Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marriage. Show all posts

Aug 10, 2017

A Proverb 31 Woman's Priorities

There is a lot of pressure in the Christian community for everyone to "have a ministry." What are you doing for the church? What are you, specifically, doing for God? However, if you're the mother of young children, this is problematic.

Every mom learns pretty quickly that if she wants her family to have a great home life, she has to juggle many things. She needs to not only care for her children's physical needs, but also spend time with them so their emotional and spiritual needs are met. She wants to keep a reasonably clean house and serve healthy meals. She needs to keep the laundry pile under control. To increase her family's health and self sufficiency, she might also want to do things like garden, preserve, and sew. She might also home school. And then there is her husband: She needs to maintain a good relationship with him, which also requires times and effort. That's a lot for one person to do! And then a Christian friend actually asks "What is your ministry?"

The Proverbs 31 Woman did many things, but she kept them in some semblance of balance. She didn't teach a women's Bible study but let her house turn into a scene from Hoarders. She didn't donate time to the local shelter but neglect to spend time with her husband. She didn't keep a blog to encourage other women but leave her children feeling like they never got much time from mom.

Balance is only possible if you have priorities. So, biblically speaking, what are the right priorities for a mother?

1. A relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 says "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." And in Mark 12:30, Jesus says the most important commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Remember, too, how Jesus told the ever-busy-housekeeping Martha that her sister Mary had "chosen what is better" by seeking God first. For the modern Proverbs 31 Woman, this means seeking God's will, and reading the Bible daily and praying continuously throughout the day.

2. Husband. It's not politically correct, but yes, our husbands are next in line. 1 Corinthians 7:34 hints at this by saying one of a married woman's top concerns is pleasing her husband. The reason for this is pretty simple: First, God created woman to be her husband's (not her childrens') helpmeet. Second, husbands and wives should set an example for their children - an example of how to live godly lives, which certainly doesn't include neglecting our spouse. (1 Thes. 2:11-12; Prov. 22:6) Finally, once the children are grown and out of the house, you'll want and need a solid relationship with your husband; that won't happen if you neglect your husband now.

3. Children. God tells us to create "godly offspring" (Mal. 2:15) and in Timothy, we learn that a woman's ministry is "bringing up children." In Deuteronomy, God says parents (not teachers) must teach children the ways of the Lord. God gave you children to to care for. They grow so quickly; don't busy yourself with other things and neglect the important ministry - your children - that God has put squarely before you. Remember, when they are older, you'll have more time for other ministries - but why would God entrust you with those if you neglect the ministry of your children?

4. Home. Like it or not, the Bible says one of the signs of a godly woman is that she cares for her home. This doesn't mean she should be Martha Stewart-esque or that she is a slave to housework. It's simply a recognition that if we live in sloth and ugliness, our attitudes and personalities will be affected negatively. If our homes are reasonably clean and comfortable, however, the entire family benefits. Husband, children, and wife can take refuge at home, feeling less stress and more peace. Proverbs 31:27 says a godly woman "watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." 1 Timothy 5:14 says young unmarried women do well to marry and "to manage their homes..." And in Titus, we are told it's good for women to "love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands..."

Those four priorities are huge. Honestly, it's the rare woman who can successfully add more and keep a decent balance in her life. In fact, it's interesting to note the Bible never mentions mothers with young children doing anything else - no other job, no other ministry. Nowhere does Jesus or anyone else in the early church ask moms, "What is your ministry?" Because their ministry is being a wife and mother. And that is a full time job.

This post originally appeared in 2012.

Jan 5, 2015

How I'm Feeling About Our Tiny House Motor Home NOW

The RV's living room, in all it's brown and blue "glory."
As you probably remember, I wasn't thrilled when my husband announced his idea for tiny house living. And when he bought our tiny house motor home, I was even less thrilled. But a little time and a lot of prayer has passed - and things have changed.

First, I want to make it clear that most of my objections to tiny house living had to do with the fact that I hate surprises and change. My husband is a thinker. He'll thoroughly think and pray things through before he makes a decision. (In this case, I'm pretty sure he's been thinking and praying about our tiny house motor home for a few years!) But he didn't share his thoughts with me until days before purchasing our motor home. I needed time to process the change.

But now, I believe the pros far outweigh the cons. Are there going to be aspects of tiny house living I won't love? Yep. But there are going to be so many good - really, wonderfully good - things about it, too. Unfortunately, the best things I can't share with you yet. But suffice it to say, this change is going to give our family more love, more support, and more freedom than ever before. That is what life is about, folks!

And call me a slow, but I'm learning I'm a pretty fortunate woman to have such a great man as my husband. The common advice is that wives shouldn't compare their husbands to other men, their lives to other people's lives - but in my case, recently doing so has made me more fully appreciate my life and the man who wears the ring I gave him 14 years ago. The struggles of the past few months have taught me that my husband has greatly grown as a man of God, and that he wants nothing more than to please God - and me - in that order. He is faithful, honorable, and trying. Yes, trying. He's not perfect - but he strives to be the man God wants him to be. What an awesome thing! What more could I ask?

So yes - I am all for this change of lifestyle. In fact, I can't wait to move into our tiny house motor home!

Jul 19, 2011

The Power of Affirmation

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."
A few days ago, I was speaking with a friend and fellow mom. "One thing my husband is good about," she told me, "is acknowledging how difficult it is to be a mom. Somehow that affirmation makes a really big difference, even if he isn't always that helpful with the kids."

How true that is! Knowing that others understand our difficulties and appreciate our efforts immediately softens our heart. Grumpiness, complaints, and feelings of self-pity tend to vanish. Our mood is lifted and we can more easily focus on serving others.

Unfortunately, many modern moms (including myself) fall into the trap of always wishing someone would help and affirm them - all the while forgetting to affirm others. You know how great affirmation makes you feel. How much better would your husband feel if you found ways to affirm him? And what about your kids? Finding even a single thing each day to affirm for them can make a huge difference in how your children feel about themselves and how they treat others. And maybe, just maybe, some of that affirmation will head back in your direction, too.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Ephesians 4:29

Feb 14, 2011

6 Ways to Make it Valentine's Day Every Day

Flowers, cards, chocolates...He may like them. But here are the Valentine's Day gifts he really wants - on February 14th, and every day of the year:

1. When he enters the room, look him in the eye and smile.

2. When he comes home from work, drop everything and give him a kiss.

3. Give him at least one kiss every day that lasts at least 10 seconds.

4. Listen to him. Respond so he knows you're listening.

5. At least some of the time, initiate sex.

6. Don't nag.


Sep 27, 2010

The Power of Joy-Filled Thinking

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..."
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

A couple of days ago a familiar phrase ran through my head: "Why does my husband get to go play while I have to stay here and watch the kids and clean the house?" This lead to other thoughts like: "Why do I never get to relax and play? It's not right that he gets down time and I don't."

Why did I let myself get grumpy and grumbly? The more I settled in to those grumpy thoughts, the more un-Christ-like I became. I allowed negative thoughts to put a wedge between my husband and me. I wasn't happier - and I'm God wasn't very happy with me.

I could type here about the role of Christians as servants of others - an important topic, to be sure. But instead, I want to focus on how our thoughts make us who we are. We can either choose to think grumbly, discontented, jealous, "I-deserve-better," dark thoughts OR we can choose to "be joyful always." (1 Thes. 5:16). We cannot think both ways simultaneously. Since we are to "be content in any and every situation," (Phil. 4:12), we know we aren't obeying God when we allow our thoughts to stray from joy and contentment. Who then are we serving?

" he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Who will you be?

Aug 11, 2010

A Simple Marriage Saver

The other day, my friend Tanya Dennis remarked she kept a "honeymoon journal" before she married. She typed at me:
"I knew a time would come when I would wonder why in the world I married this man. So I started writing down all the things I loved about him, little things and big things. It's all in this little book I keep tucked away in my dresser. Whenever I have a bad day and struggle to keep a positive view of him or our marriage, I pull out my journal to remember and redirect my focus. I still add to it here and again."
I think this may be the greatest thing since sliced bread! As Tanya says, we don't want "negative thoughts to pervade our lives. They can be so destructive. In contrast, focusing on the positive can be life-altering and healing. It can make all the difference."

If you know an engaged couple, why not buy them each a nice notebook and encourage them to start their own "honeymoon journal"? (What a great bridal shower gift!) And start your own journal about your husband today. I am!

Apr 14, 2010

Your True Calling

You know those days when you're trying to get "important things" done and your kids seem more needy than ever? How do you react on those days? Do you drop everything and rush to them with a joyful heart? If you do, why are you reading this blog? You're a better Proverbs 31 Woman than I am!

Personally, I find it all too easy to feel frustrated or even annoyed when, for example, I have to pay bills (cuz they're due tomorrow) and the kids constantly interrupt me with their needs.

On those days, more than any other, we moms have to remember our calling. Rather than get caught up wondering what great purpose God has in mind for us, we need to remember we already know our two most important callings: Wife (if we are married) and mother.

There is no calling greater than these two. You may think God wants you to write, to teach Sunday School, to work in the church...but if any of these things make you neglect your first two callings, you need to stop.

Stop. Breathe. Remember your calling: To serve your children.

After all, what greater calling can there be than to raise up little people to know the Lord? That's way more important than working in the church, or writing...or paying the bills.

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Oct 29, 2009

Finding Time to Read the Bible Together

Just as it's vital for moms to find time to read the Bible alone, it's vital for them to find time to read and discuss it with their husbands. Not only does Bible and prayer time with your spouse add intimacy to your marriage, but it helps couples resolve conflicts and acknowledged their absolute dependence on Jesus for the health of their marriage and family.

But if you can barely find time to read the Bible by yourself, how on earth can you find time to read it with your husband? Here are a few ideas:

* Ideally, you and your husband can pull out the Bible and read a passage together once the kids are in bed. (In my household, this always seems like a good idea - until the kids are actually in bed. Then we realize we're too exhausted to comprehend anything we read.)

* If your husband comes home at noon, try reading a Bible passage together during his lunch hour. Remember, it doesn't need to be long. (In fact, shorter passages are easier to digest and really think through.) If there's not time for both of you to eat and then read the Bible, try eating before (or after) your husband's lunch hour, so you can do the honors of reading out loud while he eats.

* Get up early together and read the Bible. (If you have young children, or your brain is naturally foggy in the morning, this may not be the best choice for you.)

* Make sure non-essential things aren't getting in the way of Bible time. If you "don't have time" to read the Bible together, but manage to watch television, movies, sports, or participate in other activities together, think hard about how you're spending your time. (Statistically, most Americans watches 30 hours of television each week. Try laying aside just a slice of that time for God's word; you'll be glad you did.) Even "good" things, like volunteering at church or working for charity, are less important that immersing your marriage in the Word.

* If you really can't find time to read the Bible together, try the next best thing: Choose a Bible passage to read separately during the day. Then, at night, discuss that passage together. If your husband has a hard time digging out his Bible in the middle of his work day, try emailing or text messaging the passage to him.

* Make it a family event by having the kids read the pre-chosen Bible passage during the day, too. Then discuss it at dinner.

* Or, read the passage aloud when you sit down at the dinner table, then discuss it while you eat.

* Although it's a nice idea to read a daily or weekly devotional together as a couple, it's far more important to actually read the word of God. So if devotionals are getting in the way of your Bible time, reconsider them.

* If you truly cannot find time to read the Bible together, something is wrong. One or both of you are spending too much time away from the other; it's difficult to keep a marriage healthy under these conditions. So while you're trying to re-arrange your life so your marriage is high on your list of priorities, try to at least read the Bible together every weekend.

* When you've finished your Bible reading, be sure to take time to discuss the passage with your spouse. Then end by praying together. Although it's okay to allow just one spouse to pray aloud, in my experience, really praying together - taking turns talking to God - is much more fulfilling and effective.

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Oct 13, 2009

A Simple Marriage Cure

Want a simple but effective way to show your husband he's more important than most things in your life? When he comes home from work, drop everything and greet him.

When we were first married, I did this without thinking. But as time went on, and especially as children came along, I found myself saying only a brief hello to my husband as I was in the midst of cooking dinner or corralling children.

But recently I've found that if I stop, put down the ladle, ignore the kids for a moment, and give my husband a kiss and a hug (the longer the better for those), he's in a better mood in the evenings. And why not? I've just shown him I'm glad to see him and that he's more important than the cooking and cleaning I do all day.

If I then ask him about his day - and really listen to his answers - he is more cheerful yet. Once again, I've shown that I really care about him, his concerns, his difficulties, and his triumphs. Only after I've done this do I go about my work or start telling him about my day.

Try it! It really does make a difference.

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