if you can get down on your knees and pray together.  It’s pretty impossible to pray as a couple and stay angry.  Again, humility is necessary on your part!  You can’t change him, but with God’s help, you sure can change the girl in your shoes!
  4. Believe the truth that the best is yet to be.  Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God has a plan to give us a hope and a future, and that includes your marriage!  You can both learn from this experience and enjoy greater days in the future, because of the restoration and reconciliation that has taken place.

Proverbs 24:10

If thou faint in the day of adversity,

thy strength is small.

Let the Lord be your strength, and climb down off that roller coaster, straighten your wind-blown hair, and don’t faint!  Believe the biblical truth and press on for God’s honor!

Lovingly,

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Make More Deposits

While waiting in line at the bank, a man developed a very loud case of hiccups. By the time he reached the teller’s window, the hiccups seemed to have worsened. The teller took the man’s check and proceeded to run a computer verification of his account.

After a minute she looked up from her terminal with a frown and said that she would be unable to cash his check.”Why not?” the man asked incredulously.

”I’m sorry, sir,” she replied, ” but our computer indicates that you do not have sufficient funds to cover this amount. As a matter of fact,” she continued, “our records show your account overdrawn in excess of $5000.””It can’t be!” he cried. “You have to be kidding!” “Yes, I am,” she answered with a smile, counting out his cash. “But you will notice that your hiccups are gone.”

Probably most of us know the sinking feeling to know of one time or another when there weren’t sufficient funds in the bank to cover our withdrawals. It makes for a rough day, doesn’t it?

While we are ever so careful to guard our bank account from being over drawn, I wonder what the records would show on the monthly statement of our marriage? How many withdrawals have you made? Wives need love, affection, attention, compliments, encouragement, dates, pampering, help around the house, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on… Each one of those represent a withdrawal from our marriage account.

We can also make withdrawals by nagging, belittling, giving a cold shoulder, being unforgiving, negligent to his needs, etc.

Now, think back on this past week – what kind of deposits have you made? Not the monetary kind – but the relational kind.

  • Have you shown respect for your husband with your words?
  • Have you elevated him in front of others?
  • Have you thanked him for being a provider for your family?
  • Have you done a thoughtful gesture for him? (Bought his favorite candy bar, written him a note, made his favorite meal, took him out on a special date or created one at home- you get the idea)
  • Have you spent time doing something he enjoys even though it might not be your favorite activity?
  • Have you done something to lighten his load?

These things (and many others) are ways we make deposits into our marriage. There’s a double blessing here – we’re meeting the needs of our husband and rediscovering what a joy it is to be married. It’s fun! It is God’s plan and He can only do what is good!

Take a thorough check into your “account” and make sure you’re not overdrawn! If it’s been a while since you’ve put something into your marriage, you might surprise your husband so much you’ll scare his hiccups away!

Refresh you marriage today!!

Come back the rest of this week for more marriage posts that will encourage you to make your relationship the best it can be!

With love,

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My New Heroes

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Have you ever wished you could be a hero?  It takes a lot to be one!

It takes sacrifice.

It takes self-denial.

It takes commitment.

Those I have always considered true heroes:

  • Men and women who have given their lives for the sake of the Gospel
  • Men and women who have given their lives for our country

However, recently I’ve come to understand that there is another group of people who rightfully belong in the category with heroes:

  • Men and women who have opened their hearts and their homes to love and care for a child (or children) in foster care (especially believers who reach out to show Christ’s love to these little ones!)

You see, I’ve had an up-close look at Foster Care because our daughter and son-in-law have become foster parents in the last few months!  (That makes me Gigi to these babies, and I love it!) To watch our daughter and son-in-law’s sacrifice, commitment and self-denial for the little ones in their care has been amazing. 

They attended many weeks of training classes, had home studies, were fingerprinted, checked and re-checked before they were ever considered eligible to welcome a child into their home.

They went from freedom to go and do whatever/whenever to caring for the demands of infants literally overnight – no nine months prep for their adjustment!

They took on not one, but two children.  The demands of two infants is incredible, and to take that on yourself for ones that aren’t your own flesh and blood shows true servanthood.

They have taken numerous 5-hour trips to take the babies to doctor’s appointments because of their physical needs.

They have had to rearrange their work schedules, put their personal vacations on hold, and cut back on outings, due to the needs of the babies.

They get much less sleep caring for infants!

They have to keep up with the system’s demands – attending more classes about foster parenting (while they’re caring for the children), getting the children to family visitations, which meet the birth parent’s time schedule more than their own.

They endure some who give demeaning looks/remarks towards them because they use WIC to purchase formula.  (Wow.  We don’t always know all the facts, do we?)

They are spoken “down” to by some of the medical staff because they’re “only the foster parent.”  They’ve spent more time with these children than the birth parents have.  Shouldn’t they be given an ear because they do understand their needs?

But spite all of that, they press on with the most loving parental hearts – kissing, hugging, talking and cooing to those little ones as though they were their own.  They don’t neglect to care for one need.  Their hearts cry when one has to be poked on at the doctor’s office.  They are sympathetic to the one who is sleepless in the middle of the night and they rock and sing songs of Jesus’ love, while their own sleepy eyes fight to stay awake.

I had the pleasure this week of helping care for the babies while our son-in-law was at a conference.  I watched with my own eyes the care and concern of these heroes who love with a love that reminds me of my great God who loved me when I was not yet His, and of how He sent His Son to adopt me and make me a part of His family.  God loves me.  These foster parents love these children with Christ’s love.  God loves these foster children!  This morning  I rejoiced as I read Psalm 10:14b –

Thou art the helper of the fatherless.

And what does God do for the believer who takes care of one of these children?

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and he will repay him for his deed

God will bless those who serve in this ministry!  I’m watching it happen in my own family.  It’s precious!

I have known others who have opened their homes, but until now I hadn’t seen it up really close.  I salute each one who sacrifices to give a child a safe, loving environment! Let’s be looking for ways to encourage and thank these heroes who have sacrificed so that a child can have a happy household in which to grow, live, to also hear about the Lord Jesus!

Whitney at Come Home for Comfort wrote a great post about how to support those who are foster parents.  I hope you’ll go here and check it out!

Also, did you know that President Trump has named May as National Foster Care Month?

While you are on Whitney’s site, will you scroll down and read the comment left by Elaine?  She shared her sweet testimony of being a foster mom for 17 years!  Wow!  Her story may encourage you to check into being a foster parent.  So many children are in need; maybe the Lord would have you open your home and become a hero in a child’s life!

God bless each of you foster parents!  I pray many children will come to know Christ because of your sacrifice!

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When Your Life Bumps Into Sin

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Bumper cars are one of the carnival rides at Dollywood’s amusement park near us.  The fun of the ride is doing exactly what its name says – bumping – into another car, into the walls and the poles around the structure.  The cars are equipped with soft bumpers so the “crashes” don’t hurt you or anything you hit (Wouldn’t that be helpful at those drive-in’s where scratches and bumps are inevitable?!). Anyway…

It’s fun to go in with a group and get an eye on your target car and head for them as quickly as that little electronic car will let you travel.  Their car goes reeling and you speed off, laughing that you got the first “hit!”

That fun scene isn’t so pleasant when the “bumping” happens when your life crashes into a situation that is sinful.  I recently had an alarming experience when I slammed right into a lifestyle that is not only different from anything I’ve ever been close to, but one that the Bible renounces.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I was blown away.  I was burdened for those involved.  And honestly, I felt offended by the bruise it gave my soul.

For days I could not shake the disturbance this scene caused.  I prayed about it.  I pondered my response, and then I turned to God’s Word and dug in, looking for what God wanted me to learn.  If I wanted to know how believers are to respond when their life bumps into sinful situations, I needed to be reminded of how Jesus responded.  I turned to John, Chapters 2 and 4.

In John 2 we find Jesus overturning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple.

In John 4 Jesus meets the Woman at the well – the lady who had been married multiple times, and was now living with a man to whom she was not married.

The way He responded to the sins of both of these people taught me how He expects me to respond as well.

When my life bumps into sinners ~

  1. Consider the location
    • At church – Sin shouldn’t be practiced in this place.  The money-changer was selling in the Temple, the place where worship and the teaching of God’s Word was to occur.
    • In the world – We should expect it!  There’s no reason to be surprised by sin here; these dear people don’t know the Redeemer (yet!).
  2. Consider the person
    • Money-Changers sold for a religious occasion out of a greedy heart.  They were making merchandise of this Holy custom.
    • The Samaritan woman married five times to fill a void in her life.  She knew no better!
  3. Consider the need
    • The Money-Changers were making a living by abusing the Passover.
    • The Samaritan Woman lived this way due to her sinful nature.  She didn’t know better (yet!).

Application for you and me:

  • Sin is never to be overlooked, ignored or tolerated.  That sin that I bumped into was in the world, a place where I shouldn’t be surprised at seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I can accept it – it’s still an offence against a holy God.
  • Sin should be answered through the Scripture.  We mustn’t  argue or debate the truth – we share it with the love that Christ showed the Samaritan Woman.  We engage in the sinner’s life and ask good questions that will give us the opportunity to give God’s Word as the answer their hungry hearts are seeking.
  • Sinners should be introduced to Jesus – John 4:29
  • Share and live the Truth, then allow sinners to make up their own mind – to turn to Jesus or not. John 4:42
  • My response – 
    • In the world:
      • Love the sinner
      • Point to Jesus
      • Live out the life of a believer
      • Go my way looking for other sinners.
    • In the church:
      • Remember your own sin first!   If it were not for God’s grace, we, too, could be overcome with sin.
      • With a humble heart, point out the sin to those that claim Christ.
      • Use God’s Word, not my standard.
      • Ask questions.
      • Pray for change and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting (we cannot change anyone).

Though I didn’t especially enjoy the bumper car experience when I banged up against sin in the world, I’m so thankful for what God taught me after the crash!  I pray that my response will be biblical, both in the world and in my church from here on out.

Oh, and if I ever see you across the arena of the Bumper Car course, look out!Image result for emoji images

 

Have you struggled with how to respond to blatant sin in the world?  How about at church?

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The Resale Value of Your Christian Life

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After over 200,000 miles on the road, even a favorite automobile has to be laid to rest and replaced with newer wheels, a stronger engine and less numbers on the odometer.  That is the story of our dearly loved and used Toyota Highlander.  It served us well, but there were issues that needed to be addressed – and so as we prayed, we began looking for its replacement.

No matter what we chose, any car we sat in was definitely going to be an improvement. We would never choose one with more miles than our Toyota.  The upholstery would be newer and the accessories in the dashboard would surely be an upgrade, maybe even including a back-up camera or navigational system!  But the blessing was that Toyota Highlanders seem to hold their value and have a good resale.  So, we had planned to trade the car in, which would, of course, help us purchase a car that was a newer/better model.

When most people shop for a car, they’re looking for the real deal – something that will be dependable and road-worthy.    However, if I’ve learned anything, I have come to understand the importance of buying one that has good resale value (I’m a typical girl-y girl who usually goes for what looks good! I’m learning!!).  Resale is really important in the long-run.  If others want what you own, it will profit you and them!

That is also true in the life of a genuine Christian –  a person who has put their complete trust in the cross-work of Christ on behalf of their sins.  A Christian should be like a “New model” of the “old” sinner they were.  Like that old car, they have gotten an upgrade!  Old things are passed away and all things are become new!

People will look at that kind of Christian and want what they have because:

  •  They don’t do the things they used to do.  Their motivation is eternal rather than temporal.  Their longing is for a heavenly reward, rather than the praise of men.
  • They don’t grind away at their job, complaining and grunting their way through their day!  They work hard.  They serve others with a smile and a sweet spirit.
  • They have purpose now – they’re living with the Holy Spirit of God inside them, and longing to be more like their Savior every day they live!
  • They’re constantly being changed by the conviction of the Spirit of God.  Though they fall, they will rise up and keep going, with God’s help.
  • Their life has purpose and meaning.  Even though the tears may fall in times of trial, they have an inner peace, because they know the One Who is triumphant over sin, death and the grave.

A true believer who lives out the Christian life makes others want what they have!

Does that describe you?  Can the world tell the difference between you and an unsaved person?  There are many Christians “on the lot” that are just your standard, no-frills-added believers.  They “got saved one day” but they:

  • Don’t tell others about Jesus, or about their own salvation.
  • Don’t live out the Gospel in their every day life.
    They fail to ~

    • Love people – especially the “hard to love”
    • Forgive those who hurt them
    • Serve as Christ did
  • Don’t separate from the world.
    • They do what everyone else does.
    • They succumb to peer pressures and the World’s philosophy.
    • They look and act like everyone else.
      • This doesn’t mean you have to wear culottes and tennis shoes!  Nor does it mean you can be careless about necklines and hemlines.
      • If the world says ballgames are on Sunday, they go!  If teams have practice on Sunday, they practice.  If they’re too tired to attend services, they listen to their flesh instead of depending on the Spirit to help them.
  • Their lives look just like everyone else on their street.

Friends, I’m not talking about us being perfect Christians any more than I think we’ll ever find a perfect car.  But what I’m begging us to consider is, Do others want our life as a Christian because they see its value, its power, and its transforming work going on in our lives every day of the week?

It’s time for each of us to be the best model of a Christian so that others will look at us and know that what we have is what their empty hearts need, too!  Let’s live up to the precious resale value that we truly possess!

How are you living out your Christian life today in a way that makes it desirable to others?

Lovingly,

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