Sunday, November 30, 2008

Financial Communications

Today's financial seminar was amazing.  One of the constant reminders each of the amazing speakers went back to is communicating.  One thing that was difficult for my husband and I at first was just that:  communicating about something we felt differently about.  I thought we should put some purchases higher on the importance list in our budget; Gary thought otherwise.  Although it was sometimes easier NOT to communicate, we plundered through and kept at it til we got great at it by sheer repetition!  It helped that I respect and honor my husband's lead as the final decision -- if I felt I deserved an "equal" vote we would have NEVER been able to get through some of our impasses!

Keep discussing your finances and your financial decisions.  Share your heart, dreams and visions for your finances.  Share your plans to get there.  Share your priority list.  Over and over.  Daily! 

Challenge:  Make it a point to discuss your financial situation today, and then go over the discussion regularly.  Make a plan together to achieve financial freedom -- that point when you are DEBT FREE!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting Out of a Rut

Isaac Newton's first law of motion states: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

When you and your spouse get into a rut, you need to do something differently.  One of you needs to break into the routine to change things.  

It is interesting that when one person steps out to be extra thoughtful or kind, it does set in motion an impetus for the other person to behave in kind.

Many times when I don't feel like going out of my way for my husband, I will do so inspired even by the sheer discipline of getting my "body under subjection," and inevitably my husband reciprocates and then we just keep the ball rolling!

Challenge:  Are you ready to lift the bar higher than the mundane routine??!!  Go out of your way to do some amazingly wonderful things for your spouse.  Be consistent and you may inspire each other to keep the ball rolling!

Friday, November 28, 2008


One fact that never changes is that everything changes.  We all change from day to day.  And we're intended to shine brighter and clearer and go from glory to glory...

Proverbs 4:18 - But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].

2Corinthians 3:18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

Give your spouse a chance to be able to change.  Let them learn and grow.  Encourage the growth to be good.  Examine your own life and be sure that the changes that you are going through are truly to shine brighter and clearer and go from glory to glory...

Challenge:  Make sure you fill your life with the Spirit and power of God and with the right things that will cause you to go from glory to glory as the Lord intended.  Encourage your spouse to really get better all the time.  Just think of the possibilities if you both keep working on growing forward with the Lord!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being Thankful

So many times, we get our eyes off the many many things we have and get our eyes or minds on the one thing or few things we don't have.  Many people have the uncanny ability of focusing on the things they wish their spouses were instead of the many things their spouses already are.   Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, we lose the appreciation for all the things we have and instead start to feel gypped.

This is so unfair to yourself and to your spouse.  By keeping your eyes on something you don't have, you fail to appreciate all the wonderful things you have.  Also, your spouse can't be appreciated by you, because your eyes are set on only a certain thing or expectation you have.

Challenge:  Each and every day look at all the things your spouse is and give thanks for each and every thing on that list.   Forget about the things your spouse isn't; be grateful for everything he/she is.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We Owe, We Owe, It's Off to Work We Go!

I am so grateful that my husband and I both hate being in debt.   This doesn't mean that we never were in debt, only that we hated going against the Scriptural admonitions that borrowers serve the lender (Prov 22.7), we were to owe no man any thing but to love one another (Romans 13.8), and that He desired us to be content with little (1 Tim 6.8), letting our moderation be known to all (Phil 4.5).   

When we borrowed money for each house, we made sure our monthly payments didn't strap us. We moved seven times, each time paying our house off, and then moving up.  As soon as we signed mortage papers, we lived simply and hung little signs in our closets with $500, $100, $50, $10, and $5 to equal the amount we owed the bank, and we would keep prepaying our principal and pulling the amounts off the wall until we were paid off.  

This methodology seems lost today.  People seem to not even care that they owe so much money.  Too many people are not interested in paying off their loans right away.  I am shocked at people taking trips and spending money on things they don't need and yet they owe hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in loans.  I have spoken to people who are deluded into believing that they are so far into debt they might as well just keep spending money because they'll never pay off their loans anyways!  

Live modestly and free of debts.  That is God's best for you.  If you are in debt, stop spending money on anything that is not a necessity, sell things you can get rid of, even work an extra job if possible, until your debts are paid off.  Then you are free.

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you norgive you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake norlet [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]”  (Heb 13:5 AMP)

“...the borrower is servant to the lender.”  (Prov 22:7 AMP)

Challenge:  Have a heart and will and disciplined living to pay off all your loans and live debt free as God intended you to live.  Brainstorm with your spouse and agree on ways to get out of debt.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deflating Someone's Ego

I realized quickly that my husband does a lot of "guy things" that irritate me.  Some of them, which we won't mention are:

*Jostling around with the kids when we're standing waiting for our table at a restaurant, saying goodbye to people (even dignitaries).
*Does his email on his blackberry while we're on a date.
*Doesn't hear when I ask a question.
*Refuses to ask for directions.
*Talks and asks questions about a movie after you're a half hour into it.
*Asking me to drive and then controls my every movement.
*Talks about inappropriate baby stuff sometimes.
*Gets crazy excited when goofing off with the guys.

Well, I decided a long time ago that I was getting the entire package and I refuse to pick my man apart.  I refuse to take his sometimes annoying and goofy fun and deflate his ego one "pin" at a time.  I picture many husbands as helium balloons on the rise, and then their foolish wives pick pins in their personality, joy, and energy, and sadly, as the air and fun oozes out of their man, and they keep trying to recreate them into the image of what they think they should be, they are left with a crumpled up helium ball all crumpled on the floor.  Then they really complain that he isn't the guy they fell in love with!

Challenge:  Don't pick apart your husband (or WIFE!) one "pin" at a time and deflate their personality, joy, and energy!  Let your man exercise his right to be a guy and make sure your guy knows you're doing that on purpose and you want him to let you exercise your rights and personalities as a woman.  You will find that if you stop trying to change your spouse you will actually enjoy them more!

“But as the Chest of GOD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, happened to be looking out a window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before GOD, her heart filled with scorn. ...Then everyone went home. David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul’s daughter, [his wife] came out to greet him: “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants’ maids like some burlesque street dancer!” David replied to Michal, “In GOD’S presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over GOD’S people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to GOD’S glory —more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.” Michal, Saul’s daughter, was barren the rest of her life.”  (2Sam 6:16-23 MESSAGE)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Only November 24, 2008 EVER

It is sometimes sobering to think that this day, November 24, 2008, will be the only November 24, 2008 we will ever have in our lives.  What we choose to do with this day is up to us.  I refuse to take this "present" and drag it through the mud.  I refuse to waste this "present," and I refuse to make this one November 24, 2008 a day I willfully ruin because of bad choices.

This "present," this day, is given to me by the Lord as a gift.  I choose to make it a day where I am the best I can be, regardless of negative or positive circumstances.  I purpose to bless others that come in contact with me.  I purpose to make this day one where I purposefully worked to make my spouse's life better because I'm in it.  

If I blow it, I can never re-live this day again.  I purpose to live each day wisely, so I have no regrets.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” (Psa 90:12 AMP)

Challenge:  Live this day as if it were a day to represent all you ever wanted to be as a wife or husband.  Live this day as the "present" it was given you to be.  Make it count for something positive and amazing.  Make others' lives better because they had you cross their paths.  Keep this day special on purpose by being as amazing as you can be!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Working it Out!

Gary and I met while training for the marathon, and so our relationship started and was built on running, racquetball, rollerskating, biking, tennis, and working out at Vic Tanny's (now Bally's!).  Even through all five of our children being born and growing up, we always encouraged each other to stay in good shape.  Gary always understood that I made time to work out, and I always encouraged him to work out and helped make time when I could for him to do so.

Even when it involved sacrifices on each other's part, we would support each other going to the gym, getting on the treadmill, or running outside.   More often than not, it takes a sacrifice for one of us to do without the person working out, but the sacrifice has been well worth it.  

I am thankful that we encourage each other to keep working out!

Challenge:  Encourage your spouse to take the time to either work out, walk, run, bike or swim, or anything else to help stay in good shape.  The extra energy and good feeling you will each get from keeping in shape will be a huge benefit!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love Me Love My FAMILY!

One of the prerequisites when I was younger and dating was that our dates got along with our family. It is funny that here I am, years later, and they feel the same way! It is very important to them that the people they hang out with get along with their family! We have SO much FUN with our family that now the joy is multiplying with the extra wonderful people involved with my children!

On the same hand, it is important that you get along with and have fun with your spouse's family!  It is important that you mingle with the people who are important to your spouse, and to whom your spouse is important to!  With the upcoming holidays, be sure to set aside some special times to share with your spouse's family!

Get to appreciate who they are, and what their contribution has been in making your spouse the person he/she is.  Celebrate your spouse's family traditions as well as your own.  Open your circle and let their family IN!

Challenge:  Make calls once in awhile and set aside special time to spend with your spouse's family.  Value them for the contribution they have made into the life of your spouse!  Enjoy the advantage of doubling your family!  Celebrate the holidays with both sides!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Second That Emotion!

Emotions are amazing glimpses into someone's heart and soul.  If you really want to have a more intimate and meaningful relationship with your spouse, make sure you talk about your emotions:

*What things/people/events excite you, inspire you?!  

*What makes you sad?  angry?  mad?

*What makes you happy?  laugh?  

*What good things do you see in people?

*What insights do you have about anything?!

Connect in a deeper way with your spouse by sharing your heart and soul through sharing how you really feel about things, and encouraging them to do the same by asking them questions that encourage them to reveal their heart and soul to you.

Challenge:  Bring your relationship to a more intimate connection by the way and by the things you communicate!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Consistently Wonderful...

I have had constancy on my mind today.  In our constantly changing society, we have to be able to count on some things and some people.  Some things my husband is able to count on from me:

*I always am excited to hear from him, and I let him know!

*I make sure I feel his emotions with him: rejoice with him if he's rejoicing and be sad if he is sad.

*I give him the benefit of a doubt if something he did was in question.

*I try to turn his mood around if it's bad!

*I cheer him up when he's down.

*I try to make him laugh if he's sad.

*I can be trusted with his secrets!

*I look for the best in him, and disregard the worst!

*I make time for the things that are important to him!

Challenge:  What can your spouse count on from you?  Are you consistently wonderful, or does your spouse have to wonder what kind of mood you'll be in??!!  Work on being consistently amazing and make it something your spouse can count on!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Date Night!

Everyone knows they SHOULD have one but DO YOU?!  Make a date night at LEAST every other week and go on a date with JUST the two of you!  Even if it's coffee and visiting, take the time out to share some time and talk with each other!

Challenge:  Go on a date this week!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your Responsibility for His Masculine Pride

Another tip from Fascinating Womanhood:

1.  Don't Wound Him.  Take care that you don't wound your husband's masculine pride, that you are never the guilty one.  If he returns from the battleground of life and is further subject to contempt or indifference, it will undermine his confidence and alter his feelings for you.

2.  Heal His Wounds:  Heal the wounds inflicted by others.  Become his good angel, the one who builds him up when others have torn him down.  When you do, you become indispensable to his happiness and contribute greatly to his overall success in life.  No one can take your place in ministering the healing balm that keeps men going.  

If you fail on both counts, if you add injury to injury and utterly fail to build his self-esteem in his hour of need, you can destroy him and his feelings for you.  A woman is in a precarious position; she can build or destroy a man according to how she deals with his masculine ego.

When you see the sensitivity of a man's nature, you know how careful you must be in conversation.  You cannot permit yourself to have an unbridled tongue and say anything you please.  You cannot pour out your heart to him as you would to a mentor.  You must withhold feelings and confessions which would wound his sensitive pride.  However, when you learn to converse in a way to build rather than destroy, you can carry on intimate conversations with a man and feel a closeness that will be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.  You will bridge the distance...

Challenge:  Make your home and your presence a safe haven from the battles of the world outside the walls of your home.  Be a wise woman and a mature woman and do not let your mouth and critical nature ruin the relationship you have with our spouse.  If you are angry or upset, learn not to talk to your spouse until you've talked to the Lord!  

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Forgiveness is a powerful tool in a relationship.  First of all, it admits we are all human and make mistakes.  Secondly, it reaffirms to your spouse that you love them not because they're perfect.  Forgiveness stops your prayers from being unheard (Matt 5.23-24).  It prevents a root of bitterness from overtaking you (Heb 12.14-15).  It avoids stress, which often causes sickness and disease, so it's actually healthy to forgive!  It makes for much happier days together.  Plus, when you forgive someone, they will love you even more!

“That’s why I’m telling you that her many sins have been forgiven. Her great love proves that. But whoever receives little forgiveness loves very little.””
(Luke 7:47 GWORD)

Reminder:  After you forgive (sometimes you need to forgive without being asked!), make it easy for your spouse to turn things around!

Challenge:  Forgive your spouse and make it easy to turn the day around quickly!  Don't be a hard taskmaster just waiting for someone to make a mistake so you can bomb-blast them!  Test your "turn-around" time and see how quickly you can turn the situation around and redeem your day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Understanding Men...

One book that I have recommended over and over through many years is Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin ($11.20 at  Although some parts may seem a little outdated, it has timeless advice on How the Ideal Woman Awakens a Man's Deepest Love and Tenderness.  It has amazing ways to communicate in your marriage that has proven successful to enhance love since first published in 1965, and now with over two million copies being sold.  Through this book, "there is hope of a new generation of women - happy, feminine, adored, and cherished."   

I have given out over 2 dozen copies of this book, and recommended it to countless others.  My girls have read it also.  My son's girlfriend gave it to a few friends at her school.  If you want a great book that you should read every few years, order a copy for yourself (and you better get a few to give out!) -- you can click at the above link to get to Amazon's page.

From the summary of the section, Understanding Men: appears that we must do a lot of giving.  We are expected to do a lot of giving.  We are expected to overlook his faults, appreciate his better side, and make him number one.  We must yield to his authority and allow for errors in his judgment.  The wonderful wife has an all-comprehending sympathy for his duty to provide the living, and cooperates by living well within his income.  In addition, we must take great pains to not wound his masculine pride.  If it seems you are expected to do a lot of giving without much thought of reward, remember, 'when you cast your bread upon the waters, it comes back buttered.'

As you apply these principles, it will awaken your husband's love and tenderness.  As one wife put it, 'Our marriage blossomed like a plant that had been placed in the sun after a long, dark winter.'  As a man feels accepted, free, respected as a man, and understood, love is awakened.  But, remember, you are not to expect material rewards, such as new clothes, a new dishwasher, flowers or frilly nightwear.  These things may come as fringe benefits, as they often do, but the promise of Fascinating Womanhood is not material rewards, but a stronger relationship and a tender, romantic love.  Evidence of such rewards has been given by testimonials at the end of the chapters... 

Challenge:  Take one of the things mentioned in the Understanding Men part of the book and work on it:  overlook his faults, appreciate his better side, and make him number one, yield to his authority, allow for errors in his judgment, have an all-comprehending sympathy for his duty to provide the living, cooperate by living well within his income, and take great pains to not wound his masculine pride.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reaching Your Full Potential

These reminders to reaching your full potential apply to our marriages, but were given at a business meeting by Gary:

1.  Find your invisible, buried treasures.  What is IN you that you NEED to bring OUT?!

2.  Don't allow "negative things" to take up space!  GET RID OF ALL NEGATIVES for a positively wonderful relationship!

3.  Evaluate your decisions in the present and how they affect the future.  Then, CHANGE the present immediately if it will adversely affect your future! 

4.  Ask "What can I do to make the situation better?"  My advice on this one is the word "immediately do" -- jump into making the situation better and don't waste precious time arguing!

5.  Achieve BIG goals through SMALL steps.  There are little things you can do that will ultimately achieve much larger goals!

6.  Develop the ability to hate the right things -- Hate the things that NEED to be hated:  time wasters (arguing!), prayer effectiveness robbers (unforgiveness!), laziness that prevents you from doing what needs to be done, lack of empathy, etc.

7.  Do not strive to be noticed or to get all the credit.  After all is said and done, who CARES who had to "give in" to make it right?!

8.  Do not make decisions based on fear of how others will react.  Just do the right things, over and over again, and don't worry about losing "face" or what other people might say to do! 

9.  Give back more than you are given.  If you could keep giving back WAY more than you are given (in any relationship!), you will be on the right track!

Challenge:  Reach your full potential in your marriage by highlighting a few of these areas you want to work on and spot-focusing on them!

The Lost Art of Hospitality

My mom always told me that your house is never the same after you've had guests fill the rooms with precious and pleasant memories.  It's as if your home absorbs the love and fellowship that was contained inside its walls.

My parents taught me, and I have proven over the years, that it doesn't matter how big or small your house is, it doesn't matter what you serve (as long as you serve something), and it doesn't matter how "together" you have it, invite people over!!!

Romans 12.13 says to pursue the practice of hospitality.  In 1 Timothy 3.2 and Titus 1.8, we see that leaders in the Church should be ...given to hospitality.   1 Peter 4.9 tells us to practice hospitality to one another...

Hospitality virtually means to be fond of guests, given to (lover of, use) hospitality.  

Make it a practice to have guests over and fill your home with precious priceless memories. People need encouragement.  Some of our most amazing fellowship times were with people we would meet at Church and then just invite over with several other couples and have a potluck or simple dinner followed by fellowship where we could talk about the things of God and encourage each other.  With everyone's busy schedules, together with an isolationist attitude enhanced by working so hard that you just desire "down" time, we have neglected several important commands in Scripture, as well as the importance of just getting together with others.

Challenge:  Make it a point to invite a few couples over for a casual get together!  Invite a few couples you normally don't hang around with -- maybe people you've seen at Church that don't seem to know anyone or people that look around the same age...  You will be AMAZED at the countless blessings that will come your way when you open your heart and home to others!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Read it Together!

When we were first married, right away we started teaching a couples' class at Church.  We were in charge of the young marrieds, and we had a lot of get-togethers, retreats, special speakers, and Sunday School classes.  We also had a Home Builders' group that met in our home, and I personally did a ladies' Bible study that ran every other week for about a year and a half.  It was AWESOME to surround ourselves with people that were young marrieds, as well as to have the accountability to "live up to" some of the information we learned and were teaching at the same time!

I would encourage each couple to try to be a part of some group that meets, even if just once a month, to encourage each other with your marriages.  Start a "Fireproof Your Marriage" home group (there are materials available at the Christian Book Store complete with study guides!), or teach a Sunday School group or Wednesday night Bible study group...

If it is not possible, pick up a book for married couples and read through it together.  Tonight, at a work event for Gary, I ran into a couple who told me that he had recommended the book about love languages by Gary Smalley and they had read it together and loved and benefitted from it!  If it is not possible to lead a group, just think of the advantages of you and your spouse going through a few books about marriage together!  

Challenge:  Either get involved in a group that meets regularly with some type of home-building materials or pick up a good Christian book on marriage and read it through with your spouse!  Make two days a week, or even one, where you read through a chapter together, and watch your marriage and relationship benefit from the investment!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Never Underestimate the Small Stuff!

Because my days have so much scrunched into them, I have learned to appreciate the value of even just a few minutes. I used to wait to have a large block of time to do things in, but I've learned large blocks of time rarely come, so do a LITTLE in a SMALL block of time!

I've put this principle to good use in my marriage too. I've realized the value of doing just a bunch of little things to show Gary I care about him. Organizing his mail takes just a few minutes but helps him when he gets home. Making a call he wanted me to make or running an errand he wanted. Putting a little note in his cupboard, bringing him a sandwich if he's working in the basement, bringing him a glass of water if he's outside or finishing a run. Little statements here and there that tell him how much I appreciate him or what I appreciate about him...

Little things can mean a lot, and added up and consistently done show someone you are thinking of them. Many little gestures, or seeds planted, end up creating an amazing harvest in your marriage.

In the same way, many little inconsiderations, many little sarcastic digs, many little thoughtless remarks wear down a beautiful relationship. Never underestimate the power of little termites eating away at a foundation! Over time, the house crumbles!   Don't think that just because you didn't see any destruction with a negative comment that there wasn't any.  Over time, little things will erode a strong foundation.  Be sure not to allow these little termites into your relationship!

Challenge:  Look at the many little opportunities you have for doing good for your spouse!  Do as many little things as you can to build up your relationship!  Look for little termites that have crept in to your relationship that could slowly eat away at a strong foundation over time.  Get rid of any of those little destructive things immediately.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fire Wood or Fire Extinguisher?

“A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.” (James 3:5 MESSAGE)

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”  (Prov 26:20 KJVS)

Watch the words that come out of your mouth!  Your words can keep heaping wood on a fire until a "forest fire" is ablazing and destruction is everywhere in your relationship, or your words can be like a fire extinguisher that puts out flames.

It is so important that you do not voice your grievances concerning your spouse to people throughout the day.  First of all the more you hear it, the more you are adding wood to the fire that is already starting.  Secondly, the other person, once you work things through with your spouse, will still be thinking of the offense they did toward you.  Instead, extinguish the fire by covering a multitude of transgressions:  “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”  (1Pet 4:8 AMP)

Challenge:  Be a fire extinguisher with your words instead of piling wood on a fire!  Practice love that covers transgressions instead of exposing them!  Most importantly in situations with your spouse and family, and in situations concerning your friends and acquaintances as well!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Common Courtesies

I miss my Grandpa.  He died four years ago, and I miss his encouragement, his laugh, and his zest for life!

He taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important things was to keep common courtesies alive and well in your closest relationships.   When he met his second wife (awhile after my Grandma passed away), they were both so busy serving others in the Church that it was amazing they had time to discover each other!  

They enjoyed each other immensely.  I loved going over to their house and watching the two of them together.  Each one of them was so courteous and had such good manners towards the other!  

Don't get "sloppy" with bad manners!  In 1 Cor 13, we see that love has good manners.  Make it easy to stay in love with you!

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”  (1Cor 13:4-8 AMP)

Challenge:  Sharpen up those manners around the house!  Use common and extraordinary manners, especially towards those you love the most and live with around the clock!   

The Final Say

I am glad I have a strong leader for my husband.  The Word tells me the man is the head of the household, and I am glad that my husband carries that responsibility!  That doesn't mean he's always right or always makes the correct choices, but he considers all our family, makes the final determination, and then we go with it.  

Quite often I didn't agree, but I submitted to my husband and trusted God to lead our family through him, and I know that the Lord honored my submission.  One time that was particularly difficult was when our family was at a church that I really loved and Gary felt that we needed to leave there, so we did.  That was tough.  Another time Gary felt the Lord impressing him that a friend of ours in need, with his wife and four children, should move in with us while waiting for their house to be ready.  We had a child every age from 1 - 9 in our home, and it was a testimony of the grace of God!  

Some decisions involved financial setbacks, some job changes, and many about what we could afford and what we couldn't afford.  I never came against my husband's final say, and although he was interested in my opinion many times he didn't agree with it!

I have to say that in a marriage, it can't be a partnership.  God has set it up to be a union led by a man, with his wife submitting to his leadership, and of course both of them submitting to each other in love, and the children respecting and honoring the parents' leadership.  When Gary wasn't home, we still abode by his rules.  I was sure to let him know what was going on in the house, and keep him current on things he needed to know to make decisions effectively.

It is not always easy when you don't agree with each other, but if the wife remembers she is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord, and if the husband remembers he is to consider the wife and lay down his life for her as Christ did for the church, the Lord will honor His Word and your obedience to it with harmony beyond what you could have ever achieved without His blessing!

Challenge:  Wives, honor and respect and admire your husband for his leadership.  Ask him for the last word in decisions.  Make sure you keep him posted of all the facts to make a balanced decision.  Support his decisions, regardless of the outcome!  Husbands, love your wives and listen and know where she is coming from when you make decisions.  Make the best decisions for everyone, knowing full well you will give account to the Lord for the decisions you make for your family.  And watch the glory of the Lord fill your home as you live by His standards!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Best Friend

When two of my nieces were younger, it was so cute when one of them said, about the other one: "She is my best friend.  I don't like her!"

Over the past 27 years of being married (today is our anniversary!), occasionally my husband and I have felt that way about each other.  VERY occasionally.  

The majority of the time, we are there for each other.  We have both sacrificed immensely for each other.  We are each other's best friend.

What exactly is a best friend to you?  Are you those things to your best friend?  Here are a few things that I look for in a friend, and so I try to be those things to my husband:

*I drop everything if he needs me to do something.
*I enjoy doing things with him that he enjoys doing.
*I do things for him whenever I can.
*I give him behind the scenes information and make myself available for him to give me behind the scenes information about the way he feels about things.
*I can be trusted with his secrets, and I trust him with mine.
*I have fun with him, and I make sure that I am fun to be around for him.
*I purposely enjoy his friends and hobbies, and he mine.
*We make time for each other.

Challenge:  Make a list of about 6-10 things that you value most in a friend, and be those things to your spouse!


priority:  a thing that is regarded as more important than another, the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important, the right to take precedence or proceed before others.

What are your priorities in your day?  What things do you absolutely get done no matter what?
If someone asked your spouse if he/she is your priority, how could today show it?

Do you regard your spouse as more important than the other things going on in your day?  Do you treat them more importantly -- do they take precedence/proceed before other things in your day?  How do you show them they are a priority??

Challenge:  Show your spouse that they are a priority to you.  Focus on what they say.   Each day do several things that could prove in a court of law that your spouse is your number one focus and priority.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two Become One

It is a mystery how when you are married, you become ONE with your spouse!  I think as you grow together and really make it your business to know your spouse and love him/her despite differences, you actually begin to understand how they feel even before they tell you.  So many times I will think something and Gary will do exactly what I was thinking!  

Although the marriage is the event that makes you one, it really seems more like a process that needs to be worked out day after day.  It become a choice.  Here are a few ways to work on really becoming one:

*Care about what your spouse cares about.
*Feel your spouse's emotions with them.  Even if your spouse holds things inside, try to understand what emotions he/she is feeling and feel those emotions with them.
*Try to anticipate your spouse's needs and meet them.
*Somehow touch base with each other during the day, even if just for a minute.

Challenge:  How are you one day by day?  Think of ways each day to show your oneness in a tangible way.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Through the storms...

What do you do to weather the storms in your marriage:  those times when things are rough, shaky, uncertain, even scary?  Here are some things to remember when the storms hit:

*If your foundation is sure, your marriage can weather the storms.  Be sure you do foundation work BEFORE the storms come!

*The storms will reveal areas of weakness that will need to be rebuilt...  do you need to pay more attention to the words you say, do you tend to blame someone, or take things out on someone else?   These things need to be tightened down in our life so that when the storms come you are ready to go through them without damage.

*Let your spouse into your thinking and emotions during the storm.  You may have to fight to not isolate yourself during trying times; but allow your spouse IN!

*Realize that you need to come out of the storm leaning even more on the Lord and on our spouse.  I love the verse from Song of Solomon that says:  “Who is this who comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved?”  (Song 8:5 AMP)  Come out of hard times leaning on each other, not resisting each other.

*When storms hit, try more than ever to understand where the other person is coming from.  
Hard times challenge all of us, and we may need more understanding during tough times.  It is also important to remember that you may not understand just how much of a storm something your spouse is going through really is to them:  something underneath the surface could be really bothering your spouse but they don't want to elaborate on it.  Read the signs of when your spouse is going through things.

Challenge:  Make provisions to keep a super strong foundation so when the storms come, your foundation stands strong.  Take the time to really know what your spouse is going through, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually and socially as well.  Really stick together and weather the storm together, and come through it leaning even more on your "beloved"!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your People Will Be My People...

The other night some people were watching Failure to Launch at our house.  When I saw the part where the girl knew she had to get in good with the guy's friends in order to win him over, I saw that it is pretty common and accepted knowledge that when you love someone you appreciate their friends, and it is important that their friends like you too.

Friends are a big part of our lives.  The friends your spouse has and values represent people that have put into your spouse's life, as well as people he/she values.  Be sure that you take the time, effort and energy to get to know and appreciate your spouse's friends.  Take part in activities with them, and accompany your spouse when you can.  The investment will not only bond you to people who are important to your spouse, but it will definitely bond you closer to you spouse as well!  

I am so happy that my husband has taken the time to get to know and appreciate my friends, and I have taken the time and energy to appreciate his friends and work associates.  It is never wasted time to get to know people who are important to your spouse!  Take the time to go out as couples and appreciate people together -- the end result will be a much stronger relationship for you and your spouse!

Challenge:  Make and take time to get together with your spouse's friends this week!  Ask your spouse if he/she wants to have friends over and plan it!  

And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16 AMP)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Read the Signs!

Sometimes you may be cruising down the road, and you come to a big bright sign.  You know, as a conscientious driver, you need to read the signs to really pay attention to abnormalities in the road, or you could be headed for a crash!

The same thing happens when you're just cruising along in your marriage...  You need to read the signs for some abnormalities sometimes, and make adjustments in how you go forward so you don't crash!  

Don't you wish the signs were more obvious - bright colors and distinct shapes:

STOP - Just stop right there.  Don't try to fix everything, don't say another thing.  STOP!
YIELD - Yield to your spouse!  Let them GO with what they want to do or with what they said, and give it a break.
MERGE - Time to merge both of your ideas together so you both fit on the road ahead!
CHILDREN CROSSING - There is something that demands your attention and needs you to SLOW EVERYTHING WAY DOWN.  Take a break!
BRIDGE MAY BE ICY - You are treading on thin ice -- be cautious going forward!

Challenge:  Read the signs in communicating!  Pretend they are brightly colored so you DON'T miss them!  And heed the warning signs so you can proceed the way you are supposed to proceed and not crash!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Make it count!

Many times when you are married, you do something for your spouse that you really and truly just do not want to do.  The key when you do it is doing it with the right attitude.  I always say that if you don't do it with the right attitude, it doesn't even count.  I would rather do something alone than to do it with someone that I had to pull and coerce so much that they accompany me with the wrong attitude.

So make it count...  let it be a true sacrifice that is done with a good attitude.  Then your spouse can know that you not only did something you didn't want to do, but you didn't punish your spouse at the same time!

Challenge:  Do something you really and truly don't want to do with your spouse this week, and do it with an amazing over-the-top great attitude!  Make it count!

Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].”  (2Cor 9:7 AMP)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Make a way back...

Often when someone is acting stupidly or being extremely crabby or angry, it is easy for the other person to shut down on them, and when they decide to "change their mind" and change their attitude the other person won't let them "back in".  Give someone a chance to "change their mind" and "change their mood" without closing them out for the rest of the night!

Make it easy for someone to "come back in" to the night after they've been acting stupidly.  A lot of times someone will realize how stupidly they've been acting, but by then the night is ruined because the other person won't capitulate, or they have to make (or stress) a "point".

Challenge:  Make it easy for your spouse to "change their mind/heart" if they've been acting stupidly -- make it easy to come back in to the night and have a great time together!