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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Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

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My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

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Family Friday – Keep Your Marriage Safe

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Recently in the late hours of the night, while a subdivision of residents was fast asleep, a thief entered the quiet of the street and began making his way up driveways looking for unlocked cars. All he was interested in was cash, and any he found was taken.

What the thief didn’t know was that a security camera was right on him, taking footage of his sinful deeds.  Aside from seeing him enter unlocked cars, one thing noted on the security tape was that when he approached one vehicle that was locked, he simply moved away from it. There was no attempt at breaking in.  The security of the car door locks, kept him from taking what was not his.

As I thought about the crime, the Lord brought a truth to my mind about my marriage.  No one can steal away from our relationship unless we leave areas unlocked.  So then, we must check to be sure that we’re keeping our marriage safe.  Here are some security locks that need to be checked regularly:

  • Keep your marriage vows.
    • Love
      • Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you’re not “feeling it,” pray and ask God to help you love your husband – He will. Keep praying about it and don’t quit!
      • Love him thoroughly, the way you want to be loved. Accept him and don’t have any expectations of what he should be or should do.  Would you and I want to be held to our husband’s list of expectations?  We must accept him in the same way.
      • Love him physically. Don’t withhold your physical love as punishment.  Doing so could cause ramifications that could cause the thief to come in and steal what is supposed to be only yours.
    • Honor
      • This is the same as respect. A husband doesn’t earn it as the world says he must – you give it because God commands you to.  Eph 5:33 Honor him as unto the Lord, or as you would the Lord!  Your words, your reactions, your decisions – your whole married life is to show the man you married honor – the highest esteem.
    • Obey
      • He has ultimate leadership for your home. Whether you like his decision or disagree, God says the husband is the head, and unless what he is asking is sinful, then you must come under his authority. Period.
    • ‘Til death do you part
      • Never should we use the word, “Divorce.” Nor should we threaten to leave.  Marriage is for a lifetime.  Considering divorce is leaving an open door for the right situation to enter so we have an out.  (I realize divorce for fornication is allowed, but often lesser things cause those words to be spoken.)

So, how secure is your marriage?  Are you leaving an unlocked door in any of the areas above?  There are many other safeties we could discuss, but I believe if we’re  honoring our marriage vows, most of the other scenarios will be safe from danger.

Marriage is a gift from God that is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ.  He keeps us secure for eternity.  I’m pretty sure I know a subdivision of people who will now be locking their car doors at night.  Don’t you wait until the thief comes to steal from your marriage before you do what is wise!  Keep it secure all the days of our life, “so long as you both shall live.”

Happy Easter!  Rejoice; He is risen, and that makes a difference in every area of life – even your marriage!

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Family Friday – Be Kind!

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Sometimes all it takes is a simple request to repeat what I just said to my husband that will do it.  I make a statement, he doesn’t hear and he says,

“What did you say?”

So, out it comes again, only this time it has a razor-sharp edge to it that would make Floyd the barber flinch!

Do I think he purposefully cannot hear me?  Do I really believe his diagnosis of hearing loss was an intentional  plan just to get under my skin?

How ridiculous, yet, sadly, that’s occasionally how I respond!

Why is it often easier to be really kind to people we barely even know than to our spouse?  He’s the one to whom we pledged to love until death, yet we kill him with our sarcastic responses, glaring looks and deathly silences.

 

There are kinder, nice ways of saying something and there are words or tones of voice that I could use that would upset someone.  Your husband is a person, too.  There are kinder, nicer ways of communicating with him and there are ways of setting him off, just by your choice of words or tone of voice.

Today’s encouragement for your family, your marriage, is just this –

Be Kind.

  • There are two ways to say something.  Choose the kinder way.
  • Show him even greater kindness than you would a friend who you love dearly.
  • Smile at him.
  • Forgive him.
  • Listen.
  • Look in his eyes when he speaks.
  • Lend him a hand.
  • Do a favor.
  • Oh, and repeat yourself with the softest tone when he cannot hear you (said Denise to herself!)

Do you find yourself being kinder to others than you are your spouse?  What will you do today to fix that?

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How to Stop Wifely Christmas Grumbles

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In a favorite episode of Andy Griffith, Aunt Bea goes out of town for a few days.  While she’s away, Andy and Opie TRASH the house while living their bachelor days in her absence.  When Andy tries to make Opie understand that their mess might be upsetting to Aunt Bea, Opie recalls the words he’s heard his great aunt say, and  what he thought she might say when she returns to find the disaster –

Land sakes alive!  Look at this mess; just look at it!  If it weren’t for me, this house wouldn’t be fit to live in!

Most wives can probably relate in some way to that scenario.  We dust, shine, mop, vacuum, and pick up – only to have to do it all again after the family has “lived” in it for a day!

But then we add into our busy worlds one word – HOLIDAYS -and we find ourselves with even more responsibilities than Dollywood has Christmas lights!  It can be really easy to fall into the “Aunt Bea” mode and mumble under our breath and complain about the holiday tasks that fall into our already full laps.

Our mumbling might include statements like:

I have to shop for the gifts, purchase the gifts and wrap them.

If I don’t schedule a time for our annual Christmas card picture, it never would happen!  Then I have to address the cards, seal them. and get them to the Post office.

I have eight different kinds of cookies to bake because everyone will expect them, and of course no one helps make them or clean up the mess, but they sure are there to eat them!

Then, of course, I have to buy the gifts and wrap the gifts!

If I left the tree decorating to my family it never would get done either!

Let’s face it – the whole Christmas celebration is up to me and I’m about worn out!!!!

It’s about that time that you can hear, instead of words, the honking sound, like Snoopy’s teacher:

 

No one wants to listen because of the terrible “sqwaking” that’s coming from our lips.

How do I know?

I’ve been there.

I’ve sqwaked.”

I’ve complained.

I was wrong.

Okay, so much of the doing of Christmas is up to us as the female in the home, but the attitude and heart with which it is done can make it either sweet or spoiled. How might we spoil it?

  1. Negative talk about our husband.  This is simply wrong.  He is the head of the home and is to be honored. Eph 5:33  Would we rather take on that responsibility?  I wouldn’t!  That’s a load every single day – not just at Christmas.  Let’s let our husband lead, and let’s you and I help make him the best leader by lending a hand with all our feminine ways.  That includes:
  • Planning
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Purchasing
  • Decorating
  • Wrapping

2.  Not doing our work to glorify God.  I Cor. 10:31  If we work ourselves to death and do it with a wrong attitude we shouldn’t be expected to be rewarded in heaven.  We got our reward – everyone’s pity (and maybe their distance from us, too!).  Let’s do all we do as unto the Lord.  Oh, that we would make our efforts like the precious gifts brought to the Christ child by the wise kings!

3.  Having an ungrateful heart.  A thankful spirit will be grateful for the:

  • Family we have to serve – I know some wives who have gone to heaven this past year.  Their families will be missing them this Christmas.  You and I are here; let’s make our families glad!
  • Health with which we can serve – This can be taken in an instant.  Be thankful you can walk, work, and think!
  • Provision for the cards, gifts and foods to prepare – Everything we have is a gift from God, and we have far more than most!
  • Reason we are celebrating!!!  Don’t lose the focus of this celebration; it’s all about Christ!

Maybe we need to do as I suggested yesterday and simplify our Christmas; make it a little easier on ourselves!  Our families would probably be fine with a little less decor, baked goods and gifts if it would mean we are sweeter and more fun to be near!

Have you been muttering under your breath?  Ask God to forgive you, then when you get up off your knees, ask your family’s forgiveness, too.  Start the day over with

  1. No more husband bashing,
  2. Work that glorifies God.
  3. A thankful heart.

Watch and  see what a difference it will make in your Christmas preparations!

Who’s with me?  

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Roast Beef Lunches

If you could have one, which would you choose:   Roast beef leftovers for lunch that you fix yourself, or a peanut butter sandwich fixed by a maid?  It’s a silly question, I know.  I’m going somewhere, trust me.  =)

I am an I Love Lucy fan.  Her antics and  scheming have kept us all entertained for  years.  Do you recall the episode where she hires a maid?  She is intimidated by Mrs. Porter right from the first introduction.  The maid tells her what days she needs off, what she will and will not do, and then proceeds to eat the Ricardo’s out of house and home.  Because Mrs. Porter ate the leftover roast beef in the fridge, she fixes Lucy a lunch of what was left –  dry and very sticky peanut butter on white bread.  As Lucy attempts to eat it, she can’t even open her mouth to speak due to the gooeyness of the sandwich.  She is, of course, hysterical as she attempts to tell the hired help not to fix her another dry morsel, but can’t even pry her jaws open!

I thought of that hilarious episode yesterday when I read this verse:

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
Proverbs 17:1
There are several other verses in Proverbs that would be companions to this verse.  They all teach us that it’s better to have a little bit of something in our hearts and  home  (even a dry peanut butter sandwich) and enjoy the quiet that is a result, than to have that roast beef for lunch and have strife.
The “sacrifices and strife” might be things that would keep us busy and away from home.  We are running here and there with friends or family, dragging the children along, trying to keep them happy while so doing.  They miss nap time and are cranky because we had to run to the mall for the sale we heard about.  Or they are delayed finishing up home school as a result of our outings and they are now irritable while trying to do what should have been done hours ago.  We are experiencing roast beef with strife.  It would be better to have the dry morsel – that of missing out on some of those excursions so we could be home where we need to be.  Why is it better?  Sit still and listen to the peace and love that’s there and you’ll know.
It might mean really sacrificing as a mom to stay home with your child(ren) – especially while they are young.  I know there are scenarios, such as that of a single-parent home, where there is no option.  In some cases, though the financial stress would press upon a family, many times that stress is less than the strife caused by carting a child to day care and not being sure of all they are being exposed to each day. 
“Roast beef Lunches” in a marriage might be a wife finding greater fulfillment outside her marriage than in it.  Oh, she may not be running off with another man, but if she isn’t making her husband her first priority, as God intended she’s having roast beef and strife.  Her job, her children, her hobbies become more important and there is conflict, and she wonders why.
Take a good look at your personal life and ask the Lord to tell you – Is there quietness or strife in my home?  If there is dissension more often than quietness, ask the Lord for wisdom as to how you can rid it from your life.  He will show you. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5
Have a peanut butter sandwich today, and smile at the quietness. 

So, on the trivial side, a maid with peanut butter or roast beef that you fixed yourself?  Which would you choose?  I’ll tell you my preference tomorrow. =)

With love,