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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What If Everyone Could Hear Your Words?

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What if everyone could hear your words?  Would you be okay with that?

Imagine my horror recently when  I discovered that my cell phone had been on “Record voice” mode for thirteen minutes to a group text!

It was just a couple weeks ago on a Sunday morning and I had been texting with a group of friends while getting ready for church.  I slid my phone into the outside pocket of my purse and headed downstairs to make breakfast and finish my meal prep for lunch, totally oblivious to the fact that my every step and word was being recorded.

I set my purse down in the kitchen and made my way to my husband’s office where he and I had a brief conversation.  Making my way back to the kitchen, I busied myself with my kitchen chores.  About thirteen minutes later, I heard a notification on my phone.  It was when I went to check it that I realized I’d been recording myself!  I quickly sent a message to my friends to delete the recording, then I proceeded to listen to what I had accidentally sent. I heard footsteps, my question about what my husband would like for his breakfast, and my banging and moving about in the cupboards.  Yeah, that could’ve turned out unpleasantly, but it didn’t, thank the Lord.

However, as I finished my work, I couldn’t help but think about how careful my words would be if I knew they were being recorded and replayed for all to hear!  I wondered…

  • What if that had happened on a day that I was being unkind to my husband?
  • What if I had said something unkind about someone else?
  • What if I had been griping and complaining?
  • What if I had been going off on some rampage?

Yeah, what if?  But of course the truth is, God always hears those words.  My complaints, my hatefulness, my griping, my complaining, my slander.  He hears it all.

Psalm 139:4
For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, you know it altogether.

After that incident, I would start to make a comment, and then close my mouth, knowing that I wouldn’t want that recorded!  Sometimes they were just words that weren’t needed.  It was best to allow the silence to fill the room, instead of my talking.  Other times they were words that shouldn’t be said.  It was best to be still.

Wow.  What a lesson that was to me, and one I pray I won’t forget.
Maybe asking yourself,

Would I want this to be broadcast for everyone to hear?

will keep you from saying what doesn’t need to be said.

Oh, and you might want to check your cell phone to be sure it’s off.  I remember some time last year a friend going “Live” on Facebook without ever knowing it!  It could happen to any of us, but if we guard our words, it won’t be a worry if it does.

Refresh others with your words!

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Let the Fire Die

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A fire in a fire pit is a great thing!  A fire in your lap…not so much!  You may say, “A fire in your lap?  That’s dumb!  Who would want that?”  The answer is no one!!  Proverbs 26:20 says,

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer,
the strife ceaseth.  

You see, a person who bears tales (gossip) causes strife.  It’s like having a fire in your lap.  No one wants it!

The strife that tale bearing causes is as hurtful as a fire burning in your lap.  Even if the words are true, they are painful to hear.  What do you do with this “story” after you’ve heard it?

I recently had someone share a “fire” with me.  The words were true, but I didn’t need to hear them.  They stung.  It was like sparks flying from a hot ember, touching my very heart.  Trying to deal with the burning coals for the next day or so wasn’t easy.  They needed to be extinguished with the Water of God’s Word.  I was reminded of words that were flung at Christ; untrue accusations, ugly names, words of doubt about Who He really was.  What did He do?  He answered not a word.

Not a word.

For me to pass on what was shared would be to pass along the fire.  No one else needs this in their lap.  I told my Savior, and of course He already knew.  He applied the salve of His love and comfort.

Do you know some “hot news?”  Keep it to yourself.  It could be a burning ember that will scorch the hearer.  The fire in my fire pit needs to keep burning, but the fire that needs to go out is the one that will cause strife.  May we each let that tale bearing fire cease.

With love,

With Words of Praise

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This hideously adorable donkey lives on a farm about an hour from us.  We have affectionately named him “Lester.”  Lester is very jealous of the other animals on the farm.  How do I know?  If  visitors gather to pay homage to the lovely peacock, or ooo and ahhh over the long neck of the ostrich who lives there, he will begin his very loud and obnoxious,

Hee-haw!  Hee-Haw!

It’s really comical to hear him.  Not only is his noise hilarious, his mouth and ears look quite funny when he’s going off on his rampage!

While listening to Lester, I turned to my husband and said, “I’m sure thankful I can sing!  Wouldn’t it be terrible to open your mouth and sound like that?!”

The next day as I sat to have my quiet time, I read Psalm 145.  I was moved at how many times it talks of using my mouth to praise the Lord.  Words like, extol, bless, praise, speak and utter were all reminders that God wants me to use my voice for His glory.  I must praise Him with speech and song.  I must tell others of His goodness by the use of my voice.  However, I often neglect the chance to speak up!  I remain silent, or I don’t give honor belonging only to the Lord.

  • Even little things like praising Him like when someone passes and says, “It’s a pretty day, isn’t it?”  needs to be followed with, “Yes, and I thank the Lord for making it.”  Anything else would be like Lester’s “Hee-Haw!
  • At testimony time at church, if I fail to stand and praise Him for prayer He’s answered, I’m belting out “Hee-Haw” instead.
  • When the opportunity to share the Gospel is given and I am too afraid to share it, my lips are uttering ol’ Lester’s ugly “Hee-Haw!” greetings instead of the Truth that will set that person free!
  • To miss the opportunity to pray my thanks for a meal, for God’s comfort, His presence, for answered prayer, or for provision is to selfishly call attention to myself rather than my great God.  Hee-Haw!
  • “Hee-haw!” is what I’m really saying if I’m not singing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in my heart during the song service at church.

We all have a voice, given by the Lord.  Are you using yours to praise the Lord, or do the sounds that come from your lips resemble Lester?  Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!

With praise to Him,

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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 Stress-Reducers for Marriage

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For my Family Friday post today, I’m going to share my husband’s great thoughts from his message series of Putting Hope in Your Marriage.  These are practical for every marriage – stress or no stress!

  1. Refresh daily with God’s Word.  Only His Word can help YOU be what you need to be.
  2. Always put your spouse first.  This requires humility…see point #1!
  3. Build together time into your schedule.  If you don’t put it in, it likely won’t happen.
  4. Learn to say “NO.” This means you’re saying, “Yes” to more important things!
  5. Cut out ministries that are burdensome and stale.  If you’re plugging away at a ministry at church with no heart, it’s better to give it up and get refreshed.  This will also allow you time to pour into your marriage, which is your FIRST ministry!
  6. Serve together!  Aquila and Priscilla served as a husband/wife team.  Where could you serve with your spouse rather than away from him?
  7. Communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t use your words to punish!
  8. Plan ahead. The anticipation of a fun date or time together is half the fun to me!  If you plan it ahead of time, it will help you get through the stress-filled days of life!
  9. Be “touchy.” Hold hands, hug, love with touch.  It’s amazing what a loving hug will do after a hard time, isn’t it?!
  10. Trust God.  That means trust Him together.  Stop together and pray about that stress.  Read a passage of Scripture to your husband that encouraged your heart in the midst of your difficult day.

Thank the Lord for a marriage that can give one another hope in stressful times!  Add some encouragement to your spouse today!

I’m excitedly heading to Michigan today for a Ladies’ Retreat!  It’s cold and snowy up there, but I’m looking so forward to sharing time in God’s Word together!  His Word is like an oasis in the midst of a blizzard, but I’m packing lots of warm layers anyway!!!  I pray you have a refreshing weekend!

Refresh your marriage with hope!

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How Can I Praise During Trials?

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You bump into a friend you haven’t seen in a long time while your’re out getting groceries and you know the question that is coming your way…

How are you doing?

If you say, “Fine!” you know you’ll be lying, but you just read Scripture that says that everything that has breath should praise the Lord!

You may be wondering:

How can I give praise to God during trials?

Let’s look at Scripture for our answer.

In Psalm 61, David begins with crying and sorrow.  Then he points his heart towards His Rock.  He doesn’t just dwell on the sorrow, he looks to the One who can help.  Then he ends this short psalm with praise to the Lord.  He says, “You, oh God heard my vows and have given me a godly heritage!  So will I sing praise unto thy name forever that I may daily perform my vow.

By the end of the psalm it almost seems that he’s forgotten his sorrow, and so do his readers!  What a great example.

An example from the New Testament is Paul in II Corinthians 12:7-10.  He tells about the “messenger from Satan” that was given to buffet him, lest he should be exalted.  He was given some physical issue that was troublesome.  He prayed three times that God would remove it, but God told Paul that his grace would be sufficient to bear it.  Now how does he respond?  He doesn’t complain or criticize God.  Instead he says,

Most gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest on me.

He points to the sufficiency of his God!

So you and I, when going through hardship, can indeed share the difficulty to someone who asks, but we must quickly then shift the focus off ourselves onto Christ.

I have a special lady in my life who has endured suffering for about six years now.  She was so active before her illness took her down!  Now she is pretty much confined to home, yet when anyone visits with her, she never dwells on her physical limitations!  Instead she pulls out her journal and begins to share all the things God has recently taught her while she’s been still!  You cannot be in her presence without knowing that she loves the Lord!  There’s no denying she’s suffering, but her focus is on the goodness of her God in the midst of her trouble.

 

She is like the psalmist who said in Psalm 119:71 – 

It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes.  

He shared that he had an afflictions, but that he’d learned from God’s Word!

So, my friend, here is the question and my answer:

How can I share my burden and still give praise to God?

Share the burden or trial, but then on its heels,

tell what God has done for you during this time,

or how He has ministered to you, provided for you,

or what He has taught you through your trial.

That is giving praise to God!

 Follow that example, and you’ll be honest, but also obeying Psalm 150:6!

So…How are you today?  I’d love to hear!

Keep praising,

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