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December 2006
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February 2007

17 entries from January 2007

Emotional Needs Questionaire:

Dr. Harley introduces in his book, His Needs, Her Needs, the needs of men and women. They are similar needs but their priorities are vastly different between the sexes. Dr. Harley stresses that the needs he covers in his book apply to most couples but are not exactly the same for each person. Additionally, the needs above are not listed in a particular order. What needs are most important to you? Do you know what is important to your spouse? More interesting is the why our needs are important.

Women Need: Affection, Conversation, Honesty and openness, Financial support, Family commitment.

Men Need: Sexual fulfillment, Recreational companionship, An attractive spouse, Domestic support, Admiration.

To discover what is truly important to you and your spouse, please login in to the Emotional Needs Questionnaire at Marriage Builders. Print out two. Pray, pray, pray before you suggest to your spouse he or she take the survey along with you. If they are agreeable, praise God! If not, please don’t pressure them. Let it go. You take the survey. Fill out what you think is important to your spouse. We can refer to our answers as we discover more in future posts.

Lord, I ask your hand upon us as we dive into an area that could prove to be painful. Especially Lord if our basic needs are not met currently through our spouse. Lord, I ask that you would be our groom and meet our every need. In Jesus name, Amen

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My precious Gem…

Today at Laced With Grace, Iris has shared her personal story. Her post is specific to the needs of a man in marriage. We will be covering this topic in future posts here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Check it out!

Find me on Fridays!

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Could My Spouse Have An Affair?

Love Bank in Trouble

In the previous post we looked at the Love Bank. The author goes on to say…Now that I have sketched out my Love Bank concept, you may be thinking it sounds arbitrary and artificial. Obviously, the Love Bank is not intended to be a mathematically accurate concept. It simply describes the complexity of human relationship and how a marriage can go sour. As committed as many people are to marriage and staying together until “death do us part,” the commitment itself does not guarantee happiness. We all have basic marital needs that our partner meets or fails to meet.—Willard F. Harley, His Needs, Her Needs

Mr. Harley goes on to explain when needs are not met the love bank is depleted, and suffering from a serious deficit. The unmet needs of the individual can lead to vulnerability or worse infidelity. With this said, (I abbreviated an entire chapter into one paragraph) we can ask ourselves, What Ever Happened to Commitment?

Maybe you’re asking yourself, Should I be concerned about my spouse having an affair if I don’t meet his/her needs? Should my spouse fear that I might have an affair if my needs are not being met? In reference to the needs described in the book, the answer is yes. —Willard F. Harley, His Needs, Her Needs

If any of a spouse’s five basic needs goes unmet, that spouse becomes vulnerable to temptation of an affair. We are going to look at each of the ten basic needs to gain an understanding of the needs of men and women. It is the lack of understanding that causes a marriage to slip down the slippery slope.

Next Up: The first thing she cannot do without—Affection.

Be blessed, Lynn

Also, get ready for a Love Bank Quiz in an upcoming post. I am praying for wisdom. I would like to ask our spouses to take the quiz along with us. I am praying upon this.

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Make a deposit in your Love Bank

So what is a love bank? Willard F. Harley, Jr. describes it this way:

Everyone Has a Love Bank

Figuratively speaking, I believe each of us has a Love Bank. It contains many different accounts, one for each person we know. Each person either makes deposits or withdrawals whenever we interact with him or her. Pleasurable interactions cause deposits, and painful interactions cause withdrawals. –His Needs, Her Needs.

Therefore, the deposits and withdrawals in an individuals love bank fluctuated continuously. Many people remain in the black while others cause the love bank to become overdrawn or RED.

How does the love bank work in marriage? We are going to look at that next. I have a challenge for us. Today make a concious effort to deposit in the love banks of your spouse and kids. Let me know what happens. Be blessed, Lynn

Also, you can find me today over at Laced With Grace: Intensely Yellow.

Daffodil_1

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Thankful Thursday


He Keeps Me Honest!

There are times in my life and I begin to think I might be “all that”. My pride surges and I can be quite full of myself. It never fails when I start down the prideful road, God will rise up in front of me to keep me in check.

Often God uses my nonbelieving husband to bring me back to reality. I love that quality about him and hate it at the same time. However, I know that my husband sees me as I really am. He will point out times when I become judgmental or self-righteous.

He keeps me honest. He asks the hard questions and reveals my hidden pride. I am thankful for this man who keeps me honest. How does your spouse keep you honest?

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Our Needs In Marriage

Marriage is a complex relationship, perhaps the most intricate on the face of the earth. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize what we get into when we say, “I do.” We think the dynamics of a good marriage depends on some mysterious blend of the "right" people. Or if a marriage turns out badly, we call the two people “wrong” for each other. Two inherently incompatible people might marry, but that is unusual. More frequently with marital breakups one or both partners lack the skills or awareness to meet each other’s needs. ---Willard F. Harley, Jr. His Needs, Her Needs

This excerpt is from chapter two of Mr. Harley’s book. I would like to explore the basic needs of men and women in a marriage relationship. The paragraph above describes so many of us who entered into marriage with ZERO training. We actually were relying on some mysterious magic to take over and make marriage wonderful.

Well most of us know that marriage takes HARD work. But, is it worth it when we finally get it right. So over the few weeks, we will look through Mr. Harley’s book. It is my prayer that we discover a few pointers to make our lives happier.

Next Post: Did you know you have a love bank. How are deposits made into your love bank?

Be blessed, Lynn


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You're Invited!!

I am thrilled and delighted to announce a brand new study group that was created to serve those of us in an unequally yoked marriage. 1Peter3Living will launch our first study in February. We have selected the book, Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee and Leslie Strobel.

220149: Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage
By Lee & Leslie Strobel

Back Cover: Leslie’s decision to become a follower of Jesus brought heated opposition from her skeptical husband. They began to experience conflict over a variety of issues, from finances to child-rearing. But over time, Leslie learned how to survive a spiritual mismatch. Today they’re both Christians-and they want you to know that there is hope if you’re a Christian married to a nonbeliever. In their intensely personal and practical book, the reveal:

 Surprising insights into the thinking of non-Christian spouses
 A dozen steps toward making the most of your mismatched marriage
 Nine principles for reaching out to your partner with the gospel
 Advice for raising children in a spiritually mismatched home
 How to pray for your spouse
 What to do if you’re both Christians but one lags behind spiritually
 Advice for single Christians to avoid the pain of a mismatch.

This is going to be a fantastic journey with a wonderful group of Christians who share the same struggles. Login to 1Peter3Living here. It is our prayer that God will be honored through this study and lives will be changed.

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Laced With Grace

As many of you know, I am a contributor on Fridays, to the Devotional Blog, Laced With Grace. My friend, Iris at Sting my Heart, put the devotional team together. Yesterday this is what Iris wrote and I echo these words:

I am thankful for the blog-team God has put together at Laced with Graced. I know that I have said it before, BUT through that group blog, God has shown me that we do not have to ‘belong’ to the same denomination, but that we have a common denominator — Christ! And that is awesome! BTW - I don’t even know which churches my sisters in Christ attend, but I know that they all love God and call Christ their Lord and Savior. And that is the most important part to me…So thank you CJ, Ellen, Heather, Laurel, Lynn, Sissy and Tracey - you are blessing my socks off.

--- Thank you Iris, for all you do.

I hope you will pop over to Laced With Grace today and read Affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
Be blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday


My dear friend, Iris at Sting My Heart, is hosting Thankful Thursday. Once a week I want to highlight one thing I am thankful for in my Spiritually Mismatched Marriage. I hope you will join me to give thanks to God for our spouses and the unique gifts they bring into our lives.

Today I am thankful that spouses can indeed change: On Monday, a surprise delivery arrived from UPS. Inside the medium-sized brown box was a delightful gift. A mini red rose in a charming silver pail. My husband has not surprised me with flowers for no apparent reason since we dated 15 years ago.

I am grateful for this unexpected surprise and for the love my husband shared. Tell me about one thing about your spouse in which you are thankful.

Be blessed, Lynn

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Thank you Kimberly Jones

Peablossom_2....The words that God gave her to give to me began to change my entire life. She told me, “Always talk to God about the man, before you ever talk to the man about God.” This exerpt from Kim's story is wise indeed.

Today please take your spouse to the throne of God. Thank God for him/her. Ask God for your spouse's salvation once more. Then listen..... what does the King want to tell you about your spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

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My Englishman by Guest Writer; Kimberly Jones

I am pleased to introduce a new guest writer here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Kimberly Jones.

Kim is forty years old, happily married for eight years. Kim and her husband have two adopted boys, ages 11 and 7. She works part-time for Christ Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, MD. Her interests are her family, writing, reading, knitting and singing. She is also learning to enjoy cooking!

You can find Kimberly at Knitten' Kittens.

Part II: Kimberly Jones

In all my prayers to my heavenly Father, I never once had specified that my soul mate be a Christian. I had just taken it for granted that he would be.

I had come to a devastating crossroads as I struggled with what to do. Chris had already asked me to marry him and I had already accepted. We were even in the process of meeting with a pastor down on the Eastern Shore, as I had always thought of the ocean as God’s first church. Now, I was completely unsure of what the right thing was. I prayed, searching for an answer and the one that came to me surprised me. Placed upon my heart was, God had given me my heart and soul’s desire. The rest was up to me. I felt as if God were saying, “I gave you what you asked for. Now, help to bring him to Me.”

I married Chris on August 21st, 1998, on the beach in Delaware. We were pronounced husband and wife by a Lutheran pastor, blessed by a God in which my husband didn’t believe.

Chris and I settled into marriage with a combination of peace and harmony, sometimes interrupted by more times that were tumultuous. Often, our arguments were about religion. Chris was not only a non-believer, he was a defensive one at that and any attempts to “make” him believe were met with arguments and questions that I simply didn’t know how to answer. How can a person explain faith to a non-believer? Chris was a man who followed concrete evidence and scientific knowledge and I could offer neither when it came to God or Jesus.

I lost my father, who Chris was very close to, the summer of 1999. In our planning of dad’s memorial service, we opted to have a time during the service where anyone could share thoughts or memories of my father. I was amazed and very greatly blessed when my husband stood up during that time in the service to share his thoughts on my dad, making mention of heaven. Though I was certain that his mention of heaven had more to do with comforting me and my family, it still had to mean something, I was sure.

Nevertheless, we continued to argue about God. Chris hated that I was up and out of the house so early for church and going only added insult to injury for him. Though I found a niche at church, there was still something desperately missing. I hated sitting alone on Sunday mornings, watching as the other couples sat close together, listening to God’s word. Deep in my heart, I knew that there was nothing I needed other than the Word, yet I so wanted to be able to share my faith with my husband.

Our attempts to have children were futile and each failed attempt nearly knocked the emotional wind out of me. It was during this rocky time in our lives that I was asked to go on a retreat weekend and I jumped at the chance. Spiritually I was more than shaken, and I desired to feel grounded in my faith once more. The retreat weekend was highly emotional for me and at one point; I sat, crying, as I spilled out my story about my spiritually mismatched marriage to another woman. I told her about the arguments and about how defeated I felt. The words that God gave her to give to me began to change my entire life. She told me, “Always talk to God about the man, before you ever talk to the man about God.”

I had not been doing this. I had not been praying for my husband to accept Christ. I had been trying to cram my Lord and Savior down his throat instead. By the end of the weekend, my entire mindset had changed as I talked to God about Chris. I asked God’s forgiveness for thinking that I could ever be the one to deliver Chris, (“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John 6:44). When I returned home, instead of talking to Chris about God or faith, I started simply living out my faith in front of him, praying every morning and night for God to touch my husband’s heart.

When I did this, several things happened. The arguing between us stopped. He stopped being angry about my attending church. Then we got a miracle. God led us to adopt two children through social services. As the boys fostered with us, I took them to church with me on Sundays and it only took a week or so for Chris to begin tagging along. His steps were small, but consistent as I watched as his heart was slowly opened to the possibility of a heavenly Father. There were moments during some particular praise songs where his eyes would well up with tears and he began to ask questions of me, of our pastor, of the other men in the congregation. A year later, Chris became a member of the church and for our fifth wedding anniversary; he surprised me with having our vows renewed in the church, surrounded by our friends.

Now, though far from perfect, my husband is a faithful follower of Christ and the spiritual leader of our family. The road was long and at times hard, but once I surrendered it all over to God, He made a way for Chris to accept him. So, take heart, all of you who are spiritually mismatched, for God always has a plan; not only for our lives but for the lives of our spouses. Because God is good…all the time.

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My Englishman by Guest Writer; Kimberly Jones

I am pleased to introduce a new guest writer here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Kimberly Jones.

Kim is forty years old, happily married for eight years. Kim and her husband have two adopted boys, ages 11 and 7. She works part-time for Christ Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, MD. Her interests are her family, writing, reading, knitting and singing. She is also learning to enjoy cooking!

You can find Kimberly at Knitten' Kittens.

Part I: Kimberly Jones

When I was asked to write a testimony about marrying someone who was not a believer, I came to the realization that my story began many years ago. My story not only has to do with marrying unequally yoked, but also with God’s direct answer to prayer and how I knew that His answer to my prayer was all part of a much greater plan.

My story begins back in 1984 when I was just 18 years old. I had always been a bit of a dreamer and a romantic, despite the fact that the few teenage relationships I’d had were neither long nor serious. I was a dreamy-eyed girl who watched soap operas and spent time writing stories of love at first sight.

A particular soap opera character served to start my young mind on a journey to marry an Englishman. I wanted a knight in shining armor with a British accent. The only problem was that I lived in a small town in Maryland, so the Brits were not exactly aplenty or even existent where I lived.

Still on every birthday, when I blew out the candles, I wished for my Englishman, who would love me eternally and every night when I prayed to God, I begged Him to deliver this person to me. I knew what this man was like inside: kind, gentle, protective, yet able to allow me to be independent, a loving father and husband. I would describe my heart’s desire to God in detail yet year after year, there was no sign of him.

By the time I entered into my early thirties, I had all but given up on my dream and had resigned myself to simply being single for the rest of my life. I didn’t date often, but I had good friends that I enjoyed spending time with and it was through one friend, that I met another and then another, in a chain of events and people that would change my life forever.

God led me to all these different people until I had met a woman my own age, Michelle, who had met a man over the internet that was from England. Jim had flown to Maryland to meet her, bringing with him his friend, Chris. They had only stayed a week before flying back, but Jim promised to return by May to stay for good.

A month after the two men had flown back to England I met Michelle. Though her story intrigued me, I never gave much thought to it until several weeks later when I found myself chatting to Chris over the computer. We had much in common; values, sense of humor and life experiences. We chatted for a few months and then the computer chats turned into phone calls. The entire time, my mind was whirling. Had God finally answered my prayer?

Chris came to the states in May and we quickly fell in love. It was then that I discovered something about him that I didn’t know. Chris was not a Christian. He was, in fact, a very stubborn atheist. The information shocked me and threw me into a tailspin. How could God have delivered my nineteen-year prayer to me, but not have Chris believe in him? That was when I realized that the critical error was my own.

___

Next Post: Find out where this adventure is headed. Be blessed, Lynn

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What of Husbands?

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Just as the wives were to accept authority, so the husbands, in the same way, were to be considerate as they lived with their wives. The phrase be considerate as you live with your wives is literally translated “living together according to knowledge.” That a husband should be considerate implies more than just a kind attitude; it goes deeper, implying that his consideration of his wife is based on his knowledge of her needs, desires, gifts, and abilities. A husband who acts on this knowledge of his wife will greatly enrich her life, as well as his own. This is the explicit message of Paul in Ephesians 5:25-27. –Life Application Bible Commentary

The word weaker used in this context is referring to physical weakness and not moral, spiritual, or intellectual inferiority. Whew!! It is okay, we are weaker. There are drastic differences between men and women. The feminist movement would have use believe men and women are the same. This confusion, I believe, contributes to so many unhappy marriages.

With this said I think it is time for us to leave 1 Peter and delve into the marriage relationship.

Marriage 101; What does a healthy marriage relationship look like?

I have been reading several books regarding this topic. I feel led by the Holy Spirit to share the dynamics of a married love relationship, both from the feminine and masculine perspective. Understanding one another is the beginning of a healthy relationship.

If your husband or wife will not join you on this discovery, I promise you it will be worth the effort on your part. God will use the information we discuss to grow and change you, your marriage and perhaps even your mate.

_____

Lord, thank you for Peter and his wise teachings. Help us to love. Love can change anything or anyone. Amen

1 Corinthians 13: 3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Be blessed! Lynn

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Leave Fear Behind

Peter called upon Christian wives to do what is good and to never let fears alarm them. A Christian woman’s faith in God would help her not to be afraid. In this context, it could refer to their not fearing the physical harm that might come to them from their husbands, not fearing the result of submitting to their husbands, or not fearing what might happen if they had to disobey their husbands because their husbands asked them to do wrong or evil acts. It could also refer to the theme of persecution throughout this letter.

Leave Fear Behind: Peter counseled family peace, but with a limit. The first priority of a woman married to an unbeliever was always God. Peter knew how tough that faith would be on some women, who at that time had no legal redress against abuse.

Peter’s word of hope to women (and to everyone who takes a beating for faith) is trust in God. This does not mean that God expects women to accept physical and emotional abuse in marriage. Women who live with men who show a pattern of abuse should seek professional help. They should withdraw to a safe place and seek to protect other family members from harm. An abusive person will never be helped or “saved” by appeasement or giving in to abuse. Breaking the cycle of abuse can only start when the abused person gets help. ---Life Application Bible Commentary

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I am convinced our fears and insecurities drive many of our actions and reactions. Without the life-changing, supernatural power of Jesus Christ many of us would never be free from fear. A study of this topic we will save for another time. Perhaps we will delve into this subject later in the year. I want to move on to the next two verses and finish our 1 Peter 3 study.

Next Up:

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

We are going to talk about weaker. Does this word get my ire stirred!! How does this scripture apply if your marriage is unequally yoked? Let’s take a look in the next post.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Fear

1 Peter 3:5-6 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Why did Peter use Sarah as an example? Because Sarah was considered the mother of God’s people (Isaiah 51:2). Not only was Sarah an example to be followed because of her faithfulness to God and to her husband, but also because she was the mother of all believers under the old covenant, the mother of the Jewish nation; under the new covenant the mother of all who believe (Galatians 4:22-26).

Peter commends Sarah for her attitude of submission, hanging his argument on Sarah’s use of “lord.” Sarah’s submission certainly wasn’t slavish. She insisted that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away. Abraham didn’t like it, but went along with her request. –LABC

Interesting!

What I want to focus on in this passage is fear. A woman’s fears can be many and complex. Satan uses our fears to disrupt our relationship with God. He will shoot the arrows of fear straight to our heart and minds so fast that we are defeated before we know what hit us.

Peter called upon Christian wives to do what is good and to never let fears alarm them. How do we overcome our fears?

I have overcome many fears through prayer and claiming the scriptures. I looked up every scripture that addresses fear and wrote them down, memorizing them. When the enemy would pounce on me, I would recite them, OUT LOUD! Miracles of miracles, there is strange and amazing power in the Holy Book.

My husband travels five days a week. I am alone often. In the past, I would become fearful at night, alone, especially when a strange noise disturbed me. I am free of that fear. I marvel at how God has brought me out of fear. Wonderful Freedom!

Find your scriptures. Write them down. Say them out loud. Don’t worry what people think when they see you mumbling to yourself. Trust the Sword to do the spiritual work you need. Your fears will diminish over time to be replaced by contentment and peace.

I have more to say about this in my next post. How has God helped you over come fear?

Be blessed, Lynn


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Dowdy and Frumpy???

The study of 1 Peter 3:3-4 has brought forward excellent commentary and thoughts regarding a woman’s appearance. A common thread drawn from this teaching is propriety.

pro•pri•e•ties Online Dictionary:
1. The quality of being proper; appropriateness.
2. Conformity to prevailing customs and usages.
3. proprieties The usages and customs of polite society.

I would like us to consider modesty. This is an old-fashioned word in today’s bare midriff, low-cut tops and thong-revealing jeans world. I propose God would desire to see our physical body clothed in modesty. Further still, I would propose God would greatly desire to see a modest heart.

It is tough to teach modesty to our children today. I would appreciate titles of books or other materials that offer parents suggestions to teach modesty to their kids.
As we leave this section of scripture and look at verses five and six next, I leave you with this thought from the Life Application Bible Commentary.

LOUD AND CLEAR:

A changed life speaks loudly and clearly. It is often the most effective way to influence a family member. Peter instructs Christian wives to develop inner beauty rather than being overly concerned about their outward appearance. Their husbands will be won over by their love rather than by their looks. This does not mean that Christian women should be dowdy and frumpy; it is good to be cheerful and attractive. But their priorities should be virtue and moderation. Live your Christian faith quietly and consistently in your home, and your family will see Christ in you. -- Life Application Bible Commentary

Difficult to do to be sure, however, I can attest to the truth of this statement. My husband responds to what I live, what I do every day, how I react, and my consistency.

Be blessed,
Lynn

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Thank You!

Today I am completely humbled and surprised to learn Spiritually Unequal Marriage received the Christian Woman Online, Better Half Award.

Thank you!!

O Lord my God, It is by your hand and overwhelming love that I can serve in your kingdom. I am no one important to receive acclaim. I turn ALL honor, praise and glory to You. I love you with all that I am. It is my prayer that all praise is given to You, the author of life. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

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