Previous month:
August 2011
Next month:
October 2011

17 entries from September 2011

"Out-Love" Your Spouse/ Husband

My Friends,

As I write this today (Thursday), it's actually Rosh Hashanah, the marking of the first day of  the New Year on the Jewish Calender. It strikes me as it's interesting that we are embarking on a potentially life-changing journey today. 

It's been a long time since we have worked through a series and also a challenge here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. This October, could be the beginning of a profound and deepening relationship with our Jesus and also, do I dare say, a paradigm shift in our marriage. It's timing as it relates to God's marking of time, a new year, is perfect.

So, what is this adventure you ask?

It's the revealing of a new look on love. A way to view married love from the eyes of the eternal. And yet to bring it to life in our everyday living here on earth. 

It's about change.

If we are breathing. God is all about changing. He is consistently working out our lives to reflect Christ-likeness.

It's about changing....

Me. You. And do I also dare say, our spouse.

I will dare to say it because over the summer God has introduced me to some people who are living it out and proving it possible. I have been living this new adventure as well and can say this; It took my relationship with God to a greater depth of love, happiness and peace. 

This series will run through the entire month of October. Dineen and I have many practical examples and then challenges to propel you on this journey.

Meet with me here on Monday. Plan to spend 15 minutes with me. I have a special guest who I am so excited to introduce to you. We will share the plan, thoughts and some practical ideas to get us launched on this adventure.

It's going to be a hoot.

Excited, thrilled, hopeful, and filled with the joy of Jesus. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


The Proposal

Arch Last week I attended a writer’s conference in St. Louis. On one of the evenings a bunch of us went on a cruise down the Mississippi. We had a spectacular view of the skyline and Arch as dusk fell. And an even more spectacular view as we returned to our hotel.

We trekked up the stairs and approached the Arch. I walked with a friend, chatting about our evening. One simple glance toward the arch caught my complete attention. At first I thought it was just a girl standing there with her boyfriend, who was sitting on a bench.

Then I did a double take.

No, he wasn’t sitting on the bench. He was on one knee in front of her, holding up his hands. It was all I could do not to squeal and ruin their moment! I’m sure this soon-to-be-wed couple (yes, she accepted) haven’t a clue how much their moment blessed those of us who witnessed their moment and then tried to quietly slip away. For me it was one of the highlights of my trip.

The rest of the evening I reflected on that image, which led to memories of my own proposal. Though not near as grand as standing by the Arch, it’s one I will always treasure (in a humorous way).

But what really got me thinking is that beginning—where we all started. In the time between our proposals to the wedding to where we are now, I think we sometimes lose sight of why we fell in love with our spouse.

What made our hearts beat like a staccato drum on steroids? What made it impossible to think of anything else besides him (or her)? What propelled us down the aisle to say, “I do?”

One of our 1Peter3 Living members posed a great question recently. How do keep from taking our spouse for granted?

I didn’t have a definite answer for that until after I saw this couple beginning their life together. I wonder if it rests in our ability to remember where we started. I wonder if it’s in our daily awareness of those aspects of our spouse that we love and appreciate most. I wonder if it starts in the desire of our heart and ends with the prayer to keep our marriage relevant as opposed to habitual.

The second part of her question was, how do we keep our spouse from taking us for granted? Somehow I think the answer to that question is the same as the first one.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Kids in the Mix - Marriage Monday

It’s Marriage Monday and I am able to hop in and share this week.

As most of us “Add Kids to the Mix,” Marriage Monday is expanding to cover the topic, Kids.

I recently finished writing a talk for MOPS, about raising kids: Raising Kid’s to Integrity and Faith. It was a wonderful process to work through and today I want to share one of the” tines of a fork” (I use a fork as an exemplar) which I share in that talk.

I believe that as parents if we are intentional about five different areas, we can raise our kids with enormous success in a challenging world to live in integrity and faith.

So let’s get started. This is one of my favorites:

Last weekend was Home Coming. The Home Coming Dance was Saturday night and all of my daughter’s friends, were going. My daughter, a Junior, was not. I can’t tell you how this still pains me today. She missed out on a rite of passage, she wanted to be asked by a boy but wasn’t and she sat at home. To make matters worse were the photos of her friends on Facebook the next day. Ouch!

So what can a parent do to encourage a girl’s fragile self-esteem?

BE SPONTANEOUS.

Saturday arrived and all her friends would be trying on dresses, working on makeup and truly I am thrilled for them but, I had a plan of my own.

I told my daughter to get dressed that we were heading out on a day of adventure.

Let me share with you here that I didn’t have the time to spend all day away from my work but my daughter’s emotional health was way more important.

Imported Photos 00006So, we jumped in the car and we were off. We headed to the local mountain community of Julian, CA. Near this quaint town; we stopped at an apple orchard and picked a couple bags of apples. My daughter had never had this experience. We had a blast and there was a ton of things to observe and we chatted about anything and everything. Then we drove on down the road toward the town. Off to the side of the road, I spotted four horses grazing near the fence. I swerved over, parked the car and said to my surprised daughter, “Get out.”

 

Imported Photos 00017 We proceeded to pet the horses and feed them several of the apples we just picked. Now if you know my girl, horses are God's gifts to girls. Just to be around them my daughter is filled with wonder and joy. Then on top of it all, to feed them apples...... pure bliss.

Back in the car, we headed toward the town, drove around, then added our name to the list of a completely charming country restaurant to be seated for lunch. We walked to a candy shop, purchased a bag. Had lunch comprised of everything fattening and just enjoyed the sure adventure.

Imported Photos 00028 On the way home we spotted wild burrows and at least 100 wild turkeys near the river. It was a completely spontaneous adventure that she will never forget, nor will I. We arrived home late in the day tired but filled with memories we will treasure.

Now, I understand that a day with mom is not the same as a dance with a boy. But, I had hours in the car to casually affirm who she is. She is a daughter of the Most High God and that He has a plan for her life and to not rush things. To remember how she is loved by her family and her wacky mom who takes her on crazy adventures. I reminded her that I have prayed and prayed for her future boyfriend and then on day, husband and God is preparing him now for the day they will meet. And it will far surpass what she missed on Saturday night.

She hugged me as she shuffled off to bed. “It was a great day Mom. Thank you.”

Be spontaneous! Be intentional. It builds memories that will last a lifetime and carry them through dark days of doubt. And they will become men and women of integrity and faith.

How have you been spontaneous with your kids. I SO want to hear your stories. I hope I can learn a few new things from you.

Be blessed, Lynn

Don’t forget on Monday, October 3rd to stop in for our BIG launch and challenge. I have a challenge that will take your marriage to the next level of love, respect and can change everything. See you then.

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Devo— A Facebook Seduction

Facebook We've talked here before about extramarital affairs starting on Facebook. One of our readers, John Padilla, ran into such a person try to initiate a relationship with him despite his status as married. John has so graciously agreed to share how he handled this experience and protected his marriage. Here's his account of what happened and what he did about it:

Recently, I received message via Facebook from a female claiming to be a God fearing woman. She then went on to attempt to seduce me into meeting with her to see if we had anything in common.

Earlier in the email she stated that she had read my Facebook profile. I felt that certainly had she done so, she would have noted that I am a married man. I decided that I would respond to this individual and did so while copying, not only my wife, but a handful of individuals who I feel hold me accountable in my walk with the Lord.

I stressed to her that I am crazy about my wife and that I am proud to wear my wife’s ring.

I then advised this female to change her association and replace her current circle of friends with those who can show her what it is truly like to live under the instruction of the Lord’s Word and to encourage and uplift her. I also suggested that she avoid being a foothold for Satan and to no longer attempt to be a temptation for others to stray. I recommended that she read Matthew 18:6 in the hopes that it will help her to see what doing so might result in for her and to also meditate upon Psalm 119:36.

In all honestly, I feel have a pretty good grasp on where this woman is currently at in her life. It is what I call a superficial Christian. I know. I lived that way for years. Claiming to know the Lord when in fact I knew nothing about Him nor having anything even closely resembling a relationship with Christ. My prayer for her will be that she gains an intimate relationship with Jesus prior to seeking a relationship with anyone else. Certainly not someone who is married to another.

My prayer will also be for those whom she may decide to tempt in the future. That they will have the strength to resist.

Satan will use who and what he can to capitalize on the weakness of the flesh. He is a liar and a thief.

Remember to always take captive of every thought. Also, pray for wisdom and discernment.

The way John included his wife and trusted people to hold him accountable is wise and honors his marriage. 

Thank you for sharing this with us, John! 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Parent's Do You Help or Hinder Your Kids?

Teendriving
Some of you know that my 16-year-old daughter became a licensed driver in June. In California, the teen driver’s license is a provisional license. There are several conditions a driver must meet to drive legally. 

One provision particularly is creating some challenges in the Donovan home. But it also developing a young woman of character. It is also bringing into sharp focus my willingness to step up to be a parent of exception. Stick with me because by the end of this article it is my hope you will see parenting in a new light. 

Provision: For the first 12 months of driving, a minor may not transport passengers who are under 20 years of age. 

If cited for this infraction, you lose your driving privileges until age 18. 

My daughter has had her license now for only three months and she’s been pressured by her friends at school to drive them around. Pick them up and “Not tell your mom.” 

What is even more disappointing to me is other drivers my daughter’s age are given permission by their parents to break this law and allow their teen to drive friends for only a “short drive home.” In fact, this kind of thing is more like the standard practice and kids like my daughter, are the exception. 

So, this is how it plays out in real life: 

Sunday night: 

"Mom, do you think you could pick up my friend (her best friend) in the morning. She needs a ride to school. Last time she walked, it took her an hour. "

I will state here that my daughter’s friend doesn’t ask for rides often and I understand their situation as her mom is a single working parent. That kind of life is very difficult and I try to help out because I know the struggles they face. I also know that her walking route is scary and I wouldn’t want my daughter to be walking there alone. 

However, the reality of this situation is that I will need to get dressed, drive to the other side of town, pick up her friend, driver her to school all the while my daughter will be driving separately to school, as she needs her car for after school activities. 

So I agreed to pick up her friend. I will be honest, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about this but agreed to help out. 

Now it wasn’t until this morning that it hit me and I said to Caitie, “You asked me to pick up your friend because you didn’t want to sneak around and pick her up yourself, didn’t you?” 

She nodded shyly. 

You see, my daughter was in a quandary. She loves and cares for her friend and was desperate that she should not walk alone to school. Yet she honestly didn’t want to pick her up and go against our wishes. She came to me, asking me to save her. To help her do the right thing. 

The message here is this: I was willing to be inconvenienced and do something that was entirely NOT my responsibility to help my daughter make the right choice. 

I wonder how many times we as parents, set down the rules, place expectations upon our kids and then never help them to meet them. Parenting is inconvenient. It is unfair and time consuming. But, if you want to raise children who have integrity and respect for the laws and rules that govern their lives, we must FIRST be willing to back them up FULLY. 

I tell my daughter to use me as her excuse.

  • “Tell your friends your mean mom said you can’t go.”
  • “I don’t care if it’s late at night, if you are even a bit uncomfortable at a friend’s house, call me and I will pick you up. No questions, no anger and no hesitation. I will get up and come for you.”
  • I offer to drive other kids. I want to know my daughter’s friends. Where they are going. Where they will be.
  • I have an open invitation to her friends to hang at our house. This summer it was my idea to have Hot tub Fridays here at the Donovan house. I supervised. The kids hung out here on Friday nights instead of stumbling into trouble. 

We must make the effort to help our kids meet the expectations we set and help them fully to navigate the challenges in their path and to do the right thing. Often it’s at our expense. 

Are you willing to be inconvenienced? Take action to help when it the situation is clearly not your responsibility? Are you willing to read between the lines and hear your child asking you to help them do the right thing? 

Pray for each of your children by name, every day. If you aren’t praying for them, who is? Be blessed, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


The Sanctified Unbeliever

IStock_000010972095XSmall For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. — 1Corinthians 7:14

This Scripture came up in my Bible study this week. A dear friend at my table said something about it that sparked my investigation mode. There’s a precious meaning to this verse that holds such encouragement for us regarding our unbelieving spouses. Hang in there with me, I think you’ll really like this.

My exploration of this verse first took me to find out what exactly “sanctified” meant in each use in this verse. The Greek word used in both places is hagiazo, which means to make holy, consecrate. Next, I went to my Bible commentary and found this wonderful explanation of what sanctified means in this context:  

“The word 'sanctified' does not refer to moral purity—Paul is certainly not teaching that the unbelieving partner is made morally pure through a believing spouse. What the word emphasizes is a relationship to God, a claim of God on the person and family to be set apart for Him. The tense of the verb stresses that the unbeliever who is in a Christian family has already become and continues to be a part of a family unit upon which God has His claim and which He will use for his service.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Abridged Edition)

The commentary goes on to even reference our children as being covered much like the children of the Israelites were included in God’s covenant with them. Jesus also makes reference to this in Acts 2:38-39 when He says salvation is a promise not just for us but for our children and “for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

This makes me wonder two things:

1. God made a covenant with the Israelites, which covered their children and each generation after. God also sees marriage as a covenant, without qualification. Does this mean we can take our marriage as a covenant with our spouse as also a “covering” for our unbelieving spouse? Could this be what Paul means when he says our unbelieving spouse is also sanctified through us, the believing spouse? I believe it does.

2. If the point above is true, this makes our marriages uniquely different from a marriage of two unbelievers. I kind of see us as that middle place between a non-Christian marriage where neither partner is a believer and a Christian marriage. Something to think about. We have an edge. If what the commentary says is true, then our unbelieving spouses have been set apart by God.

Which then brings me to this conclusion: Our place in our marriage is not just about what we pray, what we do, or what we think. It’s also about who we are. As children of God, born into the family of God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, our very presence protects our spouses. Our faith acts like an umbrella over our family. God lays claim not only to us but to our unbelieving spouse as well.

No, that doesn’t mean they are saved by association but it does mean God has a special interest in our marriage and the salvation of our spouse that goes beyond the norm. There’s a covenant involved and we know how God feels about covenants.

So, my dear friends, we can commit our marriages into God’s hands with the full confidence that He’s laid claim to both you and your spouse. He is smack dab in the middle working. On those days that you wonder and doubt, remember this commitment and profess God’s truth—you belong to Him and through you, God claims your spouse too.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


One Hour - Forty Five Minutes

I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement, words of wisdom, the great advice and mostly the love you shared with me on Friday. I'm overwhelmed by the comments and comforted to know I live and love among a community of believers who are living in the power and love of Christ.

If you read that story, I want to encourage you to scroll down and read some of the comments and be encouraged to face those unexpected moments that arise as we walk the path of the "uniquely yoked."

BUT, today I have a question.

What can you do in one hour and forty five minutes?

Can you sit down and watch a movie. Get to the grocery store, fill a basket, arrive home and unload. Can you change a life?

After last Friday, God has gently reminded me that "life" is NOT about me. He has reminded me that my life is like a breath. My life is one hour and forty five minutes.

Psalm 90:10 (NIV) Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

And....

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Do the math.

Our lives truly amount to that of a matinée.

I so want my movie to matter. I want what I do, what I say and how I live to reflect Jesus. I want others to find what I did, healing, hope and love in living for Jesus.

Today, you may be discouraged, disappointed, disillusioned and in pain but we must be deliberate and remember that our lives will be over in God’s eyes by the end of the average movie.

Our prayers matter. Our example before our children, our spouse, can change an eternity. Our one hour and forty five minutes can be used for good or can be wasted.

Oh, please join me today and pray with me.

O Lord, I surrender my day to you. Make my life a vital part of your plan. Place me with people who need to know You and Your truth. Show me today my daily appointment. Someone who needs a hug, hope or help. Let them see Jesus in me.

Lord, when the enemy starts to speak lies or brings fear into my thoughts, help me to reject the lies and deny the fear. Let me know that you are always with me, you have a plan for me, you have a great and fantastic adventure in store for my movie.

Lord, now reveal yourself in ways that leave me breathless. Let me tell the world that I know Jesus and He loves me and THAT love is all that matters in an hour and forty five minutes. In the powerful and life-changing name of my Redeemer, Jesus. Amen.

Have a wonderful fall day. Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Devo — Going to Bed Angry?

IStock_000002904078XSmall “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. — Ephesians 4:26-27

A friend told me about this particular verse being the topic of discussion on a Christian radio station. It peaked my interest for sure, because this is something my husband and I have been very intentional about throughout our 24 years of marriage. 

We don't go to bed angry.

This works for the most part, but occasionally there will be an issue that can't be solved in one discussion. Those are the times we agree to return to the subject when we have a better solution, but even then, the anger is disappated and we are back to that "we" mentality.

Sometimes that's not easy, but I do believe this has helped our marriage immenseley. Anger has a nasty way of festering in the mind and heart, especially overnight. I don't know why but obviously God does, or I don't think He would have been so specific with this Scripture. 

What do you think? Do you make a point of resolving conflict before going to bed? Or at least agree to disagree?

Praying and believing,
Dineen 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


A Married Single. Help a Girl Out

Homegrp I'm part of a small group. It's composed of mostly couples and last night was our first meeting since the summer break. As this was our first meeting, the gathering was large. Several new people joined this fall. As the group kicked off, the introductions began. "This is my wife... This is my husband."... “We’ve been married ….. Have two kids….. etc. etc.” 

I watched as the introductions went around the room knowing that it would be my turn. I was second to the last and as the introductions moved from couple to couple, slowly approaching me, I grew increasingly uncomfortable. 

I sat there alone. A married single. 

I almost started to panic a little because I was searching for the appropriate introduction. No one was going to look at me and say, “This is my lovely wife.” In fact, I was going to have to explain, again, my marital status as the social dynamics demanded in that moment. And for some reason, I didn’t have a defusing quick quip spring to my mind. My tension escalated. 

It’s my turn. “Hi my name is Lynn Donovan and I am married and on occasion my husband attends small group. But that’s a story for another day.” That is all I could think to say. 

Good grief. Why after all these years can things like this still make me crazy? Why do things like this still hurt? 

The crowd laughed at my introduction and the promise of “the” story for another day and thankfully, introductions ended. Sheesh! I needed a drink of cold water, which someone passed to me. And I was hoping my antiperspirant was holding up under the strain. *grin*. 

Hear me now. My friends didn’t do anything wrong here. They are right to introduce their spouse with love and affection. They wouldn’t purposefully make me uncomfortable. But, sometimes these moments spring upon us when we least expect them. Even after nearly 20 years of marriage, there I sat, surprised, uncomfortable. Irritated maybe? No, embarrassed. 

The study moved forward and all was well. Finally, we prayed, I hugged a few necks and walked to my car alone to drive home. But I couldn’t shake my feelings. 

And this is where I get into big trouble. That quiet drive home where I visit the “if only” place. If only, he was a believer, I wouldn’t be embarrassed like that. Is it so wrong to want a husband to attend small group with me. If only, I didn’t go tonight, I wouldn’t be in this kind of situation. If only…. 

I arrived home after my brief trip to the land of “If only” and brought home with me one of my oldest and worst “friends,” anger. I sat on the couch and stared at the TV. 

My husband walked in and asked in a very normal and conversational way, “How was home group tonight?” 

Well, what do I do with this question? I could lie and say, fine. I could ignore him, rude. I could answer vaguely, which is my normal MO. But tonight, perhaps spurred on by anger I replied, “It was difficult for me tonight as everyone introduced their spouses as, “This is my lovely wife” and I sat there alone.” I continued, “I don’t know why after 20 years these kind of things still hurt, but they do. AND, I don’t want to talk about it.” 

Dismissed. 

Ugh…. 

I’m still processing it all. I’m still not certain why I reacted the way I did. Today as I rethink all this, I remain angry, confused, hurt. So, I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t know where to go with this today. I have prayed and asked God about it and I wait for His reply. 

I still puzzle about a great many details of living unequally yoked. I hurt just like you. I have setbacks as well. But somewhere down in my soul, I always have hope. And that ALWAYS gets me through. 

I guess the reason I’m sharing this story with you today is to remind you that situations such as these will continue to pop up unexpectedly and they bring emotion. You’re not alone with those emotions. I “get” you. And second, anyone have a good one liner I could have used at introduction time? Help a girl out. 

I love you my unequally yoked friends. I hold a special place in my heart for each of you. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Conversation and the Words We Speak

Tomorrow morning my small group of gals from church will meet up with me as we begin the fall session of Women's Bibles study. The study we will work through is Conversation Peace.

Take a look at this photo. 

Word snipets

To read more visit me at Laced With Grace. Have a blessed day, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Reaction Mode

IStock_000014218588XSmall
Are you in reaction mode in your marriage?

Reaction mode is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Years ago I was in this place in my marriage and I will tell you that I was the heart of the problem because my heart wasn’t in a good place. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created this barrier between us.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward your husband. And where there is contempt, respect no longer exists. The two cannot coexist. Then our husband reacts back to us because they’re not receiving their deepest desire, which is to be respected. They retreat, leaving us feeling unloved when our deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see this vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

1. Control the Mouth.
You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. We’ve talked before here about how our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

2. Dwell on the Positive.
It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well? Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

3. Love Her Despite Herself.
Let’s face it, sometimes we women can be downright unlovable. We get worn out from the demands of our work (inside and outside of the home), taking care of our families, and then feeling like we’re expected to be some kind of superwoman in the midst of it all. Add some hormones and you have one volatile mix of emotions. We’re not always at our best. This is when we need our husband’s understanding. You’d be amazed how these words, “Honey, you’ve had a rough day. What can I do to help?” will bring her to tears, appreciation, and a complete attitude reversal.

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, ... — Ephesians 5:33a

4. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To.
Ladies, I want to get serious here with you. I see this happening so much and I have done it in my marriage too. Stop emasculating your husband. That’s about as bold as this nearly six-foot, soft spoken woman can be about it. Our men need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words. Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

5. Keep a “We” Mentality.
Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This means putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when our spouse isn’t. Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle, even if your spouse isn’t a believer. Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Alcohol, Pornography, Rage

The big three.


Alcohol addiction, pornography addiction, and rage. These three are the destructive sins in marriage that I see women deal with the most.

I share some experience and some insights. I pray this article will encourage one woman out there who is dealing with one or more of the "Big Three."

Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Devo — Stepping Out in Faith

This last week has been "interesting." I can't think of any other way to describe it. I've grappled with a my daughter's messy yet vacant room, my emotions over letting her go, and the unknown of what life will be like as empty nesters. 

God is calling me to step out in faith in new ways and to trust Him even more. It's kinda scary, but I know Him well enough to know it will work out exactly the way He wants it. And that, my friends, is always the best possible outcome—His way. 

So I leave you with this song. It has gone through my head all day, no doubt a reminder from the Holy Spirit that though things are in transition, His love for me is ever present and unchanged.

Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how He loves YOU!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


When Should I Speak Out About My Faith?

Ahem, well, some of you know that through a series of circumstances, distraction and stupid moves, *blush,* I blew away all the files on my laptop hard drive two weeks ago. 

Grrrrrr. 

The video file of the September broadcast of The Intentional Marriage, with both Dineen and me, was a casualty. 

Double grrrrrrr. 

With that said, I still think the question we addressed is a common issue in an unequally yoked marriage. Today I’m going to share with you my thoughts. Here is the question from Sue Tipler. She posted this question on August 2nd on our Facebook Page. If you aren’t part of this fantastic support community, you are missing out. The conversation is more casual and personal. Post a question, add content you think would encourage others and become friends with others on this path of the “uniquely yoked" marriage. Join us at Spiritually Unequal Marriage –Facebook

Sue Tipler

I have a question for you: how much do you talk about God in front of your spouse? I feel like I'm supposed to, but I don't want to offend. Thoughts? Comments?

Like ·  · August 2 at 5:14am 

Spiritually Unequal Marriage: Sue, we are going to use your question and one other one from a reader for an upcoming Intentional Marriage program. August or September. We'll post details on the blog to let people know when. It's a great question. I hope you don't mind if we use it. Hugs! ~Dineen

August 9 at 1:04pm · Like ·  1 person 

Sue Tipler I don't mind at all! Please go ahead & use it! Hugs back :)

August 9 at 1:09pm · Like

 

Great question Sue. In my own marriage, this single area has been an enormous point of contention between us. In the early years, ANY discussion of faith was met with hostility. Those were painful years and I would retreat, almost stunned, at the venom that came from the mention of something I believed was good and was a very real part of me. 

I can understand if speaking about faith, especially using the name Jesus, can cause conflict in your home. And there is a time to speak up and a time to remain silent. The confusion is discerning these two. 

I will share with you a couple of thoughts. First, I pray daily during my prayer time for wisdom and discernment. GOD’S wisdom and discernment. I can attest the Lord has helped me see past the surface of things to allow me to know when to speak up and when to shut up. This applies not only to my spouse, but my kids and living life in general. 

I can walk into a situation and something in me (the Holy Spirit) puts my hackles up. Something just isn’t right. Or, I get the impression there is more going on than what is apparent. Then I pray harder to see it. This kind of discernment also gives me some insight into people, hmmmm, how do I describe this. People who appear “dark” to me. They have an evil in them or about them. (That’s a post for another day.) 

Onward. 

Second, there is a time to stand your ground. You are an equal partner in your marriage. You can make choices for yourself and your spouse doesn’t agree. However, because he doesn’t agree does not give him license to silent you. I say this with caution because preaching and hounding our man, backfires. Only the consistent love and gentleness of a spirit surrendered to God is going to impact our stubborn spouses. This plays out differently with different personality types. I’m confrontational and would often have a pointed discussion with my spouse. There are times we can and need to coach our spouse to better behavior and the same for us. 

There are also personality types who avoid conflict at all costs. They need to pray for courage and the right words to speak and then talk with their spouse. Remember we are partners in this marriage. 

What does increasing my faith and faith-talk look like in real life. Well for me, I slowly, slowly found myself playing praise music whenever I could. Sometimes he turned it off. Sometimes he didn’t. I slowly began to hang a few faith-based decorations around. I would pray for God to give me opportunities to say something about faith in a passing and non-threatening manner.  Sometimes while in the car, watching television, with the kids. (read those posts here and here

I was consistent, relentless, patient and the more I loved Jesus, the more “out loud” I became. 

Today, I’m a Jesus freak. I can’t stay quiet, even in front of my man. 

Yep, and he is well aware I won’t be silenced. In fact, in an unexpected twist, he is proud of me and how I have lived out my faith over the years. Go figure. I hope that one day he will tell me what it was like to watch my faith grow in our challenging mismatch. Perhaps a conversation we will have in heaven. 

Sue, it simply takes time. It takes God given courage to speak out and it takes a ton of prayer, seeking discernment when to stand up or shut up. Mostly but simply, just love Jesus. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

Let me encourage you Sue, and everyone who struggles in the “speaking up” part of your faith journey. God LOVES your desire to want to share. He sees your heart and He will continue to work in you to give you Godly courage, strength and a heart for this lost and broken world. 

Then you know what???? 

You can be a Jesus freak like me *grin.* Love you Sue and all of you who are traveling this journey with me. Have a great weekend, Hugs, Lynn 

PS. Hang your flag. 

Mark 12:30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and

with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Bittersweet Blessings and Letting Go of Idols

Yesterday I said goodbye to my husband and daughter. They are at this very moment driving cross-country to reach my baby girl's new home. It's the start of a new chapter in her life.

This is the bittersweet part—letting her go. But in that mix of sadness and missing her is this amazing joy. God has been so faithful. He's brought her from a cancerous brain tumor to complete health. As she says, her life can now start. I am so excited for and proud of this blossoming young woman.

What God has also shown me in letting go of my precious girl is that I made an idol of her in my life. You're probably thinking that's understandable, considering all we've gone through together. Mere moments became precious.

Even though my love and care for my daughter is a good thing, there were times that I put her above everything, including God. Understandable but still, not good. God ever so gently showed me that I needed to let go and trust Him with her future. Completely.

I walked away from this time not only restored, but also with the first understandings of how God was helping me let go of my girl and reassuring me He has her future in his hands. As He always has and has proven Himself more than faithful.

I will miss her terribly but with that ache is an even bigger excitement about her future and watching her finally walk into it with her own faith and excitement. It is all that I prayed for her and more.

Needless to say, it’s an interesting time for us. A time of letting go, of readjusting to our lives as empty nesters, and watching our youngest finally get to spread her wings and soar. Makes me think of my own mother and how she had to let go of me way back when…

You know, we think of idols as being the obviously bad things in our lives but sometimes those idols can start with something good in our lives, like a loved one, a career goal, or even a spouse’s salvation.

These are good things but when they hold a higher place of importance in our lives than God, be assured He will deal with us out of His love and his desire for what’s best for us. And the very best will always be Him.

So with tears of joy with a touch of sadness, I'm letting go and I'm praising God for his mercy and grace, and this deep reassurance that all will be well. Yesterday was also my 24th wedding anniversary. God has blessed me richly indeed.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

IMG_1088
My oldest daughter, Rachel, my mother, Donna, and my youngest, Leslie, who is on her way to Florida to live with her grandma and go to cosmotology school. Just wanted to show you some of my greatest blessings in life. Thank you, Lord. :-)

 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


What Study Groups Are Saying

It's my great honor to introduce you to one of my newest BFF. 

This is Liz and she along with 20 women recently worked through our book, Winning Him Without Words. Liz shares from her heart about a specific chapter that held meaning and change for her.

Take a listen. 5 minutes

 

Winning Him Without Words, what study groups are saying. Chapter Seven, Pick and Choose Your Battles.

I adore Liz and all the women who call themselves, Warrior Wives, in Riverside, CA. 

If you are starting a study group, Dineen and I would love to support you with resources and our prayers. Please email me and we will send you a study group package. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend and do something intentional to love on your spouse. Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Thankful Thursday - Eerie Beauty

Thankful Thursday is hosted this September with Iris.

Yesterday I stepped outside for my morning walk; the fog had rolled in overnight. As I was walking I watch the grace sky melt away and the brilliant blue appear overhead.

As the sun spayed its light around me it illuminated the many spider webs that are present this time of year. The webs were sparkling with tiny drops of crystal dew.

Spectacular in their eerie beauty.

The webs appeared to be everywhere and would normally go unnoticed if it weren’t for the fog that brought them to light.

I walked.

I worshiped.

I’m thankful for the unexpected beauty found in an ordinary garden spider web.

What are you thankful for? Join us over at Iris’ place and let’s praise the Lord. Have a great day, Be blessed, Lynn

Spider

*****

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-

SUM Books 4