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Category Archives: Marriage

Steps You Can Take to ‘Affair Proof’ Your Marriage


There’s no way to absolutely guarantee that your marriage won’t be blindsided by an affair on your part or your spouse’s, but there are definite steps you can take to greatly reduce the probability of that happening.

It’s important to know what you can do to strengthen your marital connection and keep your marriage vibrant and healthy. A rewarding, satisfying marriage that meets the needs of both partners is your best protection against the destructive intrusion of an affair.

So what can you do to “affair proof” your marriage as much as possible?

Tips for Avoiding the Affair

The following twelve steps will guide you in building a stronger marriage partnership and help you and your spouse to withstand the lusty lure of temptation:

  1. Make your relationship with your spouse your top priority in the hierarchy involving family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others.
    Make a real commitment of time, energy, and effort to your marriage. You can end up pulled in so many different directions and over-extended that your most valuable and precious relationship can end up at the bottom of the list unless you make it a top priority.
  2. Nurture the emotional intimacy in your marriage.
    Make time to talk each day, not just about the events that have happened, but also about your feelings. Share on an emotional level—your fears, your frustrations, your joys, your disappointments, and your challenges. Let your partner know how much you value being able to talk to him or her about anything and to connect on a deep level.
  3. Show appreciation on a regular basis.
    Be generous with compliments and thank you’s. Tell your spouse at least once a week how much you appreciate him or her and list the qualities that you love, admire, and respect. Don’t worry that you’ve said these things before—no one gets tired of hearing their good traits praised!
  4. Spend time together doing fun things and just “hanging out.”
    Bonding can deepen when you and your spouse have unstructured time to just relax and hang out together. If every minute of your time together is tightly scheduled and rushed, you’ll miss out on opportunities to be spontaneous. Look for fun things to do—a picnic in the park, a hike, trying a new restaurant, going out dancing, or going swimming.
  5. Keep your sex life active.
    Sometimes being sick or fatigued gets in the way of sexual desire, as does family stress like caring for an ill or aging parent. Certainly the energy and time required to raise children can leave parents drained and “on empty.” In spite of these challenges, it’s essential to make time for sex. The sobering reality is that most spouses are more vulnerable to flirtations and sexual advances from others when their sex life is unhappy at home.
  6. Discuss and resolve issues as they come up.
    Don’t just bury them or neglect trying to resolve them. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable and causing long-term damage to your relationship. Above all—communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep the communication door wide open at all times.
  7. Talk about the problem of infidelity and know that it can strike any marriage.
    Bring the subject out into the open and express your feelings and deepest fears. Brainstorm with your spouse about how you can keep your marriage strong and what the two of you think would be helpful in preventing an affair from happening. Commit to telling your spouse if you feel vulnerable or if things start getting out of control in any situation.
  8. Share goals for the present and future that inspire you.
    When you and your spouse share common goals that you’re passionate about, you will feel closer to each other and more connected. It helps you to feel like a real team. The feeling of partnership is important in deepening commitment to each other. Whatever your mutual dream is, the passion you bring to pursuing it can draw you closer together.
  9. Make wise decisions about contact with the opposite sex at work and other settings.
    You may encounter special situations and temptations on business trips or at business parties or in your work setting. Talk frankly with your spouse and agree on what you both feel comfortable with. If your spouse is on a business trip and the group goes out dancing, will you be upset if your spouse participates? Plan ahead and head off potential problems.
  10. Know the danger signals.
    Many affairs have started with individuals sharing intimate personal information with each other on a regular basis while not confiding in their respective spouses. Intimacy can mushroom quickly when secrecy is involved and a feeling of connection develops. Other danger signals are having increased sexual excitement about seeing someone in particular, being in settings with lots of alcohol and drinking when your spouse isn’t present, and being more vulnerable than usual due to feelings of loneliness, rejection, or anger at your spouse.
  11. Celebrate your love, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions. Value your marriage and take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate, such as your wedding anniversary, the date that you met, your spouse’s birthday, and any other special days that the two of you share. This helps to keep the romance alive and also to keep your connection strong. Celebrate your love, your time together, your plans for the future, and the priceless present moment.
  12. Support each other’s goals.
    Make a commitment to help your spouse be all that he or she is capable of being. Your marriage is only strengthened when each of you is happy and fulfilled with your life. It’s to your advantage to help your spouse reach goals that are important to him or her, even if they aren’t your particular goals. Be positive and encouraging of your spouse’s desires to live up to his or her potential. —By Nancy Wasson, Ph.D.
 
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Posted by on February 28, 2020 in Marriage

 

The Myth of “Happily Ever After”


marriage-mythsWe see from 1 Peter 3 that the believing wife can win over her unbelieving husband “without words” by her Christ-like behavior in the home.

We also saw that there are three things she is not ‘given permission’ by God to do: She cannot leave. She should not nag. She must not lead…the husband is still head of that home and, unless he is against God, she must continue following in that relationship.

We have often heard the phrase “happily ever after” when attending a wedding of two special people, deeply in love, and making vows before God, family, and friends. The Disney empire has fed our romantic fantasies for fairy tales so we are captivated by storybook romance.

This is not the Christian view. Our faith sees the wedding day not as a place of arrival but the place where the adventure begins.”1

The divorce rate in our culture is at an all-time high. Whatever happened to “happily ever after”? Why is it so hard to maintain the hopes and dreams that surround a beautiful wedding with all its promises of love and fidelity, sacrifice and service?

Marriage counselors Les and Leslie Parrott have an idea. In their excellent book Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, they suggest four myths that have torpedoed many marriages because of unrealistic expectations and misconceptions about what marriage should be.

“For too long,” the Parrotts write, “marriage has been saddled with unrealistic expectation and misguided assumptions. Liberated from these four myths, couples can settle into the real world of marriage—with all its joys and sorrows, passion and pain.”2

Many people know that something is wrong but they don’t know what; and you can’t fix or change something if you don’t know what’s wrong in the first place. Many of our marriage problems are due to harmful expectations and beliefs that fly in the face of “real reality.” One divorce lawyer told the Parrotts that the number-one reason people split up is that they “refuse to accept the fact that they are married to a human being.”3 In this article we bust the myth of “happily ever after.”

Myth #1: “We Expect Exactly the Same Things From Marriage”

When people are in love, it’s easy to assume that the other person has the same values and expectations as we do. But every family has its own culture, so to speak, and we tend to expect life will continue the same way once we’re adults as it was while we were growing up. One way these differing expectations play out is in the unspoken rules of each family.

We are usually not aware of our unspoken rules and expectations unless there is much time to ‘get to know each other’ or until the other person violates them.

I recently heard a great word of wisdom: “Expectations are the mother of resentments.” How true is that?! When our spouse doesn’t live up to our unspoken expectations, we can feel frustrated and irritated, and often we don’t even know why we’re upset because we don’t know what’s wrong. It’s helpful to think through “the rules” of one’s family so that unspoken rules and expectations are brought out into the light of examination.

Here are some rules from various families:

  • Don’t ask for help unless you’re desperate.
    • Downplay your successes.
    • Be invisible.
    • Get someone else to do the hard or dirty work.
    • Don’t get sick.
    • Never ever get angry.
    • Don’t talk about your body.
    • Don’t go to bed without cleaning the kitchen.
    • Don’t talk about your feelings.
    • Don’t ever upset Daddy.

Can you see how these unspoken rules can cause havoc if a spouse doesn’t know about them?

Another source of mismatched expectations is the unconscious roles that spouses fall into, the way an actor follows a script. We inherit expectations about how wives and husbands act by watching our parents and other adults, and we often play out those roles the same way unless we choose to change it. For example, one new husband surprised his wife at dinner by picking up his empty iced tea glass and tinkling the ice cubes.

His father had always signaled this way to his mother that he was ready for more tea. The bride was not pleased to learn that her husband expected to play the role of pampered king whose every whim was gladly granted!

The myth that “we expect exactly the same things from marriage” is busted by identifying and talking about unspoken expectations and unconscious roles. The more openly couples discuss their differing expectations, the more likely they are to create a vision of marriage that they can agree on. It’s good planning to work through some of those “my family does it this way” scenarios well in advance of the actual marriage ceremony.

Myth #2: “Everything Good in Our Relationship Will Get Better”

Most people, when they fall in love, really believe their love will last forever because it’s so intense and intoxicating. It’s hard not to believe that everything good about the relationship will just continue to get better and better as time goes on. But reality “is that not everything gets better. Many things improve in relationships, but some things become more difficult. Every successful marriage requires necessary losses, and in choosing to marry, you inevitably go through a mourning process.”4

For some, marriage means giving up childhood. It means giving up the safety and security of being your parents’ child, and becoming a full-fledged adult. God makes this statement in Genesis 2:24 when He says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Marriage means the end of childhood, and that can feel like a loss to be mourned.

Marriage also “means giving up a carefree lifestyle and coming to terms with new limits. It means unexpected inconveniences.”5 Marriage means always passing one’s plans and choices through the filter of “us.” Since “the two become one,” many of our even mundane life choices impact someone else. That can feel like a loss to be faced, as well.

The Parrotts write, “By far the most dramatic loss experienced in a new marriage is the idealized image you have of your partner. This was the toughest myth we encountered in our marriage. Each of us had an airbrushed mental picture of who the other was. But eventually, married life asked us to look reality square in the face and reckon with the fact that we did not marry the person we thought we did.”6

It is an illusion that the intense romantic thrill of the beginning of a relationship will last forever. “Debunking the myth of eternal romance will do more than just about anything to help . . . build a lifelong happy marriage.”7 When we get past the myth of continual bliss with a perfect partner, we can embrace the reality that we married another flawed and fallen human being. This is good news, because God only gives grace for reality, nor for illusion or temporary enchantment. And this is good news because intimacy is only available with a real person, not with an idealized image.

Myth #3: “Everything Bad in My Life Will Disappear”

Remember the story of Cinderella? A poor, mistreated stepchild who is forced to serve her wicked step-family is magically turned into a beautiful princess. She is rescued by her Prince Charming and they live . . . all together now . . . “happily ever after.” And don’t we all long for a Prince Charming or a beautiful princess to make us happy and wipe away every tear from our eyes?

The myth of a “happily ever after” life is a legitimate longing of our hearts. We ache to return to Eden where everything bad in our lives will disappear. God promises that He will eventually make all things right again, but it doesn’t happen in marriage between two fallen human beings living in a fallen world.

Marriage is a glorious institution invented by God, but it “does not erase personal pain or eliminate loneliness. Why? Because people get married primarily to further their own well-being, not to take care of their partners’ needs. The bad traits and feelings you carried around before you were married remain with you as you leave the wedding chapel. A marriage certificate is not a magical glass slipper.”8

The Parrotts write, “Getting married cannot instantly cure all our ills, but marriage can become a powerful healing agent over time. If you are patient, marriage can help you overcome even some of the toughest of tribulations.”9

Perhaps the biggest reason for this is the amazing power of love. I believe God’s love is the strongest healing agent in the universe. In marriage, He can love us through our spouses; He can be “Jesus with skin on” to each of us.

A healthy marriage can become a place to wrap up unfinished business from childhood and deal with unresolved hurts. It’s a myth that everything bad in our lives will disappear when we say “I do,” but God’s grace is bigger than the myth. We still live in a fallen world with a fallen spouse, but God can bring much grace through mutual love.

Myth #4: “My Spouse Will Make Me Whole”

One of the greatest lines in all of movie history belongs to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire where he tells his wife, “You complete me.” It is romantic and feels emotionally satisfying—but in reality, it’s just not true.

Couples who swallow the myth that their spouse will make them whole are in danger of going to one of two extremes. One is an unhealthy dependence on the other that the Parrotts term an enmeshed relationship. They unconsciously make their partner completely responsible for their well-being. They are like ticks that constantly attempt to suck life and love and meaning from their spouse. It is a form of idolatry, because they are looking to their partner to provide emotional “living water” that only God can give.

The other extreme is a disengaged relationship of what the Parrotts call “rugged self-reliance.” These spouses are so isolated and independent from each other that they function more like neighbors or business associates than a God-created union of two souls.

The first kind of couple is looking for wholeness from their partner; the second kind of couple is looking for wholeness from within. It is also a form of idolatry, because they are looking to themselves instead of God to provide meaning for life.

Neither enmeshed nor disengaged relationships are healthy, and neither will allow the people in them to experience wholeness. A sense of wholeness is found in an interdependent relationship where two people with self-respect and dignity make a commit-ment to nurture their own spiritual and emotional growth as well as their partner’s.

Enmeshed relationships are like the capital letter A. They lean on each other so much that if one moves, the whole structure falls down. Their security is in another person instead of in God.

Disengaged relationships are like the letter H. Partners stand virtually alone. If one lets go, the other hardly feels a thing. Interdependent relationships are like the letter M. They could stand on their own, but they choose to stay connected to the other out of their fullness, not out of their emptiness. If one lets go, the other feels a loss but can recover.

Every marriage is between two broken and fallen people who cannot make each other whole. We are called to love and respect each other, serve and celebrate each other—but only God can make us whole.

“Happily ever after” may be for fairy tales, but that doesn’t mean there is no such thing as a happy, rich, fulfilling marriage. But it’s only possible for those who live in reality, not in the fantasy of make-believe myths. May God give us grace to trust Him to walk in truth and not illusion.

________________

Notes

  1. Les and Leslie Parrott. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 26.
    2. Ibid., 16.
    3. Ibid., 23.
    4. Ibid., 21.
    5. Ibid., 22.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid.
    8. Ibid., 24.
    9. Ibid., 25.
 
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Posted by on February 21, 2020 in Marriage

 

“Heaven In The Home: God’s Plan For His Family” Series #5  Marriage: Honor and Purity Hebrews 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:1-9


marriage2(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

We need to discuss a sensitive issue today, and I can assure you I will be very aware of what is being said and how it is discussed.

I heard a list some time ago of some topics that are sure to “draw a crowd.” Issues related to sexuality are a sure thing, And studies of the “end times” is also on the list. It only seems normal to assume that a sermon on whether there is “sex at the end of time” would really draw a crowd.

I do feel a strong connection to the minister who was asked to speak on the subject of Sexuality at a ladies community group. He was a little embarrassed and stammered around when his wife asked him the subject he’d been assigned – she thought he said “sailing” when she asked for the topic.

The next day his wife met a lady from the community group and she just went on and on about how good her husband’s talk went. “I’m a little surprised,” she said (thinking his subject had been sailing). “He’s only actually done it twice in his life.  The first time he lost his favorite hat, and the second time he threw up.”

The erosion of marriage is a constant refrain in political debate and a legitimate concern for society in general. In God’s eyes, marriage is honorable. He established it at creation and has honored it ever since. In much of the world today, of course, marriage is anything but honored. A great many couples who marry do so as a temporary convenience, not as a social, much less a divine, requirement for their living together.

Under relentless attack from every direction especially the Media portrayal of family on TV and in the movies and in magazines. cheapening of sexual intimacy; reality TV sleaze shows – auction off a bride or groom…government policy – marriage tax penalty…marriage is passé, out of date, no longer valid – we’ve evolved past needing it…

For us, however, as Christians, this is not a matter of mere tolerance or benign approval of an institution, but a commitment to honor!

Marriage can be held in honor in many ways.

  1. One is by the husband’s being the head. God is glorified in a family where the husband rules. “The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:23).
  2. Another way is a corollary of the first, namely, that wives be submissive to their husbands (1 Pet. 3:1, 6).

(1 Peter 3:1)  “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,”

  1. A third way marriage is honored is by being regulated by mutual love and respect. “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (v. 7).

Scripture gives at least three reasons for marriage.

  1. One is the propagation of children.

At creation, mankind was commissioned to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

  1. Marriage is also provided as a means of preventing sexual sin.

“Because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2), Paul advises, and then goes on to counsel the unmarried and widows to marry if they do not have self-control (vv. 8-9).

1 Cor 7:1 – 9: “Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.£  2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.  3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  4The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.  5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  6I say this as a concession, not as a command.  7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

  1. Marriage is also provided for companionship.

“God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’” (Gen. 2:18).

REASONS IT IS CONFUSING IN OUR SOCIETY

  1. Sex as a commodity. Sex sells. Why does the poster for welding equipment feature a woman in a bikini? That’s not proper attire for welding. We know why. We have been taught that sex sells. The sports car does not come with the beautiful girl, but men buy the sports car anyway. We have been taught that sex sells. Sex has become a commodity. The buying and selling of sexuality is not limited to prostitution. Victoria’s Secret does not sell underwear. It sells sexuality.

We are always pressured to buy the lie. The cosmetic surgery industry is growing at an astonishing rate. The goal is to enhance features of the human anatomy to make one sexy and youthful. Sex sells. It is good business. Pharmaceuticals to enhance and effect sexual ability are also a growing industry.

God didn’t intend for sex to be merchandise. Sex and sexuality are powerful forces, much more powerful than capitalism and consumerism. When sex is regarded as a commodity, people just might break the rules to “get it.”

2. Sex as an idol. God has already given us a word to live by regarding idolatry. Throughout history, people have carved images of sex gods. Sex has been worshipped and humans have submitted to sex as a power for ages. But that mythological nonsense is all in the past yes? We don’t have temples to sex gods and goddesses anymore, do we? Not with bricks and mortar, no. But we do build shrines of electronic lights and pixels. Pornography is a real power that can work its “magic” in someone’s life as effectively as any force. We like to think that we can control our idols, but in the end they tend to dominate us. 

3. Sex as (nothing more than) a personal choice. Even if we aren’t gratuitous or shocking, talking about sex publicly can be uncomfortable. That’s part of our problem. Although sex is a very intimate subject and does have something to do with our private world, we can go to the extreme of making it so private and personal that we no longer have anything to say about it publicly. And yet, that’s what this word from God is all about. God is affirming that there are certain societal covenants and boundaries that must be respected by all of us when it comes to sex.

This is what the marriage ceremony is all about. We are affirming as a people (single and married) a public statement about human sexuality. This is why the arguments about the definition of marriage are so fierce. It isn’t merely personal choice. If I go into my neighbor’s back yard and move the fence simply because I wanted it moved I am going to have a fight on my hands. Likewise, the ancient boundaries and covenants are not casually tampered with.

So it is doesn’t really work when we trample on marital fidelity and dismiss the breaking of covenants as a matter of personal choice. God intended sex to be something that everyone respects and when everyone doesn’t respect it the way God does, it is cheapened.

Sins Harming Marriage

Premarital sex

(Matthew 19:4-6) “”Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ {5} and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? {6} So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.””

(Acts 15:29) “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.”

(Galatians 5:19-21) “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; {20} idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions {21} and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Homosexuality

Homosexuals want our children to believe their relationships are acceptable.

(Romans 1:26-27)  “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. {27} In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

Adultery

(Matthew 5:28)  “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
10  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2020 in Marriage

 

Heaven In The Home: God’s Plan For His Family #4 – “The Biblical Model for Love”


151459597_640The meaning of love.

  1. Storge: family love; the love of parents for children, children for parents, brothers and sisters for each other.
  2. Eros: sensual love. It means a love that is egocentric, “wanting to have,” seeking union with the object of its desire. The value that evokes it is found in the thing loved.
  3. Philia: friendship; love given to all kinds of human beings, shown in such terms as philadelphia, brotherly love.
  4. Agape: a spontaneous impulse of the heart to desire that which is good for the one loved, and it will be at my cost. There are no prerequisites, no conditions, no requirements.

What these words mean to marriage.

  1. Storge: “my family is important to me. I want my family to be important to you. I recognize that your family is important to you. Your family will also be important to me.”
  2. Eros: “I am physically attracted to you.”
  3. Philia: “Í like you. I enjoy being with you, going places with you, experiencing things with you.”
  4. Agape: “I will be good to you. I will treat you with patience and kindness, with courtesy, consideration, and deep concern. That is an unconditional promise. I will always, under all circumstances, treat you that way.”

Agape

Agape is self-giving love, gift love, the love that goes on loving even when the other becomes unlovable. Agape love is not just something that happens to you; it is something you make happen.  Love is a personal act of commitment. Christ’s love (and hence the pattern for our love) is a gift love. Christ’s love for us is a sacrificial love. Christ’s love is unconditional. Christ’s love is an eternal love.

Agape is unconditional

That means:

  1. There are no conditions necessary.
  2. You don’t have to earn my love.
  3. You don’t have to deserve my love.
  4. You don’t have to measure up to any standard to get me to love you.
  5. You don’t have to work for my love.
  6. You don’t even have to appreciate my love.

Agape is not a feeling. It is an act of the will. Agape is a commitment to act in the best interest of another without any conditions on his/her part, except his/her need. Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.

Philia

In a good marriage, the husband and wife are also friends. Philia’s companionship is many things…being reasonably happy to go shopping with her…watching TV together and munching popcorn…feeling lonely when he/she is out of town.

Friendship also means communication. Philia’s communication is many things…sharing something you read in a book or magazine…reminiscing how you had to catch all the mice and remove all the bats before you could move into your apartment…eating breakfast together without the morning paper…agreeing on the design of the new wallpaper for Jane’s room…having the courage to tell you her you don’t that dress she’s trying on.

Philia is also cooperation. While eros is almost always face-to-face relationship, philia is very often a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship. When there is philia, husband and wife are working together on something greater than both of them. They are finding their oneness, not directly in each other, but in their interest in a common cause. In eros, each seeks fulfillment in the other; in philia, they both seek fulfillment in one mutual goal.

Married Love

“You have said to another, “I will,” and with those words you have declared your voluntary assent and turned a crucial point in their lives. You know full well all the doubts and suspicions with which a life-long partnership between two persons is faced. It is you as a married couple who must bear the whole responsibility for the success of your married life, with all the happiness it will bring. It is not your love which sustains the marriage, from now on the marriage sustains your love.”

“I will give to you a love that is patient…a love that is kind, a love that endures. I will pledge to you a love that is not jealous or possessive, a love that is not proud or selfish, a love that is not rude or inconsiderate.

“My love for you will not insist in its own way, will not be irritable or resentful, will not keep account of wrongs or failures. I will rejoice when good prevails.

“Our love will know no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It will outlast everything. Our love will stand when all else has fallen. Our life together will have three great qualities: faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love.”

Marriage was designed by God to provide companionship.

“…not good to be alone” the key to a great marriage is delightful companionship. Long-term, delightful companionship is at its best in an intimate friendship!

How Love Acts (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Some reasons why our families are in trouble

  1. Lack of commitment.

“When reference is made to an individual’s ‘commitment’ to marriage, what is being described is the degree to which that person is willing to compromise self-interest, personal ideals of perfection, indulgence in tastes, and so forth, so that a particular relationship can continue. The alternative to making a commitment is not having a relationship – that is remaining alone.” — William J. Lederer, The Mirages of Marriage, 1968, p. 196.

  1. Too much attention to the urgent; not enough attention to the important.
  2. Decentralization – the average home has released or delegated too much of its responsibility to others who are not as crucial to raising good children.
  3. The expectations for a marriage are set too high

Whatever marriage can be, it ought to be! Marriage is sustained by self-discipline and evaluated through growth.

Practical advice for the wife

  1. Remember why he fell in love with you in the first place. Remember and build on them. Don’t stop the courtship.
  2. Be his wife not his child….and don’t be his mother. Learn to handle difficulties like an adult. Be a helper – not a burden. He will worship the ground you walk on if you are a “trooper” when the going gets rough!
  3. Build him up. No one on earth can build him up as high as you can, and by the same token, no one on earth can tear him down as low as you can. If there is some way you want him to change or develop, encourage him in that direction, but don’t try to push him! Be very considerate of his feelings.
  4. Learn to live on his salary and make him feel like he is a very good provider. Never make him feel that he is a failure as a provider.
  5. Make his home his castle. Make home a refuge for him. Most men don’t notice if a house is deep-down clean, but they notice if it is upside down. Feed him meals he enjoys. Make sure he realizes that he is more important to you than your parents or your children. Make him glad he came home. Make it obvious to children as well as friends that he is the head of the family.
 
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Posted by on January 23, 2020 in Family, Marriage

 

Quiz for Couples — How’s Your Marriage?


This quiz is based on an understanding of many key studies in the field. Following the Quiz you can add up your points and use the scale to see how you are doing. You should take the scores seriously, but realize that there is a lot that the quiz doesn’t take into account about your relationship.

While these questions are based on studies that assess such things as the likelihood of a marriage working out, we would hate for any one person to take this and assume the worst about their future. Rather, we believe that the quiz can motivate high and medium- high scoring couples to take a serious look at where their marriage is heading–and take steps to turn negative patterns around for the better.

Please answer each of the following questions to see how you are doing. We recommend that you answer these questions by yourself and not share scores with your partner.

Use the following 3 point scale to rate how often you and your mate or partner experience the following:

1 = Never or almost never  2 = Once in awhile  3 = Frequently 

1 2 3 Little arguments escalate into ugly fights with accusations, criticisms, name calling, or bringing up past hurts.

1 2 3 My partner criticizes or belittles my opinions, feelings, or desires.

1 2 3 My partner seems to view my words or actions more negatively than I mean them to be.

1 2 3 When we have a problem to solve, it is like we are on opposite teams.

1 2 3 I hold back from telling my partner what I really think and feel.

1 2 3 I think seriously about what it would be like to date or marry someone else.

1 2 3 I feel lonely in this relationship.

1 2 3 When we argue, one of us withdraws, that is, doesn’t want to talk about it anymore; or leaves the scene.

Determining Your Score:
Add up your points to determine your score. (Include only your scores, do not add to your partner’s!) The ranges we suggest for the quiz are based on results from a nationwide, random phone survey of 947 people (85% married).

8 to 12 “Green Light”
If your total points is in the 8 – 12 range, your relationship is probably in good or even great shape AT THIS TIME, but we emphasize “AT THIS TIME” because relationships don’t stand still. In the next 12 months, you’ll either have a stronger, happier relationship, or you could head in the other direction. To think about it another way, it’s like you are traveling along and have come to a green light. There is no need to stop, but it is probably a great time to work on making your relationship all it can be.

13 to 17 “Yellow Light”
If you scored in the 13-17 range, it’s like you are coming to a “yellow light.” You need to be cautious. While you may be happy now in your relationship, your score reveals warning signs of patterns you don’t want to let get worse. You’ll want to be taking action to protect and improve what you have. Spending time to strengthen your relationship now could be the best thing you could do for your future together.

18 to 24 “Red Light”
Finally, if you scored in the 18-24 range, it’s like approaching a red light. Stop, and think about where the two of you are headed. Your score indicates the presence of patterns that could put your relationship at significant risk. You may be heading for trouble–or already may be there. But there is GOOD NEWS. You can stop and learn ways to improve your relationship now!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2019 in Marriage

 

Suggestions gleaned from 48 years of a happy marriage


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The key to a successful marriage is treating your spouse as the ‘most important person in the world’ every day and putting their needs ahead of your own.

  1. Listen
    To be truly heard is the longing  of every human heart, and your wife is no exception. It sounds simple, but  listening can be harder than it seems with so many distractions around us and within us. Set aside some time every day to look into yourwife’s eyes and really listen to what she has to say. You may be surprised at what you hear. (James 1:19Matthew 11:15)
  2. Communicate
    Don’t make her guess what you are thinking or feeling. Talk.
  3. Sing  Her Praises
    Shamelessly brag about her good qualities and quietly pray about her bad ones. Her reputation is your reputation. (Proverbs 31:28-29)
  4. Pray For Her
    Praying on your wife’s behalf  not only enlists the help of the Almighty, but also puts her and her needs at the forefront of your heart and mind, right where they belong.(Philippians 4:6Matthew 18:19)
  5. Value Her Individuality
    Your wife is wonderfully unique. Don’t compare her to your mom, or your ex-wife, or your old girlfriend.  Your mom may make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but unfavorable comparisons won’t win you brownie points.
  6. Put the Seat Down
    Perpetually raised toilet seats are a pet peeve of wives everywhere. And while you’re at it, tidy up a bit. A little consideration goes a long way. (Philippians 2:4)
  7. Throw  Your Dirty Clothes in the Hamper
    It’s likely just a few steps from wherever you are dropping them anyway. Make this a habit, and it will let your wife know your don’t consider her your personal maid.
  8. Turn  Off the T.V.
    Lay aside the video games, pocket the iPhone, and shut off the computer, as well. It is staggering how many hours we waste gazing at some sort of screen instead of      interacting with the real people in our lives. Consciously set limits on      your tube-time, whatever form it takes. Use the time saved to invest in      your marriage: take a walk with your wife or play a board game together      instead. (Psalm 90:12)
  9. Loosen  the Purse Strings
    We all have to keep an eye on our budget, but an occasional splurge can be well worth it. Seemingly frivolous things like flowers, jewelry, and overpriced restaurants let her know that she is more valuable to you than a number in your bank account.
  10. Practice  Servant-Leadership
    All organizations have a  hierarchy. It’s impossible to function without one, but being a leader isn’t the same as being a dictator. The best role model is Jesus Christ, not Joseph Stalin. Jesus washed his disciples feet and then died on their behalf. It’s a challenge to exercise authority while maintaining a spirit of humility, but that is what being a godly leader entails. (Matthew 20:28,Philippians 2:1-8Mark 9:35)
  11. Remember that Intimacy’s a Two-Way Street
    Unfortunately, men are  notoriously selfish in the bedroom, yet are dumbfounded when their wives are less than enthusiastic in this arena. Make this area of your relationship as pleasurable for her as it is for you and it will pay huge dividends. It may mean washing the dishes or helping with the kids, so that she has energy left at the end of the day. It may mean cuddling  and candlelight, so that she can relax and let the worries on her mind drift away. If you aren’t sure where to begin, just ask her, and then listen. (1 Corinthians 7:3)
  12. Give Her Time to Herself
    Everyone needs an occasional break to rest and recharge, and this is especially important for a wife who is at home all day with young children. Yet it’s very easy to neglect this legitimate need unless you regularly and intentionally schedule time  for it. (Luke 5:16)
  13. Set Aside Couple Time
    Soak in the tub together each evening or go on a date night once a week — whatever gets the two of you alone on a regular basis. (Genesis 2:24-25)
  14. Be Careful with Female Friendships
    We all have friends and colleagues of the opposite sex, but tread cautiously. Not all affairs are physical ones. Honoring your marriage vows means remaining faithful in thought and word as well as in deed. (Matthew 5:27-28)
  15. Use Good Hygiene.
    It is amazing how meticulous guys can be prior to marriage in their attempts to impress a girl, but once they walk down the aisle, all bets are off. Clean up a little; I promise it won’t kill you.
  16. Limit the Gross Stuff
    Few women find burping nearly as hilarious as the typical guy does. Good manners are always a win. (Ephesians 5:4)
  17. Be Patient
    In whatever way this applies to you and your situation, apply it. (1 Corinthians 13:4Proverbs 14:29)
  18. Cherish  Her Children (they are your children, too)
    A mother’s bond to her children runs immeasurably deep. When you invest time or energy in them, you are investing in her as well. Kindness to them counts as kindness to her. (Malachi 4:6)
  19. Choose Her Over Hobbies and Buddies
    Invariably there will come times in your relationship when you will be forced to choose between your wife and something else that you enjoy. Always choose her.
  20. Provide for Her Needs
    This is so much more than just putting food on the table. It is all-encompassing. Whether it is physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, you name it — do your best to provide. Sometimes life’s circumstances hinder us in one area, but we can      compensate in another area. Often the effort is as important as the outcome. (Galatians 6:2)
  21. Dial Down the Anger
    Your caveman instincts are handy on the battlefield, but horrible for a happy home life. Every outburst or flare-up is a relationship setback. To go forward, the first step is to stop going backwards. Learn to control your temper or it will control you, your marriage, and every other aspect of your life. Just because your wife puts up with it and your co-workers tolerate it, doesn’t make your short fuse an asset. Do whatever it takes to gain victory in this all-important struggle that has haunted man since Cain slew Abel. (Ecclesiastes      7:9,Ephesians 4:31)
  22. Cut Out the Condescension
    If you have been blessed with a quick wit, you can either be the life of the party or a pain in the neck depending on the circumstances. Condescension is anger’s younger brother. It isn’t as loud or as dramatic, but it can be equally hurtful and all the more so for its subtlety. Lay off the snide remarks, the sarcasm, and the belittling. Speak to your wife in the same way that you would speak to a respected colleague. She is, after all, your partner in the most valuable investment of your life — your family.(, (Ephesians 4:29Colossians 3:19)
  23. Actively Seek Your Wife’s Insights
    Value her input and give it a preferential place in your decision-making process. (Proverbs 19:2012:15)
  24. Learn to Forgive
    Freely forgive your wife’s past, present, and future offenses. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and at the heart of every meaningful relationship. (Ephesians 4:32Colossians 3:13)
  25. Verbally Express Your Love
    There are lots of ways to show your love, but women still like to hear it spoken.

Obviously no list is comprehensive, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but hopefully this one will prompt you to compile a list of your own, tailor-made for your own wife.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2019 in Marriage

 

Witness Without Words – 1 Peter 3:1-2


1 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)
1  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2  when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

In an intimate relationship like marriage, actions often speak louder than words. Words get preachy, but actions demonstrate reality.

Words can create division, but loving action builds trust. Words lay out propositional truth—the information about salvation—but actions show the living Christ in the believer’s heart and life.

Did Peter forbid a spouse to witness? Obviously not. Words built on trust and love can transform a life.

Does Peter downplay street preaching, testimonies, sermons, and personal witnessing? Truly not. He was advising married partners how to treat unbelieving spouses.

If your husband is a nonbeliever, you can strengthen your marriage not by preaching, but by living, loving, and letting God provide the opportunity for you to witness.

Under the circumstances, the wives’ best approach would be witnessing by their behavior. Their attitude should reflect loving service: They should show their husbands the kind of self-giving love that Christ showed the church.

Their lives should reflect both purity and reverence. “Purity” refers to behavior that is free from moral defilement. The wives should be pure for their husbands’ sakes, yet they would have to disobey should their husbands ask them to do something morally wrong or to participate in pagan practices.

“Reverence” is the same word translated as “respect” in 2:18 (phobos), referring to healthy fear. The wives had no protection from violence (other than murder) under the law. So these wives should not do anything to incur the displeasure of their husbands. By being exemplary wives, they would please their husbands.

At the very least, the men would then allow these wives to continue practicing their “strange” religion. At best, their husbands would join them and become Christians too.

A changed life speaks loudly and clearly and is often the most effective way to influence a family member. Peter instructs Christian wives to develop inner beauty rather than being overly concerned about their outward appearance. Their husbands will be won over by their love rather than by their looks.

This does not mean that Christian women should be dowdy and frumpy; it is good to be cheerful and attractive. But their priorities should be virtue and moderation. Live your Christian faith quietly and consistently in your home, and your family will see Christ in you.

 

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2019 in 1 Peter, Marriage

 
 
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