Category Archives: covenant keeping

Core Strengths for Marriage (Part Two)

Although every marriage is different, there are four concepts that add immense strength to any marriage.  Last week, we looked at the strengths of honor and attentiveness (HERE). Today, we examine two more of these core strengths.


3. Commitment. Many people think that the most important “C” in marriage is communication. Communication is important, certainly, but I think that commitment is even more essential.

When you and your spouse are committed to one another, you gain a firm platform under your feet that allows you then to work on your communication or any other issue. Being committed to your marriage means that nothing on earth is more important than your relationship. Of course, you want your obedience to God to be your highest commitment, but your obedience to God motivates and strengthens your commitment to your marriage. 

Even after exchanging vows on your wedding day, there are times when it is important to verbalize that commitment. When you and your spouse do not agree on the color of the carpet, it can be helpful to say, “I like the green, but I value you more than the carpet.”  Or when you are dealing with something more serious, it can be very stabilizing to say, “This is tough, but I am absolutely committed to you and to our marriage.” Speaking your commitment out loud reminds you both of what you truly value. (Continue reading HERE.)


Today, I am honored to be guest writing again for my talented friend Kristen Hogrefe. Continue reading HERE to learn the essential strengths for any successful marriage (Part Two). You can read about the first two core strengths in Part One HERE.

Core Strengths for Marriage (Part One)

Every marriage is unique with its own blend of personality styles, family backgrounds, and life circumstances. Even the “secrets to success” can vary from couple to couple.

However, there are four concepts that add immense strength to any marriage. Relationships that build on these four principles will be resilient and healthy. However, couples who fail to establish these qualities in their homes can expect pain and crisis.

Developing these core strengths will make all the difference in your marriage: honor, attentiveness, commitment, and kindness. 

1. Honor. Learn to maintain an inner posture of honor toward your spouse. In your spirit, keep saluting your husband. In your spirit, keep bowing to your wife.

Work on developing this discipline until it becomes your default position. There are no “days off” and no “time out” when it comes to honor. It is the oxygen in your marriage.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10, NLT)

Your spouse is created in the image of God. That was true on your wedding day, and regardless of how long you’ve been married, it is true today. And it will still be true on your most difficult days. Your spouse will always be worthy of honor because of the eternal spirit that God created him or her to be. (Continue reading HERE.)


I am honored to be guest writing today and next week for my talented friend Kristen Hogrefe. Continue reading HERE to learn the four core strengths for any successful marriage (Part One).

Thank You

If you are working to honor your marriage, then please allow me to say this to you:

Thank you!

On behalf of the entire Body of Christ, I thank you. Your faithfulness in marriage is a gift of strength to all of us. If you are honoring your marriage—whether your marriage is struggling or plodding or thriving—then you are blessing all of us.

Each of our marriages has a significance that reaches far beyond just two individuals. As believers in Christ, we are like a mighty army, vitally connected to one another. When one “soldier” is struggling to hold his or her position, the others do not watch from a distance and say, “Sorry about that.” No, we send reinforcements; we fight together.

And when one soldier successfully holds the assigned position, the entire army cheers because it is a shared victory. The army advances together.

Our marriages form critically important spiritual ground. When one marriage struggles, the Body of Christ must respond as a united team, understanding that when one marriage suffers loss at the hand of the enemy, we all suffer loss.

As you honor your marriage, you are doing nothing less than this: you are strengthening the Body of Christ. Honoring your marriage is not an unseen, insignificant gesture. It has immense, even eternal, spiritual force. Every marriage that reflects obedience to God is a place of victory for all of us.

The marriages of Christ-followers are pivotal factors in the Kingdom of God. Evangelism advances on the platform of Christian marriages. We dare not pretend that our marriages are isolated and private. We must recognize that we have a common enemy, one who aggressively seeks to destroy marriages in an effort to damage the Body of Christ.

We must sound the alarm to one another when we need reinforcement and encouragement. We must be willing to fight not only for our own marriages, but also for the marriages of others, for we are, indeed, members of one Body.

When we have friends who are ready to give up on their marriages, let’s pour out encouragement to them to keep their promises made before God; let’s remind them of the immense value of their marriages. When someone walks away from his or her marriage in rebellion against God, let’s be willing to confront with love and to challenge with life-giving truth. There is much at stake.

In the Old Testament, Nehemiah encouraged the people of God to work together and to fight together as they rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem that had been damaged by the enemy. Nehemiah wrote:

Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
(Nehemiah 14:4, NLT)

I want every couple around me to know that I will fight with them for their marriages—fight by encouraging them, by cheering for them, and by kneeling beside them in prayer.

If you are willing to fight with others, let the people around you know that. Remind them that their marriages are worth fighting for, and then join them in that fierce-but-noble fight.

On behalf of the entire Body of Christ, I thank you.


This article first appeared on StartMarriageRight.com.

The Love Chapter (Adapted)

1 Corinthians 13*

If I speak to my spouse using tactful “I feel” messages and skillful conflict-resolution strategies, but I do not love, I am like a clanging cymbal or a car alarm that won’t shut off.

And even if I have an advanced degree in marriage counseling and understand the mysteries of why people do what they do and have all knowledge of psychology, and even though I read a mountain of books on relationships, if I do not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my good efforts to fulfill my duties, and though I burn up every drop of energy in being a great spouse, if I do not love, I gain nothing.

hearts of love

Love is patient even when a spouse does not change. Love is kind even when a spouse is thoughtless. Love does not envy someone else’s marriage. Love is not impressed with its own marriage skills.

Love does not save its best manners for company but instead uses its “fine china” manners with a spouse, treating him or her with honor every day. Love does not insist on getting its own way but works to see things from another’s perspective. Love is not irritable or exasperated. (You cannot get its goat!)

Love keeps no record of wrongs because love does not take offense. Love does not see a spouse’s failures or sins as personal affronts. Love knows that a spouse sins against God and against God alone (Psalm 51:4). Love forgives and refuses victim mentality (Proverbs 12:16, Ephesians 4:32).

Love refuses to think resentful thoughts about a husband or wife; instead, love insists on seeing what is good and giving thanks. Love does not delight in any threat to the relationship, but rejoices in what heals and strengthens the marriage.

couple in love

Love always protects a spouse (his or her ultimate good), always believes that a spouse is priceless and made in the image of God, always trusts the promises of God, and always is confident that God’s grace is deeper than any need. Love never shuts its heart, never forsakes its covenant commitment, and never rejects a spouse.

couple in love

Love never fails. But prophecies that “you should move on with your life” will fail; the tongues that call your spouse “a jerk” will cease; and the knowledge that “you deserve better than this” will vanish away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became married, I had to put away childish things, such as name-calling and pouting and choosing what feels easy.

For now we see through a hazy glass, and there is much that we do not understand about our spouses, about ourselves, or about God’s ways; but then, face to face with God, we will know fully what glorious things He has been doing through our marriages, just as He knows fully how to love us well now.

Scrabble letters spell L-O-V-E

And now faith, hope, and love remain; but the greatest of these is love.

*adapted from various translations of 1 Corinthians 13, including the KJV, AMP, AMPC, NLT, and NIV

What is Your Marriage Legacy?

Forty-seven years of marriage can provide a wealth of knowledge and insight, especially when that marriage has been built on biblical principles. Drawing from that rich experience, Crawford and Karen Loritts have written a new book entitled, Your Marriage Today … And Tomorrow. The book emphasizes creating marriages that are so strong today that they give endurance to marriages tomorrow, in the next generation and beyond.

legacy

Seeing the Big Picture

Your Marriage Today focuses on the underlying principles of a successful marriage. Crawford acknowledges that he is the “big picture” person in his marriage while his wife is better at the details. Although the book is co-authored by both Crawford and Karen, it is written in Crawford’s conversational voice, and the material reflects his “big picture” perspective.legacy

The instruction and insights which the Loritts share are excellent. Their advice is solidly biblical, full of wisdom, and honoring to both husbands and wives. I think readers will be encouraged to see how God has beautifully “knit together” a man and woman from very different backgrounds.

Creating Your Legacy

Crawford and Karen are aware that each marriage leaves a legacy, one that can be painfully destructive or wonderfully life-giving.  The Loritts challenge us to think beyond our present moment of busyness. They caution us to be mindful of the long-term consequences of our marital behavior. Through the choices we make in our marriages, we create a profound impact in the lives of those around us and those who follow us.

How we need this counsel!

In our culture, marriages are trashed and replaced as if they were temporary jobs, subject to our personal whims, instead of high callings that God has placed on our lives. Marriage is God-ordained, designed to be God-reflecting and gospel-illustrating. Before we start working out the details of our marriages, we all need to consider the important legacy we are creating.

Whether our marriages last or not, our legacies will.

When Your Spouse Isn’t Working with You

In this book, the Loritts address the husband and wife who are working together to strengthen their relationship and legacy. But what if your spouse is not working with you? What if your spouse is not helping to create a legacy of blessing?

Don’t be discouraged! You can still give your children (and a watching world) a fantastic legacy.

Even when your marriage isn’t healthy, you can be healthy as a spouse, leaning on God to meet your every need. You can give your children the legacy of a promise-keeping parent. When you honor your vows, you give others hope and even confidence that there is a promise-keeping, trustworthy God.

You give your family a wonderful legacy when you model trusting God despite difficult circumstances. What is more valuable than that?  You can be living proof that God Himself is the Giver of life and joy.

You can teach your children how to handle disappointments by handing those hurts to God and allowing Him to turn ashes into beauty. What a rich legacy that is! Perhaps most importantly, you can demonstrate how to forgive. That priceless gift will bless your children and their children for the rest of their lives.

Feeding Your Marriage

The Loritts paint a broad picture of the forest, but they do not ignore the trees. They do include some practical advice for the day-by-day work of strengthening marriages. For example, they encourage us to “feed” our marriages by “making consistent, heart-nourishing deposits” in the lives of our spouses (58).  They list six specific ways to do that:

  1. Regularly read the Bible as a couple.
  2. Pray together every day.
  3. Lighten each other’s load.
  4. Identify what refreshes your spouse.
  5. Serve together.
  6. Spend regular, uninterrupted time together. … Carve out some time each evening to touch base with each other. Schedule two or three weekends a year to get away as a couple to talk and connect on a deeper level. (59)

That is an excellent list! How many of these habits do you have?

I encourage you to choose one and start practicing it this evening. It will bless you “today … and tomorrow.”

Book Giveaway

Moody Publishers is providing a complimentary copy of Your Marriage Today … And Tomorrow. If you would like to enter the drawing to receive this book, simply leave a comment below by July 23, 2018. I will notify the winner on July 24, and you will receive a paperback copy in the mail.

Blessings to you!
Tami

6 Reasons to Love Your Unrepentant Spouse

When an unfaithful spouse shows sincere repentance, the other spouse may decide to forgive and continue to love. But who would choose to love an unrepentant spouse?

Kim Pullen made that choice. And she's glad she did!

I am pleased to introduce Kim Pullen to you today as a guest blogger on MannaForMarriage. Kim Pullen is an author, speaker, and teacher who advocates for healthy marriages. She helps spouses overcome the devastation of affairs and pornography by focusing on a dynamic, intimate relationship with God. Thriving in a 26-year marriage that was once traumatized by adultery and a four-year separation, Kim shares hope and healing with spouses who feel isolated due to their partner’s sexual sin but don't know how or where to begin their recovery journey.

6 Reasons to Love Your Unrepentant Spouse

If we look to movies or romance novels for a definition of love on which to model our marriage, we’ll quickly find ourselves confused, disappointed, and embittered.

To Hollywood, love is a feeling. But that’s not real love. Real love keeps a couple together when feelings wane and passion ebbs. It keeps them committed when the world crashes in and when their bodies age and fail. Real love satisfies a couple for decades.

That’s because real love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice.

Getting Re-educated on Love

In 2011, I discovered my husband had multiple affairs during our 19-year marriage. I was shell-shocked. “I don’t love you anymore,” he said.

unrepentant

We separated—me to find answers, and my husband to pursue the world. That’s also when God, the author of love, began my re-education. The qualities of real love—truth, humility, patience, perseverance, boundaries, and repentance—became more than religious terms, and God challenged me to back up my commitment with faith and obedience.

After four years of prayer and practical application, my husband and I were reconciled. Our emotional intimacy grows daily and exponentially. It’s a marriage I never could have imagined.

Here are the six reasons why I want to encourage you to choose to love your unrepentant spouse even in the face of addiction and infidelity.

  1. We All Have Core Wounds

Every one of us had some kind of dysfunction in our childhood. Even if your parents were saints, they were still sinners like their parents before them. Where you have dysfunction, you have sin and pain. Where you have pain, you have a need to medicate.

My grandfather taught my father it was weak to show affection, so I grew up starved of the love and approval a daughter so desperately craves from her daddy. For my husband, emotional abandonment in his childhood came in the form of his parents’ ineffectual boundaries. Our parents weren’t “bad people”; they simply had core wounds from their childhood they passed on to us (Exodus 20:5-6).

Whether your spouse is a professing Christian or not, they have core wounds. In all likelihood, they are unconsciously using their sexual sin to medicate themselves from pain just like you may use food, entertainment, shopping, or control to medicate yours.

  1. We’re All Sinners

It’s hard not to think the way the world does about sin, that one crime or violation is worse than another. Our whole court system is based on it. Murder is more criminal than slander. Rape gets more shock and awe than a porn site, and embezzlement stirs up infinitely more rage than shoplifting. It’s all perspective.

But not to God. Romans 8:23 says we’ve all missed the mark or fallen short of God’s standard. Revelations 21:8 puts murder on the same level as unbelief, cowardice, and lying. Yes, there are different consequences and repercussions on this side of heaven, but it only took one of our sins for Jesus to have to go to the cross.

That doesn’t minimize our spouse’s betrayal. That particular pain is excruciating. You may fantasize about pouring coffee on his laptop, flushing his iPhone down the toilet, or even snipping off his man parts—

Uh, but there you go. You sinned according to Matthew 5:22 (anyone who is angry with another is subject to judgment). You have become just as guilty and deserving of punishment for putting Christ on the cross as your unfaithful spouse.

Sure, there’s righteous anger, but most of us aren’t angry with our spouse because they’ve disrespected God (John 2:14-16).

I know it doesn’t seem fair, but how fair was it for Jesus, an innocent man, to die for our sin? I worshiped people’s approval more than God’s, and I tried playing God in my husband’s life because I was terrified of rejection and abandonment. Bottom line: even though I professed undying devotion to God, who is the Lover of my soul, I betrayed Him as much as my husband betrayed me.

unrepentant

  1. We Made a Covenant with God

On my wedding day when I stood at the altar before my family and friends, God was there, too.  I vowed to my husband, my loved ones, and God, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish” for the rest of my earthly life.

Our spouse’s infidelity? That’s the “worse.” Our spouse’s sexual addiction? That’s the “sickness.” My agreement to love and to cherish him didn’t include “as long as he loves and cherishes me back.”

Let’s be clear. We did not make a commitment to let our spouse treat us like a maid, a sex toy, or wall. Setting boundaries is also an act of love. God sets boundaries for us throughout Scripture so that we can stay in relationship with Him (1 John 1:5-10). Calling your spouse to repent and return to their commitment to God and to you is the most loving thing you can do for them.

  1. Love Moves Them Toward Repentance

If your spouse has secret sin, you don’t have to be the one to expose it.

Let me say that again because this thought is hard to wrap our head around: if you’ve furtively tracked your spouse’s whereabouts via GPS, secretly scoured their phones for illicit messages, or privately poured over credit card statements looking for evidence of their betrayal, STOP!

God sees all of our sin and our spouse’s sin as if we’re doing it right in front of Him (Psalm 90:8). He can’t be fooled or mocked (Galatians 6:7-8).

Instead of getting angry or hiding, what would happen if you reacted to your spouse’s sin with God’s love and healthy boundaries? Paul told the Romans they could overcome others’ sin with kindness (Romans 12:17-21). Peter agreed, saying love overcomes sin (1 Peter 4:8).

How in the world can loving my spouse like Jesus lead them toward repentance (Romans 2:4)? Think about your response to Jesus’ love for you. You didn’t deserve his love and kindness, but he gave it anyway (Romans 5:6). And because he did, you repented.

  1. Jesus Set Us an Example

From the cross, Jesus expressed love and compassion for the people who were murdering him (Luke 23:34). It may seem impossible to love like this, but if Jesus did it, so can we. It ain’t easy, but it is possible because love is a choice, not a feeling.

When my husband chose adultery over me, I chose to believe that Jesus could move the mountain of sin off his heart (Matthew 17:20-21).

When it looked like my marriage was dead, I chose to follow Jesus’ example and claim God’s resurrection power to restore it just like Jesus believed his Father could raise him from the dead (Acts 2:24).

That’s because Jesus said if I have faith, nothing is impossible for me (Matthew 17:20). He also said if I stay connected to him through his Word, he’ll do anything I ask (John 15:7). Through the Apostle Paul, he said I could can do anything when I rely on him for my strength (Philippians 4:13).

  1. God Commands It

The last and most important reason I need to love my unrepentant spouse is quite simply because God commands it.

In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, he turned Jewish tongues wagging when he flipped the Law on its head and told them they needed to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors (Matthew 5:44).

Why? Because it’s his hallmark and evidence to a sin-sick world that he’s real, and alive, and loves us desperately (John 13:34-35, 7:23). When we love like this, we are the most like Him (1 John 4:17).

For a girl that grew up desperately craving her daddy’s love and approval, how could I not respond to Him?

What Stops Us

What keeps us from loving our spouses when they aren’t repentant? Pride, fear, and unbelief.

Pride because we’ve forgotten we signed up to be a servant like Jesus (John 13:14-17).

Fear because we’re afraid of being rejected and abandoned (Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20).

And unbelief because we’ve forgotten how powerful our Creator is (Psalm 18).

Oh, and there’s one more: because it’s hard (Hebrews 12:7, 11).

It’s hard to love with firm boundaries and respect. It takes supernatural fortitude to maintain a love that protects the truth and integrity of the commitment we made. It’s a love that sees not who we or who our spouses are, but who we can be.

Such a love is unstoppable (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

If you identify with Kim's story, please visit her website at HopeForSpouses.com, or her Facebook page (HopeForSpouses). You can also contact Kim at kim@hopeforspouses.com. 

Thank you, Kim!

Disclaimer from Kim: Please note that we are speaking to a difficult marriage here, not a dangerous one. If you are in an environment that is not safe, we encourage you to seek help.

Does Marriage Make You Happy or Holy?

You may have heard the question before:

Did God design marriage to make us happy or to make us holy?

holy

My answer would be, “Yes, He did!”

Let me explain.

We tend to think of holiness as something that has to do with being good, staying in line, and doing the right things. But when we understand principles of covenant, we realize that “keeping all the rules” is an inadequate description of holiness.

Holiness is the essence of a fully honored relationship. Holiness is a covenant term which describes both the complete, undefiled union of marriage, as well as the complete, undefiled union of the Godhead.

AS GOD DESIGNED IT, MARRIAGE IS HOLINESS.

In Hebrew, the word traditionally used for marriage derives from the word for holiness.

Many Christians understand that holiness means being “set apart,” and they think about being set apart from sinful behaviors. But that is like saying that marriage is about giving up old romantic friendships. “No more girlfriends or boyfriends” is a starting point, but it is not the main point.

Holiness is being “set apart from” in order to be “set apart FOR.”

God took the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, yes; but the goal was to get them into the Promised Land. Holiness is about far more than what we don’t have in our lives; it is also about what we do have in our lives. In marriage, we set ourselves apart from old boyfriends or girlfriends so that we can be set apart for our spouses.

Holiness means cutting out what does not belong in a relationship so that we can be devoted to what does belong.

Holiness is the “belonging” that is created within a covenant relationship. In the covenant of marriage, holiness is a man committing himself to belong to a woman as her husband, and it is a woman committing herself to belong to a man as his wife. The marital relationship belongs to them.

When everything that belongs within the marriage is present in the marriage, and when nothing that does not belong is not present, then there is holiness in that marriage. And sheltered within that holiness is a core of pleasure, as covenant partners delight in one another.

(Click HERE to continue reading.)

Join the prayer call today!

Be sure to join us TODAY (Thursday, August 25) as I will be interviewing Jennifer Strickland on our weekly prayer call. Jennifer is the author of several books, including More Beautiful Than You Know, Beautiful Lies, Girl Perfect, and most recently, 21 Myths …. About Sex. (You can read more about that book HERE.)


During the 15-minute call, I will be asking Jennifer these questions:

  • How does body image affect marriage? What are the truths that we need in order to shape our thoughts in this area correctly?
  • What suggestions do you have for someone dealing with a spouse’s porn addiction?

Then Jennifer will lead us in praying for our marriages. Join us! We “fight on our knees” for marriages and families every Thursday at 12:30 (Eastern time).  You can join by phone or online. Here’s how:

Simply click HERE to join us online,
or call 1-323-920-0091 to join us by phone.
When prompted, enter the access code 022 5211#.

Callers are in “listen-only” mode, so don’t worry about the background noise around you. All the information can also be found HERE.

If you aren’t able to join the call live, you can always view any of the recordings HERE.

Praying with you and for you,
Tami

10 Daily Vows for Lifelong Marriages

VowsPerhaps you wore a gorgeous gown or a dashing tux when you stood before God and spoke your vows. You chose someone—out of all the people on the face of the earth—to be “the one” for you. You made noble promises on a glorious day.

And then you began the daily business of marriage. You packed the gown or returned the tux, and you filed away the vows with special-day memories.

But you probably want the same thing that I want: day-by-day efforts that grow into a decade-by-decade success. If we want our daily decisions to create lifetime legacies, then this is what we must do: every day, we must choose our spouses again. Every day—maybe even every hour—we must choose again.

Every day, we choose to be committed to our covenant partners. Every day, we choose to make them our top priorities. Every day, we choose our spouses—out of all the people on the face of the earth—to be “the one” for us.

Every day, we can make five “I will not” commitments to our spouses:   (Click HERE to continue reading this article.)

Let us keep our marriage vows, which are really promises to God. Let us break our covenant promises the day that God breaks His covenant promises to us.

On Pentecost this weekend, don’t forget to celebrate the Spirit, the One who empowers us to keep our promises.

Blessings to you,
Tami

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Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Twelve Days of Christmas Blessing

You made your list. Now check it twice: have you included a gift for your marriage?

I like the idea of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas with my true love. But have you priced a partridge in a pear tree lately? That unique-but-classic gift will cost over $200 this year. And while ten lords-a-leaping would be amusing, the $5,500 credit-card bill would not be.

ID-100222988

I am looking for something more priceless than pricey. Something more like this: “Twelve Days of Blessing for Your Marriage.”  (Click HERE to read more.)

 

 

 

Image courtesy of zole4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

She Had Every Reason to Leave

Vicki Rose had every earthly reason to leave her broken marriage.

But she discovered that she had an even greater reason to stay.

Vicki explains this in her new book, entitled,EveryReasontoLeaveCover
Every Reason to Leave: And Why We Chose to Stay Together,
published by Moody. Vicki shares not only the reason to stay that trumped all else, but she also shares the important steps to take that enable husbands and wives to stay and that allow marriages to mend.

Although the book is easy to read, it is packed with powerful truth. Vicki simply tells the story of her life, but because she has allowed God to be the Author, it is an incredible story of reconciliation and transformation, the kind that only God can perform. The restoration of the Roses’ marriage showcases the healing power of God.  The changes that God sculpted in the lives of Vicki and her husband are so profound and dramatic that they offer strong hope to readers who are struggling with their own reasons to leave.

This book depicts for us, first, the emptiness and dark futility of lives and marriages existing apart from God. But then we witness the abundance and rich fulfillment that is found through a wholehearted pursuit of God.

Vicki’s central premise is that the key to joy in life and to success in marriage is to “seek first the kingdom of God.” This book is full of Scripture, which is the only unfailing source of the guidance, strength, and comfort that we need.

My heart resonates with Vicki’s when she says that she wants to encourage others to “seek God for restoration and victory,” whether they are married, separated, or even divorced. Vicki says to her readers, “I want to cheer you on to prevent the regret that comes from walking away from something God can heal.”  Count me in on that cheering, too!

Cheering for you in your marriage,
Tami

(The giveaway contest for this book has concluded. Thank you to everyone who participated.)

Marriage according to the Master

summer-fun-on-the-lake-1-834491-mLooking for God’s direction concerning
your marriage? Here is some clear instruction from 1 Corinthians 7—along with some encouragement and challenge, too:

Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other….

[I]f you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command…. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife.

… If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. …

bike-friends-1008533-m[I]f the unbelieving spouse walks out, [God calls us to handle this] as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life.

“Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”

23 Online Resources for Conquering Addictions

click-223338-mDid you know that the use of pornography increases marital infidelity by 300%?
Did you know that most divorces involve an addiction to pornography?*
Did you know that God is able  to break any addiction and to heal any marriage?

Today I am sharing with you some online resources (with links attached) that are available for those struggling with addiction. Many of these offer help to those struggling with either sexual or chemical addictions and to their spouses:

Beggar’s Daughter (“Communicating God’s grace to … women trapped in sexual sin”)

Bethesda Workshops

Biblical Counseling Coalition

Celebrate Recovery

Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

Covenant Eyes       This site offers a number of free ebooks,  including the following:

  • “The Porn Circuit: Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days”
  • “Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives”
  • “Hope after Porn” (encouragement for wives)

Faithful and True Ministries

Fight the New Drug (a secular group)

Focus on the Family

Free in Christ

Freed by Truth (includes secular resources)

Hope for the Heart

Genesis Counseling (Joe Dallas’s ministry)

Just 1 Click Away

L.I.F.E. Recovery

Mind Armor

New Life Ministries

Pure Hope

Pure Intimacy

Pure Life Ministries

Purity Online

WifeBoat (provides online support groups for wives)

XXX Church

Click HERE for an informative poster about pornography addiction from “Fight the New Drug.”

 

*statistics from www.Just 1 Click Away.com

Mighty Men in Marriage

Big boys are everywhere, but where are the men?

Where are the men who stand taller than passivity? Where are the men who are mighty in marriage?

There are such men. There are real men who have the strength to shoulder responsibility, the nobility to keep promises, and the character to carry leadership. Husbands of such greatness are men who “cleave” to their wives. With a commitment to “stick like glue,” these men CLEAVE:

Cover.  The Scriptures teach that a man is to “cover” his wife. He covers her like a roof when he shelters her, and he covers her like an umbrella in the rain when he protects her. He covers her like a blanket on a cold night when he warms her with tenderness and comforts her with care. With his strength and his devotion, a husband “covers” his wife’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

We see this imagery in the Old Testament when Ruth says to Boaz, “Spread the corner of your covering over me” (Ruth 3:9, NLT). In this reference to Boaz’s cloak, Ruth is actually asking for the protective covering that a husband provides through marriage.

(God tells husbands specifically not to “cover” their wives with violence. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce  . . .  and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence” (Malachi 2:16, Amplified).

Lay down. Following the example of Christ Himself, a husband lays down his life for his covenant partner (Ephesians 5:25; 1 John 3:16). He lays down his singleness, his selfishness, and his self-focus.

Encourage radiance. The goal of a husband’s ministry to his wife is to encourage her radiance.  Just as Christ works for the radiance of His Bride, so a godly man nurtures the emotional health and spiritual thriving of his wife.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases it this way: When Christ speaks to His bride, His words “evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already ‘one’ in marriage.” (Ephesians 5:25-28, MSG)

Her radiance becomes his joy–it’s a win/win situation!

Always love. Husbands are called to love their wives with agape love, which is an unconditional commitment to give to another. The apostle Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them” (Colossians 3:19, Amplified).

Value.  The Scriptures direct men to respect their wives as equals before God:
“[Y]ou husbands must give honor to your wives. … [Your wife] is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, NLT)

A successful man values the God-designed strengths and abilities of his wife, as well as her innate worth as an immortal spirit created in the image of God. “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord”      (Proverbs 18:22, NLT).

Enjoy!  “Relish life with the spouse you love,” said wise King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 9:9, MSG).  Any husband is wise, too, who determines to enjoy the unique gifting and beauty of his covenant partner.

The man who CLEAVEs is a mighty man, indeed! To CLEAVE is to move toward unusual greatness and remarkable success, for the calling of a godly husband is nothing less than to reveal the character of God Himself.

 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, KJV).