Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

“Six D’s that will Damage You”

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     No matter what relationship you enter, YOU are the common denominator.  Some of the challenges that we have in marriage and other relationships are because of who we are.  If we allow the enemy to win in various areas of our lives, we will not be the best person that we can be in a relationship.  We really need to be a healthy individual so that we can experience healthy relationships.  One of the tricks of the enemy is to attack us with the Six D’s.

Have you been attacked with any of the D’s lately?  Adam and Eve were attacked with the D’s in Genesis Chapter 3.  In this chapter the enemy is referred to as the serpent.  The Bible says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.”  He is very good at using the six D’s to damage us and therefore affecting our relationship with God, our spouse, our children, etc.

Let’s take a look at the six D’s that can damage us. 

  1. Doubt:  To doubt is to be uncertain about God and to question His Word, His goodness, His will and His ways.  The enemy wants us to walk around in fear and doubt.  God wants us to trust Him.
  2. Discouragement:  To be discouraged is to be deprived of courage, hope or confidence.  The enemy wants us to put so much focus on our problems that we take our eyes off of God.  We become overwhelmed and forget that nothing is too hard for God.
  3. Diversion: To be diverted is to be drawn off to a different course or purpose.  The enemy will make wrong things seem attractive so that you will want them more than the right things.  I have seen him do this so many times in marriages.  He will make a husband leave his wife and kids and make another woman seem so attractive.  Another thing that the enemy will do is, make the ways of this world so appealing that one can easily turn away from God.
  4. Defeat:  To be defeated is to be frustrated or to have a setback that makes you feel like a failure.  The enemy wants you to feel so low that you don’t even try.
  5. Delay:  To delay is to put off to a later time, to postpone and therefore hinder the process or progress.    Think about the things that we put off and never get done. The enemy loves when we postpone something that God wants us to do promptly.
  6. Disobedience: To disobey is to sin and simply not do what God has told us to do. Eve knew that she was not supposed to eat the fruit from the tree. She did it any way and to top that off, she shared it with her husband.  The enemy loves when we disobey and then invite others to join us.  God loves when we obey and encourage others to do the same!

If the enemy gets us stuck in any of these areas, it will damage us and our relationships.  Know that God has given us the power to win!  You can WIN!

 

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

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“Do you have accountability?”

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“I need you, you need me, we are all apart of God’s body.”  These words came to mind as I thought about what it means to have accountability.  We need each other, and we can help each other to accomplish the goals and plans that God has for us.  For none of us lives for ourselves alone. . . (Romans 14:7)  Do you have accountability in your life?  This week, I want you to think about an area in your life where you may need some accountability or where God may want you to be a help by providing accountability for someone else.

So what does it mean to be accountable?  The dictionary defines it this way; “subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something, responsible; answerable, capable of being explained.”

Why do we need accountability?  I don’t know about you, but some goals I would not have accomplished if it wasn’t for accountability.  I was able to write my first book because I had good accountability.  One friend gave me the challenge of writing 20 pages a month and called me once a month to hold be accountable.  I must admit, the first month, I didn’t have one page written and was embarrassed.  I couldn’t allow that to happen the next month, so I decided to write and have 20 pages ready for the next accountability call.

Pray about having an accountability partner for different things that you want to accomplish.  I believe that God will connect you with someone who is willing to be committed to helping you.  It is great when that person is trying to accomplish the same goal so that you can hold each other accountable.  Also, when a person has already accomplished what you are trying to do, they can help because they already know what it takes.

I have also found that it is helpful to have different accountability partners for different things.  Other areas where accountability has worked for me:

  1.  Exercise:  I have a friend who loves to walk, so I connect with her to achieve my walking goals.
  2. Eating:  I have a friend who will check in with me on eating healthy and to ask about portion control.
  3. Fasting:  Most of the times when I fast, I let a friend know who will fast with me or hold me accountable to sticking to the fast.
  4. Spiritually:  I believe in having a sister who will check in to hold me accountable to doing the right thing, praying and staying in the word.
  5. Marriage:  My husband and I have an accountability couple that we check in with on a regular basis to make sure that we doing what we need to be doing as a husband and wife.
  6. Work:  When there are projects or things to accomplish at work, I may ask someone to please check in with me to hold me to getting it done in a timely fashion.

Perhaps you are so disciplined and feel that you don’t need accountability.  If that is the case, take the time to help another sister or brother by providing accountability for them.  I believe that we all need to be accountable to somebody!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

Do you have a quiet and gentle spirit?

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Have you ever said something to your spouse and later thought to yourself, “I should not have said that?”  Maybe it was something that you should have said, but perhaps the way that you said it was not nice.   Did you know that God cares about the way that you express yourself?   It is not okay to say things any kind of way.  This week I have been meditating on the words quiet and gentle.  I believe that God is checking me on this, and I want to share it with you.  Check yourself!

First of all, the Bible says that a quiet and gentle spirit is very precious in the sight of God.  If this is very precious to God, shouldn’t this be important to us?   I Peter 3:4-5 says, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– (4) rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, whit the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”  The word incorruptible is defined as; morally strong enough not to be persuaded to do something wrong.

Here are 10 points about being quiet and gentle:

  1.  The Hebrew word for quiet is the word tam which literally means “mature.” You have to be mature to operate in a quiet and gentle spirit. Mature enough not to say everything that you are thinking. “Think about everything that you say, but don’t say everything that you are thinking.”
  2. The Hebrew word for gentle is tender, delicate and soft.   It is a sensitivity of disposition and kindness that is founded on strength and prompted by love.
  3. Being gentle is demonstrating power without undue harshness.
  4. A quiet and gentle spirit is not easily provoked to anger.
  5. A quiet and gentle spirit puts up with injuries.
  6. A quiet and gentle-spirited woman can bear much with their husband and be in silence.
  7. A quiet and gentle spirit does not envy the gifts and graces of others.
  8. A quiet and gentle spirit is willing to be instructed and admonished by the meanest saint.
  9. A quiet and gentle spirit patiently bears
  10. A quiet and gentle spirit submits to the will of God.

Lord, please help us to be quiet and gentle from the inside out.  Forgive us for the times that we have been harsh and unkind.  Bless our words, actions, and our demeanor to please You.  We can not achieve this goal without the help of Your Holy Spirit. Shape us and make us Lord, in Jesus’ name amen!

 

 

What to do when you’re going through?

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I don’t know about you about you, but 2017 was a very challenging year for me.  The first half of the year was pretty good, but something changed in the month of July and it carried on through the rest of 2017.  It was one thing after another, and the challenges occurred in several areas.  Each area was near and dear to me such as; with my children, family, marriage, ministry and at work.  As we get ready to enter July 2018, I am reflecting on how the Lord brought me through last year.  It was challenging and painful but God!  I am happy to say that God’s grace carried me through!  It didn’t feel good, but I believe that it all worked for my good.  Are you or someone you know going through?  This week I want to share 7 things to do when you are going through.

  1. Tune up Your Prayer Life –  I am sure that you have prayed, but tune it up!  Cry out to God and spend more time talking to Him than you have ever before.  Pray about your situation and the people involved.  Find out what the Word of God says about your situation, and pray the Word of God. Pour out your heart to God (Psalm 62:8).
  2. Spend More Time Reading the Word of God – Feed your mind with the Word of God just like you feed your physical body food.   Real change happens when we renew our mind (Romans 12:2).
  3. Fast weekly– Turn your plate down, and turn to God in prayer. The Bible says that some things only come through prayer and fasting (Matthew 7:21).  There are many benefits to fasting.  However, fasting helps you to draw closer to God and to hear Him more clearly.
  4. Seek Godly Counsel – Talk to your spiritual leader, counselor, mentor, pastor or a friend that will listen and give wisdom from God.  Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to do things God’s way (Proverbs 19:20).
  5. Walk in Obedience –  When God speaks be obedient. Remember it’s better to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)  Whatever God says will always line up with His Word.  Once you seek godly counsel, obey.
  6. Worship God Often – Of course you can worship at home but go to church to worship with other believers on a weekly basis.  Each time that you go to church you will get a word that will help to strengthen you as you go through.  Don’t let the enemy talk you out of going to church.  Let us not neglect the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).
  7. Keep putting good things in your eye gate and ear gate – Listen to music and messages that will encourage and strengthen you as you go through.  Find a podcast or message that speaks to your situation. Read books that will give wisdom and speak life into your situation (Matthew 5:27-32).

I know these things will help you, because they helped me to get through the most challenging season of my life.  Be encouraged and remember that God is faithful!  Nothing is too hard for God!  He will see you successfully through.

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“Want a better marriage?”

 

The common denominator in every relationship that you will enter is YOU.  If you want a better marriage or a better relationship with your children, your friends or anyone, you must become a better YOU.  One of the best ways to become a better YOU is to work on the most important relationship that you could ever have.  A genuine, intimate relationship with God will positively change  YOU and every relationship that you enter. How are YOU?  How is your relationship with God?  How could it be better?

Having a better relationship with God will improve all of your other relationships.  God loves YOU and He wants the best for YOU.  He is a gentlemen and never forces or pushes Himself on anyone.  Therefore, you have to start by inviting God into your heart.  Romans 10:9 says,  “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Once you invite God into your heart, He will always be with you.  However, a genuine, intimate relationship with God must be cultivated. 

The more you cultivate your relationship with God, the better your life will be.  Are you cultivating?  Many have invited God in, but are doing nothing to cultivate the relationship.  Therefore, their behavior is the same and their relationships have not changed.    Let’s look at what it really means to cultivate.  According to the dictionary,  cultivate is . . .

  • To prepare and work on – (Starting your day with prayer and reading God’s Word is a way to prepare for the day.  Work on applying the scriptures to your daily life.)
  • To promote or improve the growth of – (Tell others about God and share your faith.  Promote what the Word of God says by living it.  )
  • To develop or improve by education or training – (Attend Bible study, take a discipleship class or join a ministry that will help to train you on your Christian journey)
  • To devote oneself to (Join a local church where you can be devoted to attending and hearing the preached Word of God on a weekly basis.  Be devoted to applying the Word of God to your life, and you will never be the same.

If you want your marriage or any relationship to be better.  Become a better YOU.  Cultivate your relationship with God. God will make you BETTER!   If you want to experience real growth and see a real change, you must cultivate on a daily basis.

Until next week  . . .

 

Carolyn

Attributes of a good FATHER

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This weekend we will celebrate all of the fathers in the world.  Often times Father’s Day does not get as much hype as Mother’s Day.  As I reflect on the role of a father and all of the good fathers who I know, I put together some attributes that I think good FATHERS have.

  • F = Faithful to God and to his family.  A good father faithfully loves and serves his family.  Children need love from their father.

 

  • A = Active in the lives of his children.  Has fun with his family.  Shows up for activities that involve his children.  Makes himself accessible and available to his children.

 

  • T = Talks to God and his children on a regular basis.  Praying for his family and with his family.  Looking to God for wisdom and guidance.  A good father also Takes Time to Train his children. (Proverbs 22:6)

 

  • H = Hard worker and helper.  A good father works hard to provide for his children and helps his family to succeed. (I Timothy 5:8)  I also believe that a good father honors the child’s mother.  Children are impacted by the way that a father treats their mother.

 

  • E = Example and One who Encourages his children.  Children see more of what we do then hear what we say.  A good father leads his family with a good example. He also encourages his children. (Ephesians 6:4)

 

  • R = Realizes when he has missed the mark. Repents by asking God for forgiveness and when necessary, he asks his family to forgive him.

Let’s be intentional about encouraging and celebrating our fathers this weekend. I pray that you will be appreciated and celebrated. If you don’t have a living father, find a father to encourage or celebrate.    Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers!  Thank you for all that you do! A special thanks to my husband who is a great father!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

Do you take your spouse for granted?

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        “I am tired of being taken for granted! My spouse takes me for granted!  Have you ever made this statement?

Does your spouse do your laundry, cook meals for you, spend more time with the kids then you do, put gas in your car, clean the house, go grocery/household shopping?  These are services that never end and require someone to do them on a regular basis.  Who does these things in your house?  If you are married, you and your spouse may share these responsibilities.  However, in most cases one of you are probably doing these things on a consistent basis.  These duties are probably done so well that your spouse has grown accustomed and comfortable.

I know you may think that your spouse is doing what they are supposed to be doing, but let me just say that they don’t have to do the things they do.  Any service that you receive from your spouse or anyone should be greatly appreciated.  To take someone for granted is to;”Underestimate the value of that person, to expect someone or something to always be available and to expect them to serve without needing any recognition or thanks.”  

Are you guilty of taking your spouse for granted?  Perhaps you are the one who feels like you have been taken for granted.  Know that God sees and He knows everything that you do.  Although you may be serving your spouse and your family, I want to encourage you to serve as if you are doing it for the Lord.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. ” 

Remember! EVERYONE needs to be appreciated.  Even the nicest people get tired of being taken for granted.   When was the last time that you said thank you for the consistent services that your spouse provides to you or to the family?  There are so many ways to express your appreciation or to simply say; THANK YOU!  

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“Married but Practicing Celibacy?”

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     One of the reasons why many Christians look forward to getting married is to enjoy sex with their husband/wife, and to end celibacy.   Therefore, it is hard to believe that there are couples who are married and practicing marital celibacy.  This week I would like to address the issue of celibacy within marriage and encourage anyone who may be having this experience by force.  In other words, its not by your choice.

     So lets be clear on what is marital celibacy?  It is defined as; “A sex less marriage and a marital union in which little or no sexual activity occurs between the two spouses.”  God created sex for marriage, and it is definitely something  that is good.  I  am aware that as a couple gets older, their sexual activity can slow down or a couple may have a health challenge or illness that prevents them from being sexually active.   If this is the case, pray and ask God to reveal other ways to enjoy your spouse.   The goal should be to make your spouse’s needs and interests a priority.  However, if you are experiencing marital celibacy because you or your spouse are tired, angry, struggling with not forgiving one another or God forbid, involved with someone else, this is a problem.

 I Corinthians 7 says; “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.  The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”  This passage reminds us that affection is due to the spouse and that the husband/wife should render.  

     On many occasions, I have stated that God is the glue that holds a marriage together.  However, sex is the glue that bonds a husband and wife together in a special way.  God created sex to be enjoyed within the walls of marriage.  As often as a husband and wife participates, it brings them closer together.   It is so important for a husband and wife to have regular sexual relations because the sexual union helps to keep their relationship in a class by itself and makes it different from any other human relationship.  The enemy of marriage does not want this union to take place therefore, he does things to make married couples practice celibacy.

     It is so important that both the husband and wife are getting their sexual needs met with their own spouse.  Neither spouse should be making the other one wait for days, weeks and sometimes months before they are sexually active.The Bible tells us not to deprive one another.  Depriving your spouse on a regular basis creates other problems. The spouse who wants to be intimate can feel; unwanted, undesired and unloved.  If this is a  serious issue in your marriage, I highly recommend marriage counseling.

     I pray that God blesses all of the married couples to be sexually active and to practice pleasing their spouse.  I pray that any couples who are experiencing health challenges that prevent them from having sex be encouraged to hang in there and find other ways to please each other.  I pray that the singles/engaged couples will wait until they are married in Jesus’ Name, amen!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

Do you kiss like you really mean it?

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Kissing like you really mean it was the topic of one on my conversations this past week.  A beautiful lady who is in her 70’s, took the time to share this concept with me.  She explained to me what it means to kiss like you really mean it.  My husband and I tried it and WOW!  Good things are worth sharing.  The goal of this week’s post is to encourage all married couples to evaluate their kissing.  Are you kissing like you really mean it?

I am specifically addressing this to married couples, because kissing like you really mean it can start something that should not be carried out by singles.  Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases. (Song of Solomon 2:7)

What does it mean to kiss like you really mean it?  Kissing like you really mean it is to be intentional about kissing for 15-20 seconds or longer.  Often times couples kiss as they are greeting or leaving each other, but these kisses are too short.  A short kiss is called a peck.  The dictionary defines a peck as a “quick, almost impersonal kiss.”  I find it interesting that it says almost impersonal.  In many cases, a peck is impersonal and it is done with very little connection to the person.  Therefore, this should not be the only type of kiss that married couples practice.  Kissing for long periods of time should be the goal of married couples.

Kissing like you really mean it has wonderful benefits!  I think every married couple should take on the challenge and see what happens.  Are you willing?  Studies have revealed that kissing is healthy and beneficial. “A kiss a day really can keep the doctor away.”   Here are 10 benefits of kissing that were shared on CNN by Andrea Demirjian, author of kissing:  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures.”

Kissing . . .

  1. Reduces your blood pressure
  2. Relieves cramps and headaches
  3. Fights cavities
  4. Releases your Happy Hormones
  5. Burns Calories
  6. Boost Your Self-Esteem
  7. Tone Your Facial Muscles
  8. Helps to boost your immune system
  9. Reduces Allergic response in people with skin or nasal allergies
  10. Is a great prelude to sex

In Song of Solomon Chapter 1:2 the Shulamite woman says, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!  For your love is better than wine.”  I pray that every married couple will refresh and revive their kissing.  Be intentional about kissing like you really mean it on a regular basis.  

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

 

“Marriage Won’t Change Him/Her!”

 

     While you are dating/courting you happen to notice a bad habit.  Perhaps you are seeing the habit for the first time so you try to ignore it, and tell your self that it really isn’t as bad as it seems.  You hope and pray that they won’t do it while they are around you.  You convince yourself to keep seeing this person because, “you believe you can get them to change.”  So you get engaged and proceed with the marriage, hoping that marriage will make them change.

In my experience of being married for almost 20 years and in working with couples,  I have to say;  “Marriage won’t change him or her.”  A person can put on their best behavior for a short period of time but after spending long periods of time with them, day after day, year after year, if the bad habit is there, it will come out!  Now we know that no one is perfect and that, we all have some habits that need to be changed.  However, I am talking about bad habits that will alter a person’s behavior, how they treat you or  habits that affect their commitment in marriage.  Habits such as; sexual addictions, pornography, alcohol, drug, gambling and even a shopping addiction can cause major damage.

In most cases, God reveals the bad habit before marriage.  However, many still say; “I do” because the desire to be married is so great!  After a few months or years of dealing with the same addiction, most people say; “I want out.”  They encourage their spouse to change and maybe even threaten them (“If you don’t stop, I will leave”).  Unfortunately, we don’t have the power to change a person.  Marriage won’t change do it.

God is the only One who has the power to change a person!  Marriage won’t change them but God will!  II Corinthians 5:17 says; “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   You can talk to a person until you are blue in the face but that won’t change them.  They may do right for a minute, but that doesn’t last.  Only Christ can bring about a real, permanent change.

So if you or someone you know are in need of a change or a bad habit to be broken.  Take the matter to God and be committed to praying.  Prayer changes things and prayer changes people.  God can take bad habits and turn them into good habits.  The closer we get to Jesus, the more He changes us.  A wonderful change can come over any of us!  God is able, keep believing Him!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

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