Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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
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.
Monday, March 29, 2010
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
Sunday, March 28, 2010
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- We will never mention divorce.
- We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
- We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
- We will call a "time-out" if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
- We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
- We will never go to bed angry.
- Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out.
- I will listen first before speaking. "Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger"--James 1:19
- 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
- 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
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.