The Promise Still Stands

Hello Friends,

I was doing a little research the other day because I was curious about what the current divorce rate was in the United States. I found what I was looking for but in the process, I also found ads for a 139.00 dollar divorce, a DIY divorce form (what the heck), a link to the “best” divorce lawyers, and many other quick and easy ways to dissolve your marriage in 3 steps or less. Keep in mind I literally googled, “divorce rate in the United States” but in just a few moments I was given everything I would need to end my marriage. Then I finally found what I was looking for the divorce rate. At the moment the divorce rate is somewhere between 40%-50%. So basically half of everyone that gets married will make the choice to file for divorce. 50% will decide that marriage is simply not worth the work and leave. This broke my heart. How is this ok? How did we let this happen? How has ending your marriage become as quick and easy as a Google search?

I found one answer to these questions in a book I am currently reading, “The Meaning of Marriage” by Timothy Keller. We live in a very self-centered culture. We have spent the last two blogs touching on selfishness and that is because it is rampant. EVERYONE deals with selfishness at times but for most, it is a lifestyle. People no longer look at marriage as a covenant that is met to last between two people. They go into it as a consumer. People look at every situation from a “how can this benefit me” perspective and one of the fallouts from this perspective is the divorce rate. Let’s take some time to dive into this.

Consumer Relationships

We live in a very consumer-driven, highly competitive world. Everyone wants the best deal. That is great when it comes to material items.  We get to do research, search out what products have the best reviews, price difference, etc. We base our decision on what business can offer us the best product at the best price. The relationship is a great one as long as the business is meeting our needs with the stipulations we require. However, as soon as that business no longer meets those needs OR we find a business that offers a better product or a better price we leave. There is no commitment or loyalty to the business itself, just the need it is meeting, so when the need is no longer being met the relationship is terminated. Because of this consumer relationship, we have the freedom to get the best product at the best price with no strings attached. The freedom that a consumer relationship brings is great as long as it is used correctly.

So What is the Problem??

The problem is our Western Culture as taken this consumer mindset and has made marriage a part of it. People are willing to stay in their marriages as long as THEIR needs are being met in the way that THEY see fit. As soon as the needs stop being met appropriately or something seemingly better comes along people are ending the relationship like it had no real value at all.

People are always on the lookout for the next best thing. This should not be happening in our marriages. When it comes to your spouses we should be looking at them as the best thing that ever happened to us.

So if marriage is not a consumer-based relationship what is it?

Covenant Relationship

Covenant is not a word that you hear much in today’s society but it is a word that you will find over and over in the Bible. A covenant is an agreement which brings about a relationship of commitment. We find this covenant relationship established by God in Genesis when He performed the very first wedding ceremony.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 KJV

I broke out the KJV because it uses the word “cleave” The Hebrew for the word cleave literally means to be glued together. It is something that is supposed to be permanent and binding. We understand this with literal glue. When we glue something together it is with the intent that it is to stay together forever! Let’s use this very elementary concept of glue with our marriages.

We are not to go into a covenant with the mindset of leaving hence we should not go into a marriage with the mindset of leaving because marriage is a covenant relationship, not a consumer one. It is met to be pernament. What is glued together should stay glued together.

Another thing that is beautiful about the marriage covenant according to Timothy Keller is that it is both a vertical and horizontal covenant. When we go into marriage we are making a covenant with our spouse horizontally and a covenant with God vertically.  Hence marriage is the strong earthly covenant that we can make.

Below are a few excerpts from Keller’s book. In chapter 3 “The Essence of Marriage”-

“The covenant made between a husband and a wife is done “before God” and therefore with God as well as the spouse. To break faith with your spouse is to break faith with God at the same time.”

“It is a relationship far more intimate and personal than a merely legal, business relationship. Yet at the same time, it is far more durable, binding, and unconditional than one based on mere feeling and affection. A covenant relationship is a stunning blend of love and law.”

Simply put the covenant we make on our wedding day is the greatest promise we can make. It should be taken seriously. In a consumer relationship, it is the individual’s needs that are of the utmost importance however in a covenant relationship it is the relationship itself that should take precedence.

It is time for a shift!

Why not you? Why not now?

It is time that we change our culture. It is time that we go into our marriages with a new mindset. A mindset that says I am in this. I will do whatever it takes to make this marriage work because I am in it for the long haul. A mentality of servanthood, not selfishness. We made a promise it is time to honor that promise! It is time to make a declaration over your marriage today!

THE PROMISE STILL STANDS!

The fuzzy feelings might fade…

The butterflies might not flutter exactly like they use too…

THE PROMISE STILL STANDS!

On the unbelievably hard days…

When sharp words and harsh tones are present…

THE PROMISE STILL STANDS!

When moments of defeat creep in…

When you feel like you have failed completely…

THE PROMISE STILL STANDS

In the moments of reveal glory when you see the beauty of marriage and the potential of your spouse…

On the days full of love and abundance…

HALLELUJAH, THE PROMISE STILL STANDS!

Gain Your Happiness by Standing Your Ground

I want to end with this mindblowing bit of information. According to longitudinal studies if a couple will just commit to staying married and working at it in five years they can be happily married. Five short years and you can have a happy marriage if you will not give up and put effort into it. Sadly most marriages are not making it five years total. Alex and I have been married 7 and someone told me the other day that we had “beaten the odds”.  Statistically, they are accurate. Let that sink in statistically 7 years is beating the odds. That is unacceptable. It’s time for a change!

Let it start with us, Father! Let the shift start here and now!

I pray that you make the same decision! Make the declaration that your marriage is a covenant and the promise still stands!

You can do this! We are praying for you!

 

 

 

The Dangers of Running on Empty

Hello Friends,

On our last blog, we talked about selfishness and how when left unchecked it can and does destroy relationships.  I briefly touched on the fact that we can not expect our spouses to meet every single one of our needs. They were not created to do that and it is literally impossible for any one person to meet every single need of another person. Unfortunately, we have marriages that are falling apart because of this problem. We have couples that are demanding the impossible from each other and then getting upset when the other person falls short.

As you know I have been doing a lot of studying into personality and temperament types here lately. One of the things I have learned is that everyone has certain innate needs that they long for someone to meet. These things are not selfish, it is the way we were all created. Think of it like a gas tank in a car. The car needs gas to run. It is not selfish of the car it is a literal need. Without the gas, the car is not able to perform in the way it was created to perform. Another thing about a car is you have to continually fill it. It is not a one and done deal. It is something that we have to do on a regular basis if we are going to keep our car running. However, if we do continue to put gas in the car it will run smoothly and go as far as we need it to go.

The same is true for us. We each have an internal tank that needs to be filled every day in order for us to perform the way we were created to perform. The problem is (especially in a marriage relationship) that we go to the same person over and over to fill our tank. We come empty and when they do not fill us up or they try but do not succeed we take out our frustration on them with harsh words and actions.

The Dangers of Running on Empty

As I have taken this knowledge about innate needs and applied it to my life and the people around me I see that most people are indeed walking around on empty tanks. This is extremely sad and is the reason that most people snap over the smallest of situations. Running on empty will cause issues in your personal life but it can wreak havoc on your marriage. Unfortunately most of the time we are nicer to complete strangers than we are to our spouses. So if running on empty causes people to be snappy with other people just imagine what is being said and done behind closed doors. One reason I think we are harder on our spouses is that we genuinely expect them to be perfect and give us everything we need. Deep down we think that they should be able to read of minds and we selfishly want them to drop everything to focus on us and when they don’t we flip!

Like I said earlier… it is impossible for our spouses to meet our every need!

Warning Signs of an Empty Tank

Running on empty causes us to~

  • Become very selfish
    • The need itself is not selfish. It is how we go about getting it filled. When you are on empty you will do or say whatever you feel is necessary to get the need met.
    • You can become very demanding and hard to please
  • Become angry
    • If the need continues to go unmet or is not met in the way you want it to be you can become angry and can lash out at your spouse
    • This anger could show itself in the smallest of situations because you are not able to happen the situation well with nothing to run on
  • Damage relationships
    • When we lash out we say things and do things that can genuinely hurt the ones closest to us.
    • There is a sense of hopelessness that can come into the relationship because in most cases both people involved are unhappy but do not know what to do to fix the problem.

We are all going to say and do things we are not proud of from time to time but the good news is by making a few changes to adequately fill our tanks those moments can be few and far between.

So How Do We Get our Tanks Filled on a Regular Basis?

First thing is we need to know what our needs are. I strongly suggest taking the enneagram, love language, and the temperaments test. These test not only tell you a lot about yourself but they tell you what your innate needs are. They tell you how you give and receive love. With that information you can be more intentional when it comes to filling those needs. Also get your spouse to take these test as well that way you can know and love them better.

Through the tests I have been doing, I have found three ways that we can get out tanks feel every day.

  • God- God created us and is fully capable of filling our tank every day.
    • He is the only one that can completely fill us but we have to do our part and spend time with Him.
      • Having a daily quiet time is CRITICAL if we are going to be able to be our best selves.
      • If you are thinking you are too busy for a quiet time- then you are indeed TOO BUSY!
        • Set your alarm clock and get up earlier or stay up later
        • Take something out of your schedule or rearrange it

I can not stress enough how important this first one is to your life in general and also your marriage! If you do not have time to spend with God do whatever needs to be done to make the time!

  • Others- Other people including our spouse can “help” to fill our tank we just have to understand that they can not do it alone or completely.
    • This is one reason that taking a personality test is so beneficial. If you know what other people need then you can be very intentional about the words you speak to them so you can speak life-giving words that really fill their needs.
    • Share what you learn about yourself with others as well. That way they can better fill your needs. It’s a win-win.
  • Ourselves- we can encourage and build ourselves up
    • We can do this with positive self-talk. Let’s stop all the negativity. We are all God’s beloved children and it is time that we start acting and speaking as such! Build yourself up!
    • Quote the Word over ourselves and our situations like David did

Further, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all of them were embittered, each man for his sons and daughters. But David felt strengthened and encouraged in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Let’s take all three opportunities to fill our tanks every day! When our tanks are full we can be our best selves. Just like a car with a full tank of gas we can run better and go further. We can treat our spouses and others with the love and care they deserve and not make unrealistic demands on them. We can have our needs met and be happily married!

You can do this!

We are praying for you!

 

 

The Relationship Killer

Hello Friends,

What if I told you there was something that could completely ruin your marriage? Something that has caused several marriages to fail already. You would want to know what it is, right? You would want to make sure that you never did it. Well, what if I told you that you are probably already doing it? In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that at some point in your marriage either you or your spouse has done this. Yes, something that has the potential to completely destroy your marriage may be happening right under your nose. That thought is a little unnerving, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it is true and it is happening.

So what is this thing that is so dangerous to marriages?

One word- SELFISHNESS

Now you may have just breathed a huge sigh of relief. You may be thinking that you are off the hook. You thought I was talking about something super serious like adultery or lying to your spouse. I bet you are thinking you have just dodged a bullet. Well, I am about to hit you with some hard truth. I am totally talking to you because… Yes, my friend, you are selfish. Now don’t stop reading on me just yet. So am I, so is my spouse, so is your spouse, so is everyone. We all have a sin nature that if left unattended will try and keep us self centered. I have recently been doing a lot of studying on personality types and temperaments and the one weakness that we all share is selfishness. Across the board, we all have that weakness.

We are all selfish from time to time, but let’s take a moment to gauge how selfish we are right now. Let’s do a quick little self-assessment.

Selfishness Check-Up!

  • When your spouse gets home from work how are they greeted?
    • Do you stop what you are doing to acknowledge their presences or do you not acknowledge them at all?
    • Do you ask them about their day (and listen) or do you just start talking about everything that happened during your day?
  • Do you do things for them just because you know they will like it or do you only do things you like?
    • This could be as simple as cooking their favorite meal or helping out with something.
  • Do you put other things ahead of your spouse on a regular basis?
    • Ex. Job, kids, friends, hobbies, etc.
  • Do you insist that things are always done your way?
  • How do you respond when you don’t get your way?
  • Do you get upset when they will not drop everything to do what you want to do?
    • Do you fuss at them when they do help because it was not done the way you wanted it done?
  • Do you give them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment on a regular basis?
  • Do you complain about the things that you do for them and hold that over their heads?
  • Do you try and control every aspect of your spouse’s life?
  • Do you do things to take care of your spouse or do they basically have to fend for themselves?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then there is selfishness in your relationship. The degree of selfishness can vary from season to season. There have been times that I have been severely selfish and other times that I am intentional thoughtful.

We are all human and we fall short from time to time. I get that however, selfishness is becoming more and more rampant.

We are taught from an early age by messages spoken and unspoken that we better take care of ourselves and look out for #1 because if we don’t no one else will. This message has spilled over into marriages and the results of it are becoming more and more noticeable. Husbands and wives do not take care of each other anymore. They leave each other to fend for themselves. We go with the excuse of “they are a grown man” or “she is a grown woman” but really the root of it is selfishness. We want to be the one that is waited on hand and foot. We are afraid that we might get taken advantage of if we show the smallest amount of selflessness.

What is crazy sad is that the opposite is true. If we will turn our focus on our spouses and genuinely treat them with love and kindness that will be poured back onto us. Once you started being selfless with your spouse they will, in turn, be more selfless with you. It is truly a win-win but no one takes the time to realize that.

There is Hope

The good news is we do not have to remain selfish. We do not have to continue on the same path and risk hurting one of our most valuable relationships. It will take consistent daily decisions on our part and a whole lot of Jesus but we can become more selfless. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and can help us overcome selfishness but we have to be proactive about it. So there is hope (which is great) but it will take work and intentionality.

How to Walk This Out Daily

So below you will find a few simple changes that you can make daily to become less selfish and more selfless. None of these are hard, expensive, or even time-consuming. They only take consistent effort for a change to take place in your marriage.

Ways to turn “selfishness” into “selflessness”

  1. Thank God daily for your spouse
    • Be very specific about the qualities you love and appreciate about them
  2. Look for daily ways to blessing your spouse
    • What would make them happy?
    • What would help them out?
  3. Take responsibility for your own well being
    • It is not your spouse’s job to make you happy all the time
    • Your emotional and physical well being should be your focus, not theirs
      • Rest, eat well, focus on positive influences (these are all things that can be done by you to make your life better)
  4. Avoid any influence (television shows, magazines, books, and social media) that describes marriage as negative or that tells you what marriage or your spouse “ought to be”. This will only leave us discontented and you will try and “change” your spouse instead of appreciating them for who they are.

Be Different

Being selfish is one of the easiest things in the world. Since it is a part of our fallen nature it comes naturally for every one of us. However, with just a few changes, major changes can happen in your life and in your marriage. Let’s be different. In Romans 12:1-2 we find that God has actually called us to be different.

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you] 

There is way too much selfishness in this world. Let’s not be conformed to that. Let’s not accept that standard of living. Let’s rise above the status quo with Jesus’s help. Let’s be selfless, and content, and happy in our marriages.

When it comes to your marriage remember…

YOU chose them!

Chances are, YOU prayed for them!

THEY deserve kindness and thoughtfulness from YOU!

YOU can do this!

YOU can be selfless.

The “relationship killer” can take you and your spouse out if you let it!  Don’t let it!

WE are praying for YOU!

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude

Hello Friends,

Alex and I have just returned from a weekend trip to Boston. We had such a great time. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Boston we highly recommend it. It is a beautiful town filled with a rich history, great food, and tons of stuff to do and see! Before we jump into our topic tonight, below are just a few pictures from our weekend adventure.

 

The trip was amazing but like our other vacations, the Lord had a lesson for us to learn and apply in our marriage. Before every single trip, Alex and I take we always pray the same prayer.

Abba, meet us there. Show us wild and beautiful things and speak to us in ways that only we will understand.

The absolutely amazing part is that He always without fail answers this prayer. It genuinely blows my mind all the ways we see and hear Him when we are traveling. This particular time the lesson He had in store for us came about in an interesting way. Let me give you a little back story.

This was a surprise trip for Alex. He had absolutely no idea that we were going to Boston until the day before. On Monday before we left (remember Alex has no idea about the trip at this point) we were talking about what to do this blog on and I was throwing out some ideas when Alex mentioned airplanes. He said that the attitude of a plane determines it’s altitude so maybe we should talk about attitudes and how they determine the direction a marriage takes. I thought it was very cool and very prophetic that Alex had this idea with no knowledge of the upcoming trip. I thought that was a very unique way for the Lord to give us our blog topic.

So we flew to and from Boston and because of Alex’s suggestion I had this idea of “attitude vs. altitude” bouncing around in my head the whole time. I made some personal observances about some things but I also realized that since I have no knowledge of airplanes and aerodynamics that there was a lot I was missing. So when I got home I took my observances and reached out to a pilot for help.  Heath Jarvis is a friend of mine that has been a pilot for many years. I asked him this question.

Does the attitude of a plane determine its altitude? For example, if the plane wants to go up does it’s attitude have to be turned upward?

He not only answered my basic question but he gave me a lot more information. Below is his answer in its entirety.

Yes, an airplane’s attitude is basically the direction it is pointed in relation to the horizon.

I’m gonna give you a BUNCH of info for you to chew on, regarding this stuff.

Virtually every airplane has an “attitude indicator”, which uses a spinning gyro to keep itself upright at all times. As the plane changes altitude, the change will display on the attitude indicator. The gyro in the attitude indicator itself ALWAYS remains upright, no matter what attitude the airplane is in.

Another instrument is the altimeter, which indicates your altitude. It works on air pressure. The higher you go in the atmosphere, the lower the air pressure is, and the change in air pressure can be measured and displayed in terms of feet of altitude above sea level. So, as you change the attitude to a nose-high attitude, the plane will climb. If you have a nose-down attitude, the plane will descend, it will lose altitude.

But here’s something else to consider: As you raise the nose of the airplane, you have to also add power, because you are fighting gravity as you climb. If you climb without adding power, you will lose airspeed, and if you raise the nose too high, the wing will stall. When a wing stalls, that means it is no longer producing sufficient lift to keep the airplane airborne. The plane will fall.

Lastly, as I said before, the higher you go, the less air pressure there is. The airplane will cruise faster and burn less fuel at higher altitudes because the air resistance is greatly decreased. In fact, jet engines actually have to pull the power back when they get into higher altitudes because there is so little resistance that the engine can actually overspeed itself.

That’s a whole lot of information right?

After flying to and from Boston with this “attitude vs altitude” idea bouncing around in my head and then reaching out to Heath for some inside information I was mind blown at how much we can actually learn from planes that can be applied to our marriages to make them better. So let’s break down the information that Heath gave us and see how it can practically be applied to our marriages.

Marriage Lessons From Airplanes

Your attitude will determine your altitude

In a plane, if you want to go up you have to change its attitude to a “nose-high” attitude for it to climb. I believe our attitudes can dramatically determine what direction our marriages take. If you constantly have a negative attitude about your marriage it will never get up off the ground. We have got to change our attitudes to face the direction that we are wanting to go toward. How do we change our attitudes?

  • Find the positives and speak them out
  • Show our spouse kindness and appreciation
  • Monitor our thoughts so we are not constantly focused on the negatives

If we want to get off the ground we have to change our attitude first. Whatever direction our attitude is facing is the direction that our marriage will go. We better make sure it is an upward direction that won’t lead us to a fiery crash!

Have a marriage “attitude indicator” and “altimeter”.

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Airplanes have all these different ways of monitoring if things are working the correct way. We should also monitor our attitudes and the attitude of our spouse if we are going to have a smooth marriage. It is so easy to have a bad attitude. Once you find a negative it is easy to focus on it until it is the only thing you can see. When this happens we can completely miss the positives and our marriages can be turned upside down. We have to be very vigilant and monitor what kind of attitude we are bringing to our marriage. We always need to monitor our spouse’s attitude as well to see what kind of adjustment are necessary for a smooth marriage.  How do we do this?

  • Monitor our focus- If you become aware that you are focused on the wrong thing you need to make the decision to shift your focus. List all the positives that you see in your marriage and make a decision to focus on them instead of the negative. Whatever we chose to mediate on will determine our attitude so chose the good over the bad.
  • Monitor your spouse’s attitude and make a decision that will shift theirs to positive instead of flipping them upside down.

Let’s camp out on this one for just a moment. I am not saying that your spouse can not have a bad day. I am not saying that you should pounce on your spouse and tell them they better “get their attitude in check”. If you do that then things will get ugly-quick! What I am saying is when you see that they are having a bad day or that they are focused on the negative gently do something kind or life-giving to help them shift their focus to the positive. Use wisdom with this-sometimes that means just being quiet. It does not have to always be this long drawn out thing.

Put power behind your attitude

Heath mentioned above that you can actually stall the plane resulting in a crash if you do not put the appropriate power behind your attitude. What does this mean for our marriages? Here is Tara Payne’s marriage interpretation.

Good intentions without proper action steps will not accomplish anything but a disaster.

Wishing and good intentions do not get us anywhere if we are not willing to put the power and work behind our intentions. I can say I want to have a good attitude about my marriage all day long but if I do not do the work to change my attitude nothing will change in my marriage. Words without works are pointless. So what can we do here?

  • Stop talking and start doing!

If there is a change that needs to be made, make it.

  • Sit down with your spouse and get a plan.
  • Hold each other accountable.
  • Include your mentors to help you.

Higher attitude = lower pressure= smoother/quicker flight

If we can get our attitudes in check it will take the pressure off of our marriages. When that pressure is off we can have a faster and smoother marriage. When we have good attitudes things just go smoother and are more pleasant. You will not have to do as much work because you will not be facing as much resistance.

Personal Observance

I want to end this with one observance I made on our flight back home. When the pilot started his descent into Atlanta it happened very quickly. With just a small drop of the nose, our altitude dropped about a thousand feet within seconds. What seemed like nothing was actually very significant. I took this knowledge to heart. A bad attitude does not seem very significant but it can cause a marriage to plummet if we are not careful. What seems like a little thing can change into a huge thing if not attended too quickly.

We could dive so much deeper into lessons we can learn from airplanes but let’s keep it simple with this one main point!

Don’t let a bad attitude cause a crash in your marriage!

We have a choice in what kind of marriage we can have. It can be turbulent or it can be smooth. It all comes down to our attitude. Are you pointed up or down? Are you going in the right direction for the marriage you want to have? The direction that you are pointed in is the direction you will go!

Turn your eyes to the sky! It is pretty awesome up there and your marriage can be smooth! Keep climbing!

You can do this! We are praying for you!

Old Testament Marriage Advice

Hello Friends,

Show of hands! How many of you love the Old Testament?!? I love the Old Testament, however, my point of view is not the general consensus. Most people find the Old Testament as boring and not practical for modern-day life. To be totally transparent with you I use to be one of those people. I felt like the New Testament was the only thing in the Bible that was relevant to me and that there was nothing in the Old Testament that could help me. It wasn’t until I discovered a translation that I loved that I actually took the time to read the Old Testament. It was then that I realized that for one thing, it was not boring at all and also it was packed with life lessons and wisdom that I could use in my daily life to help me become the person I wanted to be. Now I read the Bible as a whole and there are so many things that I have learned from it.

In case you are not super familiar with the OT. Nehemiah is one of the books that you will find there. It is a short 13 chapter book. Nehemiah is our main character. He is an ordinary man that was actually born a slave. He hears about his homeland and how it is in ruin. Jerusalem had been taken overtaken and basically destroyed and no one had been able to successfully rebuild it. The idea of his homeland being in shambles breaks Nehemiah’s heart so he asks his king if he can go back and start rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. The king grants his request and the rest of the book tells how he goes about rebuilding the wall and the opposition he faces.

In the book of Nehemiah marriage is not mentioned AT ALL! So you may be wondering why we are talking about Nehemiah on a marriage blog. Well as it would turn out there are some things about Nehemiah’s life that if we apply them to our marriages can actually help us to grow. Alex and I literally made this discovery last week. Our church is doing a sermon series on the book of Nehemiah and Alex was asked to preach one of the sermons. As he was prepping for the sermon, he was sharing his notes with me. As I was reading over the main points I saw how if we would apply them to our lives it would help us do the work that God had in store for us. Then I thought, “If we apply these to our marriages it would help us as well.” So we are going to do a twist on Alex’s sermon by looking at these main points through the lens of how they can help our marriages.

Marriage Tips from Nehemiah

Seek God Faithfully

We have said this so many times and we will continue to say this! Marriage is God’s idea and it is a good idea. However, we have to invite God into our relationships if they are going to reach their full potential. We need to let the One that created marriage, to begin with, be apart of ours. We need His guidance and wisdom. We need His peace and His grace. We need His help in every way imaginable, amen? The only way we can include God in our marriages is by seeking Him every day!

When Nehemiah heard about the condition of his homeland He instantly went to God. We see in the book of Nehemiah that he prayed and fasted for 4 months before he said anything to the king. He had a desire to fix the problem but he went to the Lord before he did anything or said anything else. We need to do the same thing in our marriages. We need to seek the Lord about everything but especially if we have a problem.

God should not be our last resort. He should not be our “fall back” plan. He should be our first point of contact.

When we get our relationship with the Lord in the correct order we will learn some pretty amazing things about our Daddy God.

Nothing is too big for God’s power or too small for God’s heart!

Nothing is too big for our God but you will learn as you spend time with Him that nothing is too small for Him either. He cares about the tiniest of details in your life. If it matters to you it matters to Him.

When we seek God consistently, He will hear you more actively!

Who are you more willing to help? Your spouse or a stranger? Your spouse, right! Why, because you have an intimate relationship with them! You love them because you spent time with them and truly know them. The same is true for God.

More time spent with God=Deeper relationship=More time spent praying=

More Prayers getting answered.

Define the Vision Clearly

After Nehemiah had prayed about this for four months the Lord opened a door for him. The king asked him why he was so sad. When Nehemiah told the king what was wrong the king asked him what he could do to help. Nehemiah did not beat around the bush. He had his answer ready. “Send me to Jerusalem so I can rebuild the city.” Nehemiah had a vision that he could define to the king and because of that, the king granted his request.

I personally believe this is where a lot of marriage fail. It’s not a lack of caring it is a lack of clarity. When it comes to our relationship we need to know what we want and be able to define it clearly. There are a lot of things in life that we can be passive about but our marriages are not one of them.

  • What is your vision for your marriage?
  • Are there any goals that you want to accomplish?
  • Where do you see your self in 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • What is something you want to improve on?
  • What problems do you have that need to be addressed and dealt with?
If you can not define what you want then you CAN NOT DO IT!

If there is something you want out of your marriage you have to be able to define it or it will not happen. Good marriages do not just happen on their own. Problems do not get solved with no participation on our part. Goals do not get accomplished without deadlines.

You can have the marriage you want to have, but you have to start by defining what it is that you want.

Make Plans Carefully

Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem with a plan to accomplish his goal of rebuilding the wall. He did not go into this project without any structure. He knew what he wanted to do and he knew how he wanted to do it.

Once you have sought after God and defined what you want in your marriage then it is time to go into action. If we want the marriage of our dreams we are going to have to make some plans to achieve it. We need to have goals and then put deadlines on them.

Why do we need deadlines for our goals? Because a goal without a deadline is just a wish and chances are it will never happen. It is a lot easier to be passive if there is not a time frame.

I believe John L Beckley said it best with, “Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” It’s not a lack of care or love that is the problem in most relationships. It’s just a lack of vision and planning!

Nehemiah’s desire was to rebuild Jerusalem and because he followed this protocol he was able to achieve his goal. You can have the marriage you want by doing the same thing!

Seek God Faithfully

Define the Vision Clearly

Make Plans Carefully

You can do this! We are praying for you!

 

 

Marriage and Motorcycles

Hello Friends,

Back in March of this year, Alex traded in his Spyder Can Am for a motorcycle with a backrest. He made this trade mainly because it was always his ultimate goal to have a motorcycle and also because He wanted me to have a backrest so I could ride with him more and be comfortable. To be honest, this trade made me super nervous because he was going from a three-wheeled motorcycle to two wheels. I had the grand experience of one ride on a motorcycle that had happened over 10 years ago and my times on the Cans Am were not that great because it did not have a backrest and I was constantly sliding all over the place. I had all but quit riding it because of how nervous it made me. I thought that this would be even harder for me since we were losing a wheel and would now have to add balance to the list of things I would need to think about when I was riding. I was excited for Alex but at the same time, I was not looking forward to the learning curve.

Our first few rides were super short and just ok. It had been a hot minute since Alex had driven a motorcycle with two wheels and we all know my experience level. So we were both getting used to the new bike. We have a lot of people at our church that rides so Alex organized a ride for all of us to go on after church one Sunday. I really wanted to go on that ride with Alex but I also knew I really needed some more time on the bike before that happened. We both have really busy schedules but we found a night 3 days before the ride for us to go out. This ride was not fun at all. In fact, I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel because the biker life was not for me when something happened that turned it all around.

We had been riding maybe 30 minutes and in that time I felt like I was doing everything wrong-all the things. If it could have been done wrong I was doing it wrong and I think I was inventing new things to do wrong as I went along. Alex was trying to give me pointers along the way but it just seemed like he was yelling at me and I could not fully hear him so it just seemed pointless. Finally, Alex pulled over turned the bike off and we talked for a few moments. He calmly explained the things that I need to fix, told me how to fix them, and then to my surprise, he asked me if I wanted to keep going? Honestly, I did not want to keep going and it shocked me that he did. I wanted to quit. I wanted to cry and then quit but the fact that he was willing to keep going spurred me on to not give up. I agree to go on because Alex wanted too. If he was willing to get going I felt like I should too. Was the rest of our ride perfect, no, but something did shift at that moment. We had both made the decision to keep going and keep trying to improve and because of that things did improve.

Fast forward three days, we go on the ride with our group from church. We had not been riding very long when it occurred to me that I was actually having a good time. I wasn’t anxious or scared and Alex was not telling me to do anything differently. In fact, by the end of the ride, I was hooked and we were both having so much fun. The things that were scaring me 3 days ago were not bothering me now! The things that were making me want to give up 3 days ago were now easy and even fun!

As I was praying about what to do this week’s blog and video on the Lord reminded me of the ride and the things that I had learned by not giving up. He showed me that marriage is a lot like riding a motorcycle. You can have a smooth ride or a bumpy ride depending on how you work you put into it. So I want to share what I learned with you guys in hopes that this makes your marriage go a little smoother.

 

Marriage Lessons from a Motorcycle Ride

 

  • You can’t fight against each other

One of the first things Alex told me before we even got on the bike was that I could not for any reason fight against him. If he leaned I had to lean and if he didn’t I couldn’t. He explained that we had to work together or this was not only not going to work but that it could be dangerous for both of us. The same is true in marriage. We have to work together for our marriage to go smoothly. If we are constantly fighting against each other we are not only not enjoying the journey but we are opening our marriages up to certain dangers. We have an enemy that would love nothing more than for our marriage to end in divorce.

When we make the decision to work together instead of against each other we take away any opportunity the enemy may have to harm our marriage.

  • Stop and Communicate

Communication is very important if you are going to have a smooth ride but sometimes it is hard to do while you are moving. There are times that you just need to stop and talk things out. On our first ride, I really thought that Alex was mad at me and was yelling in anger. This only added to my frustration and was not helping the ride at all. It wasn’t until Alex stopped and turned the bike off that I realized he was just trying to speak loud enough that I could hear him over the noise. Once it was quiet and I could hear him it was much easier for us to communicate and then get a plan together to tackle the rest of the ride.

Life can be busy and words or lack of words can be misinterpreted but if we will stop and talk things through our marriages will grow and it will help us to work together as a team.

  • Learn from others

When Alex traded his bike, he and I both started talking to people that owned motorcycles and asking them for tips. We also started watching the way others drove and rode their bikes. There is no shame in getting help from people that clearly know more than you do. We were the newbies and we totally embraced that fact. We wanted to know what to do so we went to people that we knew had been riding for a while and could give us good advice. This is so important for marriages always. Find couples that have been married for a while and are happy. Gain wisdom and insight from these people so that you do not fall into certain problems.

Problems are going to arise in marriage but by seeking out good advice some problems can be avoided altogether.

  • Don’t Get Ahead of the Driver

I knew on our first ride that you had to lean when you went into curves. That was the one thing I knew had to happen so I was ready. The problem was I was a little too ready. I would see the curves coming and would start leaning before Alex was actually in the curve. This threw him off balance and made it harder for him to drive. In marriage, we each have roles and responsibilities as well. The husband is the head of the household and the wife is to submit to her husband. So let’s just say the husband for this blog is the driver and the wife is there to help him as a navigator. When we try to take over and do things out of our role it makes things harder. When I was leaning before Alex it made things more difficult for him. I had to wait on Alex’s lead than follow him for us to get through the curves safely and the same is true in marriage.

Husbands are the drivers and our marriages will be a lot smoother when we let them lead and do not try to get a head of them.

  • Keep Your Cool in Stressful Situations

So this lesson came from a silly situation. On our first ride, I saw something hit Alex’s hand. Alex looked over and shook his hand. What had hit him then flew over his shoulder and landed on my leg. It was then that I realized what it was. A giant (monster size) dragonfly. It was at that moment that I had a decision to make. Lose my crap and we die in a fiery motorcycle accident or stay calm and give Alex time to pull over. I wanted to pick the first one. Everything in me wanted to pick the first one actually. I wanted that bug off of me asap but I knew that if I did that we would both be hurt. So I sat there until Alex could pull over and I could get this monster off of me. We both had to keep our cool in that situation for us to not get hurt. If either one of us had freaked out both of us could have been hurt. Isn’t that true in marriage as well? Isn’t there times in a marriage that you want to lose your crap? Isn’t their times that you just want to let it fly and say all the things you are thinking? I know I have had those moments when I have wanted to do that but it is in those moments we have a choice to make. We can say the words that we want to say and our marriage can go up in flames because some words are like fiery arrows or we can pull over by keeping our mouths closed and take the time needed to calm down.

Staying calm and holding our tongues in a stressful situation can make all the difference in the world with our spouses. Life and death are in the power of our words. Use your words to build your spouse up not tear them down.

  • Find Your Flow and Enjoy the Ride

On that Sunday ride, Alex and I finally found our flow. We started working together and when we did it became enjoyable for both of us. Did our ride look like everyone else’s? No! We had to find the pace that worked for us since we were still learning. Your marriage does not have to look like anyone else’s either you just need to find out what works for you and work it. Alex and I do life the way we want to do it and it does not always look like your normal marriage but it works for us and we are happy. As long as you are Biblically correct I say you do you!

Do not think that your marriage has to be like everyone else. Find your own flow and enjoy your ride!

  • Don’t give up

I know that if Alex had given up on that first ride the second ride would not have happened for me. I wanted to quit but because he did not I kept going and because we kept going we were successful. Let’s be sure to apply this principle to our relationships! Regardless of what is going on and the way things may look, keep going. Don’t give up even if your spouse wants too! Keeping going and do everything your power to keep them going!

You could completely change your marriage by simpling making the decision to keep going!

This may all seem crazy but these things helped me when riding a motorcycle but they have also helped me in my marriage! The Lord uses everyday practical things to speak to me in a way that I can understand and I am so glad he does. I want my marriage ride to be just as smooth as my actual rides with Alex. And I want the same for all of your marriages!

You can do this!

We are praying for you guys!

And They Lived Happily Ever After

17 years ago a cute boy with long swoopy hair said hey to me in the lunch line in high school and the rest is basically history.
roberson
We had several mutual friends and quickly began dating. I’ll never forget our first kiss on the side of the school gym in between classes. It was magical and I am pretty sure I fell in love all through the hallways of that school. We had so many naysayers who were anti-high school love and spoke negativity into our lives that these kinds of relationships just don’t last and we were silly. Well, I guess we just dropped a big boo ya on them.
Now has it been easy and an absolute cakewalk since then? No way? However, we all know anything good is worth the work.

So is it really all a fairy tale with the happily ever after?

In 2002, we rode up to Cheaha and had a picnic lunch.robertson carriage  Zac there gave me a gorgeous tanzanite promise ring and I’m pretty sure you couldn’t have wiped my smile off my face if you tried. Five short years later we made that drive again and while trying to take half a million pictures, Zac stops me, gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. I was SHOCKED! We had talked about it but I literally had no clue it was coming and I was so happy. We got married in 2008 and we rode out after our I dos in a horse-drawn carriage while wearing my Cinderella gown holding hands with my very own {cowboy} prince charming… so it sounds just like a real-life fairy tale.
I will be upfront and honest in saying that we by far do not have everything together or have it all figured out. We simply love each other and are willing to do whatever it takes to stay married forever. We have literally grown up together: two high school graduations, three college graduations, new jobs, first jobs, job loss, animals (so many animals), a miscarriage and then 2 beautiful little boys. We have learned so much in our years together and here is what we do and we pray it will help you.

Wear matching outfits.

(Kidding, well….kind of!)

I think it’s so fun to coordinate our outfits. I always have. I would go to Zac’s house in high school before a date and try to find something that matched me. It is ridiculous, I know.
Here’s my point.robertson family
Does Zac care anything about our matching outfits? NOPE! But he loves me! My favorites are when he sees my clothes laid out then I see him after he’s dressed and I say, ” Oh cute, we match”, to which he just grins.
So do you really need matching outfits to stay together? No way. What you do need is to do things that make your spouse happy even if it’s not something you particularly care about. Just be supportive.
Let me give you another example of this. We had been dating a few years and Zac asked me to go on a “trail” ride on his new horse (it totally wasn’t a trail). So let’s start off by saying I’m not a horse rider. I have since learned lots of skills and come into my own version of a cowgirl… but still a big no on the horse riding business. Fast forward, we are riding along with his version of the trail, my description is the thickest, steepest woods ever. While riding a vine wraps around my neck and basically tries to kill me. I manage to lay back in true cowgirl style (I totally bought boots for this adventure by the way) on the horse and unwrap the vine. We then ride on a bit when someone asks if I am ok. I’m now bleeding and look as if I tried to commit suicide. Thinking I am the best girlfriend ever and surely this is all almost over, we come upon a small ocean (ok maybe it was a creek). Zac crosses the water then calls for me to follow. My horse said NO! Y’all here I am on the side of this embankment up against a tree because clearly, I’m not a cowgirl after all. Zac has to get someone to hold his horse and he wades across the freezing cold chest-deep water in the middle of November to rescue me. I tell you this story to say, did I really want to go on this ride? Negative. But I did it because He wanted to. I could tell you countless stories of nights spent at ballparks into the wee morning hours watching him play softball when a warm bed would have been better, horse shows in the million-degree heat holding all his supplies and helping make our horses oh so shiny and clean.
Even if it’s not your cup of tea, do it. It will likely become your favorite times. Not necessarily because it’s your new favorite thing but because it’s your favorite person’s favorite thing.

Do life together.

We constantly do things together. If Trevor has baseball practice, we go as a family. If we need groceries, load up together. Time to feed the horses, everyone put your boots on. We live on a farm with a dog, 6 cats, 8 chickens, and 4 horses. There is always something to do. Literally, always! We like to use our time wisely. Zac coaches several sports, works two jobs and shows horses. So to say he is busy is an understatement. So things that allow us time together and getting things done we love. Now, are there nights that I want to throw the feed bucket at him? Sure, just keeping things real for ya.
But, sometimes just being together is what we need after a long day even if it’s surrounded by crying kids and hungry animals.

Go places

I’ve always been a bit of a homebody. However, Zac has shown me there is a lot out there that we can experience together. We had been married just a couple years when Zac planned a trip to a horse clinic in Texas. I told him I didn’t want to go. I let that poor man go alone. He had to travel, eat and sleep by himself. Now, there are times now I’m sure he would jump at that chance, however, this was not my best move as a new wife.
Do life together and when they ask you to go, GO.
Now we plan things as a family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. We love showing our boys that they are important and we make our time with each other intentional. I encourage you to not necessarily look for new things to do together as a couple/family…. just live life together!

Laugh, a lot!

I tend to be on the anxious side, it’s not my fault, I’m a 6 (on the Enneagram). Zac knows me so so well and does a good job of keeping me sane. We love to be silly. Life doesn’t always need to be so serious. In Proverbs 17:22 it says, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine,”. God desires for that cheerful spirit so, laugh.
Keep life and things in perspective. Most things we think are big, are really small in the grand scheme of things so laugh them off.
I mean maybe don’t go as far as Zac and tickle your spouse until she pees, but whatever.

Have fun

We love to have fun together because we are best friends.
mud
When something happens good, Zac is who I want to call. When something happens bad, Zac is who I want to call. Marrying your best friend is the best!

 

Love JESUS

I know that sounds like a gimme, but it is THE reason we are still holding hands, kissing, and HAPPILY living our life.
When I say love Jesus, I don’t mean a little love, or even a lot of love (like I love iced coffee). I mean a full-fledged real-life relationship (on the daily) with YOUR Lord and Savior.
As a Christian, we all naturally go through seasons in our life. Seasons where we couldn’t get closer to Him unless we were walking the streets of gold, seasons where we are desperately searching for His voice, and seasons where we let our first love, Jesus, slip to the wayside.
Our marriage is at it’s BEST when we are BOTH walking and talking daily with the Lord.

The Secret to Marriage

To sum everything up, if I could say there is a secret to marriage, I would say this is it. It sounds so very simple but it’s not. You can’t control your spouse’s relationship with Christ and no matter how great yours is alone, that is not enough. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.
It takes all 3 of us to make this thing called marriage work.

The Five W’s of Marriage

Hello Friends,

Have you ever taken an English class?

I am sure if you are able to read this then the answer is yes. If you are like me you have probably taken multiple English classes through your life. Regardless of the number of English classes, you have taken I am sure at some point you have seen the 5 w’s. Maybe they were never referred to as the 5 w’s but you have definitely run across these five words in class. The 5 w’s are- who, what, when, where, and why. In English class, we use the 5 w’s for information gathering and problem-solving. When it came to doing an exercise or paper in your class, by asking yourself these five questions, you could find the information you needed to solve whatever the problem was or write the paper.

As I was praying and thinking about what this blog should be about the word “why” popped into my brain. I went to Alex and told him that I thought we should do the blog and video about the word, why. I explain to him that I knew it was just one word but that I could not shake the fact that it was important and maybe we should talk about the “whys” in marriage. That was literally all I had to say about it when I went to him. He took that one word and that one thought I had, thought about it for a few moments, and then said let’s do that but add a few other questions too, like what and where and when. At that moment, we both thought about an English class so we googled it. We looked at the five w’s that we learn about in English class and decided to do a spin on it- the 5 w’s of marriage.

So tonight’s blog is more of an assignment than anything. As I thought about the 5 w’s and how I have used them in school it became very clear that if we will ask ourselves these five questions it can help us in marriage also. If these five words will help us gather information and solve problems in school why can’t they do the same thing in other areas of our lives as well?

Below I have listed several questions per word that you can sit down with your spouse and discuss. Use these questions as a starting point you can focus on all of them or one of them or you can add some of your own. Do whatever will be most beneficial for your relationship. In the very first blog and video, we did we talked about having a road map for our marriage. You can use these questions to get you back on course if you have gotten lost or to keep you focused and continuing on the right path. These questions can help to solve problems in your relationship or to help you accomplish certain goals you may have as a couple.

Below you are only going to find questions, I am not going to answer them because the answers that are right for Alex and I may not be the correct answers for your marriage. Every marriage is different so I do not for a second want you to think that yours has to look like ours or anyone else’s. The main thing here is to sit down with your spouse. The two of you have to be on the same page if you are going to make progress in your relationship. So let’s get started with our assignment, shall we?

The Assignment

Let’s answer the following questions! Keep your eyes on your own paper! You may begin!

WHAT?

What is something I love about my spouse?

What is something that we do well as a couple?

What is something that needs improvement in our marriage?

What goals do we need to set as a couple?

WHEN?

When is a good time to invest in my marriage?

When is a good time to be quiet?

When is a good time to speak up?

When should I seek counseling for my marriage?

WHERE?

Where are we in our relationship right now?

Where do we see our marriage in 5, 10, or 20 years?

Where should we start to make changes?

Where can I make my marriage a priority?

WHY?

Why do I react to things a certain way in my relationship?

Why do I feel like my relationship should look a certain way?

Why do certain arguments happen?

Why is my spouse special to me?

WHO?

Who is someone that is watching your marriage?

Who is someone you can mentor in marriage?

Who needs to compromise or apologize?

Who do I need to remove from my life to make my relationship better with my spouse?

 

Press through the Awkward

These are just a few questions to get you started. My prayer is that you sit down with your spouse and go through these questions and any others that will help to further your relationship and draw you closer together. These questions may be awkward and not easy to talk about but it will be worth it in the long run if you can fix areas in your marriage that need some resolution! You are worth it, your spouse is worth it, your marriage is worth it.

You can do this! We are praying for you!

Spiritual Investment for Relational Gain

Hello Friends,

Over the last seven months, we have talked about so many things that we can do to further our relationship with our spouses. We have talked about putting their needs and desires above our own. We have talked about respecting them and studying them and spending more time together. We have talked about shifting our perspective and making every moment count. Today we are going to be changing gears slightly. Today we are going to talk about how to improve our marriage by investing in our own spiritual well being. That’s right, you can strengthen your marriage by making your relationship with the Lord a daily priority. You can strengthen your marriage by setting aside some alone time every day.

Ephesians 2:10 Amplified Version
For we are His workmanship [His own masterwork, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

If we are going to be the best version of our selves that we can be which in turn will make us the best husband or wife we can be we need to make spiritual investments by having a personal, intimate relationship with the Father. We have to pray and read the Word if we want to 1. get to know Him better and 2. grow and develop into the person He has created us to be. The Lord has big plans for us. Such big plans that we can not accomplish them alone. We have to have His help. One of those plans is to have a marriage that models Christ and the church. However, we can not model what we do not know. So spending that time investing in learning, reading, and praying is critical for us personally and relationally. If we will take the time to invest in our spiritual wellbeing we will see not only relational gain but more abundant life in general.

Let’s spend some time talking about how to develop a personal quiet time every day. 

Going to Church Won’t Cut It

I figured I would grab your attention early in this blog by making this statement. A statement I fully stand behind by the way. Let me set this section up by saying this. I love the church. I love the fellowship that it brings and the discipleship. I love corporate worship and I love sitting under Pastoral leadership. Going to church is important and we are told in the Bible that it is beneficial and needed.

Hebrews 10:23-25 Amplified Version
Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word];and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

Here is what I am saying.

We can not go to church once or even twice a week and think that is sufficient for us to sustain an intimate, thriving relationship with the Father.

That does not work in our physical relationships and it will not work in our spiritual relationship either. Will it get us into heaven, yes, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, but there is so much more abundance on this side of heaven that comes with regular time in prayer and study. We have to have a daily rhythm if we are going to navigate marriage and life in general well. So if you are going to church, GREAT! Keep going but take time every day to have some one on one time with the Father as well.

Ways to be Intentional about Spiritual Investment

  • Find a time and a place(s) that works for you!

We can not go into this with the mindset that it has to look a certain way or that it has to look like someone else’s time. We all live different lives which means our personal time with the Lord will look differently. Go with what works for you. It may be an hour or it may be 10 minutes. It could be in the privacy of an office or it could be in the car rider line. The point is not the length or the spot its the quality time spent. God honors when we take time out of our day to draw closer to Him.

  • Find a theme

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just opening your Bible up in Genesis and starting to read. In fact, I am in the process doing just that right now. However, when we do it that way we can hit Numbers and Leviticus and gets super bogged down and stop reading. I have found it helpful to pick a topic and turn my focus on reading and studying about it. It can be whatever interest you the most. It can also be whatever you struggle with the most. When I first started spending time daily with God I was really bad at praying. So I started there and found passages that talked about prayer.

  • Bring in other resources

Find books, devotions, audiobooks, websites, podcast, or anything about what you are studying and incorporate that into your time as well. You may spend one day reading your Bible and the next day listening to a podcast. Every day does not have to be the same.

  • Talk to God

Take time to talk to the Father. I encourage you when you pray in your personal time to just have a normal conversation with Him. It does not have to be poetic or rehearsed or use perfect wording. Just talk to Him like you would a friend that had come by for coffee. Use real words, tell Him your real concerns, present Him with your real request, praise Him for all He has done, and then listen as He speaks back to you.

Your time is your time. It does not have to be perfect it just needs to be regular. How beautifully wild is it that the God of the universe wants to spend time with us. He is so big, He created all things and He literally keeps our world spinning and yet He desires to spend one on one time with us. He truly is a good Daddy. And if we are willing to spend this time we are so much better for it. I can tell you with 100% certainty that my life, my marriage, and I am so much better since I have been intentional about this. Life still happens but I feel that I navigate things so much better when I have spent that time with Him.

How Does This Help My Marriage?

  • If it makes you better it will, in turn, make your marriage better

When we are growing and learning it will have a positive effect on our relationships as well. As we mature spiritually we also mature naturally. We make better decisions because of the wisdom gained from the Lord and when better decisions are made certain struggles can just be avoided altogether.

  • We Can Share What We are Reading and Learning With Our Spouse

What you are learning about can be a great conversation piece with your spouse. Share with them a passage that you have read or an author that you have discovered you like. Share with them a struggle or a victory that you are praying for. If they are having a quiet time they can share what they are learning and praying about as well. You or your spouse could give greater insight into a topic that you may be focused on. The possibilities are endless when these conversations start happening.

  • Have a Devotion or Prayer Time Together

If you are both interested in the same topic use it and have a time of study and learning together. Find a book and read it and then come together and discuss it. Take some time and read your Bibles together. Praying for each other and with each other. Again it does not have to look at a certain way, it just needs to work for you.

 

There is so much to gain here and nothing to lose. Spiritual Investment will bring you some amazing gain. One is a better version of yourself which leads to a better marriage. It may be hard at first but keep going, don’t give up. The Lord will honor that time and it will be time well spent.

You can do this! We are praying for you!

The Enneagram and Marriage

Hello Friends,

Who likes taking personality tests? I do! I enjoy learning about myself and finding out why I do certain things, certain ways. I enjoy learning what my strengths are and how I can use them to accomplish the things the Lord wants me to do. I also like to know what my weaknesses are as well that way I can work on turning them into strengths. Another reason I love personality tests is because of the insight it gives me into the people that are in my life. I enjoy learning about my friends so I can be a better friend to them. I enjoy learning more about Alex so that I can be a better wife.

Honestly, I am a nerd. I like learning things and then applying them to my life.

I have taken several tests throughout the years to help me know myself better but I have just recently come across the Enneagram. You may have already heard about it. It has been around for years now but somehow I had missed it until about 6 months ago. Honestly, I did not take it right away because it seemed a little complicated. There are about a million different test that you will find if you google the Enneagram and since I did not know which ones were accurate tests I just pushed it aside. It just seemed too complicated to me. It wasn’t until I found Beth McCord through the Go and Tell Gals podcast that I really got into it! She is a Christian and her studies on the Enneagram are all Christ-centered. Since I knew she was a Christian I took the test she offered and have learned so much about myself, Alex, and the people in my life.

Why Take the Enneagram?

The enneagram sheds light into your personality type and why you do the things you do and how you relate to others. But what makes this different than any other test? The reason I am loving this test so much is because of how in-depth it is. I have only begun to scratch the surface of this test because of all there is to learn from it but just based on what I know so far I am hooked. It not only goes over what your strengths are but it also talks about how to grow and maintain a healthy lifestyle and relationships based on your type.

The Enneagram has put into words things about myself that I have never been able to put into words. It has helped me understand myself on such a deeper level. Since I understand myself better, I can be a better version of myself every day.

The Nine Types

When you take the test you will be one of nine types. I am going to go over each type very briefly here but I encourage you to take the test and find out what your type is. Once you find your type there is a wealth of knowledge that you can learn about yourself.

Type 1- The Moral Perfectionist- This type loves to have everything in their lives be done correctly. They are constantly looking for ways to make themselves and things around them better than it was.
Type 2-The Supportive Advisor- This type loves to help others and is very intuned to the needs of the people around them. These are the people that you see going into action when something needs to be done.
Type 3-The Successful Achiever- This type loves goals and achievement. They are very driven and focused and because of that, they tend to accomplish a great deal.
Type 4- The Romantic Individualist- This type loves being unique and special. They love beauty and creativity. They are very introspective.
Type 5- The Investigative Thinker- This type loves to learn something new. They are typically very independent. They prefer doing things on their own instead of asking for help.
Type 6-The Loyal Guardian-This type loves security and knowing the details of situations. They are fiercely loyal to the people in their lives that they trust and love.
Type 7- The Entertaining Optimist- This type loves fun. They are always up for a good time and they tend to always have a positive outlook.
Type 8-The Protective Challenger- This type is very direct, bold, and protective. They love justice and will make sure the people in their lives and themselves are protected from injustice.
Type 9- The Peaceful Mediator-This type loves peaceful situations. They are good listeners and tend to bring peace and calm to situations. They are very discerning.

Again that was a super brief description of each type just to give you an idea of each one.  Do you see one that jumps out at you yet?

If you are interested in learning your type below are Beth McCord’s logo and the information about her website. There you will find a free assessment with resources about each type. She also offers classes that go further into each type and classes on becoming an Enneagram coach yourself. You can also find her on Instagram at @yourenneagramcoach

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You can find Beth McCord and all her resources on the Enneagram at http://www.yourenneagramcoach.com

So how can we use the Enneagram to help our marriages?

By using the Enneagram you will not only learn about yourself but you can also learn about your spouse as well. By knowing their type, how they respond to certain things, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they receive affirmation, we can grow your relationship and make it stronger. You can become more unified as a couple because you will work together and be able to communicate better because of the information you will have about each other.

I said early that it has helped me to understand myself better but it has also helped me to understand Alex on a deeper level as well. In fact, by learning our types it has helped me to understand something Alex said to me five years ago. Yeh, you read that right. It helped me understand a statement that was spoken 5 years ago.

Alex and I have just celebrated our 7th anniversary. On our 2nd anniversary, I asked Alex why he liked being married to me. He told me that he liked being married to me because I needed him. What I heard him say was, “You are needy, but I like it.” Now that was not what he had said but that is what I heard. I did not know why but I did not like that. I did not like the idea of neediness. I did not like that (I thought) Alex thought I was needy. I saw it as a weakness, not a compliment. I could not put my finger on why I did not like what he said. I knew by the way he had said it that he meant it as a compliment and I did not want to hurt his feelings so I just didn’t say anything.

Now let’s fast forward five years. Alex and I take the Enneagram test. I am a type 5 and he is a type 2. Type 5’s are very independent and they do not like asking for help and being needy. Type 2’s love to feel needed and help others. They feel loved when someone needs them. As I was reading about both types the Lord reminded me of the conversation we had 5 years ago. Suddenly what Alex said to me made sense. Suddenly I knew what he was communicating to me.  It really was such a high compliment when I understood his type. It also showed me why I had originally not liked what I thought he was saying. From that knowledge, I went to Alex and shared that with him. We have grown closer to each other and have learned more about each other by having that conversation and it all happened because we learned our Enneagram type.

That is just one example of how knowing our types have helped us as a couple. There have been several situations where I have responded differently to Alex because I understood his actions and motives better based on this test and the same is true for Alex. I feel like I can communicate and affirm Alex much more effectively now than before I knew his type.

The main point I want to make about the importance of learning about yourself and your spouse is this- When we seek knowledge we also gain a deeper understanding. From that deeper understanding comes greater discernment into how to respond to situations that arise. When we respond correctly communication improves. When communication improves we grow into the couple we are supposed to be.

Knowledge = Growth

Growth=Better Marriage

I encourage you to dive into this and do your own research. Learn as much as you can about yourself and your spouse. Knowledge is power. This blog was about the Enneagram but there are several different personality tests that you can take that will help you understand yourself and your spouse better. I encourage you to find out as much as you can!

The more we know the more we grow and the better we become!

 

We are praying for you!