Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

“What are you thankful for?”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  There is so much to be thankful for, but today I specifically want to give thanks for God’s wonderful institution called MARRIAGE.  Hebrews 13:4 (AMP version) says;  “Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things.  And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste (all guilty of sexual vice) and adulterous.”  Marriage is  honorable!  When I think about marriage and everything that God intended for it to be, I thank Him!

Why am I specifically thankful for my M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E?

M = Mutual Companionship, Mirror God’s Image, Multiply the earth and Manage God’s Creation, these are the four main purposes of marriage.  Thank you Lord!

A = All that we have accomplished together with the help of the Lord. Thank you Lord!

R = Respect that we have for each other.  Thank you Lord!

R = Regular Romance.  Thank you Lord!

I = Intimacy (My marriage has definitely brought me closer to God and has brought us       closer to each other) . Thank you Lord!

A =Anguish (excruciating or acute distress, suffering or pain) Why? Because it has helped us to grow and made us better individually and together. Thank you Lord!

G = God made marriage and He is the Glue that holds it together. Thank you Lord!

E = Encouragement that we have been able to give to each other and other married couples on the marriage journey.  Thank you Lord!

Take some time today to let your spouse know how thankful you are for him/her.  Allow your actions to say the same.  Remember that it is a blessing to have a wife/husband and if you have children, remember that they are gifts from God.  There are many who would love to be married.  Let’s give God THANKS for marriage!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Why did I get married?”

 

“Why did I get married?”  Have you ever secretly asked yourself this question?  Many may not admit it, but they have.  Let’s discuss why a person would possibly ask this question shortly after marriage.  I could sum up the entire answer with one word,  “EXPECTATIONS.”  When your expectations (the thing you looked forward to) don’t line up with what is actually happening in your marriage, it produces a level of disappointment.

What are your expectations?  Did you discuss them with your significant other before you got married? Some people had secret expectations and did not discuss them, they just assumed that marriage would produce certain things.   Our expectations are the very things that we were looking forward to when we got married.  Everyone has different expectations, some were expecting; more love, true companionship, sex on a frequent basis, romantic date nights, children, help with raising children, more money, etc.  But what happens when these things don’t come or don’t happen as soon as you thought?    This is a challenge!

Cast your cares on the Lord for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).  I know it’s not easy, but keep being the best spouse that you can be.  Certainly you should discuss your thoughts and feelings with your spouse, but ultimately God is the one who will make the difference.  Much prayer is needed in these disappointing situations.  If you thought it would be one way and it really is another way, PRAY!  Seek godly counsel and apply what you learn.  Look for ways to improve your situation.  Aim to please each other.  Ask the Lord  for strength to endure and to bless you with the right attitude as you wait on your change.     You have to do something different to get different results.

Know that God is able!  He will perfect that which concerns you.  Not getting things the exact way that you envisioned is no reason to quit or give up.  Marriage takes work and requires making adjustments.  Both parties need to do the work and be patient with each other.  The ultimate goal should be to please each other and to have a marriage that brings honor to God.   Remember marriage is God’s institution.  Blessings to you!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“When things don’t go as planned”

Last Thursday, I was scheduled to be on a 6:20 AM flight to Chicago.  I was headed to the You Lead Women’s Conference and needed to be there before Friday.  I arrived at the airport around 5:15 AM and was told that my flight was canceled because it was snowing in Chicago.  I could hear God saying;  “Stay calm it’s going to be okay.”  I made a phone call to see if I could get another flight.  The next flight would not be leaving until 12:00 noon.  I called my husband to notify him of the change, and he prayed saying; “Thank you Lord, my wife has been delayed but not denied.” She can still go on her trip and make it to the conference.

This week’s post is just to encourage you because there may be some things that you want to see happen in your life, your marriage, your career or in your children, but it hasn’t happened yet.  There are some plans that are happening but not quite the way that you planned.   Know that God has not forgotten about you and that things don’t always go as we plan.  Some times when we pray,  God does not say no, but He delays the blessing.

An answer to prayer may be delayed because there are somethings that God wants to accomplish in us before He grants the request.  A delay is not a NO, it just means you have to wait on the Lord to grant your request.  It means not right now.  Psalm 27:14 says; “Wait  on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”  Isiah 39:18 says . . .”Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”

Waiting doesn’t always feel good, but wait!  When you are waiting on the Lord, you are trusting God’s timing. You don’t have to become anxious or worried because you know that your life is in God’s hands.  He will help you to wait on Him.  Pray and ask God to help you to accomplish His will while you wait.  In other words, use your wait time wisely and watch your attitude.  Look for God to teach you lessons while you wait.

I think it is interesting that the passage in Psalms says when we wait on the Lord, He shall strengthen your heart.  Our hearts can get weak while we are waiting but each time that we look to the Lord, He will strengthen our heart.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)

I was delayed for over 6 hours, but I was still able to make it to the conference.  Delayed but not denied.  I was perfectly okay because God wanted me to take some time to be still.  The unexpected cancellation forced me to be still, enjoy the presence of God and gave me time to read and study.  We must remember that things don’t always go as we plan, but ALL things work together for the good.  Understand that God has a reason for delays and when things don’t go as you have planned, trust God.  He will make things happen in His perfect timing.  Be encouraged!

 

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

“Can you accept your differences?”

“Men are from Mars and women are from Venus!”  I am sure you have heard this statement before and maybe you have even read the book.  Every one knows that men are different from women.  However, when you get married the differences are magnified.    One of the biggest challenges in the early years of marriage is seeing the differences, maintaining a good attitude and still being able to accept/like your spouse with all of his or her differences.  

I think of acceptance in two different ways.  First, there are some behaviors that you will see when you are married that are difficult to accept.  It may be not cleaning up after his/her self, not making up the bed or taking out the trash. Whatever the behavior, you must realize that your spouse has probably been accustomed to doing things this way all of his or her life.  When a man or woman gets married they bring their habits and their ways of doing things with them.    The very thing that you think everyone should know to do, may be the very thing that your spouse does not do.  You may feel like, I will not accept  . . .  So you spend your time trying to get your spouse to change.  Sometimes it works and some times you just have to accept the behavior and pray that God will change you, your spouse or the behavior. GOD is the BEST CHANGE AGENT!

Second, as you get to know your spouse and spend time together, you will learn somethings about each other that you may or may not like.  Somethings you can’t change so you have to learn to accept them.  Your spouse may or may not be exactly the way that you thought so when you realize that he or she isn’t quite the way that you imagined, you have to learn to accept the person you married.  Please don’t compare them with someone else.  Accept the fact that they are different and you married them.

TIPS ON ACCEPTING THE DIFFERENCES

  1. Take the differences to God in prayer daily.
  2. Ask God for grace and the right attitude as you learn to accept your spouse.
  3. Don’t keep nagging your spouse about your desire to see him/her change. (Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 warns us about being a nagging wife)
  4. Realize that your way of doing things isn’t the only way.
  5. Accept  and respect each other with all of your differences.
  6. Decide if the difference is really a big deal or not.  For example:  The way a person folds the towel or makes up a bed.  If it means a lot to you, keep praying about it.
  7. Be encouraged and know that it is normal to have to make adjustments when you are living with someone for the first time and learning to becoming one.

There are some behaviors that are not acceptable like abuse or behaviors that are a sin against God. I am not talking about accepting those kinds of differences.  I am talking about simple differences in habits and behaviors.      (A word to the singles:  It is so important to collect as much data as possible when you are dating.  When you see consistent behaviors that don’t line up with your lifestyle or the Word of God, leave that person alone.  Don’t  proceed in a relationship with hopes that the person will change later and don’t ignore when you see red flags.  STOP!)

I pray that this week’s post will help somebody.  It is not easy living with differences, but with God’s help you can do it.  I am a witness that it can get better if you hang in there and allow God to work on you and your spouse.   When your desire is to please God and to please your spouse, you will make adjustments.    Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  . . .

Until next time  . . .

Carolyn

 

“Don’t look back!”

 

Image result for dont look back free images Are you struggling with the past?   Mistakes, failures, sins,  pain, someone else’s past or even a life you once had can cause you to be stuck in the past.   This week’s focus is on letting things from the past go!  Remember Lot’s wife?  Maybe you are not familiar with this woman’s story but there are lessons that we can learn from Lot’s wife in the Bible.

In Genesis 19:15, Lot was urged by angels to take his wife and family out of the city of Sodom, because God was about to destroy it. The instructions were to; “Flee for your lives!  Don’t Look back!”  Lot hesitated because he did not want to abandon the wealth, position and comfort he enjoyed in Sodom.  (That’s a message right there, because there are some things that God wants us to put behind us and never look back, but we are too busy enjoying it).  When we enjoy doing something it will cause us to delay obedience and delayed obedience is disobedience.  Once God gives us a word, we need to obey.  The Bible says that the men grasped his hand and the hands of his family. The Lord was merciful by sending men to help Lot and his family move to safety.  Unfortunately, Lot’s wife decided to look back and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)

Lot’s wife turned back to look at the city of Sodom.  She is known for clinging to the past and being unwilling to turn completely away.  Are you looking back on your past?  Is there something that has you stuck;  An old relationship, a past hurt, mistake, or a life that you once had?   Looking back on the past will often hinder your current progress.  There are places that God wants to take you, but you can’t progress when when you are stuck in the past.

I don’t know about you, but I have experienced some things in the past that keep wanting to creep up in my thought life.  If I keep holding on to them or even turn my head to look back, they make me mad all over again.  Can you relate?  Let’s say someone said the wrong thing to you, mistreated you or simply hurt you.  You have a choice to hold onto it or let it go. Forgiveness is a choice!  You can keep looking back at the situation or move forward.  Sometimes our flesh just doesn’t want to let things go.  You can’t change what was said or what happened.  It happened!  You may or may not have received an apology, but you have got to let it go if you want to move forward!  We often want to hold on to it, keep talking about it and even share it with someone else but God wants us to let it go!  Holding on to the past can kill you!

Looking back to long for the past or being stuck in the past because of something that happened can have a negative impact on your life, your relationships, your health and your future. Many marriages are damaged because a spouse can’t let go of something from the past.  Examine yourself and see if there is anything that God wants you to let go.    It’s time to let it go!  Move forward and don’t look back!

Until next time . . . .

 

Carolyn

“Shhh!”

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Shhh. . .!  Sometimes it’s the best response.  This is one word that can make a marriage/relationship or break it!  You may have something to say, but you must use wisdom so that you can discern when to shhh and when you should speak. Over the past week, I have had more than one situation where I was talking to my husband and wanted to say something but God told me to shhh!  Each time, I listened and watched God move in the conversation without me saying what I was thinking.  This week’s post is focusing on the positive use of the word shhh in a marriage/relationship. 

I think everyone knows what it means to shhh!  However, let’s look at how it is defined: “To be quiet, shut up, stop talking  and to keep your voice down.”  If you learn when to shhh and when to speak, you can bless your spouse or whoever you are communicating with without saying a word. Spoken words are just like the toothpaste in the tube, once they come out, you can’t put them back.  You can apologize or say that you didn’t mean to say something, but you can’t get them back.  It is so important to know how to properly put this word into practice.   If you shhh out of anger, or shut down to stop communicating with your spouse for a long period of time, this can be harmful.  God never intends for us to shhh because we are holding a grudge or getting revenge.

Proverbs 17:27-28 (NIV) says; “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.  Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”  When communicating,  we really need to know when to hold our tongues. If we pray about it, God will give us wisdom to discern when we need to shhh, when we need to speak and what we should say.   Thinking it, does not mean that you have to say it. You don’t always have to be the teacher, allow God’s Holy Spirit to speak and  to teach.   Ecclesiastes 3:7 (NIV) says;   “There is a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” 

There are some lessons that God wants to teach us, but the lesson is learned best when we are silent.  Be intentional about asking God when He wants you to say something.   God speaks and sometimes He really wants us to shhh!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

“Can you suffer and still be kind?”

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“For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health . . .”  I remember saying these vows on my wedding day,  but in my mind, I only focused on the positive side; for better, for richer and in health (smile).  No one wants to go into a relationship focusing on the worse, the poorer and being in sickness.  However, if you are married long enough, you will experience each part of your vows.  This week’s post is a focus on the challenging side of the vows, times when things are not so good.  One word that sums it all up is to SUFFER.    How do you handle your times of suffering?

First, let’s be reminded of  what it means to suffer.  The dictionary defines the word suffer as:

  1. To undergo or feel pain or distress
  2. To sustain injury, disadvantage or loss
  3. To endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly
  4. To endure, undergo or be subjected to anything unpleasant

Are you suffering right now?  Have you ever had to suffer?  Do you know someone who is suffering? Suffering not only takes place in marriage, it also happens in other relationships, in your health,  on your job, in your church or in ministry. It seems as if, when you love someone or something, the love is often tested by having a season of suffering.   Some don’t make it through this season because they can’t take the suffering.  Suffering will cause you to say and do somethings that you may have never thought.  However, when you suffer with God, He will keep you and sustain you.   “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!”  Remember; “With God all things are possible!”

I Corinthians 13 is a popular chapter in the Bible about love.  It is often read at weddings.  Verses 4-7 (NKJV) says; “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The entire passage is powerful!   Let’s just focus on the fact that, LOVE SUFFERS LONG AND IS KIND.  The word kind is defined as; of a good or benevolent (expressing goodwill) nature or disposition, as a person, having or showing benevolence, being indulgent (to yield to), considerate or helpful, mild and gentle.  You have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ to suffer and be kind.  Only God and spending time with Him and His Word can make you be kind in the midst of suffering.  As humans, we don’t have the ability to do it by ourselves.  We need God’s Holy Spirit to fill us while we are suffering so that we can still be kind.  God is able!

Perhaps this does not apply to you right now.  However, at some point in your life you or someone you know will suffer. Keep living!   May God’s grace, love and strength carry you through your season of suffering.  Know that it is just a season and it will not last always.  They say; “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”    Be encouraged and know that God loves you!

Until next week .  .  .

 

Carolyn

 

“It’s Our 21st Wedding Anniversary!”

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It was August 8, 1998 at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Maryland where we were united as husband and wife.  The church was filled with family and friends, Pastor John K. Jenkins, Sr. was the officiant.  It was a beautiful day, just like today!

It is August 8, 2019 and this week’s post is to celebrate and commemorate our 21st year of marriage.  Only God can keep two different people from two different places with two different mind sets living together in harmony for this long.  To God be the glory!

I thank God for giving me a wonderful husband, friend, lover, father to our beautiful children and companion in ministry.  I praise God for keeping us through storms, rain, sickness and through pain.  I am so glad that, I married a man who loves God and loves me.  Thank you Lord!

One of our greatest pleasures is serving other couples.  When we first got married, God gave us an assignment to do everything that we could to help build and encourage strong marriages and families.  This is our passion, and I really believe that it has been one of the many keys to keeping our marriage together!

Early in our marriage we created a mission statement, and I encourage all couples to have a mission.  Pray about it!  Singles can also have a mission.  Having a mission has helped us to be intentional about doing what God has called us to do for 21 years. We have used our last name to create our mission.   What is your mission?  Here is ours:

T = TIME WITH GOD (Praying, Reading the Word and Regular Worship) Matt. 6:33

A = ATTITUDE (Our attitude determines our altitude, think positive!) Phil. 4:8

T = TOGETHERNESS (Regular time together as a couple and as a family)  Psalm 133:1

E = EXAMPLE (To be an example of a believer and godly family)  Phil. 4:12

M = MINISTRY (To show the love of God by serving others in our home or wherever God Leads.  Our passion is to help build godly marriages).  Col. 3:17

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

“Let’s talk face to face!”

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Today we live in a world where people are more likely to communicate via text, email, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or some type of social media.  Technology has driven us to the point that we are having less face to face conversations.  There is so much that our relationships lose when when we don’t talk face to face.  This week, I want to encourage you to have more face to face talks with the ones that you love. 

In the midst of one of my devotions, I was reading a passage and the words FACE TO FACE leaped off the page.  I want to share it with you.

III John verses 13 and 14 (NIV):  “I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.”

John is saying that he has a lot to say, but he doesn’t want to write it or text it (lol). That is a lesson right there, when you have a lot to say, don’t text it!   He is saying that he will wait to talk face to face. This chapter is about the need for showing hospitality.  Talking face to face is demonstrating hospitality.  As we work on building better relationships with our spouse, children, friends and family, there comes a time when you really need to talk face to face.  Put the phone and the computer down, and talk face to face.  Make time!  Have you ever noticed that people will write things in a text or an email, that they will never say to you face to face?  Why is this?

Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we are allowing technology to rob us of the blessings that come with talking face to face.   Here are some benefits that other forms of communicating can never provide:

  1. You get to have live feedback
  2. You get to see a person’s facial expressions 
  3.  You get to see their body language (nonverbal, conscious or unconscious gestures and movements that have a lot to do with interpreting what is being said)
  4. You can hear the tone of voice
  5. You can better interpret a person’s feelings

Be intentional about scheduling some time to talk face to face!  One day my son and I were both in the house but in different rooms, and he sent me a text to ask a question.  I was getting ready to respond in a text, but the Lord stopped me.  He said go into the room where your son is and talk face to face.   In some situations you should not settle for a text or a phone conversation, meet face to face.   Check yourself and your relationships.  Is God calling you to meet with someone to talk face to face?

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

“I didn’t see it coming!”

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I didn’t see it coming is this week’s topic. I usually don’t have a subtopic, but I would like to subtitled this post as;  “Who let the dogs out?” (Lol!). Keep reading and you will understand why.

Have you ever had a bad experience in life or in your marriage that makes you say; “I didn’t see it coming?”  When you think about the experience, God reminds you of warnings that He gave you, but perhaps you didn’t act accordingly.  Warnings are very important because they advise alertness and give us notice of dangers ahead.   We have a choice in how we react to God’s warnings.  We can disregard them, forget about them or we can pay attention to the warning by using corrective action.  How do you respond to God’s warnings?  

Yesterday morning, I went for a walk in my neighborhood. Before I got to the end of my street, I was approached by three small dogs.  The dogs were barking loudly and before I knew it, they were standing at my feet and legs.  I had a towel in my hand and tried to use the towel to fight them off.  One of the dogs tried to bite me, but thankfully, he bit my pants leg and not into my skin.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see it coming because my head was down and my eyes were buried in my cell phone.  I was in the midst of sending a text (not good).  Thankfully, before the dogs tried to bite me again, the owner came running to the rescue. Praise Our God!!!

As I reflect on what happened yesterday, God begin speaking to me.  Many of the lessons learned are related to our relationship with God and our relationship with our spouse.

  1. Cover your spouse and family in prayer every day.  Pray for their protection.  We never know what a day will bring.  Yesterday morning when my husband prayed, he specifically prayed for my protection as I walked.  I believe it was the prayer that covered me.  There were three dogs and the one who tried to bite my leg was unsuccessful.
  2. When you walk, be observant of your surroundings at all times.  You should not have your head buried in a cell phone.  If my head was up, I would have seen the dogs coming.  Here I was sending a text while danger was right in front of me (SMH). It’s illegal to text while driving, perhaps I should apply this same rule to walking.  Our cell phones can be a blessing, but when we are texting or on the phone at the wrong time this is dangerous.  Don’t ignore your surroundings or the people in your presence.
  3. Pay attention to the warnings that God sends.  At least on two occasions, other neighbors told me to always walk with a walking stick.  I forgot all about this and left home without my walking stick. If I would have seen them coming and had the stick, the dogs would not have gotten as close as they did.

God is a good Father, and He sends us warnings to prepare us and to protect His children.  However, we must take heed.  God will give us warnings about things pertaining to our life, marriage, children, career, etc.  However, we must pay attention, listen to Him and make the necessary adjustments.  If not, danger could be ahead, and you won’t see it coming.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:3 says; “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Until next week .  . .

 

Carolyn

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