Talking To Your Spouse with Grace

 

 

couple aThe phone rang and she answered it. The change in her tone was blatantly obvious to everyone in the room.  This wife went from bubbly/friendly to irritated/annoyed.  “Who was on the other end of the phone?” we wondered.  Then she said his name and we learned that it was her husband.

This scenario happened in the public setting of a business.  My heart sank when I realized that when this lady heard her husband’s voice, instead of being glad to hear from him, she was irritated.  His call interrupted her.  His questions annoyed her. And his needs overwhelmed her.  She was only too happy to hang up and move on with the people around her and the business at hand.

But I cannot point a finger at her because the rest of my hand is pointing back at me.  It’s easy to get a call from Dale and answer casually instead of enthusiastically.  Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day routine as I do and forget the special bond you share with your spouse?  Consider the difference between answering the phone with,

“Yeah, whatcha’ need?”

Or

Hi Sweetheart!  I’m glad to hear from you!

What about when he asks you a question and you answer him for the second or third time?  Does each answer get louder and more aggravated? Remember how you loved his name when you were dating?  Do you say it with as much tenderness now?

Last week my brother-in-law was working his job inspecting roofs, as he has done for many years now.  The early morning dew was still on the back half of the house, making the surface slippery.  His work would be quick and he planned to climb down in just a minute, but just as that thought was flying through his mind, his foot slipped and he could feel himself falling.  He grabbed the gutter of the house, helping to break his fall, but only a little.  He was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center in the area where he was treated in the Emergency Room for his many broken bones.  Praise the Lord for sparing his life!

As my sister and I walked the hospital halls together, we discussed the abruptness of any calamity.  No one plans for it.  No one puts, “Visit husband in trauma unit” in their planner, but life as we know it can be changed in a moment. We all know that, but we move on each day as though we are ignorant of that truth, and we blurt out unkind phrases and words like an umpire at a ballgame.

Remember the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  The one who changed her disposition when her husband called?  Sadly, I learned the news of her husband’s death and I wondered if she ever wished she could talk to him again, with a completely different frame of mind? Did she ever wish he would interrupt her busy day by calling her?

If you knew that this was your last day with our spouse, would you use a different tone when we answered his call?  Would you use kinder words when responding to his questions?  Would your repeated answer be more patient?  Even if we knew we had 50 more years together, wouldn’t we want our relationship to epitomize tenderness, kindness and sacrificial love?  These are all words of grace – what we receive from the Lord every day.  It’s what might not be deserved, but we give it, because that is how we are loved and spoken to by our Savior.

I know I need to make some changes in order to fill my husband’s ears with words of grace. How about you?  Excuse me while I answer my phone…

Hi Sweetheart! I’m glad to hear from you!

If we asked others what they hear when we speak to our spouse, what would they say? What would our husband say?  It’s all about grace.

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Birthday Reflections

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Birthdays ~ we have one every year, and mine just happened to be yesterday.  To be honest, there are days when I sigh at getting older, but I’m finding that the way to beat the blues is to enter each year (and each day) with a thankful heart.

As I sat and reflected on my birthday, I came up with this list of SOME of the blessings that have fallen to me in this last year.

  • The blessing of getting to share God’s Word and speak to women.  This last year I spoke again at a Pastor’s wives retreat not long after my birthday.  You typically don’t get asked to speak when you’re still “green” in ministry.  But when you’ve weathered the storms and can still smile and love God with all your heart, you have validity in your message. I also had the blessing of flying to Michigan and doing a ladies’ retreat at a great church.  That was so wonderful.  The ladies encouraged my heart.  The time up north was beautiful as we looked out the windows at the drifted snow.  I am so amazed at the blessings and joys God gives me in allowing me to serve Him!
  • Thanksgiving with my parents. I am so blessed to be four hours from my parents and be able to spend time with them.  Family grows dearer with every day.  I realize more and more how precious a gift it is to be with them, to glean from them and show love to them.  This year was the first time it was just my husband and me with my mom and dad.  We put their Christmas tree up after dinner, watched Christmas movies with hot bowls of popcorn in our laps, and took drives in the country.  It sounds like its own kind of Hallmark movie, doesn’t it?  It was.
  • Days of retreat at a lake cabin.  To have dear friends who allow us time at their cabin that we might refresh ourselves is a blessing I cannot even describe.  We didn’t need as many days to rest up when we were younger, but to have a day away gives us new vigor for the ministry and refreshes our weary bodies!
  • Christmas with our grown children.  If you think Christmas with your little kids was fun, wait until they’re all grown and you see their faces with their spouses sitting around your dining room table. My heart was as full as my dining room table as we ate, laughed, reminisced, played games, opened the Scriptures, prayed and shared gifts.  Wow.  How sweet.
  • Enjoying a second trip to Israel.  This would never have happened in my younger days!  First, there was no desire to go.  But also, the demands of parenting wouldn’t have allowed it, nor would our bank account!  But God graciously provided in every way, and this second trip was even better than the first!
  • Special times away with my husband.  As in the prior blessing, our times away years ago were few and far between.  We enjoyed dates near home, and that was great!  But now we can go away for a night or an afternoon and not worry about homeschool, or schedules of children at home.  We went to DreamMore resort in Pigeon Forge for Valentine’s Day and had so much fun!  We’ve enjoyed Pigeon Forge Wyndham Resort a couple of times, as well.  Afternoons at Biltmore are a favorite for both of us as we stroll the gardens, forgetting pressures and concentrating on communication and time together.  We realize that every day we have together is a gift from God.
  • Becoming a (foster) Grandparent.  Though the twin boys my daughter and son-in-law are caring for are not our flesh, they were born in our hearts!  They’ve completely taken over every chamber and we are blessed to be a part of their lives and smother them with love!!  I had no idea how full this time in my life would be! Wow, just wow.
  • Ministering to children, both at home and church.  My weekly Bible club with my neighbor children is such a joy to me. What a gift to get to pour God’s Word into their hearts and minds.  Pioneer Club at church has been another way to get to serve God and minister to first and second graders!
  • Our first family vacation.  I shared about that here on my blog, but I can’t leave that out of my blessings!  It was so much fun!

This doesn’t include the times I’ve spent in God’s Word, hearing from Him, and talking to Him in prayer.  I’ve left out all the sweet hours of fellowship with friends and family, in our home, in theirs, at church, in restaurants and other meeting up sites.  Even on my birthday yesterday, we had “fellowship” in the hospital where my poor brother-in-law is recovering from surgery due to fall from a roof and subsequent severe injuries.  We gathered in the waiting area and prayed, read Scripture and waited together.  Those are not the planned kind of gatherings, but they do become sweet blessings because they add to the depth of my life as I reflect on the joy of having a family who can hold hands and run to God’s Throne together.  Years ago I may have regretted spending my birthday at the hospital, but not this year.  It’s a reminder that every day’s outcome is how you view it.  This was all orchestrated by God’s hands, allowing us to have planned a trip home at this particular time.  Only God knew why we needed to be here.

My birthday was filled with blessings and my heart is full.  One last blessing is the growth of my blog.  Thank you to each of you who read my posts regularly.  Thank you to those who have followed me recently. Thanks to those of you who comment and encourage me. I am amazed that others read what I’ve written, but I’m so very grateful!  I trust that as the year progresses, God will grant wisdom and help to make this worth reading each day.

What blessings would you recount on your birthday?  If you haven’t, start making a list in a journal today!

Another year older, but even more blessed,

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The Power of a Woman’s Words

The theme for this week’s posts is a subject I’m studying every day this month – WORDS.  They can be wise or foolish, helpful or destructive.  Let’s start with speech towards our mate ~

 

For many years now, it has been my habit to read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the date of the month. The Lord teaches me something every day from that practical book. Recently the Holy Spirit has shown me the power of a woman’s words.

In chapter seven, the Holy Spirit showed me that the Strange woman (the adulterous woman) uses her words to seduce a man. Listen to what this passage says about her speech:

  • She is loud – Verse 11
  • With an impudent face (she) said unto him,
    I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
    Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. Vs 13-15
  • With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lipsshe forced him. Verse 21

In chapter nine, we see again, the power of her words:

  • A foolish woman is clamorous: (vigorous in demand) she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
    For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Vs 13-15
  • Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
    But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell. Verses 16-18

We see the negative affect a woman’s words can have on a man. Men desire to be admired, sought after, and respected. The woman that uses these kinds of phrases and words to a man that isn’t her husband is treading in dangerous waters. She’s capturing his heart, and she knows what she is doing.

However, a wise woman should read those verses and be reminded that each of us needs to be using our words to build up and admire the man that God gave to us as our husband. He needs to hear fair speech at home!

Honey, I’ve looked for you to return home all day today. I missed you while you were at work! You look tired, and I’ve prepared a favorite meal and have made sure this will be a restful evening for you.

Let’s take our cue from this woman and use right speech at home so our husband will be anxious to return each day.

What kind of speech did you use this morning? Do you need to make things right? Do so, then love him the rest of the day with your wise words!

Use your words to refresh your mate!

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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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