My husband Dale and I have experienced medical challenges—cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and illnesses. We’ve had challenges in our adult children’s lives—financial stresses, unemployment, school struggles, health issues, and major moves across the country and the world. We’ve had life challenges—job changes, aging parents, home and car repairs, and so much more.

Yet all these circumstances have actually brought us closer together because we’ve chosen to lean on each other, to draw strength from each other. You can, too.

Sometimes your marriage will be easy. But other times the potholes or detours of life, the circumstances and the challenges that come your way, will test your marriage and your faith. Yet if you embrace the wisdom of God, He will lead you and guide you through the tough times. He will even carry you over those treacherous mountain passes and through the valleys of hard times . . . if you allow Him.

Especially in the tough times, remember that your marriage is so much bigger than just two people joining forces to journey through life together. It’s even bigger than your family, although that is definitely big!

It’s about how you love each other God’s way. Dale and I make sure we keep this in mind as we make life-decisions.

How have your marriage challenges brought you together? Leave us a comment; we’d love to know.

(Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness, by Susan and Dale Mathis. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.)

Author Susan G. Mathis

Susan Mathis is the author of The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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. . . let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18 NIV)

We have a goal to visit the countries that represent the 15 or so languages our book Men Are Like

Men are Like Waffles
Women Are Like Spaghetti
Harviset House

Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti has been translated into.  Because of our desire to cross cultures, we have often been accompanied by translators. They take what we are saying and reword our thoughts and intentions so that a clear message is accomplished. To do this, often they do not translate word for word, but adapt to carry the main concept so the listener gains the heart or meat of the intent.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could each have a relationship translator? Someone who steps in when we are misunderstanding each other? Good news, the Holy Spirit can be that translator! No one knows your mate, your child, or your friend  like God, who created him or her! The whisper of the Spirit can help you look past the mis-statement or the poorly worded sentence into the heart of intent of your spouse, child or friend.

          Love gives the benefit of the doubt. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Phil. 1:7:

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart

“In my heart”, means you carry the person “inside” in a way that is “open minded”. When the Apostle Paul wrote this he was complimenting his friends. The Bible Knoweldge Commentary explains: “It did not matter whether Paul was under arrest . . .  or free; his friends at Philippi shared with him in what God was doing through him. . . .. Paul praised them for their concern . . .

I have you on my Heart
Photo by Rebecca Freidlander

That is a good place to be in a marriage, dating parenting — or any relationship. When you carry each other on your heart, you assume the best about the other person and his or her words. When you quit carrying someone “on your heart”, it becomes all about behavior. The problem with a behavior based relationship is that no one can behave well enough for long enough to keep a relationship going just on perfect behavior. It is much better to carry your mateloved one on your heart, giving him or her the benefit of the doubt, believing they too want the best for your relationship.

Next time your feelings are hurt over specific words, go a little deeper, look to the heart of your loved one or friend. Assume he or she is concerned for your best interest. What does he or he have on his or her heart concerning you? And are you carrying them on your heart?

 

Bill and Pam Farrel
Love-Wise.com

Pam and Bill Farrel help people carry others “on their heart” through their ministry Love-Wise. They are international speakers, the authors of 45 books including A Couples” Journey with God, which inspired today’s post. The Farrels are hosts to the Living Love-Wise Community.

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Where is home? Is it where your family lives? Where your work’s located? How do you find the comfort of home? Do you sometimes feel out of place?

Living in two cultures brings a sense of not belonging anywhere. I not only live in a foreign country but also in a Quechua village in Bolivia where three cultures and three languages collide—making the mix even more interesting. Feeling out of place is an understatement. Yet, somehow I am at home.

When I arrive in the States for furlough, I feel at home. I can speak English, my mother tongue. Yay! My friends wear what I wear––well, once I get to a store and update my look. Then comes a new haircut. Yes, friends make sure I get where I need to go for this new look. I look the part, but am I at home? Yes! Why? How can I be at home in two different countries and still not fit into either one? The answer is simple.

I’m at home because I am where God wants me to be. I am in His will. “Home” is being in God’s will. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

In God’s will, we have a proper place of belonging––with a warm spark of home in our hearts. One day we’ll arrive in our forever home. Until then, we find a home in the center of God’s will.

Are you in your proper place?

Peggy Cunningham and her husband are missionaries in Bolivia, South America. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals include Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional. Visit  www.PeggyCunningham.com.

 

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Spiritual Needs 

By Susan G Mathis

It’s always good to revisit your spiritual needs—individually and as a couple—and discuss how each of you can help meet those needs. As we grow and mature, our needs often change, so it’s good to adjust to them accordingly.

First, if you haven’t already, find a church and commit to attend regularly. Next, be sure to pray together. For some, this isn’t easy, but start by saying a prayer before meals. Then you can learn to pray at other times and for other things—for safety on a trip, for God’s will, and for His plan for your marriage. If you’ve let either of these fall by the wayside, reignite your commitment to prayer and fellowship.

Third, plan to grow spiritually together. If you aren’t in one, find a Bible study or small group with other couples with whom you can “do life” together. If your church doesn’t have a group, start one!

Fourth, find another couple and ask them to mentor you. Meet with that couple every few weeks or monthly. Be honest, transparent, and inquisitive. Ask them how to deal with issues you’re encountering. Seek their advice on struggles you may have. And be accountable to them for your walk together as well as individually.

Fifth, but possibly the most important, maintain your covenant commitment to God and to each other. Choose, daily, to maintain and develop your walk with God through faithfully growing in His ways. It’s not always easy, but who expects that everything should be easy?

Finally, realize that, as you grow and mature spiritually, these needs will continue to change. Life is ever changing, and so is your spiritual life.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget grow together spiritually. Help us draw closer together by making You the very center of our lives. In Jesus name, Amen

 

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness  and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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One the wall of our bedroom is a beautiful portrait taken by a well known photographer.  The

The Kiss
Pam and Bill Farrel

photo is black and white then recolorized to highlight certain aspects of the portrait. The picture is of Bill and me. In the photo you can’t see our facesbecause I am wearing a hat, but you can tell, it was a kiss of love. How?

In the photo, I am standing on my tippie toes reaching up to give Bill a kiss. That peck was apparently was so amazing that it caused Bill to rock back on his heels. (I think this might be where the term, “head over heels in love” came from).  The look of our feet in this position of a public display of affection was the selling point, and this photo became the front cover of a Focus on the Family book on marriage.

When I had the photograph framed, this verse seemed so appropriate:

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

(Ps 85:10 NIV).

The linking and balance of each couplet is what it takes to have long lasting love:

Love AND faithfulness:  The passion of love ignites the flame of intimacy but it is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity that KEEPS passion alive year after year. Trust is built with a secure knowledge your mate is faithful!

Righteousness AND Peace: In marriage, it is important to do things RIGHT. Skills like communication, kindness, and servanthood are just a few of the building blocks for love.  Sometimes well meaning spouses fall into the no win trap of pointing out all the “improvements” the other can make in the relationship. It is easy for the other person to perceive this stance as he or she always needs to be “right”.  Pushing for what you think is right, is not always “right”.  That is where peace comes in.

Pam and Bill Farrel

Peacemaking and peacekeeping is the equalizer to pushing for the precise. Sometimes we each need to accommodate for the other to bring peace. Give grace over preferences and save your opinions for the things that truly reflect righteousness like keeping a promise, living with integrity, o

Men are Like Waffles
Women Are Like Spaghetti
Harviset House

r committing to love your mate as God loves him or her.

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, authors of 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, and

A Couples Journey with God devotional. Together they help people with their most vital relationship through their ministry Love-Wise,–the intercection where God’s wisdom and God’s love “kiss”.

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