Three Steps Toward a Happy Marriage

sselephantsDuring the early years of our marriage, my husband and I had to learn to work with each other. We also had to learn how to communicate. It wasn’t always easy. I mentioned in my last post that since divorce was not an option we could either learn to live together for life as two miserable individuals or we could work hard to learn how to have a happy marriage.

Today I’m going to share a few steps my husband and I took to build a happy marriage.

1. Don’t give up!

First, we did not give up. This is very important. We may have had moments where we felt like giving up.

“He won’t listen to me!”

“She isn’t paying attention!”

“What is so hard about putting away a simple dish?”

“Why won’t he take out the trash?”

These were all questions we internalized. It would have been pretty easy to keep all those problems internal and not even try to communicate. Neither of us like conflict. If we kept our feelings pent up inside then we wouldn’t have to risk making the other person angry.

But by giving up, are we the only ones truly affected? Will the feelings that I think is being kept on the inside really not affect my relationship with my husband? When I have a problem, I can’t give up and hope it just goes away. I have to be proactive and work with my husband not distance myself from him.

2. Read books on marriage.

This is one thing that my husband and I did a lot of. We really liked self-help books and would read and read. There were some books that I remember really benefiting from. Then there were others that left me crying and feeling hopeless. My husband looked at the ones that made me feel bad and he said not to listen to those. You have to consider the source. Some people are writing from a selfish world view. Even if they are popular books that does not mean they are good.

Some books that helped me were

  1. Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
  2. Opposites Attract Attack by Jack and Carole Mayhall
  3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  4. Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley
  5. The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly Lahaye

Those are just a few of the books that impacted my life. I may think of more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

From these books I learned that it is a good thing to do whatever you can to show your spouse that you love them. Don’t be selfish with your love. Learn their primary love language and find ways to show them you love them not just in your own preferred way but how the way they like to be shown love.

For instance if your spouse loves to be given gifts and your preferred method to show love is quality time. Then find someway to put the two together. Perhaps you can save up your money and invest it in quality time shopping together for something you specifically need or want. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift to show you care.

3. Show you care about your spouse’s hobbies.

Do things together. Does your spouse like music. Find an instrument you can enjoy playing along on. Art? Find ways to be creative together. Writing? Find ways to help. Exercise? Put aside your pride and sweat a little.

I had problems with this early in our marriage. I worried over everything. Is taking karate classes with my husband very lady like? There weren’t very many other women in the class. Most just sat on the sidelines. I don’t want to get hurt. I’ll just watch. But just watching and actually taking part are two totally different things. I’ll talk more on this in a future post.

I also had a problem with learning the guitar. My husband was teaching me how to play the guitar. He was impressed with how fast I learned and how well I remembered chords. I was afraid what if I got better than him at guitar? I didn’t want him to feel bad if I was getting that good at it. So I quit trying. I backed off. Then I read, I believe it was in the Opposite’s Attack book, that my husband actually wants me to take part in his activities. He isn’t jealous if I get better at it than him. In fact, he finds it something worth bragging about.

scottstacieocarinasThat little piece of truth had me crying. I told my husband what I read and he said that it was true. He likes it when I take part in what he is doing and isn’t jealous of my learning something faster than him. He is just thrilled that I am willing to join him in the fun.

Now I play chess, take karate class, play various instruments, draw, and write. Any activity that my husband is interested in, I now take an active part. I play games with him. I go outside my comfort zone and take short term mission trips with him. Even shy little ol’ me took a picture with an elephant giving my hair some extra conditioning. (At least I’m not describing what I got in my hair in the above picture. My expression should tell it all.) :)

Right now our biggest project together is my writing. He has been painting some really beautiful pictures to illustrate anything I write. We’re partners and best friends.

Did you find resources that helped you get through the hard times? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy with your spouse? Please share with us in the comments.

This was Day 16 of 31 Days Building Commitment.

Tomorrow, I am honored to share with you a guest post by a childhood friend of mine, Jill Luna. Jill will be telling us how she found love and commitment even after experiencing failed marriages.

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Commitment After the Honeymoon is Over

You’re wedding day was a success. The two of you either had a short honeymoon somewhere close to home or a longer honeymoon visiting some special place.

You arrive at your new home together. Maybe for the first few days, weeks, or months you still feel you are on your honeymoon. Life is great. You see only sunshine and flowers. Life starts to get into some kind of routine. Perhaps you both have a job and you go back to work. Or maybe just one of you is working while the other stays home dealing with the work that is involved in making this house your home.

My husband and I in our first home.

My husband and I in our first home.

Either way, you begin to see that neither of you are perfect. We are all selfish human beings. Sometimes even the most giving person has a selfish streak somewhere hidden. And if you really truly are unselfish it is because you have worked very hard to get to where you are at. It is hard to consider the other person’s feeling over our own.

When my husband and I were first married, I had to quit my job. It wasn’t a hard decision since the grocery store my husband and I both worked for didn’t allow spouses to work together at that time. My husband had worked for that company longer than I and was making more money per hour. We agreed that I would be the one to stay home.

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Our First House – built on my dad’s land with the help of family

The first two years of our marriage was probably the hardest. I was not used to being at home by myself. I had grown up with a brother and a sister at home. I don’t think I had ever really been alone much. So it was a struggle for me to adjust to being home next door to my family while he worked and went to seminary.

I attended seminary with him for the first year of our marriage and I believe some of the things I learned there helped a lot. However I was not prepared to stay home and keep house. I kept finding myself going over to my parents for visits and not having things kept up at our home. This was before our first child came along. Looking back I don’t know why it was so hard for me to adjust to married life.ourfirsthome2

I remember during one of our “interesting discussions” as newly weds. (We never used the word argument, I guess we wanted to be able to say we never argued). Anyway during one of our arguments “interesting discussions”, I was in tears begging him to let us move to some place away from my family.

Why was I wanting to leave my family? My husband got along with them. They let us make our own decisions. The reason was I was sorely tempted in my own mind to spend all my time over there. We were very close knit and I realized that all the time I spent over there was creating a void between my husband and myself. I felt that moving away would help.

Do you notice something here? I was not arguing with him. I didn’t look at him as the problem for my own mistakes. I didn’t look at our marriage as overbearing. I was trying to find a way to solve my own issues. I felt moving would cause me to have to figure out how to do things on my own.

My husband hated seeing me cry. He too was having to learn how to live with someone that wasn’t perfect and didn’t know how to do all the things he used to do growing up as an only child. He didn’t have help doing dishes and cooking. What he was having to learn was how to talk to and get along with another person that grew up completely different from him.

Communication and commitment was what kept us together during those trying times. Divorce never crossed our minds. We knew that if we didn’t work out these differences we would being living our entire lives miserable. We didn’t want a miserable marriage. We wanted a happily-ever-after marriage.

Now it’s your turn. What do you remember being the hardest time period in your marriage? Was it the early years or did your honeymoon phase last longer? Please share with us in the comments. I love to hear your experiences.

This is Day 15 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow I will be discussing more on marriage and how to build trust and friendship even when your spouse isn’t perfect.

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Marriage: Commitment on Your Wedding Day

The big day has come. You are prepared. You know you are marrying the man God has for you. The two of you have studied and worked through your differences. You’ve discussed your plans. You are ready!

wedding2Now it is time. You are now about to make the promises you should have already made in your heart but this time you will be voicing these vows before witnesses.

Some people use vows prepared by the preacher leading the ceremony. Other’s write customized vows that are more personal. There really isn’t a problem with either of these methods as long as you really mean what you are saying and are not just saying words.

Whichever vows you choose to use, you should be promising to love, honor, and cherish your spouse for better or worse, whether they are rich or poor, while they are healthy and when they are sick. You are promising that no matter what happens you are going to stay together until death. Nothing will part you.

You will put rings on each other’s finger as a reminder of these promises.

What is it you are promising anyway? These are not to be just words.

1. You are promising to love them. Love is not just a feeling. It is something you do for someone else. You will do what is best for that person even if they do not realize that is what they need.

2. You will honor them. Honor means respect. You will not look down on your spouse. You take what they say under consideration and speak well of them around other people.

3. Cherish them. Be there for them. Help them and encourage them. Hold them close.

Think of your favorite possession. How do you treat that item? Do you throw it around and mistreat it? No. You cherish it, treat it with great care and attention. You don’t want to lose it. So you keep it in a special place. When you look upon it you do so with care and joy. You will not let any harm come to it. It is your special treasure.

That is how you should treat your spouse. They are your beloved. You want only what is best for them. You treat them with compassion and care. Don’t break them by saying ugly or mean things to them. Their feelings are valuable. Take care of them. Hold them close and treat them better than you do yourself. If anyone else tried to hurt your beloved whether it is family, friend, or foe, you will not let them. You will defend your beloved with your words and actions.

4. For better or worse. You will do what is best for your spouse whether it is a good time or not. If it is what is best for you or if it seems like the worse time to do what is right. You are still going to be committed to your spouse.

5. For richer or poorer. Hard times will hit. If you lose your job for whatever reason, the two of you will stay together. The bills come in faster than the money is coming in. You will work together to solve the problem. Perhaps you will even have to move into a smaller house. Circumstances will not matter because you are committed to doing what is best for this person no matter what. Even if you have to give up some of the things you love because you cannot afford them at the time. You will do so knowing that your love and commitment to your spouse is above any possession or financial gain you could have.

6. In sickness and in health: If a major illness hits your beloved, you will not leave them stranded and wounded. You will still be there for them. Even if they were to be physically or mentally affected for life. You are still motivated by love, only doing what is best for them. No matter what society says or thinks, you would want your spouse to stand by you if your health had failed. This is the time to do unto your spouse what you would have them do unto you in the same situation.

7. ‘Til death do you part. You will stay true to your beloved. Nothing else will separate you. Divorce is not an option. Should the health of the person cause mental issues that make them abusive, you may have to get them medical help and you may have to keep yourself safe from physical harm. However that does not mean you should leave them. They are still your spouse. Your cherished treasure. If a part of your treasured possession is broken you will do whatever it is in your power to help fix the broken shards that are trying to hurt you.

These things should be on your mind when you commit your life to love, honor, and cherish your spouse. Taking care of this treasure God has given you is worth all the time and effort you need to work on it. If you love your spouse you will be their for them.

Do you love, honor, and cherish your spouse? Please share your experience with me in the comments.

This is Day 14 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow I will be discussing how to have a happy marriage after the honeymoon phase is over.

 

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Engaged Preparing for Marriage

Alright! So you read yesterday’s post. You prayed about it and you’ve decided that this is definitely the person God would have you marry. You are both on the same page. In fact you both read that post and were in agreement.

What? You didn’t think about sharing the post “Engagement: Point of Decision” with your fiance? Okay real quick click the link here and go down to the share button and send it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

engagedThat didn’t take long. After reading that page, I will assume right now that you both are in agreement. Now it is time for the two of you to prepare for marriage.

No. I don’t mean picking out flowers and the wedding dress. I mean preparing mentally and spiritually.

I could write a whole book just on ways to prepare for marriage. For now I will share what my husband and I did.

  1. We decided which church we would attend together. When we first met I was the Sunday School teacher for the teen class at the church where my dad pastored. Scott was a member of a larger Baptist Church where he was helping with an ESL ministry. We decided we needed to choose one place to worship together. I decided that I would follow him and join the church where he was a member.
  2. We had one session of premarital counseling with the pastor of the church we planned to attend together. I think we might could have had a little more counseling but the pastor saw that we were committed to each other and loaned us some videos to watch instead of having us back for any further counseling.
  3. We watched marriage videos and read books on marriage. Now with the internet there are a lot more resources available to engaged couples preparing for marriage than there were 17 years ago. One great resource is Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk marriage videos. He has also written quite a few books. We also studied Larry Burkett’s books and videos on budgeting and finances.
  4.  We took a marriage and family class together. You may not be able to find a marriage class in your area. However I know there are a lot more resources online now. In fact just going through this 31 Day Series on Building Commitment you will get a lot. When I am done with this series my husband and I may start working on creating an online marriage course through Rock Solid Family.
  5.  We found out our personality types. I remember in the Marriage and Family class we took, the instructor looked at my chart and told Scott, “You won’t have any problems with her. She knows exactly who she is and is comfortable being that way.”  He was mostly right, except the person I was comfortable being was exactly opposite of the man I was marrying. So we still had to learn to adjust and work on our weaknesses and help build each other up instead of hurting each other. And we had to realize that a lot of the things we did differently were a matter of personality and we had to be patient with each other.

How about you? Do you have any advice on ways to prepare for marriage? What resources would you recommend to engaged couples to help them prepare for marriage and raising a family? I know I didn’t cover all of the great resources available in this post so I would love to hear what I might have missed in the comments below.

This is Day 13 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Check back tomorrow as we look at marriage life after you say, “I do.” If you know someone that might benefit from what you are reading here please share any of these posts with them. 

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Commitment While a College Student

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on Commitment While Single. Today I want to tell you about my life around the time I entered college.

singlestacieThere was a time in my earlier years as a new Christian that I didn’t really listen to the preacher. But I’ll never forget the day that I started to actually hear what the preacher was saying.

The pastor’s wife taught one of my classes. The other students and I were talking with her after class. I remember saying something about the preaching taking so long.

She wasn’t angry. She simply smiled and told me said, “You know if you listen to what Bro. Davis is saying the service will go by faster. It won’t seem so long.” 

Listening to the service? You mean instead of daydreaming and counting the people in the choir. We’re supposed to actually listen to the sermon. So that day began my real growth as a Christian. 

In High School, I still went to church every Sunday, I taught in Vacation Bible School, and was very active in the youth group. I still didn’t go out with boys. Instead I stayed busy with Church and family activities.

My Dad was a deacon, youth director, and Sunday School teacher. Then my Senior year of High School my Dad announced his call to preach. That really rocked our simple uncomplicated lives.

Instead of going to just our church services every Sunday, sometimes my Dad was asked to preach for other churches. My Dad gave us children a choice whether we followed them or stayed going to our normal church. It would have been strange going to our church by ourselves so we followed Dad to his different appointments.

Then a small nearby church called my dad to pastor. My dad gave us the choice again. We could continue to go to the Church we grew up in or we could go with him and mom to the new church. We decided to go with our parents. This was another giant step in my growth as a Christian.

I was a teenager, just entering college when I became the teacher for the teens class. I wasn’t very good at it but I definitely grew from the experience.

I also became a teacher at church camp.  I was even asked to stand in front of 500 people to lead out during the testimonial time. Me the socially awkward one. And to top that off, when the director of the camp asked me to lead it, my dad pointed out that I would be the first girl to stand and speak in front of the camp. Before that day they only asked boys.

Even though I was a nervous wreck I felt that this was something God wanted me to do. Before I gave my personal testimony, I read the passage about the woman at the well. She was a woman willing to give her testimony of what God did for her and a whole city was saved.  

“Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. … And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” – John 4:29-30, 39

“So what does this have to do with commitment in college?” What I just told you has everything to do with my commitment to my future marriage and in college. 

I was committed to serving God. I didn’t need attention from boys to do what God wanted me to do.

My Dad’s pastorate was right around the time I was graduating from High School. I enjoyed hearing my dad preach and teach. I also enjoyed the great Biblical discussions I would have with my dad. Quality time is my main way of showing love and I loved the quality time I would have with my dad discussing the Sunday School lesson or his next sermon.  

As I entered college a list was beginning to form in my mind as to what I wanted in a husband.

  1. He had to be as committed to following God and attending church as I. I saw women in my other church that struggled to keep their children in church because their husbands stayed home. I didn’t want that for my children. 
  2. He had to be at least as knowledgeable in Biblical truths as my father. I needed someone I could look up to. I wanted to be able to respect my husband.
  3. He could not be divorced. I was not going to marry a man that had been divorced before. I understand that some marriages work out after divorce but that was not what I wanted for my marriage.
  4. No smoking. I didn’t smoke and I didn’t want to marry a man that did. The same went for any other drug but I specifically stated I wasn’t marrying a smoker. That decision came when my sister got burned by a cigarette outside our church. It was an accident but I knew the wife didn’t smoke but her husband did and he had lung cancer. I didn’t want that.
  5. Finally I wanted him to be handsome. :) Okay, I know. I know. It’s not all about looks but I wanted him to be at least easy to look at. LOL I couldn’t marry someone that I thought was ugly. But you know what I think God helps us with that one. I guess what I mean by handsome is that he cares about his appearance and doesn’t go around looking like a slob.

I went to college and didn’t really know what degree I should graduate with. I decided to go with elementary education because I thought that might be helpful no matter where I lived. Although now I wish I had gone for a degree in journalism. But that’s another story.

To be honest the main reason I was going to college was  because I was hoping to meet a great guy there. I had lived an enclosed life though and didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find a man that met my high expectations. 

I stayed faithful to seeking though. It was just when I was about to give up that my dad found a seminary student that he highly respected and kept telling me about.

Here is the thing. If I had been any different, if my list had been set at a lower standard, would I have met my husband? Would my dad have found Scott for me? 

Probably not. I had to be faithful and committed to those high standards and to what God wanted even when I was about to give up. Right before I gave up, I let God step in. I put aside my embarrassment and let my dad set up a meeting with the man that would one day be my husband. 

Have you ever made a list of what you were looking for in a husband? What takes top place on your list? If your already married, what would be on your list now? If you could help your children find someone what would you have them look for in a husband? Please share with us in the comments

This is day 8 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow I will share another guest post from my husband who will tell you his story of commitment while single. 

 

 

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Commitment Even When Mistakes Are Made.

We had a very busy week this week. Mom’s Night Out was Monday night.

The kids had a dentist appointment on Thursday. If you follow my blog you’ve read about my Adventures with 6 kids at the Dentist before. Well, imagine the same thing but this time without my parents. 

Then we had Keepers of the Faith on Friday. (Keepers is an alternative to Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.)

familypic (2)

All dressed up and no where to go. What better time to initiate a photo op?

But I have been reminding myself all week about Saturday morning being our Church’s Local Association Meeting. Basically that just means that we were voted to represent our church at a big business meeting of churches like ours in our area.

This year we had to drive about an hour for the meeting.  We had to leave the house this morning by 9 a.m. to get to the meeting on time.

I have one bedwetter and sometimes one that doesn’t necessarily wet the bed but he “forgets” to go bathroom occasionally. So needless to say I didn’t want my children dressed  in their clean clothes (that I stayed up late into the night to wash) smelling terrible.

So this was our morning…

My husband wakes up takes his shower. I wake up and check my messages before getting my shower. My calendar goes off plain as day announcing  what I’ve known all week. Today is the day to go to the meeting. 

The children are instructed to get their clothes out of the dryer, to get their shoes on, and… what is that smell?!  Ugh! Baths! Quick! We have 14 minutes we have to leave by to be on time. I rush the 3 youngest through baths. Once they all smelled better and were dressed, we were ready to leave.

“We’re going to be late!” my husband declared.

I decided it would be alright, I’ll drive. Yes, I tend to be one of those drivers every once in a while. But I rarely go beyond 5 miles over the speed limit. 

We had to stop to grab toaster pastries for breakfast but the rest of the time was a mad dash to not be too late to the meeting. 

What does this have to do with commitment? I’m getting there.

During the hour drive it took us to get there, Jonathan (5) was in the back singing at the top of his voice, “WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SINS? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!” over and over. 

I passed the church the meeting was to be held in. My husband saw the church as we passed.

We were turning around in a nearby parking lot when my husband looks at the paper with the info and says, “What is today?” 

Me: “The 5th, I think. Why?” 

My husband: “It’s not today.” 

Me: “It’s not? Today is what I put on the calendar!” (As if my having put it on the calendar  means it has to be right.) 

My husband: showing me the paper. “The parking lot is empty.”

Me: “Oh.”  long pause “Well, at least we’re not late!” 

Another long pause and both he and I start laughing. The kids have gotten used to our plans changing so they aren’t too disturbed. 

Child from the back: “So we’re not going?”

My husband: “We had the wrong date. We’ll do something else.”

familyshopping

All our ducks in a row at the store. We looked like one of those cursor trails that follow the mouse movements around the screen. Everywhere my husband went a trail of children followed behind him. :)

Are you still wondering what this has to do with commitment?

My very detail oriented husband could have gotten angry with me. Things are a bit tight this month and we really don’t have the money to spare on such mistakes. But he chose to show grace and make the best of the situation.

Instead of becoming angry for my slip up, he laughed and said, “Well, this would make a good blog post.” 

If you are single and plan to one day marry, you will most likely find someone different from you. Are you a detail oriented person? You may marry someone very laid back. Are you an introvert? You may marry someone outgoing. You have to be willing to work through your differences.

Learn about different personalities now. Figure out how to get along with people who don’t think like you do. You will find that by giving them the benefit of a doubt you might learn something new along the way. 

Have you ever been forgiven by a spouse or relative? How did you feel? Have you ever had to put anger aside and be the one to forgive? I love hearing your stories. Please share them with me in the comments.  

If you would like to talk with me privately, you can simply reply to any email you receive from Rock Solid Family or go to my Contact page for my contact information.

This was Day 6 of 31 Days Building Commitment. I really appreciate all the feedback I have gotten thus far. Be sure to get a copy of my free book, “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment“. 

Tomorrow, I plan to post what I originally had planned for today, Preparing for Marriage While Single. I’ll be sharing from my own experiences while single.

I have installed a new commenting system on my blog. If you had troubles in the past with posting comments, it should be easier now. Let me know if you have any further problems. 

~~ Anastacia ~~

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A History of Family Commitment: My Maternal Grandparents

charlcyjimyng2 - Edited

James and Charlcye Taylor were married January 1, 1945. We called them Mema and Daddy Jim. They were married 64 years.

I remember how Daddy Jim was always a hard worker. He was a marine. Then he felt the call to preach a little while after being out of the military. I loved to hear my Daddy Jim preach. He was one of those old timer preachers that would emphasize his points with relish.

Mema and Daddy Jim were always good at hospitality. Their family has always been a close knit family. Their doors were always open for company. 

Our family would all get together at Mema and Daddy Jim’s house. I remember gathering around their piano in the family room passing around hymnals and singing beautiful songs of praise to God. Everyone would sing in joyful harmony. taylorfamilyyoung2That is one of my favorite memories. 

Mema and Daddy Jim were always there for us. If we needed help, we could always count on them. 

I remember Daddy Jim many times coming to help when we had car troubles.One time I got my car stuck in a ditch. Daddy Jim was there in no time to help me out. Flat tire? Call Daddy Jim.

No matter where you were stranded you could always count on Daddy Jim. He was committed to family.

MemawDaddyJimOne time my parents were out of town. I was a teenager and we were sure that we could take care of ourselves while they were away. However all three of us, my brother, sister, and I caught strep throat.

Mema took good care of us big kids. My parents didn’t have anything to worry about. Mema took us to the doctor. She made sure we took our medicine and got plenty of rest. She has always been there for us.

As Daddy Jim got older his health began to fail. Mema was always there for him and took good care of him. Even during the times she couldn’t get around as well, she would continue to serve him. If he wanted anything, she would get it for him.

memawdjhands

A Perfect Picture of Commitment
Mema and Daddy Jim’s Hands.

I think the sweetest memory I have of their marriage was on one of Mema’s birthdays. It wasn’t too long before he passed away.

Daddy Jim had just come out of the bathroom and sat in his chair. My mom and her sisters had bought a present for him to give Mema. 

Mema was admiring her present when Daddy Jim told her that she hadn’t even noticed his real present for her and pointed at his face. Mema came closer and saw that he had shaved just for her. She put her cheek against his cheek and gave him a kiss. And the whole room went “Aaahhh!!!”

Of course no one had a camera ready to capture that moment but I guess if a picture is worth a thousand words then maybe I was able to paint you a picture of my grandparents’ faithfulness and commitment with just five hundred. 

Do you know anyone that is that committed to family? Do you have any examples of unconditional love? The kind of love that does something for someone else without expecting anything in return? Please share your stories with us in the comments. 

This is Day 3 in my series  31 Days Building Commitment. You can bookmark that page to see my previous posts in this series. Tomorrow I will be introducing you to the lessons I have learned of commitment from my parents. 

I am going through this series expounding on my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment.” Download your free copy today! 
 

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Dear World, You Need A Lesson On Commitment

I am joining several other writers to reply to Josh Irby’s “Open Letter Challenge“.  On his blog he asked us to answer his free download an open letter from the world with a letter of our own. I thought it would be fitting to start my 31 Days of Commitment with this letter.

scottstacieDear World,

It is scary writing this letter when I don’t know how you will respond. I know you say that I have a message that you need to hear. Sometimes it is awful hard to give you that message. I know some people will respond positively to what I have to say but then again they are not of this world.

If I could get one message across to you and change one person’s life in the process, I would do my best to give you a lesson on commitment. That is the biggest problem you seem to have. You are very selfish. It is hard to see what is best for everyone else if you are only concerned about yourself and what you want.

You want someone to love you. You don’t necessarily want to love them back. You are looking for someone to meet your needs. It’s too much work to meet there’s.

Life is not all about you. Life is about commitment. You have to think of other people and how your actions will affect them. This is a lesson that you cannot learn in a normal school. This is a lesson that you will only learn from the example of others that live commitment out.

Look at someone that are committed to their spouse and refuse to stray from their commitment and you will see a good example to follow. I know it is hard to find people that are committed. It is beginning to look like it is really getting scarce in our society.

momkidschurch

 

“Where is commitment to be found?” you ask. I understand your concern and it is very valid.

Preachers and their families should be a good place to look to for modeling commitment in marriage. After all the Bible says they are to be examples.

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having [his] children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);” – 1 Timothy 3:2-5 NKJV

Yet every time I see another preacher’s wife leave her husband for another man, or a preacher that runs off with another woman, I cringe. I realize that no one is perfect but preachers’ families live in glass houses. I know you are watching us to see if we fall. 

We are suppose to be the ones that you can look up to as an example of how God would have us to live. But if preachers don’t have commitment figured out, who will teach you.

That is why I am here. This is why I am writing this letter. I will love my husband and model true commitment for you.

If you will read what I have to say I will teach you. Even when you get mad at me. I will keep giving the message God wants me to give. 

Now take your fingers out of your ears. I know this is hard to hear. It’s hard to give up the things you enjoy in order to do what is right. That takes real commitment. But if you would look ahead at what the future could hold if you would only be committed to what you set out to do.

scottpreaching

Life is so much better when you put out the effort to get along with your family. I realize everyone has different circumstances. I’m not saying you have to be a doormat to get along. You can be strong. It takes a lot of strength to be faithfully committed. Especially with the mess you are in the midst of right now.

This is a hard letter to write but I realize you needed me to write it anyway. How will you ever know what you need if no one ever tells you? I will keep on writing. You need to hear what I have to say.

“Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? Where [is] the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” – 1 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV

Sincerely,

Anastacia Maness

What would you like to tell the world? Will you strive to be committed? As always feel free to share in the comments.

Tomorrow I will be continuing to write on building commitment for the next 31 Days. Don’t worry I won’t be writing every post as a letter. :)

If you haven’t gotten your free copy of my book yet, you can download it here. My posts this month will be expounding on what I have written in my book. 

Thanks for listening!

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Life is Like a Boat

You may be wondering where I have been. Well, life has been pretty busy lately and my blog has been down for right around a whole week. I have finished my book and will be sharing that with you tomorrow. But today I wanted to describe what my life is like.

My friend Pamela Hodges asked on her blog ipaintiwrite.com what life is like to us. She plans to put all submissions into a book. You can read more about her plans on the post “Tell me what life is like and be in my book“. I have been describing my life as a boat for a long time. So I’m going to share it with you today. And since I haven’t blogged in quite a while (try a whole month!!!) this post is very fitting as a prelude to my book launch tomorrow.

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

Art Credit: Scott K. Maness (2004)

My life is like a boat. A leaky boat. It keeps taking on water.

I run over to one part of my boat realizing I neglected an area. I work diligently to fix the holes and bale out water.

Ah! Smooth sailing…

Then suddenly I look behind me… Oh, no! Another leak. In the process of fixing one area of the boat I forgot to see the damage in another area of the ship. I then have to run over there and fix that leak and bale out more water. 

There fixed! Life is good.

Uh oh! Yep, you guessed it. I’m constantly running in circles to fix up this rickety ship.

One day it’s the dishes starting to pile up. I get so upset about the mess that I work very diligently to get that mess cleaned up. It may take a few days but I’m back on target with the housekeeping. 

Then I turn around. Sometimes I don’t even turn around just someone warns me. You have a problem over here. Maybe it’s a problem one of my children are having. I leave everything else behind and focus on that problem. Great that child’s problem is solved. Even if it took a few weeks to resolve the issue, I’m happy with the results. 

But oh, no! I planned to have a book finished and given to you, my faithful followers, by the end of August. So I rush over to that part of life and try to get that resolved. I have so many things planned for my little part of cyber space. 

Anyway, you get the picture. And that is what life is like for me. I’m still on this same old rickety ship called “Life”. I’m beginning to see that it will always be this way.

I used to get very upset at the tipping and tossing by the waves. Once I accepted this ship that God has given me, I can now enjoy the ride.  

How about you? What is life like for you? Do you have trouble keeping everything in balance? Please tell me about it in the comments

Where am I at today on this boat? Well, the dishes are clean. The kids homeschooling got off to a pretty good start.

Where are the holes? Well, you have just witnessed me patching one up right now. I am finally posting this blog post after a month of neglect.
Over all? Life is pretty good since I have great ship-mates like you to share it with. :)

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.   ~ Mark 4:37-39 

~~ Anastacia ~~

 

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If I Only Had One Day Left

The latest picture I have of my Papaw holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007.

The last picture I have of my Papaw, Clyde Clark, holding his great grandson Jonathan born November 4, 2007. Papaw passed away July 11, 2008

I recently read a book that was given to me by a friend and fellow Tribe Writer, Eva P. Scott entitled “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course in Mastering Your Life Right Now” by Robert D. Smith.

It was a very good book. I can’t quite apply all the concepts because I’m in a different time of life than he was in the writing of his book.

For instance he was past his 20,000th day when he wrote the book. I am currently on my 13,324th day. (If you want to figure out which day you are on you can go to his website day calculator: Here)

I’ve got young children that still need to be raised. So I have to keep my situation in mind while reading his book. Not everything will apply to me.

But one of the things he mentioned in his book that really got me to thinking was to imagine everyday as if it were your last. 

If I really imagined that everyday was my last day to live, I’d never wash another dish again. I’d hide all the dirty clothes in a closet. Those things aren’t on the most important list for me. But they are things that have to be done and I cannot neglect them. 

It did get me to thinking though. What legacy do I want to leave to my children, grand-children, great grand children, great great great great great…? Okay, you get the picture.

Will I have a great-great-great…grandchild one day that will be just like me. Will she be going through the same challenges? Will she even know who I was? Do I know anything about my great-great-great…grandparents?

My paternal grandfather, Clyde Clark, wrote his story. He wrote his memories down during the years right before he passed away. I found the document he typed the other day. I could hear his voice in my mind as I read it. I want to turn his story into a book. It will be a book that many generations from now will read.

I’m not stopping there though. I want to write my own book. A book for my children and beyond. I want them to be strengthened long after I am gone. A continuing legacy of building a Rock Solid Family.

That brings me to my current plans. I must say that I feel like I’m always in the planning stage. It is hard to move from planning something to actually making it a reality. Well today is the day… No more procrastinating.

I have finally started my book. And you, my faithful followers, will be the first to read it when I’m done.

The working title right now is “Don’t Give Up: A Rock Solid Manifesto of Commitment.” I say working title because the title may change.

This summer is incredibly busy with family and church commitments. So I’m going to set a tentative launch date for the end of August. That will give me a month between the time all the summer activities end and the homeschool activities begin.

What do you think? Does the subject I plan to write on interest you? Is there anything you would like to see me include in my book? How about a future book? Is there a subject you would like me to write about? Please let me know in the comments.

I’m making my writing goal public as a challenge from a blog post by another tribe writer, Bryan Hutchinson of PositiveWriter.com. He encouraged writers to “write a post about starting on your path to achieving your dream, and then post a link in the comments.” You can read more about the challenge and his great advice here.

 

~♥~  Anastacia “Stacie” Maness ~♥~

“Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!”

–Job 19:23-24

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