If You Love Your Kids, Love Your Spouse!

At a friend’s funeral, I was amazed to see her remarkable legacy of nine children and thirty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are being raised in the ministry. Each of her children and most of her grandchildren have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and are living their lives for Him. Mary has been a wonderful testimony of a godly wife and mother.

I would have never guessed, however, that her marriage hadn’t always been wonderful. In their early marriage, the fights were almost constant and Mary wondered if she had made a terrible mistake. Still, Mary and her husband were unwilling to get a divorce, so they turned to God and began attending church.

God graciously rewarded their search for truth by leading them both to trust Him for salvation. Now that they were born-again, they began to seek Him for every decision. Through His Word, they discovered that as they drew closer to God, they drew closer to each other. It created a strong foundation for stable, happy children.

How can I raise happy children who love the Lord? Love my spouse!

Amazingly enough, the vast majority of 2nd Generation Christians I spoke to felt that their parents’ marriage was excellent. At least I thought it was amazing, because in many cases, I personally know their parents…and they don’t have the storybook romance! Not that they fight like two children over a candy bar, but that they have their differences for sure.

That tells me one thing: even if your marriage isn’t perfect, if you’re careful to keep your disputes private, the kids perceive the marriage as excellent. And a child’s perception is the child’s reality.

So how can we love our spouses, even through the differences?

1. Having a desire to please the Lord is probably one of the best things you can have that will strengthen your marriage. One young lady told me, “Both my parents had a tremendous desire to do whatever the Lord wanted, and often that seemed to settle the disputes.”

2. Present a unified front to the children. Successful-parent marriages always back each other up to the children, even if they disagree. They wait until later to talk over the decision privately.

3. Say positive things about your spouse, especially in front of the children. This may be a tough one for some folks, but I feel that it is possible to take the good of your spouse, however small, and show how thankful we are for it.

4. Never tear each other down in public, and especially not in front of the children. Successful parents know that to tear down their spouse is to tear down themselves.

5. Invest in your marriage. Take a little bit of time each day to flirt with or express love to your spouse. The returns on your investment will be tremendous! Take a look at my series on A Lasting Marriage for more ideas!

Let us learn from people like Mary and her husband. They didn’t always have an ideal marriage, but they sought the Lord and did their best to obey Him in their roles as husband and wife. They learned to communicate with each other without animosity, to present a unified front, and to speak positively about their spouse. They learned what the Bible says and began doing it. And because they did, there are now many young people across the globe living as a light for those around them. Oh, to have a legacy like theirs!

Question: Do you believe in the permanency of marriage? How does tearing down our spouses affect our children?

Special Announcements:

  • Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!

 

 

  • Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.

There are plenty of wonderful marriage blogs that are a real blessing. Here are a few of them:

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

Messy Marriage

The Alabaster Jar

Also, some good books I’ve read on this subject:

Created to Be His Helpmeet, by Debbie Pearl. Debbie has some very insightful principles in her book. The one thing that changed my life completely was her description of the three types of men. If you read nothing else of hers, this alone will help you.

Lovebusters, by Willard Harley. Dr. Harley tells about the things which tear down marriages, and if we’re able to prevent those things from happening, we can build up our marriages.

Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. I love the premise of this book, “What if marriage was more to make you holy than happy?” It’s so true. God can use the ministry of marriage in our lives to change us to be more Christ-like…if we let it. Right now, Christian Book Distributors is selling it for only $5!!

For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

3 Things That Make Your Hubby LOVE Coming Home!

 

Being in military ministry, we work closely with young military families. Megan and her husband Mark had been married about two years, and had the cutest little 14 month old boy, Josiah. Megan was the typical young army wife, who married with stars in her eyes and ended her marriage with daggers in her hands. But at sometime between the stars and the daggers, we had the privilege of working with them for a few months.

I stopped by Megan’s house one day to visit. Brushing the crumbs off the couch, I sat and began to talk about the Lord. I tried not to notice, but toys and trash mingled together on the floor, and the coffee table was a mountain of who-knows-what. Her boy walked around clad in typical Tarzan fashion, in a diaper – a very smelly diaper! That was in itself not too bad, except after a time it started to bother me that no effort was made to change the boy. But the dog was very interested in the contents of the diaper, going up to little Josiah and licking the edges of his diaper at every chance he could. Of course, the family pet turned and licked the boy’s face!

Though that was disgusting enough, soon the boy found a long-lost bottle of mysterious liquid (complete with floaties of unknown origin!) and walked around drinking it!! While Megan’s back was turned, I relieved the boy of his bottle and took it to the kitchen sink, where I’m sure it remained for quite some time.

No wonder they were having marital trouble!

Someone once said “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and after that experience, I began to believe it!

Want a happy marriage? Keep your home in order. Or at least WORK on it. Never just “let it go.” I’m preaching to myself here, because these things are a real challenge for me. My sister, who grew up sharing a room with me, could tell you how horribly messy I am/was, but the Lord has done great things for me. Here are some things I have learned:

Keep your home CLEAN! Or a semblance of clean. Divide your home into 4 zones and clean each zone during its week. That way, your whole house gets a good cleaning at least once a month. And if you don’t get to all of it this month, no worries – it will come around again. For ideas for creating your own house cleaning schedules, see HouseCleaningTips.com, and for a template and printable, see this great article from Money Crashers.

Keep your home NEAT! Work on organizing and putting things away. All of these points are a struggle for me, but especially this one. I am the Queen of Clutter. My son told me once that I was the most “organized dis-organized person” he knows! But through systems such as the Flylady system, the Lord has helped me to make a lot of progress. In fact, I really got a blessing the other day when we had a bunch of people over for Memorial Day and my daughter commented, “You guys are so organized! You’re doing such a good job making this huge meal for a big crowd!” I would never have been able to do it pre-Flylady!

Keep your home nicely DECORATED! It doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart home, but there’s a lot you can do with thrift store items if you know what to buy and where to put it.

I am Decoration-Challenged, so I try to get some help for this one. My oldest daughter is really good at it, as are some of my friends, so I ask them for help. Generally, I just let them come up with ideas and I do it, knowing that I know nothing of decor! But you probably don’t have that problem. Maybe you’re really good at it, so here’s your chance to let your creativity shine!

Pinterest is probably your best place to get decorating ideas! Though I’m not on myself – I know I’d be swallowed up and never heard from again – I’ve stalked it a few times myself!

I didn’t mention this before, but your body is another “house” you need to take care of. Even the smallest effort to eat right, get some exercise, and dress up for your honey will be appreciated. Check out these posts here for some pointers, as well as some ideas from Trim Healthy Mamas and Crossfit Mom.

Beware perfectionism – don’t turn into Mrs. Law! I can hear it now: “What??!?” (voice rising) “You left your COFFEE CUP ON THE END TABLE??!!!??!” No, no, no! This is to be an IMPROVEMENT for your family, not a DESTRUCTION! Get the kids in on the clean up, and sit and enjoy your nice place, but let The Man be The Man. Believe it or not, he will eventually see the effort you are making, and begin to clean up after himself.

Don’t let your stars become daggers! Make the extra effort to work on your home and marriage, even just a little bit each day, and you’ll see tremendous benefits!

Don’t just take a journey…take a COURAGEOUS journey!

What systems do you use for cleaning and organizing your home? Do you have any decorating pointers we can use? How about some ideas for better fitness and nutrition?

Also, check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word,
and Happy Wives Club

Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage

Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

8 Ways to be Your Husband’s Best Friend

It’s been great to write about A Lasting Marriage! I hope you’ve had as much fun reading it as I have writing it! This week, I found some really great articles about “Being Your Spouses Best Friend” in my preparation for this week’s blog post. Michael Hyatt wrote an excellent article on How to Become Your Spouses Best Friend which gives a lot of food for thought. Danielle Peters, in Fancy Little Things, wrote 7 Ways to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend – a great article that gives more wonderful suggestions. And even if you’re not military, Veterans United has a great post on Beyond Loving Your Spouse: 25 Ways to be a Best Friend.

Here are some more ideas:

1. Accept your husband – dirty socks, gas, burps and all! One of our great desires is to be accepted as we are. Shouldn’t we do the same for our best friend?

2. Have fun together! Have a date and make sure there is some play time, too!

3. Feed him! It’s still true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” …even after 30 years! Make his favorite dishes and desserts. As he gets older, we may need to modify these for health’s sake, but don’t modify them so much that they become unrecognizable! Apple pie should never become rhubarb sauce…

4. Dress up for him. Of course, morning hair is going to happen, but if you’re still wearing your morning hair when he gets home from work, that’s a problem. Don’t get caught in your rollers and pjs in the afternoon! Dress nicely for him, and when you go out on a date, wear something that’s nice.

5. Flirt with him. Yes, even after all these years, still flirt with him. Wink at him across the room, or raise an eyebrow at him. Drape a bare thigh over his leg (when no one’s watching, of course) or lay a pair of your underwear on his shoulder as you walk by. Ah yes, you can get quite creative! It makes life very interesting.

6. Find his love language and speak love to him. According to Gary Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, they are: 1) Touch, 2) Giving, 3) Serving, 4) Talk, and 5) Time. Find out your hubby’s, and plan to love him the way he perceives love.

7. Get upset only at true sin. Dirty socks are not a sin, nor are farts or shoes on the steps. Eating ice cream out of the carton is not a sin, either. Pornography, on the other hand, is a sin, as is adultery and spiritual neglect. Take the things that may personally irritate you to God, but don’t blow up at him because he left his shoes on the steps. And if true sin is involved, approach him with meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

8. Learn to forgive. This is a big one, ladies. The only way I learned to forgive was when the Lord brought me face-to-face with my own faults, and I learned that mine are just as big and horrible, but different. It’s the same with you. Your sins may not be as glaring, but they’re still there. Learn to forgive, because you’ll need to be forgiven often yourself.

You may have only been married a year, or 20 years (or you could be like us…going on your 30th year!!) but you can still be best friends. You’re already taking a journey…now, make it a COURAGEOUS JOURNEY! Give it all you’ve got and watch exciting things happen!

Are you and your husband still great friends? Tell us about it! How do you maintain a close friendship with your spouse?

Check our Facebook page for “Destinations” (assignments for the day) to pump up your journey!

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, http://www.messymarriage.com/

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

4 Things That Will Send Your Marriage to the Divorce Court…and how to prevent them

John and Katy seemed to have it all. When we met them about 15 years ago, they had a beautiful, spacious house, several happy children, and an excellent income. It came as a complete shock when we learned of their divorce a few years ago. When we spoke with John recently, we discovered that Katy had  made some fatal mistakes that sealed the doom of their family.

What were they, you ask?

1. She was never satisfied with anything he did.
2. She criticized him to others.
3. She acted superior to him
4. She never made any playful gestures toward him.

Ever get the feeling she was just plain bitter toward him? I did. So, even though I was surprised that they got a divorce, I can say now, looking back, that I guess I saw it coming. Those times we got together were basically just “I-can’t-believe-he-can-be-so-stupid” sessions. If I had known then what I know now, I might have been in a position to provide some encouragement and help to their family.

How can we prevent bitterness from taking a horrible root in our marriages? Beth @ messy marriage.com has a great article about forgiveness, as does Sheila and Jolene @ thealabasterjar.com. In addition to their ideas, My husband and I found a few more to prevent that visit to the divorce lawyer.

1. Prayer – pray together every day
2. Play – goof around a little bit daily
3. Preen – make the extra effort to try to look good for the other.
4. Perseverance – dedicate ourselves to each other, and the permanency of marriage.

Over the next 4 weeks (or so!) we’ll be looking at these points in detail. It’s time to put a stop to the wreckage Satan is trying to make of our Christian homes, and be on the offensive! If you’re married, you may as well go ahead and throw yourself into it, and make it the very best marriage you possibly can.

Don’t hold back and be critical, like Katy did. Make up your mind that you will do everything in your power to chase away that Divorce lawyer.

Don’t just take a journey…take a COURAGEOUS journey!

 

Have you seen any of your friends’ marriages collapse? What do you think happened? How could it have been prevented?

 

 

Linking up with: Monday:
Alabaster Jar,
The Better Mom,
Raising Arrows
What Joy is Mine

Tuesday:
Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife

Wednesday:
To Love Honor and Vacuum

Marriage Crisis Cleaning!

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Ever feel like you were living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Most of us have been there; we know how horrifying it can be to hear a knock on the door and realize how awful our home looked. You know the routine. We get a phone call from Aunt Maude, and she says that she’s coming over. In fact, she’ll be here in 10 minutes! Oh, NO! Suddenly, we fly into action! Kids, trash and clutter start flying as we tear around the house trying to make some semblance of order to the place. This is what we call “Crisis Cleaning!”

For years now, I’ve been subscribed to a home organizing group called Flylady. Flylady has helped me so much, giving loving instruction and encouragement on how to slowly but surely remove clutter from my home and give my family a happy life. I rarely have to kick it into Crisis Clean Mode anymore.

But this month, I want to talk about our marriages. Sometimes our marriages are in a crisis. We’re not happy with our relationship to our spouse, and in fact, our marriage is a mess! None of us like to admit it, but sometimes we need help.

To see if you’re in a crisis, take the following quiz:

Do you find yourself:
– emotionally detaching from your husband
– wondering why you ever got married to begin with
– finding sex to be a burden
– walking on eggshells around your husband
– listening to a close friend who is having marital troubles
– wishing he could work longer hours
– or wishing YOU could find a job to take you out of the home when he’s there

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place. March Marriage Moments is just for you!

I got married as a 19 year old, having only been a Christian for 3 years. To say I was still “wet behind the ears” is the understatement of the century! Our first year was rocky at best, and in many respects, it went downhill from there. By the time we were married 7 years, we had three sweet children, but we argued all the time.

During this time in our lives, my husband pastored a small church. He had character flaws, and so did I. The combination was quite disastrous! One night, not long after the bank notified us that we were about to lose our home (which was incredibly messy,) we had a huge fight. Neither of us hit each other, but when I went to bed that night, I cried hot tears of anger. I desperately wanted to leave, but I couldn’t – the kids were asleep, and people were depending on me to pick them up for church the next day!

Let me tell you, we were at the lowest of the lows.

But God worked miracles in our marriage, and things are very different now. In the recovery room the other day, as I was doting on My Beloved who was recovering from surgery, the nurse said, “You two look like you never fight. Do you ever argue?” We both had to laugh! If only she knew…

So how did we make it for 29 years (and 7 kids), you ask? The ultimate answer, of course, is God. But there are certain things He showed us, and certain steps we took along the way that I’d like to share with you.

That’s what March Marriage Moments are all about. Each week, I’ll be posting some tips to help your marriage be stronger, and some ideas and activities you can do to draw you closer to your spouse. During the week, I’ll be posting on Facebook links to other good blogs, sites, or additional assignments that have helped me over the years. Maybe we can get some conversation going! And somewhere along the line, I hope to have a guest post by My Beloved himself! By the end of March, hopefully your crisis will have turned around to being on the road to calmness.

Your First Assignment: (if you dare to take it!)

Take a few minutes this week to honestly evaluate your marriage. If possible, do it with your spouse. But if he’s not available or not interested, that’s ok – much friction can be prevented if only one moving part gets oil.

Envision what you want your marriage to be like. Are there any couples you know who are really close? What do they do to be close? Is there something you can learn from them?

Finally, commit to greet your husband with a smile every morning and each time he comes home. It may be tough at first, but after a few days you will begin seeing some real progress from this ONE exercise alone!

Take some time this week to work on your marriage. It’s worth it!

Let us know if you’re taking the assignment! How’s it going?

Linking up with: The Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, Raising Arrows, What Joy is Mine, Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, Time Warp Wife, To Love, Honor and Vacuum

7 Ideas to Build Your Marriage

This week, I have a popular older post on marriage. Satan is seeking to destroy good homes, so it’s important that we continue to strengthen them.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

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This week, like a knife in the gut, I learned that a friend had gotten a divorce.

The strangest thing about it is that the husband is a fine Christian man, and they had a desire to serve the Lord.

How can two people who love the Lord get along so badly that they get a divorce??

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My husband and I have been talking at length lately, discussing the road so many people travel which leads to divorce. It appears as though a pattern ultimately lead to the demise of the family.

For now, however, let’s talk about:

{How a wise woman can build her house}

Imagine a man building a wall. Brick by brick, piece by piece, he lays down first the foundation, and then the first layer, and the second, and so on. He works with a smile, knowing this is for his family, whom he loves dearly. It may not be perfect, because he’s only young and has never done this before, but his heart is in it, and it is his own personal labor of love.

Soon his wife appears. He looks at her with a grin but stops when he notices her frown. Striding to the wall, she points at it and sneers, “What’s this? A mess?? What are you thinking?!? I can’t believe you would try to build a wall using those bricks!” She begins pulling at the blocks, berating him at the same time. He drops his head and slowly walks away, shoulders drooping.

That woman is fast on her way to tearing down her house, and living in low-income housing with no protection whatsoever.

How can this marriage be saved? What can be done to help this situation?

Here are some ideas my husband and I thought of for building a strong marriage:

1. Don’t tear down the wall your husband is trying to build. Simply have a little self-control and keep your mouth shut.

This is where a direct line to God is really wonderful! You may not be able to say anything to anybody, but does that mean you have to leave it festering inside? Of course not! Does that mean that nothing will ever be done about the situation?? Of course not! Why not take your frustrations too the Lord, who can turn the rivers! (see Proverbs 21:1)

2. Decorate the wall! Make the most out of a less-than-perfect situation! So your man wants to start up a new business, and you have to sacrifice to help come up with the needed money. You may even think he will fail! The wall seems crooked and out of fashion. That’s ok; make the most of it! Support your husband, be his cheerleader! Determine that you will be happy, no matter what, because happiness is not in happenings, it is in the Lord. Decorate that wall, crooked though it may be, and your good taste and cheer will be the driving force behind his success.

3. Admire the good that he does – out loud! (And don’t forget to feel his strong muscles every once in a while!) 😉 It sure does add some honey to the romance.

4. Praise for effort, not performance. Thank him for his hard work on a job or around the house.

5. Support him by making good meals and greeting him nicely dressed. No hair-rollers when hubby comes to the door!

6. Visit him while he’s involved in his projects; sometimes you can even co-labor with him. For example, you could bring him iced tea while he’s mowing the grass.

7. Ask the Lord to help you build up your marriage and not tear it down. Marriages do not fall apart in a night, and they do not get built in a night. Be willing to take some time to work on it and wait patiently for the rewards.

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The rewards may be long in coming, but they will come! After all, where will you be in ten years? Determine that you will be happily married (to the same man, of course!).

Let’s do what we can to build up our marriages.

Linking up with To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog and The Alabaster Jar.