Intimacy is an important ingredient in a strong fulfilling marriage. Intimacy involves transparency. There is no
true intimacy without being truthful with one another. It involves growing to the point you can allow your intimate personal defenses to rest. You are able to allow your spouse to inhabit the depth of your being. Together you intimately caress the intangible you. You together grow to the point you are freely able to become vulnerable. The walls come down. A pathway to the heart is established. Marriage should consist of an ever increasing, warm endearing closeness. After all your spouse should be closer to you than anyone else. Remember the two shall be one flesh.
Don’t confuse intimacy with sex. Many people have sexual relationships and never experience intimacy. Life’s
lessons can be painful. Painful experiences can develop walls. Walls create barriers. These barriers can insulate one to the point no one gets in. Although they experience a physical sexual relationship a wall remains intact. The erected walls can come down. These walls can be properly and painfully dismantled and discarded in the remodeling garbage bin. But remember they weren’t built in a day. Patience and sensitivity are essential tools. The warmth of love coupled with sincere concern and commitment can eventually dissolve these barriers. It is possible to have a fulfilling satisfying intimate and sexual relationship with your spouse.
Many couples settle for non-intimate relationships. They don’t desire intimacy in their marital or platonic relationships. They choose to independently exist in a world distantly insulated. Some often get trapped in a secret world of pornography. Stay clear of “internet porn” It is deadly! It can also be very addicting! It has really taken its toll on many marriages. It creates and fosters an unhealthy unattainable sexual relationship expectancy. You are caught up with an image which is really idol worship! By the way it is not real! It has caused much division within marriages. It builds walls! The couple may elect to share different beds, bedrooms and even sometimes homes! Marriage simply becomes a business arrangement. Two can live better than one sort of speak. Trust and transparency aren’t welcomed. Hurt and insecurity become the unreliable discomforts.
Infidelity and venereal diseases become a threatening force to reckon with. Many often seek intimacy in a supplemental friendship. In some relationships the physical sexual relationship just becomes a chore that is merely tolerated. Then again there are marriages that are void of any sexual relations at all. Did you know this is actually contrary to God’s design for marriage? This actually prohibits the ultimate physical realization of one flesh in the marriage. There is a spiritual bonding exchange that takes place in the physical sexual union of a God centered marriage.
Marriage is something that must be cherished and nurtured. Some people take better care of their pets and possessions than they do their own spouses! Their careers are really their number one priority. We must get
our priorities right. Mature Christians should realize we should be good stewards of whatever God puts in our care. The type of intimacy I am talking about is wonderfully reserved exclusively for marriage partners. In marriage sometimes we often grow complacent and tend to forget to give the relationship the exuberant attention we once embraced. Please don’t allow your marriage to become like a raggedy pair of house shoes! We should treasure our marriages. Remember, God took something out of Adam and made Eve. He took out one of his rib bones. Not to be behind him. But, to be along side of him. How special! When two are joined truly together by God nothing should be able to put it asunder. Remember, relationships and intimacy take time and patience to develop. Did you know that quite often many couples go to church together, sleep together and infrequently have a physical relationship? But, intimately they are worlds apart? Don’t front it. You
limit your spiritual power. Really know what it means to be “one spiritually”! Make it a priority to spend time
together. Rekindle intimacy in your marriage. God really wants you to be happy and fulfilled.
You take time to do everything else. You take time to work. You take time to listen to everyone else. But how much time do you spend with one another? I mean really spend together. If you have trouble just spending time together alone this is an indicator that there is a problem. Remember that your weekly date is a plus. It can take place anywhere. Going out to dinner, a movie, worship outing, skating, bowling, shopping or just a quiet evening at home. If you choose a date at home, suspend the usual distractions and spend some quality time together alone. For example; we often light a nice fire and play a good game of Scrabble or prepare a snack tray and watch a movie. We sometimes even just take a nice plush blanket with comfy pillows and
park on the floor for an in home movie date. Our children can attest to the many times they have come in and found us doing just that! There is a joy in knowing that they too have experienced the peace and joy that true love can bring! The idea is to just find an activity that you two can mutually enjoy. Just knowing you care enough to make it a priority makes it special. The original closeness you share can turn into distance if not properly nurtured.
Take time to get to know this person who you have chosen and pledged to spend your lifetime with. Take time to care. How much about your spouse do you really know? Do you know their favorite color? How about their favorite food? How about the name of their childhood friend? What about their favorite teacher? Simple things like this display your interest in them. Invest in some of that priceless time! If you have been married and your relationship has grown stale revive it! Don’t let age or time be a barrier. Whatever drew you to that person is still there. Ask the Lord to warm your heart so you can thaw out the coldness. Although it may be buried down deep don’t let this stop you! Dig through the debris. You may have to dig down to the foundation. Leap over that wall! But he’s gotten bald…. or she’s gotten too fat…..he sits in front of the TV all day…… All of these are common complaints. Remember, take control; STOP complaining!
Remember your vows “for better or for worst?” Do something constructive. Start by walking together. Well, I
live in an area I don’t feel safe…. Or perhaps the weather won’t permit; go for a mall walk. Just find a common
denominator and go from there. Make it a priority to find a mutual interest. If you don’t have one make one! Start by being attentive. A little care goes a long way. Stop complaining so much! Monitor your behavior and see how much time you spend telling your spouse what’s wrong. If you are not careful your relationship will go bankrupt! I love the idea of love deposits and withdrawals that is used in the book *“His Need Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley. Imagine the idea of making love withdrawals or love deposits based on personal interactions with one another. I highly recommend you getting a copy it truly is splendidly excellent!
Plan to take a short or long vacation! Or a weekend getaway! A change of scenery can eliminate the usual distractions. Enjoying God’s wonderful creation can be awesome. The world is full of interesting sites and
people. God is wherever you go. If you are afraid of flying, get over it. Did you know that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and they that dwell therein”? I realize your fear is a reality. I am not trying to undermine that fact. But you must face the fact that fear is inside of you! Did you know that in order to get rid of a fear(s) you must face it? Begin to give your fears to God. Learn to trust Him. Allow your spouse to help you through your fear. The scripture says “perfect love casts out fear”! Commit to some time for growing closer to the Lord! When I’m in an airplane I can visualize seeing Jesus in the clouds. I can imagine being caught up in the air to meet Him. ( I don’t plan on leaving here until He decides it’s my time) When I’m on the ocean I can look out and see nothing but water. No land in sight. I remember how Jesus walked on the water. I realize that I am not leaving here until I complete my “life’s lessons”. Only God knows our beginning and ending. I find great relief in knowing that everywhere I am He is! How awesome it must have been when God parted the waters for the children of Israel. Not once but twice! Imagine how Jesus spoke to the sea and told it to “be still”. An unexplainable feeling of security encompasses me when I know He has it all under His control. God has given us the opportunity as a couple to see this enormous world He has created. My husband always says “ there is no need to worry when you know God has something else for you to do” If you can’t
take a vacation take a nice quiet scenic drive. Don’t just let time pass you by. Learn to enjoy spending time together without a lot of distractions.
Developing an intimate relationship with the Lord is special. It will unlock a freedom that exists no where else.
Really knowing He knows the sentiments of your heart releases you to discover who He has created you to be.
It will give you the motivation to share who you are with your God given companion. Marriage is described in the Bible by illustrating the Love of Christ and the Church as His Bride. What a wonderful gift to know that someday we will move from this life to a heavenly life with the Father, Son and His Holy Spirit. Always remember we were created for His glory. It is in Him “we move and live and have our being.”
Imagine just how wonderful it must have been for Adam and Eve before they disobeyed. What peace it must have been, walking with the Lord and all. Depending on Him and Him alone for everything. Look how sin separates us from what God has designed for us to enjoy. Although they were disobedient, Jesus prepared us a way back to Him. Jesus’ death on the cross has redeemed us! It gives us the opportunity to once again be united in an intimate personal relationship with the Father. The marital relationship is symbolic of the relationship that Christ has with His Church. A relationship where sincere love should abound. This love will help you weather the storms of life.
It’s ironic how two people can live together for years and not really know one another. Hot and bothered moments turn into physical closeness void of depth. A mere mechanical exchange of physical sweat and xercise. How sad! The physical sexual aspect of marriage should be a time for mutual gratification. When the needs of the spouse are unmet this leads to affairs. Distrust breeds insecurity. Unmet needs go on the warpath. I must warn you this is a dangerous choice and often has dire consequences. You are definitely playing with fire. Remember fire burns! True intimacy helps you develop trust! Don’t let anyone in that
circle! If you have, get them out immediately. You are playing with fire. An out of control fire will burn your
Couples have varying degrees of desires. This is usually a dreaded topic for some Christians. But God has ordained marriage. Physical closeness between husband and wife does not always have to end in intercourse? Sometimes just caressing and holding one another can satisfy the need to be close. Many times a woman just needs to be tenderly held and reassured. We have the same needs. Our priorities are just not in the same order. The marriage bed is undefiled. It is the only proper place that God deems appropriate for a satisfying fulfilling sexual relationship. What transpires within the marriage bed by the two (2) consenting adults is
sanctioned. Note I did not say three! Traditionally, physical problems, past relationships, old wise tales and cultural beliefs often dominate the successfulness of a fulfilling union. Many women feel guilty about sex. Or that sex is dirty. This can cause problems. A loving spouse is sensitive to the needs and dislikes of their spouse. Remember the physical union should have mutual boundaries. Respect abounds in a loving marriage. Prayer in this area is also appropriate. Just know God wants to bless your marriage!
Possible previous abuse or trauma may impair one’s ability to freely give of themselves. Promiscuity and guilt from previous relationships can erect barriers. When a barrier is erected, dysfunction can become a dynamic of the relationship. Many have trapped themselves in a relationship void of physical contact. This may sound weird but that is not what God intended! If the issues aren’t dealt with properly the partners may seek outside gratification. This is a dangerous and often terminal path. Learn to forgive if someone has abused you. Don’t let them continue to prevent you from moving forward. Forgiving does not mean you forget! When a person is not spiritually centered they are subject to anything! An abuser is actually a person out of control. They allow their self centered carnality to fulfil their desires to control them. Sex within this content is really about domination and control. It is about immaturity and selfishness. It is never about love. Don’t confuse the two. Move forward by asking God to help you feel release from any hurts you might have. Just know God loves you. You are never responsible when someone abuses you! If you do not deal with the issues at hand it can cause you to participate in promiscuous sexual behavior. Or to the other extreme opt to have very rigid beliefs in the area of sex. In either case you can do something about it.
If you have been promiscuous repent! Take time to sincerely bare your heart to the Lord. Don’t continue to degrade yourself by sleeping with some one else’s husband or wife. Just know if you are a Christian you are not fooling God! Did you know any service or witnessing you are doing is tainted, defiled. It is fueled by a carnal spirit. The sensual flesh is in control and you are only being a seductress or whoremonger. Women just know in the long run men don’t really respect you! Come out of denial! I remember clearly the things my brothers said about girls and women who were loose. They believed certain women were only for marriage! Repent! Let abstinence become your partner and God your companion until that right person comes along. What if Christ were to return when you are in bed? God forbid! Let Him know how remorseful you feel. If you
have no remorse get help? You see, often people will see you as judgmental if you speak the truth. But without truth there is no freedom. Sin will abound and darkness has its stronghold. Quite often many are unaware of the danger of frequent sexual partners. Sexual diseases are a result of such behavior. What you join yourself to becomes a part of you according to scripture. Let sexually transmitted disease be a reminder to enlist others to commit to responsible safe sex. Just know that the only safe sex is within the confines of marriage. If you are compulsive in your sexual desires seek help. Discover the root of your compulsions and learn to walk in freedom.
When you indulge in a sexual relationship outside of marriage you are out of the will of God! Don’t defile the marriage bed! Remember whatever you join yourself together with becomes a part of you! Stop right now if you are in a relationship where you are indulging in sex outside of marriage! Have more respect for yourself as God’s child. Your body is a temple! How frightening! Sexual infidelity is not new. Just read some of the passages in the book of Corinthians. The Corinthians were very carnal. There is a real security in knowing that you and your spouse have remained faithful to one another! If you have not been faithful. Repent! Don’t repeat! Repent means to really change! We have been given a Comforter. Not to comfort us in sin but to save us from sins powerful pull! We have been given a Savior to save us from the power of Holy Matrimony sin in our lives. Reach out to God! Start allowing Him to help you overcome any and all of your weaknesses. Run to Him and seek solace and pray for deliverance! Find someone that will help you be accountable!
Did you know that when couples live together before marriage that the statistics prove that they have a higher
divorce rate? Don’t be deceived! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing! You’re not everybody else, anyway! It was Noah’s obedience to God that spared him and his family. Make it a priority to please God. Take control by controlling your flesh! Remember God knows all about you. You can’t change what has happened but understanding will issue you a permit of resolve. Did you know that when you indulge in adultery you are operating in weakness? Practice sexual purity in marriage! If you have in the past or are currently indulging in sex outside of marriage please stop! Commit your heart, soul and body to God. It is crucial. You will not, I repeat, will not, experience fully what God has in store for you! If necessary seek professional counseling to resolve past or present conflict. Embracing sexual abstinence if you are not married will restore your virtue. If you choose to continue in sin after you have read this I am afraid for you. But at least now you know its wrong!
To those of you who have been married for some time it’s not too late. Fire in its proper place is healthy. That anger that comes up unexpectedly is a sign that your needs are going unmet! Rekindle that fire that once burned in your heart for one another. Or start one. Don’t push your spouse away. Commence by admitting and confessing your shortcomings. Then repent! Change! Whenever you catch yourself falling back into your old unproductive mode; cry out to “Jesus”. If you don’t you will end up in the same old unhappy place. Eventually you may just end up alone? Now get you some kindling of patience and get started! Make it a priority to invest emotionally, spiritually and physically in your marriage!
The truth is powerful. Unless there are physical disabilities you have no excuse. I’m too old. Oh oh! Got yah! Remember Abraham and Sarah I think they were past eighty? We are not attracted to one another anymore. It’s okay if you mutually don’t want sex anymore. But you must remain sensitive to each others need. Don’t be ashamed of the feelings you have for one another. Learn to express them to one another if you don’t already. Just a gentle hug or a short kiss affirms you mean something to one another. Practice and demonstrate affection towards one another. It is a myth that couples in their silver head years don’t have sex or desires. They do! You never know when it might be the very last time you see that person. There is no guarantee when you wake up they will be there. Stop taking one another for granted! God will direct you when you are sincere. When you stop to feel at all this usually means you are dead! Do you believe the Bible or not? Well if not miracles are possible! Turn up the heat rekindle warmth in your marriage.
Take time to hold, caress and share yourself with your spouse. Or do you just take time with everybody else? When your needs are met you can then give out of your abundance. Not out of need. “To whom much is given much is required!” Mutual love, sharing and caring can provide a nice cocoon. Marriage is the forum God has provided to experience physical oneness. A closeness that He sanctions especially within the confines of marriage. Sexual fulfillment is not the utopia of marriage. Although it is an important factor. When you are physically satisfied you have no need to indulge in extra marital affairs. In fact you are able to have healthy boundaries with others. If your knowledge of God stopped at the altar, shame on you. Search the scriptures to help you develop a spiritual perspective of a healthy and satisfying marriage. Get to know your Father and proceed to enjoy your inheritance.
A marriage where mutual concern and respect abides provides an environment where intimacy and a gratifying
sexual relationship can develop. God has said the marriage bed is undefiled. I think we are told to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”. It’s amazing how many things in life we leave God out. Years ago old wise fables were instilled in the minds of many. Misinformation has caused many marriages to go shipwreck. Again many women were erroneously taught that sex was merely a duty or dirty; something you just tolerated to have children. That women who enjoyed sex were harlots; even if they were monogamously faithful to their husbands. What a distortion of something that God meant to be so beautiful! Did you know that there are cultures that make it a part of life’s growth to know how to sexually satisfy your spouse? Ladies you have a responsibility to your husband! Gentlemen you have a responsibility to your wife! Our needs differ greatly.
Proceed with mutual care and concern! You are not alone! Remember the part that says to have and to hold from this day forward……………
One fortunate thing about this day and age there are credible Christian physicians who are knowledgeable in he area of sexual fulfillment. Their educational expertise is inclusive of the functions and nervous system of the human body. There are Christian books full of information to enlighten you as a couple. God created the human body. Everything that God made was good. Within the confines of marriage this information can be shared and expressed. The couple can mutually decide their very own personal sexual climate. Again the only safe sex is sex within the confines of marriage.
Imagine with me for a moment. Whoremongers, prostitutes, and STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) would be put out of business if sex was reserved for the undefiled marriage bed. Realistically speaking sex outside of marriage is widely practiced by Christians as well as non-believers. Clergy as well as the lay persons continue to practice infidelity despite what God has to say. Some have even fathered children with someone other than their spouse. You water down your effectiveness. Please remember you have a special obligation to the Lord to embrace His principles in your life. Seek wise spiritual counsel if this is a problem area. Don’t compromise God’s principles it is not worth it! Deal with that compulsive behavior! This is dangerous! You are hindering your spiritual growth. You are also weakening your ability to be effective as an instrument of the Lord. You are under condemnation when you walk after the flesh. Christ death condemned sin in the flesh. Just read Romans 8. This is very scary. Just where do they think our all knowing God is when sexual misconduct is taking place? There is no where you can go or nothing you can do that God is not aware of! If you are feeling a little guilty I’m glad; Hallelujah! Stop this very moment and ask God to give you the strength to abandon any behavior that is not of Him!
Too many have fallen from grace choosing to live outside of the will of God. Please get back on the narrow road! Repent! Then take all that extra emotional energy you have and put it into restoring your gift. I recommend you please consider withdrawing from the forefront of the spiritual warfare when you know you have been walking contrary to God’s Word. I am not saying you have to stand up in front of a congregation and bare your soul! I am saying have enough respect for GOD and don’t desecrate His service! Humbly excuse yourself. Put your self in a receiving position instead of a leading position. You are only leading others into temptation. Allow yourself time to feast on a spiritual diet until you can override your carnal appetite. Find someone you can be accountable to if you can’t do it alone. Christ did not die for you to live in bondage to
anything! God loves you! But He does not condone sin! Are you really ready if He were to return today?
Unwed mothers and fathers are rampart. Guess who suffers the most? The children suffer the most. For what!
A few moments of selfish pleasure which leads to sweat. This should not be. It only takes one simple encounter for a child to be born! Crimes of passion are committed regularly. An irate spouse catches the unfaithful spouse. Remember the woman often referred to in the Bible. The one that was caught in adultery. Well I don’t think she was alone! I don’t think anyone around her was able to stone her. I wonder why? Don’t believe that myth that it takes more than once. Not true! Just think whatever you join yourself to becomes a part of you. What ever you’re doing trust me God knows. There will be consequences. When you feel weak try calling a friend instead; someone who will help you be accountable. Someone who will love you enough to tell you, you are wrong. Someone that will pray you through and over your self satisfying destructive behavior. Someone who is not bound by the same sin!
If you are engaging in any illicit sex STOP! I can’t! Yes you can! Well if you’re compulsive get help! If you have
been indulging in such behavior; you really need to take time for spiritual cleansing. Fasting and praying responsibly will help you gain self-control. Your prayers, spiritual gifts and blessings are being hindered in the meantime. Yes, God loves you but not the sin. You are also outside His will! Once you begin to take control you will feel better about yourself. You can confidently hold your head up knowing that God has been your deliverer. True repentance purifies you! Where in the bible did the disciples fall into sexual sin? A disciple is a learner. Stop so you can now begin growing and becoming the new creature God wants you to be.
Not everyone is a Christian when they get married. Often they have had numerous sexual liaisons prior to marriage. You could also be a Christian who really wasn’t totally aware of the no no’s in regards to premarital sex. If you have already repented that’s great! If true in any case start fresh. Express to God your sincere regrets. God is always ready to forgive. He sees and knows your heart and its true intent. Confess and sincerely repent! Accept His forgiveness. Commence to develop a dependency on Him to help you not to fall into temptation. Recommit to being faithful to your marriage. He is able to keep you from falling.
There is no problem that God cannot solve. Your problem may not be in the area of sex. I thank God for a loving fulfilling, committed monogamous marriage. We as Christians have a responsibility to model marital fidelity! I can’t tell you the countless marriages that are barely making it. Because of this I don’t take marriage for granted. I also realize that maturity does not happen over night. The ability to become sensitive to the needs of one another is gradually developed over a period of time. Freedom of expression is attainable. The Lord has used marriage to grow me in many areas! Are you aware that God has provided marriage as a sanctioned private arena for two to come together? There is not only a physical exchange, but a spiritual one as well. Yes, remember God is present. No need to feel ashamed. He’s always only a prayer away!
We never reach a point where we can say; “I’m done”. We must realize God is forever working on all of us. There’s always room for improvement. Remember I told you, I see life as “kindergarten”. Spiritual
maintenance is life long. Many Christians have been ensnared by satan. He has a stronghold on their life that greatly hinders their spiritual development. Remember to find someone you can be accountable to. Not someone who will keep you imprisoned by making you feel comfortable in your sin. Who will make excuses for you by telling you you’re only human. You should already know that! Make some changes. Pray for the Lord to put someone in your path. Someone to boldly tell you “that ain’t right!” That takes accountability seriously. Someone who will care enough to really listen.
Remember a true friend loves you enough to tell you when you are wrong. “LOVE REJOICES IN THE TRUTH!” Someone who will love you enough to let you know that they will really be there for you. But if you’re wrong you’re wrong. Shame will keep you captive. It will allow your behavior to control you. I have lost momentarily several friends because I couldn’t support what I felt was an area of spiritual compromise. I still love them and always will. I strongly believe that there is a mutual responsibility on both spouses in the area of sexual fulfillment. Again the needs vary greatly from couple to couple. I don’t believe sex should ever be used for manipulation or control purposes.
Often a relationship will drift when you find you are at opposite directions. I can’t support something once I know or realize it is wrong! Sometimes we have to get a little more paint on the canvas before we can see clearly. You cannot just outright ignore what God says; to do whatever it is you feel. Not when you are a committed Christian! If you do there are definite consequences! I realize that God knows my heart. Some things just won’t be understood on this side of heaven. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. “Don’t be a partaker in another person’s sins.” You don’t have to be a legalist. Be a truth agent. Speak the truth in love.
Ephesians says when you have done all you can do continue to “stand”. The stronghold of sexual addictions can be broken. The reason satan has such a stronghold is he keeps you guilty, isolated in your sin. He will even solicit a friend to unknowingly keep you comfortable in your sin by supporting your wrong! The biggest misconception is “we are not hurting anyone”. The world reinforces your illicit sexual behaviors in many discreet ways. Again don’t get all involved in the current internet trap. Many have fallen into a secret double life of internet pornography. Well let me tell you again nothing is secret to God! If you know you are weak don’t allow yourself to be tempted. If necessary have a filter put on your computer! Come out of spiritual ignorance. Don’t settle for just maintaining a public façade. Many go to worship and live worlds apart from God’s commandments. They preach, teach sing and or usher under the “so called anointing” but not really; it is of a carnal influence. Woe! Wait until that harvest comes in. The fruits of unhappiness, pain, regrets and broken relationships are it’s by products. Pride helps them project a false picture. The purpose of worship is to worship God. Scripture tells us the proper way to do this is “in Spirit and in Truth”. Pride is another one of the enemy’s ploys. Deal with the problem. Some how we must move towards allowing God in every area of our lives without thinking religiously” By this I mean every time you hear a scripture know that it does have a meaning. Mere quotation is powerless. God really has provided instructions for living righteously. The world’s way is a wide broad road where anything goes. God’s path is straight and narrow! Just look at the many illustrations He has provided. Don’t take the ostrich approach. Get your head out of the sand!
By the way homosexuality is not of God. God does not honor same sex relationships. God has designed our anatomy. Male to female are made to embrace one another. Any other configuration is perverted! Adultery is just as bad as homosexuality! Both require sex outside the confines of marriage. You can love the person without supporting sinful behavior. Sexual sin literally destroys the body. Many stay trapped in sexual sin because of the comfort and support they receive. Spiritually they are actually going to the grave dying by a slow burn! Did you know according to scripture sex out side of marriage destroys your body! It burns! There is nothing new under the sun. Noah was not building that ark for no reason. Sodom and Gomorrah was not destroyed for no reason. I know I am just old fashion in my beliefs. Wrong! Did you know that there were 23,000 destroyed in one day for sexual immorality in the Bible? Check it out! God said it and that settles it! We
have returned to the time of old when “everyone is doing what they think is right in their own eyes”. Jude tells us there were consequences for disobedience. Read the book of Jude it is only 1 chapter long. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing you have read an entire book in the BIBLE! (By the way it’s next to Revelation the last book in the Bible). We are now if you did not know experiencing some of those consequences in today’s time for wide road traveling.
I have seen too many situations where a spouse was caught up in homosexuality. It literally destroys the other mate’s self esteem. It leaves them in a floundering quandary with bitterness, resentment and an identity crisis. It can also cause them to pursue a life of unbridled sex. Dibbling and dabbling in dangerous sexual liaisons that trap them in a state of ambivalence. They begin to question their sexual preference. Don’t be deceived! There is no medical evidence to substantiate that homosexuality is hereditary. It is a learned behavior. Forgive me if I sound a bit harsh. I don’t mean to but many religious people are gun shy of certain topics. They tiptoe through as though God does not have the delivering power. Walking in the dark cause’s one to stumble. It’s not even a matter of being judgmental. Turn the light of God’s Word on it by reading Romans chapter one (1). God has already told us it’s wrong. It is an abomination to Him. This is what gives sin a stronghold. Keeping you in ignorance you are locked and isolated with guilt and shame. GOD really does have all power! Yes, He really does see it all! Make it a priority to care more about what God knows than what people think! You were
created for His Glory!
“I Love the Lord because He has heard my prayers and my supplication.” This is one of my favorite passages
of scripture. You see I thought at one time not letting others hurt meant you care. I was consoling them right to dependency. I can speak the truth knowing my motives are pure! My intended helping was hurting instead of actually helping. But boy did I not get told about myself. You don’t or did not really care. I have even been called evil! You You….. I cared enough to stop supporting wrong. I learned better! Remember I told you I don’t like to fight. It was sinful of me not to speak out, not to speak the truth! The Lord has freed me to know better. Now some just say I am critical. Well you see either way you are misunderstood! When you know you have really tried to help someone and they turn on you, give them to the LORD! We really do have a Savior. He wants to save us from the power of any sin in our lives. Dysfunction for some is like that old security blanket. Full of holes and good for nothing. But often what’s familiar is more comforting than moving past
the pain and forward towards healing.
Don’t become a permanent crutch for someone. It only weakens them. When you won’t console them they will
say you have become cold and indifferent. You are now the catalyst for all the pain in their life. Actually they really don’t know you. Although you know that their pain was there way before you came along! Just knowing God knows you care helps. This will allow you to respond differently. He can guide you. This will motivate you to respond unselfishly. He looks at your heart. Allowing others to be impacted by their decisions can bring about much pain. I recommend not supporting any bad behavior in your self or anyone else! This very pain can motivate change to occur. God has taught me how to guard my heart. People who are selfish and undisciplined will trample you and your emotions if you let them. They will perceive you as being weak. Don’t be weak be meek. Again; meekness is power under control. Know this world is a cruel place.
There will always be those who when you try to help them will try and manipulate you. They will even accuse you of being responsible for the pain that was there long before you came on the scene. You will become their scapegoat. Always remember to have good healthy boundaries. Know your limitations. Be guided by the Holy Spirit to know what to do and how far to go. They will possibly resent you when you stand for what is right. They may even attempt to turn around any good you might have done as evil! It’s okay, because when you stand for God you are not alone. Stand on His principles. Just know God knows what you have or have not done! We have an obligation to walk the walk we talk about. We must encourage others to apply Godly wisdom in marriage. The reason why so many are in shambles is because their marriage is low on the priority list.
If you are a woman that was taught that you can control and have a man by using your body, look out! You have been terribly misled. This behavior is really degrading. Your sense of power is misconstrued, you are really exerting manipulation. You are setting up your spouse or potential spouse to be manipulated by the next conniving female. Some women simply have no respect for themselves or anyone else. They will try and have their needs met with any and everybody! They will also resent you for being committed to one spouse. Pray for them they are terribly misled. Please don’t prostitute yourself in this manner!
I would like to revisit the idea of “Internet pornography” it is on the rise. Warning, this can be horribly dangerous! It may seem harmless initially, but it is a deadly expensive and addicting trap! It is an area where spiritual warfare can take a stronghold. You see since a “real actual” person is not there it can be misleading. You can justify your interactions because seemingly you are not hurting anyone. That is so very far from the truth. You are hurting your self and you are neglecting your spouse! The truth is you are being unfaithful! You are being swept away in the lascivious thoughts of you mind. Your expectations of your spouse to satisfy you in certain ways surpasses healthy sexual boundaries. First of all the person on the screen cares nothing for you. The image is there to create a psychological dependency in you that will help them access your pocket book! Just know they are acting anyway! They are interested in the dividends you deposit in their bank account.
The computer image before you will further help you formulate and desire an idealistic, unrealistic body image
for a companion. Did you know there is a very infinitesimal number of women who are satisfied with how they look? Although your wife may be very beautiful she can still be affected. Your spouse’s self image is prone to deteriorate when she becomes aware you are involved in such behavior. Your behavior sends a silent powerful message. “I am not satisfied with you. You do not satisfy me” You must take responsibility. This is your problem! There is a deep rooted unhealthy sexual void that you need to address. Did you know you are also being unfaithful?
Please take some time and evaluate your sexual relationship(s).
Ask yourself are you really being fair and considerate? Are you neglecting your private physical relationship with your spouse? How do you feel about your own body image? Are you suppressing past sexual experiences? Can you truly say God is pleased with your behavior? Remember to be honest with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself how do you expect to have an honest intimate relationship with your spouse? You are not alone but you must commit to reaching out and getting help! Here is the litmus acid test. You say; “I can stop at any time.” Well do it! Case closed, problem solved. But can you really? God wants us to have all of our needs met! Our wants and needs often are confused. God has created us for relationship. Don’t continue to neglect His assistance and direction in the sexual aspect of your relationship. Sex is meant to be something beautiful two people share in marriage. I truly believe God is there to help us experience fulfillment in the privacy and intimacy of the marital sexual arena.
The marriage bed is where the two of you are able to come together emotionally, spiritually and physically with God’s approval. Just a few suggestions that may help both of you create a comfortable environment. Women don’t come to bed night after night with flannel pajamas and socks, cold cream and a scarf, especially in the summer! I suppose if you want to keep warm by yourself it’s okay. The less between you the better. Summer nights can get very hot! The skin to skin snuggling has a way of bonding two together. If you are unhappy with your body, do something about it. Do something to help you feel better about yourself. Work towards living a healthier life, its never too late! Take control of what you do or do not eat. Gain weight or lose weight. Start eating or walking. Forgive those who have hurt you in the past. As an exercise privately set them in an empty chair or write them a letter and tell them how you feel. By the way you don’t give them the letter. This
exercise is a way to get the junk out so you can move on! Stop letting them control you by holding on to the hurt. Let It Go! Clean up your mind and think spiritually. God loves you! It was not until after Adam and Eve sinned that they were ashamed. Prior to their disobedience they experienced a wonderful child-like innocence. Christ died for you to be free! Embrace the freedom you have in the Lord! Everything that God made was good!
Change that flannel wool shirt that you cannot seem to change. Or stop wearing the same clothes day in day out! Men don’t wear long johns and socks that you have kept on for several days. Attending daily to your personal hygiene is a plus. A nice relaxing aroma bath or shower should be always welcomed. (Especially before needed!) These are just a few points to make the end of the day a plus. This isn’t to indicate you are going to get physical every time you go to bed. It gives you something to look forward to each night. A place where you can comfort one another from the world and its confusion. Let your bed be a place of fragrant comfort. Just by taking a little special personal care shows sensitivity.
Remember to make it a point to try and reserve your bed for a restful haven. A place where either or both of you can retreat. On each side of our beds are our bibles. Often when either of us wakes up during the night we will just read the scriptures. You will be surprised at some of the things God will reveal to you in the still of the night or the crack of dawn. There are plenty mornings I wake up and my Bible is in bed with us. Look around your bedroom. Did you know it reflects you? Work on making your private environment a welcomed habitat. One that pleasantly and visually reflects your own personal style. Decide together what you both like and come up with a harmonious environment. Try to keep conflict to a minimum. Nip disagreements in the bud whenever necessary! These are just a few suggestions to enhance your personal relationship. Don’t wait for a 911 to
The Song of Solomon is full of beautiful romantic poetry. Yet, it is seldom talked about. If God was not interested in the intimate aspect of marriage why would He allow such expressions of physical love in His Word. Song of Solomon is a book to be explored. Just read and listen to this beautiful passage. The bridegroom speaks:
“How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O princes’ daughter! The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work
of the hands of cunning workman. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor; thy belly is like
a heap of wheat set about with lilies. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fish pools in Hesbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim, thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! This thy stature is like a palm tree, and thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine.
The bride speaks:
“For my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me. Come my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth; there will I give thee my loves. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates, are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.” Song of Solomon 7th chapter KJV.
The scripture clearly tells us that “we are saved by grace.” Grace means unmerited favor. This tells me that we did not or cannot earn salvation. God has given up instructions for living in His Word! We who confess to be His children have made a commitment to commence honoring His principles in our life. It is my intent and sincere intentions to revisit, discuss, encourage you and others. To also implement within my own marriage Godly principles. Somewhere along the line we have begun to allow God’s principles the background. We neglect to invite God in the sexual area of marriage. We unconsciously look at the world and see it as a barometer for what’s right. If you or I intend to realize and experience the love, peace and contentment
that God has to offer we must commence to walk in obedience to His Word!
Please don’t misinterpret what I am trying to relay as passing sentence on you personally. Hopefully I can
ignite in you and or motivate you to seek that “straight and narrow path”. God gives us the freedom to choose.
God does not want us to walk in legalism. Rules do not save you. We are saved by grace. We all have areas where we all need to continuously grow. We must not use our freedom as a license to condone any wrongful behavior, actions or attitudes in ourselves or anyone else. We cannot earn salvation! But we can live forever growing spiritually rewarding lives. God wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. God is omnipresent! We must learn to live lives were we are not ashamed of Him or His principles. Sin is rampart in the world. It always will be. Submission to God and HIS Word is the vehicle necessary to help us navigate successfully in life. Please let this be a time to revisit your commitment to God and His principles in your life. Invite Him in every area of your life. Then you will be able to experience the freedom and growth that only He can provide. He will and can dismantle, assemble, rebuild and construct your marriage and or your life!
Know God for yourself! Study God’s WORD for yourself. It shows His awesomeness. The Holy Spirit will reveal
to you the truth of His Word as you grow in His grace and knowledge. He has prepared an all inclusive spiritual
feast for successful living. Remember, Proverbs tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. In all thy ways
acknowledge him and He will direct your path.” Take time with God. Taking time to know Him will help you
develop your personal intimate relationship. When you have been married before things are a little different!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Intimacy involves transparency.
2. Marriage should consist of an ever increasing warm closeness.
3. The original closeness you shared can turn to distance if not nurtured.
4. The physical sexual aspect of marriage should be a time of mutual gratification.
5. God has said “the marriage bed is undefiled”. The only safe sex is in marriage!
6. There is no problem God cannot solve.
7. Read and share together the Song of Solomon it has wonderful expressions about love.
NEXT: Chapter 6 – When You Have Been Married Before
Marriage is a partnership. It is meant to be a relationship where two imperfect individuals come together that share a common bond of love. This bond is ideally meant to last “to death us do part” for a lifetime. Many people never anticipate what it’s really like to live with someone. Marriage is more than spending a few days together or a week or two. It should last a lifetime. Often initially the infatuation is so strong the two of you almost feel invincible. Often the couple is oblivious to the reality of it all. Thinking that their feelings will make up for their differences. Yes, differences you will have, but that’s normal. It is how you decide to resolve those differences that are important. When reality sets in they realize “I didn’t think about this or that”. Who does what? When and how often?
You wake up one morning and wonder what have I gotten myself into? Suddenly the honeymoon is over. I really didn’t know he/she was like that. I thought you were gonna……… This is why it is so important to get to know one another before plunging heart first into marriage. If you haven’t already you must begin to establish some guidelines for the relationship. I don’t mean sit down and write an extravagant outline. (Okay that’s all right for you list makers out there.) Just make it a priority to discuss who does what. If you have passed the honeymoon phase a long time ago put a few logs on the fire. Begin to rekindle the warmth of care and concern that you first experienced. Commence anew to take time to listen to each other. Marriage is something to be cherished. It should be tended like a precious garden. Did you know a good experienced gardener properly prepares his soil before he plants his crop. He cleans away the debris that will hinder his garden from yielding a plenteous crop. He even rototills the soil, which breaks up the fallow ground. He goes to great lengths for careful preparation. His patient tender care will facilitate the birthing of a strong seed bearing fruitful foundation. How you start out will greatly impact how you end up. Openly discuss probable issues that might hinder your relationship. Try and nip things in the bud. Pull out the infantile weeds before they mature and become rooted. Don’t allow things, friends or relatives to come between you. Make it a point to become sensitive to the needs of one another. After all you are partners. Remember that a boat rowing with two oars can cover more territory at a faster pace.
Don’t make assumptions about who does what? In your previous living environment your father did this and your mother did that or your aunt did this and your uncle did that or your grandmother……. Often we have established certain stereotypes. The woman does this and the man does that? Regardless, know who is going to do what, when and how? Traditionally the husband has been the provider. The wife’s role was to tend to the home. Today that may also be applicable. But it’s not the norm. Whatever your living arrangements are make sure its working. If at all possible it is important that the wife be allowed to care for the children until they reach school age. Her love, care and nurturing is more important than her ability to provide things. No one
can take your place. Today we even have a percentage of stay at home fathers? Due to the high cost of living two incomes may be necessary to sustain the household. Or maybe one or both will work part-time. Maybe one or both will establish home based businesses? Perhaps you both have lucrative careers and enjoy them so much you wouldn’t think of giving them up!
If you have or plan on having children they should be top priority. I personally think that between the parents one of them should be the primary care provider for their children. I thank God that I can count the times when my children were not in my/our care. We were strict parents. They knew I expected them to behave. Yes, they were normal kids! I had six pregnancies in twelve year, (one miscarriage). For a season I was knee deep in babies. When I look back on it all my children kept my time quite occupied. I did not have a lot of time to get involved in trivial pursuits. They really kept me close to the Lord and in much prayer!
I spent one day a week volunteering in their classes or on field trips etc. as they got older. I taught piano lessons and did interior design. This helped me personally to keep abreast of business matters. It also fulfilled my personality dynamic of independence. My home and children were my business. I feel your home is a reflection of you. I believe in making my home environment a peaceful, practical and productive environment. I told you I was strict. In the summer we had bible study before they went out to play. I really did not go anywhere that I could not take them with me! They went shopping on errands and even to my Doctor’s appointments. They took karate, music and dance lessons which seems like forever. They participated
in swim lessons, basketball and football. Parenting really equips you with the responsibility of keeping a hectic
Along the way it helped me to acquire organizational skills. We did not drop them off or leave them with a babysitter at every opportunity. I loved and still love my all grown up children dearly. We still make it a point to spend time together. But we respect their privacy. While they were growing up I knew the majority of their friends. I was strict! But I was mindful not to control them to the point of dependency. They will tell you I would put them on “God Watch”. Where can you go or what can you do that He does not know? Absolutely nowhere for there is nothing He does not know! Remember this is what worked for me/us!
We raised our children to be open. We allowed them to talk about whatever they were feeling. But they were not permitted to be disrespectful! They were allowed to be angry but they had to go to their room to do so. No they could not punch out walls etc. But they were encouraged to express in private their emotions. We openly discussed various topics. I was and still to some degree was criticized for what was perceived as unorthodox child rearing. I simply chose to discipline rather than punish. There is a difference. I wanted to instill in them certain principles and morals. If and when they choose to do otherwise hopefully their conscious would feel convicted. If and when they choose to do other wise they would have to be responsible for their actions. They were also educated on the consequences of those actions. For instance we had what I call an open room policy. After you got dressed you opened your door. I or their father could be expected at any time.
We allowed no drugs, no drinking and no cursing. I also allowed their many friends to hang out at our house. But they knew my “House Rules”. Little did they know at that time I could see which friends had or would influence them in some way. How they stood their own ground when in the presence of certain individuals. It is quite interesting observing the various interactions. I have learned a lot from my own children about life. Their personalities are so very uniquely different. We all have strong and gullible traits. I purposely allowed them to handle certain situations. I have always wanted them to be able to handle and cope with the situation at hand. They pretty much could stand their own ground. They knew I expected them to enforce our house rules. When they got in trouble they knew we held them responsible!
By the way we also have a customary “no shoes in the house policy”. “You play you put away” meaning you mess it up you clean it up. Although I had help they had to make their beds before they went to school or left the home. I told you I was strict. I am not a yeller so I did not do a lot of that. But they knew I meant business. Yes, they did get spanked when appropriate. I can thank God I never had a child to spend the night in a juvenile facility or jail. I am especially thankful they were and are drug-free. Hallelujah! THANK YOU LORD! We do have a few stories of attempted “I am running away”. Whenever the subject came up I told them
there was no need to run. They could just go! They were free to leave. A little reverse psychology can be helfpful. Yes there were times they gave into peer pressure. Having open communication while they were young helped during their teen years. It is important that you know each child is different. Their needs are different. Their temperaments are different. One should not be favored over the other. Children should be treated different because they are different. Love should always be equally distributed. We always encourage them to work things out between themselves. When they got into a squabble at lot of times I would make them play a game together. It has always been my desire for them to get along. Of course they had their
disagreements. To be honest with you there were not a lot of physical battles between them.
I really don’t believe you have to resort to physical violence to resolve conflict. I have always wondered why
people like to fight. After the fight you have two people who are inflicted with physical pain and bruises? But the problem still has not gone away. I have never had to fear about someone beating me up. One thing I can truly say having brothers growing up gives you clout. Do you know how rare it is to have as many as I did? It gave me a lot of insight to the male species. Most women don’t really know what most men think? I believe this insight helped me to know that my husband was my soul mate. Excuse my little tangent. My brothers had their share of squabbles. Since we had only one daughter I wanted her to feel secure as I did growing up. We had our children learn karate so they knew how to defend themselves. In the event they were lured into a fight they could walk away. Not out of fear but of choice! I never have liked fighting. I think we have a responsibility to teach our children how to protect themselves. We must equip them with self coping skills. The world is a cruel place to be. We must be realistic. God tells us that His children are peacemakers.
I found that the ages 13 – 17 are the hardest time in child rearing. It was for me anyway. At this phase of life they are too old to be babies and too young to be adults. Actually it is a discovery period for them as well as you. I acquired much patience during these adolescent years. You will discover that without the Lord you just might loose your sanity!
I know this is the 2000’s but God still entrusts children to parents. Try to prevent them from going through too many hands. The first three years are their formative years. The sacrifices and time you make for them is invaluable. It will make a definite world of difference during their “difficult teens”. The early formative years are when you build the foundation to healthy communication. The time spent again is invaluable. It also will free you from any guilt feelings of neglect. I do realize that there are times when neither parent can be their childcare provider. Just exhaust all your resources before rendering this task to an alternate. No one can take your place. No matter how much grandparents love them it is not the same. I say this because I am a grandparent. Grand parents are not meant to take the place of parents. In either case there needs to be some discussion. Your children have the right to raise their children their way! If you have instilled in them certain principles you have no need to worry. Make it a priority to decide things together. If you are a grandparent raising grandchildren “God Bless You!” You are to be commended.
Teamwork is the key to marriage. If you have been married for sometime and your responsibilities have been worked out, great! Or just maybe this may be the catalyst for some discussion in this area. In a home where both work outside the home getting some help may be a solution. A trustworthy housekeeper could be an asset to help keep your home organized. Your income and schedules will dictate the frequency of their services. This is not about being “too good to clean up your own house”. This is a phrase used by many. It is a misconception for many who have not or do not entertain the idea of “having help”. Having help frees you to concentrate on other things. It also gives you more constructive time with your children. Some people are generally a bit more organized than others they may need someone bimonthly. Or for the busy busy couple someone daily or weekly. Perhaps you opt to work at home. You want to be close to your children but you need
to spend uninterrupted time working. The employment of a responsible high school student to assist in household duties may be a viable option?
The two of you can determine your needs together. After all you go to work or work at home so you can live a certain way? Don’t allow the material possessions you accumulate begin to weigh you down. The enlistment of a housekeeper should not become a financial burden. The intended purpose is to relieve the household of any unnecessary stress. Each individual household has varying degrees of priorities and needs. Please make it a point to do what is best for your situation. A healthy environment is a win win situation for all.
If a housekeeper is not within your scope you should work out a disbursement of tasks. Perhaps alternating who does what. One washes dishes the other dries. If one cooks the other cleans up. If someone doesn’t want to cook or wash the other could vacuum, wash the car or do laundry. One could wash the clothes one could fold and put away. For example; put a little excitement into the relationship by writing simple tasks down and putting them in a bowl. Each day the two of you choose a slip complete the prescribed task. Barter with each other if you pick a task you simply loathe. Remember it’s not necessary to like housework to do it. Perspective makes a world of difference. Disciplining ourselves to be responsible in our own environment will help in other areas of life! Remember I personally subscribed to “you play you put away”. That includes putting up your clothes. Some people are real sticklers about their personal clothing. Deciding to be responsible for your own
clothing may suffice. The idea is don’t just assume the other is responsible. By the way the dry cleaners is a great alternative for wet or dry cleaning.
The two of you have hopefully acquired some skills. Often time one might even have a natural gift for organization, or cooking. Do what you have a natural proclivity to do! Tasks don’t necessarily have to be gender oriented. Some men are quite arduous in home maintenance. Some women are slobs. Organization is foreign to them. But on the other hand they might be very creative. Or could I say creatively lazy? Whatever the case if unattended seemly petty issues can escalate. Some just really do not know how to manage a
household. To some it is not a priority. Negotiate the tasks. Couples interests vary in the tidy department. I taught my children how to take care of themselves. I justified it by telling them when they got married they should marry for love. Not for someone to take care of you! Marriage is meant to be a partnership. If Mr. Neat marries Miss Messy or Miss Neat marries Mr. Messy watch out! I see a small battle on the horizon! Weekend clean up sweeps may suffice if the couple’s schedule doesn’t permit daily maintenance. The couple will have to jointly seek a compatible level of home maintenance.
Once you have developed certain living habits they can be difficult to break. The very thing you think is minor could be the very thing that annoys your spouse. Just don’t allow too much time to elapse before you vent your opinions. If you currently live with someone and you are experiencing conflict in these areas, deal with it. Don’t expect your spouse to be your parent! Surely you can pick up your own clothes? Come on now! What I mean by this is; too often one will expect the other to tell them when to do what! Be careful this can lead to resentment! People often allow years and years to go by and all of sudden they decide that, “I‘ve had it “. When they get older and don’t spend all their time working they spend it complaining to one another.
“You know all these years it’s really bugged me why you do this or that. How come I can’t?” Life is about learning and growing. Don’t allow your relationship to get stale. Start weeding out that stored up resentment. Who wants to be with anyone who constantly complains? Constant complainers really are saying that there is nothing you or anyone else can do to make them happy. Pray and patiently seek direction how to help them see how unhappy they are. Begin to nurture your marriage by implementing mutual spouse sensitivity. If you are the complainer take control and just STOP!
Perhaps you have been married a long time. All these years you have resented doing the entire house work. You care, cook, clean and pay the bills. You are feeling or have felt so unappreciated for a long time. Instead you choose to eat your self into oblivion. You are really hurting yourself. You are actually being selfish. Let this be a wake up call. Did you ever think what your spouse would do if something happened to you? Begin to shift some of the responsibility to your spouse. You must be patient as they begin to take on more responsibility. So what if they don’t quite do things the way you like it. The bed may not be quite as neat or the dishes may not be just where you put them. Give them some time to get through the learning curve. You never know who might have to take care of who in those silver head years?
If your relationship is off track, start working on getting it back on track. In the area of responsibility you both are equally responsible for the success of the relationship. Defining and drawing boundaries is always healthy. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have written * “Boundaries in Marriage.” They have acquired a wealth
of knowledge in this area. I highly recommend investing in purchasing a copy. Communication is the key to any
relationship. People don’t change overnight. But change is possible when we allow God to grow us in His grace and knowledge. There is always room for growth. Remember I believe “life is kindergarten” always learning and growing. Taking responsibility is healthy for you and the relationship! Who’s responsible for sex and intimacy in the relationship?
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Marriage is a partnership.
2. Marriage should be tended like a garden.
3. Tasks don’t necessarily have to be gender oriented.
5. Don’t allow your relationship to get stale.
6. Teamwork is key to a good marriage.
7. You should jointly seek to create a comfortable, compatible level of home maintenance
NEXT: Chapter 5 – What About Sex And Intimacy
Did you know listening is an art? We must learn to value what each other has to say. When your partner is
talking don’t mentally construct your response or rebuttal. Consciously attempt to clear your mind. Sincerely, actively and tentatively listen to what your partner is saying. Let it be your goal to attentively comprehend what they are trying to relate to you. Make it a goal to be intimately interested in what your spouse says to you. Few people really listen to one another. Why? Because we are often so busy trying to relay our own inner self. Instead of actually listening we are often mentally constructing what we want to relay. Learn to really value what the other is trying to transmit. Even when we think we know what they are going to say. Even if it seems trivially unimportant. Allow them the freedom to express themselves. Think of it as a time to exercise patience. To love means to hear. When we attentively listen we’re saying you matter. I value what you are saying. You are important to me!
The next time you engage in a conversation with your spouse notice your level of attentiveness. Check yourself. Look at them. Really look into their eyes. This may be difficult if you haven’t tried it before. Give them your undivided attention. You will not only hear what they are saying but your heart will hear and feel as well. We are so busy busy that we have adopted many behaviors that hinder our relationship. Did you know we can get too wrapped up in ourselves; and what we want? Self centered means to be self absorbed. Did you know that most affairs start because someone just listens to them? They are there for the other person. They make themselves readily available. They superficially fill that void. They make them feel valued. All too often we become common place with one another and unconsciously take the other for granted. Remember your relationship is like a fire. Remember to rekindle the flame. Have you noticed that as long as you keep those logs coming the fire won’t die out? Keep in mind if you allow a fire to get out of control; it can cause great damage! If your spouse feels your genuine concern and is secure in your love there will be no need to go elsewhere for warmth. Your relationship will also be secure. Security gives you freedom. True love does not suffocate. Have you heard the old cliché “love is not a feeling?” It is not just a feeling. But anyone who doesn’t feel is dead! Just don’t let your feelings stop you from hearing. Take time everyday to listen to one another.
Do you remember your courtship? The first time you met? I remember our courtship vividly. We were actually
introduced by one of my dearest childhood friends. We enjoyed then as we do now spending time with one another. I still remember like it was yesterday. Just the thought of him being around that corner made my heart pound. I can laugh about it now. I was so shy. On our first date I don’t think I said more than ten words. We still joke about how we were chaperoned. It was he, myself and a brother on a lot of our dates! We are one of those rare high school sweetheart relationships that have weathered the storms of life. The sweetness has refined and remains today. I can truly say I love and respect him more and more each day! He has been a strong compassionate dear faithful friend and lover to me. He has also been a strong fervent father for our children. I am eternally grateful to God for the love we share we are truly soul mates.
Did you know right away that person was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with? Or did it take a while before you really knew? Perhaps you are unsure now? But you did make a vow! To love cherish and and…….. But I really didn’t know what it meant. I still don’t know what it means. Time is precious. We waste so much of it on nonsense. I still remember the day my husband asked me to marry him. The day he told me it was meant for us to be husband and wife. He was so sure of himself. He was adamant that God wanted us to be together. I replied by telling him he should go talk to my Mother! It was during that conversation where they bonded.
My husband was my mother’s only son-in-law who she adored as a son! My parents loved me dearly. My Mother always let me know that she asked God for me. (He also gave her ten sons.) She truly loved the Lord and was very protective of me. Together the three of us shared many precious times and moments! During her last year she entered into a gradual world of Alzheimer’s. She would forget a lot. Yet she never did not know who I was. I believe the Lord was allowing her to say a slow good bye. I truly believe she was giving the family time to make the adjustment. At her “Home Going Celebration” my husband shared how they never had a cross word between them. I don’t think that there are too many son-in-laws that can testify to that!
Why wait until some horrible calamity knocks at your door before you appreciate your spouse? Did you know people stay married for years and never really get to know one another? They never really listen to what the other spouse is saying. The storms of sickness, death, stock market crash or some sort of financial hardships are just waiting to take hold of you. But if your anchor is the Lord your marriage can weather any storm. He’s really got it all under His control. Let me share a little personal insight with you. Although things are financially ecure now there was a period when it was a little shaky. This allowed us to be even more attentive to one another.
Years ago we purchased a new home only to find some years later it was built in a toxic area. Unknown to us
our quiet dream home in the suburbs had been built on a dumpsite of buried hazardous waste. Suddenly our 2800 sq. ft suburban so we thought American dream home had turned into a mere nightmare. It tore our quaint little community apart. Many families and lives were ruined due to the enormous pressure of the various situations surrounding the properties involved.
My husband had recently retired so we could start our own business as well. After many years in upper executive management he decided to move on. We decided we would start our very own corporation. His early retirement transition and the discovery of the toxic waste were a bit much. After a lengthy court battle many of the families in the neighborhood did not weather the storm. Our once suburban home like neighborhood became embedded with ambivalence. Some were more concerned with what would happen to the value of our homes more than the ethical concerns. How would our health and the health of our children be impacted? We had restricted closed town hall meetings. Everyone was concerned if outsiders found out we could lose our investment? Who would buy our homes? Who was responsible? The city? The builder? How could a builder not disclose such information? In the process of it all our attorneys discovered many discrepancies. Many records came up suddenly missing? Numerous paper trails that lead to dead ends during the research process took place. Communications were cut off due to fear. Our attorney’s encouraged us not to talk about the particulars in the case to anyone.
Our attorneys recommended that our health be regularly monitored immediately. I have never been one to run to the doctor. I have had to deal with severe anemia over the years. I am thankful that our personal long time physician knows me well. He is not just our doctor. He has a genuine concern for our family. He encourages listening to your body. He respects our faith and trust in the Lord. We have conditioned ourselves to not run for a bottle of something every time you feel a pain. It’s really better to learn to listen to what your body is saying. Yes, I do know there is time when medication is appropriate. We have always had excellent health benefits. But prayer, rest, a calm environment and a hot glass of tea have comforted all of us and kept us overall quite healthy for many years! But there was a great concern about some of the unusual symptoms we all had experienced.
Our once happy neighborhood slowly began to disintegrate. Everyone was hesitant to talk about what was
going on; unless you had the same attorney. The walls of communication began to slowly break down. Many
marriages ended in divorce and ill feelings due to our neighborhood’s situation. Instead of pulling our family
apart it pulled us closer together. It helped us to realize how deception and greed permeates the world. Its amazing to me to see that people will go to a great extent to hide the truth! The criticism from outsiders was interesting. They assumed it was about greed! Behind all of the deception was a huge well known multi-billion dollar corporation that I will not mention. The house two doors away actually exploded and caught on fire. Of course they never really determined what the cause was. Thousands of dollars was spent on soil toxicity reports etc. Since there were very few minorities involved they felt that it was about a group of those suburban families that had, but just wanted more.
Discrimination rears its head in many situations. The jury was given a very different image of our community. I
believe this distorted the final out come.
It was a close tight knit caring community before everyone stopped talking and listening to one another. nstead they listened to the attorneys. The attorneys profited greatly from our neighborhood’s situation. This further interrupted the communications between neighbors and eventually many of relationships went awry.
The long drawn out ordeal however brought us closer together as a family. It reinforced the importance of
how working together should be a top priority. It taught us that what it really boils down to is trusting God will
work everything out for your good. Even the bad stuff! He did not say it would all be or feel good. But He did say He would “never leave you nor forsake you.” We agreed we would not sell our house to another family. We just could not allow some other family to go through what we had gone through. The decision was costly. We had to reorganize our debts which we eventually paid them off earlier than expected. We eventually sold the home back to the developer forfeiting the majority of our profit. They held on to the property and when things settled down they sold it for a greater profit. We had invested a lot of money in the property on improvements as well. But we found a nice quaint area to relocate. The house that we were to move to was being built. It stayed vacant for over a year after its completion. We had agreed we would not abandon nor allow someone else to live in our old house. We told the builder if it was meant to be God would work things out for us to move into the new house, and he did! We actually moved in on my birthday.
We learned and are continually learning to listen and take heed to God’s direction. I realize that God sees the
whole picture. There are and will be times when you have something else in mind! God always has something better for you! This situation really helped us to relate to the material aspect of life differently. It’s quite okay to have material things. We live in a material world. But always know they really can be here today and gone tomorrow. Having things does not mean they are what are most important. Life is much more important than things. You can always get more things. Just don’t let them possess you. This situation further helped us to relate objectively to things. I advise when using credit cards make sure you can pay off any charges readily if necessary. The story of Job is excellent to read when you are going through. I always keep in mind the enemy had to ask permission of God before he created such havoc in Job’s life. In the end Job was restored and given much more than he had before. In the long run God really did work it out for our good in more ways than one.
My point in sharing this life tidbit; is a boat rows better with two oars especially in a storm. Don’t let people, things or situations come between you and your spouse. You should be there for one another. Marriage is a lot sweeter when the two of you are on one accord. It is important to always take a stand for what’s right! We learned not only to listen to one another but to listen to God as well. Never compromise God’s principles for appearance sake! Don’t be surprised that when you take a stand some of your friends and relatives and church family just might take a back seat. The very ones you think will be there for you won’t. Sometimes they just don’t have what it takes. Or perhaps they have a situation themselves that won’t permit them to support you. Then again some things are just too perplexing for them to understand. Sometimes we can expect too much of others.
Try to keep a balance in the midst of any storm you may encounter. Leave room even in the midst of turmoil to
nurture your spouse. This helps to alleviate a lot of the stress. The spiritual warfare will help you to bond closer; rather than pull you apart! You can truly have peace in the middle of a storm. I don’t mean faking it either. This is why your relationship with your spouse is so very important. Marriage is a partnership. You must share sorrow, grief, pain and good times! Listen with both ears. Make it a priority. Take time to listen. Your relationship is important.
We can sometimes be so ever ready to give advice. Sometimes it’s better to just listen. Your spouse may just
need to be heard. Wives we need to encourage our spouses to talk about what’s going on with them. Allow them time to express verbally how they feel. Some men can’t or just don’t know how to verbally express how they feel. Many have been erroneously programmed emotionally. For others it is just not a dynamic of their personality. Just allowing what’s inside to come out allows them to vent. Getting things out is a cancer preventative. High blood pressure is not meant to be a required component of life. It’s really healthy to release negative emotions.
Husbands although you may not be an eager beaver when it comes to verbally saying how you feel, just try opening up a bit more. You may not require a detailed testimony to resolve conflict. Know your feelings are equally important. Perhaps you aren’t ready to bare your soul. But just sharing a little bit of you is so special. Wives don’t shut him down every time he tries to tell you something. Don’t always assume you know what he is going to say. I am thankful for a spouse who can share how he feels without flying off the handle. We all need to be validated. However, in general I feel we women tend to be wired differently. We in general require a lot more detail. There is a lot more electricity wired to our mouth. We have a tendency to rattle on a little
more. Or should I say a lot more? Amen! Bear with us! Its okay to get it out. Just be careful how you do it. Perhaps being adorned with that quiet spirit scripture talks about means not being overly loud and boisterous?
It is not what we feel that gets us in to trouble. It is how we express how we feel that causes conflict. We can eliminate some of those harsh words. You know those words that have fermented into hard cold ice daggers. Ouch! We have been taught to hold on to so much junk. Don’t allow your heart to become a storage attic for useless things. Begin to let go of those old recycled arguments. Why hold on to them anyway? I know it makes you vulnerable. Guess what the very things you are holding on to are the very things that keep a wall between you and your love one. That wall you erect makes it easier for someone else to perch on it and wait for the opportunity to park on your turf. As an affair proof precaution knock down that wall and put it in the remodeling garbage bin.
I personally as a rule usually try and practice to wait to speak if I am really angry. Not out of fear. I really try to
collect my thoughts because I realize that words of anger can hurt. (I attribute that to my parents being in their 40’s when I was born) They were patient with me. They did not yell and scream at me nor were they in anyway abusive. But I must admit I always felt my Mom was a bit strict. I now realize she was just being wise and cautious. I have learned to honestly say how I feel. I generally choose not to hurt but prefer to arrive at an understanding. I was also taught that when you don’t have something good to say its better not to say anything! It is better to wait and collect your thoughts. No, I don’t claim to be perfect by man’s standards. But I am definitely moving towards it by God’s definition. By man’s standards I’d be considered “far out there” When the Bible speaks of perfect it means to be “complete”. I am quite content within. Inner peace is a
chosen habitat. My husband knows and I have no doubts even when I’m quiet I still love him. And always will! Since we have grown up together we really know one another. He gives me time to work through whatever I might be going through. To collect my thoughts! I am thankful to have a spouse who knows me well. We are able to allow each other the space necessary to process what ever the other may be going through. Love does not suffocate. Hallelujah!
Life and living is about allowing God to take you to deeper depths and higher heights. We often quote from I Corinthians 2:9 “eyes have not seen nor have ears heard what God has prepared for them that love Him”. If we would just read on we would see that God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. Spiritual things are not understood by the carnal mind! The true peace that only God gives surpasses the understanding of man. We have been given a choice to operate in the flesh or operate in the Spirit. Anyone who truly desires to can access God’s spiritual fruit. Commence exercising your spiritual self control. Don’t be controlled by remote. I know, I say this a lot! But I believe we need reprogramming in this area of control. If you put your trust and faith in God, He will lead guide and protect you. It is important to spend time with God daily. God has a remedy
we reluctantly just won’t take the cure. Have you noticed how secure you feel with someone you trust?
It’s really not about projecting a certain image to “church folks.” Or anyone else for that matter! You can get so caught up with people that your home life will be utter chaos! Reevaluate your priorities. I always remember a phrase from the late Rev. Marset who has now gone on to be with the Lord. “They don’t have a heaven nor a hell that they can put you in”. Do you know that no matter how much you try to help some folks “ it will never be enough”. They will drain you emotionally, physically and monetarily if you let them. They will see your kindness as weakness. After a while they may even try to demand certain things from you. They will even blame you for their unhappiness, although you know they were quite unhappy way before you came on the scene. When you are dealing with people without limits you must have boundaries. They will try to help them selves to you if you are not careful! Really take time to listen. Is your helping really helping? Don’t let them manipulate you! Learn to give them to the Lord. You, nor I can change them. They have to want to change. God has it all under control! Develop your trust with God. Get to know Him through His WORD! He is our soul maker and if you are his child your soul will eternally rest in His presence one day. Allow His principles to determine the course of your relationship.
Taking time to listen requires dedication. Become mindful of your own personal relational patterns. Wives do you dominate the conversation? There are some women and men that are natural “Nelly Bly’s” they report everything to any and everybody. Usually their message is not factual but filled with innuendos. Or to put it bluntly they literally have “diarrhea of the mouth.” When you want something told they’re the ones to tell. There’s one in every family and several in every church family. Of course they are not gossiping they are just sharing? Right!
Is your normal conversation really just one long monologue? Perhaps you’ve become so accustomed to your spouses nonresponsiveness it doesn’t matter anyway? Husbands do you just adjust your invisible earplugs to silence and nod gently at certain intervals? Do you just merely pacify her? Or do you just reach for that all comforting drink or pill? Or does either of you just talk to listen to yourself? Together begin to value the time you share with one another. Try and spend less time at one another’s throats rummaging around in that old emotional attic to see who can tell the other off. If off is what you want off is what you will get. Your relationship will get off track and stay off track. Listening is key in establishing good communication.
Don’t let it be a relationship that’s on when the children or someone else is present. Do you need a spiritual mouthwash? Is it helpful to know every time you use those four letter or more curse words you bring up the old man or woman? Don’t let that little tongue ruin your relationship. Does the flavor of certain words satisfy your carnal appetite? Perhaps it makes you feel you “told so and so off”? So what! What good did it do? I know it makes you feel better. But ask yourself is your relationship better because of it? Just know you put the Godly Spirit in you to rest when you fly off the handle. It quenches the Spirit in you. Guess what, God is ever present! He hears all and sees all! Do you still believe “sticks and stones will break your bones but words don’t hurt?” Remember they do! They can break your heart when someone you care about fires a mouthful of colorful unpleasant words. That hurt will eventually harden your heart towards them. You will slowly but surely
build a shield that keeps them out! It will slowly douse any warmth between you. It will leave a cold chill in its place. The love you once felt will become frozen. I say frozen because I believe if you truly love someone it doesn’t die. Remember God is love. Is not God eternal? Your love may freeze. It may even get a couple of degrees below zero. Remember the warmth of the Holy Spirit is accessible. The Holy Spirit’s warmth can melt down those barriers!
LEARN HOW TO BRIDLE THAT TONGUE! Make it a goal to think before you speak when you’re angry. Think of it this way. Did you know when you let someone make you angry you are again being controlled by remote? You are not exercising self discipline. They actually push your buttons. Remember you have a choice! Did you know that in the book of James it says; “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, that same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body.” Wow! This means if you learn to discipline your tongue you can control your body!
Now that’s power!
Once we accept Christ we become God’s children. At some point it is important that our lives reflect that we are beginning to implement His principles in our life. Begin to reprogram your relational agenda to please God. To love your spouse as He intended. Try from this day forward to sincerely appreciate your spouse. But he/she….. it doesn’t matter. I don’t mean you have to superficially patronize them. But we have been married forty years. This is all the more reason to change. Your appointment with God may be closer than you think. What if today is your day or their day? Do you think you’re ready to face Him? Since you told Him you were going to love, honor and cherish this helpmate He gave you and all. Remember those vows? We really need to think spiritually instead of religiously. We can religiously hold to bad behaviors that enslave us to a life of unhappiness. Did you know that unhappiness in an unhealthy vague way can become comfortable because its
your normal mode of operation? We need to consistently work at relinquishing our bad habits. Move towards beings constructively open and honest with one another. Don’t hide behind honesty in order to hurl insults. Our goal is to enhance the relationship right? Start by being honest with yourself, check your motives. Don’t allow pride to hinder your spiritual growth. Take some quiet time to listen. Listen to that still quiet voice. Learn to “be still and know.” As you strive to make it your agenda to please God He will direct you how to respond to your mate. Pray for your spouse. Ask the Lord to show you areas in which you need to grow as well. Remember as His children we are all in a continuous growing mode.
Why is it so much easier to be kind to someone else other than your spouse? Is it because they don’t live with you? Is it because we take for granted those that have no choice? Perhaps its because they may not just up and leave you! But, oh you must keep up that tough image? Every time you mistreat your mate you bury your original passion. You erect the very walls that you are supposed to discard in the remodeling garbage. Don’t develop an iceberg relationship. Don’t enlist the ear of a friend who will make you feel okay when you are wrong. This will only give you the incentive to keep doing what you are doing. A true friend will tell you the truth! Remember how you felt when you first saw your spouse. I truly believe that love never dies. I know it
grows and grows when you truly love one another. It erects a pathway to the heart. True love is so deep and precious that it can weather the storms of life. So vast that it gives your spouse the freedom and room to grow. It is simply invaluable. Now remember those “intoxicating affections” on the other hand will cease. Perhaps should I say dissipate or maybe they even evaporate? Don’t confuse the two. “God is Love.” God is eternal!
Take inventory of your relationship. Is there room for improvement? Of course there is! Expand your remodeling project to include additional room(s). Do you like it the way it is? Begin to find ways to enhance your relationship. Expand by taking more time to enjoy life with each other. Make it a priority to live with less regrets. I believe in having a weekly date. It can be as simple as a stroll on a nice hot day having an ice cream, or an elaborate candlelight dinner, or a quiet walk in the late evening. Your date can be as extravagant as taking a long vacation to a remote part of the world or as simple as an overnight excursion. Regardless it should be a time when the two of you take time out for your relationship. A time to put a few logs on the fire. A time to rekindle intimate understanding! When we take time to listen we learn to become sensitive to one another’s feelings. Being sensitive solicits patience and wisdom. It tells your spouse you care enough to listen.
That what they have to say is a priority. That you love them and what they have to say is important to you. You are investing precious time in them. Time is priceless! The benefits are well worth it. Discover ways to enhance and deepen your love for one another! After all, you do have a responsibility to one another!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. We must learn to value what each other has to say.
2. If your spouse deeply feels your concern and does not doubt your
love there will be no need to go elsewhere!
3. Taking time to listen requires dedication.
4. Make it a point to think before you speak especially when angry.
5. Don’t allow others to come between you and your spouse.
6. Take time to build or rekindle intimate understanding.
7. Make is a priority to take time to enjoy life with each other. Discover ways to deepen your love.
NEXT: Chapter 4 – That’s Your Responsibility
When we submit we yield to the power or will of another. Submission is a humble compliant act. It is not an inferior position. It is a position in which we can learn integrity. What is integrity? Webster defines integrity as; an unimpaired condition; soundness. Adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. Completeness.
It is only with God can one ultimately find completeness. The marital relationship is when two become one. When they leave and cleave spiritually the two should become one flesh. Notice that our physical body has two arms, two hands, two eyes, two ears, two legs and two feet. These body parts are designed to work as a team.
For example; to advance forward one foot has to step out first (unless you want to hop). Does this mean one is
more important than the other? No! A symphonic cadence develops when two walk together in love.
The Bible tells us that the wife should submit to the husband in all things. This establishes our walking order. But don’t just stop there. It also tells the husband to love the wife as Christ loved the church. How much did Christ love the Church? He loved the Church so much that He gave His life for it. We must relinquish our inclination to fragment the scripture to suit our purpose. The truth in scripture when applied properly is extremely powerful. The husband must be subject to God to love His wife as Christ loved the Church. But let’s not confuse love with what you do or do not give me. Remember those “intoxicating affections” I told you about? Love is not about what you do or do not feel. It is not about what you get. Learn to think beyond your feelings. Love is not about domination and control. Two equal partners, yet each should readily yield to one
another for the sake of the marriage. Love is giving. Giving to one another in every way spiritually, emotionally and yes physically. This love is a Godly love. This love helps to correct and mold our character. It gives us the opportunity to practice meekness. Remember meekness is power under control. It is also a desirable trait for successful marriage. Godly loves helps us develop integrity!
Let’s go back a bit in time to Genesis. When God created the heavens and earth He decided He would create man to care for His creation. He realized that man needed a helpmeet. He took Eve out of Adam. God explained to Adam what not to do. But Adam chose instead to listen to Eve even though He already knew what the Lord had said. Never listen to anyone over what God says; even your spouse! Just think if Adam would have submitted to what the Lord had told him not to do. It would have possibly saved us all from the inclination we have towards sin? I have learned that “GOD ALWAYS HAS MY BEST INTEREST AT HEART” We do not have to continue to be mislead. Don’t we time after time do this anyway? We allow something or someone to lead us in the wrong direction. God’s Word is designed to protect us. We can sometime be our own worst enemy! When we learn to listen to God we can save ourselves from much unwarranted misery. The point is God really knows what is best. Why do we continue to question His WORD? We must learn to trust that He really knows what’s best. When either of you know that something is not right, don’t support it. DO the right
thing! It would save you both a lot of time and heartaches. God has ordained marriage. God would not ask us to do anything that we are not able to do. Remember we “can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”. We in ourselves can accomplish very little. Doing things our way puts everything else at risk. Short term gratification will not yield long time satisfaction! It is within the confines of marriage with God’s help we are able to establish a relationship that should mirror the love Christ has for His bride the Church.
Can you truly say to yourself you are practicing submission? How about giving it a try? I know, submission means being weak! No it’s really about being meek. Meekness is power under control. This world is clicking like a time bomb. No one knows when it’s going to go off. So we live as though….oh well! September 11, 2001 was just a glimpse of the destruction that is coming in the end! The chances of that happening again is far fetched; don’t fool yourself! We really need to begin living as though Jesus is coming back at any given moment. He is you know? We will spend eternity somewhere. Heaven or Hell? Or do we think we can just wait to the last minute and do some sort of crash course in righteous living. Don’t take the chance. What’s righteous living? Living out right God’s principles before we meet Him face to face. I think it’s better now rather than to wait until the last minute. Don’t you?
On September the 11th 2001, there was a horrific terrorists attack forged against the United States. A well thought out plan was executed. Terrorists internally infiltrated the United States. They seized commercial aircrafts and maliciously turned them into human suicide bombs. Flying into the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers. Killing thousands and physically, emotionally and spiritually wounding many. Leaving family, friends and co-workers devastated in a state of utter shock! Just think America is supposedly the safest liberal place on earth. With all of our defense we were not able to circumvent such an attack.
Although the attack was sadistically bizarre its message should be apparent. This should be a time for those of us who have been graciously spared to begin honoring our commitments to God and our spouses and family. You see the blood is still running warm in our veins. Those who died in Christ will be eternally with Him! We who remain should let the lives of those that were lost encourage us to pursue living life to its fullest. The terrorists in their distorted minds were mere implements in the hand of the enemy. We who know better must stand for God’s principles. We must implement them in our lives, our homes and in this world. Just know that many terrorists are lurking in the shadows. Scripture tells us that the enemy; “comes to steal kill and destroy.” Just know “Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly”! John 10:10 KJV.
I trust God knows what is best. He tells us to submit. Do you think He knows what is best? I realize that we have fewer marital relationships where submission is actually modeled. It’s still not an excuse. The terrorists were willing to die for and unjust cause. I am sure in their insane distortion they justified their actions. They glorified in a vain less futile death submitting their souls to eternal torment. Let’s put faith into action we must trust God’s WORD. “Without faith it is impossible to please the LORD!” The truth really will set you free. God is a spirit of truth. Why not submit?
I would submit if he or she would just not…… God never tells us to submit to anything that goes against His
For example if your spouse has a substance abuse problem or physically abuses you more than likely they will
behave improperly from time to time. When some one is operating in the carnal mode just know they are not being directed by God. That’s why it is called “being under the influence”. Guess who is doing the influencing? Do you think God wants you to get in a car with someone driving under the influence? God never directs us to walk in the flesh. He clearly tells us to be villigantly sober. There is an unholy spirit in operation when one is under the influence. Believe me no matter how docile or loving it may appear drunkenness is not of God! Be realistic! It is a window for chaos!
Do you think God wants you to be physically or emotionally abused? Your body is a temple. No one has the right to beat or abuse you. If and when necessary put some physical distance between you and them. Learn to draw healthy physical and emotional boundaries with those who do you harm. Let them know you love them but not their behavior. This let’s them know you mean business. It also let’s them know you will not tolerate their behavior. Pray that God breaks the stronghold of their addiction. The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit to lead, guide, direct and protect us!
Do you think God wants you to do anything that jeopardizes your physical or mental well being? It is really important to study the scriptures so you will know how to respond. Remember Timothy tells us to study for a reason. “So we can rightly divide His Word.” II Timothy 3:16. Rightly divide means to apply the principles therein appropriately. Not just to situations we want. In every situation! Submission does not mean to be a doormat.
If you have decided to submit there are some relational dynamics you need to establish. Begin by realizing, yes
we all have shortcomings. Not that this in any way excuses unfavorable behavior it just makes us realistic. Timing makes all the difference. When you are at your wits end it’s probably not the proper time to tell your spouse about all the things he/she does to irritate you. Exercise some control. Sort through your words before you speak. Remember the ole cliché “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Subliminal messages have power. Your mind is literally recording every transaction. You just cannot remember them all. Just know words have impact. Remember you can’t take words back. Think before you speak. Do you want to make a point? Or do you want to inflict a little pain because you
Start today by being more sensitive to your spouse. For instance there is a time when some women’s hormones rage. You know when we go through that monthly cycle or used to go through in some cases. Things that don’t normally bother her may seem magnified. She may jump down your throat for the slightest little thing. Don’t fuel one another’s impatient moments. Emotions can run high and at the drop of a hat she bursts into tears. Try not to personalize her hormonal mood swings. Or perhaps he’s on edge about work, middle age crisis or just having a bad day remember not to personalize his irrational behavior. The point I’m trying to make is we must realize that sometimes we fall short. Give one another a little room. This doesn’t excuse our behavior but it’s helpful when we are in tune with one another. When you sense the other is out of sort exercise an extra amount of patience. Allow each other the freedom not to walk on eggshells when you are going through a bad time. Give them a little room and a lot of patience. Begin to practice sincere empathy and patience when the other is going through. Wait until he/she has simmered down. Then lovingly tell them that they were a bit unbearable. Timing is the key! Learn to be sensitive to each other. Demonstrating love in the midst of criticism can be difficult. But the results are very beneficial to the relationship. Remember your intentions should not be to belittle. It is to put the other in check of their behavior; right?
Now you know it is virtually impossible to live without some sort of conflict. But when conflict comes we don’t
have to engage in an enormous all out war. Sometimes one or both spouses have come from volatile households. Unconsciously they fight to create that old familiar unhealthy habitat. Guess what high blood pressure, heart disease, over or under eating and addictions are all by products! Let’s try to reduce the tension level by implementing preventative measures such as sensitivity, understanding and patience. Start to live healthier before a Doctor tells you to do or die. Your overall well-being is important. Taking care of yourself enhances and lengthens your life and relationship. Marriage is an ever-growing relationship. A healthy marriage will ultimately produce a fertile environment where love abounds.
What do I do since my husband doesn’t believe in God? God recommends that wives not preach to their unbelieving husbands. When you decided to marry your husband were you aware he was not a Christian? Sorry but you should have…. Well, don’t be surprised that you are unequally yoked. Don’t beat yourself up too bad. But don’t expect your husband to readily buy into God’s principles of marriage. You married Him knowing he was not a believer. How or why do you expect him to behave like one? Your relationship may be a bit rocky but God is able! The life of a dedicated Christian woman speaks loud and clear. You must learn to be centered when you respond to a spouse who is not a believer. Pray for direction. “Walk in what you talk.” The most effective approach would be to emulate God’s principles in your own life!
Peter also encourages women to win their husbands over by their inner beauty which is unfading. This in no way means to neglect your outer appearance. Some people often confuse a woman exercising her femininity with sin. Women you don’t have to walk around looking like a milkmaid. There is nothing wrong with dressing stylishly. Be original develop your own style! Just use some guidelines. Don’t go to the extremes. For example don’t wear a blouse so low your navel is almost showing. Or a skirt so short where your thighs are exposed! Or a dress so tight and short you have to take itty-bitty steps to walk. (A little humor in life is good. Don’t take everything so seriously). Leave something to the imagination. Certain things should only be for the eyes of your mate. Your body is a temple!
Don’t dress for other people. Don’t give them that type of leverage over you. One day they want you to dress
this way. The next day that way. I personally wear what I like and what my husband likes. I know he truly loves me so he wouldn’t encourage me to wear something that would reflect distastefully. We are honest in our opinions to one another. In return we attempt to compliment one another in our dress. When I wear something that someone else disapproves of I don’t worry. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Just make sure you are comfortable in your attire.
I will always be thankful that my mother taught me that your style should have quality. I was her only daughter
and I can say from birth she adorned me appropriately and plentifully. She could work wonders with her sewing
machine. Just read the Old Testament. The adornments that they wore were intricately woven from exquisite fabrics. There were many nights she stayed awake and meticulously fabricated a vogue fashion especially for me! I thoroughly enjoy being a woman and all the adornments that goes along with it. God wants us to enjoy life. God has given us liberty. When you both are pleased with one another esthetically your unseen attraction deepens. Attraction is a part of marriage. Scripture says to adorn yourself with a quiet gentle spirit this is a gift from God. Tasteful jewelry adds a touch of class to your style. By the way pearls are okay. Just don’t cast them before swine!
Again to be submissive is to voluntarily cooperate with someone else. In the ideal since submission should be
mutual. You can totally discard the prehistoric caveman “I’m man you my woman” to do with as I please when I
please. God charges that the man love the woman as Christ loved the Church. When a man neglects his wife his prayers will be greatly hindered. Why should we submit? We should submit because God tells us to do so. God has truly made accessible to us all we need for righteous living. It is so simple we just choose to complicate the matter. He intended that the marriage relationship should provide a companion, a helpmeet. A good marriage takes time, fidelity, effort, love and a lot of hard work!
If you have not been committed to God’s design for your life start right now today! It is never too late to change. Seek His direction for the remainder of your journey. Life is truly a very eventful adventure. The Holy Spirit is our guide. Come off that broad road aimlessly roaming about. The sooner we realize that God really does know what is best for us the sooner we can travel together on that narrow road that leads to Him. Remember it’s important to take time to listen to one another!
SEVEN POINTS TO PONDER
1. Submission is not an inferior position.
2. It’s important to trust that God really knows what’s best for us.
3. Sensitivity is not a weakness.
4. A healthy marriage will provide a healthy living environment.
5. A good marriage takes time, effort and a lot of hard work.
6. When you are at your wits end; it’s probably not the best time to tell
your spouse about the things he/she does to irritate you.
7. We should submit because God tells us to!
NEXT:Chapter 3 – Why Don’t You Listen ?
Marriage is for two mature responsible adults. One male and one female. Or one man and one woman created by God. It was God’s idea from the beginning of time that man and woman co-habit in a loving monogamous relationship. God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He placed man in the Garden of Eden to work and care for it. He even gave man instructions. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”. Genesis 1: 16-17 NIV
It was God who decided that the man He created should not be alone. “The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2: 18 NIV. God decided that Adam needed a companion. He caused Adam to sleep deeply and extracted one of his rib bones. From this he made woman. She became bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. Woman came out of man. She came from his side. Someone for him to love and cherish to be close to his side.
Why all the historical religious stuff? Remember anything can be religious. This is a profound spiritual truth! God is the exclusive Creator of mankind. Man and Woman came from God. Not apes. No big bang! Not evolution! Who made the first car? Who made the first stoplight? Who made the first TV? Who invented computers? Give credit where it is due! GOD made man and woman. Scripture tells us God does not change. But man does and needs to grow continually in God’s grace. Man has changed so much that he no longer exclusively gives God the infallible credit for his origin. Christians should know better! Either we believe the scriptures or we don’t. As long as you omit the Word of God in your life and marriage you cannot, or will not experience the fullness and abundance of life that God wants for you. It is also the primary reason why many are unhappy and fulfilled. God wants to be involved in your personal life. Stop running from Him and run to Him. Please begin to give God his rightful place in your life!
I truly, wholeheartedly believe that God made man and woman to fulfill a purpose. I also believe the reason we
have such an influx of problems in marriage is because we ignore what the bible has to say in regards to life and living.We have allowed others to ridicule us and insinuate we are Pharisees when we talk about the scriptures. We then timidly seek spiritual direction for our life and marriages. If you know Jesus you should know better. No, not in a rigid legalistic fashion like they did. The “Pharisees” knew the scriptures well. It was a good thing they knew the scriptures. That in itself was not enough. The problem was that they did not know Jesus! They did not even recognize Him visibly right before them in the flesh. There is a big difference between “knowing of” and “knowing intimately” who Jesus really is!
We who are truly Christians are without excuse. We should truly know who Jesus is! We should make it a priority to continuously strive to develop a growing spiritual intimate relationship with Him. We should encourage others to do so as well. Why? The Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher to equip us for whatever is necessary in this life. God allows us to experience the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit, when we are obedient to Him. I am not ashamed of the Gospel! Gospel means Good News! Call me a Pharisee because I’m calling on Jesus I know who He is. Do you know Jesus? If you don’t know Him now is a perfect time. Just ask Him into your life. Believe that Jesus was born of a woman; the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life. He was crucified, dead, hung on the cross and was buried. It doesn’t stop there. He arose from the grave with all power and ascended into heaven. He sacrificed His precious life to redeem us from the curse of sin. It is by the shedding of His blood and accepting Him and His Word as TRUTH; that we can truly be cleansed from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. Invite His Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence and commence getting to know Him intimately. How? Pray and begin to study His WORD! The Bible is the history of His life.
In this day and time as we look around it should be clear to see anything goes? Pandora’s old box has lost its lid. But God’s principles are forever. The majority of our television talk shows are infested with story upon story of lives out of control. People who choose to live any kind of way. Encouraging others to do what feels good to them! Just outwrongly boldly proclaiming their right to live in sin. Don’t get distracted by what you see. God still ordains marriage. When Jesus died on the cross He atoned for our sins. He eliminated the enmity that stood between God and man. The veil of the temple was rent in two. From top to bottom. (The veil was where the priest went behind to intercede for the sins of the people.) We who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior are now a part of the royal priesthood. Nothing stands between Him and you but unconfessed sins. Remember He is aware of EVERYTHING! Don’t allow sin to hinder your walk with God. Daily confess your sins and repent! Please begin to allow His Light to lead and guide you. If you don’t know the scriptures don’t just take my word for it. Please use this as an opportunity to study them for yourself!
In each of us is a deep void. God can only fill that void. Begin to live now to please God! His love is the key
ingredient. Marriage is symbolic of Christ’s relationship with the Church. The Church is His bride. Remember
your vows. Did they include God? All right then; don’t just know how to repeat your vows. Or were you really just going through the motions? Commence to know and trust God! He is able to keep your marriage from failing.
When two come together in marriage they come from two different living environments. The two of you have the opportunity to create your own living environment. What power! You promised to do what? Or were you just repeating what you heard. Stop where you are right now. Revisit that moment. The moment you decided that the person you married was the love of your life. The one who God has designed to be your soul mate. Not cell mate. There is a difference you know? You should not feel as though you are trapped. Don’t allow your marriage to sentence you to an imprisoned life of misery. (Exercise = Take some time and review your vows!)
Marriage gives us the opportunity to establish a healthy loving, spiritual, emotional and physical relationship with the opposite sex that is ordained by God. Each spouse comes to the relationship with baggage of some sort. The relationship can allow each other to unpack their baggage. Where it can selectively be discarded or deposited in its proper place. We must consciously learn not to, or we must depart from, using marriage as a baggage dump. Proceed to take the garbage out of your marriage. Don’t recycle junk. Discard it in the trash!
Why is it we can respect everyone else except the very one we have vowed to love, cherish, honor and…… You know the rest. But my relationship is terrible. My husband…… I’m not sure if I still love……… You cannot change anything that has transpired but you can from this day move forward. No not pretending as though you have superficial amnesia. Remembering from whence we have come will allow us to enjoy where we are going? I am thankful that my husband and I share a life history together. We even occupied the same humble residence as children but at different times. His family moved out. It was then converted into a larger living space. My family moved in. This just personally confirmed that we were destined for one another. Together we appreciate from where God has brought us from. There was and is no need to paint a certain picture for one another. Our beginnings has helped us to relish and appreciate all that God has allowed in our lives. I know that He definitely works everything together for good.
Think with me a moment. When you find yourself in route to a particular destination and you suddenly discover you are lost what do you do? Perhaps you take out a map. Or ask someone who knows the way? Or just ask anybody you see? Or use your navigation system? Or use “On Star”? Or do you just wander around aimlessly and hope you will stumble your way through. Hopefully you pause; get your bearings and proceed in the proper direction. Well let’s pause and get our bearings. Where are you going in this relationship? Do you have a destination? Start developing a marriage with purpose and direction. Make it your goal to design a healthy home environment. A place where you can find rest and find solace from the world. Take control declare your home a home of peace. A place where God’s way is the ruling force. A place where God’s presence is
welcomed. Would Jesus be welcomed in your home if He were to return today?
Begin to work with the implements that are in your possession. Remember that unlimited source we discussed.
No everything won’t just fall out of the sky. If dysfunction and bad habits have made their nest in your relationship it will take time to remodel. While you are going through an environment remodel consciously be aware of hazardous behavior. Initially when you begin to reconstruct your environment the process will be quite painful. The realization of dysfunction can be paralyzing. When left unnoticed dysfunction seems normal. If you continue to walk in denial you will continue in a downward spiral! If you choose to work through the pain I guarantee you will see wonderful amazing results!
Gold has to be refined in the fire. Learn to lean and trust in God. Begin to give God your emotional baggage load. (Had you noticed when you take the “l” for load out of gold you have GOD!) If you make up your mind to have a marriage with direction; your path guide must be God’s Word and the Holy Spirit as your navigator. After all His Word is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto your path” Psalms 119:105 KJV. When two people dedicate themselves to God and each other their life has unlimited potential. Remember “when two or three are gathered in His name He is in the midst.” God is always right there, He’s everywhere. Just humbly invite His presence in! God our Creator has a plan for each of His children. But we must be in tune. No hook-up, no access. You can reach Him 24/7. The wonderful thing about God is His accessibility. Always remember He’s everywhere!
Do you respect your spouse? Of course you do in public. Or maybe not? What about at home? When you are alone? You see it’s not about what everyone thinks. It’s not about how things look to others. It’s about really being who God wants you to be. Let’s begin by respecting and honoring our spouses. God is everywhere and He sees and knows everything. But he/she makes me so angry! But he/she doesn’t respect me! When we begin to respect our spouses we are obeying God. But you don’t know he/she has so many bad habits like… We’ll get to some of those bad habits later. The point is to obey God. This does not mean to cater or to encourage any wrong behavior in your self or anyone else. After all our entire goal is to create a restful healthy
haven? No it won’t be hassle free or forever blissful. But it can be a place of peace and rest the majority of the time. A place where love freely abounds. A place where we can be encouraged to spiritually mature. Not a legalistic fortress. But, a warm cocoon. A safe haven. A sanctuary. We must learn and begin to practice spousal mutual respect and accountability.
We have somehow misconstrued our perspective and often default to the old cliché no one’s perfect. (See article on the “Nobody’s Perfect Club) This is a truism no one is perfect. The perfection the Bible often refers to means to be complete or mature. It doesn’t imply idealistic flawlessness. The Bible says, “He who says he is without sin is a liar.” Neither is any one better than anyone else. Did you know people don’t come in grades like butter? Nor does it matter how prosperous or scandalously deprived we might be. There is nothing that was created that was not created through “Jesus Christ”. Whatever you do or do not need He knows. When we “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness everything will be added until you” Matthew 6:33 KJV. God will and can provide!
Yes differences you will have. You know the things we don’t agree upon. What does really matter is how we try
and reconcile our differences. Yes, we can be angry. But God tells us “be angry and sin not”. I personally don’t like war. But I don’t opt to compromise for peace at all cost. I really prefer to come to a reconciled point. Maybe you like arguing. Disagreeing can be good, but with boundaries. Do you like to argue or do you like to hurl insults? It’s better not to say anything at all if you are going to say something you may regret. If you always say things you don’t mean stop! Take off pride and put on self-control and meekness. Don’t confuse meekness with weakness. Meekness is power under control. The point is we must learn to mutually respect one another’s point of view, even if we greatly differ in our opinions. Just agreeing to disagree can sometimes be a cop out! But agreeing that what is best for the relationship is best for both. Learn to let God’s WORD settle your disagreements. Proverbs tells us “a soft answer turns away wrath.”
Don’t allow everyone else to do as they please in your living environment. Let them know that you have house
rules. The rules don’t necessarily have to be rigid. Leave some room for flexibility. Don’t allow anger, bad habits or any other destructive behavior to become the theme of your home habitat. If they have taken up residence move them out! Put them in the remodeling garbage bin not in the recycler. Unhealthy environments are breeding grounds for illnesses. Make it a priority to resolve problems. Stop letting them fester like a needle in a haystack. This will only allow you to blow up like a keg of dynamite and not know why? To the other extreme don’t bury your head in the sand like an ostrich as though everything is all right and it’s not. Find a middle ground somewhere between the dynamite and the sand. This will keep your relationship grounded on a level that you can deal with any situations. Don’t wait until some terrible physical or psychological illness presents itself at your door. Some people just choose to live on the wild side of life. Life gets easier when we
accept how difficult it really is. Learn to take time to enjoy the short time we have here scripture tells us “our life is but a vapor”. What if your spouse died today? I thought that might get your attention! Spend more time with God and less time in garbage. Home should be a haven of rest away from the turbulence of life. God’s design for marriage includes submission.
SEVEN POINTS TO PONDER
1. God has ordained marriage.
2. Your spouse should be your friend as well as companion.
3. You should know what God has to say about marriage.
4. Marriage is symbolic of Christ’s relationship with His CHURCH.
5. It’s important to keep and honor your marriage vows!
6. There is always room for improvement!
7. Mutual respect is a key ingredient to a healthy marriage.
NEXT:Chapter 2 – Why Should I Submit To You ?
Each of us has a unique inborn Temperament. Our temperament determines how we react to people places and things. It is given to us by God. It is also the determining factor in how well we handle stresses and the pressures of life. I would like to share with you some information in regards to temperament. I have personally
experienced the benefits of understanding temperament. Just know that each of us has a part in the puzzle of life. Spiritually speaking we are all members of the body of Christ and each of us has a place within the body. Yet we are all uniquely different. “God is not a respecter of persons.”
The idea of temperament is not new. GOD has placed in each one of us a unique temperament. Our environment is made up of the things we smell, see, hear and learn. Our mind is similar to a computer. It keeps a detailed record of all our life events. We are a by product of the things we take in. They help shape our personality. Our personality is a mask we develop to protect us in the world. There are there basic components to our temperament. Inclusion; to the degree we like or do not like to relate to others. Control; how we establish a satisfactory relationship with others in respect to control and power. Affection; the need to maintain a level of love and affection with others.
There are many variations of temperaments. No two are alike. But to the degree you better understand your self it will help you develop a healthy environment. Living in a healthy environment will help lessen the level of stress you experience. Begin to respect the differences in others. God has uniquely made each one of us.
To the degree you can better understand yourself, you will experience less anxiety in life. It will allow you more
freedom. Understanding helps you to expect less from others and depend more on God. It will help you isengage gradually from life recycled dysfunctions. You will also begin to experience the higher heights and deeper depths of life. It will help you to realize that it’s more important to seek God’s way. Although it can be painful at times God’s way is always the best way. The thorns and thistles in life will prick you. Knowing that God is behind every dark cloud will provide peace. He really will provide a silver lining behind the clouds of life when the going gets rough. There truly is a healing Balm in Gilead that only God can provide.
Parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, friends, teachers, and co-workers have in some way or another attributed to helping you develop some degree of insecurity. Unknowingly they said something or did something that perhaps offended you. This registered in you negatively. Perhaps they didn’t spend as much time with you as you liked? Perhaps your parents both worked and you spent too much time alone? When often left unattended one can be consumed with idle thoughts. Perhaps you don’t even know who your parent or parents were? Perhaps you were ridiculed or called names? This possibly caused you to have low self-esteem.
Now you are a parent and your children seem as though they don’t care? You are not sure you really know how to teach them how to care? Nobody every encouraged you. Any or all of this possibly left you feeling neglected or needy? All the above can attribute to cause you to have low self worth. Which means you basically don’t feel good about yourself? This feeling of worthlessness is a result of unmet emotional needs. There is a plethora of reasons some of your needs were not met. The above are only a few of the possibilities. Whatever the case may be learn to nurture those parts of you. Start by being patient with yourself. Begin right now today developing or enhancing your intimate relationship with God. God has a plan for each one of His children. Get to know Him through His Word. God can truly make you whole! He really is the only true source of security and significance. His plethora of resources are unlimited.
Understanding your own insecurities will help you to resolve some of the conflict that has internally fermented.
Hidden and buried deep within are potential cancerous pains. Moving towards the light of God’s understanding
can be painful. Facing the truth will be painful. But so is labor before child birth. Or that excruciating pain before going to the dentist to find out what’s really going on? Allow that baby in you to come forth. Work through those pains. A new way of being is waiting to be born. In the mean time please don’t wallow in a pity party! Everything negative is not bad. Keep a healthy perspective. There would be no positive without the negative. Just don’t allow the negative to out weigh the positive. This is the area where conflict problems arise. We allow the negative thoughts or comments of others to overtake us! Maybe the comments are not really negative just painful because there is a degree of truth in their observations. We naturally go into a defense
mode when we are hurt. Begin to move forward knowing God is there for you. You may not even know Him. But, God is still with you. You cannot exist without His breath of life. Spend time in prayer and meditation. God and God alone knows all about you. That’s how important you are to Him. Commence exercising your faith! Begin to entrust your hope, fears and insecurity to Him.
God in time will heal your hurts as you allow Him room in your life. He will lead you. Just as He lead the children out of Egypt. Did you know that the soles of their shoes did not even wear out in 40 years? God provided for them. Just as He will provide for you! Begin to trust Him. Learn to release your burdens to Him. A heavy burden is a good sign you have not released it to the Lord. “His yoke is easy and His burdens are light”. Press forward. Press through the pain and reach for the stars. I mean really let them go! Don’t turn back. God tells us “except we become like children we can’t enter into His kingdom”. It is the humbleness of children we need to emulate in our attitude towards God. We must be willing to lean and trust on him. He made them and He made you. In God’s eyes we are all children! You don’t have to live life in the wilderness anymore. The relationship with your spouse will benefit greatly as you walk closer with the Lord. Let God take care of your inner despairs. This will give you more time to spend building a much healthier relationship with your
Whatever gets your marriage in the down phase do something about it. If you don’t feel good about yourself
chances are you won’t feel that great about your marriage. If you don’t like your weight for example, start walking, exercise or join a gym. If you are too heavy begin with simple leg lifts and arm rotations. Start somewhere! Every pound you shed helps you to breathe a little easier. You don’t have to work those arteries as hard. If you’re underweight learn to view yourself realistically. If you’re afraid to eat and you know you weigh ten pounds below what you should watch out! You must eat. A car won’t run without gas. Your body cannot function without food! There are many resources to help you. Don’t wait until you drop or add those unwanted pounds to care for yourself. Or don’t wait until your appetite is completely gone and their going to force feed you. Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders at an all time high. There is a lot of spiritual warfare that takes place amidst eating disorders. Stop struggling for control especially when you are actually out of control yourself. Please reach out and get all the help you need!
Women and men come in all shapes and sizes. I truly believe you can be beautiful at any size. But be mindful
if you’re underweight or overweight its affecting your health. You must begin to learn to eat healthy. Become
conscious of what and how much you put into your body. After all, like your car, regular maintenance will keep it operating efficiently. You are what you eat! Your unique beauty will shine through as you commence to live life purposely. Taking care of your self is important. What is inside is what really makes you beautiful. As you learn to trust God He will allow that inner glow to shine forth. You are a work of art in progress. You are somebody! You are beautiful! You are a child of the King! Never forget, being God’s child is what really makes you somebody!
Well, you see I married someone who doesn’t want to be bothered with me. We’ve grown so far apart. We don’t love one another anymore. My spouse has been unfaithful. Any or none of the above could apply. But if any are true, chances are your spouse has woven a protective web about him/herself. They need to insulate themselves from you and whatever else. Since your spouse is your spouse you have rights. But you also have a tremendous responsibility. Spiritual perspective makes a world of difference. Watch patiently as you exercise the fruits of the spirit. With the Lord’s help you are able to bring in a harvest. Remember; after fall, and winter comes spring and summer. There will be a visible difference when you begin to change. Exercising spiritual fruits will yield a pleasant fruitful harvest. You just continue to plant and water. God will give the increase.
When two come together in marriage it should not be to complete one another. It is very dangerous to burden your spouse with the task of making you happy. Only God can fill that deep inner void. He will help you to never feel alone again. When you really make Him your focus He will help you with your spouse, your children, parents, coworkers and friends. God has really provided all we might need in this life. We just have to know how to access His provisions. Ephesians 6:10-18 is an excellent source to read and reread until it becomes written on the table of your heart. It gives you the prescription to weather spiritual warfare. Whatever storms come in your life He can keep you anchored. Just know He won’t force His way. You must reach out to Him!
Your home should be a shelter from the world. A place where the two of you can retreat and find mutual comfort. A place where you your children, friends and love ones can enjoy one another. Your home should reflect and allow each habitant a space in which they can let go and relax. It does not matter how large or small each family member should have a space they can call their own. Each individual has varying needs of solace. A few find it terribly threatening to be totally alone. Whatever the case make sure that toil and turmoil has not become your dominate household theme. There are many families who live together for years and never really get to know one another. Fear and ignorance keeps them divided. A divided household will not weather the storms of life. No sensible human being can survive in such congestion on a continuum. Heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressures are warning signals. Change your atmosphere and attitude I guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot better. We have many options that we never exercise. If you have recycled an environment full of despair, break the cycle. You have access to God’s source of limitless power.
Know yourself. Make a sincere attempt to patiently understand your spouse. Keep in mind that you are uniquely different. You have different temperaments. Learn to respect those differences. Focus on the good things that brought you together. Together you can overcome whatever obstacles that have been erected in your path. Knowing that you are different yet equally important puts you on the same level. All of us have shortcomings. Learn how to respect one another and appreciate your differences. Begin to look at yourselves and your children through the eyes of God. Remember, You are a work of art in progress. Each of you are comprised of a different temperature. Yet each should be willing together to seek to create a comfortable
living environment for both of you to mutually enjoy.
Life is complicated! It involves many emotional transactions with a multiplicity of personalities. We interact and engage with one another on many levels. Since we are relational beings God has provided marriage for those who choose to journey through life with a partner. A tangible soul mate to partake in the joys as well as woes of life. Respect for one another is a key ingredient if you truly desire to create a healthy marriage. Understanding and appreciating your differences will enhance your relationship immensely.
Dr. Phyllis and Richard Arno have provided an excellent resource called * “Creation Therapy”. They describe in
detail the idea of temperament from a Christian perspective. Tim LaHaye has also written an excellent reference on “Transforming Your Temperament” He too provides information on how the Holy Spirit helps overcome your weaknesses. Make it a point to explore the dynamics of human behavior from a Christian perspective. Again the idea of temperament is not new. Knowledge is freedom. It is really interesting to see the wonderful multiplicity of behaviors we can have at any given time. Knowledge applied wisely is key to enhancing your life journey. You don’t have to engage in learning all of the technical aspects of behavior, unless this is a field of study you enjoy. It is my suggestion you take some time to enlighten yourself
on this subject matter. There is much valid research in this area. It will also help you to establish healthy boundaries. Also to know when two is company and three is a crowd.
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. To the degree you can better understand yourself you will have less anxiety.
2. God is the only true source for your security and significance.
3. It is the humbleness of children we need to emulate in our attitude towards GOD.
4. You are somebody when you are God’s child.
5. Together you can overcome whatever obstacles that have erected in your path.
6. Living in a healthy environment will lessen your level of stress in life.
7. Respect for one another is a key ingredient to a successful marriage.
NEXT: Chapter 9 – Two Is A Couple Three Is A Crowd
Each and every marriage is different. I have said before the formula that works for me may not work for you.
Just like what looks good on you may not be well suited for me. We were not created as I always say to be
“Cookie Cutter Christians”. Life would we be quite boring if we were all alike. We need to learn to respect our unique differences. Sharing our life experiences shines light on the darkness. The foundational principles we should apply in marriage are ordained by God. Love, truth, mutual respect, fidelity, and commitment should be woven into the fabric of your marital relationship. A God given soul mate is a precious jewel. Since 55-60% of marriages end in divorce it’s important that you don’t let anything or anyone come between you. After 33 years of marriage I still remember our late Pastor Rev. Ruth Johnson telling us that marriage was a circle. That we should not let any one come between us. God must be in the center of your marriage! Your committed relationship with Him will fill the void in the center of the circle. The Holy Spirit will teach, lead and guide you how to love your partner. Begin to divorce proof your marriage. In order for your marriage to weather the
storms of life God must be at the helm. Think of marriage as and unending circle with God invisibly and ever present in the center.
I vividly remember our pastor explaining the significance of the wedding ring. How it represented a circle. How we should not let anyone else in the circle. You see a circle is complete it has no end, We are one of the few couples that married at an early age. We were high school sweet hearts! I remember my pastor saying he saw a rare quality in our relationship. He had genuine love, concern and support for us. We respected his wisdom he had acquired over his many years. He was well into his seventies when he married us. Although he has gone to be with the Lord I will forever remember his words of wisdom!
I am also thankful that my Mother loved my husband dearly. He was her son -in -heart. My Mother has also gone on to be with the Lord who she loved dearly. At her beautiful and wonderful “Home going Celebration” my husband shared that in all our 33 years there was never a cross word between them. I share this because it was in that moment I realized what dear special gifts from the Lord was both of their relationships to me. I was my Mom’s only daughter and there is no doubts in my mind how much she loved me.
My Mother, husband and I shared some very special time and moments together. She never tried to come between us. She always encouraged me to respect my husband. Since we were one in agreement the three is a crowd did not apply. When any third party causes division this is definitely when three is a crowd! I also realize this is not always the case. In law-problems can be and often will induce marital conflict, interference and problems.
I must say that as my father’s only daughter he loved me as well. We spent many hours talking during my adult years before he died of cancer getting to really know one another. My father was in his 40’s when I was born. He was raised by a Methodist female minister which was quite rare in those days. I can recall many amusing stories of the early 1900’s he shared. He could recall way back when cars had kerosene lamps as lights. He too loved my husband and was happy that I was happy. I remember when the two of them together installed our new kitchen floor in our town home. I am thankful that my parents loved me and loved my husband. I have attempted to share little tidbits of my life to further give you a glimpse of any personal prejudices I might have.
My husband and I have always enjoyed spending time together. When we first met we’d pack a lunch and just
go to the park and sit and talk for hours. Or we would just take a long quiet drive. I just loved to hear Him play the piano or organ. Still to this day I will lie under the harp of the piano and just listen. It is a real treat. The Lord has really gifted him in this area. I believe it has attributed to him being so level headed. I know that music can calm the agitations of the soul. The time we spent together really gave us time to get to know one another. It’s important to spend time together just to share your fears, desires and aspirations. I will always cherish how it feels to know how deeply someone loves you. It is an indescribable feeling! There is a freedom that inhabits the relationship when you are open and honest with one another. True love is not contingent on things or circumstances! Love is trusting and never suffocates! Love is a precious gift from God!
In the beginning when God made Adam, He realized although Adam was in his unflawed state he still needed a helpmeet. A helpmeet is a partner. Someone to love, share, and confide in. Don’t let anyone or anything come between you and your spouse. There is a saying that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. There is certainly some truth in that saying. A couple should be united and committed. Your wedding vows should be taken seriously. Remember your commitment is to God as well as to your spouse. Always remember the circle!
Since marriages are under attack it is easy to see why the divorce rate is so high. The world continually advertises that marriage is obsolete. Or it’s okay that marriage lasts until I get tired of you. Or until those “intoxicating affections” run out! Marriages in the Christian community are statistically no different. I have found in general, people who are really committed to their marriages are usually more dependable. Infidelity is not of God! Trust can not be established when there is no sincere commitment. Marriage is the arena to work out your differences. Differences you will have.
If you have been married more than once work on letting this be your last time. You already know what it feels like to have someone or something come between you. It wasn’t pleasant I’m sure. When you recognize those tell tell signs do something. Don’t wait until you’ve reached a point of no return. The world has blinded the eyes of many. It has seduced the population to indulge in whatever feels right. It’s okay to change partners like a suit of clothing. It’s okay to have extra marital affairs. It’s okay to have everyone else before your relationship.
Too often single parents allow there children to fill their void in life. There is a fine line between being close to
your children and allowing them to be too close to the point you can’t develop and intimate relationship with
your spouse. It creates an unhealthly dependence between you and them! It establishes an unhealthy bond that keeps them fixated in a child like emotional dependency, often way into adulthood. There are many adults who have not grown up emotionally. They have not been able to move beyond the “apron strings”. Initially this may feel okay. But in the long run it causes them to not be able to “make it on their own”. They may even leave the nest but will find a replacement spouse or friend to supplement your place. Quite often they will reach to drugs and or alcohol to fill their void. Gently begin to clip those wings if you see any truth in what I am saying! Begin to release them before it is too late! It is not my intentions to lay a guilt trip on you. What if you died today? What would they do? Just look at what God has to say. He knew that Adam in his sinless state needed a companion. Adam needed a wife not a mother. When we grow, our relationships with our children must grow and change as well.
God wants your physical, emotional and spiritual needs met. He wants you to be whole. But it has to be done on His terms. Again I say don’t let anyone come between you. Does this mean you can’t have anyone else in your life? No. It means that your relationship with your spouse takes top priority. Erect healthy boundaries to protect your marriage. Remember to keep the lines of communication open. Remember two become one in marriage. Remember to cleave to one another! It is important that you develop healthy relationships with your children as well!
Marriage is meant to be a two party partnership. If you already have children or when they do arrive keep this in mind. Don’t allow the children to feel they must take a side. Keep them out of your personal differences. This will help you to create a healthy home environment. This will allow them to grow uninhibited. It will help them to freely love both of you. If you have allowed them to take sides, it’s never too late to stop. We unconsciously can implement relationship dynamics that are unhealthy. Once your eyes are open don’t allow pride to stop you from changing what you now know is wrong. Humility is honorable in the sight of God. Practice makes permanent. Practice including Godly principles in your home environment. I realize and have said before “differences you will have.” But disagreements are natural.
How you handle your differences will determine how well your children will handle their differences in the future. If you yell, kick, fight, rant and rave guess what? They probably will too. How you deal with situations makes a strong impressionable model. If you change partners every five minutes guess what? Even when you do model good behavior to your children there are strong influential worldly models that impact them. Parents have an awesome responsibility. Many have been taught you have the right to do whatever you please to your children. Wrong! Children are entrusted to us by God to rear in the fear and admonition of Him. They are not possessions to do with as you please. Children raised by united parents are by far a lot more stable. But they still will have their own personal issues to grow through. The love, patience, time and energy you put into them will help them weather the storms of life. It will give them a strong foundational base to fall back on in the midst of this perverse and unstable world. Did you know children don’t belong to you?
I would also like to insert in this chapter. Overly physically reprimanding your children will result in anger. I know this is a controversial subject. We were very strict parents. I believed in and used the rod of correction. I also implemented restrictions. But I explained to them that when they disobeyed, they were responsible for taking away their privileges. I thank the Lord that I never had a child to curse, or raise their hand to me. Nor did or has one spent a single night in juvenile or jail. Whew! I say this out of context of this chapter because unruly children can be that three is a crowd component. You can spend the majority of your relationship policing your children. Ask your self do you want to discipline a behavior or do you want to punish?
If you are a parent that lived in a worldly fashion before your children, be patient. Although you have changed some of those scenes may be reenacted in the life of your child. Remember behavior is modeled. Perhaps you lived before them properly? There is still room for improvement! The world still has it’s influence. Patiently allow them the freedom to grow. Give them some room with boundaries. Use this time to strengthen your patience and trust in the Lord. Remember He brought you through. In His time He will bring them through. In the meantime begin to sow the fruits of His Spirit in your life.
Taking out time to spend with friends and love ones can be great. Recreational outings can be fun. Spending time with friends and love ones is quite okay, but not to the point there is no time reserved for your marriage. Often in marriage when there is a lack of intimacy, friends become supplements. Meaning they can distract you from feeling the void in your own relationship. In this case their presence can actually inhibit the development of your relationship. How? You can spend so much time with others that you don’t develop a personal relationship with one another. This can be unhealthy to a degree. Anticipating time alone with one another brings thoughts of dread. If you can’t enjoy each other alone this is a real problem. Begin rebuilding your relationship. Just something as simple as watching a movie or taking a walk. Make it a point to find mutually satisfying activities.
Have you ever noticed how many marriages fall apart once the children are gone? Well, the children was what
held it all together. You stayed together for the sake of the children. Over the years you simply lost sight of one
another. Somewhere in time a gradual weaning took place. Quite often after the children are gone spouses virtually discover that they are two strangers. Take time to develop “two’s a couple”. Begin to nurture your marriage. Put some love logs on the fire. Don’t wait until your children are grown to realize that you unconsciously allowed them to be that three’s a crowd.
Have you ever started a fire and felt the warmth of it’s heat. Remember how it felt? A fire will keep roaring as long as you add wood to the fire. You may even let it simmer down a little. A faint glimmer of light might reflect in the low burning embers. But if you just take that ole poker and poke around a bit, add a log or two; that fire will start to roar. Its warmth will heat up a room. Keep the warmth of your marriage going. If it’s cooled down carefully and diligently poke around until you ignite that flame.
Pray for one another daily. God really does have power. He made both of you. God is always speaking. We just have to get better at listening. If He said marriage should last forever don’t you think He knows what He is talking about? That settles it! In order to keep your commitment you need God as the center of your relationship. Keep a place in your heart for your spouse and never let the flames die out. The marital relationship must be tended. Always take time to nurture your marriage. Children, friends, and relatives must be taught to respect your relationship. You must first respect your relationship! Let them know your relationship is of top priority. Remember the circle. What God has joined together let not man put asunder. Your marriage should last until “death us do part”!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. The principles we apply in marriage are ordained by God.
2. Since 55-60% of marriages end in divorce it’s important that you don’t let anything or anyone come
3. God wants your physical, emotional and spiritual needs met.
4. Keep a place in your heart for your spouse and don’t let the flame of love die out.
5. Marriage is the perfect arena to learn to work out your differences.
6. The marital relationship must be tended.
7. What God has joined together let not man put asunder.
NEXT:Chapter 10 - Till Death Do Us Part
The financial aspect of the marital relationship is very important. We often hear that money is the root of all evil. Actually the Scripture says: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” I Timothy 6 (KJV). We must be good stewards of whatever God puts in our possession. We must learn to become financially accountable and responsible. We must learn to live within our financial ability.
I would like to recommend to the working couple considering having children that the wife’s salary goes to the reserve emergency fund. Children have an unexpected way of deciding to arrive prematurely. When the budget incorporates the wife’s salary the unexpected arrival of a newborn can cause a tremendous amount of stress if the household cannot survive on the salary of the husband alone. Perhaps the wife can supplement the lost income by establishing a home based business? The couple could barter for various services to cut down on expenses.
Today we live in a material oriented society. We must consult the Lord for direction. He has promised to supply all of our needs according to His riches. We must learn to responsibly become prudent in our financial dealings. It is my recommendation that the couple establish a budget. The budget should include the following:
Tithes or contributions to the furtherance of the Lord’s Kingdom
Insurance (life, health, auto etc.)
The couple should begin by monitoring their current spending habits for approximately (30) thirty days to attain an accurate accounting of their current spending patterns.Housing should be approximately 30% of the income, food approximately 15% etc. If you have established a pattern of living on credit make it a goal towards diminishing your over all liabilities.
When preparing your budget keep it realistic. The pressures of debt can tremendously impact the stability of your impending marriage. Many marriages buckle under excessive financial pressures. When you commence to monitor your spending habits see if you buy on impulse? Do you plan for your purchases? Do you need what you really purchased on credit? Have you considered layaway? Don’t allow your possessions possess you. God has promised to “supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4: 19. We must learn to TRUST GOD.
When a couple adheres to their budget they are implementing good stewardship. This discipline will subsequently transfer to other areas of the relationship. Take a personal inventory of your current liabilities. What are your current mortgage, rent automobile loans, student loans, clothing, etc?
How will they impede on your relationship financially? Be honest with yourself. Are you financially ready for marriage? Remember excessive debt is often a crucial factor that greatly impacts a relationship. Make a conscious effort to break any financial misconduct patterns that have been established. Always work together for the good of the marriage. Remember to prepare for unexpected emergencies. I encourage minimal use of credit cards.
LESSON HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
Take inventory of your current financial state. Prepare a proposed budget. I recommend Larry Burkett’s book; Your Finances In Changing Times. He has a Christian perspective in the area of finances. Be prepared to discuss the contents of this lesson in your next counseling session.
NEXT:LESSON 5 – Where Do We Worship ?
Many couples never discuss the area of where do we worship before the ceremony. This subject must be approached. Often times it is an assumption that the wife automatically joins the husband’s church. This is quite all right if the couple is in agreement. But what if the wife is not comfortable with the husband’s church? Or the reverse is true? The important question to ask is where can the couple benefit spiritually? Where can they as a couple spiritually grow together and work together?
In Effective Biblical Counseling written by Larry Crabb Jr., he states; “The local church should and can assume responsibility for restoring distressed people suffering from personal ineffectiveness, to full productive, joyful lives.
In order to do so it must develop its unique resources for counseling.” ( 1977, pg.190) I agree with Crabb’s perspective; the church should definitely be a sound resource that encourages the development of spiritual maturity.
The spiritual, biblical foundational strength of the church should be a determining factor. Does the church implement what it teaches? Does the Pastor adhere to what he or she teaches? Is it God – centered? Is the Word of God taught? Is He or she objective? “Together” the couple should pray and seek God’s direction and patiently await the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Where we receive our spiritual food is important, as well as our home personal, Bible study. A family that prays together does stay together when they follow God’s leadership. Couples often decide to attend separate churches. It is my recommendation that much prayer, thought and discussion is given to the matter. My recommendation is that they possibly strive to find a church that meets their needs as a couple. God’s direction is crucial in determining “where do we worship!”
LESSON HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
List three churches in order of your preferences. Prepare to take some time out to visit other worship services. Be prepared to discuss the contents of this lesson at your next counseling session.
NEXT:LESSON 6 – Ready for Intimacy
A strong Christian marriage must contain intimacy. We must develop a warm endearing closeness, a relationship in which we can be transparent. If your potential mate is the desired lifetime partner there should be not doubts in the area of trust. Marriage should consist of an ever increasing closeness. After all this should be the person who should be closer to you than anyone else? Remember the two shall be one flesh.
Intimacy does not just imply physical closeness. Many people engage in physical relationships without experiencing intimacy. Life experiences often help us to develop walls that emotionally protect us from further hurt. These walls create barriers.
These barriers must gradually come down as we learn to entrust who we are to our love one. This is why it is so important that Christians seek God’s counsel when seeking a marriage partner. When a marriage omits God’s principles and direction it can be a living hell.
GOD created us to have an intimate personal relationship with Him. Let’s practice by developing an intimate relationship with our potential spouse. The physical intimacy we later experience after the vows can be greatly enriched due to the depth of the relationship.
Intimacy can be delightful! Intimacy lightens your load and enables you to freely express who you truly are without reservation. The Bible tells us freely you give freely you will receive. Your marriage should ultimately be a safe place to express sincere intimacy.
When two come together in marriage they are coming from two separate living environments. The way in which their parents and family related have somewhat impacted their anticipation of what to expect in marriage. Consciously make an effort to abandon unhealthy relational dynamics that have been modeled. The two of you are unique; your marriage will be unique as well.
Seek God’s guidance and HIS direction. The two of you are embarking on virgin waters. Remember God knows all about each of you. When you sincerely beseech Him He has promised to direct your paths. You must be willing to be patient and willing to listen and follow God’s direction. How can you truly love someone without God because GOD IS LOVE!
LESSON HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
Ask yourself this week; do I want intimacy in my marital relationship ? Write a paragraph defining what intimacy means to you. Be prepared to discuss the content of this lesson at your next counseling session.
NEXT:LESSON 7 – What About the In-laws ?