Husbands, Love Your Wife

In my last post I talked about Not Why but How I Love My Husband. There were lessons there that could apply either direction. My husband follows that same pattern in showing his love for me.

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Our Wedding Day — November 28, 1996
My husband wrote a melody and sang it to me during our wedding.

Today I want to go deeper into how a husband should love his wife. Did you know that the Bible actually addresses husbands directly on this one? Yes. There is specific direction in the Bible for husbands to love their wives.

It is easy to be infatuated with someone when you first meet. However infatuation fades with time. 

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 KJV)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. 

 A husband that loves his wife should be willing to give his life for hers. Just like a parent that loves their child would rush into ongoing traffic risking their own lives to save the life of their child. A good husband will protect his wife. Just like Jesus loved us so much He willingly died to pay our debt.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Jesus Christ takes care of His church in order to present it to Himself.

A husband needs to be the spiritual leader in his home. A husband that sets out to raise his family to follow God can look back over his life and present his family before God.

I picture that day as I stand beside my husband in Heaven and we look over all of our children that were also taught to follow God. I imagine my husband saying, “Lord this is the great work you blessed me with. Here is my family. I present them to you.’

I know God would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Alright, guys, here is a verse that shows it’s okay to be selfish. Yep, the more you love your wife the more you love yourself.

It does not mean to love your wife for selfish reasons. It means that if you love your wife the way you should love her, then she will be a blessing to you and will help you. In essence the better you treat her the better life will be for yourself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

What do you do when you are hungry? You eat.

When you feel dirty? You bathe.

Tired? Rest.

That is cherishing your body. 

How do you cherish your wife?

Hold her when she is crying. Feed her when she is hungry. Do what you can to provide what she needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

We are a part of God’s body. Each member of his body has a purpose. The eyes see. The ears hear. The hands pick things up. They may be individual parts but every part is one with the body. They all work together. 

God made husbands and wives to have different abilities and to work together as a team.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Once you are married you no longer live with your parents. You are now on the same team as your wife. Together you honor your parents but do not side with them against your wife. 

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is amazing and hard to understand the similarities between a husband’s relationship to his wife and Jesus’ relationship with His church.

This is how a man loves his wife just like he loves himself. A love that will do what is best for her.

That does not mean to be like a parent making your kid eat her vegetables.  But do what is best for her as a partner. Encourage her. Be her biggest fan! 

and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Wives, don’t undermine your husband’s efforts. If you see he is trying to show you love, accept it and encourage him as he steps up to being the real man and husband God would have him to be for you.

He needs your encouragement not criticism.

Don’t criticize. Encourage.

Husband’s do you love your wife like this? Wives do you let your husband love you this way? Go ahead and tell me about it here.  

If you don’t have this kind of relationship there is no better time to get started than right now.

Get your marriage back how God would have it be.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Right here my husband and I were going to have our first podcast for you but… Podcasts are a lot harder to pull off than we thought!  So… after a million takes (slight exaggeration) we decided I should go ahead and post this and we’ll keep trying. One day we’ll stop trying so hard and probably have a perfect podcast. :)

So instead I want to share this blog post I recently found over at Time Warp Wife.  Check out When You Love Your Wife You Love Yourself for another point of view.  

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Not Why but How I Love My Husband

I’m excited to be taking part in the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

“Why do you love your husband?”

Our Newest Addition in 2012

My husband and I pose with our 6th child Elisabeth in May 2012

That is a very interesting question and if I were to answer quickly I would list all the wonderful and amazing traits my husband has.

I would tell about his patience, support, encouragement.

I could tell you about how good a father he is. How much he loves our children and all the times he tells them he is proud of them.

I could tell you about his devotion to God and how good he is at searching for answers in the Bible. I would show you his artwork and how talented he is.

But is that really why I love my husband?

Those are all traits my husband has that I truly love. However, that is not why I love him.

If I said that was why I love him then I could come to a point of not loving him should he suddenly stop any of those things. No! “Why” is the wrong question.

That’s like asking, “Why do you love a newborn?”

Newborn babies do not show love. They spend those first few weeks crying, eating, and sleeping. They are not born giving their parents hugs but yet we still love them. Love is action. The more we love our children and give them the things they need the more our love grows.

The real question is not “Why do you love your husband?” but “How do you love your husband?”

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)

Love suffers long and is kind… 

I love my husband by being patient and kind to him.
Kind? Yes. Kind as in “Here let me help you with that!” 

Love does not envy…

My husband is very good at art. Much better than I am. I love him by not being upset when he is better than I am.

Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…

Both my husband and I have strengths and weaknesses. In many cases his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. I love my husband by remaining humble and not declaring myself better than him just because I have strengths.

Love does not behave rudely…

I love my husband by being polite. I can’t just think that since we’re married all manners are no longer necessary. How would that look if I were rude to my husband and saved all my best manners for company? I must never take my husband for granted. I love him by being polite.

Love does not seek it’s own…

In other words, Love is not selfish. I love my husband by putting my own selfish ambitions aside and making sure I take care of him. That may mean putting aside my writing and being fully present. It may mean giving up something I want in order to get him something I know he would like.

This does not mean that I am walked over and allowing myself to be a doormat. It means I love my husband so much that my desire is for him to be happy. When he is happy I am happy. Even though some may argue with me, putting my husband first is not self-depreciating. 

Love is not provoked…

I love my husband by not being easily angered. Whether it is something he says or does that tries to provoke those emotions or someone else that tries to provoke ill feelings for my husband. My love for him will not be easily provoked no matter how hard one tries.

Love thinks no evil…

I love my husband by not thinking evil thoughts about him. How can a person love someone that they think badly about. And the reverse how can someone hate a person they only think good thoughts about.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth…

I love my husband by not rejoicing when something bad happens to him. I won’t say, “I told you so!” nor “See I knew that would happen! You should have listened to me.” No! True love only rejoices when something good happens. When my husband is rewarded with a compliment for something he does right. I rejoice in the truth that he is the best! 😉

Love bears all things…

I love my husband even when the going gets tough. My love is strong and will bear the burden with him.

Love believes all things…

I love my husband by not doubting or second guessing him. I believe what he says and not question his integrity.

Love hopes all things…

I love my husband by knowing that the promises he has made to me, he will keep. Hope isn’t a wish. It’s knowing that something will be the way it is suppose to be.

Love endures all things…

No matter the circumstances, I love my husband by enduring whatever trial we must go through together.

Love never fails…

My love for my husband will stand the test of time. It will never fail.

Do you love your spouse? Feel free to tell me how you love your spouse in the comments

I bet you can guess how I know that my husband loves me. Perhaps that will be my next blog post. :)

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Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer.  You can check it out and grab a copy HERE.

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Be Their Parent Not Their Friend

Art Credit: Scott Maness

Art Credit: Scott Maness

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 KJV

Parents, your children need you to be their parents. There is a difference in being their parent and being their peer.

God put you in a special position to bring your children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1 NIV)

The best time to start this process is while they are young. Many times I have had to imagine an unruly 2 year old doing the same thing as a teenager. No matter how cute and innocent they seem as toddlers they still need their parents to show them what is right and what is wrong.

You can see one such example from a blog post I wrote at The Beginning of 2012. I could very easily let that be today’s blog post. Parents need to be firm and consistent in how they handle their children. You cannot worry about being their friend. You are their parent.

They may not always like you but they will respect you and love you for setting boundaries. Many times parents wonder why their children grow to be so bitter and angry at them when they give them everything they could possibly want.

Children need their parents to be parents. They don’t need you to be their sibling. You need to be their parent and teacher.

That does not mean you don’t listen to them. You do need to listen to them. What they have to say is important. You need to keep this in mind.

Listen to exactly what they are telling you. Ask them questions. If they have a complaint, hear them out.

Show you care but be firm in what is best for them. It’s okay to explain things to them. But don’t apologize for being their parent. Don’t give in to letting them have something you know will not help them.

They don’t need everything their friends have. This will be hard to teach your child when they are a teenager if you have not taught them as a small child. If as a small child you gave them everything they could possibly want then you will find they will resist your telling them “no” now.

If you are now faced with teenagers and have made some of these mistakes, it’s not necessarily too late. It will be harder and you will have to be careful in how you approach each obstacle you will face. Be extra quick to listen and slow to speak.

Explain to them and apologize to them for whatever mistakes you have made in the past. Tell them that now you would like to be a better parent and show them that you care about them and how they feel. They need to know that you want what is best for them and are there to help them reach their full potential.

Help them to find friends that are good influences on them. Take them to church. Don’t just send them. What you want to be important to them, let it be important to you as well.

You are their parent. Teach them to love you.

Do you teach your children? Are you afraid that they will not like you? Do you have any other parenting tips for us? Please share them with us in the comments.

This is Day 22 of 31 Days Building Commitment. These posts are expanding on my book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment”.  You can download your free copy here.

Sometimes I feel these posts are a bit rushed. That is because I’m trying to get them written quickly in order to get to my other responsibilities in the home. If you see any mistakes, or have any questions about something I might say that is confusing please send me an email or fill out the contact form and I’ll fix the post as soon as I possibly can. If you are reading, this post by email please check the actual blog post first to see if I’ve already made the necessary corrections.

At the end of this series I will be going to a much easier to maintain pace. I will probably give myself 2 Days per post in order to make corrections before posting. Thanks for baring with me and continuing to follow along in this series.

~~ Anastacia ~~

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Wives: How to Get Your Husband’s Attention

On Day 20 of 31 Days Building Commitment I explained to husbands how to stop a nagging wife. Today, I want to address wives on how to get your husband’s attention. It’s alright for curious husbands to read along too. 

The common problem I’ve heard while talking with other wives is, “Well, our husbands say they don’t want us to nag, but how else are we suppose to get them to do anything?”

If your husbands read the last post, hopefully you’ve already started incorporating the Honey-Do list.

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Art Credit: Scott Maness

Now then wives… there are other ways you can get your husband’s attention without nagging.

“Impossible!” you say. Well, that may depend on you.

  1. Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
  2.  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
  3.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
  4.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
  5.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,” – 1 Peter 3:1-5 NIV

First let’s get one thing straight. This is not saying to let yourself go and quit dressing up for your husband.

This is saying that your actions are more important than how you dress.

If you care about who you are on the inside that will naturally roll over to how you present yourself on the outside. Believe me if you quit worrying about making your husband notice you physically and start working on your own weaknesses, he will notice.

He may not notice right off. Sometimes it takes a while for it to register what it is that is different.

What is your normal greeting when he comes home from work? Do you greet him cheerfully with a smile on your face and a song in your heart? Or do you say, “Hello” and start telling him about all the things you still need done around the house?

I mentioned in the previous post that husbands and wives need to create a joint “Honey-Do” list where you can write all the things you need there.

Whether or not your husband read that post you should talk to him nicely about making a list. You get bonus points if you can make it his idea. 😉

When he does do something for you, don’t correct how he is doing it. If he loads the dishwasher for you, don’t tell him all the things he did wrong. That is a sure fire way to get him to quit helping you.

Stay positive. Thank him for helping. If there are dishes that weren’t clean enough you can always rewash them later. Just don’t mention that to him.

Did he do laundry and turn some of the clothes pink? Don’t get upset with him. Think of something positive from it. He could use a new white work shirt anyway. And no one will notice the pink undergarments.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Our attitudes really do affect our husbands. If he works outside the home, does he dread coming home to complaining?  Or is he excited to get off work and rushes home to see you?

Surprise him occasionally with love notes in his drawer. Schedule in a date night. Put it on your “Honey-Do” list.

Dates don’t have to be expensive. Pick a location. You can go to a restaurant together or even just walk around the park. Turn off your phones and just talk.

Don’t do all the talking. Ask him questions. What was his favorite toy when he was a kid? What was his favorite board game? Remember his answers. You might want to get that board game for a future date night or family night.

Show that what he has to say is important to you.

That is what the verses above mean by being submissive to your husband. You care about him and what he wants.

That does not mean you are to be a doormat and let him walk all over you. It means that you are confident enough in yourself and who you are in Christ that you can give your husband the time and attention he needs.

By doing these things you can win over even an unbelieving husband without saying a word. He will notice that there is something different about you.

The most important thing is to put your confidence in God and what He wants for you.

God really does want you to be happy. He tells you how in His Book, the Bible. Read it. Study it.

Find a church where you can ask questions and learn. Become friends with other church members who will be a good, positive influence on you and your family.

Is your husband not willing to go to church? Don’t nag him to come with you. Ask him if he’d like to come. Make it an open invitation but then leave it alone. Don’t keep asking. If he starts to ask you questions about it then you can ask again. Don’t drive him farther away from you by constantly asking him.

If you are living your life with the joy of the Lord, your husband will notice.

Have you ever gotten your husband’s attention without nagging? Please share your experiences and any other tips you might have in the comments.

This is Day 21 of 31 Days Building Commitment. There are only 10 Days left in this series. I have an idea I will have so much more to write on this topic though.

Once I am done with this series I plan to start putting my next book together. It will be a much bigger and more in depth look at the same topic as my recent book, “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment“. You can download it for free here.

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Husbands: How to Stop a Nagging Wife

In today’s post, I’m specifically addressing husbands. I realize that there will be a lot of wives reading along and I have an idea some of you husbands may be reading this because your wife shared it with you (or stuck her laptop in your face) and said, “Look, Dear! You have to read this!”

If you are that husband, what I am about to tell you should help you stop one of the biggest complaints men have with their wives.

Nagging!

“She told me once. Why does she keep bringing it up over and over again? I told her I will get to it in a little bit.”

Ah the misery of a nagging wife… In fact this very thing was addressed in Proverbs.

naggingwife

Art Credit: Joshua Maness

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. … Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”

– Proverbs 21:9, 19 NIV

Woah… Don’t start packing your backpack yet. I’m not suggesting you go on an extended hiking trip in the desert. That really won’t be necessary.

The whole idea of those verses is that if living on the roof and in the desert are bad then having a nagging, quarrelsome wife is worse.

What if I were to tell you that there is something you can do to slow down the nagging, complaining, and quarreling? Would you do it?

Even if your wife has been nagging you for years. You can create a happier wife with very little effort.

Step 1: Do things for your wife before she asks. Start with those things that are easy for you to do. Don’t say anything. Consider it your secret mission.

Okay… I know. Your wife may have already read this before she handed it to you. However, you don’t have to tell her you are going to do this. Just start.

Look around at one thing you can do for her. Let me just suggest one as an example. Dishes. How about that? My husband started helping me with dishes. Now the attitude you take on while doing those dishes is important.

Do it without malice. Don’t be thinking, “Why didn’t she get this done already?” Trust me. Women can pick up on hints just as good as they can drop them.

She can sense when you are doing something because you are holding a grudge or honestly wanting to help out.  Offer to wash while she dries or vice versa. If you have a dishwasher go ahead and load it up.

What did she complain about how you did it? I’ll be addressing her on that issue later. For now, just shake your head and breathe a little prayer. But keep trying. Eventually your efforts will pay off.

Step 2: Set up an easy to maintain list. Whether it is a marker board, shared phone app, or a piece of paper. Have this list where you both can see it. Make it easy for her to write on this list. This will be your to-do list also known as a Honey-do list.

Now I’m serious here. Create a to-do list that your wife can write what she needs help on.

Does she have troubles taking out the trash? Instead of complaining at you all the time she can write this need on a to-do list.

Does she need help putting a lock on a door? She can write it on your to-do list instead of constantly asking you. Most of the time women feel they need to keep asking because they think you forgot.

Does your wife’s constant asking make you more stubborn against doing the job? This list will help. She won’t have to constantly ask you.

This will be your agreed upon method for her to ask. Have a method where she can label the things that are a higher priority for her.

Now the most important part. Make it a goal to work on that list. Even if you only get one thing done on that list in a day. She will see that you are meeting her need for help. If something on the list is something you don’t mind her hiring someone to help. Then write a note beside it, “Hire so-n-so to do that.”

An example in my experience of hiring outside help was with trash. My husband couldn’t always take the trash to the dump for me. Then loading up all my children and several smelly bags of trash in a mini van was a major undertaking.

I was at my wits end when my husband gave me the go ahead to hire someone to pick up our trash once a week. That has been the best investment for me and I still appreciate it to this day. All those days of struggling with garbage is gone with the arrival of the trash truck and all I have to do is get that bag of trash to the curb.

If there are some jobs on your wife’s Honey-Do list. that you don’t mind paying for then go ahead and suggest it. If your wife is concerned that there isn’t enough money to hire it done then find ways to save some money or sell something that you don’t need or want to take care of the cost.

Now I want you to try this Honey-Do list out. Check off any tasks you complete. You will have a much happier and less complaining wife.

Have you ever used a Honey-do list? What do you think wives? Would this make life easier for you? Would you stop nagging if you knew your husband was working on your list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Husbands I want to hear from you too. Let me know what you think.

This is Day 20 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow, I will be addressing the wives about this same topic of nagging.

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Finding Commitment After Divorce

Last Friday a dear friend of mine, Jill Luna, shared with us her experience having gone through two failed marriages before finally trusting God and His plan for her life. In her post, she tells how God helped her find a husband that would love her and was committed to her even when she was afraid and looking for excuses for him to leave her. You can read the rest of her experience here.

Picture from my book "Don't Quit".

Picture from my book “Don’t Quit”.

Today I want to talk just a little more about divorce. Several years ago, my husband pastored a small church in Kingsville, Tx. For a short time that church offered a program called “Divorce Care” to help divorced men and women to cope through the pain of rejection.

During one of the sessions my husband asked me to talk with the ladies in a separate class while he talked with the men. During the class, we watched a video and then had a discussion time.

One of the ladies in the class asked me a question that has never left me. “How do I find the right person now? Where is Mr. Right?”

I gave her an answer but many years later I’ve thought even deeper on that question. Where can a person find love and commitment after the pain of divorce? How do some people have “perfect” marriages but others just can’t seem to find the right one?

Here is my answer: You have to work on yourself first.

It’s like my husband always says, “God isn’t going to give one of his jewels to swine.”

You must trust Him to find that “perfect” match for you. You must work on your own life and your own weaknesses before searching for another relationship.

A person that immediately jumps into another relationship without drawing closer to God and seeking His will first, will be met with even more heartache. How can they expect to find a happy marriage if they haven’t found God’s will for them first?

They are lonely. They are hurting. They are angry.

One pretty face and sympathetic ear and they find themselves infatuated with someone else that may be just as broken and hurting as they are.

Are they in the right mindset to marry again? But in most cases they do marry this “dream” person and think that everything will be alright.

However they wind up facing the same challenges that they had in their first failed marriage. They are still wounded and hurting and now the wound is being reopened by someone that they thought would comfort them.

Sometimes it is so easy to just quit. Give the excuse that they would be happier apart. Break up. Just to start the cycle again.

This is not how God intended marriage to be!

Marriage is suppose to be about mutual commitment. In the Divorce Care program that our church offered, we recommended that anyone who had gone through a divorce wait a couple of months for every year they were married before remarrying.

This is suppose to give a person time to heal and grow in God’s grace before seeking another relationship to fulfill them. God needs to be the one that fulfills you.

Don’t put all your trust on an imperfect human being. You will be disappointed. However you can always trust God to give you what is best for you. Trust Him!

You can find love and commitment after divorce.

Jill Luna’s story is a perfect example of that. After two failed marriages she drew closer to God. She became active in her church. Jill trusted in God to provide for her emotional needs. Then God provided a man that promised to never leave her no matter what. That is commitment.

Read Jill’s story in her own words here.

That is what I am talking about. If you trust God, he will provide for you.

Sure you can find a sympathetic ear in a bar somewhere but is that really the kind of person God wants for you? Trust God! He will bring the right man or woman into your life.

But prepare yourself to receive God’s best for you.

What do you think? Do you trust God to do what is best for you? Or have you tried to take finding a relationship into your own hands? As always feel free to share with me in the comments or reply to my email if you would like to talk with me privately. I’d love to hear from you.

This is Day 19 in the series 31 Days Building Commitment. If you haven’t already be sure to check out my new book “Don’t Quit: Build a Legacy of Commitment” which is my basic outline for this series.

 

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True Love and Commitment in Marriage

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves

Elisabeth asleep with her hands in my sleeves. The picture is a little blurry because it was dark in the room.

I am sure some of you may have missed my posts over the weekend. I decided that if I was going to write about love, marriage, and commitment that I needed to be living it. So this weekend I went ahead and put my writing aside to enjoy my family.

Yes, I could have blogged from my phone. But which is better being in karate class with my family or sitting on the sidelines typing a blog post with my thumbs?

I could have stayed in the car while my family went into the store to buy art supplies, but then I would have missed the chance to offer hospitality to friends we saw in the store.

Saturday night I could have blogged but then I would not have been playing my ukulele while my husband played his viola. And then there was the chess game we played together.

Sunday afternoon, I chose to not worry about writing. Instead, I enjoyed watching our children play with their friends after church. We hadn’t seen our friends in a long while and it was a blessing that they visited us.

We had a Bible Study at our church Sunday night. After we got our children to bed, I chose to sleep instead of write. A well rested mother makes for a much happier family.

This morning I read a book to my 3 youngest children while their siblings were working with some animals on a neighbor’s ranch.

This afternoon I agreed to let my son have a pet rooster. I originally planned to let him start with chickens and eventually have a rooster. However my mothering heart realized he was on a humanitarian mission to rescue a rooster that was destined to possibly be someone’s next meal. A pet rooster might be good for him.

I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. I do not rock her to sleep at night but for a nap, I do. She is growing up so quickly and I know it won’t be long when she won’t let me rock her anymore. So I rock her with her hands stuck up my sleeves. I haven’t fully figured out why she likes to stick her hands up my sleeves when she is tired but she does. I guess she finds comfort that way.

My husband came home and I listened to how his day went before he left with our son to pick up the rooster. They came back with not only the rooster but a hen as well. I guess they didn’t want the rooster to be lonely all by itself.

And while my husband was gone with our son, he told me I should get this blog post written. So I started this post. I also answered what felt like a million questions.

I then rocked the baby to sleep for the second time. Who was so rudely awakened by a brother coming in asking more questions at the top of his voice.

I can’t stop life from happening around me. Sometimes I have to put what I want aside for my family. I can’t be angry with my children for wanting my attention when I would rather write. My husband needs my attention too. Life cannot be only about me and what I want. I need to also keep in mind others and what they want.

This past weekend I chose to live out building commitment instead of just writing about it. That is what this world needs after all, someone to stand up and set an example of what a committed marriage and family should look like.

Have you ever had to give up something you really wanted in order to show commitment to your family? Please share with me in the comments.

Right now our children are in bed and my husband is washing dishes so I can come in here and finish this post. That is what true love looks like. Doing what we wouldn’t want to do otherwise for the good of the one we love.

This is Day 18 of 31 Days Building Commitment. Tomorrow we will continue the series where we left off Friday with finding commitment after divorce.

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Finding Commitment Against the Odds (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by my childhood friend, Jill Luna. Who shares with us her story of finding commitment.

Neglect. Rejection. Abandonment. These are not three of the prettiest words known to mankind. Upon reading them, most of us may have a mental picture quickly flash before us from a moment in life where we experienced at least one.

The Luna Family

The Luna Family

Love. Acceptance. Commitment. Ahh, now those words, they bring us comfort. Unfortunately not everyone can conjure up joyful memories upon reading those.

For me, marriage was defined with the first set of words. My marriage would fall into neglect. My husband would reject me. I would experience the full force of abandonment.

But this is just how things are in society today. It’s an “out with the old and in with the new” kind of world. When the older version of something just isn’t working anymore simply upgrade to the newer model, right?

That’s not God’s design for marriage. Let me tell you what is: that second set of words. And for those of you out there like me, once you’ve been tossed to the wayside like yesterday’s leftovers the thought of someone ever fully embracing you with love, acceptance, and commitment is frightening.

How frightening?

Let’s put it this way: You’re about to roll doubles for the third time in traditional Monopoly*, and you’re hoping somehow your current landing on the Community Chest will bring you the good fortune of drawing that splendid, yellow Get Out of Jail Free card. Because you suffering once again in the prison of pain from a failed marriage is not what you’re all about. No, no. You’re smarter now. You’ll bail out of this gig first because you’re not going to be the one hurt and left behind this round.

You’ve just got to draw that little, yellow card, you think. Because to accept God’s design…well…is just insane!

But I did.

After two failed (and brief) marriages, I not only accepted God’s plan for marriage but prior to that, I accepted His son, Jesus Christ, and what He did on the cross for my sins. All of the brokenness. All of the fear. And all of the pain. It had to become His, because only He could dissolve it and completely wash it away.

Oh sure, for the first few years I gave my husband every excuse in the book why we should quit—reasons that may have been legitimate (I wasn’t kind to him that day) to great absurdities (I didn’t like my nose). Nothing worked. Why? During our courtship period (a time of counseling by our church’s Singles Pastor), my husband made it very clear to me that—and I quote, “You’re stuck with me.” His tenacity to love, accept, and commit to me were perplexing—and frightening.

Where is that Get Out of Jail Free card?!

My husband’s resolve stemmed from growing up and seeing firsthand what broken marriages can do to people, and he determined early in life that he would marry only once. Through the years, I’ve come to understand that God wants us to surrender all fears of neglect, rejection, and abandonment and to fully embrace His ways. Why?

As Christ began His journey to the cross, He could have easily bailed out, calling on legions of angels to remove Him from suffering for our sins (see Matthew 26:53). But He didn’t. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that, “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame.” His example is ours to take on as we chose His design for marriage to love, accept, and commit–every day, every decision. And in this we find joy, and fear needs to no longer hold us back.

My husband and I will celebrate our 13th anniversary this weekend. I’ve quit looking for that little, yellow card.

*Rolling doubles three times in a row in traditional Monopoly causes the player to go directly to jail.

jilllunaprofilepicJill Luna has been saved by the grace of God through her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ for 17 years now. In that time, she has been involved in ministry for children, preteens, and youth as well as drama, sign language, and dance ministries. She is a homeschool mother of 3 sons with over a decade of experience in that wonderful journey. She likes dark chocolate and one day hopes to operate her sewing machine successfully.

This guest post by Jill Luna is Day 17 in the series of 31 Days Building Commitment.

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a painful situation? Do you have a story of finding grace and forgiveness even when it felt the odds were against you? Please share with us in the comments.

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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.

firsthome

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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