A word to the newlyweds

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This morning, I was reading through some of my favorite Christian blogs. One that I particularly like is Club31Women: A passion for husband, home & family. Lisa Jacobson is the writer on this blog. She writes with passion about family and marriage from a Biblical perspective. Today, I read her blog post “25 Tips I want to Share with Younger Wives” Really, really good advice and wisdom here. Below, I have her list of 25 tips:

25 Tips I Want to Share with Younger Wives

1. Hold hands whenever you can. We do and always have. We’ll clasp hands when sitting next to each other on the couch, while we’re driving along in the car, and when we’re out walking. A simple connecting that goes a long way.

2. Pray for him every day. Faithfully. What better gift than to offer up a prayer for him? Ask God to bless him, protect him, and work in his life.

3. Look for the many ways to love on him. Small gifts and thoughtful gestures. Those little things that say, I love you and I’m thinking of you.

4. Make friends with people who’ll encourage your marriage. Surround yourself with those who will support and pray for you both as you grow together.

5. And avoid those who pull against you. If they were “friends”, I’d ditch them altogether. (Real friends are going to cheer you both on). It’s harder with extended family members, but I’d dodge those as much as possible too.

6. Go to the Word of God for the best marriage counseling. You can get good advice from others, but there’s no replacing the loving, powerful Truth to be found in Scripture.

7. Cultivate your friendship. Marriage isn’t merely a business deal.

8. Never give up on each other. People go through difficult seasons and we get to persevere through them. Don’t let go.

9. Confess your sins to one another. Doesn’t help to smooth it over; instead repent and ask forgiveness. (Jas. 5:16)

10. And then forgive freely. (Col. 3:13)

11. Be patient with him. Love is long-suffering, remember? (I Cor. 13:4)

12. Show him respect. It’s in the Bible. And it’s what he needs (Col. 3:18).

13. Leave off with the complaining. It only drags the both of you down (Phil. 2:14).

14. Focus on those things which are true, pure, and lovely. (Phil. 4:8)

15. Speak kindly to him. Gracious words are sweet to the soul (Prov. 16:24).

16. Let the little irritations go. Is it really worth bothering about? Probably not.

17. Keep the home fires burning. Intimacy is still important. Yes, even long after the honeymoon.

18. Stand by your man. You’ll probably find loyalty toward the top of his list.

19. Make loving him your priority. Over your job, your friends, your extended family. Even over your children.

20. Give him – and yourself – room to grow. I know that we’re not done growing yet and I’m guessing you two aren’t either.

21. Express appreciation for the man that he is. Be an encouraging voice in that otherwise thankless world he lives in.

22. Protect your marriage. Value your relationship for the treasure that it really is.

23. Never leave off with kissing. No matter how old you grow. My husband’s 80-year-old parents still kiss each other goodbye – on the lips!

24. Decide you’re going to stick together. With God’s help, you’re going to stay together throughout the years. (Mark 10:9)

25. Put on love. Above all things. (Col. 3:14)

All of these are solid, Biblical pieces of wisdom. The two that stuck out to me were #9 and #10: Confess your sins and forgive one another. Easy to say; hard to do; but confess and forgive you must! Unforgiveness is the death nail in a marriage. From unforgiveness grow the roots of bitterness, resentment and anger. 

Dr. Phil and I have been married for over 22 years. We have given each other plenty of “fertilizer” with which to grow the roots of bitterness, resentment and anger over the years…BUT we haven’t. We have chosen to forgive and love  each other.  Forgiveness is not a feeling; it’s a choice to lay down your grievance against another, even if it’s justified. Forgiveness is working together toward a resolution of peace; it’s not a cease fire. Forgiveness is actively showing love toward the other; it’s not a cold war. 

Ephesians 4:25-27 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

I have seen how unforgiveness has devastated marriages and families. The anger and bitterness causing divorce and children to be bandied about as weapons between warring parents. Unforgiveness is a foothold for the enemy to enter into the fortress of marriage and destroy it from within. 

I have also seen the miracle of forgiveness and restoration in a marriage and family. When spouses surrender to the mercy, grace and forgiveness of Christ; they are able to forgive each other and emerge stronger on the other side.  I have experienced this in my own marriage. 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I love newlyweds and young married couples.  They are so full of excitement and anticipation for their future. It’s beautiful. I love seeing them form the nucleus of a family, founded in Christ. It makes my heart happy. It’s difficult for them to even imagine being at a crossroad where they must choose to forgive a sin that has been committed against them OR choose not forgive and travel the path of bitterness. It will happen. Why? Because they are married to flawed people. The choice is theirs. I would ask this of a newlywed: how would you want your spouse to respond to your sin? Would you want forgiveness and restoration OR bitterness and anger?  Choosing forgiveness is choosing love. It’s choosing Christ.  It’s choosing restoration and reconciliation. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

 

If you are having difficulty forgiving; seek help. There is no shame in seeking help to strengthen your marriage.  It’s a tragedy when we are too afraid or embarrassed to ask for help and guidance to the detriment of our marriages. 

Pray for your marriage, friend. Pray for the marriages of others who are struggling. The enemy would have us cultivate unforgiveness that leads to the destruction of marriages. 

Philippians 4:6-9 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

 

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