Marriage from A to Z

Principles for a Successful Marriage

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

 

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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

 

“God Will Answer Your Questions!”

 

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Will you take the time to ask God?  God knows everything, and He is still in the prayer answering business.  We just need to ask.  This week I am rejoicing over answered prayer.  Perhaps you need some answers, or are going through something right now and you need direction.  I just want to encourage you to keep taking your questions and concerns to God.   He will answer!

Matthew 7:7-8 says; “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  I am a witness, and I know there are so many witnesses out there that can testify about how God answers  prayer.

Recently, I was faced with a difficult decision to make.  I had two very important events on the same day.  Both were on the same day, but one was being held in Maryland and the other was in Decatur, Illinois. There was no way that I could do both. Initially, I was torn because both were very important to me.  I immediately prayed and asked God what should I do? I thank God for giving me an answer and letting me know that I made the right decision.  Sometimes God answers right away and sometimes, God reveals the answer over time.  His answers are; yes, no, and wait.  He will never give you answers that are contrary to His Word. 

When you ask Him a question, believe that He will answer.  He will answer in a variety of ways.  Read God’s Word and look for an answer in scripture.  Pray and then take time to be still, He speaks.  Sometimes your answer may come from a spiritual authority in your life.  God can speak through any one or any thing that He chooses.  Go to church and listen to the Word of God, He speaks from the pulpit.  Look and listen for God to speak in your every day life.  God speaks and one of the things that I love is that He will often confirm His will for you.   Ask God and wait for His answer!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

“Can you share from your heart?”

When was the last time you had a heart to heart talk with the one you love?  Each day has its challenges, and if we are not careful, we are trying to survive off of surface conversations.  For the past few weeks we have been discussing; “How to have a PROSPEROUS Marriage in 2018.”  This week we will focus on the last letter S which stands for “Sharing from your heart.

One of the top 10 reasons for divorce is a lack of communication.  A lack of anything means there is a deficiency or there is an absence of something needed.  I would think that trying to survive off of surface talk alone fits into the lack of communication category. I know we have busy schedules, but we must make time to have heart to heart conversations on a regular basis.  Put the cell phone down, turn the television off, get off of the computer and talk.  Look at each other and give your undivided attention.  We have to be intentional because if not, we will sit in each other’s presence and bury our heads in our phones instead of talking to one another.

Honesty is one of the keys to having real communication.  If you can’t be truthful, you won’t get to the heart.  It’s important that we ask the right questions, share honestly and be transparent.  Ask questions such as;

  1. How are we doing?
  2. How do you feel about how our marriage/relationship is going?
  3. What could make you happier?
  4. Are you pleased with our intimacy/frequency (married couples only)?
  5. What makes you feel loved/respected or disrespected?
  6. How am I doing with speaking your love language? (gifts, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation and physical touch)
  7. What are your dreams and goals?

Once you get the answers to these questions, you have to promise not to get angry.  Don’t allow the answers to lead to arguments.  Both parties need to be able to share honestly without anyone getting an attitude.  Having prayer before, during (in your mind) and  after these conversations is always helpful.  Ask God to help you listen to your mates heart and really try to be responsive in a mature way.  

Sharing from the heart can keep your marriage/relationship alive and vibrant!  Proverbs 4:23  “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)

Until next week  . . .

Carolyn

“Understanding Your Spouse”

     You would think that after almost 20 years of marriage, I would totally understand my spouse and vice versa.  I am here to tell you, that is not the case.  We are still discovering things about each other, and each discovery brings us to a new level of understanding. (Can anyone identify with what I am saying?) For the past few weeks we have been focusing on; “How to have a  PROSPEROUS marriage in 2018?”  The letter for this week is U which stands for Understanding your spouse.  

     To understand is defined as; “to perceive the meaning of or to be thoroughly familiar with.”  Are you thoroughly familiar with your spouse?  When we understand, we go deeper, beyond the surface and learn more about each other.  Often times, the right questions need to be asked to discover more about one’s background or upbringing. Believe it or not, your spouse’s upbringing has helped to shape and mold him/her into the person you married.

 It is so important that we understand one another.  Not understanding, can cause misunderstandings, arguments, bitterness and some times divorce.  Understanding takes time, communication and honesty. Oh yeah, be sure to pray, and ask God to give you understanding.    For the singles who are preparing for marriage, take time to have long conversations learning as much as you can about your significant other before you get married.

There is a reason why the Bible tells husbands to dwell with understanding.              I Peter 3:7 says; “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”  This says it all, if you want to have a prosperous marriage, you have to dwell with understanding.  

Until next week  . . .

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are You Open?”

   

     Are you open to trying something new, going to a different place and doing something that you have never done before?  As we continue to discuss how to have a PROSPEROUS Marriage in 2018, this week’s focus is on the “O” for Being Open. 

It is so easy to get stuck in the same routine.  Do you want different results in your marriage or in your life?   If your answer is yes!  You must be willing to do something different.  Last weekend my husband and I joined another couple for dinner.  We decided to go to a restaurant that we had never been to before, and the food was delicious!  We were in a different place, and we all enjoyed our food.  Originally we had planned to go to a familiar restaurant but at the last minute, we decided to try something new.  It was the best decision!

It’s a good feeling to try something new with your spouse. Create new memories every chance that you get and this will help to keep the relationship fresh!   New experiences help to add spice, variety and excitement to a marriage.  Have you tried anything new lately?  If not, do something that you have never done before this week.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Go to a different restaurant, cook a different meal or set your table differently.
  2. If you haven’t been praying together, start!
  3. Send flowers or send your spouse something that you have never sent before.
  4. Leave an encouraging card, note or text for your spouse if this is something that you don’t normally do.
  5. Wear something different that you know your spouse would appreciate.
  6. Do something that you have never done before.
  7. Travel to a different place or go to a different event with your spouse.

Big blessings can come out of being open to new things.  “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19). ”  I believe that trying something new opens the door for God to do something new in our lives, and in our relationships.  Be open!

Until next week . . .

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want a long lasting relationship?

I started the year with the topic, “How to Have a PROSPEROUS Marriage in 2018.”  For each letter in the word prosperous there was a different focus.  It has been a minute since I have blogged, but I want to complete this topic over the month of April.  This week’s focus is R=Regular Forgiveness and Gratitude.  

If you want a relationship to last for a long time, you must be willing to forgive on a regular basis.   I mean forgive on a recurring basis, over and over again.  Think about the number of times that you need God to forgive you.  The forgiveness that you want God to extend to you, is the same forgiveness that we must be willing to extend to one another.  Matthew 6:14 says “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”   The next verse clearly says; “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  When I said I do, I never thought that I would need to forgive.  I guess I thought things would be so great and perfect that forgiveness would not be necessary.  My thinking was so wrong.  I have learned that on the relationship journey you will be hurt, disappointed and some times mis-treated, but we must forgive!

Most divorces take place because someone would not forgive.  Families are broken because someone will not forgive.  Sisters and brothers are living without talking to one another because someone will not forgive.  Life is too short!  Let’s break the ice, stop the silence and forgive one another.  I know that it is easier said then done, but try it!

The second part of this week’s focus is gratitude.  Have you said thank you recently!  These are two words that help to bring longevity to a relationship.  Everyone likes to feel appreciated.  It’s not difficult.  Thank you for . . .  or Thank you for simply being you!  Let’s start each day with gratitude to God and then, think of other people who you can express gratitude.

When you put forgiveness and gratitude into practice on a “Regular” basis, God will be pleased and your relationships will be blessed with longevity.

Until next week  . . .

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

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