Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New You

One of the first meals I cooked for my husband was spaghetti. He was so hungry but I assured him that from the moment you THINK about making spaghetti, to the time it hits the plate, takes precisely one hour!

It's New Years Eve and many people are going to attend watch night services, while others pray in the comfort of their homes with the hope or expectation that they will see manifestations of answered prayers in the coming year.

I'm in no position to know what you have been going through the last one year, poor finances, disappointment  frustration, guilt, all those negative feelings. Perhaps that baby you've been waiting for didn't come, maybe you didn't get that job or that promotion or contract. It could be you made a terrible decision that has effected your life dramatically and the guilt just won't go away and sits on your shoulder like an albatross. Or maybe it was a fab year all year long.

4 Tips for Enjoying Your Single Years - Christina Martingano

As a professional 20 something Christian, is it easy to feel lost in between the world’s view and the Church’s view on marriage. In the world, I was told by older “wiser” co workers to date, have my fun, and don’t even consider marriage until I was older. However, I found all my Christian friends getting engaged and married before the age of 25.

Personally, I wore my first bridesmaid dress at the age of 22 and was a part of 5 wedding parties before the age of 26. Besides that, the stack of wedding invites on my dresser far exceeded the number of potential suitors I had. When you are in an environment where it seems like everyone is dying to start a family ASAP, it’s easy to feel like a freak for not looking to run down the isle. However, I would never trade my single years. I learned more about my God, others, and myself and experienced things I never could have if I were married. I challenge all the singles out there to take a moment and appreciate your solo selves. I also ask the married folks to support and cheer on their single friends.

Invest in God.
1 Corinthians 7 is about marriage, but is a very pro single chapter. Paul says singles are free from concern and able to focus only on pleasing the Lord. He goes on to say the single life allows undivided devotion to the Lord. How dare we see it as a curse or burden? How dare we use our single status to wonder what is wrong with us? God ordained that time as a period to focus on him. Join a bible study, find a new devotional, and enjoy this time of unburdened service to the Lord!

Knowing When You've Found The One - Ashley McIlwain

It’s a question that I get asked a lot. . . how do I know that the person I am with is 'the one?'

I wish there were an easy, fail-proof checklist I could give people who ask me this question; it would make both of our lives a lot simpler. The truth is that there are no hard and fast rules on how to determine if the person you are with is the right choice for marriage. At the same time, there are a few guidelines that you can keep in mind while drawing your final conclusion

Your choice in a spouse is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. It’s also one of the few that so greatly impacts the rest of your life. It’s no wonder that people are concerned with knowing if they are with the right person.

About the author...Ashley McIlwain, M.A., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, speaker, and writer. She is the founder and C.E.O. of the non-profit organization, Foundation Restoration, and blog LittleWifey.com, which are comprehensive resources committed to restoring the very foundation of society – marriage. She is committed to and passionate about helping relationships thrive.

How to Damage Your Relationship - Jennine Estes

  • Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
  • Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the American routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
  • Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
  • No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
  • Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner…creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
  • Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or over looks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways
  • Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up…which can actually push you further away.
  • Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears…a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
  • Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away….and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
  • No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
  • Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship…

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Requirement For Who God Wants You To Marry

Each fall semester, I teach a class on how to make the marriage decision one of your best decisions. I completed my 19th class last Fall. We had 65 singles in it! Over the years, we’ve had at least a thousand singles take this class.

Among many other things, I teach the singles that there is only one explicit requirement in the Bible about who God wants you to marry. By explicit, I mean very clear and direct. There are a number of implicit requirements but the specific and direct command could be summarized this way:

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are only permitted to marry one who is a follower of Christ.

It’s not worded exactly this way but the point is clear and the exact wording is thought-provoking. Consider, for example, the way it’s presented in I Corinthians 7:39:

“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” (NIV)

“A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.” (NLT)

The italicized words present the requirement in two different translations:

“but he must belong to the Lord” (NIV)
“but only if he loves the Lord.” (NLT)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And The Two Become One...

Two days ago I was invited to be part of a surprise proposal. It was so romantic, the ring was served with the cake that was ordered and all the invitees came out from their hiding places and shouted "SURPRISE!" The guy had gone to a lot of trouble to invite their mutual friends while using various tactics to hide the whole plan from her.

But to our surprise this young lady said she wasn't surprised. He hadn't hidden his tracks too well, so when that night came and he said he was taking her out, and later said they we're going to a friend's party and later changed the story to they were going to an event , amongst other things, she knew the time had come. When she made this shocking revelation, it felt as if we were all hit in our faces with a glass of cold water.

Friday, December 28, 2012

4 Things Every Man Wants In A Woman

#1) A Real Man Wants A Woman Who Is Playful
There's something that drives men wild and invites them into a deeper level of "connection" - play.

Men love to be active and to play. They were raised to express themselves and connect with those around them through action.

Unfortunately, too many women seem to forget this and want to talk their way into a man's heart. But the fact is that men don't "feel it" for you because of what you say. It's not your words that make a man attracted to you, it's the experiences you create with him.

Watch or play sports together, be competitive in casual games like ping pong - even add a little teasing and sarcasm here and there - and you'll really ramp up the attraction and interest. 

#2) A Real Man Wants A Woman Who Is Independent
Lots of women mistakenly believe that men are looking for a "weaker" woman who will make them feel like they are smarter and more powerful.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Real men want a woman who inspires them because she has great things going on her own life. They want a woman who has her own purpose other than being in a relationship.

A great guy isn't intimidated by independence and success. What matters to a man is that a woman still has space in her life for a great relationship and is grounded and present when she's with him.

God's Warning Signs - Be Aware


Suppose you just purchased a new washing machine for your home. You are excited about all the new features and the many hours it will save you in your kitchen, and you are reading the instructions on how to make it do the best job for you. You discover a little sign that says, "WARNING! For the best and most efficient operation, do thus and so."

What would happen if you suddenly thought, "I can't keep this in my home; it may fail me!" Just for a moment you took your eyes off of the benefits and enlarge on the word of caution and immediately all the benefits diminished in your mind!

Are You Unplugged? Stay connected.

As you advance in your life, it is important to adopt more conscious ways to stay connected to God.

It's like an electric iron; no matter how many clothes you iron with it, it will remain hot. However if someone unplugs it from the power source while you are ironing, you will continue ironing until you notice the ironing isn't straightening out the clothes. By the time this happens, the iron is already cold.

Christian homes are the same; you see Christians who start off well, in a place of hunger for God, love and understanding in their marriage and if the couple did marital counselling then those words are still fresh in their minds. But over the course of time you observe they no longer have that fire in them, their spiritual lives are ineffective or they are oblivious of their spiritual assignments. Going to church is seen as just another weekly ritual. They basically just exist, until something happens which is usually something bad which wakes them from their slumber, like Samson who slept until Delilah woke him saying "Samson, the Philistines are upon you"

Changing The Way We Think About Marriage

Marriage offers the closest possible relationship of intimacy and companionship we can enjoy. I’ve been married for more than 28 years and for most of those years, I’ve done a lot of marriage counseling.

Marriage can be a relationship of mutual encouragement, acceptance and partnership, but sadly good marriages are increasingly rare. Fewer people are willing to apply the intentional commitment and hard work essential for good relationships. This is one reason why many marriages don’t go the distance.

A growing number of people whom I care deeply about are in failing marriages. Most of them never imagined being where they are today. They went into marriage strongly opposed to divorce and determined to make it work. Facing the prospect of an impending divorce has been devastating to them. They know that they have not been perfect mates, but sincerely desire to work on their marriages. Yet they face unwilling partners who are too selfish to care. They feel they’ve tried everything to save their marriages but fear there is no hope. Life has become much harder for these people. Beyond their personal pain, their hearts ache for their children. My heart aches for all of them.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Truth About Submission of Wives!! - Ian C. Howe

“ Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the LORD. 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 everything.” ~ Ephesians 5: 22-24

How could anyone, with an iota of a clean conscience, attempt to use the above scripture, while trying to convince a woman to remain submissive to her husband, who in his drunken frenzies beats her to a frazzle, while having a slew of extra marital affairs, and continuously abandons her financially, while praying for her husband’s redemption, under the pretext, that it is written in the word of GOD? That’s another dirty lie from the pit of hell, someone taking the word of GOD out of context for his or her own convenience.

Unfortunately, many women in many “Churches” are encouraged to “keep the Faith” while she endures the humiliation, disrespect and wanton abuse. The advisor usually claims that “long-suffering” is an integral aspect in the development of their characters, citing it as one of the Fruits of the Spirit, which is the growth of our characteristics, as we become images of CHRIST. However, what they conveniently ignore is the conclusion of this scripture ~:

“Husbands, LOVE your wives, even as CHRIST also LOVED the church, and GAVE Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,” ~ Ephesians 5: 25-26

JESUS CHRIST, even after He was handed over to be tortured and brutally murdered by His Church (His Bride), still showed selfless Love and unconditional compassion for her, by petitioning on her behalf for her forgiveness, because of her ignorance in the circumstances. How many husbands can unconditionally Love his wife like that. Yes, husbands, that’s the end of the bargain we are expected to uphold, if we are interested in making this beautiful GOD-ordained covenant to be successful. At no time during His Ministry, was CHRIST, disrespectful, abusive to, or humiliated His Church, even in their folly, He defended His Church with His life.

The submission of a wife, neither ignores nor suppresses the liberty, to which her dignity as a human person and her noble functions as wife, mother, and companion, give her the full right to claim ownership to. It does not oblige her to yield indiscriminately to all the desires of her husband; as his desires may be unreasonable or incompatible with her wifely dignity, sometimes even forcefully encouraging her to go against the will of GOD, it is quite important to interject here, that our covenant with GOD usurps any other earthly covenant we may make. Therefore, if a man is walking in alignment with the Word of GOD, then any GOD Fearing, Proverbs 31 Woman, will be absolutely willing, and naturally desirous to submit to him, as her husband and her head.

5 Commitments For A Good Marriage - Steve Cornell

In less than two years, my wife and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage. We share so many good memories but we also experienced many challenges. Two years after being married, we moved from Philadelphia to Millersville, Pennsylvania to start a Church. We were proud new parents of a baby boy and ready for our adventure. In a short time, the Church grew from 10 to more than 250 people. Our family also grew from three to five. A few years later, we would have our fourth child and the Church continued to grow.

Leading a growing ministry and parenting a busy family tested us beyond imagination. Sometimes we wonder how we survived those years. “How did our marriage withstand the tests of life and ministry?” we’ve often asked.

Certainly, we give thanks to God for sustaining us yet we also recognize that we are not passive recipients of God’s work. Maintaining a strong marriage has required some basic relationship commitments. Five specific commitments help us to stay on course in a marriage that is thriving — not just surviving.

1. We are teammates not opponents

Married people must look beyond the “me” to the “we.” Marriage is based on togetherness and companionship. Teammates watch out for each another. They take each others backs. Whether they come from without or within, we must guard against forces that threaten our unity. Even our children should respect the priority of our relationship and learn to value it. Children build so much of their identity and security on the strength of their parents’ marriage.

Ask yourself the hard questions: Am I too proud or too selfish to be a good teammate? Am I too critical? Am I open to correction? Does my tendency to be argumentative hurt team unity? The potential changes in marriage and family require flexibility and a willingness to make adjustments. Work together! You’re on the same team!

2. We will value and respect each other

Enrich Your Family Life

Following are several helpful suggestions for enriching your family life and greatly improving interpersonal relationships:

Improve family communications

Faulty communications cause innumerable problems. This is especially true in the home. In fact, one of the first steps to improve family relationships is to improve family communications.

Family members need to talk meaningfully to each other every day, to show an interest in each other, to give constant understanding and approval, and to share and accept each other's feelings.

Each member also needs to be given a say in family matters. When this is done, practical compromises—the oil for smooth family living—can be worked out.

"Communication ... involves not only talking but listening creatively."

Sometimes family members will say one thing when they mean another. For example, Dave asks June, his wife, if she'd like to go out for dinner. June is tired and doesn't want to go, but feels Dave might be hurt if she says no. So she agrees. Then she feels resentful because Dave didn't know how she was feeling. As a result, the dinner date was a flop.

If Dave is listening creatively, he may detect when June is saying yes but means no. However, it is important for all family members to say what they want and not leave others to guess.

Avoid inflammatory words

It is also important to avoid inflammatory words such as, "You never" or "You always." Such statements are rarely true. Put-downs also need to be avoided. They are thinly veiled expressions of hostility. It is much kinder to admit when you are feeling hurt or angry.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Self-esteem, A Key Factor In Your Child's Success

As parents, we need to help our children set an internal structure or framework upon which they can set their dreams on. Just like there is a bone structure which determines the height in the human body and holds the body together, that is how important the internal structure is to one’s dreams.

This means as the bones are the real structure of the body and if anything happens to them the flesh will collapse, the same way the internal structure holds up the events of your life and it is not visible.

What we see on the outside are the clothes that are placed upon that structure. What we need to do is to build up the right internal structure and the outcome will turn out good as a result of the right foundation that was laid.

Self-esteem can have a big part to play in how you feel about yourself and also how much you enjoy things or worry about things. This is a key factor in long-term success as individuals. The most important thing to know about self-esteem is that it means seeing yourself in a positive way that's realistic. All kids have self-esteem, and having healthy or positive self-esteem is really important. It can help you hold your head high and feel proud of yourself and what you can do, even when things don't seem to be going so well.

The Wife's responsibility to the Husband

Your interest in this subject is appreciated and I am glad that we have the Bible as our source book to tell us what God expected of the wife in the marriage relationship. There are several verses in Ephesians, the fifth chapter that you should read, beginning with verse 22. Let me read only three of these for you. Verse 22, "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord". Then verse 24, "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything". Then verse 33, "nevertheless let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband". Then in I Peter 3:1, "Like wise you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands".

None of these passages teach that women are inferior in intellect, but that her feminine qualities preclude her being as well endowed for leadership. The subjection does not mean servitude. It is not the relationship of master and slave or as a maid or servant. Hers is a recognition of the husband's leadership, wisdom and tenderness. He should be as loving toward her as Christ loved the church.

At this point, there are several privileges that belong to the wife. For instance, she is to be loved like Christ loved the church as commanded in Ephesians 5:25. She is to be honored as none other in I Peter 3:7, and she is to be praised by her family, Pro. 31:28. In Titus 2:4 we read, "That (the aged women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed". Here is a fine list of the responsibilities of the wife. All of these are important, but let us just dwell on four of these.

The Husband's Responsibility to his Wife & the Bible!

The position of the husband in the home and his related responsibilities are quite clearly defined in principle in Ephesians 5:22, 28-31. "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church; and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wife as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it . . . 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 . . . For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shal.1 be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh".

It is impossible to completely deal with the responsibilities of the husband in such a short article. I am going to ask you to make some notations of scriptures and then read them at a later time. Let us start with some scriptures that deal with the husband as head of the house. Genesis 3:16, says in part "her desire shall be to man". Then Eph. 5:23, "husband is head of the wife"; then I Tim. 2:11-12, "She shall have no dominion over a man". Now don't stop at these verses and think that the only responsibility of the husband is to be HEAD of the house. By the way, head does not mean master as in a master-slave relationship, nor does it mean a relationship like a general to a private in the army. It is more like a partnership where one is the leader, guide, director. Now consider this. Can you think of any decision that a husband should make WITHOUT consulting or considering his wife and her wishes? I cannot!

Now let us consider some other responsibilities. The husband is to love his wife above all other human beings. Consider Eph. 5:25 and 28; and Col. 3:19. These passages teach that the husband is to be considerate and tender. The verses in Ephesians 5 teach that the husband is to cherish his wife. This means that she is to be treated with tenderness and affection. This would mean that since love must be fed, there is to be a warm demonstrative love relationship. The husband has the responsibility of not only demonstrating his love and concern, but telling her. He should not sit in such self-absorption that he does not talk with her and communicate with her socially, mentally, verbally and physically. The husband will demonstrate his love for his wife in other ways, rather than just at the time of sexual relationship. If this is the only time that affection and consideration is shown, then a wife will get the idea that all a husband is interested in is her body and that she is merely a sex object.

The Bible kind of Love!

The secret to loving is giving. God is a giver. He never takes.

It is impossible to discuss love in one little article. Volumes of books have been written about love, and I only want to add a few thoughts in relationship with love in the family situation. Turn and read the great love chapter of the Bible I Corinthians 13. Remember, as you read-that Paul does not tell what love is, but rather what love does. Read 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 One of the fundamental thoughts that we can derive from these series of verses is that when we love someone we are concerned about them and their welfare. What about love in the family between husband and wife, and parents and children? There is much difficulty today because we do not understand what love is. We usually have a very immature concept of love. Some believe that love is a mysterious something that takes hold of you just like taking the measles. Others say or feel that it may go just as quickly as it came.

But love is more than just a tingling sensation that runs up and down your spine. We have done grave injustice to the beauty of the idea of love by using it to mean any and everything. We have changed the spelling to "l-u-v" and even talk about the love bug, as though it were some kind of insect that bites us. Now, what is love, or better still what does love do or cause us to do.

When you love someone, you are concerned about them. Not just what they can do for you, but their feelings. You love them, you are concerned about their health, their future, their emotions, their feelings and their desires. Love then has many faces. Love means that you will constantly think about ways that you can help your mate, refresh them, and be kind with them. You will be concerned about not only what you say, but HOW you say things.

Love also means that you enjoy being with that person. It is hard to be genuinely concerned if you do not enjoy being with that particular person or you are constantly placing everything else before your physical association with them. Love means spending your time with this one you love.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Is Gratitude Your Attitude?

Why is it that today if some “stranger” offers you a drink or holds the door for you, you jump to thank them even before their act of kindness is completed, and yet, you show no gratitude to your husband or wife’s all day long or all year long?

You won't get the best out of a wife who is not appreciated. Sooner or later the things you liked about her will vanish. She won't look good if she has a negative self image and that can happen to anyone. We all need a cheerleader sometimes. When was the last time you told your wife she looked good without her asking? A husband is the head of his wife's fan club. If she feels unappreciated she is not likely to get the best out of her or the marriage as a whole. This goes for the husbands too, positive reinforcement gets better results than constantly having feelings of entitlement.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Creative Christmas Gifts for Your Spouse - Arlene Pellicane

Neckties and flannel pajamas have their place, but maybe you’re looking for something more creative for your spouse this year. What can you give your husband or wife that will communicate your love without breaking the bank? 

If you feel stuck in a rut, don’t worry! Remember it doesn’t require a huge wad of cash to make a big impression. It just takes a little thought. Here are some ideas to tickle your creative bone for that special somebody on your list. 

FOR HIM 

For the movie lover: You can choose a movie your husband loves and create gifts around it. For instance, you can have a James Bond theme for that debonair husband of yours. You might give him a beautiful wristwatch, a pen that also functions as a voice recorder, sunglasses, cufflinks, or a book about sports cars, along with one of his favorite James Bond movies. And don’t forget to include a note that he’ll be meeting a Bond girl (you) later on that night. 

For the man with the sweet tooth: Have you seen those giant candy bars? My husband James and I were in a candy store in New York City a few months ago. He got such a kick out of seeing a giant two-pound Snicker’s bar that was priced around $25. We didn’t buy it, but he does still talk about it. If you can’t find a two-pound candy bar in a specialty store, you can search for one online. Include a note that says something like “I’m sweet on you.” And why don’t you include a new toothbrush and maybe some hand weights to balance out the gift? 

For the tool guy: It’s no secret that most men love tools. But choosing the right tool as a gift is quite a challenge for most women because we don’t know what our husbands already have and what in the world they might be wishing for. Enter the tool tote. Forget about buying your husband a new tool – buy him something to put his tools in. For years, my husband put his pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, etc. in a big box and lugged that around the house when he was fixing something. Now he has a handy dandy multi-compartment tool carrier that he loves. 

For the music lover: Does your husband listen to CDs or download songs from iTunes? Get the latest music from one of your husband’s favorite artists. You could buy a wireless speaker and dock so he can enjoy his favorite music while barbequing or hanging out in the backyard. Or how about noise cancelling headphones so he can zone out periodically? These headphones are especially useful if he travels on business, but remember they’re not so great when you’re trying to get his attention! Maybe that’s part of the gift… 

10 Reasons Not To Get A Divorce – Read & Have A Rethink

Here’s Why you Need to Rethink Divorcing your Partner

Ending a marriage can not only take a toll on you emotionally, but also physically. Divorce rates are increasing across the world and the reasons range from alcoholism, physical abuse, infidelity, lack of communication, etc. In this day and age of drive-in marriages, quick divorces are no longer shocking. Several marriages end up in divorces. But there are marriages that do face ups and downs and finally make it to the other side. One has to understand, that a marriage is not a packet of instant noodles. You cannot expect it to magically “work”. You have to work on a marriage. So if things go awry in your marriage and you’re considering a divorce, ask yourself why. Go back to the time the problems started and try to understand if there is a pattern. Ask yourself how a divorce can help your current situation. There are several reasons to stay in a marriage and make it work.

1. For the children
Staying in the marriage for your children’s sake, is one of the prime reasons cited by couples who have considered divorce at some point or the other. Children from broken homes tend to suffer from more self-esteem problems than children whose parents are together. A child’s home is his/her safety zone. A broken home can cause severe emotional trauma to the child. Children, whose parents are together, have more of a sense of well being and are also proven to be more content. Problems at home also influence a child’s mood pattern, ability to concentrate, ability to be creative, etc. Children from regular homes adjust well to school and are better at making friends and coping with basic problems, such as bullying, peer pressure, etc.

2. The sanctity of marriage as an institution
If you believe in the inherent sanctity of marriage as an institution, you should work extra hard to keep it together. There are loads of people falling in love at first sight, getting married quickly and filing for divorce by the end of the month. Every other day, you hear of couples getting divorced. Marriage, as an institution, has become less holy. People seek quick fixes or rather, quick divorces, instead of ironing the differences. Be a role model and fight for your marriage. Be the couple that valued the institution of marriage and made it work, despite odds. If there’s anything worth fighting for, it is a relationship that once had promise and potential.

How to Pray God’s Word for Your Husband - Whitney Hopler


When you pray for your husband, you help bring about powerful change in his life, his relationship to God, and his marriage to you. It’s especially powerful to pray through God’s Word (the Bible) for your husband because when you pray God’s words back to Him you can be confident that they reflect His will for your husband.

Here’s how you can pray God’s word for your husband:

Know that your effort is worthwhile. It’s worth it to invest time and energy regularly into praying for your husband, because God promises to hear and answer every single prayer you pray. Also, God will change you for the better through the process; He will make you a stronger person as you spend time with Him in prayer.

Overcome resistance to praying for your husband. If you’re reluctant to pray for your husband, ask God to show you why (such as bitterness that you’re harboring against him) and to empower you to overcome that resistance so you can pray wholeheartedly. 

Make a habit of it. Establish a habit of praying for your husband often (ideally, every day). Set up a routine with a consistent time and place to focus on praying for your husband. Consider having some friends hold you accountable to keeping your regular prayer appointments.

He Wants You To Get Pregnant?

In recent years, especially in view of the moral climate that has developed in the last 40 years, it has become very common for men to ask their fiancees to get pregnant as a prerequisite for marriage.

On further investigations you find out that they want to be sure she can get pregnant and sometimes it's his mother who wants to be sure the said girl can bear children. Some men will say girls of nowadays are wayward and won't tell you that they have undergone so many abortions that they might not have a womb anymore. Some women actually desire pregnancy before marriage in order to get the man committed. It is a very common occurrence. It is sad but even Christians are not exempt.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

5 Top Marriage Killers You Don’t Realize You’re Doing

Marriage is tough. It’s even tougher when it hits a rough patch. If you don’t know what marriage is… it’s a continuous work of art that changes every day with the good and the bad that happens in people’s daily lives and it takes two people to make it work. What are married people supposed to do if they want to work on their relationship?

First, you may seek counseling that will help you fend off a divorce or that who just want to plain give up on the relationship. Second, you may spend time apart to work on your issues. Another way to stave off bad feelings in a marriage is be aware the 5 things that can kill a marriage.

(1) Centering on Yourself - Why is this number one on the list of five? If you always think about your own needs first and not the needs of your spouse or children, it’s likely that your marriage will fail before it can even get off the ground. If you’re a person that finds themselves in this sort of relationship, don’t despair. There’s hope. Try doing something for your spouse. This is something out of the ordinary. Do something when they least expect it too.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

In-laws-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When the word in-law comes up for both singles and marrieds, a tinge of negativity tends to be associated with it. My sister always hoped her future husband's mum would be late already. I was not keen on meeting my to be mother in law because I wasn't from the same ethnic group. I had heard about how Yoruba women didn't like Igbo girls and she had told her son not to bring an Igbo girl. I decided to get to know her and at the end of the day, I couldn't have wished for a better mother in law, I love her so much.

As far as Nigeria is concerned, a woman is not only married to the husband alone but also to her in-laws

So that the same measure of respect you would wish someone gives to your own parents or brothers and sisters, give even more to your in-laws; You grew up with your family, and have an idea of what each and every person is capable of doing! A wife also grew up with her family and knows them inside out!!

What Do You Do When Your Crush Doesn’t Crush You Back? - T.M. Gaouette

Ladies and Gentlemen! Do you have a secret crush? Do you think about him/her all the time? Does it hurt your heart when you see them and they don’t seem to notice that you exist? Do you pray they notices you, or if they are your friends, that their feelings about you are mutual?

Sweetheart, if your heart is breaking from unrequited love and you’re looking for relief, I pray you find comfort in your own responses to the following questions:
  1. Do you want someone for the moment or the future? If you’re looking to just date someone, then you’re looking for more heartache. And marriage? Unless God has that planned for you, I’m guessing it’s too soon in your life to think about that.
  2. Is he/she a Christian? This is a really important question if you are a Christian with a desire to spend your life with a Christian. If they at are not Christians, then it’s definitely a good thing that they are not pursuing you, because only a Christian will truly share your values.
  3. Is it love or lust? If it’s real love, then he/she will come around. But if it’s lust, then it’s a good thing the feeling’s not mutual, because the lust you feel for him/her may lead to something you’d likely regret…and that will be followed by another broken heart.
  4. Is he/she the one? God already has picked your spouse. Have faith in Him and His perfect choice for you. If this is the boy/girl for you, he/she will find his way to you and it will last forever. If they not, then don’t distract yourself with them.
  5. Is it the right time? Some couples meet in high school, some meet later in life. You don’t know when you’ll meet your spouse, but have faith that it will happen on God’s time.
Contemplating these questions wasn’t easy, I’m sure. A broken heart is difficult to convince. If you realize that your crush isn’t the one for you, pray to God and ask Him to change your heart. The good news is that when the time is right, He’ll bring the perfect person to you. It may not be for a long while, but it’ll be worth the wait.

In the meantime, keep busy with school, friends, family, hobbies and most importantly, God. And always keep Christ in your heart.

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 Ways to Never Violate Your Partner's Privacy

Text Messages
It's ok to be cautious in relationships, but when your "caution" turns into suspicion and paranoia, your trust issues are likely to wreak havoc, especially if they lead you to violate your partner's privacy. The following seven actions will not only tell your partner that you don't trust him or her, but will also betray his or her trust, and that is not easy to bounce back from.

First of the bunch, text messages are like the gateway drug for snoopers--it's where they start. Just because your boyfriend or girlfriend is texting someone, it doesn't mean it's someone he or she is cheating on you with. Snooping through his or her text messages can not only lead you to make a much bigger deal out of nothing ("Oh my god! She said 'Haha.' She's totally the other woman!") but it can also lead you to start digging through his or her other media accounts and profiles. It's the first violation of trust in your relationship. Don't do it.

Call Logs
Once you've started checking your sweetheart's texts for evidence that he or she is hiding something, you'll start checking the cell phone's call log for male or female callers you don't recognize numbers with no names ("Of course she wouldn't put his name with his number, just in case I'd look!") repeated calls from the same name or number names of ex-girlfriends or boyfriends (How many Erics or Ashleys can he or she know?)

Unless you know the ex's number (stalker, much?), the call log won't tell you anything conclusive and will only drive you crazy with suspicion.

Characteristics of Maturity

If I were asked, "How can you tell if a person is mature?" I would respond by saying, "If a person consistently acts in a mature manner, he would be a mature person. However, if on the other hand he consistently acts in an immature manner, you can be certain that he would be an immature person." As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do."

While none of us is perfect or completely mature, if we understand the characteristics of maturity, we can work on these to grow in maturity. While there are many characteristics the following certainly would be among the top five:

First, emotional maturity. What many fail to see is that we cannot have spiritual maturity without a healthy level of emotional maturity. While our spiritual maturity will be reflected in the quality of our relationship to God, emotional maturity will be reflected in the quality of our relationships with people. They go hand in hand. As God's Words say, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."1 Many may disagree, but in reality I'm no closer to God that I am to people.

Among other things, emotional maturity means we will have a healthy self-concept not thinking too highly or too lowly of ourselves. We will also have a healthy sense of self-acceptance and self-worth, which are both vital for loving relationships and making the best use of our life. We were created for relationships and thus healthy relationships are vital for both physical and emotional wellbeing, while impaired relationships are one of the main causes of unhappiness and a major cause of stress, anxiety and physical ills.

Spiritual and emotional maturity will pretty much guarantee that we will have quality relationship with God, others and our self.

Be The Jesus That They See

My daughter is only a year old, but recently I was climbing a stool to clean the ceiling fan and this little girl who can barely walk managed to climb up, with a towel in her hand and was stretching her hand up trying to copy me. I would put her down but she climbed back up again and again. It was so funny, she is so tiny but she wanted to do what she saw mummy doing.

Christmas holiday is here, the kids are at home, you have a break from work and more time to spend with the family. Many questions might arise from our little ones about the person of Jesus.

We can tell them he was born in a manger, he was a carpenters son and the son of God, we can tell them he died on a cross, we can tell them they must be good because they are Christians, we can and should read stories about Him to them. but it will still be limited to their imagination what the real person of Jesus Christ was like when he was in this world. They may be too young to understand the atonement but they do understand kindness and courage.

When a child is born we eagerly watch out for traits from the father or mother. It's not uncommon to see a boy who walks just like his father. As Christians we know how important it is to use Jesus as our role model. Jesus came and was human and lived a real life just as we are today and that is why the Christian walk begins with imitating Christ. 

Sin In The Home: Undisciplined Children

Ever see the child in the grocery store that won’t shut up in spite of mom telling little Johnny his behavior disappoints her? Ever want to walk over and say, “Do you want me to take care of this?” Me too.

Millions of children are being raised as selfish tyrants. They get what they want, do what they want, and will brook no opposition. The amazing thing is that many parents think this is good. Some even seemingly are not embarrassed by a temper-tantrum in the middle of the mall.

What’s wrong with this picture? God is not in it.

Parents who truly love their children and respect God will discipline. God disciplines us out of love. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6; cf. Prov. 3:11, 12). When a child goes without correction, it is as though he is illegitimate: without a father to raise him properly. So, a father may be present in the home but the child still lives as though he is illegitimate because of a lack of discipline.

Let us not be shy about the issue of how to discipline. The Bible repeatedly states that spanking is an acceptable form of correction.

“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24).

“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (Prov. 19:18).

Love compels us to put the belt to the backside. We are not to be anxious that this punishment will destroy the child. Properly applied, it will not do permanent damage nor will it scar his spirit. Rather, it lets the child know the limits and instills a respect for authority.

Too many parents are committing the sin of not disciplining their children. Not only will this bring heartache and sorrow in this world, but it will also lead to eternal destruction in the next. We will lose our soul for not raising our children right as quickly as for not believing and obeying the gospel.

To all parents: teach your children the Bible (Deut. 6:6-9; Eph. 6:4); lay down the house rules, tell them your expectations, hold them to it (Eph. 6:1-4); correct early and often, rebuke and spank and they will respect you (Heb. 12:9). This is simple, but effective—because it is God’s way.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Man You Want Your Daughter To Marry

Fathers have a lot on their shoulders. They are charged with providing for their family, something which is harder as the economy goes down (1 Tim. 5:8). They are to raise their children in the Lord, which is no small feat in this wicked world (Eph. 6:4). A man must be willing to sacrifice and put his family above himself; thinking about their well being.

As a man raises a daughter, he is concerned with many things in her life. The most important thing is whether or not she is a Christian. He must teach her the Scripture from childhood (2 Tim. 3:15). His overall example must be one of a dedicated child of God to reinforce the teaching.

Additionally, a father must be a good husband. He needs to be the man he wants his daughter to marry. The example he sets in his home, the behavior his daughter witnesses day to day, will be the pattern impressed on her mind of what a husband ought to be. At the very least, she will see he daddy and his life as what is acceptable in a man. She will view potential husbands with this frame of reference because that is what she knows.

Therefore, men, love your wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). Willingly sacrifice for your wife. Nourish and cherish her (Eph. 5:29). Hold her in honor, dwelling with her with understanding (1 Pet. 3:7).

If your daughter were to go out today and marry a man that is just like you what would she get? Would she be ignored or belittled? Would she get a selfish man that is overbearing and hateful? Would her husband yell at her and lose his temper over the slightest issue? Or, would she be happily married to a man who respects her, protects her, and is lovingly devoted to her well being?

Fathers, be the man you want your daughter to marry, because she probably will.

http://www.hebronchurchofchrist.com

I just called to say "I Love You"

I was recently challenged by someone. When you have been married for a while or have kids or both, it's easy to sometimes take things for granted. When was the last time you called your spouse at a random time during the day, no story, no complaints, no Children Matter, just to say "I Love You" ?. For ladies, the first response you get from your husband might be "Okay what did I do?", or "Okay what do you want for Christmas?" after 4 or 5 more questions he will finally agree that the call was really just to say you love him.

I think this happens all too often, men forget what it was like searching for that one woman who was going to bear his name and children and build a home with him. Women are more guilty because they like all the romance, presents, calls etc but once they get into the routine of married life they tend to forget. They desire all the romance and romantic text messages but forget that if that's what you want, that's what you give. You can't complain to your husband about him changing and not doing all those sweet things, you have to take the initiative sometimes. Human beings naturally react to each other's behaviour, so if you call to say "I love you", you're more likely to receive a similar call sooner or later.

Brothers, Speak Life into Your Marriage - Anthony Jerrod


Communication is often the underlying reason why many marriages disintegrate. Couples argue and verbally fight and say some of the most emotionally damaging and hurtful words to each other. Instead of engaging in such negative interchange, it would prove far better for those individuals in a one-flesh union to continually speak encouraging and empowering words of life to build each other up. For certain men, this is definitely a challenge and a new territory of conversation. From a biblical perspective, positive exhortation should start with the husband and is not only essential for a healthy marriage but also establishes a great example for children and those individuals in your surroundings. 

In addition to the genuinely-spoken statement, “I Love You,” the following ten statements are not all-inclusive but do represent some of the best that husbands can tell their wives:

1. You are my treasure and I thank God for you. As the Word of God denotes, “A man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” It is essential to express how much you cherish and honor your wife and to constantly remind her that she is virtuous and more precious than rubies.

2. I appreciate all of the things that you have done and are doing for me. The humble articulation of appreciation to one’s spouse is essential to sustaining one’s marriage. Oftentimes, historical and present tasks that are relatively commonplace are taken for granted. To be sure, every act of love should not require the proverbial “pat on the back.” But, continual gratitude helps to establish an atmosphere of love and thanksgiving.

3. I am glad that I married you. Marriage is an evergreen process that requires persistent attention and care. After a certain amount of years, some marriages become stagnant and devoid of intimacy. To help keep the fire within your marriage, it is recommended that you express how glad you are to still be married to your spouse and how you look forward to the future.

5 Tips for Transforming Your Kids into Spiritual Champions - Jim Burns


Just because you are raising your kids in a Christian home doesn’t mean that they’re automatically getting the spiritual training they need. Parents need to be intentional about bringing their children up with Biblical values. They won’t just learn them by accident. We need to step up our efforts in making the spiritual growth of our kids a top priority. Recently, George Barna, noted Christian researcher and author, was a guest on our radio broadcast, HomeWord with Jim Burns, and he provided keen insights, sharing five tips for transforming our kids into spiritual champions.

1. Help Kids Grasp Their Purpose. No one ends up on earth by accident. God places us here for a purpose. That purpose relates to how we fit into God’s kingdom — how we will know, love and serve God in this life, and then become a blessing to everyone with whom we come in contact. The problem is that even though a person’s habits and mindsets are formed at an early age, many parents have no plan for helping their kids discover who God has created them to become, and thus leave this to circumstance and chance. Parents are key to helping kids discover their purpose. This means helping kids establish a Biblical worldview, as well as teaching them about their uniqueness and value as a child of God. It also specifically means reevaluating the definition of success, transforming it from a popular cultural view (good job, good citizen, making money, possessions…) to a Biblical view (commitment, faithfulness, servanthood, sacrifice…).

2. Fan the Flames of Passion. Too often, our kids see little passion in Christians. This generation of kids, mosaics as Barna defines them, don’t want to just spend time on earth during their lifetimes. They want to pour themselves into a cause, to make a difference with their lives. There is nothing more important in life than loving and serving God. So our kids need to see a burning passion for Christian life - loving God and loving their neighbors — embodied in their parents. We have got to give our kids a reason be passionate about their faith.

Learning to Trust Your Spouse God's Way - Brooke Keith

Growing up in a broken home, I've always had trust issues. Unfortunately for my husband, he had always gotten the brunt of them even when they were undeserving. It's been something I've carried around all of my life. If you can relate, you've probably perfected my once set-in-stone mantra -"No one is trustworthy, but God."That's what I had come to accept as truth – truth or not.

I've always been good at withholding trust as a form of protecting myself . . . or at least I thought it was protecting me. But there did come a time when I realized that perhaps withholding trust was hurting much more than simply giving it freely. 

While the devil will always try to pour salt on our most vulnerable wounds, with God's help, we can find true peace with ourselves and our spouses by being willing to do the work and by taking a closer look at the truths in God's Word.

1. "Let them call upon the elders of the church and let them pray . . ."James 5:14

When I first began to ask people to pray for my situation, I felt ashamed. Afterwards, however, I realized that it was just another way that God would use our pain for His glory. As things began to change, I started to see how it had allowed others to witness God's hand in our lives while also unlocking a power that I could not unlock alone.

2. "Love is long suffering."Corinthians 13:1

God did not promise us that love would be easy. There are going to be times when you are unhappy. There are going to be times when your spouse is unhappy. But, God says love is long suffering. This doesn't mean it is always going to be bad or miserable; however, it does mean that love is always going to be willing to suffer through whatever rain comes and patiently await the coming of the sun.

3. "Love believes the best."Corinthians 13:7

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Single and Satisfied

Relationships! While we have been created for them, they can be a bane or a blessing, a joy or a sorrow. They can promote deep satisfaction or drive one into the pit of despair.

Many people, though not all, would agree that being in a loving marital relationship has many benefits. It provides love, meaningful companionship, an understanding partner to talk with every day, someone with whom to share our joys and sorrows, security, and the joys of physical intimacy. Good marriage relationships help keep one contented, and physically and emotionally healthy.

On the other hand, without meaningful relationships we can limp along in the shadows of life eking out a miserable and sometimes lonesome existence. It has been claimed that eighty percent of life’s satisfaction comes from relationships; that is, healthy, loving relationships. Alternatively, many of the stresses and sorrows of life are caused by broken, impaired or unhealthy relationships.

But does one need to be married to experience loving relationships? If so, our society would be in sad shape as a considerable percentage of adults in today’s society are single—either having never married, or are divorced or widowed. And, of course, the high percentage of divorces testifies to the fact that marriage, in and of itself, doesn’t guarantee satisfaction—oft times just the opposite. So the answer to our question is no, one doesn’t have to be married to find fulfillment and happiness. In fact, nobody except me can make me happy. Happiness basically comes from within.

Furthermore, unless we have learned how to live fulfilled, contented and happy lives as singles, we are not likely to find fulfilling relationships or make healthy marriage partners should we decide to marry. Happy, well-adjusted people tend to have happy well-adjusted relationships. Looking to someone else to meet our unmet needs and fill the void caused by unresolved personal issues is a recipe for relational disaster. This is why it is imperative to resolve our own personal problems if we are to find loving, lasting and healthy relationships. Fundamentally, to a varying degree, especially romantically, we are as sick or as healthy as the people we are attracted to.

Happy, well-adjusted people tend to have happy well-adjusted relationships.

If you have either chosen a single life or been thrust into it by circumstances beyond your control, the question is, as a single, "How do you find fulfillment and satisfaction in light of the fact that we have been created for relationships?"

First, make a commitment to continue growing emotionally and spiritually. Be a perpetual learner. Read widely, attend helpful relational classes, seminars and retreats. If needed, don’t hesitate to seek qualified professional counseling. These can help further improve your relationships, and build a healthy positive self-image that, according to Joyce Brothers, “is the best possible preparation for success.” 

Learning To Say “I Am Sorry”

There is no way a man and a woman will live together all their lives without a time of disagreement. It’s just human! In such circumstances, always remember the saying, we disagree to agree. Those who do not understand how marriage works will always think that time of quarrels with their husband is an opportunity to show everyone that they are street fighters, they want to show people they can fight.

If a woman must keep her marriage and scare away intruders, she must be eager to apologize to her husband whenever she does anything wrong. A woman must learn how to say ‘I am sorry’. Your ability to apologize is a proof of your maturity and intelligence. Real women are judged by these abilities.

However, there is a way one say sorry that can really annoy the other person. You can as well get your husband upset when you keep repeating what he dislikes, or by intentionally doing the wrong thing and expecting him to approve of it or overlook it. When you say sorry in such instances, you’re only infuriating your husband the more.

Do Not Provoke Your Husband

Do not show insensitivity to his feelings for any reason, as nobody really enjoys getting angry. Look, when conditions warrant people to get angry, it is the issue that got them angry that they were really angry about and not necessarily the person involved, except in rare cases though. But it can be very painful if someone that got one angry is still trying to insist on having it her own way.

In that way, the wife is only telling the husband that she knows better and does not give a damn whatever the husband thinks or feels. This attitude used to make men really mad.

A woman who knows how to argue can easily provoke her husband and expose her marriage to danger of collapse. Rather, a woman should be mindful, courteous and careful. She must show love to her husband, her children and her colleagues alike.

People who have studied human relations had the following as essential guide for smooth relationship:

The least important word - I

The one most important word – We

The two most important words – Thank you

The three most important words – I am sorry

The four most important words – What is your opinion?

If you can make the above a guide of your attitude with your husband, it will make things quite easy for you in relating with him and with people that are really special to you.

Hope you have learnt some useful nuggets to nurture and lubricate the wheels of your marriage?

talkaboutladies.com

Having a Merry Christmas in Your Marriage - April Motl


It’s wild how the holidays can bring out such intense sides to our personality. Right after we gather around a table with family and friends to thank God for His blessings in our life, we gather to malls and store aisles to wrestle one-another like gladiators for deals. Our displays make the news and from one breath to the next we move from gratitude to greed. The hustle and bustle continues for another six weeks, stretching over Christmas and finally to New Years. Yup. It’s a crazy time of year where, as a culture, we sacrifice to bless another one minute and indulge in almost every imaginable way the next. 

In our marriages, the rush, the expectations, the schedule and the cookie induced sugar buzz can really make for some stressful—potentially explosive—situations. You might feel like your spouse turned magically into Mr. or Mrs. Clause and has a mission to give presents to the entire known world. Or perhaps you feel like your honey turns into the Grinch for Christmas and zaps the joy out of the celebrations. Or perhaps you feel like your wife turns into a real-life version of Frosty the snow-woman and has a melt-down at every holiday impasse. If this is anywhere near your Christmas family “traditions” then take heart; you aren’t alone! All families struggle with the extremes the celebrations bring out of and on us! Here’s a few tips to help you navigate the season:

1. Listen to each other. Whenever frustrations are bubbling near the surface, mentally slow-down and choose to engage in actively listening to one another. More often than not, the most frustrating part of a conflict is not that we see things differently, but that we feel un-heard and misunderstood. If she’s buying too many presents, listen to her heart and find out why. If he’s getting Grinchy, there is a reason. He hasn’t swallowed a magic potion and transported ya’ll to Whoville. Listen to each other and search out each other’s motivations and heart behind the issues. 

Listening might actually help your spouse understand why they are doing certain things. One year at Christmas, I was pretty bent out of shape about a number of things. My sweet man listened to me recount the troubles of the day as I melted Frosty-the-snow-girl style into a puddle of woes. Then at the end of it all I said what was really bothering me—I missed my grandpa! My grandpa had passed away and it was the first Christmas without him. I was trying so hard not to let the grief swallow the happy things that I wasn’t letting myself see how much it was really bothering me. His listening provided a release and healing for me. So, go ahead and listen to your sweetheart!

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19-21 NASB

Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God in all things, at all times

About five years ago my pastor talked about the power of praise and worship. I didn't know it was really that powerful I had nothing to lose so that day I got home after church, nobody was back yet and I praised. I sang so many songs, I danced, I smiled, I got so into it that I cried, I expressed myself so sincerely. I never knew praise could be so powerful.

I also made sure I didn't ask for anything, but at the time I wanted a vacation job. As soon as I finished this praise session, I mean it was almost instant I got a call from someone who offered me a job. You see, I've always been really big on doing meaningful work and this was a small job with an NGO increasing awareness of children living with Cancer. I hadn't even left the living room, I was still wearing my church clothes! I praised God even more.

Praise and thanksgiving - is verbalized faith. If you thank God after something happens, that’s gratitude. If you thank God before it happens, that’s faith. Perhaps your teenager isn't saved, maybe you just lost your job, maybe you have been believing God for something for such a long time and you're about to give up. Praise is life-changing. I could extol "Praise" for ages, but singing "Praise" praises is often easier than singing praises. The less we feel like praising, the more we need its power.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If Marriage is a College Degree, Communication should be a 4 unit course

Let me paint a picture of a very common scenario between couples. A couple is going on a date, an event, a party, or so forth, and the woman is trying on clothes. Of course, she is having what women like to call a “fat day”, when nothing she owns seems to look good on her. She tries on an outfit and asks her boyfriend/ partner/ whatever you want to call him, “Do I look fat in this dress?” or “I just feel really fat in all my clothes”. Here is a typical male response, or at least what he’s thinking, “Why don’t you go on a diet or go to the gym more if you think you’re gaining weight?” 

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is where we have our first major difference in communication! In this scenario, this is NOT what the woman wants to hear. (Well of course she’d want to hear how she doesn't look fat and how she’s perfect and beautiful…but) Women would rather hear empathy, such as “I understand, I felt really fat yesterday.” I’m sure some of you are chuckling, because I don’t think most guys would say that. That sounds like something a one of your girls would say to you? Right?

What Wives Can Do For Husbands Who Have Lost Their Jobs

A “downsized” person having difficulty keeping focused on finding a new job isn’t unusual. It does not mean that he’s lazy, worthless, or uncaring. More likely, it means that he suffers from some level of depression which makes his job seeking more difficult. As Dave Ramsey pointed out the other night as I guested on his TV show on Fox Business Channel, often a man’s identity is tied into with what he does. Therefore, losing a job does more than cause financial difficulty; it also can cause identity crisis and a sense of hopelessness.

If you genuinely wish to help your husband, make his path forward easier rather than more difficult. Not only will that likely help you avoid marital difficulty, it also is the best thing to do to help him find work.

First, gently coax him to find out if he is depressed
. There are several online tests to determine depression. If he is depressed, there are medications that can help in short order. However, you’ll need to reassure him that meds aren’t a sign of weakness, but a gift of God. Without medicines, where would humans be? Antidepressant or anti-anxiety medicine is just as valid as aspirin when your head hurts or antibiotics when you get a sinus infection.

Second, while you shouldn’t encourage his lying around doing nothing, you need to be understanding and encouraging.
A man who lies around – looking a little but not trying hard – probably is questioning his abilities, wondering if he can make the grade, and worrying that he isn’t as good as he thought he was. Guys in that situation often see themselves as failures, inadequate, or helpless. Don’t add to those negative feelings by prodding and nagging. He’ll hear that as further evidence that he’s a failure. Instead, encourage him. Give him space and time. Sincerely and seriously tell him what you see in him that leads you to believe in him. Be careful that it in no way sounds manipulative or insincere. Slowly and mildly build him up by reminding him of who he is, what he is, and what his future can be.
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