Prayer Series – Relationships

Whether your spouse is an introvert or an extrovert, whether their family is large or it is made only of you, your spouse will have relationships outside of you and God.

John 15:13-14

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

God created humans with a need to be relational. To have a relationship with Him as well as others. Some relationships are out of necessity, others are out of love and loyalty, still others are held together by tenuous threads. No matter what kind of relationships your spouse has, they will always have a need for prayer over them. Prayer is the one thing that you, as a spouse, can do to help them.

What kind of relationships does your spouse have? How are their relationships with their family, their friends, their co-workers? Does your spouse have particular relationships that are in need of prayer because they are damaged or weak at best? Are there any relationships that they would like to see healed or strengthened? Are there relationships that they need to be healed from? What relationships would your spouse consider good? Are there relationships that they need encouragement to build? Are there relationships that they should cultivate? Are there relationships that they need to step away from? What things could they do to make their relationships better? Are there ways that you can help them make those relationships better?

Take the time to think about the answers to some (or all) of these questions. How would your spouse answer these questions about themselves?

This week, focus your prayers on your spouse and their relationships.

Pray that God show your spouse the state of their relationships.

Ask God to heal any of your spouse’s broken relationships.

Ask God to give your spouse strength to walk away from harmful relationships.

Pray that God give your spouse motivation to work on their relationships.

Ask God to shine a light on your spouse’s good relationships.

Pray that God show your spouse how to cultivate good relationships.

Ask God to give your spouse good relationships.

Pray that God protect your spouse from bad relationships.

Ask God to give your spouse wisdom and discernment in all of their relationships.

Ask God to help you spouse put Him first in all of their relationships.

Ask God to help you be helpful to your spouse in dealing with their other relationships.

Thank God for what a blessing your spouse is to you.

Lost Your Passion? Did You Check The Laundry Basket?

You are rushing around getting ready for the day. Where did that shirt go? You know, the one that you laid on top of the laundry basket so that it would be where you need it to be in the morning. You wore it once already this week so you didn’t want to hang it up, but at the same time, you only wore it once so it didn’t need to go into the laundry. You yell to your spouse to see if they knew where the shirt went because you are sure that you put it on top of the laundry basket. The response? “Did you check in the laundry basket?” You shake your head. Why would you check in the basket when it was supposed to be on the basket? Someone must have put your shirt in the basket because it was assumed that since it wasn’t in use and it was near the basket, it should have been put in it. Frustrating? Possibly. But it is indicative of what we do with those things that we have used and leave out with the intention of using them again soon. Passion is one of those things. We do not have passion for each other, use it and then put it away with the intention of never using it again. If we enjoy our marriages, we have every intention of using it again and again and again! ;o) But there are times when we find that life has gotten in the way and has put passion away because it hasn’t been used in awhile. Why leave things laying around unused? The first step to correcting this problem is to be aware that you have put passion aside for too long. Whether it was intentional or not is beside the point. Next, go check in the laundry basket (or any place else you may have left it). Take it out. Dust it off. And use it!

It’s a Matter of Character

What is character?  Our character is what defines us as individuals and makes us unique.  It is what we believe and how we carry those beliefs out.  It is how we treat others and ourselves.  It is how we act when only God is watching.  To understand someone’s character you have to know them because people can put on different faces and be deceiving.  It is important that we strive for godliness in our character.  We must also understand the character of our spouse.  It is this understanding of their true character that helps develop trust in the relationship.  For example, if it is in my spouse’s character to panic during an emergency, then I can understand how to react appropriately to my spouse at those times.  This can defuse tense situations or keep arguments and disagreements at a minimum.  Knowing our characters can also give us early indications of problems brewing which gives us time to deal with them so they don’t become issues that can tear the relationship apart.  It is the true character that we respect and deeply love, not the superficial.  Your character is important and it must be an integral part of your marriage.  Your marriage should be a safe place where you and your spouse can live out their true characters.  We put on many faces for the outside world, but those faces should be stored away from the intimacy of our marriages.

You’re Grounded! Being a grounding influence on your spouse

One of the better lines we have heard regarding the marriage relationship is that your spouse makes you a better person.  That should be true in your remarriage.  Like it or not, your spouse is one of the most influential people in your life as you are in theirs.  This influence should be good.  It is our job to be a good influence and a grounding influence in our spouses lives.  God gave use the responsibility to be the kind of influence that helps keep our spouses well grounded in their relationship with God and their relationship with us.  It is not a responsibility to take lightly.  There are times when we can influence our spouses negatively and we must be careful to avoid doing so.  So how do we accomplish being a good, grounding influence?  The answer to that lies in the efforts we personally make in our relationship to God.  We must be actively pursuing Him in order to reflect Him to our spouses.  In addition to that, here are a few tangible ways to do it:

1.       Be positive – negativity will kill a good relationship and, unfortunately, will spread faster than the positive.

2.       Be encouraging – we all need words of encouragement during difficult times

3.       Be loving – make sure that your spouse is very much aware of your love for them (no matter what the circumstances)

4.       Be mature – Don’t pick or involve yourself in childish fights, name-calling, or gossiping

5.       Be childish (in a good way) – have fun with your lives together

6.       Be supportive – Sometimes, showing support is the only way to defuse tense situations

7.       Be Godly – The more you reflect God, the better your influence will be

8.       Be pro-active – Don’t let the bad get out of hand when you see it coming

9.       Be prayerful – Go to God for help to carry out your mission

10.   Be YOU – your spouse fell in love with you for being you, just be a better version of YOU.

Shamless Plug… The Kindle eBook

Yes, it is time for the shameless plug of our new book.  It has released this past week in eBook format for the Kindle.

You can check it out by clicking on the book cover picture below:

The eBook will also be available for free during a promotional period which we will announce here on the website.

We are working on getting the book in physical form as well and will give you the details when that is available.  Look for a contest giveaway in the upcoming future.

 

The Call to Worship

You will find that many of the things that you should be doing personally with your relationship with God, you should also be doing as a couple.  Worship is one of those things.  Why?  Because the heart of worship is placing God at the very center of things and that is something which you need to do both personally and as a couple.  The dictionary defines worship in the verb form as “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem”.  God created us with the need to worship.  Preferably Him, but given that we have free will, we often choose to worship other things or other people.  The Bible has numerous examples of people choosing to worship the wrong things.  In fact, He considers it so important, that one of the Ten Commandments addresses it:  “You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  Exodus 20:3-6.  So God considers worship important.  And since our worship involves admiration or devotion, we not only are in obedience to God when we do it, but we strengthen our feelings for Him when we do.  You will find that when you are worshiping God with a group of believers your feelings of adoration and love for God can become heightened.  If you do not worship as a couple then we ask you to imagine what happens to those same feelings when you are worshiping with your spouse, the person that God gave you great love for.  It stands to reason that if your feelings are heightened when you are with people that you do not have personal feelings for, then the feelings invoked worshiping with someone you love should be heightened even more so.  And we are here to say that it is true.  It is hard to explain those feelings that rise up inside you when you hear your spouse pouring out their adoration for our God.  You really have to experience it to know the value.  So we urge you, if you are not worshiping God with your spouse, then what are you waiting for?  It will strengthen your relationship with each other and with God.

Vow Renewal Ceremony – involving our teen

To celebrate the momentous occasion of our tenth anniversary, we will be having a vow renewal ceremony.  This is important because we have been through so much during our remarriage and have been successful in thriving in our relationship.  We have a blended family – his, hers and ours.  The children from our union are excited to be part of this.  Mommy and Daddy are getting married and it’s a party!  We have older adult children who have their own lives so there is not much involvement where they’re concerned.  Our middle child (from a previous marriage) is a teenager who lives with us full-time.  It is this child that we want to involve in this ceremony in a meaningful way.  This child has been with us from the very beginning.  This child has experienced most of the ups and downs within our marriage.  If we have survived the battle, then this child has survived the war.  Thankfully, this child has a good relationship with both of us.  So, not only are we celebrating our success with each other, we are celebrating it with this child.  So the question is this:  How can we involve our teenager in a meaningful way with this vow renewal ceremony?  What do you think about giving a piece of personalized jewelry (perhaps a ring) to this child during the ceremony?  Should we have this child walk down the aisle with us or stand up with us sometime during the ceremony?  Maybe we should recite a poem or include a short speech directed at this child?  What are your ideas?  If you have involved your teen children in vow renewal ceremonies, how did you do it?  Tell us your stories – give us some ideas!

What makes remarriage different?

Marriage takes work, no doubt about it.  Any good relationship does.  But remarriage is a different animal.  Why?  It really comes down to one thing – Baggage.  Everyone has emotional baggage that they carry around.  Some of us have more than others.  The older we get the more we tend to have because we have lived longer.  Even first marriages can have baggage.  But remarriages always have baggage.  There is no question about that because at the heart of the “re” marriage is a prior one.  No matter how long or short, good or bad that first marriage was, it has created baggage that you cannot discard.  It’s just a fact.  A key thing to having a successful remarriage is not to ignore this fact.  We often enter into a remarriage as if this is a completely clean slate, but that isn’t the case.  It can’t be.  You can ignore the elephant in the room, but it is there nonetheless.  So instead of walking around the elephant, we need to acknowledge it.  Talk to each other about your baggage.  It is extremely important in the success to your remarriage.  Some baggage has to be unpacked and dealt with, others just need to be acknowledged and set into a corner where you are not tripping over it every day.  Have you unpacked your bags?