Category Archives: Relationships

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.

 

Make it right!

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2 Corinthians 5:17-21(NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Proverbs 16:28 (NLT)
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

These verses may seem unrelated but they are not. Trust me. Read on.

I had an interesting weekend. A good weekend. Why? I participated in a reconciliation. I’m actually ashamed to admit that part of the conflict arose because I listened to a troublemaker; a pot-stirrer; a busy body who told half-truths. (In my opinion, a half-truth is a whole lie) Anyway…I had to own my part; the other person owned their part and we agreed to start with a clean slate. During the course of our conversation, we discovered that we were BOTH listening to the gossiper. If we had just talked directly to each other; most of this could have been avoided. Instead, we allowed someone to cause division, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and, most damning of all, bring dishonor on the name of Jesus Christ; as we both profess to love the Lord.
I admit, I let this situation go on too long. It’s shameful. I am an ambassador of Christ. Instead of sowing peace, I was allowing trouble to be stirred up. Instead of reconciliation, I was participating in division. I was participating in the sin of the pot-stirrer by listening and receiving gossip. I took this gossip to be fact and, sometimes, repeated it as such. Shameful on my part. This is not what Christ intended. I should have shut the gossip down immediately. I didn’t and had to deal with the consequences. I confessed my sin to the Lord and have received His forgiveness. I have reconciled with the other person; we are starting with a clean slate. I have learned a valuable lesson that I will not soon forget. I am a disciple and an ambassador of Christ. The ministry of reconciliation is given to all believers. Not only are we called to reconcile others with Christ; but with each other. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Damaged

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I have been reading through the book of James and writing teaching notes for the Women of Grace Bible study at LifePoint; where I attend church. What has struck me so profoundly is James really driving home the point of “Do not be deceived” in James 1. He say it 3 times. James is saying “Don’t be deceived and think you are strong and have temptation under control. You don’t. RUN!”

All of this has come at a point in my life when I am being told of multiple people I know getting divorced because of and/or being involved in sexual sin of some kind. This breaks my heart and I know it breaks Jesus’ heart. We (I am including myself) always seem to have some sort of justification for why our particular sin really isn’t so bad. “It’s no big deal, really.” There are apathetic parents who just shrug their shoulders “Oh well, they’re going to do it anyway.” Really? We down play the damage to those around us. Never, though, have I seen such justification for sin as I have in the area of sexual sin.

The enemy is out to destroy our young people and our marriages. He is out to destroy what God created as a gift and a blessing. He is determined to pervert a beautiful act between a husband and wife. I, frankly, am angered in my spirit that we, as a church, have let him get such a foothold in our youth and our marriages. There are a lot of sins out there but this area seems to really be the area that causes the most damage to people. Sex creates a physical and spiritual connection; that when broken, causes great hurt to those involved in sexual sin.

In my reading and research I found this list of justifications or excuses that Christians, in particular, make when found to be in sexual sin.

Blind-spot tactic: “The Bible isn’t clear on the issue.”
Minimizing tactic: “Sex before marriage isn’t the unforgivable sin!”
Presumption tactic: “God will forgive me – that’s his job.”
Sola Scriptura tactic: “Where’s the verse that says it’s wrong? It’s just tradition!”
Super-Spiritual tactic: “I am free to live as the Spirit leads, and he hasn’t told me this is wrong.”
Antinomian tactic: “I don’t live by Law anymore.”
Self-Pity tactic: “I’m so weak! I can’t help it!”
Evasion tactic: “Well, we’re all sinners aren’t we? What makes me any worse than you?”
Blame-Shift tactic: “I was seduced!” or “God didn’t give me the strength to resist.”
Dualist tactic: “It doesn’t matter what I do physically. It’s the Spirit that’s important.

The longer any type of sin continues and we choose to ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit; the harder our hearts will be. The more damage will be done.
Young people, your purity is the highest, best gift to offer your bride/groom as a wedding gift. Spouses, cherish your loved one. Be faithful. If you need help; please GET IT!

God loves you and wants the absolute best for you!