Monday, August 31, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around.... Pray together

When I was engaged to my first husband, I received a cute little notebook full of marital advice written by my female friends and family.  They had all put their two cents into it and it was a wonderful keep sake at the time.  The younger women wrote about always loving each other or keeping communication lines open, and things like that.  And all the older, and much wiser, women wrote about making sure God was the center of our marriage.  

Yes, I should've listen to the older, wiser women, but I brushed my doubts under the proverbial rug.  

But it's more than just both of you believing in God and attending church...

...Not only does God needs to be the glue that holds you both together, but you need to take it one step further and tell Him that He is the center of your marriage... Together.  

Praying together is a whole new level of intimacy between you and your husband.  It was something I had never done before, and really, it scared me to death.  I don't know why, I guess I'd just never shared that part of my life with anyone before, except my boys.  And even still, when we pray together, David is the one that says it.  I have a couple of times, but it's taking me a while to get comfortable with it. He wants me to more, but I like that he does.  He is the head of our marriage, and I like him to lead me spiritually.  

The first time David and I prayed together was actually over the phone.  We lived in different states before we were married, and had many obstacles to overcome before the wedding.  Blending families will do that.  Each time we came upon a problem we'd pray, and the Lord would guide us through the issue with ease.  

Once we were married, prayer became our nightly ritual, and If I remember right, we've only missed a couple of nights since then due to extenuating circumstances. I firmly believe that the success of our marriage is directly related to our nightly prayers, and putting the Lord first in our marriage.  

I hope we will always continue to pray together every night.  We both understand the importance of it, and neither of us ever try to opt out for any reason.  If David is sick, then I say the prayer, either way, it gets said.  Sometimes they might be short and sweet, especially after extremely long road trips, but even then, we still take a few moments to thank God for our life together.  

I hope this doesn't come across as some kind of pat on our back, I don't mean it that way at all.  David and I have both messed up in our past, and neither of us ever want to be back one of those situations.  We are just so thankful to have each other, and we know that it would never have been possible if it were up to us.  As David likes to say "humans are not creative, God is.  The only thing we can create is a mess."  We needed the Lord, and the Lord helped us and guided us.  We owe everything we have to God, and my prayer is that we will spend the rest of our lives serving Him daily for everything He's done for us. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around.... Dirty socks don't matter

I'll be honest, it drives me crazy to hear wives gripe about their husband's bad habits.  Or vice versa.  Seriously, you married them, for better or for worse, so little annoyances are something you signed up for.  

Get over it.  

Remember, the devil can use small annoyances to form a teeny tiny wedge between you and your spouse.  He can also take that minuscule wedge and turn it into a boulder.  

My ex husband, toward the end of our marriage, decided the little annoying things I did were too much for him to take.  He used them as an excuse to justify the affair he was having. Yes, this may be an extreme case, but it's enough to make me perk up and take notice.  Don't get me started on how afraid I was to leave anything of mine anywhere in this house.  I was so scared of getting on David's nerves I couldn't see straight.  

But I also learned that one of the most annoying things in the world is paranoia. 

So I was failing anyway.   

Thankfully David loves me despite my annoyances.

These days David are pretty comfortable with one another.  He knows my quirks and I know his, and it's ok.  Every night he turns on my fan because I can't seem to remember to do it before getting under the covers, and every morning I put his dirty socks in the hamper.  It's a beautiful life we got going on here, and we appreciate getting to know each other's quirks.  We've seen the other side, and We'd much rather have a quirky spouse than no spouse at all. 

Just food for thought.  


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around..... Being equally yoked

When I was engaged the first time I was not very knowledgeable when it came to God.  I had grown up in the church, and mostly understood the importance of it in my life.  My fiancé and I had the pre-marriage counseling by my father, but I still don't think it was setting in how big of a role God and the church needed to play in our lives as a married couple.  

Maybe it wasn't impressed upon me enough, or maybe I just had my head buried in the sand, who knows.  Either way, I messed up.  

My fiancé would go to church with me sometimes, we would have talks about God, and sometimes he would tell me that he didn't really believe in God, but he had no problem with me going to church.  

To me, this didn't sound like THAT bad of a deal, so I chose to ignore my worries about what that would mean for our future.  Boy, was I stupid.  Since then, I have studied what it means to be unequally yoked.  Let me see if I can explain it..... 

Back when animals were used to pull various loads of things, they would have something called a 'yoke' that went around the animals' necks.  If they paired up an ox and a donkey the two animals would pull at different rates, and they would struggle to do the job.  They couldn't work as a team, and in the end they would ultimately be pulling against each other.  These animals are unequally yoked.  However, if you pair up two oxen to pull the load, they would work together at the same rate in and same direction and be successful because they are equally yoked. 

Same goes for marriages.  If a husband and wife don't start off with the same morals and beliefs, they will move and change at different rates.  They will struggle to work together as a team, and ultimately, they will end up pulling against each other.  

That is what happened with me.  I went into the marriage knowing we believed differently, and hoping that he would eventually come around to my way of thinking.  Have I mentioned how stupid I was?  I could look back and wish I had been better advised, but the truth is, I was advised.  I just let go in one ear and out the other.  I didn't want to hear that my fiancé might not be the one for me.  

I can't look back and wish things differently.  I have two amazing boys, and I wouldn't change that for anything.  Besides, any other road wouldn't have led me to the love of my life.  I have no regrets.  

So, I guess what I learned this time around is to make sure you are equally yoked with your spouse.  I am now, and it has made all the difference.  


Thursday, August 6, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around..... Putting your spouse before your children

I started this series of writings as a way of spreading some Godly advice about marriage that I somehow missed the first time around.  That being said, I don't feel these things would've changed the outcome of my first marriage.  Being in an unequally yoked marriage to an atheist will have problems beyond the little things that I'm trying to fix.  What I'm try to do is prevent the cracks from forming in strong marriages so the devil can't get in.  

Whether we like it or not, the devil is loose.  He is going to look for any way he can to come between us and our spouse, or us and our church, or even our ministers and the church, you name it.  David and I are convinced he's after minister's wives.  It happened to him, and it's happening more and more everyday.  We have to be proactive in keeping our marriages strong.  

One of the things I look back on with regret is putting my children before my marriage.  

There are boocoos of opinions and advice swarming around out there in the world.  One very popular idea is that when kids come into a marriage they should automatically become the center of your life and everything else should revolve around them.

This idea is wrong, wrong, and might I say WRONG.  

Yes, children are wonderful gifts from God, and they require an enormous amount of care and attention.  But, your spouse still needs to be your priority.  

It's hard, I know.  I've been where you all are in one way or another.  I've had babies, I've had toddlers..... and now I have kids and step kids (7 boys, to be exact), there is nothing you can tell me that I haven't already been though.  Unless it has to do with girls.... I know nothing about raising girls.

When my boys were babies and toddlers I tried to be the kind of mom you read about on the internet.  Constantly playing with them, teaching them, holding them, you name it.  They were my priority and my husband took a back seat.  I don't believe I took it to the extreme that some moms have, but I made a mistake, and I am learning now what I should've done.  

Now I have more kids in my house, and they are all equally loved and attended to.    But we are teaching them that the most important relationship in our home is the one between David and myself.  All of these boys are from broken homes.  We have to teach them that divorce is not the 'norm'. We have to teach them what to do to make their own marriages strong.  If we don't teach them, the world will.  

Not good.  

Another point to ponder is how you represent your relationship in front of your kids.  I'm not talking about affection-which I do believe kids should see- I'm talking about a united front.  One of the first things kids learn to do is play their parents against each other.  If one says no, ask the other.  Kids need to see two parent that are in the same corner, not opposing corners.  This will help the marriage relationship as well as the parent - child relationship.  You should never side with your child.  If the verdict needs overturned, leave the room till you and your spouse can return on the same page.  Kids pick up on stuff like that, and will use it to their benefit.  

When it comes down to it.  Your spouse is number one.  Numero uno.  Feed and nurture that relationship above all others...and don't forget to pray together.  I should write an entire post just on that alone.  I love all of you out there, and I would hate to see any of you go through what I did.  So if I can prevent it through my writing, then that's what I need to do.  

I guess it's my ministry.  


Monday, June 15, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around... Take care of yourself

I've been feeling a nagging in my heart to write a series of posts about the things I'm learning about marriage the second time around.  

There are so many lies out there telling you how marriage is supposed to be, and it baffles me how many people believe it!  I know I did in my first marriage.  I let worldly advice upstage any Godly advice I was given.  

Why, you ask?  

Because I was not the sharpest tool in the shed.  

I did things wrong in my first marriage that might have changed the outcome if I'd have done better.  Not that I would ever want that life back, but what I can do, is use what I've learned to help other wives not make the same mistakes I did.  

One of my main mistakes was not keeping up my appearance.  

I know this can be a touchy subject, but I've got to go there.  

One of the biggest myths in the world is that once you get married you are then allowed to let yourself go.  I've been there, I thought 'I've got this man now, it doesn't matter what I look like, he's not going anywhere.  We're married forever right??' 


No one is safe.  

I've witnessed it happen to the most secure couples.  Even couples in the church.  The devil's not prejudice, he'll go after anyone.  He knows our weaknesses.  

I had hit a point where I put myself last. I'd had two kids, put on a good 20 pounds or so, resorted to t-shirts, sweatpants, and pony tails, and basically decided I had too much on my plate to worry about my upkeep.  

I know now that I was wrong.  

Men want to be proud of their wife.  They also want to enjoy looking at their wife.   They chose you.  They married you.  It's not too much to ask for you to take care of yourself, and put a little effort into your appearance everyday.  

This is something I have changed about myself the second time around.  The gym is now a part of my weekly, or daily, schedule.  Cute clothes and perfumes are as well.  I want David to be proud he's married to me.  I also want him to enjoy looking at me and sharing my company in the evenings after work.  

It sounds very 1950's....  You know, put a bow in your hair, check your makeup, and put on a nice dress for when your husband gets home from work.  But it's true!  These women knew what they were doing!  The feminist movement that came about later on changed the way women thought, and I'm here to say it changed it for the worse.  

I've lived it myself, and I've seen what it's done to other couples.  Don't let this happen in your marriage.  Take the extra time to keep up your appearance, and your husband will appreciate it... 

You'll feel better about yourself as well, and when you feel better, you can be a better wife.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Men and women can't be friends

In my opinion, the biggest lie the devil has successfully deceived the world with is that men and women can and should be friends. 

Yes!  I can hear the disagreements already...but hear me out.

The life experience I've received from my past, and from David and I helping others that have found themselves in our situations, is helping me to learn more and more about this everyday. Not to mention the two twenty-somethings that live in our house who are trying to figure out life and love and the difference between right and wrong.  

From all this data that I'm soaking up from every direction, I have come to firmly believe that my stand on this is right.  The world is now fully convinced that men and women can be friends.  The devil has convinced us that it's a good thing, and it's spilling over into the Christian world.  

Stills disagreeing?  I fully expect it.  That's how deep the lie goes.  The concept is so accepted that to dispute it is absurd.  

But stay with me....

The Lord made men and women very different.  We don't think the same way, and He made us this way for a reason.  Men and women compliment each other.  They each posess what the other needs to feel complete in a marital relationship.   Women are meant to be nurturers, and men are meant to be providers.  Women are more emotional, where men are more stoic.  So if all we need is advice or a friendly talk, then we should understand that we need go to those we are like for those things.  It says in the bible that the older women should teach the younger women, and the older men should teach the younger.  This is our support and friendship system.  The Lord Himself set it up and who are we to argue? 

But there are many who do.  Many who try to be friends, and many who get burned in the process.  When men and women try to be friends, there will almost always be one that wants to pursue more.  Even if it's not in the initial plan.  The more the friendship progresses the more likely it will happen.  

During our teenage years it is more accepted.  When we are looking for a future husband or wife it's ok to have the friendships with opposite sex.  Male and female groups of friends are usually how significant others are met. However the older you get the more these kinds of friendships can effect your life negatively.   If you are married or engaged, a friendship with someone of the opposite sex can be detrimental to the relationship.  

Let me first clarify what I am defining as a friendship.  Friendships require one on one private conversations, either in person or by phone or text.  I'm not saying we can't be nice to the opposite sex, on the contrary, I'm nice to the brethren in our church, or to the men I would come in contact with in my workplace.  But that doesn't mean we are friends.  We don't text or talk on the phone.  We don't go out for lunch or coffee.  In fact, even the conversations at church or work are not of a serious nature, and they are never private.  No personal subjects are ever discussed.  If there is something questionable that needs discussed I would recommend them to someone else or have someone be present with me.

That being said... If a man or woman desires to have a friend of the opposite sex after they are married, then there is something going on in their life that needs addressed.  

Think about it, you are committed to someone already.  You  married this person who is your best friend, and more.  They complete you in a way no other person can.  There should be no reason to ever desire the company of another person of the opposite sex.  

One of the most common instances is for a person to want to stay friends with a former significant other.  If you desire to stay friends with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend after you have broken up, then you need to figure out why.  My guess is it means you're not over them.  If this is the case, future relationships need to be put off till those feelings can be resolved. Wanting to be friends out of niceness is not good either, it will only lead to false hopes from one of the parties involved. 

You break up and you move on.  

That's the way it goes.  

Be nice when you see them, but there is no need for more.  

Also, you should never, ever put yourself in a situation that would make your spouse uncomfortable, or question your motives.  Marriages are built on trust.  It is the cornerstone that everything else leans on.  If you do something, even if it is completely innocent, to shake that trust, it can take years to repair.  And telling them that 'it's just a friend' is never the answer.  If you have gotten to a point where you have to explain or defend your relationship with that person, then it's gone too far and needs to be ended.  

We should strive to make our spouse feel as safe as possible in the marriage.  I know how it feels to be unsafe, and it's the most terrifying feeling in the world.  Knowingly continuing a friendship with the opposite sex, and making your spouse feel unsafe is one of the most disrespectful things you can do in a marriage.  

The older I get, the more adamant I am that this subject needs discussed.  My poor twenty-something step-sons are probably sick of me trying to drill this into their heads.  But it is a subject I am very passionate about.  I am going to do my best to teach these guys, and whomever will listen, what it really means to respect their spouse, and to always avoid the appearance of evil if at all possible.  It will either kill me or I'll die trying. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My favorite times

One of my favorite, most precious times is when David and I have long talks about how much the Lord has blessed us.  

Inevitably about once every week or so we will sit and talk, or go for a walk , and we'll get caught up in a long conversation about what we've both been through, how the Lord brought us together and the wonderful life we've been given.  We love to talk about our story, it's our favorite subject.  What a wonderful thing it is to be married to someone who is just as thankful that we have each other as I am. We never take for granted the second chance we've been given, and I pray we never do.  We give all the praise and glory to God.  

These are my thoughts this morning.  I have a couple of posts in the works about blending our families, so hopefully I'll finish them up soon.  
Till next time...