Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

“How is your self-control?”

Do you say everything that you are feeling? If you want “it” do you just get it? One secret to a successful marriage or even being single is to practice self-control. Not having self-control can ruin your marriage, life, career, family, and everything. Some people are quick to admit that they don’t have self-control however, not having it can cause some major issues. This week, I want to encourage you to evaluate your self-control.

Self-control is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. How is your self-control? It is so important that we learn to regulate our emotions, thoughts, and behavior.

In Titus Chapter 2:2-4, Paul instructs older men and older women to teach the younger generation self-control. This passage is titled; “Right living in the church.” In order to live right, we have got to practice self-control. In my experience, here are a few areas where self-control is most valuable.

  1. Control your mouth/tongue – The late great Bishop Lewis Tait, Sr. often said, “Think everything you say but don’t say everything you think. (Proverbs 13:3)
  2. Control your habits/behavior – Some habits can get out of hand and have negative consequences. We must exercise self-control to be a better example. (I Timothy 4:12).
  3. Control your passions – Just because you have a passion for something or someone does not mean that you should have it. (Galatians 5:22)
  4. Control your thoughts – I often have to stop my thoughts from going too far on the negative end. I have to tell myself, whatsoever things that are true, lovely, or praiseworthy, think on these things. What about you? (Philippians 4:8)
  5. Control your body – Don’t let your body/flesh have its way all of the time especially when it wants something that is contrary to the Spirit of God. As Christians, you are not your own. (I Corinthians 6:19)
  6. Control your appetite – Your desire for food needs to be controlled, don’t let the “god” of your belly win. This is a tough one for me because I love to eat.(Philippians 3:19)
  7. Control your will – Jesus said, not my will but thy will be done. We should say the same. (Luke 22:42)

It’s okay to talk to yourself and tell yourself to get under control. With God’s help we can say no to our flesh and yes to the Spirit of God. Let’s practice self-control!

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

What would you do for love?

What will you do in honor of the one that you love? In the movie Eiffel, the brilliant engineer Gustave Eiffel is said to have built the Eiffel Tower in the name of love. He was in love with a woman named Adrienne and designed the tower in the shape of an A in her honor. I am not sure if the story is true but according to the movie, Adrienne was one of the inspirations behind the famous Eiffel Tower. It took about two years to build the tower and one of the things that kept the leader of this project inspired was the love that he had for Adrienne. This week I want to share relationship lessons from the Eiffel Tower.

Seeing the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris was a dream come true. It was one of the main attractions that our group saw on the first night in Paris. This tower is known as a symbol of love. Couples from all over the world get engaged and married in front of the Eiffel Tower. Some have even had ceremonies in the tower.

LESSONS FROM THE EIFFEL TOWER

About 300 men started building the Eiffel Tower in 1887 and in 1889 it was completed. The tower is still standing today because it was built on a strong foundation and with durable materials. Iron was used to build the tower and every 7 years the tower is repainted. Millions come to Paris every year just to see this historical landmark. Like the tower, we need to make sure that our relationships are built on a firm foundation. Jesus is the Rock that we need to build upon. Strong marriages and families can be built when Jesus is the foundation. The storms of life will come and go, however, when your marriage is built on Jesus it will stand the test of time for all of the world to see.

In Matthew 7:24 -25, Jesus says, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. ”

While in Paris, I was able to see the tower with my own eyes during the day and at night. At a certain time, the tower is lit and when the lights flash off and on it is such a beautiful sight. All eyes were on the tower. This is how God wants us to be individually as well as in our marriages. Jesus is the Light of the world and He wants to shine in us and through us so that people all over the world will see Him and know Him. Let’s stand tall and shine like the Eiffel Tower.

Until next week,

Carolyn

“Are you a dreamer?”

God is able to make your dreams come true! Ever since I was a little girl, I have been dreaming of going to London and Paris. It was a dream and a desire that was in my heart. Last week was Spring break for many all around the world. I am celebrating and praising God for allowing me to spend my Spring Break visiting London and Paris. God allowed my dream to become a reality! Won’t He do it!!! What an amazing and fun trip! This week’s post is to encourage you to keep dreaming and whenever possible, support others by helping to make their dream a reality.

Having a dream is one thing, making it a reality is another. I truly believe Psalm 37:4-5 which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Lord knows I truly strive to live by this verse. To delight is to have a high degree of pleasure, enjoyment, and joy in the Lord. I believe that as we find pleasure in God and in the things of God, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

QUESTIONS FOR THE DREAMER

Have you prayed about your dreams? Do your dreams and desires line up with the will of God? I believe this is why Psalm 37:4-5 tells us to DELIGHT in the Lord first. When we delight in the Lord, He will give us dreams and desires that are His desires for us. It is important to have dreams and desires that do not contradict the Word of God. (For example: Having a dream to marry someone else’s husband).

Dreams alone are not enough! You must start taking some action steps to make your dreams a reality. About a year ago, I started saving for this trip. I thought my husband and I would be taking this trip together because he has heard me talk about this desire for years. To my surprise, my husband shared that London and Paris were not places that he wanted to visit. He and I will take another trip together at a later time. He gave his blessing and encouraged me to go with a girlfriend who also wanted to travel to London and Paris. What I love about my husband is the fact that he was honest and instead of him discouraging me, he supported me in my dream. He helped me to save for the trip and encouraged me every step of the way. He even chauffeured me and my girlfriend to and from the airport.

I praise God for an amazing and fun trip! It was truly a dream come true! Next week I will share more about my trip! This week I simply want to encourage you to 1) Keep dreaming, 2) Delight yourself in the Lord, 3) Support and encourage your spouse, friends, and family in their dreams even if it is not something that you desire 4) Pray about your dreams and make sure that they are from God. 5) Take some action steps!

Until next week,

Carolyn

“When a Man Loves a Woman”

Have you ever heard the song, “When a man loves a woman?” There is something special about a man truly loving a woman. Let’s talk about it!!

Ephesians 5:25 says, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her . . . When a man loves a woman, you will know it because he will show it. There will be no doubt about it. Christ loved the church so much that He died for the church. I Corinthians 13 gives us the definition of real love and it can only be carried out with the help of God.

Everyone needs to know what makes them feel loved. The Five Love Languages book by Gary Chatman is a good place to start. Once you know you and your spouse’s Love Language, the goal is to speak each other’s language as often as you can. There are 1. Gifts, 2. Words of Affirmation, 3. Acts of Service, 4. Quality Time and Physical touch. Do you know your love language?

To all of the women out there who desire to be married, please don’t settle. If he doesn’t want to marry you don’t force it, wait on God. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and he will be so happy to have and love his good thing!

In my experience when a husband loves his wife, he will cherish you, serve you, think of you, take care of you, make you a priority, treat you kindly, and shares everything he has because you are a part of him. The desires of your heart mean something to him and he will work hard to help make your desires a reality. He got you!!

I thank God for my husband William Tatem, he is not perfect (no one is) but he sure does a good job of LOVING Me!!! 

🙌🏾

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“The Power of A Woman’s Appearance”

There is something special about the beauty of a woman! Adam said it so beautifully in Genesis 2:23 “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called “Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” A real beautiful woman is beautiful from the inside out. However, the outside appearance of a woman is the first thing that is seen. This week’s focus is on the power of a woman’s outward appearance.

What does the Bible say about a woman’s appearance?

In my recent study of the book of Queen Esther, something stood out to me like never before. Queen Esther was courageous and willing to risk her life by going to see the king without being summoned. After spending some time fasting, Esther 5:1 -2 says; “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand.” After the King “Saw” Esther, he asked, “What is it, Queen Esther?” In other words, Queen Esther looked so good and appealing to the King’s eye, he was ready to give her whatever she wanted.

God used Esther’s appearance to grant her access to the king. She didn’t have to say one word, it was her appearance that spoke. That’s powerful!! This confirms that men are attracted by sight and that the beauty of a woman has an impact on a man. The funny thing about a beautiful woman is that she comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. So ladies don’t feel like you have to be thin or young to be beautiful. There is no one look. She can have natural hair, permed hair, weaved hair curly or straight. She may have no hair at all, but she is still beautiful.

What does it take to be beautiful?

Maintaining a beautiful appearance takes time and intentionality. In Esther 2:12 we learn that Esther spent twelve months getting beauty treatments, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and cosmetics. My mother always said, “It pays to be beautiful!” There is certainly a price to be paid.

As we close out Women’s History Month, I want to encourage all women to continue to be the beautiful queens that God created you to be. If you are married, be sure that your appearance pleases your husband. If you are single, don’t feel like you have to put everything on display to get a man, leave some things to be discovered. God is able to allow your husband to see you at the appointed time. Spending daily time with King Jesus is one of the best beauty regimens that any woman can have.

Until next week,

Carolyn

“Start out like you can hold out!”

“Start out like you can hold out!” These were the words of the late Grandma Ruth (my husband’s grandmother). When my husband and I first started dating, his grandmother told him to be prepared to continue whatever he started doing for me. I think this was some good counsel and my husband listened. As I think about this statement, I can’t help but think of dating. So often couples go from dating to courting and then get married. After marriage, many couples stop dating! This week I want to encourage every married couple to KEEP DATING their spouse.

The beautiful couple (Ron & Rachel Blackwell) in this week’s photo have just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. One of the things that they did to celebrate was to go out on a nice date. They have been consistently dating each other since they met. There is something special about a husband and a wife dating after marriage. I truly believe that dating your spouse on a regular basis is one of the keys to a successful marriage.

A date is defined as a social, romantic appointment or engagement. Have you had a date lately? It is so important that couples make time to date. We make time for everything else. I know we have children, we work and we are busy but we must make time to date consistently. Let’s not make excuses. Proverbs 5:18 says “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in your wife. Dating is one of the ways to enjoy and delight in each other. Having a companion is a blessing, so enjoy every moment that you get to spend in each other’s presence. To all of the couples who are engaged remember whatever good practices that you start, be prepared to continue throughout the marriage!

In closing, I want to leave 10 reasons why couples should start out and hold out when it comes to dating:

  1. It’s Fun!
  2. You can dress up or dress down! (Look your best for each other. )
  3. You can try experiencing different places together.
  4. It helps to build and strengthen your friendship/relationship.
  5. It allows you to do something out of your normal routine.
  6. It helps to build a deeper connection. (You learn more about your spouse)
  7. It can impact your intimacy in a great way!
  8. It adds spice and everything nice! It can be Romantic!
  9. It can be done with or without money. Be creative!
  10. It can be a break away from the children and everyone else. (Time to focus on each other)

I have been consistently dating my husband for almost 24 years and I can honestly say that these 10 reasons are true! As the weather gets nicer, be intentional about planning a variety of dates. Have fun!!

Until next time!

Carolyn

“What are you putting on?”

What should I put on? This is often a question I ask myself each day. I know some people don’t give it much thought, but one of the things that I have always enjoyed since I was a little girl is getting dressed. I love the whole idea of coordinating outfits and putting on clothes each day. When there is a special event, I love figuring out the right thing to put on. The ironic thing is that I married a man who appreciates this about me and part of him enjoys getting dressed too. When it comes to a relationship, the clothes that one puts on will vary from day to day based on the person. However, if you want a lasting relationship, there are some clothes that everyone needs to PUT ON!

In Colossians 3:12-14 the Bible says, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

May the Lord help us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering. Father, we ask that you would give us the patience to bear with one another. Teach us to walk in forgiveness and to cast our complaints on You. Make us mindful of the fact that You forgive us therefore, we can forgive others. Show us how to love the way that You love.

As much as I love to put on different styles and colors (orange is my favorite) of clothing, I know that my outward clothing is not as important as the wardrobe mentioned in Colossians. I want to encourage every husband, wife, parent and everyone in a relationship to PUT ON Colossians 3:12-14. Ask God to help you get dressed!

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

“How to make Valentine’s Day last?”

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! I know every day is a day of love, but Valentine’s Day is just one day where we can be more intentional about showing love to everyone. God is love and real love comes from Him. ( I John 4:16) I am so glad to know that God’s love lasts. I don’t know about you but I want Valentine’s Day to last beyond one day.

As I think about Valentine’s Day and marriage, I want to share some tips on making Valentine’s Day every day in your marriage. After twenty-three years of marriage, I can honestly say that these are tips that I strive to live by. Before, sharing Valentine’s Day tips, I want to say that having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ is truly the key to making a marriage or any other relationship successful.

V – (VALUE) Value your spouse and each day that you get to spend together.

A – (AFFECTION) Give the affection (hugs, kisses, back/foot massage, and gentle touches) that is due to your spouse.

L – (LOVE) Show your spouse some love every day!

E – (Eat) Eat meals together often.

N – (NEVER) Never go to bed angry.

T – (TALK & TOGETHERNESS) Take time to talk and spend daily time together.

I – (INTIMACY) Spend intimate time together on a regular basis.

N – (NOURISH) Nourish each other by aiming to please, take good care of each other.

E – (ENJOY) Intentionally enjoy each time that you spend in your spouse’s presence.

S – (SAY) Say something good to affirm your spouse on a regular basis.

D – (DATE) Plan different types of dates with your spouse, lunch dates, dinner dates, getaways, and spend quality time together.

A – (ACKNOWLEDGE) Whenever you fall short or mess up, take a moment to acknowledge it and ask for forgiveness. Forgive each other and move on.

Y – (YOU) Take care of yourself! One of the best things you can do for your spouse is to keep yourself in good health and practice self-care.

Until next time,

Carolyn

“Did you decorate for Christmas?”

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“Deck the halls with boughs of holly fa la la la la, la la la la, ‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la . . . ” I don’t know why, but I am just realizing that the first few words of this song are about decorating for Christmas. I think my focus has always been on the fa la la la la la, la la la la, (LOL!) Have you decorated your home, office or business for Christmas? When I think of decorating for Christmas, I can’t help but think of my grandmother who passed in September 2020. This was her time of the year. I dedicate this week’s post to my loving grandmother, Delores D. Lucas. I will refer to her as “Decorating Dee.” The picture above represents one of the many times that we spent together.

My grandmother had the gift of decorating and she used it to serve others. I Peter 4:10 says “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others . . .” She loved to decorate not just at Christmas, but all throughout the year. In her younger years, she would use her gift of decorating to decorate her church for special events. Whenever there was a church celebration she would decorate the fellowship hall. Decorating Dee would use her money to buy decorations for the walls, tables, chairs and matching paper products. She would mostly find her decorations at Party City, Dollar Tree and Big Lots. Decorating Dee would get so excited about putting a room or table together and seeing the finished project.

Christmas time was very special because my grandmother would be thinking about Christmas all year long. At the beginning of the year she would start saving by putting money in her Christmas account. The savings would be used to purchase gifts for her great-grandchildren and to help decorate my house and my sister’s house. Decorating Dee would dedicate a day, sometimes two days to decorating our homes. She would put the Christmas music on and decorate the Christmas tree with lights, ornaments, garland and then move to the dinning room to decorate the table. She would also put decorations on our stairway. My children and I would assist. We followed her directions and were so excited to see the house when she finished. Oh what sweet memories of my grandmother, Decorating Dee!

Decorations help to set the tone as soon as you walk into a room. I have witnessed the power of decorating and have always loved walking into my house after Decorating Dee finished. My grandmother’s gift of decorating blessed so many people. Thanks to Decorating Dee, I have made decorating at Christmas an annual tradition. We start decorating the day after Thanksgiving. Did you decorate for Christmas?

This is my last post for 2021. Thank you for reading. Have a merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Until next time!

Carolyn

“What makes your spouse happy?”

This picture represents a husband doing something just to make his wife happy. Ever since we have been married, my husband has said that he does not like taking pictures. However, I really enjoy taking pictures. I see pictures as creating memories and I always want to have pictures for us and our children to look back on. On the day that this picture was taken, we had been out and my husband was ready to go in the house to relax. As soon as we went in the house, I said let’s go out back and take a picture. It was a beautiful day, and I just wanted to capture it. My husband could have said no, “I don’t feel like it!” Instead, he went out back to take the picture. Now trust me, it doesn’t always go this way but on this day, he went with it! Seeing the picture reminded me that he didn’t really want to take the picture, but he did it, just to make me happy!

Are you willing to do something just because it makes your spouse happy? Maybe you are not married but you can relate to someone doing something just to make you happy. I believe this is one of the keys to a happy marriage. This week, I want to encourage you to do something special for your spouse just because you know it will make them happy. If you are not married you can still participate by praying about who God would have you to bless.

Before I go any further, let me just clarify, I am talking about doing good things. I am not talking about doing anything that is unlawful, unethical or contrary to the Word of God. Making your spouse happy may require you to do something that you don’t feel like doing, however, it’s okay to sacrifice, be inconvenienced and step out of your comfort zone to make your spouse happy. You may not do it every time but be mindful of this throughout your marriage years.

What’s really great is when both the husband and the wife have the same desire, to make each other happy. This is not a one-sided thing, the goal should be mutual. In I Corinthians 7:33-34 the Bible says “But he who is married cares about the things of the world–how he may please his wife. . . But she who is married cares about the things of the world –how she may please her husband. To please your spouse is to make them feel happy, satisfied or to give pleasure. If you are not sure about what really makes your spouse happy, ask them! After you ask, be intentional about doing it!

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

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