Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Iron sharpens iron!

It takes a LOT OF TALKING to keep on the same page with your husband 0r wife. Many many times you will not feel like talking through things. You will want to sweep things under the rug or ignore things. But iron sharpens iron, and when it does, sparks can fly. Make sure you do not try to take the easy way out and avoid discussion because you disagree!

It is important to take the time to discuss the things you don't agree with so you can come to terms on some things. Be sure to not avoid confrontation -- rather, work through and get over it with a successful solution!

Challenge: Let the sparks fly, and discuss and find solutions for things you and your spouse need to work through!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Slight But Huge Difference...

There are a lot of things that seem to be slightly different, but are hugely different.  Relationships and contacts can mean two hugely different things...

For example, my husband is a man of relationships.  That means that he puts a high priority on relationships.  He has never left a fractured relationship.  When people have issues with him, on a personal or work level, he straightens problems out rather than cutting people out.  

I am a relationship person too.   I don't have an enemy and I hope I never do.  I maintain good relationships with everyone.  I refuse to have a fractured relationship.

Some people are interested in contacts.  Okay, it seems like a slight difference, but it is huge!  People that focus on contacts focus on what people can do for them; people who focus on relationships focus on what they can do to serve others.

Maintaining good relationships is difficult but well worthwhile.  It's all we end up with is our investment in relationships.  Gary's grandmother died, and because of all her fractured relationships, there wasn't anyone to even come to the funeral and so her son cremated her without a service or anything.  That is so sad to me!  She cut people out of her life one by one until no one was left!

Challenge:  Work on your relationships.  Clear up misunderstandings.  Keep a clean slate of past wrongs done to you.  Forgive.  Ask for forgiveness.  And keep working at the blessing of relationships!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Share the Love!

When you get married, there are SO MANY people you have loved for SO MANY years whom your new spouse has just recently met.  Even if your spouse has been around for several years, he hasn't known your siblings since birth, nor your parents, nor your family, nor your eccentric Aunt Whomever with all her quirks (and perks!).  

It is going to take quite awhile for your average 25-year old spouse to live with your most-loved relatives and friends long enough to share as many memories as you.   You need to make it easier for your spouse to love the people you love.  Here's some tips on how to make it even easier:

*Share some of the amazing things you love them for.  Share some of their personality and character gifts they have shared with your family or friends over the years.

*Do NOT SHARE every little frustration you have with your brother/sister/mother/father.  If you expect your spouse to jump in and understand someone's quirks and idiosyncrasies and be able to look over them like YOU do because you have 25-some years of MUSHY CUTSIE WONDERFUL STUFF to balance it all out, forget it.  You will pollute and poison your spouse from loving your family like you do if you share little nit-picky things with them.

*Include your family and friends in your life.  Visit them.  Talk about them.  Call them (you can even set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes -- just pick up the phone to say HI!).  Send a note here and there.  Let them see how important your family is to you!

*Have family movie night occasionally where you look at past movies and talk about your family and why it is so special.

Challenge:  Don't pollute your spouse's mind about your family and friends!  Share the good things about the people you love, and help your spouse to love them more and more and more!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Excellent... with a few lapses

Sometimes, when I am looking at my ideals, whether it is for my goals for myself or the day, or in my husband, I see a few "lapses."   These "lapses" are little blips off the beaten path.  They're bound to come, as sure as bumps in the road or turbulence in the air, in the journey of life.

We need to give space for lapses, or blips in responses from our spouses (and others!).  People have hard days, sometimes even difficult seasons, when they act outside the norm.  They may become preoccupied, disinterested, disengaged, or distracted.  (Notice the prefix "dis" in many of these symptoms, which means a negative, a reversal, an absence of something!)

We need to be loyal friends during those times.  We need to pray for when to say something and when it is wise not to say something.  We need to be sure we don't pull back and isolate ourself from our spouse, rather we need wisdom on how to best communicate...

We don't want to be just waiting for one wrong word or action from our spouse to cut them apart...  We of all people should know and honor when our spouse needs a little space or time before they communicate, or when they need some "down time."  

Isaiah 29.20-21:  ...all those who watch for iniquity [as an occasion for accusation] shall be cut off—Those who make a man an offender and bring condemnation upon him with a word,...

Challenge:  Know that your spouse may be totally wonderful with a few lapses, and try to learn how to get through the lapses effectively!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Love is a Good Influence!

One of the criteria I always told my children for if they should date someone is if the person made them a better person as well as they made the other person a better person by being in their life.  That is something I want in my marriage:  to make my husband a better person by me being in his life, and to let him make me a better person because he is in my life!

I want to help my husband believe the best about others, to see our children's potential instead of their faults, to celebrate his victories, and to conquer his challenges.  I am keenly aware as a friend that my influence in my husband's life is a very powerful force, and I really work on making sure that my influence makes his world a more beautiful, exciting, fun, and appreciated place.

Challenge:  Work on the incredible influence you have in your spouse's life.  Make your spouse's life much better because you are in it.   Fill your spouse's life with good reports, uplifting insights, and the character traits only walking in the spirit can give you!  

Friday, December 5, 2008

Get Involved!

My husband has routinely taken care of paying all the bills, and I have to say that I am glad he has! However, he and I have always felt it important for me to know what was going on with our finances.  At least once every other week, we would sit down together and go over our budget, our debts, our payment schedules, and how on track we were for paying off our house.

I hear a lot of newly married couples tell me that one person or the other takes sole responsibility for the finances.  It was again emphasized at the recent financial seminar that it is very important for both people to be involved in the very important area of finances.

Accountability in the area of finances is very important.  I felt differently about some debts than my husband did, and discussing our financial situation gave me an opportunity to state what was important to me, and how I thought we should handle it.  I believe that the involvement of both of us in the area of finances helped us to make more sound financial decisions as a couple and then for our family.

Challenge:  Make sure you are both involved in discussing the financial state of your home:  what you have coming in, what you owe, what your plans are!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Gift of Work

Two times this week I heard this lesson, and it is one my husband and I have always believed, so I wanted to share it today. God worked SIX days and rested ONE, and we are to follow His lead:

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work,...” (Ex 20:9-10 AMP)

It is a gift from God to be able to work. I know so many people now who just wish they could work, because their jobs have been cut.

I love the fact that I married a hard working man. I am a hard worker too, often catching up with chores and projects well after midnight! It seems I never stop! My husband never stops either. Never complains about working. I get MAD because if he sees snow that needs to be shoveled, he is outside shoveling snow in his suit!!! If he comes in from a trip, on the way in he will clean out the pond area or bring trash cans in. He is not a "whose job is this" or "why should I do this" type person, but he just chips in all the time, every time.

I think if we all got fired up about what a blessing it is to labor, we'd be able to get it together much faster.

Challenge: This week get to some of those cleaning projects you've been putting off! Work hard and do all you can to keep things rolling at your house!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Give Til It Feels Good

We heard a speaker at a benefit recently, and he said that many times people say "give til it hurts." He says, "give til it feels good!" In marriages especially, you need to learn to give beyond measure... I learned quickly that being married you have to learn to be truly unselfish or you'll be miserable.  

So give til it feels good!  As many things, in as many ways as possible, beyond measure, with the Lord's help, cheerfully, give.  And when you think you have nothing left to give, draw deep, and count on the Lord to help you keep giving beyond your own ability.   When you truly give without expecting anything in return, it's amazing how it returns back to you anyways!

Challenge:  Give til it feels good!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Praying Together...

About 25 years ago we started praying together in the morning, and we still connect almost every morning to continue the habit!

Gary was mentored by someone who told him he should pray with me first thing every morning.  He is very faithful to do so.  I remember some years when the children were all younger, and Gary would be praying on the phone and I was running around after the kids the whole time.  However, we have kept at it.

Praying together connects us spiritually.  It also gives us a chance to reveal to each other what is truly on our hearts and to bring our needs to God together.

I really admire Gary for keeping up and being so faithful with this commitment.  It has been one activity that has built our relationship immensely.

Challenge:  Begin to pray together -- if you can't commit to every day, commitment to several times a week!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Running Errands

Because my husband and I don't allow much "down time" in our schedules, sometimes to spend time together we will run errands with each other.  I LOVE when he goes grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, or on other errands with me.  The time passes so much faster when we do things together!

Although it is difficult to make the time, take time to run errands with your spouse.  In between you can grab a coffee together or just get a lot of catch-up talking done.  Before you know it, your errands are done!

Challenge:  Make time this week to run one errand with your spouse.  Make the time as fun as possible -- it may become a habit!