Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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“Teach me how to love”

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  Although we should show love everyday, today is a special day to celebrate love.  As I think about love in a marriage or love in any good relationship, these words come to my mind; “Teach me how to love!”  This is a prayer to the Lord, have you ever asked God to teach you how to love?

In John 14:21 God tells us how to love him.  He says; “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  In other words, Jesus wants us to show our love for him by obeying him.  It’s nice to say; “I love you!”  However, love is more than lovely words; it is commitment and conduct.  Love is an action word.  If you love Christ, then prove it by obeying what he says in his Word.

Commitment and conduct are key words to demonstrating our love.  When it comes to marriage and other relationships we must go to God to get love and to give love.  God teaches us how to love each other (See I Corinthians 13).  When you feel like you have given all that you can give you must go to Love (God) and get a fresh supply.  God has an unlimited supply, and he freely gives us love.

The point that I want to make this week is that it is important for us to understand how to love one another especially, in a marriage relationship.  When a spouse feels like their love tank is low or empty, problems will arise.  As a spouse, our goal should be to help keep each other’s love tank full.  If you are going to fill your spouse’s love tank, you have to know how.

KEYS TO FILLING A LOVE TANK

I have three suggestions:  First, spend daily time with God so that God can fill your love tank.  If you are going to be a good lover, you should spend daily time with Love (God).    Second, ask your spouse what makes him/her feel loved, and do your best to love them that way.  Third, pray and ask God to teach you how to love your spouse and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak.  God knows your spouse better than your spouse knows his or her self.  He will tell you things to do or things to say that will speak love to your spouse.  God’s Holy Spirit is the best love teacher!  

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

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“Cures for Conflicts”

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Conflict doesn’t feel good, but it happens!  Do you deal with it or avoid it?  When it happens, there are a few things that can be done to help cure the conflict.

C = Communicate to express your concern, issue, disagreement, etc. When you can’t work it out, seek Godly Counsel.  (Matt. 18:15-17)

O = Omit past mistakes and deal with the present issue. (I Corin. 13:5)

N = Never go to bed angry and never threaten to divorce. (Ephesians 4:26, 29)

F = Forgive one another and don’t Fight! Keep your hands to yourself and don’t get in a person’s face in the midst of conflict.  (Ephesians 4:32, II Timothy 2:24)

L = Listen to the person speaking.  Don’t lie!  Lies make conflict worst.  Keep displaying  love! (James 1:19)

I = Invite God in by praying about the situation. (Phil. 4:6-7)

C = Confidential:  Everyone does not need to know about your conflict. (Prov. 17:9)

T = Tone:  Watch your tone, temper and  your tongue.  Don’t yell, use curse words, slam doors or say anything that you may regret.  Pick a good time to talk.  (Colossians 4:6)

God has a cure for every conflict that we have.  Sometimes we will not see eye to eye on a given situation.  Cast your cares, concerns and conflicts on the Lord.  He can handle it!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“What is your conduct in conflict?”

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     Have you ever disagreed with your spouse, child,  family member, friend or a co-worker?  Of course you have, we are human, and we will not always agree or see things the same way.  Conflict is inevitable!  The question for this week is; “What is your conduct in the midst of the conflict?” 

Your conduct is your personal behavior or the way that you act.  We have conflict when we come into a collision, clash or disagreement with someone.  It can also mean you are in a battle, fight or just struggling with someone or something.  Think about the last conflict that you had, how did you handle it?  What was your behavior?  

Your answer to this question is important to God.  He already knows how you conduct yourself.  We know that God is omniscient and omnipresent which means that He has complete, unlimited knowledge, and  that He is present everywhere at the same time.  God sees the way that you respond, talk and treat others in the midst of the conflict.  So if He were to grade you on how well you conduct yourself in the midst of conflict what would your grade be?

I think many of us can look for ways to earn a higher grade.  One of the first lessons that I learned when having conflict in my marriage is that it is not okay to behave anyway that I want, when I am angry.   Cursing, name calling, physically fighting, not speaking for days is not okay with God.

Two verses that have convicted me about my behavior is:     I Corinthians 13:4-6  which says;  that love suffers long and it is kind.  When you are in the midst of conflict, you may feel like you are suffering and maybe you are.  Suffering for a long time and being kind do not go together in the human mind.  However, with God, we can suffer and still be kind!  I am a witness!  This passage goes on to say that love does not behave rudely.  This means, you don’t have permission to be discourteous, impolite, rough, harsh or ungentle.  

God knows that there are people and situations that will make us angry however, his word says; “Be angry and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).   This verse has taught me that it is okay to get angry, but we have to control our behavior so that we do not sin.  It also tells us not to carry the anger to bed,  let it go.  Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and be okay with it.

Next week, I will continue to discuss dealing with conflict.  Today, I want to encourage you to spend some time examining your conduct.  Pray and ask God if He is pleased? Be intentional about displaying better behavior in the midst of your conflicts.    

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“Are you keeping score?”

If your answer is yes, what kind of score are you keeping?  Is it a positive score or a negative one?  Just like with any sport there is a scorekeeper, we tend to keep score in our relationships and in marriage.  As we strive to maximize our marriages in 2019, I want to encourage you to keep a positive score.  This simply means focus on the positive things about your spouse and marriage, not the negative.

A scorekeeper  is very attentive to the game and to the players.  He or she tracks the positive and the negative.  They are known to keep track of a players statistics such as; the number of rebounds or shots taken (positive).  On the other hand, a scorekeeper also tracks a players number of penalties and fouls (negative). As a scorekeeper in marriage you can keep track of the positives or the negatives of your spouse.  You may be thinking, I don’t keep score and that’s fine. However, one of the things that will keep you appreciative of your spouse and help you to have a happy marriage is reflecting on the positives.

Have you every heard the term “brownie points?”  Brownie points are points that  one gets for doing something good or for earning favor in the eyes of another.  When your spouse does something good or something that you appreciate, don’t take it for granted.  Take time to say thank you, show appreciation and in some cases give a reward.   Choose to focus on the good instead of the bad, the positive instead of the negatives.  Every spouse has some good points, affirm them.  Thank God for the positives and make a commitment to pray about the negatives.  Focusing on the negative points will make you dissatisfied  with your spouse and unhappy.  God doesn’t do that with us and we shouldn’t keep negative scores.  Psalm 130:3 says, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

Our God is the best scorekeeper.  He sees our positives and our negatives and still loves us regardless.  Praise God He doesn’t hold our negatives against us. If you are going to keep score, keep track of all of the positive points and release the negatives.  Focusing on the good qualities and giving positive points add up to a happy marriage!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

“Maximize Your Marriage in 2019”

marriageHappy New Year!  This is my first post for 2019.  We are 15 days into the new year, and I am sure you have thought about things that you want to accomplish.  Hopefully, you have set some goals and made a list of things that you want to accomplish.  Perhaps you even have a prayer list for 2019,  many have started the year with prayer and fasting.

If you are married, I have a question for you; “Is your marriage on your prayer list?”  My marriage certainly is, and as I thought about what I would like for God to do, I could sum it up with one word, MAXIMIZE!  The dictionary defines Maximize as; to increase to the greatest possible amount or degree, to make the greatest.  Lord please maximize my marriage!  Make it what you want it to be, make it better to the greatest degree.  Anybody with me on this one?   Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask God!

I love acrostics so lets break down the word Maximize to get some action steps for 2019.

  1. M = Meet your spouse’s needs.  (Ask your spouse the top 2-3 things that he/she needs from you on a regular basis, make it your business to meet their need) . Luke 6:31
  2. A = Ask God to help you on a daily basis.  (Pray with your spouse and pray individually ) I Thessalonians 5: 16-18
  3. X = X out the past hurts, mistakes and forgive. Ephesians 4:32 
  4. I = Intentional Intimacy  (Get closer to each other, give the affection that is due to your spouse) I Corinthians 7:7
  5. M = Make time for each other.  Be sure that your spouse is your #1 Human Priority.  (Go on dates, have regular time together without distractions (put the phone, computer, tv and anything else away) Hebrews 13:4 
  6. I = Imitate Christ.  In other words, what would Jesus do?  Operate in the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)
  7. Z = Zest!  To have zest is to impart flavor in your marriage.  Keep it fresh, have some fun and add some flavor.  Go somewhere different, wear something different or do it a different way.  Add some Zest! Proverbs 5:18
  8. E = Everlasting Love – Love never fails! Follow God’s example in  I Corinthians 13

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

“You would never know!”

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Have you ever heard someone tell you something that they have gone through and when you see them, you would never have known?  I was just making this statement about my 16 year old son who had an issue with his heart and in November 2017 he had surgery.  It was a 6 hour procedure, but God corrected the problem and brought him through.  When you see him, you would never know.  Like my son, there are so many people who can testify about how God has brought them through something major and you would never know by looking at them.  Why is that?    As we prepare to close out 2018, let’s reflect on the goodness of God and his many attributes. 

The reason people can go through major situations and don’t look like it is because our God is a keeper, healer, sustainer, protector, provider and so much more.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.    God preserves us in the midst of our trials, tribulations and situations that could totally take us out.  It’s almost like He puts you in a jar with all of the necessary ingredients to preserve you.

I am reminded of  the three men in the Bible (Daniel 3);  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego who were placed in a fiery furnace for refusing to serve and worship false gods.  These men were placed in a furnace that was extremely hot. The furnace should have killed them but because God was with them every step of the way, they were not harmed.  “. . . and they saw these men whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected and the smell of fire was not on them.” (Daniel 3:21)

Some times  we face  issues with our health, family, marriage, relationships, finances or on our job that could have destroyed us but God.  You may be going through something right now but be encouraged!   God is with you and He will  keep you. You too, will be able to tell  of his goodness, and people will say, “You don’t look like what you have been through, I would have never known.”  Be intentional about telling of God’s goodness!  Somebody will be blessed, encouraged or strengthened  by your story.

Until next time . . .

 

Carolyn

“Cluttered Calendars for Christ?”

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Busy, busy, busy! Are you so busy doing things for Jesus that you’re not spending any time with him?   There is so much on the calendar, so much to do, so many places to go and people to see.  Jesus is the real reason for the season so let’s check our calendars to make sure that what we are doing is really about him.

In Luke 10:38-41 Jesus went to visit  Mary and Martha.  Martha opened her home to Jesus but her sister Mary was known for sitting at the  Lord’s feet.  Both of them loved Jesus, but it was the way that Mary demonstrated her love for Christ that pleased Him.  Martha was busy serving and seemed to have an attitude because her sister Mary was not helping her.  In verse 40, she spoke to the Lord about it and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me.”  (Isn’t this something?  We want to tell the Lord what to do and how to correct people.) .

 “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:41)

This passage is a reminder that sometimes we think we are serving for Christ but it can become busy work with no devotion to God.  As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and even after the holidays, let’s make sure that Christ is our #1 Priority.   Here are a few things to consider as you check your calendar.

C = Clear some space to spend more time with Christ.  Come to Christ in worship, sing praises to him, spend more time in prayer and reading what his Word says.  Look for ways to apply his Word in your every day life.

H = Have more time at home.  Spend time with Christ in your home.  Martha opened her home to Jesus but was distracted with other things.  As you open your home to others be sure to spend time with them.

R = Rest, Reflect and get Refueled.  Take time for some physical rest, reflect on the goodness of Jesus, and you will be refueled for whatever Christ wants you to do.

I = Intentionally say no to busyness and yes to Intimacy with Christ.  Draw nearer to him!  Busyness is defined as, “lively but meaningless activity.”  BUSY=Being, Under, Satan’s Yoke.

S = Slow down and  Sit at Our Savior’s Feet!   Jesus said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part . . .”  Let’s choose the good part!  Time with Jesus is NEEDED and helps us in every area of life.  Practice sitting still for 15-20 minutes and allow God to speak to you.  Be still and know that He is God.

T = Take time to do what really matters and be THANKFUL! Spend time with your loved ones, share the gospel and love of Christ everywhere you go.  Be a light that shines for him!  Practice gratitude,  start by thanking God for all that He has done and take time to thank others.  Make sure that Jesus is the reason for the season!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Press On!”

Has life ever presented you with a situation or circumstance that hit you so hard that you didn’t know how you would go on?  Maybe its painful or it has altered your way of life in some way.  No matter what you are going through, I want to encourage you to press on!  There is a blessing in the pressing!

 I am a witness that God will see you through.  Nothing is too hard for God!  With His help you can find strength for your journey and make it through the most difficult and painful circumstances.   When you are in the midst of a difficult situation, you may question, how you will continue on, but God.  Some situations are so devastating that you really can’t imagine moving forward.  I have been there, and I am here to encourage you to press on!

No matter what it looks like, God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  Remember that the enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy so, it would give him great pleasure for you to quit!  But instead of quitting, you must PRESS!  As I think about what I did to help me press through some of the most challenging situations, I want to share it with you!

P = Prayer and praise:  Talking to God about how you are feeling and asking for His wisdom, guidance and direction is key.  Praying God’s word and promises over your situation helps you to put the focus on what God can do.  Get a song in your heart and give God some praise! A good song can help to carry you through.

R = Refuel yourself:  Do things that refuel you!  Rest, go to church, go for a walk or do something that refuels you, spend time with people who will encourage you to do the right/righteous thing and in some cases, you may need to be alone.

E = Eat the Word of God daily.  Take time to read God’s word.  Put it in your mind and in your heart. Read the word and look for ways to apply it to your situation.  Obey what God says!  Read books and listen to messages that will encourage you in your situation.

S = Say positive words to yourself.  In other words, have good self talk.  For example: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.  I will get through this, this too shall pass!

S= Share when necessary.  You may have to talk to a counselor or confide in a friend to help you through your situation.  You don’t have to go through alone, God has a sister or brother who is willing to help you through.

PRESS On!  Philippians 3:12-14

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“A Prayer for You and Me”

      Many of you know that I had my 50th birthday last week.  What a blessing, I am still celebrating!   When I reflect on what God has done in the past 50 years, my mind goes to what I would like to accomplish in the next 50 years.  I don’t know all of the specifics, but I can sum it up with a simple prayer that God has placed in my heart.  This week, I want to share the prayer with you because, I believe that it is a desire that we all have.  I am going to call it; “The Palm Tree Prayer.”  

     What is “The Palm Tree Prayer?”  I am so glad that you have asked.  Someone once said when you don’t know what to pray or have the specific words to say, pray the Word of God!  Psalm 92:12 says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:  he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”  That’s the prayer.  Lord please bless us to flourish like the palm tree.  The second part of the prayer is,  help us to grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  However, this week I am focusing on flourishing like a palm tree. Fifty and flourishing sounds nice.  (smile)

First, let’s look at the meaning of the word flourish. To flourish is to be in a vigorous state, to thrive, to be in one’s prime, to be successful and to prosper.  It is my prayer to flourish at fifty and the years to come!  Don’t you want to flourish? I pray for flourishing families, marriages, finances, relationships, ministries, careers and flourishing lives in the name of Jesus!

Second, let’s look at the attributes of a palm tree and see why we should pray the Palm Tree Prayer.   The Bible says,  “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. . .”

Why should we want to flourish like a palm tree?

  1. It’s constantly green and flourishing
  2. It spreads its branches very wide, and it grows to a vast size
  3. It provides a most refreshing shade to travelers
  4. It produces dates, a very sweet, luscious and grateful kind of fruit
  5. It is a most beautiful tree
  6. It stands erect, sending all of its strength upward in one bold column
  7. It is an invaluable treasure to the inhabitants of those in hot countries
  8. Other trees, when old, leave off bearing, but in God’s trees the strength of grace does not fail with the strength of nature
  9. It grows slowly but steadily from century to century
  10. It brings forth fruit in it’s old age
  11. It doesn’t droop under drought and the burning sun of the summer (It perseveres)
  12. It is uninfluenced by the alternations of the seasons which affect other trees

These are just a few attributes of the palm tree that I gathered from various commentaries however, there are many more.  May the Lord bless you to flourish like a palm tree!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Facing The Fabulous 50th”

I used to think that turning 50 meant that you were old and at the end of everything.  I don’t know why I thought that way, but now I realize that was stinking thinking! (smile) Today is my 50th birthday!  I can’t believe my turn has finally come!  God has kept me for an amazing 50 years!

Reaching 50 is a wonderful milestone, and I plan to celebrate everyday this month. I celebrate what God has done in the past 50 years and what He is going to do in the future.   I have been through some ups and some downs, but I am still here!

I must admit that I have had a few mixed emotions about turning 50.  I struggled with should I put it out there or not.  However, I have decided to publicly give God ALL of the glory and ALL of the praise for every year that He has kept me.    There are so many amazing things that God has done, and I have so much to be thankful for.

I thank God for a beautiful marriage, beautiful children, beautiful family/church family and friends.  I especially want to thank each of you for taking the time to read this blog and sharing it with others throughout the years.   I pray that something has been shared to encourage, inspire and to uplift you. I know that God has blessed me to be a blessing!

Since it is always my goal to include scripture in every post, I will close with two of my favorite verses.  I believe that these verses have a lot to do with me facing 50 and feeling fabulous! Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  Also, Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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