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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Righteous Indignation



Lessons learned the hard way are lessons never forgotten.


As we end our series of posts on having a great marriage I want to share with you some of those lessons I had to learn... the hard way.


One of the BIG lessons for me was communication.  I don't necessarily mean just having a normal, healthy conversation with my husband; I mean expressing concerns of some things I was feeling.


I am usually pretty good at this but there was a time that I let my pride come before my concerns.
  
did not want to express what I was feeling because I did not want my husband to think I was jealous or unreasonable.  P-R-I-D-E


When my husband, after months, and I mean months of total agony on my part, asked me my thoughts on this issue (that I was stuffing down and not speaking up about) sister, the flood gates opened and I let it all spill out.


What's sad is about two months prior to my husband coming to me I felt the Lord prompting me to tell my husband something was very wrong and we needed to separate ourselves from this situation.  And yet I still excused it away and kept my pride in tack.


Ladies, God gives you an intuition for a reason.  We know things, that we can't know, except that we just know.  You know?


If you will allow me to be totally open with you, if it had not been for the grace of God, and His hand of protection at this time in our lives, our marriage might not be in tack today.


I can guarantee you that this will ne-va ev-ah happen again.  I told my husband I don't care what he thinks of me, I will never keep my mouth shut again.


If you find yourself in a similar situation, here is how you need to approach your spouse.


#1 Pray.  Pray for God to give you wisdom to speak clearly and from the heart.


#2 Do it at the right time.  Don't try and have this conversation as soon as he walks in the door from work.  The best thing to do is to let him know you have some pretty important things to discuss and ask when would be the best time for you to have a least an hour uninterrupted.


#3 Stay calm.  When I let the flood gates finally open, calm I was not because I had so much emotion crammed inside of me and locked up for far too long.  Staying calm and rational lets your husband know that you are not speaking out of your emotions but rather out of your concerns.


#4 Know what you are going to say.  Don't go into the meeting unprepared.  Really think through the best way to express your concerns.  


Let me leave you with this one last thing.  If you are asking, How do I know this situation is really worthy of my concern and a sit-down with my husband?


Here is your answer...  If it is something that just won't seem to leave your mind, something you are having strong feelings about and you can't seem to shake it, something you tried to reason away and yet it still remains, then call your meeting to order as soon as possible. 


One thing I will never do again is let something like this ride.  And trust me, the enemy has tried to come in this same door a couple more times.  But he is no match for a wife who has lost all her pride.


Sometimes you just gotta get mad with a righteous indignation.  A great marriage is one that is fought for.  One that requires us to be proactive.  One that might leave us with a few battle scars.  And I don't mind a few scars.  


Scars heal.  


But death, that's final.


And today, my marriage, my kids and my sanity come before any pride I will ever have.  


Lesson learned.




Monday, June 11, 2012

Right List


If you did not get a chance to read Friday’s post, Right Decision, you can click here to read it.

Also, if you need to catch up on all our posts concerning marriage click on the titles below and you will be sent to them.


Now, as I concluded our last post, Right Decision, I shared with you that today you will need a blank sheet of paper and a writing utensil.

If you are anything like me and many other humans on this planet, you are a list maker. I have a To Do list that is always being added to, and when I’m lucky, subtracted from. I make list for everything like groceries, chores for my kids, and of course those honey-do-lists.

Lists. Lists. Lists. I love them.

So today that is just what we are going to do… make a list.

Every marriage has its troubles. Every one of us has things that we wish we could change about our spouse; things that we feel make it impossible to live with our husbands at times.

You know, like never picking up his clothes off the floor. Nasty habits like blowing his nose at the dinner table; never willing to have long intimate conversations. Or maybe he forgets your anniversary. Or he's tight with the money or he's not even concerned with the money and you’re doing it all.

So, stop right now, pick up your pen and paper and draw a line down the center of the page from top to bottom.  I want you to write out on the left side of the line every one of those issues that make you have to love him with the love of Jesus cause your flesh just won't allow it.

Remember we are not doing this for a husband bashing session. Our end goal is to make your marriage a success and you will never conquer what you won’t confront.  And you cannot confront what you do not identify.

Take your time. I’ll be right here waiting on you when you’re done.

Ok. I hope you did not jump ahead of me and write on the right side all the positive things about your husband like good provider, loving father and never late for dinner.

If you did you are going to have to erase it. What I now want you to do is beside every issue on the left, I want you to write out your response to it on the right.

Do you pout?

Maybe nag?

Get angry?

Go ahead and complete your assignment.

Now I want you to take a pair of scissors and cut the paper down the middle. Rip up and throw away the left side: your husband's side.

Now look at the right side. What do you see?  A record of petty behaviors, shameful practices and destructive responses?

You can do nothing about the left side of the paper you threw away. You will never change your man. But you can do something about the right side of the page. You can change you.

Take your list and pray over each reaction and ask God to give you wisdom, strength and guidance as you work on you in this marriage. Remember, nothing will ever change around you (your marriage) until something first changes in YOU.

No, this is not a cure-all for those nasty little habits of your husband. Most likely he is a good man, not a perfect man, but a good man. And ladies, let me just tell you, we are far from perfect ourselves. But those trivial little annoyances of his won’t seem as annoying when we respond to them with the right heart and attitude.

Your most treasured possession should not be things but a relationship. We need to learn how to deal with and handle the small issues in our marriage because one day there may be larger ones to survive like job loss, sickness or a move out of state.

I hope and pray that you don’t assume that my marriage is perfect. It’s good don’t get me wrong. But just because I am writing this series of blogs please don’t think J Mark and I have all things in our marriage figured out.

We don’t.

But next time I do want to share with you a few of things I had to learn the hard way along the way.

Until then, let's imagine for a moment, what our marriages could look like when we focus on our reactions instead of our husband's behavior.  

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Right Decision




Two years ago, former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper split up after 40 years of marriage. FORTY YEARS. 

Although I cannot assume to know the reasons why the Gores went their separate ways after so many years and 4 children; I do know that there must of come a point when they were no longer each other’s priority. 

Just in case you are not already aware, no marriage is fail proof. NO marriage is safe. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that there is an enemy out there prowling around just looking for the right moment to devour and he will not pass you by just because you have a few years of bliss under your marital belt. 

Hear this; YOUR MARRIAGE IS NOT SAFE. I know, scary right?

To have a great successful and lasting marriage ladies, that man of yours HAS to be your number one earthly relationship and priority.

Let’s go to the Bible shall we… 

Admonish the young women to love their husbands. Titus 2:4

The word love here emphasizes affection; a friendship. Let me say it this way, he should be your best friend, one in whom you want to be with more than any other person, including your children. 

There will come a day when those kids will be grown, and then gone. What then?

If you have not cultivated your friendship with your spouse that is where the enemy will come in and try to devour.

So, what can you do to help make until death do us part become the only way you part? Make that right decision today to stop and cultivate your friendship. 

I have a dear friend that lives close to me but our lives are very busy with our churches, our families, and ministering in our respective areas. We meet up every three months for a catch up lunch. We will spend hours together sharing about our lives, our children and husbands and our relationship with God. 

Before we go our separate ways we ALWAYS break out our calendars and make an appointment for our next lunch three months out. Why?  Because if we don’t do it right then, we may never do it. Oh we may want to get together again, we may talk about getting together again, but unless we are proactive about setting a time to do it, chances are, we won’t. 

You have to be just as vigilant with your husbands. If it takes breaking out the calendar to set aside everything else in your life, then that is exactly what you two need to do. Be proactive about cultivating your relationship. 

And if you feel you have nothing in common anymore with your husband, that there is not anything you two could possibly discuss over even an hour long meal, I beg to differ. 

You are a family… with a future; start there. 

Plan out the rest of your lives. Dream together about where you want to be in 5, 10 or 20 years. Plan a once in a life time vacation and then make a plan to begin saving for it. Talk about the good things in your lives and how God has blessed you thus far and how you know He’s going to keep right on blessing you. 

I know when you were dating you had those long nights of endless conversations that you prayed would never end. He’s still that same person. Things may have changed. You may know him better and some of those things you know better about him you may wish you could change. 

But we said I do

Now we have to DO all we know to do to have a successful marriage.

(I think this is the place where the preacher asks, Amen?)

Amen!!


Next time I am going to tackle some of the issues you may be dealing with when it comes to your spouse. You know, the things that make you have to love Him with the love of Christ because you can’t do it with your flesh. Yeah, so check back, because we are going to be writing things out on paper that I promise will change some things... or at least someone.



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Right Prayer


OK ladies, its day three. Tuesday we talked about being Just Right for our husbands and yesterday we tackled the dirty little word in marriage, submission, in A Rightness. Today we need to talk about a MAJOR key to a successful marriage and relationship. 

Prayer.

James 5:16 tells us, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much. Is prayer in your marriage something you put a level of importance on?  If you are not sure what to pray for I will add some prayers at the end of this post.

One thing we women are pretty good at is preaching.  I don't mean what you see your pastor do every Sunday morning, I mean nagging, or sharing everything with your husband he's not doing right, or not doing at all.

If this describes you at times, you need to learn to pray, not preach.

He does not need you to be his mom. He needs you to be his wife. And a good wife prays for her husband.

2 Peter 3:9 says that God is not willing that any should perish. So if your spouse is not a Christian your primary prayer should be for him to come to know Christ and for His saving grace to flood his heart and soul.

God's job is to save your husband; your job is to wholeheartedly pray for him as you continue to submit to his headship. 

I want to share with you what Elizabeth George says regarding prayer for your husband...

Furthermore, Jesus teaches, "Where your treasure is [in this case, the treasure for your time and effort invested in prayer], there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21). Focusing on your husband in prayer will help you focus on him in your heart, your thoughts, and your actions. You'll also be surprised at the fruit born in your own life from this prayer- the fruit of understanding, cheerfulness, patience, helpfulness, and calmness. While you were praying for your husband, God changed your heart!

I could not have said it better myself!!

I want to share a link with you I found with some really great scripture prayers you can pray over your husband.  There is no one on this planet that is closer to him than you; therefore, your prayers will possess a power like no one else's... a fervency.

Click here for the prayers.

See ya back here tomorrow!!





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Rightness




Today we are continuing our dive into the deep waters of marriage and our role as the just right wife for our husbands. If you missed yesterday's post you can click here to read it before continuing.

So now, let's go deeper shall we?

When you study out what God has to say about marriage there is one word that just seems to trip us women up every time... submission.

Ephesians 5:22 tells us, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  Now before you go off the deep end on this one and change your web browser back to Pinterest you have to understand that yes, we submit to our husbands, but he too has to submit and answer to God for the way he leads us.

And we will answer to God for the way we follow.

God is a God of order. When things are going crazy in a court room, a judge strikes his gavel on the bench to bring a sound of authority and yells out what?  Order in the court!!  Why?  When things are out of order, the judge knows chaos is about to ensue.

Look at life, nature, our government, your job; everything has an order to it.  It is no different in our homes.  There must be structure or there will be chaos.  

So what does it mean to submit?  It just simply means you are placing yourself under the authority of your husband.

And God never tells the husbands to take advantage of their position. In fact, He says in Ephesians 5:24 quite the opposite; Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Ladies, nothing will make his job to love you any easier than when you honor him by submitting to the authority that GOD has placed him in. 

In the book Under the Mercy, the author recounts a story of four women who knew they were the heads in their marriage.  But through the study of the Word they learned that the husband was to be the head and they were to submit to his authority. They were not sure they wanted to place themselves in that position, but they also knew they had to do what the Word was instructing them.

They later shared that as the husbands had taken their rightful positions, they all felt their marriage had grown to a new depth of happiness.  It now possessed a joy they had never known before.

A Rightness.

As they pondered their new positions, they realized that their husbands had never demanded and would never demand the headship; it could only be a gift from the wife to the husband.

If this whole concept is a struggle for you let me give you another perspective. Let's look at Ephesians 5:22 again, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

When you understand you are ultimately submitting to God, your struggle will slowly begin to fade away.  You see, your submission has nothing to do with your husband, how deserving he is or is not.  It has everything to do with your relationship with the Lord and how deserving He is.

God instituted submission, commanded it, and is the one who gives you the strength to walk it out and it is He that is honored when we do this.

This call is a great and selfless calling, therefore it is going to take a great and selfless woman to do it!  

So, if you want a happier more fulfilling marriage the take a realistic look at your relationship with your husband and answer these questions... Are there any times where you are not fully submitted to your husband?  And why do you feel you struggle with submitting in all areas?

I love you all and I am praying for your marriages.  If you feel yours is not where it could be, take this week of blogs and let the Word penetrate your heart.  Nothing will ever change around you until something first changes within you.






Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just Right





On January 1, myself and about 75 others began a journey... a pretty long journey... a three hundred and sixty-five day journey through the New Living Translation of The One Year Chronological Bible.

And what an awesome journey it has been!!!

We are currently reading about the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon. I was completely saddened by today's reading. Solomon was so wise, so close to God, so called by God. And yet we read... In Solomon's old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God... 1 Kings 11:4.

I was not reading anything that I did not already know; it was just a moment of reflection for me because the they the above verse speaks of was Solomon's many wives.

Oh the power a wife can wield.... and he had 700(1 Kings 11:3). But all it takes is one to turn a man's heart... toward good... or toward evil.

So what was the role his wives were to play?  And what is our role in marriage too?  To answer that question all we have to do is go back to our January 1st reading....

Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him."

The King James Version calls us a help meet for him. In other words, we are to help our husbands meet the goals, plans and purposes that God has placed in his life. That is our role.

Our May 31st reading starting off with this verse of scripture, A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

Ladies, you have the power to build up your husband or to tear down the very fabric of his being. And sadly I have seen it go both ways.  If you build up your husband you are building up your home.  And vice versa, if you tear down your husband, you will tear down your home as well.

I want us for the next few days to take a deeper look into the role we play in the lives of our husbands and homes.

Will you join me? I pray you will because I want all of us to be just right for our husbands.

Before we continue tomorrow, I want to encourage you to take a look at your marriage and answer this question... Am I a team player, free from any competitive thoughts, actions or desires?

Let me give you a little example: Two years ago when my daughter was about to turn 17 I had began to notice her gravitating closer to her father when it came to matters of her job, finances and future. Now for this mother, who has been a part of every aspect of her daughter's life, pride could easily rise up and make we want to step in and have all the answer to my, ahem, our daughter's needs, questions and concerns. 

Oh but she needs her father... and she needs me too.  And to be honest, I LOVE seeing her need her daddy, love her daddy, and trust her daddy, as I do. :)

It's healthy.

It's family.

Just right.