Being a spouse is seriously hard work.
I know everyone tells you that when you’re going to get married, just like they tell you when you’re having a child how fast time flies by. I went to lunch with a friend recently and we began sharing how incredibly hard marriage truly is. She is in her third year with no children yet, and I am coming up on my one year anniversary with an 8 year old and a baby on the way. We found it pretty comical that we actually struggle with a LOT of the same things in our marriages even though our day to day lives look a little different.
Today I’m going to share about a book I just recently finished
and how I intend to implement some of the things I learned from it into my marriage. The title of this book was “A Wife After God’s Own Heart. 12 Things That Really Matter In Your Marriage.” By Elizabeth George. You can click the image of the book to purchase on amazon!
1. Growing in the Lord. 2. Working as a Team. 3. Learning to Communicate. 4. Enjoying Intimacy. 5. Managing Your Money. 6. Keeping Up the Home. 7. Raising Your Children. 8. Extending Love to Family. 9. Tending Your Career. 10. Making Time for Fun. 11. Serving the Lord. 12. Reaching Out to Others.
These are the 12 things she teaches about in her book but in order to keep you attention I will refrain from giving my thoughts from every chapter and just focus on the main 3 I feel that I struggle the most with! Don’t judge me!
_Learning to Communicate
This one may surprise some of you because I am a writer. I have a job where I communicate with people face to face every single day. I deal with confrontation and I will be the first to tell you I won’t shy away when faced with a difficult conversation. The problem with that in marriage is that sometimes it is more important to listen than it is to talk. My husband and I are polar opposites so the way I say things may be perfectly fine when I hear it in my head, but can seem very disrespectful by the time my words hit his ears. I have had to learn to check with him during conversations to make sure that whatever message I am trying to convey is being heard the way I intend it to be heard. He in the same way has to let me know when I fail to communicate in a way that is honoring and respectful. I encourage him in this and ask for his constructive criticism, but that’s not to say I don’t get it wrong or that sometimes he fails to let me know when I’ve gotten it wrong.
_Keeping Up The Home
So, this one is probably a problem for most people. Does anyone else have expectations set for your husband that he can’t really meet? Men are so different from us. For 7 years I lived on my own and took care of the household on my own. When I saw things that needed to be done I did them and I did them to meet my expectations. We fail as wives when we set expectations for our husbands to do a job the way we would, when we would. There really is nothing wrong for wanting things done in a timely manner or done a certain way. The first problem here is not letting your husband know what the expectations are and then being disappointed in his attempt when he is finished. The second problem is how we confront the issue when it comes up. We have to come to them thankful for all of their efforts and realize it is not their fault for not achieving the goal WE had in mind. We also cannot expect our husbands to read our minds. I don’t know of many men who think to themselves, “Man, I bet my wife started a load of laundry today and I should move it to the drier when I get home after my long day at work.” My husband is SO helpful in this area, and a lot of the times he will see a need and just take care of it. I am truly blessed in that and I know it. But it also doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when I have to be very specific in my requests for what I need help with and also when I would like it to get done. This goes back to learning to communicate!
_Making Time for Fun
Who has time for fun when you have work, appointments, kids activities, church, personal goals, and maintaining a household? Who even has time to have a fun conversation when you need to discuss upcoming bills and vacations and all of the things you need to work on in your marriage? The best part of this chapter to me was it got me thinking about when Zach and I first started dating. We had fun doing anything and everything together! We stayed up until 4 am watching absolutely absurd documentaries and I would drive an hour by myself to go watch his country band at a casino in the middle of nowhere. We were exhausted, and we were having a BLAST the entire time.
Our life looks a lot different now.
We have so many responsibilities but making time for fun is absolutely necessary. Keeping a strong friendship when you are married, founded on GOD, is what is going to pull you through all of the other things. Let’s be honest, we don’t always feel love toward our spouse. My friend told me she half jokingly, half seriously tells her husband, “I really don’t like you right now!” And if we would all be honest there are a lot of us who feel that way a lot of the time. In order to fight that, we must schedule time to enjoy one another. We have to pay the babysitter and spend time cultivating the experiences we enjoyed at the beginning.
I could go into so much more detail, and if you are interested in my opinions on the other chapters, let me know! I have no problem doing another book review post on the same book! Please subscribe, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling in their marriage. It is more about what YOU can do, and less about what HE needs to do… so keep that in mind!
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I recently decided to start reading a book called “A Wife After God’s Own Heart” because let’s face it marriage isn’t easy. I love my husband so I want to improve on anything I can to show him that I love him.
One thing I have taken away from this book so far is how important it is to know the different roles we both play in our marriage.
This can be a little hard to swallow at times so bear with me! If we look biblically (which is what she does in the book) at the roles God has placed on us as wives we can see that we are supposed to help our husbands. We need to love him, and often times that is shown best by giving him respect. We are called to follow his lead, which also helps in the respect area! As well as we need to show him how much we appreciate his efforts in all that he does for us.
Sometimes it’s really hard to do all of those things, and do them well. I myself sometimes feel like I am doing really well at one or all of them only to find out from my husband he isn’t feeling that way at all! I know how frustrating that can be!
I do my best to praise him publicly and brag on social media about him, but then I disrespect him in front of our peers. Or I feel like I am helping out a lot around the house with chores, but completely forget to have his breakfast ready. I’ll be NAILING it by appreciating all of the hard work he puts in and then totally ruin it by complaining about some other small thing that didn’t quite meet my expectations.
These are not things that he points out to me regularly but they do come up, and they should! I want him to let me know when I have made him feel less than what he deserves from me. It’s painful to know you don’t meet the mark every time, but it is humbling and you have to know these things in order to grow and for your marriage to be full of richness.
She gives a few practical steps in how to be intentional on learning how to really live in our Godly roles as wives. They are actually very simple:
_Thank him for all of his efforts and refrain from pointing out the flaws in what he tries to accomplish. Focus only on the good!
_Ask him daily if there is any way you can help him accomplish the tasks he needs to get done. Could you pack his gym bag for him as he gets ready to leave for work? It can be simple!
_Respect him at ALL costs. This can be difficult for women because we typically don’t see respect as such a pressing issue but for men, it is how they feel the most loved and most capable. (This is the area I struggle the most in.)
_HAVE FUN! I am sure that you guys love spending time with your husband but we have to be so intentional in doing this. Make a priority to set aside some amount of time together at LEAST once a week even if it means staying up a little later than usual one night or sending your kids outside for 30 minutes and locking the door! We have to keep the fun element in our marriages!
I by NO means have this marriage thing figured out. I am actually really beginning to see just how much I don’t know about my husband and how marriage works. But I am learning. And I love him. But even more so I love GOD and I want to honor GOD in my marriage so I will do everything His word instructs me to do in order to love GOD well, and serve my husband.
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The F Word.
It starts with an F and it’s four letters but it isn’t the one you’re thinking of.
We all have it. Some of our fears are legitimate and some are not. We have fear of spiders, sharks, heights, drowning, public speaking, rejection, the list goes on and on. Fear shows up in so many ways in our lives. But today we are talking about the hidden fears.
While fasting with my church this January I set my expectations on several things, one being my physical healing and two being that God would speak to me about which direction he would have Zach and I go in our pursuit to have more children. Would that come through my healing and my body beginning to function the way it should? Or did God want us to adopt, or maybe foster? These were a few things I was expecting Him to direct my path on.
God spoke and I didn’t like what He had to say. He allowed me to realize that I have a deeply rooted fear when it comes to physical healing and having a child. I never even KNEW I had any fear related to these things. While praying one day wondering “Why have you not healed me? I know you want to answer me, why am I not getting an answer from you?”. He made me see that I have fear of asking Him and believing because when we ask for the desires of our hearts we then set an expectation and when you have an expectation it sets you up to be let down.
I have been let down many times in my life. I was let down when my sons father didn’t follow through. I was let down when I believed I had been physically healed and haven’t seen it manifested. I’ve been let down when I gave so much to people to have them steal from me. I’ve let myself down. These let downs have two things in common: Humans & expectations.
In my heart something tells me believe will only bring disappointment.
I believe this because I set my expectations on humans rather than who God is. My fear is ridiculous. If I would trust that God is who He says He is and not set my expectations on the outcome but instead have a desire to know Him above what He can give me… I have no reason to fear. God won’t keep himself from me. He won’t keep himself from you.
I had to continue my fast. I had to learn to “Count it all as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3) And guys this is HARD. To tell yourself, “I know how badly you desire to be healed and to have a baby, but that is all garbage compared to knowing God.” It sounds crazy- but I had to do it. I believe that through the fast God has gave me the desire to have healing and have a baby- He has it for me. God will deliver on His promises, He has too. But the joy that comes from his blessings are nothing compared to what He is going to give me in knowing Him more.
As hard as it is and as much as I have to force myself to say it… this has to be the cry of my heart:
I believe your promises are for me. I place my trust not in man, or in the outcome of my prayers. I know your word does not return void and I will see the goodness of the Lord. But more than that, You are my true blessing. You are the only thing that fulfills. I lay down my desires to you and say they are nothing compared to knowing you. Help my heart to believe.
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When you read this title you either smiled or cringed.
Hearing the term “the one” usually brings one of two things, joy or frustration. With valentines day we are bombarded with ideas of this. You can’t go anywhere without seeing flowers and chocolates and pink and glitter and romance novels. You may be the one full of joy because you are in a happy dating relationship or marriage with a promising future and you feel you have found “the one”. You may be frustrated because your dating relationship is non-existent, or not progressing how you wish it was left wondering if this person is “the one”. Or maybe you are like so many people who wonder if they will EVER even find “the one”.
The LORD spoke to me about this earlier in the week. We were discussing the issue of soul-mates. The world tells us that we have to search and pray for God to give us this one certain person who will complete us. We have this idea in our head that another human will come in and make everything finally whole about us. I am here to tell you my friends this is simply not true.
Don’t get me wrong, God cares about your desire for relationship.
He created us this way. It is not WRONG to have these dreams of god-honoring marriages. In fact marriage is intended to be a picture of the GOSPEL for the world. He created us in this way to find help in each other and to grow us closer to HIM. There is a spiritual element to marriage and relationships that is unlike any other. But why? Why are relationships so important to God and to us?
The answer is because we have a longing (placed in us by GOD) to be fully known and fully loved. We want to feel whole and complete. We want to be accepted exactly as we are. Not only do we want to be accepted for who we are but we want to be cherished regardless of our flaws. We so desperately long for this intimacy that will leave us feeling full and satisfied and desired. That’s one reason why we enjoy sex, because of the intimacy that is created when we engage in it. It is a spiritual connection to another human that for a time leaves us feeling full and satisfied. But, with that being said, you always have to go back for more. The feeling is not sustainable.
You may think you have found “the one”,
But have you?
You may think you need to be searching for “the one”,
But do you?
You may think “the one” is never going to come around,
But is this relationship right in front of you?
I hate to break the news to you my friends but God is not so concerned about this “one” person as much as we would like to think he is.
As I said, the LORD values relationship and he wants to bless them. But GOD is more concerned about him being “THE ONE”, than another human. But why? God knows how he created us and he knows our love for each other will fail in one way or another at some point. Thats why our human love or our sexual encounters never leave us full permanently. He created us in a way that HE was meant to be “THE ONE” for us. He knows that only HIMSELF can fill this gap. In the end of our lives God is the one who will continue a relationship with us on the other side of Earth if we choose him.
Quit thinking you’ve found the one who completes you. Quit thinking you are left to search for the one as if they are hiding. Quit thinking you will never find the one.
The God of the Universe is the one not your spouse or significant other. The God of the Universe is not hiding from you, He is after you. The God of the Universe is already right here, waiting.
He is “The One.”
“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. “
– Psalm 136:2
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