Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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“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

 

 

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“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

“Are you playing house?”

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We live in a world where “playing house” has become more acceptable.  “Playing house, shacking up, cohabiting, living together” are terms  that refer to couples who choose to live together before getting married.  They act as if they are married and often have expectations of each other as if they are in a covenant relationship.

About forty years ago this was referred to as “living in sin” and it was more hush hush, but thats not the case today.   The world says that living together is okay, but what does God say?   Now if you are not interested in what God says, none of this matters, you will do what you want.  However, if you are a Christian (to be Christ like), you should be concerned about the way that God wants you to live.   

First, lets look at some of the reasons why couples choose to live together.  Here are some of the things that I have heard people say:

  1. It’s cheaper, and I can’t afford to live on my own.
  2. We are planning to save money.
  3. He or she helps me with my bills/kids.
  4. We plan to get married one day.
  5. I am afraid that he/she will leave me if we don’t live together.
  6. God knows my heart.
  7. We need to see if we are compatible first.
  8. I love him/her.
  9. We can live together and not have sex.

Second, what does the Bible say about  “playing house?”  

  1.  Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Don’t be conformed to what this world is doing)
  2. I Thessalonians 5:22Abstain from every form of evil.  (Don’t pretend to be something that you are not)
  3. Ephesians 5:17 – Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  (Understand what God’s will is for your life)
  4. Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of God s dear children. (Act like Christ)
  5. Ephesians 5:8 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. (Your BC (Before Christ) lifestyle should be different from you AC (After Christ) lifestyle.
  6. I Corinthians 7:9 – But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
  7. Hebrews 13:4Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
  8. I Corinthians 6:18Flee sexual immorality.  Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins agains his own body.
  9. I Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, your sanctification:  that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor not in passion of lusts, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
  10. Galatians 5:16-17 – I say then:  Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

If you are a Christian, don’t allow the ways of this world to make you believe that “playing house” is okay with God.  If you are “playing house” and you are ready stop, pray and trust God for a way out.  I know it’s easier said then done, but God will provide.  God will always make a way for you to do His will!  I have seen him do it!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn .

 

“When was the last time you . . .”

When was last time you had a meal at the table with your spouse/children?  As we approach the summer months, many are on the go enjoying the warm weather.  Being on the go may mean more meals away from home.  This week, I want to encourage you to have as many meals as possible with your family at the table. 

The table is an anointed place to sit and have meals with the ones you love.  The first table was created for the Tabernacle in Biblical times.  All of the measurements were given in  Exodus 25:23-30.  The table was there for the priests to gather together to eat the Bread of the Presence in God’s presence.  “And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.” (Exodus 25:30)

Perhaps if we could see the table as a place to bring our families and to sit in God’s presence, we would be more intentional about bringing our marriages, families and friends to the table.  On the other hand, this is why the enemy tries to keep families away from having meals at the table.  He does not want us  to come into the presence of God.  He knows the power of God’s presence and that there are so many benefits to coming to  the table.   Just to name a few; there is love, joy, healing, wisdom and restoration in His presence.

When I think about a table, here is what comes to my mind:                                                   T = Time together to talk to God (through prayer), thanking Him for our food and asking for a blessing over whatever we have to eat.  Talking to our family members/friends.

A = Anointed by God to bless families and relationships.  Also, accessories such as;  table decorations, flowers, placemats, a candle and dishes that help to make the table attractive.

B – Breaking bread together and building stronger relations.  Bonding takes place each time that families come to the table.  It is also, a good idea to read and discuss Bible verses  at the table.

L = Listening and Love should be at the table.  Listen to find out what is on the heart and mind of your loved ones.  Research says that children who have regular meals at the table perform better academically and emotionally.  More importantly, Our Lord Jesus the Christ’s wants to meet us a the table.

E = Eating and looking into the the Eyes of your loved ones.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a home cooked meal or a store bought meal, eating at the table together is a blessing.  If you are single, you are not alone, Jesus will dine with you.  Giving each other eye contact while eating allows you to see what you wouldn’t ordinarily see.  

Jesus wants to meet us with his presence at the table.  Prepare a meal and gather your family around the table as often as you can.

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

“Romance: Is it Rocking or Rocky?”

Is romance realistic?  Many couples are busy doing life, raising children and working  hard to achieve and maintain their dreams.  Therefore, the talk of romance seems to be placed on the back burner.  Is romance realistic or is it only for the movies?  When was the last time you experienced a romantic moment?  Was it just yesterday, last week, month or years ago?  This week’s topic is all about romance.  Take a minute to evaluate your marriage. Is there romance?  If so, would you describe it as rocking or rocky?  

First, let’s define “Romance.”  What is it?  The dictionary defines romance as; a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.  Also, to court or to woo romantically.   I believe men and women like to be romanced.  However, women really need romance to precede physical intimacy.

Second, let’s define  “Rocking vs Rocky Romance.” Rocking is a slang word which means that it is very good, impressive, exciting or effective.  Are you satisfied with the romance in your marriage?  Sometimes it doesn’t take much; its just being thoughtful or adding a special touch.  Often times when people think about romance, they think about getting flowers, candy, or having a special dinner.  Perhaps you haven’t thought about it because you have adjusted to the everyday routines of life.  Having a “Rocky Romance” means that it is physically unsteady, weak and shaky. I am sure everyone can remember a time when the romance was rocky especially, if you have been married for any length of time.  However, that should only be temporary.

Here is how I define Romance:

  1. R= Remember to be romantic.  (Be intentional!) Plan something special!
  2. O= Open to new things.  Don’t be afraid to go where you have never gone and to do what you have never done together.  Be open!
  3. M= Make it a mystery.  You don’t have to explain everything, surprise your spouse.
  4. A= Affection and take time to Ask your spouse about their wants and desires.
  5. N= Nourish your spouse by being kind, thoughtful and woo your husband/wife,
  6. C= Court him/her with cute conversations (Date often, be careful about your conversation).  The wrong conversation can turn off the romantic mood.
  7. E= Exciting and effective.  Make it fun and aim to please.

God created romance and throughout the Bible there are scriptures about romance.  Song of Solomon is a book filled with romantic verses.  The Shulamite woman speaks to her Beloved in such a romantic way.  Just as God put romance in the Bible, we must include romance in our every day marriage.  Summer is almost here, and the weather is  great.  Make time for romance and keep it Rocking!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

 

“Are you a Nevertheless type of Person?”

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Yesterday morning my mind was going down Negative Boulevard because of various things that have happened.  However, as I listened to a word on the radio, my mind could not stay on Negative Boulevard, it had to make a turn on Positive Street.  Hope, joy and trust in the Lord began to be my focus.  All because of this amazing word, NEVERTHELESS!   The question for this week is; Are you a Negative Person or a Nevertheless Person?  

The Negative person sees the current situation with no hope in mind.  It may very well be a challenging situation, it may very well be dark, and it could honestly be painful.  However, the Nevertheless Person does not end the sentence with a negative or in hopelessness. Because of Jesus, every negative situation can be viewed with a nevertheless perspective.  When we believe, we open the door for God to provide a nevertheless blessing.

In studying the world NEVERTHELESS, I learned that this word has 245 occurrences (13 translations) in the Bible.  It is defined as; nonetheless, notwithstanding; however, in spite of that.  It also means; without being opposed or prevented by something.   When I see the word nevertheless, I can’t help but see the positive because, I see three words; NEVER, THE, LESS.  Therefore, I interpret that to mean that Our God would never  do the less or never give us the less.  He is a God of more, and more than enough, exceedingly and abundantly. (Ephesians 3:20)

However, it is so important that we speak NEVERTHELESS blessings over our lives, marriages, families and our finances.  On the other side of nevertheless is the power of God which makes a difference in every situation, but you must believe!  Our faith moves God.   Speak it and believe that God never wants the less for you. 

Here are two examples of  NEVERTHELESS in the natural and in scripture:

  1. It rained, nevertheless, we still proceeded on our journey.  This means we proceeded in opposition to the rain, without regarding it or without preventing it. In other words, the rain could have presented a challenge, but we still proceeded.  I can relate to this in marriage.  We have had some challenges and difficult days, NEVERTHELESS God has seen us through.
  2. Psalm 73:21-23 says, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind.  I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.  Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You will guide me with Your counsel . . .  “

I pray that no matter what you are going through, you will see the NEVERTHELESS Perspective and be the NEVERTHELESS Person.  In spite of the way things may look and in spite of how things may actually be right now, God is ABLE!

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

 

“Take time to honor”

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers, grandmothers and those who are like mothers.  It’s an honor to be a mother.   Some mothers are at the beginning of their journey with new born babies and toddlers (Congratulations!), some are in the middle with school aged children/teens and some have been on this journey long enough to have adult children.  No matter which part of the journey, you are a mother, and this weekend is all about honoring you!

Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”  To honor is to show high respect, worth, to accept their authority, love them, care for them and it may even mean providing for them.  There are many ways to show honor to the woman who bought you into this world.  Yes, we should honor them every day.  However, this weekend is a special time so, do something special!

I give honor to God and to the two women who raised me; my mom and grandmother. I praise God that both of them are still here, and I am thankful for every thing that they did to raise me. I love you both!  Thank you, thank you and thank you!

As I reflect on both of my moms, I realize that this is a challenging weekend for those whose moms are no longer here.  May God comfort you, bless you and allow you to reflect on the wonderful memories of your mother.  Happy Mother’s Day to ALL!  Enjoy your weekend!

With Love . . .  .

Carolyn

 

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