Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Making a Marriage Last, Part 2

Last week I shared some of the many ways my husband demonstrates his love to me. Not only is it a great blessing to me, it’s also a nudge to me to keep my own demonstrations active each day we’re married. I promised I would share at least five more ways he demonstrates his love towards me – gestures that make a marriage strong and lasting. So, let’s go!

Yep, these roses were a recent gift from my sweet husband.
  1. He protects me. Last week while I was taking my morning walk, I called him, alarmed at a car driving slowly up and down my country lane. Minutes later he sent me a text, “You okay?” When I didn’t answer within 30 seconds, he called me to ask the same question. He doesn’t smother me, but he lovingly protects me with gestures that remind me I’m not alone in life.
  2. He reminds me that he wants to spend time with me. Recently we realized that our mornings were getting consumed without us getting to spend time together first thing in the day. He asked if we could rearrange our morning routines so we could have that time together before the day got too busy. Wow, that spoke volumes to my heart. After 39 years, he still wants to spend quality time together!
  3. He still enjoys just having fun together. We play games, sing love songs in the car, ride bikes, go on picnics, hold hands while walking, share our meals together at the table, talk and share our hearts, enjoy a sappy movie, and laugh lots.
  4. He is such a servant leader. He constantly takes a back seat to his own needs so he can serve me. No matter how I refuse or want him to put himself and his own needs first, he always serves me first. He seats me at the table, opens the car door for me, brings me my morning coffee, carries anything I have in my hands, makes sure I have breakfast, the best seat, or whatever the pressing need is at the moment.
  5. He points me to our Heavenly Father. This is truly the greatest way to keep a marriage strong. Without the Lord, any marriage is weak because we’re depending on our own flesh. So every day Dale guides me spiritually. He shares what he is reading, what he’s praying for me and others, and he lives out personally what he talks about. He has shown me so much about how to live the Christian life with boldness and joy. He has helped me grow towards Christ in incredible ways.

Not only am I thankful for my husband’s loving demonstrations, I’m rebuked by them. I often say, “I don’t do nearly as much for you as you do for me.” Trying to out-do your spouse in loving gestures is a good thing and a good way to make your marriage last!

What could you do this weekend as a simple reminder to your spouse of your love for him?

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Making a Marriage Last

These posts are 99% written with women in mind. I want to encourage the hearts of women. HOWEVER, today’s post is not just a time to be grateful for my husband or just to help women, I also hope to encourage men in their role as the helpmeet to their wife. So perhaps you could send this post on to your brother or other men in your world. I trust this will strengthen marriages!

I loved my husband dearly when we got married 39 years ago, but every day he makes me fall in love with him over and over! He is not perfect, and we have our times, like every couple, but he is such a blessing to me every single day. There have been times I’ve kiddingly asked,

Am I dying? Why do you treat me so well?!

I totally do not deserve it, but I am very aware of God’s blessing and grace in my life in the form of my dear husband, Dale. It’s all the little things that make a marriage last the long haul. It’s the daily investments that make it stronger and give one another security in the relationship.

This week I’ve been “following him around” and snapping mental pictures of the many ways he is a blessing to me, of the ways he invests in me and our marriage. He had no idea I was doing this, and this is not our anniversary or my birthday. The things I’m going to share with you are normal for him. This is how I “caught him” pouring into my life…

Love is…
  1. Sentimentality – He leaves “Love is” cartoons for me all over the place. For years he has been cutting them out of the paper and putting them in my purse, my suitcase, on the mirror, the fridge – everywhere. They are always so sweet and speak into our marriage so perfectly.

2. Help with the housework – This is our home, our laundry, our messes and he so graciously and willingly offers help with some of the chores. I usually always start a load of laundry each morning, but if he sees that it has stopped, he will put it in the dryer or fold it if it’s finished. He also vacuums most of the time, which is a huge blessing. It really does make me feel like this is a dual-occupancy, rather than just me keeping all the wheels going.

3. Spiritual leadership – I’m so grateful for the times we spend in the Word together. He has been intentional about reading from God’s Word and a devotional book together, usually in the morning (it’s hard to make it happen later in the busy day!). He also prays with me each night before we go to sleep. Many times he has taken me by the hand to pray with me about a burden or pressing need in my life. What a blessing this part of our relationship is!

Washing Dishes

4. Help in the kitchen – He always cleans up the kitchen after every meal. He appreciates my efforts to cook, and this is how he expresses his gratitude.

5. Help with decisions – I’m the world’s best with coming up with “great ideas!” He’s so good about getting excited with me about a plan I have to rearrange furniture or re-do a room. This week he visited a furniture store with me as I was looking for a new sofa for our family room (more about that in another post). He was patient. He helped me think through what would be best in that room. So many times, he just helps me think. I may be trying to decide what to do in my already busy day, or how I can minister in a certain way, and he will very easily come up with a 1,2,3 answer. I tease him that it’s always a three point answer, given his calling as a pastor! But his input is always so helpful. Also, he’s okay if I decide to make another choice. That takes humility.

I have at least five more reasons he gives me to love him more every day, but you’ll have to come back next Friday to read those!

What does your husband do that is investing in your marriage? I hope you tell him often how grateful you are!

If your husband needs help with these areas, pray. Also, ask God to help YOU pour into his life and your marriage and watch what happens!

Refresh your marriage with what you can contribute to your marriage today.

Comfort · Encouragement · Home school

What To Do When You Feel Like You’ve Blown It

Recently on Facebook I read ~

I‘m not gonna lie and say that working a full time job from home and doing full time virtual kindergarten is easy. It’s not been a rose colored glasses world for us. In fact, it’s been hard on ALL of us. And at least 2 of us have shed tears more than once in the last 2.5 weeks (and I’m sure there are more to come). I have felt like a failure as a wife, mom, daughter, teacher, friend, and coworker.#ButGod

Then was this response:

I cried just reading this I think all of us dealing with this feel the same way. Everyday brings it’s own challenges. These last couple of weeks it seems like there’s no give in the stress of trying to maintain some kind if balance. I completely understand where you’re at right now.

Wow! Have we not all been in this place before…multiple times?! I sure have!

Whether it’s homeschooling, marriage, parenting a toddler or a teenager, starting a new job or trying to live the Christian life, Satan wants us to be defeated and he get us there by feeding us his lies:

  • You’ve blown it!
  • No one has done as poor a job in your position as you have!
  • You might as well give up, cave in or quit!
  • You are worthless.

As a wife, mom, leader, homemaker, daughter, friend and home school teacher I have believed every lie listed above. Let me share one memory that stands out vividly in my memory.

It was the first ladies’ retreat where I was invited to come and be the speaker. I had prayed, prepared and perspired over my preparation. I was excited to go and share the Truths God had taught me and I had spent hours and hours studying and praying over each session. Finally the weekend of the retreat came and I flew to Indiana to speak to a precious group of women. God gave me joy in my obedience, and I loved the opportunity that was before me.

Then after the first session, I went back to my hotel room for the night and the attack from Satan came so heavy it brings tears to my mind even now to recall the feeling of defeat that it caused. I stood with my head against the wall and I listened to his lies and I believed every one of them. I swallowed each one like a starving woman on a deserted island. I felt so discouraged and defeated that I wasn’t sure I could go and finish the other two sessions the next day.

It was then that I dropped to my knees, crying out for God’s forgiveness if I had failed Him. Any area of pride was confessed and the understanding of my need for Him overwhelmed me. The Spirit of God then comforted my heart with TRUTH.

My Word will never return void.

I will not suffer your soul to famish. I will give you exactly what you need tomorrow.

Your work will never be perfect. All I ask is faithfulness.

I will do the through you.

I got up, washed my face and went to bed and slept peacefully. The next morning, I took those truths with me as I humbly and gratefully stood before that group of women to again share God’s Word with them.

I have no idea if anyone was helped by that weekend, but the Lord taught me precious lessons that I’ve had to return to over and over again.

  1. Each day I must surrender myself and obey what He tells me to do. I cannot conquer the world, but I can do what He calls me to do. Philippians 4:13
  2. God will fill me with His Spirit and give me exactly what I need at each moment as I walk with Him. Proverbs 10:3
  3. I won’t do anything perfectly, but I am to be faithful and obedient. Proverbs 20:6, Proverbs 28:20, I Samuel 15:20
  4. God can take my feeble words and actions and accomplish great things because He is God. I Corinthians 1:27

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown-and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Friend, if you’re feeling like you’ve blown it, or that you’re inadequate for the task before, you, talk to the Lord. Admit your inadequacies to Him. You CAN”T do anything without the His help, but HE promises to strengthen you and help you if you will call to Him to do so. Then what is accomplished is all for His glory and none of our own.

You didn’t blow it – you just fell for the enemy’s lies! Start believing the truth instead. Now you can wipe your tears and go in God’s strength to do what He has called you to do.

Click here for more “mom” encouragement! If you could use some “back to school” ideas you can go here, and if you are struggling with the empty nest I’d encourage you to read this post.

Refresh your heart with the Truth,

Celebrations · Marriage · Refreshment in marriage

Anniversary Moments

Our 39th Anniversary is tomorrow, June 20th. How in the world?!

We started our celebration on Tuesday when we had a spur of the moment opportunity to go to Pigeon Forge and stay at the Wilderness Wyndham for four nights! Yes, please!! This was a special blessing after our summer vacation got cancelled, due to the virus. We had been praying the Lord would open up a time for us to be able to celebrate our anniversary and this was the perfect get away!

We had no specific plans – only be together, rest and celebrate US!

This Wyndham has lots of fire pits on the property and with the temps dipping into the 60’s, we took advantage of the warmth of the fires!

Morning coffee and devotions

Our favorite restaurant is Pottery House Cafe. Due to Covid, they have put outdoor tables in front of the restaurant in addition to their back patio. One table was put inside the gazebo. We didn’t know it at the time, but each of had asked the Lord if He would be so gracious as to allow us to be seated at that table. After our 30 minute wait, our names were called and they headed straight towards the gazebo! It was so beautiful and romantic. It also protected us from the sprinkles that came while we were eating our meal. The Lord is so kind to us.

Pottery House Cafe

My husband suggested we come up with 39 of our favorite memories during our time away. He recorded each one on his phone. How special it was to recount so many blessings of dates, trips and special moments over the years. God has been faithful through all the years in the good and hard times.

We don’t do events in the area, we just pick a spot for our main meal, shop a little, sit and enjoy one another and the place where we’re staying. We read, journal, nap, chat, and create more memories.

If that sounds boring to you, you’re terribly wrong. Spending time together is what we got married to do. He’s my favorite person and “we like us.”

Here’s to many more memories!

Did your vacation get cancelled, too? Pray about how the Lord might open up a time for you and your spouse to get away and watch what an almighty God will do!

Refreshment in marriage · The Scenic Route

Travels on the Scenic Route

Taking the Scenic Route in marriage is not just going the long way to get somewhere, it’s being intentional about spending time together as a couple. It’s about doing something on a whim. It’s about being two, but one…talking, sharing time, making a memory and adding to the blessing of your marriage, all while perhaps also taking a long or new path to get to your destination.

We’ve had lots of home scenic route journies during the Coronavirus, but what a blessing to be able to make a quick trip to Kentucky this week to visit my parents and also take the scenic route! My husband and I wanted to go see my parents, but didn’t want to stay “with” them, due to Covid 19. Though it was odd to just go up for the day, I was thankful to get to be with them in their home for lunch, and then have the blessing of taking them on a country drive!

My husband has a sixth sense about directions. He just took a back road and got us exactly where we needed to end up! He’s pretty amazing! My parents live near Lexington, Ky in the beautiful rolling hills. Our drive took us past some lovely horse farms and acreage.

Central Kentucky

When we finished our visit and left my parent’s home, we headed to Berea. We could have stayed at a chain hotel, but taking the Scenic Route led us to stay at the historic Boone Tavern. It’s so quaint and lovely. It was quiet (well after the protesters were sent home) and we enjoyed our stay!

Outside Boone Tavern

We could have gone to Cracker Barrel and had breakfast, but taking the Scenic Route led us to eat at the Tavern. It was so delicious – albeit, quite different, due to the Coronavirus’ restrictions. The food was still superb and the service top-notch!

Pardon the funny expression on my husband’s face, I think I caught him between words! Dale was reading some Scripture to me while we enjoyed our coffee and waited for our food.

When we left Berea, Dale decided to hit the scenic route and drive over Clinch Mountain instead of our normal route. He had heard about its beauty, and also a quaint place we could get a late lunch in an article in Blue Ridge Magazine.
The Clinch Mountain Lookout Restaurant was obviously right in front of the mountain views! The Scenic Route led us to eat our delicious hamburger outside where we could enjoy the scenery!

This was our view from our outside table!

It took a little while for our meal to be prepared, but that’s one thing about the Scenic Route – you have to take time to slow down. While we waited, we sat in the porch swing overlooking the mountains and the lake below. We certainly couldn’t complain about that!

The burger was worth waiting for…

We always split a meal – and half of this lunch was plenty! We had a Dr. Pepper Burger. It had pepper bacon on it and a coffee rub. Wow!

We made some good memories, we got to slow down, we found a new restaurant to eat in, and we learned a new route we’d love to travel again! These are all perks of taking the Scenic Route!

This weekend when you and your spouse head out, why take the straight path to your destination when you could have taken the Scenic Route? You’ll be glad you made the effort!

If you enjoyed this post, you can see other Scenic Route trips here, here, and here for starters!