Posted in Advice to "Love" By

7 Words That Will Change Our Marriages

This article is so real for all of us. I think this blog is a “must follow” for husbands and dads!

ApParent Stuff

We spend billions each year on our appearance. Gym memberships, dieting programs that may or may not work, new clothes and more. Don’t get me wrong, we should care how we look. But, what do our marriages look like? More importantly, where does our marital health rank on the list of To-Do’s? Instead of our bodies and physical appearance being top priorities, what if we put that focus on our marriages instead?

The hardest part of parenting, that no one seems to want to warn you about, is the strain children have on your marriage. Children can come between you and your spouse. For us, it’s quite literal. I can’t seem to hug my wife without my 4-year-old butting in between us to make a “sandwich.”

As the years go by, the children naturally become our focus, making it easy to lose sight of each other. We don’t take the…

View original post 584 more words

Advertisements
Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Proverbs 31 Wife

Marriage is Hard. It’s Worth it.

It seems like I have had lots of talks with my husband and girlfriends about marriage lately, and with each conversation, I believe that we leave always knowing two things:

    1. Marriage is hard.
    2. Marriage is worth it.

For those of us that are married, we know these things. For those of you that aren’t married yet, please know these two facts before you enter into marriage. I am so thankful that I had amazing Christian couples that not only showed me the blessing and joy of marriage, but they were also real with me about the toughness of marriage. I am so thankful that I knew things weren’t going to be roses every day and the story would probably not unfold like a fairytale.

Nathan and I have quite a few hard times. We have had those seasons in which we are frustrated with one another. Thankfully, we also have seasons of joy. I am most thankful that we have commitment. From the day that we were married, I know that God ordained us for one another, and because of that, I know that if we fully give our marriage to Him, it will be more beautiful than we can even imagine.

Sometimes we may wonder if this beauty in marriage is possible. I had a pastor friend tell me that he is certain there are many marriages entered into between two partners that are not exactly the partners that God had prepared, but once the marriage occurs, that marriage is an ordained work of God and through a contract like marriage, God can and wants to do mighty works.

Listening is so hard.

Nathan and I still struggle at this whole listening thing after 8 years of marriage and 5 years of dating. A lot of times, I think I’m listening, but I fail to act upon that listening. I really think it is essential for me to listen to Nathan’s passions and dreams and frustrations so that I can make sure to work at fulfilling his needs positively. As a woman and a mom, I so often get tied up in thinking my way is the right way.

Time together is worth it.

With 3 children (ages 5,4,3) and two full time jobs outside of the home, taking time together for just the two of us does not take as much of a priority as it should in our marriage. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately. We were blessed to participate in a marriage retreat led by Pepper Pratt in April 2013, and I will never forget him saying that we need to get Symsonia, Kentucky (our home), in our rear view mirror every other month. (I really think that he should provide childcare since he challenged us, but hey, I guess I’ll cut him some slack on that one.) I remember sitting in the pew thinking that would be amazing, but impossible. We have made that happen once since he encouraged us, and while that probably isn’t enough, it was a fabulous time together. I truly felt like we were reliving just a few days of our honeymoon.

Time together has been weighing so heavily on my heart lately that I have marked our date nights on our calendar for 2014. Please pray that we will stick to spending time together, and I will pray that you will be able to find time with your sweetie pie, as well. If you aren’t really liking that “sweetie pie” lately, I think spending time together is even more crucial!! Maybe we will only have time for a Redbox in the “man cave”, but surely that will be better than just passing in the kitchen.

When we do spend time together, another thing that has really been on me lately is that we need to not only spend time together, we need to do something fun! I don’t have to just be a married, grown-up mom. I get to live with my best friend, and he is pretty darn hot! I fell in love with him when we were young and dumb and acted silly – maybe we need to recreate those silly times watching dumb movies, playing basketball, shopping, etc. Maybe your fun will be dancing in the rain, holding hands on a roller coaster or playing hide and seek – whatever it is, we need to have some FUN!!!! I will never forget in our marriage counseling that one of the things our husbands need most is for us to share in things they enjoy, i.e. basketball, video games, golfing, monopoly, bike riding, etc. We actually added that in our vows, so I better keep my end of the deal.

Our fairytale must be written – they don’t just unfold.

Don’t we all want a fairytale love story that is always red hot passionate love? Don’t we always want our heart to skip a beat when we see our spouse? Don’t we want butterflies when we kiss? We do! But, is that reality all the time? Nope.

If we want this fairytale, we have to be active participants in our marriages. I can’t just sit back and expect Nathan to sweep me off of my feet every day, and I will never be everything Nathan needs. My best girlfriend always reminds me that Jesus is the only one that can meet all of our needs.

Think of fairytales that you do know. For a fairytale to evolve, the characters have to overcome real difficulty in order to develop and achieve the ending they desire. If we want a fairytale, we have to embrace our hard days, weeks, years so that we can bask in the pleasure of our “happily ever after” as we give our marriages and our spouses and ourselves to God for Him to bless us with a fairytale.

Men and women speak a different language, but our heavenly Father knows them both – only He can translate our needs for us to live that fairytale.

 

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Around the House, D.I.Y., Dave Ramsey says . . ., For My Book, Inspiration, My Testimony, Proverbs 31 Wife, Recipes, The Crazy Life

Seeing as Christ Sees

It has been a while since my last post, but in this new year, I am vowing to get in shape both physically and spiritually in my relationship with God. And, as I commit to make the most out of 2013, in my quiet time this morning, I came across a quote from Marcel Proust, a French novelist –

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.

The contentment in our journeys is truly not about seeking earthly happiness, the peace and joy of our journeys truly comes from seeing our days through new eyes, the eyes of Christ.

For some of us this may mean that today, we simply ask God to reopen our eyes to Him, to His ways. For others, this may mean that we need to take the first step into a relationship with Christ.

No matter the case, we cannot find true contentment and peace without looking with Christ-like eyes.

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife

Tip #4 Live Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (NASB)

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (AMP)

Let there be no more resentment, no more anger or temper, no more violent self-assertiveness, no more slander and no more malicious remarks, Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (Phillips)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Message)

The verses share the message. Our marriages will thrive when we are kind to one another, quick to forgive, helpful, compassionate, understanding and gentle. These qualities will flow out of our hearts if our hearts belong to God. This is why it is so important to marry a fellow believer in Christ who has a personal relationship with our Father. It is difficult for non-believers to be quick to forgive because they have yet to receive forgiveness.

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Dave Ramsey says . . ., Proverbs 31 Wife, The Crazy Life

Tip #3 Date Nights are a Must!

Keep dating even after your married! (Bill Fox)

A great deal of our relationships get boring after we begin to wear our wedding bands. I cannot remember if it was something I once read or something I once heard, but whichever the case, I love this analogy:

For men, the courtship is like going for the Gold. (Really, I heard this a bit different, but for the sake of keeping Olympic spirits high, we’ll go with the Gold.) Once they receive the Gold, there is nothing else they have to do in order to keep the Gold. They have obtained the prize.

For us ladies, we are Gold medals that need to be polished, adored, talked about, flaunted and put on display for the world to see.

When our husbands take Bill’s advice, they are taking a step to meet our needs and the desires of our hearts. As ladies, we simply want to know that we are still our husband’s precious bride that he worked so hard to get in the early days of our relationship.

But ladies, we must not get frustrated or be so hard on our husbands if “dating” us is hard for him. In his mind, our husband has us, he has worked hard to obtain his prize and he won! Griping at our husbands (which I’m pretty good at) about this issue doesn’t make him set up a romantic date night. But, sitting down with the love of your life and telling him you need a date night . . . alone with him . . . will show him how important this is to you.

I mentioned in another post this week that Nathan was that guy that worked so hard to woo me. He listened to me and brought gifts that proved he was listening. He would have dropped anything for me. Actually, he was probably too head over heals for me! But, it worked!

He is still the most amazing gift giver – he actually keeps a list throughout the year of things that I say I would like to have. He is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, not because of the gifts, but because of the thought he puts behind the gifts.

Our first Christmas in Missouri came after we had visited our best friends, Monique & Joel. During our visit, I found gold stilettos that I so wanted but couldn’t really justify. I mean, how many times in 2006 was I going to wear gold heals? Joel probably even said to me, “Ummm, what do the shoes do? Are they necessary?” So, I opted for the much more logical choice – black. But, I still got the gold ones . . . for Christmas . . . from my hubby who had called Monique, had her purchase the shoes and had them shipped to his office . . . just for me! He is pretty thoughtful. I am pretty blessed.

All of that bragging to say, he is good, but we as a couple have recently neglected the aspect of “dating” in our relationship. When we first married, every Tuesday night was date night, and it was sooo much fun! But, as times changed, life changed, kids arrived, work ran into evening meetings, family sitters grew too tired or too busy and the Dave budget doesn’t have room for date night sitters . . . date night has been put to the back burner. And, I so miss them. We need to make them a priority. We need to make getaways for just the two of us mandatory.

When our kids leave the house, we will need to be connected with one another. We cannot lead our home on the foundation of Christ without a passionate love for one another.

If you have trouble dating your spouse, let this be a reminder of the importance. Perhaps we do in-house date nights weekly as a sitter/budget alternative. We are blessed to have kiddos that go to bed at 8PM, so it is going to begin to be a priority to have one night a week for Terry-In-The-Home-Date-Night and hopefully a monthly date night.

Be sure to read this gal’s blog and scroll down to reader comments for some great date night ideas! Then head back to this post and share your fabulous date night plans!

1378507_heart_shaped_flower_petal

Christian Stay at Home Moms

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Proverbs 31 Wife

Tip #2 Challenge to Respect & Trust

There must be mutual respect and trust! Loving to laugh together helps too! (Sharrie Jean Oliver Thompson)

A great deal of the respect from a Proverbs 31 Wife means that we strive to respect our husband’s decisions with a genuine trust. Respecting our husbands means that we let him make decisions. All too often, I find myself trying to be the leader in our home. This is a definite struggle for me . . . I often think my decisions are the right ones even when they may not be (shhhh, don’t tell my husband that I have actually admitted this). Sometimes, I make it hard for my husband to lead me and our children because I am always stepping in with the solutions, the plans, the “right” way to do things. If this happens continually, our husbands will begin to think that if we don’t respect them and their decisions, then there is no reason to even make decisions that guide our family.

If this is a struggle for you, I challenge you to start with the little things. Respect your husband enough to trust his clothing choices for the kiddos tomorrow morning. Respect your husband by trusting him to tag your extra money this month in the budget. Respect your husband by sending him to his upcoming physical alone, without a list of written questions and trust that he will still ask those necessary questions without multiple phone calls, text and emails to serve as reminders.

As you take this challenge (if necessary), leave a comment as to how you have shown respect. Our husbands will walk a little bit taller when they know we are respecting them enough to place our trust in them.

Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Proverbs 31 Wife

Advice to “Love” By

A friend recently included me in a group message that asked for marriage advice for an upcoming feature on iListPaducah. After reading all of the great advice, I thought that those of us trying our hand at this whole Proverbs 31 Wife Journey could use anything we can get in the world of advice. At least, I know that I am always in need of tips for this journey.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing these pieces of advice for us to jot down in our journals and add to our to-do lists for stronger marriages.

Check out the Advice to “Love” By column to pick up the latest tip!