We’re Better Together

18 02 2019

Marriage, being God’s design from the beginning, is an amazingly creative design.  Every time I am on an airplane sitting shoulder to shoulder with a stranger, I wish it were my wife.  It’s just so odd to be that physically close to someone you do not know and have never met.  Marriage is as close and intimate as an earthly relationship can become.  And the fact of the matter is, over time, it becomes even closer.

 

The primary ingredient to the beauty of our wives is a husband’s unconditional love, honor toward her, serving her and cherishing her.  The most beautiful women I know are those who are treated and cared for in this way. The security and significance of our husbands is directly related to a wife’s affirmation and praise of him as a man, a provider and a lover.  His wife, without critical judgment, loves him in this way and he is secure in that love.

 

We’re better together. The book of Ecclesiastes says it this way, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up.”  How many times has your friend, your spouse, helped you up?  Thank you, Father, for Your amazing design!

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Long-Term Marriage Pays (In more ways than one!)

4 02 2019

Did you know those who are blessed to experience long-term marriage tend to accumulate twice as much wealth than those who are single or divorced?  Yep, it’s true.

 

Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research studied over 9,000 people concerning their marriage and finances.  Over a fifteen-year period they discovered some astounding facts.  For one, those who married and stayed married over that study period increased their wealth 93%. *

 

What about those who married and divorced in that same time period?  Their wealth decreased by 77%.  Why? The answer is partly because there are now two households with double the expenses, double the payments, not to mention the cost of the divorce itself with lawyer fees, etc.  Breaking up a marriage is costly in so many ways.

 

Too many people see only the end, being rid of this person they are no longer getting along with. But the truth is, especially if you have children, you are never rid of this person.   And that cost of breaking up a marriage is far more costly than repairing one.

 

Some wise words from a wife who was cheated on by her husband that we recently heard went something like this:  “He (her husband) spent a lot of money on cheating and it cost us in so many ways. We are now going to spend a lot of money on healing. “

 

Money spent on healing goes much farther than money spent on divorce.

 

* From Love Talk, by Les and Leslie Parrot





How Our Differences Can Strengthen Our Marriage

17 12 2018

Before we said, “I do” we diligently worked at not having or experiencing differences with one another, at least not out loud. We wanted to be argument free and not allow anything to inhibit our communication.  But not long after saying “I do,” for many of us that changed.  We trusted our marriage vows to hold us together while experiencing differences, even when they became heated.  What changed?

 

Nothing changed other than we gave ourselves permission to be freer at being ourselves.  No longer held back by what the other may think, we let our emotions and our words find freedom of expression even if those expressions were hurtful.  If you have observed this in your relationship, you’re not alone.  Let me share a rich truth that my wife and I have discovered along the way.

 

After we marry a new reality sets in and we realize differences really do need to be dealt with. While we have to acknowledge some of our differences as purely selfish, a few are simply a different view or opinion.  Not wrong, just a different perspective.  If we stay in immaturity, we will not listen to or make any attempt to understand our mate’s different view.  We will perceive them as wrong and it will be our goal to convince them our way is the right way.

 

However, that is not the goal and such an approach will lead us to greater frustration.  As we grow in maturity, love and understanding, we begin to realize God gave me this person to be different, to see another perspective and to strengthen our relationship through our differences.  When we can embrace this truth, we will discover a greater whole, a more complete oneness and a healthier appreciation for those differences. In other words, one of us see’s what the other does not and in the end we’ll make a better decision and be able to embrace a more complete understanding.

 

Allow God to use your differences to strengthen your marriage!





Eight Huge Benefits of Becoming Debt Free

26 11 2018

My wife and I have been practicing debt-free living for years now.*  I say practicing because it takes discipline to reach and discipline to maintain.  So here are eight encouragements or benefits that we have discovered when it comes to debt-free living.

1. Freedom: My wife and I feel so free – free to give, free to purchase and free to save for the future.  We have more money to do these things rather than being enslaved to and feeling the pressure of our debt.

2. Ownership: Owning your car or your house is an amazing feeling that continues the feeling of freedom.  You will have less stress in your life.  Who doesn’t desire less stress?

3. Agreement: You will have and discover a greater sense of agreement in your marriage and your family.  If you’ve agreed to become debt free and you reach that goal, what else can you agree about and reach?

4. Children: Your children will see you more often. You will not feel required to sign up for all the overtime you possibly can.  And besides, you’ll be an amazing financial example to your kids, your family, your friends and your neighbors.  If you can do it, you’ll be helping them to believe they can too.

5. Opportunity: Becoming debt free automatically provides better opportunities to give more money away, to help someone in need.  Rather than feeling that feeling of tightness, you will be looking for and watching for investment opportunity to increase your finances and have the cash to do so.

6. Security: You will be and feel far more secure. Debt increases the feelings of insecurity and rightly so.  You may be one last paycheck from disaster with an ongoing debt load.  While being debt free there is far less fear of financial disaster and crisis.

7. Servant: The Scriptures tell us that the borrower is a servant to the lender. Whose servant are you?  To be debt free is to not be encumbered by enslavement to another. You are literally no longer enslaved to your job or the next unexpected car repair or house repair bill.

8. Savings: You will grow a savings account and an emergency fund faster.  Your retirement savings fund will grow faster.  Your college fund for your children can grow faster.  Every savings fund can realize increase when you are no longer borrowing and having to pay back another co-owner with interest.

And if all that’s not enough to convince you, how about this?  You will have less arguments over money in your life.  If married, you and your spouse will enjoy less financial disagreement and more financial agreement.  You’ll have more resources for eating out along with short and long-term vacations or mission trips. Living debt free loosens what has been wound tight for so long.  Purpose in your heart today and begin taking steps to become debt free.  You’ll never regret it.

*A point of clarity concerning living debt-free is investment for growth. Some consider investments that grow in value, like real estate, to not be debt.  I would consider it debt with the opportunity for growth/gain in value or perhaps “good debt.”





Dead Relationships Verses Living Relationships

12 11 2018

How much energy do you spend thinking about or trying to correct dead relationships?  Perhaps you have a failed relationship from the past, a really bad break-up or even a divorce.  In so many of these cases there is simply not a way to relieve the guilt or the false guilt one may feel.  We can find ourselves playing mental gymnastics in order to somehow convince ourselves it will possibly one day work out.

 

Perhaps the very thing we need to do is to stop misplacing time and thought into a former relationship that is not to be resurrected and place that energy appropriately into my present relationship.  To work toward building a stronger foundation and a deeper connection to my friend or my spouse rather than wasting time wishing that some past relationship would have worked out differently cannot only be productive, but rewarding as well.

 

Begin by praying about how you can better care for your friend.  Put energy and thought into how to better love the person you are married to. Try daydreaming and fantasizing about your wife or your husband.  To allow past, dead relationships your precious time just might be robbing, stealing in fact, from your present friendship or marriage relationship.  And that might be considered cheating.





Creating a Marriage Story

5 11 2018

What is your marriage story? How did you meet and how did you know when you fell in love?  What were the things that brought you together?  As you identify your marriage story and what brought you together, you can also identify the things that will keep you together.

 

You can start by asking just what were the qualities that attracted us to one another?  What made our courtship worth pursuing?  What differences did we encounter in that early season of our relationship and how did we deal with them in order to continue building our marriage story?

 

These questions and more can help you to create your marriage story.  Someday when your children ask you how you met or why mommy married daddy, you’ll be able to share your story with them.  They’ll love hearing their parents’ personal marriage story and it will provide a wonderful aspect of security to them

 

Further, consider this assignment: both husband and wife take the time to write out a list of the ten best traits that we each admired about one another when we said, “I do.” Many years ago Mary and I did this and then placed that piece of paper in our wallets.  On different occasions we have pulled out that list of ten reasons to remind ourselves of our call together and the reasons we fell in love in the first place.





Your Marriage Has A Relationship With Money; Five Tips to Contentment

29 10 2018

Does it sound odd to say or admit that our marriage has a relationship with money?  There is this amazing verse in the Bible that says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Most couples believe that if they had more money they would be more content. From that juncture, we can find ourselves fighting and arguing over money all too often.  But money in and of itself doesn’t bring contentment

Contentment is a state of the heart, mind and the spirit and not our level of income or the amount of savings we have accumulated.  Contentment certainly isn’t generated by the amount of stuff we collect.  Our possessions might bring convenience, but not contentment.  We can purchase a new car, but sure enough a new and improved model is just around the corner, making ours feel old and outdated.

Being content means we are satisfied, we are at ease of mind.  Our relationship as a couple with money can bring contentment or take us to discontent.  In reality, we can become consumed with the need for more.  Contentment, the scripture relates, is generated by godliness. Godliness is conforming to the desires of God.  And when God says He will meet all of our needs according to His riches, we can stop striving, stop living in discontent and begin being at ease with one another and ourselves.

How else can we arrive at contentment over finances in our marriage?  Here are five tips:

  1. Create a budget and follow it.
  2. Have a weekly money date and talk about your finances openly without argument.
  3. Give one another a spending allowance and be generous.
  4. Stop the name calling like “Spender” or “Tight wad.”
  5. Pray over your finances regularly.

If we connect lasting happiness with the accumulation of money or things, our happiness will always be short-lived.  If we connect happiness with godliness we will find ourselves becoming all the more satisfied with where we are financially and trusting God for where He desires to take us.

I just love this wisdom, “Keep yourselves free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 5)








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