Entries tagged with “marriage”.

Hosea the prophet, Russian icon from first qua...
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As Seward Church continues its journey through the 66 books of the Bible we found ourselves learning about the interesting life of Hosea.  If you aren’t familiar with this story, it is quite intriguing as Hosea is told by God to marry a woman who would cheat on him, multiple times.

Usually with this story you hear that Hosea was told to marry a prostitute.  But Tim tried to clarify that Gomer isn’t a prostitute at the beginning of the story.   Hosea 1:2 says:

the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

So she was probably born out of wedlock herself and had some issues that made it likely she would be unfaithful.   Her name does make you laugh though.  Who would name their kid Gomer? The language in chapter 1 clearly indicates that only 1 of the 3 children actually came from Hosea.

In Chapter 3 God tells Hosea that he needs to go find his wife, who now is a slave prostitute and buy her back.  Can you imagine having to go pay a pimp to purchase your own wife back?  God says that this is a depiction of His love for us.   2:5 gives us a little insight into what Gomer was after – she was after material things that became so important to her that she would do anything to get them.

She placed those things above everything else and was willing to sell out to get them.  Does that sound familar? She began to idolize those things and then slowly that idolatry overcame her.  Often our sin begins as love, which can be healthy, but as it turns into idolatry we begin to displace God from His throne and worship the wrong thing.

Part of the problem is that we begin to define what it is that is loving for us instead of letting God define love. We don’t accept God’s love because it isn’t what we want. This leads us to create rules that will enable us to deserve that love and try to hide or change who we are.  We decide that if God (or another person) loves us they will provide this or that.  It would be like saying, “if you love me you’ll give me $1,000.” But maybe I want to express my love for you by strolling down the beach together.

As we begin to idolize things in our life, we start to lose perspective and slowly become enslaved to that which we idolize.  We become enslaved to our desires.  It becomes a slave-master relationship (2:12).

But there is GOOD NEWS! God says there will be a time when we will no longer be enslaved to our sins and we will no longer call Him, Master – but Husband. That is a huge relational shift.  Death will no longer reign, but life (13:14).  We will find freedom through Christ’s sacrifice.  You see we are enslaved to our sinful desires, but God sent His son Jesus to pay for our sin – through His death.  And by His resurrection, we are raised up as heirs in the Kingdom of God.

This payment (redemption) and the resurrection wipe our past clean. There is nothing that we’ve done that He can’t undo.  Just as Hosea accepted back the wayward Gomer, God will take us even as bastard children.

Isn’t that exciting?

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About a month ago we attended the Global Health Missions Conference, one of the breakout sessions was entitled Ten Essentials of Highly Healthy Marriages by Walt Larimore, based off of Ed Young’s book The Ten Commandments of Marriage. Here are the 10 Essentials and what I took away from them.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Be a Selfish Pig

Don’t get a case of Self-ITIS. Self-ITIS comes from Immaturity, how you make your Time choices, Insensitivity to your spouse, Stubbornness vs. Submission.  This really struck a cord with me and how selfish I can be at different/most times! The cure for Self-ITIS is putting PEP back in your marriage – Priorities, making sure you are on the same page – Expectations, define and understand each others – Patterns, what are good lifestyle patterns. He also suggested reading The Five Love Languages and His Brain, Her Brain: How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage.

  1. Thou Shalt Cut the Apron Strings

Cleave to your Spouse – Cleave to a Covenant (not a contract) – Leave your Parents (counseling and economic are the 2 big ones) – Leave the Past behind.  Genesis says that you will leave your mother and father and the 2 shall become 1. Jesus actually quotes it in Matthew 19:4-6, adding that no one should split what God has put together. I like the idea of this one, but it can be a little tricky to find the balance, especially with family.

  1. Thou Shalt Continually Communicate

This is a no brainer! Communication keeps any relationship healthy and happy.  Unfortunately, in married life there is a lot that can hinder it including schedules, kids, TV, fear of conflict and much more. I would say that the biggest hindrance in our communication is our schedules and self-ITIS.

  1. Thou Shalt Make Conflict Thy Ally

This is a tricky one as well, because not many people really embrace or desire conflict.  It needs to be resolved at some point and the sooner the better.  I didn’t have good conflict resolution role-models so this isn’t a strong suit of mine either.  Dr Walt says that we should Utilize our Faith – Understand our Spouse – Understand Self – Don’t let the sun go down on anger.  Seems simple enough right? Making Confession and Forgiveness a priority is something that I struggle with a lot.

  1. Thou Shalt Avoid the Quicksand of Debt

Over 50% of divorces stem from money problems.  Some of this can be overcome by talking about money, budgeting, and holding each other accountable. He suggested that after subtracting taxes and tithes you should operate on 70%, save 10% and use 20% for debt reduction.

  1. Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation Online and Otherwise

God has a design for sex, but sexual temptation should be treated as a disease (outside of marriage).  I really like this quote: “Intimacy takes time, good timing, and time away together.”

  1. Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Spouse 490 Times and More

Due to time constraints he didn’t finish going through his presentation, but I went back and looked at a copy of it and gleaned this information. FORGIVING

                • Forgiving is highly healthy
                • Organize your thoughts by writing
                • Review your experience
                • Give the boot to anger and regret
                • Invest in removing resentment
                • Victory comes in forgiving others
                • Increase your gratitude for past pain
                • Navigate to Inner peace
                • Give comfort to others
  1. Thou Shalt Keep the Home Fires Burning

Dr. Walt describes three stages of marriage:

1) Honeymoon Stage - this is where we are still! Everything is perfect!

2) The Party’s Over Stage – Resigning to the fact of married life, just getting through

3) The Best is Yet to Be Stage – forward looking, working on mature love.

He talked a lot about mature love, using 1 Corinthian 13:4-8 as the model. He said MATURE love should be Motivated, Attentive, Tender, Understanding, Respectful, and Excited.

  1. Thou Shalt Begin Again and Again

This is his secret to marriage survival, being willing to start over, time after time.  Using the 6 A’s of Acceptance, Attention, Adjustment, Amnesty, Appreciation, and Affection to go through the process.

  1. Thou Shalt Build a Winning Team

We have built a winning team called TEAM CROSS! we have built that team with a competent architect (God), the right coach (we are still searching for a good coach), the players (we are the right ones!), the intangibles (we’ve got lots of those too!), fan support (we are blessed with loving friends and family), and finally determination and commitment (we’ve got that too!).

A full copy of his presentation is available at the CDMA website (scroll down to Walt Larimore and click on Marriage (ppt)).

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Sunday, I will celebrate one year of marriage to the most wonderful friend and wife a guy could ask for. She is much better person than I, I only hope and pray that I can love her the way she deserves to be loved and cherished.

I found this article the other day and it got my attention because I want to have a healthy marriage.

Written by Michael Smalley Want a Healthy Marriage? Prioritize Fun says we need to have 5 positive experiences to remove 1 negative experience.

Smalley says

The simple reality is this, if you stop having fun together you will stop wanting to be together.

We have had a lot of fun times this past year. We have been able to enjoy some great get-aways and many hours of fun with board games and just being together. I don’t have to tell you but living with someone, especially a spouse is a whole new ballgame. Its very different than just another roommate. But all the work of marriage is worth it.

I Love You Christy, thanks for a great year and all your love!

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I’ve mentioned this book before on the blog and we just finished reading it! We aren’t overly diligent in our reading together, but we are trying!

Written as part of the Women of Faith collection this book is a collection of 60 short devotions split into eight categories.  The authors are Dr. Larry & Rachael Crabb, Paul & Nicole Johnson, Dr. Kevin Leman, Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, Gary Smalley, Becky & Roger Tirabassi, Dr. Neil Clark Warren.  With an impressive list like that the book has to be good!!

While each author (or set of authors) has a different writing style, each shares stories from their lives or clients lives making everything seem more real.  It does provide challenges to couple to learn how to love each other deeper and to understand the importance of loving Christ first and your spouse second.  I highly recommend this to couples of all stripes.  Sometimes humorous, sometimes extremely serious it is grounded in scripture and prayer.

The eight sections are titled:

  1. Celebrating our Friendship
  2. Celebrating our Imperfections
  3. Celebrating Family and Hope
  4. Celebrating our Oneness
  5. Celebrating – Even in Tough Times
  6. Celebrating our Future Together
  7. Celebrating Each Other’s Gifts
  8. Celebrating Romance and Passion

We will probably read this book again throughout our marriage to make sure we keep our marital joy!  I’ll close with a list of some of the chapter/devotion titles!

  • The Fine Art of Stubbornness
  • Graveyard Roots
  • True Love
  • The Carousel
  • What Part of 5:30AM Don’t You Like?
  • Stronger Together
  • The Naked Lady Who Needed a Lift
  • Sign and Stuff

Have you read this? Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.

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