Created with Sketch.
Fixer Upper Marriage
39 minutes | Sep 11, 2021
Spelling Love without the I
Table Of Contents Why Get Married?The ProblemI Love YouLove Is LeavingLove Is OfferingLove Is VolunteeringLove Is Expecting Why Get Married? Love I want someone to love me. I want to feel loved. I want to experience being loved. I think there is a deep-seated desire to love someone, to know that out of all the people in this world, there is one that I love and that loves me back. My life has meaning because I am in love. Love is the ultimate cure for loneliness. Even when you are not together, you are still connected by this mutual feeling of love. When I was dating my wife, we had a long-distance relationship of about 200 miles. But when we fell in love, it didn’t matter how far we were away from each other because we were in each other’s hearts. You get married because you are in love. Happiness Being in a romantic relationship makes you feel happy. A 2012 study found that during the initial stages of love your body produces elevated levels of the hormone Oxytocin. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. And being in love does make you feel happy. Who doesn’t want to feel happy? Who doesn’t want to be in love? I am happily married but still get ads when I am on the internet about finding someone to love. Single people are searching for the happiness of love. Even married people are looking to fall in love again or looking for it in someone or something outside of their marriage. I think most people see marriage as a vehicle to get you to the happiness that you want. It starts with just being in love, then it becomes having a family, and finally having someone to share your life with, to grow old together. Needs This is where it gets interesting because everyone has needs that marriage can facilitate. And it’s those needs that drive us into the marketplace of love. At its base marriage is an exchange of goods. One person needs physical intimacy, while another needs providing for. So they enter into a partnership of love and marriage. In exchange for this, I am giving you this. Those needs vary from person to person, but regardless of what those needs are, they are a part of the exchange that takes place in the marketplace of love. When you are single, you are looking for the best person to meet those needs. So you meet and develop this understanding that you are both capable and willing to meet those needs in that exchange. I once read this book entitled “His Needs Her Needs” by Willard Harley. I would recommend it to anyone because it was very insightful and helpful. It outlines the needs of men and women and how individuals sort out those needs and how marriage can by design meet them. Love allows you to partner with someone else to have those needs met. The Problem Things Change Maybe you mutually agree to end the whole thing and you file for divorce. “Let’s go our separate ways because we no longer can keep the exchange going and maybe we can find a better exchange somewhere else.” Maybe you both just live with the “lemon” of a deal you got stuck with. Or maybe marriage is about something entirely different. The Real Problem But what happens when the reasons you got married are no longer valid? What happens when you don’t feel in love anymore, you’re not happy, or your needs are not being met? So we made this agreement that I would give you these things and in exchange, you would give me those things. But now you are not keeping up your end of the deal. The real problem is in the way you look at marriage, to begin with. When people say, “I love you” what they mean is, “I love me”. I love what you do for me. I love the way you make me feel. I love how you take care of me. Love is a big circle and I am in the middle of it. But what if love were more than that? What if love is about the other person? “I love YOU.” It’s a turning point in love. God teaches us about a different view of love. A different way to love. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;Ephesians 5:24-25 I Love You The subject (the person doing the action) is I. The verb(the action) is love. The object is (you). In “I love you” you are doing the loving and the other receives that love. So the focus is on the other. The actions of love (the verb) are what the Bible emphasizes. So to the wife God says, give yourself to your husband. And to the husband He says, die to yourself for your wife. So this is not the same as the market exchange idea that most of us have. You don’t give this for that, instead, you give everything away in love to the other person. Love Is Leaving People Way back at the beginning of human relationships in Genesis 2:24 God makes this earth-shattering statement. Leave the people you know for the love of your life. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother; and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This is what happens in marriage. This doesn’t mean that you ignore all the other people in your life, but it does mean that all those people play a different role. They all go to the backseat for your love. All the relationships that you had before you married your spouse are still there but their meaning and importance change. You have to give yourself 100 percent of yourself to your spouse. Love is about you giving yourself away for your spouse. Time This is the most valuable possession that you have and it’s the most important you can leave for your spouse. Before you were married you had all your time to yourself. Now you are giving that time to your spouse. But here’s the thing, you are giving all of it to them. However your time gets divided up, your spouse gets 100 percent of it. This does not mean that you should never have a chance to pursue a hobby or spend time on something that you enjoy. But if you don’t spend time with your spouse you are stealing that time from them. Your relationship will pay for it. Think about your time as a pie chart. What percent of that chart is taken up by work, chores, hobbies, sleep? So you just give your spouse whatever is leftover, right? No, you give your spouse all that time because they are the most important part of your life. Instead, you give all those other things your leftover time. Say what you want, but at the end of the day, you do what you want with your time. Time together is what made you fall in love, to begin with. So if you want to stay in love you have to spend time together. Depending on what season of marriage you are in, you may have to get more creative with that time. But the actual amount of time is not as important as the value you place on it. You may have to work to pay the bills, but you don’t have to work all the time or let your job consume your life. That time to work is a necessity. You may have to take care of the kids but time with your spouse is more important. What are some times during your day that you can spend with your spouse? This is crazy but sometimes we get more time together on the phone on my break at work or my commute home than at any other time. Things You own everything together. You leave all those things behind when you say I do. The things you have are 100% about your spouse. So here we go again with the transaction way of thinking. You have those things and I have these things. I know several people who have gotten divorced and I know that things become a big issue. But when you love the way that you should love, the things you have are 100% about your spouse. You may buy something for yourself and I think that is important, but that can be a necessity for your well-being. What you have is really about someone else. I think about the love that God has for me and how that works. He made a plan of redemption that was all about me. He is preparing a place in Heaven that is for me. Everything that God does in my life is all about me. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:24-25 I know what you are thinking. The wife thinks, if I give myself completely to my husband and submit to him completely, what will happen? And the husband thinks, if I completely die to my own life and desires for my wife, what will happen to me? So we all jump back into the marketplace of love. If I do this, what will I get in return? But when you spell love without an I you find something completely different. Love Is Offering In the Old Testament, the law required a sacrifice every year. So you would bring the best of your livestock once a year for the forgiveness of sins. But we learn in the New Testament that those offerings were only a type of something perfect. Jesus came to earth and He became that offering for us. Marriage is an imperfect example of that sacrifice. See Hebrews 10 Listen closely at the words of Ephesians 5:24-25, “in every thing” and “gave himself for it”. Everything about love screams giving but we just can’t seem to shake the idea of giving to get a return. The Waste One of the most unusual stories from the Bible is found in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. Jesus and his disciples were in the house of Simon eating. A woman walks up behind him and pours expensive ointment on his head. A day’s wage was about 1 pence at that time so it was worth 300 day’s labor. Shocked, the disciples questioned the wastefulness of it. But Jesus commended her. What she had done was done in love. Sometimes, wasting things is what love is all about. Could you do something more valuable with your time than spending it with your spouse? Yes but love is worth more than anything in this world! Real love is giving yourself away to your spouse. All the things that you value for yourself are nothing compared to the value of love. Chances are you know what your spouse wants, so why not give that to them? Because from your perspective it seems like a waste- you get nothing in return. But that is what it means to offer yourself. Jesus gave himself away. And all He wanted was you. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (The joy was loving you.) The Desire The single motivating factor in love is wanting someone. Wanting them so much that you give yourself away. The world’s system has the idea that love is tied to the return. I love you as long as you give me this. But Bible love is something entirely different. I give myself to you because I love you. I only want you. It’s what drove Jesus to die for you. I only want you. I only want you to love me. Why would a modern woman in the age of feminism completely submit to her husband? Because she loves her husband. Because she says I only want you. Why would a man with all the aspirations and the potential in the world give his life for his wife? Because he says, I only want you. So they stand at a wedding altar and they offer themselves to each other. But the more you offer, the more your love grows. What if you did something crazy? What if you just gave yourself to your spouse? What if you said, I only want you? I think we say it so assuredly on our wedding day because the returns are just so obvious. All the romantic feelings and tension collide and you say something like, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. But it’s when you reach the end of that, you say I want you. I want all of you. I want everything you are and everything you will become. I’m Doing This for You The youth choir in our church used to sing this song that was written from the point of view of a Roman soldier who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus. The chorus goes like this. He said, “I’m doing this for you And I will still love you when you’re through I’m doing this for you” Though it took me by surprise when I saw love in His eyes He said, “I’m doing this for you” So you look at your spouse, hold their hands and you say, “I am doing this for you.” or maybe you don’t say anything at all, you just say it in your mind. Offering yourself for your spouse means that you do it because you love them. The words I love you mean so much more than few characters on a page or a simple phrase. The Point I want you for you. I don’t want you for the way you look, or all the attractive things about you. But I want you for the person that you are. I love YOU. I think this is what makes the story of the Gospel so amazing. That Christ loved me so much that He gave His life for me. He loved me so much. There are not a lot of lovely things about me. But he says, I love you, love me back. That is what marriage is, I love you. I love you so much that I am giving myself to you. And all I want is for you to love me back. Love Is Volunteering These verses are looked at as commandments in our way of thinking. To the wife, ”you better submit completely to your husband.” And to the Husband, “you better love your wife and die to yourself or else.” Even worse, we think or maybe even say, “You better submit to me, because you have to, or you better love me because you have to.” OK, really? So you want your wife to completely submit to you because she has to? Or do you want your husband to completely love you because he has to? What kind of love is that? I don’t want to submit to you, but I guess I will since I HAVE to. I don’t love you anymore but I guess I will since I Have to. What!? I am just going to be honest, I don’t want my wife doing things for me because she has to. I would rather her not do those things than do those things out of obligation or fear. Just don’t do it all if you can’t do it in love! Love means Volunteering, but how do you make it voluntary? Re-calibrate Your Thinking The Story of ME But that is not the way God wants you to interpret the Bible. God says to me in Ephesians 5:24-25, “Jason, love your wife, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.’ As so I am on this journey to a better husband, a husband who loves his wife so much that he lays down his life for her. Remember the world’s way of thinking is that love is an exchange with a return. I am offering you this and you have that to offer me so let’s make this transaction called marriage. Christians sometimes superimpose the world’s way of thinking onto the Bible. So the world’s way of thinking applied to Ephesians 5:24-25 is that my wife has to submit to ME! I have needs and she needs to submit to those needs in my life. Because marriage is a transaction and she better do her part because the Bible says so! Becomes the Story of Another So now I am giving because I love. Now I am dying for another. And when I do this I am making our love story about my spouse. This is hard because it makes ME vulnerable. It means that the “Me” part of our love has to die. And it’s never easy to die, especially when it’s me. When this happens I do what I do purely out of love. I volunteer to give my life away. A wife volunteers herself to completely submit to her husband. She does it freely because she wants to. Loving and submitting to me means something different when it is done in this way. I want to do this for you because I love you. And Shadows a Bigger Story The Gospel is such an amazing story. That God sent His son to die in my place even when I had no thoughts of loving Him. Jesus gives His life for a sinful person just because He wants them. He says, I love you and want YOU as you are. And so love is displayed in its purest form. Jesus submitted willingly to die for me because He loves me. Lose Yourself in the Mission When you love each other the way the Bible teaches, you do get a return but it’s a different kind of return. It’s knowing you have done something for another. The return is the joy of seeing your spouse is taken care of. It’s the joy of giving yourself for someone else. The only reason I am doing this is because I love you. My mission as a spouse is about YOU. Because of that, I do what I do for you freely. See how that means more if it is done willingly? Believe in the Reward There is more to it than just this life. There is coming a day when we will see Jesus face to face and receive rewards for what we have done for him. And marriage is the perfect opportunity to win those eternal rewards. When you love your spouse you are loving and obeying God. You will have an eternal reward. Learning to love your spouse teaches you to love God. Love Is Expecting When I was little I used to think about what falling in love and getting married would be like. I even had this picture in my mind of a little house with a white picket fence. I remember thinking that I would probably live in a house like that and I would probably marry someone like that. And then you wonder about what having a family would be like. Expectations are the whole reason you get married. But where do those expectations of love come from? Where Do Expectations Come From? Your Family Circle I think what you see from your parents drives more of your expectations than anything else. Even in the negative, you form expectations for your love, “I am never going to do things that way.” Or maybe you know married couples in your family or friends circle and you form expectations for love and marriage based on what you see or don’t see in them. Growing up we would just throw our clothes on the floor and every day my mom would clean up and pick up all the clothes, then wash and fold them. We didn’t have to worry about laundry at all until we got a little older. That’s probably not the best expectation for marriage though! Entertainment A lot of what we all think about love comes from books and movies. Love should look like this because this is what I have seen. If you read romantic books or watch romantic movies, chances are you have certain expectations for your spouse and your marriage based on what you have seen or read. Personal Ideas There are these ideas that you have in your mind about what love and marriage should be like. You develop these expectations for your marriage and your spouse based on those ideas wherever they came from. And you go into marriage with all these expectations. You even stay together in hopes that those expectations are somehow going to pan out. If we go to marriage counseling, if we go on a get-away, or if we try harder. Faith You go to church and see how married couples interact. You learn about what marriage should look like from the Bible. So based on what you are taught and what you learn, you develop all these expectations. And these are the expectations that you have for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. What’s Wrong with Expectations? So this is where you can start to see how the wrong kind of expectations can hurt your relationship. It may be a good idea to talk about some of your expectations with your spouse. Maybe they don’t know that you have certain expectations for them? Sometimes when you talk about your expectations you can see how crazy they are! I expect you to let me sit on the couch and relax while you pay all the bills, keep the house spotless, take care of the kids, and do everything else except maybe cut the grass. They Are Unrealistic To think that your spouse is going to cater to your every emotional whim as the guys do in romantic books and movies is an impossible expectation for your spouse to live up to. And to think your wife is going to be like the action movie chick is impossible too. The flaming hot love interest jumps out of a plane and her hair and makeup still look perfect! Plus to expect your wife to fall into your arms and give you whatever you want whenever you want is VERY unreasonable to expect! Even when it comes to your faith. Let’s face it, we all act our best at church. And what you see from other couples at church may not be an accurate representation of what is going on behind the scenes. No one walks into church talking about the argument they had on the way there! No one talks about the marriage problems they had during the week. Even Bible teaching about marriage is sometimes shaded with the world’s philosophies. It all works together to make the expectations that you have for your marriage completely unrealistic. They Are Motivated by Selfishness Come on, why do you have all these expectations for your marriage? It’s because of what you want. So it’s not about your spouse at all. You want your spouse to cater to your every romantic whim because that would be all about you. You want your spouse to fall into your arms and give you everything you want when you want it because that would be all about you. But the truth about marriage is something entirely different. Love is all about the other person. Your expectations can undermine your relationship by making your love about yourself. They Are Unfulfilling Expectations can take away any fulfillment in your love life because you are expecting something from your spouse that is impossible! You are setting your marriage up for failure if you carry all these unreasonable expectations. Even the expectations that seem reasonable can become a problem in your marriage depending on your season of life or circumstances. What Are the Right Expectations? To Love and Be Loved Only This is where things get real. Your only expectation for your marriage should be for you to love and to be loved in return. This doesn’t mean that you stop loving if they don’t love you back. It just means that is all you want from your spouse. I want to love you and I want you to love me back. To Change Yourself with God’s Help As a believer, I am on this journey to become a better husband and Christian. So if there are any expectations for a change it is all on my part. Whatever happens, I just want my spouse to love me but I want it to be the best version of me possible. To Enjoy a Life of Love Together How about an expectation of loving each other for the rest of your life? I want you and you only for the rest of my life because I am learning to spell love without an I! Podcast music by Dan Lebowitz The post Spelling Love without the I appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
41 minutes | Jan 1, 2021
How Conflict Can Change You and Your Marriage
FixerUpperMarriage.org/Conflict Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org Like us on Facebook Summary Marriage conflict is a terrible thing. Or is it? Maybe the conflict is really about something entirely different than what you think it is! Find out what marriage conflict is all about and how it can change your marriage for the better. How Does Conflict Change You? Table Of Contents Through Your DifferencesThrough DisagreementsThrough Your ReconcilingThrough Disappointments Love sets off a series of events that alter the course of your life. Hopefully, it’s not a series of unfortunate events! Loving is about interpersonal exchanges with someone who knows you more intimately than anyone else in this world. And it’s those exchanges that can make or break your love. “I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.” — Nicholas Sparks, Dear John I hate conflict. I just don’t want to deal with it at all. But as long as you can be calm, confronting that conflict head-on could be the best thing you can do in your marriage. One thing I love about the stories of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is the way he just unabashedly faced conflict with people. Whether it was with one of His disciples, the pharisees, lawyers, or government officials, He didn’t flinch. I think you can learn from that, how it’s better to deal with conflict than to not. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it, at least things are made clear and put on the path to become better. Some married people avoid conflict at all costs. And sometimes I think marriage resources lead us to think that any conflict is bad. That is just not true. Resolving that conflict quickly is the best way to keep your love and relationship on track. People go for years without talking about things that bother them in their marriage, then when they finally reach the breaking point, everything starts spewing out and they ruin their love. I am saying that most of the time it’s better to talk about things than to let them go on. Although there are some things you can let go of. Don’t let those things feaster and build up to something you can correct together. But learning to resolve that conflict can produce a change in you and your relationship. So conflict is an important part of your love. Learning how to love is loving through the conflict. The Bible defines love in I Corinthians. The word Charity is a translation of the Greek word Agape which means love. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7 Through Your Differences Gender Differences God made two genders with different physical and emotional needs. The big thing in American culture is to say that there are infinite genders and that gender is fluid. Meaning, however you feel or think is your real gender, not necessarily biology. There are even some areas in the country where kids in public schools are being taught this and even given counseling about it without their parent’s consent. Some are even being fastracked to cross-sex hormones to attempt to change their biological sex. The sad thing is, these treatments have lifelong reproductive consequences. But happiness doesn’t come through gender identity contrary to what is being pushed on people today. Is Gender Programed by Culture? When I was in school there was this idea that you are born a biological male or female and gender roles are programmed by culture and experience. But God made male and female distinct in anatomical and emotional ways that are meant to match with each other. So it’s not just cultural influence that makes the genders different. And in reality, the whole transgender movement inadvertently reinforces those gender differences. If gender differences don’t really exist, then why would you need to take hormones or have an operation to change genders? Gender differences will cause some conflict in marriage. Your spouse is different from you. Those differences are probably what made you fall in love to start with. Once you have been married for a while you discover that those differences can cause you to have conflicts. You have to realize and accept those differences to reconcile the conflict. Having said that, we also assign roles and expectations to gender that are not Biblical. For example, the idea that women are supposed to wash the dishes and fold the laundry while men are supposed to mow the lawn outside. So, it doesn’t make you less of a man to get off the recliner and help your spouse with the housework. And it doesn’t make you less of a woman to help with the yard work! In marriage, it’s best to communicate your expectation for each other. Sometimes when you say those expectations out loud, you realize how unrealistic they are! The conflict of gender differences is a gift from God because learning to stay in love with someone different than you despite the challenges causes an internal change in you. So the conflicts of gender differences are not about your spouse at all, they are about you. And you becoming the person that God wants you to be. Personality Differences Opposites attract. I personally think that God made us that way. Those things that are different are what generate attraction and interest. Author Gary Chapman talks about this in some of his books, how as he says it, “a babbling brook will often marry a dead sea.” It may not always be the case but I know from experience that it often is. I know my wife is different from me; I am the dead sea while she is the babbling brook. I am always cool, I mean ALWAYS. She, on the other hand, is always emotional! I have always found her bubbly personality attractive and I think she finds my cool personality attractive to. Those different personalities can cause conflict. The fact that I am ALWAYS cool can be extremely frustrating at times. While the fact that she is ALWAYS emotional can cause a cool person to lose their cool! But it’s ok that we are different and that those differences can cause conflict because learning to love through that conflict is a part of the change that God is creating in our lives. Belief Differences Here is what happens in marriage, one person is raised in a family with a unique belief system about gender roles, love, and marriage. While the other person is raised in a family with a different belief system about those same things. Not too different or you would not have been drawn together to begin with. Then those same people come together with their own set of expectations predicated on their belief systems. So each person brings their perspective into marriage. Those perspectives can cause some of the biggest problems. So here is a personal example, my family all go to bed early and get up early. Growing up my mom would get up early and I would wake up to the smell of hot breakfast with grits, scrambled eggs, and bacon. That was our big meal of the day. On the other hand, my wife’s family traveled and sang at church meetings and would get home late at night and sometimes early in the morning. So it was not unusual for them to sleep in the next day. So on my days off work, I am up early making breakfast, writing, and even working outside. It’s hard for me to sleep in and honestly to stay up at night! My wife is the opposite and sometimes I drive her crazy with it! There are many more examples of differences that can cause conflict and some much more serious than my penchant for getting up early! These things are conflicts that are designed by God to produce a change in your life. Through Disagreements Points of Contention Between Husband and Wife: Faith Faith or not having faith is an important point of connection in a marriage and can trigger disagreements. And how important faith is too you can also factor in. A lot of people are what I call, Sunday Morning Christians which is a reference to how more people come to Sunday Morning service but don’t show up for anything else. What it means is that people don’t value their faith that much. I have even known people who are faithful to Church but still don’t demonstrate much faith in their daily lives. This is something I have been trying to teach my children lately, that being a Christian is something you do every day not just on Sunday or at church. And the marriage relationship is this wonderful opportunity to learn how to be Christian every day. It is like the ultimate school for holiness. It is the challenge of learning to be holy by living intimately with each other every day. How far you are willing to take your faith can become an underlying point of contention. But being a Christian in love is about dying to yourself and learning to live to serve the needs of someone else. The dying and serving part causes real problems in marriage. So you fight because you don’t want your own needs and desires to die. And you fight because you don’t want to serve the needs of someone else. So this internal battle with yourself turns into a battle with your spouse. The outcome of this battle can be either holiness or hatred depending on what you allow God to do in your heart. Backstory Everyone has a story that involves how you grew up, where you grew up, how you were raised, and what happened in your life. That story makes you who you are and makes you unique from everyone else. Your story is the DNA of your life. But that DNA can cause conflict when it is paired with another one. My wife and I were both raised in Christian homes but under different circumstances. Those circumstances make us see the world in different ways. My family has always picked on each other and we never think twice about it. But my wife takes things like that personally. Which treating people with respect is probably more helpful than laughing at them! So you see how something small like that can play a big role in creating disagreements and conflicts. I am sure there are many things in your marriage relationship that you bring in that can cause conflict. I know that we have discovered many of them in ours. But these differences that can cause strife are nothing more than instruments of change that God has brought into your life to teach you how to become more like Jesus. They are there to change you and understanding this can bring an end to the contention that the conflict brings. Personality I talk a lot about how different my wife’s personality is from mine. When I was in school I was the quietest kid in class. I even got awards for best behavior at times basically because I was so introverted that I was like invisible to my teacher. My wife on the other hand, constantly got in trouble for talking in class! She even tells stories about having to take notes from her teacher home! So the pensive loner marries the bubbly talker! And they lived happily ever after! Well most of the time anyway! Our personalities can cause some major conflict in our marriage. Sometimes the spaghetti western Clint Eastwood loner in me gets under her skin. Because she wants some meaningful conversation from time to time. And sometimes I don’t want any talk, I just want to be quiet and think. You can see how this can be a problem! But learning to live with each other through these differences can produce positive change. I think that is what being a Christian in love is all about. Perspective It’s funny how people see things differently. The newspaper used to have this picture in the Sunday edition that appeared to be random blocks of colors but if you focused your eyes a certain way you could see an image in it. I never saw the image though! We have all seen the “what color is this” pictures on the internet where some people see blue while others see green or both! I am sure there is some sort of physcological explanation for that. But we all have our own perspective on things The Glass Half Empty/Full Test I am by nature a glass half empty person. I have a tendency to be like Eeyore on the Winnie the Pooh. With this dark cloud following me around! I have the inanant ability to see all the bad in situations and notice all the bad in people. But my wife is by nature a glass half full person. She has this amazing ability to see the good in people and things. God has used her to help me see the “half full” of life instead and so I try my best to see things that way. Sometimes I just pretend to see the “half full”! This can cause conflict in marriage when you both have different ways of seeing things. Maybe God made your spouse see things different to challenge and change your way of thinking. Maybe you need to learn to see things from someone else’s perspective. Consider the Love Balance illustration. All these things are constantly pulling and pushing each other. Marriage is a war of differences but winning that war is not about getting your way. Instead, it’s about allowing God to change you. Sometimes one person in the relationship lets the other win. Like the wife with a strong personality and the husband who doesn’t want to fight. Or the husband who just selfishly pushes the wife around expecting her to submit to everything he wants. One of the most extensive and direct instructions for marriage is found in Ephesians 5:21-26. Where the husband is compared to Christ and the wife is compared to the Church. The husband is to love and lead as Christ while the wife is submit and love and as the Church. This is also one the most grossly misinterpreted parts of the Bible. The husband wants to lead and be submitted to without dying like Christ did. The wife wants to be pampered and taken care of like the Church without having to serve like the Church serves Christ. But when you understand that marriage is a life of give and take (more give than take BTW) it produces change. Everyone wants to get things out of love, but love is about giving. And the giving changes you. Marriage is a balance between all those differences. If you handle them right, they are all balanced on the scale of love. That is when love changes you as a person. Through marriage you learn how Practice humilityLove unconditionallyTrust in someone completelyBelieve in a person without reservationsServe another person All these things work to make you more like Jesus. God is using your marriage to change you. Through Your Reconciling All these conflicts in your marriage force you to reconcile with the person you love. It’s the only relationship you have on earth that you have to reconcile. If you have a conflict with a friend, a pastor, or a coworker, you could avoid that person without having to reconcile any differences. But God gives you a spouse with a commitment that means you have to reconcile in some way to move on. I think that reconciliation may look different for different couples but it is something that has to happen. The Things You Give Up The reconciliation that occurs forces you to give some things up: You must give up your pride. Marriage forces you to become humble towards your spouse. It’s a humility that strips away your arrogance and assertiveness. In order to make things right in your relationship, you must concede your pride in some way. I don’t have a problem saying I’m sorry but some people just don’t say it, but they show it in other ways. My Dad has always been one of those people, I never remember him saying “I love you” or “I’m sorry” but he always showed us he was sorry by buying us ice cream or taking us somewhere. What are some ways that you express that you are sorry to your spouse? You must concede your point of view. This is a big one. I have known people in my life that just cannot do this. They just can’t concede that you were right and they were wrong. Even if you were both wrong in some way, they just can’t make themselves vulnerable. In every other relationship, you can get away with that except marriage. If you don’t concede to your spouse your marriage relationship will not survive. It will end in divorce, separation, or just digress to marriage with two people living together. I think this happens to a lot of Christian people, they don’t have divorce as an option, so they live in a miserable relationship with each other. You must deconstruct yourself emotionally. Reconciling with your spouse forces you to deconstruct everything about yourself. It forces you to take apart things about yourself and examine them. This type of vulnerability is what makes marriage such an instrument of change. With each reconciliation, you lose something about yourself and find something completely new in your spouse. I think this is why making up with your spouse feels so good. There is this rush of emotion in conflict, then a deep emotional revelation of yourself, followed by acceptance by your spouse. It’s like you become vulnerable and show a side of you that is completely hidden from everyone else, and when your spouse accepts that side of you, it gives you this incredible rush of love. The Things That Reconciling Change Why is there conflict? Some couples don’t argue because of their personalities or backgrounds. Maybe they just don’t like conflict so they avoid it, or they were taught to not argue so they seek ways to avoid confrontation. But whether you fight about it or not, the conflicts are still there and if you don’t deal with them, your relationship will suffer. That’s why I think talking about those conflicts and facing them are better than not. Over time, as you deal with conflicts in your relationship and you allow God to use them to change you, you will have less disagreements. It’s crazy when you see a couple that has been married for 20 or 30 years still at each other’s throats. Obviously those couples did not allow their conflicts to change them! But what if the conflicts in your marriage are never given the opportunity to adjust your love? If your love balance is never calibrated, there will always be underlying problems with yourself and your relationship. If your love stays off balance, it’s like a time-bomb just waiting for the opportunity to detonate. Sometimes, I think this is what happens to couples who serve in the ministry. They feel like they can never argue or dissagree and all those conflicts never get addressed. It’s like they feel like they are in a glass house and can’t have problems, much less resolve them. When things finally fall apart, they can’t understand what happened because they didn’t deal with the conflicts in their relationship. Not dealing with the conflicts is harmful to your relationship growth. Not only are you not letting your relationship change you but you are not allowing your love to change and grow with each conflict. Clearly from passages like Ephesians 5:21-33 and I Peter 3:1-12, God intends for the conflicts of marriage to change you. But the change is a process that occurs over time. What Changes? You get married because of the way your spouse makes you feel but it doesn’t take long to realize that there is much more to marriage. The following chart outlines the Love Progression It’s those last two steps that last the longest and are the most critical. As you allow the changes to occur in your relationship there becomes more change than conflict. That is what being happily married means, it means you allow the inevitable conflicts of your relationship to not only change your marriage but you. The final product of reconciliation is the change that occurs in your heart, it’s the person thatGod is trying to turn you into. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts or easy ways to get there. It takes time, patience, and love. One of the most universally loved Bible verses of all time is found in Romans 8:28, but it’s the first line of the next verse that puts everything into perspective. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, Romans 8:28-29a (Bold added for emphasis) Marriage is a part of the “all things” of Romans 8:28. And it is a special unique part that works through a mutual covenant to change you as a person. If you ask someone why they got married, no one will say, “so that God can use our relationship to change me.” But that is what actually happens. Through Disappointments Conflicts come from different sources. Interpersonal Exchanges This is what we have been mostly talking about. It is inevitable that conflict will occur in a marriage relationship. Being together and living together exposes you to both the good and bad parts of your spouse. Maybe even things that you could have otherwise NEVER seen. And all those things cause conflict in your relationship. Every couple will respond differently to those conflicts but those conflicts are there whether you have confrontations about it or not. Do you remember your first argument? I think most of ours have been over things that really didn’t matter but it’s crazy how intense arguments about trivial things can become. Sometimes, my wife and I try so hard to make each other happy that we overthink it and end up getting upset over it! Do Christians Argue? Early on in our marriage, I remember getting upset with each other on the way to Church! Then when we got to Church, we just had to put on a happy face until we were able to make things right. We have just learned over time how to prevent those types of conflict. But Christians aren’t supposed to argue! While it’s true that being filled with the Spirit will keep you from arguing, the intimate relationship of marriage is going to lend itself to conflict in one way or another. The key is in how you allow that conflict to define your love. People who are not Christians can learn and change from the conflicts of marriage too. It’s because God designed marriage as a relationship that forces you to realize and confront your differences. And this process changes you. For the Christian with a relationship with God that process draws you closer to the truths of the Gospel. The conflict is designed to fundamentally alter your perspective of the Faith in Christ. What Do Christians Learn through Conflict GraceForgivenessReconciliationSacrifice These are all things you also experience through the Gospel. So marriage can give you the ability to share the Gospel from more of a personal understanding. Knowing how to experience these things through interpersonal exchanges makes you better at sharing those truths about your experience with God. How Is Your Vision? Growing up, I remember the chalkboard always being blurry in school. But I thought that it looked that way to everyone else too. I would even try to guess the answer to a problem on the board if my teacher called on me. It never occurred to me that something might be wrong, until at age 15, I went to get my learner’s permit at the highway department. The clerk had me look into this machine and read off some random numbers and letters. Unfortunately, I was not able to get my permit because I could not see those letters and numbers. I guess it is important to be able to see the street signs while driving! So I had to visit the eye doctor to get a prescription for glasses. Putting those glasses on changed everything even though I didn’t really realize before that I needed them. That is the way that marriage changes you towards the Gospel. I didn’t know I needed to see the Gospel this way until God showed me through my relationship with my wife! And everyday my “prescription” gets a little stronger. At the end of the day for the Christian marriage is about the Gospel. Outside Relationships This is when conflicts can get more difficult. You don’t just marry a person, you marry their past, their family, their faith, and their friends. (or frenemies, those people who you are friends with but seem to be in competition against you) My teenage daughters taught me about that one! And you create new relationships together. All these things play into the conflicts of your marriage. It’s not as simple as just getting along, it’s merging all these things together while still learning to love and treasure each other. Marriage isolates you from your family and friends but in this odd way it pulls all of those relationships together. The moment you say “I do” your relationship becomes the most important one in the world. So in the intimacy of marriage you are alone on this island together. But outside of that intimacy are all the other relationships that you had before you were married. The challenging part is maintaining that intimacy while balancing all those outside relationships against it. You can’t allow those outside relationships to break up the intimacy of the basic Bible premise of two becoming one. I think the biggest example of this are children. Your love creates new lives with a whole new set of relationship challenges. I talked about this before in a lesson entitled How You Can Have a Great Marriage after Having Children. You can find it at fixeruppermarriage.org/children. Adding children creates a whole new dynamic into your love life. It makes it harder to keep loving each other. Especially when you have the demanding needs of a newborn. Or the developing needs of a child. But it’s just another force that is pushing you towards change; inching you closer to where God wants you to be. It’s all conflicts that God coded into marriage to push you toward that change. If you can learn to maintain your love and intimacy through these things, you can learn to maintain your love and intimacy with God. And learning that changes everything! Conditional Challenges There are these things that happen to everyone. When things go wrong. When you are dating or in the honeymoon phase of marriage, you just think, “what could possibly go wrong?” But you soon discover this relationship law, that uniquely challenging things happen to everyone. Things do go wrong, and those things can cause conflict and derail your relationship if you let them. Or they can change you for the better. The following is a list of things that can go wrong: Health Most wedding vows include the words, “in sickness and in health”. But no one really thinks about it at the time. I’ve thought a lot lately about marriage being a give and take relationship but most of the time you have to give more than you take. This is one of those areas where you HAVE to give more that you take. Marriage is a partnership but if your partner can’t do their part, you have to temporarily or permanently take their responsibility for it. This is a conflict in marriage and it’s a conflict that has the potential to bring about big change in your personal life. By giving yourself to care for your spouse and loving them through these types of things, you experience a type of love that is like the love that Jesus has for us. It’s like your marriage becomes a living example of Gospel love. Loving and giving only to get the person you love. Finances Money doesn’t matter when you first fall in love. It’s like you don’t need anything but each other. But as you move along in your relationship, money starts to matter more. And money problems can lead to big relationship problems. I do have a recent podcast episode about this entitled 11 Ways to Keep Money from Destroying Your Marriage. You can find it at FixerUpperMarriage.org/money. We have learned in our marriage that even though money is important, it doesn’t have to affect our love for each other. You try your best to handle your money right and be wise but at the end of the day, loving each other is more important. Love doesn’t pay the rent, but you can still love each other when you are having trouble paying it. Realizing this changes your marriage and it changes you. Personal These are the things that you can’t talk about to other people. Those problems in your lives that cause conflicts that are so intimate that you only share them with each other. You don’t have to face them alone when you are married. That is one of the awesome things about marriage. These things pull at your relationship. But if you allow God to help you through them, they will change you. It’s like I said earlier, in some ways marriage puts you on this private island together. It forces you to use your love to work through things together. Every life and marriage is different and faces different types of problems, but the problem is not as relevant as what you do with it. They can pull you apart or they can draw you closer together. It’s a conflict that every marriage has to face. Most people get married with some level of self-centered motivation. Maybe it’s how the other person makes you feel, or the happiness that marriage could potentially bring. After all, you get married and live happily ever after, just like the Disney movies right! Marriage is not a destination, it’s a journey. And the great part is you get to take that journey with someone you love. When that journey strips away the selfish reasons that led you to marriage in the first place, you learn how to really love each other. Learning how to love that way is what changes you. Family Another point of conflict comes from family dynamics. Maybe it’s problems on one side and not the other or both sides. Ultimately the side you should be on is your spouse. Even though those family relationships run deep. There is this old saying that “blood is thicker than water”, and I think there is a lot of truth in it. Most of the time people side with their blood family. Really at the end of the day family is with you for life so I get it. But your spouse is more important than your family. So this type of conflict brings you to this conclusion and a deeper understanding of love and commitment. Church For a Christian, church problems are the worst kind of problems. After all, Christians are not supposed to struggle or have problems. So every Christian to some extent puts on a church mask when they go. And when that masked slips off, it’s hard to accept. Maybe your friends leave and it puts in you in a weird place or a church leader makes a mistake! Several years ago my wife and I discovered a problem with our view of other Christians. We treated some people that we looked up to in our church as being on a higher level, or as we say “pedestal.” It wasn’t really fair to them or us. One day something happened and we realized that they struggled with some of the same things that we did. It was shocking! We didn’t just plan on putting them on a pedestal, it just happened. And when they fell off it, we had to readjust our thinking. Now we try to treat everyone with the same respect and level of understanding that at the end of the day everyone is only human. Church problems are some of the hardest problems to cope with. But those conflicts are there to change you and together in marriage you are able to process those changes together. Anytime you deal with people, there is going to be conflict and church is no different. Learning to deal with these things changes you. Conflicts Have a Reason For a Christian that reason is clear. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: I Peter 1:6-8 God is using the things you are facing to produce change in your life and when you are married you get to experience those changes together. Are you allowing God to change you? Podcast music by Dan Lebowitz The post How Conflict Can Change You and Your Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
27 minutes | Oct 25, 2020
Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’?
FixerUpperMarriage.org/LostLove God’s creation of love is one of the most amazing things in life. He created people with the urge to love and be loved by someone. People dream about love, read about love, and wish for love to find them. Love is the “big bang” of life. It’s when two people collide in a way that fundamentally alters the course of their lives. Love is a feeling, an emotion, a commitment, a longing, a desire, and a desperate need. Once you have fallen in love with someone, it doesn’t matter what happens, that person is always with you. I remember the moment I let go of everything; my past, my fears, my hopes, and my dreams. I let myself fall. The only things there to catch me were an overwhelming force of love or a devastating mire of hurt and defeat. But love caught me and held me tight, now I never want to let it go. When I look into the eyes of my lover I see everything I ever want and everything I have in this life. If you have found love, believe in it, nurture it, and fight for it because if you let it slip away you may never find it again. Ronald Reagan the 40th president of the United States wrote the following to his wife Nancy: “I more than love you, I’m not whole without you. You are life itself to me. When you are gone I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.” But love is not without its risks. There is a long trail of lost love, broken hearts, and deep regret. What do you do when you feel your love slipping away, or you wake up one day and realize you’ve lost it? How do you get it back? How do you put two broken hearts back together again? What can you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’? Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.Revelation 2:4-5 Table Of Contents Remember What You HadRepent for Your WrongRepeat What You Did at First Remember What You Had (Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen) Memories Are Love’s Treasure Box Memories are the things that you have that no one can take away from you. You build your love on those memories. It starts the day you first meet. That memory connects you to the next moment and those memories just keep building and connecting; until you fall in love and all those memories get electrified. Memories become the spark that ignites the passion of your love. Sometimes, when you are right in the middle of hardship you can’t see anything except what is right in front of you. You can’t see any hope for the future or good memories from the past. You just get stuck. Memories are God’s gift to lovers. The Romantic Moments The moment I first met Amber seemed like such a fleeting thing at the time. But it became so much more meaningful as we feel in love. Her eyes looking at me and her radiant smile changed my life. I think it’s those first moments that could have gone either way that means the most to me now. Those moments when I was the most vulnerable to her. Embrace those moments with each other. Let those moments write the story of your love. The Funny Moments Relive those moments when you laughed together about something. I enjoy laughing with my wife. They say that laughter is the best medicine. The Bible even says as much in Proverbs 17:22a A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine… The Big Moments One of the big moments for me is the moment we met. The first time we talked (which was awkward). Especially since I absolutely cannot carry a conversion. I brought my sister with me as a safety measure in case things didn’t go well. And one of the best days of my life was our wedding day. Sometimes we even look back at our wedding album. Although that is more of my wife’s thing. We have the most amazing wedding pictures. A friend had a photography business and he is amazing at it. If you ever want incredible photography that captures people in moments you can’t beat Spectrum Photography by Shannon Turner. The Little Moments I think these are the moments that make or break your marriage. Living together through the good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s what really matters, By the way, I am the bad and the ugly in our marriage! When you go out to eat together, take a walk, or just watch a movie together, you are creatting little moments. Those little moments all add up to something much bigger and meaningful in your marriage. You Make Memories Be deliberate in spending time together. The longer you are together, the harder this becomes. When you get more responsibilities and even start having kids, it gets harder to make time for each other. But you have to make it your mission to make time for each other. Even if it is in small moments. They will add up over time. We talked about this almost a couple of years ago in an episode entitled, How You Can Become Deliberate in Your Love. Being spontaneous is great, but most of the time you have to plan things in order to make them happen. So if you want a better marriage it doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. When you are first falling in love just feels like it just happens, but staying in love takes work. Celebrate your love every chance you get. Be grateful that you have each other because that may not always be the case. Something could happen to one of you or one person could decide to leave. So it’s important to celebrate your time together while you have it because that time may be more limited than you realize. Choose to see the good in your spouse. You should NOT focus on everything wrong with your spouse. Although it is important to talk about things that bother you; it’s also important to not let those things define your spouse to you. Notice the good things that you like about your spouse and let those things define who they are to you. You don’t have to let your spouse’s faults destroy your relationship. Here’s the big reveal in all of this, YOU HAVE FAULTS TOO! This reminds me of my relationship with the Lord. He treats me according to the tiny bit of good in me (for which He gets the credit for by the way). And not for all my faults, and trust me I have a lot of them. Treat the Bad Memories as Important as the Good I know it’s hard when bad things happen. When Amber and were newly married, she delivered our first baby stillborn, my dad suffered from a major stroke (He would never fully recover), both of our cars broke down, and my job situation became unstable. All at the same time! But our love for each other was galvanized during that time. So even though it was not good at the time, these are important parts of our lives together. Repent for Your Wrong (Repent) Accept Responsibility for Your Part of the Relationship Everybody Has an Excuse I understand the sentiment of how past experiences lead you to make the choices that you make and how they shape who you are. But I think that anyone could probably justify the wrong they do in this way because everyone has scars. Maybe yours are a little deeper or more obvious than others. If you allow the hurts in your past to control you, then you are choosing to allow those events to dictate your future. Today, there is the victim mentality that is pushed in our culture. Everybody is a victim of someone or something else whether real or perceived. There is no excuse for you doing wrong in your relationship. You have to learn how to accept responsibility for your part of the problems in your relationship. When you start having problems in your marriage, the first inclination is to point to the problems that your spouse has or is causing. As if those problems have led you to do what you are doing wrong. There is probably some truth to that but you still are responsible for you. You can’t control what someone else does, but you can control how you let those things affect you. After you have been married for a while you probably have enough negative baggage in your relationship to justify leaving your spouse. So you can use that negative baggage as an excuse or you can choose to let those things go. Falling out of love feels like something you can’t control but it’s tied to the little choices you make to hold onto the negative things. Keep a Short Relationship Tab Marriage is like housework. You can do a little bit of cleanup every day or you can let things pile up and all those little messes turn into a big mess! Marriage is the same way in that you have to keep the messes in your relationship cleaned up. If you don’t work on the little problems in your marriage as they come up, they will eventually turn into one BIG problem. Now you can clean the big mess in your relationship up but it will take a lot more time and work to fix. Falling out of love is more about the little things you don’t do to maintain your relationship than the big thing that you end up blaming for its failure. I have gone to church my entire life, so I have seen amazing things happen and crazy things happen. But there is this pattern that I have seen with people. They start out with all this excitement when everything is new. Then little negative things eventually start happening. Finally, something happens that becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back or the last straw. But the last straw is really just an excuse for a ruined relationship. It was really all the little “straws” that were not dealt with at the time and now they have become a huge problem. The Marriage relationship can follow this same pattern. Consider the Love Timeline: Make a Decision to Change Your Mind The Importance of Decision for Eternity When I first became a Christian it all started with a choice that I made to ask Jesus into my heart and life. This is how it worked… I Realized that I Was Wrong. The way I was living or wanted to live was not right. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Galatians 3:22 I Regretted what I Had Been Doing– The realization of my wrong was not enough, I had to be sorry for those things I had done and understand that they were against God. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. II Corinthians 7:10 I Changed My Mind– I had to come to the place where I could make a decision. Would I rather have Him in my life or all the other things that I had been holding onto for years? I let go and never looked back. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.Revelation 3:20 The change in my life came as a result of me taking responsibility for the things I had done wrong, regretting those things, and changing my mind about trusting Christ. There are times as a Christian when I have to go through this same process to maintain my relationship with Christ. The Importance of Decisions in Marriage The marriage relationship follows this same pattern of repenting and restoration. Realize the wrong that you have been doing in your relationship. Instead of focusing on all the things your spouse has done wrong, notice the things that you have done wrong. It’s not a comparison of wrongs, but a realization of your own. So you shouldn’t say, “what I did is nothing compared to what my spouse did.” because you are not comparing but examining yourself. Be genuinely sorry for the things you have done that are contributing to your relationship failing. Maybe you have simply neglected your love for your spouse, or you have allowed things into your mind that are toxic to your love. Sometimes, being caught can cause sorrow for your wrong but being caught shouldn’t be your only motivation to change. Once you fully focus and realize your wrong, that sorrow for your wrong can create a desire to make things different. And that desire could be the start of a new beginning. Make a decision to change. Now you have to actually make a decision to change. It’s at this point in your love timeline that things can change for good. What if your spouse doesn’t want to make this decision? You can’t make someone repent from falling out of love, but you can repent for yourself. And that alone will change you and have a positive effect on your relationship overall. Sometimes it takes a little faith and initiative to influence change in the other person. Put Your Decision into Action Now that you have made the decision to make some changes in your relationship, it’s time to put that decision into action. Knowing what you should do is not enough, you have to actually follow through. Here are some tips to doing that: Start Ugly. You don’t have to wait until you have everything together to start doing things differently. Just start with the little things you can change and little by little, and bit by bit fix your end of the relationship. It’s a lot like faith, reading a few verses or a chapter of the Bible everyday may not seem like much of a big deal but over time it adds up to building your faith in Christ. Doing the little things that you can will, overtime, add up to something big in your marriage. Tell your spouse how you intend to change. They will probably notice the change without you saying a word. But telling them will add some accountability to what you are trying to do. It adds a higher level of commitment. “I have been struggling with ________ in our marriage lately, and I want you to know that I am working on that.” It helps you to follow through and it may influence your spouse to change. Maybe they have been wanting things to be different too and you making the choice to change is the one thing that pushes them to change. Celebrate your progress. It would be great if you could decide you are going to change, go to bed, and wake up the next day to a completely different relationship with each other. Unfortunately, it takes time for things to change. Most love stories are not instantaneous, it took time to fall in love and so it takes time to get back the love you may have lost. Repeat What You Did at First (Do the first works) Don’t Miss all the Good in Your Relationship Sometimes it’s easy to let the bad parts of your marriage overshadow everything good. In the Bible verses that we read in Revelation 2:1-5 God complimented the Church at Ephesus for the good things they were doing BEFORE He pointed out their problem. He even said something good about them afterward. So even though you may have some problems in your relationship right now, don’t let those problems define your relationship or your spouse. I bet if you tried, you can find some things that are great about each other. Isolate the problems from your relationship. Think of the things that are wrong as separate from all the good parts of your marriage. If your car needs new tires, you don’t drive your car to the junkyard and leave it. You think about how you can fix the problems with your tires. You save up and buy a new set of tires or you replace one tire at a time as you can. Just because a part of your marriage is suffering, you don’t throw out all hope for your love. Write down the good parts of your love. It may help you to list out all the things about your spouse that you like instead of the things that you don’t. (the don’t like lists are a lot easier) Maybe you could write them down in a notebook. Or better yet in a card to your spouse. It helps just to recognize that there are good things in your love. And there is something powerful about writing things down, even if you don’t show it to anyone. Remember the good things that drew you together. When you first met and started falling in love, you didn’t think about ANYTHING bad about each other. If there was something negative, you probably just ignored them because you were so enamored with the good. Some of that is because you can hide some of your negative traits for a limited time. But it’s mostly because you fell in love with your spouse because of those things that you liked about them. I loved the fact that my spouse and I shared faith in Christ and that was a HUGE part of why we were both talking to each other to start with. But there were so many things about her personality and her looks that I liked too. I still love those same things about her. Those are the things that define your love for each other, not the negative things that you can get caught up in. Do the first works. Go back to where it all began, in the simplicity of the things that you like about each other and what made you fall in love to begin with. You have to cut away all the baggage that you have built up in your relationship and just get back down to the things that made you fall in love in the first place. You have to get back to the basics of being in love with each other and block all the “stuff” that has built up around you. Accept Each Other as You Are One of the most amazing things about falling in love is someone loving YOU for who you are. Out of all the people in the world, my wife saw something in me that made her want to spend her life with me. That is incredible. That is the basic part of being in love that makes it so powerful. Doing the first works means getting back to that basic principle. Seeing through all the challenges and finding what made your love work to begin with. I think that a lot of marriage help resources approach things from a flawed perspective. It’s a perfect married couple (or almost perfect) explaining how you can become perfect (or almost perfect) just like them. But I think that there is a deeper, more profound meaning to what happens in marriage than learning to be the perfect couple. Marriage is about learning to love each other despite your imperfections. That is what makes the Gospel love story so life-changing. He loves me with all my imperfections and problems. Love in marriage should be all about learning to love each other with all your problems and challenges. You don’t always look like Barbie and Ken dolls. You won’t always be in prime health. You may even get under each other’s skin sometimes. And you may have to get through some problems together. But being in love is all about learning to love each other through all of those things. Love is the vehicle that carries you through the journey of life together. And as that journey changes, gets longer, or harder it’s that vehicle of love that carries you through. You have to stay in that vehicle to make it though. Learn to love each other as you are with all your flaws. After all, that is how it all started as you blindly fell in love despite your flaws. Now that love is even more meaningful because you are choosing to love with your eyes wide open to the truth of your imperfections. The Best Love Maintenance Is Preventive In the Bible, the church that was in Ephesians could have prevented losing their first love by keeping up with it over time. This is a problem that they did not have to have because it was preventable. Where I work safety is a BIG deal. When you have an accident it’s almost insulting. They analyze all the things you should and could have done to prevent it. You should have worn gloves, you should have worn thicker shoes, you should have turned your turn signal on sooner, or you should have been watching out for potential accidents. Then you have to watch old boring poorly produced safety VHS videos without music until you are ready to lose your mind! The dirty truth about falling out of love is that you can prevent it from happening. When you see your love start to fade away, you can catch it before it is gone. I once watched a documentary about two teenagers in 2005 who were fishing in a sailboat a few yards off the coast of South Carolina. They slowly drifted farther out to sea and without realizing it were caught in riptide. Six days later they were rescued off the coast of North Carolina 100 miles away from where they started. That is what happens in marriage, you just slowly drift further away from each other and before you know it, you have lost what you had. The following are a few things you can do to keep that from happening: Keep an awareness of how you feel about each other. Communicate how you are feeling with your spouse.Honestly evaluate your relationship often.Be deliberate in taking care of your love for each other. Music by Dan Lebowitz The post Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’? appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
50 minutes | Sep 20, 2020
Six Prayers that Could End Your Marriage Problems for Good
FixerUpperMarriage.org/Prayers Read I Peter 3:1-12 Table Of Contents Little Green Mile MarkersSubmissionKnowledgeRespectEmpathyPeaceSpiritual Enlightenment Little Green Mile Markers I am driving up the interstate highway. I am in the fast-lane and I am counting the mile markers. They are these little green signs on the side of the road that mark the miles. I don’t know what purpose they serve other than a way to pass the time while driving. I have just crossed over the state line, mile marker 1. I have about 92 more mile markers before I turn off of this road. And I am thinking about how much I hate traveling. I have lived in the same small town my entire life and know it like the back of my hand. I know every short cut and backroad. I even know the history of all the landmarks. I have lived there so long that everyone looks familiar to me because I am sure I have seen them before. But now I am on a road that is taking me away. As I pass another mile marker, its mile marker 3 now, I am trying to decide what to say. I have this stuffed dog next to me I would find out later that barked, but for now it was just sitting there listening. Beside it was a bouquet and card I had doted over for an hour or more. I had painstakingly written out a note in it. I feel stupid and exposed. I am taking a risk, leaving what I know for something I don’t. I don’t even know if she will like me, or if she will keep liking me once she really knows me! Now I am getting nervous, so I look at the next marker, it’s number 4. I think the worst part of all this is not knowing. Not knowing how this whole thing will end. And I am thinking that it may not end well for me. She is all the things I am not, outgoing, loving, kind, and pretty. She is the kind of pretty that is inside and out. Everybody likes her. I am definitely not pretty and sometimes I wonder if anybody likes me. There’s another mile marker I am at number 5 now. So I start practicing on the dog again. It just seems better than talking to myself. This time I look in the review mirror which doesn’t help anything. So I do what all good Christians do when they are desperate, I pray. I ask God to somehow make this beautiful young lady love me. Which seems like a miracle to me! A couple of years later, I am driving the opposite way, passing the same mile markers (they go backwards the other way and I have no idea why). But this time, I am holding her hand, and we are passing them together. We are driving back to my hometown to spend the rest of our lives together. But I am not counting them this time; we are just driving past them. I don’t know how many “mile markers” we have driven past in our love together. But it doesn’t matter what they look like or what number is on them because we are together. And being together is the only “marker” that counts. “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”Sam Keen, To Love and Be Loved Love is this beautiful, fantastic power that changes everything it touches. Love is like a slow atomic bomb. It blows up your life but replaces it with something much more meaningful. People will spend a lifetime looking for love. And those who lose it will spend the rest of their life looking to get it back. Once you have fallen in love, you never really get back up. There is no cure for love, once you have it you just can’t live without it Introduction to Prayer Mapping I got this idea from helping my daughter with a school assignment. It’s called concept mapping, but I have adapted it as a prayer guide. This is how it works; while you are praying for your spouse, you map out the things that you need to pray for in their life, and by mapping those things out, you discover some things about your spouse that you may not have realized before. It may help you to understand those things that you need to pray for in your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. For example, my wife is a SAHM (stay at home mom) By mapping out some of the challenges of being a SAHM I can understand how frustrating of job that can be at times. It helps you to more effectively pray for your spouse and to see things a little differently. Six Prayers that Could End Your Marriage Problems for Good Submission (I Peter 3:1-6) What is Submission? People have really got this wrong on both sides of the argument. Some people act like the Bible is wrong or antiqued about this so they try to explain it away or avoid it altogether. Other people think it means that the husband just gets to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants and the wife just has to deal with it! Submission is an attitude in your heart. 1Pe 3:3-4, Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. It’s in the way that you respond to your husband. Even if you think he is wrong, you offer your thoughts calmly and express your willingness to accept his decision. It’s all about your attitude. If you approach him the right way, I don’t know of a man who would not listen if He is loving you as he should. Submission is a choice. No one can make you submit, if they did it would not be Bible submission. So a man cannot force his wife to submit and expect that to fit what God wants. You choose to submit to the authority that God has given to your husband. It doesn’t mean you are less of a person. In fact, I think it takes more grace and strength to follow than to lead. How Do You Submit? Submission is a return. Marriage is a “give and take” relationship and sometimes it means giving more than you are taking. So you give by submitting to your husband in authority and respect. If your husband is not leading, talk to him about it and let him know that you want him to lead your home. You are both equal, but the Spirit-filled wife agrees to follow the lead of her husband as you both follow Christ. Submission is two-way. You can find this principle in Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. So even the husband submits to the needs and wants of his wife. If the husband loves his wife as he should, he has her best interests in mind. This is the Bible model for marriage. For the husband to lovingly lead and for the wife to follow. If you are not there right now, it’s OK, you can get there with God’s help. I’m just being honest, but I don’t always lead as I should and my wife doesn’t always submit as she should but we are working on it. There is this song that was popular when I was little but it’s still true it’s called He’s Still Working on Me: In the mirror of His word Reflections that I see Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray Remember He's the potter, I'm the clay He's still working on me To make me what I need to be It took him just a week to make the moon and stars The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars How loving and patient He must be 'Cause He's still workin' on me Lord, help me to submit to the needs and wants of my spouse and to be the Christian and spouse that you want me to be. Let Your will control my thoughts and my attitude toward my spouse.a prayer for submission Knowledge (I Peter 3:7) Become a Student of Your Spouse Pay attention to the things that your spouse’s likes and dislikes. You cannot love them properly without understanding this. A prayer map may help you to see some of the bigger things. But I think that sometimes it’s the small things that really matter. When I go to the pharmacy for my wife they always ask me for her birthday. I asked them if they would start asking me our anniversary because it is great practice. Remembering special moments and things that your spouse likes helps you to connect with them and to dwell with them according to knowledge. I don’t like sweets, I just don’t get it. But my wife likes specific sweet things. She likes these candy bars called WhatcaMaCallIt and also Carmello. It brings joy to her when I remember what she likes and I get it for her. It means more to me for her to remember my favorite meal and have it ready for me when I get home from work! Or, Jalapeno beef jerky works too! Notice and Know What Your Spouse Struggles With Again, if you do a thoughtful prayer map I think that those things will become clear to you. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the things that you struggle with and not even acknowledge the problems and disappointments that your spouse has. I think that both husbands and wives struggle with this but it is a particular problem for husbands. Just like submission is a particular struggle for wives. So the Bible addresses this issue to the husband. By noticing the things that your spouse struggles with you can change some things in your life to help them. Remember that marriage is a “give and take” and sometimes you have to give more than you take. Maybe being gone all the time with work and hobbies is not the best thing for your marriage. Or bringing work home with you is not the best thing that you can do for your marriage. Areas to Identify from Prayer Mapping Faith You may discover that your spouse has no interest in spiritual things. Realizing this about your spouse or yourself can help you to make adjustments in your prayer life. You should then make plans so that you can be more faithful to church, read your Bibles, or pray together. You can’t force your spouse to do these things. Faith in an individual choice that a person has to make. You especially can’t nag them into it, but you can pray and fix the problems in your own life that you can control. Maybe your spouse is struggling with ministry responsibilities. Doing things for the Lord can be fraught with disappointments. You envision what ministry will look like for you and it rarely works out the way you envisioned it. Understanding that your spouse may be struggling with this can help you know how to pray for them. Health Notice your spouse’s health conditions, whether they are physical, long-term, or emotional. Pray that God heals your spouse, but sometimes suffering is a part of His plan. My wife has been struggling with some health conditions for the past few years, I don’t pray so much for healing as I do Grace and strength. Sometimes you and your spouse have to accept some things as His will. Personal Fulfillment Notice the hobbies or personal desires that your spouse has. Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in your own personal fulfillment, that you lose sight of your spouse’s. Praying for your spouse brings these things back into focus. Family Consider how your spouse feels about relationships, their role with your children, and ideas about the future. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, or longer? Chances are your spouse has ideas about this too. You may have to have a conversation to understand what those things might be for them. Career Stop and think about how your spouse is thinking about what they are doing in life. Maybe staying home with the kids all the time gets a little old. They could need a break! Praying for your spouse can reveal these things to you. Also, your spouse may want to go back to school to learn something new. Maybe to learn something they can do part-time. Or maybe they would like to do something else. You may not be able to do that something else right now, but you can better know and understand your spouse by praying this way. Lord, help me to really know the person I am married to. Open my eyes to see their struggles, disappointments, and desires. Help me to learn how to give more than I take from my spouse.A Prayer for Knowledge Respect (I Peter 3:7,8) I did an entire lesson on respect a few months ago. You can find it at FixerUpperMarriage.org/respect. We spelled out the word RESPECT together and learned how to actually respect each other. Respect the Roles of Marriage The Roles Husband- The husband is the spiritual head of the marriage. He is to lovingly lead and care for his wife. A spirit-filled husband will lead his wife with her best interest in mind. So, it is not an “I’m the big kahuna” attitude, but an “I love my wife” attitude. The model for this is found in Ephesians 5:25b As Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. So the husband gives his time, energy, thoughts, plans, and future to love and lead his wife.Wife- The wife is to lovingly follow the lead of her husband. But she must do this willingly, just like the church has to willingly follow Christ. The wife is the weaker vessel. Although I do think most men are generally stronger than women physically, (even though I have met some women I would not want to face in a dark alley) I don’t believe that is what the Bible is talking about. It means emotionally weaker with a deep desire to love and depend on her husband. So a wife can find joy by lovingly deferring to her husband. This goes against the modern ideas of our culture, but if you choose not to follow the Bible, then you are robbing yourself of great joy. It’s ok and normal to depend on your husband emotionally, financially, and physically. So the wife is not less important than the husband, but more so because the leading of the husband is in him lovingly yielding his life for his wife. The Meaning I think there’s an element of a hierarchy type of relationship here. Where the husband is over the wife. But not the way some people are reading it. This does not mean a hierarchy in the sense of meaning, importance, or worth. Or that the wife has to just go along with everything. If a husband who rarely prays or reads his Bible tells his wife God is calling them to do something, she should question him. She has to be able to trust his leadership in order to follow. Husbands and wives have unique responsibilities to live up to. It’s not as easy as a boss/subordinate employee relationship. So, both the husband and wife are equal, but they serve each other in two completely different ways. The husband’s job is the lovingly lead, while the wife’s job is to lovingly follow. The Functioning The husband respects his wife by treating her as a vessel that he needs to honor and care for. While the wife respects her husband by treating him as the head. It’s all about the way you treat each other in the relationship. So the husband should feel respected and loved while the wife should feel loved and cared for. Your actions are important, but you respect your spouse by the way you make them feel. So it’s not so much what you do, as in how you are interacting with your spouse. Are you making your wife feel honored? A husband may say, “I bought you flowers!” or “I told you I love you!”. But are you making her feel honored? I can’t control how my wife feels, but I can do things, say things, or touch her in gentle ways that can illustrate my honor towards her. I can make her feel honored and special. Are you making your husband feel respected? A wife may say, “I washed your dirty underwear!” or “I made you supper!” But are you making him feel respected? You can’t control how your husband feels, but you can say things, do things, or treat him in certain ways that illustrate your respect toward him. Respect and honor are things that are quantified by the recipient. Your goal should be to make your spouse feel respected and honored. Should a wife be respected? Of course. Should a husband be honored? Of course. But the Bible addresses these specifically to husband or wife because He created certain primal needs into thy genders. Respect the Responsibilities in Marriage As a Christian, you have this unique relationship where you are not only husband and wife, but also heirs together of the grace of life. If you have Jesus in your hearts, you are both children of God. You are brother and sister in Christ. So there is the principle of treating each other as equal heirs of spiritual things. The ONE thing I want more than anything else is to not be ashamed when I see Jesus face to face. I want to hear Him say “well done”! And I want my wife to hear those same words. So I have to pray for her every day that God will help her to live a victorious life. I have to help her in any way that I can so that she can hear those words too. So marriage is not just about what you do or say right now, but about how what you do will impact what happens in eternity. Living together and interacting with each other is an opportunity to have something meaningful when you face Jesus. To be able to look Him in the eyes and know that you did what you could to show honor and respect to your spouse. God, let my heart have real respect for my spouse and for my actions show honor to them. Give me the grace to treat my spouse better than myself.A Prayer for Respect Empathy (I Peter 3:7,8) OK, this is where prayer mapping really comes into play. When you layout all the things that your spouse may be struggling with, it helps you to see all the things they are facing and even how they may be feeling. This helps you fulfill the Bible instructions to be of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. Marriage is Serving When you read in the Bible about marriage, it’s easy to see the gaps in your spouse. Especially when you look at all the legitimate needs that you have, that your spouse is not meeting. But, unfortunately, the Bible is not framed that way. Instead, the Bible addresses the husband and the wife as to what they should each do, not what the other is not doing. So the instructions of the Bible are meant to guide you as to what you should be doing. In other words, Bible instructions are about what YOU are not doing, not anyone else. The husband is to lovingly honor and lead his wife. (period) And the wife is to lovingly respect and follow her husband. (period) Marriage is an opportunity to serve your spouse. Serving is not doing things to get other things in return. So if you do something for your spouse there is the expectation that you will get something back from them. That is not serving. What happens when they don’t return the favor? But what about my needs? The better question is, who should I be depending on to meet my needs? II Corinthians 3:5-6 says, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: You work to serve the needs of your spouse and depend on God to meet yours. That is hard. So instead of depending on your spouse, you depend on Christ. Marriage is not about your needs. Although those needs may have led you to get married in the first place. Those needs make you vulnerable to your spouse, but being vulnerable is really what the commitment of marriage is all about. My spouse could leave me, my spouse could hurt me, or my spouse could refuse to meet the needs that I have. But I am committed to serving her as I serve Christ and depending on Him to meet my needs. This requires faith. There is this illustration of faith being like sky-diving. For some time after you jump out of the plane, you are just falling with nothing until the parachute comes out. Depending on Christ is that way too, there are times when it seems like you are just falling, but at just the right time, Jesus is there to catch you. It’s easy to blame your spouse, or to leave when things get hard, but God wants you to serve your spouse and depend on Him. And really, by serving your spouse in this way you are serving the Lord. The Complete Picture There are times in marriage when you are just ministering to your spouse and depending on God. But if you both can get on the same page or of one mind as the Bible puts it, then you have a marriage that works the way that God intended. You both should be living by the following Bible guidelines: Have compassion towards each other.Love and treat each other as worthy because of your value to Christ. (Love as brethren)Treat each other with sympathy. (be pitiful)Be kind to each other. (be courteous) These all seem like simple things to do, but living with each other everyday creates conflict and challenges. So you have to pray and depend on God to help you with these things. But if you are both on the same page, your marriage problems are really not problems at all. Now you can serve God together and live the principle of two lives becoming one. This is illustrated in the words of Ecclesiastes 4:9, Two are better than one. Lord, help me to become completely vulnerable to my spouse, to minister to their needs, and to learn how to depend on you for my own. May our marriage draw a picture of compassion, love, and kindness. A Prayer for Empathy Peace I Peter 3:9-11 Respond with Understanding Creating a Prayer Map for your spouse can help you to better understand what is going on in your spouse’s heart and mind. You can’t read your spouse’s mind, but taking the time to think about what they are going through can help you when conflict happens. For instance, if through prayer mapping you notice that your spouse has some specific health problems, that could be why they are snapping at you. So if they are in pain, no wonder they are a little moody. Or if you know that they are having some frustrations with their job, then maybe you could understand why they are a little preoccupied. This is not meant to give you an excuse to do wrong, but for you to understand what your spouse may be going through. You Don’t Have to Come Back at Your Spouse This has been a common marriage problem for about 6000 years! So the Bible addresses it directly, Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing. You don’t have to have a come-back for everything your spouse says to you, you can just take it. Honestly, when someone you love says something hurtful, a lot of times there is some truth to it. And words really only have the power that you let them have over you. Some people have the philosophy that you should come back at someone the same way they come at you. That does not come from the Bible. You can be firm with someone without being ugly. So yes, you should stand up for yourself, and you don’t have to accept verbal abuse. But you don’t have to get down into the mud with your spouse to try to win an argument. Newsflash! Nobody wins an argument in marriage. When you fight EVERYBODY loses. Tips for Surviving a Lover’s Spat Don’t talk about it until you calm down. After some reflection and prayer or prayer mapping, you may realize that there is some truth in what your spouse said, or that there is no truth at all in and you can just dismiss the whole thing. Maybe, once you calm down, you can discuss how you and your spouse are feeling in a constructive way. So instead of tearing each down, you’re building each other up. Which is what the Bible says to do in I Peter 3, but contrariwise blessingUnderstand that the spat may not be what the spat is really about. Sometimes fighting in marriage is a superficial response to a deeper problem. So you don’t rail for rail because the railing may not be what the problem is really about. If you are not working towards making your husband feel respected or to make your wife feel honored and special that could be the real problem. When your wife rails about you leaving things sitting around, the real problem may be that you never show appreciation for what she does. If your husband is biting your head off or ignoring you, when is the last time you went out of your way to meet a need for him in a respectful way.Instead of getting even, try being a blessing instead. Ok, so instead of evil for evil or railing for railing, try returning pity for evil or try being courteous for railing. This is what the Bible teaches that you should consider a contrariwise blessing. Being good and kind when you are dealing with your spouse will yield a better result in eternity. This means that you have to set aside your pride and die to your own feelings. So you pull out some paper and write out a prayer map for your spouse. And then you pray for them. I promise you will see things differently. Praying for someone changes your attitude toward them.Remember that your blessing comes from someone else. The Bible words it like this. Knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. As a Christian, you have the promise of spiritual blessings now and eternal ones in Heaven. So here it is, an earth-shattering truth, the thing you are arguing about is probably not that big of a deal. Be Careful with Your Words My mother always told me that if I couldn’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. So once you are calm, you can deal with things with words without hidden meanings (guile) or ill intent, injurious, or evil. Think before you speak, words can hurt people. It’s like the old saying, sticks, and stones may hurt my bones but words will not hurt me. Even though you don’t have to let someone’s words have power over you, people have this tendency to let words have power them anyway. And you should not be the one doling out hurtful words especially to your spouse. When you have been together for a while, you get comfortable, and you feel secure in your marriage, it is easy to take that security for granted. What happens is, you think in your mind that you can get away with mistreating your spouse, because after all, you’re married for life, right. This is bad logic for marriage. I addressed this in an episode entitled Why is Love so Messy? Actually that feeling of complacency and security is not really true, and it can hurt your marriage. You start to think that you can just treat your spouse anyway you want and they will just keep taking it. Or will they? So it’s possible you can win the battle of words but lose your marriage. On June 17th, 1775 British forces engaged the Colonial Army during the American Revolution in Bunker Hill, Massachusetts. It would become known as the Battle of Bunker Hill. They fought for control of this strategic location. The colonists eventually ran out of ammunition and the British won the battle, but they lost 1000 men, 100 of them officers. The battle left the British forces depleted and demoralized. This became a turning point in the war and it rallied the Colonial Army to an eventual victory in the war. So the ancient military idiom proved true, You can win a battle but lose the war. Actively Seek Peace Instead of trying to “win” against your spouse. Try striving for peace instead. Instead of fighting, learn how to pray for them instead. You don’t have to do a prayer map like mine, but spend a set amount of time every day praying for your spouse. That’s what being a Christian is all about, seeking peace with other people. And seeking peace with someone much bigger than you both. There is this Peace with God that can only come through faith in the shed blood of Jesus. God, make me the peacemaker in my marriage. Help my response and words to be seasoned with Your grace, kindness, and mercy. Create in me a heart of humility and a mind to find the good in my spouse.A Prayer for Peace Spiritual Enlightenment I Peter 3:12 The Contrast God paints this contrasting picture of two people. You can choose to be either. There is the person who chooses to do good and pray for their spouse. Then there’s the person who chooses to do evil toward their spouse. Choosing to Do GoodChoosing to Do EvilEngages in prayer for each otherEngages in fighting and arguingSpeaks constructive wordsUses words that tear downDepends on God to meet needsBemoans spouse not meeting needsActively serves one anotherComplains about spouse not serving themSubmits to their Bible role in marriageFights for their rights and their own powerFocuses on eternityFocused on what they don’t have now The Stakes When you are dealing with your spouse it’s sometimes easy to miss what the real stakes involved are. God not only draws this contrast of your choices within the marriage relationship but He also draws the contrast of His attitude toward you depending on the choices you make. His eyes are over the righteous. He hears them pray. But His face is against them that do evil. from I Peter 3 If You Choose to Do GoodIf You Choose to Do EvilHe is watching over youHe is against youHe hears you prayHe doesn’t hear you when you prayYou can have an unhindered relationship with HimYou can’t have a right relationship with HImYou can have a good relationship with your spouseYou hurt your relationship with your spouse Lord, grant me the spiritual eyes to see the importance of being right with you and being right with my spouse. Help me to choose to do good to my spouse.A Prayer for Spiritual Enlightenment Table Of Contents Little Green Mile MarkersIntroduction to Prayer MappingSubmissionWhat is Submission? How Do You Submit?KnowledgeBecome a Student of Your SpouseNotice and Know What Your Spouse Struggles WithAreas to Identify from Prayer MappingRespectRespect the Roles of MarriageRespect the Responsibilities in MarriageEmpathyMarriage is ServingBut what about my needs? The Complete PicturePeaceRespond with UnderstandingBe Careful with Your WordsActively Seek PeaceSpiritual EnlightenmentThe ContrastThe Stakes Podcast music by Dan Lebowitz The post Six Prayers that Could End Your Marriage Problems for Good appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
46 minutes | Jul 19, 2020
11 Ways to Keep Money from Destroying Your Marriage
FixerUpperMarriage.org/money What is Money? Money is this powerful, mysterious force that controls and changes your life. It divides people into classes (the haves and the have nots). And nothing makes people more jealous than money.Money is an intoxication. Having it makes you feel powerful, independent, and free. Not having it makes you feel weak, helpless, and bound. It is like an addiction to a powerful drug. It controls you.Money is an abusive master. It manipulates you with fear and hopelessness. It beats you down, stresses you out, and dictates what you can or can’t do.Money is an elusive substance- a mirage in the desert of life. When you find it, it is never really there. It’s a dream that never lives up to reality. It is never enough.Money is a terrible lover who steals your heart and never loves you back. Money is a god who demands your worship at all costs. It takes your soul but only gives superficial things back. In a poll of divorced people conducted by MagnifyMoney, 21% of divorcées cite money as the cause of their divorce. Of course, we all know that money problems cause a lot of stress. And that stress can destroy your relationship. How crazy is it, that little pieces of paper can have so much power. But money only has the power that you give it. There are ways to keep it from hurting your love. Most money problems are self-inflicted but other times things happen, like injury, death in your family, sickness, or job loss. But regardless of how you get into financial hardship, that hardship doesn’t have to mean the end of your love. “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”–Norman Vincent Peale As a disclaimer, I am not a financial expert or advisor. My focus is on how money impacts your relationship. And as a confession, I am working on these things in my own marriage. So maybe this whole thing is for me! But I think you will definitely find this episode helpful. I will leave the links to any of the resources in the comments below. Table Of Contents 1. Talk About Your Budget Together2. Prioritize Your Spending3. Use the ROI Method to Analyze Your Spending Choices4. Limit Your Credit Accounts5. Live Within Your Means6. Save for Large Purchases7. Don’t Let Money Be Your Measuring Stick of Success8. Use Available Resources9. Give Yourself Some “Free” Money10. Give Liberally11. Remember Where Your Money Really Comes From 1. Talk About Your Budget Together Don’t Hide Things from Each Other When you become one, so does your money. Your relationship is built on trust and if you violate that trust, it can deeply harm the love that you have for each other. Husbands and wives should live in a glass house with each other. I am not doing something on the computer that my wife knows nothing about. I don’t have relationships with other people that she is not aware of. There is nothing on my phone that she cannot have access to. You should not have a secret savings account or money stashed away somewhere. If you feel the need to do this, there are obviously some bigger issues that you need to work on in your relationship. It is better to confront your spouse with problems than to try to hide things from them. You should not have secret credit cards or accounts that your spouse doesn’t know about. Even if you think that they would be OK with it, you should still be completely open with them because that “OK”, could become a not OK in a hurry when you start having problems. I can think of two exceptions: If you are saving for a birthday/anniversary surprise. That is a good reason to hide some money!If your spouse is abusive, you may need to hide some money so that you can get away from them. God doesn’t want you to stay in a situation where you are in danger and it may be necessary to come up with a plan to get away from them. Should You Have Separate Bank Accounts? This is a controversial topic for sure! And I have heard the arguments from both sides. What you have to remember is that when you get married, you agree to share your lives together and that includes your material possessions. So this is the principle: But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.Mark 10:6-9 God makes you one when you enter into the covenant of marriage. This includes everything, even money. This is why you should talk about money before you get married and not marry someone you can’t trust! You should both know what is going on with debts and finances. Usually, there is one person in the marriage who primarily handles the money, things like paying the bills. But both of you should know what is going on. In our household, I am usually the one paying the bills and I don’t always do a good job of communicating. There have been times when I have not told my wife we were short on money because I did not want her to worry. But that is a mistake because you are a team that is working together to make your marriage work. It can’t work if you are not sharing. The particulars of the accounts are not as important as the communication and understanding that you should both have. So having separate accounts is really not the issue. You could each have 5 separate accounts as long as you both know about it and have reached an agreement about it. For instance, the spouse who primarily pays the bills may have an account to take care of those things while the other spouse may need to manage an account to pay for things like groceries and household supplies. The key is communicating and agreeing with each other about this beforehand. So should you have separate bank accounts? You both have to answer this question together. Whatever money either of you earn belongs to both of you and should be treated that way. Communicate with Each Other Whatever you do, make sure you communicate that with each other. Talk about what your short term plans and your expectations are. For example, if you think you should have a two-week vacation every year, you should both sit down and talk about ways to make that happen. And you should talk about long term plans, like saving for retirement. Even the small things like how often you will eat out are important things to plan together. It is important to make sure you are both on the same page and that you put the principle of two lives becoming one into your marriage. 2. Prioritize Your Spending Divide Your Expenses into Lists of Importance Don’t get me wrong, all your bills are important and the things that you need matter, but narrowing down the things that are the most critical can help you both plan your budget and pay your bills. This is a list that may make sense to you (as Christians our top necessity is giving, more on that later, but I am not including that here.) If you think I should add items, you can leave them in the comment section below. Fixed Necessities are things that you absolutely have to pay and the cost, for the most part, stays the same. HousingElectricityWaterPhoneInternet (could be depending on your situation)Life InsuranceTaxesCar Payment? Fluctuating Necessities are things that you have to have but the cost of these things can be fluctuating or be somewhat adjusted. GroceriesCar InsuranceClothingHealth InsuranceGas for CarDebtsCar Payment? Optional Spending is things that you could do without that can be negotiated. EntertainmentPhonesExtra clothingHobbiesTravel You have to consider your expenses in levels like this in order to prioritize your spending. If you wanted to include your giving and savings and add all these expenses up, you could compare them to your income. Talk about what Expenses Are the Most Important Sit down and talk about which of your expenses are the most important to you and come up with a way to spend that keeps you under your income. Whatever works for you is fine but it has to work or you will live in the red. And living in the red is not a good place to live. The stress of trying to pay all your bills and not having the money to do it is overwhelming. It will affect your marriage in the long run. You may discover that you could live in a smaller place, you could sell your car for a cheaper one, or that you could forgo getting the latest smartphone. These are not easy things to do, but it could take a huge load of the financial stress off of your marriage. Understand What Bills You Should Pay First You should pay all of your bills but it is important to understand that you pay the things that are most important first. You can do without your hobbies, but you cannot do without electricity or housing. If you have debts to pay, you should pay those debts, but you have to understand that your housing is more important than those debts. OK, so it may hurt your credit score which could be a bad thing (or maybe a good thing) but being behind on your rent or house payment is much worse. You just can’t look at all your expenses in the same way because they are not all the same. The sooner you understand this in your marriage, the better off you will be. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;Colossians 3:23-24 3. Use the ROI Method to Analyze Your Spending Choices I am just arbitrarily naming this method because it seems to make sense. ROI is used in the business and marketing world. It stands for return on investment. So when a company makes decisions for future investments they consider what the return from that investment will be. You can apply this same idea to marriage. Think of Your Spending as an Investment Before you spend, think of it as an investment with a potential return. And how that return could influence your relationship. All the returns may not be financial but could be rewarding in other ways. So you ask yourself the question before you spend the money, “is the return going to be worth the spending we are doing.” Example 1 Let’s say I need a car to drive back and forth to work every day. So I am considering my dream classic car, a 1967 Chevy Camaro. It’s my dream and it’s only about $30,000! I also have to consider maintenance on a car that is that old and safe place for storage. So the return on my investment is a ride to work which is very important. But is the return of having a ride to work worth investing that much? Although I would love to have my dream car, it would make more sense to purchase a reliable, reasonably priced used car. So I get the same return on a much smaller investment. Example 2 Let’s say that we are renting a house and considering buying a house instead. So we look at buying a large house in an upscale neighborhood that is the absolute maximum loan that we can qualify for. So the return is having a place to stay and perhaps building some equity in a home. But purchasing a smaller house that doesn’t max out our income, could offer a better return in the long run. We would have less stress and more disposable income to buy other things that we may need. This could also be a nice return on investment! By the way, less stress in your marriage could mean a better relationship. We have to pay for housing regardless, so we could even continue to rent and save for a downpayment so that we could purchase a nicer house without having to max our income out! Determine what Expenses are Best for Your Situation Everyone’s circumstances are different so consider the personal return on your long-term spending before you spend. This can save you a lot of heartaches and give you the peace of mind that you are both spending your money in ways that can give you the best return. Personal Example For example, Insurance doesn’t have much of a return until you need it. Early in our marriage, we wanted to get new phones because it seemed like we had dinosaurs compared to everyone we knew. So when my income increased we were excited to see we had the funds to get them. But we both stopped and considered that I had no life insurance and Amber is a stay at home mom. So we grudgingly made the decision to use that money to purchase a policy for both of us. The return on the investment was the peace of mind of knowing things would be taken care of if something happened to either of us. Whereas the return on the investment of the phones would have been looking cooler and having the latest gadgets! We did eventually get the latest gadget phones though! Thinking about your spending as an investment will change not only the way you spend but the impact of your spending on your marriage relationship. The Investment and Return Is Not Always Money Some things in life are worth more than money. The return on your investment could be an education for your children or a more stable marriage. Moving may be tough financially, but if moving puts you near a church that would help your family, that sounds like a good investment. And the investment could be your time. So by investing more time in your marriage or family will produce a return that is worth far more than money. You just have to consider the best way to impact your relationship because that is the most important investment and will give you the most meaningful return. 4. Limit Your Credit Accounts This is a big one. Debt is a massive problem for couples today. According to the latest findings from Northwestern Mutual’s 2020 Planning & Progress Study among Americans who carry debt, the average amount of debt excluding mortgages is $26,621 and 33% of their income goes to paying it off. Credit Accounts Are Like Snakes OK, so you can probably tell that I have learned this one from experience! If you cannot afford something, it is so tempting to make payments on it. And the “easy” payments cause you to not look at the actual amount spent. Then to make matters worse, you usually have to pay high interest, so you are paying even more for that thing you are buying. Example Let’s say I am shopping for a laptop on BestBuy.com which is a large online electronics retailer. I find one for $1499.99 at BestBuy. This is way out of my price range since I only had $400.00 to purchase one. But I see that I can get it for $83.34 per month for 18 months. This seems a little more manageable. Then I realized that I can get an even better model for only $91.67 per month. So initially, I planned on spending $400.00 for a new laptop but I am now thinking of spending $1649.99 instead. It’s even worse if you use a credit card because you are paying interest on top of that! You can get yourself in a mess by making monthly credit payments on the things you buy. Because all those “little” payments that you can afford, add up to a bigger payment that you can’t. If you use credit or credit cards you have to treat them like the snakes that they are. Be careful! Buy things based on their total cost and pay them off sooner rather than just on schedule. This keeps you above water financially and keeps you out of stress. You Are a Servant to Your Lenders The Bible says a lot about money. This is one principle about debt: The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.Proverbs 22:7 You are becoming a servant to the debt that you incur. Because you are indebted to someone or some company you are giving up control of little parts of your life to them. In my humble opinion, a house is a good thing to be in debt for as long as your payments are 25 to 30 percent of your monthly net income. Just because the bank says that you qualify for more, doesn’t mean that you should spend more. Again, I am not a financial counselor, just a regular person like you. I also live in a rural area, so if you live in a major city, the housing may be a much bigger percentage. But I am talking about how debt impacts your relationship. As long as you don’t owe more on your house than it’s worth, I see it as a good thing. You also have to balance out your wants and your needs. So I was shopping for a laptop to use to help homeschool my kids even though the $1649.99 model was something I may want, I found one on sale for about $300.00 instead. Spoiler alert! It works just fine and we don’t have to make payments on it! It’s OK to get things you want if you can afford it, but you have to find the balance of your wants in relation to your needs. Things to Consider Before You Buy Something on Credit What is the actual total cost of this item?How much will I be paying in interest?Want are my wants in relation to my actual needs? 5. Live Within Your Means It seems like an obvious thing but living within your means can be one of the hardest things to do. And figuring out and accepting what those “means” are can be the biggest challenge. What Are Your Means? It means living where you can afford to live, driving what you can afford to drive, and buying only those things that you can afford to buy. Everyone’s situation is different but this concept is really simple. It’s almost too simple. But if it is so simple, why do people struggle with it so much? It’s just so tempting to keep buying things that you want or need without thinking about whether or not you can afford it. Why Don’t We Live Within Our Means? This is where the rubber meets the road. Lurching behind your desire to live above your means is this root problem that is so basic that God addressed it in the Ten Commandments- Thou shalt not covet. Covetousness is rooted in jealousy. It means that you want something that someone else has so much that you are filled with envy. So when someone else gets something that you don’t have, instead of being happy for them, you are eaten up with jealousy. You then do whatever you have to get what they have or something better. I think that most debts are rooted in the wickedness of covetousness. There are a lot of people who are driven to have what everyone else has or to have better than what the people they personally know have. There is nothing wrong with having things, but there is something wrong with trying to have things that you can’t afford. As a Christian, life is about using the resources that God has given you in a way that honors Him. You can read some of the details about this principle in Matthew 25:14-30. What About Things You Can’t Control Some debts come from things like medical bills or job loss. Health problems are tough because you rack up medical bills and you have no way of working to pay them off. If this happens you just do the best that you can. If you write to some hospitals, they may have some assistance available. Most will work out payment plans. It just takes some time to work through those things. Just keep in mind that you prioritize from the lists above and pay off these debts as you can. If you take money from your basic living expenses to pay for these other debts, you will get yourself in a mess. Once you have your spending priorities right you can start paying off debts. Paying off debts, especially credit cards can be the best investment you could make in your relationship. If you are living in debt right now, you will feel completely different not having to carry this load around. You really are a servant to your debts until you are free from them. 6. Save for Large Purchases This is a different way of buying things than you may be used to. Save up with the goal of buying the things that you want. So when you purchase them, they are yours- you don’t have to make credit payments on them. I know people who are great at saving money. They put money in the bank and just let it accumulate. Others are like me and just have trouble saving. Maybe you have some creative ideas about saving, You are welcome to leave them in the comments under this post. But one way of saving that we have been successful at is saving with a goal in mind of purchasing something. So instead of getting something on credit, you save until you can pay cash for it. Since we have been married we have been able to do this with all our vehicles. At times, we have had to wait for those vehicles. So we have had to drive older cars and fix what is wrong with them, especially at first. But overtime you upgrade until you have newer vehicles. Right now we drive a car that is a couple of years old and has very low mileage. The awesome thing is, that we own it. You can do this with all your larger purchases. Save up until you have enough to just buy it outright. This way, you don’t have the stress in your marriage of having to make payments that you may not be able to afford. The hardest part is the waiting, but the waiting also brings the greatest reward! If you can’t do this right now, you can make it your goal of working to live this way. I understand that sometimes you may be in a situation where you need to use credit. But just so that you understand that the more debt that you carry, the more stress you are putting on your marriage. 7. Don’t Let Money Be Your Measuring Stick of Success The Deception of Comparing Yourself to Others It is tempting to compare yourself to other people. To look at the things that other people have or to hear them talk about how much they make, then to try to compare your circumstances to yours is not wise. The truth is, you don’t know their circumstances so there is really no way to make that comparison. People keep blinds in front of their lives and they only open up enough to let you see what they want you to see. Especially with social media, people only post their highpoints! But they have low points just like you! For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.II Corinthians 10:12 One of my favorite writers is Mark Twain. He was a colorful author of American literature. One of his famous quotes is “Comparison is the death of joy.” I have personally found this to be true. If you measure your worth with others, you are making a huge mistake. And this is a mistake that a lot of couples make. To have a competitive house, to put your kids in a competitive school, driving a competitive, or even having competitive clothes are all a waste of your resources. Life is not a competition to see who can have the most stuff! It’s perfectly OK if someone you know has something that you don’t. The irony is by not getting caught up in having what others have, you can have something they don’t! Success in Life Means More than Money When people get older they have these epiphany moments when they realize that their marriage and family are what really mattered. People spend a lifetime measuring success by comparing themselves to other people, then one day they realize that none of that mattered. But you don’t have to be that way, you can learn the value of being together and having each other. That is what makes you successful, having a good relationship with each other. A Contented Heart and a Satisfied Mind Is the Most Important Thing The Apostle Paul was an incredible Christian who wrote 13, maybe even 14 (Hebrews), books of the Bible. He struggled through doubters, persecution, and imprisonment on his journey for Christ. This is what he said that he learned: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.Philippians 4:11-12 As a Christian, you have to learn how to handle having extra and not having enough. That means learning to be content with where you are in life. Contentment means that you are satisfied with the means that God has given you. The measuring stick for your success should be your contentment. 8. Use Available Resources There are a lot of resources available about finances. We have struggled with budgeting but I believe that is the best way to manage your money. One thing that we had success with for a while is the envelope system. My wife kept envelopes in her purse with cash in them. Each envelope was labeled for things like, “eating out”, “groceries”, or “gas”. We both agreed on how much cash to put into each envelope. So this way we could see how much money we had left throughout the week for things like eating out or groceries. This worked for us until some circumstances changed. Although right now, in the COVID-19 pandemic some businesses are not taking cash. Which seems strange to me since most places still touch your card?! There are lots of software that do something similar to what we did then. There are a lot that do budgeting for you. Recently, I have been listening to a podcast called YNAB which is short for You Need a Budget. They also have an app that we have been wanting to try. My wife and I read the book Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, it comes with a nice workbook that I would definitely recommend. We were able to pay off some debts with it and the principles that we learned have helped us stay out of financial trouble. He also has a popular podcast and radio call-in show. I have also had people recommend Crown Financial Ministries to me. They look at everything from a Christian perspective, which is great. It was founded by the late Larry Burkett who hosted a radio show called Money Matters and authors many books about finance. You may also find resources in your circle of family or friends. I personally know some people who are good at handling finances and are willing to offer advice or encouragement. My father-in-law actually purchased the book Total Money Makeover for us when we were first married and it has been very helpful to us. So you may have some resources closer than you think! Do you have any resources you would like to recommend? Just leave a comment below! I am sure that everyone would appreciate your sharing. 9. Give Yourself Some “Free” Money Sometimes you can get so determined to save money or pay off debts that you just lock yourself in this money prison and you can’t spend a penny on yourself. Something similar happens when you get married and start sharing finances. Before you were married you just bought whatever you wanted but now you have to consider the needs and wants of your spouse. Then once you have children, there is a whole new set of financial considerations. This is why I am recommending that both husbands and wives have a set amount to spend on themselves. Just to be able to buy whatever you want. Maybe you want to have a hobby or you want to save to buy something for yourself. We have these prepaid cards and a set amount goes into each one through direct deposit. This way we each have some separate personal spending money. It’s not the same thing as having secret money but it’s just money to do or buy whatever you want without having to feel guilty about it. I am sure there are other ways of doing this. The main thing is that you both talk about your spending and what the expectations are for both of you. 10. Give Liberally This is what being a Christian is really about- giving. So I believe that giving should come directly from your income. The Bible uses the word increase. So as you are paid (increase) or as your financial resources increase you give a portion of that back to God. How Much Should You Give? For thousands of years, Christians have used a tenth or tithe as a standard of giving. So that is 10 percent of your income. You can find this principle throughout the Old Testament particularly in the book of Malachi. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.Malachi 3:10 The tithe is a standard. It’s like a baseline for your giving. The actual word is not mentioned in the New Testament but it is implied as a standard of giving. And in the New Testament, the people of the Church were known for their giving. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:II Corinthians 9:6-8 If you are stingy with your giving, expect God to be stingy in blessing you. Just saying! If you are not in a place where you can give the standard of a tithe, it should be your goal to get to that point. You can also give things besides money, like giving your time. So you should be generous with giving your money and your time. Who Should You Give to? Give to a Local Church There are plenty of people who are asking for money today. I am not discrediting any of them. But the model from the Bible is to give through a local church. You find a church that is doctrinally sound and get involved with giving. As a Christian, when you join a church you pool your resources together and help take the Gospel to people who are not Christians. God designed the local church to be supported by the giving of the people who are members. The church needs a building for ministry and most ministries cost money to operate, that is where your generous giving steps in. You are giving that money back to God by willingly investing in His Church. Give to People in Need Christians should be known for loving and giving to other people. In II Corinthians chapter 8 the churches that were in Macedonia took up collections for other Christians who needed money for ministry. They gave this money while they were suffering and in poverty. So we should all be willing to give of what we have, even if it is a small amount. Christians should have a reputation for giving. 11. Remember Where Your Money Really Comes From Sometimes we all think that we are providing for our own needs by working a job. But this is not the case. Who gave you the ability to work? Ultimately, God is your provider. He is the one who provides for you. He may use your job to do that, but He is the one taking care of you. So you have to trust Him with your life and your needs. This is a hard but necessary reality for every Christian to understand. Table Of Contents 1. Talk About Your Budget TogetherDon’t Hide Things from Each OtherShould You Have Separate Bank Accounts?Communicate with Each Other2. Prioritize Your SpendingDivide Your Expenses into Lists of ImportanceTalk about what Expenses Are the Most Important Understand What Bills You Should Pay First3. Use the ROI Method to Analyze Your Spending ChoicesThink of Your Spending as an InvestmentDetermine what Expenses are Best for Your SituationThe Investment and Return Is Not Always Money4. Limit Your Credit AccountsCredit Accounts Are Like SnakesYou Are a Servant to Your Lenders5. Live Within Your MeansWhat Are Your Means?Why Don’t We Live Within Our Means?What About Things You Can’t Control6. Save for Large Purchases7. Don’t Let Money Be Your Measuring Stick of SuccessThe Deception of Comparing Yourself to OthersSuccess in Life Means More than MoneyA Contented Heart and a Satisfied Mind Is the Most Important Thing8. Use Available Resources9. Give Yourself Some “Free” Money10. Give LiberallyHow Much Should You Give?Who Should You Give to?Give to People in Need11. Remember Where Your Money Really Comes From Podcast music by Dan Lebowitz The post 11 Ways to Keep Money from Destroying Your Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
35 minutes | May 13, 2020
Help! We Don’t Have Anything in Common Anymore!
8 Ways to Find and Develop Things You Can Have in Common in Your Marriage FixerUpperMarriage.org/Common Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org Table Of Contents What’s So Great about Matchbox Cars?1. Schedule Time to Just Talk2. Treat Each Other Like Best Friends3. Start Fresh in Your Relationship4. Try Some New Things Together5. Get Involved With the Things that Your Spouse Likes6. Reminisce Over Your Relationship History7. Recognize and Rejoice Over Demonstrations of Love8. Work On Your Faith TogetherSummary What’s So Great about Matchbox Cars? I’m 4 years old and in the store with my mom. I’m riding in a shopping cart but not in the place where kids normally ride, I’m in the basket area where my mom always puts the stuff that she buys. The store is called K-Mart, it’s a huge store that has a little bit of everything. My mom likes to shop here because they have blue-light specials. What this means is, while you are shopping a blue light starts flashing in a certain area of the store and that meant there was a sale in that department. I loved it when the blue light came on because my mom would take off with me in the cart and it was like a rollercoaster ride! But I like K-Mart because it has toys and my mom would take me down the toy aisles if I asked. I know we have everything that we need, but also know that we don’t always have extra. So I knew not to ask for any of the “big” toys but there was one little toy that was fairly cheap and I knew that if I asked for it, I was more likely to get it. Maybe you have heard of them, they are called Matchbox cars. They are these little diecast metal cars that come in all kinds of different types and colors. Sometimes I get the Hot Wheels, which are tricked out matchbox cars but are a few cents more. I was fine with just the plain Matchbox cars because they were just as fun! When we get home I run straight outside with my new Matchbox car and my little collection in tow. My mom is watching me through the window over the kitchen sink while she catches up on the dishes. And when she is ready for me to come in she will holler my name out the window. If I don’t come in right away she will call out my full name JASON REGAN PARHAM. I know that means to run inside! So I am outside playing with my Matchbox cars by myself at a stump. The stump was cool because my dad had cut down the tree and it was just an awesome place to play cars. Then I notice a big person jumping our chain link fence and coming into our yard. I don’t know him, but I know he is an older kid in our neighborhood. That’s when something amazing happens, He walks up to me, gets on his hands and knees and offers to play Matchbox cars with me. I don’t know how long we are going to play but it is great just to have someone to play with. I know right now that I have a friend in this world. Someday I would be a 44 year old man (don’t tell anyone my age because I look younger than I am!) digging through a big box of Matchbox cars finding the perfect cars for my three daughters. I will go home, get on my hands and knees, and play cars with them because I want to be like that friend who made a little boy’s day. And I hope someday, they will buy those little cars for their kids, and make their day. To some people those cars are just cheap little toys, but to me, they are points of connection with the people I love. And it’s those connections that make life worth living. “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” Dr. Suess My wife asked me this question a couple of weeks ago. “Do we have anything in common anymore?” I said “sure” then tried to name all the wonderful things we have in common. It was embarrassing after I said our children. I found some, but it did take me some time. The world is truly a small place. With email, mobile phones, and social media networks you can connect with people all over the world instantly. But you can lose your connection with the person who is the closest to you. Time, life, and responsibilities all have a way of disconnecting lovers. Even entertainment has become too personal over the past decade. Whether you are watching a show or playing a game you are probably doing it solo. Most couples are caught up in their own lives and entertainment online. If you are not careful your love can get broken and you will find yourself married to a person that you feel like you have nothing in common with. It’s like everything pushes you apart and you lose that connection that made your love special to begin with. So what do you do when you wake one day and realize that you have nothing in common with your spouse? Ok, let’s figure this out together. I have to admit that this is a recent struggle in my own marriage. Amber and I are looking for ways to reconnect with each other and discover more things that we have in common. So if you have an idea to help us you can leave a comment below. 1. Schedule Time to Just Talk This is a big one. To have things in common you have to take the time to talk and listen to each other. But taking that time is the real challenge. Or maybe I should say making that time. You have to be intentional about talking Do whatever works for you but whatever you do, do something that works. You have to make time to talk to each other. Be sure to take turns talking and listening to each other. This is not good if one person just dominates the conversation! Here are some conversation starters that you may find helpful. How was your day?What are your plans for tomorrow? Be careful that this doesn’t come across as pressuring them, you don’t want to stress your spouse out.What was the best thing that happened to you today? My wife is a big college basketball fan. Every year after March Madness (the NCAA basketball tournament), someone makes a highlight video with all the big moments, it’s called “One Shining Moment”. So sometimes I will ask, “What was your one shining moment for today?” It could be something big or something small, but it was one good thing that happened. What are your favorite things we have done together? To think about our favorite times helps us to connect.What are some of the things you would like to do together? This could be anything, as small as walk around the block to weekend getaway. I am sure there are many more. Do you have any conversation starter ideas? Just leave them in the comments below. Talking Is What Makes Your Relationship Work It’s what made your relationship to start with, even though the talks may have been a little bit corny at first. Let’s face it people act dumb when they are in love :-). Especially new love. But just talking is what matters the most. You just can’t have a relationship without talking to each other. When you don’t take the time to talk it’s like you are smothering your love. And it won’t take long for that love to completely die out. Here are some things that can work against your relationship. Jobs- Your work schedule can impact your time to talk and affect your relationship. You just have to learn to be intentional in taking time to talk. You have to make that time. When you are making decisions in your working life, you should consider the impact the job will have on your marriage. If you absolutely cannot talk to your spouse, maybe you should consider some sort of career change to make this happen. Don’t let your career be the death of your love. In today’s high pressure economic times I think this happens more than is acknowledged. Entertainment- There was a time when a couple could sit down in their living room and watch a movie together. Now they watch movies separately on their personal electronic devices. It’s like you have a seperate electronic life. Sometimes it even replaces elements of a marriage relationship, although not in a healthy way. Romantic moments are replaced by love stories in a show, movie, or book. Unfortunately, they are unrealistic romantic moments that your spouse can’t live up to. Pronography replaces intimacy in marriage and it makes that intimacy something that your spouse could never live up to. Children- The very thing that makes a family, a family is the thing that is the most likely to pull you apart. Kids just take up so much of your time and resources that it becomes hard to make time for each other. But you have to find creative ways to make that time even when it seems like “work”. It’s true sometimes you have to work inorder to stay in love. There is this country song that was released in 1990 that has been performed by several artists over the past couple of decades. I don’t necessarily endorse the song or anyone who sings it, but it illustrates this point. It’s titled “Ghost in the House” and the lyrics talk about a person in house who feels like they are completely ignored and irrelevant. This is the way that love in marriage can become. You just become like “ghosts” to each other. Living in the same house but not relating to each at all. You can make all the excuses that you want but the reality is that you are allowing your love to die. If you don’t or won’t make the time to talk, you are signing a death wish for your love. You absolutely cannot have things in common if you are not talking. (So Schedule Time to Talk) 2. Treat Each Other Like Best Friends Happy marriages are based on friendship. And friendship is the one thing that nothing in this world can take from you. In fact, the only thing that can take that away is you. I like the way the wife in the Song of Solomon said it. “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”Song of Solomon 5:16 Friendship is the foundation If you are going to have things in common, you are going to have to learn to be friends first. Friendship is the foundation of your love relationship. Without it everything else just crumbles. That’s because it was where your love started and if you lose it, you could lose everything. The Friendship Foundation Chart illustrates this truth. Commitment, trust, and intimacy all sprung from your friendship. And if you take the friendship out of your relationship, you will eventually lose all three. Your commitment to each other is based on that initial friendship that you developed early in your relationship. If you take away that friendship, then that commitment has nowhere to ground itself. You can still be committed to each other but that commitment will become extremely vulnerable. You also trust one another because you built that trust through your friendship. When your friendship suffers, so does your trust. Even if your trust has been violated, you can rebuild it over time by first rebuilding your friendship. Intimacy grew out of your friendship as well. This includes both physical and emotional intimacy. It is cold, meaningless, and cheap without a deep friendship. I can’t overstate how important it is to be friends before you are lovers. Because you can’t be lovers without being friends. And you just can’t have things in common without having that friendship first. Make Your Spouse Your Most Important Friend There was this trend that started a few years ago that has impacted the English language in a strange way. When mobile phones added the ability text, people started making up acronyms for common sayings. It makes sense because it makes texting more efficient. It’s just hard to keep up with all of them. Many of those acronyms have made it into general conversation. My daughters were caught up in the BFF craze. It means Best Friends Forever and is filled with pre-teen and teenage drama! But your spouse should be your BFF. Their friendship should be more important than any other friendship you may have. It should even be more important than family. Your friendship is the most important thing that you have in common with one another and if you don’t protect it, you will lose it. If you think you don’t have anything in common anymore, you are probably not best friends anymore either. So treat each other like best friends and you won’t regret it. 3. Start Fresh in Your Relationship Reset When I was a young my parents bought me and my sister a Nintendo Gaming System. I talked about this in a story a few episodes back. But it was the first generation. The games were these large cassette looking things and so we would insert the game, push it down, then press the power button on the front of the console. Next to the power button and to the left was a button that said “RESET”. At first I didn’t know why that button was there but I soon found out. For whatever reason those games would just start messing up. They would freeze up, which was infuriating, or the graphics would just become distorted. This is why they put the reset button on the front. You could press that button and it would just start everything over. Sometimes I would have to take the game out and blow out all the dust and reinsert it to start over. But when things got messed up, the best thing to do was to just start over. Marriage is kinda like that. When things start to get messed up, you may need to step back and hit the “RESET” button. It’s like saying, let’s let go everything and just give ourselves a fresh start together. So even if you have had some problems and things have not been all that great lately, you can just start over and make things better from that point on. Starting Fresh Gives You a Chance to Clean Things Up This gives you an excuse to make some things right and a reason to start doing things differently. It’s like when you get on the scales one day and realize how overweight you have become. You think wow, that’s it, I have got to change some things in my life. From now on, I am going to stop drinking sugary drinks and exercise everyday! When you look at the condition of your marriage and you see all the things you have been doing wrong. You can just choose to do things differently from now on. The great thing is, that you CAN do this. You can turn things around, it takes some time but you can make your relationship special and have things in common again. I think sometimes people wait until their marriage is completely tanked before they start trying to fix things, you can do this, but it will just take more time. It is much better to recognize and accept that you have problems, then go ahead and work on those things. Most married couples have two different identities, public and private. Most of the time we see the public profile. There’s the perfect couple on social media, or the happily married pious couple in church. But then there’s this ugly reality that all couples struggle in some ways. If someone acts like they have a perfect marriage, DON’T believe them because they don’t. Don’t be ashamed that you have things in your marriage because everyone does to some extent! God Gives You a Fresh Start all the Time One of the great things about being a Christian is knowing that God is waiting to give me a fresh start in my relationship with Him when I am ready to acknowledge and repent of my mistakes. This doesn’t give me a license to do wrong but it does give me the chance to restore my relationship with him. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.I John 1:9 There are times when I have gotten away from God and it took me some time to get that relationship back to what it was. But He is always waiting and willing for me to come back to Him. Loving each other can be the same way if you allow it. You can have a fresh start with each other by being ready and willing to forgive each other’s mistakes in your relationship. If you feel like you just don’t have things in common anymore, instead of giving up, clean things up in your relationship and discover a fresh start together. 4. Try Some New Things Together Trying new things together can create new experiences that you can then have in common. Jesus Put Together an Unlikely Group of Disciples I love the Bible stories of Jesus and His disciples. He found people that were completely different and put them together. It’s almost comical to think about. I personally think that God has a great sense of humor! Ok, so He called fishermen, a tax collector, and a doctor. Then they all had such different personalities, Peter was a real talker (he talked without thinking), while John said very little, but obviously thought A LOT, (just read the book John). These guys had very little in common and under normal circumstances would have little to do with each other. But Jesus called them to follow and learn from Him. All the new things that they experience together became points of common interests. By going different places, experiencing Jesus doing miracles, and hearing Him teach that had all those things in common and developed friendships based on those things. Experience Some New Things Together You can do the same thing in your marriage by trying some new things together. Try eating at a different restaurant, even if you don’t like it, you have gained a new experience with each other. If you are like us, we eat at the same places because we don’t want to be disappointed. But I have to admit, we have a lot of fun talking about how bad some of the new places we have tried were. And who knows you may find a new favorite place! Sometimes you can just get your life in a rut by doing the same things all the time. Visit somewhere you have never been before. Do something new that neither of you has ever tried before and do them together. Just having those experiences can give you some new things to share in common. 5. Get Involved With the Things that Your Spouse Likes This is one of those things that are really obvious but that is so easy to miss. Notice the things that your spouse likes to do, and try doing that thing with them. My wife is an awesome cook. She cooks classic homestyle meals that are just amazing! I found a love for cooking myself a couple of years ago, but I am more of an experimental cook. I find recipes online and put pieces together. Sometimes this works out great, other times not so great. But even though we are different styles of cooks and am able to help my cook meals sometimes. It’s a great way to spend time together and talk while you cook together. Notice What Your Spouse Likes to Do There are things that your spouse likes to do that you can try. Maybe your husband likes to fish and “gasp” you could try fishing with him. You never know, you may end up liking it. If your husband likes sports you could learn about the sports he is interested in and start enjoying it with him. Who knows if you understand more about how it works you may actually enjoy doing. Or if your wife likes to shop, you can try going with her. Although I don’t think I could handle this one. When I shop I treat it like a mission, with a strategy to get in and out as quickly as possible! Learn to Develop Common Interests Do you have anything in common with God? Other than the fact that man is made in his image (there is much debate about what that means) I am sure your answer is no. But as you read the Bible you discover things that God is interested in. If you become interested in the things that God is interested in then you will have those things in common. For example, God is holy, so if you start pursuing holiness in your heart and in your life, you have a common interest with God. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.I Peter 1:15-16 God also interested in other people coming to faith in him, so if you become interested in other people turning to Him, you have that in common also. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.II Peter 3:9 So by becoming interested in the same things, you now have those things in common. Things work the same way in your marriage. If you can both develop common interests, those interests can become the point of connection that your relationship needs. 6. Reminisce Over Your Relationship History There is nothing that you have in common more than the life you have shared together. Those memories are like the fingerprints of your relationship. They are what makes your lives together unique. We had a long-distance relationship, my wife lived about 3 hours away while we dated. So we were married in her church near her house. Then we drove to our honeymoon destination which was a cabin about an hour from my house. We decided to spend the night at our new house since it was on the way to our honeymoon. The thing is, we didn’t want anyone knowing that we were doing that. Because we were on our honeymoon! We parked in the backyard and that night refused to turn on any lights because we didn’t want anyone interrupting our honeymoon time! I don’t think anyone knew where we were or even where we were going. Talk About Your Relationship Memories Sit down and talk about the things that have happened in your relationship. I am sure that you will find that most of those things are good, but even the challenging things that happened are moments that you shared together. Your history together is a common point of interest that you both have. So you do have something in common- the time you have spent together. And by reliving those moments you have an opportunity to connect with each other. If you are having trouble talking, try writing it down first, or putting your memories of a moment you shared together in a card. Starting anywhere is better than not starting at all. Memorizes Are An Important Part of Your Relationship with God In the Old Testament, God miraculously brought the people of Israel across the Jordan river and into Canaan (the promised land). When they all made it across, they piled 12 stones at the place where they stayed that night. (see Joshua 4) These stones were designed to be a reminder to the people of what God had brought them from. So when they saw those stones, they could remember what happened. The longer I am a Christian, the more “stones” I have to put down in my promised land, the more memories of all the things God has helped me through. Those memories are what I have that connect me to God. I remember what it was like before I knew Him. I remember all the things we have overcome together. My relationship with Him is built on those memories. When I think back on those things it makes me appreciate knowing Him even more. Something similar happens in marriage. Those memories of making it together become the things that connect you. You have your past together as a couple in common, so use that past to make your relationship something incredible. 7. Recognize and Rejoice Over Demonstrations of Love Sometimes, the things that you miss are the most valuable things to your relationship. When your spouse does something just for you, take the time to recognize it and allow that act of love to become a point of common interest. Even if it is something small (it may not be so small to your spouse) use that act to build up your relationship with one another. There is no worse feeling than when you offer love and it is not returned. This is a simple concept but years of marriage can rob this from you. When your spouse does something for you don’t dismiss it, instead rejoice over that act of love. These things can even become a point of connection if you allow it. Learn How to Demonstrate Your Love Do special things for your spouse that have no direct benefit to you. This is when you give and expect nothing in return. Maybe you save your money and buy something for your spouse. Or you do your spouse’s part of the housework for them. Or you offer your spouse an unsolicited back rub. Even the small things are a great way to show your love. How about some flowers and a card for your wife? (bonus points for chocolate) Or how about giving your husband your undivided attention for a while? Just thinking about doing things for your spouse can change your relationship for the better. But whatever you do, just do something special for your spouse and that thing you do can become a point of common interest. Learn How to Accept Demonstrations of Love The best way to reciprocate an act of love is by showing your gratefulness. Recognize the nice, thoughtful things that your spouse does for you. This is kind of basic, but if you want your spouse to do things like that for you, showing your appreciation for it will encourage them to do it more often! If you wonder why your spouse has stopped doing things for you, you can probably find the root in your ungratefulness. Why would they continue doing things for you if you don’t even recognize it when they do? Understand How Important These Demonstrations Are The Bible makes the point of how important it is not just say that you love, but that you demonstrate that love. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.I John 4:10 Not only did God say that He loved you, but he demonstrated that love by sending His Son to die for your sins. So when you demonstrate your love by doing something for your spouse you are following the Biblical Model. And when you recognize and rejoice over those demonstrations you are creating a point of common interest in your relationship. You have those demonstrations of love in common with each other. 8. Work On Your Faith Together If you don’t feel like you have anything in common, you can work on your faith together. This is a great way to have things in common even if you seem to not have other things in common. Is there a greater thing to have in common than following the Lord together? Here are some ways you can work on your faith together: Pray for each other.Pray with each other.Get on a Bible reading plan together. Reading through the book of Proverbs is a great way to start because you can read a chapter a day that corresponds with a chapter of Proverbs. So if today is the 12th day of the month, you would read Proverbs 12.Talk about things that God is doing in your life with your spouse. Talk about things you are praying about and prayers that God answers for you both.Go to church together.Get involved with a ministry together. By doing things like this you are not only building your faith but developing things you have in common. Even if your spouse doesn’t share your faith right now, by praying for them you are developing an interest in their spiritual well-being that connects you to them. Even if they may not fully realize how it is connected. And by showing them your faith, you could be instrumental in turning them to faith in Christ. These are all things you can have in common. If you know more things or these things have helped you are welcome to add your own comments below. Summary Table Of Contents What’s So Great about Matchbox Cars?1. Schedule Time to Just TalkYou have to be intentional about talkingTalking Is What Makes Your Relationship Work2. Treat Each Other Like Best FriendsFriendship is the foundationMake Your Spouse Your Most Important Friend3. Start Fresh in Your RelationshipResetStarting Fresh Gives You a Chance to Clean Things UpGod Gives You a Fresh Start all the Time4. Try Some New Things TogetherJesus Put Together an Unlikely Group of DisciplesExperience Some New Things Together5. Get Involved With the Things that Your Spouse LikesNotice What Your Spouse Likes to DoLearn to Develop Common Interests6. Reminisce Over Your Relationship HistoryTalk About Your Relationship MemoriesMemorizes Are An Important Part of Your Relationship with God7. Recognize and Rejoice Over Demonstrations of LoveLearn How to Demonstrate Your LoveLearn How to Accept Demonstrations of LoveUnderstand How Important These Demonstrations Are8. Work On Your Faith TogetherSummary Music by Wes Hutchinson The post Help! We Don’t Have Anything in Common Anymore! appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
37 minutes | Apr 12, 2020
Did You Marry the Wrong Person?
FixerUpperMarriage.org/Wrong email: Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org Table Of Contents A Cool StoryYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because Your Expectations Have Made them WrongYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because They Are Wrong by NatureYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because You Are Missing the Right Person A Cool Story I am in the 6th grade and I’m stepping out of our family station wagon. My mom always made sure I had everything I needed for school. I am carrying a brown paper sack with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a Little Debbie cake. In my pocket is a little bit of change to buy a carton of milk. My school had the cardboard kind that if you did not get it open on the first try, it was impossible to open! I am wearing a freshly pressed pair of blue jeans and a button-up shirt. My hair is neatly combed to the side. My mom even made me wear a white t-shirt under my shirt because gentlemen wear t-shirts! She even dropped me off early to make a good impression. When you are early to my school in the winter you have to wait in the large lunchroom for the first bell to ring. So I find an empty table and sit down. I put my lunch sack and my bookbag on the table beside me. It’s my first year of middle school and I am finding out about all the different social groups that kids get into. There are the jocks (athletic kids), the cool kids, the troublemakers, the outcasts, and the nerds (who rule the world now)! The thing is, I just don’t fit in with any of them, but I want to be one of the cool kids. Sometimes we call it “bad”, which doesn’t really mean bad but more like extremely good!? The cool kids are the popular kids, the ones that have everything in middle school. They had friends. They didn’t sit at tables by themselves. That’s when it happened, a moment that would change my life. I notice one of the cool kids from the other side of the lunchroom walking towards me. He comes up to my table and sits down across from me. I am thinking that this could finally be my chance to become cool. So now I am nervous. He looks at me and leans over the table. I can’t believe this is actually happening. He asks me a question, “do you want to know how to be cool”? I said “sure”, but inside I am screaming, “Yes, please, please tell me how”! So he grabs his shirt, then points to mine and says with a cruel smirk on his face, “never let people see your white t-shirt.” Then he just stands up and walks off. For a 6th grader who wants so desperately to be cool, this hit me like a ton of bricks! So I look down and sure enough, my white t-shirt is showing at the top. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but apparently it is. Now I am completely embarrassed and humiliated. I feel like everyone in the lunchroom has noticed my white t-shirt. The only way to cover it up would be to button my shirt all the way up, which would make me look like what we call a “dork” and I definitely don’t want to be one of those! So I am going to have to somehow make it through this day. At that moment I knew I would never be with the cool people. It hurt, but I learned something that day. It’s something that I wouldn’t fully realize until years later. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I don’t have to fit in. I learned that I am only really good at one thing, that’s being me. And being me is OK because the “me” is the person that the infinite God in Heaven created. I think that many people miss this in marriage and in life. Being you is the most important thing because you are the person your spouse fell in love with. And you are the person who can love your spouse as no one else can. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” A. A. Milner (Winnie the Pooh) Love is about you loving and being loved. It’s about accepting and being accepted for who you are as a person. When you were little, you heard your first love story, and from that moment, your mind started racing to have your own. You want to find just the right person to love. Just the right person to love you. And when you find them, your life becomes completely unhinged. You leave behind everything because love is the one thing in life that feels right. But every love story has doubts. Maybe it’s in the big question that most people think but never speak out loud. Did I marry the wrong person? So did you marry the wrong person? Let’s answer that question right now together… You Are Married to the Wrong Person Because Your Expectations Have Made them Wrong It’s not that the person you choose to marry is wrong for you, it’s that you made expectations for that person and your love that are unattainable. Love takes you to another dimension of life. It transports you to a place where nothing matters. If you could live off love, you might be set for life, but you still have to do life and life is what can become the enemy of love. There Are No Hollywood Endings Every girl wants to find her knight in shining armor and every guy wants to find his princess. And then you realize the knight and shining armor doesn’t always have a shining armor. Or the princess doesn’t always look like a princess. Life Happens The truth is that love is awesome, but it is not always pretty. Life and love get messy sometimes, that is when love is tested and strengthened. We talked about this a few weeks ago in the lesson entitled Why Is Love So Messy? Marriage is not an endless stream of romantic moments and doesn’t always have a happy ending. Things happen that get in the way of happiness. It’s just like the wedding vows that people make without thinking twice about them: In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse. New love makes us only see health, riches, and better. But sickness, poorer, and worse are all coming soon because life is made to bring them. Your expectations don’t include these things, so you think that your love is a disappointment. And you ask, “Am I married to the right person?” Family Happens I like to think about the love story of Adam and Eve. They were completely alone together. It was like an endless honeymoon. Until one day Eve gets morning sickness and a baby bump! Then everything changes for them. When you start a family, it’s like life starts fast-forwarding. At the end of the day, you are just too exhausted for a romantic evening together. So your love has to adjust. You wake one morning and you realize that all the expectations are completely demolished. When I said “I do”, I was saying “I do” to being hopelessly lost and totally in love for the rest of my life. Not caught up in a whirlwind of endless chores and hardships! Then you think about all the things that are missing in your love life and you ask, “Am I married to the right person?” Disappointment Happens Love is this crazy balance of amazingness and disappointment. When life doesn’t go like you envisioned it throws everything off. It makes you wonder what is wrong but there is nothing wrong. Disappointments are designed to grow your love and to change you. Loving my wife makes me a better person. Learning to stay in love with her makes me a better Christian. You may not have a fairy tale love story, but you have each other. Your expectation should be in the commitment that you made to your spouse and to God. So if I am not happy right now, I have to learn how to love in that disappointment. God should be disappointed in me. I know He has good plans for me but I mess them up all the time. Yet, He still loves me. That’s because he loves the person I am, not what I do for Him, or how I make Him feel. We have these expectations for each other that are not realistic. Your only expectation in marriage should be to love your spouse. You Will Have Disagreements Everything that moves creates friction. Two lives connected together in marriage are bound to produce some kind of friction. Sometimes an argument can bring something to light in your marriage that you would not have seen otherwise. Maybe the reason I fight with my spouse is that I have selfish expectations for them. You can get caught up in what I call the princess syndrome, where you are angry if your husband doesn’t pamper you all the time. Or you get the knight in shining armor syndrome where you expect your wife to just fall into your arms all the time. Different Types of Arguers The Pouters– Some people don’t argue, they just sulk. It’s this thing you do when you don’t get what you want. You go around acting all sad and refusing to speak because your spouse didn’t do what you wanted them to do. That counts as arguing by the way, and you are wrong to do it.The Pretenders– Some people are just totally oblivious to the problems in their marriage. I have met some guys who think that they have a great marriage, then I look at their wife and I want to say, maybe you should ask her what she really thinks about your relationship. Sometimes one person just kinda goes along with everything, which I think is worse than arguing. I think you should talk about how you feel about your love. Love is like a car engine. You have to change the oil to keep that friction from destroying your motor. You have to do maintenance.The Preachers– Some people use correction to attack and manipulate their spouse. They even use Bible verses to make subtle jabs at their spouse. Or even worse use the Bible to correct them. So yes, it takes love to correct someone. But wait, God did not give you a spouse so that you could correct them! It is not your job to change them and make them a better person, that is God’s job. You are responsible for correcting yourself. There are people who ruin their love life doing this. If you are doing this to your husband, he is resenting you for it right now. And if you are doing this to your wife, she is asking, “Did I marry the right person?” Fighting is Intimate Disagreements are going to happen in marriage, it’s a part of being in love. In the Song of Solomon 2:8-13 an intense love story is interrupted for a call to reconciliation, “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;” Something happened, they became separated but now the lover is calling his loved to come away with him again. So the key to those arguments is how you respond to them. There is this principle in the Bible about not letting the sun go down on your wrath. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:Ephesians 4:26 Sometimes I say, “don’t go to bed angry,” but I may be taking this a little too literally. What happens if you get into an argument after the sun goes down? Do you get to wait until the next night? The point is to reconcile in your relationship as soon as you can instead of letting things fester and resentment sets in. As a Christian God has given us a ministry that is summed up in one word, reconciliation. God uses marriage to teach us this ministry, that is why disagreements are a part of love. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.II Corinthians 5:18-19 Your Spouse Cannot Complete You This is a mistake that couples in love make a lot. You expect your spouse to complete you and they just are not designed to do that. Your spouse cannot bring fulfillment into your life. Only God can do that. So if you have this expectation that your spouse is going to complete you, you ARE going to be disappointed. You are married to the wrong person if you expect your spouse to do only what God can do for you. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:Colossians 2:10 Everybody is looking for something and that something, whether they realize is or not, is God. If you try to find that “something” somewhere else you will never find it. You will not find it in your spouse. In this way, it is impossible for your spouse to be the right one for you. You Are Married to the Wrong Person Because They Are Wrong by Nature Every Person Is Unique It makes me think of a fingerprint. It’s one of the things that show how unique you are. In fact, there’s a one in 64 billion chance that your fingerprint will match up exactly with someone else’s. God made you different than anyone else in the world. He put it in your DNA. He used the influences of life events to shape you. He used your relationships to make you the person you are. So your spouse is completely different from you as well. And marriage has a way of bringing out those differences. When you are dating those differences are appealing, but once you are married those same differences can become points of contention. I am a very calm person. I like things calm and most importantly, quiet! The calmness of my personality can actually be impressive at times. But at other times it can seem ridiculous. If you were to go on a long trip in a car with me, I could go hours without saying a word and think nothing of it. My wife, on the other hand, needs conversion. To her 30 seconds together without talking is just awkward! So our differences can sometimes be a challenge in our relationship. You have to learn to celebrate your differences. I have a confession to make. To me carrying a conversation is kinda stressful so when I met my wife, the fact that she COULD carry a conversation was awesome to me! And I think the fact that I am so calm is a blessing to her at times. So by embracing and even celebrating your differences can make your relationship more meaningful to you. There is a temptation when you see those differences to try to correct your spouse to make them like you. Because of course, YOUR way of doing things is always the best way of doing them! But this is a mistake. Your differences are like spices that God has put into your relationship to make it something incredible. Let’s face it, if everyone were like me, the world would be a really bland place. We would all be reduced to grunts, nods, and blunt sentences. Thankfully God made people like my wife, who to me, is like a ray of sunshine! So learning to celebrate and embrace the differences in the two of you gives you a better understanding of your relationship. Become Deliberate in Enjoying Your Spouse’s Differences For us, a good date involves a calm walk in the park and a long talk with each other. This way I get the calm that I enjoy and she gets the conversation that she desires. Although I do struggle with my part of the conversation sometimes! The truth is that me taking the time to talk to my wife is important to her, so it helps our relationship for me to deliberately take the time to do it. Whatever your personalities and likes, you can improve your relationship by taking the time to enjoy your differences. So the differences don’t make your spouse wrong for you, they actually make them right for you! You just have to learn how to enjoy them God Made You Different on Purpose Marriage is a collision of two lives. It’s a collision that God has designed to fundamentally change you. God made you and your spouse different because He wants to use marriage to make you a different person. So the “better” and “worse” of marriage are all designed to make you the Christian that God wants you to become! God has sent the problems in your marriage to transform you. Most couples miss this, they think that they are wrong for each other. A lot of times one spouse points their finger at the other’s problems. While God wants you to point your finger at your problems in YOUR heart. That is the problem that He is interested in fixing. Your heart is what God is wanting to transform in you. You cannot control your spouse. You cannot make them different. But you can allow God to change you into the Christian that He wants you to be. Marriage is an instrument of change that God has put into your life. So let God fix you because that is what He is trying to do. When I first met the Lord, He changed me. In my heart, I knew that I was a different person because of Him. I love this Bible reference that illustrates this change: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.II Corithians 5:17 I was a church kid so there wasn’t a drastic change on the outside, but man what a change God made in my heart! Ever since that moment in my life, God has been changing me a little bit at a time, He is making me like Jesus (See Romans 8:28-29). My marriage is a relationship that God is trying to use to change me even more. So the challenges in that relationship are not a mistake, but another way for God to transform into the image of Son. This applies even more f my relationship brings me suffering. Check out this Bible verse that illustrates this principle: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.2 Corinthians 4:17 In my journey with Christ, my wife is another encouragement from God to change me. And the great thing about this is that I get to enjoy loving her at the same time. Everyone Is Broken in Some Way There is this little thing about being human. It means you are imperfect. Imperfect is just a nice way of saying that you are broken. And you are married to a broken person. There is an underlying principle of the Gospel, that we are broken and need saving. The Bible is really one long story, that story is the Gospel. It’s the story of people who are broken by sin and need a redeemer who loves them to forgive and heal them in their brokenness. It’s the first step in coming to faith in Christ; realizing you are a sinner. If you have ever read a Gospel tract, that is where they all start out because if you don’t understand that you are broken, you cannot understand that you need redemption. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 6:23 But I think we lose sight of this sometimes in our relationships with other people, especially marriage. There is no one perfect this side of eternity. And marriage has a way of exposing those imperfections. You just can’t hide brokenness in a relationship as close as husband and wife. Brokenness Doesn’t Mean Incompatibility The problems that you see in your spouse don’t make you incompatible, they make them broken. You are broken too. You have to learn to love each other in that brokenness just like Jesus loves you in your brokenness. If the Gospel were based on what we deserve, then we would all be in big trouble. Thankfully, the Gospel is based on His love and His act of redemption in dying for you. This is what makes marriage so beautiful. When you love each other in your brokenness. This is never an excuse for doing wrong. But understanding that your spouse is broken just like you can help you to live with them and to love them more deeply. What good is love if it only works when things are perfect for you? Love is amazing when you use it even when things are not perfect in your relationship. Learn to love your spouse in their brokenness and problems. You Are Married to the Wrong Person Because You Are Missing the Right Person I am stricken by the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; The person you are missing in your life is not a different spouse. Christ is the person who you are really missing. That I may know Him I think that sometimes I lose sight of my real goal in life. That I may know Him. There is the old hymn that I absolutely love. It’s one of those hymns that are usually sung in church as a congregational. That means everyone sings at the same time. This is one of my favorite times in church because I can sing as loud as I want and no one knows when I mess up the song! It’s called “I Serve a Risen Savour” and it goes like this. I serve a risen Savior He’s in the world today. I know that He is living, Whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy; I hear His voice of cheer; And just the time I need Him He’s always near. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart. But if He lives in my heart, why does He seem so far away sometimes? This is the one relationship that matters more than any other and I am suffering at it. Knowing Him is more important than your marriage. It’s more important than any other relationship in your life. He should be the one that you love first, everyone else should follow that love. You can get so caught up with problems in your life or in your marriage that you lose sight of the most important relationship in your life. That is your relationship with the Lord. If you are not Christian, you just can’t understand this but if you have been a Christian for any length of time you know what fellowshipping with Jesus is like. For more information about this, you can read I John 1. Practical Ways to Build on Your Relationship With Christ These are some things I have learned from being a Christian for many years. (I have included Bible references in the show notes) Practice self-reflection– Give yourself a spiritual check-up everyday. Constantly evaluating your relationship with him gives you an awareness of your spiritual condition. This also allows you to notice problems in your life that need correcting before they become a bigger problem. (I Corinthians 11:31)Set a consistent devotional time– Have a set time everyday that you can spend reading your Bible and talking to God. If you don’t plan for it, you will not do it. (Psalm 5:3)Be thankful– Thank Him for the things that He does in your life. If nothing else (there is plenty “else” by the way) you can thank Him for redeeming you. Showing appreciation to Him makes your heart sensitive to His communication. (Hebrews 13:15)Be honest with Him– He knows you anyway, so just come clean with how you are feeling. It’s OK to open up to Him. You don’t have to worry about Him telling anyone. There is nothing that you can’t tell him. (Psalm 51:10) Your Relationship with Your Spouse is Tied to Your Relationship with God You would think that the two would be completely unrelated but there is this knot that God ties with the two relationships. Notice the words of the Bible: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.I Peter 3:7 Does that mean that if you mistreat your spouse, your prayer life will suffer? That is exactly what this verse means. Someone has said that you can’t be wrong horizontally and be right vertically. I have found this to be true. If you are going to be right with God, you are going to have to be right with your spouse. And if you are going to repair your marriage relationship, you are going to have to repair your relationship with God. I said earlier that God is trying to use the problems in your marriage relationship to change you. This is where it all comes together. Your marriage relationship is really about another relationship, God and you. Table Of Contents A Cool StoryYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because Your Expectations Have Made them WrongThere Are No Hollywood EndingsYou Will Have DisagreementsYour Spouse Cannot Complete YouYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because They Are Wrong by NatureEvery Person Is UniqueEveryone Is Broken in Some WayYou Are Married to the Wrong Person Because You Are Missing the Right PersonThat I may know HimPractical Ways to Build on Your Relationship With ChristYour Relationship with Your Spouse is Tied to Your Relationship with God Music by Wes Hutchinson The post Did You Marry the Wrong Person? appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
29 minutes | Mar 17, 2020
Three Thieves of True Love
FixerUpperMarriage.org/thieves Email: Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org Table Of Contents It’s Gone1. The Thief of Familiarity2. The Thief of Desire3. The Thief of NeglectSummary It’s Gone It’s gone! I yelled to my wife as I walked in the door of our house after a long day at work. I feel sick to my stomach and angry at the same time. Pulling into our driveway, I knew it right away. There is nothing left but pieces of a broken lock. Now I am frantically searching and dialing the number for the local police. I don’t think this has ever happened to me before. Suddenly, I am a helpless victim of a crime. I work hard for my money and I had saved up for months to buy it. And just like that it was gone. The police came out right away. It’s stolen, someone took it when I wasn’t looking. How could they? How dare they take something that did not belong to them? I am filling out a police report and describing what they took. It was there when I left for work that morning, I think. It’s gone now. I don’t know what else to say. Everyone knows how I could have prevented it. It’s like everyone I know has become a Monday morning quarterback, telling me what I should have done on gameday. I should have hid it. I should have used better locks. I should have made it harder to steal. I should have bought insurance. But none of this is helping, because my stuff is gone and I can’t get it back. I am going to search everywhere. I am going to get it back. But I don’t know where to look or who stole it, or why. So I start looking on craigslist thinking they would sell it for money. I even go to look at some for sale to see if it is mine. Once I met these shady guys behind a gas station to look at one. I think one of them had a gun under his shirt! I immediately knew it wasn’t mine and they were angry that I wasted their time, like it is my fault someone stole from me. I even found a suspect and staked out his property like a private eye for a while to see it I could find it. I don’t know what I would have done? I just wanted my stuff back. It feels helpless to lose something that is valuable to you. Even worse to know that someone else has it and is enjoying it somewhere. For months I would stop and look every time I saw someone with a trailer like mine. Is that one it? No, mine is gone. Maybe I should be flattered that someone wanted what I had. Maybe I should be thankful I was able to have what I lost. Or maybe I will get another one someday. I just can’t have that one back. But I wonder if the thief really just reminded me to protect all things that he didn’t take. If you have love, you have something that everyone in this world is after. So you have to protect it from thieves. You have to hold it so tightly that no one can take it from you. These are the three thieves of true love and this is how you keep them from stealing from YOU! 1. The Thief of Familiarity Familiarity breeds contempt. It’s one of those overused sayings that actually has a lot of meaning. There is this danger of getting close to someone. You learn all their faults and failures and in doing so lose your respect for them. Something similar happens when you get married and start living together. You see all the things you missed when you were falling in love, now those things are a problem. You just get used to that person being in your life and you take them for granted. It’s like you become blinded to the valuable things about that person because you are so familiar with them. The Bible tells this story of Jesus trying to teach people in his hometown (Mark 6:1-6). Even though His teachings were powerful and He was changing people’s lives, they said, “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son”? Knowing Him so closely kept Him from being able to do things for them. The same thing happens when you have been married for a while. You lose sight of all the awesome things about the person you love because your familiarity with them is blinding you. Familiarity is a thief that is coming to rob you of true love. Use Selective Perception Love is blind. When you first start falling in love, you are blind to the faults of your lover. It’s like you become so enthralled with what you like about each other, that you miss the faults. Have you ever tried to point out the faults of a couple in love? They absolutely CANNOT see them. Until you get used to each other, then that familiarity causes you to see those faults. That is when the problems begin. That’s when we all look at each other and nod, “the honeymoon is over.” Because we know, they are no longer blind. So, you can transform your lover by ignoring the bad. My wife says that sometimes I have selective hearing. Meaning that I only choose to hear what I want to hear, and ignore the rest! Maybe that is true sometimes, I don’t know! So, having selective perception in your marriage means that you deliberately choose to ignore the negative parts of your spouse and instead focus on the positive parts. So in your mind, love becomes blind again. You choose to change your perception of your spouse. I am choosing to look at you differently. I am choosing to think about all the things I like about you instead of the things I don’t. With a little practice, you can condition your mind to transform that familiarity into something positive in your relationship Acknowledge What You Like About Your Spouse Make a list in your mind of all the good qualities that you like about your spouse. These could be things you admire. It could also just be things you like about them. Sometimes, Christians have a tendency to spiritualize EVERYTHING. Yes, I love the way my wife has faith in the Lord, but I also like certain things about her personality and appearance. And it’s OK to enjoy those things! This will allow you to focus on those things and keep the thief of familiarity from stealing your love away. Take out some paper and write some of those things down and if you are feeling really daring, share them with your spouse. This will change your marriage and your relationship together. Embrace Your Familiarity There is also something valuable about your familiarity with each other. You can embrace your familiarity and use it to enhance your relationship. The instructions of Proverbs 5 reveal this principle. Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?Proverbs 5:15-20 You have the advantage of knowing each other. Why would you embrace a stranger? They don’t even know you. You know your spouse and your spouse knows you. You know your likes and dislikes. You know how to bring joy to each other. A stranger knows none of these things. And the longer you are together the more intimate your knowledge of each other becomes. There is this misconception that a stranger has something for you that your spouse doesn’t. But you can use your familiarity with each other to strengthen your relationship. You can deepen your love by enjoying the good things about each other that you are familiar with. Also, your history together should mean something too. If a stranger seems to have something that your spouse doesn’t. Think about all the things that you have shared together in that familiarity. The love and the relationship that you have built with your spouse is more valuable than what a stranger could offer you. The stranger is a lie. That person has lots of things that you don’t like, but you don’t realize those things because that person is a stranger to you. So embrace the lover that is familiar to you, the one that committed your heart on your wedding day. 2. The Thief of Desire What exactly is desire and how do you get it? Desire slowly builds in a relationship until it becomes almost unbearable. When I first met my wife, I had an interest in her, then, as our relationship developed it turned into desire. That desire grew until on our wedding day. We were ready to just get out of there and be with each other! Of course, we waited and tried our best to do things the right way. I would recommend that to anyone by the way. By allowing that desire to grow naturally, we experienced something amazing together. But if you don’t wait, you spoil that experience and turn it into something mundane. A honeymoon should be more than a vacation. It should be an experience that you share with each other. Desire is one of those things that is hard to measure or visualize. It is the one thing that has stolen more from relationships than anything else. It has an almost mystical pull from its object. Why is it so powerful? Why does it disappear? How do you get it back? In Proverbs 7 the power of desire is illustrated through a foolish use of it. A young man meets a woman who seduces him into her house with teasing clothing, flirty talk, and blatant advances. His desire is pushed to a point where he loses control and goes after her in spite of her apparently being a married woman. But in the end, he finds out that it was all really a trap to destroy his soul. You can read the story in Proverbs 7:6-23. So these are some things you can learn about desire from a strange woman. Create Desire in Your Marriage The strange woman made desire out of nothing. In just a few minutes she created a desire that was irresistible to the young man. She offered experiences to all five of his senses. Sight– She was wearing “the attire of a harlot.”(vs 10) She was teasing him with what she was wearing. It was revealing enough to make him want to see more. So she is offering to fill his eyes with more. What she was wearing was an advertisement for him. It wasn’t just ignorant on her part. She did it to make him want her.Hearing- She complimented him. (vs 5) She made him feel special by talking about him. (vs 15) She gave him a bold invitation. (vs 18) Her words were seductive and bold. (vs 21) Her words created desire.Touch- She touched him, then she grabbed him and kissed him. (vs13) She made him want her by slowly getting into his personal space and touching him.Smell- She perfumed her bed with seductive scents. (vs 17) Because she knew those smells would add to the seduction.Taste- She kissed him (vs 13) and offered herself all night. (vs 18) She created a desire that was intoxicating. This is why you have to be careful when dating. Because it just takes a little spark of that intoxication to make you lose control. And that losing control can happen fast. The fact that she created desire out of nothing means that desire is something that can be created. So you can create or recreate desire in your marriage by using these same things. Not in an intentionally wicked way, but in a godly way to have desire in your marriage. Addressing the five senses of your spouse can create desire in your relationship. Use Your Memories to Recreate Desire The strange woman offered something new and exciting. Do you remember when your desire was new? We had an awesome honeymoon! No, we didn’t go on some extravagant sightseeing tour or visit some exotic locale. We rented a suite in a lodge in the mountains. We even got snowed in for a couple of days! But we were together and that is what matters. Over the years we have built more memories together. Those memories are an important part of our relationship that a stranger could never offer. God designed your senses to trigger memories. When I smell cinnamon and brown sugar. I am transported in time to when I was a little kid and my mother was baking cinnamon rolls in the oven, and all the times I have spent with family. I have this problem and quite frankly it’s embarrassing. In the movies when the hero gets shot or stabbed they just keep fighting until they win. They push through the pain and blood loss to keep fighting. But when I see my own blood, it triggers something in my mind and I blackout! When you pass out like that, medical professionals hold this smell up to your nose and helps bring you back into consciousness. When I smell that it brings all those memories of passing out back up. Any of the five senses can trigger memories in your brain and transport you into that moment. This is one of the amazing things about marriage: you build all these memories together. And any of your senses could trigger those memories that you have created together. So use those memories to recreate desire in your marriage. Use the Bible to Control Your Desire Desire can be intoxicating like you are losing control of yourself. God gives you certain desires to enjoy inside the marriage covenant, but those desires have to be within the design that God intended. So losing yourself with your spouse is something beautiful when done God’s way. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.Hebrews 13:4 God draws a circle with the marriage covenant and allows you to have those desires freely with your spouse. It’s a part of falling in love and staying in love. If your desires are running out of control, these are some principles for controlling them in your life: Use Bible verses to bring your desire under control. Read and memorize verses that are helpful to you and quote them when you feel yourself losing control of your desires. I believe that the words of the Bible have the power to bring your mind and your desires under control. You don’t have to be a victim of your desires, you can be an overcomer!Use the power of the Holy Spirit to keep your desires in check. One of the fruits of the Spirit working in your life is temperance or self-control. So by yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit, you are able to control your desires in a godly way. You can read more details about this in Galatians 5:22-23.Use your relationship with your spouse to guide your desire. God created marriage as a means of enjoying those desires in a godly and even a holy way. So cultivate your desires within the marriage covenant because anything outside of it is wrong. Let your spouse be the object of your desire. Understand that Love Is More Than Desire The culture we are in today exalts desire as the ultimate point of life. People think that if your desires aren’t being fulfilled, then you just can’t be happy. Desire and fulfilling that desire is like a god that people worship today. I think that is why people are looking for it in different places like same-sex relationships and opposite gender identities. I don’t think people are realizing that they are reinforcing gender roles by trying to be the opposite gender. It’s like they are proving traditional gender roles are legitimate by trying to force themselves to fit in them. Or if male and female don’t matter in marriage, why would you want to be husband and husband or wife and wife? So by trying to make something it is not, you are actually reinforcing the husband and wife roles. But I am speaking from a Christian or Bible perspective though. But just wanting something doesn’t make it right or fulfilling. Because love is more than desire. True love is selfless instead of selfish. Real love is about becoming desirable and fulfilling to the person that you love. So the desire for a Christian in love is more about the desires of the person you love than yourself. True Christian love is not reciprocal. It’s not you giving me my desires and I will give you yours. It has no expectation of equality. Real love prompts you to give without expecting anything in return. It’s just like the love that’s found in the Gospel story. That Jesus, out of love for you, gave His life for you knowing you had nothing of equal value to give back to Him. I want to give my life back to Him, but whether I do or don’t He still loves me. This is what real love is. Giving without getting. Loving without getting love back. Desire is to love and to want the best for the person you love. You make a mistake by building your relationship on selfish desires. Because your relationship will end with those desires. Those desires will push you away from your spouse and toward another object of desire. 3. The Thief of Neglect One of my favorite love stories is found in the Song of Solomon. I like the language they used about each other and the way they talked about their relationship. If you like romance, you really need to read that book of the Bible slowly and imagine what is going on! I think Christians should try to have a love like they had for each other! There was something they discovered about their relationship over time, this is how they worded it: Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.Song of Solomon 2:15 In a vineyard, you have to pick up the vines that are growing low, because the little foxes could get to them. They realized that there were vulnerabilities in their relationship that if they did not constantly address it could hurt them. So you have to identify those weaknesses in your relationship and work together to keep them from becoming a problem. Give Your Love the Maintenance it Needs 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Love is like a Pontiac Firebird. In the early 1980s, my older sister saved up and bought a gold Pontiac Firebird with t-tops. It was an awesome sports car with a large decal of a bird on the hood, and the t-tops were just over the top cool. I think that was the coolest car I have ever ridden in. But that was the early 1980’s and this is 2020. Those cars are just heaps of metal and rust now. Unless you maintained one for all these years. Unless you kept the oil changed and did all the maintenance and fixed all the little things before they became big things. Now you have a classic car that is worth A LOT of money. Marriage is the same way, your relationship can end up in a pile of rusted metal, or you end up a “classic” relationship that is worth more than anyone can afford. You just have to do the little things to keep it up. That’s what makes your love last, doing the little things to maintain it periodically. But you have to be diligent and intentional in maintaining it. I think there are a lot of good Christian people who should have a “classic” marriage and instead are riding around in a rust bucket. And it doesn’t take long for your marriage to get that way. Support Your Love for Each Other Learn how to support your love by using the resources that God has given you. Go to Church together.Read your Bibles together. Pray for each.Read Christian books about love and marriage.Listen to a Christian podcast about making your love stronger.Get advice from more experienced couples. Look at maintaining your love as a team effort. But even if you can’t work together, you can do your part to make your marriage special. And your part may be the one that changes your relationship! Take Precautions to Keep Thieves from Stealing Your Love Sometimes the best way to keep thieves away is to make it overtly obvious that you are determined to stop them. At your house, you can put up those security system signs, put some outside lights in, maybe even install some cameras. Do the same thing to your marriage. Be overtly obvious that you love each other and are not going to let Satan or neglect ruin your love. Put a sign in front of your relationship that you intend on a fight for what you have. Put extra locks on the door to make sure thieves can’t get in. Maybe even put some “no trespassing” signs up! Summary The 3 Thieves of True Love Table Of Contents It’s Gone1. The Thief of FamiliarityUse Selective PerceptionAcknowledge What You Like About Your SpouseEmbrace Your Familiarity2. The Thief of DesireCreate Desire in Your MarriageUse the Bible to Control Your DesireUnderstand that Love Is More Than Desire3. The Thief of NeglectGive Your Love the Maintenance it NeedsSupport Your Love for Each OtherTake Precautions to Keep Thieves from Stealing Your LoveSummary Music by Wes Hutchinson The post Three Thieves of True Love appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
30 minutes | Feb 29, 2020
Fear, Love, and Plain Vanilla Ice Cream
FixerUpperMarriage.org/vanilla email: Jason@FixerUpperMarriage.org Table Of Contents Plain Vanilla Ice CreamOvercome Fear by Living in the PresentOvercome Fear by Trusting the One You LoveOvercome Fear by Reading the End of the StorySummary Plain Vanilla Ice Cream I just want plain vanilla ice cream. I am in our church fellowship hall, it’s a large multipurpose building with a dining area, kitchen, and serving area. I am walking up to the table to place my order of ice cream. I really don’t care for ice cream, but occasionally I will just randomly crave it. I usually don’t even finish it. But my pastor had bought a commercial-style ice cream machine for our church and was obsessing over it. It even somehow found his way into sermons and he was constantly tinkering with it. So I guess all that talk made me want to try some. Now I am at the table where my close friend is serving. I say to her, “I just want plain vanilla ice cream.” Of course, she tries to talk me into extra toppings. Because want kind of person just wants plain vanilla ice cream? “No, I just want plain vanilla ice cream”, so she rushes to the machine, but hands the bowl off to a stranger. This stranger walks up to the table and gives me the ice cream. She is beautiful. She has long auburn colored hair and green eyes. But when she smiles, it’s like the world stops spinning. I’ve liked some girls before but never had a person captivate me like this. So I give her my awkward introverted smile back but I am speechless. I want to ask, “who are you?”, but I just can’t get the words to come out of my mouth. I didn’t know it at the time, but one year later at the same place, we would be formally introduced by my pastor, eventually fall madly in love, get married and raise a family together. It’s a journey that started with plain vanilla ice cream. A moment that is frozen in time. The moment when I saw her for the first time. Our journey together is not over, but hanging over me is this dark cloud of dread and fear. It’s the unknown. The moment when I will see her for the last time. I don’t know when it will be, who will go first, or whether it will be unexpected or not. But I am hoping that I will look into her green eyes, hold her hand, and see her smile one last time. Because, after all, I just wanted plain vanilla ice cream, but she has given me so much more. “To love is to be afraid. You are frightened, deathly terrified, that something will happen to those you love. […] And love enslaves us all, for you cannot have love without fear.” ― Marie Lu I think that fear and love are two of the most powerful emotions in the world. Fear keeps us from doing things that we otherwise would have and love makes us do things that we otherwise would not. Marriage is where fear and love collide. Maybe that is why falling in love is such a powerful emotion. The fear of rejection is blasted away by the feelings of love and acceptance. God made marriage to be this delicate balance between fear and love. But it is the joy and victory of love over the fear that makes love so amazing. This is the story of fear and love. This is how love wins. Overcome Fear by Living in the Present The Power of Now Fear makes your mind fast forward to an uncertain future. But by focusing on the now that is certain you can ground yourself at the moment you are in. I cannot control what might happen in the future, but I live in the moment I am in right now. Tomorrow everything could change but right now I have the love of my life by my side. At a sweetheart banquet at our church, I passed out note cards and everyone wrote down their worst fear about marriage. By far the most common was losing your spouse. Other answers included failing your spouse in some way. All of them involved the future. The reality is that those fears could become a reality. The chance of one of you dying before the other is real. Depending on your particular situation, I am sure that things like age, health, and lifestyle play into it. But it’s at least a 50/50 chance that your spouse will die before you. So, you overcome this fear by living in the moment you are in, instead of the one that you are not. God gives you grace to live in the moment you are in right now, not the one that you might be in tomorrow. By distancing yourself from the future, you can learn to live in the Grace that God has given you for today. Jesus, in His great Sermon on the Mount, said the following: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.Matthew 6:33-34 Jesus was teaching that you should live in the present instead of worrying about tomorrow. Fear of tomorrow is overcome by living in today. There is this song that I enjoy listening too, it is sung by several groups and it’s called Fear not Tomorrow. It contains the powerful words, “Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.” God will be there for you tomorrow just like He is today. The Power of Here I want you to open your Bible and put your hands on the pages. You are here right now in this moment and all the promises of God’s Word are right here with you. Fear is no match for the truth of God’s world. And that truth will help you when nothing else in this world can. A car battery has a red (hot wire) and a black (ground wire). The ground wire is connected to the frame of the car and without that “grounding” the red wire can’t work right. So the car will not start, and all the electronics will not come on. Love and faith are the same way, if it is not grounded to the frame of the Bible it just will not work right. Touch your Bible, read its pages, memorize it, and ground your love for the Lord and your spouse in its truths. Truth is the antecedent of fear. All three of my daughters went through this phase where they were afraid of the dark. So one of the things I did to help them was I would turn on the lights and let them look at everything in the room, under the bed, in the closet, and behind the door. Then when I turned out the lights, I explained to them that the room was exactly the same as before. The truth drives out fear. God’s Word is the ultimate truth, and you are experiencing truth right now where you are at. Reality is truth and it is here, fear is in the future and it is not here. For example, if you have a fear of your spouse cheating on you, turn the lights on so you can see the truth. Talk to them about it and see what they are doing on their phone or the computer. Or ask them to tell you about their relationships outside of the home. So by “turning on the lights” and exposing the truth you destroy that fear. Truth triumphs over fear. Use the truth that you have right now to overcome whatever fear you are experiencing in your life. The Bible is the ultimate light, so use that light to ground you in the present and keep your mind from drifting to fear of the future. When I am afraid about something, I find a bible verse about it, and I quote it to myself. That verse that I have in my heart keeps me grounded in the present and helps me stay with God right now. I love the words of Psalm 119 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.Psalm 119: 11-16 The power of God’s Word in the here and now is the greatest weapon against any fear that you could ever have. If you have fear in your life, use the truth in the Bible to ground you to the here and now. The Power of Praise I like to think about how incredibly good God is to me. His goodness is something that I can rejoice in right now. In fact, if nothing else I can rejoice in who He is to me. This another way of grounding yourself in God’s presence right now and overcoming fear. I have a dear godly friend who is the same age me. She met the love of her life, got married in a beautiful ceremony, and had four beautiful babies. But then EVERYTHING fell apart in her marriage. Just like that her husband was gone. We all cried and prayed but had no idea how to change things. But she wrote and sang this amazing song during that time. She calls it, “I Can Praise My Way Out of Problems.” That praise grounded her and she has raised those four kids on her own with God’s help. Fear is no match for genuine praise. So focus on how good God is to you and either vocalize it or write it down. There is something about singing His praise that makes your fears seem small. It’s like God made us enjoy singing His praises. So sing a song of praise just to Him. Take out a piece of paper and start writing down all the benefits you have right now as one of His children. This kind of praise pulls you away from the fear of tomorrow and grounds you in the here and now. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.Psalm 145:5-7 Overcome Fear by Trusting the One You Love Fear can keep you from doing things. I was always afraid of public speaking, I would even take a zero in school to keep from having to talk in front of my class. Just the thought of being the center of attention is something that I have always wanted to avoid. That is until my love for the Lord became greater than that fear. As long as He wants me to do it, I will for Him. I don’t just trust a stranger, but I trust a Savior who I know loves me. So fear can be overcome by trusting the person you love. The Bible says, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.I John 4:18 Identify the Root of Fear Whatever fears you have in your life, the root of that fear is the problem. And finding that root is the key to freeing yourself from that fear. It’s no secret, especially since I wrote a book about it, that I struggled greatly with the assurance of my salvation for a few years. There were some really dark days during that time. The root of the problem is that I had to learn to trust Him instead of how I felt, what other people said, or what I thought I did or didn’t do. I found assurance when I just simply trusted Him. But my salvation was secure even when I didn’t have that assurance. So I overcame that fear by trusting the person that I love. I don’t know what kinds of fears you may be facing in your marriage and life, but you can find the root in your lack of trust in Christ. There is this story in the Bible that I have heard and read since I was a child. The disciples were in a boat and stuck in a terrible storm when they spotted Jesus walking on water. In an amazing act of faith, Peter steps out of the boat and into the stormy waters to walk to Jesus, but he starts to sink when he becomes afraid and looks at the waves around him instead of Jesus. (See Matthew 14:22-33) My faith is a lot like that. Sometimes, I have so much confidence in Him, but then I look around me and start to sink. But He doesn’t let me sink, I feel his hand in mine pulling me up from the waves of life and carrying me through the storm. That’s because He loves me and wants me to know that I can trust Him. Trust is something that you build in your relationship over time. Sometimes that trust becomes violated and you have to build it back up. Maybe you become untrustworthy because of something you have done. Other times you have to just let go of your fears and just trust your spouse as hard as it may seem. Tell your spouse that you are trusting them, and that confidence will motivate them to live up to that trust. Fear is no match for trust. Accept the Possibility of that Fear This is the problem with fear, it is often based in reality. For instance, there is a possibility that I may not make it home today. There is a chance that my spouse could die before me. And the list goes on and on. Facing that fear and living your life is a powerful feeling. You have to understand that ultimately God is in control of what happens in your life. So you have to let go of that fear and trust that He loves you too much to do you wrong and that He is too wise to make a mistake. I don’t know that fear ever really goes away, it just gets overwritten by love. Your spouse could leave you. That possibility is what makes love such a powerful emotion. Choose to love instead of fear. I used to like roller coasters and I still do to an extent. They make them visually intimidating and deliberately set the rides up for long waits to build the intensity of the fear. But really when you get to the ride, you are strapped in so tightly that nothing is going to happen to you. So the fear is almost manufactured but you still get the adrenaline rush of facing your fear. When you get off the ride is like an exhilaration that you actually did it. Fear in life is not like a roller coaster. It is not manufactured and there are no safety nets or ridiculous devices to keep you safe. But you overcome those fears by going into motion in spite of them. You face them head-on and live your life. It’s like going into motion makes the giants of fear small I remember the moment that I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. I was afraid but when I took that first step, all the things I was afraid of got small. The key to overcoming fear is engaging in the activity that causes that fear. After all, you can trust Jesus with your life. Allow Love to Control Your Fear For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.II Corinthians 5:14-15 The one thing that makes me do things even when I am afraid is the love that I know that Jesus has for me and the love that I have for Him. So instead of letting fear control you, let love control you. My love for the Lord constrains me to live for Him. My love for my wife causes me to be faithful to her even though I may have fear. Overcome fear by trusting the one you love. Learn to trust your spouse and you will not regret it. Overcome Fear by Reading the End of the Story My daughters enjoy reading books. They get that love from their Dad, I like to learn from reading and sometimes a good fiction book can allow you to go places and experience things that you otherwise would not. My oldest daughter will sometimes spoil the story by turning to the end to see what happens. That drives me crazy by the way! Sometimes in life, you can overcome fear by understanding how your story is going to end. Enjoy the Experience of Love Love is the most amazing emotion that God has gifted to this world. Poets spend hundreds of hours writing about it. Countless books and movies have been written about it. People spend lifetimes looking for the spark of love. Married couples are desperate to feel it again. Besides putting your faith in Jesus, falling in love is the most amazing thing to experience in this life. “I was made and meant to look for you and wait for you and become yours forever.” ― Robert Browning To fall in love is to live the story that God has written for you. It’s an experience that helps you understand the story of love in the Gospel. Falling in love changes you as a person. It makes you another person, a better person, a person who knows how to love, and a person who is loved. You are living a story of love every day when you wake up beside each other. You read the end of that story by holding on tight to the story that you have right now. Because a lifetime is nothing but thousands of little moments strung together. You get to end one moment at a time. The moment you are in right now will someday be a memory so don’t miss that moment no matter how small. Those moments will write the end of your story together. Expect Your Story of Love to Have a Happy Ending Half the battle of success in marriage is what you envision it to be. If you can envision yourself being in love tomorrow, you can live in that reality today. So this is how it works, you imagine your love as lasting for a lifetime and you end up living for the ending. The great thing about being in love is that together you get to decide what that ending will be. Erase the word divorce from your vocabulary. That is not a word that we are going to use. We will not let our love story crash. It doesn’t matter what anybody else in this world thinks. Hold onto each other so tightly that your spouse can’t let go of you. So sit down and turn to the end of your story and decide what kind of ending you are going to write. And write it down with all the passion you can muster. Fight with all your might for that happy ending. Fight to keep your love strong. Fight to stay madly in love. If you feel that love start to slip away, grab it and pull it back. The Gospel is a story of love that never stops. It never stops believing in you. Overcome fear by expecting your story to have a happy ending. At the End of the Story as a Christian You Win It’s the one thing that you have to remember that God has a plan for your life that will glorify Him and benefit you. There is this Bible verse that I just can’t get away from. Sometimes I wake up at night quoting it. I hear its words while I am driving to work. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11 Whatever happens to your love story, at the end of the day, it’s all going to be okay. My life is in the hands of someone who loves me so much that He gave His life on the cross for me. And I know that what He has for me will be good and perfect. Sometimes, I put my arms around my wife, hold her tight, and whisper in her ear, “everything is going to be okay.” I can hear Jesus telling me these same words, “It’s going to be okay,” One day when this life is all said and done, He will say, “I told you it would be okay.” Just like Peter when Jesus pulled him out of the waves of the sea, “where is your faith?”, “I told you it was gonna be okay!” Regardless of what happens to your love story from now till then, it’s gonna be okay! Summary Overcome Fear by: Living in the PresentTrusting the One You Love Reading the End of the Story Music by Wes Hutchinson The post Fear, Love, and Plain Vanilla Ice Cream appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
42 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Seven Ways to Spell Respect in Your Marriage Respect- Seven Ways to Spell it in Love and Marriage
R-E-S-P-E-C-T FixerUpperMarriage.org/respect Friday, December 1st, 1978 I am 3 years old and I am looking out the side door of our house into our massive garage. My dad and mom are pulling up in our red Pontiac sedan. It was built like a tank and it felt like riding in a boat. Sitting in the back seat when my dad mashed the gas, was like riding a wave or something. I think every car was like a muscle car back then. So my dad parks the car in the garage and I am watching my mom gingerly get out of the passenger side. Soon, they are both huddled around the back seat looking at a pile of blankets. My dad carefully carries the pile of blankets up the steps in the garage that leads to the door where I am standing. They seem excited as he gently places the blankets on the kitchen table and starts peeling the layers back. As I stretch to look at what was inside the blankets a stunning realization hit me. I am a proud big brother to little baby girl. As it turns out, being a big brother is harder than it looks. We did everything together but fought a lot. One year at Christmas there was a big gift under the Christmas tree. So looking at the tag, I realize that is for both of us. We both open it together and just like a big brother I am helping my little sister with her part. Inside, there’s this grey box that smells like new plastic. On the front in big letters, the words printed say, “NINTENDO”. It was the popular video game console of the 80s. It came with a game called, “Super Mario Brothers”, and of course we fight about who would get to be player one. Only one person could play at a time, so you had to wait on player one to mess up! It is not like video games today where you hit the “save” button and come back later. You have three lives and when you died, you started from the beginning. So it would take a while for player one to finish sometimes. But I am a big brother, so I let her be player one because that is what big brothers do, they let their little sister go first. Then one day, she meets this “guy”, and I am asking lots of questions because that’s what big brothers do, they protect their little sister. She starts spending time with him instead of me, but that’s OK because she was happy and that’s what big brothers do, they let their little sister be happy. Before long, I am 24 years old and looking out the door of our church into our massive parking lot. And I am watching my little sister get into car in a wedding dress. She is leaving to live 4 hours away. That’s OK because that’s what big brothers do, they let their little sister go. As it turns out, being a big brother isn’t about being a big brother at all. It’s about having a little sister and what being together means to you. It’s about the way you treat each other. Being a big brother is like being a husband. Marriage is really not about being a husband or a wife at all; it’s how you treat each other inside your marriage. To be a husband, you have to treat your wife like a wife, and your wife has to treat you like a husband. Marriage is all about treating each other with respect. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary respect as a verb means, “: to consider worthy of high regard : ESTEEM” In 1965, recording artist Otis Redding released a song entitled Respect. It was about a man pleading for respect when he gets home from work every day. It became a major part of pop culture when soul singer Aretha Franklin released a new version of the same song that became a 1967 hit and signature song for her. She made it about a woman demanding respect. But in marriage, you shouldn’t have to plead for respect or demand it. You shouldn’t even have to earn it. It should be lovingly given by a couple in love. This is R-E-S-P-E-C-T, seven ways to spell respect in your marriage For context read Ephesians 5:21-33 Table Of Contents Remember Your Spouse’s DesiresEsteem Your Spouse Better Than YourselfSense How You Are Making Your Spouse FeelPractice Believing in Each OtherExpect Your Marriage to SucceedCherish Your Love RelationshipTalk About How You Are Treating Each OtherSummary Remember Your Spouse’s Desires Respect Is Something You Give The way that you treat each other determines the level of respect in your relationship. Respect in marriage is something you do, not something that just happens. By speaking to my wife in a certain tone or manner, I am respecting her as a person and as my wife. And the same goes for her towards me. Here are some practical ways to show respect: Choose your words carefully.- Once they are out, you just can’t get them back. Think before you speak.Don’t expect your spouse to do something that you are not willing to do yourself. If you wouldn’t do it, why would you expect them to?Treat your spouse the way you would want to be treated. Ask yourself a question like, would I want my husband to talk to me like that? Or would I want my wife to treat me that way?Listen to what your spouse has to say. Be listening, you are showing ultimate respect to them. It lets your spouse know that you care enough about what they think to listen to them. Notice the Needs and Wants of Your Spouse It’s easy to get caught up in all the things that you need or want and forget that your spouse has needs as wants a well. Respecting your spouse means that you are willing to be there for them and meet their needs and desires. When you are saying your vows you are giving yourselves to each other. You have to respect their needs and desires. Sometimes my wife needs a hug or a little attention. I don’t just randomly feel like a need “a good hug”, but she does. So I respect that need for an emotional connection that she has. And guys have needs and too. So by respecting those needs and wants, you are respecting your spouse. So take out a piece of paper and pen, or just your mind and imagine doing this. Write down a list of the things that you know that your spouse needs and wants. What are some ways that you can give them those desires? Here is a personal example. I know that my wife sometimes needs “a good hug”. So when I get home from work I can go straight to her and give her that hug. As a stay-at-home mom, after being with our kids all day, she more than likely needs one. Maybe start with one need that you know your spouse has, and show respect to them by trying your best to meet it. The Bible Principle Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves -This means that in love you submit yourself to the needs and desires of your spouse. This is how you really respect your spouse, by submitting to them. Sometimes when I hear the word submit, I think about wrestling, where one player in the match finally submits! This is not what the Bible means in this verse. It means yield to another’s control. One to another- In marriage, you are giving yourselves to one another. So you are giving yourself to your spouse to meet their needs and desires to the extent that you can. Before you are married, your decisions are all made with your best interests in mind, but now you make decisions with your spouse’s best interest in mind. In the fear of God- Your submission to one another is intimately tied to your faith. So if you are not submitted to God, you can’t really submit in the right way to your spouse. You always submit to God first because He is more important than anyone else in your life. If you are not submitted to God, you can try to use this principle but it will not work like God intended for it to work if you don’t have faith. We talked about this in the lesson title Why and How You Should Have a Me 1st Marriage. Esteem Your Spouse Better Than Yourself Give Yourself Away Marriage is the ultimate gift because you are giving yourself to the person that you love. “I love you so much that I am giving me to you.” At the end of the day, “you” are the most valuable commodity that you could ever possess. The following are some practical ways to give yourself away in marriage: You give your heart to your spouse. By saying yes to loving Amber, I said no to everyone else in the world. I think that “no to everyone else” is the hangup for a lot of people concerning marriage. You are committing to not seek romantic love from anyone else. When you really love your spouse you don’t have wandering eyes! My mother used to say that about couples, that things would not work out if one of them still had wondering eyes.You give your plans to your spouse. I am not going ANYWHERE without my wife. Because I love her, she is now a part of any plans that I make. So you have to consider how any career or ministry choices are going to impact your spouse and your marriage. Even though you may want to do something, you have to have the support and consideration of your spouse. Although the husband is the head of the wife, it doesn’t mean he can just do whatever he wants. Instead, he has to prayerfully consider the impact that his decisions will have on his wife and his family. Your love for your spouse is more important than your ambitions. In fact, your first ambition should be to love your spouse.You give your body to your spouse. The thing that most people love and pamper the most, is one of the most important things that you give away to your spouse. When you get married your body no longer belongs to you, it belongs to your spouse. So I have no right to share my body with anyone else because it’s not mine to share. It’s not mine anymore. I have no right to fill my eyes with pornographic images or use my hands to touch some else intimately. I have no right to develop a relationship with someone else or “push the envelope” with someone or something else. I don’t have the right to have a private relationship with anyone else. You shouldn’t have anything on your computer or phone that you wouldn’t want your spouse to see. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wifeI Corinthians 7:4 This is a Bible principle that too many people are missing today. Respecting your spouse means giving them your body. Take Care of Your Spouse Like You would Take Care of Yourself Showing respect to your spouse also means that you take care of your spouse like you would take care of yourself. This is the biblical principle that you love your spouse more than yourself. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: Ephesians 5:28 and 29 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:33 Consider participating in the following relationship challenge: Think about one thing that you really want for yourself, then add the monetary value of the item up. Buy something of similar value to your spouse that has no direct benefit to you instead. So give up something you want to give your spouse something that they want. For example, let’s suppose I am interested in fly fishing (I have no desire or idea how). I would determine how much money I would need to spend in order to get started. But I would save up that amount of money and spend it on something for my wife that she would like. This is the kind of love that God wants you to have in marriage. Esteem Your Spouse Better than You If you are going to be a Christian, you will have to be Christian to your spouse first. This is how this principle works. In your mind, you place the other person as more important than you. This doesn’t mean that they are more important than you, but you are going to treat them that way because you are a Christian. The principle is described in the following Bible verse: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3 So when the husband, who is the Biblical head of the wife, thinks about his wife, he considers her in his mind better than himself. And the wife considers her husband better than herself. The problem is that this kind of love makes you vulnerable to hurt, but you are giving yourself away in the act of loving your spouse. What happens when the husband esteems his wife better than himself, and the wife esteems her husband better than herself? You paint the picture of Christ and the Church with your marriage! Jesus thought so much of you that He literally gave his life and his body for you. And the kind of faith that you should have in Him causes you to give your life and your body away to him. A good Christian marriage will cause a husband and wife in love to make more disciples for Jesus. So once you give yourself away, you can now give the Gospel away to the people within your influence. Without giving yourself away, you can’t really relate to the Gospel that you give away. Sense How You Are Making Your Spouse Feel Compare Your Marriage to the Bible There are a lot of people who are trying to have the best marriage. They want to have a better marriage than anyone they know. I suppose that is honorable, and could be a good thing, but I don’t think it is necessarily Biblical. You should compare your marriage to the standards of Ephesians 5:21-33. To be honest, there are times when I feel like my marriage is so dysfunctional when I look at other people. We have things we are always working on, and just when it seems like we have something down, there is something else we discover that we have to work on. And to be totally, unabashedly honest, sometimes we feel like failures compared to other people. But when I look at the Bible standards, even though it seems hard at first, I see something I can attain too. Can I be a leader to my wife? (vs 23) yes. Can I give my life to my wife? (vs 25) yes. Can I love her more than myself? (vs 28) yes. Maybe having the perfect marriage is not as important as loving each other and following the Bible model! I am just saying that maybe the thing we are aiming for is not what God wants us to aim for. Instead of trying to be perfect, how about just love each other unreservedly and serve God together. It seems like this may free you up to advance the Gospel, which is what will really matter in eternity. I don’t think at the Bema Seat(the time in the future where all Christian will answer to Jesus for their lives) that there will be a “perfect marriage” crown. There may be one for treating your spouse like a Christian would and doing your best to do your part in the Church though. The Bible Model for Marriage Is Focused on How You Make Your Spouse Feel Let me list them out to illustrate who this works: Submitting to one another (vs 21) The focus of the submitting is on the other.Wife submitting to her husband (vs 22 and 24) The focus of the submitting is to the husband.The husband as head of his wife (vs 23-24) The focus is on the wife as the object.The husband to love his wife (vs 25- 33) The focus is on the wife being loved.The wife showing reverence to her husband (vs 33) Treating your spouse with respect is sensing how you are making them feel. Respect is something you give, but it is also something that is experienced by the recipient. So respect in marriage is tied to how you are making your spouse feel. Practice Believing in Each Other Have Confidence in Each Other In the arms of your lover, your world shrinks to just two. Love is this amazing experience that isolates two people from a crowded world. My wife is my whole world. If she can believe in me, that is all that really matters. Marriage is about believing in each other. That’s why you fell in love, got engaged, and tied the knot! For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:23-25 The Bible paints this picture of marriage that seems impossible. The formula is for the wife to respect her husband like the Church respects Jesus. And for the husband to treat is his wife the way that Jesus treats the Church. Love makes it possible to treat your spouse this way. Love is the mechanism that God created to allow you to respect each other in unimaginable ways. For the wife to reverence her husband in this way requires her to exercise love and understanding that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. For a husband to treat his wife with this kind of love is unprecedented in this world, that a man would give his entire life for a woman. This is the love that a Christian marriage demands. Don’t Give Up on Your Love Respect is you giving your spouse a chance even when it seems undeserving. This makes me think about how the Lord gives me chance after chance in our relationship. Also, to be completely honest, there are times when I don’t understand what His doing, so I have to give Him a chance even when it seems impossible! Marriage is the one relationship in this world that is worth risking everything to keep and restore. When your spouse is struggling, it gives you a chance to love and respect them. I think this is one of the greatest things about love and marriage. When one of you fails, the other is there to pick you up. The Bible illustrates this principle. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 When your spouse makes a mistake, you have the opportunity to show your spouse what it means to be loved by a Christian. Because Christians in love believe in each other. This is the kind of respect that can change your life and cause your marriage to thrive. Although sometimes you may have to have a firm hand of love in your relationship. For example, if your spouse is physically abusing you, demand that they get help for their temper. Or if your spouse is unfaithful, demand that they stop. You don’t tolerate sin and failure, but you believe in your spouse when they make the effort to change. And it may take that kind of firm love to push them to change, knowing that same Christian love will be there to take them back in. Respect Each Other after Failures Give respect to your spouse even when they have violated that respect. Just like God restores you after you make mistakes. After all, you never know when the shoe will be on the other foot. You never know when you will need to receive grace instead of giving it. Expect Your Marriage to Succeed Take Ownership of Your Relationship I love being in love. It’s that feeling of losing yourself and being madly in love with someone else. It’s a friendship, but it’s more than that. It’s family, but it’s more than that. When you fall in love, you lose yourself in the life of the person you love. But cultivating that love and keeping it thriving is up to you. So You have to own your relationship and do your part to keep your love strong. Love is Like a Houseplant My wife loves houseplants. She has a green thumb and treats them like pets. She makes sure they are watered, have good drainage, and plenty of sunlight. When she has one, and she usually does, she takes good care of it. But for the plant to look nice and grow she has to put in the work to take care of it. Love is the same way. You have to keep it up if it is going to thrive. You can’t neglect it and expect it to magically stay the same. You have to trim the dead leaves off, you have to water it, and you have to make sure it has plenty of sunlight. Falling in love is easy, but it takes work to stay in love. Respect means that you have a certain expectation that your love will succeed. Cherish Your Love Relationship According to the Oxford dictionary Cherish means to protect and care for someone lovingly. Adore Your Lover Treat your spouse like a treasure. You are mine and I will love and respect you. The language of Ephesians 5 makes this principle clear. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: Ephesians 5:28-29 Your spouse is the most valuable thing in this world that you will ever have. So treat them like they are. Love is such an intense emotion that it sometimes causes you to fight. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong in your relationship. So just try to recover quickly and makeup. Making up is part of adoring your lover! And it’s also kinda fun to makeup- just saying! Protect Your Love When I am tempted to break my marriage vows, I don’t because I love my wife too much. And that love is something I want to protect. When I think about all the traps in the world that are designed to destroy my love for my wife it makes me angry because I want to protect that love. It is easier today than ever to keep secrets from your spouse. So you must be more diligent than ever to protect that love. When you are dealing with the opposite sex for whatever reason be aware that you have a love to protect with your spouse first and foremost. So I am not going to do or say something that could lead to harm to my love for my spouse.When you are on the computer or your phone, be aware that the internet and social media are wrought with traps that could damage your marriage. So I am not going to do or say something online that I wouldn’t want my spouse to see. You have to cherish and protect your love. That is how you can respect your spouse. Talk About How You Are Treating Each Other This is one of the hardest things to do in marriage, but one of the most important, talking about your relationship. The way you learn how to respect each other is to talk about it. Confrontation Is the Spark of Love When you first meet it is like a confrontation, but a confrontation that leads to eventually falling in love. That moment when I first met Amber was truly a confrontation for me. I had to confront my fears, doubts, and insecurities. But I somehow overcame all of that and talked to her that first time, not knowing how far things would go. After a while, we fell hopelessly in love! Without that initial confrontation, that love would have never happened. Sometimes, or most of the time, the best thing you can do for your love is to have a confrontation about how you feel and to find out how your spouse feels. You may discover some things about your relationship that you did not even realize. Have you ever thought your spouse meant something only to find out that they never meant that at all? You can only find these things out by talking about how you feel and listening to how your spouse feels. The truth is that your spouse can’t know how to respect you if you don’t tell them how! That is hard to do but worth it. If your spouse is doing something you don’t like, tell them! How else are they supposed to know? Sometimes men seem obvious because we don’t always see the world in color. We see in black and white and keep things simple. But women, on the other hand, can have much more complicated emotions and feelings. So there can be a disconnect that can only be fixed by talking about it. A confrontation could be the very thing that turns your love and your marriage around. Communication Is the Fuel of Love Love without communication is like a car without an engine, it’s not going ANYWHERE. Find a way and a time to talk about things you are unhappy about in your marriage. I have read about couples who schedule a time to critique each other in the marriage, maybe that would work for you or maybe not. Regardless, find a time that works for you both and be deliberate about it. I am one of those people who get “hangry”, it means when I am hungry, I am also grumpy. So talking to me about something that I could get defensive about while I am “hangry” is not a good idea! Ok, here is a really good tip: never talk about how you feel in a text message! Talk in person, please! It is better to talk about how you feel now than to be unhappy for a few years and finally get separated or divorced. What a shame when all you had to do was to communicate your feelings and your spouse could know how to respect you. I think that sometimes women, in general, make the mistake of expecting their man to read their minds. No, mean can’t read your mind and intuitively know what you want, you have to talk about. There are also a lot of men who just put up with not getting what they want until they finally give up and look for whatever they want somewhere else. It would be a lot easier to just talk about it! Respect is about knowing how to respect each other as the individual person you each are. It is the process of learning how to love each other over the course of your life together. Summary R-E-S-P-E-C-T Remember Your Spouse’s Desires Esteem Your Spouse Better Than Yourself Sense How You Are Making Your Spouse Feel Practice Believing in Each Other Expect Your Marriage to Succeed Cherish Your Love Relationship Talk about How You Are Treating Each Other The post Seven Ways to Spell Respect in Your Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
37 minutes | Jan 24, 2020
Why and How You Should Have a Me 1st Marriage
What about me? Find out how having a me 1st marriage can benefit your relationship. Learn some constructive ways to take care of yourself and protect the love that you share with your spouse! The post Why and How You Should Have a Me 1st Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
34 minutes | Jan 6, 2020
Why Is Love so Messy?
Life and love can get messy. But the things that make love so messy are the same things that make it so great. Learn how to deal with the "mess" in your love! The post Why Is Love so Messy? appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
25 minutes | Dec 6, 2019
5 Ways to Become Relationship Mindful
Learn how to interact and enjoy your love relationship effectively through time and changes. You can take your marriage from ordinary to extraordinary by using a few Bible principles. Become relationship mindful. The post 5 Ways to Become Relationship Mindful appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
29 minutes | Nov 11, 2019
God’s Prescription (RX) for a Hurting Marriage
God doesn't intend for your marriage to just exist. But He want it to thrive and for you to stay madly in love for a lifetime. This is God's prescription for a hurting marriage. The post God’s Prescription (RX) for a Hurting Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
30 minutes | Oct 11, 2019
How You Can Find Your Soulmate
Whether you are married are not, you can find your soulmate using these principles. What does it mean to have a soulmate? And what does compatibility have to do with it? Your soulmate may be closer than you think! The post How You Can Find Your Soulmate appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
31 minutes | Sep 13, 2019
Should You Leave Your Spouse?
The question that many married people end up asking can be answered by using principles found in the Bible. Find out what God thinks about divorce, Bible principles for separation, and the value of staying together. The post Should You Leave Your Spouse? appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
25 minutes | Aug 21, 2019
How You Can Fix Your Marriage Together
You can fix your marriage together. However, you may be surprised when you find out how. Learn the new TEAM method for restoring your relationship! The post How You Can Fix Your Marriage Together appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
28 minutes | Aug 14, 2019
3 Ways to Have the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted
When fixing up a house, the decorations are what really make it special. All the choices you get to make, come together to make your house unique. Marriage is a lot like your house. All the little choices that you make add up to making your marriage the way that you want it. Learn how to get the marriage that you have always wanted. The post 3 Ways to Have the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
24 minutes | Jul 31, 2019
3 Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Marriage
FixerUpperMarriage.org/ruin Marriage is like a house. There are things you can do or not do, that can over time ruin the property. When you don’t fix things when they break, or do preventive maintenance, your house can go from nice to run down and maybe even unlivable. Your marriage is the same way, if you […] The post 3 Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
27 minutes | Jul 25, 2019
4 Things You Should Wait for in Marriage
What does it mean to wait and what does marriage have to do with waiting? Four things to wait for in marriage: 1. Wait on Marriage 2. Wait on Healing and Restoration 3. Wait on Material Things 4. Wait on Jesus The post 4 Things You Should Wait for in Marriage appeared first on Fixer Upper Marriage.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021