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56 YEARS OF LOVE LESSONS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Today’s guest blogger is Erica from Coming Up Roses.

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Happy Hump + Happy VALENTINE’S Day, friends! Are you someone who loveloveloves or despises this holiday?? J + I celebrated last night since he’s got a work meeting tonight, so I’m hungover on chocolate truffles this morning and I ain’t mad about it. 😉

This V-Day, I was trying to think of what kind of content/advice/thoughts I could put out on this THE day of lovelovelove. And I realized…I’m SO not cut out for that. But luckily, I know two people who totally are.

My Nana & Pop have been married for 56 years – they’re the living embodiment of true, selfless love. (Let’s play “how long will it take before E tears up writing”). They’re the two best people I know (note: already crying). I know my Nana is tied for CUR’s #1 fan (alongside my mama) – she’s a daily reader. A few weekends ago, J + I went up to spend the day with them, take them out to lunch, and just enjoy the day together just the four of us. ‘Twas SO STINKIN’ NICE, especially since it’s usually the whole clan hanging out and not as much 2-on-2 time like that. And it was so stinkin’ nice getting to learn so much more about them still, about their life + love. I mean…56 years.

Can you imagine that?

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Their wedding picture – also can we talk about how GORGEOUS Nana’s dress is?!?!?!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

We live in a day + age where divorce seems like an epidemic. Left and right, marriages fail. Couples break up. Partnerships end. 56 years? Try 5. Or 10. And it’s oh so sad + discouraging to feel like love can no longer withstand the hardships of today’s society.

My Nana & Pop give me hope.

And I think they can give hope to so many people omg, because they’ve been through some friggin’ low lows, too, and are still living a beautiful life + love together, after nearly 60 years of partnership. For some perspective, when they got married, they had odds stacked against them. First off, they got married “out of order.” In my Pop’s traditionalist Czech family, his mother expeced his older brother to be next in line to tie the knot. But Pop fell in love with Nana and wanted to marry her, so he did – against his strict mother’s wishes. They had about $5 to their name. They moved into Nana’s childhood home…where Nana’s mother still lived…and where she continued to live for the first 25 years of their marriage. Y’ALL.

Let that sink in.

Today, I don’t many folks who could fathom having an in-law live under the same roof for 25 years. Heck, some folks can’t even manage a long holiday all together before dying to be back in their own space. Beyond that, they were her caretaker’s as she aged and became sick, and they did it willingly + with joy.

No complaining. No struggle bus-ing. No resentment.

They also lived in a time where you really had to just do what ya had to do to provide for your family – it wasn’t as much of “dreamer” world as it is today. Today, we’re all so stinkin’ lucky in that we can truly wake up with a dream and make it happen. That wasn’t the case back then, largely because of resources! If you weren’t born into it, you had to make it happen, and obvi you didn’t have the iPhone to help ya do it. 😉 Pop wanted to be a State Trooper, Nana wanted to be a nurse. Neither one had the chance to do that, because real life at the time didn’t allow it. And neither one is bitter about it. They always put their love + their family first, and if that meant they couldn’t personally do something, that was A-OK. Which is so inspiring I think, especially in light of so much messaging today that’s dripping in do you-you-you.

I think in anyone in the world, my Nana & Pop truly “get” what it takes. Their life is proof of that. Their life is proof that you have zero control of the cards you’re dealt, but you have every ounce of control over how you respond + react to your hand.

SO. I had asked them to put together THEIR thoughts + “advice” that they think has contributed to being together for a true lifetime. I wanted them to be able to mull it over + think about what they can say really contributed to the fact that so many years after “I Do,” they STILL do…love AND like each other. 😉 My Nana handed me a stack of paper with her handwritten notes, which I just typed here exactly as is, unedited.

Start with Love, Patience, & Understanding! Prayer and faith!

Sometimes being quiet and keeping things and feelings to yourself and they seem to work themselves out

Were young and had to learn a lot of things, day to day. We went together for 2.5 years, but you still don’t know everything about each other. Time does that, ups and down and God helps you through them. And the blessed Mother Mary intercedes for us to God. Pray to her always!

Working together is everything and keeping your love alive! Having our children were happy days. Thanking God for healthy, beautiful children was the best news. Early days were not financially easy, but we got through them.

Proud to see our children grow up and do well in school and go on and get a good education. They all got good jobs and work hard to succeed.

Then in future years we got two beautiful grandchildren, Erica and Michael. Erica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing and Management and now has her own business (blogging and such). Now she is married to a great guy, Jamie!

Our grandson Michael will be graduating in May from Penn State, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. We are blessed in every way and thankful to God for all the good things in our life.

Also from day one we took care of Mom and we did our best. There were a lotof things to deal with, but we got through them with God’s help and a lot of prayers! We loved her with our heart and soul! She was quite a lady in every way. She raised a big family and had nine children. Life was never easy but she did it with love.

The having, the holding, the family and raising, the working, the planning, the celebrating, the cleaning up after, the dividing and conquering, the memory making and especially the sticking by each other through all of it. And we did it with so much love! With God and the blessed Virgin Mary’s help!

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

Can we point out that Nana was one of NINE? Also, I lovelovelove her point about actually being quiet sometimes, and things seem to work themselves out. This is HARD for me, oftentimes, because I’m not quiet. Like, ever. Ha. In any argument, I’m quick to wanna talk it out or address an issue head-on. But of course I’m not always right, and there are DEF times when I think I should’ve just kept my mouth shut and it would’ve turned out better in the end. My Nana is such a *patient* woman, which is something love could use today.

Also, the power of prayer. Nana is one of the most faithful women EVER, I swear. She’s a total prayer warrior. And really, I think that’s probably why she can get through ANYTHING with the attitude that she has – because she just hands everything up to God. (The epitome of trusting in God). 

They don’t pick fights. They know when to address something versus when to let something slide in the bigger picture. Which is something I’m soooo bad at sometimes oh my gosh. 

They always knew they’d get through. They just had faith and kept truckin’ along.

I asked my mama + my Aunt Donna + Jamie to chime in with their two cents, too, about things they’ve seen slash learned through/because of Nana & Pop’s relationship over the years, since we’ve all been directly impacts by it and have seen it blossom…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

MOM:

  • Selfless love! They always do things for each other out of care, not a sense of obligation. They. WANT. To. Nana still pours Pop’s juice every morning. I can still remember that from my childhood. And even little things like that let you know someone is caring for you.
  • They don’t keep score!
  • They don’t complain. They had to endure lots of tough stuff – very tight finances, caring for ill relatives, Pop working lots of overtime to make ends meet, living very modest lives. And their attitude was just to do what you need to do and keep going!
  • They celebrate the little things. They appreciate what they have! I’ve never heard them wishing for luxuries or complaining that they did not have them.
  • They did things for themselves. Pop was (and still is) a great handyman. He can fix pretty much anything or build a new one! He’d learn how and do it himself. Both are great cooks and bakers. They had a large vegetable garden and we grew up canning and jarring all sorts of veggies. Nana was not a seamstress making clothes from scratch, but she can mend or repair basically anything that needed it.
  • They tease each other playfully and Pop can always make Nana giggle. 😉
  • They have inside jokes! And they have certain looks that they can give each other that speak volumes.

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

DONNA:

Mom and Dad are the epitome of a marriage made in heaven. God made them amazing individuals and when He bound their hearts, a solid bond was made that could never be broken. Their commitment to God, each other, and their family is unmatched. They’re my role models, and to them, ALL blessings they truly deserve, as they glorify God every day! Their individual quirkiness, funny private looks to each other, and subtle yet grounded PDA’s are only some of their qualities that make their marriage and relationship one that everyone should strive to achieve. After about 60 years together, what better love lesson than theirs…through it all!

J:

What I’ve learned:

  • Faith is a big part of a successful marriage. Having 25 years of your marriage be with an in-law there, many of them in caretaker capacity – it can be a tremendous challenge on your relationship so faith is SO IMPORTANT.
  • Focus on family over perception. For a man to get married and spend the next two decades in his wife’s house with his mother-in-law is not considered “ideal” for our generation today, but Pop put family first over maybe his own personal ideal. You’ve gotta be selfless in your marriage.
  • The important things in a marriage. It’s not always comfortable, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.
  • They’re always aware of each other and what each other needs. Pop always talks about Nana and is looking to see what he can do for her, and vice versa.

Look at the way they look at each other. Look at it. I mean…

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

56 Years of Love Lessons by popular Philadelphia lifestyle blogger Coming Up Roses

If that’s not lovelovelove, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Whatever your relationship status today, I hope you feel hope.

So much of how we experience life – so much of our story – stems from our perspective. So much of what my Nana & Pop have been through might leave some feeling less-than-stellar, throwing a pity party. Their attitude has always been to just make it work and do it all with love.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, about to tie the knot or married for a decade, I hope that attitude rubs off on ya a bit today.

Make it work, do it all with love.

Whatever you’re doing in life – be that your relationship with your S.O., your girlfriends, the random person that sits outside the Dunkin’ Donuts on your way to work every day – do it all with love.

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? What’s the most inspiring love story you’ve heard?

Whatever your plans are today, I hope you know + feel how loveloveloved you are.

For what it’s worth, I lovelovelove each of y’all so much and am SO grateful that you’re here. I owe so much to you, and I wouldn’t slash couldn’t do Coming Up Roses without you.

Sending you SO much lovelovelove on this Valentine’s Day + everyday.

signature blog

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Are your Expectations Ruining the Real Joy in Life?

Today’s guest blog post comes from Jennifer at Heaven Not Harvard and can be originally found here!

Expectations are sneaky buggers. We often don't realize we even have them until we find ourselves disappointed in our reality. Maybe we need to shift our focus.
Expectations are sneaky buggers. They are often so engrained into our ideas of normal that we forget we have them at all.

We walk into daily situations, especially holidays, with subconscious champagne and roses expectations thanks to Hallmark movies, and miss the better gifts reality can offer.

One year, I almost ruined my own birthday with my expectations. In the years since, I have seen how God has walked with me through feeling disappointed and invisible and reminds me He is the God who sees me.

In the weeks surrounding holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentines Day, I often see so many struggling relationships because they weren’t celebrated in the way they wanted to be. And hurting women let disappointment turn into a burr between themselves and their families.

I sadly remember all the Valentine’s Days, birthdays, trips, and anniversaries that turned into balls of hurt in my house because of my wrong expectations that didn’t offer any grace to the love of my life.

Somehow, I expected my husband to say the words that would make all the late nights, emotional exhaustion and struggles of being a wife and mother worth it. I wanted him to find the gift or flowers that would make me feel for just ONE day that he truly sees and appreciates me.

I was putting the pressure of my expectations on him instead of taking them to the Lord.

And with all the weight I was giving these particular calendar days, nothing was ever going to satisfy.

Now, I can see all the ways he shows me how much he appreciates me everyday. But I was missing it because I was so focused on my emotional needs.

The year I almost ruined my birthday changed everything. The day had been pretty low-key, a fine day, but I couldn’t get over my disappointment at not receiving any kind of gift.

After feeling a bit dejected and debating with myself about telling him how I felt, I decided not to say anything and be grateful for all the blessings I had.

Five minutes later, he came out from the bedroom with a jewelry set he had purchased months earlier. It was special hypoallergenic gold due to my bizarre metal allergy. I felt like such a jerk. My unmet expectations almost ruined his thoughtful surprise.

I almost missed a real expression of his love for me because I wanted to dictate what it should look like.

Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.

Why? What changed? Me.

First, I stopped placing my value and worth as a mother in the hands of my husband. I would love a moment of recognition from him, but I don’t need it.

My identity as a woman, mother, even wife is in Christ and the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I have learned to let God’s love fill me so that I overflow with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Even though I still do those things imperfectly, I recognize I am growing in grace as I grow in Him.

So I set my expectations for holidays now on what I want for myself. On Mother’s Day, I want a day of being the mom I really want to be everyday: fun, patient, kind, joyful.

I don’t want to use this holiday as a weapon. Expectations ruin reality. Don’t miss the real joy God has for us. CLICK TO TWEET

Does it really measure my worth or his love if he doesn’t roll out the red carpet and ticker tape parade on this one calendar day?

When I quit having expectations, I got to see more fully who my husband is, appreciating and loving the whole of him, and experiencing the joy of the day as it unfolds.

My first Mother’s Day of letting go of expectations, my husband didn’t make me breakfast in bed, because he wanted to wait to ask me what I would like to have. He didn’t buy me a gift, but researched a special place for me to choose exactly what I wanted. He spent his afternoon cleaning out the pool so I could have the first swim of the year.

His quiet thoughtfulness was more precious to me than any gift.

For years, I missed the real gifts because of my wrong expectations.

Sometimes we feel invisible and ignored. No one sees us up at midnight, straightening the living room or washing dishes. Laundry magically folds itself and finds its way back into drawers, or maybe you magically earn the paycheck that keeps your house from belonging to the bank.

One or two days a year doesn’t change who you are and won’t heal days you were taken for granted or ignored. But rest assured, God sees you. He sees your every moment.

The work and struggle of being a wife, mother, friend, sister is not invisible to Him. And I find so much joy when I remember that I’m serving Him through my earthly service.

Matthew 5:14 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Don’t let the darkness steal true joy from your grasp. Even on this side of heaven, jewelry and flowers pale in comparison to the joy of the Lord in the ministry where He has placed you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.

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Love Nudge (Review and Giveaway!)

Love Nudge is a new app developed by Moody Publishers, the publishers of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

If you’re unfamiliar with Gary Chapman, he is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in anthropology from Wheaton College and from Wake Forest University. He also received Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The 5 Love Languages is a book that since 1992 has sold over 11 million copies. The premise is that everyone has their own “love language,” the way they primarily communicate their love to others. According to his theory and research, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.

By doing a thorough quiz (there are some more simplified ones out there but they’re for sure not as meticulous), you can discover your love language. The idea is that, through this, your spouse will know how to “talk” to you in your own language – and vice versa – and you’ll communicate better than ever.

Based on the book sales – but more importantly the testimonies – that have come out of this ministry, it’s clear to see why this book and its message have moved into the 21st century by becoming more accessible as an app.

Now, I’m going to be completely honest with you:

As a person who read the original book, this app is great but it really should accompany the book. The book will give you a greater understanding of your game plan and it will motivate you greatly. It’s actually a really easy read, too.

Now on to the app and my opinion of it…

The app is FREE right now. I dont know how long that will last, maybe forever. The 5 Love Languages has always been an affordable book so I can’t really see them suddenly making this a $5 app – though its worth it.

http://youtu.be/9iVxDY0ihOo

The app is easily downloadable and easy to walk through. It walks you through basic information, quizzing you to determine your love language, and allowing you to invite your spouse or future spouse to join in the app with you.

It really is like a fitness app but for your relationship health. Instead of you marking that you met your goal of running a mile (inset me laughing hysterically here), you’re checking off that you used some words of affirmation for your spouse today. “Today I told him how much I appreciate all he does around the house. Check!” Every goal met help each of you to fill up your love tank. 😉

This app actually came at a great time for my husband and I. Every relationship goes through their seasons and we’ve certainly seen our share of them. This app reminded my husband that his words have great power in regard to me while holding me accountable to do my part in our relationship rather than my being part of the problem or being bitter.

Sometimes we can forget who we were…who we are. We only think about the thing that interrupted who we are. But God wants to restore us to what we were meant to be.

I dont know about you but I don’t want to become that bitter old couple that stay married but fight everyday as if they hate each other. I want to mourn when we are separated and celebrate when we’re reunited. God wants that for us too.

So, all in all, I really like it. My husband likes it. I sent the link to my 22 year old daughter and her boyfriend of four years. I mean if you have a nail that needs to be driven in… and there’s a hammer right there, wouldn’t you use the hammer that was given to you? This is a free tool to help make your relationship easier and a greater success. I would think everyone would take advantage of it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Love Nudge for Couples will help you put the concepts of The 5 Love Languages into action in ways that are easy, obvious, and satisfying.

1. LEARN YOUR LOVE LANGUAGETake the official 5 Love Languages quiz to discover your preferred Love Language.

2. CONNECT WITH YOUR PARTNERUse the app individually or invite your partner to download, take the quiz, and link profiles.

3. SET YOUR GOALSSet goals to regularly take on activities that align with your partner’s Love Language.

4. NUDGEStart nudging! Send your partner a playful nudge to suggest activities or to find out how full their Love Tank is.

Download the LoveNudge App and be entered to win Dr. Gary Chapman’s #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages®, The 5 Love Languages® for Men, AND The Love Languages Devotional Bible (hardback)! Click below to enter and for more details.

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7 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Today’s guest blog post is by Sara Benny from A Virtuous Home and can be originally found here!

As the children of God, we need to look to the scriptures for the answers and seek His help alone. You can breathe life into your empty marriage life through prayer, scripture, and trusting our Lord, Jesus. So, what are the seven beautiful ways to strengthen your marriage?

Ways to strengthen your marriage -1

Rebuilding intimacy in marriage

I want to quote the words of the author of the book Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” There was a time in my life when I thought my marriage would be like a fairy tale and never knew the investments it needs to flourish.

And when the reality hit me, I knew it needed a lot more work than I expected. All I did was look to the Lord in prayer. It was my sincere desire to rebuild the intimacy in marriage, strengthen the marriage, and get the divine guidance.

How to bring back intimacy in a marriage?

Building intimacy in a marriage is important in strengthening marriage.

Put God first in your marriage.

Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by love towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is love between the two persons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

So, I am rephrasing the above sentence to be- Marriage is the most beautiful relationship where two people are driven by God towards each other. And it can only be beautiful when there is God between the two persons.

Hope you got the key point :).

Companionship in marriage

Be your husband’s favorite companion whom he loves to spend his time together.

This is not an easy task, so let’s take encouragement from the scripture.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Mathew 7:12)

  • Be gentle and cheerful always

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

A right companion always knows the right time to talk. You can spoil both of your moods by simply bombarding your husband with your frustrations or pessimistic talks, or you can warmly greet him when he comes home and save your discussions for later. This makes a huge difference!

  • Spend time together

I should say that my husband loves to watch classic movies and I hate watching it. All I do is force myself to watch with him because my interests are completely different.

There was a time when I tried to resist him, but now I decide to focus on the relevant and to ignore the irrelevant.

The good news is, now I love watching such movies with him as I am sitting beside him enjoying time together.

  • Listen to Him

Are you a good listener? Have you ever neglected when your husband talks to you or when he shows you some exciting news?

Try to take a conscious step to pause whatever you are doing, and listen to him for that little time. He will love it!

  • Put on a smile

My husband loves when I smile at him, or when I am cheerful. It reminded me that the habit of being pleasant and optimistic makes me lovable and attractive.

So, why not take a step to always talk to him in a friendly, pleasant manner to get his attention!

  • Try new recipes

Men love delicious foods prepared with love :).

Physical Intimacy in marriage

A strong physical relationship is built on emotional intimacy and companionship. If you desire to have good physical intimacy, it is important to address the emotional needs of the partner.

Being a submissive wife

Is submission important in marriage life? Do I have to be a submissive wife to strengthen my marriage?

As we see there are thousands of ideas on the internet about this topic alone. Some think being submissive is neglecting one’s freedom, or even as slavery.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:21- 27)

Marriage is never a one-sided relationship. As husbands and wives, we need to respect and appreciate each other’s efforts out of reverence for Christ.

As wives, we should let our husbands have the lead role in our family, and help him to be the man God desire about him. For that, we need to be renewed in our minds and be filled with the spirit of Christ to be the wife glorifying God through our lives.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)

But, what if your husband hardly cares about your needs, or barely shows affection or appreciate your efforts. In that case, I urge you to walk an extra mile with Jesus who can save your marriage.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Give thanks to God for everything

How can I strengthen my marriage by giving thanks to God?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Always give thanks to the Lord in everything, whether you are doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and in the tiniest of things you do in your house- do it with thanksgiving and prayer.

Even the most vibrant marriage can turn dull one day if you fail to see the purpose of doing those mundane things. But if you do everything with thanksgiving and prayer, your heart will be filled with God’s peace and your home will be a beautiful reflection of Christ and the church.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Let us have the same mindset as Christ Jesus!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Effective communication in marriage

Communication is crucial in marriage relationships, and it is essential in strengthening marriage.

So, does this mean we can communicate all the silly things that are revolving in our mind? Or to constantly complain about the things which are pending to complete or undone?

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

As Christian wives, we should communicate with our husbands in a way pleasing to the Lord. This might be against our nature, but when we are ready to be renewed in our minds (Ephesians 2:21-24) and seek the wisdom of Christ in our lives, He will help us.

Be intentional in spending time with each other without any external distractions for at least half an hour.

Express opinions, or any negative feelings in a gentle way.

It is okay to be specific when asking something as men are not good mind readers. 

Avoid responding when you are angry. Resume the conversation only once you are calm down.

Try to avoid reminding him of the pending “to do lists”.

Now, let us check some things that can aid us in the effective communication process.

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19).

The best way to effectively communicate with your husband is to know the best way to show your love towards him.

So, let’s check some ideas to get his attention.

Appreciate and affirm him for all his efforts to build your family.

Ask Jesus, and Jesus will fill you with the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Being attentive of every single need of the family- cooking, cleaning, organizing, children, dressing up, etc.

Listening to him whenever he initiates a conversation.

More than anyone, your husband deserves your best. So, give him the best of you in everything.

Involve and show enjoyment in his interests too.

Try speaking in a soft voice.

Cook his favorite food.

Prayer for marriage protection

There was a time when I took this less significant in my marriage life. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t pray at all. I surely did, but I didn’t use this powerful weapon to strengthen my marriage wisely.  We can always cover our husband in prayer, building an invisible wall of protection on him through the power of prayer.

It is true that we often become vexed when situations turn unfavorable, but prayer is the most powerful weapon to protect the love of your life from all the snares of the enemy.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Pray for your husband in all the walks of his life- in everything give thanks to the Lord in faith, believing that your prayer is heard.

When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5)

Bible tells the love and reverence Job had for God. He was rich, blessed in everything, and even in that abundance he was mindful of praying for his children on a single thought- perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.

Be ready with the armor of God, and fight for your family!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 10:12)

Forgiveness in marriage

Forgiveness in marriage is essential to strengthen marriage and to keep it secure. We all easily feel whenever our emotions are hurt, sometimes may not express it soon but hide it till the right moment to vent it out. We try to forget it but fails to forgive.

Am not an expert in this, and I often struggle in this aspect of my marriage. Then I found a way to overcome this issue without accumulating much in my heart.

Love your husband in the way he is, and accept him for who is.

Always pause from talking when you are hurt.

Tell God your hurt feelings and then openly share it with your husband when you both are in a good mood.

There is no secret formula for forgiveness in marriage except “forgive as Christ forgave you” and “love as Christ loved you”.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Download your free printable here!

Hi, if you enjoyed reading this, please comment so that I may know someone has been encouraged reading this and that would make me glad in the Lord. So, please share your heart.

Blessings,

Sara Benny

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What I’ve Learnt After 3 Years of Marriage

Today’s guest post by izzabelle.co can be originally found here!

On 20 December 2014, V and I exchanged our marriage vows on a lovely little yacht somewhere on the open sea, surrounded by our dearest family and friends.

I still remember how it was raining incessantly that month, but on that day, the sun broke through. And that’s just one small example of God’s goodness and mercy in our journey as husband and wife.

We crossed the third-year mark while on a road trip to California last month. I must say that whoever thought marriage would equate to living “happily ever after” certainly never tried it! Still, we’ve had a fulfilling few years together filled with memories that I’ll cherish forever.

But before I got married, I struggled a lot with the very concept of marriage and what it would entail. I thought it would be boring. I thought I would feel “trapped” and lose some degree of freedom (okay, all of it, really).

I’m happy to report that I have shaken these thoughts off, though it took me a long while to do so. And by God’s grace, I have come to enjoy being a wife.


what I've learnt after 3 years of marriage

HERE ARE 6 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT MARRIAGE:

1. Being married doesn’t make me any less of a woman.

Once you tie the knot, one of the first questions people around you will inevitably ask is whether you’re having kids. I know they mean well, but I don’t just want to be regarded as a baby-making machine from this day forward. I am still a woman who has dreams to realise and goals to achieve.

2. Mundane moments are plentiful – but they’re also what has helped me grow. 

Recently, I did an enneagram test and discovered that my personality type is a 7. According to the test results, I “approach life with curiosity, optimism and a sense of adventure”. That also explains why I abhor mundanity and repetition (because they aren’t fun or exciting, duh). But that kinda is what marriage looks like once you get settled into a comfortable “flow”. You probably already have certain couple habits; well, life’s pretty much the same old, same old when you get hitched.

These ordinary moments of life together test me the most – and grow me the most. Cooking, washing the dishes and doing the laundry are things I honestly do not enjoy doing, but I recognise that they are ways in which I am learning to serve and be selfless (my husband will be SO happy to read this!).

3. Problem areas won’t disappear; they will be magnified. 

Most articles on marriage will tell you this – and it’s true. I get sooo irked by V’s loud chewing, while he gets upset when I fail to follow his system for doing the dishes, or when I install the toilet paper roll the “wrong way”. When we were dating, these were small things we never thought would surface as issues, but they have.

Of course, there are other deeper issues that have revealed themselves throughout the course of our marriage. And I truly appreciate that my husband has served as a faithful friend in that aspect, by making me take a hard look at certain areas of my life that I needed to seek forgiveness from God in, or stop holding onto too tightly.

God created marriage to unfold beauty, depth, strength, and love that could never be discovered in a land of “easy.” God created marriage to help us enter into the world of what real love looks like. If we are able to look past daily irritation, inconvenience, and selfish resentments to get a glimpse of the real thing, it will bring us to our knees in worship. Not of our marriage, but of God, himself. God created marriage to show us what his love for us looks like. 

— ADRIEN SEGAL, DESIRING GOD

4. You will have to give some things up.

Since I’ve gotten married, I think the biggest change in my lifestyle is that my schedule has been less filled with spontaneous meet-ups or late-night hangs with friends. To be frank, it’s still a struggle for me to relinquish certain things. This is definitely a work in progress.

5. Personal space is important. 

I absolutely need – no, crave – time for myself. It’s been integral to my sense of well-being when I was unmarried, and it remains so today. My alone time helps me to recharge, reflect, and gives me room to indulge in activities I enjoy. I’m glad that my husband respects this need, and has never given me any grief about it (ok, the fact that he’s a total introvert who also needs personal space has helped!).

What I’ve found useful is to physically demarcate an area in your home that is 100% yours. In our Vancouver apartment, my table is in our bedroom, while V has a separate study table outside. We didn’t do this in our Singapore home, and it’s definitely something I want to continue practicing when we go back.

6. Your influence and giftings will expand. 

The wonderful thing about big life transitions like marriage is that you’ll have so many stories to tell, and so many insights to share, with those who are about to take those same steps, or even to those who aren’t on this path yet.

My husband has also encouraged me to pursue things I never would’ve had the gumption to do on my own. Case in point: This blog. I’ve been writing for most of my adult life, but writing for myself (and not for the company I work for) is pretty unfamiliar territory. But it’s been a fun ride so far – and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use me and this space for His glory.


If you’ve made it this far along in the post, I wanna say a huge THANK YOU for reading. And if you are married, I would love to hear your own thoughts and lessons on what it has taught you – just leave a comment below!

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75 Date Night Questions for Couples

Today’s guest post comes from Ashley from Faithfully Planted.

Find the original post here!

What are date night questions?

Date night questions for couples are specific, intentional questions that you ask one another in order to stimulate deep, connecting conversation. These are questions that bring up important topics for couples to discuss that may not come up organically. Their intent is to help foster connection and intimacy and to help couples continue to be students of their spouses.

You likely speak to and communicate with your spouse regularly, but often the topics are practical and mundane. We rarely start discussing our deepest fears or desires without first being prompted. But these things are so important for us to continue to discuss with our spouses.

Date night questions help us to keep a gauge on our relationships, how we’re loving one another well and what is going on in the deepest parts of our hearts. This is what keeps the connection deep and strong in marriage.

You cannot have a connection without vulnerability and exposure.

RELATED: How to Have a Meaningful Date Night

So, how do you use these date night questions for couples?

That is entirely up to you! You can do just one per date night or plow through 10-20 if you want to.

Personally, my husband and I go through about 5-ish questions on any given date night.

With each question, one person asks the other, lets them talk and then you both follow the conversation that flows from the answer. Once that line of conversation ends, you reverse and the other person asks you the same question. We are intentional about making sure each person gets to answer, even if we get off on a tangent.

We mark our place and continue with the list on our next date. The conversations that stem from these questions allow us to learn about the other person’s heart, to laugh and to feel the same excitement & intimacy we felt when we were dating.

Date night questions are a simple way to take your conversations to the next level and connect deeply as a couple.

So, here is your list of questions to encourage your relationship and help you to connect with one another!

Book with flowers with text overlay

75 Date Night Questions for Couples

  1. What is one thing I did that made you feel loved this week?
  2. What do you envision our life looking like in 10 years?
  3. If we had unlimited funds for 1 vacation, where would we go?
  4. What is one odd thing about me that you find endearing?
  5. What is your favorite memory from the beginning of our relation-
    ship?
  6. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
  7. If you could eat only one treat forever that wouldn’t affect your health, what would it be?
  8. What is your favorite memory from our wedding day?
  9. What is one thing your parents taught you that you really appreciate now?
  10. If you had a whole day of no work and no responsibilities, what would that ideal day look like?
  11. What is your favorite thing about your job?
  12. What is something you’ve learned during your quiet time this week?
  13. How did you know you wanted to marry me?
  14. When did you first realize you loved me?
  15. Who is someone who inspired you as a kid or teenager?
  16. What is one area of your life that you would like to grow in?
  17. What Is one area that you have seen me grow in since we have been
    together?
  18. What is one activity or date we’ve been on that you really enjoyed?
  19. Do you remember our first kiss? What details can you recall?
  20. What do you view as my greatest strength?
  21. What is something you really miss about your childhood?
  22. When was the last time you were moved to tears?
  23. What do you think our greatest strength as a couple is?
  24. What is your favorite season and why?
  25. What is your favorite place that you have visited or traveled to?
  26. Do you believe in soulmates? Why or why not?
  27. What were some of your favorite childhood TV shows?
  28. What is a book you’ve read that really impacted your life?
  29. If you didn’t have to work for money, how would you spend your time?
  30. What is your earliest vivid memory?
  31. What is one positive thing you learned about marriage & relationships from your parents?
  32. What is one thing about me that you’ve chosen to accept instead of fighting me on?
  33. What is your favorite way for me to show you I love you?
  34. What is one skill you don’t have no but have always wanted to learn?
  35. Do you see any areas w/ family relationships that we need to create boundaries in?
  36. How do you want to celebrate important dates in our relationship, such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc.?
  37. What is one thing I can do to help you be in the mood to be intimate? How would you like me to initiate sex?
  38. Is there anything about how we currently handle our money that you would like to change or improve?
  39. If/when I make you angry or upset, how would you like me to approach you? 
  40. What is one way we could improve our conflict resolution skills? 
  41. How would you like me to show you that I am paying attention to you?
  42. If you could only pick 5 words to describe me to someone who has never met me, what would they be?
  43. What is one unpopular opinion that you have?
  44. What was your favorite class or classes in college? What did you love about them?
  45. What is one of the best gifts you’ve ever been given?
  46. If you could pick an actor/actress to play you in a  movie about your life, who would it be?
  47. What are the 3 happiest moments of your life?
  48. What is something I do that makes you feel respected?
  49. Did your family have any traditions that you want to continue in our family?
  50. If you could start a foundation to combat one cause, what would it be?
  51. What is one thing you’d like to change or overcome this year? If you already started on a goal, have you made any progress?
  52. Identify a good marriage you’ve seen in your life. What made it a good marriage?
  53. If you could choose any era or time period to have lived in, which would it be and why?
  54. In what circumstances do you feel closest to me?
  55. Describe a life lesson you’ve learned because of a mistake you made. 
  56. What are your expectations about how our life will look if we choose to have children?
  57. What is a dream or recurring dream you remember very vividly?
  58. How do you expect me to act when we are with groups of people? How much attention do you expect from me?
  59. If you could be famous for something, what would you want it to be?
  60. What dating experience before ours had the biggest impact on how you view relationships?
  61. Are there traits you have that you wish you could change about yourself?
  62. If I could read your mind, is there anything you’d be worried or anxious for me to hear?
  63. What area or areas of your life do you feel not understood or heard? 
  64. Describe a time you overcame an anxiety or fear and had a wonderful experience because of it. 
  65. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
  66. When was the last time you tried something new?
  67. What is one thing about our future together that you are really looking forward to?
  68. Think about the Patronuses from Harry Potter: what memory do you believe would be strong enough to produce yours?
  69. Love aside, what is your favorite part about being married/having a life partner? 
  70. What do you value most in your friendships?
  71. What pieces of advice would you give to your teenage self? 
  72. What is one thing you want us to do more of together?
  73. If you could be immediately great at an Olympic sport, what would it be?
  74. When browsing a bookstore, what section do you gravitate to?
  75. What is the most dangerous situation that you have survived?

Phew! That’s a lot of questions. But my husband and I use these all the time and I wanted to get as many of them into your hands as I could. I know they will bless your marriage as well.

Friend, I am praying these date night questions bring connection, depth and some laughter to your relationship.

With love, Ashley

Bible, bible verse, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, healing, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

50 Magical Date Night Ideas!

Today’s guest post comes from Minding the Kings.

Find the original post here.

You know, sometimes Mr. King and I just need a date night. A time to ourselves where we can set our responsibilities aside and enjoy each  other’s company. It’s so important to spend that time together and cultivate a strong relationship. A strong marriage relationship sets the foundation for a strong family! But after a while it can be hard to come up with date ideas. We want to mix it up! We want to try something new! Going to the same couple restaurants every time gets boring, and when we just go to a movie we aren’t really engaging with each other. So I sat down and came up with a list of ideas we could try. Then I thought, we can’t be the only ones looking for new ideas! So, I’m sharing the magic with all of you!

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more**

50 Magical Date Night Ideas

  1.  Go for a bike ride
  2. Create sidewalk chalk murals all over town
  3. Take selfies together with random strangers, then create a photo book of your adventure
  4. Go out and do random acts of kindness together
  5. Go Fishing
  6. Look up workout videos from the 80’s and have fun working out and making fun of them together!
  7. Taste test candy or snacks from other countries
  8. Put together a 1000+ piece puzzle
  9. Visit an art museum, take notepads and pens in with you, and pretend to be art critics!
  10. Build sandcastles and look for shells at the beach
  11. Go canoeing
  12. Do an escape room
  13. Go ice skating or roller skating
  14. Go shopping together and pick out clothes for each other to try on
  15. Make music videos by recording yourselves singing and dancing to your favorite songs
  16. Do a craft together, like making a tie blanket, a stepping stone for your garden, or painting flower pots
  17. Rent a movie that’s in a foreign language, then make up the dialogue for it while you watch
  18. Have a water balloon fight, then relax together in a kiddie pool
  19. Do a color run or mud run together
  20. Go Bowling
  21. Take a class together (painting, cooking, etc)
  22. Explore a nearby  town you’ve never been to before
  23. Go Horseback Riding
  24. Play Frisbee and have a picnic at the park
  25. Do a progressive dinner restaurant tour: Have an appetizer at one restaurant, split an entree at 2 other places, and finish with dessert somewhere else!
  26. Read together
  27. Go Geocaching, or play similar types of games, like Pokemon Go, Draconius Go, or Zombies, Run!
  28. Go riding quads, dirt bikes, a side-by-side, or other recreational vehicles together
  29. Volunteer together
  30. Look up a new recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and make it together (maybe try this one!)
  31. Go Swimming
  32. Create a vision board together
  33.  Look up massage techniques and try them out on each other
  34. Taste test and rate different brands of cola, different flavors of M&M’s, or other foods and drinks!
  35. Play strip poker
  36. Set up hammocks, then watch the sun set and stargaze together
  37. Do a couple’s photo shoot
  38. Go camping. REAL camping!
  39. Play video games together. Multiplayer ones, so you are both playing!
  40. Get to know each other even better by doing a questionnaire or asking “would you rather” questions
  41. Go on a scavenger hunt
  42. Work together on a scrap book of your favorite memories
  43. Borrow I Spy or Where’s Waldo books from the library and spend time together doing them
  44. Have a Nerf war or a Nerf sharpshooter competition
  45. Stay in a hotel room with a Jacuzzi and pamper yourselves
  46. Have a game night playing your favorite board, dice and card games
  47. Do a fast food taste test: Gather 1 each of the same item from different fast food restaurants (chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, etc). Then one person wears a blindfold while the other feeds them the foods from each place one at a time. The blindfolded one has to guess where each item they try is from!
  48. Build something together. Doesn’t matter if its from IKEA or made from scratch.
  49. Go out and play Pool together
  50. Do a $10 date: Each person gets $10 to shop with. The objective is to find 2 things to buy for your other half, 1 thing they would like and 1 gag gift!

For 15 more fun ideas, head over to My Cup Runs Overand check out her list!

As rare as our date nights are, this list will last my husband and I a LONG time! I hope you find some ideas you can use to make your next date night magical! Let me know in the comments what your favorite ideas are!

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9 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE

Today’s guest post comes from Tosin of My Beautiful Ugly.

Find the original post here!

9 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE

More and more I’m realizing how much I love my single years. I wish I didn’t waste 3 years of it on “randoms” as Heather Lindsey calls them. Unfortunately, the church and the world both wrongfully place a taboo on those that are single. I fell for the pressure to be married by a certain age and now not having that pressure is really relaxing. I’m back on my grind and focused on what is most important: Me!!!

9thingstodowhensingle

travelWell for starters, it’s cheaper to travel as a single than a family of 4. And now is the best time to explore the world. When I was younger my goal was to visit each country in the world. That, of course, was before I understood how much money it took to travel. So you may not be able to visit every country but try to travel to a continent you’ve never been before. Asia is at the top of my list! Even if you don’t have the funds or ability to travel outside of your country find places within your state that you’ve never visited and explore! There’s always something to do. Traveling is a great way to open up your mind to new things and meet new people.

findyourselfYou would be surprised how many married women I’ve spoken to who said they didn’t know who they were when they got married. That is such a dangerous place to be because they now have no identity outside of their husband. Even though marriage makes you one you still need to be an individual. If you don’t know who you are you shouldn’t even be considering marriage or even a relationship. You need to have a strong understand of self. Know who you are, what you like and what you dislike. Being strong in who you are also helps you know what you will and will not accept in a relationship. There’s a saying that says if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

findhobbyIs there something that you’ve always wanted to try? Now is the time! Over the summer I realized that I enjoy golf! Crazy right? Who would’ve known. Now is the time to try new things. It’s all a part of finding yourself. Now when my future kids drive me crazy at least I know I can head to the golf course for some “me time”. Lol! Find something that is just for you. Something that you enjoy. All of this helps you have an identity outside of your spouse.

diveintoministryMarried people always love to tell single folks that “God will bring your spouse when you’re focused on His work”. While this may or may not be true, that’s no reason to focus on ministry. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard singles say “But I’m in ministry, why isn’t my husband finding me”. I know I’ve been guilty of saying that too. That is definitely the wrong motivation for ministry. Dive into ministry because you have the time and the desire to please God–not because you are hoping for a return on your investment. Even Paul said the best time to serve God is when you’re single. Take advantage of this time.

giveThe Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. There’s a good feeling that comes from giving. As singles, we should have a bit more time and resources that giving should be a primary focus for us. And I’m not just talking about money. Give of your time. Give of your knowledge. Give of yourself. Bless those around you anyway you can and God in turn will take care of you.

growrelationshipwithgodThis is a big one. One thing I know is that when my husband finds me I want him to find me in Christ. I want him to see that my relationship with God is my number one priority and that if he wants me he needs to follow suit. The only way to be in Christ is to develop a strong relationship with Him. Stay in your word. Pray without ceasing. Surround yourself with like-minded believers. Worship always. Make God your priority and #1 desire. If we ran after God the way we ran after marriage, we probably wouldn’t even want marriage anymore. LOL! Seriously, God is just that good. If a relationship with him is not your priority right now it’s time to change that.

getridofdebtOkay, so God and I have already had a talk about my husband being a finance guru because I’m really terrible with money. No really, I’m terrible. I know what to do and I’ve helped many friends with their budget but when it comes to my own finances I just can’t get it together. I’ll get there in Jesus name :). Bringing debt into marriage is not a healthy start. Unfortunately money is one of the top reasons for divorce. Yes, many of us have college loans that we couldn’t avoid but what about those credit card debts that accumulated because you just needed the latest designer bag? Get rid of those. Pay those off as quickly as possible. I’d say outside of student loans (which I see more as an investment), try the best you can not to start your marriage with debt.

learnhowtomaintainhomeLadies, please do yourself a favor and learn how to take care of the home. Please!!! I know so many woman who don’t know how to cook and clean and they think it’s okay because that’s not what their man is looking for. Yes, granted many men these days say that they aren’t looking for that–they prefer the career woman over the home maker. But don’t be fooled, at the core of every man is still the desire to be taken care of. Get on youtube. Learn from your mother or other women around you. Keep your room clean (I’m talking to myself now lol). Create a clean lifestyle that you will bring into your home. It’s important.

surroundwithmarriedYou need married men and women in your life. If you’re only hanging out with singles who is going to teach you about marriage? Surround yourself with newlyweds and women who have been married for many years. They have wisdom that you can glean from. One thing I will say is that while it’s important to surround yourself with married men (they can see things in your potential spouse that a woman might not see), it is imperative to also befriend his wife. Just use wisdom and protect yourself. Bottom Line: Make sure you have both singles and married individuals in your circle of influence.

Well that’s my list! What do you think I should add? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
9thingstodowhensingle

Bible, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, prayer, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

When Love Changes

Today’s guest post comes from Amy at Forever Beloved.

Find the original post here!

I am no stranger to storybook romance.  Marrying at twenty to the sweetest man, I am blessed to be familiar with love – love as a falling and a pursuit and a passion.  We were introduced for the first time on a cold February evening, bundled up as we stood outside while snow gently fell around us.  We stood there with our cherry-red noses, enamored with each other.

I am also no stranger to going against the grain and doing life differently than others.  One month later we were engaged.  We were married three months after that, with vows breathed in the little country church I was born into.

We both entered marriage in love with being in love.  I adored the romance, comfort and support a spouse offered.  I loved waking up beside him each morning and laying down beside him each night.  I loved that he was my best friend and knew me better than anyone.  We had our own unwritten language and could share a look or a word that no one else would understand but WE knew what it meant.  I loved how he could make me laugh more than anyone else.

Falling in love is the most blissful feeling.  With each new discovery in your relationship, you feel yourself falling more and more in love.  You just know, in your heart of hearts, that you’ve found the right person to spend the rest of your life with.  Your days are filled with dreams of getting married, writing their last name after your first name, having a family and sitting on the porch swing holding hands while watching your grandkids play in the yard.  You are certain these feelings will last forever.  But they didn’t.

Eventually the laundry piles up, the kids are hanging on your leg screaming, you’re both sleep deprived from the new baby, the house looks like a tornado went through and the bills are more than your income.  In that moment you feel your happily ever after wearing off.

You begin to wonder if you even married the right person.   It seems everything he does gets on your nerves, from the way he leaves his socks on the stairs to the way he chews his food.  The person you are married to isn’t the same person you fell in love with.  You begin to doubt your choice.  You look at other couples around you, so happily in love, and you wonder why you don’t have that.  You feel life isn’t fair, at least yours isn’t.  Before long, you can feel your heart slowly drifting away from his.

Throughout the years, I’ve collected every card and love letter my husband has written me.  I have them all safely tucked away but on occasion will pull an old one out and pour over the words.  It’s in that moment, between the lines, I can see this love of ours has, without a doubt, changed over time.

It isn’t because it’s any less.  It isn’t because we’re walking through a valley.  It isn’t because the laundry is piled sky high and the bills are mounting.  It is something different.

Love is more of a choice than a feeling.

Throughout the past twenty-one years we’ve made a conscious choice to daily say that we still do, even now.  Especially now.

He has continued to choose me, even on days I wear sweat pants and a messy bun.  He has continued to choose me, throughout every sickness and surgery.  He has continued to choose me, even when I’m undeserving.

And I’ve chosen him.

Love is strung together choices.  The feelings, undoubtedly, will rise and fall.  Being in love with love will fade as the toughness of life becomes a reality.  As life goes on we all change, we grow, we mature, and life changes us.  But marriage is not meant to be a lifetime commitment to fairy tale love alone.  Marriage is designed to be a repetitive I do, a daily commitment of choosing us over me.  You choose to love who they are at each point in life, not only who they used to be.

Marriage was designed specifically by God to mirror the relationship between Christ and His church.  In marriage, we are acting out a living parable to help our children and others around us grasp what God is like in a more concrete way.

Over the years God has softened and shaped my heart.  He has shown me that I need to love my husband without unreal, fairy tale expectations.  He has shown me that marriage means intentionally looking for love.  It’s in those moments I am flooded with displays of love right in front of me.  Love is the endless miles he’s driven me to doctor appointments.  Love is the hug, kiss and butt slap I get when he walks in the door.  Love is the laundry he does.  Love is his understanding that somehow 8 backyard chickens suddenly became 50.  Love is his support of all my crazy Pinterest ideas.  It’s in these ways and thousands of others that he shows me, he tells me, he loves me.

I am so thankful our love story has so many chapters left to be written in it.  As your love story is written by the ultimate Author of love, you might just be surprised at the romance you find.  And just how much your husband does, in fact, resemble prince charming.  No matter what the situation, or what mess it may hold, he’s still my hero and I’m still his girl.

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, Life, Love, Marriage, single, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

To the Single Girl Still Waiting

Today’s guest blogger is Sarah from Pretty Simple Ideas – Live Simply.

Find the original post here!

To the single girl still waiting: I know your pain. I know your joy and the ups and downs and the rollercoaster of emotions you experience. I experience them too.

To the single girl still waiting

 

I know that there are days when you absolutely adore your freedom. If you want to hit the road and visit a friend who lives a couple hours away, you can. If the church needs volunteers on a weeknight or all day Saturday, you’re available. And if you want to eat take-out and watch 90’s chick flicks in bed, who’s gonna stop you?

I also know that there are days when you feel unbelievably lonely. You feel forgotten, invisible, and left out, and all you want to do is cry. In those moments, please remember that you don’t have to sit and wait idly. There are things you can be doing now to prepare for your future.

To the Single Girl Who's Still WaitingFight for your husband on your knees.

Dear single sisters, I know it’s easy to sit around with our single girlfriends and come up with a list of complaints about singleness (“I have no one to Netflix binge with, I have no one to dance with at weddings, blah blah blah”). It’s also really easy to just keep asking God to send our husbands (in His timing–but SOON). But a friend reminded me recently that we need to do battle for our husbands on our knees.

I’m talking about spiritual warfare, friends. You may not know who your husband is, but God does. And God knows what’s delaying him, too. I’m calling us to fight for our men. I’ve committed to pray for my husband–for his mind, his soul, his body, his character, and his walk with God. I pray for unhealthy relationships to be broken and healthy ones to be built up–friendships of accountability and spiritual growth and that any destructive or unhealthy habits will be broken, and habits of health and spiritual growth will take place. I pray that he will fight to keep his mind pure and stay in step with the Lord and that he will grow closer and closer to God every day.

Be the wife of noble character.

Just because we’re praying for our husbands’ unhealthy habits and relationships doesn’t mean we don’t have some of our own. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

I encourage you to read and study the “Wife of Noble Character” verses in Proverbs 31:10-31. Are you becoming that woman? How about spending time with the Lord and letting His character saturate yours? Are you renewing your mind daily with His truths (see Romans 12:2)? As difficult as waiting can be, don’t let this time go to waste. Use it to walk closely in step with God and let Him ready you and prepare your heart for what’s to come.

It’s okay to have bad days, but don’t stay there.

The single life, when you desire to be married, is a rollercoaster of emotions. I know this full well. And it’s okay to have a day every so often when all you want to do is cry. That’s normal. That makes you a human. But please, sister, don’t stay there. Don’t stay in a perpetual state of sadness. The single life can be full of fun and adventure and laughter and friendship and ministry and travel and coffee and late-night movie nights with friends–if you let yourself enjoy it.

So when you’re having a bad day, pray. Get outside and walk and talk to God or fall face down on your carpet and talk to God or hide under your covers and talk to God. Whatever your preferred method is, pray. If you need to, call a trusted, encouraging friend who will point you to God. Open your Bible and soak up the Word. But determine to root yourself in God’s truths. Let hope be an anchor for your soul (see Hebrews 6:19).

Beware of the “nice guy.”

For many years, I’ve been praying that God will not just protect me from the “wrong” guys, but from the “nice” guys. You know the type: the solid, Christian guy who is sweet and nice and involved in his church… but you just don’t have feelings for him. If he asked you out, it would be hard to say no to such an upstanding young man of character who loves the Lord. People around you may be attempting to convince you to date him. On the outside there may be no logical reason to turn him down. But the problem is, he’s not the one God has for you. And you know it.

That’s the kind of guy I want God to protect me from. That’s the kind of guy who could easily pull me off-track from my destiny. There’s nothing really wrong with him… But as a friend of mine says, he’s the silver and not the gold. He is, however, someone else’s gold. So do both of you a favor and don’t fall for the “nice guy”.

Learn to embrace rejection.

You know the old cliché saying, “When one door closes another one opens.” I don’t necessarily believe that’s true that another door will immediately open when one closes. But I do know that when you’re praying for God to show you His will, and He closes a door, let it stay closed.

After praying for many years that God would protect my heart from all the “nice guys,” and asking Him not to let me go through any more major breakups, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I felt invisible to men. While other girls were going on dates and having several short relationships, I was thinking “Hey, does anybody see me? Does anyone notice me? Will anyone ever want me?”

Then I remembered that I asked God to protect me from the unnecessary heartache of relationships with the wrong guys. And when I have gone on a date or two with a guy, and it ends unceremoniously or for no apparent reason, I count it as a blessing that it ended quickly and not after a year of dating unnecessarily.

So what to do when you feel lonely, rejected, and invisible? God taught me a mantra that I believe will help you, too.

Ready for it?

“It’s not rejection; it’s protection.”

That’s it. Read it again. Let it soak in.

When a guy rejects you for no reason, or a guy you like only wants to be friends, or a guy stops talking to you after you tell him which presidential candidate you voted for (yup, that happened to me), remind yourself that it is not rejection, but God’s protection!

There’s one caveat to this method, however. You need to be willing to ask God to protect you from the “wrong guys” and the “nice guys”. That doesn’t mean you don’t date. It means that when you do date, you’re praying for God’s will in the situation. You’re praying before each date and phone call and texting marathon that if this is not the man for you, that God will show you.

This may cause you to feel some things: rejection, loneliness, sadness, and frustration, for example. But that’s nothing compared to the joy you’ll feel when you meet the man God has for you, and you know that it’s part of God’s plan for your life.

It’s not rejection; it’s protection. Repeat that to yourself as often as necessary.

Ladies, I know this single season can be unbelievably painful. I know it can be incredibly wonderful. But I also know that regardless of how we’re feeling on any particular day, we need to keep growing, keep seeking God, and keep moving on the path that God has for us.

Sisters, hang in there, and never stop enjoying the journey.

And above all, seek Him first!

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)