Archive for September, 2016

Sep 30

Hello friends! In my last post I discussed the importance of listening to our spouse in a way that gives us the ability to understand their perspective. When we are listening we only have the ability to make a quick analysis before the other person continues to talk. We cannot really consider what is being said in the moment, so we need to go back and really think about it. Typically, men are better at this than women. It is lovingly referred to as them being in their man cave. This involves a period of time where the couple does not talk, but reflects on what has been said in order to gain perspective, understanding, and a broader context than our own narrow viewpoint.

So, what does meditation have to do with communication? Well, everything really! Without going back and reflecting on what’s been said we become stuck in a cycle in our minds, replaying the same arguments or our same reasoning, but getting nowhere on resolving the problem.

God gives us great insight in how meditation is significant in our relationship with Him. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither-whatever he does prospers.”

If you notice, every verse here on meditation comes with a promise. If you are transformed by the renewing of your mind you will know God’s will for your life. If you meditate on God’s word you will be prosperous and successful. If you delight and meditate on God’s law, whatever you do will prosper. These promises are true always!!! We then know that if we go back and really think about what God is saying in His word after we have read it, He will be faithful to renew our minds and give us insight into His desires, His commands, His heart. Because marriage is a reflection of this amazing relationship we can have with God, the same concept remains true of our marital communication. If we go back and think about what has been said, God will be faithful to renew our minds, give us fresh insight and perspective on the situation, and help us to move past our own shortcomings and limited knowledge so we can resolve the deeper issues and so our marriages can prosper!! The principle of meditation is this: if you take the time to really understand what is being said, then you will prosper. Simple right?

We complicate this simple truth by the pride of our own hearts in believing that we are always right. If I am right, then the other person must be wrong….or so we think. However, what I have learned is that my husband and I are almost always both right……

How can that be? Because we both have different perspectives of the same thing. For example, If you and your spouse sit at a table across from one another and you place a Cheerios box on the table in between you, each of you would describe the cheerios box differently. One person would say, ” This is Cheerios, it is good for your heart, the picture shows a big bowl with little ring shapes in white stuff.” The other could easily conclude they are totally wrong. Why? Because they can’t see that side of the box. They see the more technical side like a process describing how cheerios are made. They both agree the box contains cheerios, but disagree on the facts. They are both right, they are just seeing it from two different angles. When they go back and think about what has been said, the second person can say…”oh, actually, the way they are made and the ingredients that are in cheerios actually supports the notion that they are heart healthy, and that they are shaped like rings. Hmmmm” Different perspectives on the same thing.

To conclude, God made us man and woman so that when you put us together we gain a better perspective on things. We think differently on purpose. It’s the way we were created. By listening to our spouse and meditating on what they have said, we actually grow and prosper in our marriage and beyond. The purpose of God putting a man and a woman together is to help each other reach both of our God-given potentials. He gives me insights for my husband that help him grow and vice versa. What results is a deeper intimacy and love between us as well as everything we do prospers! What a loving God! God Bless You!

Sep 26

Hello my friends! I am excited to share with you some important lessons God has shown me in His word on the importance of communication within our marriages and how He designed it to work properly. This is going to be the first of several postings on communication so stay tuned!

My husband and I have done our fair share of fighting, let me tell you! I have noticed that when we get into it and go round for round, we tend to keep saying the same things over and over, sometimes in different ways, but nothing gets resolved. Why is that? We are just like a broken record, and an annoying one at that. As we prayed for help from the Lord, we began to realize that we were so much more interested in being heard than in hearing the other person. It was very important to me that my husband listened, understood, and validated my position or I would remain miserable and defensive. And, as long as I was defensive my walls were up and my ears were shut.

The Lord began to show me that communicating with my husband was a reflection of my prayer life with Him. I did a lot of talking, asking God for things, looking to God for help, and wanting to see answers to prayers. I wanted to do all the talking and I wanted Him to do all the changing that needed to be done in my world. Notice I said my world? And when it didn’t happen, communication would stop….I mean what is the use of praying if we are not going to see answers to those prayers right? My prayer life was totally one sided…what kind of relationship is that???

You see, communicating with God and communicating with our spouse go hand in hand. To communicate effectively, we must close our mouths…yes I said it…keep them shut…and begin to listen. Listen intently and open our hearts to understanding and validating what is being said, not just verbally, but the feelings behind the words. How can we say we have a relationship with God if we can’t hear Him speak to us? How do we know His love for us without hearing the tone of his Word? How do we understand His heart for our situation without giving Him input?

The same principle can be applied to our communication with our spouse. How can we expect them to listen to us and validate our feelings when we do not listen to them and validate their feelings? I have learned something in all the times my husband and I have really fought. I know I’m right…and so does he. But sometimes it is better to be happy than it is to be right. Many times I thought I knew what he was saying, and my perspective on it would be very negative. But once I stopped and really listened and tried to put myself in his shoes to fully understand where he was coming from, I realized my perspective was far off. Once my perspective changed we were able to move forward. Once my views on it changed then my husband began to soften his views and we were able to come to compromises and change together the things that needed to change in order for our marriage to be something we both wanted. BTW…this went both ways. Sometimes it was his perspective that changed first, but God always worked it out. It is the Lord that changes hearts.

So…if you are struggling either in communication with your spouse or with your Bridegroom Christ, take a step back and change how you are going about it. It is the first step in breaking a bad cycle. It doesn’t matter who initiates the change in the marriage, just that someone does it. Stop arguing and listen.

On a very practical note, here are a couple of things to try.

  1. Ask Questions: seek to understand a point more deeply by asking them clarifying questions.
  2. Watch your tone: if you want them to open up you need to welcome them to do so without judgement or anger
  3. Repeat back to them what you think the are saying: sometimes things will be said and the other person will imply something unsaid.
  4. Do not interrupt: let them finish their thought.
  5. When the conversation is over, think about what they said: Meditating on it will help you to better understand their perspective.

Listening is the best way to begin to communicate differently. My husband and I have something we always try to do. We spend one day intentionally putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes so when we come back to discuss the matter we can do so with fresh perspective.

Next time I’m going to talk about the importance of meditation in communication, but for now I’ll leave you with this, in John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” James 1:19-21 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” This principle of listening first is universal, and will work. Try it and see the hand of the Almighty begin to move on your behalf. God Bless you!!

Sep 24

If I am going to begin my blog anywhere, it should be at the beginning. In the beginning God created. He created everything we see, and He created the laws that govern all we see. As long as you believe this, this blog can help you. If you aren’t sure of the truth of this, but desire to know the truth, whatever that may be, this blog can also help you. I strive fully to work in truth, no lies, no ambiguities, no manipulations…just truth. So the basis of all my thoughts on marriage and how to survive the first few years of change and the melding of two hearts into one will come completely from the word of God. I believe that it is the only absolute truth out today and the only way to know truth is to know God.

So, that said…Why Covenant? Covenant is defined as an agreement between two parties, typically a lifelong agreement. This is a term used to define agreements of all kinds, be it treaties, contracts, and a marriage agreement between a man and a woman. Both parties agree to the terms and they are bound to them for the duration of the contract, in terms of marriage, for life. This is the very reason vows are exchanged. A vow is a pledge, giving the other person your word that you will, to the very best of your ability, uphold the terms of the covenant. Covenant is incredibly important because when all else fails, when love fails, trust fails, faithfulness fails, joy fails, when we fail to live up to expectations, this is the rock that keeps us together. When we separate to figure things out, when we apply boundaries, when we fall, when we lose everything, when life changes and when we want to give up, covenant reminds us of the promise we made to one another, and we live to fight for our marriage another day.

Covenant is so important because it is the way God describes His marriage to His church. By church, I do not mean a building or Sunday service, I mean His people. Those who have chosen to live for God and let Jesus into their hearts have effectively done the same thing as choosing to live for your spouse and let them into the deepest parts of your heart. There is no closer relationship on earth than the one between a husband and wife, because it was a freely chosen relationship with someone you love deeply enough to be your truest self around. God created this relationship to give us a picture of our deepest, most intimate relationship with Him.

The best thing about this is, since God created it and He created the laws that govern a covenant relationship so complex, we have the tools to navigate it and enjoy the amazing benefits of a lifetime commitment with the greatest love we will ever know. It does not always mean it will be easy, in fact, some of the greatest rewards come at a high price. But with God all things are possible, even overcoming our greatest challenges and fears. So, I’ll leave you with this. Christ’s covenant with us can be our war cry for our marriages. Romans 8:37-39 says: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV) And if this is so, and covenant marriage is a reflection of this relationship with God, then I am convinced that no money problem, no sex problem, no communication problem, no past hurts, no ruthless friends, no crazy in-laws, no temptations or addictions, nothing is going to separate me from my husband and the love we share between us. This is true of any marriage rooted in Christ. When you are ready to give up….go back to the beginning. Covenant. It’s always a good place to start. God Bless!