Valetine’s Day- Love of Legendary Proportions

February 11th, 2011

Will you be my Valentine?valentine ballons

Valentine’s Day is the notorious holiday of love, or so we’re told.

It does not take too much searching to find out that it’s history is sketchy at best.  It seems that although there were certain saints named Valentine, the stories of performing secret weddings for Roman soldiers and one letter written to a girl that was healed are perhaps additions to the truth.  As in so many other cases somebody made it up to help encourage others- and that is not so bad as long as we understand it as a parable and not stake our faith on it.

What can we gain from it?  It really is good that we stop and think of how we help our spouse to know that we love them.  I know, you are actually really good at this.  You never forget to let your spouse know how much you love them on a regular basis.

I heard of one wife who told her husband, “You never tell me you love me.”  His response was, ” I told you on our wedding day.  If it changes I’ll let you know.”  _ Lengendary

How do you or will you communicate love to your spouse this Valentine’s day?  Gifts are right for the occasion, but what?  If you spend some time listening to your spouse, they will tell you what means most to them.  Take mental note of authors they like, flowers they like, colors, candy, foods…  You get it.  Then go to amazon or somewhere and find a way to say, “I love you.”

Speaking of finding a way to say, “I love you,” I stumbled upon a show the other day that if I remember was called “My Redneck Wedding” (I am not recommending it as a great show or even a good one).  I was intrigued at the time by the way they communicated in their own cultural vernacular however.

I have heard people say things like…

“I love you like the day is long”

“I love you as much as the seas embracing the world.”

How would you tell your spouse how much you love them? Make it real so they won’t have to make it up!

Just out of interest put it in the comments section below.  You can do it anonymously so you won’t be embarrassed.

A Wife’s Christmas Confession

January 29th, 2011

A friend of my wife confessed her Christmas crime a few weeks ago. While the story is true, I have dramatized the thoughts and feelings a bit.

First she told of Christmas present trickery from her childhood including unwrapping a curling iron that was for her, using it and then wrapping it back up for under the tree. It’s a good thing she let it cool off before wrapping it back up. The best story came after she was married though.

husband and wife christmas giftHer husband and children had navigated their annual Christmas shopping for mom day producing at its end a package wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. Within a few days, she could not stand it any longer, so while everyone was away from the house she gently unwrapped the mystery gift. Unfortunately, it was a setback. This sweater just plain screamed “ugly!”  How could she even pretend to be grateful for a sweater that was so ugly Santa would have had the reindeer stomp the thing?

She thought up a plan and she thought it up quick. Taking the sweater disguised in a grocery bag, it was exchanged for one of her impeccable taste. She hurried home, wrapped it in the same paper, placed it in the same place under the tree and breathed a sigh of relief.

Christmas day arrived and wrapping paper shreds covered the floor. The children read their new books and hummed a motor noise while using the new dump truck. Mom, however was not sure what to think. Her plan had worked. She grasped in her arms a lovely sweater that was hand picked. She could see herself showing it off to her friends at church and proudly wearing it to her next office party. The problem is that neither her children or husband even noticed the switch.

What does that mean?

Did her husband and children not pay attention enough to remember what they bought for her? I hope we could do better than that!
Maybe he did see and was glad that she got exactly what she wanted. Maybe he would just let her writhe in her deceit for a while.

Or is it worse that she even looked and exchanged it in the first place?

What do you think?

Even Justin Bieber Seems To Be Getting It Right

November 2nd, 2010

In the swirl of success, even Justin Bieber sets some good priorities for his future.

In a recent article at IVILLAGE NETWORK  he talked of God being the “reason he is here.”   Justin talks of a relationship with Jesus not just a knowledge of him.  That’s pretty good stuff coming from a boy who can get nearly anything that he wants.

He mentions  other priorities that are interesting to me-  marriage and fatherhood.  He could run any race in life, but he sees marriage and family as important.

In your plans for the future what priorities rise to the surface?

Even if you are married now, what kind  of priority does your marriage have?

If it is near the top of your list, then you are taking the time to get to know your spouse in deeper ways.  If it’s important you are contemplating solutions to any hindrances that your marriage may be experiencing.  If it matters then you are working on deepening your relationship with your spouse.

Whatever is top on your priority list gets your energy and time.

Measure your priorities by what you are giving yourself to, then make sure that your marriage is at the top.

Sacrificial Love in Marriage

March 15th, 2010

There is an element of selfishness that is dangerous to your if you continue to look at your marriage as what you get out of it more than what you give to it.  Some people talk of marriage being a 50/50 arrangement.  The husband makes up 50 % and the wife makes up 50%.  While it obviously takes two to make the marriage, you cannot expect your marriage to thrive on a 50% effort.  If you’re only giving a 50% effort, then you must be holding back 50% as well.  It takes 100% effort and it takes sacrifice.

For husbands the Bible speaks of Christ’s love for the church as the example for how to love your wife.  Jesus loved the church so much that he gave his life up for us.  He had to give himself 100% so the plan of salvation to work.  As the moment came close he even asked God if there was any other way, but if there was not he would do it anyway.

Look men, our privilege is to provide for our wives.  I do not mean merely bringing home the bacon either.  God has given our wives to us with the privilege of helping them to become everything that God has planned for them.  Our job is to love them so much that we would sacrifice our own ambitions to see them succeed.  The questions we must answer are:

What has God created and gifted her for?

What does she need to become great? and

How can I make it happen for her?

If you hear yourself evaluating your loses, be careful, or you might let your own selfishness rob you of your blessing.

I’ll continue this article on sacrificial love in marriage next time focusing on what a wife sacrifices.

Unconditional Love is a Great Gift for your Spouse

February 9th, 2010

We all understand love in so many different ways usually based on our previous experiences.  Most often we give loveleaf_of_love measured out in reaction to what we get out of the relationship.  Check out these three important concepts of love that will have you loving your spouse in a new way.

Realize that love is a choice. Many follow their feelings and love one person after another in a long and unsuccessful succession.  Is that love?  True love chooses to love as the feelings go up and down.  There is security to a committed love like that.  Wedding vows used to read, “till death do us part,” or “as long as you both shall live.”  Many still use the same vows but apparently they forget in the hard times and give up on their spouse.  The choice is to love and do it to your best even when it hurts.

Hold nothing back. Love your spouse with everything that you are and have.  If you hold back in any area, you are not only shortchanging your spouse, but yourself as well.   Does anyone but God deserve everything that you have?  No, no one deserves it, but we give it freely and liberally.  God prescribes that we love each other as married people with everything that we have, so that’s what we must do.  It can be scary to give all of ourselves.  What if our spouse does not return the love or treats us disrespectfully?   If your relationship is difficult at the moment, then working to build trust is important.  Part of the marriage development equation will require giving all of ourselves.

Put action to your love. Love is not mere sentiment.  Action is the proof of love.  Because you love your spouse, you go out of your way to bless them.  It might be to meet their needs.  It might be just because you want to show you love them.  Even when there is some disagreement between you and your spouse you can do things that show you love them.  In this circumstance it really becomes a display of unconditional love.  In the hard times and the good, show your love to your spouse in ways that they can easily see your heart.  It will keep your relationship steady.

Love comes from inside us.  It is the gift that we give particularly to our spouse.  It allows them to be free to be who they are without the risk of being unloved by us.  Give your all- no strings attached.

Dealing With Issues In Your Marriage

January 18th, 2010

We all have had and will have issues to deal with in our marriages.  The most dangerous way to deal with them is to desperate couple ignore them.  I used to be the kind of husband that ignored the problems hoping that they would just go away.  I learned that they do not go away.  They get bigger.

By approaching issues in marriage that are negative to your relationship you are weeding out the things that will hurt or even destroy it in the long run. Here is the way to see progress for the better in your marriage.

Observation- By paying close attention to your relationship you will begin to see what areas need to be addressed. This doesn’t mean to look for faults in your spouse. It means to look for anything negative in your marriage that seems to bring division.  Look for reactions of frustration, emptiness or wanting to be left alone. After you see the reactions, then make note of what you think might have been the cause. Try to be very objective by not casting blame. Just focus on the actions and the attitudes.

Dialog- This is the tricky part. Your spouse may not desire to discuss their actions or attitudes, especially if you see it as a problem. If this is the case then you start with something about yourself. You can start by telling your spouse that you notice how they react when you do this or that. Then ask them how they feel or what they are thinking when you do this or that. Be ready to initiate change in yourself. Tell your spouse how you do not want to create negativity in your marriage, and that you are willing to make a difference in your marriage by changing that particular thing.

Change- If your process stops at dialog you will never see progress in your marriage. Show your spouse that you are willing to make a difference in your marriage by changing something in yourself. Let them see the difference in you and in how it makes things better. Of course in the dialog, it may become apparent to both you and your spouse that a change in them is necessary. Allow them to change something. Each marriage is different, and some spouses are more willing than others. If however, we never approach change in our marriage then we will hit a dead end.

If you are looking for some tools for overcoming issues in your Christian marriage, then get my free e-book called, “Realignment For Your Christian Marriage.”

You can find the free e-book at http://realignment.thefamilyandhome.com/.

Appreciation in Marriage= I Value You

January 11th, 2010

Doesn’t it feel great when someone tells you that they appreciate you?  We all need to feel needed.  We all need to feel valued.  Especially in marriage, we not only need to hear that we are appreciated, but we also need to give appreciation. There are two special benefits to communicating to our spouses that we appreciate them.

It keeps us thankful–  Thankfulness helps us to stay humble.  Thankfulness turns our eyes to how others help us.  When our attention turns to that, we begin to see the value that our spouse adds to us, instead of only how we feel they let us down.

Since selfishness is one of the greatest enemies of marriage, then keeping our eyes out for things to appreciate about our spouse will help us to focus on the many good qualities that they possess. As we mention how much we appreciate those things to them something begins to happen in them, which leads us to benefit number two.

It builds them up– When our spouse begins to realize that what they do and who they are is important to us, they have a greater sense of worth in themselves.

When we have an understanding of that we are worth something to somebody, then we tend to give even more of our selves to that person.  When we know that we are important in our spouse’s eyes, then they hold a greater value to us as well.

Be careful that we do not take this as flattering someone to get something.  This is about genuinely appreciating what others do for us.  If we would communicate appreciation, openly and truthfully, we would find ourselves growing closer and closer.  One of the best tools to keep the right focus in the togetherness of marriage is appreciation

Three Ways to Keep Your Marriage on Track

December 28th, 2009

If you want your marriage to be successful, you have to make it a priority. There are many ways to keep it on moving in the right direction. Here are three really important ones.

Thoughtfulness –Being selfish will lead your marriage in the wrong direction. You want oneness. You want to experience the joys and disappointments life together. When you’re selfish, you are eliminating the opportunity to hear from your spouse’s heart. Not considering their side of things cuts you short of facing issues in the strength of two. Most people stay away from other people that are selfish. Selfish people are taxing and aggravating. Give something to your spouse: a gift, a listening ear or time together doing what they want to do.

Initiative – Can you be the one to think of and initiate something that will have meaning in your marriage? By initiating something that adds to your relationship, you are showing your spouse that they are a priority to you. You can start a conversation by asking how you can be more supportive or by just telling your spouse that you were thinking of them today. Marriages that rarely have anyone putting effort into useful time together suffer more and more over the long run. If you are thinking that your marriage will just take care of itself, you’re wrong. You need to take care of it.

Unconditional Love – Too many people love someone else because that person showed interest in them first. It might be OK to start off, but what happens if that person loses interest? Unconditional love is pretty hard to live, however, you can work towards it. Love your spouse because you love them, not only for their good looks or intelligence or gifts. Choose to love them no matter what. God gives us the great example in this. He loves us even though we have rejected him and disobeyed him. He loves those who curse him. How would your spouse respond to you if they knew that you loved them in spite of their faults and flaws?

Do you need some tools to hep you turn your marriage in the right direction?  I have a free ebook that can help you take the initiative towards communicating through tough spots in your marriage. Click on the title below.

Christian Marriage Realignment

Christian Marriage Help- Three Necessary Skills For Marriage Success

December 18th, 2009

couple talking

Marriage can get nasty because people lose their ability to communicate or maybe they never really did it well in the first place.  Good communication is essential to a fulfilling marriage where there is good understanding, meaningful affection and growth toward oneness.  So here are three skills to improve upon in order to have deeper, fulfilling relationship with your spouse.

Pay attention to your spouse’s actions and conversation.  When your spouse is trying to tell you something, listen to them.  It’s easy to be distracted by your own thoughts.  Much of the time people are already formulating a response before they’ve heard the other person’s completed thought.  Be ready to restate your spouse’s thoughts back to them to make sure that you understand exactly what they are trying to tell you, and then put your thoughts together on how to respond.

Say what you mean.  Think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.  After you really understand what your spouse is saying, carefully put your words together in response.  Many times our mouths just open and stuff flies out that is more emotion that thought process.  Those kinds of words are more destructive than helpful.  They might be what you feel, but really aren’t what you truly think.

Actions speak very loudly.  Let your words and actions match.  Words are easy to speak, but their meaning is proved by actions.  Marriage is a crucial relationship.  In relating to your spouse, be true to your word.  If you are speaking love, then back it up with care and concern.  Many times actions without words can communicate volumes.  If my wife takes my hand or puts her arm under mine, I think in my mind, “I’m special to her.”  To me that’s worth a thousand words.

If you don’t have a handle on these three skills your marriage experience will go up and down like a yo-yo.  Getting a handle on these skills will bring your marriage to a place where there is understanding, affection and unity.  It does not mean that problems or misunderstandings will never happen.  These skills are the tools that you need to overcome difficulties as they arise and to avoid some of them before they happen.

Reconnecting With Your Spouse

December 3rd, 2009

At different times even in our Christian marriage we sense a distance between us our spouse.  It happens over a period of time.  It starts with a quietness now and then, and escalates to long term disconnection.  Unfortunately, it becomes easier just to go about doing our own thing and let our relationship stay as it is.  We all know that a plan like that never leads us closer.  It only leads us farther apart.  So what are we to do?  How can we reconnect in an meaningful way?

Although love is sometimes called the “Universal Language,” it can be interpreted in many different ways.  Your path to reconnection in your marriage is through love that can be communicated in a way that your spouse understands.

romantic couple embracingEach person feels loved in different ways.  Some really feel loved when words of love are spoken.  Others feel loved when physical affection is present.  Still some feel loved when their spouse does some thoughtful action like a gift or making a special date.

The key lies in asking God to help you learn what it takes for your spouse to understand your love for them.  If touch tells them they are loved, touch them.  If they are really responsive to you after you have left them a note, write more.

We tend to show love the way we understand love, but it does not mean the same thing to someone else.  We need to communicate to our spouse about what certain things that they do which help us feel loved, and then turn that off so that it doesn’t hinder how we are to love them.

This often can be a point of contention in marriage, and people do not even realize it.  Nobody guesses at what the problem is, they just don’t feel loved.  If you get this right, you will be on the road to reconnecting.  It might take a little while, but it will happen.

I believe it was Dr. Gary Chapman who coined the phrase “Love Language” and taught us about how we receive love.  Reconnect with your spouse today by communicating your love for them in a language they can understand.


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