A Boring and Predictable Marriage

10 06 2019

Recently we took our five-year-old grandson with us for a weekend away.  It wasn’t uncommon for him to say, “I’m bored” or “This is boring.” I forgot how much entertainment a young child needs.  It makes me think about how boring and predictable our marriages can become.  So much of life is routine oriented, repeated each and every day like that old movie, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

 

Then again, I also realize some of us prefer routine, it’s comfortable and safe for us.  Still others desire a change of routine, something new and exciting.  All too often the one is married to the other and I think it could be a God-ordained union. Each marriage needs the stability of a routine and each marriage needs pushed toward something new and exciting.

 

Recently Mary and I celebrated 44 years of marriage.  Quite honestly, there have been those
“long, flat roads” as author Gray Thomas puts it.  But it takes those to appreciate the new and exciting times in marriage.  We did a cruise for the first-time last year; that was new and exciting.  This year we went to San Diego for a “just us” vacation.  That was awesome.

 

But you know what? Most everything in between those times was typical routine for us and we loved that too.  Perhaps the key is to recognize, be aware of our long, flat stretches and then introduce something new and exciting in between.

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One of Our Greatest Returns from Marriage

3 06 2019

The Bible reveals, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” (Eccl. 4:9) My marriage has had multiple “good returns” and I am so thankful for them.  We’ve had the return of answered prayer together, the return of investment into the lives of others, the return of years of mission work, the return of children and grandchildren, etc.  God’s returns just keep on coming.

 

One of the greatest returns, however, is that since being married in 1975, we have never had to face the world we live in alone.  Since saying “I do” we’ve had one another by our side. It is an amazing and comforting feeling to know you have one another’s back and to know you will not give up on your mate.  It’s a bit inexplicable I suppose.

 

We all know there will come a day when one of you leaves this earth. Do not wait until then to appreciate, complement and work toward that better return.  Be the one who serves fully and completely by laying down your life for your spouse.  Be the one who does not give up, who continues to grow and change and be the one who allows the difficulties in life and marriage to become better versions of who each of you are becoming.





9 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage and Grow Older Together

13 05 2019

Over 44 years ago, Mary and I promised to never, ever use the “D” word when it came to our relationship – divorce.  We have kept that promise.  Along the way we have discovered there are a lot of things we can do as a couple to provide strength to the marriage relationship.

After eliminating the divorce word, decide to maintain honor in your relationship.  Honor is a hard word because none of us act honorably every day, at every moment.  Honor means to hold in high respect and worth and high public esteem.  To honor the marriage relationship is to place it before the children, your job and your ministry, but not before your God.  Love God first and then your closest neighbor, your spouse.

 

Keep giving each other space.  That means when she needs some alone time, do your best to help her make it happen.  If he needs a guy’s night out, help him plan it.  That “space” can help to recharge your batteries and who doesn’t want their life mate to return refreshed?

 

Share your financial expectations and maintain your budget.  Money can cause the biggest disagreements.  At least it did in our marriage.  All too often couples have differing money values, but a money date where we openly discuss our goals and look over our finances can really help the two of us to be on the same page.  Money dates could happen as often as weekly, but need to happen at least monthly.

 

Speaking of communication…never stop.  In fact, over communicate as often as you can.  You just can’t beat talking!  Taking a daily time, at least 20-30 minutes of time that is not interrupted by the children, the phone or the TV, is invaluable to your relationship.  It will keep you on the same page.  Whether it’s the kids schedules or your weekend plans communicate, communicate, communicate.

 

Be good to yourself and to one another.  Take care of yourself and your health.  Try to look good for one another.  I know, you have baby food on your sweatshirt and dog hair on your pants, but for heaven’s sake take the time to clean up a bit, have dinner together once in a while and share words of appreciation and encouragement. It will go miles in your relationship. This also means prioritizing dating your spouse.  Dress up, get a babysitter and spend time together laughing and having fun.  The investment is worth any cost because the return is incalculable.

 

Give each other room for failure.  Failing is a part of life and through it we often learn what doesn’t work.  I fail, you fail, we all fail.  Stop being so hard on the other person, acting as though you don’t fail.  When we give room for failure, we are showing good will and giving one another the benefit of the doubt.  Walk and talk through it and then forgive. Forgive quickly. Forgiveness is medicinal and we are both desperately in need of it.  Forgive as you have been forgiven.

 

Refuse to allow sexual intimacy to be stolen from you.  It’s yours and yours only. While frequency may decrease and children make it challenging, do not lose it.  Create a schedule if you have to and maintain it.  Nothing removes the “little foxes,” those growing annoyances, like love-making and nothing keeps passion alive like sexual intimacy.  Make a promise to yourself, to one another and to the God who gave this gift to you to never let it go.  You are one and sexual intimacy reinforces your oneness.

 

The glue that holds all this together?  Prayer.  Learn to pray together.  There is no better way to communicate, resolve issues, gain wisdom or “cast your care” than to pray together.  You will find the intimacy you have only dreamed of if you’ll pray together.  You will discover answers to lifelong problems, to long-term financial disagreements, to present frustrations and to future visions and goals.  Prayer is intimacy of the highest degree in marriage as together we reveal our hearts’ desires to God and to one another.

 

Lastly, seek the wisdom of others as needed.  None of us can go it alone.  We need mentors: older, wiser married couples in our lives.  We need a local church that provides teaching for our family and causes us to look beyond ourselves and to the mission of helping others.  We need those who will challenge us to be better parents, lovers, friends, employees, business owners and servants.

Read through this blog together, discuss it and then ask your life mate how the two of you are doing in the above areas.





God Experienced Divorce

6 05 2019

If you have been through a divorce, you know first-hand the devastation and loss that travels with the experience.  There all always more damages than one can possibly be prepared for.  Often, a divorce has been forced against someone’s own personal will, while the state laws favor the breakup of the marriage and leave them no choice or alternative but a divorce.

 

Further, many of the same persons struggle in their relationship with God once they have been through a divorce.  They wonder about His rejection or whether or not they are able to remarry. But there is good news for you if you fall into one of these categories.

 

God experienced divorce and He knows just what you’re feeling, what you’re going through and what you’re questioning.  In Jeremiah chapter three, the prophet Jeremiah writes these words inspired by God, “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.”  God said He was left with no choice but to divorce an unfaithful love, Israel.

 

However, before this chapter ends, God tells Jeremiah on several occasions to go and share these words of affirmation, “Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord, I will frown on you no longer for I am merciful…for I am your husband…for I will cure your backsliding.”  He, in his faithfulness, takes an unfaithful people back.  He just can’t stop showing His mercy, His kindness and His forgiveness.  That is the heart of the God we serve.  Even though He experiences unfaithfulness, He remained faithful to Israel.

 

You and I are grafted into that same family through God’s Son.  Even if we were offense-free and divorce was forced upon us, we can be assured of our Father’s love, acceptance and approval. We too can experience His faithfulness and His mercy.





Seven Benefits of Praying Couples

8 04 2019

My wife and I have found a place of intimacy that far exceeds any level of intimacy within a marriage through our connecting in prayer.  We have made this a priority for many years and have grown our marriage in numerous ways through the vulnerability of prayer together.  Here are seven benefits that we have identified from praying together.

  1. When we pray, we find agreement with God and with one another. Agreement is far more powerful, life-giving and life changing than disagreement.
  2. Through prayer together we are not so self-focused, but rather, we are focused on God, one another and the needs of those we are praying for.
  3. We are recognizing our need to trust outside ourselves. We are realizing we cannot provide all the needs or answers.  We are humbling ourself to say, we need God.  Prayer reminds us and our family that God IS our source.
  4. Prayer helps us to grow in grace and patience. We learn to wait on God.  We also learn to confess our needs, brokenness and vulnerability. We, before God, recognize our need for forgiveness.
  5. We communicate our life issues when we pray and that helps us to hear out loud those needs. We pray what is on our heart and when we hear one another’s heart, we know what deeply touches us and concerns us.
  6. Prayer changes us as we learn to listen to God. It changes us financially, emotionally, mentally and sexually.  In all ways we are changed as we reach out to and then hear God’s still small voice.  Our hearts and our minds are transformed through prayer and we experience a greater level of oneness.
  7. Praying together increases our intimacy. As intimacy increases our trust levels increase and as our trust levels increase, our strength and bond together grows stronger.

Helping you to start your prayer trek

  • Purchase a devotional book, read and then pray.
  • Take turns praying/reading.
  • Start small or brief and grow your time.
  • Find a specific focus and pray.
  • Walk your neighborhood and pray.

  • Pray together with your children teaching them to pray.
  • Pray in the car when there is a lull in the conversation.
  • Pray when one of you or your children are not feeling well.
  • Pray with thanksgiving to God repeatedly.
  • Bless one another in prayer.  Bless one another’s day, workplace, etc.
  • Ask your spouse how you can pray for them.




Crying, It Does a Marriage Good

11 03 2019

My wife cries.  My eyes sweat.  There is a difference!

 

A sad movie, a sad story, repeating a sad story or re-watching a sad movie – my wife cries.

 

My eyes sweat during those times.  I have no idea what comes over me…feelings, I’m guessing.

 

Did you know that God collects our tears? Psalm 56 reveals, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”

 

Tears are actually a chemical wash to your eyes.  They are designed to help you feel better after a good cry because those chemicals cause a euphoria, so to speak, that helps to release emotion.  In that respect, it’s a healthy response or outlet. Tears have medicinal purpose because God made them that way.

 

So the next time your wife cries and/or your eyes sweat, let it happen; let it out and encourage your spouse to do the same.  Give one another permission to cry and do not attempt to rush in and fix the problem. Maybe all that is needed is a good cry or profuse sweating…whichever the case.





What a Group of Married Couples Recommend for Your Marriage

25 02 2019

Recently my wife and I had the privilege of spending a weekend with some young married couples on a retreat. Amidst our time together, we desired to ask them a question.  That question went something like this: If you were given the chance to share with a younger couple just entering into marriage, what advice would you pass on to them?  What follows is some of the excellent input we were given.

 

  • Pick your battles by asking yourself if it’s worth the possibility of an argument?
  • Pray about the area that is bothering you before jumping into it with your spouse.
  • Lay down your single routines in order to pick up your couple routines.
  • Communicate your expectations in multiple ways.
  • Give one another extra measures of grace, knowing you both need it.
  • Learn one another’s communication style by learning one another’s love languages.
  • Over communicate.
  • Engage in some form of mentorship.
  • Keep dealing with the areas of needed change in your life and take ownership for your issues.
  • Forgive quickly.
  • Get into the habit of praying together.
  • And always, each and every day, put God first.

 

Pretty sound advice from those with a few years of marriage under their belt.








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