A Little Marriage Tip from the Peaches

Last week it was time to harvest all of the peaches from our tree. They were tiny bites of heaven, full of sweet drops of gold that dripped down our chins as we indulged several times a day while supplies lasted.

As my husband and I worked together to slice and freeze what our family couldn’t eat right away, we once again proved how God made us different.

Matt is a perfectionist.

I am not.

We figure that no matter how different we might be in how we go about our work, together, we’ll still be able to make some great smoothies, and even better cobblers.

Look deep. There’s a little life lesson in there somewhere. :)

Back Aches, Laundry, And a Little Something I Learned About Marriage

Today, I am excited to have a post featured over at The Heart Of Simplicity. Here’s just a snippet… 

He put his dirty clothes in the hamper. How incredibly rude and unthoughtful.

Yes, really. Just wait until you hear my story and you will surely feel as sorry for me as I feel for me.

Now that I am almost 39, I have decided that getting in shape and playing sports with my husband and kids is an excellent idea. This is all well and good and I feel better than I have felt in years. If I keep this up, turning 40 (and beyond!) won’t be so bad, right? Right. Except for the fact that while I am now working my way toward being in great shape, each time I do something outside of my normal workout routine and decide to play soccer or basketball with my family, I have a very hard time walking the following day (or three). It is amazing the different muscles that are used when you are trying to kick a soccer ball out of the goal and well, who am I to think I can possibly keep up with my 7, 10, 12, and 15 year old soccer playing sons? Ah, but you’d better believe that I do try. And it sure is fun…before it starts hurting. :)  

Which leads me to the day I found my husband’s dirty clothes in the hamper.

Read the rest of this article…

Your Spouse is Not Your Enemy

helpmeet

One of the statements that stuck out to me the most when Matt and I attended the Weekend to Remember marriage conference is this:

Your spouse is not your enemy.

When your spouse does something to hurt you or upset you; when your spouse is thoughtless or inconsiderate; when your spouse forgets to do something you asked him or her to do; when your spouse makes you mad or causes you pain; when your spouse doesn’t seem to be on your side…

You need to remember that your spouse is not your enemy.

The enemy is your enemy. Satan is the enemy.  The enemy doesn’t want your marriage to survive. The enemy doesn’t want your marriage to be strong. The enemy doesn’t want your marriage to make an impact for God’s Kingdom.

Your spouse is your teammate in this war against the enemy. The enemy wants to tear your marriage apart. You and your spouse are in this marriage together and you are not enemies. You may not always see everything the same way, you may not always agree in every situation. You may feel like your spouse is choosing to be your enemy. But no, that isn’t true. Your spouse is not your enemy.

No matter how tough your struggles, no matter how terrible your pain, no matter what your spouse does or doesn’t do…you must remember that your spouse is not your enemy.

Recognize the enemy when he tries to attack the teamwork of your marriage. Do not focus your thoughts around your spouse when you are hurt or upset, thinking that your spouse is the enemy. This will get you nowhere, except to keep you hurt and upset.

Instead, focus on prayer to the One who is holy and righteous, and much more powerful than the enemy. Focus your prayers on asking God to preserve your marriage, to strengthen your marriage and above all, to defeat the enemy.

May you be blessed as you and your spouse work together, letting God strengthen and protect your marriage against the enemy. Praise God for His unfailing power and for the hope He brings to your life and to your marriage!

I wanted to remind you that we’ve set up a Heavenly Homemakers Group, which enables you and your spouse to attend the Weekend to Remember conference for HALF PRICE!!   The normal price per couple is $318, which means that by signing up with the Heavenly Homemakers Group, you and your spouse can attend for only $159!

By signing up under the Heavenly Homemakers Group, you can attend the conference at any time or location that works for you. We don’t all have to “go as a group”. This is just a nice group rate option Family Life offers to encourage more people to attend. Feel free to share this information and link with your friends!

Attend Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference for Half Price!

You may recall that a few weeks ago Matt and I were blessed to attend the Weekend to Remember marriage conference put on by Family Life. It was a fantastic weekend, and we highly recommend that you go sometime. Whether your marriage is thriving, barely surviving, or anywhere in between, you will benefit from the Weekend to Remember!

We’ve now set up a Heavenly Homemakers Group, which enables any of you to attend the conference with your spouse for HALF PRICE!!   We are very excited for the opportunity to share this wonderful resource with you, and to hopefully make the Weekend to Remember more affordable for you. The normal price per couple is $318, which means that by signing up with the Heavenly Homemakers Group, you and your spouse can attend for only $159!

By signing up under the Heavenly Homemakers Group, you can still attend the conference at any time or location that works for you. We don’t all have to “go as a group”. This is just a nice group rate option Family Life offers to encourage more people to attend. Feel free to share this information and link with your friends!

Talk to your spouse about it, pray about it and follow God’s leading on this. You can’t put a price on your marriage…but half price for this conference sure is a bonus! :)

Resentment is a Choice

Bitterness.  What a fun thing to experience. It eats at you, distracts you, causes you to lose sleep, makes you feel angry and keeps the hurt feelings right at the surface of your heart.

We’ve all had our feelings hurt at one time or another. People have sinned against us.  They have been thoughtless toward us.  Some have intentionally been mean or hurtful to us.  Others have treated us with disrespect.  Some have made us feel like a little piece of dirt that is worth nothing more than to be tossed out to the wind.

None of that feels good. None of that causes us to smile, to be happy or to feel loved. Hurtful words and actions from others are painful to endure, whether they were intended to cause pain or not. 

It’s okay to be angry. Anger is a God given emotion and a natural feeling after someone has wronged us.

But we don’t get to run a bath full of anger and soak in it.

Most of the time, when I am angry at someone…they are completely clueless that they have hurt me or made me angry. I’ll have countless “conversations in my head” with that person in which I effectively set the record straight, and oh so eloquently let them know how right I am and how wrong they are and boy do I let them have it! In my head. Over and over. And over. What a completely unproductive use of my time and brain power.

This is where bitterness creeps in. 

It’s hard to let go of anger. I hold onto it because I want to “punish” the person who hurt me. Instead, all I’m doing is punishing myself, making myself physically sick with the cancer of bitterness. 

The way I see it, I have three choices:  I can choose to go to the person and resolve the issue, forgive and move on.  If I truly can’t bring myself to go to the person and work through the problem of my hurt, then I HAVE to choose to just let go of it. 

Otherwise, I’m making the third choice…the choice to be bitter.

Clearly, resentment is a choice. We didn’t choose for someone to hurt us, but if we remain unforgiving and ugly-hearted, we are choosing resentment. 

We are not allowed to say, “Everything he has done to me has made me SO BITTER.”  Nope. He may have hurt you, but he didn’t make you bitter. You chose to be bitter. 

Deciding to let go of bitterness and forgive…it’s hard. It’s painful. It’s gut-wrenching. It takes much prayer and an absolute surrender of your self.

And then it’s freeing. So, so freeing. 

Oh the ways God can use us when our hearts are free of bitterness! And oh how we are stuck in a trap of ugly, painful memories when we choose not to let it go.

Resentment is a choice. What will you choose?

helpmeet

I’m writing this post generically, because there are so many people in our lives we can become resentful toward. However, I’m also categorizing this post in our Becoming a Better Help Meet series. If you are choosing to be resentful toward your husband, can I urge you to repent? It’s easy to let bitterness become a part of you when/if your husband continues to hurt you, or fails to listen to you and meet your needs. All of those actions and attitudes hurt…there’s no doubt about it. But don’t choose bitterness. You’re  hurting yourself and you’re hurting your marriage.

Being a Better Help Meet: Choose Your Friends Wisely

helpmeet

Who are you spending quality time with? (I mean, besides your toddler and The Cat in the Hat.)

Are you choosing your friends wisely? 

I think it is very important to spend time with lonely people, hurting people, needy people and struggling people…because people need people and we all at one time or another are lonely, hurting, needy or struggling. This post is not suggesting that you ignore all people who have nothing to offer you at this moment. God calls us to reach out and love on his children.

But what I’d like to suggest to each of us is that if you’re interested in keeping your marriage strong and together, it is wise to spend time with people who can help you and encourage you in those efforts.

Look around you. Who has been married for many, many years? Who outwardly adores her husband? Who speaks kindly of her husband? Who has gone through difficult marriage struggles and landed on her feet beside her man? Who will help you hold your marriage together?

And I’m not just talking to those of you whose marriages are barely holding on. I’m talking to all of us.

Do the people around you engage in “husband or men bashing”?  Do your friends prefer to do their own thing, leaving their husbands out of the picture? Do your friends hold marriage as sacred? Do your friends encourage you to put your  husband first? Do your friends challenge you be a devoted wife…no matter what?

You wouldn’t ask financial advice from your broke, scatter-brained uncle, right? Neither should you seek godly marriage wisdom from someone who truly isn’t equipped to offer it. 

Choose to surround yourself with people who can show you how to love. Develop relationships with women who can encourage you as a wife to be the best godly helper that you can be for your husband.

On the flip side…no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been married, make a decision to be a good example to young girls and younger married women around you. Show others how much you love your husband and how grateful you are to be married.

Seek mentors. Be a mentor.

I do believe this is exactly what Titus 2:3-5 is all about. :)

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Warning! Facebook Can Be Destructive To Your Marriage!

helpmeet

Let me just get all the arguments out of the way right now. Facebook can be great and is a wonderful way to connect with people. I am rarely on FB, but have found it to be a super way to “find” old classmates, see pictures of friends and family, learn news of babies born and read of ways I can be praying for people I love. (For the record, by “old” classmates I totally mean “young” classmates because wow, we are all so incredibly youthful. I should have said former classmates, yes?) 

Facebook can be purely innocent and can offer a wonderful connection to the outside world, especially for moms who really just need an adult to commiserate with them on a day that the poop got smeared across the piano keys while the cell phone simultaneously got dropped into the toilet. 

Facebook in and of itself is not evil. Are we clear on that?  This is not a post telling you to avoid all appearances of FB and woe to the person who  updates her status or changes his profile picture. I’ll even go so far as to encourage you to hit my “like” button so that you can be a fan of Heavenly Homemakers on Facebook if you so choose.

However, just like everything that can and should be used for a good purpose, Facebook has been a party to destroyed marriages. It’s sneaky and subtle and can creep up on a person before they realize that damage has been done. Sounds just like the way Satan works, doesn’t it? 

I’m pretty sure most people do not log into Facebook with the plan to get too close to someone who is of the opposite sex and cross any boundaries that should not be crossed. But I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen divorce as the outcome. It’s heartbreaking and it’s gut-wrenching and I’m here to beg you to please be careful.

If you choose to be on Facebook, I think it is important to be very selective in deciding what you post. I’ve seen gals post information about their bras, about their bodies, about the fact that they’re getting ready to go take a shower. It may seem innocent, but for REAL…that is too much information to share with all of your “friends”.  

Also, please be careful about your Facebook conversations with others, especially with people of the opposite sex. It’s somehow much easier to say things on screen that we would NEVER say to someone’s face, which of course makes it much easier to cross lines we know better than to cross.

We have to work daily to protect our marriages.  Facebook is just one small example that has been on my heart lately. 

Hey…here’s an idea! How about using your Facebook status updates as a way to build up your spouse? Share with your “friends” something great that your husband did or a reason you’re proud of him. Nothing says, “I love my husband, everyone else back off!” like a wife who can’t stop saying great things to others about her man.

See? Go check this out.  I just updated my Facebook status to say something great about Matt. Easy as that, I’m doing something positive for my marriage and using Facebook for good. 

If you’re a Facebooker, can I challenge you to do the same? :)

It’s Not About You

helpmeet

Matt and I were privileged to attend a weekend marriage seminar last weekend put on by FamilyLife.com. It was their video version, called The Art of Marriage. I’m so thankful our church hosted the event.

Marriage truly is an art, isn’t it? When we allow our Creator to sculpt our marriage, it is so beautiful.

One of the biggest lessons we heard over the weekend was not something new to us. And yet, it’s always good to be reminded about one of the key tools for making your marriage run smoothly.

The long and short of it (and Laura’s paraphrased and blunt version) of the lesson is this:  Get over yourself already.

We shouldn’t get married to please ourselves. We should get married to serve the person we love the most.  Ultimately, getting married means that you’ve chosen to become a loving servant to your spouse forever. And if children come along, you’re signing up to serve them forever too. Yep, years and years of serving others. Sounds tough…but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about letting go of yourself and choosing to serve cheerfully.

I thought it interesting that one counselor pointed out that we all say these vows to our spouse on our wedding day:  “I promise to love, honor and cherish you until death do us part.”  But what our hearts often mean is, “I want YOU to love, honor and cherish ME forever.”  (And then we also expect our spouse to be able to read our mind so that they know exactly how they should perfectly love, honor and cherish us…but that’s another article for another day.)

No…when you got married, you promised to take care of and nurture your spouse. No matter what. Even when it isn’t easy. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re grumpy. Even when you don’t feel like it.

See, because your marriage isn’t ultimately about YOU. 

If Jesus would have made his time on earth about HIMSELF, I’m very sure He never would have died for me and He certainly wouldn’t have healed all those sick, needy people that kept following Him everywhere. Why in the world would he? He may not have been in the mood…He may not have felt like it that day…He may have just needed some “me time”. But no…He chose to serve. He chose to love unconditionally. He chose to die. He chose to live for others, which praise God, includes you and me!

If you’re sitting there thinking, “Wow, she’s right. My spouse really needs to read this so he’ll/she’ll stop living for him/herself and serve me better” –  Stop it. Consider yourself bonked on the forehead. :)

It could be that your spouse is selfish (I wouldn’t be surprised since you and I are both quite selfish in nature). Your needs may not all be met. You may be wanting more out of your marriage.

But your healthier, more wonderfully sculpted marriage begins with your choice to be a loving servant.

As soon as you stop living for yourself and really start focusing on meeting the needs of your spouse, your marriage will become more joyful. Your spouse may then become more of a loving servant to you as well. 

Beautiful!

The Great Marriage Flirt

helpmeet

“Hey there,” I say to my husband as I come into the room where he is mudding and sanding the drywall. “Now that is lookin’ good.”

“Thanks,”  he says as he reaches down for more mud.

And then I say, “Oh, and those walls aren’t looking too bad either.” 

Now that stops him mid-mud-smear.  Obviously, I wasn’t talking about the walls the first time. {giggle}  We share raised eyebrows and sly grins, as the kids run in and out, oblivious to what I just really said. That makes it even more fun.

Flirting with my guy is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I can’t help it. He’s fun to flirt with. It’s such a simple way to connect and to share smiles in the midst of hard work and crazy schedules. I love being his number one girl. I love being the one who puts the smile on his face. My flirting always makes him smile – especially when it takes him by surprise.

Once a marriage is well underway and perhaps kids join the mix, we can sometimes feel lost in all the paper work and bills and gymnastic classes and carpooling and grocery shopping and dirty diapers and broken dishwashers. Somehow, we may not even remember how to flirt because really it feels good enough just getting your hair brushed some days. 

So don’t make this flirting thing complicated. Just do small things to keep your marriage fun and lively. Simply relax and enjoy your husband and the relationship God gave you.

A simple smile straight to him goes a long way.

Flirting isn’t always about sex. It rarely is, in my opinion. It’s really about connection. Sharing something special between just the two of you. Having those secret messages that float over the dinner table when neither of you can get a word in over the hubbub of one child banging his sippy cup on the highchair and another child sharing the most exciting part of her day with daddy (the part about how Curious George climbed a tree after a kitten and couldn’t get down and the fireman had to come and the Man with the Yellow Hat said…). 

If you’re just being “work partners”, trying to get through each day without losing your heads…something needs to give. You and your husband are more than just work partners. You’re more than just friends. You’re more than teammates. 

You’re lovers. Forever.

Enjoy being together. Smile.  Bump into each other “accidentally”. Wink. Sneak a kiss. Email or text him something “sassy”.

Flirt.

It’s fun. :)
————————————-

What are your thoughts? Does flirting with your husband come naturally to you or is this something you try to improve upon?

The Importance of Modesty

helpmeet

What does being modest have to do with being a good help meet to your husband? I personally think it has a lot to do with it. What’s mine is my husband’s, and not anyone else’s …and I’m not talking about bills and laundry duty…if you know what I mean.

It pains me to see women showing too much of anything anywhere at any time. I believe sometimes women (and girls) dress inappropriately without really knowing that they are…and I think that sometimes they know full well what they are doing and they feel like it is the MAN’S problem. Sure, a man has the responsibility to be godly and not gawk, but FOR REAL…if you put a rich piece of fudgy chocolate in front of my face and tell me that it’s not mine so I have no business looking at it…I’m going to do my best to have a conversation with you while you’re eating the chocolate, but you’re going to make life a little bit difficult for me. 

I’m growing more and more aware of this issue as my sons get older. How dare women and teens make my job as a parent and my son’s growing up challenges more difficult than they already are? I’m working hard to show my sons what true femininity and godly womanhood are. Please don’t cause my sons to struggle.  We’re trying to prepare them to be true to each of their wives some day.

I wish I was just addressing a worldly problem here. It makes sense to me when women “of the world” dress immodestly. They don’t know the Truth and it makes me hurt for them. But in all my years of being a part of the Christian community, I’ve recognized that our admonition to “dress modestly” is not very clearly defined. It has become very clear to me that there are many different ideas about what it means to be modest. And I see that even in the Christian community, modesty isn’t very well understood.

I run the risk of stepping on some toes with this post, which of course is not my intent.  My purpose for writing this post is to encourage all of us to think carefully about what we wear, about how it looks to others and about how it effects our marriage. As Christian women, we should have a heart that desires to build up others and draw them closer to Christ.  If what you’re wearing doesn’t do that…throw it away. It’s that important. 

Don’t worry, you’ll find another favorite sweater. I promise there are cute, trendy clothes out there to be found that ARE modest. To think that “this is just what everyone is wearing these days so I can’t really find anything else” is a big lie from Satan. Don’t believe it.

To me, being modest means that you respect what belongs to your husband, or if you’re not married yet, you respect what belongs to your future husband.  If you’re married, there are some very appropriate (and FUN!) times to dress in skimpy, lacy, alluring clothes…so by all means…go for it…when you and your husband are alone. God has a purpose for a man being attracted to a woman’s body, and hello married women…this is it! Enjoy it!

But do you really want someone else to see what is your husband’s…even just a little bit? I big fat don’t. It sickens me to think of another man seeing or thinking about me as anything but as a Christian sister. Why would I dress in a way that causes a man to do exactly what I don’t want him to do?

Be cute, look attractive, smile sweetly…and dress modestly. Men everywhere (and mothers of boys!) will appreciate this so much. And so will your husband. The end.
———————————————————————–

EDITED TO SAY:

Hello Friends. In an effort to keep my Heavenly Homemakers site a friendly and loving place, I am now turning off the comments on this post. There has been just a little bit too much chatting going on in the comments section that hasn’t been edifying and just as I wouldn’t invite that kind of talk in my living room, I don’t welcome it on my blog. I prayed over and worked very hard to word my post in such a way that would encourage us as women to honor and respect our husbands by dressing modestly. I didn’t tell you what to wear, I simply wanted to encourage us all that modesty is an important part of being a good help meet to our husbands.

I’m going to go with the assumption that you all mean to say what you’re saying in love, but some of the comments and arguments shared as you “talk amongst yourselves” are starting to make my head (and my heart) hurt.

We all have different opinions about what modesty is and as long as you feel like you are dressing in a way that honors God and your husband, you’re doing a great job. Follow where you feel God is leading you on this issue and do so with a loving heart.