Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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“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

 

“I Married the Wrong Man!”

Have you ever said to yourself, “I married the wrong person?”  Perhaps you thought it,  but would never say it aloud.  What if you did marry the wrong person?  Is there any hope? This week, I want to highlight one of the many testimonies that was shared on the last night of the Spring 2019 Marriage from A to Z Class (for wives only) .

One of the ladies started the class by saying; “I married the wrong man, now what do I do? ”  People often think about divorce when they feel this way.  However, this wife decided to do something about the way she was feeling.  She took the class, read the book and began applying the principles to her life and to her marriage.  Her book looked like it was well read; it was underlined, highlighted and the pages were worn.  You could see that she was serious about taking in the principles.

One of the key words that this wife said was; “What do I do?”  We don’t have the power to change another person, we must focus on ourselves.  What is it that God wants you to do?  This wife began looking at herself and her relationship with God.  Her prayer was; “Fix Me Jesus!”  As she examined herself, God began to transform her thinking and then her actions.  God revealed that she married the right man, but had the wrong attitude.  Her attitude was wrong because of previous hurts, pains and disappointments that she brought into the marriage.  As she moved closer to God, her perspective changed and then, her behavior changed.  Praise God, her husband was patient in the process.

The memory scripture for this class is I Peter 3:1; “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives. . .”  This particular wife had a good husband, but he had been hurt in the church and was no longer attending church.  As a result of the wife changing her conduct, before the class was over, her husband re-dedicated himself to the Lord, came to church with her and joined.  God changed this wife, therefore, her husband’s life was changed and their marriage will never be the same.  Hallelujah!

God is able! Try Him! His Word and His ways work!

Until next week  . . .

 

Carolyn

“A Marriage Resurrected”

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Just a few days ago we celebrated a very special day, Resurrection Sunday better known as Easter. This holiday is all about commemorating  the death, burial and resurrection of  our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Death could not hold Him down!  Jesus Christ is Risen and He lives!  Because He lives, many have been changed and will never be the same.  He specializes in taking dead situations, people, things, relationships and brining them to life.  I have seen Him do it!  This week, I want to share a very special testimony about a marriage that has been resurrected.

The marriage is near and dear to me, because the husband and wife are my grandparents.    Mr. Edward and Mrs. Delores Lucas were married many years ago.  Their marriage lasted for about 10 years and then they divorced in 1958.  They were divorced for 35 years and one day my daughter invited her great grandparents (my grandparents) to come to church to see her dance.  After the service, my grandmother and grandfather started talking to one another.  The talks lead to seeing each other and the next thing we knew, God did it!  He reconnected my grandparents.  After being divorced for 35 YEARS, God put them back together again.   “Won’t He do it!”    My grandmother said;  “Since this is a marriage resurrected, we should get re-married on Resurrection Sunday.” Its been over 10 years now, and they just celebrated another year.  To God be the glory!

Today, my grandfather is 88 years old and my grandmother is 83.  My grandfather is still moving well  however, my grandmother is no longer walking and is in a Senior Care facility. I believe God knew that they would be great company for each other so,  He put them back together for such a time as this.

I share this testimony because every time I see my grandparents together, I am reminded that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) .  Somebody needs to be reminded that there is nothing too hard for God.  You may be dealing with a dead situation, dead person or a dead relationship, but God can bring it back to life with His Resurrection Power.  Don’t give up!  Know that God is able!  He can do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think. . . (Ephesians 3:20)

God is still in the RESURRECTION business!!!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“Why Wear Your Wedding Ring?

If you are married, you ought to show some signs! Although the signs should be clear in your conduct and conversation, the wedding ring is special.  It is a “UNIVERSAL SIGN to the outside world that the wearer is committed to another.”  This topic has come up more than once in my conversations this past week. The question is;  “Why would a married person NOT want to wear their ring?”   Let’s talk about the significance of the wedding ring.

Why should a married person wear their Wedding RING?

R = Reminds you and everyone who sees you that you are married.  Even though there are some women and men who don’t respect the fact that you are wearing a ring, you should make the visual statement (“I am married”) by wearing your ring.

= It’s immediate identification.  As soon as someone sees you and they see your ring, it lets everyone know that you are connected and in covenant relationship with your spouse.  In a covenant relationship, the ring symbolizes transfer of authority, strength, and protection. (Esther 8:2).  The ring immediately identifies you as somebody’s wife/husband.

N = Never leave home with out it.  Some rings are simple and some are elaborate.  Therefore, some say they don’t want to wear their ring when they are exercising or doing certain jobs.  However, you can always wear a simple wedding band that can endure any activity.   Make NO excuses.  Going out without your ring is like saying; “I don’t belong to anyone, I am available. ”

G = God is pleased when you wear your ring.  When God made a covenant with Noah, He put a rainbow in the sky as a  continual reminder. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:13) Married people should wear their rings as a continual reminder of the covenant that was made with God and your spouse.

In addition, a ring is usually made of a durable precious metal that was meant to last for ever.  It’s circle shape has no beginning or end and is a symbol of infinity.  The circle is endless and represents endless love.  According to research, wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because the vein in this finger was believed to lead directly to the wearer’s heart.

If you are married, please wear your wedding ring!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

“Got Boundaries?”

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“Every healthy relationship has boundaries!” Does your relationship have boundaries? If so, have you discussed them with your spouse or do you assume that they are there?  Although this week’s post is mainly about setting boundaries in a married relationship, single people should have boundaries too.   Let’s discuss what boundaries are, and why they are important.

What does it mean to have boundaries in a relationship?  Wikipedia defines boundaries as:  “Guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.”  For example:  A married man should not be on the phone talking/texting a single women late at night.

Why are boundaries needed?  Boundaries are needed so that each person can be clear on what is expected, what is okay and not okay in the relationship.  They should be clearly communicated and agreed upon so that both people can practice the expected behavior.  When boundaries are followed they can help to protect a marriage relationship.  On the other hand, when boundaries are broken, this can cause problems in a relationship.  Don’t assume that you and your spouse have the same boundaries.  Discuss them, ask questions and establish boundaries.

When boundaries are not established it makes more room for the enemy to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  In this verse, the Bible calls the enemy a thief.  The thief wants to  destroy your marriage, kill your intimacy and take what you have.  When I think about a boundary, I think about the yellow caution tape that is placed in front of an area where no one is supposed to go.  The tape is there as a sign which reads do not enter.  If someone ignores the sign, they could possibly experience immediate danger or enter a zone that is not safe.  Sometimes you see the tape, but you can not see the danger behind the tape.  This is what happens when a boundary is crossed.  There is often danger ahead, but you don’t see it coming.

Healthy relationships have boundaries.  Once a couple clearly communicates their boundaries to each other, both parties should do everything possible respect their spouse by not crossing the boundary.     Breaking a boundary often creates trouble especially when it is broken consistently.  Since every marriage is different, it is important that couples establish boundaries that work for their relationship.    Here are a few areas that I think can be discussed in any relationship:

  1.  Cell (talking/texting the opposite sex) phone conversation boundaries
  2. Social Media boundaries – Is it okay to connect with old girlfriend/boyfriends?
  3. Workplace boundaries – Is it okay to go out to lunch (one on one) with the opposite sex on a regular basis?
  4. Financial boundaries – Is it okay for your spouse to lend money to someone of the opposite sex?
  5. Clearly everyone agrees that your spouse should not lay down with someone of the opposite sex?  Right?  Some may not agree.
  6. (For Singles)  Don’t have someone of the opposite sex at your house when the hour gets late.  Don’t date married people.
  7. Don’t lend money if you can’t afford to give it.

Please SET SOME BOUNDARIES, don’t take it for granted that you and your spouse are automatically on one accord.  If you already have boundaries set, may the Lord help you to keep them.  Blessings to you and your boundaries!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

“Without a Word!”

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Did you know that you can win some battles WITHOUT A WORD?   I know that we have been taught that communication is key in a healthy relationship however, you don’t always have to use your words to get your point across.  This week’s post is all about the “WITHOUT A WORD” principle found in I Peter 3:1.

“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, . . .

Although we can all put the “WITHOUT A WORD” principle into practice, this message is especially for married ladies who feel that they have to teach their husbands a thing or two.  I know this principle works because, I have put it into practice many times.  I have to admit, it is not always easy to apply and sometimes, it takes awhile before you see results.  You have to be consistent.  This principle can be a challenge because, sometimes you feel the need to say exactly what you want to say, when and how you want to say it.  If the way that you express yourself is offensive to your husband, you are not going to win.  Sometimes men will change for the moment just to get you quiet.  However, when you use the “WITHOUT A WORD” principle, God moves and creates a lasting change.

Let me explain, this principle does not mean that you give your husband the silent treatment.  It means instead of you constantly using your words (nagging) to teach him a lesson or to correct him, you can shh!!!  With the help of God’s Holy Spirit; you can be kind, loving and display godly conduct.  Men don’t like to be nagged.  The Bible says, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome/nagging wife”  (Proverbs 21:9).    By using the “WITHOUT A WORD” principle, God will use your conduct to make a change in your husband.  “I have seen Him do it!”

In Biblical times, (under Roman law) Christian women who were married to unbelievers were instructed  by Peter not to preach to their husbands.  They were told that their best approach would be one of loving service and to demonstrate the love that Christ would show to the church.  By being an exemplary wife, husbands would join their wives in going to church and become a Christian (the power of a godly woman). As the old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Is it time for you to shh? If so, I pray that you would ask God to help you to conduct yourself in such a way that brings glory and honor to Him!  Let the Lord use you! Shh!

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

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