The Way to Keep a Marriage

I once read of a woman who wanted to end her marriage, but she really desired to hurt her husband in the process; to make him pay for her misery. She visited an attorney who gave her this advice: “If you really want to hurt your husband, go home and live with him for 30 more days before you announce your plan to divorce.”

 

During that time, compliment him every day. Tell him he’s handsome and smart, strong and talented. Touch his hand, look into his eyes, and stroke his hair. Make him believe you are madly in love with him. At the end of the 30 days, tell him you want a divorce. That will hurt him more than anything else!”

 

The woman did as she was told. She went home and lavished love on her husband, complimenting and serving him every chance she could. The month came and went, but the attorney never heard from her.

 

One day the woman and the attorney met unexpectedly. The lawyer asked if she was now ready to end her marriage. Shocked, she replied, “No! He’s the love of my life!”

 

Intentional love changes hearts; changes feelings; changes people; changes marriages; changes lives. Grace. Is this not the love of Christ?

 

Marriage

 

Late one evening, my husband and I sat on our front porch, tiki torches lit, and light, sweet words on our tongues. We sat chatting as lovers do, smiles broad and laugh lines deep. Somehow, some way, a word wasn’t fitly spoken, a phrase stung, and the easy flow of conversation gave way to murky misunderstandings and frustrated feelings. Frowns creased, breath shortened, words were curt, and soon, silence hung heavy.

 

He reached for my hand.

 

You know what I think we should do? I think we should spend the rest of the night saying why we love each other.”

 

I looked at him, waiting in self-centered silence for him to begin.

 

I love you because you love to try new things. I love you because you’re beautiful. I love you because you’re passionately in love with God.

 

Convicted and humbled, I answered: “I love you because you’re trying. I love you because you make me laugh. I love you because you moved in with your mother-in-law. I love you because you’re honorable.”

 

I love you because you’re a good Mama. I love you because you play with the dog even when she drives you batty. I love you because you love books.

 

I love you because you’ve never even considered that changing diapers and giving baths wasn’t ‘your job’. I love you because there’s nothing that ever sways your dedication to those you love.”

 

I love you…always.

 

I looked over and smiled.

 

Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious.Ecclesiastes 10:12

 

Isn’t this the way to keep a marriage?

 

Successful Marriage

 

Intentional love, intentional grace, always.

 

I. Love. You. Always.

Advertisements

Hard Eucharisteo: The Mingled Cup

A dream died this week. New life began this week. And God was good this week.

A 10-year-old covenant ended with a piece of paper: Dissolution of Marriage. One spouse couldn’t rest in grace and deliverance. The man I called Papa chose a different life, and the Little Blonde is now free.

I asked if she’s okay. Like a sun-kissed daffodil, her face beamed radiant, and she said yes. She knows the lover of her soul will never leave nor forsake, and she stands ready to live, ready to love.

Joy and Pain

When God created the picture of Himself and His bride on earth and blessed their union, He joined two into one, never to be torn asunder. Man’s sin and foolishness have marred the perfect image of God’s love, beauty, and sacrifice. Yet Christ’s redeeming love lives, grasps, holds. The beauty of His passion is seen in those who march forward; those who reach out, take hold of His unchanging hand, and choose to marinate in His grace and goodness and offer up the sacrifice of praise – hard eucharisteo.

“The Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, ‘I know, I know’…”

Just Hold Onto This

Everything is eucharisteo. Because eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things – take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness…

This, the hard eucharisteo. The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good…All is grace because all can transfigure.

Wrestle with God, beg to see the blessings.” Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

eucharisteo

        It always precedes the miracle.

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

949. A woman of strength and love to do life with…I love you, Mama!

944. A new morning and the new mercies and faithfulness I see (Lamentations 3:23)

948. He never leaves us nor forsakes us; He will not, He will not, He will not (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)

716. A day to just stay in jammies and watch movies

945. Spring’s new life

946. Choosing to feel both joy and pain, and stay open to the blessings

947. Nail-scarred hands that hold, cleanse, and restore

 

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

 

 

*Photo Credit

Thanksgiving Thursday: The Gift of a Man

Skot

The life-blood of Thanksgiving Thursday is gratitude: unwrapping gifts and giving thanks to the Giver.  One of God’s greatest gifts to me is my husband.

Six feet of God’s most magnificent handiwork, this man is nothing less than my constant rock, best friend, intimate ally, steadfast partner, and covenant lover.

My ultimate gratitude for my husband belongs to God. But I am grateful – so very grateful – to my husband for everything he is and everything I’ve known with him and everything he gives me to look forward to.

Friday is his birthday, and I give the gift of thanks for all his gifts to me.

Proud Wife

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

   He has character

Character denotes many qualities, and my husband exhibits all of character’s indications. He’s honorable, ethical, compassionate, honest, courageous, passionate, and teachable. He is tender and responsive toward God’s leading, and stands ready to do all that is asked of him. With Joshua’s fearlessness, Daniel’s courage, and David’s faith (Joshua 1:7 & 6:17; Daniel 1:8; Acts 13:22), he is a man of integrity and love.

   He lets me sleep

I’ve never been an early riser, and he’s never asked me to change. Through 15 years of marriage, one daughter, and many life changes, he’s always let me sleep.

   He gives amazing back rubs

His powerful hands work with precision, talent, and erotic strength. A back rub is only a back rub, though. And that leads to the next gift.

   He gave me a daughter

Of all the things he’s given me over all the years we’ve been together, our daughter stands supreme. And he’s a rock star dad!

 

DSC02034

 

 

   He’s faithful

My beloved is mine, and I am his. A cord of three is not easily broken.

IMG_4528-1

 

 

   He’s a man

He’s sweet, smart, kind, and loving, but he’s made of brawn, backbone, bravery, and bold confidence.

   He communicates

He talks – really. Sweet, laborious, fun, hard, dreamy, frightening, or silly, he communicates. Long chats are our Modus Operandi.

  He lets me buy books

He doesn’t know how much I spend on Amazon, and he doesn’t care. I love to read, he loves me.

Truths of my life

 

 

   He’s affectionate

He holds my hand and he kisses my daughter. He canoodles on the couch and he hugs my mama. He throws his arm over me as we sleep and he lets me toss my leg over his. His touch is soft, his hold firm, and his cuddles perfect.

   He’s goofy

He’s my kind of groovy: innately fun and full of laughter.

   He works hard so I can stay home

He knows I am ardently dedicated to raising the child I brought into this world, and so is he. He loves her enough to work skillfully and capably to provide for us so I may bring up and nurture our child.

They Are Your Work

   He supports my work-from-home love

I have found my life’s passion in writing, and he supports me in every way. He proofreads, keeps the kid while I write, lets me work in bed, and tells me I’m fantastic at what I do. 

   He creates a haven-home with me

Our home is a shelter. We do love. He makes it that way.

Love

Thanksgiving Thursday, My Cup Runs Over

If you learn to worship while the enemy sits across from you at the same table; if you can learn to pay such close attention to the King that you forget about the enemy staring you in the face…then you win.” Tommy Tenney, Finding Favor With the King

The imagery of Psalm 23:5 is precious, peaceful, worshipful, and altogether different than seems natural in the presence of enemies. Our loving gaze, exclusively on our King; our King’s power, protection, deep affection, and bountiful blessing exclusively on us…all in the presence of our enemy. What a picture!

Worship, praise, and thanksgiving are strong and effective weapons in our spiritual arsenal, because we have his power flowing through us as he inhabits our praises. When we bow in the presence of our King, give Him glory, and shout that He alone reigns, the powers of darkness tremble. Why? Because the powers of darkness can’t drown out one single word in the song of the redeemed!!*

And I can testify to this truth. This week, I have sat at the table prepared for me in the presence of the enemy of my soul, with my eyes fixed on my King. And power has coursed, pleasure has flowed, security has flooded, and no fear has been in his presence. This week, I have feasted with the King. He has prepared a table for me, I have prepared my heart for him.

He will break bread and I will take and the world is His feast! and He is love! and nothing will keep my hand from filling with His.”*

My Thanksgiving List 10/4/12

222. The table prepared for me in the presence of my enemy

223. Being so immersed in the face of the King that I see nothing else

225. Watermelon strawberry smoothies

242. A fun and memorable wedding anniversary

355. Broncos win against the Raiders 37-6 (Hey, all is grace, right?!)

234. Thunderstorms

244. The joy of cooking

362. Sharing a PB&J with my little Peanut

363. That God is always good and we are always loved, even when it all seems to fall apart

367. Training up a child

Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?

 

 

 

*He Reigns, Newsboys

*One Thousand Gifts pg 221

Photo Credit

Thanksgiving Thursday, On This Day…

This day I will marry my friend; the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love.” These were the words printed on our wedding invitations, unity candle, and reception cocktail napkins fifteen years ago tomorrow. September 28th, 1997 was a sunny fall Sunday; I was just shy of 19, he was just over 21, and we became husband and wife.

 

He’s all I’ve ever known. I was just 14 years old when he first held my hand and captured my heart, and he still holds both. He’s my sweetest comfort and my greatest joy, my best friend and my only lover, my soft place and my steadfast rock, my daughter’s father and my life’s favorite everything.

 

…the bravest love is wildly faithful and it falls hard again every morning…the happily married have eyes that look long enough to make the familiar new.

 

…my head’s full of how we’ve known each other and how he still is mystery and how the want is still all his. We sleep in matrimony and it is holy.”*

 

 

 My Thanksgiving List, 9/27/12

 

231. That he made me his 15 years ago

 

 

228. The having and the holding 😉

 

226. Homemade chicken noodle soup on a rainy evening

 

224. The energy in a great workout

 

221.That in this house, we do love

 

229. Raiding the pantry together to come up with fun, goofy suppers

 

232. The way he makes me laugh until I cry

 

213. Spring’s buds of life in my heart even as the world goes into fall’s hibernation

 

230. Butterflies in my tummy when I wake and feel his legs wrapped around mine

 

231. His smile. His character. His body. His heart. His long fingers. His spirit. His hazel eyes. Him.

 

 

 

Please tell me, what blessings have you unwrapped this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A Holy Experience, The Bravest & Most Beautiful Affair

I Will Stand…In Christ Alone

Not long after my dad died, my mom told me a story. She told me how, when the twin towers crumbled in New York City on September 11th, 2001, the foundations of the buildings that surrounded the massive towers were irreparably moved, shaken, and weakened by the destructive fall. They could not stand.

She was telling me more than just a story, though. I had only been married four short years when my dad died; when my parents’ marriage and all that I had held dear shattered at my feet. My marriage’s foundation was shaken. She was talking about my future; she was talking about my choices.

So I went home, made my choice, stood before my husband, and told him the story. I told him the destruction stops here. We may be shaken, but we will not be moved, we will not be torn down, we will not be weakened. We will stand…in Christ alone.

I also made my choice before God. He knew the story of the towers and the foundations of the surrounding buildings, so I didn’t tell him. I just told him where my heart stood. I told him that the destruction stops here. I told him that I may be shaken, but I would not be moved, I would not be torn down, I would not be weakened. I will stand…in Christ alone.

Nearly eleven years later, I am very near another fall, one that has threatened my foundation. But the destruction stops here. I may be shaken, but I will not be moved, I will not be torn down, I will not be weakened. I will stand…in Christ alone.

Bringin’ Sexy Back

I love the Bible. It fascinates me and I love how it is full of humor, heroes, action, fire falling on water-soaked wood, dry bones becoming flesh, giant-killing kids, fleece-determined battles, water-spouting rocks, fire dancing on people’s heads, vivid detail of erotic love scenes, and, my personal favorite, water turned into wine.

Wait, what?? Vivid detail of erotic love scenes? Yup, the God-breathed pages of Scripture leaves no ambiguity regarding God’s design for pleasure and passion in the physical relationship between a man and his wife; no blushing, shy, or awkward wording to describe the beauty of the marriage bed.

But given the Puritan age, the sixties, public grade school and college brainwashing, many misinformed or simply embarrassed preachers, teachers, and parents, and lack of biblical marriage preparation, I wonder how many married couples would describe themselves as lovers today. How many would say their marriage is sexy, regardless of exactly how many times a week they make love? Chris Matthews may have felt a thrill go up his leg when he heard President Obama speak, but how many married couples feel tingles when they hear their lover’s voice or feel their touch?

Yet the Creator of the universe, El Elyon, the great I AM, the One Who measured the water in the hollow of His hands and weighed the mountains on the scales, designed the one flesh relationship to be between man and wife for procreation (Gen. 1:22) and resistance to temptation (1 Cor. 7:5), and also for passionate pleasure (Prov. 5:19; Song of Solomon 7:8), tender comfort (Gen. 24:67; 2 Sam. 12:24), playful fun (Gen. 26:8), romantic love (Song of Solomon 6:3), true intimacy (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:7), and because it is very goood (Gen. 1:31)!

Christian marriages ought to be the leading champions of fantastic sex. It is time to “bring sexy back”. It is time to strip the title “sexy” away from glossy magazine pages, inanimate computers, sex-crazed teens, Hollywood’s big screens, and cohabitating pretend-marrieds that want to play house. It’s time to bring sexy back to where it belongs: in the marriage bed.

The one-flesh creation necessitates that a husband is the only legitimate outlet for his wife’s sexual energy, desire, and need, and vice-versa. Yet many women would rather wash their husbands dirty socks than show them love in the bedroom, and many men are willing to trade in the feel of their wife’s warm flesh for the airbrushed pages of a magazine. Pornography, however, is clearly and unmistakeably prohibited in Scripture as an indefensible act of adultery in marriage. Jesus spoke without equivocation on this subject: “If a man looks at woman with lust, he has committed adultery already with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Exclusivity is the number one secret to a passionate, exciting, and enduring sex life. If you are married, make the covenant with your eyes that Job made to not look lustfully upon another (Job 31:1).

The fun thing is, there IS a secret to supporting and enabling our lovers to resist temptation and remain faithful. This secret is lots of prayer, and – get this – regular, consistent sex! 🙂 There are, of course, obstacles to be overcome in day-in, day-out married life. We can struggle with busyness, children, fatigue, exhaustion, and physical pain. These can cause lovemaking to drift to near the bottom of the to-do list. Lovemaking is, however, an essential element to the vitality and overall health of our marriages. Sex recharges physically, mentally, and emotionally, provides an outlet for dealing with life’s challenges, and has been seen to be an anti-depressant in women, as well as being a great calorie burner!

The sexual relationship of married lovers should offer each mate a place of rest, refreshment, and oasis, as well as a safe place to enjoy being ravished with love (Prov. 5:19)! We are to enjoy, be intoxicated with, captivated, exhilarated, and enraptured by the sexual love of our spouse. Michael Pearl said in his book “Holy Sex”: It is time for Christian couples to take back this sacred ground and enjoy the holy gift of sexual pleasure.” Pastor Mark Gungor echos this, saying, “Christian marriages ought to be known for great sex!” Any sex outside of the one-man, one-woman, married relationship is a forgery of the heaven-on-earth, knock-your-socks-off, angels sang, earth moved, hallelujah good time that married sex was meant to be.

It is time; it is time for married Christians to lead the way to understanding that the only way to great sex is to enjoy it within your own marriage. It is time for married couples to start delighting in what is rightfully theirs to enjoy. It is time to bring sexy back.

This blog is not meant to be a comprehensive study in married sex. Suggested resources: Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus; Intimacy Ignited by Dr. and Mrs. Dillow and Dr. and Mrs. Pintus; Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Pastor Mark Gungor; Red-Hot Monogamy by Bill and Pam Farrel; The Total Woman by Marabelle Morgan.