74 posts categorized "Needs In Marriage"

And the Walls Came A-Tumbling Down

IStock_000003877105XSmallLynn’s post yesterday talked about the walls we erect that keep our guys on the outside. I want to share with you how this translated into my life.

I walked into my marriage with the expectations I’d leaned from the pages of romance novels and movies. I’d bought into the fairytale. Everything was fine in the beginning but then the reality began to settle in.

My husband wasn’t perfect. He didn’t do the things I thought he should. He didn’t get that he had a role to play in the script I’d written in my mind and heart. He didn’t even know his lines!

How dare he let me down like that? How dare he not do the things around the house that seemed so obvious to me? How dare he not pull his weight in the relationship?

So what else could I do? I jumped in and did it. After all, these are things that have to be done and done right. You know the saying, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. So I did!

I did everything. I had to. No one else would. I took care of the kids, the house—everything. And I worked so hard to get things just right and either he didn’t notice or the kids just undid it all so that I had to do all over again.

Life wasn’t fair. Why didn’t he get that if he would just do things the way I wanted and was there when I needed him, life would be so much easier.

Let’s fast forward to a little ways into my marriage. We’d moved to Switzerland because of a work opportunity for my husband. Things started out great, then went from bad to worse. The weight of the world on my shoulders effectively doubled.

I walked into my new church one day and was approached by a soft-spoken woman. She handed me a piece of paper about a group called 1Peter3, a group for women married to unbelievers. I joined immediately and we studied the book Beloved Unbeliever together.

God began to open my eyes through this and another Bible study, Experiencing God. Not to see my husband’s faults and lack, but to see my own. I began to see how much I pressure I had put upon my marriage and my husband through my expectations. I backed off, reassessed, and started to painfully change the way I talked to my husband. I became aware of my words. My marriage began to improve greatly as God taught me to respect my husband.

Still, there was this pattern that seemed to show up. Things would go great for a while and then go down the drain again. Why? Why did this keep coming back? Why did we keep getting stuck in this place? I’d done pretty well in communicating my needs and helping to understand what I was saying without being condemning, so why did the same issues keep cropping up?

One day I was walking into my kitchen. Maybe I was praying, I don’t clearly remember. What I do remember was a very clear and sudden thought.

“It’s not him who has to change, it’s me. It’s not his perceptions that need adjustment, it’s mine.”

Like a light bulb bursting with light, this truth exploded in my head and did a number on my heart. I realized I had let go of my expectations of what I wanted and had replaced them with negative expectations. The kind where you expect your spouse to do what he’s always done, to disappoint you the way he always done, to let you down the way he’s always done.

I’d placed these negative expectations on my husband, ones he could actually meet, but never gave him a chance to do anything else. The problem was, each one added a brick to that wall around me, the one I thought would keep me from feeling the hurt of being let down. And my poor guy kept bouncing into it, feeling as if he could never do anything right.

It’s a vicious cycle. It destroys marriages. It destroys people.

I had to tear down the bricks and it would take a while. First, I had to break this habit of negative expectations that I’d developed and see in my husband the potential God had created in him. Until I did, my husband would never become the man God had fashioned him to be. And two, I had to rebuild trust in our marriage. I had to show my husband I believed in him, that I truly supported him, and trusted him. Respected him.

My desire to change my husband shifted to a desire to change me. I wanted to change. I needed to change. I was desperate for freedom! I prayed for God to change me, to change my heart, to change my thinking, and to help me love my husband the way Jesus loves him.

God took my pain and desire and used it to tear down the walls I had built around my emotions. He freed me from lies and bad habits and showed me how to affirm, appreciate and out-love my husband.

Friends, this is not easy to share with you. I have no shame admitting my path because I know God has forgiven and redeemed me and my past. But to write this out brings me tears. It’s not been an easy journey. It’s been painful but so worth it!

God is gracious, kind and faithful. I shared in our Weekend Devo what my husband did for me last week. That is not how it’s always been. It has taken work and time to reach this place of where I can love him without expectation and the more I do—the more I love my husband through Jesus—the more our marriage has healed and thrived.

For so many years I wanted my guy to fit a mold that I had created for the perfect husband. To finally release him from that and to just love and appreciate the man he is, and then to out-love him as we’ve been doing here, brought something from his mouth I thought I would never hear. He actually referred to a task that needed to be done in our home as a “job for him, a husband’s job.” Something I never would have imagined I’d hear him say.

I still stumble at times and God is quick to show me and pick me up so I can apologize to my husband. The results of this journey are still coming in. I’ve changed dramatically and my husband has responded in so many unexpected ways. Now he’s starting to out-love me. That was never my motivation for out-loving him. I wanted only to be obedient to God for the sake of my husband’s future salvation, to show him Jesus.

The world will tell you that your perfect mate will meet your every need. God will tell you that He is all that you need and will show that He’s already met your every need in His Son Jesus. When we live in this truth, we are free to love Jesus and everyone He puts in our path. We truly love because He first loved us.

God sees your desires and efforts, your pain and struggles in your marriage. He wants to show you a better way. Ask him. He’s just waiting for you to make the first move.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Spouse-Based or God-Based?

IStock_000010120543XSmallWhat is the difference between a spouse-based marriage and a God-based marriage?

This is the question my Sunday school leader asked our group this past weekend. We’re currently doing Gary Thomas’ video series, Sacred Marriage, which goes with his book by the same title. It’s a great course, and I have loved hearing different perspectives on marriage and how God works in our marriages and uses them to refine us.

The answer to this question also fits into our “Out-Love Your Spouse” challenge. So here it is:

A spouse-based marriage is performance based. In other words, I’ll do something nice for him if he does something for me. Or, why should I do that for her? She never does anything for me? And how about this one: He was grumpy last night. No way am I going to be nice to him today.

Basically, as long as our spouse is performing to our standards, and meeting our needs, we will love them, help them, and be a good spouse in return. As soon as they stop meeting that standard, we withdraw our affection, love and help.

In a God-based marriage we love our spouse because that is what Jesus has asked us to do—love one another. We love our spouse whether they are grumpy or happy. We help our spouse without the expectation of getting something in return. We serve our spouse as an act of serving God.

See the difference? I know this challenge to “out-love” our spouse isn’t an easy one, especially if you’re in a difficult marriage. Especially if you’re in a situation where there is hostility and rebuff. But I want to encourage you to persevere, because I am confident of two things:

1. When we love our spouse from the motivation that we are serving God—being obedient to God—God sees our efforts. Our spouse may not, but God sees. And He is faithful!

2. In some way, our spouse will be affected on some level. They may not respond right away. They may not respond in a way that you’d expect. But when we are loving our spouse from the motivation to serve God—in essence, if we are loving our spouse from a place of loving Jesus—we become a conduit for the love of Christ to reach our spouse. That’s powerful!

Look at Hebrews 10:23-24:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

My friends, we heard what Shelley shared with Lynn in the video about what her pastor told her. Our calling to love and serve begins right in our own homes. God wants us to start there before He can bring us out into the mission fields of our workplace, our neighborhood, or even our friends and extended family.

Don’t give up. God calls us to love even the most unlovable. Even if that defines our spouse at the moment. And if we’re totally honest here, we aren’t always very lovable either, are we?

Last week, I did small things for my hubby, like sitting on the couch with him instead of the chair I usually sit on. I looked for little things that would make his life a little easier and his home a haven to return to. God put this on my heart as away to comfort my stressed out guy. One night, this poor guy thanked me for making dinner—twice in one meal. I didn’t ask for that appreciation. I only sought to do what God was showing me to do.

And finally, let me say that just because our spouse isn’t a believer (yet) doesn't mean we can’t have a God-centered marriage. You are the conduit to bring God into your marriage. Keep the faith and remember that through that very same faith, your spouse partakes in your sanctification (read “Sanctified Unbeliever” here) and God’s covering.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


The Silent Talker

IStock_000014622874XSmall So far, we’ve been talking about our words—how we use them and even when. I have to share with you that early on in my marriage, I didn’t always use my words wisely when I did speak up, but my biggest issue was not speaking up at all.

Instead I held things in, choosing my own discomfort over dealing with a conflict or disagreement. I swallowed hurts at times that should have been expressed or shared in good ways in order to seek resolution.

If you’re a “stuffer” like me, you know what happens eventually. You blow like a volcano, spewing your resentment and anger on anyone who happens to be around. I functioned this way for many years and my family likened my outbursts to a small volcano that occasionally blew just enough to let off some steam. They even had me pegged down to how long between outbursts.

The thing is, I didn’t like being that volcano. Even in the middle of a “steam release,” I can recall asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” The lesson I painfully learned was that though we had spans of what seemed like peaceful times, the waters beneath my seemingly calm exterior were slowly reaching critical mass.

The reason I’m sharing this is to make a distinction between being a doormat and actually speaking when something needs to be said. Sometimes we’re put in a position where we do need to let our spouse know they crossed a boundary, when something they said hurt our feelings, or when something they promised they would do didn’t get done.

But it comes down to how we speak up and what our attitude is. No matter how good our marriage might be, it’s not easy living with another person on a daily basis. Roommates can be changed, marriages can’t (or shouldn’t). So how do we communicate in ways that bring understanding and edification at the same time?

Let’s look at what God has to say:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. — Ephesians 4:14-16 (emphasis mine)

This is a great piece of Scripture, because even though Paul is referring to spreading the Good News, it’s a model for all communication. When our motivation and attitude stem from a desire to speak truth in order to bring understanding and peace, when we speak from a place of concern not only for ourselves but for the other person as well, we’ve shifted from a place of blame to partnership.

In marriage this is critical. It’s what I call a “we mentality.” As opposed to an “I mentality,” where we wind up speaking out of anger and resentment.

Let’s look at another great peace of Scripture:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:6

Again, Paul is referring to how the disciples were to speak to “outsiders,” how they were to witness to unbelievers.

My friends, may I propose that we are in that same place? We have an “outsider” in our very homes on a daily basis. How much more critical is it that we speak words full of grace and seasoned with salt?

Speaking the truth in love means expressing our care, our hurt, our frustration with the goal of bringing peace. Instead of seeing our spouse as the enemy in these moments, what if we spoke with the goal to restore the “we” in our marriage? What if we spoke with the objective to bring understanding and to find a mutual solution? What if we spoke with the mind and heart of Christ so that our spouse would have the opportunity to witness what that is?

Yes, sometimes it is best to not speak but other times, we need to in order to help our spouse grow and learn. Just as we need to. This is part of the function of marriage, as iron sharpens iron, we are helping each other to grow into better people. Marriage is teamwork.

This does not mean keeping our mouths shut and not speaking up when a boundary has been crossed, nor does it mean we are in a place to become critical and confrontational. It means we consider our words and motivations, then pray before speaking.

There are still times that I have to remind myself that I need to say something. No more stuffing! And there are times that as the words are coming across my lips, that I literally rephrase because I realize my words convey an “I” mentality instead of a “we.”

We are not perfect. Neither is our spouse. But as Paul says in Ephesians 4, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” In all things, I want to grow up to be like Christ. How about you?

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Weekend Devo — Are you listening, dear?

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This 1881 engraving appeared in Charles Dickens "Bleak House" and is actually depicting a marriage proposal. What cracks me up is the woman is oblivious to what he's doing. Even the bird on the poor guy's shoulder is more aware of what's going on than she is.

Do you do that? Sometimes I do. I'm so tuned into finishing something or distracted with something in my thoughts (we writers do that A LOT!) that I realize my poor husband has said something to me and I've missed it. What's worse is seeing his disappointed expression when he says, "You weren't listening, were you?"

Everyone wants to be heard. And more importantly, our spouses do. So here's an extra challenge for you as part of our "Out-love Your Spouse" October challenge. Listen intentionally and really pay attention when they are talking. Repeat parts back to show that you really heard them. Interact, ask questions and acknowledge what they're saying.

We wouldn't want them to do any less for us, right?

Praying and believing,
Dineen 


Live Near Dublin, CA? Let's talk about romance.

This Friday I will be at Lighthouse Christian Supply in Dublin, CA to speak about putting romance back into our marriages. This is going to be a fun presentation full of great ideas and lots of laughs. It's all part of our "out loving your spouse" challenge so if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by! Hugs! ~Dineen

RibbonHeart

Putting the Romance Back into Your Marriage
October 7 @ 7:00 p.m. 
7188 Amador Plaza Rd.
Dublin, CA

Weekend Devo— A Facebook Seduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for sharing this with us, John! 


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


Unicorns and Football

WOO HOO! 

This Thursday launches our Fantasy Football draft. At 9:00 a.m. PT all of the team owners in our league set out to claim the best football players in hopes of winning the Super Bowl of our Fantasy league. 

Yep, I bet most of you just tuned out. (yawn) 

Stay with me. 


Unicornrainbow If you have read our book, Winning Him Without Words, you know the story of the Pink Princesses. That is the name of my fantasy football team. My mascot, the rainbow unicorn, of course. 

I go on to share a story about my husband and playing in a masculine fantasy football league. The reason I joined was to connect with my spouse. But there's more to the story. I hope you read it.

When you are spiritually mismatched we erect walls around our hearts to shield ourselves from pain. But what we also do is cut ourselves off, often times unknowingly, from our spouse. 

As believers, we must be intentional. (yep it's up to us)

We must intentionally create and enjoy recreational companionship with our spouse. 

This is the perfect time to think about making time for play with your spouse. Kids are returning to school and life is returning to a repetition. Think about the hobbies or interests of our spouse and make a point to join in. Or take it a step further this fall and start a new adventure together. 

But, be intentional. It is worth every effort to be the one to show love to your spouse through play. 

And now, I leave you with one final thought. 

GO PINK PRINCESSES! 

Have a great week, Be blessed, Lynn


I'm Not Strong Enough

.....To be the spiritual leader of our home.
.....To be a consistent Godly example to my spouse – to my children.


.....To bare the physical demands of a career – raising the children – cleaning my home – cooking and the sum total of all the expectations placed on me.


I ‘m at the end of my rope…….. and I feel like a failure.

If you ever feel like me, I'm not strong enough, this story is just for you. Join me at the Internet Cafe Devotions - Marriage Counter for I'm Not Strong Enough.


Extenuating Circumstances

IStock_000014919590XSmall We've talked about all kinds of issues here at S.U.M. but today I'd like to delicately touch upon extenuating circumstances that can exist in our mismatched marriages.

You know that Lynn and I will always be on the side of believing that God can save any marriage, but we want to also be clear that we don't believe staying in an abusive (physically or emotionally) is God's will.

Some marriages fall under the "extremely difficult" category. The world today would tell you to get out of it—that this kind of emotional turmoil is ridiculous to put up with, but we answer to a higher authority than the world. Unlike society and common trends, we see marriage as a covenant to be highly guarded, even at personal cost. I will tell you that those women called specifically by God to stay in a difficult marriage know without a doubt that God is the one asking them to withstand the situation.

They are also some of the strongest women I've ever met. To listen to them speak of their situation leaves me no doubt that they have truly heard from God and they are equipped for the "job at hand." More importantly, they have no doubts.

But what I really want to touch upon are the marriages where obvious abuse is present. Or the threat of it.

A few years ago, we went through a particularly difficult time with our youngest daughter. We knew she was depressed but we weren't sure to what to degree. We felt—I felt I could handle it. It wasn't easy. Sometimes I didn't know what to do about her moods and since I was the one with her all the time, I received the brunt of it.

Until one day her anger became so intense that I was suddenly faced with the reality that I needed help. I was afraid and felt threatened.

This moment is still clear in my mind because I had to admit that I couldn’t fix the situation. I had to admit I needed help. Thus began our path to finding the help we needed and bringing change. That change began with me setting firm boundaries with my daughter and getting her outside help.

This kind of situation can creep in slowly. It wasn’t until I was brutally faced with the reality of my daughter’s condition that I realized how much I had allowed another person to control my life, but I am so glad for that moment too because it help me face the truth and be a catalyst to change it.

I couldn’t walk away from my daughter. I had a responsibility to fulfill as her parent. But I learned how to handle the times when she became confrontational and disrespectful with calm assertiveness. The best thing I could do at those times was walk away. (I forewarned her that when she behaved this way, I would leave the room.) Over time, she grasped that her behavior was inappropriate and began to change. I began to see her visible efforts to control her temper and her moods. Thanks to my changes and the outside help we both received, these issues don’t even exist now.

Boundaries If you are in a situation where you feel controlled and are losing who you are, be the catalyst of change. Start with reading Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. This book is a treasure trove of useful principles that can transform your marriage (we’ll talk about it more over the summer months). Don’t use it to try to control your spouse, but to help your spouse change their behavior—with the motivation to save your marriage.

In more serious cases, seek Christian counseling. Start with your pastor if you feel comfortable talking to him or her, or go through the Focus on the Family website. This doesn’t mean your marriage is going to end. It means that you want to fight for it and change what’s not working so you both can rediscover how to love each other as God intends us to. Our marriages are worth fighting for.

Only you can make the decision about what to do. Begin by praying and asking God to show you how and where to start. He will put what you need in your path in amazing ways. And through amazing people. Reach out for prayer and get ready to act.

I know it can seem overwhelming. It did for me with my daughter. The change took time—one small step at a time most days. But I look back now from a place where she understands boundaries and willingly respects them. I look forward to being with my daughter instead of cringing and wondering what mood will greet me each day.

Let me leave you with this quote from Boundaries in Marriage, regarding the “law of responsibility”:

“The Law of Responsibility also means that spouses refuse to rescue or enable the sinful or immature behavior of their partners. Couples have duty to set limits on each spouse’s destructive acts or attitudes.”

Praying and believing,
Dineen

43149: Boundaries in Marriage Boundaries in Marriage
By Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend

The Schwarzenegger Rant

(Photo: Reuters / Tomas Bravo)
Mariaarnoldshwartz Okay, I’m not really sure where this post is going today but I think I’m about to go on a rant.

I am utterly and wholly disappointed and sad over the impending divorce of Arnold and Maria Schwarzenegger. I am outright devastated for the children, and the son of the household employee. I’m devastated for all of them.

It’s a tragedy that continues to play out in an ever growing and ugly fashion. I live in Southern California and it’s the talk everywhere. Are you hearing about it all where you live?

I guess my heart breaks for marriage in general. It grieves me that after 25 years…. NOW it’s a failure. I think I felt this way when Al and Tipper Gore separated after 40 years. But if I have learned anything in these years of marriage ministry, I have learned that the marriage behind closed doors is the real marriage. Often when we observe married couples, we are only viewing their public face, much like watching celebrities. What their real relationship is all about is rarely glimpsed in the public. Would you agree?

What can we learn from this strange turn of events? Can we see that marriage is a union of two people that are not always mature, or wise? They are often selfish and insecure. Can we take notice that a good marriage takes work, trust, and more than anything, constant prayer?

Let this misfortune remind us that we can never stop working on our marriage relationship. We must be intentional to spend time together. To be spontaneous. To love and to honor and to respect our mate.

Okay, your thoughts? Rants? Prayers?

Be blessed, Lynn


Prince Charming Is.... The Average Joe

Good Morning Everyone. Today’s post is just for the ladies. Sorry guys but if you read on I hope you feel affirmed.

Girls, yesterday I was listening to a radio program where the host was interviewing an author of a book titled, Average Joe.

This interview brought into sharp focus some facts that we, as wives, conveniently forget. The interviewer asked a question, “When you were a little boy, what did you dream about becoming when you grew up?”

“I dreamed like most boys, of spaceships, moon walks, of fighting fires and rescuing puppies, to be a doctor or policeman.”

Manwork
Like many of our men, this author turned out to be “just” an Average Joe. A man, who loves his wife, dotes on his kids and pays bills regularly. On weekends, you'll find him fixing the leaky sink or helping the neighbors.

He surrendered his dream because he wants to do the right thing and provide for his family. He gets up every morning and pulls on his big boy pants and heads off to an average job where he feels unchallenged and unappreciated. He works hard and finds little satisfaction in his work.

He comes home and instead of appreciation and respect for this life he is living, we as women have our Cinderella Complex in overdrive and look to him to give extraordinarily more of himself. We expect him to meet every need and be the perfect parent and perfect lover and perfect “Prince Charming.”

Ladies today I want you to do what I did when I heard this interview. Put your Cinderella Complex in check. Truly look at your husband. See him through the eyes of God. Your husband loves you and the kids. He’s not perfect but, he is honest and he is trying. Trying hard.

Cut him some slack and tell him how much you appreciate what he does for you and the kids. Tell him you know he works hard and how he has sacrificed his dreams to do the right thing.

As the interviewer said…. We call him an “Average Joe” ... but God calls him extraordinary!

From one Cinderella in recovery to another, love on your husband with the love of Christ. It’s irresistible.

Be embraced by the King, Hugs, Lynn


One Little Step and Then......

I listen as she wept softly.

Phoncrywom I spoke to this young wife on the phone recently. She found herself in a place she never imagined could happen to her. Like so many of us, her husband lost his business because of the economy and they are in a financial meltdown. They moved to a new state to find work and now she finds herself facing some of the most difficult choices she’s ever going to make.

Her pain stems from the fact that her future is not what she wants and the difficult choices in front of her are a direct result of the consequences from her husband’s past financial decisions.

Ouch.

Compound this financial crisis with the fact that this woman and her husband are spiritually disconnected, it is a formula for disaster.

But all this aside, what was truly roiling around in this young wife’s heart was anger. She’s just plain mad.

What do we do with our anger?

I will tell you that for years and years, I carried around red-hot anger that rested just below the surface ready to spring on anyone who might push me a little. I was mad about everything in my marriage and my anger was justified. Unmet needs, disappointment with many of my husband’s decisions, fury over his intentional harsh and cruel words birthed resentment in my heart and anger became my constant companion.

But do you know what happens slowly and subtlety when anger takes up residence in your heart? It will surely be joined by its insidious cousin, bitterness. And that evil and vile creature is a dangerous threat to our very soul.

For me there came a day where Jesus said, “Enough. What have I commanded you?”

Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

"O, Lord, I want to obey ut how do I make myself get over my anger? It’s not as if I can just flip a switch and turn it off."

But God is faithful and He slowly revealed what I had to do. I began to pray this sentence, “Lord, help me to WANT to forgive.”

Spiritually Unequal Marriage is all about equipping you with the truths from God’s word to thrive in your mismatched marriage. Stepping out onto the very difficult path of forgiveness is one path that’s “required traveling” to find your way to the Promised Land. I’m sharing my personal experience with you on how I stepped on to that path, because I know so many others need to find healing.

Forgiveness brings healing… to you…..  to your spouse….

As I listened to the weeping on the other end of the line, I wanted to cradle this young woman in my embrace and rock her as if she were my daughter. Her pain and confusion poured from her. I hurt for her with my whole heart.

I’m not certain she heard what she wanted to hear from me but she did hear what would really help her. Fast and pray, ask the Lord to show you His will for your immediate future. He truly loves to answer those kinds of honest and humble prayers.

I also told her it is unlikely God will answer her in the way she expects. I explained that in the many, many years walking with the Lord, He often is intentional about doing the unexpected, just to prove to us that when it works out, it was Him standing right next to us all along.

Walking with Jesus can be a difficult call to duty. But walking with Jesus is a sure road to freedom, hope, joy, love, peace and ultimately a life that is transformed before the eyes of a broken and lost world. Oh, let Jesus move, let him show you authentic living through forgiveness and humility. Pray and seek His will. It will always be good for your life, your marriage and your family.

That first step on to the path of forgiveness is the beginning of the most fantastic journey you will EVER have. I promise you this: you won’t be disappointed.

Be blessed, Lynn

I share so much more about the amazing journey through the Land of Forgiveness in chapter eight of our book. I pray that the words that God gave me to share here and in that chapter are used to bring healing to many, many marriages. Hugs, Lynn

If you haven't visited our new website and registered for the marriage basket, hop over there today. Winninghimwithoutwords.com

 


Marriage for Training?

IStock_000000759332XSmall I read an excellent post by Kevin Adams over at Wake Up My Faith, entitled “Marriage—God’s Seat of the Pants Training Ground.” If you have some time, read his post. It’s a little long but worth the read.

I love how God spoke to Kevin and flat out said marriage was preparation for intimacy with Him. What would happen if we looked at our spiritually mismatched marriages in light of that truth?

We’ve spent a lot of time here talking about what’s at stake for our unbelieving spouses, right? How we are the first and foremost representation of Christ in their lives, for the most part. And I’ve used the story of Esther as an amazing representation of how we are put in place specifically to accomplish a great purpose. “For such a time as this…”

But what about that preparation part for deeper intimacy with God? It made me think and travel a few bunny trails as to how God intends our unique and challenging marriages for intimacy with Him.

In reading Kevin’s post I realized that so many of the needs I’d looked to my husband to fulfill earlier in our marriage are now being met by God. Those days of feeling like I have given more water than a rock and have absolutely nothing left to give have dwindled dramatically.

I’m learning to rely on God’s strength more (out of necessity) and to seek God when I feel weak. He’s called me to serve and love my husband in more ways than ever, to love unconditionally. And in the midst of all that, I’m noticing how God has taken care of my needs in amazing ways.

We live in a society that teaches us to look out for ourselves. I’ve done that in the past and I never did find what I truly needed. Nor did I find satisfaction.

It's truly an amazing thing that happens when we put others first through the power and direction of Christ. Only then does it work, and only then are our own needs so wonderfully and unexpectedly met.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


My Day as a Disc Golf Caddy

LWG This past weekend my sweet hubby and I celebrated 23 years of marriage, and I gave him a different kind of gift this year—something intangible and memorable. And not just for him!

I share the whole story and six things I observed and walked away with (literally!) over at Laced with Grace—My Day as a Disc Golf Caddy. I hope you'll take a moment and check out my antics as a disc golf caddy. And the surprising blessings I received in return. See you there!

Praying and believing,
Dineen


Is Divorce Really the Answer?

IStock_000005523181Medium“No sooner does a couple say, “I do,” than the Serpent rears his ugly head and sets out to destroy that marriage. He knows every divorce is an attack on the character of God and on the earthly picture of divine redemption. Before the wedding reception is over, Satan is looking for opportunities to plant seeds of deception in the hearts of the newlyweds.” —Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe (p. 156)

That’s a sobering statement, isn’t it? We’ve been doing a lot of chatting on the 1Peter3Living loop on the aspects of spiritual warfare specifically in a spiritually mismatched marriage. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, marriage is under constant attack. I believe it’s even more so in a spiritual mismatch because we are a constant godly influence to an unbeliever.

This specific chapter that I’m quoting from Lies Women Believe is the chapter about divorce. Specifically how sometimes we are deceived into believing our situation is hopeless and divorce is the best solution.

DeMoss gives a very realistic picture of the progression of lies and deceptions cleverly placed in our paths of marriage that strategically conquer and destroy (sound familiar) our marriages.

Look at these examples she gives:

  • Forgets an anniversary
  • Shows up an hour late for a date and forgets to call
  • Agrees for the two of you to work on a project without talking to you first
  • Tells his parents you’ll be there for Christmas, when you were hoping to spend Christmas with your parents
  • Or any one of a thousand “offenses”

She goes on to say, “To nurse the offense, rather than choosing to forgive and release it, is to become vulnerable to deception that grows bigger and stronger with the passing of time.”

  • He’s always inconsiderate.
  • He doesn’t care that he hurt me.
  • He’s impossible to live with.
  • He’ll never be any different.
  • _____________ (insert name of other man) is so much more thoughtful and considerate. He doesn’t treat his wife that way.
  • There’s no way this marriage can work.
  • I’d be happier if I were married to the _____________ (the “other” man).
  • If my husband doesn’t love and respect me, I have the right to leave him.
  • Sometimes two people just can’t make a marriage work—apparently, we weren’t meant for each other.
  • I’m better off getting a divorce than staying in a miserable marriage.
  • I don’t have any alternative. There’s just no way I can stay married to him.*

See how it progresses? Barring any situations of abuse or addiction, the wife in this scenario has totally convinced herself her husband is the problem, and her focus is completely on herself—her happiness and her hurts. She’s decided the situation (the marriage) is hopeless.

But we know better, don’t we? What situation is hopeless in God’s eyes? We serve a huge God who can do anything, including save a seemingly hopeless marriage.

Over at our Facebook page, I’ve invited people to share their testimonies on how God has worked or is working in their marriages. I hope you’ll go read some of those testimonies. They’re awesome. Or feel free to leave yours here in the comments.

And if you’re in this place of hopelessness, please let us know how we can pray for you. Then come back next week as I continue sharing some wonderful truths to counter these lies the enemy has deceived us all with. We can fight and win this battle because our God is bigger, greater, and stronger than any lie the enemy thinks he can use to deceive us.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

 

*Excerpts taken from Lies Women Believe and the Truths That Set Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pages 156-158.


A New Phenomenon

Lynn is taking a much needed vacation this week to spend time with her mom. So I get to pop in a post on something off topic (we'll go back to our series about friendship with God tomorrow). But it's something I think we need to start talking about here at S.U.M.

1279418_shadow Numerous times past week I've come across references to how the church is failing men. We have it down pat (for the most part) for women and establishing the need for encouragement, but our men are more quickly told how they are failing and not supported. I wonder if this is the reason for why statistically men who come to faith later in life wind up falling away. A high percentage do this.

Are we emasculating our men? I know early on in my marriage I think I did this especially after our first daughter was born. I was more concerned with things being done my way than letting him be a dad his way. Then I complained that he didn't do enough to help. Now I understand that was my doing. I never gave him the freedom to try and not worry about messing up.

Now God is moving this wonderful man in my life into the role of leader and big changes that will require me to trust him and God like I never have before. But I'm finding I'm glad to do this, to come along side my husband and offer him the support and freedom to spread his wings without the fear of judgment.

I know we ache and yearn so much for our spouses to be saved but sometimes the best thing we can do for them is just get out of the way. I know right now God is calling me to stand by my man in quiet strength and support. Not in front of him, not behind him. Right next to him, to walk as a friend, an encourager, as his helper.

I know some days won't be easy and the enemy will try to sabotage me. I know others will think what we're about to do is crazy considering the economy. But what I KNOW more is that this is where God wants me.

Something new is definitely happening in the Miller household. The discontent I've watched grow in my husband's life seems to be reaching full bloom. And I must believe God is at the center of it, answering years of prayer. How can I believe otherwise and profess to believe God can do anything? 

And how can I offer my husband anything less than the freedom to become what God created him to be?

Praying and believing,
Dineen   

Hallmark Holiday

I originally posted this last year but I find it needs a re-read by me and I hope you will enjoy it again this year. I pray it helps and encourages many of you who struggle with Valentine's Day. Love and hugs, Lynn

HandhearTomorrow is such a strange day. Valentine’s Day!

This day could make me one of the happiest women alive or shatter my life. In the early years of my marriage, I had expectations of surprise trips to some warm destination. I dreamed of three dozen roses arriving at the bank which would make all my coworkers green with envy. I wanted him to sweep me off my feet because after all I deserved it. I mean really….. After all, he was lucky enough to snag me.

Ahem….

Don’t pretend you haven't had thoughts along these lines as a young bride. Perhaps you still might.

Well, I am writing to you today for a couple of reasons. I wish when I was young and starry eyed about love, a wise woman would have come along side me to help me get a grip on reality. I may not be the wisest woman but I care so very much about your tender heart.

My first five Valentine’s Days I was lucky in that my husband remembered to buy me a card. Many of you tomorrow won’t receive anything from your spouse. However, I wanted bouquets of flowers. I was so disappointed I cried…. Alone in the closet. Okay, Jesus cried along with me.

So, as tomorrow looms, it helps to share a heads-up. Our husband’s might disappoint us. Remember, our expectations of our men can be very selfish and our men often feel that no matter what they do, they can never make us happy. (Yikes, is anyone feeling convicted here?)

I can hear some of you saying right now…. But, why shouldn’t I expect some token of love on this day we celebrate romantic love? Well, honestly, I believe you should. However, it doesn’t always happen.

Let me share how our Valentine’s Day changed over the years. After five years of a card when “I wanted more,” I took matters into my own hands.

I began to plan Valentine’s Day and didn’t wait for my man to make dinner reservations. I made reservations or planned a candle light dinner at home. If I wanted a bouquet of flowers, I bought them. I bought lingerie then wrapped it up to give to him with a promise to model it.

I’m not sure when it started to happen but flowers began to arrive at the house around Valentine’s Day in the strangest way. I remember opening up the front door one year to a smiling FedEx driver. The driver looked at me wearing a great big smile and holding a large thin box. She said, “Mrs. Donovan, this is one of my favorite deliveries to make.” The box was filled with live fresh flowers. They were pink and beautiful and …… guess what…

I cried.

But not in the closet.

God can change any man but I bet He is gonna change you first. Don’t wait this V-day. Plan something now and make tomorrow a great day.

PS. Last week I knew my husband was planning to send me flowers for Valentine’s Day in spite of the fact that we are unemployed and can’t afford it. I looked at him one afternoon last week and said, “Honey, please don’t send me flowers. Really, I mean it. I appreciate knowing that you are willing even if we don’t have the money. I don’t need them this year.”

Go figure. Never thought I would say that in a million years…. But, I did.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget that Jesus is really the only one who can fill the hole in our hearts. Happy Valentine’s Day and may the Lord send you several tiny love notes this weekend.

Be Blessed, Lynn


Why is it always me?

Today, I am thrilled to introduce one of my very dear friends, Marsha Harwood. Many of you know Marsha as she is a profound blogger in our community. I met Marsha face-to-face in October at the blogger's retreat. However, I feel like I have been her sister for many years. She loves Jesus. I just pours out of her. She and I have traveled some interesting roads together such as our experience in the Kingdom Assignment. Which by the way, God is still using today. More on that later.

Marsha writes for Exemplify Magazine and specifically about marriage. Her December 16th Q & A article was outstanding. She gave me permission to share it with you today. I bet it will resonate with you as it did me. Be blessed, Lynn

Why is it always me? By Marsha Harwood.

I’ve received several emails over the past few weeks that can basically all be lumped together.

“Why is it always ME that needs to be creative, keep our marriage alive and fresh, give the back rubs, give, give, give?  When is it HIS turn?  I just want to scream sometimes!  Our marriage is give and take; I give and HE takes!  I thought marriage was supposed to be 50/50?”

Many times in my marriage, we’re both busy, overworked, and feel taken for granted by our jobs and unfortunately, each other.  At the end of the day, it’s not a question of keeping track of who had the most stress and pressure, but how can we work as a team and build oneness in our marriage.

Four Reasons Why Marriage isn’t 50%/50%:

  1. 50/50 bases accepting our spouse on performance. If they are putting in what we think is fair, then all’s well.   Performance then becomes what  holds the relationship together and we become the performance judge.
  2. Giving is based on merit. With the “meet me halfway” approach, we give affection only when we feel  he’s earned it.
  3. Motivation for action is based on how each partner feels. As newlyweds, it’s easy to act sacrificially because the pounding heart and romantic feelings fuel the desire to please.  But what happens when those feelings fade? If you don’t feel like doing the right thing, perhaps you won’t do it at all.  Love is an action not a feeling.
  4. We have a tendency to focus on the weaknesses of  our spouse. In a 50/50 marriage,  if we were to list our spouses strengths and weaknesses, sadly we’d find the weaknesses column tipping the scale.

Think about this for a minute: If you are only giving 50% to your marriage, what are you not giving?  Which part of your vows didn’t you really mean?

Ultimately, the 50%/50%  marriage is destined to fail because it is contrary to God’s plan.

100%/100%  – The Oneness Plan

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

A marriage requires a 100% effort from each of us to serve our spouse.

Matthew 22:39 tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our closest neighbor is the one we wake up to each morning.   And there’s no question about how much we all love ourselves.  Just check out our closets and all the jewelry and beauty products we buy!

The motto of the 100/100 Plan would be:  “I will do what I can to love you without demanding an equal amount in return.”

As soon as you say this, a little voice inside will say, “Yeah but….”  and name some situation that just doesn’t seem fair. It is not the voice of oneness and must be silenced!   Yes, there will be times when he appears to get the advantage in the relationship.  But love requires sacrifice.  Plus, this may be an exercise of growing in grace that the Lord has planned for you right now.  Stick with the 100%/100% Plan and you will see oneness growing in all aspects of your marriage.

Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who in their selfishness, sinfulness, and demands of each other will cause disappointment and hurt. You must put all that off and put on forgiveness, love, and Christ’s command to love even those who don’t at times appear to love you.

We live in a fallen world.  We’ll never have all our expectations met in marriage.  It’s not even Biblical to expect that of our husbands, that’s borderline idolatry.   But if we focus on living more Christ-like, we’ll find we are more and more in love with our husbands and living out our part of the marriage 100% even if he isn’t and be satisfied and content.

Marsha lives deep in the woods of western North Carolina with the love of her life Mike, their dog Lucky, and an occasional bear that comes by for a visit. Married for 35 years, they are blessed with 3children and 6 grandchildren.

She and her husband started Snowbird TEAM Ministries 12 years ago to reach the people of Appalachia for Christ. Her ministry is with at risk teen girls, pregnant teens and counseling women and children who have been abused.  She knows and understands the shame and fear that fills the hearts of abused women and children.

Usually found with a camera nearby and a song on her lips, Marsha enjoys being out in God’s creation. It is her goal in life to live simply, laugh often and to love deeply.

She can be found daily at her blog, Marsha’s Musings.  She is also the editor of Exemplify’s Marriage Channel.


All You Need To Do Is Ask

We have not because we ask not. 

How many times have we needed God but have been too stubborn to open our mouths and just say so? How many crazy situations have we found ourselves in, only to discover that if we had just spoken up and been honest about our need of help or support or comfort or whatever-it-is-you-needed-at-the-time, we wouldn't have been left to muddle our way through it? 

I know. Too many times to count, right? 

My man... He is so amazing. But his pride. Man. His pride stands in the way of so many things. The most intimate needs of his heart - the ones I know he wants me to meet - I can't meet them yet. Because he hasn't invited me to... 

As I sat and prayed over him and us this morning, I found myself saying, "Lord, there is so much more of me I want to give to him, so much more I want him to experience with me, but I can't give it to him until he desires it. I can't give it until he WANTS it. If he would just let me in, he'd find so much more than just what he assumes it to be... He has not because he asks not." 

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. We don't have more from God in the way of intimate relationship because we don't invite Him into our lives in that way. We don't experience Him as fully as we can, just because we won't be humble enough to ask... And as I sat and thought about that revelation, the Holy Spirit spoke this clearly to my heart: “Learn to be honest about your need of Me. Do not allow pride to reign and keep you from true intimacy with Me." 

Start this day by admitting your need to intimately know God. Just ask. 

Now, on to the daily focus. First pray over the men in your life; husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, co-workers, whoever. If they are male and they are part of your life, pray over them. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with the right words and simply call them by name and however He leads. 

The second is this: Remember that verse you asked God for yesterday for your spouse? Ask Him for another one and do the same thing. Make it a prayer. And then pray both verses over them. Also, as you pray over your spouse, ask God to give you a word for THEM for the year. Write it down and allow the Father to speak to your heart what the word means in His eyes for your spouse; then take some time to pray over them based on that word. Ask for supernatural insight regarding your spouse. Ask Him to show you how to intercede for them today. 

Lord we need You. We come before you right now asking You to speak to us. Share Your secrets. We are hungry to know You better. Clear all the outside noise Father so that we might enter into the holy of holies. We want to honor You. Not our wills, but Your will. Not our words, but Your word. Not our thoughts, but Your thoughts. And not our ways, but Your ways. We trust You and we love You. In Jesus' life-changing name. Amen. 

I'll be back! 

Ro


Am I Fat or Is That Ring Around my Stomach a Child's Floaty?

So, ummm, yep, I think a diet life style adjustment is in order.

Big_fat_cat_kitty I like turkey. I like stuffing. Oh for goodness sakes.... If it has carbs, I love it... Just keepin' it real.

What a great photo -------->

Can anyone, besides me, relate?

I will tell you something else, eleven months of my husband's unemployment translated into 10+ pounds on the hips. Okay, okay and also into the floaty ring around my tummy. Guess I won't need to worry about staying boyant in the bathtub. Sheesh!

I find it interesting that I gained weight over the last year. I don't think it was because I ate out of worry or stress. I think I just prepared more meals and larger portions because my husband was home.

Morning, noon and night. He was home.... We both ate.... a lot.....

Perhaps I did a bit of stress eating as well. Keepin' it real.... *again.* *grin*

So, now that my man is heading back into the work force and because January is around the corner, it's a good time to start to take off the pounds.

With all this in mind, I think we should tackle this delicate or heavy (as the case may be) subject of our weight.

Should our weight, size, proportions be an issue in our marriage?

Can weight gain create LARGE issues in a marriage relationship?

What does the Word have to say about all this?

I believe we need an honest and realistic discussion. Millions of men and especially women stress EVERY SINGLE DAY about what they eat, what they weigh, and how they look.

What is your take on the matter. Does your weight matter to your spouse? Does your weight matter to you? Why?

I can't wait to talk with you more about this. Leave me your thoughts. I will be checking in and adding to our conversation.

Hugs, Lynn


Inciting Incidents

_225_350_Book.64.cover  In writing, we use a phrase called "inciting incidents." This describes an event that causes the hero or heroine to change direction. In What's He Really Thinking? by Paula Rinehart (Thomas Nelson 2009), the author speaks of the same thing, but in the nonfiction world of our real lives.

She gives an example of a couple who hasn't gone on a family vacation in years. Every year the wife asks if they can make plans, and each time her husband says they need to think about their future and retirement. Now the backstory of this is that the husband's reasoning is based in fear, and he will stay in that place until forced to change direction.

That finally happens when the wife says to his latest answer, calmly and with respect, "That won't work for me." She's clearly stated that she can no longer accept his position and is asking for a compromise or change. The result? Her husband can't remain in his fear-based position any longer, which is a good thing. He has to find an alternative.

The author also clarifies that this is not a tool to use randomly. The point is to recognize the detrimental place our husband is staying in and help him to grow and move out of it.

To change. Not an easy thing for a man.

Here are some pointers from the book of when to use your "no-words:"

1. When you believe that the relationship itself will suffer because you are putting up with something that's harmful to you both.

2. When you sense that your "no" could open a door in this man's growth that probably won't open if you just continue to go along.

The author stresses how important it is to let go of your anger before you use your no-words. The point is to give him something to "wrestle with that could, eventually, bring some deep changes in his life." (Pages 69-71 of What's He Really Thinking? by Paula Rinehart)

As with anything, we must first prayerfully consider and prepare ourselves for such situations. We need to make sure we know whether we as wives are blocking a potential place of growth for our husbands and can help them move out of this place, or are we only concerned with our own needs.

What an awesome thought and challenge to think that through God's guidance and help, we can be such a positive influence on our husbands and help them grow.

Praying and believing,
Dineen


The Physical Connection

AddingZestHeaderLast week I did a post over at Adding Zest, Patty Wysong's site that tastefully deals with the physical side of Christian marriage. And it falls right in line with our explorations of staying connected to our spouses and dealing with conflict. I hope reading "The Physical Connection" blesses you as much as it blessed me writing it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this particular topic and the four suggestions I make. 

On a side note and along our ongoing theme here at S.U.M., looks like I'm now an official disc golf player! Are you laughing? I know I am but in a good way. My sweet hubby has loaned me one of his bags and several discs. And this past weekend he bought me a lightweight visor and my very first store-bought disc. I never thought I'd wind up on the course by his side, but I'm having fun and even better, so is he! I think I impressed my dad, who's a traditional golfer. He's so pleased I won't be be a "golf widow."

God moves in amazing ways, doesn't he? I'll keep you posted!

Praying and believing,
Dineen


More Disc Golf Adventures

Photo Well, I mentioned on last week's post that I would be going on a disc golf adventure. We headed out early afternoon with our daughter's poochy, Shasta, to play a course nearby.

In case you're unfamiliar with disc golf, it's just like traditional golf but instead of clubs, you use discs called drivers, midranges, and putters. Each one varies in thickness/thinness and hardness/softness of the plastic. And some of them even have ornate artwork and graphics on them.

Like a golf course, there are holes, or rather, baskets, like the one I'm standing next to in the picture. Most courses are nine, eighteen or twenty-seven baskets (this one is nine) and the goal is to make or brake par on each basket. Usually three to four throws.

Except I, of course, took a whole lot more than that. But my sweet hubby was so patient. He didn't care if it took me twice as many throws to get to the basket as he did. He just kept showing me ways to throw the disc and encouraging me. And we only played about six or seven baskets, because it was so hot.

I'm so amazed. He wants to play again next week, but get an earlier start so we avoid the heat. I can tell it means a lot to him that I'm interested in something he's so passionate about. We had a great day together. That was the best part for me, to spend time together and connect. And the exercise never hurts.

Who knows, maybe I'll actually wind up good at it one day.

Praying and beleiving,
Dineen


An Adventure Into Disc Golf

638105_frisbee_golf_1 My sweet hubby just got back last night from the 2009 PDGA Disc Golf World Championships. Over the years and through countless hobbies such as traditional golf, rollerblading, and a unicycle (yes, you heard me right), this is the one sport I've seen him play and pursue passionately.

I admire his dedication and determination to improve in the sport. He plays every chance he gets. And yes, I've become the proverbial "golf-widow." But he loves it.

We've talked here at S.U.M. before about the challenges of staying connected to our spouses, to find common ground when faith and church can't be. Especially when interests diverge so drastically. And as I've shared in recent posts, I'm searching for ways to have more impact on my husband's life.

While he was gone, God showed me that these two issues were tied together. That if I want to have opportunities to "show" him Christ (1Peter 3:1) then I need to insert myself in his world. And right now, that's disc golf.

I mentioned before I'd be the one on the disc golf course, picking burrs out of her socks. Well, looks like Saturday is my day to break into this up and coming sport. While my husband was gone, I brought up the idea of playing with him when he got back. I wish I could describe the change in his voice...I could tell it meant a lot to him.

So, maybe I'll have pictures to share next time. At least an eventful story, I hope. God nudged me this direction so I'll trust him with the rest. In the meantime, think of some unique ways you can connect with your spouse this week. Do something a little different and see what happens. Then let us know!

Praying and believing,
Dineen