Archive for November, 2016

Nov 07

Hello Friends! I think there comes a time in every marriage when the relationship between the husband and wife is affected by someone outside the marriage, be it a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boss, a child, or even someone random. Often most of the people outside of our marriage have been a part of our lives longer than our spouse. Many times those people have influenced us in our decision making, been there through the dark times, and had quite an impact on helping us to become the person we are today. So then, what should their role be in the context of our marriage? How does the relationship have to change? Does it even have to change? What new boundaries need to be established going forward in light of this new covenant I made before God?

I have found that many, if not all, of the relationships I had prior to my marriage had to be examined in light of my bond with my husband. The relationships that were healthy to begin with, I noticed, became even better. Where there was a respect of boundaries and for the covenant of marriage, the relationships continued to flourish. However, what became apparent very quickly were the unhealthy relationships both my husband and I had with friends and family that needed to change. This happened in a variety of ways. Because my husband and I were now “one”, anyone against him was against me too, and vice versa. Many, many arguments between my husband and I were about these very things.

You see, prior to getting married, friends and family were very important to us. In fact, in many cases friends were considered family. This happens with both men and women, but with men I think the bond of brotherhood runs deeper, especially if the man was single for a longer period of time. For women, we form emotional bonds with people which are not easily broken. Those people love us deeply, and we love them, so why does the relationship have to change? Because in the covenant you made before your spouse and before God you promised to put your spouse above all else. They have become closer to you than any relationship you have ever had on earth, and the relationship you share with them is only second to your relationship with God. No other person in your life can even come close to the oneness you now have with your spouse. As we are in Christ and He is in us, so we reflect that principle in our marriages.

I write to you as a loving warning, to let you know the dangers of not establishing proper boundaries with those we love outside of our marriage. Just because we are now married does not mean we need to cut off the rest of the world. It just means that the rest of the world is now second to it. It means that anything setting itself up against the marriage needs to be dealt with and given proper boundaries so the relationships can continue in a healthy way. I have learned that unhealthy relationships outside of the marriage can create great conflict within the marriage. It is imperative that you protect your marriage, for Satan hates it and will attack it from all sides if there is an open door.

If you are struggling with this, I recommend a couple of things to try. First, do not share your marital problems with anyone close enough to you to have a skewed view of the situation. Doing so invites them in to a place they do not belong. It gives them reason to resent your spouse because they love you and do not want to see you hurting. Trust me when I tell you, their perspective will not help you, because typically they see and empathize only with your side. Rather, seek help from an objective third party, be it a counselor, a mentor, a pastor, or someone in this sphere. Someone who will not pass judgement and can see clearly enough to really give wise counsel from the Lord.

Second, take your grievances to the Lord, especially with regard to unhealthy relationships. Ask God to change the dynamic of the relationship or remove it if needed. I remember that there was a relationship that was very unhealthy that created a lot of tension in my marriage. Without getting into details, I prayed that God would handle it, and I stopped nagging my husband, and within a couple of months the person was removed for a time. When the relationship was restored, it was restored in a healthy way, and there have not been any issues since. God desires us to have healthy relationships, and He will protect your marriage if you give Him the room and authority to do so.

Third, I highly recommend reading Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. This book teaches you the importance of establishing boundaries and gives you practical instructions on how to do it. It explains what healthy boundaries look like so you can decipher whether or not you have established them and what areas in your relationships are in need of some work. Reading this book and establishing boundaries has been a real paradigm shift in my marriage. There were areas I didn’t even realize were a problem. I am not an expert on this. In fact, many of the things I have learned I got from this book. This book was written from a biblical perspective and gives many of the principles of God in setting up good boundaries.

Fourth, love and forgive. Remember, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. (See Ephesians 6:10-18) Our struggle is not with the people, but with the oppression, the dissention, the evil trying to set itself up against our marriage. We are called to love people, and forgive them, because they do not even know what they are doing. Even if they do know what they are doing, it is up to God to decipher the intentions of the heart, not us. Our part is to pray for our enemies and our loved ones that are in need of God’s divine help and to take up the authority given to us by God to pull down strongholds of the enemy. (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Healthy boundaries with others are of vital importance to the peace in your home. The good news is that there is something you can do about it! Praise God that we are never in a situation to great for Him. Next time I am going to dive a bit deeper into spiritual warfare. We have been given authority by God to take back our homes and our marriages for the Lord. I hope this blesses you in your marital journey!!




Nov 04

Good afternoon friends! When things really do not seem like they are as they should be in a marriage it is perfectly natural for doubt to creep in. What if I married the wrong person? What should I do if the person I married is not the one God planned for my life? Maybe I made a mistake or maybe I should have consulted God more before choosing my spouse. I have had a few people ask me these questions recently and it has burdened me in prayer. In fact, I remember that there were several times that I asked myself the same questions. When my husband and I could not see eye to eye on just about anything I became really concerned that I had chosen wrong. I remember that these doubts left me feeling like God was punishing me. It left me in a state of despair because I am really against divorce and I saw no way out. I thought I had made my own bed and now I am going to have to lay in it…ugh.

In light of this, I have been asking God to reveal His heart to me on the matter. First thing I believe He showed me is that He knows us intimately. Isaiah 46:10 states, “I make known the end from the beginning.” God knows what we are going to do and the choices we are going to make. He gives us free will, but should we surrender that will to Him, at any time, He can take anything and turn it around for our good. In fact, He drew me to Romans 8:18-30. Please read it carefully, because there are principles in it that are directly applicable to your doubts.

” 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:18-30 NIV Emphasis Mine)

Last time I talked about praying for our spouses and the things going on in our marriages, and I believe that applies also to praying for our spouse to be saved and be walking closely with God. Because you and your spouse are “one” you have authority in the spirit to bring this before the Lord and eagerly wait with confident anticipation that God will answer this prayer. Also, I have seen firsthand that there are some barriers that people put up unintentionally that make it more difficult for their spouse to surrender their heart to Jesus. One barrier could be if they detect hypocrisy in your walk with God. Please understand that we all make mistakes and are human, and God’s grace is sufficient for us, but if we are walking in blatant sin and looking for our spouse to change it can severely hinder this. If this is a reality you see in your walk with God, repent, and start moving forward in the truth of God’s love, and you may win over your spouse simply by the change they see in you. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Another barrier to our spouse not being able to receive Christ’s love is if they cannot see your love. Christ lives in us, and we show people the love of Christ by the way we treat them. If you are not showing your spouse the love of Christ, then they will have a much more difficult time turning to Christ when they are in need of love or even believing that God loves them. See 1 Cor 13 for what love should look like. Also, for wives, the Proverbs 31 woman is a great description of how we can practically love our husbands. For husbands, Ephesians 5 is an excellent description of how you can love your wives. Every description of love has a few things in common, namely thinking highly of the other person, placing their needs before your own, and doing what is right in the sight of God.

I believe that it is the heart of God to move upon your marriage as it stands right now. I want to encourage you to try to look past your doubts, for God knows your heart, and He loves you. His desire is for your good, and regardless of whether or not the choice you made was wise, it is not too far gone for Christ to move upon your situation with a fresh breath of His Spirit. But remember, it is not on you to change your spouse, that is God’s problem to solve. The best way for us to work with God and not against Him is to make sure our hearts and minds are right before Him. Just by doing that, you will change the atmosphere in your home. By loving at all times and enduring all things (which is not easy by the way but incredibly rewarding) you take back ground for Christ and the enemy of our marriages will no longer be able to operate in the same way. Someone has to break the cycle; let it be Christ in you, the hope of glory!

In the face of your doubts about your marriage I encourage you to take a hold of the hope you have in Christ. Try to look past the present sufferings and let God give you a vision of what He intends to do with your marriage. Have faith that God can perform miracles, that He is the restorer of all broken things, that God is bigger than this, and that no matter what has come before, you can move forward in a new reality. Have faith for your marriage, and have faith for your spouse. Don’t let doubt steal your hope, but let God be God. “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!” (1 Samuel 12:16) God Bless!