Thankfulness

Let’s face it, marriage is tough. Becoming “one” is not easy! In order for that to happen, half of each person must die. So don’t think everyone’s got it together and your the only one who struggles. If that were true the divorce rate wouldn’t be as high as it is. While very worth the effort, marriage is work.

So I’ve been thinking of some little things that can make marriage a easier. And since we celebrated Thanksgiving this week, it seems appropriate to highlight two simple words that can really improve your marriage. Those words are, “Thank You!”

The Bible says to, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

I know this sounds so simple that it could easily go overlooked. But the fact remains, EVERYONE wants to be appreciated! This is how to put an appreciative attitude to work for you! Don’t only say “Thank You” when they’ve done something extraordinary, say it when they do all the things that they “should” do, the things we take for granted. Look for opportunities to show your gratitude. “Thank You for getting up & going to work faithfully. Thank you for providing for our family. Thank you for coming home today. Thank you for cooking dinner. Thank you for taking out the trash. Thank you for watching that T.V. show with me. Thank you for working out and keeping yourself healthy. Thank you for putting up with me when I’m difficult.” There are a million opportunities everyday that you can tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. Learning to say “Thank You” is a simple way to strengthen your marriage.

KD

The BEST ADVICE I have ever received!

Well that may be a bit of an exaggeration, this may not technically be “The Best” piece of advice I have EVER received in my entire life…but it sure did wonders for my marriage and therefore I just have to share it with you.

In our first years of marriage, Rodney and I fought A LOT. Since we were both strong willed and neither of us ever want to be wrong, we often found ourself in a heated discussion which ended in both of us mad and/or with hurt feelings. This tidbit of information really helped defuse countless misunderstandings and miscommunications which in turn helped eliminate tons of arguments between us.

If you are like me, I once saw every difference as an opportunity to “state my case” and “prove” my side of the story. Like a carefully crafted lawyer, I had all of my points outlined & I was ready to attack. Unfortunately the more I pleaded and debated the more obstinate we both became. It wasn’t until I learned to keep my mouth shut that our situation began to change.

The Best Advice that I have received is taken from Exodus 14:14 which states, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The practical explanation of the verse goes like this…In an arguement, if you are talking and pleading your case, the other person is listening to you and trying to come up with a rebuttal. However, when you are silent, they can can hear The Lord.

An amazing thing happens when The Lord fights your battles for you. He manages to take a potentially explosive situation and defuses it before it has a chance to escalate.

I wish I could tell you that now days Rodney and I never argue. But that would be far from the truth. Like any couple, we have our share of disagreements and misunderstandings. The difference is that now we manage to show a little more restraint than we did in earlier years and therefore allow The Lord to fight FOR us instead of us fighting AGAINST each other.

Although it takes a bit of self-control, learning to keep our mouths shut and allow God to fight for us has been one of the best things we could ever do for our marriage.

Give it a try and see what an amazing difference it makes in your relationships.

The Secret to a Better Marriage

If I could tell you 1 SECRET to building a successful marriage, would you do it?

In the book of 2 Kings there is a story about a commander of an army named Naaman who had leprosy. His wife’s servant girl, who was a captive from Israel, suggested that Naaman could be healed if only he would visit the prophet Elisha.

Naaman went to see Elisha expecting an elaborate healing ritual, but when the healing instructions came, Naaman was disappointed with the simplicity of the remedy and he left angry. Fortunately Naaman’s servants came to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” Fortunately Naaman decide to follow the simple instructions and was healed.

I tell you this story, because “The Secret” that I am going to share with you is simple. It’s not difficult nor elaborate, so I don’t want you to walk away, like Naaman, “disappointed with the simplicity”.

Here it is….the BIG SECRET.…unveiled.

One secret to building a successful marriage is to have a WEEKLY DATE, with your spouse.

I know, I know… you don’t have time, you don’t have the money. We had the same excuses the first 50 times someone recommended a weekly date to us. BUT finally we got to a desperate place and decided that we had nothing to loose. We took the plunge and began “dating again” and that was the catalyst which literally SAVED OUR MARRIAGE.

THE RULES

1) SET ASIDE TIME each week to “go” on a date. (It doesn’t have to be the same time Each week, but that makes planning easier.) It can be Morning. Noon. Night. Over the years ours has changed several times to accommodate our ever changing schedules and responsibilities.

2) NO TALKING about ministry, work or your kids. This is NOT a meeting! It’s a DATE! This is a time to RECONNECT with each other….enjoy each other and remember that you like each other.

3) Be CREATIVE! – Your date does NOT have to Break The Bank, In fact, It doesn’t have to cost anything. IDEAS- a walk in the park, go feed the ducks, go on a hike or picnic, go swimming, get a coffee, have breakfast. (Both breakfast and lunch are CHEAPER than dinner.) Go to a movie, play or dinner theater. The sky is the limit!

4) HAVE FUN!!! The idea behind a weekly date is to connect, communicate, have fun and remember why you got married in the first place. It is NOT a time to D-I-S-C-U-S-S ISSUES, PROBLEMS or ATTACK one another. Just remember…NO FIGHTS!!!!

5) Think of this as an INVESTMENT in your MARRIAGE! Both the time and the money will be well spent. It’s cheaper and MORE FUN than therapy or counseling & a whole lot better than eventually getting a DIVORCE b/c you have grown apart.

6) GUARD this time WITH YOUR LIFE! This is your time to build your marriage. Do NOT cancel this time in order to accommodate others’ schedules, work or church events or all the 1,000,000 things that could come up that could take its place. This is time to BUILD YOUR MARRIAGE & should NOT BE cast aside at the drop of a hat.

Sure others will NOT UNDERSTAND. LET ME REPEAT….OTHERS WILL NOT UNDERSTAND!!! They will try to get you to make an exception “just this once”, they will say. They will get hurt and offended because you won’t give in & when this happens REMEMBER what you learned about setting BOUNDARIES and about your 1st Ministry.

So that’s it…the MAGIC TIP….THE SECRET…to having a strong marriage. Don’t grow apart! Stay Connected! & Happy Dating!!!!

Do your actions reflect your priorities?

His voice rang true as it penetrated my heart, “Kina, You can NOT sprint a Marathon! You can save all of the orphans and win all Mexico for my Kingdom, but if you loose your marriage and your kids resent Me because of you, then you have lost.” God’s words shook me sometime in the middle of the burnout. We had been running long and hard for many years and I knew it was time to stop.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me has heard this story. It’s a soap box that I have been standing on for many years.

It was after those words sank into my heart and mind that I really began to make changes in my daily life which reflected my discovery, changes that reflect my priorities.

So my question to you is, Do your actions reflect your priorities?

What do you spend the most time doing? Where do you concentrate most of your effort?

Don’t be mistaken…Where you spend your time and concentrate your effort IS your priority. Whether you feel that way or not, the message that you convey to others is that they are not as important to you as the areas on which you are focused.

Where do we go from here?

If I asked you about ministry, how would you describe it? What has God “called” you to do? What is your first ministry? What is your second ministry?

Now I want to challenge the way you think. Are you married? Do you have kids? Well, if you are married then I believe that, that good looking guy who swept you off your feet, he is your first ministry. If you have children then they are your 2nd ministry. If your actions don’t reflect the importance of marriage and family, then it is time to make some changes.

So, How do you tell those closest to you that they are important?

Elizabeth George in her book A Woman After God’s Own Heart, gives some practical examples of how to include those closest to you and express to them that they really are your priority. One example that I remember was that if you are baking your husbands favorite dessert to take to the church dinner or other event, instead of telling him he can’t have any because it’s for someone else, go ahead and make a second one just for him, or at the very least, let him have a piece of the one you are taking before it leaves the house.This is such a simple and practical recommendation that helps us tell our husbands that he is our first priority. Another good resource which has become quite popular is a book by Gary Chapman entitled, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It gives detailed information about how we each give and receive love. Knowing this can help immensely as we seek to show those around us that we love them and that they are important to us.

What’s next?

Now that you are beginning to see that your actions and family priorities don’t always line up…next week, I will share with you a revitalizing secret that many husbands and wives hold dear.

Until then, may God guide you as you live Under His Shadow!

KD

Psalm 91