Tag Archives: relationships

Marriage: No Regrets

31 Oct

There are some marriage choices that definitely lead to the lament: “I wish I hadn’t done that.” But everyone has some ideas how to avoid regret even the humorists!ChooseWhatYouWantMarriageToBecome

Want to please your wife?

Bring her chocolate. Hug her in the kitchen. Surprise her with a gift card to a jewelry store. Encourage her talents. Compliment her cooking (or, if she doesn’t cook, her choice of a good restaurant). Leave a love note on her pillow. Shop with her – yes, shop with her! Send her flowers for no reason at all. Hold her hand at the mall. Etc. … etc. … etc.

Want to please your husband?

Make happy-hubby choices about three things he loves: Sex, Food and Entertainment.

Isn’t it obvious how different men and women can be? We’re just wired differently. What’s not so apparent is how to enjoy those differences.

One thing I’m sure of:  our choices toward our spouses can affect the relationship. (Note: This post is specifically for married couples, but some principles apply to any relationship.)

Life is so short … and so are our marriages. Even if we celebrate 50, 60 or more years together, the minutes of marriage tick  away so quickly. We need to choose what we want our marriage to become.

I made some “priority choices” early on regarding my marriage, so I don’t have a lot of regret. You may have made similar choices.

Here are my priority choices:

1) The Priorities of Oneness and Mission.

My husband and I are one flesh (Mark 10:8; Ephesians 5:31); there is no room for others-intimacy in our relationship. (Not even from the TV or movie screen!) We want to keep our marriage pure in our “oneness.”

Whether a couple has a formal mission statement for their marriage or just some clear, specific guidelines, this is so important. For example, my husband and I decided before marriage to be sure Jesus is at the center of our home. And the wonderful thing is, the closer we’ve gotten to Jesus as individuals, the closer we’ve been drawn to each other.

2) The Priorities of Love and Forgiveness.

Love makes any relationship blossom. Love in marriage (Colossians 3:18-19; John 13:34) includes selflessness, sacrifice and a servant’s heart as well as consistent, joyful sexual love (Proverbs 5:18-19).

And couples should learn to say, “I was wrong, please forgive me” early in their relationship (Ephesians 4:32). Every husband and wife learns to adapt to each other’s quirks, but realistically, partners will fail each other many times. Kindness and forgiveness are essential, like oil keeping the relationship running smoothly.

3) The Priorities of Acceptance and Respect.

Our husbands have so many critics in the midst of competition and comparisons in the workplace. I want to be sure I’m always my husband’s best cheerleader (1 Thessalonians 5:11), building him up not tearing him down (nagging, complaining, manipulating, etc.)

Respect should be mutual, but it is especially important for the wife to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33). Just as we may not appreciate a policeman’s attitude but we respect his authority; the wife is to respect the husband’s position as the head of the home.

4) The Priorities of Time and Focus.

In this busy world, women tend to spread themselves too thin, and sometimes, it’s the husband who gets left out. I always tried to remember that someday my children would be grown and leaving the nest but “Papa Bird” would still be around. All along the way, I cultivated our relationship. I didn’t want to end up a stranger to him.

Have you ever been in the same room with your spouse, and you forget he’s there? We can get so busy with “our stuff,” but doesn’t it make sense that the one we love deserves our focus at least occasionally? Focus also includes learning what makes your husband “tick” so you can initiate conversations where he’ll want to participate!

5) The Priorities of Joy and Contentment.

A wife has the joy of creating a “happy haven” for herself and her family. Some say the “Proverbs 31 Woman” (31:10-31) is an out of this world creature no one on earth can live like her. I say she’s a good starting point! God will show us exactly what is needed to make our particular home a refuge and place of joy for our family. (It might look different, woman to woman!)

When fires swept through Southern California a few years back, one of the families in our church lost everything. But when the ashes lay on the ground, this husband and wife still had each other and their strong faith in Christ. If you lose everything, what do you still have? All we really need is food and clothing – everything else is “fluff” (Matthew 6:31-33). The Bible instructs us, “be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

We can train ourselves to be content (even grateful) in any circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13). My husband and I have shared our love and life in a beautiful brick home we owned … and a borrowed trailer behind a church gym … and on the road living in others’ homes. Marriage isn’t about location and “stuff;” it’s about love and selflessness.

Don’t misunderstand. Our marriage isn’t perfect. No one’s is perfect. But we will all have far fewer regrets if we have some priority choices for marriage and home.

What priorities have helped you create your marriage? What priorities could you add that might cut back on future regrets?

– Dawn

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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So Close, But Oh So Far

4 Apr

A friend loves to text me jokes. Here are some of my favorites:

  • What did the silly woman say when she looked into a box of Cheerios? “Oh look … Donut seeds!”
  • How do you identify a bald eagle? All his feathers are combed over to one side.
  • Why do seagulls live near the sea? If they lived near they bay, they’d be bagels.

Cindy Martin, a certified personality trainer, writer and speaker, made me laugh with a short post she wrote for The Christian Pulse called “The Trouble with Texting.” Cindy gave me permission to share it here on LOL with God.  I hope you LOL too.

My husband had just transferred to a new company and his new position required several hours of online training and certifications. It also required him being out of town more than he had before. Desiring to be intentional about our relationship, I knew we’d have to find ways to stay connected so physical distance did not also become emotional distance.

True to my multi-tasking nature, I asked my daughter to type the words I dictated to her into my phone as I drove her TeenTextingto school. “Hey Baby, I’m so proud of you…. thank you for how hard you work for our family…. love you……”

Later that day, I spoke with my husband on the phone and asked him if he’d gotten my text. When he said “no,” I sent it again, but it still didn’t go through. I’d been having some trouble with my phone so I took it in and sure enough, there was a problem. They replaced the SIM card, said it would take about an hour to recalibrate and then everything should be fine.

Right on cue my phone started, “buzz, buzz, ding, ding, beeping” as a flood of texts, messages and notifications announced their arrival – albeit delayed. I was scrolling through to see if anything still required my attention and just what I had missed during this temporary cyber hi-jacking. Nothing urgent surfaced and I was ready to soothe any anxious thoughts when my eyes glanced at a text that I assumed was from my husband. It read, “Hi, I’ve received two messages that are obviously meant for someone else, but it isn’t me. Best check your number baby!”

Gasp, gasp, ugh! “Are you serious? How did this happen?!?” Upon investigation I found out that my daughter had manually typed in my husband’s number rather than using my contact list or our existing text trail. In doing so, she was one digit out in the prefix she dialed.

So close, but oh so far.

It reminds me of the verse in scripture, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6b NIV). This incident will serve as a reminder to me to be diligent in properly communicating and directing my love … especially to the Lover of my soul.

Often times, I don’t even know how to properly communicate or direct my love. I feel it inside but fail to express it on the outside. Or I get caught up in the daily demands that claw for our attention and don’t notice the slippage in my own heart towards those who need to feel my love the most. It’s at those times that I ask God to turn my heart more fully, first to Him, and then to those I desire to love deeply.

Going back to the Source of love fills my emotional tanks so I can give out the abundance He pours into my heart.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to love those I say I love with my actions and not just my words. May they feel my love for them in my tone of voice, my response to their needs and the priority I put on our time spent together. Lord, may that also be true of my relationship with You.

CindyMartinCindy Martin and her husband of 23 years live with their two special needs children near Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

She is passionate about people experiencing the difference Jesus desires to make in their everyday lives. This passion finds expression in her speaking, writing and teaching. Visit her site, Life Meets Reality, for more information.

A Grandparent’s Joys

27 Mar

One of my favorite quotes about grandmothers is this: “Grandmas are moms with lost of frosting.”

Comedian Bill Cosby had a way of making grandparent relationships come alive. I’ve always loved this story he told about his children’s grandmother (see photo).

BillCosbyOnGrandmothers

I was blessed to have two wonderful grandmas … not at all alike, and each providing me with sweet memories and a storehouse of wisdom. But that doesn’t mean I know everything about being a grammy.

I have two “grandmother” gift books I like to read occasionally, just to keep realistic expectations and to remind myself what a “good grandmother” looks like.

Some of the gems I read in The Joy of Grandparenting include:

  • The good news is that grandchildren keep you young. The bad news is that afterwards you “feel your age.” Grandchildren help keep you flexible – in more ways than one!
  • Childhood memories of how Grandma’s house smelled and looked never leave you.KissingGrandma
  • All grandparents have a license to be silly. Grandchildren are your passport to a world of fun and adventure.
  • Show your grandchildren that you can grow older without acting “old” – age gracefully.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your affection for each other when your grandchildren are around.
  • Share the joy of reading with your grandchildren – as often as possible. Introduce your grandchild to the books you treasured as a child.
  • Grandchildren love hearing your “When I was your age” stories – the first time.

In Grandmothers Are Special, I smile when I read about others’ thoughts and opinions on grandparenting:

  • Louisa May Alcott: “A house needs a grandma in it.”
  • Clara Ortega: “Grandmas mustn’t take sides – but there’s nothing to stop them winking!”
  • A grandmother named Pat: “You know, I think I really was meant to be a grandmother. It was mothering that confused me for all those years.”
  • Jewish proverb: “One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.”
  • Joan McIntosh: “They say genes skip generations. Maybe that’s why grandparents find their grandchildren so likeable!”
  • Susan Strasberg: “I loved [my grandparents’] home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma had baked itself into the furniture.

My favorite is by humorist Erma Bombeck: “Grandmothers have three major objectives: keep billfold pictures current, buy whatever their grandchildren are selling,  and give impractical gifts that parents have forbidden them to have.”

Yes, these are fun and inspiring comments, but then I turn to the Book of all Books, the Bible, and soak in God’s rich wisdom.

Psalm 128:6a  says, “May you live to see your children’s children….” There was a time I just wanted to live long enough to see my grandchildren; but the older I get, the more I want to stay strong so I can “yield fruit” in my old age (Psalm 92:14). I want to see those HugForGrandmagrandchildren grow up, get launched from their parents, and start homes of their own.

I want to see great-grandchildren!

Because I love my grandchildren, I love to give them gifts (and Proverbs 13:22 suggests that a wise  grandparent “leaves an inheritance” to grandchildren); but the greatest gift we can leave them is to pass on a godly heritage (Deuteronomy 4:9; 2 Timothy 1:5).

Psalm 145:4 explains the responsibility of one generation teaching another about God. We certainly can live out authentic faith in front of our grandchildren, but we also need to be intentional in speaking up and pointing our grandchildren to the Creator who sent Jesus to redeem them and give them eternal life.

Sharon Hoffman encouraged me in grandparenting when she wrote,* “You are a valuable representative of the God who created you. Being a grandmom is a crucial role in His kingdom. You are a child of the most High God. When God created you, He also designed a specific purpose for you alone to accomplish at this particular place and time in history. Even if your grandchildren have two or more grandmothers in addition to you, God longs for you to be a representative of His love to the children that He has place in your life.”

Proverbs 17:6a says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged….” Yes, grandchildren distinguish us. They are our crowning glory, our pride and joy. I love my “Grammy crown.”

* Sharon Hoffman, A Car Seat in My Convertible? Giving Your Grandkids the Spiritual Ride of Their Lives, New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL, 1008), p. 26

– Dawn

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