Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

Do you have any Marriage Skills?

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When you decide that you want to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher or any other professional, you already know that you will have to go to school.  Obtaining knowledge and skills are necessary in order for you to succeed in almost every profession.  Some go to college, some go to trade school, some learn online and some get on the job training however, people who succeed in their jobs are usually the ones who know the work and are skilled.   Skills are important for success!  Marriage skills are necessary for all of those who desire to get married and those who want to stay married.  

We have a tendency to get skilled for everything else, but think that we should meet someone, fall in love, and get married without obtaining any marriage skills.  This is crazy!  Marriage is so serious that it should never be entered into lightly. Running off and getting married or getting married without taking the time to get some marriage skills, is taking marriage lightly.

What are skills?  The dictionary defines skills as:  “Competent excellence in performance; expertness, a craft.”  Marriage skills can be acquired by getting some pre-marital counseling, reading everything that you can on having a godly marriage and gleaning from positive married couples.  Since marriage should not be entered into lightly, it is necessary to get as much knowledge as you can before you say, I do!  Take time to learn about marriage itself and about the person who you are planning to marry.  Some things will not be revealed until you are actually married.  However, if you get good pre-marital counseling, you will have the tools and skills necessary to deal with whatever comes your way.

Learning marriage skills before you actually get into marriage is wise.  There is so much to learn until you will be learning even after you are married.  Actually, couples who want to maintain a good marriage should continue to learn each other and practice using marriage skills throughout their lifetime.

Marriage skills come in different areas however, here are a few key skills that are necessary to have a successful marriage:

  1. How to include God in your marriage
  2. Communication/Conflict
  3. Money Management
  4. Time Management
  5. Intimacy
  6. Becoming Parents
  7. How to Forgive
  8. How to deal with your in-laws, family and friends
  9. How to love your your spouse
  10. How to respect each other

The list could go on and on however, I think you get my point.  If you want a successful marriage, you must be skilled.  The Bible speaks highly of those who are skilled.  Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see someone skilled in their work?  They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”  There are benefits in getting skills.  A bad marriage can be better if the husband and wife get some marriage skills.  Get as many as skills as you can before you get married.  After you are married, maintain using your skills and always be ready to learn new ones.

Until next week,

Carolyn

 

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“Are you a hypocrite?”

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Have you ever  been called a hypocrite? I have often heard people say; “Don’t be a hypocrite!”  Last week, I was reading Matthew 23 where Jesus is speaking and most of the words are in red.  He uses the word hypocrite several times, so this word stood out to me like never before.   I began to check myself, and I want you to check yourself.  Let’s  call this the “Hypocrite Check.”  Are you a hypocrite?  Are you married or in a relationship with a hypocrite?  If you are a Christian single, I want you to be clear on what it means to be a hypocrite so that you don’t marry one.

WHAT IS A HYPOCRITE?

A hypocrite is defined as: “A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc. that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. ”  That word belie means to show to be false and to misrepresent.

In several of the  verses (23, 25, 27 and 29) in Matthew 23  Jesus says, “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.”  Anything that Jesus constantly repeats in a passage should get our attention.  Jesus was angry and exposing the hypocritical attitudes of the religious leaders.

HYPOCRITE CHECK:

Let’s check ourselves and make note of what it means to be a hypocrite. These are just a few observations from Matthew 23.

  1. They knew the Scriptures but did not live by them.  (When we know the Word of God we should live by it) .
  2. They didn’t care about being holy, they just wanted to look holy in order to receive the people’s admiration and praise.  (A person’s outside is not always a good indicator of what’s inside.  Hang around long enough so that you can see what they are really about.)
  3. They know what the Bible says, but will not allow the Bible to change their life and behavior.
  4. They say that they are Christians but don’t live by God’s  standards of love.
  5. Their love for positions of leadership grows stronger than their love and loyalty to God.
  6. They act spiritual to cover up sin.
  7. They seem to be a success publicly but their private life is a mess. (It’s easy to present pictures that make your life look perfect on Social Media.)

To sum it up, hypocrites are people who are fake.  God wants us to be the REAL DEAL for Him.  We must check ourselves and make sure that our actions match or beliefs.  What are your actions saying?  What is your reputation?  Are you a hypocrite?  Lord help us to live our lives in truth and to honor you in the way that we live.

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“Sex before marriage?”

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    Why should I wait?  I have needs, and God understands.  Everybody is doing it!!  Yes pre-marital sex is widely accepted by the world.  However, every body is NOT doing it.  Believe it or not, there are some who have determined to wait until they are married.  This week, I want to encourage all of the singles and the couples who are preparing to get married to WAIT!  Hang in there and OBEY God!

God created sex, and it is good!  However, it is good when it is done within the walls of marriage.  I know you have heard that sex before marriage is wrong, but let’s talk about why it’s wrong.  Sex before marriage is dangerous, it affects your mind, body and soul.  Dangerous because each time that you have sexual intercourse with someone out side of marriage, you are taking a risk.  Every day people risk their lives by enjoying pre-marital sex, knowing very little about their sexual partner. No one wants to talk about the impact and consequences of pre-marital sex.

Here are 12 reasons why you should NOT have sex before marriage:

  1. It hurts the heart of God.  Throughout the Bible we are told to  flee and abstain from having sex before marriage.  (I Corin. 7:2, Galatians 5:19-20, I Corin 6:9, I Thes. 4:3-5, Deut. 22:13-28)
  2. It’s out of order!  God is a God of order.  There is a reason why the Bible promotes marriage first then sex.  (I Corin. 14:40)
  3. It violates your relationship with God.  Christian singles  should refrain from sexual intercourse with other people because a Christian’s body belongs to God.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (I Corin. 6:19)
  4. It can create unwanted problems in your future marriage/spouse.    
  5. Sex before marriage messes with your mind.  It alters your thinking, decisions and it is very hard to get sexual acts out of your mind.
  6. Once you start having sex outside of marriage it’s hard to stop.   
  7. Sex before marriage is sin against your own body.  It hurts you.  (I Corin. 6;18-20)
  8. You develop a bond with someone who is not your husband/wife. Sex causes the two to become one.  It is a physical and a spiritual act.  This is why it’s not easy to shake it off.  (Mark 10:6-9)
  9. It clouds your thinking.  It is so hard to make sound decisions about the person who you are seeing once you have had intercourse.  Often times people marry knowing that the person is not a good match for them, but because they are connected sexually their thinking is not clear.  They overlook the fact that the person has other major issues that they will have to deal with once they are married.
  10. It may feel good for the moment, but it can cause disease, unwanted pregnancy and health challenges. 
  11. It kills the excitement that was meant to  take place on the wedding/honey moon night.
  12. It kills the testimony that you could share about God being a keeper. Somebody is watching and looking up to you.  Establish a legacy to obey God in this way!  Your friends and future kids will be blessed by your testimony.   

God has a special reward for those who wait and obey.  If you have not been obedient in this area know that God forgives, and He is able to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.  (I John 1:9)

Until next week . . .

 

Carolyn

“Have you washed your heart lately?”

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One of the things that most people do several times a day is wash their hands.  Why?  Because we were trained as children to wash our hands when they get dirty, after we have touched various things, after going to the bathroom and often times before we eat a meal.  Frequently washing our hands is important because it helps us to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.  Just as it is necessary to wash our hands, we must wash our hearts.    However,  many of us have not been taught to wash our hearts.  This week, I want to discuss the need for us to frequently wash our hearts.

When our hearts are dirty, it is usually indicated by the following:

  1. Evil thoughts
  2. Telling lies
  3. Killing someone with our tongue and in some cases murder
  4. For married people, sleeping with someone other than our spouse
  5. For singles, sleeping with someone and you are not married
  6. Stealing
  7. Cheating

The list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.  Matthew 15:18-20 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness; blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

One of the key words in this passage is defile.  Defile means to make foul, dirty or unclean, pollute, taint, debase (to reduce the quality or value of something).  Did you know that your heart could get dirty?  I don’t know about you, but I never really thought about it this way.  This is why the Bible tells us to guard our hearts. (Prov. 4:23)

Dirty hearts negatively impact relationships:

  1. Our relationship with God
  2. Our relationship with our spouse
  3. Our relationship with others

God wants us to have clean hearts.  He is more concerned about our hearts than our hands.  He is the only One who can cleanse us from the inside out.  When our hearts are dirty, we must go to God and repent.  Pray like David prayed in Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Check your heart, is it dirty or is it clean?

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

 

“Tatem’s 20th Wedding Anniversary Tips”

     Do you know what today is?  It’s my 20th Wedding Anniversary!  On August 8, 1998, we tied the knot.  Oh how I thank God for allowing my husband and I to see another year together.  I have to say through the storms, rain, sunshine and the pain that God’s been good. He is the glue that has kept us together.  As we happily celebrate and reflect on our twenty years, we realize that a good marriage is obtainable, but you must be intentional.  This week, I want to share twenty tips that have helped my husband and I to maintain a great marriage.

Tatem’s Twenty Tips for a Successful Marriage:

  1. Keep God in your everyday marriage. (Matt. 6:33)
  2. Invite God in by praying together on a daily basis.
  3. Read from God’s Word daily and apply it to your life.
  4. Take your marriage to church on a weekly basis, worship together.
  5. Love your spouse, and be a good friend by making your spouse your #1 human priority. (Friendship is important!)
  6. Communicate often: in person, by phone and by text.  Check on each other throughout the day.  Share your thoughts, goals and dreams with each other.  Listen to what your spouse is saying and act accordingly.
  7. Forgive often.  If you are married for any length of time, you will disappoint, hurt one another, say or do the wrong thing.  Forgive, Forgive and Forgive! (Matt. 18:22)
  8. Have regular dates together as often as you can.  Also have dates with other couples.
  9. Travel together as often as you can.  It doesn’t matter if you take small trips, big trips, expensive or inexpensive trips just go somewhere and spend one on one time together.
  10. Try new things together!  Be adventurous, do something exciting.
  11. Take pictures together. (Create memories)
  12. Have an accountability couple.  A couple that you can be totally honest with and a couple who will hold you to doing the right/righteous thing.
  13. Give!  Give to God through your tithes and offerings, give to others by sharing with other couples. Find ways to serve together. (Malachi 3:8-10)
  14. Take time to celebrate special days (birthdays, anniversaries, goals accomplishments and milestones).
  15. Never speak bad about each other.  Take your complaints to God and say/share your compliments.
  16. Eat meals together at the table often.
  17. Know your spouse’s love language and speak it often.  (Gifts, Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Quality Time)
  18. Do not deprive each other of intimacy.  Offer your body to each other on a regular basis.  Kiss often!  Give the affection that is due to your spouse. (I Corin 7:5)
  19. Set some boundaries that you both will agree to and follow them.  (For example:  Not going out on a date with another man/woman, being careful about who you are connected to online, on the phone, texting etc.)
  20. If you have children, raise a godly seed.  Teach them about God. (Malachi 2:15, Prov.  22:6) Be an example for them.  One of the things that will bless a child’s life is having parents who love each other and display a godly marriage.

Now this is not everything, but just 20 things that have blessed our marriage. I pray God’s blessings on every person who reads this post.  If you are married, I pray that God will allow you and your spouse to see many more years together.  I pray for love, laughter and longevity.   Remember, a great marriage doesn’t just happen,  we must be  consistent and intentional about practicing these tips on a regular basis!

Until next week. . .

 

Carolyn

“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

“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

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