Building a Biblical Marriage...

I have the privilege to help lead and teach an extraordinary group of God-loving ladies who yearn to grown in their walk with Christ daily!  We have a lot of fun, we challenge each other and I have grown so much over the last 2.5 years I have been a part of it.  Scott thanks God daily, I am pretty sure, because our marriage and my life have benefited.

I married a VERY VERY patient man and I was SELFISH and still am in many ways but I am a little more aware of it these days.  God laid it on my heart to teach on marriage, not sure why, but you know when God lays something on your heart its normally for GOOD reason so I obeyed.  I really wasn't sure what to say, but you know what, God daily would give me more insight on what He wanted me to say and voila, we had ourselves a fun, albeit blushing at times, hour and 15 minute talk on how to build a biblical marriage.

I set the tone by having the ladies listen to THIS SONG by John Waller.  I seriously can't get the words out of my head and find myself singing the lyrics throughout the day which is fine by me, because I count it as praise and worship and prayer for my hubby which I need more of both in my life!

Much of the time I feel like I am an outcast in society.  Much of what God tells me to do is in strong conrast to what society says.

Love others more than yourself vs. stand up for yourself
Love your enemy and bless them vs. stand up for your rights
Be selfless vs. do what you can to get ahead
Boast about your weaknesses vs.  show them how strong you are

It is hard to teach my children, let alone myself, when every fiber of my flesh agrees with society.  We are selfish to the core but I think that is where our marriages break.  We are two imperfect people trying to form a perfect, fairytale, romantic comedy marrige that is unattainable.  We rest our hope on our spouse hoping they will fulfill us in ways we can't fulfill ourselves - security, love, and more!  But we will never be fulfilled by our spouse in that way.  We can't elevate them to God, it won't work.  God is God and perfect, stainless and sinless and no matter how amazing our spouse is they will fall short and fail us at times and what we have to understand is that is okay.  It is okay.  

We must give them grace.  

I haven't always been grace-filled.  I will never forget the time I was pulled over pregnant and on my way to a very important interview.  The officer informed me my car registration was expired by several months and issued me a ticket.  I made the interview but boy did I let Scott have it,  he was in charge of that after all, how could he make such a silly mistake.  I failed BIG time in giving him grace.  I have since apologized, you know why?

Because God gives me grace and we are to imitate Him.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you. Follow God's example, therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love. 
Eph. 4:32-5:1a

Another area many of us struggle with at this point in our lives is making sure we prioritize our relationships correctly AND that our priorities match our actions.  

Love the Lord your God will all your heart, mind and soul.  Deut. 6:5

Wife, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. 
Ephesians 5:22-25

Our relationship with our spouse should be second only to our relationship with Christ.  Just as Christ loved God first, his second love was the church.  In the same way, we must imitate Christ.
I struggle with this, I won't lie, the loudest bird gets the worm and it ain't Scott squawking around the house.  Our days are filled with little people who need our attention so our husbands and God often get the short end of the stick.  Now I am not saying to follow this command we must give more time to our husbands and God then our children, that is just not possible BUT what I am encouraging myself to do is to be more purposeful in my actions.  Do I pray as much for Scott as I do the kids?  Do I think of him and his needs above the kids and my own?  Do I spend time worshiping God and learning from Him?  Often times the answer is no and as long as I know that and grow towards the goal of being more purposeful it's okay because God gives us grace and He will prick our hearts in an area and help us grow.

But how do we show our husbands we love them and submit to them?  Submission isn't a scary thing, society has made it into something nasty and it is not.  The definition of submission is being obedient, understanding and respecting authority.  Respect means to admire someone and understand its value and importance.  

Scott is important and I do value him so I want my actions to reflect that.  I want to submit to him because God gave him to me.  I submit to Christ in the same way because I know His ways are better than mine.  It's a complex thought and if you aren't ready to say the word submit at least get on the "respect" your husband bandwagon.  Our husbands feel loved when we respect them (if you don't believe me read the book "Love and Respect").

So how can you respect your husband more daily?

Make a point to discuss important things with him first (or God first and then him), don't let him hear about important things from a 3rd party, include him in your decisions (pray together about them).  We have a rule around here, since I spend the majority of the money, that I consult him first before I make any large purchase (not groceries of course).  It is not that I can't make the decision on my own, I am capable, but I want his input. God gives him wisdom sometimes that I don't have.  I learned that the hard way when I convinced him 7 years ago to buy a car that we didn't technically need at the time and we paid a large to us payment on for 5 years.  At the time I wasn't thinking of staying home but one income and a large car payment meant we had to sacrifice in other places.  I should have listened to him, you better believe I listen to him now.  We make wiser decisions together.

If you have a calendar item ask him, you would be mad if he made a commitment without consulting you.  I have recently made a point of asking Scott before I have people over.  99.9% he says yes but he feels valued when I ask.  This is our home together.

Communicate.  I grew up with a dad who was fine with calling a repairman and Scott grew up with a dad that did it himself, both are fine.  When we decided to put a back-splash in our first home's kitchen, I immediately called the neighbor to do it.  He did a fine job but Scott was annoyed because he was capable and I didn't value his capabilities, I wrongly assumed he wanted me to hire it out.  I still make those mistakes but have learned to ask him first and communicate.

Men equate sex to love.  They feel loved in that way.  Women generally, not so much.  This is a family blog and my dad reads it so I won't go in depth but know that selfless love means putting your husband's priorities above your own, scripture even says our bodies are our spouses (1 Corinthians 7:4,5).  For men sex is a physical stress release not just an emotional one (really I promise).  I have not always done a very good job in this area and our marriage suffered because of it.  Christian women tend to be mute on this issue so we are left feeling alone in an area that is critical to a healthy marriage.  Because of our busy schedules and young children, we do not thrive in this area and we leave our relationship open to temptation.  Men are visual, ladies!  You can pray to God to help you in this area, there is nothing wrong with that and God will help!  (you will just have to seek me out in person for the rest of the details here but I felt alone for a long time and am thankful some Godly women shed some light on this for me :).

Someday all too soon our kids will grow up (sniff, sniff) and it will be us and our husbands.  If we aren't purposeful in loving them now.  We might wake up strangers.  Remember spending money on date nights, trips for the two of you and babysitters are an investment in your marriage.  I know I spend an awful lot of money on stuff for my kids, invest some into your marriage. There will be a great return on your investment.  If you aren't sure how to love your hubby, take the 5 Love Languages Quiz.  We all like to be loved in different ways.  Scott knows he is sure to be "thanked" if he helps around the house.  I am an "Acts of Service" sort of gal these days.  He loves when I toot his horn to others, he feels respected and loved because he is a "words of affirmation" sort of guy.  Be purposeful and thoughtful in the way you show love and don't wait for him to love you the way you want to be loved selfless just like Christ was for us!

And be okay with being different.  God even says don't conform to the world's ways (Romans 12:2).  People might think you are weird or different but they are watching and no one aims to go to divorce court.  We all want to say "Until death do us part and mean it".  I have seen first hand the tremendous pain that comes with divorce.  

Spend time nurturing your relationship.  Take a proactive approach.  Love your husband more than yourself and if that is hard, and it is for me, pray for God to help you.  He is always faithful and He wants our marriage to thrive.  He didn't set up this union to make us feel caged, he set it up so we would have companionship and joy.  Grow your relationship with God and your other relationships will benefit.  And know it is always a work in one has a perfect marriage.  Keep your focus on Christ and He will direct your path! (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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