Refreshing the decor in my home seasonally is one way I show my love for my husband. Does that seem strange? What I mean is I want our home to be inviting – not just to our guests, but to HIM! I want him to feel that happy sigh when he walks in the door and finds things welcoming and comfortable. It’s never going to be perfect, and we don’t strive for that standard. We just want it to be a place that draws us and others in, has a cozy warmth, and extends the love of Christ to any who walk in our doors.
Weeds! It’s amazing what just a little time away will do to a summer yard!
Proverbs 10:4 reminds us ~
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand:
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
My hand had been idle, while on vacation, but when the temperatures had cooled off some and the humidity was in breathing range, I donned my garden gloves and headed out to give this poor Dianthus some badly needed attention. My hand was diligent to take care of the neglected landscape.
While I was tugging and pulling at the stubborn intruders, the Lord brought to my mind a simple truth: neglect in any area of our lives spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e! You name it – if you neglect your health, your work, or your spiritual walk, it’s an invitation to disaster.
Let’s think about another area in which neglect is deadly…a marriage. It’s so easy to Continue reading “The Cost of Neglect in Marriage”
One day last week I stumbled across my journal entry from our anniversary last June. How thankful I was that I had entered a memory from that day, even though it wasn’t one of the “Big” anniversaries, ending in a 0 or a 5! It was number 36 (how can that be possible?!). It was a blessing to be reminded of the sweet day we shared together and the fun we had celebrating another year the Lord had given us as husband and wife.
I had been sick with a nasty cough and body aches the week of our anniversary. I had gone to the doctor and had a shot and a prescription, but when our special day rolled around, I still wasn’t feeling well enough to want to go anywhere…totally unlike me! We had plans to go to a beautiful bed and breakfast, but had to cancel our reservation. My sweet husband was sympathetic, understanding and very caring for my needs. On the day of our celebration, he insisted I rest. I did, taking a nap in the morning and another in the afternoon. He kindly got take out for both lunch and supper meals, and though I didn’t have an incredible appetite, we enjoyed the food and ate outside on our patio.
When he left to go get supper, I set the patio table with framed pictures from our wedding and up through the years. I got out our wedding album and also my diary from the time when we were dating. Those things “decorated” the table, along with votive candles and the flowers he had brought me earlier in the day. After we ate our supper, we sat and looked through the albums and read my diary entries. We laughed. We cried. We reminisced over our early years of marriage, through the births of our three daughters, Ashley’s death, our years in ministry, our girls’ weddings and the countless blessings of the Lord that have made us so rich.
Our 36th anniversary was spent entirely at home. We had no fancy restaurant setting, no luxury hotel, not even a colossal dessert. It was just us and our memories and it was every bit as special as our time away would have been – maybe even more so because there was little cost, no stress from traffic or other people, and it allowed us to simplify the day and focus on one another and just reflect on the joy of being married to your best friend. After all, that’s what anniversaries are for!
There are lots of summer anniversaries (any other June brides?). If you have a year or two – (or ten!) that for one reason or another requires simplifying, enjoy it! Oh, and be sure to journal about it somewhere so you can look back on it in years to come and smile at its memory.
Here are some suggestions for a simple celebration:
- Take breakfast to a park and celebrate early in the day with muffins, yogurt, fruit and coffee. Bring your wedding album with you and look through the photos.
- Pick up lunch at a favorite place and eat at a beautiful spot – a lake, the Blue Ridge Parkway or a mountain view. Play the music you enjoyed while you were dating.
- Eat dinner at home with your children, lighting candles and using the best dishes. Let everyone dress up! After they go to bed, enjoy a special dessert in a quiet place, just for the two of you.
- Skip buying presents for one another and decide on one gift you could buy that you would both enjoy –
- a new coffee maker or espresso machine
- a hammock
- a picnic basket or cooler for dates
- passes to Biltmore or amusement park
- patio furniture
- a chair for your bedroom
- wedding photos that you haven’t purchased yet!
- enlargements of photos of your family from your phone that you could frame and hang
- a couples’ devotional book
Simplifying your anniversary celebrations can still be special and memorable. Make the most of every day the Lord gives you together!
Refresh your marriage,
having the status of a king or queen or a member of their family.
I admit that I am kind of taking liberties with the word royal, but in all reality, if you and your husband are believers in Jesus Christ, you are a royal priesthood. We learn that here –
I Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Because of who we are in Christ, everything about us should show to the world the praise of our God Who saved us. In other words, our marriages should display the Gospel. If we do that, then our relationship with one another will truly be royal.
How can we have a Royal Marriage?
- Think of your spouse as royalty. If we were in the presence of a king, would we forget it? Of course not! We should remind ourselves every day that we chose to marry this man! He is our Prince Charming! We must remember what we loved about him in the beginning. If he doesn’t seem quite so charming today, it’s our thoughts that have changed, so we need to change them back. Instead of dwelling on the negative, we must think on the things that we love about our prince!
- Keep your eyes on your royal family. When any of the British royalty are out in public, all eyes are on them! We must keep our eyes on only our mate, and not even consider looking at someone else. Keep your vows you made before God. He wants your marriage to succeed even more than you do!
- Treat your spouse like royalty. Yes, treat him like a king. Do it as a way to show your love. Be watching and anticipating his needs so you can meet them. Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3,4 But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. We’re not going to think of ourselves first – we’ll think of our mate. Doing this is a true blessing!
- Speak endearingly about your spouse. We were all talking about the the royal couple after their wedding. What do you say to others about your spouse? Do you praise him and share the traits that you admire most?
- Stay in the same country! Royal families don’t divide – with one person ruling one country and the other spouse ruling another. To have a royal marriage, we have to stay on the same track, rather than each spouse doing their own thing. We must come together for time to grow, talk, share, and make memories. Without this we will just be like roommates, rather than a Royal married couple!
- Talk to the King of Kings about your marriage. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom as to how to respond to your mate. He made that man and knows him! Ask for understanding about how to talk to him. Ask for God’s protection on his life, his thoughts, and his heart.
- Enjoy your castle! Have fun in your home, no matter how humble it is. Make it the best place on earth for you both to retreat to and share this life. Draw up the bridge and let intruders “meet the dragons in the moat” from time to time so you and your spouse can spend uninterrupted time together. Every couple needs some time away – even if it’s just an afternoon or evening.
Perhaps you need to watch the video of your wedding again, if you’re blessed to have one. If not, look at the photos and remember the day you took the royal title of “Mrs.” It’s a high calling! Let’s show it and enjoy it!
Refresh your royal marriage!
The sand drawing above is an annual event that my husband started doing years ago when we first started taking vacations to the beach. He draws our initials in the sand, dates it, draws a heart around it and then we get a picture. It always makes a memory and I think it also speaks to other people, too. As a matter of fact, when this one was taken, several people, including a child, walked towards it, then nearly stumbled when they saw the drawing, not wanting to trample through it. Of course it would have been fine, but it was like they felt were desecrating soemthing sacred and they wanted to help us preserve it. But I wonder, do we as couples trample over and desecrate our marriage relationship by not stopping to consider what we need to do to preserve it?
Right at the top of that list is making sure that we spend time together…we continue to date our spouse. There are lots of fun things to do on dates in the summertime, and many of them cost very little! Here are some of our favorites:
- Drives. Whether we drive through the country, or an ocean city while on vacation, we love to drive through subdivisions or streets and look at homes and landscaping. We turn on some music, roll down the windows and drive slowly. It’s fun to see what others have done to their homes and also dream about what we might do because of ideas gleaned on our drive.
- Back porch dates – Those cool patio lights make the perfect setting for a movie on your laptop or tablet out there, accompanied by popcorn or a treat!
- Backyard dates – We pull out the croquet, badminton or other yard game and enjoy some friendly competition.
- Bike rides – So many places offer great trails. Sometimes we even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the ride and lunch along the path!
- Ice Cream Dates – The only thing we ever order from McDonald’s is their soft serve ice cream. We also love Chick-fil-A’s cones. Often we’ll buy a half gallon when it’s marked down, and enjoy a cone outside on the swing.
- Yard sales – We like to make a mental list of things we’ll look for – a piece of furniture for the patio, books, or antiques for decorating. We load up on quarters and $1 bills and head out, newspaper in hand and scavange for the best deals on those items.
Don’t trample over your marriage this summer; make time to create favorite dates and times with your spouse!
Do you and your spouse have any traditions like our drawing in the sand that you do? What fun plans are you making for this summer?
Refresh your marriage,
We’ve all done it – slammed our finger in a drawer or caused ourselves some sort of pain by a careless act. This morning it happened to me – I was getting ready for the day and I dropped my phone onto the top of my foot. All those little bones in there began screaming for attention and I gave it! I lifted my leg and while hopping on the other foot, Continue reading “Family Friday – Apply the Loving Touch”
This week during our Valentine’s dinner, I pulled out a dating journal that my husband and I kept for quite a few years. We recorded lunch dates, overnighter’s, and weeks away that we were blessed to share during the years our girls were home. Wow! It was filled with special memories we had forgotten. But one thing rang true – we missed our girls while we were away, but those times alone helped shape our relationship. It made us better parents, and it made our marriage stronger.
We literally had to scrape together every dime to go on these outings, but it was so well worth it! I’m thankful we have that journal to remind us of the joy those times away were for us. Some dates were simply a shared ice cream cone, or a picnic lunch at a nearby park. As a matter of fact, most outings were minimized in extravagance, but maximized in enjoyment AND effectiveness! It was always profitable for our relationship.
For any married couple to spend time away together so they might invest in their relationship, will require an investment. That simply means it is costly.
- It could require a financial investment. There are lots of things to do that don’t cost, but most overnighters aren’t free.
- It will require time – time away from family, away from work and away from all other distractions.
- It will require a willingness to get honest with one another so you both can make changes that are necessary.
- The sacrifice of your pride is crucial so you can listen to your spouse without thinking about what you want to say.
After 36+ years of marriage, I would have to say that time away from pressures and demands – even for an hour – is time that helped build our marriage. It’s so easy to get on two separate tracks when things are so busy.
May I ask you – are you making a true effort to spend time with your spouse – just the two of you so you might talk in depth, pray together, have times of rest, laugh, strengthen one another in the daily grind, and pour into your marriage so you can both be ready to move forward?
Let me encourage you, if you’re wanting to share these times but your husband is reluctant, plan a short outing. Do something you know HE would love. Keep it lighthearted and encouraging. Pour into him. Bless him with what he needs. Pray about it, asking the Lord to make your time special. Keep doing these little outings and work your way into a weekend away. Allow the Lord to move in his heart.
God has a plan for your marriage and you can trust Him to make it what it needs to be. But again, time with just the two of your is one important ingredient. Even though there are no longer children in our home, my husband and I have to get away to really have time to talk and share uninterrupted. We still need it. We still love it!
Let me end by sharing some photos of the weekend Sweetheart Retreat my husband spoke at last weekend at The Wilds. It was a wonderful blessing to our hearts to gather with 80 couples and pour into their lives for two days! If you’ve never experienced a couples’ retreat at The Wilds, you don’t know what you’re missing! These pictures will give you an idea of the fun we shared!
Valentine’s day is behind us, but you live in your marriage every single day. Make the most of it by making investments that will benefit your relationship for years to come!
Refresh your marriage – Why not start planning now for an outing?
Who attends couples’ retreats? Where do you go?