Tuesday, November 9, 2010

brick wall

My friend, Christina, is going through a very difficult time in her marriage. We've been having some great talks about what the Lord is doing in her life. This morning she struck a nerve in me.

She said we, as humans, tend to point fingers at the other person. It is not until you take a look at yourself and see your part in the situation that you are able to move forward. Ouch! Why is this so difficult? I know this, yet it is my brick wall.

Lord, please help me to stop pointing fingers and blaming others. Please help me look at my own faults and persevere through change with Your help and guidance.

I am encouraged by the courage of my friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

making changes

Sometimes you feel like you can't live with your spouse anymore until something changes.

If there is something you want to change in your spouse (or maybe something your spouse wants to change in you), then the best you can do is continue to love and pray for your spouse.

Ask God to do what you cannot do, change the human heart and transform the human mind. Don’t attempt to force a change in your mate. Leave that up to God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Life is too short for drama and petty things.

So, kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've Been Set Free

Brad and I started a married couples' night at our home last December. I felt like God gave me an outline of what it should look like and we went for it.

It has been amazing. We have a time of worship, a time of fellowship and then a time of prayer. Each month our married couples' night is obviously led by the Holy Spirit.

So, what do you do when you're not really speaking to your spouse and when you are it's not very nice? How do you invite other married couples to your home when the tension is so thick you could slice it with a plastic knife? What do you say to them?

This was us this month. I didn't consider canceling but I was concerned about what to say. I talked about a few things with the Lord and decided honesty was best. Thankfully, I had a moment of breakdown and actually felt like I liked Brad just before our friends started to arrive.

After great worship I shared how Brad and I have been struggling. I know part of it is the enemy - we are, after all, leading a married couples' night - but I don't want to blame it all on him. Life is just hard and I'm tired of it being hard. I'm tired of struggling. I thought after 15 years we shouldn't be struggling anymore. This spurred on the greatest conversation between all of the married couples. The night was full of encouragement and honesty and love. It was truly filled with the Holy Spirit. I think the greatest realization I had was that I was deceived in believing couples struggle, learn, and move on. I really thought at some point we shouldn't be struggling and there was something wrong with me and Brad because we keep struggling. With about 62 married years between all the couples present the evidence says we never stop struggling as a married couple. That was freeing for me.

At the end of the evening I believe everyone felt energized in their marriages and ready to take on the world. I know I did. In fact, I still feel excited about being married to Brad Johnson.

When you can, come join us. We meet the 2nd Friday of every month at 7pm at our house.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Making Amends

Once Solomon’s wife renewed within her mind a right attitude and a loving perspective toward her husband, she went in search of Solomon. That’s why the daughters of Jerusalem asked,

Where has your beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Where has your beloved turned aside,
That we may seek him with you? (Song 6:1)

She had a desire to find Solomon and to make things right. At that point, others were not perceived as hindering her, shaming her, or hurting her; rather, they were volunteering to help her. Her conscience was clear. Her instincts were alive and functioning toward reconciliation. God was again working with her to find and recover what she had rejected.

My Question For You:

When it is time to make amends, do you seek out your spouse?

My Challenge For You:

After a conflict, when your mind and perspective are right regarding your spouse, go and seek them out to make things right.

Sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow. I'm choking on it right now.

For more like this visit The Hub - Truth Delivered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How To Have a Good Fight

This is the first installment in a series on How To Have a Good Fight from my notes during sermons by Pastor Adam Ayers of Faith Worship Community. Pastor Adam says, "If we do not learn the skill of negotiating through conflict, relational destruction or separation is inevitable." Consider keeping this list of rules as a reference, reviewing it, and then having good fights.

Rule #1 Know What You're Fighting About - there is that moment in a fight when you decide whether or not to move to another issue that can give you an advantage. You might pick up another issue and hit them with it because you're losing on the first one, fighting back with, "and another thing...", "but you always..."

Know what you're fighting about and...

Rule #2 Stick With It - don't stack up the issues. For example, you're fighting about being considerate, which might involve whether or not you put the toilet seat down. Know that what you're fighting about is being considerate and don't change the subject to irresponsibility, retaliating with, "well, you're never on time...", or "you always spend...". Don't start one thing then step over to another one.

Know what you're fighting about and stick with it. It's very tempting in the middle of an argument to grasp at anything and start throwing it into the pot.

That's enough for today. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let God Work

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you— if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love. Song of Solomon 5:6-8

The woman felt the full sting and pain of what she had done.

Solomon did not inflict the pain upon her; it was the “watchmen,” the faithful guardians of God’s people. If your spouse wrongs you, give God some time to work in your mate’s heart. Let God have an opportunity to deal with the conscience of your spouse. You are not to play the role of Holy Spirit in your spouse’s life.

It's hard to hear the voice of the Lord when someone is continually nagging at you. Instead, we should keep quiet and let God work. It’s amazing how God moves into a person’s life. Truly His ways are higher than man’s ways, and His methods are not only very creative but extremely effective!

If nagging has broken into your relationship, how do you feel about that? Nagging surely won’t help your relationship. Let the Holy Spirit work.

The Hub

Saturday, April 3, 2010

joy and thanksgiving

Live with thanksgiving, forgiveness, and joy, and enjoy all your moments as if they were your last.

You have control over whether you and your spouse will be "heirs together of the gracious gift of life" (1 Peter 3:7) or partners together in the tension and stress of life.

Be the person who honors, obeys, and loves Jesus by honoring your spouse. Joy is the result of a thankful heart. So, say thanks to God for His grace towards you and spread it around.

Friday, April 2, 2010

searching for joy

The Lord our God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become.
Captivating: unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul, p 135

Sometimes we learn by our mistakes. Sometimes we make the mistakes over and over. We cry out, "why do I keep doing this?" As we struggle with our faults and those of others we need to remember how much God loves us and rest in His faithful, unfailing love. Make space for teaching moments in yourself and others.

Search for joy in all circumstances. Choose a cheerful heart vs. the poor me attitude. Practice being cheerful. Practice smiling. Practice being thankful. Count your blessings and rest in the Lord for He is with you. He delights in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. He is mighty to save.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is the foundation of health and happiness. Everyone is drawn to a smile. Does your spouse see you as a happy thankful person? What can you do today to make your spouse smile?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

a helper for the leader

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

God said it is not good for man to be alone and he created a helper for him. Adam is the leader, the head of the house, and Eve is his helper. This is the way God designed marriage. If, as a wife, you try to do the job of leading the family, you will not find satisfaction in it. It is far better that the job be done poorly by your husband than to be done well by you.

This was a real eye opener for me. I've been trying to be in control of the family for so long and it only left me frustrated. It has been a slow change over a few years trying to give up the control. These days I am seeing my husband step into his role of leader while I am learning my role as helper and encourager. Amazing things happen when we follow the Lord's plans.

Think of ways you can start being a helper to your husband.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Date Night

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Last night Brad and I went out on a date - dinner and a movie. Before we left Carly said she doesn't remember the last time they had a babysitter - enough said.

Brad and I were really looking forward to our date. Lo and behold the enemy was too. It wasn't long before we were frustrated with each other and felt like we couldn't do much right.

Snap out of it! In the end we were determined to not let the enemy have his way. Setting differences aside we forged on.

Love prevailed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

love resolves conflict

Resolving conflict begins with how you individually choose to respond to a situation. Will you allow your hurt to linger, fester, and grow, or will you give it to the Lord, ask for His help in resolving the situation, and then speak to your spouse later in loving kindness and with a sure and sincere approach that can bring you to positive resolution?

We come to know in our marriages when we have hurt our spouse. There is a look in the eyes, a slumping of the shoulders, a slow walk away, or a spirit of dejection. Before you can ever get across your point of view, it is wise to first ask for forgiveness. It is in this spirit of mutual forgiveness and a desire for mutual continuation of your relationship in love that conflicts are genuinely resolved, a torn relationship is mended, and difficulties are turned into paving stones for a stronger foundation.

What are the signs that your spouse displays when you have hurt them? What do you do when you notice them?

When you see these signs from your mate, make a conscious effort to seek forgiveness.

A Continued Pursuit in Love, Part 4

The Hub

Sunday, March 28, 2010

love is a covenant

Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Ruth 1:16

Consider your marriage a covenant instead of a contract. A covenant says, "I give myself to you and commit to this marriage for life." There's nothing in all the world that should sever what God has joined together. Your love is based on covenant. Every marriage is called to be an earthly picture of God's heavenly covenant with His church. It is to reveal to the world the glory and beauty of God's unconditional love for us.

Renew your covenant of love in all sincerity and surrender. Fasten your love afresh on this one the Lord has given you to cherish, prize, and honor.

The Love Dare, pp 196-198

Saturday, March 27, 2010

love endures

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

Of all the things love dares to do, this is the ultimate. Though threatened, it keeps pursuing. Though challenged, it keeps moving forward. Though mistreated and rejected, it refuses to give up. Love never fails.

The Love Dare, pg 191

Friday, March 26, 2010

love fulfills dreams

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Love sometimes needs to be extravagant. It sometimes needs to set aside the technicalities and just bless because it wants to. Hasn't God's love met needs in your heart that once seemed out of the question?

What is something your spouse would really, really love? It's time you started living out the answer to that question.

The Love Dare, pp 187-188

Thursday, March 25, 2010

love agrees in prayer

If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father. Matthew 18:19

If someone told you that by changing one thing about your marriage, you could guarantee with near 100 percent assurance that your life together would significantly improve, you would at least want to know what it was. And for many godly couples, that "one thing" is the daily practice of praying together.

When you were joined together as husband and wife, God gave you a wedding gift--a permanent prayer partner for life.

You'll look back at this common thread that ran through everything from average Mondays to major decisions and be so thankful for this "one thing" that changed everything. This is one area where it's imperative that you agree to agree.

The Love Dare, pp 181, 183

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

love is God's word

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

God has the right plan for everything and He's revealed these plans in His Word. They're right there for anyone who will read it and apply it. Wise couples build their houses on the rock of God's Word.

The Love Dare, pg 178

Monday, March 22, 2010

love is accountable

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

One of the secrets to the strength of the giant sequoia tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of the others. This is also a key to maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. The couples who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms. The Love Dare, pg 171

love celebrates godliness

[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6

You are one of the most influential people in your spouse's life. Have you been using your influence to lead them to honor God, or to dishonor Him?

Love rejoices most in the things that please God. What more could we want for our wife or husband than for them to experience God's best in life?

The Love Dare, pp 167-168

Sunday, March 21, 2010

love completes each other

If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:11

The effectiveness of your marriage is dependent upon both of you working together. Love realizes that God has put you together on purpose.

Joined together, you are greater than your independent parts. You need each other. You complete each other.

The Love Dare, pg 163

Saturday, March 20, 2010

love meets sexual needs

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:3

The heart of marriage is one of giving ourselves to each other to meet the other's needs. Sex is one God-given opportunity to do that. When the love of Christ is the foundation of your marriage, the strength of your friendship and sexual relationship can be enjoyed at a level the world can never know.

Enjoy the pure delight that flows when sex is done for all the right reasons. And as if that's not enough, you will also have the opportunity to "glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20). How beautiful.

The Love Dare, pp 157-158

Friday, March 19, 2010

love and marriage

A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

This verse is God's original blueprint for how marriage is supposed to work.

Leave and cleave and dare to walk as one. Make your marriage the top priority over every other human relationship.

The Love Dare, pp 151-154

Thursday, March 18, 2010

love brings unity

Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. John 17:11

Unity. Togetherness. Oneness. These are the unshakable hallmarks of our God. Father, Son, and Spirit are in pristine unity. They serve each other, love each other, and honor each other.

In the unique relationship of husband and wife, two distinct individuals are spiritually united into "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "What God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9).

Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse.

The Love Dare, pp 146-169

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

love's motivation

Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men. Ephesians 6:7

When God is your reason for loving, our ability to love is guaranteed. The love between a husband and wife should have one chief objective: honoring the Lord with devotion and sincerity. The fact that it blesses our beloved in the process is simply a wonderful, additional benefit.

Only love that is lifted up as an offering to God--returned to Him in gratitude for all He's done--is able to sustain itself when all other reasons have lost their ability to energize us. Love that has God as its primary focus is unlimited in the heights is can attain.

The Love Dare, pp 141-143

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

love makes sacrifices

He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16

Love wants you to be sensitive to your spouse. Jesus taught us that the evidence of love is found in seeing a need in others, then doing all we can to satisfy it.

The words "How can I help you?" need to stay fresh on your lips. You should do whatever you can to meet the real needs of the one who is a part of who you are. Jesus did it for us and He extends the grace to do it for others.

The Love Dare, pp 136-138

Monday, March 15, 2010

love encourages

Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. Psalm 25:20

Choose to live by encouragement rather than expectations. Marriage is a relationship to be enjoyed and savored along the way. It's a unique friendship designed by God Himself where two people live together in flawed imperfection but deal with it by encouraging, not discouraging, each other. Commit to letting go of unrealistic expectations and become your spouse's greatest encourager. The person God created will begin to emerge with new confidence and love for you.

The Love Dare, pp 131-133

Sunday, March 14, 2010

love is responsible

When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. Romans 2:1

Love is responsible and is willing to admit and correct its faults and errors up front. Love calls us to take responsibility for our partner in marriage. To love them. To honor them. To cherish them.

Pride is very resistant to responsibility, but humility and honesty before God and your spouse is crucial for a healthy relationship.

Part of taking responsibility is admitting when you've failed and asking for forgiveness. It's an act of love. God wants there to be no unresolved issues between you and your spouse.

If you're sincere, you may be surprised at the grace and strength God gives you.

The Love Dare, pp 127-128

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 34:14b

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18

Today, be an agent of peace. Be at peace, and pass the peace to others.

love forgives

What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:10

Forgiveness has to happen, or a successful marriage won't.

When you forgive another person, you're not turning them loose. You're just turning them over to God, who can be counted on to deal with them His way. You're saving yourself the trouble of scripting any more arguments or trying to prevail in this situation. It's not about winning and losing anymore. It's about freedom. It's about letting go.

Great marriages are not created by people who never hurt each other, only by people who choose to keep "no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5).

The Love Dare, pp 121-123

Friday, March 12, 2010

love vs. lust

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17

From eyes to heart to action, that's the progression. Then follows shame and regret. Lust is in opposition to love. It means to set your heart and passions on something forbidden.

Set your eyes on the Word of God. Let His promises of peace and freedom work their way into your heart. Daily receive the unconditional love He has already proven to you through the cross. Focus on being grateful for everything God has already given you rather than choosing discontentment.

You'll find yourself so full on what He provides, you won't be hungry anymore for the junk food of lust.

The Love Dare, pp 116-118

Thursday, March 11, 2010

love always protects

Love always protects. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there. They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

Love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own.

The Love Dare, p 111

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

love is faithful

I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord. Hosea 2:20

I felt at some point last year the Lord reminded me of the story of Hosea. I was feeling like I married the wrong person and everything I was doing to keep our marriage going failed. I felt like my husband and I had become roommates and we were drifting farther apart. As we lived in our separate corners I felt hurt, betrayed, abandoned. Like Hosea, I felt brokenhearted and ashamed. For many this is the beginning of the end.

The story of Hosea and his marriage to Gomer is a picture of God's unconditional love for us. In God we have a model of what rejected love does. It remains faithful. We can only love like God loves if we begin with His love. Ask Him to fill you with His faithful love and then determine to give it to your spouse, reflecting your gratefulness to God for loving you. That's the beauty of redeeming love. That's the power of faithfulness.

Francine Rivers is a Christian author. Her book Redeeming Love is based on the story of Hosea. It's a beautiful story of redemption, faithfulness, and unconditional love. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

love is satisfied in God

The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire. Isaiah 58:11

When we are seeking God first, loving Him first, making our relationship with Him top priority, He promises to supply us with what we really need--which, actually, is all it really takes to satisfy us. God is our everyday supply of everything we need.

The Love Dare, p 103

Monday, March 8, 2010

love is Jesus Christ

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers...This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 3:16, 23

True love is found in Christ alone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

love is impossible

Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

The truth is you can't live without God and you can't love without Him. But there is no telling what He could do in your marriage if you put your trust in Him.

The Love Dare, p 93

Saturday, March 6, 2010

love seeks to understand

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. Proverbs 3:13

There are still hidden things to discover about your spouse. Think of it as a lifelong journey that draws your heart ever closer to your mate.

Ask questions. Listen. Ask God for discernment.

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches" (Proverbs 24:3-4).

Desire to know your spouse better than you do now and you will fill your home with the kind of riches only love can provide.

The Love Dare, pp 87-88

Friday, March 5, 2010

love promotes intimacy

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships. The atmosphere in your marriage should be one of freedom. Like Adam and Even in the garden, your closeness should only intensify your intimacy--being "naked" and "not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25)--physically and emotionally.

The reality of intimacy always takes time to develop, especially after being compromised. Determine to guard your mate's secrets (unless they are dangerous to anyone) and to pray for him/her. Resolve to love in spite of any issues. Really listen when personal thoughts and struggles are shared. Make your spouse feel safe.

The Love Dare, pp 81-84

Thursday, March 4, 2010

love intercedes

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2

Prayer really works. It's a spiritual phenomenon created by an unlimited, powerful God. And it yields amazing results.

Do you feel like giving up on your marriage? Jesus said to pray instead of quitting (Luke 18:1). Are you stressed out and worried? Prayer can bring peace to your storms (Philippians 4:6-7). Do you need a major breakthrough? Prayer can make the difference (Acts 12:1-17).

Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse's hidden faults? It's not for endless nagging. It's for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you.

One of the most loving things you can ever do for your spouse is to pray for him/her. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).

The Love Dare, pp 77-78

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

love is honorable

Live with your wives in an understanding way...and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. 1 Peter 3:7

To honor someone means to give respect and high esteem, to treat as being special and of great worth. There's another word that calls us to a higher place. That word is holy. Holiness means set apart for a higher purpose--no longer common or everyday but special and unique. A person who has become holy to you has a place no one can rival in your heart. He or she is sacred to you, a person to be honored, praised, and defended.

When two people marry, each spouse becomes "holy" to each other by way of "holy matrimony". Your relationship is like no other.

Even when your attempts at honor go unreciprocated, you are to give honor just the same. That's what love dares to do--to say, "Of all the relationships I have, I will value ours the most. Of all the things I'm willing to sacrifice, I will sacrifice the most for you. With all your failures, sins, mistakes, and faults--past and present--I still choose to love and honor you." That's the beauty of honor.

Show your spouse that he/she is highly esteemed in your eyes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

love takes delight

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life. Ecclesiastes 9:9

In marriage you don't just follow your heart, you lead it. Love that chooses to love is just as powerful as love that feels like loving. Lead your heart to delight in your beloved. Laugh again. Flirt again. Dream again. Delightfully.

Take responsibility and relearn what you love about this one to whom you've promised yourself forever.

The Love Dare, pp 66-68

Monday, March 1, 2010

love fights fair

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3:25

Like it or not, conflict in marriage is simply inevitable. Couples need to deal with conflict in such a way that they come out healthier on the other side.

The wisest way to fight clean is establishing healthy rules of engagement--"we" boundaries and "me" boundaries for dealing with conflict.

Some examples of "we" boundaries are:
  1. We will never mention divorce.
  2. We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
  3. We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
  4. We will call a "time-out" if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
  5. We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
  6. We will never go to bed angry.
  7. Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.
And "me" boundaries:
  1. I will listen first before speaking. "Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger"--James 1:19
  2. I will deal with my own issues up-front. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"--Matthew 7:3
  3. I will speak gently and keep my voice down. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."--Proverbs 15:1
Fighting fair means changing your weapons. It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down. Love is not a fight, but it is worth fighting for.

The Love Dare, pp 61-63

My husband and I are both stubborn. I have a hard time not yelling when I'm angry and he uses his words as swords. Together we quickly escalate out of control. I find it helpful to take a time-out and sort through my own issues before approaching my husband--Lord, what is really going on? What is the important part of this issue? What should be left between you and me?

In marriage counseling we were advised to argue with our clothes off. Supposedly, the argument doesn't last long in this situation. We've never tried it. We have friends who, during an argument, remind each other they are buddies and this helps end their battle.

Discover together what works for you and resolve to fight fair.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Do you find yourself struggling to find positive things in your suppose to praise? Have you checked your own heart? Could it be you expect too much in some areas?

Our expectations must be met in God alone, and then we will have the right perspective to ask God for the healing and grace we need to respond to others.

love lets the other win

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield. James 3:17

In Philippians 2 Christ modeled an attitude of willingness, flexibility, and humble submission - laying down his rights for the good of others.

Be willing to not insist on your own way. Instead of treating your spouse like an enemy or someone to be guarded against, start by treating him/her as your closest, most honored friend.

Are you willing to bend to demonstrate love to your spouse? If it doesn't matter in the long run--especially in eternity--then give up your rights and choose to honor the one you love.

The Love Dare, p 58

love cherishes

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. Ephesians 5:28

Marriage is a beautiful mystery created by God, joining two lives together as one. One cannot experience joy or pain, blessing or cursing, without it also affecting the other. Your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye, or your heart. Nourish and cherish the love of your life.

The Love Dare, pp 52-53

love is unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love. God doesn't love us because we are lovable but because He is so loving. Unconditional love will not be swayed by time or circumstance.

The Love Dare, pp 46-47

As you receive unconditional love from God, choose to love your spouse unconditionally. Then you will no longer say "I love you because, but rather, "I love you, period."
...be quick to listen, slow to speak... James 1:19b

As you are trying to not speak negatively to your spouse and focusing on positive encouragement now also be quick to listen.

Remember we have two ears and one mouth -- we need to listen more.

love makes good impressions

Greet one another with a kiss of love. 1 Peter 5:14

A loving greeting can bless your spouse through what they see, hear, and feel. Think of the opportunities you have to greet each other on a regular basis. Give your spouse value by the way you greet him/her. Determine your greeting will reflect your love.

The Love Dare, p 43

As I get more intentional with my greetings and smiling at my husband from my heart, I see Brad stand a little straighter and relax more. It's as if I've taken a load off his back.

We're big huggers so our greetings are often nice big hugs. But where I used to just go through the motions of hugging I now hug him with my heart and there is a big difference!

Make a good impression on your spouse -- one that will last all day long. It's as simple as greeting your spouse with a kiss (and a smile) of love.

love is not jealous

..."love your neighbor as yourself". If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:14b-15

Because love is not selfish and puts others first, it refuses to let jealousy in. Let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart.

Determine to be your spouse's biggest fan. Set your heart on your spouse and focus on his/her achievements.

The Love Dare, p38

About 13 years ago my husband, Brad, was working a lot of late nights. I eventually convinced myself he was having an affair. It took me awhile but I worked up the courage one night to ask him if he was having an affair. He looked at me with a bewildered look on his face and said, "yes". I almost died. Then he said, "why would you ask me if I have enough air?"

My friends, to this day, love to tease me about this. As I write this now I am laughing and crying. Back then, though, I was so jealous of the time my husband was spending away from me I allowed the enemy in and whisper lies to me. To my husband's credit this little story proves how faithful he is - an affair was the farthest thing from his mind -- so far that when I spoke the words "an affair" he heard "enough air".

Faithfulness is a wonderful but rare quality today. We can encourage faithfulness by rooting out all negative speaking and planting seeds of encouragement instead.
[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. -- 1 Corinthians 13:7

Money is the root of much marital discord. Determine not to speak evil of your spouse in this area. Discover ways to encourage and help instead.

love believes the best

If there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

According to the book, there are two rooms in your heart: the Appreciation Room, on its walls are written all the things you love about your spouse and the Depreciation Room, on its walls are written the things that bother and irritate you - placed there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and disappointment.

The only reason you should glance in the door of the Depreciation Room is to know how to pray for your spouse. The only reason you should ever go in is to write "COVERED IN LOVE" in huge letters across the walls.

Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt.

It's time to move into the Appreciation Room, to settle in and make it your home.

You must develop the habit of reining in your negative thoughts and focusing on the positive attributes of your mate. This is a crucial step as you learn to lead your heart to truly love your spouse.

Pick a positive attribute and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

The Love Dare, p.33
...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31b

Praise your spouse's accomplishments in public, while he/she is listening.

love is not irritable

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

How easily do you get irritated and offended? Love sets up your heart to respond to your spouse with patience and encouragement rather than anger and exasperation.

Choose to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation.

The Love Dare, pp 26, 28-29

Don't forget to talk with someone close to you if you need encouragement.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Edify your spouse before others and increase his/her value in their eyes.

love is not rude

Genuine love minds its manners. Here are three guiding principles:

1. Guard the Golden Rule. Treat your spouse the same way you want to be treated (see Luke 6:31)

2. No double standards. Be as considerate to your spouse as you are to friends and strangers.

3. Honor requests. Consider what your spouse already asked you to do or not do. If in doubt, then ask - without attacking or justifying your behavior.

The Love Dare, pp 21, 23

Side note: this applies to our kids, too. I'm sure, like me, you have plenty of teaching opportunities to encourage your kids to be respectful rather than rude. In fact, as I'm typing this I'm telling my kids, "Both of you are being rude. Please think about the people around you and be more respectful."

love is thoughtful

How precious also are Your thoughts to me. O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. Psalm 139:17-18

Love requires thoughtfulness - on both sides - the kind that builds bridges through the constructive combination of patience, kindness, and selflessness. Love teaches you how to meet in the middle, to respect and appreciate how your spouse uniquely thinks.

Love thinks before speaking. It filters words through a grid of truth and kindness.

Spend a few minutes today thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse. Great marriages come from great thinking.

The Love Dare, p18

Just so you know, I suck at this. The last 3 days have been so hard. Press on, my friend.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5

love is not selfish

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard another as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy [or make] your spouse something that says, "I was thinking of you today." The Love Dare, p14

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. Romans 12:10

love is kind

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness.

The Love Dare p8

Today, say nothing negative to your spouse and do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

Here's my bonus challenge: serve your spouse without worrying about your rights.
Find some way that your spouse is serving you or your family and praise him/her for the willingness to serve others. Let your spouse know that you see his/her unique service as a great strength.
Thank your spouse for choosing to marry you above all others.

love is patient

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Few of us do patience very well, and none of us do it naturally. But wise men and women will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage realtionships. That's a good starting point to demonstrate true love.

Today, resolve to possess patience. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. But it's a race worth running.

The Love Dare, p3

Trust me, you'll have plenty of opportunities to practice being patient. Don't give up. When you feel like you didn't do so well in a situation (like me, just a few minutes ago) humble yourself and apologize. Then try again.

My very thoughtful god-daughter and god-son-in-law bought me a “My Husband Rocks” t-shirt for my birthday. Check the Union 28 website out here.

Union 28 is a company committed to encouraging marriage relationships, communicating a positive image of marriage, and honoring the sanctity of the marriage covenant. When I checked out Union 28’s website it led me to some great marriage links. One was the 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge. Check it out here.

I’ve encouraged some of my girlfriends to take on the 30-day challenge along with me. What a blessing for your husband, your marriage, and you - if you take the challenge, too.


What a journey we've been on. Praise the Lord the adventure continues...