Proverbs has many warnings against the perils of having sex outside of marriage! Today in this 21st century sex outside of marriage is widely practiced and encouraged! Adultery is when someone is married and has sex outside of marriage. Adultery was considered a crime punishable by death at the time of this Proverb. Some countries are still adamant about adultery being a crime. Here in the United States the moral principles are constantly being relaxed and redefined, many are being desensitized to what is morally right in the eyes of God…
I ask that you listen attentively to what Solomon is saying in this wonderful Proverb! Remember we are talking about someone who had many wives and concubines! Here he candidly shares the many pitfalls of adultery. Sexual immorality can be dangerous! Pornography is a growing form of adultery it too is destroying many marriages! Extramarital relationships for many is a chosen lifestyle, many consent to open marriages… The multitude of people with STD’s = sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are rising! Adultery destroys trust in the marriage, hinders intimacy and erodes the stability of the family. Sexual immorality goes against the laws of God!
Learning about the pitfalls of sex outside of marriage can be helpful! Knowing and keeping in mind the consequences before it is at your doorstep can be a powerful deterrent and a dose of preventive therapy. Know that adultery is a sign of weakness. You are not able for whatever reason to keep your commitment, that you made to your spouse as well as to God! Sad but true adultery is practiced by many within the body of the Church! When someone is indulging in adultery they have set aside their Christian Principles and are “walking in the flesh.” According to Galatians 5; “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries…”
Did you know that whomever you join yourself to becomes a part of you? Please think long and hard before you go here. Or if you are here or have been here; please seriously think about repentance and not repeating this! There are lasting consequences. I often use the illustration of “epoxy!” It is a formidable thermosetting polymer! Notice how the two components are packaged separately. There is an almost unbreakable convalent bond that takes place once the two cohesive components join together! They are known as structure adhesives! Once they come together it is almost impossible to separate one from the other without some type of damage… Sex outside of marriage creates an emotional bond to someone other than your spouse. There is something much deeper that takes place during the exchange of bodily fluids… So much so it can result in the beginning of a new life! This is another reason why God does not sanction sex outside of marriage!
Solomon is relentless in his quest to relay the message of not getting involved with an adulteress! He goes so far to say “Keep to a path far from her; do not go near the door of her house.” The Scripture is clear that adultery is a sin! I find it interesting in John 8 the story of the woman who participated in adultery! Jesus is greeted by a group while teaching in the Temple! A group of religious leaders come to Him with a woman that is “caught” in adultery! “they said to Him. Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery the very act…” The Law of Moses commands that this woman be put to death… Deut 22. Why was the woman alone? Surely she was caught with someone? The leaders were really only interested in condemning only the woman? Jesus with all His unlimited Wisdom knew their thoughts… As He begins to write down on the ground all the men leave! Makes one wonder what He wrote? One by one from the oldest to the last they disperse until Jesus is left alone with only the woman! He then asks her “Woman where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said “ No one, Lord” And Jesus said to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more…”
Many conclusions can be drawn from this story! Jesus did not condemn the woman but nor did He let her off the hook! The guilty leaders all left when Jesus asked “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the stone at her first.” Adultery is a sin that not only impacts those who physically take part in it, but those who they are associated to them as well. It weakens the marital bond and allows deception, insecurity and mistrust to become components of the relationship. Adultery weaves a wicked web around those involved, spiritually blinding them. This is true whether the adultery is real or emotional! One should ask is it worth the price? Or are you so weak that you cannot resist its temptation? The Word says “if you resist the devil he will flee…” Jesus can give you the strength to resist! But one must repent and be willing to turn away then as Jesus said: “GO and send no more!”
Key Verse: “Let your fountain be blessed, And REJOICE with the wife of your youth!” If you have ever read the Song of Solomon you will discover here how Love, physical and emotional intimacy between a husband and wife are encouraged and honored! Here in this Proverb much is said to discourage adultery. So much so that it tells you to RUN from it! There are many who live to seduce and entrap one into the snare of adultery! Only because of their own insecurity there is a need to cause others to stumble> Then justify their own inability to commit! It is not wise to risk what you have built in a marriage for an illicit affair! Many families, homes, ministries, honor, respect, integrity and working relationships have been destroyed due to adultery! Be careful not to be overtaken by this overwhelming temptation…
One can take heed to the wisdom of Solomon to avoid the numerous consequences! Please start by reading this Proverbs through slowly and absorbing the “spiritual nuggets.” Build an affair proof marriage! Sexual fulfillment is an attainable goal in marriage. The “fresh water” in Proverbs is a metaphor that describes the beauty of fidelity, commitment and trust in marriage! In the eyes of God the “marriage bed is undefiled!” There is nothing shameful about sex within the context of marriage. There should be a desire to seek comfort in the arms of one another! Each spouse has a responsibility to each other to come together and lovingly create a mutually satisfying sexual environment! Remember to keep in mind what God’s description of love is in I Corinthians 13!
Love, transparency, commitment, good open and honest communication and sexual fulfillment are key ingredients in a strong happy marriage! They are also good deterrents to safeguard against adultery! It is important to keep the embers of love burning in your marriage! A nice warm toasty fire within a fireplace is relaxing and inviting. Sex outside of married is like fire outside of a fireplace. It’s dangerous it will burn your house down! Those who have been faced with adultery must struggle with some very painful issues. Anger, Abandonment, Emotional Pain, mistrust and betrayal are results of adultery. If you have repented of adultery this is not to open up old wounds. Use this as an opportunity to solidify trust, cling to the Lord and embrace God’s Grace! Praise Him for restoration Victory!
Healthy boundaries are important in the work place, and yes within the Church! Adultery does not have to be! God truly is able “to Keep you from falling!” But in the event that it does happen it takes an enormous amount of work to rebuild a new trusting relationship with healthy boundaries! In order for restoration to take place the couple must seek to find out what caused the infidelity? What patterns need to be broken? What emotions need to be healed? What steps need to be taken in order to move forward! Avoiding discussion about what has happened will not serve to heal. Sad but true, By not confronting what has happened, it is almost certain it is highly possible it will happen again. Denial is a big NO here! To move forward towards “affair proofing” your relationship by spending quality time together, working through the issues and gradually building trust is necessary!
Adultery unfortunately is also a big headliner in today’s news! Many celebrities engage in adultery as well! Late night host, David Letterman is going through the pains of adultery… Tiger Woods the famous pro golfer is currently under the microscope for his alleged multiple liaisons. It is ever unfolding the multiple cast of participants that continue to surface and claim having had an affair with him… In this case wading through the perils of adultery are even harder. Tiger and his wife’s personal lives are magnified and examined in and on the news worldwide. All of this further creates even more pressure and continues to inflict pain on the two hurting hearts. Each spouse needs to evaluate and focus on their related issues. Can forgiveness override their pain? It is possible to restore trust and intimacy but it is a tedious journey. A solid biblical foundation makes all the difference in the world.
Solomon encourages husbands and wives to delight in one another rather than participate in adultery! Marriage is a beautiful life enriching union designed by God. Sex is a wonderful gift from God to be enjoyed! Plan a weekly date with one another and make sure you continue to “keep the fire burning, light the embers of Love! Try reading and enjoying the “Song of Solomon” together! The Bible is clear on the importance of keeping and honoring your marriage vows and remaining committed to one another! With God “All things are possible!” Adultery is about false love and is so very destructive, everyone who is involved ultimately gets hurt in some way or another… Adultery is an illusion of greener pastures! “What GOD has joined together let NO man put asunder!”
Solomon concludes this Proverbs: “His own iniquities trap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instructions, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Entertainment for recreation and amusement purposes are a wonderful part of life. It balances out the seriousness of life and living! It gives our minds the opportunity to rest and journey into the land of imagination and creativity. It is healthy when done in good taste… Marriage on the other hand is not meant merely for entertainment purposes. It is one of the most serious relationships one can have. It is meant to be a beautiful lifetime relationship between a man and a woman. A great marriage should be built upon Love, Intimacy, Mutual respect, Integrity, Trust, and yes Sex. These marvelous attributes for marriage make up the great helpful acronym which = “L I M I T S!” These are healthy virtuous ingredients that are an important part of building a good marriage.
Life is serious and time is so very precious! How you spend the majority of your time is important! In marriage one should not become carried away into an unconscious state of oblivion and become out of touch with what is happening around them. It is not something to escape into because you are bored, are need somewhere to escape until you find something better to do… Many turn to marriage in order to just be entertained. Marriage is about learning how to give yourself to one another. Each spouse should become increasingly aware and sensitive as to how their spouse is feeling.
“L I M I T S”is a good acronym to remember for a lasting marriage! The desire to grow together and develop character is very important.
Many seek ways outside the boundaries of the traditional marriage as we know it in order to fulfill their sexual desires! Many as well are in favor of redefining and changing what constitutes marriage. It is your choice but it is important to know that the only sex that God sanctions is within marriage between a man and a woman! Today we have a myriad of problems that are systemically rooted from improper sexual relationships! What do we do?
We continue to encourage healthier sexual boundaries! There is an exchange that takes places during sexual intercourse that goes much deeper than the physical! Coitus, the technical term for sexual intercourse, was meant to be a time of mutual pleasuring without being ashamed! You are making an emotional and physical deposit! You are giving and sharing the essence of you! At this time within the confines of marriage you become one and strengthen your union! It is at this time you can build physical intimacy! Take time to nurture one another during foreplay! You can share, build, strengthen and fortify one another as you both give from your heart! You reinforce your marriage vows!
Sex is so serious that it is a time that when a man and woman come together they can create a new life! WOW! Now that is really profoundly deep! The human body is amazing! There are healthy benefits available during sexual intimacy! Your stress and blood pressure reduces, it helps in decreasing the chances of prostate cancer, and it also increases the love hormone “oxytocin” which helps to bond and build trust! *“A long-term study of 3,500 people between 30 and 101 by clinical neuropsychologist David Weeks, MD, head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, found that “sex helps you look between four and seven years younger…”
Don’t just go through the motions and allow sex to become mundane or just a physical exercise. Create….
I have written this book as an attempt to share a few things for you to ponder. Some of the information may or may not be applicable to your particular situation. It is quite okay to disagree with what I have to say. I must fully confess I don’t have all the answers. It is my intent to shed whatever light no matter how infinitesimally small on marriage. To encourage you to stay committed to your marriage. I must admit I am prejudice where marriage is concerned. Marriage has allowed me the honor to experience true ultimate teamwork!
Divorce is raging a battle against marriage. Divorce has broken too many hearts and homes! Divorce has taken too many casualties! So what do we do about it? Do we just marry over and over until we get it right? Do we bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich? Do we modify our vows to say “as long as we like one another we will stay together? I do know that it is spiritual warfare that distorts the truth!
I do know that marriage is the first institution that God created! There are many couples who are just spiritually
ignorant. They have not really taken the time out to find out what God has to say. There are some who just decide to adopt the world’s way. Better yet forget marriage all together and say let’s just live together! When we get tired of one anther we can part company. Just know that there is a deeper meaning to marriage that is not humanly visible.
It is my heart’s desire to make an impact on the steady decline in the overwhelming number of marriages that result in divorce. To stimulate a desire to rekindle the flames of love in your marriage. To encourage one to take possession of your relationship just as if it where a physical permanent part of your being. To reach the few or many people that God allows in my life’s path. A healthy marriage can create a healthy home. A healthy home creates healthy children. Healthy children become responsible independent adults. Healthy adults are a treasure to our declining world!
Remember scripture tells us that the two become one! Under optimum conditions you will still experience balmy periods in the relationship. A good marriage is not something that just happens. It requires dedication. Some of the things I address may not be of interest to you. On the other hand perhaps you might feel a bit uncomfortable. If I stir up anything in you at all I solicit your prayers. Pray with me and for all of us who desire that marriage last a lifetime. The odds are against us. Marriage should be treated as though it were a valuable fine antique. It increases in beauty and value as it ages. It is so valuable we past down its beauty to the next generation. God always gives us the freedom to choose. Just knowing that God is for marriage should provide the necessary motivation to forge ahead. Just knowing God ordained marriage as one of the first institutions is encouraging! This gives me such security knowing how important it is to Him!
We live in a time when a lifelong heterosexual monogamous marriage has literally becoming “a dying breed”. Marriage is becoming a fading relic in the sands of time. Recent statistics from the * “2000 Census Report” has alarming news. Did you know that the number of unmarried partners grew by 72% in the past decade? Households headed by single mothers or fathers grew by 25%. Did you know that 33% of babies that were born were born to unmarried women compared to only 3.8% in 1940? These statistics attest to the fact that marriage is becoming increasingly unpopular. Does this mean that Christians should follow the trend? No! Hopefully we will be that much more motivated to give our marriages our all! We must strive to be obedient and keep committed to our vows.
Marriage is serious business. But are we serious Christians? According to God’s Word he hates divorce. (Remember why divorce was allowed?) I know that mutual love; trust and respect are key ingredients. A healthy marriage requires commitment by both partners. Each spouse must be willing to mutually share in the responsibility.
Practice makes permanent not perfect! We must begin to utilize the instructions of the Bible. Wherever you are in your marriage it’s not too late! If this is your second or third marriage make it your last. I have learned to view life as though we are in a primary “kindergarten” class. Kindergarten is for children. We should be childlike in our attitude towards marriage. But we must take responsibility for our actions as an adult! A child is forever growing. The longer I live the more I know I need to grow. There is always something to learn as long as the Lord allows us to remain here on earth. I am thankful to be “God’s Child”. I truly realize all of us have areas in our lives to work on. There is always room for self-improvement. Life is too short to spend the majority of it unhappy. Please begin now today! Take inventory and consciously commit to honoring your
marital vows. Marriage again is a Covenant Agreement.
Please don’t confuse my boldness with pride. I fully realize that it is only by God’s grace that I have been able
to experience a loving committed marriage for over thirtythree+years. I also realize that it is through His power that we have remained monogamously faithful to one another all these years. It is through marriage that I have learned to lean and trust God. I am thankful for my God given soul mate. “To much is given much is required.” My husband and I both come from large families. We know first hand the effects of divorce on the family. Love is not contingent on what you have or do not have. It is a gift from God. It is by God’s goodness and mercy alone that our marriage has successfully prevailed despite the current trend. We are not bound by need and/or compulsion. We have been through storms, valleys and on the mountain top of life.
We together have experienced much spiritual warfare. We have been blessed to experience the sincere fulfilling love that only comes from GOD! God truly is the center of our marriage. For this I am eternally grateful!
DeBorrah K. Ogans
NEXT:Chapter 1 – Marriage Who’s Idea Is It Anyway ?
Marriage is the first institution that God designed! Making a sincere commitment to your marriage is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. When God made Adam He made him both male and female. He took Eve out of Adam to be by his side. God is so wonderfully awesome! It was His intention to provide Adam with a compatible helpmeet to satisfy together their desires for companionship. Marriage is the ultimate partnership where two together can spiritually, physically and emotionally have there needs mutually met. Marriage is a unique covenant agreement. Marriage is ordained by God. God intends for your marriage to last for a lifetime.
To insure your marriage will last for a life time there are certain principles you must implement. Love, fidelity,
mutual trust, respect, care, and concern are crucial components. The scripture tells us “For this cause shall a
man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”. God’s Word is full of depth. Asunder; within this contextual use means; to be apart, separate. Now of course there are times when you can not be together. As individuals there are times when you will need to spend time doing things that are personally fulfilling. Asunder is referring to a spiritual separation. Spiritually the two of you can experience a deepness that is indescribable. Love is a continual growing process. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually there should be no one closer to you than your spouse. Why is this? Because you are really supposed to be one in a spiritual sense! It is through a God sanctioned relationship you can experience the true meaning of leaving and cleaving.
I was my Mother’s only beloved daughter. My parents were also blessed with ten (10) sons. I cannot begin to tell you first hand the experiences and strength that abetted my life. There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind whether or not they loved me. I loved my Mother as much as a daughter could love a Mother. Her desire in life was for me to be happy and content! My Mother was of the “old school”. She was a woman of character and integrity who loved the Lord! She was quite a bit older than myself when she married my father. I however chose to marry at a much younger age. She never tried to make me be like her or anyone else. She always encouraged me to get to know the Lord and trust Him! She also taught me there was no where I could go or nothing I could do that God did not see. She also exposed me to many modes of worship. Her years of wisdom gave me a respect for her that I cannot explain.
My Mother loved the Lord and she instilled in me and extended to others that love she had for Him. The Church was her life. She always stood her ground and was rooted and grounded in God’s Word. When my husband asked for my hand in marriage she just wanted to be sure it was what I wanted. We were both only eighteen years old when we married. We were engaged for one year. She never in anyway tried to come between us. I now this was because she knew that we truly loved one another and God had sanctioned our marriage. This is just another one of those many blessings that is really difficult to explain. My Mother has gone on home to be with the Lord. The many expressions and cards of how she touched the lives of others gave me great comfort during our grief. I now carry her in my heart wherever I go. It is by death that she departed this life. But her love will be with me always. We were also blessed with the birth of our seventh grandchild several hours after my Mom went home to be with the Lord. One went to heaven one came from heaven.
Exactly seven months after the death of my Mother, my mother-in-law died. She loved my husband and she also loved me. In many ways I believe my husband was her “Joseph”. I say this in truth! I do know that God predestines our life. I know that he brought her much joy and peace. I know that she was happy knowing that he was committed to the Lord and that God had provided for our family! Never had it occurred to me that my husband and I would share the deaths of our mothers within the same year. Since the time between their deaths was so brief we could actually feel and experience a level of shared emotion that is unexplainable. We were able to express and share our grief mutually. Perhaps since we have experienced so much joy together it is only fair that we also share our grief? We were also given strength and peace to celebrate both of their Home goings!
God gives you much freedom of expression when you can respond out of love and freedom instead of guilt! Especially when you know you have done right by your parents. It really can confound the minds of many! This
does not mean you don’t grieve or hurt. Deep within there is a sense of peace because you know without a
doubt you will see them some day. Nor does it mean you pretend. You know God really is real; and that someday you really will see them again. God is wonderfully awesome. We can rest knowing they both would have been pleased in their own way with their “Home Going Celebrations.” In the Bible the number seven represents the number of completion. I don’t profess to even begin to understand many things about what God allows. But this will and has been a significant memory to me. The two of them going home to be with the Lord within the same year is yet another thing we share! I have peace knowing that they are both now at home with
the Lord, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord”.
I cannot imagine not knowing the Lord. Yes, I must admit I don’t always listen as I should. I may delay responding at times. But my heart and mind has been conditioned to be sensitive to what is right and wrong. This in no way is meant for justification purposes of any wrongdoing in my life. But rather a confessed need for continual personal spiritual growth as well! I can only skim the surface of the wonderful challenges in life that God has brought me through! His principles for living when properly applied will bring great contentment. It will help you weather the tempestuous storms of life. Storms you will have. I guarantee you. A God given companion provides you a partner. Some one who is tangible. Someone who is physically there. Someone to hug. Someone who lovingly tells you when you are wrong. Someone in the flesh that can understand you. It is with this partner that you should and can become “one flesh”. I often say marriage is like epoxy! When the two components come together properly they will form a permanent bond. This bond is virtually unbreakable when you are seriously committed. Only with God is this truly possible.
Pray and patiently listen with an open mind, while I try to expound about something that is difficult. The physical part of marriage is important. Many Christians and non Christians get into a world of trouble. Why? Flesh has desires. Meeting those desires outside of marriage can be dangerous. It is also a major cause for marriages not lasting “until death us do part.” When you join yourself to someone did you know they become a part of you? Notice how you exchange bodily fluids during a sexual encounter. How can you separate them? There is some sort of mystical exchange taking place? So serious that there is a time when birth can actually be conceived. God is the Giver and Creator of life! Birth is an extraordinary daily miracle! It is a sheer mystery that confounds the mind. God wants us to have fulfilling pleasurable sexual relationships. It is a time to bond and cleave.
I trust God knows what is best. There is a reason why He tells us sex outside of marriage is like playing with fire! The world today embraces many types of relationships. But God sets the standard. The only sexual relationship for mankind He sanctions is that between “a man and woman”! Adam and Eve are the original design template for marriage. Notice when they decided to deter from God’s plan “all hell really did break loose”. Sin entered the world. Man began to follow their desires rather than obey the Lord. God allowed it to be. God has also allowed us a way back to Him! He desires we return to His way of living. Jesus gave His life for us! This provides us with the opportunity in which we could choose to be restored! He is a ever present help in times of trouble. He is my Savior and Lord! Is He yours? If not He can be. God always knows what is best. God allows us the freedom today to still choose. But do we really think about the consequences of our choices? We really need to stop blaming God!
Sex outside of marriage breeds insecurity. Fatherless and Motherless children are abundantly made orphans when they come into this world unloved and unwanted. Guess what we all pay a price in the long run. The point I am trying to make is there are serious reasons why God has given us instructions. He has given us examples as well. Search the scriptures and you will see.
Now let’s take a look at the beautiful side of “becoming one flesh”. Commitment and security are invested in a God centered marriage.
The respect for one another and the respect for the marriage bed is a requirement to become “one flesh”.
Remember God even said the “marriage bed is undefiled”. The human body is a wonderful magnificent creation. God has made it so a man and woman can physically fit one another. The two can fit so closely together that they actually fit together one inside the other. I really think it is very important that we understand that this type of physical relationship is meant for marriage only. When properly joined the two
can experience a closeness like no other. God tells us in His Word that marriage is only for this life.
I know it may be a little difficult to really grasp the fact that sex outside of marriage is dangerous. You know why? We have gotten so far away for God’s standards. We are living in a time when it is not fashionable to be a Christian. There are also a lot of Christians who are quite carnal. When you sincerely attempt to live a true Christian life, you risk being labeled a Pharisee. Did you know the Pharisees were not wrong because they knew the scriptures? No; it was actually because they could not recognize who Jesus was. Despite the fact they knew the scriptures they were still spiritually blind. The marvelous thing is we today can know the scriptures. We can know who Jesus really is and develop an intimate relationship with him. The truth really does set you free, when you implement its principles in your life.
Sex outside of marriage is dangerous. The consequences may not be readily apparent to you. But God has said this for a reason. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing or has done. Sex outside of marriage scars the soul. The soul is the eternal part of you. The scripture says that sex outside of marriage actually inflicts a wound to the soul. Why is that we are not hurting anyone? I can only tell you that there are a lot of things that seemingly appear okay; yet God says otherwise. We must learn to trust and obey God in all areas of our life. Remember you cannot see faith! You just trust that it is so. There is much to learn about life and living. But living life apart from God the Creator and His principles one is destined for a life full of turmoil and trouble. Just take a look at your own personal life. I guarantee you there have been consequences when you have gone contrary to God’s Word. We all have. But this does not give any of us an excuse to continue in sin.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to do something about your marriage. If you have been unfaithful know you are operating out of the will of God. If you are married and your marriage is in “dry docks” please recommit! If you
are anticipating marriage consult the Lord for direction! If you have serious doubts please don’t take the lunge! If you are single please remain celibate! If you are engaging in sex out side of marriage, please stop! Jog, or take a cold shower instead? Better yet call a good friend!
I realize that the spiritual concept of marriage actualized is really a foreign concept to many. The world tells us and confirms in so many ways that a lifetime commitment is optional. That it is quite okay if you can not get along to simply get a divorce. That we are free to have sex and its quite okay. Anytime and how ever much you’d like; because its your body? Don’t be deceived! Do you realize how much baggage you take to the next relationship? We have so many dysfunctional relationships and families until it seems normal. Everyone is confused and no one wants to admit it! Old slew foot is so clever. He continues to deceive the family of God. He continues to water down the effectiveness of the family unit. Life is only happily ever after while we live in the presence of God. Fight for the preservation of the family!
Sometimes I can really empathize with how John the Baptist must have felt. He vociferously cried “Repent!” Life at times feels as though the world is slowly becoming a carnal wilderness? Yes, we talk of God. We may even attempt to worship Him somewhat? But His principles are often far removed from daily life for many. Should we not implement His principles once we really know that we are heading in the wrong direction? We should not continue as though they are simply ideas to expound upon rather than action to actually be implemented in our lifestyles.
Please if you feel its to late or you are going to do your own thing regardless, please impart these principles to your children or grandchildren. Don’t support sex outside of marriage. The only safe sex is called “MARITAL SEX”! Please let’s not put another generation at risk. Educate them by telling them what God has to say. Let them know that God intends for marriage to last for a life time. Yes, let them know as well that the world does not expect them to hold up this standard. Let them know that the world feels a man is man when he sleeps with however many women he chooses. But a woman is a whore. You see the world has conflicting double standards so unlike God. God says a whore nor a whoremonger will enter into His kingdom. The bible is quite graphic in its expository explanations on infidelity. I encourage you to read it first hand.
Your marital commitment to one another is the next important thing you will do in life besides your personal
commitment to God. Your marriage should be your number one commitment! It was created to be something wonderful, enjoyable, and fulfilling. God has given us in His Word a plethora of examples to draw from. We must stop ever learning and learning yet never really understanding! Too many are remaining ignorant to what God is saying. We must learn to apply and implement His wisdom daily to life and the problems that it presents. We must robe ourselves daily in humility and daily bathe in the cleansing power of His Word. We can truly walk in the forgiveness of His Word. God has promised, and He will provide and fulfill our every possible need in this life. We must commit to relinquish any and all behavior that is not of Him. Jesus has paved the way back to the Father. He has loosened the power and stronghold of sin’s ability to reign in our lives. He freely gives us the ability to choose. He and He alone is the door to the Father. He is My shepherd and My Lord!
When we who are believers depart this life we have an “eternal home that is not made by hands”! Praise God!
Please make it a point to spend time with God. Taking quality time with God the FATHER will help you and teach you how to relate to and properly live with your spouse and in this world! “Till death us do part” is meant
to be a lifetime commitment. Exercising control in all areas of your life will give you a strength and freedom
that most think impossible. If you are truly walking with God you should see some personal improvement. This is not about what someone else sees. Don’t get caught up in projecting something that is not so. You see God really does know what is best and if He says marriage should last until, “death us do part” I believe Him. I can testify that a committed monogamous marriage will give you an inner peace that is priceless. Trust and integrity are daily benefits that assure you that the fruit of the Spirit is tangible. You will be at peace when you know you can trust one another. You will experience a wonderful freedom. It will bring you the greatest and ultimate fulfillment that life has to offer.
If you have been married before pray and obey God’s direction this time. Really make an effort to stay married.
Staying married is a choice. Working out your problems is a choice. Just know you can not change anyone but
yourself. Being happy in marriage is a choice. Being faithful in marriage is a choice. Experiencing true love is
a gift from God. The scriptures tell me “God is Love”. I don’t believe that you can really truly love someone
and not know God. It is crucial that God be invited into your marriage. You need His Spiritual “covering”. There
are just too many things in life waiting to derail your marriage. God really can keep you, guide, you and provide
for you. Commence from this day forward to really get to know Him for your self. Make it a priority to spend some time developing the most important relationship that you could ever experience. Then you will know how to create a loving fulfilling marriage. God is there or should I say here for you. Actually He’s everywhere! You just have to make the choice! “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Marriage as I have said before many times is for two mature people. If you have not committed to the Lord please do. You see whether you acknowledge Him in your life or not, you need Him!
Whether you believe if He exists or not, you still need Him. You see God is a God of grace. He knows we all have shortcomings and limitations. He is not physically writing every little mistake we make. He does not have to. He is all knowing! He knows everything that has happened and will happen. Don’t put God on our level. You see He is the beginning and the end! You see in our little minds we really cannot conceive God in All His Awesome WONDER! In our little finite minds it is impossible to actually perceive God and His infiniteness. The scriptures tells us that He is “Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.”
I know that in over 33 years of marriage I have had to learn many things. Time does not permit me to share it all with you. It would take me 33 years to do it. Life and living has brought me/us through many growing experiences. I briefly shared some with you so you will know that this is not some idealistic fantasy. Pain, sorrow, tribulations and grief are real. I cannot imagine how I could have possibly made it through without the LORD. I thank Him for a strong ever growing committed marriage. This book is a mere attempt to share a few observations and points that I pray will be helpful. If I have shed light on gray areas in your life, Praise God! If you are discouraged it was not my intent. I would at this time like to encourage you to start from this day forward. You cannot change the past. But, you can enrich your future. I pray that you have a rich, rewarding and fulfilling marriage from this day forward! God will provide you with a life that you will not be able to explain. God truly can and will make a difference in your life. What the enemy means for evil God will turn it out for good when you entrust your life to Him. But remember it is always your choice to choose “TO DEATH US DO PART”!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Marriage is the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman.
2. Marriage is ordained by GOD.3. God can give you true peace even in the midst of grief.
4. Love is a continual growing process.
5. Marriage is like epoxy.
6. Sex outside of marriage is like playing with fire.
7. Do you believe in “ To Death Us Do Part”?
I have always enjoyed reading. It gives your mind the versatility of creative wandering. It really gives you the
opportunity to travel while remaining still. When I was a child I especially enjoyed Bible stories. I even taught a
home reading class. I also taught Vacation Bible School at an early age and regularly participated in the youth
conferences. Today I have sitting on my desk a certificate for taking a class in “ Major Religions of the World” when I was but thirteen (13) years of age. I am grateful my Mother consistently instilled in me at a very early age fear and respect for God. How little I knew then that He would mean the world to me now! The Bible tells us that “fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!”
In my leisure I enjoyed watching “Leave it to Beaver” and the “Shirley Temple matinees”. Did you ever notice
how Beaver’s Mom wore pearls and high heels doing the dishes? By the way how often did you actually see his Dad at work? I also watched the “Little Rascals”. Notice how they never combed Buckwheat’s hair! How often did the story lines talk about God? Just something to think about. I also enjoyed Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, Jayne Wyman, Lana Turner, Grace Kelly, Dianne Carroll, Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Ricardo Montablan, and Clark Gable. The women usually played gracious lady like roles. The men were gentlemen as well, who were at times quite humorous. I didn’t care too much for horror blood and guts type thrillers. I loved those classic movies that entailed a dramatic plot with glamour, intrigue, wholesome romance and suspense but usually they ended up happily ever after.
Today I can confess I was impressed by it all to a certain extent. I really believe it gave me a perspective I wouldn’t have if left to remain in my own small scope of things. I have found television can be a viable resource when utilized properly. It is a fine example of creative genius. While watching I could imagine going so many marvelous places. This taught me that life had a lot more to offer beyond what I knew other than my urban inner city life. However, now as His child I am growing up (smile). The Lord has allowed my husband and my self to travel all around the world together. Realistically I now realize everything does not end up happily ever after (here on earth any way) and a lot of the scenes in the movies were just a Hollywood set. The world in its vast nest is full of various life styles. Life experiences are full of adversity and personal growth!
Today simple television has expanded from cable TV to satellite dishes. We access 900+ stations at the flick of a button. In the newspaper and on our local TV news stations are story after story of marriages gone awry. All of these wonderful inventions have to some degree subliminally programmed our thinking! God has said in His Word “what God has joined together let not man put asunder”. I realize that in todays time that over 55-60% of marriages end in divorce. This tells you that in reality it is not happily ever after for many. Despite the alarming statistics God has said it is possible! I know firsthand that it is possible to commit and stay in a loving monogamous marriage. But it does not happen without work.
When two people come together who are uniquely different in every way marriage can be a challenge. It is difficult to find a common ground. Bear with me if this is your case! Just for a moment lets just revisit those vows you made. Did they include for better or for worst? Did you really mean for better and if it gets worst “I’m out of here”? Let’s get some bearing and focus on the fact you are an adult? Right! Unless you have some over powering compulsive behaviors you can do just about anything you make up your mind to do. Do you realize that your commitment was to God as well? Had you ever thought about Him helping you keep that commitment? You see God is a reality. He is not a fictitious television character. He is not like superman, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus or some other fictitious super hero. Nor is He this fair skinned man in the sky with a long white beard. He has true power! God is a Spirit! The world and everything around us reinforces that marriage is becoming “old hat”. That living together is better and cheaper. The most important fact they leave
out is God does have an original design for a man and a woman relationship. He established in the beginning
of time a formula where both man and wife would have their physical and emotional needs met! Start right now
asking Him for direction, strength and power to get your relationship on the right track.
Bear with me as I take a little tangent. Which is really a woman’s prerogative is it not? I must admit I jump all over the place. Throughout this book and in my personal life I refer to God a lot! It is not because I am a fanatic. Or maybe I am? Well not in an unhealthy way at least! You see I know first hand that God makes a difference. God is so real in my life! Although He is not manifested in a tangible physical way that I can actually see Him; His presence in my own life is without question. The sky; His firmament is one of the many expressions to remind me of that awesome presence. You see I realize and know that it is God alone that has given me a measure of faith to believe in Him! I have seen and experienced many precious moments in my
lifetime. I can truly say that there is no way possible that I could have made it or accomplished anything without Him. I have felt, witnessed and experienced His abundant and precious Love! In simple terms; I KNOW that within God there is a viable solution to every problem we might ever encounter in life! This is true even when life seems to take a downward shift.
God can direct you in your marital relationship. The adversity He allows is to help us build integrity. From this day forward make a sincere attempt to improve your relationship with your spouse. Take a moment and see
where you are? Is your relationship headed in the right direction? Ask your self do you really want your relationship to improve? It is my prayer that your love for one another may abound and grow. That you continue to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord! Did you know that when we sincerely pray God will grant us the desires of our hearts; “when we ask anything that is in His will for us!” Now let’s move forward by addressing some painful issues we have possibly neglected to look at!
What drew you to your spouse? If you have gotten older and the lines of life have begun to lace your face and body it still doesn’t matter. It is never too late! God can ignite those embers of care and concern to rekindle the warmth between you. Perhaps not in the same way. But you’re older anyway. You have some mileage together. You are a little more refined? You are a valuable antique sort of speak. You have some experiences that are unique! Recommit to loving your spouse. Convert those memories into wisdom. God can help you build or take your relationship to a higher and deeper depth. Perhaps unconsciously you stayed together because deep down you know you are really meant to be together. But you have been terribly unhappy? I really believe God can revive your joy! You have shared a lifetime together. Life is too short. God has promised to meet all of your needs. Don’t ever undermine His ability to do just that.
If you are a young vibrant couple who got off to a fast start and now you are at an abrupt halt. Same advise. Turn to God for direction. Stop allowing your job, career, relatives, children, everything and everybody to come between the two of you. You have made a commitment. Get to the root of the problem and start anew. Make a covenant agreement with your eyes that your faithfulness and body are pledged to your spouse and spouse alone! God will help you; but he won’t force you. Ask Him to restore or implant His love within your marriage! We get in to trouble when we leave Him out of the very things that we promised to do! I am not coming from a rigid religious perspective. God’s power is a realistic powerful tool that we too often overlook. Do you know Christ did not die for you to live your life unhappy? Joy and peace is a fruit of His Spirit. “Where the Spirit of
the Lord is there is liberty”!
If you are a couple who married under false pretenses watch out. It is wrong to not divulge information to your spouse that might have caused you not to marry. Insecurity and selfishness overrode your ability to be objective. Perhaps you thought marriage would end your financial debts? Or maybe you were just tired of being alone? Perhaps you really did not take time to get to know one another and you feel you are married to a stranger? It is quite possible for two to live together and share a bed together and be worlds apart? Did God really join you together? You are really going to have to depend on God to make it work. Repent! Since you have not been honest with one another you can not establish intimacy. Your relationship is not or was not
built on the truth. Ask for God’s forgiveness right now! If you really love your spouse help is available to you. Really make an effort to develop your intimate relationship and please include the LORD! He will give you the wisdom as to where to go from this point. Since you have taken those vows you must do everything in your power to make things work.
Begin to look at your spouse through the eyes of God. She or He has been created in His image. That’s heavy! All the bad stuff that has happened has been created by man. We have the freedom to choose. Quite often we make some very bad choices. Begin to divest your marriage of the “garbage of life”. Take out the trash! Stop letting what this one has said and that one has said hinder your relationship. Take time and listen to what God has said. Try to mentally “etch a sketch” your stuff over. All the mess is still there. You just must commit to design a new path for your marriage! God has a better way! I am sure if you admit the truth. Chances are you did not consult him, or you consulted Him and did not listen. Begin to remodel your relationship. Admit it has
not really been a high priority. Admit you have said some things and did some things wrong! Let go of that pride which only builds an emotional barrier anyway. Knock down those cold walls that insulate your heart and open it up to your spouse! You have an obligation. Embrace the comforts of humility.
God has blessed me to see a lot of this world. Which I am forever grateful. There is so much beauty in God’s
creation. There are so many different types of people. Many shapes, sizes and colors. The lifestyles vary tremendously. Large magnificent cathedrals, mega churches to tiny store front church buildings. Little houses, big houses, slums, condos, apartments, flats, mansions as well as many living homeless. The socio-economic status is just as varied. I have met many wonderful people. But I have also seen much despair and poverty. Not everyone has a place to call home.
When I took my counseling internship I took part of it in homeless shelters. The other part I took in a nice suburban counseling office. My counseling supervisor was not all that thrilled by my choice. He often wondered what motivated me to make such a choice. No, I wasn’t on a save the world ego trip. I just wanted to be sure I could handle whatever. Why would anyone want to live outdoors? How could a couple survive living homeless? Well just know that there are couples that find themselves in homeless situations. If you really want to know first hand life and marriage on the real downside try volunteering in a shelter. I volunteered knowing really in the back of my mind an intimate personal relationship with the Lord would make a world of difference to the residents. I would just have to discreetly find a way to eventually get there with them! I have always felt a call on my life to help! We must learn that we can only help to a point. Volunteering in the shelter actually helped me to develop healthier boundaries!
The shelters I went to showed such a contrast. Did you know they have shelters in poor urban areas as well as the ritzy suburbs? The difference was in suburbia they had to leave the shelter early in the morning and could not loiter around the neighborhood. They didn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression and all. They were very particular about how that would look. The shelter was discreetly located. It was ironically located behind a Cadillac and a Mercedes Benz automobile dealership. There was one shelter that was located in a business industrial environment. The building had been renovated to accommodate the residents. It was one of the nicer shelters. But take a step right out the back door guess what? There was a cemetery. How ironic. The
reality of life, death and hardship all right there. You could either renew your life and step up, or you could keep on a downward spiral and check- out. Actually it was a good preventative aversion counseling tool!
When I would leave the urban shelter late at night I wasn’t too concerned. Right across from the shelter was
a temporary police facility. I remember one night I was leaving the shelter. One of the residents said to me “How do you know your car is going to be there when you leave?” I just kind of shrugged and said “I’m not worried”. They said “You should be, didn’t you know that the portable police station has moved?” It wasn’t that I was oblivious to what was going on. Whenever I’d get in my car I’d call my husband and tell him all was well. I really felt for those in the shelter. I chose to come to the shelter. When you can choose, it makes a world of difference. For many of the residents this was a last resort. This helped me to appreciate my husband and family that much more. Hurt and disappointment prevented many of them to reach out to their families.
Volunteering my time in the shelter was quite interesting. Many fear helping, thinking you are going to catch
something. If you are afraid pray before you go in and pray when you come out! But most importantly pray for
those who are there. It really is a perfect opportunity to develop your faith and trust in the Lord. God really will
protect you and keep you safe. You never know who you’re entertaining when you are entertaining strangers do you?
Knowing that when I left I was going to a safe secure home gave me all the inspiration I needed. It also helped
me not to take it for granted and to be thankful I did have a home to go to. Living in the inner city has its benefits. It gave me a healthier perspective on the realities of life and the potential dangers. It’s really interesting when you are doing something you know the Lord wants you to do. I just knew the Lord would keep me from hurt, harm, danger and sickness. It also strengthened my prayer life. I had to trust the Lord to give me what to say to help them. He did! Sometimes it was just my place to listen. The residents in the shelter made life that much more of a reality for me. It alerted me to the fact that life for many can have a real
There were those who left and came back repeatedly. There were those who I knew after they got over this hurdle they would never return. The experience impacted them to a point of motivated independence. There goal was upward and out. Often I would personally prepare a take home package for some of the women. It was so rewarding to see when they had gotten themselves to a point that they could resume the responsibility of their own abode. The shelter would supply clothing. I’d personally give them a care package of basic kitchen and bath supplies. For some of the new mothers I’d prepare a layette for their expected baby. There are people who when you help them it is never enough. Yes, sad but true there are always those who will try to hustle you. The shelter helped me to learn how not to help too much! Enabling is not helping!
You really can be totally off by what you see. You really don’t know where they have come from or where they are going. Many of the couples had anxiety because in the shelter they were separated. Men and women where housed separately. My hidden agenda was wanting to introduce them to the Lord’s principles. To let them know that whatever they were going through, He already knows. Whatever they had done He knew and He loved them anyway. But He wouldn’t force Himself into their lives. They would have to choose for themselves. I did not try to force myself on them either.
There were times when I came into the shelter and many were having a bad day. The winters were interesting I
could see how the weather had an effect. Memories of sleeping under highways and under bridges can be a bit
overwhelming at times. I would just leave them alone. I’d Respect the fact that they just needed some space. There was little pretense in the shelter. You could often hear a barrage of colorful language in a fit of anger. The rules specified no foul language. Most of the residents would shoot pretty straight. They realized I didn’t have to be there. But most of them were respectful of the time I spent there. Initially I was provided with a counseling cubicle. They expanded the shelter and then provided me with an office equipped with intercom just in case of emergency! Sometimes they would just try me just to see if they could get a rise out of me. There were many times when I knew that this would be a first and only encounter with some of them. I still to this day appreciate what their straightforwardness taught me. There were so many who willingly shared their fears,
heartbreaks and accomplishments. Together we would set weekly goals!
My husband and I have between the two of us eighteen brothers and sisters. Some married, divorced and remarried as well as one that has died. Then there are the countless people I have counseled with. Not to mention friends and acquaintances. All of these experiences have given me an opportunity to see first hand the extreme diversities of life. To see through many lives the real up and down side of life and marriage. Not just to study or read about it. It has been a real eye opener. I realized from the homeless that many people just pass by them everyday. Some concerned, some appalled and some just distantly removed. Homelessness
does not make you less of a person. The best way to reach them is to just be your self. Be sincere because they can see right through you. It taught me not to be so easily swayed by what you see. Many singles, couples and families are without homes. People are homeless for many reasons. There were Christians as well as non Christians in the shelter. After awhile I earned their respect and was able to share with many of them about God and how a relationship with Him could really make the difference. Many had grown despondent and turned off by a pseudo form of Christianity. Many after having experienced false doctrine are despondent and don’t want to hear about God. You don’t need to force feed them God! I’ve talked to rich, poor and in between who don’t believe or want to hear anything about God. They are so disenchanted. Many feel that it just
doesn’t matter. They see people who go to church all the time. Yet they still say and do some of everything. So why should I waste my time? You only undermine the saving power of the Lord in their eyes when you talk right and walk left. We have to become better at presenting healthy Christian marriage role models. God’s stuff does work! We just fail to obey what He says. There is power in scripture! God is a Spirit of Truth! You see you can be in the Church but the Church not be in you. (That’s another whole book in itself.) I would tell them this. But I would also say don’t look at the people. God is so loving and patient. I would encourage them to recommit to developing their own personal relationship with the Lord! Get to know Him for yourself!
God is a Spirit of Truth! Again life is not happy ever after. But it can increasingly get better. We have many couples who are not homeless; but love is scarce. All the physical comforts may be readily available, yet, we should not ignore any facet of life. Marriages comes in all different shapes and sizes and places. In the shelter the men were on one side and the women on the other. The children could visit. But they were not allowed to stay overnight. The children were often left with relatives or in state custody. In the shelter there were people who got up took a shower got dressed in a nice dress, or suit and tie and went to work. Looking just as neat and clean as the next person. You would have never known they were homeless. Only if you followed them home; to the shelter. I said all this to give you a perspective on how homelessness affects marriages as well.
Addiction, dysfunction, abuse and financial hardship are components that can also derail any relationship. They don’t always result in one becoming homeless. Little habits gradually go unattended and then they snowball. You can be addicted to just about anything. Food, people, things, sex, pornography, drugs and or alcohol can become the center of your pain. Many will do whatever it takes to get a fix. But how ironic, you don’t really get fixed do you? Again it doesn’t matter the address or how much or how little in the bank account. I have heard such horror stories. A poor person is often referred to as having a “drug addiction.” A person who is affluent is referred to as having a “substance abuse problem.” People go to great lengths to hurt themselves as well as others no matter what they have or don’t have. No one really can afford to have an addiction. It’s dangerous! Just think about all the time, money and resources that are exhausted to support addiction. Emotional pain does not discriminate it reaches everybody!
Many people dive into marriage without realizing the depth of what the commitment entails. The emotional and or financial obligation of marriage can become overwhelming. Marriage is what you make it. But first and foremost it is a spiritual union. Marriage is the uniting of two souls as one. It’s not just an arrangement. It’s a covenant relationship ordained by God. It is the proper way to be fruitful and multiply. Marriage is the only relationship that God has set apart to experience a pure physical sexual relationship. God has given us sexual boundaries to protect us!
I realize that God allows people, places and things in our life for a reason. Each experience can help to mold and refine our character. Perspective makes a world of difference. How you view things is important. If you aren’t careful you can fall in a rut. You see I always remember if it wasn’t for the “Grace of God that could be me”. The shame of past experiences can keep you in the defeated mode as well if you are not careful. Yes, but God can deliver you! Old satan doesn’t want you whole. He wants you imprisoned in shackles. Keeping you stuck in neutral, stagnate. Bound in a cycle of sinful dysfunction. He will even find ways to make you feel comfortable in your addiction. When we refer to it as a disease such as in alcoholism we excuse its sinfulness. Try and break the cycle know he just wants you recycling another generation of hurt and confusion. I have seen many unfulfilled unhappy people who have married and sentenced themselves to a life of pain. If you are one, you can make a change!
If you suffer from severe depression get help! Did you know depression is anger turned inside. Learn to let it
go! Depression can really weigh on a marriage. You see on a personal one on one counseling level I met many
who had a lot of things or possessions. One example was this counselee who lived with depression for years. She would have various episodes and go off of the deep end. She would become violent and go on spending rages. The household chores would pile up. She would not cook. He couldn’t cook! He worked tenaciously to provide for their home. Her husband told her she was going to have to get a handle on things. That she would have to put some semblance of order in their lives. After years and years she gradually became paranoid and decided her husband was the one that was emotionally abusive. I am talking about an extraordinary and talented person. She would start all kinds of stuff. But just could not see them through. She could be sweet like a child. A real creative genius. A real Jeckle and Hyde personality. I was often perplexed by the contrast! The depression just overtook her life in every way.
She eventually filed for divorce and became very bitter. She was quite possessive and demanding. She felt that I had to choose her or him. I chose not to support her decision. Their was no real reason to substantiate her claims. I knew that she had neglected most of her responsibilities. I realized that the depression left her in a state of flux quite often. She often used it to manipulate everyone. Depression is really serious when it reaches the clinical stage. In most cases medical assistance is necessary.
One of my biggest flaws is I just can’t or won’t continue to fight with you. I am not wired for it. I can take a stand and I am certainly not afraid. But I just refuse to get involved in the “fuss-fight-makeup cycle”. If you want to come to some resolve “I can work with that”. I can meet you more than half-way, for as long as it takes. I must confess one of my weaknesses. I have somewhat of a problem with anyone trying to control me! Trying to demand me to do this or that, “I don’t think so” I can give up anything material. Ask my husband. Perhaps this is a cop out from your perspective. But it is the truth! I confess it is a flaw in my personality. This is an area in my life you can pray for me. I don’t believe in continuing to recycle junk. Denial of personal faults or weaknesses can be dangerous. All of us have shortcomings. I shared this to show that marriage as I said can have a “down side”. There are no easy solutions. A good marriage takes time, sacrifice and work! We have
a right to choose even if God has told us otherwise. But that does not mean we are right. God is so loving and kind that He allows us the freedom to do whatever. But always remember there are consequences.
Decide today things are going to be different. If you are the one with an addiction get help. Learn to clearly
face life. Quit living in the fog. The problem will still be there when you clear your head. Make it a priority to take control. Rather than be controlled. Get in the driver’s seat. Don’t spend another moment bogged down. Get to the root of the problem and deal with it. Commit yourself to a program if necessary! Life is too short! If your spouse has the addiction, change whatever it is you are doing to pacify them. Change how you respond to them. Don’t be an enabler. Let this be a wake up call. No don’t throw your hands up and say “I’ve had it”. You are possibly part of the problem to. Take responsibility for your part of the relationship.
Many times when a spouse has an addiction you might be unconsciously supporting their habit. The other spouse often becomes accustomed to having things their way. What I mean is when he/she is out of it you don’t have to deal with them. You can count on them indulging themselves to the point they don’t care what’s going on with you. It will give you free reign to do whatever you want. This gives you a false sense of freedom. It also can entrap you in an unconscious pity mode. Others see you and say poor you. By contrast you look like a victimized angel. Careful this can be a trap. After all, all they see is the patient, committed spouse. Of course their drinking or addiction has nothing to do with you. Be honest, if your spouse changed what would you have to give up? Perhaps none of the above apply to you. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Addiction is serious and will cause you to spend a lot of time and energy living in the downside of life. It fosters
an unhealthy, unstable environment when left unattended. The needs of both spouses go unmet. The spouse with the addiction is self-centered; they allow satisfying their unhealthy desires to be their main priority. When one feels consequences for their behavior it can often motivate them to change. I believe in “tough love”. You need to get their attention. I feel it is necessary to take a stand. Don’t support the addiction. Let your spouse know you love them. Separate the behavior from their actions. Give them an opportunity to move towards getting their addiction under control. Addiction is a control based issue. It will have your household under seize. Get help and some support for yourself to help you develop some healthy boundaries. Tough love works!
Addicts in general have no self control. Subsequently you and your household become controlled due to their lack of control. All sorts of demonic warfare is invading your home. Fear keeps you in a state of uncertainty. Let’s look at an example. Your spouse is responsible for paying your mortgage. In stead they decide to buy whatever substance they need for their addiction. Out of fear they fail to tell you they didn’t make the payment(s). You come home and find a notice of default or eviction. The mortgage has not been paid for some time. You are caught unaware. Or it could be your utility bill or grocery bill. In any case you cannot depend on them to take care of business. You must take responsibility.
Whenever your spouse drives under the influence of a controlled substance they put others at risk. Do you know how many accidents occur due to irresponsible drivers? How many die every day? How many drunk drivers drive themselves off the road? Please don’t take the gamble. Take or hide the keys to the car. Let them walk it off. Let them miss work. Let their supervisor or employees find out? Everyone knows what is going on anyway! Enlist the help of your Church family. It is important that they not become enablers as well. They should encourage you in your walk with the Lord. They should remind you that God loves you and how He can and wants to heal your hurts. Yet, they should also make you uncomfortable in your addiction. Perhaps this will be the catalyst for change. This is a very serious situation. It can be fatal. Drinking not only impacts the person but their friends and loved ones as well. Just what kind of example does this set for your children, or any other children? Children learn a lot more by what they see rather than by what they hear. Please get help!
Often an intervention is necessary. An intervention is simply creating a loving environment where spouse, family and or close friends confront the addict along with an experienced facilitator. Together they let the person know how their behavior has impacted them. Then decide together where do we go from here? In some extreme cases a trial separation period may be necessary. This is to undoubtedly relay to them their behavior is no longer tolerated. That you love them but you will no longer tolerate their behavior. You begin to draw a healthy boundary. Boundaries are not to alienate they are meant to say this is were I draw the line. Although you can not change them make it clear that there is certain things you just will not tolerate or support.
When we look at God’s standards we all fall short. I often hear “Your standards are too high”. But it is God’s
standards that we should strive to live by. They are high because this always gives all of us the much needed room for improvement. GOD DOES NOT ask us to do anything that we are not able to do! Start here today. Face whatever problems arise in your relationship. Quit sweeping things under the rug. Take your head out of the sand like the old ostrich. We should really learn how to reconcile our differences. Begin changing the things you can. Praying and asking God to direct you then proceed following His direction. A good marriage should exist as a healthy circle. You your spouse and God as the Center! Yes, we have a freedom of choice. You can choose misery. Yes, it does love company. You can choose to make life a quest for spiritual growth. Don’t just go to marriage seminars. You must actually apply the knowledge you attain. Get counseling. Do things together! Don’t wait until you get to heaven to experience happy ever after. Make it a reality to taste a slice of heaven here. ( You know what I mean). John did say “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand”.
Being a Christian does not automatically exempt someone from emotional problems. Years of abuse and insecurity can nestle one behind a wall of confusion. Distortion, fear and anger become companions. Many people suffer from mental and emotional disorders. The power of God’s love can break down any wall! Marriage is a two way relationship. Often one party has to shoulder the major weight of the marriage when one has emotional problems. This can put a strain on the marriage. Deal with situations as they arise. Openly discuss what’s happening. Reach out get help!
God has really created us to be relational beings. Some of us require less interaction than others. Some require a whole lot of attention. Some are not happy unless they are the center of attention. A great need to be the center of everything becomes apparent. Stop being a people pleaser. This will only foster dependence in you. It also gives others power over you. This also gives them the power to undermine your confidence and put what they think first. You will never be able to please them anyway. Did you know still waters run deep? It frightens most people when they don’t know what you’re thinking. Let your confidence be in God. He knows your heart. Make it a priority to try and please Him instead. It’s really a lot easier. “It is in Him we move and live and have our being.” He has the ability to help you arise to every situation necessary. How do I do this? Begin to really study His WORD. Not to just read through it. Meditate and pray about whatever you are
reading. Ask God to forgive you of any unconfessed sin. You must spend time alone with Him! This will increase your spiritual awareness. Know for yourself first hand the awesomeness of His unlimited power. Just think there is nothing that is hidden from GOD. He knows without you speaking one word every single thing that has transpired in your life. There is absolutely no power, principality, sickness, or problem that He doesn’t have power over. God is a forgiving, loving and merciful God. God has created each of us. God has given each of us a unique temperament!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Misery is an everyday affair for many.
2. Addiction, dysfunction, abuse and financial hardship can derail any marriage.
3. God allows people, places and things in our lives for a reason.
4. Get to the root of your problem; and deal with it.5. There is always an exception to the rule.
6. Being a Christian doesn’t automatically exempt us from problems. But we do have a problem solver.
7. You don’t have to wait until you get to heaven to experience a bit of happily ever after.
NEXT: Chapter 8 – Do You Have A Temperture?
God really intended for marriage to last for a lifetime. The scriptures clearly tells us “what God has joined together let not man put asunder”! Asunder; means to not let anything pull you apart or separate you. Why do we so very often fail to seek God’s advice when seeking a mate? We instead allow our feelings and emotions to often guide us in a direction that leads to a futile destiny. In our haste for companionship we can often make commitments that really should not be. Many often marry on the rebound. Loneliness and/or rejection can compel one to enter into a relationship too soon! Hurt and pain can hurl you into a relationship to escape rejection and loneliness. Swept away and blinded by an over whelming sometimes even sensual infatuation we fall heart first into marriage. Many will fall prey to what I choose to call temporary or “intoxicating affections”. Its symptoms merely mimic true love! All too often once the blinders come off you find yourself saying “what have I done?”
I am eternally grateful that God has allowed us to pledge our love only to one another the first time in marriage. To grow together and truly realize what a covenant relationship really means. I know personally that marriage is the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship that God has designed for a man and woman. I am also thankful that between us is an entourage of siblings. From this we were able to decide certain things that we did or did not want in our relationship. A good marriage takes a lot of work and mutual respect. Love is a gift from God! I realize that there are many who have not been as fortunate. I also realize I have an obligation to express and share the benefits of commitment with whosoever will listen. I don’t mean this in a condescending manner. I firmly believe we must boldly and unashameably proclaim what God has ordained. So bear with me as I attempt to share with you what I have learned through sharing, caring, observations, relatives, talking to friends, acquaintances, and via counseling. My motives are to root out, tear down, build and to plant Godly principles that will help you foster a healthy marriage. Hopefully and prayerfully this will be your last time!
Good friends don’t always make good marriage partners. But marriage partners should learn to be best friends! This can take place gradually over a period of time, a month, year, and sometimes years. Whatever you do don’t jump from one frying pan to the next. It is human to err. If you have jumped into a relationship, pause, take some time and make sure your expectations of marriage are realistic this time. Although your first marriage did not work out there are some things that you learned. You now know it takes time to get to know someone. You have already made the commitment again so you do have a responsibility. Living with someone is not the same as dating. Don’t think “he/she is going to change”. Many people enter into relationships thinking “I am going to change this person”. The person has to want to change! The truth is we can only change ourselves. Since we married young we basically grew up together. Actually our families have known one another since early childhood. Growing up in urban San Francisco was quite an experience. My Mother kept me close to her and occupied with dolls. I regularly participated in after school gifted program activities, music lessons across the street from Golden Gate Park, and a lot of time in Church! My husband who I did not know at the time was involved in the same things. Oops! Except definitely not the dolls! He graduated from high school at 16 years of age! He has always been ahead of his time and matured very early. Fortunately we
both have independent personalities that blend. What’s good for the relationship takes priority. Getting married younger for some can be devastating. It usually is not the norm. I believe it has worked because we genuinely respect one another. Remember we are not “Cookie Cutter Christians” This recipe has worked for me. Seek God’s guidance for the one that suits you. He will direct you what to and what not to use in building your marriage. I just want to share some tidbits that might nurture your relationships. A good marriage is about a healthy relationship. Remember over 60 % of marriages result in divorce. Loneliness can cause you to look for someone to complete you. Maturity is essential in developing a healthy relationship. Marriage is a partnership.
If you have been married before it’s really a good idea to allow some time to elapse before you fall “heart first”
again. Give yourself some emotional space to heal. Allow yourself to unload the excess baggage from your previous relationship. Although difficult you must learn to take time to be alone! If you have taken the plunge already try harder this time. Commit to making this relationship work! If you are reading this I’m sure you’re looking for some answers or encouragement. Remember your commitment you have made. It was not only to your spouse but to God as well. Face the fact you have broken one vow. Confess! Repent! I know you were just too young? You did not really know what you were doing? The person pretended to be someone else? They were already married? They were really terrible…….. This time decide to really implement “for better or worst…… to death us do part”. Divorce should not be an option when entering into marriage.
Your first marriage was a mistake. Or was it? Have you or did you resolve things before you jumped “heart first” into another relationship? Do both of you a favor, be sure you’re not on the rebound. Everyone is different. There are a lot of unhappy married people. Remember you can do bad by yourself. Don’t let outside pressures such as your age, maternal clock, parents, friends, and etc. cause you to act impulsively. Remember whatever you do don’t enter a relationship thinking that you are going to change this person! Notice it did not work the first time around.
Exercise maturity by not allowing previous garbage to become current news. Break the cycle instead of recycling old habits. Remember what destroyed your last relationship? Turn those experiences into wisdom by learning from them. Were you too controlling? Did you want everything to center around you? Were you so very insecure that you smothered your spouse? Did your families conflict? Did you listen to everybody else except your spouse? Are you really ready to trust someone? Don’t repeat the same behavior. Practice makes permanent. Now that you have changed partners you must change your behavior. You’ll end up at the same place if you don’t. Don’t let issues go unattended. Take time to listen. I mean really listen to what your mate or potential mate is saying. If you are not sure ask them to help you understand what they are saying. Repeat what you think you understood back to them when in doubt! Effective communication is crucial in a successful
marriage. Try to make it a point to nip things in the bud! Deal with issues before they become cancerous. Make it a priority to take regular inventory.
One of the biggest problems in second marriages is contrasting and comparing previous spouses. Well so and
so did it this way. So and so liked this or that! So what! The two of you will have to make a conscious effort not to do this. Everyone is different. Your current relationship just becomes a triangle instead of a couple. You, your spouse and your ex united by ongoing regrets. Your ex becomes an invisible partner of your current marriage. If they were so great why did you not stay with them? If they were so terrible why did you remarry someone with the same traits? A reality check is necessary when moving forward. Focusing on the past relationship can lead to a dead end. A definite no no! Learning from the past invites freedom when you don’t repeat the same mistakes. The past hurts that crop up from time to time must be dealt with. But keep them in perspective. Try very hard not to project old hurts onto the new relationship. Each and every marriage is different.
Blended families have unique dynamics to deal with. If children are involved you have an added responsibility. It is far better that the couple be united. Raising your own children is hard enough. Raising someone else’s is a real challenge. It is unreasonable to think everything is just going to work out. In order for things to gel together you must have a plan. Don’t allow the children to pit you one against the other. Yours and mine attitude already shows division. Consider looking at all the children from the perspective that they all belong to GOD. Perhaps this will help you to deal with them in a just way. The two of you are just temporarily charged with their care. Since you have come together your children are a viable component of this newly or oldly formed family. The children’s emotional well-being should always be a priority. Yes, there will be adverse behaviors. Adjustments are often difficult as the other spouse may seem like and intruder.
Remember the children must have somewhere to project their hurt! Emotional outbursts and disrespectful moments are coming. Be prepared to respond with patience and vigor. You must be consistent in order to stabilize your environment. You must know and understand they are also hurting. You have found someone to love. But they feel they have lost something! Their family even if it was very dysfunctional has been disrupted. They will need time to adjust. If you have been married for some time and you did not allow them time, do it now! Back off a bit. Although painful face the fact you messed up! Now don’t just dwell there forever. Just know you need to empathize with your children. Perhaps working together will help relieve some of the emotional pain. There are always consequences for the choices we make.
Many children learn to suppress how they are really feeling. They are taught it’s bad to express anger. This is unfortunate because we feel joy as well as anger. It is how we express our feelings that we need to work on. Our feelings need to be validated. I am not saying this excuses any irrational behavior! Your anger and discontentment caused you to divorce, right? Their anger may manifest in their attitude in the home/school environment. They may lash out at you. They may say hurtful things to you. Try not to take it so personally, again know that they are really hurting themselves. Sometimes you may have to bite the bullet and let them get the hurtful feelings out. Allow them to freely express how they feel in a respectful manner. They may even runaway. Let them know you love them. Release them and let them know you are the cause of their conflicting feelings to some degree. Comfort them in their pain. Children will resist but structure and consistency makes them feel your concern. Define and develop healthy boundaries that reinforce your love and help them to feel
safe. After all you married because you wanted someone to love?
Parents can all too often be caught up in their own pain issues. Perhaps the non-custodial parent chooses to break all ties. The parent left with the responsibility can often become resentful. You may feel bad about your own personal feelings. You may also feel justified in your position. But again you must not let this control or dictate your behavior. Just know that the other parent is not getting away with anything! It just appears that way. They will pay dearly for neglecting their responsibility. You just do your part. Please don’t talk negatively about the parent that is absent. I know this is hard. The child is often a reminder of the spouse or mate that has moved on. Talking negatively about the absent parent really only creates further problems. It will often only backfire. They will become the sugar daddy or mommy! You are the tyrant that always tells them what
they can’t do!
Please remember that every time you discipline your child you must exercise patience. When punished too
harshly the child will only begin to resent you. There is a difference when discipline is effectively applied. The
results can be devastating for the child who is punished harshly. They may feel unwanted and unloved. This can make them needy. Craving for attention they can turn to a wrong source. The absent parent becomes a welcomed resolve. Why? You are the one who represents the bearer of bad tidings. Although the absent parent may be very irresponsible that is merely your opinion in the eyes of the child. Your harsh punishment could be the reason they left you from the child’s perspective. Harsh punishment provokes rebellion.
I believe strongly in the parent’s responsibility to discipline. My children will attest to the fact we were quite strict. I also believed in applying the rod of correction. But not to beat the life out of them. It was used to instill our parental rights of authority. I did not and do not believe in name calling or slapping a kid upside his/her head. You only instill fear and resentment. It is hard enough when you have two parents to discipline children. My hat is off to single parents and blended families. They have quite a chore on their hands. It is not an easy task when two natural parents are raising a child. Just know second and third time around marriages present greater challenges and consequences that you may have not anticipated.
Each step-parent should first develop a relationship with each child before they attempt to discipline them. Don’t assume that since you are the new parent you automatically have the right to discipline someone else’s child. You need to develop a foundation of love first. Just because you are older does not mean you are always right. Being a step parent does not automatically give you authority. Taking time to develop a relationship with the child will pay off in the long run. There must be a transitional period of time for you and the child. You are and should be the adult. Don’t allow children to press your buttons. You must learn to be consistent, firm and patient. The child will only rebel and resent you otherwise. Allow them time to get to know you. Proper discipline is applied with consistency, patience, love and concern. Domination is applied with brutal force.
Immaturity will cause you to get into tit for tat arguments with a child. Don’t get pulled in. Don’t relate to them on their level. Model maturity by being a patient responsible adult yourself! Whenever you don’t respond properly let them know your behavior was wrong. Try and treat them the way you would have liked to have been treated as a child. This will help you earn their respect. This is very important for the well-being of your home environment. Keep focused! Children will try you. They can push buttons you didn’t know you had. They will see and zoom in on any differences you display between them. Wait a second or two before you respond to them. Take control by being in the driver’s seat. Exercise and develop your patience. A lot of love, patience and genuine concern is required to develop a healthy home environment. Just know that child will grow up very soon and your interactions with them will be at the forefront of their memory! They are also in need of respect. I like to think of children as little people! Remember they do grow up. Perhaps you are/will be a parent that always sees your children even when they are 50 years old as a child?
Although this may be a bit hard to swallow just know they realize that your first relationship didn’t work. It’s
a normal response for them to want both of their natural parents together. They will often seek ways to hinder your relationship. What they really want is your attention. They are really hurting and honestly don’t know why. Their life has just gone through a drastic change. You have disrupted their turf. Their home life has drastically changed. Each child needs has varying degrees. Begin to monitor their behavior. What’s going on when they are sad or happy? How they respond or do not respond under pressure? You want to make sure that they don’t become depressed. We all have shortcomings. Be honest with them. Cinderella was a fairytale. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t be a wicked step-parent. Remember you were once a child. Remember children are just little people!
I personally believe that parenting develops in phases. The relationship changes with maturity. When our children become adults we should respect them as adults. They have earned their right to make mistakes. Release any overbearing control you have on them. They will begin to respect and honor you out of love and not fear! You should always counsel them as a loving yet firm parent. Encouraging them to seek God’s direction for their life is always most helpful.
Perhaps once a month you could have a family pow wow? Anger welcomed but no disrespectful language or physical violence. I just think it’s better to know what they are contemplating. Out of control behavior is a sure sign some need is not being met. Check yourself. Do you display some out of control behavior yourself? Yes, as parents we aren’t always right? Perhaps they are really acting out in school. Too many parents don’t take the time to get to know their children. Talk to them about their day? Perhaps they are having a great deal of peer pressure? Remember, the time you put in now will help you develop a good foundation with them. Contrary to popular belief it is not a good idea for “a child to be seen and not heard.” One thing they need to know is that they matter and that you are there for them. Deal with anger. Try to circumvent it by nipping it in the bud. Don’t let it fester. Years and years of suppressed anger is the root cause of depression and many addictions. If you have an addiction proceed with caution. You are setting them up for a warped sense of what’s right or normal! Your actions speak louder than words. Be honest! Let them know you have a problem that you need to deal with. If you have had an addiction police yourself. You may tend to be a bit overbearing. Make sure they know you love them not just in word but in deed and action!
Make sure you take time as a family to share enjoyable activities. When we were raising our children it was very important that we have frequent family times. For years we spent many hours on the freeway traveling back and forth commuting to Church. The children would play highway games and sing. Music and singing were regular activities. We would regularly take them shopping and out to dinner. They participated in sports, karate, ballet, jazz, tap dance and music lessons. We would all spend time together working in the back yard. Today they still kid one another as to who did or did not do what! Perhaps sometimes maybe we would just watch and in home movie. We did not drop them off at a babysitter every chance we got. Taking children on frequent outings helps them to learn how to behave in public when it’s a regular routine. Let them know that every time they go out you don’t have to buy them something. Letting them enjoy activities just for them is a real treat, when you participate along with them. I have played many games of Sorry, Scrabble, Trouble, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, skeet ball and hockey at Scandia to amuse them. We also played backyard baseball, kickball, volleyball and two squares. Just remember your children are different individuals. Please don’t regularly compare them to one another. I recommend you not letting others compare them to one another in front of one another as well! Encourage them often. Remember! Contrary to the old wise fable, they should be heard and seen! The time you spend with them as children will make them responsible, secure well rounded adults.
Each family unit has a unique set of dynamics. Learning to respect the individuality of each child is very important. Developing a loving, open yet firm parental relationship with them is crucial. Rigidity without love will result in rebellion. Be flexible. Parents should be parents not friends. It’s okay to be friendly! Much too often when a parent has an addiction the lines are grayed. The other parent allows the children to become their all and all. Don’t share all your spouses’ shortcomings with your children. Please whatever you do DO NOT PLAY FAVORITES WITH YOUR CHILDREN! Don’t put that kind of pressure on them! If you have been doing ANY OF THE ABOVE I suggest you stop! Later on in life it will be difficult for them to establish healthy adult relationships with one another. Keep and/or enlist good healthy boundaries with your children. Children need boundaries in order to feel secure. When they become adults they will respect and appreciate you that much more. You’ll also have a lot less headaches in the “Terrible Teens”. I personally think 13-17 is the hardest time during a child’s stages of development.
Please lay off the physical discipline. Yes, I do mean the old fashioned whipping. No, I do not agree with Freud. But I know that physical encounters beyond 13 begats anger. Anger that is not dealt with gets suppressed. At this stage in the game if you have not established a level of discipline with them you are in trouble. They may not try to hit you, but they will hit someone. Rest assuredly, it’s going to find its way to be acted out in some unhealthy way. Many parents exercise physical punishment to near adult hood. Personally I see it as control and domination! Well you know my mother or father would slap me upside my head. They would get a switch or extension cord and beat me until I couldn’t sit down. So what’s the problem? Well that’s the problem! That was abuse! You may not want to hear this but all too often I hear people say my Mom use to do this. My Dad use to do that. But if you listen long enough you will hear that it really did not resolve or correct their behavior
problem. Angry children become angry adults. I am not against discipline. But I don’t condone or support harsh
punishment. Did you know children are not criminals? Begin breaking the cultural cycle of dysfunction. This is
why we have so many angry violent adults right now! A world full of dynamites sticks just waiting for some one
to rub them the wrong way. By the way this is definitely a way to increase our prison and mental institutions ever increasing population. Children need discipline not abuse. You do not have to agree with me. But please check yourself before you hit on a 13+ child. Do you want to dominate them or discipline them?
Circus animals are rigorously trained often by repeated physical punishment. Children need discipline and good boundaries. I do recommend minimal use of physical restraints. Please give them consistent guidelines. Whenever children don’t behave responsibly allowing them to experience a consequence is most helpful. Let them know that they have chosen to relinquish their privileges. This shows them that by choice they have elected to forfeit a privilege. By the way this type of discipline takes time. But just know this time goes by faster than you think. Children are here today and adults tomorrow. Eventually they’ll get the message, unless they have severe learning disabilities. In that event I recommend soliciting the assistance of an educated therapist for evaluation. When they choose to disobey they loose something. This allows them to feel a
consequence for their behavior. Allow them to grow up knowing that they have the right to say “No!” Or no way
Jose! Let’s be real! Yes there are some adults who take advantage of children! They intimidate them into silence. Let your children know their rights! They have a right not to let anyone touch them. If they are uncomfortable about something encourage them to tell you. This will help them to grow up to be disciplined strong willed adults.
A strong personality is necessary to navigate in this world. There are untrustworthy adults that they will have to reckon with. They need the freedom to know how to express themselves in all and any situations. Yes, it is necessary that they learn to be respectful. Self discipline is essential to keeping the principles of God in tact in your life! The two together will produce a healthy strong well rounded adult! Teaching our children Karate was a real benefit. You are taught how to properly defend yourself. This will also give you confidence. You are also taught that you can walk away not out of fear but because you have self-control! Self-control is a virtue! It is also a fruit of the Spirit!
Children usually feel an enormous amount of guilt when divorce occurs. They feel personally responsible although they may not admit it. Make it clear that the adults are responsible. Take responsibility and be honest. Let them know the two of you could not work out your differences. After all, it’s the truth! Keep your problems between the two of you. They don’t have to know every little detail. Allow them to have a relationship with both parents. When you decided to sleep with their parent you also chose their parent. This is why God also says “no sex outside of marriage!” Did you know most people don’t even think about the fact that you give a part of your self away when you come together with someone? You bond with them. Better yet your personalities blended together = your children in most cases! Oh the pain of consequences!
When or if you have embarked upon marriage and you have nearly grown or grown children you must be cautious. Your children have watched your behavior over the years. The majority of their behavior is established by what we model. The world of course has its influence as well. When you model respect for your spouse this will be helpful. A lot of times they have come to depend on you as a friend rather than a parent. This leads to them having ambivalent emotions. They want you to be happy, but they also are quite used to having you by yourself. Your new spouse can seem like an intruder. Again you cannot change past behaviors. To the degree you are aware of what’s going on it will arm you to respond differently. God does want you
to be happy. You will have to lean on Him for directions in establishing a restful abode. Hard as it may seem you have made a commitment to your spouse. I believe your vows said something like “forsaking all others”.
If you are marrying or have remarried for the second time. God is forgiving. Make sure you have repented.
Then start by moving on from this day forward trusting His leadership. Past mistakes don’t have to become future failures. It’s never too late to do the right thing. You can glean from past errors valuable lessons. This will circumvent the deterioration of your new marital quest. Allow each other a time to grieve over previous relationships. Learn to relinquish cancerous behaviors. Learn to love. God’s true love last forever. Do not buy into “intoxicating affections” that don’t last. Don’t hastily fly the coop at the first sign of trouble. Deal with it!
By now you should know better? Right!
I truly believe God is a healer. He is the wonderful ultimate resource for restoration. It is through the pains of life we are moved towards the arms of God for solace. Working through the pain requires embracing truth. God created us in His image. He has given us countless examples where healing took place. The friends of one man had so much faith in Jesus’ ability to heal; they tore a hole in the roof of the home where He was speaking. They lowered him into the room just so Jesus could heal Him. The woman who was bowed down for eighteen (18) years is another example. This woman had spent all her money on doctors. The widow whose son had died and Jesus touched the briar (coffin) and he came back to life. The legion of demons He cast out of the man in the Gadarenes living among the tombs. These are just a few. I believe that Jesus can heal any relationship. But, you must first exercise the measure of faith that He has given you. Acknowledge your
relationship’s need for healing or restoration.
Trust is a big factor in establishing your relationship. You cannot truly have an intimate relationship without trust! The two of you need to consciously develop a trusting relationship. Trust is essential for a healthy marriage. If you haven’t been able to trust in the past make and effort to start now! Perhaps trust was broken very early on in your life? Proceed to work through any hang ups you might have in this area. If trust has been broken in your marriage begin the restoration process. Forgive one another and recommit! You will never be able to move forward to a fulfilling relationship otherwise. All that baggage gets in the way whether you know it or not. Take time to share your feelings with one another. Being vulnerable does not mean you’re weak. Genuinely share your concerns with one another before God. Share your likes, dislikes, fears, desires, habits, insecurities and aspirations. Invite the Lord in the midst to help you restore or develop trust. Commit yourself before him sincerely to one another. Learn to be candidly honest. Trust and honesty go hand in hand. The
two together will fortify your marriage. A trusting marriage will provide security. Humility is a precious characteristic in the eyes of God.
You cannot change the past. But you do have the power to reshape yourself in the future. Try looking from this
perspective. Past mistakes, habits and problems have brought you to this point. I always use the example of a
cake. When you mix all the ingredients together you put a little of this and a little that. You mix it up, blend it together and put it in the pan. Insert the pan(s) into a pre heated oven. Twenty-five minutes later or so your cake is ready. You let it cool and then you frost it. Now you’re ready to take a bite. Boy this cake is great! If you were to change any of the ingredients it would not taste the same. Well if you could change the past perhaps you wouldn’t be here today? Everything that has happened has brought you to this point. I know everything that has happened has not been just wonderful. However, all of your life’s ingredients have brought you to this very point! You can’t change the past anyway. But you can reflect on it to help you navigate through the future. All we have is now and the future. Just know truth and honesty are crucial ingredients you
definitely need in marriage. Preheat it with commitment. Bake your marriage in the warmth of understanding. Let things cool down and dress it up with some tasty frosting whipped with lots of Love!
The big difference between a Christian and a sinner is we have a Savior. A precious Savior that has ALL POWER! He is a constant companion who has the antidote to all life’s problem. All you have to do is cry out to Him. He’ll supply the strength you need if you are sincere! But you must humbly yield to His direction to properly navigate through life’s many obstacles. You really don’t have a valid excuse to continue to live in the dark. You always have the freedom of choice. You can and will continue in the same cycle of dysfunction if you don’t make some changes. Don’t just sit back and think about making changes. Do something! God can deliver you from the cycle of dysfunction. Burying your head in the sand only delays the inevitable. If you keep it buried long enough you will certainly bury yourself in misery! Remember its okay to look at other couples. Glean from them lessons that will enhance your marriage. But, never try to be like anyone else. Just look about the gallery of life and see the many variations of relationships. Your relationship is unique. You are a work of art in progress. Don’t look to the world as a standard. God’s children are peculiar. Look to Him!
The divorce rate is in excess of 55 – 60% in the state of California. Divorce has become so casual that we now
have “no fault” divorces. The truth is it is someone’s fault. If you have been married before you know this. The world continuously finds ways to provide loopholes. Give your marriage everything you’ve got. This time commit to stick to your commitment. For preventative measures this time here is what God says about divorce:
“It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto
you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit
adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5: 31-32 KJV.
Marriage is an awesome commitment. It can be an indescribable enjoyable relationship when God is in the
center. It is the very institution He created to provide His children a lifetime companion. God has created us in His image. No one knows better than God what is best for you! Your spouse should be the closest thing to you next to GOD! Take time and digest God’s Word. In His Word you will find the key to life. Jesus said “I am the way the Truth and the Life!”
Commit to making your relationship last. Continue to nurture and tend it like a beautiful flower garden. Constantly pull up the weeds life yields before they overtake your relationship. Discard them in the garbage bin. Feed and fertilize your marriage and plant tender seeds of love and tender care. Wash and water it down with the WORD of God. It really does have saving cleansing power! Your physical, healthy, wealthy and emotional sanity are at stake! Get it right this time! God does want you to be happy. Did you know to be blessed means to be happy? But you must be realistic life brings adversity; there is and will be a downside to marriage!
SEVEN THINGS TO PONDER
1. Marriage partners should learn to be best friends.
2. Make sure your marriage expectations are realistic.
3. Try harder this time. Commit to make it last.
4. Deal with issues before they become cancerous.
5. Never try to be like anyone else.
6. Know what God has to say about divorce.
7. Let this be your last marriage. Get it right this TIME
NEXT: Chapter 7 – The Downside Of Life And Marriage
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