Are You Ready for Marriage?

I LOVE Focus on the Family and here’s why, its another great article!

Enjoy!

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Are You Ready to Wed?

By Greg Smalley

Article About:

Preparing for Marriage

My wife, Erin, will never forget the call she took one day at her parents’ house in Phoenix when we were midway through our engagement. We had only to endure a few more months until our wedding day, and I was on the other end of the telephone line — euphoric with great news for my bride-to-be.

After I asked Erin to sit down and brace herself, I proudly announced that I had received something in the mail that was very exciting. I told her that she was preparing to marry a very rich man. I had received official notification in the mail that I had won the big sweepstakes. I was in the running for a new car, a free luxury trip or $1 million!

Erin sat stunned on the other end of the phone. Surely this would be any soon-to-be-bride’s dream come true — starting marriage with no financial worries. Her joy, however, was clouded with suspicion and doubt. Erin had actually laughed out loud when I went on about what we would do with the money, how we would spend it and what I was going to buy her. She had worked in the psychiatric hospital during nursing school, and this call must have seemed eerily similar to many conversations she had engaged in with patients there.

To make a long (and embarrassing) story short, those sweepstake crooks had done a great job. The “winner” notification looked legitimate with all the authentic legal jargon — it even had a wax seal!

I felt humiliated. Not only had I believed I was a millionaire, I had told my entire family and all of my graduate school friends. That day, without reading and understanding the fine print, I had fallen for a scam.

When it comes to cultural messages about marriage, we are being scammed as well. We are being sold ideas that contain “fine print,” setting up couples for failure long before they walk down the aisle. Here are some of the popular marriage messages (scams) that have saturated our culture:

Marriage is easy when you find “the one.”
Conflict is a sign of a troubled relationship.
Your spouse should automatically know what you need.
Living together is a great way to see if you’re compatible.
Your spouse will “complete” you.
Marriage is about being happy.

As wonderful as those messages may sound, the faulty beliefs create unrealistic expectations that undermine the foundation of a marriage relationship.

I want to focus on one myth in particular that I wish I’d understood before I married — I’m convinced it would have saved Erin and me a lot of heartache during the early years of our marriage. This myth is best summed up by French novelist George Sand, who said, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

Sand’s quote is partially true. The myth is that you need to find someone who will love you. The truth is that this need to be loved has already been 100 percent met by God. There’s not a single verse in the Bible that says you need to find a spouse to love you. God doesn’t warn that if you fail to find your “soul mate,” then a massive “love hole” will remain in your heart. The Word never implies that you will spend the rest of your life weeping and gnashing your teeth until you find someone who will give you the love that you crave.
Loved and loving

One of the greatest truths I’ve learned about marriage is that I don’t need my wife to love me. I know that sounds counterintuitive — maybe even opposite of what you have been taught about relationships. The truth is that your need to be loved has already been satisfied by the right source — your heavenly Father. A spouse will never be the source of love in your life. That’s God’s role exclusively! Throughout the Bible, we are constantly reminded of God’s love. Consider Jeremiah 31:3 where God tells His people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”; Ephesians 5:1 addresses us as “Beloved children”; and Romans 8:39 promises that “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

Therefore, instead of spending time, effort and energy trying to get a spouse to love you, your job will be to learn to love your spouse. This truth is a significant shift from the cultural message that is scamming you into believing that your greatest need is to be loved. 1 John 4:11 tells us, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Note that the verse begins by calling us beloved. This is a great phrase that means “much loved.” Then, before the main point is even made, we get a quick reminder that God loves us. Finally, our job is defined: love others. Apparently, before we can love others, we need reassurance that we are loved.

In spite of all the cultural scams and myths about marriage, the real job your heavenly Father has asked of you can be summed up in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” To love your spouse is your destiny in married life.
Serving and sacrifice

So, what will loving your spouse truly look like? Focus on the Family just released a book called Ready To Wed, and while I was doing some final edits on the 10-session video curriculum that will complement the book, I noticed something amazing. We had filmed approximately 20 of the best Christian marriage experts, asking them what advice they’d offer engaged couples. There was no script, and we received some powerful biblical counsel. But when I watched all 10 sessions consecutively, I was amazed by the fact that the experts repeated a particular theme. One word kept coming up: sacrifice. This same message is expressed in John 15:13 when Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Now, let me clarify that sacrifice is different than service. I believe that serving means to perform a duty, to assist or to do something helpful for your spouse. It’s similar to the word helper found in Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.’ ” Adam wasn’t lonely, but God recognized his need for help. So God created Eve. Serving each other will be an important part of married life.

Sacrifice, on the other hand, requires giving up something that you value (that is, your time, money, comfort, desire, etc.). Applied to marriage, this implies giving up something for the sake of someone else who you consider to have a greater value.

I’ve found it’s easier to serve, to help out or to assist, than it is to sacrifice. At my house, it’s a whole different story when serving Erin actually costs me something. I’ve found two passages in the Bible that instruct us to do something every day. One is found in Hebrews 3:13 where we’re told to “exhort one another every day,” and the other is found in Luke 9:23 where Jesus tells us to “take up [your] cross daily.” “Taking up my cross” refers to laying down my life — my selfish desires — to serve my wife. Daily sacrifice for Erin is the evidence that I love her.

If you think about it, the very act of getting married is a selfless decision. As a husband or a wife, you voluntarily commit to abide by very clear instructions given by God. Husbands are instructed to love their wife just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). And wives are asked to voluntarily submit to their husband’s leadership as they do to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). Both spouses are being asked to make great sacrifices.

Engaged couples often ask me how they will know they are ready to get married. I think you’ll know you are ready to wed if, first and foremost, God is your true source of love and fulfillment. Then you’ll know that you are ready for marriage if you are willing to wholeheartedly love your fiancé(e) by sacrificing for him or her every day.

So you tell me, are you ready to wed?

Dr. Greg Smalley is vice president of Family Ministries at Focus on the Family and the general editor of Ready to Wed.

Read a free sample chapter of the book, Ready to Wed Download Now

Hear more practical advice from Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley on preparing for marriage Listen Now

© 2015 Focus on the Family.

Taking Steps To Improve Your Marriage

Ok so I know that I haven’t blogged in a while but I have a good one today🙂

"Esposas de Matrimonio" ("Weddi...

   Have you been thinking lately that your marriage is lacking something?

   Or it has become so routine that it seems you and your spouse have a plan/list/time setup for everything including sex and it has just not become fun anymore?

   Have you been praying for something different to come along or some change that might spark it up but nothing has come about?

 

Lets consider something today shall we? What if God what YOU to step out and do something instead of sitting and waiting for something to happen?

Don’t get me wrong here, praying is a top priority but are you listening when you are praying?? Are you stopping to hear what God is telling you to do or are you toning Him out because it is something that is out of your comfort zone or other excuses?

God didn’t make men visual creatures just because He was being funny… There is a reason… And we as women have to be mindful of that. His Word gives us the guidelines to live by, but for the most part many things we question in our relationship is what is great for one marriage might not work for another…. Meaning if I buy a very risque nighty for my hubby thats ok for us but you and your spouse my not want to do that and thats OK!

 

The point I am trying to make here is that if you and your spouse have decent communication you should have an idea of what he or she likes and dislikes. When it comes to “out of the box” thinking just make sure that whatever you do it isn’t making them feel demeaned or ashamed and honors them….. If you aren’t sure about something, talk to them and pray about it. Sometimes me and my husband when we have something planned but don’t want to let the cat out of the bag so to speak, we ask general questions to see how they feel about it. 

What attracted us to our spouses in the first place?? Learning about them, exploring their thoughts, finding out things about them… The whole newness and mysteriousness, trekking out to discover everything about them. When you’ve been together for 20,30,50, 70 years you have to find new things to keep other guessing sometimes. It doesn’t have to be every night or even once a month.

Take time to really listen to what God is saying to you. Read His Word and get the guidelines that He says not to cross, He will tell you. Let Him be your guide in your relationship and marriage. And HAVE FUN! There will always be awkward times where something may not have come out as envisioned so laugh about it and don’t take it too seriously. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your spouse, marriage is a learning journey enjoy the ride!  I have also learned not to focus on my physical flaws so much (it can be a total turn off to mention them all the time) and starting to focus on the things I do like. Of course I am working on improving my health to be better for God and my husband.

Have fun and have a blessed day, in Jesus Name!!

Christina, Three Passions

 

 

Quick tidbit for today

So I and my husband were walking around today and the thought came to me.

Don’t forget to kiss and say I love you today to your spouse… It really means the world.

couple

Song of Solomon 1:1-2, 1:15

Her

The song of songs [the most excellent of them all] which is Solomon’s.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! [she cries. Then, realizing that Solomon has arrived and has heard her speech, she turns to him and adds] For your love is better than wine!

Him

15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love! Behold, you are beautiful! You have doves’ eyes.

Had to share.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!!

Christina

Three Passions Lingerie and Gifts

 

 

Art is No Longer Optional

Thought this was a great post! Enjoy reading!!
Christina, Three Passions
http://www.threepassionslingerie.com

Leading by Design

Image

If you want to create something beautiful in life, you’ve got to know how to distinguish between what is good art and what is bad art, or not art at all, in your life. It doesn’t matter your occupation. Art can happen anywhere. It can happen on a soccer field, in a bank, in a church, in a theater, or on a sidewalk. It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself creative.

Here’s what it takes to recognize great art. Art must cause a connection. It must communicate the connection between what is lovely and holy and what is baser and needy– In other words, it must communicate redemption. Art lies in the sacred space of connection between mankind and God. Think Les Miserables: it communicates the connection between the horror of what we experience in life and hope of something amazing beyond that experience.

Whatever we do, we have to recognize that…

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“When The Music Fades” In Your Marriage

I know its been over a month since I’ve posted the next article in this series from Focus on the Family. Its been an interesting summer so far to say the least. For here in Alaska we don’t get too many summers with 90 degree weather and me and my family have been enjoying it while it lasted. For some reason the harder I try to stay on track the quicker I seem to get off…  Oh well I’ll take it as it comes.🙂 Hope you enjoy this series!

Christina – Three Passions

“After the Fall, the beautiful harmony within human relationships and, in fact, the entire creation, devolved into dissonance.”

By most standards Nancy and Josh’s marriage was exemplary. Their middle-class status was comfortable. They both loved each other and adored their three children. Josh was involved in the men’s ministry at their church, and Nancy taught the junior high bible class. The kids were generally well-behaved, and everyone respected this family.

Josh and Nancy had no major issues confronting their relationship, but lately an inexplicable tension was building between them. Nancy began to complain that Josh expended so much of his time and energy at work that he had very little left for her and the kids. In his mind, Josh was simply fulfilling his responsibility to his family by providing for them. He was trying to be a good husband and father, but his efforts seemed to be increasingly criticized. And Josh, like Nancy, was becoming progressively more frustrated.

No Barriers

Nancy and Josh’s difficulty is nothing new. In fact, Genesis sheds some light on this relational state of affairs. Prior to the first human couple’s rejection of God’s goodness, they lived in a protected environment, with unlimited resources and an intimate connection between each other and the Creator. There was no power struggle between them, no critical view of the other. In biblical language, they “were naked and not ashamed” (Genesis 2:26).

As husband and wife, they lived in full openness before one another and God as they “walked in the cool of the evening with God.” There were no barriers, no personal agendas, no unrealistic expectations of the other and no attempts to find life from the other. They both expressed to, and received from, each other the authentic love of God peculiarly mediated through them as male and female. They participated in the sacred dance of marriage, living in the full, dynamic life of their mutual Creator.

From Harmony to Dissonance

This beautiful harmony within human relationships and, in fact, the entire creation, eventually devolved into dissonance. Once they pursued life from a source other than God, the man and woman introduced into human relationships conflicts that continue to afflict us all. They first hid themselves from one another with leaves, and then they hid from the Creator among the trees. The deep, spiritual harmony that existed between the man, woman and God was disrupted.

Once banished from the garden, they entered a hostile environment with limited resources. The woman began to depend increasingly on the man, where she previously received freely from God, and the man began the arduous task of providing for his family by the sweat of his brow. The “battle of the sexes” began: “You shall desire him, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). Sociologists have long recognized that power struggles occur in relationships primarily due to conflicts over limited resources.1

The Genesis text anticipated, and sadly described, this lingering condition.

Addressing Some Sour Notes

Whatever one thinks of the Genesis description of human relationships, it rings true and offers some valuable insights for marriage:

  • While interpreters debate the specifics, Genesis indicates the emergence of a power struggle between male and female (Genesis 3:16). Whatever is involved in the “woman’s desire for the man,” and his “rule over her,” we need to acknowledge that power struggles do occur within relationships. Though often subtle, they are real and must be recognized. If allowed to remain unchecked, power struggles can erode relational intimacy.
  • We tend to seek life and identity from sources other than God. When this occurs, we place unrealistic demands on our spouse. Since only God can serve as the true source of our lives, any attempt to receive meaning and purpose from our spouse will leave us – and the other – frustrated. Additionally, rather than expressing and receiving God’s love in the relationship, we’ll drain it of all energy.
  • As in the Genesis story, couples tend to “cover themselves” from the other. This is the biblical language to describe “the fear of intimacy” as well as “trust issues.” God intends for married couples to experience full and open disclosure of themselves to one another. Though difficult to do, such honesty is the key to deeper intimacy.

In the following article, we’ll consider in more detail some ways that couples can move into deeper intimacy.