- Never bring up mistakes of the past.
Stop criticizing others or it will come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven (Lk6:37).
- Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
And how do benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? (Mk8:36).
- Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
And do not sin by letting anger gain control of you. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry (Eph4:26).
- At least once a day, try to say something complimentary to your spouse.
Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (Pro15:4).
- Never meet without an affectionate welcome.
Kiss me again and again, your love is sweeter than wine (Songs of Sol1:2).
- “For richer or poorer” -rejoice in every moment that God has given you together.
A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate (Pro15:17).
- If you have a choice between making yourself or your mate look good, choose your mate.
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to help them (Pro3:27).
- Do not use faith, the Bible, or God as a hammer.
God did not send His Son to the world to condemn it, but to save it (John3:17)
- If they have breathe in their nostrils, your mate will eventually offend you. Learn to forgive.
The Scriptures warn, if another believer sins, rebuke him; if he repents, forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and ask forgiveness, forgive him (Lk17:3-4).
- Let love be your guidepost
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and keeps no record of when it has been wronged (1Cor13:4-5).
What does a woman need in a marriage?
Affirmation. Lots of it. Soft, tender, thoughtful, unexpected, meaningful, heartfelt affirmation delivered with no sexual demands attached. That’s difficult for most men. A man usually sets goals and generally acts only when he is after something. When it comes to romance, he’s tempted to give affirmation only because he hopes to “get sex” in return. Husbands would do well to watch Solomon in action. Solomon, by contrast, referred to his wife as “my beloved” forty times in the Song of Solomon. That choice phrase is packed with affirmation. It’s a romantic expression, a call to rich friendship. Each time Solomon said, “My beloved,” his words clothed her with dignity and value. What woman wouldn’t flourish under such a constant stream of loving affirmation?
Here are some nonsexual ways to cherish your bride through words and acts of affirmation. And by the way, the use of these words and actions helps you speak her romantic love language. It’s important to remember that you are not doing these things to get something in return. Perhaps she might reciprocate in your love language back to you, but that’s not your goal.
Are you ready?
Then let’s go:
1. Hug and kiss her every morning before leaving the house. Research indicates that marriages that practice this simple discipline are much healthier than those that don’t. If she’s sleeping, leave her a note, or gently kiss her forehead and whisper, “Have a wonderful day, sweetheart.”
2. Reach across the front seat of the car when you drive and hold her hand, even for a few moments. Allow your fingers to become entwined.
3. Initiate daily prayer with her. This one spiritual discipline has transformed millions of marriages. Make a commitment, and then begin to pray together every day. Ask her to pray for you about a challenge you are facing.
4. Go an entire day without criticizing anything about her. Instead, try to notice her doing something that you really appreciate, and tell her how much you value her.
5. Take her car to the fuel station, fill the tank, vacuum the floor mats, and clean the windows. When you park it at the house, leave a note on the dashboard with just a heart and the words, “Thinking of you.”
6. Write her a short love letter in which you list several ways that she has blessed you this year.
7. Say, “Thank you,” after every meal she serves. Then help her clear the table.
8. Try your hand at making breakfast on Saturday morning. Tell her she deserves a break and should feel free to sleep in.
9. Call her from work and say, “I’ve been thinking of how good it is to have you in my life. Thanks for all that you do for me and our family; and thanks for being there always.”
10. While she studies her face in the mirror, come up behind her and gently kiss the back of her neck. Say, “God broke the mold after He made you. You are so beautiful.”
For some men, the thought of affirming their wives sounds like a lot of work. Others are anxious about being so vulnerable with displays of affirmation. Whatever the reason, they hesitate to step out and pursue the call to love found in Ephesians 5:25.
If you’ve hesitated affirming your bride, or if you’ve been slow to praise her qualities, trust me on this: just do it. Affirming your wife through any three or four of these ideas will do wonders for your romance. Is that too difficult to believe?
You’ll never know unless you try, right?
- Why Being A Romantic Isn’t Hopeless (thoughtcatalog.com)
Romans 15:2-3 tells us “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself…” (NKJV).
Who is your closest neighbor? Your Spouse. How can you edify (build, improve) your mate and thereby enhance his/her self-worth? By discovering and doing what pleases him/her.
If you are creative, pleasing your mate may be a natural part of your personality. But a less creative person may need some coaching in becoming a partner pleaser. And all of us need an occasional cue card to remind us to reach out. Here are a few ideas:
Write him a letter and send it to his office, or put a love note in his lunchbox or briefcase.
Prepare his favorite meal.
Purchase something small and frivolous for him that he won’t buy himself.
Greet your husband warmly after work. Find out how his day has been, listen attentively and offer your sincere encouragement.
Put the children to bed early and prepare a candlelight dinner.
Men view romance differently than women. Ask your husband to describe what’s romantic to him. Don’t be surprised when his ideas sound very different from yours.
In order for romance to deepen, you must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body.
Write her a poem or a letter telling her how she means to you and how she has been a blessing and a gift from God to you.
Ask how her day has been, and genuinely listen to her tales and be sympathetic, if she has had a rough day.
Create an atmosphere of love, make her laugh, tell her a joke, do something funny.
Talk with your eyes, with just a look you can tell your wife how much you love her; make her feel important, be her number one admirer and support her with your presence.
Do something to help her with her challenges.
- Romance 101 (perikinder.com)
Whether your marriage is currently the best it has ever been, or it is in need of restoration, these secrets will improve your relationship. Even for troubled marriages, it will take work, but it is possible to breathe new life into a relationship that has grown frail. Often, when the flames of love are growing dim at home women tend to blame their husbands for becoming cold and distant. Women share part of the blame when their husbands pull away from them emotionally. Sometimes, it is the women’s attitudes or behaviors that have caused the men to become frigid. It is not that love has died between them; it is just that the husband has shut down emotionally because of how his wife treats him.
Let’s consider these secrets to a healthier relationship with our husbands with an open heart. And the Light of God will shine into that sickly marriage and it will blossom and bloom again:
Secret #1: Your husband cannot meet all of your emotional needs.
Many times, a husband will pull away from his wife because she puts too many demands on him to meet all of her needs. When he can’t possibly meet her expectations, he feels like a failure and distances himself from her.
Secret #2: Your husband has emotional needs that are just as important as your own needs.
It is also important, to realize that women are not the only ones with emotional needs. Men have many important needs as well. Often, when women feel that their husbands are not meeting their needs, they can become hurtful and unkind toward him. This approach makes most husbands pull away because they do not feel respected (a significant emotional need for men). Women need to realize, that if they were to speak to their best friends the way they often speak to their husbands, they would be without friends.
Secret #3: Most men truly want to make their marriages work.
One thing that women have not realized is that men are often more committed to their marriages than women believe. They do care about their marriages. Many men desire to do whatever it will take to save their marriages. “I think most men, by nature, are very committed to marriage. They want to make their wives happy. They want to keep their family together. They want to do the right thing. I think it’s up to us women, to set a healthier emotional climate in the home to inspire them to remain that committed.”
The bottom line: When both spouses are working together to help the other feel loved, there is no limit to how close the two can be. Shalom.
- The Christian Marriage (covenantfamilyaffairs.wordpress.com)
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also love the church and gave himself for it”; Eph 5:2. As a husband your primary assignment is to love your wife.
How many of these characteristics of love and romantic gestures do you practice towards your wife every day?
A loving husband is patient with his wife.
He is kind to his wife.
He does not envy his wife.
He does not regard himself to be more worthy than his wife.
He is not arrogant (proud) towards his wife.
He is not self seeking, placing himself above his wife.
He is not rude to his wife.
He is not easily angered towards his wife.
He keeps no record of the wrong doings his wife committed.
A loving husband does not delight in evil.
He rejoices with his wife in the truth.
A loving husband always protects his wife.
He always trust his wife.
He always hopes for the best for his wife.
A loving husband always perseveres, even when his wife is unlovable.
Enjoy pleasing your wife, women need to feel appreciated. Verbal appreciation is essential in the life of a woman. She wants to know that you value her.
Always greet your wife with a hug and kiss that says, that you’re happy to see her and do the same when you leave her, to say you will miss her.
Tell her what you love about her, what makes her special and what you appreciate.
Never compare your wife with other women, not even your mother or sisters.
Do not even show her the mildest form of contempt. Contempt is poison in a relationship.
The way you act towards her should subtly validate her as a person, even when you do not understand or agree with her.
- The Priorities of a Godly Husband. (covenantfamilyaffairs.wordpress.com)
To all mothers and mothers in waiting your walk with God is very vital to the successful training of your child in the way of the Lord. You can only give what you have and not what you have not Acts3:6. If your walk with God is questionable, then your children’s walk with God will be questionable too. Likeness, if your walk with God is worthy of emulation, your children’s walk with God will make Him proud of you and your children. One vital way of walking with God, is through your fellowship with Him. How strong is your devotion to God? How strong is the cord of relationship binding you with God? As a mother your time with God is very important, irrespective of the fact that you have a busy schedule– especially if you are a working mother. God expects you to have time to be with Him in the midst of your busy and overcrowded time schedule. In fact God wants your best time and not your leftover. You must cultivate a habit of seeking Him first thing in the morning that means as a mother you must rise up early, even though you are the last to go to bed. Prov31:15,18 “she gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and for her servants…..she knows when to buy and sell, and she stays busy until late at night” (Contemporary English Version). As you wake up early at night to lift your household before the Lord, God gives you direction as to how to run the affairs of your home, and also God stays the hands of the evil one over your family. The devil will never have the opportunity to sow tares in the lives of your love ones, as you are always alight in the spirit; spiritually you are on fire. The devil can only sow tares, when you are in sleepy state –physically and spiritually. “How do I cultivate a meaningful relationship with God, how do I stay permanently connected, even in my moments of discouragement and struggles? In order to attempt to answer the above questions, we must start from the very beginning.
Overcoming the Guilt Feeling.
Nothing kills the joy of meeting with God than guilt. Recurring guilt is perhaps the most frequent struggle in our walk with God. We wonder why we do not feel right with God or why we haven’t spent more time with Him or for Him. Most of us have tried, but we have puzzled over what it really should be and we have felt miserable over our failures. The reason why this part of our faith is so troublesome and so hard to grasp is because we do not know what we are pursuing. As mothers we must get past the guilt feeling and pursue after God, strive to know Him on a personal note.
Getting Personal with God.
Surprisingly, most of us live as if God were not a person, most suspect that He exists but never live as if they expect to meet Him face to face/person to person. We claim a personal faith, yet our relationship with God is impersonal. We believe God is Holy, Righteous and Almighty. But these qualities keep us from seeing Him as a person, so God becomes someone we put on a pedestal so far above us that He ceases to be a person. The reason we meet with God is to know Him as personally as possible. This is the mystery of meeting with God. God said in Gen1:26 “let us make man (woman) in our own image, after our likeness….” It is not a flesh and blood image but a personality image—a person with intellect, emotions and will. God provided us with three experiences to help us understand how we are made in His image. Using our intellectual ability help us learn the mind of God, our minds was made so that we could know God. The relationship at this level involves two thinking persons. Hence God said in Isa1:18 “come now, and let us reason (think) together”. In our devotional time with God we bring our thoughts in line with His, thereby rubbing our small minds with His Superior Mind and we come out as superstars. The second experience is expressed in marriage. We learn to use our emotions by loving someone else. In this experience God teaches us that He is an emotional person. Love is a priority for our relationship with God. When you are in love with someone you always crave the presence of that person. Whenever you are around that person, everybody around you knows you are in a relationship with that person. There is a love bond between you too. This is how it should be with us and God. Unfortunately, this is not so for most of us. Your love expression for God is easily expressed and explained by your love for your spouse. If your devotional time with God is boring and a mere act of duty, then check yourself, if you are sincere, you will discover you are having a struggle with your relationship with your spouse. The third experience God gave us is expressed in our obedience to His commands—the use of our will or choices. God is a person of will as we are. To have a personal relationship with God, you need to know and respect His will, just as He knows and respect your will. God gave us a mind to know Him and to bring into harmony with His Mind, a heart to love Him and to bring into harmony with His Heart and a will to obey Him and to bring into harmony with His Will. God made us to be so like Him, so that we could know Him to the fullest of our created ability. In conclusion, we could say according to Dr Dwight Pentecost “what a man truly knows he will love, and what he truly loves, he will serve. This is what being personal with God is all about—knowing, loving and serving. This is what makes devotional time possible.
If it is this simple, why is it so hard for me to be personal with God.
Adam’s sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden corrupted the perfect image of personality we had with God. Sin erupted that relationship of communing with God in the cool of the day. Since then our ability to know God has been darkened; our love for God has been degraded; and our ability to obey Him disabled. We no longer naturally seek Him. We find it hard to love Him with pure motives and to obey Him becomes difficult. No wonder God doesn’t seem very personal to us anymore. Thank God for the coming of Christ, He restored us back to that fellowship of intimacy with God through His death on the Cross. He reconciled us back to God, so that we can get personal with God again 2Cor5:17-19. God through the atoning death of Jesus Christ changed our corrupted image back to the original image 2Cor3:18. God through Christ gave us back the ability to know, love and serve Him. This is what life as a mother is all about, to know God as deeply as you can and to translate that knowledge into the training of your children. Thereby raising children after God’s heart. This is life eternal, that we as mothers might know Him, as the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn17:3). The knowledge of God is the best possession you can have in life as a mother, for it brings with it joy, delight and contentment. Another obstacle, to our being friends with God comes in the form of barrier of formality. We have been taught to revere God, and God Himself commanded it but He is also our Father and we are a family, He went out of His way to adopt us Rom8:15, so we are to maintain a close familiar relationship with Him. How will you feel as a mother when your child calls you, “Mrs. Your Surname”, rather he calls you mum or mama. Jesus always referred to God as Father. God also wants us to refer to Him as Daddy. In your closet call Him an informal name. In Isa54:5, the bible says, your maker is your husband, so why don’t you call Him some sweet names like Darling, Love of my life, my Sunshine or you can call Him some special names in your local dialect. When you do this you are establishing an intimate relationship with Him. Devotion is all about relationship, the one you have a relationship with, you will always want to be with. We find it difficult to enjoy a time of devotion with Him because we do not have a relationship with Him. Our time of devotion is just a mere act of duty and nothing else. Mothers let us develop an attitude of friendship with our divine Lover and Husband, who is ready and patience enough to listen to all our real and imagined frustrations, and moments of joys we encounter as we raise a godly family that will glorify God. He gave us the husbands and the children, He knows these precious individuals very well, and He alone can help us to understand the workings of their minds. This makes being a wife and a mother, a thing to be cherished, a duty to be carried out with gladness of heart. As we walk with God on a friendly note, we shall enjoy the blessedness of motherhood in Jesus Name. Amen.
A Prayer for Mothers
Most Gracious Heavenly Father ,
I thank you for every mother to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.
You have given to woman, the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman will come to understand the full meaning of that blessing.
Watch over every mother who is with a child, strengthen her faith in Your Fatherly care and love for her and her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.
Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the examples of the holy women in the Bible who followed Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children and to all who depend upon them.
For all the mothers in waiting, Father as You answered the cries of women like Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth, grant unto them their heart desires also. Let them also experience the joy of motherhood as they serve You faithfully, trusting in Your undying love and faithfulness. Help them to fulfill their destinies as mothers.
I beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and Fatherly love for all Your children.
I ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May all mothers receive YourGrace abundantly in this earthly life, may they look forward to eternal joy in Your Presence in the life to come. As we celebrate Mothers’ day, make the joy of every mother be full. In Jesus Name I pray Amen.
- How do you define “a personal relationship with God”? (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- God: Friend or Supplier? (bslchicago.wordpress.com)
Money is one of the major causes of friction in a marriage, because we live in a world in which we are constantly worried about taking care of ourselves. It’s easy to forget that marriage is a commitment to forge a new life with another person. The lack of trust emerging from society has created prenuptial agreements and separate bank accounts. These undermine the commitment to a shared life with a spouse and are contrary to biblical teachings. Whenever financial issues begin to get out of hand in a marriage, the first thing to do is to pray about them. There is no substitute for God‘s answer. Secondly, you might try talking to a marriage counselor or your pastor, who with the help of the Holy Spirit will help you resolve issues diplomatically. God’s Word says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” Gen 2:24. In Matt 19:6, our Lord Jesus says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
God’s Minimum Financial Standards for Couples.
The Word of God has basic principles that govern every aspect of marriage, including finances.
Although these biblical principles are in contrast with the world’s ideas about money, when couples dedicate themselves to living by God’s principles they will avoid many potential financial problems. God requires minimum financial standards of finance in marriage for His people. If couples establish these minimum standards and decide to make them an essential part of their financial management, they will, without a doubt, lay a strong foundation for a healthy and balanced marriage.
The following are four primary minimum standards of finance found in God’s Word that all couples are encouraged to adopt.
(A) God owns everything.
“For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”
1 Tim 6:7.
Once couples accept the fact that God owns everything and that they have been chosen to be stewards or managers of God’s property, it’s important for them to manage it according to His principles and standards. It’s how we faithfully manage what He has given us that will determine whether He will give us greater things to manage Matt 25:23. So, since in a marriage husband and wife are one, the financial assets and incomes of both husband and wife should be merged and they should operate from a unified financial management base, rather than from a separate and independent management base.
(B) Think ahead and avoid problems.
“For which one of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
Too often couples put off planning until they are so deeply in debt that it seems impossible to get out. By then it is too late to plan, except for crisis planning. Couples need to begin planning by writing down their goals and objectives, which should include a yearly balanced budget. These goals and objectives need to be reviewed yearly. Obviously one of the first goals is to avoid financial bondage by staying out of additional debt and committing to pay off existing debt. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they shouldn’t borrow, but borrowing to buy consumables, such as gifts, vacations, and clothes, should be avoided. This type of credit debt will put a couple into insurmountable debt faster than they can pay themselves out of it.
(C) Keep good records. “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches”
It is impossible for couples to have their finances under control unless they understand the basics of good bookkeeping. Recently it was discovered that less than two out of 10 couples know how to actually balance their checkbooks. This means that many married couples seldom know how much money they have to spend or how much they are spending. Couples should develop their financial plans and work together, but there should be only one bookkeeper in the home who pays the bills. Two bookkeepers invite bookkeeping disaster.
“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps”
Most financially naive couples are not stupid regarding money; they are just ignorant and do not understand how borrowing and interest rates work. As a result, their primary concern becomes “How much are the monthly payments?” rather than “How much is this going to cost ultimately?” In addition, many times the naive people borrow more money than they can repay because they have no budget. In essence, they have no idea where their money goes each month or how much credit their income can support. Couples need to learn financial management and budgeting and use that information to avoid debt or financial problems.
God’s Word provides standards for managing money that is essential for marital unity. If couples study these biblical principles, learn them and put them into practice in their marriages, and adhere to these standards no matter how tempted they are to adopt the world’s standards, their marriages will be strong and will remain sound.
- Wealthy With Kids And About To Get Hitched? Don’t Get Hit With This Massive Tax (businessinsider.com)
- Managing The Marriage Purse: The Newlyweds Guide to Financial Mastery (mlmww.com)
Bitterness is a silent killer of life and destroyer of marital destiny. Many marriages have been destroyed because one partner decided to harbour bitterness against the other. Bitterness is an unnecessary weight, it is deadly.It stores itself in the soul, and slowly poisons the one who carries it. It’s a blade meant for another that eventually severs the hand that tightly conceals it. Take a look at this setting and see what bitterness can do to your marital relationship: The problems with your spouse are real, and your anger is justified. However, what keep your marriage from healing are not only the problems your spouse has to overcome, but also the prideful bitterness you guard in your heart. Little by little, day by day, you have allowed this bitterness to poison you. Your spouse does something disappointing, instead of confronting the problem, you silently hold it against him/her. He/she continues to make the same mistakes, and you continue to harbor your resentment. This pattern goes on for years and the love you once felt for your spouse goes numbed and your heart becomes hardened. Eventually the marriage breaks up and you blame it on your spouse and the devil. You spend the rest of your life miserable and extremely bitter. This could have been avoided if you have chosen the part of forgiveness.
What causes Bitterness?
In every marriage, husband or wife does something that hurts the other. It’s bound to happen because none of us is perfect. And in some cases, a spouse has a habit of doing the same thing over and over again, even after the behavior is confronted. Bitterness comes when you hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive the person that hurt you. Most of the time, this comes as a result of ongoing actions of a small nature for example, lack of understanding, misuse of finances, harsh comments etc that build up over time. Each offense takes residence in the heart, and at some point there is no more room left to take in more. That’s when bitterness is manifested and causes the most damage.
What’s Wrong With Bitterness?
A hardened heart can cause a lot of pain. Here are three reasons why bitterness should be removed from your heart as soon as possible:
#1. Bitterness harbors unforgiveness. You may feel justified in your anger. You may think that your spouse doesn’t deserve your forgiveness until he/she straightens him/herself out. But have you forgotten the mercy that Jesus had for you? Rom 5:8 tells us that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. By God’s grace, He didn’t wait for us to “get our acts together” before He provided a way for forgiveness. He gave it to us freely even when we didn’t deserve it. On the Cross of Calvary, when Jesus was to be crucified for the sin of the world, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). If forgiveness is given freely to us, how much more should we give it to our spouses? Not only should you desire forgiveness simply because it was given so freely to you, but also, the Bible tells us that there are consequences for unforgiveness. Jesus said, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15). Seek forgiveness not only for the sake of your spouse, but also for yourself. I wonder how many hurting marriages would be healed if Christian husbands and wives learned to love “mercy” as much as they love “justice”?
#2. Bitterness doesn’t give your spouse a chance to repent. If you’ve been suppressing your hurt, your spouse may not even know he/she has offended you. Bitterness often comes from hurt that has been suppressed without communication, like filling up a bottle with pressure eventually that bottle will explode. In the same way, the outburst in your heart can result in a broken marriage, and your spouse never even saw it coming. If that is the case, go ahead and tell your spouse what’s been bothering you. Sit down and try to work it out. Perhaps, your spouse does know of your unhappiness, but he/she chooses to continue in the same patterns. This does not negate your responsibility to remove the bitterness from your heart. You still need to give him/her the chance to repent, although stronger measures, such as, marriage counseling may need to take place. You may ask, “How many times does my spouse have to do something before I’m justified in my bitterness?” In Matt18:21-22, Peter asked Jesus how many times he needed to forgive someone, even questioning as many as seven times. But Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” No matter how many times your spouse may do something, you are still responsible to forgive him/her.
#3. Bitterness spreads. Have you ever seen a piece of stale bread? It appears that there is only one ruined area, but if you looked at the bread through a microscope, you would see long roots spreading throughout the slice. What appears on the surface doesn’t reflect what’s really happening below. Bitterness grows the same way. One little bit of bitterness can start to spread throughout your heart, and contaminate your whole body. It will start to manifest itself in your attitude, character, and even your health. In addition, the spreading can also affect your children and your family. Have you ever noticed how one person’s criticism makes everyone else critical, too? It’s the same with bitterness. Paul compares it to yeast when he writes, “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:6). When you bring bitterness into your life it extends to your family, your brethren in the church and everyone else who is involved in your life.
Getting Rid of Bitterness
You may feel like there is little hope left for your marriage relationship. You may be so full of bitterness that you’ve convinced yourself that your marriage could never be healed, but let me assure you that the healing must begin with yourself. With God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26).
Here are four steps to take to begin your healing from bitterness.
#1. Confess your bitterness as a sin. It’s so easy to justify our attitude when we’ve been hurt, but the Bible teaches that bitterness is a sin.
Heb12:14-15 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many are defiled.” You must seek peace with your spouse and the grace to forgive.
#2. Ask for God’s strength to forgive your spouse and diligently seek that forgiveness. In Eph4:31-32, Paul exhorts us to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” It’s hard to be tender-hearted to a spouse who has hurt you, but it is possible. We have the power to forgive because Christ forgave us, and He gives us strength through the Holy Spirit (Col2:9-11).
#3. Make a list of your hurts and find a time to talk to your spouse about it. After you’ve made your list, pray about which things you can let go. You may want to physically scratch off each one that you can forgive as an act of faith. Then for those transgressions that are left, ask God to give you the strength to talk to your spouse about them. Before talking to your spouse, let him/her know that you plan to set aside some undistracted time for you to talk about some issues. As you talk, keep the discussion productive. Start by confessing your own sins to him/her. Then talk to him/her about your hurts. Don’t just dump all your irritations and criticisms on him/her, but speak in love with gentleness and rationale. Once you begin, your spouse may deny his/her behavior or even become irritated. But the object of the discussion is to expose the wounds, not to accuse. Keep love the main motivator of your communication.
#4. Worry about changing yourself, not your spouse. You cannot change your spouse only God can. But what you can do is allow God to change your heart. If you have a log of bitterness in your own eye, how can you take the speck out of your spouse’s eye? (Matt 7:3). You, too, have made choices in this relationship that have hurt your spouse and need to be mended. Even though your spouse’s sin goes unresolved for now, he/she will answer for them one day before God (Matt10:26). In the same way, God will hold you responsible for the bitterness in your heart.
May the love of Christ reign supreme in your heart as you take the bold step towards your healing from all forms of bitterness in your heart.
It is well with your home in Jesus Name. Amen.
Few couples like to admit it, but conflict is common to all marriages. I have had my own share of conflict in marriage. I can easily write a book on what not to do!
Take a look at this scenario: Start with two self centered people with different backgrounds and personalities. Now add some bad habits and interesting character traits, throw in a bunch of expectations, and then turn up the heat a little with the daily trials of life. Guess what? You are bound to have conflict. It’s unavoidable. Since every marriage has its tensions, it isn’t a question of avoiding them but how you deal with them. Conflict can lead to a process that develops unity or isolation. You and your partner must choose how you will act when conflict occurs.
How do You Successfully Handle Conflict When it Occurs?
#1. Resolving conflict requires knowing, accepting, and adjusting to your differences.
One reason why we have conflict in marriage is that opposite attracts. It’s strange but that’s part of the reason why you married who you did. Your spouse added a variety, spice, and difference to your life that it didn’t have before. But after being married for a while (sometimes a short while), those attractions become repellents. You may argue over small irritations such as how to properly squeeze a tube of toothpaste or over major philosophical differences in handling finances or raising children. You may find that your backgrounds and your personalities are so different, that you wonder how and why God placed you too together in the first place. It’s important to understand these differences, accept and adjust to them. Just as Adam accepted God’s gift of Eve, you are called to accept His Gift to you. God gave you a spouse who completes you in ways you haven’t even learned yet.
#2. Resolving conflict requires defeating selfishness.
All of our differences are magnified in marriage because they feed what is undoubtedly the biggest source of our conflict; our selfish, sinful nature. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. Jas4:1-2 (NIV). This is the heart of what makes our conflict ugly, our sin and selfishness focuses us on our own agenda. The answer for ending selfishness is found in Jesus and His teachings. He showed us that instead of wanting to be first, we must be willing to be last. In place of wanting to be served, we must serve, instead of trying to save our lives, we must lose them. We must love our neighbors (our spouses) as much as we love ourselves. In short, if we want to defeat selfishness, we must give up, give in, and give all. To experience unity, you must give up your will for the will of another. But to do this, you must first give up your will to Christ, and then you will find it possible to give up your will for that of your mate.
#3. Resolving conflict requires loving confrontation.
Confronting your spouse with grace and tactfulness requires wisdom, patience, and humility. Here are a few tips you will find useful:
Check your motives: Will your words help or hurt? Will bringing this up cause healing, wholeness, and oneness, or further isolation?
Check your attitude: Loving confrontation says, “I care about you. I respect you and I want you to respect me. I want to know how you feel.” Don’t hop on your bulldozer and run your partner down. Don’t pull up with your garbage truck and start unloading all the garbage you’ve been saving. Approach your partner lovingly.
Check the circumstances: This includes timing, location, and setting. Don’t confront your spouse, for example, when he/she is tired from a hard day’s work or in the middle of settling a dispute between the children.
Check to see what other pressures may be present: Be sensitive. What are the issues going on in your spouse’s life right now?
During the discussion, stick to one issue at a time: Don’t bring up several. Don’t save up a series of complaints and let your spouse have them all at once.
Focus on the problem, rather than the person: For example, you need a budget and your mate is something of a spendthrift. Work through the plans for finances and make the lack of budget the enemy, not your mate.
Focus on the facts rather than being judgmental: If your partner forgets to make an important call, deal with the consequences of what you both have to do next rather than say, “You’re so careless; you just do things to irritate me; you are useless and good for nothing.”
Above all, focus on understanding your spouse rather than on who is winning or losing. When your spouse confronts you, listen carefully to what is said and what isn’t said. It may be that he is upset about something that happened at work and you’re getting nothing more than the brunt of that pressure. In other words, you are not the problem and all your spouse is trying to do is express some pent-up frustrations and feelings.
#4. Resolving conflict requires forgiveness
No matter how hard two people try to love and please each other, they will encounter challenges. With these challenges comes hurt. And the only ultimate relief for hurt is the soothing balm of forgiveness.
The key to maintaining an open, intimate, and happy marriage is to ask for and grant forgiveness quickly. And the ability to do that is tied to each individual’s relationship with God. Concerning the process of forgiveness, Jesus said, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt6:14–15). The instruction is clear: God insists that we are to be forgivers, and marriage probably more than any other relationship presents frequent opportunities to practice. Forgiving means giving up resentment and the desire to punish. By an act of your will, you let the other person off the hook. And as a Christian you do not do this under duress, scratching and screaming in protest. Rather, you do it with a gentle spirit and love, as Paul urged: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph4:32).
As difficult as it is to work through conflict in marriage, we can claim God’s promises as we do so. Not only does God bless our efforts based on His Word, but He also tells us He has an ultimate purpose for our trials. 1 Pt1:6-7 tells us, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
God’s purpose in our conflicts is to test our faith, to produce endurance, to refine us, and to bring glory to Himself. This is the hope He gives us that we can actually approach our conflicts as an opportunity to strengthen our faith and to glorify God.
- Top 15 Reasons Romantic Partners Fight (marriagegems.com)
Today, the word love is used very loosely by people in expressing themselves. It is used to advertise anything from toothpaste to automobiles; not much regard is given to it.
What is love? Love as defined by Oxford Dictionary is a strong feeling of deep affection for someone or something; it also defines it as having a strong affection or deep tender feelings for someone or something. The English language seems insufficient to define love adequately. But the Greek language has three words that help us define the various aspects of love. Eros love is romantic and passionate. It inspires a romantic climate in which you can express physical intimacy with your spouse. It yearns to possess the beloved (Songs of Solomon). It loves because the beloved is attractive and worthy. It cannot be sustained over a period of time unless the other forms of love accompany it. Philia love is the close friendship that cherishes the beloved. There is a mutual sharing in a best friend relationship, where each can communicate their thoughts and dreams. Philia love is reciprocal, each expects something from the other. It allows your spouse to share in your innermost feeling, that is the real you. This love also can fade. Agape love is concerned with the highest welfare of the beloved. It is an act of will and does not depend on feeling. It is unconditional, productive, sacrificial, humble, a choice and a total commitment. Since God is the source of agape love, it persists when others forms of love fades. The word of God made us to understand that love (agape), is the bedrock of all relationships Jn13:34. According to Wycliffe Bible Dictionary, “love is not a mere sentiment but a voluntary self-dedication to the point of self-slavery”. In short, love is fellowship between persons, based on acts of self– sacrifice. Such love is willed, deliberate kindness, extending even to enemies ( for whom one has no personal affection). In Matt22:37-40, Jesus told us of the great commandment whish is “to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and also to love your neighbor as yourself. He summed up all moral obligations in the word love, expressed in twofold direction God and neighbor. The quotation in Matt22:37 is from the Jewish Shema (Deut6:4-5) which all Jews repeated twice daily. It represents the essence of Judaism, namely that the knowledge of God precedes knowledge of oneself or of others. The Shema not only defines the Person of God in terms of His Unity, but it also defines the nature of relationship that God’s people are to have with Him and with one another. In Jn13:34-35, Jesus gave a great commandment to His disciples as His new commandment for them. This was to be the standard by which His disciples are to be known; the love of Jesus. The servant like, selfless love that Christian display towards one another witnesses to the world that they are true disciples. The issue of unity in marriage and any other relationship is love; Christ love for us and our willingness to love others as the Lord loves us. This new commandment presses us beyond our natural human inclinations to the need for Christ’s inspiration. Christ love for us is not dependent on a quality in us that makes us loveable; Christ is love, and He loves us regardless of our strength or weakness; and if we are created in His image, we also must be love. If we want to love like Him, then we must ask Him and the Holy Spirit will give us the enablement, the power to love like Jesus. We cannot do it on our own, we need His help in order to succeed. Love is not a matter of sentiment alone, but practical concern, blessing, prayer and positive wishes for wellbeing extended to friends and enemies alike. Just as God indiscriminately sends rain and sunshine upon the just and the unjust, so as Jesus disciples, we must be indiscriminate in our extension of love to friends and enemies. Jesus speaking in Matt5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. The emphasis in the command to “be perfect” is not on a flawless moral nature, but on an all-inclusive love that seeks the good of all. Instead of following the example of sinners who love only those who love them, we are to be like the Father in also loving those who do not love us. The Bible says “Be ye followers of God…..….; follow after that which is good Eph5:1; 1Thess5:15. As children of God, purchased by the Blood of Jesus, love is to be the guiding principle in our relationships not only with fellow believers, but with unbelievers as well. In Rom12:9-21, Paul mentions many specific duties that are to characterize transformed living, but love is the dominant note in all the exhortations. Hospitality is the fruit of a transformed, spirit filled life. It is the off shoot of love. It is showing an interest in others and giving ourselves to loving and supporting them even as God does to us Phil2:4. Leaders are to be front runners in the practice of hospitality 1Tim3:2. In Rom12:18, the scripture gave us one vital principle for living a transformed spirit filled life; because some people may remain violently opposed to us, they will reject all efforts of love towards them, there will be times when all efforts towards love fails. However, we are to make certain that we are not at fault, when peace breaks down in such relationships.
CHARATERISTICS OF LOVE.
Love suffers long. Suffer means to endure something that is not pleasant, love will feel the pain and keep on going Deut10:12; Deut6:5. It endures for long, it goes out of its way not to demand its right. You must suffer for love Jn3:16, your love for God will make you pass through the most unbearable situations.
Love is kind. Love is kind 1Cor13:4, that is caring. Kindness is an action, you exhibit kindness when you express care. You need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to express kindness to people. Kindness is a considerate act. When situation brings you in contact with satanic agents, show kindness, that is the love of God. Love them that hate you. You have the right not to show kindness to those who have done you evil, but a higher law says you must show love to them Matt5:44-48; Rom12:20-21. You remain imperfect, as long as you have shown hatred towards satanic agents. For you to have complete power over satanic agents, God has to see complete love in you.
Love is tender and temperate. Tenderness is an action, if you cannot say that an action is tender, then do not take it. Love is temperate, it is controllable. Anger is the result of a lack of control over ones emotions. Anger is a feeling of hostility, it is the opposite of love. It does not permit the manifestation of love. True love cannot get to the point of rage, which is violent anger.
Love does not retaliate. When you retaliate you have broken a principle which says “vengeance is of God”. Instead of taking vengeance ourselves, we should hand it over to God Rom12:19.
Love is not proud or boastful. To boast is to blow ones trumpet. Excessive talking about ones achievement and glory is being boastful Pr25:14. Perfect love is not proud and boastful. Any thought or speech that makes us to be exalted above others is pride and it does not show love. The manner in which you transmit what you know makes you either humble or proud.
Love is compassionate and always believes the best. When you are in love, you do not walk in suspicion. Love does not suspect. Love sees beyond the immediate circumstances and the person to compassionately relate to the lost, the hurting, the distressed, etc. Truest compassion is only found in the nature of God because only God knows the full depth of an individual’s pain, need and suffering. Christ likeness calls us to learn Jesus’ Heart of love, which is a heart of compassion, a depth of sensitivity, that can be worked in us through the Holy Spirit, reconditioning our hearts to be able to sense the pain of human bondage and weep with those who weep Heb13:1&3; Rom12:15.
Love never fails. Love does not forget, it does not lack knowledge When love lives in you and you in love, you will never lack knowledge; for love has an ability which is inherent knowledge. The people perish not only for lack of knowledge Hos4:6, but for lack of love. When the people walk in love, they will walk in knowledge. The spirit behind love is the Holy Spirit Gal5:22, which is the Spirit that knows all things Jn14:26. Love will fail, if it does not know. Anybody who loves will receive the Spirit of knowledge. The Spirit of love works hand in hand with the gift of the word of knowledge and the Spirit of knowledge.
In conclusion, we can say love is everything. Fulfillment in life, marriage and ministry can only be manifested through love. So go and love one another as Christ had loved you; for greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends Jn15:12-13. As dear Children of God walk in love Eph5:1-2.
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself Eph5:25,28. Wives, we are seriously advised to be submissive, love our husbands and our children Titus2:4.
In marriage relationship, all three forms of love are necessary. Partners should be best friends, passionate and romantic; this is what keeps the marriage alive and vital; but the glue that holds them together is Christ like love (agape), which doggedly loves when you do not feel romantic and is friendly on those days you do not want to be anybody’s best friend.
Real love means giving and not taking; it means being vulnerable and open. Nowhere in marriage relationship, is there room for self protection or selfishness.
It is not love’s purpose to manipulate or outdo the partner. Love’s sole purpose is to build one another up. Go forth and enjoy the dividends of love.