52 posts categorized "Conflict"

Was Jesus a Democrat or Republican?

Christians-Democrat-or-Republican_2Yep, it’s that time again. Every four years the Presidential politics rise up around our nation and especially around the Donovan house. 

How about you? 

I’m daring to talk about politics today because if your house is anything like mine, politics is a deep chasm of which my husband and I stand on opposite sides. I’m not sure if you will agree with what I have to say but if you disagree, that’s okay, just do so with love. 

You will understand the significance of this story if I set a tiny bit of background before you. Most of you know I’ve been married twenty years. I grew up in a conservative place, Salt Lake City and was raised in an Evangelical home. My husband, well he did not. He grew up in a home without any kind of faith training and where “religion” was often mocked. He attended the University of California, Berkeley. 

Need I say more? 

Truly we are the ultimate odd couple. And our differences in our beliefs come bellowing to the front and center every four years when it’s time to elect a president. Now that I’ve walked this unequally yoked marriage for many years I have gained some perspective when it comes to politics in our mismatched home. 

What I find fascinating is how passionate I am about my beliefs. 

What I find fascinating is how passionate my husband is about his beliefs. 

Isn’t it curious that in order for candidates to obtain votes they need to be “right.” And when a candidate is “right about something” that makes the other guy automatically wrong. Hmmmmm, and in this paradigm, argument develops in the political theater and also at home. Which so bugs me. Perhaps neither guy is right or wrong. But it seems to me this effort makes for a lot of disagreeing on the airwaves, in the papers, and in our house. 

But this year something happened to change all that within the Donovan Clan. I’ve realized a few things and I want to share them with you. It is my hope that someone, even just one person, will read this today and save themselves years of frustration and quarrelling with your spouse. 

Firstly, I just stopped. I’ve learned over 20 years of marriage that becoming a talking head and spewing every kind of argument at my husband to convince him of his error in thinking (grin)….. DOES NOT WORK. It’s the biggest waste of time. So I just stopped talking. 

What does that look like? Well our arguments always erupt over the national news broadcast. One of us (me) would offer free commentary during a political story or a controversial social issue – )read  gay marriage, abortion, striking prayer from football games, the Ten Commandments, etc.) My observations always required a return volley of words and in the early years those words hit my heart like bullets. Ouch! 

What is astonishing to me is this year, all this political stuff just ceased to matter to me. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the political process and we should vote. But, I’ve stopped watching all the news stories covering the candidates. I’ve read enough to allow me to cast an informed and prayerful vote. But, what a wonderful fall season I have enjoyed because I simply choose to miss the first half of the news broadcast. 

What peace, what joy. And now what is truly funny to me is that when I’m unable to watch the news because of another commitment, my husband will record the news for me. AND he only saves the personal interest stories at the end of the broadcast. He will even tell me, “There is a great story you will want to see tonight.” And he has the recording queued up for my viewing where he has skipped all the political stories and we start watching together the rest of the news. 

I LOVE it!!! 

Now, I’m just peeved I didn’t stop watching all those talking heads a long time ago. 

Secondly, I recognized a couple of things about politics. Down deep inside what was really going on in me was that I was defending God, His Holy Word and actually I was defending my self-worth. 

What has truly been profound in this political season is that finally this blonde-brained, girl recognizes just how truly powerful, Omniscient, and how utterly BIG is our God. He transcends the mundane political process and likely grieves that the world wastes so much time and money on all of it. 

Jesus does not need my defense; He is completely capable of defending Himself, thank you very much. 

Politics cease to matter when you look fully into the face of Christ. When you release your need to be validated, to be seen and heard and stand fully in the identity of Christ, politics are meaningless.

 

Jesus would likely be neither a Republican nor Democrat. He IS the Savior of the World. So what would Jesus want from me in this political season? The same thing He always wants. 

I think He would say something like this, “Reveal me to others. Show them my love by providing for their needs, one person at a time. Reach out and tell someone there is real hope. Show the world your love for me through your radical obedience. Be my advocate.” 

Be His advocate. Serving people out of the love for Jesus absolutely dumbfounds unbelievers. Caring for the physical needs of people opens up hearts and souls to hear the Gospel. Love, forgiveness, grace and empathy command more power and influence than the office of the President. 

Our Kingdom is not of this world. 

It’s the crazy, unexplainable, supernatural love within us that confounds the skeptics and brings great honor and glory to our Lord. 

So relax, God’s got this. He already knows who wins in November. So, let the talking heads roar and the political machine grind but you, my friends, YOU, the beloved of the Most High God can truly make an impact on this world…. 

Be His advocate. 

Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


It's a Dog Gone World

Let’s finish this tale (pun intended). To read Part I of the Hound from Hell, visit here

Is He a Nice Doggy? 

As he approached the last barrier I was a little nervous but because this was the main fence separating the property from the road, I wasn’t yet in full panic in that’s where most dogs out in this area are contained. I do know my heart was pounding likely from the brisk walking as my pace hastened to get past this dog and also from the increase in my blood pressure watching him break through barrier after barrier. 

I watched this pitbull come straight at me toward the last remaining barrier. At this precise moment is when God started to talk to me again. Say what? 

“Lynn, this dog has broken through all of the barriers in place to protect you. It’s the same in your walk with me. My barriers such as angels, the family, the home, your church, all of these things are what help to protect you from the evil one.” 

At this point I’m truly in sheer panic as I watch the dog meet the fence and then to my horror, yep, there was another hole under the last barrier. It was as if my life went into ultra-slow motion. I watched the dog start to dive down under the fence and I knew instantly what was about to happen. 

FEAR gripped me. I was breathing hard, my heart pounded in my ears. I was burning from exertion and panic. The dog skinnied up from the fence on my side and still seeing all of this in slow motion, I reached for the spray on my belt. 

I let go of a long spray in the direction of the dog who was about 20 feet away and coming directly at me. I missed the dog and obviously the spray did not deter him. In my utter panic. I screamed, 

“STOP!” 

He slowed down. 

God spoke.

I shouted stop again and then once more at the barking beast. 

God said, “You allowed this sin in Lynn. The evil one will use every advantage and weakness to break through the protections placed around you.” 

“O Lord.” 

“STOP.” 

Good grief. 

The dog paused in his approach on the edge of the dirt road a mere five feet from me, still barking but he stayed away. 

God again, “It was your words that stopped that dog Lynn. Your prayers are what finally stopped the enemy. But you didn’t need to go through this if only you had chosen to keep what you already knew was bad for you from your life.” 

Then silence. (except the barking dog and my panicked breathing.) 

I rushed to the top of the hill. The pitbull stayed behind sniffing at the repellant spray. And once my breathing calmed. I cried. 

Lord in Heaven, forgive me. And thank you for saving me. Again. And Again. 

I walked home. Then I grabbed this - no longer Grey area, trashy novel- from the drawer and tossed it in the trash. ~Apropos don't you think?

The very next morning as I was reading my Bible, I kid you NOT this was the verse from Proverbs: 

A wise person hungers for the truth, a fool feeds on trash. Proverbs 15:14 (NIV)

Gulp and shame. 

But from this shame came a lesson I will NEVER, EVER forget. Also, a deep lesson about God’s protections and a realization at the sheer numbers of barriers He builds around me and how it was me who allowed the enemy access. And finally, my shame is forgiven. For me personally, this trashy novel was sin. I’ve confessed the images it brought and the distraction that came into my mind. I’ve allow God to teach me that the best thing for me is to never allow the temptation a chance. And finally grace. 

The expanding, take your breath away, overwhelming grace of God still rests on me, even in my failure. How do I begin to understand a love like that? 

It will take ten thousand upon then thousand years to even grasp an inkling of the facets of God’s love for me…… and for you. But I’m looking forward to the years with great anticipation. 

My friends what is difficult to admit is that I have walked many years with God and I KNEW this book was bad news for me but I picked it up anyway. Darn it. But, this lesson is not lost on this blonde brain. I know my limits. They are there to protect me not to restrict me. 

Oh what freedom we have when we understand His ways. 

What is your pitbull, your weed in the garden? Can you confess it today and allow God to restore His barriers of protection,  grace and love. 

Your healing awaits! 

From a sweaty, (from walking) humble, thankful servant of the Most High God. I love you. Have a wonderful weekend and get out and walk. Hugs, Lynn

PS. Go hug a dog *grin.*

 

Peanut
Peanut... Nice doggy!!!!



 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - Fear

What is bizarre in all this is what happened inside of me. FEAR. 

After twenty years of asking for his willingness to attend a marriage class and receiving his rejection, I was terrified to say…… YES…… 

I literally didn’t answer him because I was overwhelmed by all the fears and feelings of rejection that ran over me as I sat dumbfounded in my chair. Let me share some of the thoughts that raced through my head in the few seconds that followed. 

If I say yes and he changes his mind, it will crush me.
I should just let him off the hook; after all, he really doesn’t want to go.
I’m not sure I want to go.
Can I handle taking my unbelieving husband to church where many judgmental Christians might make him feel embarrassed?
Will I be embarrassed if he says or does the wrong thing? 

Sheesh and GOOD GRIEF!! 

What a mess.

Continued….. 

So, I sat at my desk, fear flashing across my face, thoughts screaming, hesitation gipping my heart, my hope. I looked up at my husband. And can I tell you, my friends, on his face was an expression of pure vulnerability. He was filled with uncertainty and hesitancy as well. 

Looking at him in that moment, I felt the urging ever so softly by the Holy Spirit, to just say, “Yes.” 

“Yes.” I spoke directly into his face. “Yes, I really want you to go with me.” 

There. I said it. He agreed. Hello, what is happening around here? The Apocalypse surely must be at hand because I was convinced that I would NEVER see the day my husband willingly went to a marriage class, especially a class that was faith based. I felt light headed. He smiled slightly and disappeared to his office. I think we both were in need of processing. 

My friends, get this, I still can’t believe it. I ALMOST SAID NO. Please learn from me. If your husband is willing to go to a marriage class, say yes, don’t let fear keep you bound in chains. 

Well, the day of the first class arrives. Weird. I felt uncomfortable, so did he, I can imagine for all kinds of different reasons. However, we sat down at the table together, with might I add, four other couples and one couple with which we are friends. Weird again. How can you be authentic in this kind of scenario? I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. Let me tell you, I was praying under my breath, “O God, please just help us to get through this. Help me to keep my expectations out of this evening. Help Jesus, help. Amen.” 

The speaker took the lectern and spoke about marital conflict. Oh boy, nothing like jumping right into the real “stuff” we deal with. It was fascinating content. Our homes of origin, how we grew up, and how our family handled conflict, plays an enormous role in how we navigate conflict in our marriage. Duh! But, I hadn’t though specifically in these terms. 

You can likely guess that Mike and I handle conflict vastly differently. Duh! I did know this. In fact, as we sat through the evening, it started to hit me, I already knew this about him. I already know he’s wired like that. I know I’m wild and crazy and he’s reserved. I already knew this. I knew that. I really do KNOW this man and he knows me. We aren’t such a mystery to each other after all. So why have I believed that for so long? Whoa. 

We aren’t really struggling as I presumed. In fact, as I sat there listening over several weeks, I came to several conclusions. We are in a better place in our relationship than many the other two-believing couples in that room. We are mostly past many of our conflicts and differences and we truly in love and we are a happy. 

Enlightening. 

I still don’t really know how to process all that was revealed by attending this class. It wasn’t really the material of the class that changed my perspective, it was the realization I already have what I thought I didn’t. 

Now don’t get me wrong. My husband remains an unbeliever. We are still very much mismatched about many things. But, overall, on many levels and issues, we are resolved, at peace and truly happy. 

Who knew?

Okay, I have more to tell you about this and the original conversation that started all of this. However, I'm sorry, but it's going to have to wait for a week because beginning Monday, we have a special guest joining us.

You won't want to miss our mystery guest.

As I leave you today. Can I ask you this question? Could you perhaps be like me, you already have a better marriage than you think? Can you ask God about this. Ask Him to show you what you truly have and don't be a blonde-brain, such as me, and wait nearly 20 years to have God hit you upside the head and show you. Thoughts?

Love you, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Part III

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage. 

Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us. 

I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs. 

Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today. 

My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god. 

He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist. 

At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc. 

My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel. 

Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up. 

Whew! What a relief. 

What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go. 

Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.

Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.

What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day. 

Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey. 

  • First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. 
  • Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith. 
  • Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers. 

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.” 

Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT. 

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Part II

As I ease into the second part of this series, I feel a compulsion to say something: To every unbeliever, including my spouse, I hold respect and empathy and love in my heart for you.

I have been writing here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for almost six years. Over the years I have received many encouraging words from so many of you. Your thoughts and kindness are the jewels in my crown that I will toss at His feet one day. 

I have also received some not so nice comments. I have been confronted and there are always a few doubters and even haters out there that will try to rattle my resolve and commitment to this ministry and to my Lord. 

For example, several years ago I received some kind of notice through my Google Analytics or notices (I think) that my blog had been linked to another blog. I followed the link and low and behold, there splashed across the page on this prominent atheist blog was this: 

Moron blog of the week award: Spiritually Unequal Marriage 

I started cackling out loud. Woo Hoo. I wear that label with great honor. If our lil’ ole’ marriage site is stirring up the unbelievers, then Wahooooo! 

Moron blog of the week. It’s a badge I wear proudly. 

What you should know about this merely 5’4” tall blonde is that I’m not easily rattled. I have the first component that steels my heart and soul from the doubters, haters and nay sayers. 

I KNOW my identity. I KNOW without doubt who I am in Christ. 

LifeisshortMy friends when you understand that you are solidly in the palm of the Most High God, words intended to hurt, condemn or persecute will fire at you but they don’t penetrate. It’s like I see the words “moron blog” come at me and then simply melt into an impudent puddle on the floor. In fact, I actually find it’s humorous. 

My identity in Christ came about because I worked and pursued my personal relationship with Jesus with all of my passion and a deep commitment. Wow, my efforts have paid off. If you want to discover this kind of relationship with Christ, He eagerly waits for you. It takes discipline but that will soon turn to desire. You can read about how I went about it (here). And Dineen (here)

Knowing who I am in Christ has freed me from wavering in my faith while under attack. It has empowered me to see clearly and sift the ever changing values of our society through the lens of the Bible. Which by the way, never change. What freedom there is in that truth.

I have gained a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I am free to agree to disagree with my spouse because I am  confident in the truth of God. I am filled with compassion for those who are harmed by lies of the devil. I am brought to fervent prayer for the lost, broken and the nay sayers.

And one incidental side note: I also have dominion over the delete key.  *grin* 

Empower yourselves. Begin to believe who you are in Christ. Embrace it. Live it. Love it and watch as God builds your courage and the fiery darts of the enemy just melt in impudent puddle at your feet. 

The second part of responding to the Atheist blog reader is a conversation I had with my spouse years ago. Things changed for us after that. Tune in Friday for Part III Unequally Yoked and The Atheist Blogs. 

How has your relationship helped you to cope with the attacks of an unbelieving spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Messy and Broken Could Be The Best Place To Be

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIt’s Sunday afternoon as I write this post, I know I should be asking you to listen to Dineen and me on the radio today. But, right now I just can’t. My heart is heavy.  

In a rare moment, this morning at church at the request of our Pastor, I went to the front of the church to be available to pray with anyone who needs prayer. I’ve never done this before and wouldn’t you just know God KNEW there was one woman, a wife, who needed me, whom I could so relate. As I looking into her face, I could see a not-so-distant reflection of me only a few years ago. 

She was struggling in her marriage. 

My heart is broken for her. 

My heart is truly broken for all of our messy marriages. 

I am broken for those of us who are married and yet lonely, who are sad, angry, disappointed. My heart breaks for us who are isolated even at church because we don’t fit the typical church family shape. My heart hurts for those of us who are desperate to share intimacy with our spouse and to know a marriage where Christ is the center and not ridiculed by the very person who was supposed to be our soul mate. 

My heart is broken. But….. (With God there is always a but.) 

My sweet friends it’s when we are broken that God can do His best work. It’s when we have finally reached a place that we just can’t do “it” anymore. That is when we finally surrender our pain, our expectations, our marriage, and our spouse’s salvation to an all-powerful and good God. 

I am an ordinary woman. A 5’4” blonde who doesn’t have this walk with God all figured out. I don’t have all the answers but I have one thing and it’s all I need. 

I have Jesus. 

I love Jesus with every part of me. And Jesus loves me. And that is the simple key to living in peace and to loving my nonbeliever. The transforming love of Christ and His Word has changed everything. 

My friends, you CAN do this messy marriage thing. You can thrive in your spiritual mismatch. You can raise Godly kids in the midst of different world views. You can laugh, OUT LOUD with praises on your lips. You can experience peace that surpasses all understanding. You can love profoundly and with passion. 

Dineen and I are ordinary wives but we serve the Extraordinary God of the Universe and His son, Jesus. And our marriages have been redeemed, our kids are safe in our Savior’s hands and we are on the most amazing journey any believer could hope to travel. 

Oh please, travel this crazy, mixed up road with us. Learn to hear the Father’s voice. Watch as He astonished you with unexpected and fantastic answers to prayer. Let Him comfort you and teach you new ways to live. 

Walk with us and behold…… His desires for your life will be the greatest thing you will ever experience. 

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord 
and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

I bear witness to the truth of God’s Word. 

Today, if you are brokenhearted, leave your prayer request in the comments. We will pray for each of them. We have a prayer team that will pray for you by name. Take a step forward in your walk toward heaven and watch all that our Great God will do in you, around you and allow him to amaze you this very week. 

FocuslogoBe blessed my friends, Lynn 

To listen to our Focus on the Family interview, click here. We pray that every word reflects Jesus. To God be all honor and glory. 

And, if you are new to our website, visit our New Hear page. Step off on the path to healing this very hour.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


When They Are Stinkin' Mean ~Part II

“I try to read the Bible....but it doesn't sink in....I read it and I don't "get it".....I read it and I don't hear what other people hear....so I give up. I give up because I doubt....I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....” 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Over the past few posts I have been sharing excerpts from a one of our new readers, Celia. Above she writes about her doubt and about lack of understanding the Bible. So many of you left comments filled with truth, prayers and encouragement. To read those posts, scroll down or start here with the first one.  

On Monday I shared with you the strange phenomenon of when we mature in our faith, even a little, our need to defend Christ and to argue the truth with our spouse diminishes. When we aren’t always on the defensive, our spouses tend to back off. 

Today I want to share the second truth. In every relationship and especially our marriage relationship there comes a time to: Stand up or shut up

I actually have very strong feelings on this matter. So much so that I wrote about this very thing in our book, Winning Him Without Words. Once again, it comes down to our maturing in faith and to understanding that we and our spouses see life from two different world views. Because our spouses don’t have the Holy Spirit to help them discern life, they often become hostile. Especially when you consider the bombardment of negative/hostile information about religion they receive via media and science*. 

I want to share this excerpt from chapter seven: 

Winninghim
To read more, click on the photo

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

They just don’t get it. 

Using the bullhorn approach with our spouse reminds me of the uselessness of a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Loving our husband and living out our faith consistently, in a manner that reflects Christ’s power of transformation, is possible. An unbelieving husband can’t argue with the fact that he is living with an authentically changed wife. And that’s the key: a transformed life. 

Pick and choose battles that are of lasting importance. Stand up for principals, for they keep you from sinning. Stand on the authoritative truths laid out in God’s Word. 

Agree to disagree on the small stuff. Don’t depend on your feelings for these choices, but look to guidance from the Bible, and pray, pray, pray. Consider the needs of others, yourself and your husband, and then decide if the issue at hand is truly worth conflict. Surrender your need to win. Let go of your desire to control. Be the peacemaker in your home, and let Christ handle the rest.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9). 

A Transformed Life 

God is in the business of change. As long as we are breathing, He will be about the work of transforming our heart, character and soul. Our entire faith-walk is designed to conform us into Christ’s likeness. Within our unequally yoked marriages, God’s plan becomes remarkably apparent. The Lord will often employ conflict with our unbelieving spouse to bring about our transformation. Darn it! ~~~~~ 

Conflict or dealing with a mean spouse has a funny way of changing us. It’s not what we expected when we married but God will use our unbelieving spouse to show us His depths of mercy, grace, protection and unending love. 

I’m still amazed by this unexpected journey. 

One other thought. I recognize that there are people who are truly mean-spirited. There are spouses who turn mean because of unresolved pain and anger from their past. People can be mean when they drink, or when they are caught up in other addictions or they suffer from mental illness. All of these are issues that can pile on top of a spiritual divide in a marriage. There is hope even for people who are dealing with these. We have hope because our Great Big God saves. He restores. He redeems. He hears our prayers. 

If you need help with these other issues, there are fantastic resources available to help you and your spouse take a step forward. Seek out counseling, AA, online help through Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family. Perhaps today is the day God has called you to read this article and begin your new journey. 

Celia, I hope you find some encouragement to walk this path with all of us. It’s not always the easiest. Actually, I assure you, it’s not the easiest but wow, the experiences you will have with God and His son, Jesus, are so very worth it. 

Be blessed, Lynn 

*One day science will catch up with the theologians and we will discover that they were both on the right track all along.   

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


When They Are Stinkin' Mean

“I try to read the Bible....but it doesn't sink in....I read it and I don't "get it".....I read it and I don't hear what other people hear....so I give up. I give up because I doubt....I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....” 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Over the past few posts I have been sharing excerpts from a one of our new readers, Celia. Above she writes about her doubt and about lack of understanding the Bible. So many of you left comments filled with truth, prayers and encouragement. To read those posts, scroll down or start here with the first one.  

Today I think it’s time we tackle her next statement:  “I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....”. 

What does this statement really mean? If I think a minute about this statement and my past experience with my unbelieving spouse, what I’m really hearing are these statements: 

  • My husband shames me with my faith.
  • I’m unable to defend my faith.
  • My husband belittles me because of my faith.
  • My husband is defensive when it comes to my faith
  • My husband is mean (is in general a mean person)
  • My husband becomes hostile when confronted in any way about Christianity. 

Well my friends, there is enough here to be addressed that I could write three books. But, for today’s purposes, let’s get to the crux of the issue. 

There are two things happening here. Both the wife and husband are grappling with a commonly held conception of God. They are asking/or asserting: Is God real? Or God is NOT real. 

The wife struggles to defend herself and her faith because in her mind she’s not entirely sure God is real nor is she certain that living as a believer is really doable. AND I get it. Celia, I lived for many, many years in this particular cul-de-sac, wondering around and around trying to figure out if I really believed in God or if it was all foolishness. And I bet if we are candid, there are many more of us who also walked around and around in that darn cul-de-sac with me. 

What I want to confirm for you again is that it is okay to have doubts. But it is also so clearly evident that God wants you to seek Him and to let Him show you how to put your doubts to rest. And if you need some ideas on how to go about this just go back and read the inspired comments that were left last Monday

When we are tossed and turned on the tide of public opinion of our society about the truth of God, we aren’t able to help ourselves with our beliefs let alone affirm truths to our spouse. When we aren’t convinced of what we believe, how can we expect our spouse to discover it? Now, as a woman I know what we would really like. We want our men to come to Christ, be the leader who helps us firm up our faith and pass along strong faith to our kids. But, in our unequally yoked marriages, that does not happen. 

When a spouse abdicates or refuses to fulfill the role of spiritual leader of our home, God is …. Now get this….. God is URGING us, the believing spouse, to step into that position. 

So what does that look like in this scenario? Let me share two truths with you. 

First: 

1 Peter 3:1 NLT 1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over. 

The longer I live in this unequally yoked marriage, the more I see the truth of this passage in my marriage. I needed to mature my faith and when I really began to know what I know that God is real and living the Christian life is not only doable but the best life ever, I was set free from trying to convince my husband of anything. Jesus could be Jesus. All I had to do was to love Jesus and you know what? The love of Jesus flowed out of me and into my husband. When that happens, things change. I don’t understand why or how but the mean words my husband would say about my faith, bounced off. His accusations and his attempts to shame me because I believed truly did not penetrate my heart. 

Did that stop him from saying them? No. But words against my faith didn’t hurt as much and a funny thing about this change is that over time, my husband stopped saying them. 

What I began to see was a man who was listening to the world. He was unable to perceive the things of the spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14) But I was assured through many promises in God’s Word that if I surrender to Jesus, He would take care of me. Things that once annoyed me, hurt me or even crushed, no longer held power over me. The lies of the enemy could not pierce the protecting love of Christ. 

~~~~~ 

Shoot, another post that has already run way too long. Sheesh, get me going and I could talk about what Jesus has done in an ordinary 5’4” blonde girls life forever. So on Friday, come back as I give you the second truth that is very practical taken from our book, Winning Him Without Words. I’m going to teach you how to rise above the meanness and to thrive. 

Okay my friends, what are your thoughts about 1 Peter 3:1 and how do you process the “Authority or submission” as it relates to living and thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. 

Looking forward to your thoughts on this controversial passage. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Effective Spiritual Warfare in an Unequally Yoked Home

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So, ummm, yep, nothing like an eight hour car ride to challenge a marriage.

Yep, we traveled last week. In the car. With two teenagers, in heavy, holiday traffic in a car that barely seats four. First to visit four colleges in three days then on to northern California with my husband’s family. Finally, a long drive home in demanding and stressful conditions. Are we nuts?

It’s interesting how a change of venue compounded by stress of travel and family expectations will reveal the good, bad, and ugly in a relationship.

Overall our week went well but…… there was this one day. It was day three after a long college tour and we had another six hours on the road before we reached our next destination. And now as I’m home and can think back over the day, I’m able to view it through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.

After the tour we piled in the car and began the drive. Conversation was light but the tension was rising. We didn’t get on the road as early as my husband had wanted. He was a bit testy most of the day and now an hour into the drive I think the word that comes back to me is, mean. Now let me say here, my husband is not a mean tempered man. In fact, he is genuinely a kind and gentle spirit most of the time. But, now as I reflect back I can see something I didn’t see at the time.

A mean spirit.  

It was rising and after some words back and forth, I’m not totally innocent in this exchange, my husband’s temper rose up and hurtful words were spoken. It crushed me and I fell silent. I couldn’t speak and for the remainder of the long drive, I was silent. What was even stranger to me was his driving. It was so unusually cautious. SO not the norm. My husband is a safe and cautious driver to begin with but his driving was uncharacteristic, so much so that my teen daughter even asked me if dad was okay.

Now at the time, I didn’t see what was really going on but boy howdy, do I see it today.

This mean spirit was in reality an evil spiritual influence. The spiritual warfare going on in that car must have been intense. I can look back at the interactions now and even see how my husband’s normal demeanor changed in that period of time. I will also share that even his face, somehow, looked different. The best way I can describe it is a glint in his eyes and an air of confrontation (not normal), and a steel faced determination/dominance? Okay, I’m not finding the exact words. But, I’ve seen that look before and it's not good.

But why am I sharing this with you? Because when we get out of our normal protective boundaries of our home we are entering into a realm of spiritual battlefield where we are unprepared and unprotected. THIS is exactly what I believe happened on day three of this long drive. The spiritual battle opened up and I was unprepared for it. And zing, I’m hit full force with mean words which incapacitated me for hours.

Man.

What is hard about writing this is that I KNEW that this kind of thing happens to me when I travel and I even prayed asking for protection, a few weeks leading up to our trip. But, as I sat with God the next morning early with my Bible and journal praying about it, taking my hurt to God and asking Him about this odd and painful exchange, He revealed to me that I hadn’t prayed with a fervor and with the time I needed to put into it.

We live in the spiritual realm and our prayers are crucial to so much that God desires for us but we don’t pray it through. And I’m convinced as the Holy Spirit has impressed me that I needed to spend an hour every morning for two weeks leading up to the trip in prayer for protection, wisdom, to bind the enemy in the power of Jesus.

I wonder if you might be in the same place? Are you recognizing spiritual warfare in your unbelieving spouse? And are you at a loss as to why God doesn’t seem to do anything about it? I wonder if it’s time to ignite your prayer life? I wonder how much we leave on the table just because we are too lazy, to rushed, to self-important to pray. An hour a day, every day can change everything.

Perhaps this post will not resonate with anyone. Perhaps it’s only for me.  

But just writing it has made me determined that I’m not going to let the enemy slip past my protective boundaries again because I’m lazy or rushed. My spiritual life is too important and if you think about it, I allowed an open door for an evil spirit to come in and speak lies and influence my husband, which ended up hurting all of us.

I know better. As a wife of an unbeliever, God has called me to be the spiritual leader of our home. It’s my charge to pray for protection, Godly wisdom and discernment and to lead with the love of Christ. God wouldn’t have called me to lead our home on my own if He didn’t think I was up for the task.

I can and will defeat the enemy. The devil and his minions have nothing on me. I will pray for angels to surround us, to protect us, to lead us. I will ask God to help me recognize spiritual warfare more quickly and to pray with fervor against it. I will use the Word of God as my sword and the enemy will flee in screaming terror from a mere, five foot, four inch blonde girl.

Just imagine what else I can do just because I believe, I pray and I live for Jesus.

Have a great week. Live in victory. Hugs, Lynn

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


To Pray of Not To Pray. That is The Question for The Unequally Yoked

Thanksgiving rockwellFootball rages in the family room, the aroma of a roasting Bidzilla satisfies the kitchen, kids play outside, red cheeked and with hands frozen. Ahhhh, Thanksgiving.

This is my favorite traditional holiday of food, family and ……stress.

 

Read more at the Internet Cafe Devotions, Marriage Counter.

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Out-Love your Spouse - Sowing and Reaping

Well how was the first week? 

I have to tell you that I have been on this journey for a few months already and I find it extraordinarily difficult. So don’t become discouraged. There are lessons to be learned and God surely had to teach me a few things this week. Sometimes He must show us how our words really affect our spouse. 

This is exactly what happened to me. Ugh! 

Last week my husband and I went for an early afternoon walk. We walk the dog several times a week when he is not traveling. We had little Peanut leashed and were just setting off down the street when God decided it was time. 

Lynn Donovan was about to discover you reap what you sow

You see, two weeks earlier, I’m ashamed to admit, I had a meltdown and zinged my husband with some unkind mean words. They were intended to hurt and to slam my point home over whatever we were arguing about. They did……. And similar to most men, he just quietly took the words in and didn’t rise to the bait. 

The next day I felt horrible about the things I said. I apologized. He said, “It’s okay.” But, you know what???? I said them. They hurt him and once they left my mouth, there was no taking them back. 

Well fast forward again to the dog walk. We rounded the corner and my husband was talking with me about something that happened during the day. I let out a tiny little comment (dig???) about the situation. 

He stopped dead in his tracks, right there on the street corner, pointed a finger at me, “I hate it when you do that. Don’t you ever say that to me again. You are out of line.” (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact words.)

What I distinctly remember is becoming immobilized on the spot, completely stunned into silence. I felt like a hot knife had been plunged through my heart. Well needless to say, the rest of the walk was strained and very, very quiet. We didn’t speak a word. 

I walked and I began to process his unexpected and very emotional response. That is when God said in His still small voice, “Lynn, the pain you are feeling right now is exactly what Mike felt two weeks ago.” In fact, my little dig was about the very issue I zinged him with a few weeks earlier. 

I grieved as we approached our home. 

I looked up at my kind husband and just whispered, “I am so sorry. I have so much more work to do on this journey. Please forgive me. Please be patient with me. I promise to do better.” 

My friends, I have never been so convicted in my life that the area of my speech to my husband is a rotting, stinking pit that I MUST begin to pray and surrender every…. single….. day…. Sometimes hour-by-hour. 

But now more than every I am determined to do what is right. What is noble. What is pure. What is excellent (Phil 4:8).

Candle Marriage is all about a heart surrender. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about loving Jesus more than I love myself. 

O Lord, I want to love you more than I love myself. I’m asking you to remove my old heart, of unforgiveness, unkindness, selfishness, and pride. Please, Jesus, please put into me a heart of flesh and fill it up with your supernatural love, grace, goodness, kindness, peace, joy, self-control, and more. I humbly ask in the name of my Redeemer, The Redeemer of a girl with a speech impediment and a broken heart. Jesus, Amen. 

On Monday, I have a special gift for you to give to your family, marriage and your husband. Over the weekend, find/purchase a candle. It must be big enough to burn for eight hours. Don’t forget, you won’t want to miss this. 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Love, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Reaction Mode

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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. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


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. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Intentional Marriage

Good Day Everyone:

It's the second Friday of May and welcome to our newest show, The Intentional Marriage. Today Dineen and I are together and we are fielding questions.

*Holding out hope for our Spouse's Salvation
*Kid's and respect for their unbelieving Dad
*Handling media choices in a spiritually mismatched home 

Please spend a few minutes with us and then add your thoughts in the comments. We are especially wanting your suggestions on how you navigated these GIANT issues with the grace of Christ and with love for your spouse.

Thank you now join the show. Hugs, Lynn

 

The Intentional Marriage May 2011 from Lynn Donovan on Vimeo.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Intentional Marriage - Stand Up or Shut Up???

Welcome to our video broadcast of The Intentional Marriage. We are looking at how to sift our marriage conflicts, failures and questions through a small but powerful passage in the Bible.

18 minutes of power. Take a listen. Lynn

 

 

The Intentional Marriage Show March 2011 from Lynn Donovan on Vimeo.

Also, find Dineen today over at Laced With Grace where she shares: Parenting Struggling Teens.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Conflict: Move from Negative to Positive

I think this area of conflict and boundaries in marriage hit a nerve with many of you. The comments left on previous posts are amazing and vulnerable. Many of you have offered your perspective with what is working in your marriage. The reading suggestions are great and if someone truly wants help in this area, the resources you mentioned are excellent.

I also received many private emails through out this series and you have shared your wisdom on this subject and your suggestions have proven helpful. Thank you for taking time to share with me how God is working in your life.

Conflict often brings us to a place of change. God is all about change. If you are breathing….. He is about changing you. Amazing.

As I wrap up this series, I want to share a few tidbits of wisdom that came from one of our long-time, regular readers. I love being part of this community. We care for one another. Offer support and love. We pray, pray, and pray some more for those of you in pain. Mostly we help and encourage each other as we take a step each day toward heaven.

Okay, some great tips to turn conflict from negative to positive. 

Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it meanly. Sounds good right?

Here's more: Avoid blaming, accusatory “You” statements.

Compare the following statements: You never tell me things. Versus I need the information.

“I” statements are usually assertive statements. “You” statements are often aggressive statements. “You” statements encourage blame and generalizations. “I” statements will encourage you to keep the emphasis on yourself. Remember, “You” statements can put people on the defensive.

You always say mean things. Versus I’m offended by that comment.

“You” statements are often accompanied by negative words. Negative words put people on the defensive. “You” failed to meet the deadline. “You” neglected your chores. Versus Deadlines need to be met. I need your help putting the kids to the bed.

_____

You have heard the old adage, It all in how you say it... It's true. Our calling is to model 1 Corinthians 13... Love is kind...... Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


I'm Going to Get into Your Business!

On Friday I shared a comment from a reader that really has me thinking. The commenter shares about her spouse:

He would announce he was the head of house (I had told him that) he would tease my new faith in public; all the while I would smile and not correct him (thinking it was not my place).

I can assure you, this scenario is commonplace within unequally yoked marriages. As Christians, we can mistakenly believe we must turn the other check and virtually become a doormat within our marriage in order to convince our spouse of our faith, hoping they will come to Christ.

Women misguidedly believe they are demonstrating love to their mate by going along with their every whim and decision. They also think they are not conforming to Biblical principles when standing up to her husband’s ridicule of her faith and thus allow his disrespect of who she is as his wife. Men who are married to unbelieving wives are desperate to model Christ’s love and therefore give into the demands of their wife hoping their display of sacrificial love will win her over.

Now hear me on this. There ARE times when we need to check our selfishness at the door and support our spouse’s decisions. There are also times when the health of our marriage demands we draw a line in what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Again I refer you to Friday’s post for some suggestions to discover what a healthy marriage relationship looks like.

A few weeks ago a friend shared with me that she was struggling with the way her husband was speaking to her. I decided to share with her how I handled this common conflict in marriage and now I think it’s time for me to tell this story here.

Let me preface this account with a few facts. I am a passionate person. So is my husband. We both came into our marriage with some solid beliefs that are diametrically opposite. This is still the case today. However, the way we handle our disagreements when our conflicting moral issues arise has changed over the years.

In the early years, my husband and I could get into a major shouting match discussion over some random thing that was actually more reflective of our differing worldview. As we would begin to talk about this “small thing,” our passions would fire. Then we became desperate to defend our “truth.” As we would raise the intensity in our discussion and the decibel level of our voices, we would risk stepping over the line and take our conversation to a disrespecting and hurtful level.

I am sure many of you can relate to this scenario. Passions flare. Words fly. Hearts are hurt. Now I’m not a saint by any means and I have said my share of hurtful words but I am going to share an example of how I handled conflict when disrespectful words erupted from my husband.

There were times when I knew my husband had crossed the line and said something that was hurtful and went way beyond what a man should speak to his wife. At those moments I would pause in the conversation, look directly at him, then with a firm determination in my tone say something like this:

“Do NOT, (pause) speak to me that way.”

“It is absolutely out of line to talk to me like that. I don’t speak to you like that and I expect the same from you. I don’t use words like that and I will not allow you to say those things to me.”

I would be so firm and so unyielding that my husband knew he had gone too far. Now I preface this example with the fact that I am careful about how I speak to my husband and can tell him that he can expect the same respect in my language that I am expecting from him.

Another area where I believed I helped my husband grow up a bit was to point out to him that my faith isn’t always the bane of all arguments. Conversations went something like this:

“Even if you take religion out of this, the way you just spoke to me is out of line even in a nonspiritual marriage.”

Or, “The way you just treated me is was out of line even in a nonreligious marriage.”

It is right to receive respect. It is right for us to give our spouse respect. Without mutual respect, marriage is doomed.

I discovered that with many men, especially those who don’t know Christ, they will push their wife at times. Whether it’s fair or not, their respect grows when their wife stands up to him and can voice her opinion. Sometimes they need to be told they are out of line and need to grow up.

On the flip side, these scenarios also apply to wives. We need to listen and discern when we are immature and need to grow up.

Now I’m really going to get into some people’s business with what I’m going to share next. But the kind of conflict I’m about to describe is common in marriage.

If your spouse is addressing you with an obscenity (bitch/bastard etc.) it is not okay.

Likewise, if you are using similar language, stop it today.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

There are many behaviors that are not okay and conflict is necessary to maintain a healthy marriage.Remember Jesus’s life was a life of conflict. It still is today.

Matthew 10: 34-36 (NIV) Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.

Stop back on Friday and I will share with you how my husband and I work through conflict now after a few years of marriage. I hope this approach will be of benefit to you and your marriage.

Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


You Crossed the Line

Today I am compelled to share with you a comment from Monday’s post:

I was on the brink of marital disaster when Jesus first started whispering to me to come to Him. Fast forward a few years and someone passed on a book to me about submitting to your husband - I took what it said to the extreme obeying him, not speaking up for myself, just praying and crying and occasionally when I couldn't handle it I would freak-out.

After the book, I thought in order to honor God I must basically bow down to my husband. However as I did this he grew more and more overbearing. His behavior didn't get better but worse. He would announce he was the head of house (I had told him that) he would tease my new faith in public, all the while I would smile and not correct him (thinking it was not my place), but in my prayers and with my bible study I would talk about how horrible he was acting.

It wasn't until a friend witnessed a verbal lashing to me that she bought a book called The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. I had all the signs! It was Christian based and helped me sooo much. It forced me to grow up and speak up, instead becoming an unproductive martyr. I now have the info and help to be a submissive Christ honoring wife and stand up to unhealthy behavior (I have the info but I still have a long way to go.)

Quite a story and I’m glad our reader has brought her experience forward.

Discerning when to hold our tongues and when to speak up is often confusing for new Christians and new brides and grooms. The Bible speaks specifically in 1Peter 3 about winning our spouse without words. Yet, I must point out that Jesus spoke out many times, to share truth and did not back down from conflict. ( I will discuss more about this in future posts. It’s going to be good.)

So how do you discern when to speak and when to remain silent? Your marriage is a partnership, a union to serve one another and to support each other. This partnership is not always equal. A good marriage rarely divides all things fairly. However, I believe where we get off track is when we begin to lack respect for our mate.

We need to take a look at our spouse and hold up some basic truths up to our relationship. I believe a good example of what a healthy marriage looks like is enormously helpful. If you were raised in a home where your parents did not demonstrate a healthy marriage, look for a man or a woman in your church whom you could observe the qualities that are Godly and work in their married life. Spend time with them. Ask them for mentoring. You would be surprised at how many couples will be glad to help.

Read…… There are excellent books, written by Godly authors, who can share healthy boundaries in marriage and help you gain perspective as to what behavior is inappropriate, destructive and what is good and edifying.

Conflict (2) I am convinced there are times of conflict in marriage when a wife or a husband must stand their ground such as our reader did with her husband. It is healthy. It sets appropriate boundaries and it helps us “grow each other up.” Remember, when we get married, we are likely immature and actually don’t know it all. Ahem!

It’s okay from time-to-time to help each other grow up.

Okay, your thoughts on this?

On Monday, we will look at some specifics of how this boundary setting plays out in real life. I will share with you a few confrontations that were necessary in our marriage. They were, ahem, loud, and ahem, passionate, and absolutely necessary. Both of us are better people because we worked through the difficulties and learned to respect one another.

Have a fantastic weekend. I’m off to our annual San Diego Writer’s Conference. I’m looking forward to visiting with my editor, Kim Bangs, and all my friends from my local critique group.

Have a blessed weekend. Lynn

Okay, let’s hear your thoughts on setting boundaries.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Grow Up Already!

There is a truth about marriage I bet you didn’t expect, or conceive as a young bride or groom. Marriage is all about….

GROWING UP!

Marriage is for grownups. Yet when most of us rush into our vows, we discover fairly quickly that our spouse is immature. Yep.. Tell us something we don’t know *grin*

However, begrudgingly we will admit we are also immature. I look over the years of married life and I can see the brilliant design of matrimony. I know, without doubt, God wants me to grow up and He uses my spouse to mature me.

Hebrews 6:1(a) 1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity,

I love the Message translation of Hebrews 1

1So come on, let's leave the preschool finger-painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.

It seems so simple.

Our parents strived to grow us up. Our God, our Heavenly Father, is desperate us to grow up. He has so much to give us and share with us but until we are mature enough to handle it, He waits.

Not everyone wants to grow up. Many fear growing up. Some refuse to grow up and so many are too selfish to grow up. Then we get married. Do you see a recipe for disaster here? I can bet there are millions of marriages that struggle with one or both spouses who are immature.

One of the greatest things about becoming a believer in Jesus is that we have a reliable, authentic, and doable guidebook to maturity. What a relief. I have more to say about this later.

It is nearly impossible to change anyone but yourself. So, our maturing process must begin with “self.” When we have stepped out onto that path of truly seeking to mature in Christ, lasting growth happens. It changes our perspective, our character, our outlook almost everything. But, on the flip side, what do we do if our spouse refuses to grow up?

Well, I will submit to you that we can’t force our spouse to change just because we think they need to change. Change begins when a person is confronted with a valid need to change. And there are instances when we ares the means by which change is brought about in our spouse. This is common in a healthy and committed marriage.

What I want to explore in the next few posts is our role as a spouse in an unequally yoked marriage in the “growing up” part of marriage.

In our marriage relationship, we learn to surrender our selfish nature. And that happens as we:

• Sort out how to share tasks and duties of our home (not usually equally but shared in some fashion)

• Learn responsibility for ourselves and others, such as children.

• Develop appreciation mostly when one spouse gives expectantly.

• When we disagree fight.

Conflict (2) Conflict is at the heart of the learning process. Yep, a disagreement, an argument, a fight.

We actually need conflict. It’s a bummer but true. How we navigate that conflict, however, is enormously important.

Today, I look back on my marriage and can affirm that certain conflict was absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy relationship AND there were times in conflict I should have kept my big mouth shut.

Can I get an Amen?

Discerning when to engage and when to shut up is the most difficult part of the growing up process. So I want to talk about the discernment aspect of conflict and then discuss some actual situations that are likely to happen in every marriage and how to navigate through them.

On Friday, stop in for the second post in this series. Let’s learn when it’s time to stand your ground or when we need to let go. I don’t always get the discernment thing right but I have learned a few things and I think I hear the Lord calling me to share some strategies that have worked in our marriage.

I started to look for a few good books, written by Christian authors on the subject, but couldn’t find one in my home library. So today, I would be so grateful to hear your suggestions for reading about resolving marital conflict. I’m sure there are many of us who would benefit from a great book on navigating our “growing up” conflicts.

Be blessed this week. See you again on Friday when we will talk about discernment. God has so much to give all of us in this area and I’ll share what He has taught me.

Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


What Changes Really?

I want to continue the series I began a few weeks ago, Get Real

If you remember, I recently was a guest on a radio program where I shared about my life and marriage to an unbeliever. This interview stirred the thoughts of many readers here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. 

Below are the links to the first two posts. 

Get Real

Part II 

Today I want to answer a few more of your questions. Here we go. 

Q: Please, please dear Lynn don’t be hurt by what I am saying – but you said, “Our men can see by our life, not by our words, they will see the difference.” 

Another great and very real question. And don’t worry, I don’t get hurt feelings easily and I always write from an honest and authentic heart. 

A: If I recall, this question is referencing my discussion of the scripture, 1 Peter 3: 1-2 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 

This passage can be frightening or liberating my friends. More on this later. 

Q:My sister, went on to ask, “Well, how long have you waited? Is it really worth the wait? I don’t mean with divorce but, silently going your own way. I am so tired of accompanying other women while my husband enjoys staying at home and having his peace. I am trying to be strong in Christ but actually my heart is bleeding. I am wondering, what changes really?” 

What a very honest question and I can bet most of you who live unequally yoked have asked this question too. 

A: I have waited now going into our 19th year of marriage. And I will confess with honesty, there are moments when I think the pain is NOT worth the wait. Many of those moments I experience in the early years of our marriage. My faith was shallow and I struggled with a list of unmet expectations I placed upon my husband, that in truth, were never meant to be fulfilled by him. It took me a long time to realize I could only be filled up by Christ and Christ alone. I experience very few of the really hard moments today. 

This is part of our LONG journey with God. When we allow His truths to penetrate our consciousness, our heart, our belief system, we allow Him to replace the lies we believed about marriage and the entitlements we are certain belong to us. 

One area which is difficult for all of us is watching other believing couples enjoy life and marriage around us. Just as our reader stated: I am so tired of accompanying other women while my husband stays home. 

Every one of us, men and women, feel deep pain in this area when unequally yoked. Somewhere deep inside we want our spouse to attend church and church functions with us. We want to sit together with our spouse and hold hands during services. Ugh. It still hurts me today to watch a cute couple step in a row in front of me, holding hands and then raise those hands together in worship. I grieve. I want that so badly. 

This is true of most of us. Am I right? 

It’s not wrong to desire this companionship of our spouse. However, what I had to do was ask God to take away my pain over this lack in my life. My continual grumbling and hurt over this was accomplishing nothing. In fact, because “I” wanted this so much, I applied pressure on my husband to attend church. 

What a disaster. 

 He would stand in what I call his hostile stance. Arms on hips, scowl on brow and motionless through the entire worship portion of the service. Once we sat down, it didn’t get much better. I would sit next to him worried about what he was thinking, doing, how he was feeling. I would worry about the argument that would ultimately occur later and the hurt that followed. God said to me, “Enough.” 

Forced church attendance was a “No win scenario” for all involved, including my daughter. 

When I released my husband from attending church because I wanted him to do so, peace resulted. He attends how when he wants. I attend every Sunday. Sometimes he joins me, sometimes not. But I am honestly okay with it. Now when he joins me, the "hostile stance" is gone and he really listens. Go figure. Who knew. Sheesh, I wish I had released him to attend at his pace years ago. 

Q: So what changes really? 

A: I did. 

I agree that for a period of years in our marriage I was angry that I was left to find my own way. i.e., I joined church activities alone or with my daughter. I went to church alone. I wasn’t free to share my authentic self with my husband. He didn’t want to hear about this Jesus of mine. It was hard. But the most amazing thing resulted. My husband’s unbelief just pushed me faster and harder toward the cross. I gave my husband to Him and I live for Christ. This surrender changed me. I can promise you that our circumstances in an unequally yoked marriage will always will grow our relationship with Jesus if we take our eyes off our spouse and our self and place them on Him. 

Armsraised  My life is being recrafted. Continually, constantly and noticeably. Slowly and under the hand with divine purpose my life is in transformation. 

A transformed life is undeniable. 

That is what 1 Peter 3 is all about. You can yak your husband’s head off about the joys of Christ. The amazing eternity that awaits but they are words. Words are a dime a dozen, however, an authentically transformed wife, a man cannot deny. 

Be blessed, Lynn 

More questions and answers are in store for Monday’s post. And get ready for our new series, Friendship With God, starts May 3rd. Stay tuned!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


In the Ditch. What are your thoughts?

Through this website, I have come to work with several others who counsel women during marriage issues. Last week one of my friends who counsels women, she and I we were discussing via email, the how and why marriages end up in the ditch. Here is a portion of what she wrote.... 

To me, it all seems to start with our beliefs...regardless of what the issue is. I personally feel both her and his beliefs have to change and she needs to seek truth and speak truth to herself and him. What do they believe about men and what do they believe about women. What do they believe about themselves? What do they believe about the other one? What do they value? What do they expect from themselves and the other? 

Most of the time it seems when there is a struggle it is based on "untrue" beliefs, which cause us to behave poorly. 

It infuriates me that women and men have lost their true identity in Christ, and that sometimes the church spends more time fighting between themselves about some doctrine than giving the people from an early age life skills based on the Principles and Promises of God. Hard for me to see the big picture but I want to be a force to bring that kind of discipleship into the church and create an atmosphere for maturity in our walk with God. 

Sometimes I think the church buries its head and gives the impression if we just pray hard enough the Holy Spirit will wave a magic wand and poof...it will be fixed. It also takes work. It takes commitment. It takes practical application of the Word of God. Sorry to rant but I am so sick of what the enemy tries and how unaware we are of his tactics. And how we don't recognize the authority we have in Him and our responsibility to choose! 

Most of all it takes us delighting in Him. The word delight means soft and pliable. Oh if we could all go back to the place of our young days and be soft and pliable in His hands instead of struggling for years with all these issues. I want the next generation to KNOW HIM, KNOW WHO THEY ARE IN HIM, KNOW WHERE THERE POWER COMES FROM! 

-----

I have to tell you I am in strong agreement with my friends thoughts. So, I put forth these questions and ask you to share with me your thoughts. What is it we believe about men? What do we believe about women? What do we value. What untrue beliefs create constant struggles in marriage? And finally, how do we get this message to the women who are thinking about marriage and who are newly married? 

I am looking forward to this conversation and your advice. Be blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Creating a Crisis- With a WARNING

When we began this series regarding conflict I set out some of the guidelines and the premise by which we intend to explore the specific issues. If you have not read that post, please read it now (go here, then come right back).

Several weeks ago we were discussing a difficult topic, conflict in marriage, specifically alcohol and marriage. I left that post with the following questions:

When does conflict cross a boundary line? And, the follow up question: Is it right to create a “crisis” in your marriage to resolve such conflict? Ahhhhh, great questions. I have been dying to talk about these.

So let’s answer this question today.

Q: Is it right to create a crisis in marriage to resolve conflict?

A: yes and no.

I know, I know, it’s never an easy answer is it?

Let me state now that initiating a crisis (conflict) in marriage is appropriate in certain situations. For example, e-Mom left a wise comment following our last discussion about alcohol. CRISIS

e-Mom: You ask some great questions Lynn... I don't think I would create a crisis in order to resolve an conflict. A classic "intervention" seems to be more effective instead. Maybe you could explain what that is to your readers. :~D

In fact, e-Mom, you are spot on as usual. If you have arrived in a place where alcohol has affected your life and the lives of your loved ones in a way you can’t endure any longer, then an intervention is absolutely what you need. An intervention, is creating a crisis in a marriage relationship. It is taking a step out of the old way of living and deciding you won’t return. An alcoholic often will not admit he/she needs help. A family intervention will force the issue to the front and center where it will be dealt with in one way or another. You can learn about interventions at AA and Al-Anon meetings.

WARNING: Prior to considering creating a crisis in marriage, always, always, seek out a counselor. Go to your pastor, the church counselor, someone with training and knowledge about how to navigate your problem.

Creating a crisis always has ramifications. You must be aware and ready to handle what will be brought out through your actions.

So why am I bringing the subject up in the first place? Because there are men and women who are living in a place that is not healthy, safe, or Godly in anyway. They are often afraid and suffering from such low self-esteem they don’t have any hope or direction to save them and their children. Sometimes their only contact to the outside world is through the internet. They are often unaware that it is Godly and right to intervene in their marriage, which is on a destructive path, in order to save it.

If you are struggling in this area, email me. I have some resources for you. God has heard your cry for help.

Okay, I am not certain when I will post again about our next conflict issue, infidelity. But, I will and it will be when the Lord places it heavy on my heart.

Have a great weekend. Be Blessed, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


On the Road to Nowhere Good

Guest post by: Tami Boesigner

Her husband had interest in an organization she knew to be contrary to God’s Word and she was upset.

“It’s wrong,” she said, “I know it’s wrong.”

“Have you told him that?” I asked.

“He knows I disagree, but I haven’t come out and said it.” She explained she had a tendency to tell him what to do and his response was never good. Usually, voicing her strong opinion only motivated him to show her he knew better. She felt it best to let him come to the conclusion himself to avoid the bad patterns they followed in the past. So she agreed to let him invite some people from the organization over to discuss what it was all about.

“I’m his wife,” she said, “If he’s going to go on this journey, I’m not letting him do it alone.”

The visit led to an invitation to tour the organization’s facility. Playing the supportive spouse, she agreed to go along, but her insides were churning. For good reason.

“How far are you willing to go?” I asked, “Where is this path leading? First, it’s a harmless visit in the safety of your own home, then it’s an invitation to tour the facility. Where are you going next?”

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Isn’t the logical end to this road an invitation to join the organization? Are you willing do that?”

Here’s where the hard rubber meets the concrete road. Conflict is inevitable. At some point, this couple WILL butt heads over this issue. Wouldn’t it be better to address it early on, before potential damage could be done?

Has a similar scenario affected your marriage? As tough as it may be to hear, there’s a fine line between being supportive and enabling your spouse to go down a path you know to be wrong. We want to be loving and encouraging. We want to take an interest in what our husbands do. We don’t want to come across as judgmental wives. And it’s true as spouses we have an allegiance and responsibility to our mates.

But our first allegiance is to God.

Is there an area your spouse delves in that you know to be wrong in God’s eyes? Do you wonder how to handle it?

Guest Post: By Tami BosingerI suggest you take a hard look at the path you’re traveling and ask yourself some tough questions:

What does God say about it?

Where is this leading?

How far can I travel with him?

Am I supporting him or enabling him to take the wrong road?

What does a LOVING wife do?

Confronting the issue will probably cause conflict, but do you truly love your man if you make the path to destruction easier? May God give us courage and wisdom to do what is right in His eyes.

Tami Boesiger

Tami The Next Step

Tami Boesiger: Tami shares her life with husband, Kevin, a Creative Arts Pastor and their four children in Beatrice, Nebraska. She considers her marriage God’s big miracle to her and has enjoyed being Kevin’s wife for 21 years. The two of them collaborate to write musical productions and skits for their church, some of which are sold on their web site, Distinctive Notes. Striving to be real and genuine in her writing, she candidly shares her struggles and asks the questions we all ponder, wanting people to see that being a Christian is not about being perfect or having all the right answers, but about living beyond our earthly existence. Tami keeps busy staying on top of her kids and all their activities, leading Ladies’ Bible studies, writing, singing in choir and worship team, playing clarinet and saxophone, lunching with friends and hanging out with her husband. Get to know Tami at her blog, The Next Step.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Marriage, Alcohol, Final Thoughts and a Suprise!

When we began this series regarding conflict I set out some of the guidelines and the premise by which we intend to explore the specific issues. If you have not read that post, please read it now (go here, then come right back).

I want to add some thoughts about our current topic, Alcohol and Marriage, before we move on to another subject.

I went back and reread the posts and my husband also read them. I asked him what he thought and we started a conversation. He looked at me and said that it appears that this series of posts casts him as a man with an alcohol problem.

Yikes! I didn’t realize I wrote it that way.

He does not have an alcohol problem. He never has. (Okay, Honey, whew, glad I cleared the air.)

I also wanted to let you know that I ran this topic and my thoughts by our church counselor. He was also in agreement that Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous are excellent programs. I also know Troubledwith.com offers advice on coping with and the treatment of alcoholism. You can find the link on our resources page in the sidebar.

This is only one issue, a major issue for sure, in which a marriage can encounter conflict. This kind of an issue I would consider a major issue as compared with disagreeing on what sofa to buy for the living room.

What I think we need to talk about next before jumping into the life-altering issue of infidelity is this: When does conflict cross a boundary line? And, the follow up question: Is it right to create a “crisis” in your marriage to resolve such conflict? Ahhhhh, great questions. I have been dying to talk about these.

What do you think?

Have a fantastic week. Lynn

PS. Over four weeks ago the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night. He gave me another idea to share with you. If you have been reading for a while here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, you might remember the Kingdom Assignment we all did together last year. That was a humbling and triumphant experience all at the same time. It was awesome. God has the best ideas! (to read some of the posts, click on the Kingdom Assignment in the sidebar.)

This new idea that God gave me is similar except this time, the Lord wants to do something for you.

I plan to tell you more about it next week. We are going to give it a whirl during the month of September. The kids go back to school and schedules resume. The Lord said it is a perfect time to prepare us for a major shift in our lives and lead us into the most amazing season of our lives.

Girls and men, I am psyched. I will tell you more soon. Now, I wonder, could the Lord be putting a little tickle in your heart? Perhaps you are to be part of this.

I can’t wait, I tell you. I just can’t wait.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Conflict - Alcohol and What Happened to Mark and Tina?

When we began this series regarding conflict I set out some of the guidelines and the premise by which we intend to explore the specific issues. If you have not read that post, please read it now (go here, then come right back).

Last week we left the story of Tina and Mark at a crossroads. Tina thinks Mark might have a problem with alcohol. The drinking has definitely put a stain on their marriage.

For some reason, this is often where I find myself arriving in the progression. I receive a call from a friend, an email arrives, or one of the girls in Bible study stops to talk with me after class. They describe some of the difficulties they are experiencing with their spouse. Rarely does she mention alcohol. She will share the struggles with communication, the growing disrespect and the disconnect in their marriage.

I assure you I listen with my whole heart, and my soul is pierced by their pain.

I then proceed down a conversation similar to this:

Lynn: Oh, Tina, I am so very sorry you are in the middle of this pain. I can feel your hurt. I know you said that Mark is hanging out on the weekend with his guy friends and you feel lonely and rejected. I know you have thought to yourself, this is not what a marriage should be. I know, because I have had those thoughts in the past.

Can I ask you a question?

Tina: Sure

Lynn: I can probably guess Mark is having a few beers while hanging out with the guys. But, can I ask you, does he drink in the evening too?

Tina: Well, ya, he will have a couple of beers at night.

Lynn: So, I am just wondering if the thought has crossed your mind. Do you think your husband has a problem with alcohol? Can he go more than a week without a drink? Have you wondered if maybe, just perhaps, he might have too much alcohol? Could he be an alcoholic?

The answer to this question is truly critical. If a spouse has toyed with the idea for a while that her/his spouse might be an alcoholic, it is likely it may be true.

*** Now don’t panic. Not everyone is an alcoholic that drinks.

This is what I would tell Tina.

Lynn: Tina, I’m not sure if you only needed a listening ear for your broken heart. I am so very glad to just listen, but I am wondering if you perhaps need someone to just help you get out of this place your marriage is stuck in? I would like to share with you my thoughts.

Please, please, PLEASE, pray about what I tell you and ask the Lord if these words are meant for you.

I want you to pray about attending an Al-Anon meeting. Taking this bold step will do several things.

One, it is gonna rock the boat with Mark. It will shake him up to realize you think he has a problem. It doesn’t mean he is ready to accept the truth but this action will prompt some conversation (conflict).

Two, it is a public action. You need to be emotionally ready to accept the reality of someone you know recognizing you at a meeting. You must be ready to do what it takes to find healing. It takes courage and you will need prayer support. Start praying on your knees about attending. The Holy Spirit will convict you if this step is right. Don’t let fear or shame guide you. Your future could hinge on this action.

Three: Al-Anon will teach you how to cope. They can coach you to set effective boundaries.

Now I have probably overwhelmed you with much to think about. Pray and if need be talk with a counselor at church.

***This is where I tell you that this advice does not apply to everyone. However, I find in serving women in ministry we often don’t know what to do. Our husband drinks, we think, too much. We don’t know where to find help and don't know someone safe to ask questions about this delicate subject. We are too afraid to talk to someone at church, especially the Pastor. My goodness, what would he think?

What I do know to be true is this. If your spouse has a drinking addiction, even a moderate one, it strains the marriage. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many resources to learn to cope and eventually work your marriage through this difficulty. Al-Anon is only one. But it starts with you.

It seems unfair that we always have to be the one to take action but alas, isn’t that just like God. He wants to work in other’s lives through us. He may be calling you to do so today.

This is where I now ask you to share. Are you in a similar situation? Do you need prayer? Have you overcome addiction? How did you do it? What can you share here today to help set a captive free? Please feel free to share anonymously.

Isaiah 61: 1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn

Be Blessed, Lynn

Next conflict: infidelity

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.