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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)

Bible, Life, Love, Marriage, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

The Jump from Friend Zone to Love – Her side of the story

Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer Love from Intentional Traditions. I chose this post because it reminds me so much of the way David and I became one – we were friends for many months before he decided to fly from Hawaii to Georgia.

Find the original post here!

The day of our first date was an uncomfortable one. I had spent the afternoon making small talk, finding it hard to make eye contact. I had scratched at the peeling edge of the café table and sweated, shifting around in my chair and anxiously sipping my coffee. There were words dying to be said but they just couldn’t pass through my head to my lips. I had stalled all day at telling my best friend that I think I had agreed to a date that night with one of our “friends” and I wasn’t sure how she was going to take it.

For some reason this seemed almost as nerve-wracking as the actual first date. We had always been a group of buddies and secretly I had thought that was an okay status to change between he and I but didn’t want to admit to it yet. To me, it almost seemed long overdue, and at the same time impossible. To her, was this crazy or obvious or weird? For some reason, I just could not say it.

Finally, when coffee mugs were dry and it was time to leave after hours of lingering, I blurted out, “I think Donnie asked me out for tonight. Like on a date.” She smiled and was encouraging. She could see how this was good. She knew the deep friendship that was there and didn’t find this announcement earth-shaking. She laughed that this had taken me all day to say. I had been silly.

 

The Stakes Were High

So, from there I got to move on to my second concern. There was a weight to this decision to let him take me out to dinner because: we were both pretty serious people; it was nearing the end of my senior year of college; we had known each other for almost 4 years; and we weren’t the type to date people we didn’t respect enough to at least consider marrying. This could potentially be a step out of the friend zone with no return, other than to mess things up with a really good friend. That’s a scary step.

I wasn’t even really sure what I had agree to. We always hung out as part of the same crowd and often shared dinner together. He had called and left a goofy, macho message about meat and potatoes and eating on February 14 to which I said I had plans with my girl friends to go out and laughed it off.

When he called the next day with the same question I assumed he needed more than a ride down to the cafeteria. It’s really strange how awkward and nervous you could morph to feel around some you had pranked, tripped, picked on, argued with and flirted with in front of others for years. Suddenly I had no idea what to wear for someone I had sat beside at lunch a hundred times and who had seen me in sweaty, grubby clothes doing service work.

Starting to Fall

He did pick me up, for a change, in his little brown pick-up truck and drove about 3 minutes away from campus to a local restaurant I had only been to a few times for special birthday parties with friends. The ceiling of the restaurant was painted black but dotted with tiny lights to mirror the night sky. He was being gentlemanly and sweet but it didn’t seem to hard to receive.

Any tension quickly dissipated as we fell into our old habit of cutting right to intense, honest, challenging conversation. For two hours we relived childhood memories, detailed dreams for our individual futures, poured out convictions, beliefs and expectations for life after graduation. It was easy. It was comfortable. Much of our dreams were very similar. But we already knew that.

I remember leaning back in my chair thinking, This is how conversation should be with a guy. Easy, comfortable, understood. I felt respected, admired and encouraged in who I was and my ideals. And I knew in many ways I was an odd one. He made me feel like that was a great attribute.

 

I do not remember at all what we ate. But long after the plates had been cleared by the waiter, we were still sitting there talking and unhurried to move on. He then pulled out a deck of cards, which embarrassed me slightly but I agreed to see his magic trick.

Without disclosing a magician’s secrets, it was one of those decks that looked normal when you spanned it one way but blank when you spanned them the other. What had looked typical really wasn’t, like the underlying potential in our friendship.

Maybe I hadn’t noticed what had been there all along, huh? Slick.

Maybe I should consider him since we know each other so well and see where it goes?

Ironically, that speedbump I expected from “friends” to “dating” seemed to be easily passed. Like miraculously. We walked out of that restaurant moving into the future we had spent the evening expressing that we wanted, not knowing that each other would play the main character from then on out.

Every moment of every year since then may not have been perfectly easy, but the foundation of our friendship – knowing his good (but intense) heart, trusting his passionate (but stubborn) decisions, appreciating his spontaneous (but sometimes careless) will, and now even more, his desire to chase the Lord despite any costs – that foundation made all the difference in riding out any tough spots. We knew what was at the core of each other and trust in that could not be given up on. Any opportunity that has come up since then we’ve said, Yep, let’s do it. Together. And our life has been incredibly blessed. And interesting.

Fifteen years have quickly passed by and I’m so glad I made the brave choice to date my “friend”.

Here’s to February 15, 2001! Thanks for asking me twice.

So, now I am the one meeting with college students and helping them navigate similar relationships. I have to answer that question of, “Why should your husband be your friend first?”

I am so thankful that we had such a firm foundation of friendship heading into marriage. We had seen each other work hard and mess up. We had seen each other’s leadership and ability to serve. We had even seen each other’s character through other relationships and their long track record of following the Lord.

In an age when it seems easy to quit early or trade up, we had looked through the window of the soul into what is most important and what will remain. That is what you want marriage based upon.

Honestly, much of grown-up life can be mundane. Paying bills, making lists, doing yard and house work, grocery shopping. Why not choose to be with someone who knows and loves you for who you are, who can make you laugh, and can make those potentially mundane moments enjoyable?

That level of friendship and love is what I want to have to model and pass down to my kids. What I’d love to hear (someday) from my boys is, “I want to marry my best friend, like my dad did.”

 

What’s your story?

You can read here His Side of the Story… and what we plan to teach our boys about friendship and dating.

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, healing, health, jesus, Life, Love, Marriage, Mental Illness, Uncategorized, Valentine’s Day, women

Thank you, Sweetheart

Today’s guest blogger is Samantha Moss from My Medical Musings. This post struck a particular chord with me because I have someone very near and dear to me that suffers from chronic illness and she depends on her husband greatly. This could bring great stress upon a marriage; or, you can go through it all with God and your marriage can be stronger than ever. #testimony

Find the original Post here!

Behind every great man is a great woman, or so the saying goes.

Let’s flip that on it’s head a little. Behind this chronically ill wife is an amazing husband. A husband who has become a full-time carer. A husband who has gone beyond the call of duty. A husband who has become my legs, my cleaner, my cook, my shopper, my gardener, my driver, my nurse.

A husband who holds my hand when I’m writhing in pain. A husband who heats wheat packs in the middle of the night or makes me a cup of tea in the early hours of the morning, when sleep is completely disturbed by pain.

My husband is nothing short of amazing and I don’t know how, I don’t even want to think about how, my life would be without him by my side.

We share this chronic illness journey, warts and all. He knows me better than anyone else. He can tell when I’m exhausted even before I can. He never complains at this life that has been landed in his lap.

He never gets annoyed at me for my limitations. If anything he gets annoyed at me when I try to do things beyond my limitations. That’s when I frustrate him.

It’s a frustration born out of love though. It’s because he knows how much pain I will endure for stretching my limits. He speaks to me of hating what my body is doing to me and how he feels so helpless. That breaks my heart to hear him say that 😢

A World Of Our Own

Somehow we have managed to create a world of our own that works for us. While it is an extremely limited life, it is also a full and an ever expanding life. Most of it is spent in the four walls of our home but we are together and we create our own adventures on a daily basis.

We laugh and cry together, we read together, we pray together, we watch our favourite TV shows,  we sit in our garden and chat as if on a beautiful date. We share the jobs around the house and keep our environment a place where we want to be.

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We also have our alone time during the day. I have my online support forum and writing commitments and my husband always has a project on the go that he potters with in his “man cave”.

Although we usually only spend 2 or 3 hours apart each day that time is precious and important, particularly for a carer.

Where Would I Be Without Him?

I was recently asked to write on the topic of  “Partners – Where would we be without our partners?”

I have a very simple answer to that question.  Lost, lonely and in a permanent residential care facility.

Thank you Sweetheart, for all you do, your devotion, care, acceptance of our situation and your unfailing love.

Words really can’t express my love for you but I hope this blog post will always remind you that I think you are amazing and I love you so much ❤️❤️

Thank you Sweetheart

Sam xx❤️❤️

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 v 4 – 7

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

Bible, bible verse, Birthday, Death, Depression, family, Fertility, friendship, god, happiness, healing, health, Infertility, jesus, Life, Marriage, Ministry, prayer, Uncategorized

…but God

This has been a…hard year.

A year of a lot of loss but also a lot of prayers answered.

We’ve lost loved ones.

We’ve lost dreams. I lost a very personal dream but also was delivered from cancer, pain, and gained…a lot of weight 🥴 from that lost dream.

Milestones were not forgotten but … prioritized, often not in the order we wished but in the order which was right.

A dear friend found she had cancer….but God and she fight.

She still fights today.

We celebrated 50 years of God-focused marriage between my parents.

We finally found our Church home after nearly a decade of praying and seeking, going through different seasons, and being used at various places.

So, while we have seen loss and experienced hurt…we rejoice – I rejoice – because though we prayed and often felt like He didn’t hear us, He knew what was down the road and where our specific brand of love and talents were needed most. He saw us through fear. He delivered us from slings and arrows.

While my flesh wants to cling to the loss, the hysterectomy, the pain, the fear, the weight gain, the heartbreak… my spirit cries out in joy and appreciation for the hope of Heaven, no cancer, loving and being loved again in a Church family, and my family’s every need being met.

What do YOU choose to thank Christ for, today?

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I choose peace

Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted. I am not emotionally exhausted in a conversational way. I am emotionally exhausted in the clinical way. As I had that thought on the forefront of my mind, I ran across this picture posted here.

I thought to myself how true it is… but God. You see, if you look up all of the signs of emotional exhaustion you will find that I actually only meet maybe one or two of the criteria. That is not because I’m not experiencing emotional exhaustion. That is because…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

And, I could go on because His Word goes on. I’m not going to worry tonight. I might worry on another day… when I’m stronger of body yet not being diligent about being spiritually focused on God‘s promises that day.

Tonight, though, I’m not going to worry about losing another loved one. I’m not going to worry about having enough money for repairs and gifts. I am not going to worry about whether I am the best mother or not, the best daughter or not, the best sister or not, the best friend or not.

I’m not going to worry because I have given my exhaustion to the Lord and He has turned it into peace. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider of promises, needs, and even emotional balance and health. I could focus on my exhaustion and say that it is there because of all of the turbulence around me; but, instead, I am recognizing that God is using it to force me into a state of awareness of the peace that is simply waiting for me to fall back into. And… I choose to fall back into His peace and His promises tonight.

http://youtu.be/BgaHaioAjyg