Category: marriage

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5 Things That Can Weigh Down Your Marriage (Darlene Schacht)

Darlene at The Time-Warp Wife shares some good words for our marriages. What are  you challenged by?

“About fifteen years ago my husbands brother won $25,ooo from one of those scratch and win cards. I don’t remember the details all that well, but I do remember this: the night that he won, he slept with the ticket under his pillow. He had to wait until morning to take the ticket downtown to the lottery building, and he wasn’t taking any chances on losing the ticket or having it stolen.

It makes sense that someone would guard a treasure like that, I probably would too. What doesn’t make sense is when we don’t guard our marriage. Perhaps we don’t realize how quickly it can be taken away or how easily friendship can be lost when we don’t care for another the way that we should.

What weighs down a marriage, and what can we do to combat it?” Read the rest at The Time-Warp Wife

 

(Be My Valentine) True Romance Looks Very Different From a Movie

All of us were probably swept away at some time or the other. I remember meeting my husband. We worked together. Just seeing him show up made my heart beat faster. And for our 2 dating years, we stared into eyes and thought we were more romantic than any other couple. We were helplessly in love.

But we weren’t in love at all. Not even a bit. Love would have to grow. And be tested. And stretch and grow some more.

Now we are in love. In a true, steady, weathering kind of love.

We have walked beside each other through vomit, writhing childbirth, injuries, tears, dirty diapers, financial stress, bad breath, grief, losing all that’s familiar, rough, hard-working hands and a hundred other things that get in the way of staring deeply into eyes.

But when we do get the chance between nursing the baby and listening to the dreams of a newly become adult, our eyes mirror a history that is more romantic than any dinner date with wine. A history that bonds and glues hearts together.

And now we watch as our children find “true love”, our lessons not learned, and our notions that love is all sparks, and we forget that they can’t know love yet. They can find someone whom they respect, and enjoy and with whom they are compatible in different ways, but love? True love waits. In the most literal sense.

Hollywood can have its shallow romance that tries to pretend sparks and candlelight are the stuff of love. Those are nice, but they’re only additives.

Give me the man who fills my car up with gas, who washes dishes just because, who braves the cold to work for us, who lets me sleep in when the baby keeps me up at night, who never complains about my faults, who selflessly loves and leads us, who listens and encourages and comforts me just by his presence.

 

Now that’s romance.

My True Valentine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why We Should Encourage Our Kids to Marry Young

Occasionally someone ventures outside the cultural marriage norms and makes the case for getting married young, but generally, it’s ingrained deep within us all that there’s an acceptable age to marry,  and to do so before that is unwise.

But is it?

We admit there’s an epidemic of adults who are over-sized children though the full weight of it hasn’t fully been realized.  But we’re slow to admit where blame lies. And even if we did, would we be willing to shift the paradigm?

I submit two major things are causing adults to delay marriage, negatively impacting their own adulthood and maturity, and ultimately, all of us.

  • The adolescent culture
  • The worship of education

Adolescent culture

Since around 1905, when G. Stanley Hall named the adolescent period, Americans have increasingly coddled their children, protecting their “right” to childhood, long after what has formerly been called childhood, has ended. Now we have a culture of parents who protect, shield and defend to a fault. They require little work and responsibility for fear it will hamper their fun and they elevate extra curricular opportunities over the practical preparation for life.

So we have “Generation Y”, the narcissistic generation who wants a ribbon for showing up. Their parents did something wrong.

Answer? We need to balance the natural freedoms and privileges of childhood with our responsibility to help them grow in maturity and wisdom. We need to expect things–important, life things that will help them transition into adulthood when the time comes. We need to let them experience things, while guiding them and pushing them to find truth, to view the world through the lens of God’s Word, where they will find answers for everything.

We need to change our idea of the “teen years.” We are raising children into adults. Those in between years are the most potent for developing skills, learning, training, preparing and practicing for adult life. These are not years to be frittered away. These are the years where we challenge them and they rise to the challenge of womanhood and manhood, the years of their best strength and courage, where vision is best cast. Youth is where character is grown and practiced,  responsibility takes root, and self-control must reign.

Worship of Education

The first one was easy; for this one, buckle up.

We could have the talk about the unnecessary hype of college but that would take too long. If we could understand that college may be necessary for highly specialized vocations, but generally, not necessary for a good education and training in most vocations, we would begin the process of demoting the college degree from some idolized status. It is now, especially in our highly technological age, only one of many ways to a higher education, not the least of which is laborious and expensive.

Too often marriage is pushed off  until after college. First, college has taken precedence over the importance of marriage. Second, it is assumed that both can’t be done simultaneously.

Sadly, too, in many cases college extends (or worsens) the adolescent stage. Parents pay for their adult children to live (and/or party) during the time they should be assuming those responsibilities.

We’ve given the pursuit of (let’s be honest) more money precedent over the pursuit of a godly spouse.

Why We Should Support Early Marriage

Marriage is good. Marriage is a gift. Marriage makes us grow up, gives us a companion to weather the stuff of life. Announce you’re getting married before the “acceptable” age, and you’ll mostly be met with pleads of “live some life first.” And while the single state has its unique opportunities, marriage certainly doesn’t detract from the joys of life, but rather doubles them.

Are You Ready?

Waiting until we’re “ready” can be a precarious thing. What is “ready”?

Financial readiness is the primary reason caution is offered to young couples. Somehow, just having an income isn’t enough in our American idealistic dream. Mark Regnerus, in “The Case for Early Marriage” said:

“Marrying young can spell poverty, at least temporarily. Yet the mentality that we need to shield young adults from the usual struggles of life by encouraging them to delay marriage until they are financially secure usually rests on an unrealistic standard of living. Good marriages grow through struggles, including economic ones. My wife and I are still fiscal conservatives because of our early days of austerity….

Nevertheless, the economic domain remains an area in which many parents are often able, but frequently unwilling, to assist their children….This cultural predilection toward punishing rather than blessing marriage must go, and congregations and churchgoers can help by dropping their own punitive positions toward family members, as well as by identifying deserving young couples who could use a little extra help once in a while. Christians are great about supporting their missionaries, but in this matter, we can be missionaries to the marriages in our midst.”

What about ready in other ways?  Everything I was when I got married has changed. Everything I thought about life has changed. I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I’ve morphed.

Our growing and changing and morphing is best done with our life partner alongside us. Every step toward “establishing ourselves” as adults without our spouse, is a step toward stubborn independence.

We need the companion, accountability and responsibility marriage brings, and we need it earlier rather than later.

Sure there are exceptions, good reasons to wait. But our prevailing attitude should be to think differently, to love and embrace marriage, not just for “one day”, but as something to be desired, sought after and celebrated in youth.

 

One Woman’s Story: Addiction, Adultery, Abortion and Atonement (Part 4)

Read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Megan’s story. I am so encouraged and stand amazed reading it, at what the Lord has done. May it encourage you as well. 

“After arriving home from my abortion all I could do was cry and long for my empty womb to be filled again with the child I had just aborted. Once in the shower I would cry uncontrollably asking God to forgive me for what I had done and beg Him to give me my baby back. This went on for months. Finally one day I distinctly heard, “I forgive you, you need to forgive yourself”.

It was through this pain that Jesus started to reach my heart. I heard a story about a man who went to church, but had never accepted Jesus as his Savior. This testimony played over and over in my mind and I started thinking about giving my life to Christ. I was so drawn to doing it, but felt scared wondering what He would make me do and give up. Finally one day I told Jesus that my life was His. It was a decision that I have never come to regret. I started to read the bible, but didn’t like it. I didn’t understand it or know where to start, but I made myself do it. Eventually the Scriptures started to make sense and I fell in love with the Word of God; it started to transform me. Jesus showed me that my husband was not the only one to blame for our marital problems and that I needed to work on myself.

One change I made was that I no longer argued with my husband when he went out; instead I immersed myself in the bible and would cover him with prayer. One night I prayed to Jesus and said, “If You will save my husband and my marriage I will get out of the way and go through whatever it takes”.  Jesus quickly started working in favor of my prayer. That was August 2009. Also that month my husband asked me to remove my IUD. With some reservations I decided to remove it and I told God that if He ever decided to give me another baby I would never abort it no matter the circumstances.

We got the news that we were being relocated back to where we moved from before. I begged God not to send us back there. Despite my objections we moved.  My husband‘s addictions were pulling him farther away from me.  Two days after we moved, through a fluke that was obviously God orchestrated, I got to witness firsthand what my husband was truly involved in regarding women. I had a friend offer to move the kids and me into her home. While my husband was at work we moved out. I was devastated as were my children. We moved into a tiny bedroom, but it was perfect for us to cuddle, cry and pray for their dad. My moving only fueled his alcoholism even though he constantly asked me to move back. We only stayed gone a little over 2 weeks.

Once home the same problems returned.  I constantly listened to church messages, read the bible, sought counsel, and stayed in prayer to maintain my walk with Jesus and my sanity. I read the story of Saul being changed to Paul in Acts 9 and it really spoke to me. I prayed regularly, “Lord, if You could change Saul, a murder of Christians, to Paul then You can change my husband.” I believed this in my heart.

Things got much harder before they got better. I asked the Lord if he would show me for certain. I asked Him to have my husband say he wanted to get marital counseling through the church. In no way did I ever imagine him saying this. Low and behold he said it without any prodding, hints or suggestions. I immediately started crying, not because I was happy but because I knew the Lord wanted me to stay and it was going to be hard. I silently prayed asking Jesus to take the pain away regarding everything my husband had done so I could stay, and He did! I was able to love my husband without that pain.

We did go to church and a few counseling sessions, but he didn’t like what he heard.  Every Sunday I would invite him to church, he would say no and I would try to leave happy and come home happy. I started to receive persecution for my faith from him. The Holy Spirit strengthened me to love my husband and do His will. Days where I felt that he didn’t deserve it I would say to myself, “Lord, he doesn’t deserve it but I am doing this for you”. Through it all I would hold onto 1 Peter 3.  One day I had enough and I decided I was going to divorce him. I felt in my heart Jesus saying, “That is your will not Mine”. In January 2010 I became pregnant with our daughter.

Things started to spiral quickly for him. One night while out drunk he got beat up. Soon after he had his car impounded for driving on a suspended license. He decided that he was going to take all of our money to get the car out. I told him that if he did that we would have no money for food. He said he knew that and asked me to take him to get the car. I had to hold onto trusting the Lord for our needs and keep the promise that I made to Jesus to get out of the way and go through whatever. I took him and he drove away on a suspended license. Next he got fired from his job. It was during this time that God started to reach him. He decided to attend a free Jeremy Camp concert with me and really enjoyed it. But the behavior continued.

He ended up missing our son’s birthday from being drunk, just as he had my birthday and our other son’s. Also,  he had gone to that same girl’s house who he was involved with during my pregnancy.  I didn’t want my children to hurt anymore and I finally had peace in my heart to let go. When he came home and I told him it was over. I was heading to church and he asked if he could go. I said if he wanted to go he could get there himself (believing this was manipulation). I left and on my way home I saw him heading towards church. I couldn’t believe it! He came home from church and I suggested he go into a rehab program.  To my surprise he agreed and said he was ready to go into a Christian drug and alcohol restoration program. He was concerned about how we would make it financially while he was in the program since he was the bread winner. I told him not to worry about it, that God would provide (which He did miraculously). We checked him in and it was there that he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ! It was there that Jesus took his alcohol addiction, sexual addiction and cigarette addiction away! That was in June of 2010. I never left his side as I saw that my husband was being transformed just as Saul had been to Paul!

I used to pray and ask Jesus to save my husband. I had no idea that he would give me a new amazing husband. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! This is exactly what happened to him. He is so loving, trustworthy and caring now. We had our daughter in October 2010. Since then have had one more girl and I am currently pregnant with our fifth child. 

I always loved the song Amazing Grace, but now the words have meaning to my husband and I that resonate throughout our very souls…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Thank You Jesus for saving these two wretches! All glory and honor to our Savior!”

 

One Woman’s Story: Addiction, Adultery, Abortion and Atonement (Part 3)

Read part 1 and part 2 of Megan’s story.

“The morning of my abortion my husband and our 2 sons, who knew nothing about what was going on, drove me to the clinic. At the time we only had one cell phone and my husband handed it to me saying, “If you change your mind call me and I will come get you”. I walked into the clinic scared and confused.

I walked up to the front desk where a friendly staff member greeted me. After I checked in I sat down and I started to panic, thinking, “How could I go through with this?” and that I didn’t want to. Soon they moved me to a back area. It was obvious that the women there were there for an abortion.  Before you arrive for an abortion they tell you to wear something loose and comfortable for after the procedure. All the women were in that type of clothing. This area was the payment area where everything was settled before being moved on to another back area. Here the staff was not as friendly just more matter of fact. All of the women sat in silence.

I decided I was going to call my husband and tell him that I didn’t want to go through with it, but as I went to turn on the phone I realized it was dead. My name was called and they said they were having trouble getting payment from my sponsor. I couldn’t have been happier. I thought to myself that I would go home and never return. Unfortunately they were diligent in reaching the sponsor and the payment successfully went through.

I was then moved to the final back waiting area. It was where they took our vitals and we waited to be called to the final place where the abortion was performed.  It was here that I experienced tremendous fear and for the first time I realized these workers were not here to “help us make a decision”, but to put great force upon us to go through with the abortion. It was here that I no longer felt that I could just walk out if I wanted to. I sat cowardly and awaited my turn.

It was a very dark waiting room. The silence was deafening. Each girl kept her eyes down not looking around. The shame, sadness and despair was felt thick in the room.   At one point there was one exception, a girl speaking about how she’d done this multiple times. She didn’t seem to care, but all the other women didn’t seem to share that same feeling from their body language. One girl who went to get her vitals taken before me started to share with the worker that she was having second thoughts.  The worker ridiculed her in front of everyone. She talked at her so harshly and with anger. She told the girl that if she leaves she’d better not come back and waste their time until she was certain she would go through with the abortion. The girl backed down and never said another word that I ever saw. It seemed no one else dared say that they were having second thoughts after seeing what that one girl went through.

My name was called and I was escorted to a brighter room. It had a chair with stirrups, an ultrasound machine and then something that made my stomach turn. I saw the jar that they were going to put my baby into after they suctioned it out. When I saw the ultrasound machine I got so excited. I instantly gained some courage. I asked if they were going to do an ultrasound and they said, “Yes, we want to see how far along you are”. I knew right then that once I saw my baby’s heartbeat I was going to say “no” and walk out. I was so sure of it. I laid in the seat and a seemingly nice lady said, “I’m just going to give you something to take the edge off”.

That is the last thing I heard. No one told me what they were going to do, how the procedure works, or showed me my baby. The next thing I knew is that I am woken up and my baby is dead. It made me sick to know they used that ultrasound machine to find my baby and kill it with great precision. They tell me to leave the room and sit in a chair with other women who just killed their babies. I couldn’t believe it. My so called choice was gone. No chance to change my mind. My baby was dead by my own actions. The guilt and depression slammed me like never before. I waited for what seemed like eternity in a room where no one cared. Finally they said I was fine to go home. That is where the true heartache began.”

 

 

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