A Marriage Resolution

Couple Outdoors Holding Hands

A Marriage Resolution

 

As I go through 2015, I, ______________ (insert name) have resolved the following in my marriage to _______________ (insert spouse’s name):

 

I will pursue growing closer to Jesus

I will influence my relationship my spouse through my relationship with Jesus

I will pray daily for my spouse

I will pray with my spouse

I will daily seek to reflect the “fruit” (evidence) of the Spirit in my marriage: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control

I will forgive my spouse quickly

I will ask forgiveness right away when I am wrong

I will assume the best

I will be courteous and polite to my spouse

I will listen carefully with the intent of understanding my spouse’s heart and perspective

I will practice eye contact with my spouse as often as possible

I will smile several times a day at my spouse

I will actively romance my spouse (notes, dates, gifts, affection, etc.)

I will make love regularly with my spouse

I will accept personal responsibility for my failure/sin

I will give verbal affirmation to my spouse daily

I will hold my spouse’s hand in public

I will speak positively about my spouse to others

I will protect my marriage by keeping healthy boundaries with the opposite gender

I will practice patience with my spouse

I will act loving even when I don’t feel loving

I will express sincere appreciation for my spouse regularly

I will guard against criticizing my spouse

I will kiss my spouse often

I will treasure my spouse

 

 

 

The Power of Faith In Marriage

Couple trusting God in prayer

We’ve recently been struck by how many times Jesus responded to people’s faith through the pages of the gospels. Here’s just a sampling:

  • “When Jesus saw their faith….”
  • “If you have faith….”
  • “Your faith has made you well.”
  • “According to your faith….”
  • “O you of little faith….”
  • “Because of your little faith.”
  • “Have you still no faith?”
  • “Have faith in God.”

This led us to wonder, “How much faith is lacking regarding our marriages?”  What is it, perhaps that we are failing to believe God for?

Certainly there are all kinds of good ideas and marriage building insights on Christian websites like ours. But the foundation for a healthy marriage has to begin with our faith in God.

Here five important things to keep in mind in exercising faith in God for your marriage:

1) God is almighty

Having faith begins with a reverence for the infinite, unbounded power of a God who is personally concerned with each of us. God loves you and he is FOR your marriage!

2) Jesus desires unity in your marriage

Jesus wants you and your spouse to be one with the same unity the Trinity experiences. (imagine that! See John 17:20-21) Pray for that and believe him for it.

3) You are already victorious

When life or satan assault you financially, physically, relationally, emotionally or spiritually—take your stand together as a couple who are already victorious in Jesus. (1 Corinthians 15:17) You CAN do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who gives you strength! (Philippians 4:13)

4) You are not alone

When you feel like you are the only one fighting for your marriage, you can have faith and confidence that God is with you. What you are struggling for is in agreement with God’s will for your marriage. He promised to never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

5) Align your faith with God’s desires

Pray for your marriage and for your spouse agreeing with God’s desires for your marriage. A prayer of faith may be something like this: “Dear God, I know that you ordained for marriage to be the context for a man and woman to live together. I know that you want us to experience intimacy and connectedness. You have given me the power of your Spirit within me to guide, convict, give wisdom and insight into my spouse and marriage. I am pursuing my spouse with my eyes fixed on you as the One who wants good in my marriage. You are the One who desires to bless us and I’m going to trust you for that blessing.”

How have you exercised faith in your marriage? Share it below and take confident steps with God as you build your marriage!

Living the Dream

couple talking intmately

Do you have achievable dreams for your life that are unfulfilled? Do you know your spouse’s dreams that are yet to be realized? If you want your marriage to grow in love, connection and partnership, this post is vital for you and your spouse to read!

Dr. John Gottman, famed marriage specialist and author, says that acknowledging and respecting your spouse’s dreams is a key to enriching your marriage. Taking the simple points outlined below and using them as a framework for you and your spouse can provide the framework needed to intentionally build your marriage.

Here are four steps to get you started:

1) Describe the dream

Choose time when you can talk—a date night, a drive in the car, a walk in the neighborhood—and initiate the conversation. Ask your spouse questions like:

  • When you were younger, what were your dreams that you wanted to accomplish?
  • What’s on your bucket list?
  • If you could do something and know it had a good probability of working out, what would it be?

We are in the process of a shared dream to strengthen marriages around the world through the ministry God has given us through Build Your Marriage. In addition, we have dreams to visit every presidential museum (we’ve been to nine so far!), take an around the world trip, own a Harley and learn to scuba dive (those last two are Brad’s!).

Maybe your spouse wants to: finish their degree, write a book, start a business, run a marathon, record music, parachute, start a non-profit. Find out what it is and then:

2) Affirm the dream

Your spouse needs to hear you value what matters to them. Repeat back what you heard them say and why it is important to them. “So your dream is to someday __________ and this matters to you because _____________.”

As you are able to articulate their dream, you communicate that you are listening and actually hearing the intimate desires of their heart. Let them know that you love them and that what is important to them is important to you.

3) Support the dream

It’s easy to be negative and shut a dream down. Breathe the prayer of Psalm 141:3 quietly “ Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” and keep negativity to yourself.

While not all dreams are achievable (i.e. “I’ve always wanted to walk on the moon!”), most are pursuable. Your first sign of support is to speak positively and hopefully about your spouse’s dream. Let them know that you want them to live life to the fullest of their ability and potential.

4) Partner in the dream

While this is your spouse’s dream, they need to know that they have your support to see it realized. Let them know that you are willing to sacrifice to see their dream realized.

Being realistic, break down the next steps into manageable increments that the two of you can take together. What can you accomplish in the next 30-60 days? Write it down. “By ___________ we will ___________ toward the goal (save X dollars, research, look into, begin, etc).

Experience the fullness of your marriage partnership as you dream—and pursue dreams—as you build your marriage!

Secret Seductions

Secret Seductions

Do you know anyone whose life or marriage has been rocked by things that were done in secret—things that one spouse thought no one would ever find out about? The thinking is that things that are hidden are free from accountability or consequences.

Read this verse from Ezekiel carefully.  “…have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us….’” (Ezekiel 8:12 ESV)  The context is that the 70 elders of Israel were worshipping images of false gods while publicly leading people in following God. Scroll ahead to today with the pervasiveness of pornography and what is done “in the dark, each in his/her room of pictures” by Christians. Do you see the connection?

Statistics are that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography (you can see the research here)—and that doesn’t account for those who look but are not “addicted.” In addition, 56% of all divorces involve one party’s excessive use of porn (find this statistic here).

For those who struggle with pornography the message in the Bible is one of promise: there is hope and healing through Jesus! Here are some important things for you to know…or to pass on to your spouse or friend caught up in secret seductions:

1) Your choices have consequences

Choosing to stay pure and honor Jesus—to be the same in public and in private—brings great benefits. Some of the benefits are that you are empowered by God’s Spirit, you have increased intimacy with God, you have peace of mind, your marriage is protected and your love for your spouse deepens.

If, however, you choose secret seductions, there are consequences that affect not only you, but those you love. For example: your prayers are no longer heard (see Psalm 66:18), the power of the Spirit doesn’t flow through you, you dramatically increase the friction in your marriage, the likelihood of eventual divorce dramatically increases, and you give Satan a foothold in your life and in your family.

2) What’s done in secret isn’t secret

God is well aware of what you are doing. He reminds us, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7) This is important because one of the early lies is that you are getting away with something. No, God is simply giving you time to repent on your own before he disciplines you back into a righteous relationship with himself.

3) You cannot out-sin the blood of Jesus

Giving up and giving in to what has had mastery of you is exactly what Satan wants you to do. He wants you to think that God is tired of forgiving you and incapable of delivering you. Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus took on himself the burden of all of your sins (and ours) and paid the complete price.Some of the greatest people used by God in the pages of the Bible are people who were broken: murderers, liars, adulterers, a prostitute, a betrayer and the list goes on. You are never beyond his cleansing power. He welcomes a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17 by King David after committing adultery).

4) Get help…NOW…be radical

Be radical and get a truth-telling Christ-follower of the same gender to help you keep your commitments to Jesus. Perhaps you’ll need to invest in a Christian counselor. Go to XXXChurch (totally Christ-centered) for a ton of resources and download their software for online accountability. Or go to Covenant Eyes for their resources and software. Do whatever it takes to break the cycle of secret seduction starting today.

You CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Protect your heart and your marriage with integrity and purity as you stand firm and build your marriage!