She Said, “YES!!”

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There they were! All decked out in patriotic, July 4th, attire! Both were beaming from ear-to-ear! To them, these fireworks were much better than produced by cities and towns across the USA. “She said, ‘Yes!'” Boom, baby!!!!

This was the second marriage engagement that I had read about on Facebook in recent days. Having just celebrated 40 years of marriage to my sweetheart, my heart is overflowing for both couples!

They are excited now! Smiling now! Terms of endearment are being spoken with such joy and anticipation, now!

And, I can just hear some ol’ crusty-hearted, macho husband say, “Well, you just wait until the honeymoon’s over!” And with that he offers more proud words of negativity from a selfish, humanistic, victim viewpoint.

Friends, marriage is hard, daily work, but the blessings are innumerable. Since God created marriage, don’t you think He has the right ingredients and the grace needed for marriage to succeed? Why, He’s even given us a manual to follow beginning with His instructions in Genesis 2.

The human heart corrupted by sin is what creates issues in marriage. Just as the gospel is the answer for our sinful condition, it is the answer for our marriages. Just as we are to walk in newness of life everyday with Christ (Romans 6), marriage can remain “new,” “fresh” everyday as well.

How can that happen? Let me offer five things to help you, even after 40 years, keep your marriage FRESH:

Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13 – Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. This passage wraps it up. I must forgive my spouse, no matter the offense, because the Lord has forgiven me of all my sins past, present, and future. And by the way, He will never bring it up to us again (Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Romans 8:1; Hebrews 10:14–18). Swift forgiveness always keeps your marriage fresh!

Relationship

Mark 10:7-9 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. Scripture seems to always simply things. Since you and your spouse are one, then work everyday on your relationship. Your spouse is you. In particular husbands, you are incomplete without your wife (Genesis 2:18). So, live out an Ephesians 5:18-33 relationship!!

Author Gary Thomas offers these practical tips (God’s Design for Marriage):

  • Focus on your spouse’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.
  • Encourage rather than criticize.
  • Pray for your spouse instead of gossiping about them.
  • Learn and live what Christ teaches about relating to and loving others.

Enthusiasm

Proverbs 5:18, Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Ecclesiastes 9:9a says, Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love. How easy it is to let work, children, goals, dreams, recreation, hardship, etc., cause marriage to be a drag, a drudgery, a daily disappointment rather than a joy, a blessing, an enjoyment. How easy it is to focus on what pulls you down and the flaws of your partner rather than all the blessings. Focus on what is praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) about your spouse and be enthusiastic about those things!

Smooches

Song of Solomon 1:2, Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! Smooche used as a verb means to “kiss or a spell of amorous kissing and cuddling.” Now that you are married, it is legal! So have at it! Don’t settle for quick pecks as you pass one another. Cuddle. Hold each other in a warm embrace. Look endearing into each other’s eyes. Enjoy amorously the passion of God’s grace gift!! If you don’t know the meaning of “amorous,” look it up!!!!

Huddle

Song of Solomon 1:15, Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. Most often associated with football, a huddle is when the offensive team gathers to strategize the next play from scrimmage. Today, football teams are going more with the no-huddle offense. Couples need to communicate their thoughts, feelings, dreams, desires, hurts, blessings, sorrows, joys, love language, fears, etc., with one another. Note the intense communication between Solomon and his bride (Song of Solomon 1:9-17). Quite frankly, marriages should stay away from the use of the no-huddle. So huddle up this evening and share your heart in love! (Ephesians 4:29-32)

“She said, ‘Yes!'” Boom, baby!!!! Keep it FRESH!!!







There’s Still Fire in Furnace!

This week, I had the joy of speaking with a man who has been married for over 60 years, and he said, “There’s still fire in the furnace!” My sweetheart and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary in June, and we’re still stoking the fire, too!

How do you keep “the fire in the furnace” so your marriage does not grow cold and lifeless? Well, here’s a few tips that I hope will help. I’m sure I have shared some of these in previous posts, but we need to be reminded again and again to keep putting another log on the fire!

  1. Work at your marriage every day.

Don’t let a day go by without kissing each other (ban the peck!), holding each other, complimenting each other, eating a meal together, sharing your heart with each other, and don’t let someone or something come between you; especially your children!

  1. Do the little things.
  • Leave little love notes around the house or in the car or in his suitcase if he travels.
  • Bring home a candy bar for him or a dozen roses for her.
  • Hold hands.
  • Send a text message telling each other how much you love each other.
  • Husbands, seat your wife at the table and open the car door for her.
  • Speak well of each other in front of the children.
  • Pray together.
  • Read the Word together.
  • Flirt with your spouse, and only your spouse!!!
  1. Date once-a-week. 
  • Starbucks and play a game.
  • Pizza on china plates after the kids go to bed.
  • A drive through the country with the windows down, a picnic basket, blanket, and your favorite romantic music as you head to that secluded spot along the creek, in the mountains, or just down the road.
  • Movie and popcorn.
  • A stroll around the neighborhood, hand-in-hand, talking about why you love each other.
  • Share a sundae at Sonic and smooch like you did when you were dating!  (And we know you did.)
  1. Have fun!  
  • Don’t be a fuddy dud, a kill-joy!
  • Laugh at yourself!
  • Walk in the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control)
  • Enjoy each other; enjoy being with each other; your spouse should be your first choice always as your dearest companion.
  • Stop at Chickfila, get an ice cream cone and sit outside under the umbrella tables. Enjoy sharing just the one cone!
  1. Wherever you go, make it an event.
  • Make even walking through the grocery store or the mall with your spouse a fun time!
  • When you leave the house, tell each other how good they look!
  • Serve one another.
  • Make meal time, especially supper, a well-thought out time even with the children.  Be intentional.
  • Pay attention to each other.
  • Serve together at church; put your whole heart into worship; wear it out!!
Love is...Color Monday 2 December 2019 | Artful Asprey Cartoons

May I encourage you to take inventory of your marriage? Be humble.  Be honest.  What needs to change?  God didn’t create marriage for man and woman to be miserable.  As I heard years ago, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.”  You will have hard times in marriage, but choose joy.  Put these five things to practice by God’s grace and enjoy the grace gift of marriage for a long time to come!!

Go ahead; add another log on the fire right now! Keep the furnace hot!

Brief Retreats

Last week I celebrated my 62nd birthday tucked away with my wife in a cottage on Watauga Lake in East Tennessee. Besides acknowledging another year of life and my wife making the day special, we went away for other reasons, too.

First of all, just as Jesus went withdrew Himself from the crowds (Matthew 14:23) and went to the mountain to pray (Luke 6:12-13), we as disciples of Jesus Christ need to do the same (Matthew 11:28-30). Two days removed from cell phones, internet, normal life, distractions, and responsibilities is an investment in your walk with Christ that is more than worth the effort. You have time to pray, listen, write, read, and be still. All you need is your Bible, journal, a ready heart, and a quiet place.

Second, marriages need maintenance like many other things in life. No matter if your marriage is humming or in need of a tune-up or a major overhaul, you and your spouse need brief times away to talk, plan, be attentive to each other, pray, read, play games, take a walk, laugh, sit on the porch swing, take a hike and share what God has been teaching you. All you need is place to get away and leave everything else behind.

May I encourage you to plan a brief retreat in the next six months? You need it in your walk with God and your marriage needs it. Sometimes, it’s good to retreat before you can advance.

The Day After Valentine’s

 

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Valentine’s Day is always a very special day for married lovebirds!!  Red roses, boxes of chocolates, dinner dates, romantic venues, recalling of Valentine’s Days of the past, perfume, cards, terms of endearment left on sticky notes all over the house, pictures posted on Facebook and Instagram, communications of the degree of love for each other, and on and on it goes for this special day!!

But . . . what about today, the day after Valentine’s Day?  You put much thought into how you would express your love to your Sweetheart.  You went out of your way to purchase that perfect gift.  You fantasized in your mind the most romantic setting and fulfillment for this special day.  You wrote down your thoughts of love and appreciation in a card.  You made sure the whole world knew about it on Facebook.

All of this took intentional thought and effort.

This leads to me say one crucial thing about how to keep your marriage moving forward, to keep it hummin’!

You have to work at it every day! 

No, you don’t have to buy a $75 bouquet of flowers or have a candlelight dinner at Ruth’s Chris every day. You intentionally . . .

  • Verbalize your love to each another
  • Kiss (Eliminate the peck!)
  • Pray together
  • Hold hands
  • Look at each other
  • Seat your wife at the table
  • Pray together
  • Hug each other
  • Serve each other
  • Enjoy a 5-minute date in the pantry with the door closed
  • Leave love notes
  • Pray together
  • Share what God has taught you from His Word
  • Laugh together
  • Hold each other
  • Speak words of encouragement
  • Enjoy being with each other
  • Listen to each other
  • Pray together
  • Forgive each other
  • Make sure your spouse comes before your children
  • Make sure your spouse knows you love him/her more than the children
  • Pray together
  • Be gracious to each other
  • Touch each other
  • Pay attention to each other like your mate was Facebook
  • Wash her car
  • Pray together
  • Bake him his favorite cookies
  • Do the things you did when you were dating . . . even many years later
  • Keep having fun (Don’t grow old grumpy!)
  • Pray together

So, what are your intentional plans for your lovebird today, the day after Valentine’s Day?

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