Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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“Speak it!”

What have you been speaking? Your words are powerful! Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” If we were to examine your words over the past seven days, would we find that you have been speaking death or life? Have you been talking about good things that you would like to see happen? I want to encourage you to be intentional about speaking good words, positive words and blessings over you, your marriage, your family, and your friends. Speak it!!!

This week’s topic was inspired by the picture above. This is a picture of my husband and me with my beautiful college girlfriend (Terri) who happens to be Bermudian. We met at Morgan State University and over 30 years ago, I traveled to Bermuda to visit Terri. She showed me around and took me to Horseshoe Bay Beach. The beach and the Island of Bermuda was so beautiful that I said, “No disrespect to you Terri, I must come back to Bermuda with my husband.” At the time, there was no man/husband in sight. That was over 30 years ago, and God brought life to those words this week.

Glory to God, I was able to celebrate my 24th Wedding Anniversary in Bermuda. My friend Terri has never forgotten the words that I spoke. She has shared my story with many of her friends. What’s amazing is that this week, the words that I spoke over 30 years ago, CAME TO PASS. Thanks to Facebook, God allowed my friend Terri and me to reconnect in Bermuda. I went back to Bermuda with my husband! Only God could do this. We must be patient and wait on God!

In my Bible, Romans 4:13-25 is titled “The Promise Granted Through Faith.” When we speak in faith, we must believe in the power of God. Verses 17 -18 say, “As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations) in the presence of Him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, so shall your descendants be.” (Key: If what we speak and believe lines up with God’s divine plan for us, it WILL come to pass.)

Be intentional about speaking life and don’t be afraid to say your dream even when you can’t see it. Remember faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. You don’t have to see it to hope for it. What are you hoping for? Pray about it and believe in God! Speak it!

Until next time,

Carolyn

“God Is A Keeper!”

Happy August! This is a special month to me because, in just a few days (August 8th), my husband and I will celebrate 24 years of marriage. There have been some ups and downs, but God is a keeper! Marriage takes intentional work, but God is a keeper! Being single and trying to maintain abstinence is challenging but God is a keeper! Do you want to be kept? God is able!

What does it mean to be a keeper? There are several definitions, but two that resonate with me are: 1) A person who is responsible for the maintenance of something. 2) A person charged with responsibility for the preservation and conservation of something valuable. Marriage is valuable to God therefore, He wants to help you maintain a good marriage. Ultimately, God is the Keeper. One of the things that I love about God is when you are going through a storm, He will preserve you and bring you through just like you never went through. You don’t have to look like what you have been through, because God is the Keeper! God is a gentleman, and He doesn’t force Himself on anyone. Therefore, if a husband, wife, or a single person wants to be kept, God will do it!

Psalm 121:5-7 (Amp) says, “The Lord is your keeper, the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil. He will keep your life.” This passage reminds us that the Lord is our keeper. There are some things that will come up against you and your marriage but God is your keeper! If you are single and want to maintain abstinence until marriage, God is a keeper. Commit your body to the Lord and He will keep you. I know because He did it for me. He is a very present Help and you can count on Him!

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) Remember God is KEEPER!!

Until next time,

Carolyn

“Do you want what’s forbidden?”

There are some things that we need to leave alone! I am thinking about food, what are you thinking about? Last week, some of you started the 90-day Weight War Challenge. As we go through the next few weeks, there are some foods that probably should be forbidden. If the food negatively affects your body, it may be a sign to leave it alone. Perhaps it is good to you, but not for you. As you read this week’s post, think about what you need to leave alone.

Forbidden comes from the root word forbid. It is defined as; “to command not to do something, to hinder or prevent.” Think about it, if you are married there are things that you are forbidden to do because you have a spouse. As singles, there are some things that you are forbidden to do when you are honoring God with your body. If you want to win the war with your weight, there are some foods that you need to forbid yourself to have. Why? Because they hinder your progress. For some reason, the body seems to want what is forbidden. It all started in the garden of Eden.

In Genesis Chapter 2:16-17, the Lord God put man in the garden of Eden and gave the following commandment, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Now the Lord told Adam and Eve that they could freely eat from every tree of the garden except one but they wanted fruit from the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve knew what God said, but they listened to the serpent. Eve actually repeated what God said before she sinned, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” However, she still listened to the serpent and ate the fruit. How many times have we heard God’s voice and still made the decision to sin? (Lord please forgive us!)

I find it very interesting that sin in the first book of the Bible is dealing with forbidden food. Something that God said do not eat! The consequence is that you will die! How many of us are dead spiritually because we ate something forbidden? Those who physically died from eating forbidden fruit are not here to talk about it. There are some dead marriages because a spouse decided to eat or touch something or someone that was forbidden. There are some singles who are dead spiritually because they have eaten from the forbidden tree.

Is there something that you need to leave alone? Listen to God! Obey His voice and His word. Do not eat or touch those things that are forbidden, lest you die! Eat to live! Keep your marriage, relationships with others, and your relationship with God alive and well!

Until next week,

Carolyn

Are you in a War with your Weight?

Have you put on some unwanted pounds over the last few years? Does your weight go up and down (more up than down)? Are your clothes getting too tight? I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest battles I have is the battle of maintaining my weight. This has been an ongoing battle because I truly love to eat, love to have deserts, and if it is something that I like, I love to go back for seconds. These are some of the habits that cause continued weight gain! Gaining weight and carrying unwanted pounds can cause health issues as well as other issues. It’s been a while since I have written but this week I want to discuss my WEIGHT WAR. Is there anyone else out there in the same war?

I realize this can be a sensitive topic, but I want to talk about it because it has affected me and I am sure that I am not alone. I have been in a war with my weight for many years. My weight goes up and down. Quite frankly, I am tired of the war, and I would like to consistently maintain it without feeling like a rollercoaster. This is so important to me because whenever I am on the higher end of the scale, I feel heavier, I don’t have as much energy and often times I am dealing with a host of other issues as well. The healthier I eat and the more that I exercise, I better I feel.

If you are in a weight war, I want to share 5 W’s to help you win your weight war. These are five disciplines that will help you to achieve your goals. You have probably heard them before, but the question is are you doing them? If so, are you consistent? I want to encourage you to join me for the next 90 days as I intentionally follow the 5 W’s every day. They do not have to be done in order, just be sure to do them each day.

  1. Water – Take your body weight and divide it by 2 to determine the minimum amount water you should drink.
  2. Weight – Weigh in each day and deal with the number on the scale. This is a form of accountability and it will help you see how various foods affect your body.
  3. Write – Write down what you are eating. Use a journal book or you can log it electronically using MyFitnesspal.com or Looseit.com. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should be concerned about what we put in our body.
  4. Workout – Go for a walk or do a workout for at least 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week.
  5. Word – Take in a word by watching a video on Youtube or by reading about what you are trying to accomplish. For example, if you are going to walk, listen to a video on the benefits of walking. If you are trying to eat healthier, watch a video on clean eating, etc.

Here are a few verses from God’s Word that encourage me to win in this weight war.

  1. Romans 12:2 – Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. In order for you to change your habits, you have got to renew your mind daily. This is why W #5 is so important.
  2. Philippians 3:19 – Don’t let your god be your belly. (Your stomach can be your god when you listen to everything that it tells you to do and eat)
  3. Galatians 5:22 – Remember Self-Control is a fruit of the Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you control your appetite.
  4. Phillippians 4:13 – We can do all things through Christ.

Is anyone up for the 90-day challenge? The goal is to do each of the 5 W’s for 90 days. You can start the day after you read this the 90 days will end October 31st (give or take a day or so). Send me a message to let me know and I will be praying for your 90-day journey.

Until next week,

Carolyn

“How is your self-control?”

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time . . .

Carolyn

What would you do for love?

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

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

LESSONS FROM THE EIFFEL TOWER

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

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

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

Until next week,

Carolyn

“Are you a dreamer?”

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

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

QUESTIONS FOR THE DREAMER

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

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

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

Until next week,

Carolyn

“When a Man Loves a Woman”

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

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

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

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

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

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

🙌🏾

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“The Power of A Woman’s Appearance”

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

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

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

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

What does it take to be beautiful?

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

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

Until next week,

Carolyn

“Start out like you can hold out!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!

Carolyn

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