Category Archives: marriage

25 Questions about Sex (and 25 Great Answers!)

Hot-off-the-presses of Moody Publishers is this new book by Dr. Juli Slattery:

25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask about Love, Sex, and Intimacy.

25 Questions

If Juli’s name is familiar to you, you may recall that Dr. Slattery was Dr. Dobson’s cohost on Focus on the Family from 2010-2012. A clinical psychologist, Juli has been married for almost 20 years, and she is the mother of three boys.

25 Questions

25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask is easy to read and well organized. Each chapter in this paperback book is fairly short. (The longest is only nine pages.) Written in a stand-alone style, the chapters may be read in any order. The material is very practical and certainly relevant to many. Although the book addresses women, much of the discussion would be just as applicable to men.

Do I recommend this book?

Absolutely.

I recommend 25 Questions because Juli’s counsel is solidly grounded in Scripture. We may ask the 25 questions with fear, but Juli answers them with grace and insight.

Juli treads a couple “gray areas” more tentatively than I would. Once or twice, she uses a broader brush than I would have chosen, but I agree with her conclusions. Her advice is godly, springing not only from personal experience and extensive counseling, but especially from the wisdom of Scripture.

Here are some of the questions that we’re afraid to ask:

  1. What’s the big deal about sex?
  2. Who are you to judge my sexual choices?
  3. Can I be single and sexual?
  4. Is it wrong to like sex?
  5. And I waited for this?
  6. Why do guys care so much about sex?
  7. Is ____ okay in the bedroom? (You fill in the blank!)
  8. What do my temptations say about me?
  9. How do I get past my shame?
  10. How do I know he is the one?
  11. How far is too far?
  12. Is living together a good test run for marriage?
  13. What if I’m attracted to someone else?
  14. How can I compete with porn?
  15. Can I be godly and gay?
  16. How do I rebuild trust after a betrayal?
  17. Does forgiveness mean I’ll be hurt again?
  18. What if I don’t like sex?
  19. How do I make time to make love?
  20. How do we fight without hurting each other?
  21. Why wouldn’t God want me to be happy?

Over the next couple weeks, I will be sharing a few “choice nuggets” from 25 Questions and summarizing several of Juli’s responses.

Blessings to you!
Tami

“War Room”

I saw War Room last night.

war room

This new movie has a fantastic message:

PRAY FOR YOUR MARRIAGE!

The right way to fight in marriage is by fighting on our knees through prayer. We want to fight for our spouses, not against them. We must ask God to fight the real enemy, the spiritual forces of darkness.

Elizabeth, the praying wife in War Room, reads these amazing words in James 4:7:

Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (NIV).

As she ponders that incredible promise, Elisabeth sets a beautiful example of submitting herself to God in prayer. She then proceeds to resist Satan by shouting at him, which I am not ready to endorse as the best means of resisting Satan. Although she says that now she is going to let God do the fighting for her, Elisabeth actually tries to do a little direct fighting herself. The Warrior Wife tells Satan, “Go back to hell, where you belong!” It seems to me that that directive should come from Christ. I prefer to follow the example of Michael, the powerful archangel. In a dispute with Satan, Michael “did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!'” (Jude 1:9, HCSB).

I am not wanting to be critical. I just want to add this surprising and encouraging truth:

Our submission to God IS resistance to the devil.

Pushing into God is pushing back against the enemy. We sometimes spend a lot of time and energy trying to hold the door closed against Satan. We might forget that our victory comes from something else: it comes from yielding entirely to the Spirit, allowing His Presence and Power to fill us so completely that nothing else can intrude. In other words, instead of trying to hold the door shut against the enemy, I can lay myself down in openness to the Spirit.

I encourage you to see War Room.

I am delighted to see a movie playing in the theatres that honors God, that seeks to strengthen marriages, and that promotes Scripture-based, persistent prayer.

war room

Most of all, I encourage you to pray!

Let’s pray for our own hearts. Let’s pray for our marriages and families. Let’s pray for the people that God has placed in our lives.

And let’s pray the Scriptures. In doing so, our will becomes one with God’s will, and through that unity, power is unleashed, miracles are birthed, and ashes are turned into beauty.

I also invite you to join our ongoing “war room” every Thursday (at 12:30, Eastern time). For 15 minutes, we “fight on our knees” for our marriages and families. Join online or by phone.

Battle on!

Ready for a Challenge?

Here’s one that will strengthen your marriage:  a 30-day prayer challenge.

prayer challenge

During the month of September, FamilyLife is offering a “Oneness Prayer Challenge.” For 30 days, FamilyLife will text or email to you a short devotional and prayer that you and your spouse can share together.

One of the most powerful things you can do for your marriage is to pray with your spouse. One study found that praying together reduces the rate of divorce to less than 1 in 1,000. Wow!

Praying together seems like a simple thing to do, doesn’t it? Well, it may be simple in concept, but it can be difficult to implement!

If you have not yet established a praying-together habit with your spouse, the Oneness Challenge will be a great help in getting started with that. After 30 days, you will have created a habit that will bless your marriage for a lifetime!

Praying together does not have to take a lot of time. Start with just 2 or 3 minutes.

And praying together does not have to be intimidating. You might begin by simply holding hands and praying together silently. When you are comfortable with that, try reading a short prayer aloud. Progress from there.

If you and your spouse already pray together,  the daily devotionals in the Oneness Challenge will encourage you, and the prayers will add a fresh richness to your own.

If your spouse is not willing to pray with you, you can still benefit from using the Oneness Challenge as you pray for your marriage.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
James 5:16, NLT

You can sign-up here to receive the 30-day Oneness Challenge by email or text:  Prayer Challenge.

Praying with you!

 

Top 10 Tips for Marriage [with graphic]

What are your best marriage tips?

I recently listed my top 10 tips for marriage here: 10 Simple-but-Powerful Ways to Build Your Marriage.

The article explains each tip, but this chart gives a summary of the ten points:

top 10 tips for marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would you add to that list? I would be interested to hear your suggestions.

Blessings to you,
Tami

The Best Foundation for Marriage

MIMZ4PUM2FWhat creates the strongest base for an enduring, successful marriage?

We try to build our marriages on all kinds of things: on romance, on pleasure, on personal fulfillment, on financial gain, … but our success rate is not very good.

The best foundation is actually so solid that it has two layers: 1) a reliance upon Christ to meet our needs, and
2) a commitment to serve our spouse.

Click to read more: “The Double-Layered Foundation for Marriage.”

Blessings to you,
Tami

MannaforMarriage_final

 

The Glory of Femininity

What is true femininity? How can it strengthen our marriages?

Recently, I offered my salute to masculinity. Today I would like to honor femininity.

Every woman has a great strength to bring to her marriage: the “superpower” of femininity. femininityBy femininity, I do not mean pink, ruffles, or lace.

It is the great strength of femininity to offer warm welcome and deep acceptance.

{Click HERE to read more.}

As women embrace godly femininity, they regain not only a forgotten strength but also a God-revealing glory.

Blessings to you,
Tami
MannaforMarriage_final

#LoveWins ?

The President got a bit emotional this morning over the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize homosexual unions.

I did, too.

In fact, I cried. I am absolutely brokenhearted that this nation would willingly deprive children of a mother or a father—not only deprive the children, but tell them that it is no loss.#LoveWins

Many are celebrating today that #LoveWins. But who wins when a child is willfully deprived of a mother or a father? This is only loss, and it is loss for everyone. This is something to be grieved.

#LoveWins

“What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20, NLT).

With respect and compassion, I say that so-called “gay marriage” is neither gay nor marriage. It has no threads of dignity or health; it has no fabric of life; it has no cloth to cover shame. It is no garment of glory.

There are cheering crowds, yes. There is much applause, yes.

But the emperor has no clothes on.

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Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forget Your Marriage!

Forget your marriage.

Forget working on your checklist for the ideal marriage.

focus in marriage

Instead, focus on your spouse.

Trying to achieve a certain kind of marriage can make us crazy.  It can be very discouraging. But a lot of that hard work is misdirected energy. We are actually off-target when we focus on the marriage itself.

We have been called to love someone, not to create a particular kind of marriage. We do not take our marriages with us to heaven. We take people with us to heaven.

Focus on loving your spouse, serving according to his or her needs as God directs. As a result, your marriage will be blessed. But turning your eyes away from your spouse to focus on the marriage itself will bring frustration and disappointment.

We thrive when we stop trying to manipulate our marriages, and instead focus on valuing our spouses. They are the real treasures. Your husband is the real treasure. Your wife is the real treasure.

focus in marriage

Forget your marriage. Instead, focus on your ministry as a spouse.

When we stand before God, we will not be evaluated by the type of marriages we had. We will be accountable, however, for the way we ministered as wives or as husbands.

We torment ourselves with continually measuring our marriages against our version of the perfect marriage. We can live free from that! Instead of evaluating our marriages, we want to evaluate ourselves as wives or husbands. Let’s pray for insight into the needs of our covenant partners, and then let’s ask God to enable us to minister to those needs according to His wisdom and purposes.

     FORGET THIS:                                  FOCUS ON THIS:

  • grumbling                                                                  *gratitude
  • changing your spouse                                          *accepting your spouse
  • evaluating your marriage                                    *evaluating yourself as a spouse
  • controlling your spouse                                       *serving your spouse
  • judging, which is claiming to know                 *examining the motives of your heart
    the motives of someone else’s heart
  • pursuing your own agenda                                 *pursuing Christ, the One who fully                                                                                                         satisfies your deepest longings

 

(This material is adapted from Radiance: Secrets to Thriving in Marriage.)

Blessings to you,
Tami

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Images courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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You can find “Forget Your Marriage!” and other helpful articles on marriage at the link-up here:
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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

 

 

A Gift to Celebrate

There is a birthday coming up soon that you will not want to miss!

Did you know that “the birthday of the Church” is on May 24 this year? You may know the day better as “Pentecost” or as “the Feast of Weeks.” There are many things that I love about this holy-day, but if I had to pare it down to just one essential, I would say this:

Pentecost is a special day to thank God for the precious, powerful gift of His Spirit to every believer.

On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came to God’s people like a mighty rushing wind. (See Acts 2.) The Spirit is not only God with us, but He is God within us! As we yield to God, His Spirit fills us just as the the beautiful glory of God filled the Old Testament tabernacle.

It is the weaving of the Spirit that allows us to abide in Christ as He abides in us. The Spirit guides us, challenges us, and comforts us. What a wonderful Gift to celebrate!

Like Pentecost, our marriages also have one essential:
the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is the Mighty Rushing Wind in our marriages, too! It is through the Spirit that the glory of God fills our marriages. It is the Spirit who knits together one man and one woman within the one-flesh covenant. It is the Spirit who guides us to serve our spouses. It is the Breath of God who challenges us to love well and who comforts us in the painful places of our marriages.

The Spirit is the One who gives us power—the power to forgive, to honor, and to cherish (Acts 1:8). He gives us the ability to speak in other languages: He enables us to communicate love and respect in ways that our spouses can “hear” and receive (Acts 2:4). As God pours out His Spirit, there will be signs and wonders in our marriages (Acts 2:18, 19). There will be miracles of forgiveness, endurance, humility, and kindness.

It is the Spirit who oils our relationships with harmony. He is the Friend who longs to encourage the lover and his beloved, not only in the “Song of Songs,” but in every marriage.

Even if your spouse is not obedient to God, the Holy Spirit is able to pour redemption and goodness into your marriage through your yielded spirit.

What a wonderful Gift to celebrate!

LORD, I do thank You for the priceless gift of Your Spirit. How awesome that You would choose to live with me and even within me! I yield to Your rule in my marriage. Even if my spouse does not join me, I choose to yield to You. Fill my mind with Your thoughts; give me eyes to see what You see; and fill my heart with Your desires. Fill me with Your Presence so that Your glory radiates into my marriage. Amen.

A joyful celebration to you!
Tami

If you would like to learn more about Pentecost, I have written much more about it HERE and HERE.

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Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

National Day of Prayer 2015

This Thursday, May 7, will be the 64th National Day of Prayer.  You can be part of this important movement as we pray together for our country.

National Day of Prayer 2015

The National Day of Prayer website offers a number of prayer resources. I am attaching two of those resources here because they are helpful in knowing how to pray specifically for our country’s leaders:
*a bookmark which lists 130 top U.S. officials by name (click HERE), and
*a prayer guide which lists 30 ways to pray for those who are in authority (click HERE).

We certainly want to be praying for the Supreme Court justices as they prepare to rule on Obergefell v. Hodges. Their decision will have a significant impact on marriages and families in this country.

The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer is 1 Kings 8:28:
Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

And here is this year’s song:

As always, you are invited to join us this Thursday for our weekly prayer call.  We “fight on our knees” for our marriages at 12:30 (Eastern) for fifteen minutes. To join us online, click HERE on Thursday; or to join us by phone,  call 1-323-920-0091. When prompted, enter the access code 022 5211#. (Callers are in “listen-only” mode.)

How are you praying for our country?

Praying with you,
Tami

 

Masculinity: A Salute to Men

How does an adult male become a masculine man?

masculinity

As a culture, we do not talk much about masculinity, and our little boys are becoming big boys instead of men.  We are seeing more passive males and fewer masculine men.

indian-1158803_640

Why is masculinity important?

In the beginning, “God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself. He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27, ERV). Our human design as male or as female reflects something very important about God. We know that God is neither male nor female. However, He has attributes of both masculinity and femininity.

While being male or being female are components of biology, masculinity and femininity are components of relationship. The triune God encompasses full and rich relationship within the Godhead. When males live as masculine men, and when females live as feminine women, they are able to reveal more fully the glory of God. When we blur the distinctions of masculinity and femininity, we are blurring a critical piece of our knowledge of God. In the process, we also fail to know ourselves, for we have been made in His image.

In a culture which understands only the biological distinctions of male and female, people often act like animals, which are male or female but not masculine or feminine. When we reduce ourselves from “bearers of the divine image” to mere animals, we miss the glory and significance for which we were created. We also lose critically important tools for building strong relationships in our marriages.

Alone in the Garden of Eden before God created Eve, Adam was a male human being. But in relationship with his wife, Adam could be masculine. Understanding the unique strengths of both masculinity and femininity gives us an immense advantage in our marriages: not only do we gain insight into our spouses, but we also gain valuable instruction on how we can best contribute to these relationships.

While being male and female allows for physical interaction, being masculine and feminine allows for souls to be knit together.

What is the masculinity of God?

We see this type of masculinity being fleshed out through the Lover in the Song of the Songs, and we read God’s directives for masculinity in several power-packed verses in Ephesians 5. From these and other Scriptures, we learn two primary characteristics of God-revealing masculinity:

1. A masculine husband is a man of responsibility. The apostle Paul wrote that the husband is “the head” of his wife. This means that the man is to carry the weight of responsibility. God has charged the husband with nothing less than the well-being of his wife. It is the calling of a masculine man to cherish his wife, esteem her, protect her, provide for her, and love her with unconditional, tender love.

planting-865294_640Following the example of Christ the Bridegroom, a masculine husband makes it his goal to nurture his wife’s health and thriving, both outwardly and inwardly. This man does not shirk his responsibility; he stands tall to carry it well. As he shoulders the weight of this responsibility, a masculine husband gains the spiritual weight of significance and develops the strength of success.

2. A masculine husband is a man of action rather than a male of passivity. After accepting responsibility for the well-being of his wife, what does a husband do? With energy and with initiative, he acts on behalf of his wife. He moves toward his beloved to know her and to serve her. He works for her good, taking action even to the point of self-sacrifice. He lays down his self-centeredness, his self-directed interests, his self-focused energy, his self-directed time, and his own self-guided preferences. He knows that loving his wife well is the best thing that he can do for himself. When his bride is radiant, the masculine man wins. (They both win, don’t they?)

God’s loving of us first, His moving toward us to love us, His self-sacrificing action to rescue us, His ongoing pursuit of us—all of these are part of the masculine glory of God. Certainly, there are many times when women can, and even should, act in these ways, too. But God has a unique calling on the lives of husbands to be responsible for their wives’ well-being and to take energetic, loving action. Husbands who specialize in these things are wise.

How can a wife encourage her husband’s masculinity?

With the best of intentions, many women choose the worst of tactics: pushing, controlling, or leading. Not only do these approaches fail to stir up masculinity, but they can actually backfire, making matters worse. Pushing a husband tends to evoke his withdrawal or his anger—two things a wife does not want. When a wife tries to control or to lead, the husband will often become passive.

The best way to encourage masculinity is through femininity, which is the warm welcoming of a husband’s spirit. Femininity is the deep acceptance of a husband as a man of great value. (Certainly, femininity is not the welcoming of ungodly behavior, nor is it an acceptance of abuse.) A feminine woman supports and cooperates with the responsibility of her husband, and she welcomes his proactive movement to serve.

How does our culture affect masculinity?

Our culture works relentlessly to suppress masculinity. Though it may seem ironic to some, pornography is a vicious emasculator. The pornographic industry recognizes maleness, but it eviscerates masculinity. Pornography deforms a male into profound passivity; instead of moving toward his wife to give for her benefit, the husband demands movement toward himself for his own consumption. Instead of bearing responsibility, he denies it, trading away the masculine glory of God.

King David, who was a man after God’s own heart, spoke these final words of counsel to his son Solomon: “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires …” (1 Kings 2:1, NIV).

The Spirit of God is continuing to raise up such men––men of spiritual strength, action, and responsibility.

I salute these mighty, masculine men of God.

The Strength of Joy for Your Marriage

Here is an amazing verse:

      Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.   (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV)

That is not only a command and a statement, but it is also a promise!

God is full of love, and He is also full of joy. Not only is He the greatest Lover, but He is also the most joyful Person in the universe. His love and His joy are woven together.

joy

We tend to think that if we have joy, then we can love others. But I think it really works the other way around: if we love, then we can have joy. When we give to others, we gain joy.

The exhaling of love allows the inhaling of joy.

But there is more! I think there is something else involved in this giving and this joy—something that is very important but often overlooked:

Covenantal love is a decision to enjoy another person.

While godly love is a commitment to give, it is also a commitment to enjoy.  Part of loving our spouses well is enjoying them–enjoying who they are. God does that for us, and we can do that for others. God delights in us, and we can choose to delight in others.

So I guess we can say that this, too, is a giving because we are giving the gift of enjoying. When someone enjoys who you are, isn’t that like a gift to you?

joyVery often, our joy in marriage is lacking because our commitment to enjoying our spouses is lacking. We think that enjoyment should simply come to us. It’s great when that happens, but sometimes we must make the decision—the determination even—to enjoy someone. After we take the challenge to enjoy, we can pray for eyes to see past faults and past behaviors to the core treasure of someone. We can pray to see more of what God sees and more of what God delights in.

Enjoying our spouse is part of our love. That is part of what we give. And when we give the way God does, then we have the joy that God has. Then we have the joy of the Lord as our  strength.

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Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The Parity Principle

How would you take these two Scriptures concerning marriage and put them together in one illustration?

“You husbands must give honor to your wives.” 1 Peter 3:7, NLT
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22, ESV

Author and pastor James Ford puts these two directives together in an unusual word-picture that he calls the “Parity Principle.” Here is how it works:

Parody PrincipleThe husband is to put his wife “on a pedestal,” so to speak. Just as a man might put a treasured heirloom on a pedestal of honor, so the husband is to esteem his wife and attach high value to her. When the wife is on a pedestal, the couple is not face-to-face.

However, …

The wife is “to bow,” so to speak,  to her husband. When the woman on the pedestal bows  in respect to the man who raised her to a place of honor,  the couple is now face-to-face in healthy relationship.

What do you think of that picture?

 

Celebrating Easter in Your Marriage, part 2

Last week, I shared with you several themes from the Holy Week of Christ that we can apply to our marriages. We looked at Palm Sunday through Wednesday last time, so today we will consider Thursday through Easter Sunday.  May this be a Holy Week in each of our homes.

Thursday: themes of servanthood and covenant vows

Easter: 011-jesus-washes-feetAt the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. This was an act of humility and of service. Afterwards, He explained that He had come to serve and that true greatness belongs to the greatest servants.

A little later, He offered the disciples a Passover cup and said, “Drink from it …. It is My blood of the covenant.” This action reflected a tradition from the Hebrew betrothal ceremony. When proposing marriage, a man would pour a cup of wine and then offer it to the woman whom he hoped to marry. If she accepted the cup and drank from it, she was agreeing to become the man’s covenant partner.

Easter: 009-last-supperEvery time we drink from the communion cups at our churches, we are doing much more than remembering that Christ died for us; we are actually renewing our covenant commitment to Him. We are agreeing to share His cup, to share His suffering, to share His life with Him. No wonder the apostle Paul tells us that we should not take communion carelessly! It is a renewal of our covenant vows to belong entirely to Christ.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for pouring out lavish love to me. Thank You, Almighty Creator and Ruler of the Universe, for humbling Yourself to wear human flesh and to suffer unimaginable agony so that I could enjoy a personal relationship with You. Thank You for serving me and for being my Covenant Partner.

LORD, I want Your ways of humility, service, and commitment to fill my marriage. Pour out Your Spirit into my marriage through me. Help me to put more importance, significance, and attention on my spouse than on myself (Philippians 2:3).

Help me to be willing to suffer, as Your wisdom directs, for the sake of my spouse, my covenant partner. Make me alert and sensitive to the needs that You are calling me to serve. Before You, I renew my commitment to my spouse.

Action: This Easter, how is God asking me to serve my covenant partner? Where do I need to take off pride and put on humility (just as Christ took off His outer garment and put on a towel)? How can I renew my vows to my spouse—that is, how can I express my renewed commitment to him or her?

Friday: theme of destroyed barriers Easter: 013-jesus-dies

Friday was the day that Christ was crucified at the Place of the Skull. There are many things that we can learn from that day, but what I would like to highlight now is something that happened in the Temple when Christ died.

An incredible thing happened: the thick veil that had hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn in two, from top to bottom. This symbolized God’s move to destroy the spiritual barrier that had separated sinful people from Himself. Although we had been the ones to wrong Him, He took the initiative to reconcile. At great cost to Himself, through His own broken body, God opened a path for restored relationship.

When God broke the barrier, this explosively powerful action in the spiritual realm was again reflected in the physical realm: “The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” (Matthew 27:51-52, NIV)

Prayer: LORD, thank You for tearing the veil so that I could experience a covenant relationship with You. Thank You for being willing to tear Your own flesh so that I could know healing and wholeness.

Please destroy the barriers, whether small or great, between my spouse and myself. Please bring healing and wholeness to my marriage. Help me to be willing to take action, even at cost to my own comfort or preferences, as You direct me by Your Spirit.

Action: This Easter, how can I “tear a veil”—that is, how can I take action to destroy a barrier in my marriage?

Saturday: theme of trusting when we don’t understand

Easter: 017-jesus-diesOn Saturday, the heartbroken disciples must have struggled with fear, guilt, huge disappointment, and probably even despair. They had expected Jesus to conquer the Romans and to provide political salvation to the Jewish people, and they had expected to be key players in that exhilarating action. Instead, Jesus had been crucified by the Romans, and the disciples had played the part of fleeing cowards.

However, God was conquering in greater ways than they had imagined! God was preparing a glory for each Christ-follower that was far beyond their grandest hopes. Despite the horrors of the physical realm, God’s plan was right on course in the spiritual realm. What appeared to be utter defeat in the physical and temporal realm was actually a more-than-conquering victory in the spiritual and eternal realm.

Prayer: LORD, thank You for Your marvelous plans for goodness and glory and intimacy and health and joy. Thank You for being a trustworthy God. I praise You for Your power to orchestrate every detail, seen or unseen. Thank You for keeping every precious promise. Thank You for being far more generous to me than I can even imagine. Thank You for redeeming the works of the darkness.

Help me to trust Your unseen work in my marriage, as I yield to You. Help me not to lean on my own understanding, but to lean on Your promises. Reassure my fearful heart that, even though Saturday is dark today, the glorious Light of Sunday is preparing to spring forth.

Action: As I think about my marriage this Easter, am I trusting my physical eyes instead of using spiritual eyes? Where am I doubting the goodness of God? How am I disappointed with God in my marriage? How can I trust that His plans are greater than mine? How can I cling to the promises of God instead of to my pain?

Easter Sunday: theme of opened eyes

On Resurrection Sunday, several followers of Christ failed to recognize Him. They were focused on their pain and disappointment. They were aware of their own failed plans, and they did not comprehend His far greater, successful plans. But the Spirit opened their eyes to see God’s awesome work. When they saw what God had done, there was no regret or disappointment. They were overjoyed!

Easter: 016-jesus-alivePrayer: LORD, please open my eyes to You as You work in my marriage. Thank You for being the God who raises the dead to life. I praise You for being a God who delights in making things new and beautiful. I ask you to bring to life what has been dead in my marriage. Make our spirits and our relationship new and beautiful, full of Your truth and Your life. Thank You for being a God of Resurrection Power. I lay my marriage before You, asking You to release that Power in my home., and I rejoice that You are working actively and forcefully for my good and Your glory. I am overjoyed that You are my Living God, and I rejoice in the Abundant Life that You pour into me.

Action: In my marriage, how can I, like Mary, lift my eyes to see Christ before me? How do I need to quiet my spirit so that I hear His voice of instruction to me? How can I, like the believers in Emmaus, receive the Spirit’s gift of “opened eyes” so that I can recognize God in the midst of my marriage?

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Rejoicing with you in our Living God, who still works miracles of resurrection,
Tami

Easter: 009-jesus-alive

 

 

 

Celebrating Easter in Your Marriage, part 1

Easter week is a special time of celebration for Christians. We remember the days leading up to the crucifixion of Christ, and we celebrate His resurrection from the dead. In fact, Resurrection Sunday is our highest holy day: it is the greatest event in history, and it is our greatest reason for joy.

During the next several days, Christians will be meditating on the profound spiritual principles that we can learn from Christ as He walked through that Holy Week. We want to apply these truths, first of all, to our relationship with Christ. However, we can also apply many of these principles to our marriages, too. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)

For each day of the Passion Week, I would like to share with you some thoughts that we can apply to our marriages. I will include Palm Sunday through Wednesday in today’s post, and I will send Thursday through Resurrection Sunday next week.

Easter Thoughts for Your Marriage

Sunday: themes of welcoming and praise

Easter: 010-triumphant-entrySunday is the day we call Palm Sunday, the day of the Triumphal Entry. Christ rode into Jerusalem as the gentle King, and the people welcomed Him with praise.

Prayer: LORD, I welcome You to this marriage. I lay branches of adoration before You. I spread garments of praise to welcome You. I lay myself before You in worship.

Thank You for being the gentle King who comes to us, to be Immanuel to us, to be the God who is with us. I ask you to reign with gentleness over our home. We need Your wisdom to guide us and Your peace to govern us.

I praise You, King of Glory, who comes to us, even in our brokenness and darkness. This is an awesome thing! “Who is this?”

This is Jesus.

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

Action:  How can I offer affirming words to my spouse? How can I be a welcoming presence to my spouse? I receive my spouse today as a gift from God.

 

Monday: theme of cleansingEaster: 006-cleansing-temple

On Monday, Christ cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.

Prayer:  LORD, I pray that my marriage will be a dwelling place for You, a kind of temple for You. We need Your cleansing. Please reveal to me where I have brought defilement or impurity to my marriage. Help me to turn from it. Show me my part in cleansing our marriage.

Action: How have I “robbed” my spouse? Have I withheld from my spouse affection, loyalty, respect, or support? How have I bartered when I should have given freely?

Tuesday: theme of anointing

Easter: 010-jesus-anointed

With lavish love, Mary anointed Jesus with expensive perfume.

Prayer: LORD, I want to pour out to You my full obedience to You in this marriage. I pray that this offering of myself would be like a sweet aroma to You. I pray, too, that the Presence of Your love in my life would be like a pleasing fragrance to my spouse.

Action: How can I anoint my spouse with honor today? I want to say to my spouse, “I choose you!”  How can I show lavish love today?

Wednesday: theme of rest

Prayer: LORD, thank You for the places of rest that You give in the midst of our busyness and chaos. I pray that You would open my eyes to the need for “quiet streams” in my marriage. Help me to let go of “rushing” so that our spirits can rest; help me to let go of “pushing” so that You can prepare us for what You know is ahead of us.

Action: I want to be still, and know that He is God. How can I build needed rest into my marriage? Where does my spouse need renewal?

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Blessings to you and to your marriage,
Tami

6 Reasons for Hope

hopeAre you ready to give up on your marriage?

Perhaps you have reasons such as these: You are the only one trying to making it work. It takes too much effort. Nothing ever gets better. It is too painful. What if you discovered that God’s gift of hope is greater than your pit of despair?  What if you learned six powerful reasons for not giving up?

1. Just one person can make a huge difference in a marriage. Just one person—you!—can make enough difference in a marriage to change the entire dynamic of the relationship.

Imagine this: think of two people standing back-to-back in conflict. If both people are willing to turn around, then the couple will be face-to-face in good relationship again. However, what happens when one person in that back-to-back situation remains motionless while the other person walks around to face the one who did not move? The two people become face-to-face again, even though only one person moved.

…  [Continue reading at www.StartMarriageRight.com]

 

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Marriage Essentials

BookCoverImageIf you had only a few minutes to share the most important principles about marriage, what would you say? What are the most critical components to understand about marriage?

Your Marriage: God’s Masterful Design is my response to those questions. I am excited to share this new resource with you! Many of you received a shorter, working version of this booklet several weeks ago. But I would like to give you now the completed version. Simply click HERE for the full PDF.

Your Marriage: God’s Masterful Design is also available as a full-color booklet on Amazon.

God’s design of marriage is masterful … and completely trustworthy!

Blessings to you,
Tami

“A Weekend to Remember”

Have you attended A Weekend to Remember?  My husband and I were blessed to attend this marriage getaway recently, and we are eager to recommend it to you now!

A Weekend to Remember is a marriage retreat organized by Family Life. The events are held all over the country throughout the year. From Friday evening through Sunday morning, couples hear excellent teaching on marriage, relax at a great hotel, and enjoy quality time together.  The weekend is marriage-saving and life-changing for many.

“The  Weekend to Remember getaway is not a large counseling session, and you will not be asked to participate in small groups. Rather, you will receive marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives that will strengthen your marriage. During the weekend, you will learn how to:

  • Receive your spouse as a gift.
  • Clarify your role as a husband or wife.
  • Resolve conflict in the relationship.
  • Maintain a vital sexual connection.
  • Express forgiveness to one another.
  • Increase your commitment, creating an even deeper level of intimacy.

“Every couple drives away with a roadmap to a great marriage. You will leave the weekend with encouragement, hope, and practical tools to build and grow your relationship.” (Family Life)

If you are military, be sure to sign up soon because free registration is currently being offered. And if you aren’t military, be sure to sign up with the code MannaForMarriage to receive a discount of $100 per couple.  Click HERE to find locations and  times, and to register.

Central Florida friends: There will be a Weekend to Remember this summer in Orlando, June 12-14.

Florida Panhandle friends: There will be a Weekend to Remember in Destin, November 6-8.

God’s Gorgeous Design of Wives

Thank you for your prayers for the “WifeSOS” webinar this week. God blessed us with a wonderful event. As we thank Him for His help, let’s continue to pray that God will use the material to encourage and equip many wives.

If you missed the webinar, or would like to share it with someone else, here is my segment, “The Four Specialties of a Gorgeous Wife”:

May you soak in God’s amazing love for you this weekend.

Blessings to you,
Tami

A Daily Workout for a Healthy Marriage

 HOLD: hands and pray together workout 2(silently is fine)

PRESS: as many kisses as you can

LIFT: your spouse up in honor

KICK: self-pity to the curb

JOG: your memory with things you love about your           spouse

RUN: your complaints to God

PUSH: compliments and encouragement

PULL: your spouse close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Vicki Rose on this week’s prayer call

Could you use some encouragement in your marriage? Do you know someone else who could?

This Thursday, author Vicki Rose will be joining me on our weekly prayer call—and I am confident that God will use her to encourage everyone on the call.

Vicki is the author of Every Reason to Leave and Why We Chose to Stay Together.  (Click HERE to learn more about Vicki’s book.) During this fifteen-minute call, I will be asking Vicki four questions:

EveryReasontoLeaveCoverWhen you had every reason to leave, what was your compelling reason to stay?
How do you encourage others who have grown weary or discouraged in fighting the spiritual battle for their homes?
What is the role of prayer in the fight for our marriages?
How important is it to fight for our marriages—especially when the marriages are difficult?

Vicki will then lead us as we “fight on our knees,” praying for our marriages.

I hope you will be able to join us—and be encouraged!

The prayer call with Vicki Rose will be this Thursday, November 20, at 12:30 (Eastern time). Here’s how to join us:
To join us online, simply visit www.MannaForMarriage.com and click on the link that says, “click HERE.”
To join us by phone, call 1-323-920-0091. When prompted, enter the access code 022 5211#. (You will be in listen-only mode.)

See you Thursday!

 

Move from Isolation to Intimacy in 6 Steps

Did you realize that the Old Testament tabernacle has amazing truth for marriages?

ID-10027742

I share six steps that move us from isolation into intimacy in this article for StartMarrriageRight.com:

“Stepping from Isolation into Intimacy.”

 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts.  And as always, you are invited to join us on Thursdays as we fight on our knees, praying for our marriages.

Blessings to you,
Tami

 

photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“The Harry Potter Girl,” Marriage, & God

ID-10035357 (1)In her speech at the U.N. headquarters last week, Emma Watson announced the #HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to support women’s rights.

I wrote about the new movement, feminism, and marriage in this article for StartMarriageRight.com.

Click HERE to continue reading.

 

Image courtesy of photostock 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.)

Something New Today …

I am trying something new today.

I would like to share with you a presentation called “Battle Strategies in Prayer: How to Fight on Your Knees.” In this slide-show, I discuss  several aspects of effective prayer. These are spiritual principles that we can learn from Old Testament battle accounts.

May God bless you as you join Him in fighting for your marriages and families.

 

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.”

What Fills Your Marriage?

Here is a book that I would recommend even if it were nothing more than its title: Grace Filled Marriage. But now that I have finished reading Grace Filled Marriage, I am glad to say that I can recommend not only the title but also the entire book!

If “grace” refers to all the gifts springing from goodness and love—gifts such as acceptance and forgiveness and kindness—then grace is exactly what every marriage needs.  In this hope-filled, easy-to-read book, author Tim Kimmel explains what it means to fill a marriage with grace.

Here is a collection of quotes from the book:

GraceFilledMarriage[M]ost marriage don’t struggle from a lack of love; they struggle from a lack of grace. (3)

Love is the commitment of my will to your needs and best interests regardless of the cost. (65)

[We can be spouses who believe that] divine grace [is] bigger than human disgrace. (113)

The primary feature of a heart of grace is that it lives to trust God. (118)

When you and your spouse are talking your way through tough issues, the goal of the discussion should always be unity, never victory. … If you consistently win arguments with your mate, guess what you get to sleep with every night? A loser! (161)

… God is glorified when we fight for our marriage, pray like mad, and trust him to deal with our unrepentant spouse. (161)

He’s a bigger God than any mess you or your spouse could have made. (172)

[Problems are] opportunities to enjoy a front-row seat to [God’s] sustaining grace. (186)

Love that comes from God is unique: … it’s delivered in abundant quantities … and graciously (as though it’s an honor on the part of the giver). (217)

True greatness is a passionate love for Jesus Christ that shows itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others. (218)

Jesus passionately met our needs. He wants his love pouring through us to passionately meet our spouse’s needs. (221)

There’s a lot resting on your mariage. Big stuff. God’s kingdom stuff. Even though you record your marriage in years, there’s an eternal dimension to what your union represents to God’s grander redemptive story. There are a lot of people whose lives will be impacted by how you live out your love—even people in generations way on down the line from you. (234)

Your marriage is worth all the grace that you can pour into it.  May God fill your life today with His generous, lavish grace.

A very blessed Thanksgiving to you!

The Kindle edition of Radiance: Secrets to Thriving in Marriage RADIANCEwill be FREE on Amazon from November 29 through December 3. Learn God’s amazing design of marriage, women, and men. Whether your marriage is great or struggling, God is able to make you thrive right where you are. This encouraging book will share with you the secrets of a healthy, radiant spirit.

If you have a Kindle and also AmazonPrime, you can borrow the ebook for free during November and December.

May your spirit feast bountifully on the goodness of God during this special week of giving thanks to Him, the Source of every good gift.

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

“Her” Prayer

Last week, I shared with you a husband’s prayer. Today I want to share with you a wife’s prayer, based on Scripture. May God honor your prayers as you honor Him.Differently His and Hers

I thank You, LORD, for my husband and for Your awesome design in creating him; thank You for shaping him for greatness, for strength, and for success. Thank You for using my husband to bless me, and thank You for giving me the privilege of serving You by serving him. Help me to serve him well.

By Your Spirit, I submit today to my husband’s needs. Give me insight into those needs; give me the desire and the ability to minister well to those needs. Help me to bring him good, not harm, every day of my life. I pray that he would be able to have full confidence in me and that he would lack nothing that I could provide for him.

Help me to respect my husband today in ways that are meaningful to him; show me how to encourage him, affirm him, and add strength to him. Help me to supply to him what he cannot supply to himself. Keep me in awe of who You made him to be.

Help me to support him in the responsibility that You have given him to be the “head” woman-praying-840879-min this marriage. I recognize that he has an accountability before You that I do not have. Help me to respect and appreciate the weight that You have placed on his shoulders; help me to cooperate with him in Your plan.

Help me to be a wise woman who builds her house of marriage; please don’t let me tear it down with my own foolish hands. Show me how to use the “tool” of relationship skills that You have given me to create, not to destroy. Give me the wisdom to know how to build my husband up; give me the understanding I need to establish a strong friendship with him. Give me knowledge of my husband and of Your ways so that the “rooms” of our marriage will be filled with the “rare and beautiful treasures” of laughter, kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Help me to keep a quiet spirit before my husband–a calm, peaceful spirit that trusts You. Keep me from controlling or manipulating,  condemning or rejecting. Help me to specialize in reverence and purity. Make me beautiful by making me holy, no longer belonging to myself but delighting in belonging to You. Give me the wisdom and the strength to do what is right. Help me not to be afraid but to trust You.

Help me to keep a continual “welcome!” in my spirit, accepting my husband graciously for who he is. Help me to keep choosing to like him and to keep determining to enjoy him. Allow me to see through his eyes so that we will experience the oneness that You have given us; knit us together as You desire.

Thank You, LORD.

(Genesis 2:18; Proverbs 14:1; 24:3-4; 31:11-12; Ephesians 5:22-23; Philippians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Titus 2:4)

“His” Prayer

Do you have “his” and “her” towels at your house?his and hers
How about “his” and “her” prayers?

Today I want to share with you a husband’s prayer, based on Scripture.  Next week, I will share a wife’s prayer. And as always, I am glad to hear your thoughts, too!

I thank You, LORD, for my wife and for Your captivating design in creating her; thank You for her beautiful gifts and strengths. Thank You for using my wife to bless me, and thank You for giving me the privilege of serving You by serving her. Help me to serve her well.

By Your Spirit, I submit today to my wife’s needs. Give me insight into those needs; give me the desire and the ability to minister well to those needs.

man-praying-788582-mLORD, in yielding to Your plan for marriage, I acknowledge that You have given me the responsibility of being the “head” in this marriage: I am accountable to You  for the well-being of my wife. As You protect and provide for me, enable me to protect and provide for her.

Help me to lay down my life for her today in every way that You direct. Help me to lay down selfish ambition and self-focus. Help me to lay down my independence so that she can be dependent upon me and so that I can be dependent upon You. I choose to die to belonging to myself so that I can belong to her.

Show me how to “wash her feet,” ministering to her in ways that will make her radiant. Teach me how to care for her as for myself, nurturing her spirit so that she thrives. Show me how to love her well–with gentleness and with affection. Give me eyes to see through her eyes so that we will experience the oneness that You have given us; knit us together as You desire.

Help me to cover her as a roof covers walls, fabric-1-502205-mwilling to endure life’s harsh elements in order to shelter her; help me to cover her with tenderness and comfort as a blanket brings warmth on a cold night. Help me never to cover her with violence or even harshness–in action, word, or attitude. Instead, help me to be considerate as I live with my wife, esteeming  her as a “equal partner in God’s gift of new life.” Keep me mindful that my disrespect to her hinders my prayers to You.

May I be a faithful priest in our home, willing to sacrifice for my wife’s sake and willing to stand before You on her behalf.

Show us how to “relish life” together.

Thank you, LORD.

(Ecclesiastes 9:9, MSG; Malachi 2:16; Ephesians 5:25-33; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 2:2, KJV; Colossians 3:19, NIV or NLT; 1 Peter 3:7, NLT)

 

Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 3)

How are you praying for your marriage? Here is a prayer, based on Scripture, that will enable you to fight for your marriage using “the sword of the Spirit”:

LORD, I lift this marriage to You. In the spiritual realm, I want to surround this marriage with prayer and praise, just as the Israelites surrounded Jericho. “Marching” around this marriage, I honor Your Name as holy. I acknowledge You as Sovereign Lord, and I declare that this marriage belongs to You and that I belong to You.

Lord, fight for us! By Your own right arm, intervene. Tear down every satanic stronghold in our spirits.¹ Bring it down to the dust—shattered, never to rise again.Tear down every stronghold built upon rebellion against You and built upon the lies of lust, greed, and pride.

In the Name of Jesus, I ask that  “the strong man,” the enemy of this marriage, be bound.² Bind up his lies; bind up his accusations and condemnations. In the Name of Jesus, I pray that the captives be set free.

I ask that every wicked scheme of the evil one be thwarted. I ask You to throw the forces of darkness into disarray; rout the enemy through division and confusion so that the enemy is utterly defeated. I pray that no weapon forged against us will prevail.³

Expose what the enemy is causing to fester in the dark, and reveal Yourself as the Healer and the Victor.  Make us aware of enemy tactics, and reveal to us the lies that we are believing.  By Your Spirit, flood our spirits with powerful truth, overwhelming and displacing every deception. Scatter the darkness with a mighty unleashing of liberating and healing Light.

Keep us from thinking that we are each other’s enemies; cause us to know that Satan is the enemy. Deliver us from the decaying disease of  self-centeredness, and free us to feast on Your glory. Deliver us from thinking that this covenant of marriage demands too much and takes too much from us; free us to know that giving to one another is what heals and enriches us. Break the chains that tell us we must protect ourselves and provide for ourselves; free us to know that You “withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11, NLT). Set us free as we believe that You are trustworthy, that You are the unfailing Need-meeter, that You redeem our pain with glory, and that all our joy is found in You.

O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done and will do marvelous things, things planned long ago. I trust in You, and You save us. (adapted from Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

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¹ Specifically name any strongholds that God has revealed to you, such as anger, an addiction, a critical spirit, bitterness, or fear.
² Matthew 12:29
³ Isaiah 54:17
• Other Scriptures used are Isaiah 59:16, Isaiah 25:12, 1 John 2:16, Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah 54:17, 2 Corinthians 2:11, and Ephesians 6:12.

See also:
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 2)

Shared with Woman to Woman Ministries

Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 2)

1408237_trees_in_fields_with_wendelstein_mountains_in_backgroundHave you prayed for your spouse today? Psalm 1 provides a helpful guide as you pray for your husband or wife, or for someone else you know.

A prayer for your husband:
LORD, I pray that my husband will be blessed today–happy and spiritually healthy in You. I pray that he will not walk in the counsel  of the wicked, listening to the lies of the enemy, but that he will walk in wisdom and in the counsel of the Spirit .  I pray that he will not stand in the way of sinners, but that he will stand in the way of saints, as a soldier of Christ with his feet planted firmly in truth. I pray that he will not sit in the seat of mockers, doubting Your goodness or scorning Your instructions, but that he will sit in reverence at the feet of Christ all day long, listening to You.

I pray that my husband will delight in Your law today, rejoicing that Your ways are good and Your instructions are trustworthy. I pray that he will meditate on Your law day and night, continually pondering Scripture, continually yielding to the shaping of Scripture, and continually looking to the Scriptures for guidance and comfort.

Make my husband to be like a tree 1402403_pinetree_on_the_beach_3that is planted by streams of water: cause him to be firmly grounded in Your love, and help him continuously to drink in the Holy Spirit. I pray that he will yield fruit in season as the Spirit produces godly character and holy living. I pray that his leaf will not wither: keep him from compromising his obedience to You in any way, and do not let him “wilt” from discouragement or despair.

I pray that whatever he does will prosper; make him incredibly successful in Your callings upon his life.  Prosper him as a husband, as a father, and as a member of his church; prosper him in the work that You have for him. May Your excellent purposes for his life be fulfilled, and may he succeed mightily as a great man of God.

1404706_mountain_creekA prayer for your wife:
LORD, I pray that my wife will be blessed today–happy and spiritually healthy in You. I pray that she will not walk in the counsel  of the wicked, listening to the lies of the enemy, but that she will walk in wisdom and in the counsel of the Spirit. I  pray that she will not stand in the way of sinners, but that she will stand in the way of saints, as a soldier of Christ with her feet planted firmly in truth. I pray that she will not sit in the seat of mockers, doubting Your goodness or scorning Your instructions, but that she will sit in reverence at the feet of Christ all day long, listening to You.

I pray that my wife will delight in Your law today, rejoicing that Your ways are good and Your instructions are trustworthy. I pray that she will meditate on Your law day and night, continually pondering Scripture, continually yielding to the shaping of Scripture, and continually looking to the Scriptures for guidance and comfort.

Make my wife to be like a tree that is planted by streams of water: cause her to be firmly grounded in Your love, and help her continuously to drink in the Holy Spirit. I pray that she will yield fruit in season as the 1403577_fall_colorsSpirit produces godly character and holy living. I pray that her leaf will not wither: keep her from compromising her obedience to You in any way, and do not let her “wilt” from discouragement or despair.

I pray that whatever she does will prosper; make her incredibly successful in Your callings upon her life.  Prosper her as a wife, as a mother, as a member of her church; prosper her in the work that You have for her. May Your excellent purposes for her life be fulfilled, and may she succeed mightily as a great woman of God.

(Modeled on the NIV translation of Psalm 1.)

See also:
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 1)
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 3)

Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 1)

“LORD, I lift this marriage to You. I ask You to put Your hedge of protection around this marriage and to thwart every enemy scheme against it.

‘Catch for us the little foxes’ that would eat away at this relationship–the little foxes of busyness and the little foxes of unresolved hurt feelings (Song of Songs 2:15). Help us to see beyond the surface issues of the physical realm; help us to see the deeper realities of the spiritual realm all around us.

Please give us new insight into one another; give us new understanding of one another’s needs and struggles. Help us to have hearts that always move toward one another and that are always for one another. Give us the strength to do that even when our feelings are pushing us to turn away from one another or to turn against one another.”

Over the next few weeks, I would like to share with you a series of prayers for marriages. You may want to use these prayers for your own marriage, or you may want to use them as you pray for others.

I invite you, too, to share some of the ways in which you are praying for marriages.

May God bless you as you fight on your knees!

See also:
Fighting for Your Marriage … on Your Knees (Part 2)

Calibrating the Compass of Your Heart

We tend to think that we love someone when that person attracts us. When we no longer feel attraction, we feel that we no longer have love. We see others as magnetic-like forces with the power to attract or repel us.

But are we really helpless magnets compelled to move toward attracting forces? Could it be that love is more than attraction?

God says that love is choosing to walk toward someone. Maybe attraction is not the decisive force; maybe we are.

With God’s help, we can calibrate the compass of our heart so that we move toward our choices. Godly love is a force within us which moves us toward someone whom we have chosen; it is not an external attraction that works upon us.

If we are married, we can set our compass so that the arrow of our heart points toward our covenant partner; we can determine to walk steadily in that direction, regardless of the pulling or pushing of other forces.

How Fluent are You in the Language of Apology?

You have probably heard of the five love languages, but are you familiar with the five languages of apology?[1] Here’s the basic idea: there are five components to a full apology. Many people find that one of those components is especially important to them. An apology with just that one key element is a satisfactory apology to them; but if that one key element is missing, then the apology feels incomplete to them.

Here are the five components of an apology:
1) Expressing Regret:  “I am sorry.”
2) Accepting Responsibility:  “I was wrong.”
3) Making Restitution: “How can I make this up to you?”
4) Genuinely Repenting: “I will try never to do that again.”
5) Requesting Forgiveness: “Will you please forgive me?”

Once you have determined your spouse’s language of apology, you will be able to apologize in ways that are meaningful to him or her.  If you fail to include that one key element, however, your apology will seem insincere or weak to your spouse.

Understanding that we have different languages of apology allows us to receive more graciously the apologies of others because we recognize that others may be sincere even when their style is different from our own.

“You cannot repent too soon, because you do not know how soon it may be too late.”  Thomas Fuller

“An apology is the super glue of life. It can repair just about anything.” Lynn Johnston

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”  Corrie ten Boom

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Jesus, Matthew 5:7, NIV



[1] See The Five Languages of Apology by Jennifer Thomas and Gary Chapman.

Why Eve Came from Adam’s Side

We can call bitter “sweet,” if we want. bitterThat’s nothing new. (See Isaiah 5:20.) But this semantic violence fails to produce anything more than confused thinking: changing labels does not change essence.

If we call homosexual union “a marriage,” then we need another word for this: God’s design for one man and one woman to reflect the harmonized diversity within God’s one essence and to suggest the creative power of that unity.

The Biblical definition of marriage is much more than a legally recognized relationship of emotional and sexual attachment. Marriage was designed to reveal the very nature of God.

1040039_shoesGod’s image is uniquely reflected in the union of male and female because the fullness of the Godhead encompases both masculinity and femininity. It is ironic that the homosexual community promotes the word “diversity” because a core problem with homosexual union is its lack of that very thing. The beauty of both musical and marital harmony lies in the rich complementing of differing notes or genders, not identical ones.

Why did God create Eve from the side of Adam? There was purpose in that: since Eve came from Adam, their union was able to represent oneness instead of “twoness.”

 

 

Encouraging Your Husband Spiritually

How can you encourage spiritual growth in your husband?

You could try leaving ID-10081339tracts on your husband’s pillow, reading Scripture loudly when he walks by, or keeping yourself busy by attending lots of church functions. You could, … but please don’t! It won’t work, and both of you will be miserable! Fortunately, God has given some trustworthy directives that won’t backfire. We can use the acronym RAPID to list several ways in which you can bless your husband, whether he is a believer or not.

Respect your husband. You may not respect everything that he does, but you can always respect the man God created him to be because he is an immortal spirit made in the image of God Almighty. Be continually aware that your husband is created for greatness and honor. He is designed for strength and success. Stay in awe of that.

Maintain a “zero-tolerance policy” against critical or demeaning thoughts of your husband in your own mind and spirit. Rehearse to yourself the truth of his great value. See his failings as brokenness and spiritual captivity, not as personal attacks that threaten your spiritual well-being.

Accept him. Accept him for who he is at his core.  Keep a warm “welcome” in your spirit to your man. When you communicate to him, “I accept you, and I desire you,” then your holiness becomes beautiful to him and can attract him to God.

Pray. Pray for yourself, and pray for your husband. Pray for insight into your husband’s needs and for wisdom on how best to minister to those needs. Pray for God to show you how to respect your husband in ways that are meaningful to him. Pray for God’s work in your husband’s heart–not that your life will be more pleasant, but that his life will be more blessed.

Invite your husband. God has designed wives to be like fragrance, inviting their husbands into holiness. We are called by God to be magnets that draw our husbands to God; we are not called to be whips that drive our husbands to God.

Your faith will be inviting to your husband when it makes you inviting–that is, joyful, pleasant, and cooperative. A woman who is critical and unhappy does not make her God appealing.

ID-10034285Determine to enjoy him. Make it a matter of your will, not your feelings. Insist upon enjoying him. “Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day …” (Eccl. 9:9, MSG). Focus on strengthening your friendship with him.

Become a 1 Peter 3 woman. God will give you a resting, calm spirit as you trust Him. Draw your strength and encouragement from Scripture, from prayer, and from godly girlfriends who will encourage your marriage commitment.

Be assured that God wants you right where you are to serve Him in a very powerful and significant way. God will be faithful to meet your needs so that you are then able to minister to your husband.

May God bless you in special ways as you serve Him in your marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Want a Husband who Leads?

Women, do you ever wish that your husband were more of a leader in your marriage … or more involved with the family? If so, you are not alone. Women often say that they long for their husbands to become stronger leaders; some wives even say that they feel desperate for their husbands to show greater leadership in their homes. If you would like to encourage the leader in your husband, here are several things that you can do:

1. Recognize that you probably have relational abilities that your husband does not have in the same way that you do. That’s okay; he has abilities that you don’t have. Look for the unique strengths that he does have. Appreciate the ways in which he contributes to the family according to God’s design for him. His gifts are different from yours, but that it is good because that means that your family is doubly blessed!

2. Continue to graciously invite your husband to be involved with the family, but refuse to be resentful if he declines. Look for ways of connecting that work well for your husband, and gently build on those. Let go of the ways that aren’t comfortable for him right now.

3. One of the greatest blessings you can give your children is to teach them to honor their father. You can do this both by instruction and by modeling.  “Translate” your husband’s hard work (and other commendable things) as active love to them. Help them to see and to appreciate his ways of showing love. It is possible for children to be more harmed by mothers who model dishonor than by fathers who work long hours.

4. Often, when women say they want their husbands to be leaders, they mean that they want their husbands to do certain “spiritual” things. But wives should feel free to let go of their expectations and their sense of need in this area. When God says that the husband is “the head” in a marriage, this means that the husband is responsible to God for the well-being of his wife. This is an accountability issue between the man and God; it is not, as women often think, a particular list of chores for the man, such as leading family devotions or praying each night with his wife. Those are great things, of course; but that is not the core issue of headship.

5. A woman strengthens her husband’s leadership by following him. She doesn’t make him a leader by leading him. As wives, our assignment is to cooperate with our husbands more than to correct them.

scaffolding6. A woman is most powerful in advancing God’s work in her husband when she prays for her husband and serves him according to his needs. As wives, we build a platform when we trust and obey God; upon that platform, God then builds marriages and men.

7. We were designed to invite our husbands, using the fragrance of “purity and reverence,” into a deeper relationship with God; we were not created to push them into it. The goal of a godly wife is not to change her husband; it is to make God attractive to him. She does this by letting the Spirit shape her into a woman who is peaceful, honoring, welcoming, and supportive. It is often a woman’s warm acceptance of her husband and her unconditional respect for him that most compellingly draws him to her God.

God has encouragement for you! He wants you to trust Him, to be content with His timing and His plan, and to be satisfied with His goodness and faithfulness to you. Your quiet, steady trust in God and your respectful building-up of your husband will create a platform upon which your husband can grow. When we take our shaping hands off our husbands and instead put uplifting hands and prayers under them, then God is able to be the Shaper. He will shape our spirits, our marriages, and our joy.

1195576_giving_hands

 

 

 

 

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).

 

Who is getting your crumbs?

Are you giving your spouse your best “bread” or the leftover “crumbs”?

When Jesus spoke with the Greek woman about the children’s bread and the pet dogs under the table, He was not belittling her; He was explaining His priorities and being faithful to His calling.

Our spouses are our first priority and our highest calling. We want to give our best attention and energy to our spouses.

Who is getting your best “bread”?

 

 

Seen Any Pictures of Worship Lately?

How can we best understand the essence of worship? There may be no better illustration of spiritual worship than physical marriage. What marriage is between a man and woman is what worship is between God and His people. Although marriage and worship are expressed in and enhanced by activity, both marriage and worship are primarily matters of relationship.

In marriage, I choose a man to be my husband, I commit to belonging to him, I celebrate him, and I value him above all else. This tells me what it means to worship God! To worship God is to choose Him to be my God, to commit to belonging to Him, to celebrate Him, and to value Him above all else.

In our marriages, we love by eagerly serving, by giving ourselves for another’s delight, and by delighting in another. We live lives of worship as we serve God eagerly, give ourselves to Him for His delight, and delight in Him.

Marriage is how we participate in an intimate covenant relationship with another human being; worship is how we participate in an intimate covenant relationship with God.

 

The Dancing King … had a Demolishing Queen (continued)

You may have guessed that we would not be able to watch the dancing king without noticing the seething shadow up in the palace window. If the king had noticed, it may have been because he felt the scathing heat of that shadow reaching him even in the streets below.

When King David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, he set a great example for his people by worshiping God with gratitude and with celebration. However, on the same day, his wife Michal set a very different kind of example: she modeled for wives what not to do.

With one caustic sentence, she tore down her marriage “with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1). With bitterness, she belittled. With contempt, she criticized. With disdain, she despised. Michal accused David of not knowing how to be a king, but the truth was that Michal did not know how to treat a king! As a result, Michal suffered immense heartache and personal loss.

Just as husbands can learn from David in verses 12-19 of 2 Chronicles 16, so wives can learn from Michal in verse 20. A woman is wise who guards against sarcasm, scolding, and scorn–not only in words, but also in thought. Unlike Michal, a godly wife uses life-giving words and a respectful attitude to “build her house.” In that kind of house, the hearts of both the king and the queen can dance.

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How to Change Your Marriage … Right Now

How do you see your marriage–as a power struggle? a fight for your rights? a duty? a trap? Let me suggest a radically different perspective. What if you saw your participation in your marriage as an act of worship? If you will see your “wife-ing” or your “husband-ing” as an act of worship, your marriage will become a whole new thing to you.

Romans 12 tells us to present our bodies to God as acts of worship; we can do this with our marriages, too! We can offer to God our involvement in our marriages as acts of worship. With each action and each thought toward our spouses, we can say to God, “I present this as an offering to You.”

Worship involves choosing and valuing. Husbands can worship God by saying to Him, “I will love this woman by sacrificing myself for her because I choose You as my God and because I value You above all else.” Wives worship when they say to God, “I will respect this man and prioritize his needs because I choose You as my God and because I value You above all else.”

When we “do marriage” as an act of worship, nothing is ever wasted; nothing is ever lost; nothing is ever in vain. Even bitter circumstances are fully redeemed in the sweetness of worship. Ugly hurts are transcended by the beauty of holiness. Acts of love which cost us deeply become the expensive perfume which we are pleased to pour on the feet of Jesus. Every act of genuine worship enriches us; every time we love our spouses as an act of worship to God, we are enriched.

In our marriages, we want “love as worship” to be a consistent lifestyle, not sporadic incidents. We are committed to this worship whether or not our spouses join us in this perspective. Yielded to the Spirit, we embrace our marriages as sacred places of deeply profound worship.

Leadership Skills of a Dancing King

King David of Old Testament fame earned stellar marks as a musician, warrior, and king; but as a family man, he quite nearly flunked. However, on the day that he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, he dramatically demonstrated several characteristics of a godly husband and father:
1. David set aside his royal robes of position and put on the linen robes of a priest (1 Chronicles 15:27). Successful husbands and fathers do this when they lay aside their “I am the boss!” robes to wear the priestly ephod of service. As priests, these men bring the needs of their families to God, and they bring the holiness of God to their families.
2. David honored God by honoring the ark of the covenant; David clearly placed high value on the things of God (1 Chronicles 16:1). Successful leaders in the home evidence great reverence for God and spiritual matters.
3. David celebrated and worshiped God with all his heart (2 Samuel 6:14). Now that is excellent leadership right there! A leader in the home is powerful when his family watches him worship God with his whole heart and with great joy. (Dancing in the street, as David did, is optional.)
4. David offered sacrifices on behalf of his nation, just as godly leaders are willing to make sacrifices for the good of their families (1 Chronicles 16:2; Job 1:5).
5. David blessed the people and gave them gifts of food and of joy (1 Chronicles 16:3). Can anything compare with the blessing of a godly father?  A strong leader speaks blessing into the lives of his family, and he supplies for them both provision and celebration.
6. David took responsibility to ensure regular observation of prayer, thanksgiving, and praise (1 Chronicles 16:4). Successful men do the same for their families.
On this special occasion, David served as a commendable leader for Israel, and he would have done well to have shown the same type of leadership in his family. Men today who exercise godly leadership in the home are worthy of our applause and respect. They surpass King David in this area, whether they dance or not.

Continuing post

To the Husband who Seeks Reconciliation

I salute you!

reconciliationYour heart for reconciliation reveals the very heart of God, and your faithfulness to covenant reflects the faithfulness of God, which “reaches to the skies.” We will break our loyalty to our covenant partners the day God breaks His loyalty to us, His covenant partners.

I commend you for your commitment, even though it means battling upstream against the culture and against spiritual forces. Instead of harming you, this struggle will instead strengthen you into the greatness for which you were created.

When a man makes a covenant vow to a woman, he is bound before God to thatreconciliation commitment until death breaks the bond. Even if his covenant partner loses heart, he can remain committed to her, regardless of what she does, and remain committed to peace. Without pushing, pulling, or demanding, he can stand with his feet planted in unshakable, unmovable commitment to the partner. Her reactions do not change his commitment. The covenant-keeping husband, even when divorced, can be a rock of commitment to his covenant partner. He is willing to suffer for her good. His goal—his unchanging goal—is to love well.

God will fully satisfy and delight you. He may use your covenant partner to do that, or He may not. It does not matter how He does it; He will do it. He will do it so that you know that He is the great Treasure; anything else would be deception and disappointment. He knows how to love you, and He knows how to love you well.

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Ps. 3:3, ESV

“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Ps. 84:11, NIV

Cheering for you,
Tami

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net