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We need a compass

Marriage conflict can make us feel like we are spinning in circles. Perhaps our mate tries to talk us out of what we know to be right and true. We end us feeling confused. We must have a moral compass, and thankfully Scripture can be that for us. “For the word of the Lord is right and true.” (Psalms 33:4)  Invite your spouse to open the Word of God and see what great things you can find together!

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Be careful little (or big) mouths what you say…

Filled with a bit of tension, we’re all capable of going on a rant. Rarely does anything good come from this. We are better off, as Solomon says, to “use words with restraint.” (Proverbs 17:27) We must choose our words carefully because they can be used to hurt or to heal. How are you using your words?

What to do about the rats

Here is an excerpt from The Hardest Place, by Kara Tippetts:

My dear friend put it well when she said we all carry around within ourselves a cage of rats. The rats are our unkindness, our sin struggles, tensions our personalities bring, and our hardness of heart. We know these rats well. We love some of them, and we hate some of them, but ultimately we work very hard at hiding them from those who know us. For me, it felt like marriage became this moment where I could release the rats—those early years was a testing of the unconditional love of Jason. Not only did he get my morning-grouch rat, he got my slob-in-living rat, my panic-hateful-clean-up-this-mess-someone-is-coming-over rat, my please-always-say-exactly-what-I want-you-to-say control rat. Oh, my blessed, gentle husband looked all my ugly rats in the face and said: Kara, I love you—rats and all. You are mine for always. And slowly, I trusted him. I believed his love, and we worked on the rats. God loves us the same way, but he loves us in such a way that says, I have something better. I can change your heart. I’m not afraid of your rats, but I have a greater joy than these silly hateful creatures that steal the best of life from you.

Do I still have rats? Certainly. Do I use them to fight unfairly? Sometimes, yes. But I know something much greater. I know living next to my guy in gentleness and love is one of the greatest gifts I have known this side of heaven, and I want to live and treasure that love. I want to move past my own unkindness in love, and know the reckless love of Jesus and extend to him that love, that unconditional, always believing the best, full of forgiveness and grace love. There are days that love abounds, and days I cannot find it. But when I’m looking upon my love, the lover of my soul, my eyes grow more clear in my calling to love my guy with all the love I have to give.

Good stuff!

Tuning in to your spouse

It is one thing to listen to our mate. It is something else to be really tuned to them. Do you know when your mate is having a bad day? Do you know how to soothe them and offer compassion? Spending time really understanding your mate, truly listening to them, creates a powerful connection. Scripture tells us to “serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Boundaries

Most of us live without knowing how to set or maintain boundaries. Boundaries are like fences around our house, with a gate to let those in that we want close to us. We decide who is safe and with whom we can trust our lives, and likewise learn who is not trustworthy and must not be allowed into our emotional world. You are responsible for yourself, but are you caring for yourself? Do you manage your time, talents and treasures in a way pleasing to God? Are you spending too much time at work, hobby or other thing and neglecting your spouse or your family? If you are, make changes and notice how you feel healthier.

Being sober

The Apostle Peter tells us that we must live everyday soberly (1 Peter 5:8). He is not simply talking about sobriety from alcohol, but being sober in how we approach life, including our emotions. Too many times we are whipped around by our emotions, rather than stepping back and learning how to look at a situation with perspective. Consider today how you will live a balanced and sober life in your marriage, refusing to allow yourself to be reactive and off-balance.  Are you sober at work?  What about with your family?

Differences

God gave us marriage to show us a perfect example of his love for his church. And we can use our marriages to show the world what love looks like.

I’m not perfect and neither is my wife. But that’s not the issue. God wants us to honor each other, even with our imperfections. He also wants us to forgive each other and to be kind.

And when we struggle with it, God is there to help us. For what we promised our mate, we also promised God.