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June 2006

14 entries from May 2006

Guest Writer - Dineen Miller

I want to introduce a guest writer, Dineen Miller, who will tell her story tomorrow.

Dineen is a freelance writer and novelist currently working on her third novel. You can learn more about her at her website www.dineenmiller.com

Her recommended reading: Beloved Unbeliever.

I will briefly tell you that she has been traversing the spiritually unequal road for about 10 years. She lives in California with her husband, of 19 years, and two daughters. She has a compelling story about the day her husband told her he was an atheist. Stop in tomorrow.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Can prayer be a witness?

Through out the past few weeks we have covered a few areas of prayer and prayer life of a believer in light of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Praying can not only release the supernatural power of God into the lives of those you love but can also be a quiet witness to your unbelieving spouse.

Almost every man or woman, who was once a staunch unbeliever, will tell you that their salvation was a direct result of the unfailing prayers of their husband or wife. The strongest witness to unbelieving spouses is the authentic and consistent practicing of prayer (Lee Strobel)

So how does this kind of witness work?

First: pray at a persistent time of day.

Second: Pray everyday!

I get up early, often before it is light, to read the bible and pray. I am quiet, careful not to wake my husband or the rest of the family. I head to the couch with my cup of coffee, my Daily Bible, and my prayer journal. Some mornings my husband will wake early and walk by while I am still reading or praying. He NOTICES! He knows that I pray every day, week after week, and year after year. This is the strongest, yet silent, statement that I could ever make. I am living my faith. No other witnessing is as effective as praying. I am obscure when I pray. I do not pray aloud when my spouse is in earshot just to make a point that I am praying for him. It is arrogant and will work against all that God is trying to accomplish in my husbands life.

Third: Do not let your prayer time become a battlefield. Be sensitive and respectful. Ask God for wisdom to know when and where you should pray.

The amazing benefits that come from early morning prayer are immense. For me, praying in the morning avails a close and personal relationship with the living God, a God-sized perspective on the day ahead, and places requests before the King. One other side benefit that is priceless to me is the witness my prayer life has been to my children. When they stumble out of their rooms with sleep in their eyes they find their mother praying, my daughter will ask from time-to-time about what I am praying for. I often tell her I am praying for her. Her sleepy smile is a priceless blessing.

Be blessed! Pray today!

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Intercession

Ephesians 6:18a
18a Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Can God’s supernatural power be released in the lives of others through our prayers?

Yes! Intercessory prayer is asking God to work in another person’s life.

God will never force himself on an individual because of His love. He will not interfere with freewill. When we pray, however, we release God’s supernatural power to work in the life of an individual. We are partnering with God to accomplish his purposes when we pray.

Begin by praying for yourself. Ask for God’s grace and wisdom in your marriage. Then pray for your spouse and children. Ask other believers to pray also for you, your spouse, and children. Be persistent in your prayers and pray in the name of Jesus.

Please e-mail me your prayer requests for your spouse. I will pray for you and your family this week. Be blessed!

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Persevering Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (New Living Translation)

17Keep on praying.

God has placed us into our marriage for many purposes. One of which is to refine our character. He puts us into the practicing school of persevering prayer so that our weak faith will be strengthened.

Consistent prayer life is essential for all believers. As I stated in my story, Pray a lot, prayer is my lifeline. I will never stop praying for my husband and I know that his salvation is in God’s perfect timing. Through prayer I have attained an earnest peace and my husband's unbelief no longer frightens me.

Pray hard!!!

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Prayer at the Dinner table – What do we do?

Thank you for the great suggestions and comments regarding prayer at mealtimes.

Praying before a non-believing spouse can create a range of stresses and hurt feelings. We will be discussing stress and rejection in a few weeks. Stay tuned…..

Prayer at mealtime:

I have found that humility is the best way to approach prayer. Without humility, prayer can become a battlefield in the home of a mismatched marriage. A battlefield in the home, over dinner and about God, is exactly what the enemy wants. Don’t go there.

If my spouse is willing to wait quietly while I give thanks, then I pray aloud. I say a short, sincere prayer. On other occasions when I since impatience or hostility toward prayer at dinner, I simply bow my head and pray silently. I never use prayer to make a statement about my faith and the lack of his. I don't look to see if he was watching me pray. I simply pray before I pick up my fork and then move along with dinner and family conversation.

Remember unbelieving spouses constantly have their counterfeit radar running. Spouses covertly admire our faithfulness to our belief so be authentic, be consistent, and stay in a right relationship with Christ. Your spouse is in His hands.

Giving thanks for our meals honors God as our provider. Praying before meals, humbles our spirit. It allows us a moment to focus on God, and to remember that He is present in our daily lives.

Be blessed this day!!!

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Prayer at the dinner table

John 6:11
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate until they were full.

Christ models praying before a meal in this passage of scripture He is offering thanks to God. Prayer at the dinner table in the home of a spiritually mismatched couple can be complex. Prayer before dinner can create a tangible tension or even a flash point for an argument. So how can a believer follow the example of Christ without launching WWIII in the home?

I have a few practical suggestions that I will offer in tomorrow’s blog. I would like to hear how your family handles this time of the day. Please offer your comments.

*****

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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You are not alone My story Part VI

You are not alone

I felt alone in my struggle in the early years. Attending church by my self was painful. Bitterness would rear its head on a Sunday morning when I left the house for church without my husband. Habitually, this feeling would erupt into a fight either before or after church.
I also found that nagging my husband to attend with me would cause numerous heartaches for us both. When I would manipulate him to attend, I was so stressed out about how he was experiencing church that I lost out on what the Lord had to offer me. I stopped asking and he attends when he wants now. We are free to receive the word of God in a way to benefit the both of us. As a side note he now attends more often than when I would nag.
I overcame my sensitivity to attending church alone through my prayer time. I also discovered church attendance created a sustaining power. There was revival when I was surrounded by like-minded people who loved God. Church attendance was crucial to my spiritual growth and empowered my prayer life to remain faithful and patient. Worship in a community of believers gave me strength for another week.
I also discovered support in the midst of a woman’s bible study. There I found many kindred souls who were on the same road as I. They were struggling with the same things. I found helpful suggestions and friendship.
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5.
I cling to this promise during those tumultuous moments when faith becomes a controversy in our marriage but I know that I am not alone. I will never be alone.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Read and study - My Story Part V

Reading God’s word instilled a new hope in my heart. Every morning I meet with the Father. I read and pray. This is the single most important thing I do all day.

The word of God is living and active, Hebrews 4:12. Scriptures instructed me to turn to Jesus when I was hurt and alone. I crawled up into the arms of Christ during my reading time and I was comforted as well as transformed. Through His word I discovered that Christ was the lover of my soul and only He would fulfill all of my longings and desires.

Additionally, I read several books authored by Christian writers that were specific to spiritually unequal marriages. When He doesn’t believe by Nancy Kennedy and Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee Stobel were informative and enormously helpful.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Pray a lot- My Story Part IV

My prayer life ramped up. Earnest and persistent prayer was my lifeline. I held my husband in prayer asking our Great God for his salvation. I prayed for his protection from the enemy and asked the Lord to send Godly men into his life. I bathed him in prayer in every aspect of his life, career, health, parenting -every detail.
The most amazing thing happened. Prayer changed me. Prayer has led me to peace about our spiritual differences and I am no longer distraught over my husband’s salvation. Released is the desire to persuade, convince or argue with my husband. Jesus is completely capable of saving my doubter with out my help, thank you very much.
I released my fear that my children’s salvation decision might be affected by my husband’s unbelief. O foolish me, that I did not trust the Creator of the Cosmos to reveal Himself to my precious lambs.
I continue to pray for patience and I wait upon the Lord. Prayer has been an soothing balm to my spirit and a healing to the broken places in my heart. Talking it over with the Savior removed my disappointment over unrealized expectations and set me on a new journey. It is a journey I never would have expected in my wildest and most fun dreams. He set new desires in my heart and is faithful to completely satisfy every single one.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Interfaith couples can find happiness

I am interrupting my regular posts containing my story.

I am compelled to comment on the Columnist, Harlan Cohen’s; May 3 subject entitled Interfaith couples can find happiness that appeared in our local newspaper, May 6. I found it interesting that a reader, describing herself as a 30-year-old Roman Catholic married to a Sunni Muslim, can easily overcome their spiritual differences in marriage. The reader went on to imply that her children will be “more well-rounded, open-minded and intelligent than those of relationships that you usually give advice.”

What gravely concerns me about this article is the tone that it projects. Planning how to handle holidays, religious teachings, and child rearing can be agreed upon “with deep discussions prior to taking vows.” However, making these agreements rarely keeps an individual from changing or growing in their faith throughout years of marriage. In my own marriage, my beliefs and passion for my faith have grown significantly over the past 14 years. I can tell you with certainty I am not the same person I was when I married my husband. I would not make the same decisions today that I would have made the day I married. We do grow wiser as we grow older!

What troubles me the most with regard to the reader’s letter is the fact that she or her husband find their faith of little importance in their lives. Faith that is personal, strong, and growing overflows into every aspect of an individual’s life. It has in mine. I also take offense that this reader assumes that all other people who don’t agree with her are “prejudiced and intolerant.” Boy, is this getting old….

Marriages with conflicting belief systems are rarely smooth. The good news is, a mismatched marriage can be the best thing that ever happens to your faith. My spiritually unequal marriage propelled me truly understand what I believe.

I am married to a wonderful man who does not share my faith, yet. Nevertheless, I am living a life fully alive and thriving in a marriage that is honest, fulfilling, and beautiful (for both of us) because of my faith.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Give your spouse over to Christ - My Story Part III

Control Freak? Who me? I was certain that it was entirely up to me to show this lost soul, I married, the way to salvation. What a blunder that way of thinking was. The day I finally gave my husband’s salvation over to Jesus and stopped trying to save him myself, is a day I will never forget. I heard Christ speak to my heart reminding me that my husband’s salvation will be for His glory and not my own. That day I stopped placing religious tracts on my husband’s pillow and gave up on engaging him in conversations that would force discussion of faith. Those feeble attempts to save him were actually hindering his discovery.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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God purposely designed me to need Him uniquely - My Story Part II

For many years I placed my husband in the impossible roll of satisfying all the desires I had for love, acceptance and identity. I set him up and myself up for disappointment. My husband simply is unable to fulfill every longing of my heart. Why, because our Creator did not design men to be everything to us. The enemy has deceived the daughters of Eve to believe that our husbands must fulfill our every whim, desire and need.

In the Word of God we read that we are purposefully crafted to desire a heart relationship with our maker. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalms 139:14.

            God’s design, the correct design, is for us to establish our identity in Him. He wants us to know, without a doubt that we are His child (Ephesians 1:5a). He longs to show us how beautiful we are (Psalm 45:11a) and to share a love relationship with us (1 Corinthians 13:13). Some of the most powerful longings and needs women have, can only be fulfilled by a relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ.

Getting my mind and heart around this truth freed me and it freed my husband. Our relationship began to change and flash points of war diminished.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Unequal Marriage - My Story

My Best Friend on Earth

Doesn’t know my Best Friend in Heaven

You can thrive in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

by:

Lynn Donovan

© March 2006

The signature tune begins. The words, Nightly News, appear on the TV screen. I tense and mentally prepare for battle. I see my adversary across the room as he looks suspiciously back at me, his eyebrow raised in a slight warning. I watch as he leans toward the screen. The lead story flashes a smiling picture of President Bush, of course a flash point between us because of his proclaimed Christian faith. I cringe, World War III threatens to explode upon our carefully crafted peace. Artillery is readied and sure enough, I open my big mouth and boarders are crossed. A counter strike is inevitable.

Politics, religion and science are the usual issues that can launch the war of words around our house. My husband and I differ in view points frequently because I view the Nightly News through the lens of the Bible. My husband does not share my faith so he does not understand my perspective. We are Spiritually mismatched.

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Welcome to my new Blog!

This website is dedicated to our Lord and to men and women who live every day in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

It is my prayer that this forum will be the place where Christians can find support, encouragement, and practical resources to thrive in their unequal marriage.

I pray that when you visit this site you will be inspired and offer your own insights into God’s design for a healthy marriage in the midst of different viewpoints.

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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