A hurry-up life-style results in a throwaway culture.
Indeed, many, many marriages are thrown away or put-on-the-back-burner because of the hurried pace and expectations of today’s society. There’s little time to develop attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize the culture of a good, godly marriage.
So, I offer a simple solution that can have positive “cultural” effects by way of two examples. If you don’t live in East Tennessee or travel these roads, just adapt to your neck-of-the-woods!
Be ready for eclectic décor and excellent food! Their website says it well!
Begin with a trendy location just 10 minutes from Asheville, NC. Stir in a whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces. Season with provocative offerings of American, Greek and European cuisine. Add a dash of funk and a smidgen of comfy cool. Top it off with owners who bring tremendous heart and skill to the table, treating you more like family. Garnish with smiles all around.
Denise and I, and friends, have tried many of their menu offerings over the years and have never been disappointed. For lunch, I suggest the Jamaican Shrimp Wrap or Tacos Pescado. For supper, how about the Meatloaf or Salmon or Chicken Piccatta!!
I’m ready to stop typing and head on down the road to the Knob!!!
You have to be going there on purpose to find it, but once you drive down the lane, you are surrounded by the stillness of it all! Yes, you are tucked away from busy life, yet you are minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the uniqueness of Asheville, NC.
Our stay included the Trillium Room, which had a great view, plus playing ping pong and pool. Rest and enjoying each other’s company was enhanced by the sitting room and a walk around the property. This would be a great place for a birthday or anniversary celebration!
So, number your days. Live in the moment. Plan or be spontaneous!
Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Husbands, you may be wired to get from point A to point B in the quickest, shortest time possible. Unwire and surprise your wife with an intentional get-out-of-the-car-nofastfood meal or get a cookie and coffee and enjoy time seated on the sidewalk with your sweetheart! Live today!
Travelling can become a very boring routine no matter your destination!
Do you take the interstate on all of your trips?
Do you only eat at fast-food chain restaurants?
Do you just stop for a quick restroom break and it’s back to beatin’ the pavement?
Suggestion: Slow down, get off the path everyone else is taking and enjoy the journey! Take the scenic route! Getting “there” is not the main goal. It’s living in the moment that God has given and making investments in the lives around you. That includes the people in your car and the many outside your vehicle!
So, let me give you some trip tips to make the journey more enjoyable.
I will begin in this post with the section of I-75 between Corbin and Lexington, Kentucky. Here’s a few neat spots to stop for a meal or overnight lodging.
Check out the website and see the prices. Add breakfast and you are set!
Friendly staff, very nice rooms, cozy and comfortable!!
Hope you get to meet the jolly, friendly bell hop, too!!
You’ll want to stroll around the block and step into the fudge shop, coffee & tea shop, sandwich shop and/or candle store.
Need some exercise? Good running or walking path on North Main Street!
There’s much more to see in America than Buc-ee’s!!!! So, check back with me in the days to come as I share other neat places on the scenic route . . . off the interstate!!
Scenic Route Marriage Tip: Side trips like these provide time to talk, listen, hold hands, share, kiss, slow down and enjoy the gift of marriage! Helps you get out of and stay out of the rut of mindless routine that traps many marriages.
A marriage declines over a period of time. As I said at the beginning of this series, no man decides on a whim to get a divorce.
Sadly, the decline occurs when marriages experience more “withdrawals” than “investments.”
Obviously, if you continue to use your debit card without putting any funds in the bank, your withdrawals will overcome your investments and your are overdrawn. You have a negative bank balance.
Some husbands and wives are overwhelmed in their marriage; their “marriage bank account” is depleted and dry.
If that is you, may I encourage you make the following investments?
Investment #1:Believe that no marriage is too far gone to be recovered and renewedby God’s grace.
The absolute, preeminent starting point for every sin, heartache, issue, perplexity, uncertainty, fear, sorrow, risk, hardship, etc. is with God (Psalms 61:1-3; 66:1-5; Matthew 11:28-30).
Read, meditate and pray through each of the passages of Scripture given above and below and others, calling out to God on behalf of your spouse and your marriage. The best investment you can make is prayer! Please don’t underestimate the power of God in prayer! He is able, and His grace is sufficient!!
Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17)
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. (2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP)
Investment #2: Forgive one another now and often.
Our old sin nature and our heart will lie to us telling us that we don’t deserve such treatment; that we have a right to be happy; that holding a grudge and seeking revenge is the way to go!
With that view, if you are born again; a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you cannot hold a grudge over your spouse, pour out your wrath upon him or her, or keep a record of wrongs done to you, in other words, get “historical.” Just as you have received the covering and removal of your sin by the precious blood of Christ in forgiveness, you must forgive, too!
There’s a form of debt in your marriage (and all relationships) far more dangerous than financial debt.
It’s relational debt.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is not talking about personal finances or budget. Instead, he’s talking about something that’s supposed to happen in healthy relationships—forgiveness.
Why is it such a struggle to forgive? Why don’t people forgive at all? The sad reality is that there is short-term power, albeit destructive, in refusing to forgive the other person. There are dark “benefits” in keeping someone else in our relational debt.
Keeping a record of our spouse’s wrongs gives us the upper hand in the relationship. There is power in having something to hold over another’s head. There is power in using a person’s weakness and failure against them, so in moments when we want our own way, we pull out some wrong against our spouse as our relational trump card.
How ugly and selfish is that?
It seems almost too obvious to say, but forgiveness is a much better way than unforgiveness. It’s the only way to live in an intimate, long-term relationship with another sinner. It’s the only way to negotiate through the weakness and failure that will daily mark your marriage.
Forgiveness is a relational transaction that needs to occur in moments when sin has gotten in the way of the unity, love, and understanding between a husband and wife (or any two people for that matter).
Paul David Tripp
Forgiveness lifts the burden off our shoulders of bearing wrongs and restores what has been broken.
The more you are willing to pursue forgiveness, the more you experience its blessings. It’s the only way to deal with hurt and disappointment. It’s the only way to have hope and confidence restored. It’s the only way to protect your love and reinforce the unity that you have built. It’s the only way not to be kidnapped by the past.
Canceling relational debt is a beautiful and necessary thing, not only for your marriage but in every single relationship in your life. (Paul David Tripp, Wednesday Word, 2/23/2022)
What investments will you make in your marriage today? Grace and forgiveness will restore any broken relationship if you will “lay down your sword” and run to the cross in utmost humility. (James 4:1-3, 6-10)
Years ago, country music artist, Barbara Mandrell, made popular a song entitled, Sleeping Single in a Double Bed. The song laments the husband’s departure and how lonely the nights are without him by her side. I’m not condoning the song, but sadly, this song title is played out in many marriages night-after-night.
So, what’s another way to divorce-proof your marriage? Don’t make a habit of sleeping single in a double bed.
The Word of God says, Marriage is honorable (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) among all, and the bed undefiled (pure); but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:4-5).
What are some things we can learn from this passage that would correct this marriage-killer?
Marriage is honorable because God ordained it at creation (Genesis 2:18), and it is recognized as such by all three persons of the Trinity (Matthew 19:1-9; John 2:1-11; Ephesians 5:18-33).
Marriage is honorable as a lifetime commitment between one woman and one man (Genesis 2:18-25; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:1-9; Ephesians 5:18-33).
Marriage is honorable because it is physically and spiritually fulfilling. When marriage is not given its rightful place, then discontentment and covetousness sets in. The temptation to “graze in other fields” and think that what you have is just not good enough leads to a broken home and a reproach to Christ. Just as Christ said He would never leave us or forsake us, so should a husband and wife follow suit. The plans and provisions of God for man and woman is sufficient for all of life.
Marriage is honorable and the bed is too. The marriage bed refers to sex within the boundaries of marriage. Take heed to the following from Pastor Steve Cole:
But the Bible affirms the pleasure of the sexual relationship in marriage, both for men and women. Solomon instructs his son to let his wife’s breasts satisfy him at all times, and to be exhilarated with her love (Prov. 5:19). The Song of Solomon extols the joys of sex in marriage for both partners. Paul tells both husbands and wives that they do not have authority over their own bodies, but their spouse does, and that they have a responsibility to meet the sexual needs of their mate as a preventative to immorality (1 Cor. 7:2-5). Sarah refers to sexual relations with her husband as having pleasure with him (Gen. 18:12).
Sex in marriage is directly related to the interpersonal relationship. God designed it that way. There must be mutual sensitivity, caring, and respect in the relationship between husband and wife as the foundation for the enjoyment of the sexual aspect. But I am emphasizing what Paul states, that it is a God-given preventative against sexual sin (1 Cor. 7:2). I once counseled a couple where the husband had fallen into adultery. He and his wife had not had sexual relations in over ten years and she assumed that everything was just fine! He was really angry about this, but he hadn’t said anything. When a neighbor woman became friendly, he fell. Sadly, the couple eventually divorced. It all could have been avoided if they had followed the clear teaching of Scripture: “Stop depriving one another” (1 Cor. 7:5).
So, you want to divorce-proof your marriage, then honor what God said is honorable! Here are some practical steps:
Go to bed together. Turn off the TV, the computer, the video games, etc. If you are making a habit of staying up while your spouse goes to bed, you are not creating an environment of intimacy, love, care and prayer. One of the sweetest things you can do before drifting off to sleep is pray while holding hands and together casting all your care on the Lord.
Put the children in their bed. I realize that our little ones can be frightened by storms, for instance, but your children need to know that your bedroom is your haven, not theirs. They have their rooms. Our children should never become a hindrance to a healthy marriage. What a paradox—you let the children sleep with you and it becomes an obstacle in your marriage because you have put them before your spouse. Then if a divorce happens, the children are the ones who get the worse end of the split! Even in reference to the bed, you need to show your children what a real, honorable marriage looks like.
Make your bedroom a place you really want to be. If the marriage bed is called honorable by God, then make the bedroom honorable. Make up your bed in the morning and have nice blankets and covers on your bed. Make your bedroom inviting. Don’t stack stuff up on the dresser or leave clothes piled up on the floor or your bedroom looking like a dungeon. Make your bedroom a castle even on a meager budget. Add some romantic touches like candles, music, pictures with love quotes, etc.
Don’t go to bed angry. Ephesians 4:26 reminds us, Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Anger has destroyed many marriages. Here’s where praying and forgiveness, whether you feel like it or not, would be so helpful to diffuse and correct any situation of anger.
Don’t make up excuses for not sleeping together. So, for instance, your husband snores. Get some earplugs, medical help, play music, whatever, but let your marriage vows of “for better, for worse” be fulfilled here. Now, I realize that health issues may cause you to sleep elsewhere, but if all is well, please sleep with your spouse. Make up for time away a night during the day! Remember, your flesh and the devil will give you all the excuses you need to destroy your relationship.
God is able, and He is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 9:8)
As I mentioned in the previous post, no one stands before the preacher on their wedding day and says, “I wonder how we can get a divorce?” But as time rolls along, the shine wears off of that glorious wedding day, the demands, conflicts, pressures and distractions of life crowd in, and husbands and wives begin to take each other for granted.
Furthermore, no married couple ends up in divorce court because they decided on a whim to take a drive downtown to visit the judge and end their marriage! But, sadly, somewhere along the line, the marriage begins to deteriorate and divorce becomes a potential reality.
Here’s another way to divorce-proof your marriage.
Reject living your lives on two separate tracks
Genesis 2:18, 23-25, And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
God intended for a husband and wife to have a close, intimate relationship by cleaving to one another, sharing life together and not living on two separate tracks.
One of the ways to accomplish God’s plan, no matter how long you have been married or how old you are, is to go back to doing the things you did when you dated before marriage or in those early years of marriage.
Too many couples stop dating after they are married.
Man likes a conquest, so when he finally is married, he has conquered. In his mind, since he has won over his bride, it’s time to move on to the next conquest. Therefore, he often leaves his wife in the dust!
Dating can be so much fun!!
Now, I have to admit that my dating life in high school and college for the most part was hazardous at best! I will say that my eyes lit up like Christmas morning when I went to college and heard that there were three girls to every one guy!! Hubba, hubba!!
No matter, dating comes with its own set of actions that quite frankly need to be carried on into and through our married lives. To maintain and enjoy the grace gift of marriage, put some spice back into your life! Act like you are dating again. Go through the list below and start enjoying each other again.
Remember when you dated?
You were always thinking about each other. No way you could have a profitable day at school or work because he/she was always on your mind!
You looked for every chance to be with each other. School or work would not end soon enough!!
You left little reminders here and there to remind your sweetheart of your love and devotion. It might have been a note left in a conspicuous location, their favorite candy bar, a “call up on the radio and request their favorite song” reminder, a romantic card sent through the mail, a phone message, etc.
You held hands as you walked through the amusement park. You were always looking for that ride that gave you good reason to snuggle up! You were just hoping that she would be afraid and seek the shelter of your arms!! You shared some popcorn and a Coke as you sat under the shade tree and looked so adoringly into each other’s eyes. Fun times at the amusement park!
You talked for hours and hours and hours and hours on the phone!
You dressed up for each other. You wanted to look sharp! You smelled good, too. 🙂
As a man, you always paid the bill on a date, opened the car door for her, seated her at the table, showed her great respect, and was her protector.
You had fun together!
Take some time to read Song of Solomon 1:7-19 as a couple. Note how the Shulamite and the Beloved are talking to each other, praising each other, adoring each other. They were intentionally spending time together . . . perhaps on a date!
Husband, plan a date with your sweetheart this week? Enjoy the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18).
I love my firepit out back! There’s just something special about a fire on a cool evening, fixings for s’mores, my wife, and the sun setting behind us.
My family and others laugh at me about how much I love building a fire. One thing is for certain, if I don’t feed the fire or stir the embers, it will go out. And, I’m always a bit disappointed to see a good fire come to an end because guests have left or it’s time to call it a night.
As my wife and I approach our 41st wedding anniversary, we are reminded that stirring the embers is a constant need if any marriage is to thrive and survive!
Marriage is a blessed grace gift from God that He owns (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6), and He enables its fulfillment even in the toughest of times (1 Peter 3:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:5-10).
Here’s five “logs” to add to the fire of your marriage lest it fade and die out. You do not want to just be married in name only, sadly so distant from each other.
Log #1 – Keep on dating long after you have been married! This can happen at home, in the backyard, at the kitchen table, at the coffee shop/bookstore, at the beach, in the mountains, downtown, or in another country.
Log #2 – Do not let your children come between you and your spouse. You vowed to love and cherish your spouse until death do you part. You promised to let no one come between you and your spouse.
One of the greatest securities you can offer your children is to have a fun, loving, devoted, gospel-driven marriage!
Log #3 – Hug and kiss! Repeat. Hug and kiss! Repeat. Hug and kiss! Repeat. — Like you wanted to and did when you were engaged!! Don’t fall into the trap of quick pecks/kisses!
Log #4 – Leave loves notes or cards around the house, in a book, on the mirror, attached to the stirring wheel in the car/truck, or via texts.
Log #5 – Make prayer with each other a priority on a daily basis! Even if you are out of town, call on the phone.
How’s your marriage fire right now?
Do the embers need to be stirred?
Well, have at it! Throw a log on the fire right now!!
Have children or work or busy schedules come between you and your marriage relationship?
Sometimes we are so prone to keep wishing for what we don’t have that we forget what we do have, and . . . sometimes what we long for is right in front of us.
Here’s an idea to help you. Make sure the children are in bed at a set time. Husband, you order a personal pan pizza from the shop nearby and be ready to go get it or have it delivered. Wife, get out your best china and crystal glasses. If you don’t have these, then the best tableware and glasses will do. Don’t go cheap with paper plates and paper napkins. Create a mood, an atmosphere that says, “This matters.”
Set a time to meet in the bedroom. No TV, no phones and notifications, no internet, no children. Add candlelight, romantic music, a small table with cloth napkins and each other. Be ready when hubs arrives home with the pizza or is delivered.
Go back to the days when you were dating when you just loved to hear each other breathe!!
As you enjoy your pizza, . . .
Share five reasons why you love each other.
Share one way to improve your marriage . . . without “finger pointing.”
Once you have finished your pizza and discussion, then watch a movie. Just enjoy each other’s company!
One more thing, it’ll be okay to leave the dishes until morning!
Stir the embers!!
15 Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. (Proverbs 5:15-18)
What does a marriage look like for a man if he treats his wife like a sister?
Someone I am forced to get along with or I get in trouble.
She’s just a “bud” in my life.
Certainly can’t kiss her! Remember the old sports line, “A tie is like kissing your sister!”?
She’s not my completer (Genesis 2:18).
She’s your “partner in crime” to bring out the worst in each other.
There’s competition between you in school, on the ballfield, etc.
You relate to each other on a different plane than God intended.
Husbands, if we get too busy, caught up in our own plans, games, demands, and work, your marriage can take on a brother/sister look rather than two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
So, what needs to happen for marriage to be as God so ordained?
Surrender to God’s will for marriage and enjoy His plan. He will give grace to correct any misdirection your marriage. Marriage belongs to God and only operates in its full capacity as we follow His directives, as we submit to His all sufficient grace (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 5:18-33; Romans 6-8).
Your wife is your intimate companion, friend, sweetheart, confidant, helper, encourager, lover, etc.
Yes, you can kiss her!! Has it been a long time since you embraced and passionately kissed! Go right now and have at it!!!
Yes, she completes you in the way God intended. She is not your competition or enemy.
You can certainly have some “partner in crime” prank times, but your goal is to bring out the best in your wife, not the worst. Pray with her; share what God is teaching you from the Word; listen to her; point her to Christ; compliment her often; keep pursuing her; help around the house with clean up and maintenance; when you are with her, be all there and have eyes only for her!!
Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. (Proverbs 5:15-19)
If you have a sister, be grateful, but if you are married, be enraptured!! Go have another passionate kiss and embrace!!
The oft-spoken adage and biblical advice for preachers is, “Practice what you preach!”
Well, since having completed an eleven blogpost series on overcoming discouragement in ministry, my wife and I put Post #7 to practice.
Last week we “got out of Dodge” and headed for a week of rest at Edisto Island, SC.
To make the week purposeful and full of memories, we took the word “READS” and used it as an acrostic for each day’s goal. After all, you usually spend time reading when you get away like this.
Here’s a sampling of our time with the hopes of encouraging you to “practice what you preach.”
R – REST
Each day, we did not let ourselves be driven by a clock. We had quiet, leisure mornings on the deck overlooking the golf course with our Bibles, journals, study books and coffee. We did read a lot on the beach, too!
When we went to the beach, which we had basically to ourselves, we just sat or strolled along the shore. One day I looked at Denise and said, as if I was being asked by someone at home, “Well, preacher, what did you do on vacation?” “Nothing!”
Wherever we went in the car, it was slow driving; no hurry.
E – EXERCISE
Although I did not get to run on the beach, I really enjoyed running through the Ocean Ridge Wyndham property!
Denise and I walked around the property hand-in-hand in the evenings!
A – ADVENTURE
Played Putt-Putt golf (Denise won, made four hole-in-one’s, just missed two others). So I bought her an ice cream cone for her “trophy”!)
Botany Bay shoreline at high tide with a storm brewing!
We have always said that the vacation begins when we leave home and ends when we arrive back home. Therefore, our “out-of-the-way” trip to Charleston, SC, was a great adventure: Handy & Hot Restaurant, King Street shopping, and strolling along King and Meeting Street to view the historic homes.
D – DINNER
We had seafood every day!! Some of the best was at Roxbury Mercantile (Twice), Edingsville Grocery Restaurant, and Pressley’s!!
S – SPECIAL
The historic Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island is a must see! There is a small Prayer Chapel on the property. We stopped on Tuesday and Thursday (National Day of Prayer) for a time of prayer together that was very special!
Since we love ice cream, each evening I served Denise mint chocolate chip accompanied by a mint chocolate chip cookie served in a tall stemware glass. Cheap ice cream, Aldi’s cookies, but served up in special way.