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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mighty Oak Marriage: Part One

Combined with treats exchanged between our family and the large goodie bag my daughter brought home from school, our house is still over-flowing with hearts, candy and all things red and pink from Valentines Day.  With all the "love in the air," I couldn't help but think about one of the most romanticized scriptures in the bible, Ephesians 5:31. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." The idea that two souls come together to become one seems dreamy and picturesque. Many people think that once you marry your life becomes like a fairy tale.  Sorry to break the news to you, but a fairy tale it is not. A beautiful reflection of what God is, yes. We often forget that God's perfect picture of love involves sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears.

With that said, let's think of marriage like a nut planted in the soil. And yes, some days you may feel like a nut or you may think your spouse is a nut. You may even experience "nutty" times in your marriage.  But even through changing weather, with the right elements that small nut grows into a mighty oak tree.  So here are 4 concepts I think are key to growing your marriage into a solid and mighty oak. I will give the first two today and will finish with part two on the next post. 

 1. Honor Your Spouse With Your Lips
 While using your lips to give kisses freely to your husband is wonderful and encouraged  
I'm actually referring to a different type of lip service. Your words have the ability to speak life or death into the soul of your marriage (Proverbs 18:21). So let me explain. There is nothing worse than being in the break room at work or at a party and hear a woman talk about her husband like he is scum. It is wise to keep your dirty laundry in the laundry room of YOUR own house. Speaking ill about your spouse brings him dishonor and also reflects your state of being. If you read a little further in Ephesians 5:33 you will see where this is true. "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."  Wives are called to honor their husbands. So the next time you need to vent, zip the lip on dishonor and speak of your husbands qualities that bring life into your marriage.( this is also true for husbands towards,their wives) Reserve the problem solving for you, hubby & God. 

2. No Secrets 
Communication is vital to a marriage. My hubby and I do a lot of talking and have vowed to keep a "no secret" rule in our house. It doesn't matter what it is. Secrets have the ability to destroy a marriage by causing division. When a house is divided it will not stand (Mark 3:25). The same way we don't allow our own secrets to divide us, we also don't let other people's secrets come between us. If anyone comes to me in confidence and says, "I have to tell you something, but don't tell your husband," my reply is the same. "I don't keep secrets from my husband so if I can't tell him, then don't tell me." We also have taught this to our daughter. We are a packaged deal. To take this a step further, if you are thinking of doing something you feel uncomfortable telling your spouse, then it is probably not a good or God idea. Two will never become one when there is division between them. 

I hope you have found part one of this post insightful. Stay tuned for the last two keys to a mighty oak marriage! 




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Prune Yourself



I recently purchased a beautiful ivy plant for my front porch. Its home is a simple terra cotta pot outside my front door. My plan is to keep it contained and pruned. I learned my lesson on ivy many years ago when I was managing a preschool that had lots of the lush green stuff surrounding the building in the back yard.  Because it had never been pruned, the lovely vines had become overgrown and took over the landscape. At one point I noticed those persevering leaves grew right through the crevices of the back door and began showing itself inside. It was out of control! Like most plants proper pruning is necessary to help keep a plant from becoming overgrown, to stimulate new growth and promote flowering and the bearing of fruit. Just like that ivy plant,  we may have certain things we have allowed into our lives that have, "taken over," become out of control or have snuck up into the crevices of our homes without us even realizing it. If this is the case it may be time to prune or cut a few things back or even out of our lives. Anytime God calls us to prune back he is preparing us for new growth. John 15:1 says "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." While cutting something or someone from our lives seems painful it is the Gardner's job to prune us. It is our job to be like the vine and allow the Gardner to prune, shape and guide us into His masterful purpose so that we will be even more fruitful than before.  What has become so overgrown in your life that it has stunted Godly growth in you? What things need to be pruned or even cut out?  With God's help, I'm making my list right now :)