Marriage Work 

The work involved in marriage can be compared to a home improvement project. When we built our house 10 years ago there was that excitement of a newly built house and and trying to make sure that everything stayed spotless and clean. That emotional high lasted about two years. 
After that, cares of the world and other interests made us a little more complacent about keeping up with the new house. All of a sudden, the occasional dust and occasional scratches on the paint became less of an emergency. There was more of a laissez-faire attitude. Well, as we buckled down recently and decided to do home-improvement projects including painting and staining cabinets and hardwood, we are surprised at how much dust and scratches they were all around. We also got into the landscaping and found that weeds had over taken some of the plants and bushes.


Friends, if we treat our marriage like this, not paying attention to the scratches, dents and weeds all around, eventually this will be all that is seen. This will cause the relationship to become stale and lifeless. The energy involved in repairing such a situation can be overwhelming because one does not know where to start.  

Therefore, I urged those that are married to continually make small repairs, adjustments and tune ups. The life of your marriage depends on it.  

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Forgetting What’s Behind-Staining Ahead 

If I haven’t made anything clear in my posts, I hope I have been clear about the fact that marriage isn’t easy. Any relationship takes work. In a marriage relationship, where two people are together so much, this is especially true.  
The thing about the perfect institution of marriage is that two very imperfect people join to be “won.” Imperfect people have a past, they have baggage, and they continue to stumble. I know that both Lisa and I fall very short of perfection and I’m sure there are times she would like nothing better dented hit me over the head with a frying pan. 

But in order for fellowship with God to continue, our earthly relationships also have to be in order. This is especially true in the marital relationship. Although not a text about marriage, in Philippians 3:13-14, Paul writes about knowing that he has not attained perfection, he “strains forward” forgetting what’s behind. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  

In the same way, Lisa and I must press forward, leaving past hurts, arguments and disappointments behind and straining forward to maintain our “woness.” This is definitely work. It takes determination and strength, but the payoff is great!

5 Steps To Being Able To Forgive Your Spouse 

In my last post I described the importance of forgiving your spouse. Now I would like to list five ways in which someone can come to the point where they are for giving their spouse. First let me be clear, in cases of infidelity or physical abuse forgiveness should come later. Trust is a whole different topic. But while the spouse is working and hopefully praying through this, he or she may want to remove themselves from the abusive situation and obtain spiritual council.
But if you’re holding on to a hurt and you just cannot forgive your spouse, you may want to consider five ways to be able to get to that point:

1. Consider the probability that your spouse may not know exactly what is troubling you or what’s been done to offend you. 

 Not telling your spouse also prevents him or her from apologizing. In other words, if you want your spouse to repent give them a chance.

2. Pray for clarity. 

If there has been a continuous offense that has been pointed out previously without an apology extended, the spouse really needs to make his or her feelings known. If however, you’re stewing over an offense that occurred several months ago, then you need to pray that God would give you clarity and peace of mind. This may give you an aerial view of the situation instead of a telescope view. In turn, forgiveness may come easier.

3. Instead of focusing on past hurts focus on the reasons you fell in love 

Changing your thought perspective may actually prevent you from slipping into bitterness. Accentuate the positive and think less about the negatives. This does not mean that your feelings don’t have to be communicated however. But if you’re just having problems getting over something that has already been discussed, changing your mindset, of which you have total control is an effective tool.

4. Pray that God gives you strength to forgive.

The importance of forgiveness was discussed in my last post. The most important reason to forgive your spouse is the fact that God has forgiven us. Your “woness” is much more important than holding on to old grudges. 

5. Read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13
Instead of stewing on the past hurt or wondering why you did not receive the kind of apology that you wanted, it may help to focus on Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 

I hope this helps a couple having problems in this area.  
 

Forgiving Your Spouse 

“To err is human, to forgive is divine.” These are words penned by Alexander Pope on “Essay on Criticism.” This is a true statement but seems to be often forgotten in the marriage relationship. Whether it’s holding on to hurtful words, a disrespectful action, or the resurfacing of past wrongs, a unwillingness to forgive can create a wall between husband and wife.  
Instead of dealing with these problems directly, they are worn as a badge of resentment eventually leading to bitterness. The other spouse may not even know that this ticking time bomb exists or he/she may have already apologized. The result of this is a hard and callused heart that questions the marriage altogether.    

Withholding forgiveness is like having ivy growing on the base of a house which slowly creeps along the walls and eventually takes over the whole house. Similarly, an unforgiving spirit will slowly affect a couple’s interaction, communication, and eventually the marriage. This is usually a slow fade as one of the spouses makes a conscious decision to hold on to the baggage of past hurts. Although this affects the spouse who probably does not know what’s going on, it also affects the person withholding forgiveness creating an emotional toll. This emotional toll can manifest itself physically.  


Scripture is very clear, in Mathew 6:14-15, about the fact that we are to forgive so that we in turn may be forgiven by our Heavenly Father:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  

Therefore friends, it definitely is divine to forgive. It not only can save one from physical ailments, it can also help save the “woness” of your marriage.  

What are steps that a spouse can take to reach a point where forgiveness is possible? Stay tuned for my next post.

How About A Re-Cap?

So I wanted to briefly recap the 5 ways to keep your marriage strong with kids because this is such an important topic. Yes, we are to love our kids while they’re being raised.But to do this to the detriment of the marriage is like building a house without a good foundation. Eventually, either while the children are small or after they’ve grown and left, that “woness” will crumble. Remember, the marriage is what sustains the kids NOT the other way around.


So here they:

1. Surprise gifts- let your spouse know that you’re thinking of him/her.

2. Acts of service- serving each other is a great way to keep connected

3. Date night- this is VERY important. This helps the couple remember why they became “won.”

4. Re-connects- there is a way to coexist with multiple kid activities. Stay in the car and talk or go talk over coffee.

5. Intimacy- this is another area of marriage that cannot be ignored. This can range from cuddling, deep discussions, and the physical expression of a couples love. It may have to be planned and scheduled time but this shouldn’t and can’t dissuade a couple from intimacy.

I hope this recap helps and I pray for marriages that are struggling. May God bless your “woness.”

5 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong With Kids- #5: Intimacy 

The ripping and running of life with kids can leave husband and wife dazed and disconnected. Not only does the couple not find ways to surprise each other, serve each other, or have date nights, they also don’t work at intimacy

Well, it’s true every marriage needs intimacy. Intimacy can range from sharing our deepest thoughts and fears with our spouse to where one is extremely vulnerable, to the physical expression of a couple’s love. True romance requires time, patience and creativity. This however, is not always possible with small kids around. But that does not mean that a husband and wife should take a pass in intimacy.  

Time and creativity may have to take a back seat to spontaneity and opportunity. In other words, make the most of the small window of time and opportunity you have. Sometimes this may require planning, which isn’t romantic at all, but it is much better than forsaking this important aspect of “woness.”   

As I’ve stated in a previous post  https://twobecomingwon.com/2016/03/20/signs-that-your-marriage-is-in-danger-part-four/, Scripture alludes to the importance of intimacy: 1 Corinthians 7:5, “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

So, another excellent way to keep your marriage strong with kids is to not forsake intimacy. It is truly important for “woness.”

How do you make marriage intimacy a priority?

5 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Strong With Kids- #4 Re-connects

As I have stated in previous posts, and as any family has experienced, busy schedules can sometimes lead to a cycle of work, taking kids to activities, dinner, putting them to bed and starting all over again the next day. It is very easy to disconnect in this merry-go round. So why not find 20-30 minutes to reconnect while your at your children activities?
This is was extremely important in my marriage since we all of our extended family lived out of state.

I will admit, our kids are 12 years apart so we didn’t have two kids that needed to go in two different directions. However, both of our kids has friends who we had to occasionally pick up and drop off. And during the soccer years of our oldest, we had a 2 year old to deal with as well. Furthermore, since our daughter was 10, she had a demanding competition cheer schedule. My point is that it can be challenging no matter how many kids you have.
We decided to make “re-connects” a priority. We would go to these activities together and escape for a quick cup of coffee or chat in the car. Yes, you will miss out on socializing with other adults but your “woness” is the priority. This took effort in our part in terms of work schedules but it was well worth it.

Please feel free to share how you Re-Connected with your spouse.