Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marriage

I wrote this a few years ago, when life called for it; felt the need to share it now.


Marriage:

Are you married?  How is your marriage?  If you are not married, what is your view/idea of marriage?  Have you given it any thought as to your role in the couple?  What do you plan to do, when the going gets tough?  Are you going to plant your feet and say, "This is what I committed to and I am going to stick with it no matter what..." (not counting that which is harmful to you) OR are you going to throw up your hands and just give up, thinking it is too much trouble or too much work?  Carefully consider the following, before you throw in the towel.

When you marriage is in trouble, you will need to face the situation head-on and focus on your marriage.  (Colossians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7)

First, you need to make sure ALL OF your priorities are in the correct order.  Is God/Jesus first?  Is your husband/wife second in your life? (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; Genesis 2:24).  Third would be any biological or adopted children you might have; fourth would be your biological extended family and fifth would be yourself.  After that would be anyone else, including any job/career you might have.

Second, is money a problem?  Are you in a house that is bigger than you need or are you driving a brand new vehicle or anything extra like that?  Downsize.  This will save you money and help you live within your means and hopefully eradicate any problems this might be causing.  (1 Timothy 6:6-8, 10; Philippians 4:11 [Key words:  I HAVE LEARNED]; Philippians 4:5, 19)

Third, is the internet a problem in your home or computer/video games, television or any such item?  If it seems to be a source of trouble, these should be limited or purges as needed.  (Matthew 5:30; Philippians 4:7-8)

Next, have patience with each other, go slow and take it one step at a time.  Rebuilding a marriage is WORK.

Your marriage commitment made to each other, before God and man IS a binding contract (Matthew 5:37).  The marriage foundation needs to be grounded on Biblical standards (Matthew 5:27-37; Colossians 3:12-19; Ephesians 5:33; Mark 10:2-12; Genesis 2:23-24; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Corinthians 7:2-12 [especially verses 10, 11 & 39]; Ephesians 5:15, 17.  Also, read the story of Hosea (Hosea 1:1 - 14:9) - the moral of the story - keep going back!!)  If your husband/wife moves to another state, for their job or any other reason, it is your obligation to go with him/her, no matter who you leave behind or how homesick you might be.  Your husband/wife is now your life (Genesis 2:24).  Just remember, we live in a time of travel & transportation.  Just because you leave your family doesn't mean that you have to break your ties with them.  They are not going to love you any less, if you don't live near them.

You need to be responsible and you need to do what you must to honor that commitment.  Marriage does not mean maturity!  How you handle the ups & downs of marriage - and sticking with the marriage - helps you grow to maturity.  Also, how you treat your husband/wife is a sign of maturity.  Do you respect him/her?  Do you nag and batter him/her when he/she doesn't do things the way you want him/her to?  Do you ridicule him/her or treat them like a child?  You need to evaluate your actions towards him/her.  You married him/her to be your husband/wife, not your child or toy.  Treat him/her as such.  You should always speak highly of your spouse to others.  No matter what you say, it will almost always get back to him/her.  Which would you rather they hear:  that he/she is the best man/woman you could have married or how that when he/she walks away from you in a store, you treat him/her like they are 3 and they can't be trusted.  Think about it!!

If you have troubles (and who doesn't...) you should follow the next step carefully:

Counseling is the next step.  I suggest it in two forms.  1)  a "counselor" - separate (the husband's is to be male; the wife's is to be female) and see a separate marriage counselor, at the same time (separate from the afore mentioned two).  2)  Encourage your spouse to find 2-3 close, trusted friends (male - male; female - female).  At least two of these friends should be older, with advanced wisdom in these matters, who would be willing to counsel and advise you as necessary.  Another should be a prayer & accountability partner.  Someone you can go to when you are struggling; someone who can lift you up in prayer and someone who can check to see how you are doing often.  Your pastor would be an excellent place to start.  (The women's group or the pastor's wife would also work, for the ladies). 

You need to "date" each other OFTEN.  Take time to remember why you wanted to marry him/her.  My recommendation - date night each week.  Suggested ideas:

Cooking together
rides
dinner
bowling
skating
breakfast (at a restaurant)
museums
picnics
zoo
long walks
treasure hunts
historical landmarks
hay ride
(NO MOVIES!  movies don't give you a chance to reconnect)

Once a month, spend a weekend together - PLAN AHEAD & write it down!!  Plan every detail, down to your toe polish color.  Some suggestions:

Rent a houseboat & go out on a lake/river for the weekend
camping
marriage seminars (Marriage Alive! International has some great resources - www.marriagealive.com)
couples spa
rent a room in a hotel or B&B, just to spend time quietly & alone

Remember, plan ahead!
You need to purchase (if you don't already have one) an exhaustive concordance (Strong's is good).  Then, spend time looking up & studying references on marriage (2 Timothy 2:15 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Some words to begin with:

husband
wife
marriage
love
man
woman
children
spouse
home
submit and submission (learn what it actually means!)
obey and obedience
discipline

See what the Bible says about marriage/home and DO IT!  (Note:  not all of the verses in each category will apply to marriage per se, but it is important to study those too)

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How are you making this marriage work?  Are you keeping it interesting?
  • What part of the situation did you cause?  (Take responsibility for your own actions [2 Corinthians 5:10])
  • What changes can you make to eliminate that cause (Philippians 2:14)

Finally, remember, it takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to break a marriage.  Write a contract of what you chose to do to change or enhance your marriage and share it with two of those close, trusted friends - encourage your spouse to share with 1 (same gender) and you need to share with 1 (same gender).  These two should be willing to check upon your progress and encourage you at least once a month.

If you have a friend that is getting in the way of your marriage, after deep reflection, counsel from more knowledgeable individuals & prayer, you should take an indefinite break from the friendship, or eliminate it immediately...ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE STARTED ANOTHER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE OPPOSITE GENDER.  Your first earthly priority is & ALWAYS will be your spouse.  Don't give them reason to be jealous.

Last, but not least, spend much time in prayer.  (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:19, 22; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, 21-22; Philippians 4:6,  Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 4:16 [KEY WORDS:  COME BOLDLY]; Matthew 21:22; Luke 6:12 (example we should follow:  continued all night); Acts 6:4)


Dwell refreshed!

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 2011

Job hunting again & house sitting again...


Have had one interview, but nothing came of it; the house sitting is okay, just a little tired from insomnia (it takes a couple of days to settle in).  The dog snoring doesn't help the insomnia! 


I really like living in Michigan; it is so different than California.  I'm not just referring to the weather, but things like I actually hear birds chirping and there are bugs everywhere.  Where I'm from in California, there doesn't seem to be as many birds and the bugs are usually just flies.  The air also smells fresher here in Michigan and on cloudless days, the sky looks bluer and brighter.  I'm really hoping to get a permanent position in Michigan; I'd love to stay!