Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

“Seven Coronavirus Survival Skills”

 

I know we have bought more of these products than we have ever bought before.  So much so, that the stores are sold out!  Everyone is trying to survive!  Originally this was all we thought we needed to help protect us.  As we learn more about the Coronavirus, reports are saying that these items are helpful but they don’t prevent you from getting the virus.  Surviving this season will take more than having these products.  There are some things that we need to do mentally, physically and spiritually.  Here are Seven Survival Skills that I want to encourage you practice.

  1. Savior Start your day by seeking God first. Spend regular time in prayer, praise and worship. Draw closer to God like never before.  Pray about every concern.  God will give you peace in the midst of everything.  (James 4:8 and Matthew 6:33)
  2. Scripture – Study Scripture by reading and meditating on God’s Word daily. Focus on the promises of God.  (I Peter 2:2)
  3. Self Care & Safety Take time to nurture you.  Eat, exercise and do what you need to do to nourish yourself. Follow the safety guidelines being given about COVID-19 (I Corinthians 3:16)
  4. ServeTo serve is to be useful, to work or to help.  Work from home, help family members, friends and neighbors (especially seniors) Allow God to use you.(Colossians 3:23)
  5. Share Ask God who He wants you to share with.  Look for opportunities to share what you have. (Ephesians 2:10)
  6. Sister/brotherhoodCheck on each other.  Stay connected, make phone calls, send a text or email. (John 3:16-18)
  7. Stay SavedWalk in obedience to God.  Apply His Word to your life, do His will and follow His way.  Do the righteous thing.  (Psalm 119:9)

Let’s keep putting these skills into practice!  The Coronavirus is not a surprise to God.  In spite of how things may look, God is in control.  Be encouraged and fear not!  You are a survivor! Special thanks to God for keeping us in the midst of it all.  Also, thanks to all of the first responders who are literally helping people to survive.  Blessings to you and your families.

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

 

“Vows in the midst of the Virus”

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“I Carolyn Ausby, take you, William Tatem, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.”  Does this sound familiar? I remember saying these vows over twenty years ago.    How many of you remember saying them or attended a wedding and heard someone else say them?   Many say these vows, but unfortunately, there are many who do not keep these vows. “A vow is a solemn promise to do a specified thing.”  As we all endure this season of the “Coronavirus better known as COVID-19, I want to encourage us all to remember the promises of God and for married couples to remember their vows to each other.  

Some marriages/families are being impacted more than others.  A husband/wife has loss his/her job, or is experiencing a decrease in income.  Some are working in front line professions and have to be a way from their families for long hours to serve,  some have loved ones who are sick or in a facility where they can not receive visitors right now.   In the midst of it all, some have loss loved ones and have funerals to attend.  Let me not forget the expectant moms who are preparing to deliver and bring a precious gift into the world.  The job of being a parent is on like never before because many are use to sending their kids to school for a break.  However, schools are closed and many students are working from home.

With all of that being said, I want to encourage every couple to hang in there!  Remember the vows that God has made to you and the vows that you have made to each other.  No matter how challenging life may be, go to LOVE (God) to get love and keep giving it to your spouse and to your family.  God will see us through!   When you feel depleted because of everything going on, that is usually a sign that you need to spend some more time with LOVE (God).  God has an unlimited supply of everything that we need.  He NEVER runs out.  If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure need Him now!  Draw closer to God and watch Him draw closer to you (James 4:8).

I also want to encourage us all married or single to remember the vows/promises that God has made to us.  Here are a few to mediate on in the midst of the virus.

  1. Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  2. Isaiah 20:31 – “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
  3. Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”
  4. Deuteronomy 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.”
  5. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  6. Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
  7. 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’

Let us use this as a time to remember the vows that God has made to us and the vows that we have made to each other.  God will see us through!

 

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“Can You Disconnect to Connect?”

     Emails, text messages, voicemails, tweets, messages in Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook messages are being sent every minute of the day.   Do you respond to them all?   In most cases, there is something waiting to be read or someone awaiting a response from you. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, we are ON all the time and people have easy access 24/7.  Staying connected is generally a good thing, but there are times when we need to disconnect in order to connect with the people who are most important.  This week’s post is to challenge you to evaluate your use of technology and see if there is anything that you may need to do differently. 

The question is, “Can you disconnect to connect?”  Do you have periods in your day where you disconnect from it all?  Can you put the phone down for any length of time without having to give a response?   I want to challenge you as I also take the challenge to disconnect for various times throughout the day.  Let’s be intentional about disconnecting throughout the day to connect in the following ways:

  1.  Connect to God – Start your day by connecting to God in prayer and reading God’s Holy Word.  The BIBLE is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth and we must take time to connect with God through reading His instructions.  Before you get connected to your phone, computer or any other device, get connected to the Lord.  (Matthew 6:33 and James 4:8)
  2. Connect to Your Spouse – There are so many couples killing their time with each other because of the cell phone.  When you have a date night or dinner with your spouse, challenge yourself to give your undivided attention.  Take time to look into your spouse’s eyes without picking up your phone to send a text, email or to check social media.  When you are in bed with your spouse, don’t invite other people in by being on the phone.
  3. Connect to your Children – When you pick your children up from school, are you always on the phone?  Give them 100% of you when you are in their presence as much as possible.  Sometimes we are so connected with everything and everybody else while we are disconnected from our children.  Remember they are gifts from God. (Psalm 127:3)
  4. Connect to family and friends – Did you realize that you can be sitting directly in front of someone and not connect?  Your body is present but your mind and attention is far away in the phone.  (Check out the picture above)  So often, I see people sitting at the table together but their attention is on the phone and not with the person.

Remember that time is precious!  Value and treasure the time that you get to spend with God, your spouse, your children, family and friends.  Don’t take them for granted.  Disconnect so that you can connect!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Myths about marriage”

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Many believe that marriage will solve all of their problems.  Therefore, some rush to get married with hopes that it will fix everything.  Marriage is God’s wonderful institution and it can bring lots of joy.  I praise God for 21 years of marriage.  However, it does not solve all of your problems.

I Corinthians 7:28 (NIV) says, “But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries she has not sinned, But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”  There are some problems that one would think that marriage should solve, but it does not.  Here are four problems that marriage will not solve.  1)Loneliness  2) Sexual temptation  3) Satisfaction of one’s deepest emotional needs and 4) Elimination of life’s difficulties.  Let me explain further.

MYTH # 1:  LONELINESS

“If I get married, I will no longer be lonely.”  One study revealed that 62.5% of people who reported being lonely were married and living with their spouse.  How does this happen?  You can be in the same house but never connect to your spouse.  Especially if you live in a large enough space where both the husband and the wife can physically be separated in their own home.  It is so important for couples to connect in conversation and create shared experiences to combat loneliness.

MYTH #2:  SEXUAL TEMPTATION

“If I get married, I will not have to deal with sexual temptation.”  Although sex should take place within the walls of marriage, sexual temptation does not leave because you are married.  You can be married and be tempted to have sex outside of your spouse.  Marriage alone does not make you do the right thing.  Being committed to God and to the covenant that you made with your spouse makes you do the right thing. With God, we can all resist the wrong things.  God is a keeper!

MYTH #3:  EMOTIONAL NEEDS AND LIFE CHALLENGES

“If I get married, my deepest emotional needs will be met.” I will be satisfied, happy and content once I find the right one.”  This is not totally true.  You can be married and still not feel loved, dealing with depression. fear, sorrow, anxiety and anger.  Your spouse will not be equipped to meet all of your deepest emotional needs.  Only God is able to meet your every need.

MYTH #4:  ELIMINATION OF LIFE’S DIFFICULTIES 

“If I  am a Christian and I marry a Christian, we will not have any challenges.”  I wish this were the case.  However, it is probably the opposite.  Every marriage has its challenges but you may even have more challenges as a Christian Couple.  The enemy of your marriage wants to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).  However, God is able to help you through every difficulty.  Fight for you marriage!

As wonderful as marriage is, it does not automatically solve all of your problems.  This is a myth!  Married or single we must be content with whatever our situation and put our focus on Christ.  He truly is the answer for everyone of our problems.

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Who are you aiming to please?”

It’s Valentine’s Day and many want to be pleased.  Some have dreams of what they would like to see happen;  a romantic dinner, movie, a romantic get-away, a night out on the town,  or maybe some roses and chocolates.  All of these things are nice to receive and may be pleasing to you.  The question for today is; “Who are you aiming to please?”  Your answer may vary based on whether you are married or single.   The Bible speaks to both the married and unmarried about who we should aim to please.

I Corinthians 7:33-34 says; “But I want you to be without care.  He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord how he may please the Lord.  But he who is married cares about the things of the world how he may please his wife.  There is a difference between a wife and a virgin.  The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.  But she who is married cares about the things of the world how she may please her husband.  

Let’s look at the meaning of the word please.   To please is to cause to feel happy and satisfied.  It also means to take only one’s own wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed.  So as singles, your number one focus should be to please the Lord in body and in spirit.  Ask yourself;  “Is what I am about to do pleasing to the Lord?” “Are my thoughts pleasing to the Lord?”   Finding ways to please the Lord should be your number one desire.  Your devotion should be to the Lord and your desire should be to please Him in every way.

Yes, married people should aim to please the Lord too, but their focus is divided with the cares of the world and in pleasing their spouse.  Imagine how different marriages would be if every husband really aimed to please his wife and if every wife aimed to really please her husband.  Are you aiming to please?   Do the things that you know brings pleasure to your husband/wife (providing it’s nothing that is contrary to the Word of God) and God will be pleased.   Marriages are stronger and more satisfying when each spouse is pleased.

I pray right now for a pleasing spirit to come over every reader.  May we all aim to please God and may every married person aim to please their spouse.  In Jesus’ Name Amen!

 

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

“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

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