5 Marriage Myths to Avoid

"If I Just Believe Hard Enough, I Think I Can Make Him a Prince!"

“If I Just Believe Hard Enough, I Think I Can Make Him a Prince!”

 

When I was young, Cinderella was a big hit. It was the classic fairy tale, complete with a prince, beautiful gowns, and a happily-ever-after life. But in reality, life is no fairy-tale. And neither is marriage. 

 

There are few things in this world that the Devil assails as much as a Christian home, and especially a Christian marriage. You would think that, because two people love the Lord and dedicate themselves to  each other for life, it would virtually guarantee an excellent home. But that’s simply not so.

 

Divorce statistics are staggering – and it’s not just the unsaved, worldly, carnal people getting divorced. It’s folks that bear the name of Christ, attend church regularly, and say they love the Lord.

 

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that many people come to marriage with a bit of a fairy-tale mentality. They tend to think the story goes something like this:

 

Boy meets girl.

Boy feels this floppy, soppy feeling, and decides it must be love.

Girl can’t get boy out of her mind, and decides it must be love.

They enjoy each other’s company, stroke each other’s little egos, and do cute little things for each other.

They mutually agree that they want this sort of relationship for life.

Soooo – Boy proposes to girl.

Girl deliriously accepts.

They get married in a beautiful church, spend who-knows-how-much on the wedding, and fly off to a honeymoon in the Bahamas.

And live happily ever after.

 

Does it really go like this? Rarely. This is how it normally goes:

 

Boy meets girl.

Boy feels this floppy, soppy feeling, and decides it must be love.

Girl can’t get boy out of her mind, and decides it must be love.

They enjoy each other’s company, stroke each other’s little egos, and do cute little things for each other.

They mutually agree that they want this sort of relationship for life.

Soooo – Boy proposes to girl.

Girl deliriously accepts.

They get married in a beautiful church, spend who-knows-how-much on the wedding, and fly off to a honeymoon in the Bahamas.

Then, the day after the wedding, something goes wrong.

Thinking they were marrying someone who would meet all their needs, they find that the other person is not perfect, doesn’t meet all their needs, and actually is selfish sometimes!

Each thinks the other is not holding up their end of the bargain, and eventually divorce starts sounding better than the ball-and-chain they’ve created.

 

Unfortunately for most couples, by this time in their marriage they have a toothless little diaper-wetter who now demands more of their energy and time than they ever thought they had. And this little diaper-wetter will probably grow up in a broken home.

 

Most people go into marriage like a tick goes to a dog – looking for someone to take care of them, meet their needs, and love them no matter what.

 

What they end up with is more like two ticks and no dog!

 

Folks, that’s a terrible realization!

 

There are several marriage myths that you can avoid that can avert this awful ending to the fairy-tale.

 

  1. It’ll be ok – I can marry a lost man, because I can change him after we’re married. (see 2 Corinthians 6:14) No, you can’t. It’s as simple as that. Check out #3.
  2. I just want to be married; I don’t want kids. (see Psalm 127:3) I tell my girls, “If you don’t want children, don’t get married.” Children are the inevitable result of marriage. They are the blessing of the Lord, and if you don’t want that kind of blessing, stay away from the thing that gives it to you.
  3. I can change him. (see Proverbs 21:1) This is totally unrealistic, because we can’t control other people. In fact, just try to make your cat come in at night! If we can’t control an animal, we sure can’t control a spouse.
  4. I have to tell him whenever I think he’s wrong. (see 1 Peter 3:1) Allowing someone to make a bad decision can be one of the most loving things you can do. This is a very mild illustration: My husband, since having Lyme disease 25 years ago, is somewhat directionally challenged, so much so that he will often make wrong turns or get lost. One of the hilarious times was when we finished visiting some friends, and we turned to go. He smiled, waved goodbye, and promptly disappeared into the garage! I simply waited for him to come back out….and I didn’t berate him for making a wrong turn! (But I must admit, it was TERRIBLY funny!)
  5. Sex in marriage is just legalized lust, right? (see Malachi 2:14) Oh no, not at all. It’s so much more than base lust. A little passion goes a long way, definitely, and the union of two lovers is the most fun you can have together, without spending a dime! But it’s also more than just fun. God created sex as a way of uniting two, and creating a bond that goes beyond mere words or sentiment. It’s a divinely appointed way for the expression of love.

 

Marriage is not a fairy-tale. We don’t have time or energy to devote to things that are not true. Don’t fall for these marriage myths! Find out the truth of God’s Word, and stand on it. God will always bless when we trust in Him.

What are some myths about marriage you’ve heard? What would you tell someone who thinks they’re true?

What I’m Missing by Simplifying My Life

 

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One of the times we lived in Texas was during the emu and ostrich craze. I guess ostrich farming was a pretty lucrative business for awhile, and we lived not far from several ostrich farms. Farming ostriches, however, is not for the faint of heart; ostriches are known for being aggressive on occasion. In fact, my husband met a woman once who had been brutally attacked by one of her ostriches – I guess it got tired of her one day and kicked her in the back with its powerful legs, putting her in the hospital!

I’m so glad that my home is not an ostrich farm. I may get irritated sometimes, but my family deserves better than a cranky irritable mom who’s harried and tired.

My recent decision to simplify my life has been a good one. It was a decision to pull back from the normal whirl of life and spend more time in focused prayer, Bible reading, reading good books and making sure I got to bed on time. I took the time to evaluate my priorities, and began making my daily life reflect those priorities.

So far, I realize that I’ve missed out on a few things.

  1. I’ve missed out on being constantly tired, sometimes to the brink of exhaustion. It’s an awful feeling to start the day already tired, and to have kids, grandkids, hubby and church people needing me for some reason. When I’m exhausted, there simply isn’t enough of me to go around, and the default setting is to start barking at people. Which brings me to my next point:
  2. I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities to yell. Because I’ve been more rested and more at peace, I’ve not reached “the boiling point” where I snap and lose it. In fact, I’ve probably missed out on some wonderful opportunities to argue with the hubs!
  3. I’ve missed out on irritating arguments with the kids right before bed. This is another similar one, but I write this separately because the time right before bed, when I’m very tired and trying desperately to go to bed and no one will listen to me, is usually an extremely frustrating time for me. Since I decided to go to bed at a certain time every night, now I simply excuse myself and go to bed. No great ceremonies, no parting tears, no threatening yells.
  4. I’ve missed out on being harried and hurried. I heard one time that God gives us the time to do His Will – the things He wants us to do. It’s when we add all our other desires that we run like we’re being chased by zombies. Since cutting out any unnecessary activities, I actually have the time to do the things that need done. Fancy that!
  5. I’ve missed out on late night conversations. Now this one requires a second glance, because I love when my teens open up. But late at night? No thank you! I don’t know why it is, but some young folks wait until 11pm to bring up deep things or ask questions about things they don’t understand. I know it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that it’s very easy to get upset with them over something they say or talk about late at night, since I’m so tired. I’ve told them that, though I love taking time to talk with them, it’s much better to talk about these things when I’m rested and can think straight about the subject.

I’m certainly not perfect, nor will I ever be, but with God’s help (and the ability to say No to some things…) we’re seeing the advantages of slowing down a bit.

Are you simplifying your life too? How has it helped? If you haven’t been, what are some things you can lay aside for today, so you can get a bit of down time?

How I’m Simplifying My Life and Finding Peace

How many of us look longingly at a photo of an Amish horse and buggy and think to ourselves, “Oh, if only life could be so simple!”

Amish Horse

 

Ah for the simple life! The words themselves conjure up images of sitting in the tall prairie grass with the wind blowing my hair, watching the clouds scuttle by. Or perhaps the simple life is sitting by the beach reading a book. Or relaxing by the fire chatting with friends!

My husband has this amazingly simple bedtime routine. When it’s time for lights out, he gets up, uses the bathroom, brushes his teeth, turns off the lights and goes to bed.

That’s it!

My bedtime routine looks something like a two-hour drama: get things ready for breakfast the next morning (this includes, but is not limited to, things like putting my Bible at the table and a few Kleenexes, getting my teacup ready and preparing the coffeepot for the next morning), cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing the sink, getting dressed, taking out my contacts, brushing and flossing teeth, saying goodnight to everyone in the house (which tends to lend itself to another flurry of demands…”Mom, can you…?”) and perhaps FINALLY turning off the lights and going to bed!

His routine is simple.

Mine is not.

My routine is terribly, almost painfully complicated.

I’ve been taking part of the 21 day Go To Bed Challenge, which I like a lot better than the Rise Up Early challenges. (Not that I mind Rising Early, but I prefer rising early and being Rested, rather than exhausted!) So I’ve been working on tweaking my bedtime routine. I’ve discovered that it really can be a whole lot simpler than I tend to make it.

For some odd reason, I seem to enjoy complicating things.

Perhaps it a bit of perfectionism, or maybe pride (which is at the root of perfectionism!) but the tendency to complicate matters goes for lots of things – not just my going to bed routine.

For example, what about God’s Will? His Will is very simple. It’s determined by my role in life as a child of God, wife, mother, homeschool parent, grandma, child, pastor’s wife, and missionary’s wife. If I merely do what I am supposed to do in these roles by taking responsibility in these areas, I will be doing God’s Will by “doing the next thing.” This may involve simple things such as making my hubby some tea, putting on some laundry, or by correcting some papers for my homeschool students.

But I tend to complicate matters by doing other things…making unnecessary phone calls, spending time on Facebook, reading blogs, or even just shopping … just because I feel like doing something else.

So here are some things I’m doing differently this year:

  • I’m streamlining my priorities. I’ve boiled my life down to only 5 Things I really need to do:
    1. I alone am responsible for my relationship with God.
    2. I alone am responsible for who I am, to become all I can be.
    3. I alone can be Kevin’s wife.
    4. I alone can be my kids’ mom, and my grandkids’ nana.
    5. I alone can manage my household.
  • I’m saying a lot of “No’s” to anything that doesn’t fit in those priorities.
    1. This means saying no to a lot of invitations for other activities
    2. This means not checking Facebook every time I turn around.
    3. This means not watching, listening to, or reading much that doesn’t help me grow.
    4. This means scaling down on my time I spend working out.
  • I’m investing my time – and my Christmas money! – in things having to do with those priorities.
    1. I bought a new Bible this year, the AW Tozer Bible
    2. I bought several new books, including The Incomparable Christ, How to Get Things Done in Less Time, etc.
    3. I’m taking time to read.
  • I’m trying to schedule Free Time into my day
    1. Time to relax
    2. Time to meditate on all the things I’m reading
    3. Time to play games with the kids
    4. Time to create. I haven’t actually created anything yet, but I have some thoughts, and that’s a lot better than it has been in the past.

It’s this amazing ability to complicate matters that can get me in the biggest trouble! So this is my goal lately. To simplify my life. From my bedtime routine to my morning routine to my Quiet Time with God, my desire is that my life will be simple, and that it will simply glorify the Lord.

And that’s what life is all about.

 

Do you tend to complicate things? What are some things you can simplify in your life? How do you do it?

The Beauty of Silence

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

Sunrise in the stillness of the forest

 

It’s an elusive time of day for me…that time of stillness and silence. I only find it when I rise early, and come to the front window to watch the sun rise. It’s a time of stillness and silence that resounds with the opening hues of the day.

 

It is in this time that I find my Lord’s presence. He waits for me there in the shadows of the dawn, and I rise early to go find Him. In the Beauty of Silence, He is there, with His splendid glory and infinite strength. I lean upon Him, and gather strength for the upcoming day.

 

In the Beauty of Silence I find my Lord’s infinite wisdom. His Word waits for me there on the table, and as I open it in the stillness of the morning, the dew of His gracious Words fall from the pages to my heart. I learn from Him, and gather guidance for the brand-new day.

 

In the beauty of silence I find my Lord’s mercy. His gracious forgiveness is new every morning; great is His faithfulness! The balm of His healing love comes from His heart to mine, and I gather hope for the rest of my day.

 

Life is busy; life is noisy. But for just a few moments, I enjoy the Beauty of Silence.