Friday, April 1, 2016

What's It Like Being Married To You? ~ and the $40 Giveaway!

Ouch.  That stings!

I don't know where I first heard this question ... or if it sprang into living color in my own imagination.  All I can say is that it keeps on hitting home for me {big time} whenever I'm courageous enough to honestly gaze into my own mirror and allow God to gently poke and prod so that He can reveal the true state of my heart to my oft' deceived mind.

How do I respond to daily frustrations, disappointments, and hurts as I do life in the company of my spouse?

These straight-shooting queries pack a punch that most of us are reluctant to navigate.  It's not easy to be ready, willing, or able to handle the raw truth of who we are without His Spirit's flowing stream of grace.  And these kind of encounters with God give us great cause for pause.  It's Psalm 139:23- 24 in bold action -

 'Search me oh God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.
  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.'

Me.  Not my spouse.




The Holy Spirit will clearly convict us of specific sins and guide us into all truth so that we can choose fresh responses to life's trials, attitudes and behaviors that are healthy, wise, godly.  And our faith gets stretched as we entrust Him to do the same work in our spouse's heart, freeing us up from serving as judge and jury ... or resident nag.

Please note that God does not heap guilt and shame on us that leave us immobilized, make us feel like losers, or trap us in discouragement.  

If that's a snare for you, be sure to click here to read about the tragedy of guilt and shame, ok?




Here's three more Scriptural tools that can serve well as a spot-on relationship barometer.  As ever, God's Word is powerful, with plenty enough spotlight to shine needed truth into our hearts.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The Love Chapter
As you read through this chapter, simply put your name in every place where the word LOVE {or it} appears.  For example ...

'Linda is patient, Linda is kind. Linda does not envy, Linda does not boast, Linda is not proud.  Linda is not rude, Linda is not self-seeking, Linda is not easily angered, Linda keeps no record of wrongs.  Linda does not delight in evil but always rejoices with the truth.  Linda always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.'

Ohh, that hurts.  Ouch.  Again.

Convicted I am.

Question to ask ourselves ~ When my spouse reads 1 Corinthians 13, do I joyfully come to mind?

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Galatians 5:22-23
The Fruit of the Spirit
'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.'

Question to ask ourselves ~ When my spouse thinks of me, do these descriptions of fruitful character ring true?

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New Testament
The One Another Passages
There are about 59 of these relational verses in the New Testament.  Like ...

 love one another

  serve one another
  
accept one another
  
strengthen one another
  
be devoted to one another
  
encourage one another
  
submit to one another
  
confess to one another
  
forgive one another
  
spur one another on


Question to ask ourselves ~ Do I faithfully endeavor to live out these commands in my marriage ... or do I just consider them as pleasant but optional suggestions?




What 'iron sharpening iron' dialogue is emerging in this series!  You guys are vulnerable, yet brimming over with wisdom ... and good humor!  Remember that every comment you leave on one of the Marriage Mini-Series posts puts you in the running for a $40 Amazon gift card!

And thanks for sharing our gathering with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  It's not too late to invite them to join the party ... the links are below.



*

connecting with
Anita  .  Kelly  .  Beth  .  Holley

76 comments:

  1. I love all these practical guidelines! And your perspective! Have a beautiful day!

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    1. Enjoy those kiddos this weekend, Jandi!

      ;-}

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  2. I do not usually read you missives on marriage--but today was compelled by the title. I often ask myself this question, since my marriage ended. My conclusion---it was not easy---but it was not easy to be married to him either. Marriage only works when each are giving more than their share. When we learn to die to self---THEN it works! A good lesson from God's Word applied to life to make it better!
    Blessings, Friend!

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    1. And this you said --> 'Marriage only works when each are giving more than their share.'

      Powerful. True.

      And how grateful I am that you're here this morning, Lulu ... how sweet indeed.

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    2. I agree with what Lulu said.

      God bless.

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    3. Absolutely! She's a wise Texas woman ...

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  3. I've actually given some thought to this perspective with this conclusion: it's so amazing to see love grow through the years to the point that you love your guy so much that you want him to have a great wife. And you want to be that person! Only by the grace of God!

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    1. Oh yes to this, Michele -->'you love your guy so much that you want him to have a great wife.'

      If that doesn't motivate us, what will?

      Thanks for sharing such smart insight with us ...

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  4. Ironic, I think, that St Paul who wrote 1 Corinthians 13 never got married himself. And encouraged others not to marry. He must have met my mother-in-law.

    God bless.

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  5. To answer the question, I can best quote a recent conversation. I was feeling, and looking, bloody awful with the flu on top of the pancreas terminal illness thing (still hate saying the C-word)

    Barbara - "I'm so sorry."
    Me - "It's OK. A lot of people have it worse. I really don't mind."
    Barbara - "That's the problem."

    I think I've taken being the Hard Man (toward myself) to the point of lunacy, and have left open few avenues of empathy or sympathy.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/03/your-dying-spouse-137-decide-to-be.html

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    1. I'm hearing you say that you're tired of playing the Hard-Man-Toward-Yourself, Andrew.

      What other options might work better for you? For Barbara?

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    2. I am tired, but there doesn't seem to be a way out. It's a brittle situation, and the luxury of time and energy for changes doesn't seem to be there.

      For Barbara, I have to keep a more careful watch on what I say, at least. I can't think of anything else.

      http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/04/your-dying-spouse-139-caregiver-down.html

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    3. I hear you, Andrew. Brittle would be a good word right about now, wouldn't it.

      Jesus knows what it's like to die a horrifying death. He is with you, He is for you as you go through your own valley of the shadow. He loves you and Barbara so.

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  6. Great post, I love it, love the pics as well, thank you for sharing!!!

    xxx

    www.bridesonamission.com

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    1. Welcome, Nora! You've picked a great time to join us here!

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  7. I've been trying to keep this in mind lately, too. I keep remembering Elisabeth Eliott's letter to her daughter about how you marry a sinner and so does he. It's good to remember that when I'm feeling "holier than thou."

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    1. Elisabeth Elliot was an incredibly wise woman, a true servant of God ... her words surely do live on.

      Her legacy, indeed ...

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  8. Hi Linda,
    Wow!! What a great question to ask oneself! You are pointing to a question I am not sure I have asked or asked recently. This is a good one that doesn't pull any punches. Thanks! It doesn't matter how long we are married...inventories are important to keep us on the path we can so easily slip from. This was excellent and I loved all the tulip pics. I bought some yellow ones to take to a 90 year old friend this morning who is in an assisted living facility. Have a blessed weekend, my friend.

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    1. I love a good inventory, don't you?

      And for getting to the core of who we are in our relationships, Scriptural wisdom sure beats one of those magazine thingys any day of the week.

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  9. I agree with Pam here, Linda. We need to take stock of ourselves regularly.
    Blessings to you Linda

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    1. Yep ... that key word is 'regularly.'

      I love being pro-active about anything that's within my power to do something about. And not wait til it's too late and there's a pathway lined with regrets.

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  10. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what I bring to my marriage. Sometimes, the honest answer is not very flattering. Your post (and series) is so important. The time is NOW. In any marriage. Or any relationship. Thank you.

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    1. Oh yeah! NOW'S the time, NOW'S the place!

      For all our relationships, yes, friend!

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  11. Hi Linda! I really liked the exercise of putting my name in the Corinthians passage. Oy. That's something to really strive for. I know I usually look outward to see what shape my marriage is in, but truly looking in is the place to start.
    Your husband is a lucky man to have such an introspective and wise wife!
    Ceil

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    1. I read your 'introspective and wise wife' message to Tim. We both smiled and laughed outloud!

      We know better!

      ;-}

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  12. I sure don't know much about marriage but I'm familiar with this verse. A beautiful reminder to take note of how we are in a relationship. It takes a lot of hard work, doesn't it?

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    1. Yes, yes, Lux ... all these little evaluations are helpful no matter what the relationship. And truth be told, we always need some kind of a tune-up on a fairly often basis.

      Sigh ...

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  13. With my sensitive, kind, understanding, gentle AND HUMBLE heart, I am quite a catch. LOL Good thoughts Linda. Love the turning it back to us.

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    1. Well, if you say so YOURSELF!!

      ;-}

      I bet your wife agrees 1000%, Bill. And your church family, too ...

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  14. "Convicted I am." Yes, that about sums it up for me too. The burdens feel heavier this morning, Linda ... not just with these issues, but also others. Thank you for your gentle thoughts ... I'm so grateful God never asks us to do anything for someone else that He has not first done for us.

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    1. I hear your heavy heart, Lois ... and am praying for you right now, even as we speak ...

      He loves you so.

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  15. Thank you for this insight, Linda. We surely do need to self-check ourselves often, don't we? That's such an important exercise to replace "love" with our names. I'm sure grateful God is so forgiving and patient. Sometimes I feel bad for my husband with what he has to deal with having me for a wife. Over the years as I dealt with past abuse, he has had to put up with a lot from me. But when I ask him, "If you knew what you do now, would you have married me?" He always says he would. :) Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. I love that your husband has walked with you as you faced such profound struggles, Trudy. And that he says he would faithfully do it all over again is a beautiful treasure indeed.

      Thank you for sharing just a glimpse of your story here, friend. I am honored.

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  16. I'll second that Ouch. :) It hits me that way too. What's it like being married to me? Sometimes I tell my husband that I know it's not easy. He's always sweet to disagree, but I know I have LOTS of room for improvement. Thanks for reminding us that our transformation doesn't come from a place of shame though. Blessings to you, Linda!

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    1. Amen, Lisa! There's no room for shame, blame, coulda-woulda-shoulda's. Just a tender obedient response to the Spirit's gentle yet firm conviction in our lives.

      Praise God!

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    2. Linda,

      I'm so very grateful the Spirit gently convicts ...last winter, God firmly told me "I was not my husband's Holy Spirit,"...yes, ouch! I apologized to my husband. And I keep asking God to keep me focused on him and me :-)

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    3. What a beautiful testimony of what God is doing in your life and marriage, Dolly. Thanks for your encouraging words this evening!

      So grateful you're here ...

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  17. Great questions, Linda, as we pursue God's heart for our marriages. What's it like being married to me? Do I reflect God's character to my husband? Am I loving? kind? serving? I pray these questions encourage me to look to God to work through me so I can be the wife my husband needs, be a vessel of God's love.

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    1. Ohh ... a vessel of God's love. Yes, that's where I want to be, who I want to be.

      So beautifully said, Crystal.

      ;-}

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  18. Linda, this is just great! Not that I like the question, but it is really filled with room for much...MUCH pondering! I also said OUCH in the beginning. Glad you are my neighbor at Kelly's.

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    1. I'm relieved to know I'm not the only OUCH-speaker, Linda!

      ;-}

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  19. Excellent post, my friend. This is one to print and tuck in the pages of my Bible. Thank you for putting all these checks and balances together in one place for us to ponder, and pray about. I am beyond blessed to have a husband who truly cherishes me. However, sometimes that actually makes it easier to take advantage and allow a bad mood, or impatience to win the day. No matter how good intention-ed two people are, marriage (any relationship really) takes A LOT of work. But how sweet are the benefits :)

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    1. Yes, yes, June. The sweet doesn't come easy. But it's so been worth the work.

      You've encouraged me by saying this is printable. Thanks, friend. That means alot this afternoon ...

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    2. Adding my comment here because the lovely June said something similar to where my mind is at.... allowing a bad mood, or impatience to win the day. Because I have done that these past few days. Marriage does take a lot of work, doesn't it? But yes, the benefits are so sweet. I ended the night last night being much kinder and less bad moodish with my husband last night over the phone!

      Love all your wisdom.

      Love you.
      xoxo

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    3. Thanks for zeroing in on that key word, Beth ... allow. It reminds us that we have a choice which is good when we feel powerless or when emotions wash over us and carry us away.

      And, Beth, those phone conversations must be oh so frustrating ...

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  20. Linda, I love that you quoted Psalm 139 and stated it was for you. Isn't so easy to pull that scripture from our minds and force it over our spouse when we are in a heated discussion. The truth is, those scriptures that pop in our minds during those times are usually for us. Neighbors with you at #RaRaLinkup today!

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    1. Hey Neighbor ... you're so right on. He knows exactly what word we need to hear ... and heed!

      Thanks for being here this afternoon!

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  21. If my husband comes up to me and say, "You're not the woman I married!" What should I say?

    My answer is: "You betcha."

    God's been doing a work. He's not finished with me yet. Slowly but surely I'm Chris 2.0....Chris 3.0....Chris 3.1 and maybe back to Chris 2.0. Well anyway. You understand. I'm under the "Change Agent" and He's doing a great job.

    Excuse me while I get back under His searchlight. It hurts, but it's oh so good for me.

    Blessings sister....blessings.

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    1. I'm smiling! I love hearing the story of the redeemed!

      Meet you at the searchlight, friend ...

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  22. Ouch! Yes, I had to scrunch the eyes and cheeks a bit on some of these, especially when I consider how yesterday flowed. Good word, good encouragement, Linda ~ as always.

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    1. Scrunching with ya', Kristi. Absolutely scrunching!

      ;-}

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  23. So glad we have God's guide to realign ourselves when we find we have strayed from loving as we are called to love.

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    1. Indeed! We don't do this alone. We have His strength and courage to love others well. All we need to do is ask.

      And obey ...

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  24. What a great exercise to replace love with our name, Linda. You are so right, it hurt and convicts at the same time. This has been an awesome and important series, my friend. Thank you!

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    1. Your generous encouragement is precious to me, Candace. Thank you, friend ...

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  25. ooh, Linda, putting my name in that verse...sure brings it home that way, doesn't it? When you know the verse backward and forward, it's easy to glide right over it, but putting your name in there makes all those things stand out. Stand out and point. Great marriage series. These flower pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, Linda. :) (P.S., my Easter book came the other day--such a pretty book! Thank you!) ((sweet blessings, friend.))

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    1. Congrats on your book, Brenda! I am so excited for you! May God prosper the work of your heart and your pen ...

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  26. I so love the one anothering (which is not a word)...love its depth. This is a great post Linda.

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    1. Well, it's a word now!

      I love your avatar, Betty ... you surely are a sweetHEART!

      ;-}

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  27. Wow what a powerful post. I have been a little depressed lately and I have my own issues and therefore have not been the most pleasant wife. I have not been patient or kind or any of those things. I could not successfully put my name in where love is in that chapter. Thanks for the wake up call. I'll need to do better for sure

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    1. Hey Charlene ... yeah, depression can do that to us ... sap us of that emotional energy we need to do relationships well. I hope you were encouraged by your visit here today and that you will be able to find the help you need to weather this rough patch.

      Blessings of grace to you ...

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  28. I've got work to do! I'm thankful for the grace my husband gives me but, if I'm honest, I take his grace for granted and that's not good. Thanks for this series that continues to offer wisdom, guidance and encouragement.

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    1. When you said 'I take his grace for granted and that's not good' I think how often we do that with the Lover of our souls. Thanks for weighing in, Debby.

      We're all in this together, yes?

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  29. A lot to think about...your starting question got me thinking even before I started to read. I think there is a side of me that feels justified for how I feel sometimes but I know that is wrong. My focus needs to be on Christ and fulfilling His love by loving my husband. These verses challenge me to make myself right before God. Visiting from coffee for your heart #35

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    1. Oh I hear you Kristina! We love to justify ourselves even if we don't say a word! Please know that you're in good company around here.

      I'm so glad you dropped in ...

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  30. Stunning photos! My two little dwarf tulilps that bloomed last week in the hard red dirt of Holbrook could use some friends ;). Excellent advice--being more intentional with my marriage is part of my Life Plan, so I enjoyed reading your specific strategies!

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    1. Looking forward to your writing about how your life plan evolves and blooms out in the days ahead. Fascinating stuff, Anita!

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  31. You said it. Ouch! I prefer not to ponder this, but it is so important if I am going to be all I am created to be. These traits are in my control and are things I need to work on daily. Thanks for your wisdom, Linda! I have really enjoyed this series! :)

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    1. I love that you said 'daily,' Sarah. I can't help but think that if we were more vigilant in our soul care, that these bugaboos / sins / character defects wouldn't hang around as long, putting down roots.

      Thanks for dialoguing with us here, Sarah ... as always!

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  32. Thank you for the scriptural references. You can never go wrong with Psalm 139- my favorite. If we can't examine ourselves and the truth we need to hear, I imagine that we would struggle in our relationships. Hope your Easter and week after were blessed my friend!

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    1. Welcome home, friend! So very happy to have you back again! Can't wait to hear all that you learned along the way on your journey to Nicaragua!

      ;-}

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  33. I am convinced that prayer is the key to every relationship, even when you have to ask others to help you pray :) Your flowers are so gorgeous.

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    1. Such an important point you've made, Betty ... that often we need others to intercede for us ... even when they don't know the details of exactly why.

      Blessings ... and welcome to this little community!

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  34. It is difficult to put my name in the 1 Cor. 13 passage. I don't always want to face up to the truth before me in which I do boast, or am rude, or am not kind.

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    1. Oh, I know, Pary. Believe me, I understand exactly what you're talking about!

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda