Today’s guest blogger is Erica from Coming Up Roses.
Find the original post here!
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.
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.
Most Mother’s Days, I don’t wake up to a perfect bouquet or breakfast in bed. But my days have been just right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Focus on the eternal blessings, and you might find greater joy than you expected in the first place.
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?
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.
Building intimacy in a marriage is important in strengthening 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 :).
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)
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!
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.
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!
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!
Men love delicious foods prepared with love :).
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.
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)
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)
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.
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 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).
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.
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
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!
Today’s guest post comes from Tosin of My Beautiful Ugly.
Find the original post here!
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!!!
Well 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.
You 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.
Is 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.
Married 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.
The 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.
This 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.
Okay, 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.
Ladies, 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.
You 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.
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.
Today’s guest blogger is Sarah from Pretty Simple Ideas – Live Simply.
Find the original post here!